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Next Crash Will Be ‘worse Than The Great Depression’: Experts

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      I agree with this article. The problem is the Republicans and Trump. They have saddled the nation with extraordinary debt, caused by spending like drunken sailors while cutting corporate taxes and the taxes on the rich. Add to that Trump's foolish trade wars, and we are in for some very difficult times.

      The only question is the timing. I expect it happens before the 2020 election, and that should doom Trump.

      https://nypost.com/2018/09/22/next-crash-will-be-w...

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      Some Thoughts On The Tribunal

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          Some Thoughts On The Tribunal

          Republicans Attempt Institutionalized Gang Rape

          The sexual assault allegation against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh

          rocks the Trump cultists, reveals the dark side of authoritarian rule.

          By Ray Cunneff

          September 22, 2018

          I've organized comments I've made on several other threads into one (hopefully) coherent post:

          Let's start at the beginning.

          Two weeks ago, there appeared to be no stopping Republican Donald Trump loyalists from a slam-dunk confirmation of extreme right-wing judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. They had control of the Judiciary Committee and the Congress and, despite Mitch McConnell's reservations about the nominee's "paper trail", it appeared to be a done deal on a fast track.

          While the Democrats groused about Obama's Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland having been ignored and blocked for nearly a year, the Republicans insisted that Kavanaugh's confirmation was urgently required before the mid-term elections and the possibility that the president's fate hung in the balance due to charges of obstruction of justice and conspiring with a foreign adversary to rig the 2016 elections.

          Kavanaugh, it turns out, was not on the "short list" of five ultra-conservative finalists presented to Trump by the Federalist Society, all of whom would presumably overturn the Roe v. Wade evangelical Holy Grail, but Kavanaugh had the added value to the president in his stated belief in an imperial presidency, a chief executive above the law who could not be investigated or even questioned in civil or criminal complaints while in office.

          And then, someone, we still don't know who (or why), leaked a story to The New Yorker that a letter had been forwarded in July to Sen. Dianne Feinstein, by a woman who wished to remain anonymous, accusing Kavanaugh of sexual assault while both were in private high schools in 1982.

          Feinstein was then obliged to acknowledge the existence of the letter and, days later, the accuser felt compelled to reveal her identity, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, a professor of psychology at Palo Alto University in California.

          The denials came swiftly and furiously. The "doppleganger"/mistaken identity defense, along with the "I wasn't there" (although no one can say when or where "there" was) responses emerged within hours of the original acknowledgment of the then-anonymous accusation of sexual assault. That suggests to me rapid-response coordination of talking points and almost subliminal messaging.

          This is consistent with the letter, produced also within hours of Feinstein's original acknowledgment of the anonymous accuser, signed by 65 women who vouched for Brett Kavanaugh's sterling character although he had attended Georgetown Prep, a tony all-boys private school. But the entire controversy was prompted by the still-unknown "leaker" who forced Feinstein to break confidentiality.

          Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP Photo

          Conservative operative Ed Whelan teased bombshell revelations that would exonerate Kavanaugh.

          Conservative activist and primary Kavanaugh defender Ed Whelan went so far as to name another Georgetown Prep classmate as the Kavanaugh look-alike, the purported "doppleganger", who sexually assaulted then-fifteen year-old Christine Blasey Ford without any evidence to support his claim.

          Whelan tweet-shared the the classmate’s full name, photographs of him, his current address, even the floor plan of his childhood home. (Ironically, the classmate, now a respected educator, signed a letter in support of Kavanaugh in July.)

          Dr. Ford immediately responded that she knew the person Whelan named, had even once visited him in the hospital. She said she knew them both and could not possibly have confused them.

          After 24 hours reconsideration, Whelan issued a too-little-too-late apology and deleted his tweets.


          I made an appalling and inexcusable mistake of judgment in posting the
          tweet thread in a way that identified Kavanaugh's Georgetown Prep classmate.
          I take full responsibility for that mistake, and I deeply apologize for it.
          I realize that does not undo the mistake.

          In my opinion, the person Whelan falsely accused should sue for defamation of character.

          In spite of his denials of having contact with the White House, Ed Whelan did what he's done in the past, to shift the conversation away from its subject by "outing" someone else and later apologizing. You throw in Orin Hatch's "she's mixed up" dismissal and Sen. Chuck Grassley's false urgency timetable for ramming this confirmation through, and you have a highly coordinated campaign to discredit Dr. Christine Blasey Ford without having to actually call her a liar.

          I suspect the fine hand of former Fox News' O'Reilly-Ailes sexual coverup-complicit, Trump Communications Director Bill Shine.

          It appears that Grassley and the pro-Kavanaugh zealots have agreed to none of the conditions Dr. Ford requested. They want her to testify first, presumably with Kavanaugh in the room, and be interrogated by a female lawyer rather than members of the Judiciary Committee. They don't appear to have agreed to any measures to insure her safety, have refused to hear other witnesses, and it sounds like it's Wednesday or nothing.

          At this moment, there's a fair chance that Grassley will go ahead with a committee vote on Monday, regardless how Dr. Ford responds to their demands and conditions, having brushed aside virtually all of her requests.

          This looks like an inquisition, far worse than the all-male tribunal that maligned Anita Hill in 1991 (to the eternal shame of Joe Biden).

          Anita Hill testifies before the Judiciary Committee in 1991

          In my opinion, Dr. Ford should file a formal complaint of sexual assault against Brett Kavanaugh in the State of Maryland (where there is no statute of limitations for sexual offenses). Let the Republicans then try to ram through the Supreme Court confirmation of someone under investigation for felony sexual assault.

          As for the adversarial, prosecutorial tribunal being prepared for Dr. Ford, I find the argument that it's no different than in a court of law to be an entirely false equivalency. The difference is that, unlike a courtroom, there will be no judge, no referee to monitor the fairness of the proceedings.

          Instead, it becomes a kangaroo court, a show trial like we see in totalitarian regimes. In a very real albeit figurative sense, the Republicans on the committee seem intent to add insult to injury by orchestrating an institutionalized gang rape.

          https://www.politico.com/story/2018/09/21/ed-whela...


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          Pundit Post

          Kavanaugh Ally Looked Dr. Ford Up On LinkedIn Before Her Name Was Known

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              https://t.co/LKJh1nZhVM

              Because there's a paywall, I copied and pasted this article in its entirety. Please read it and marvel.

              ~czook

              September 21 at 9:05 PM

              A conservative legal commentator on Friday denied communicating with the White House or Supreme Court nominee Brett M. Kavanaugh about his theory that the woman accusing Kavanaugh of sexual assault was mistaking him for someone else.

              “I have not communicated at all with [White House counsel] Donald McGahn or anyone at the White House, or Judge Kavanaugh, about the topic of the Twitter thread,” Ed Whelan said in a brief interview with The Washington Post.

              Whelan, president of the conservative Ethics and Public Policy Center, declined to discuss his since-deleted tweets speculating on who might have assaulted Christine Blasey Ford in the early 1980s or whether he had spoken with other top Republicans about the matter.

              Ford’s allegation that Kavanaugh pinned her to a bed, groped her and tried to pull off her clothes at a party in Montgomery County, Md., while they were teenagers has upended his Supreme Court confirmation process and threatened a nomination that Republicans believed was headed for a straightforward conclusion this month.

              Kavanaugh, a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, has strongly denied the allegations, saying in a statement that he has “never done anything like what the accuser describes.”

              [Kavanaugh accuser won’t testify Monday but open to doing so later next week]


              Supreme Court nominee Brett M. Kavanaugh, testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill, for the second day of his confirmation hearing, Sept. 5. (Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP)

              Whelan’s claims on Twitter on Thursday evening that Ford might have been assaulted by someone else raised immediate questions about whether he had spoken to or coordinated with Republican leaders about his theory.

              Republicans on Capitol Hill and White House officials sought to distance themselves from Whelan’s claims, saying they were not aware that he was going to suggest Ford could have been attacked by a former classmate of Kavanaugh’s.

              Whelan has been involved in helping to advise Kavanaugh’s confirmation effort and is close friends with Kavanaugh and Leonard Leo, the head of the Federalist Society, who has been helping to spearhead the nomination.

              On Sunday, Ford noticed that — even before her name became public — Whelan appeared to be seeking information about her.

              That morning, Ford alerted an associate via email that Whelan had looked at her LinkedIn page, according to the email, which was reviewed by The Post. LinkedIn allows some subscribers to see who views their pages. Ford sent the email about 90 minutes after The Post shared her name with a White House spokesman and hours before her identity was revealed in a story posted on its website.

              A White House spokesman said Friday that neither Kavanaugh nor anyone in the White House gave Ford’s name to Whelan before it was disclosed by The Post.

              After The Post contacted the White House for comment Sunday morning, deputy White House press secretary Raj Shah called a number of Trump allies to warn them about the upcoming story, according to a person familiar with the calls who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe private conversations. He disclosed Ford’s identity to a number of these people but did not talk to Whelan, the person said. Other White House officials, including McGahn, also made calls, a second person said.

              Whelan did not respond to a request for comment on how he first learned of Ford’s identity.

              Kavanaugh and his allies have privately discussed mounting a defense that would not question whether an incident involving Ford happened, but instead would raise doubts that the attacker was Kavanaugh, The Post reported Thursday.

              In the wake of Ford’s allegation, Kavanaugh told White House officials and Republicans on Capitol Hill that it was potentially a case of mistaken identity, according to people who heard his comments or were familiar with the discussions. Kavanaugh did not respond to requests for comment.

              Nevertheless, White House officials and Kavanaugh were caught off guard by the claims Whelan made on Twitter, according to a senior official. Top aides including McGahn, Shah and Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway were frustrated by his tweets, which they believe did not help Kavanaugh, officials said.

              Whelan, a former Supreme Court clerk to the late justice Antonin Scalia, is a well-connected stalwart of the conservative legal establishment. He and Kavanaugh served at the same time in the George W. Bush administration, when Kavanaugh worked in the White House Counsel’s Office and Whelan was the principal deputy assistant attorney general for the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel, according to the biography posted on the website of the center where Whelan works.

              Whelan also worked for the Senate Judiciary Committee from 1992 to 1995 as a senior staffer to Sen. Orrin G. Hatch (Utah), then the panel’s top Republican, according to congressional testimony he gave in 2015.

              Shortly after Ford went public with her allegations in an interview with The Post, conservatives began floating the idea that she was misremembering the night of the alleged attack — or mistaking the identity of her attacker.

              “Somebody’s mixed up,” Hatch told CNN on Monday after speaking privately with Kavanaugh.

              “Mistaken identity is also possible,” the Wall Street Journal’s editorial board wrote Tuesday.

              Whelan hinted throughout the week on Twitter that he was gathering information that would vindicate Kavanaugh and show Ford “got the wrong guy.”

              The tweets circulated and came to the attention of the White House and senior Republicans on Capitol Hill, according to people familiar with internal discussions.

              On Thursday, Whelan posted detailed and unverified exhibits as he identified a possible location for the party where Ford said she was assaulted, including a map, floor plans and photos of a house in Chevy Chase and photos of a former Kavanaugh classmate at Georgetown Preparatory School. The theory was discussed on “Fox and Friends” and promoted by right-wing online media outlets such as Gateway Pundit.

              Ford dismissed the notion that she had identified the wrong person, saying in a statement late Thursday that she knew both men and had “socialized with” the classmate and once visited him in the hospital.

              “There is zero chance that I would confuse them,” she said in a statement.

              Whelan apologized Friday morning for naming the former classmate and suggesting he could have been responsible for the alleged assault.

              “I made an appalling and inexcusable mistake of judgment in posting the tweet thread in a way that identified Kavanaugh’s Georgetown Prep classmate. I take full responsibility for that mistake, and I deeply apologize for it,” Whelan tweeted.

              The former classmate, now a middle school teacher, did not respond to a note requesting comment left at his house.

              [Trump questions credibility of Kavanaugh accuser, lashes out at Democrats]

              Whelan’s hints at an alternative explanation for Ford’s account had piqued the interest of Kavanaugh allies and Senate Republican staffers.

              Matt Whitlock, a spokesman for Hatch, was among those who called attention on Twitter to Whelan’s promise of information that would refute the charges against the judge.

              Once Whelan laid out his specific theory — including naming a possible other suspect — Whitlock deleted his tweet and distanced himself from the effort. He said in a statement Friday that he did not know what Whelan was planning.

              “He didn’t share details about what he had, how it would exonerate Kavanaugh, and certainly not how he would reveal it,” Whitlock said in a statement, adding that Hatch, while longtime friends with Whelan, “had no idea what Ed was planning.”

              On Twitter and in columns for National Review Online, Whelan has been one of Kavanaugh’s most active defenders, pushing back against those on the right who have suggested he is not sufficiently conservative.

              Whelan is no stranger to controversy online, having apologized in 2009 for revealing the identity of pseudonymous blogger “Publius” and retracted a post in February 2017 arguing that “liberal judicial activism” contributed to the shooting death of a Whittier, Calif., police officer.

              “I have tried to follow a practice of scrupulously correcting my errors and of not making points that I can’t responsibly support. I wish that others would follow this same practice,” he wrote in a post about the retraction.

              Robert Barnes, Josh Dawsey, Sharon Dunten, Seung Min Kim and Michael Kranish contributed to this report.

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              11 Million Jobs Could Be Lost In Trump’s Trade War, Says Study

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                  We have people voting for economic suicide and taking the rest of us with them.

                  In the study, the media analysis source reports that the industries affected by the Trump administration’s levies are, for the most part, centered in rural and majority-red states, which are host to “already-struggling parts of the country, with political consequences for Trump and Republicans.”

                  https://www.msn.com/en-us/finance/news/11-million-...

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                  Debunking 5 Viral Rumors About Christine Blasey Ford, Kavanaugh’s Accuser

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                      CreditFacebook

                      Dr. Blasey has been the target of widespread social media disinformation since she came forward with accusations of sexual assault against Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh, the Supreme Court nominee.

                      The desire to cast doubt on Dr. Ford's accusation against Brett Kavanaugh is huge. The internet has been ablaze with rumor, personal smears, and unsourced media reports.

                      Rather than consider that Judge Kavanaugh could possibly by guilty of that which he is accused, the all too familiar posse gathered around the white man accused of sexual assault, and proceeded to proclaim that the accuser is the real criminal. One comment even insisted that Dr. Ford will be put on trial for libel.

                      There wil be more ugly smears and ridicule aimed at Dr. Ford - this is far from over, but the New York Times is offering to prove how bogus five of the claims are.

                      Just minutes after Christine Blasey Ford, a California-based psychologist, went public with accusations of teenage sexual assault against Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh, the Supreme Court nominee, internet investigators began combing her past for clues about her possible motives, and trying to cast doubt on the veracity of her claims.

                      Since then, Dr. Blasey, as she is known professionally, has been the subject of a torrent of misinformation online. Some viral rumors about Dr. Blasey have been quickly debunked. But false claims have continued to spread on Facebook, Twitter, Reddit and other social networks.

                      Here are several of the most visible false and misleading claims about Dr. Blasey, along with explanations of what’s really happening.

                      Claim: Dr. Blasey’s students left negative reviews on her RateMyProfessors.com profile, calling her “unprofessional” and citing her “dark” personality.

                      Verdict: False.

                      This viral rumor is based on a case of mistaken identity. The RateMyProfessors.com page on which these negative reviews were found is about Christine A. Ford, a professor of human services at California State University Fullerton. Christine Blasey Ford, Judge Kavanaugh’s accuser, teaches at Palo Alto University.

                      This story made an early appearance on Grabien, a little-known news website. It was then picked up by several right-wing media outlets, including by the Fox News host Laura Ingraham, who tweeted a link to it, and the Drudge Report, which featured it on its home page. Grabien later issued a correction and published an editor’s note apologizing for the error. But the article remained online, and several other websites have since picked it up.

                      creditfacbook

                      Claim: Judge Kavanaugh’s mother once ruled against Dr. Blasey’s parents in a foreclosure case.

                      Verdict: False.

                      Internet sleuths quickly zoomed in on a 22-year-old civil court case involving Judge Kavanaugh’s mother, Martha Kavanaugh, a district court judge in Maryland, in which Dr. Blasey’s parents, Ralph and Paula Blasey, were the defendants. Judge Kavanaugh, some said, had ruled against the Blaseys, costing them their house and creating a revenge motive for Dr. Blasey.

                      There was, in fact, a 1996 foreclosure case involving Martha Kavanaugh and Dr. Blasey’s parents. But according to CBS News, the Blaseys settled with their bank, and Judge Kavanaugh dismissed the case. Citing court records, Snopes noted that Judge Kavanaugh’s ruling actually allowed the Blaseys to keep their home.

                      But the story nevertheless made it onto conservative news sites including Gateway Pundit, which used the headline “Bad Blood: Judge Kavanaugh’s Mother Foreclosed on Far Left Accuser’s Parents’ Home.” The story has not yet been corrected.

                      [[Read what Judge Kavanaugh’s and Dr. Blasey’s supporters are saying about her accusations against him.]]

                      Claim: Dr. Blasey made similar sexual assault accusations against Justice Neil Gorsuch during his nomination process.

                      Verdict: False.
                      This claim seems to have originated with a Twitter user, Josh Cornett, who appears to have a history of amplifying right-wing misinformation. (The user’s account has tweeted messages of support for QAnon, a sprawling pro-Trump conspiracy theory.)


                      On Tuesday, Mr. Cornett, referring to Senator Dianne Feinstein, a California Democrat, tweeted: “According to sources Diane [sic] Feinstein’s reluctance to mention the Kavanaugh accuser’s letter during confirmation session is because the accuser sent a similiar [sic] letter directed at Judge Gorsuch last year.” In a follow-up tweet, he said that he had “no idea” if the information was true, but that “my source has been very accurate in the past.”

                      There is no known letter sent by Dr. Blasey about Justice Gorsuch, or any other Supreme Court justice. Still, the tweet got more than 7,000 retweets.

                      Claim: Dr. Blasey is a major Democratic donor with a long history of left-wing activism.

                      Verdict: Mostly false.

                      Some critics of Dr. Blasey quickly painted her as a devoted left-wing activist and donor with an ax to grind.

                      They have claimed that she wrote on Facebook in 2016 that “Scalia types must be banned from law.” Another variant of this claim also has her writing that “Scalia types must be banned from courts.”

                      Neither phrase appears in a search of public Facebook posts in 2016. It’s possible that the phrases appeared in posts that have since been deleted from Dr. Blasey’s accounts. But these claims don’t contain links to old posts, or any other form of attribution. The account of the Twitter user who appeared to originate the claim, @LodgeNixon, has since been deleted, and no evidence of the purported Facebook post has emerged.

                      Memes containing this dubious claim, and several others about Dr. Blasey, have gone viral on Facebook, and have been shared inside several large private Facebook groups.

                      It is no secret that Dr. Blasey is a registered Democrat who has given money to progressive organizations and campaigns — these facts were reported by the The Washington Post in the original story naming her as Mr. Kavanaugh’s accuser. But she appears to be far from a big-money donor. According to data from the Federal Election Commission, her donations to Democratic committees and campaigns from 2013 to 2017 total less than $100.

                      CreditFacebook

                      Claim: Dr. Blasey’s brother worked at a law firm with ties to the Russia investigation.

                      Verdict: Misleading.

                      In a news release, Liberty Counsel, a conservative legal group, said that Dr. Blasey was an unreliable accuser because of her family ties to the special counsel investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

                      The group wrote:

                      Ford has a brother, Ralph Blasey, who worked for Baker Hostetler, a law firm that retained Fusion GPS, the infamous DC company that produced the unverified Steele dossier on President Donald Trump and Russia, sparking the Russia investigation.

                      The group’s theory, which quickly caught on among internet conspiracists, was that BakerHostetler, the law firm where Dr. Blasey’s brother worked, had once hired a consulting firm called Fusion GPS as part of a Russian money-laundering investigation. Several years later, Fusion GPS subcontracted with a British intelligence officer, Christopher Steele, to produce the infamous Russia dossier. Therefore, they implied, Dr. Blasey’s brother was connected to the Russia investigation.

                      It is true that BakerHostetler hired Fusion GPS as part of a Russian money-laundering investigation, and that Fusion GPS later worked with Mr. Steele on the Russia dossier. But Fusion GPS has said that there is no link between its work on the earlier case — which involved Prevezon, a Russian holding company based in Cyprus — and the 2016 presidential election.

                      And according to his LinkedIn profile, Mr. Blasey left the firm in 2004, more than a decade before any investigation into Russian collusion began.

                      https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/19/us/politics/christine-blasey-ford-kavanaughs-fact-check.html

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                      Pundit Post

                      The Plot To Subvert An Election: Unraveling The Russia Story So Far

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                          I will be traveling for a week, beginning in a few hours. I heard about this piece from the NYT while I was preparing for my trip and I stopped to take a peek at it. I have not read the complete article and I will finish reading it later today. However, I wholeheartedly agree with the part I am posting, and not IF, but SINCE it is absolutely 100% true, the 2016 presidential election should be overturned.

                          I realize this is a very provocative statement and there is no precedent for overturning a presidential election in the USA or any concrete constitutional support for it. I also realize that this haunts 45 and his deplorable supporters, whether he actively participated in the scheme or was merely a very appreciative benefactor of it.

                          To me, the more pertinent concerns should be how it affects not only democracy in the USA, but democracy all over the world. How Americans process and navigate the fallout from the 2016 presidential election and indeed the very election itself, undoubtedly will change the course of history, on e way or another.

                          https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2018/09/20/us/politics/russia-interference-election-trump-clinton.html

                          On an October afternoon before the 2016 election, a huge banner was unfurled from the Manhattan Bridge in New York City: Vladimir V. Putin against a Russian-flag background, and the unlikely word “Peacemaker” below. It was a daredevil happy birthday to the Russian president, who was turning 64.


                          In November, shortly after Donald J. Trump eked out a victory that Moscow had worked to assist, an even bigger banner appeared, this time on the Arlington Memorial Bridge in Washington: the face of President Barack Obama and “Goodbye Murderer” in big red letters.


                          Police never identified who had hung the banners, but there were clues. The earliest promoters of the images on Twitter were American-sounding accounts, including @LeroyLovesUSA, later exposed as Russian fakes operated from St. Petersburg to influence American voters.

                          The Kremlin, it appeared, had reached onto United States soil in New York and Washington. The banners may well have been intended as visual victory laps for the most effective foreign interference in an American election in history.

                          For many Americans, the Trump-Russia story as it has been voluminously reported over the past two years is a confusing tangle of unfamiliar names and cyberjargon, further obscured by the shout-fest of partisan politics. What Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel in charge of the investigation, may know or may yet discover is still uncertain. President Trump’s Twitter outbursts that it is all a “hoax” and a “witch hunt,” in the face of a mountain of evidence to the contrary, have taken a toll on public comprehension.

                          But to travel back to 2016 and trace the major plotlines of the Russian attack is to underscore what we now know with certainty: The Russians carried out a landmark intervention that will be examined for decades to come. Acting on the personal animus of Mr. Putin, public and private instruments of Russian power moved with daring and skill to harness the currents of American politics. Well-connected Russians worked aggressively to recruit or influence people inside the Trump campaign.

                          To many Americans, the intervention seemed to be a surprise attack, a stealth cyberage Pearl Harbor, carried out by an inexplicably sinister Russia. For Mr. Putin, however, it was long-overdue payback, a justified response to years of “provocations” from the United States.

                          And there is a plausible case that Mr. Putin succeeded in delivering the presidency to his admirer, Mr. Trump, though it cannot be proved or disproved. In an election with an extraordinarily close margin, the repeated disruption of the Clinton campaign by emails published on WikiLeaks and the anti-Clinton, pro-Trump messages shared with millions of voters by Russia could have made the difference, a possibility Mr. Trump flatly rejects.

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                          Ray's Socialism Rant

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                              Ed Buckner's post the other day by The Washington Post's Katrina vanden Heuvel "Want to defend democracy? Start with your public library" about how public libraries are under siege, got me thinking about the assault underway against many taxpayer-funded services considered by conservatives to be examples of the dreaded "socialism".

                              The ongoing campaign to privatize public services goes far beyond efforts to expunge any lingering vestiges of FDR's New Deal, including Social Security and its more recent cousins Medicare and Medicaid, to the kind of programs that many of us take for granted as American citizens.

                              The great sleight-of-hand is that, while they argue that cutting taxes will put more money in the hands of the people, what they don't tell you is that privatization contains a profit motive that inevitably raises fees and reduces services.

                              Anyway, all of this reminded me of a more-than-slightly satirical piece that I wrote almost three years ago that hopefully illustrates the point...

                              RVC 9-19-2018

                              Ray's "Socialism" Rant

                              "They're Already Here!"



                              By Ray Cunneff

                              10-30-2015


                              Usually, I try to maintain an even demeanor, a calm almost dispassionate tone to my Yabberz posts. I try to avoid conflict, try to raise the level of the discussion. But sometimes, usually on a Friday night after a couple of shots of vodka, evil Ray bursts forth.

                              It's almost Halloween. Be warned...


                              *******************************************************************************************************

                              We've all heard about this thing, the dreaded "socialism". We've been told since childhood about its evil ways, but we thought we were safe beyond the great oceans, protected by the purple mountains' majesty, the amber waves of grain...

                              But little did we know, it was already here.

                              At first glance, everything looked the same. It wasn't. Something evil had taken possession of America.

                              And it was everywhere:

                              Roads, highways!

                              Railways, airports!

                              Public libraries, public parks!

                              Bridges, tunnels!

                              Police, fire!

                              The court system...!!!

                              Public defenders!

                              It's all "socialism"!!!

                              It's insidious, like "creeping meatball-ism". You don't recognize it and then...

                              It's the Invasion of the Body Snatchers, socialist "pod-people" growing as exact duplicates of us in our greenhouses. (If we don't have greenhouses, they usually use a boat shed.)

                              "Your new bodies are growing in there. They're taking you over cell for cell, atom for atom. There is no pain. Suddenly, while you're asleep, they'll absorb your minds, your memories and you're reborn into an untroubled world."

                              They won't kill each other for a buck or let each other go hungry, but they won't be "real" Americans either!



                              Look, you fools, you're in danger! Can't you see?! They're after you! They're after all of us! Our wives, our children, everyone!

                              Don't just sit there measuring me for a straight-jacket, do something!

                              Just don't fall asleep!

                              THEY'RE ALREADY HERE!

                              YOU'RE NEXT!



                              https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/want-to-de...

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                              Pundit Post

                              Sexual Abuse Isn’t A Partisan Issue

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                                  Sex crimes/ sexual abuse has nothing to do with which party the perpetrator or victim belong to. It is neither a Liberal nor a Conservative issue; yet every time it stands in front of us, Republicans make excuses or deny it is an issue at all.

                                  Sexual abuse is a crime of power and control using sex as a weapon. In our culture today, it is at the least an infraction requiring disciplining, at the most a crime. Yet Republicans continue to respond to it as if it is simply something that is in poor taste, but not worthy of condemnation. Often the victims are mocked as unable to be good sports, confused or just making it up.

                                  Sexual abuse is not a partisan issue, but once an accusation is out there, it often is shown to be one, where Liberals are wanting justice for victims, and Republicans are wanting to pat the perpetrators on the back and send them on their way--- which is just one more way to humiliate victims.


                                  Sexual Abuse Isn’t Partisan

                                  Yet the response usually is. Republican Leaders can't seem to take the problem seriously

                                  CreditDoug Chayka

                                  .

                                  Republicans seem determined to brand themselves the party of sexual harassment and abuse.

                                  This is not to pass judgment on whether the Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted Christine Blasey Ford when they were in high school, as she has said. That has yet to be investigated.

                                  Neither is this to suggest that Republican and conservative men are more inclined to behave like entitled pigs than are Democrats and liberals. Abuse of power is nonpartisan. Roughly, for every Blake Farenthold there is a John Conyers Jr.; for every Roger Ailes, a Harvey Weinstein.

                                  But when you look beyond the individual bad actors to the way the political teams are responding to episodes of abuse and harassment in the #MeToo era, the contrast is stark. Last year, Al Franken, a Democrat, was run out of the Senate by members of his own conference over behavior that, while stupid and offensive, was bush league compared with the accusations leveled at the Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore of Alabama. Far from turning against Mr. Moore, who was credibly accused of having molested teenage girls, the Republican establishment stuck by him, smeared his accusers and still funded his campaign — led by none other than President Trump himself.

                                  In July, when Representative Jim Jordan faced multiple accusations of having overlooked the sexual abuse of college wrestlers while he was an assistant coach at Ohio State University, Republican lawmakers rushed not merely to defend their colleague but to tear down his accusers. Mr. Trump’s by now predictable response: “I don’t believe them at all.”

                                  Thus far, the president has remained uncharacteristically restrained in his response to the allegations against Judge Kavanaugh, who he said “is not a man that deserves this.” But the messages emanating from Mr. Trump’s party — and his family — have been characteristically gross. On Saturday, Donald Trump Jr. took to Instagram to mock the allegations, which were at that time still anonymous. Under the heading “Judge Kavanaughs sexual assault letter found by Dems,” Donald Jr. posted a fake crayon-scrawled mash note: “Hi Cindy will you be my girlfriend [boxes included for checking yes or no] Love Bret.”

                                  Get it? How serious could sexual assault be if it took place among teenagers? Chicks today are so touchy.

                                  Less juvenile but even more insulting were the musings of Chris McDaniel, a Republican candidate for Senate in Mississippi, who in a radio interview on Monday expressed his hope that Americans weren’t “falling for” Dr. Blasey’s accusations, because, “These allegations, 99 percent of the time, are just absolutely fabricated.”

                                  Senator Orrin Hatch, Republican from Utah, suggested, based on nothing more than his faith in Judge Kavanaugh’s honesty, that Dr. Blasey was somehow “mixed up” about the whole attack. (It bears noting that Mr. Hatch also aggressively defended the honor of Rob Porter, the former White House staff secretary whose two ex-wives said he physically abused them.) “I think she’s mistaken,” said Mr. Hatch of Dr. Blasey, before babbling his way around to suggesting that, even if the assault occurred, it didn’t matter that much. “If that was true, I think it would be hard for senators to not consider who the judge is today,” he said. “That’s the issue. Is this judge a really good man? And he is. And by any measure he is.”

                                  https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/18/opinion/editorials/kavanaugh-trump-republican-sexual-abuse-.html


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                                  Pundit Post

                                  Trump Abuses Declassification To Undermine Mueller Investigation

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                                      Trump Abuses Declassification

                                      To Discredit Mueller Investigation


                                      Abuse of Power, Obstruction of Justice, Conspiracy to Defraud America

                                      By Ray Cunneff

                                      September 18, 2018

                                      Over the strenuous objections of Intelligence professionals fearing it will reveal sensitive sources and methods, perhaps even put lives in danger, President Donald Trump has ordered the declassification and release of an un-redacted FISA surveillance application, sensitive internal messages from Justice Department official Bruce Ohr, and text messages of former FBI Director James Comey.

                                      Trump is trying to derail the Mueller investigation by pressing the "Deep State" conspiracy theory that these entrenched bureaucrats are part of a plot to undermine his presidency.

                                      He's trying to make the case that the FISA warrant (signed by four Republican-appointed judges) for surveillance of former Trump foreign policy adviser Carter Page was prompted by the Christopher Steele memoranda, what he calls "the dirty dossier" (which he falsely insists has been discredited).

                                      It's a torturous pretzel logic since the surveillance of Carter Page as an agent of a foreign adversary began as early as 2013 when Page became embroiled in a case involving Russian mobsters, two of whom escaped back to Russia and one who remains in a U.S. prison. Interest in Page was renewed following what appeared to be shuttle diplomacy with Russia in 2016.

                                      But Trump supporters are feasting on the breadth of Trump's abuse of executive power, using declassification during an ongoing investigation (into Trump himself) for partisan political purposes, certain it will reveal rampant malfeasance within the FBI and insisting that all such FISA warrants for national security surveillance should be forever terminated.

                                      Michael Caputo, a former Trump campaign adviser who has also been interviewed in the Russia probe, said, “I can’t wait. To me it’s Christmas, my birthday and the Fourth of July all wrapped up into one. Not only will this let Americans know how their country failed Carter Page and George Papadopolous, it will also let them understand how FISA has trampled all of our rights and never should be reauthorized again.”

                                      As far as is publicly known, the FISA warrant in question was prompted by former Trump adviser George Papadopoulos blabbing over drinks in a London hotel to Australian diplomat Alexander Downer that Russia had "dirt" on then-candidate Hillary Clinton. That information was subsequently relayed to Canberra, which eventually passed it back to official U.S. sources.

                                      Since being sentenced to two weeks in jail for lying to investigators, Papadopoulos has been tweeting non-stop, against legal advice, cruising the Sunday morning talk shows and soliciting members of Congress, pressing the "Deep State" narrative.

                                      He's now calling his encounter with Downer "incredibly suspicious" and claiming "I found it odd that Downer, who gained notoriety in Australia for wearing women's fish nets, invited me to 'order' me to stop 'bothering' his good friend (former U.K. Prime Minister) David Cameron."

                                      "Besides the fact that I notified the FBI a year ago about my suspicions that Downer was illegally recording my conversation with him," he tweeted.

                                      His tweets continued, "The lead-up to the meeting with Downer in London was even more bizarre. An Israeli diplomat named Christian cantor (sic), who hated Trump, introduced me to his 'girlfriend' who just happened to be an Australian intel officer and assistant to Downer named Erika Thompson. After I humiliate David Cameron in the British press, Downer wants to meet".

                                      His wildly overblown sense of self-importance aside, both George Popadopoulos and Carter Page are echoing the "Deep State" narrative, insisting that they are both victims of an insidious "witch hunt". Popadopoulos said in the message,"There is a lot to come".

                                      Although legal experts claim the release of un-redacted text messages of government officials is a potential violation of the Privacy Act, Trump's allies in Congress have long demanded a confrontation with his Intelligence community and have already come up with a work-around, seemingly unconcerned that Mueller also pursues allegations that Trump attempted to obstruct the Russia probe from the outset.

                                      Former federal prosecutor Renato Mariotti said, “Trump has ordered the release of sensitive information into an ongoing investigation of himself and his friends —information that his own Justice Department did not want released because it would jeopardize ongoing investigations. That is corrupt, plain and simple.”


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                                      Pundit Post

                                      Our Democracy Is In Crisis

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                                          It is time for Democrats, Independents and well meaning republicans to emphasize, stress and promote that Trump is not the cause of the corruption of the GOP, but he is merely a symptom and hopefully the straw that broke the camel's back.

                                          Our saving grace is the American government is a government of, for and by the people. Politicians are supposed to represent the people. When they stop doing that, they are to be expunged from the government.

                                          The GOP has reached the point where it should be expunged from the government, and the American people is the last line of defense for our democracy. It is my sincere hope that well meaning people who have supported the GOP before the Trump regime, will step up to the plate and put their country before their party. After our democracy is restored, they can rebuild their party. If our democracy is not restored, they will not be able to rebuild their party.


                                          https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/hillary-clinton-op-ed-donald-trump_us_5b9f0f81e4b046313fbc4857

                                          Hillary Clinton slammed the nearly 2-year-old leadership of President Donald Trump on Sunday night, saying her former opponent had done “so many despicable things that it can be hard to keep track.”

                                          “I think that may be the point — to confound us, so it’s harder to keep our eye on the ball,“ Clinton wrote in a lengthy op-ed, published in The Atlantic. “The ball, of course, is protecting American democracy. As citizens, that’s our most important charge. And right now, our democracy is in crisis.”

                                          In her piece, the former Democratic presidential nominee also decried the administration’s continued detention of thousands of migrant children, Trump’s refusal to accept the death toll from Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico and the White House’s unwillingness to protect American elections ahead of November’s midterms.

                                          Her comments come less than two months before the midterms, where Democrats are hoping a blue wave could shift the balance of power in one or both chambers of Congress.

                                          Several high-profile races, once expected to go firmly Republican, have become contentious in recent months, including the bid for Texas Sen. Ted Cruz’s (R) seat.

                                          Clinton urged voters to head to the polls later this year, but also leveled a pointed attack at current GOP leaders, saying the party had become increasingly radicalized and irresponsible.

                                          “Whether it was abusing the filibuster and stealing a Supreme Court seat, gerrymandering congressional districts to disenfranchise African Americans, or muzzling government climate scientists, Republicans were undermining American democracy long before Trump made it to the Oval Office,” she wrote. “Now we must do all we can to save our democracy and heal our body politic.”

                                          Clinton’s not the only high profile Democrat who is trying to encourage people to head to the polls. Last week, President Barack Obama urged supporters at a rally in Cleveland, Ohio, to “come through” in November and cast their ballots for a slate of Democrats running for office around the country.

                                          “We can tip the balance of power back to the American people,” Obama declared at the event, one of several he’s expected to campaign at during the run-up to the midterms. “Because you are the only check on bad policy. You’re the only real check on abuses of power, it’s you and your vote. And that is why I’m here.”

                                          During his presidency, Trump has continued to regularly attack Clinton and tout his Electoral College victory, despite losing the popular vote by millions.

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