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Tuesday, October 31, 2017

John Kelly's Civil War comments shouldn't surprise us. He is ignorant, bigoted and just plain stupid.





"Ignorant, dumb and just plain stupid plus he grew up in a place we used to call Birmingham North. "John Kelly’s comments about the Civil War, according to historians, were “strange,” “sad” and “wrong.” One thing they shouldn’t be, however, is surprising.

The immediate online backlash to Kelly’s assertion that the country’s bloodiest conflict resulted from “the lack of an ability to compromise” belied a troubling reality: The chief of staff is actually in good company. In 2011, a 48 percent plurality of Americans in a Pew poll said the war was mostly about states’ rights. Most teachers tell their students more or less the same thing, and history textbooks for decades have hawked the false tale of the Lost Cause. Even the U.S. citizenship test accepts “economic reasons” and “states’ rights” as correct responses to the prompt, “Name one problem that led to the Civil War.”

The Civil War, of course, was about slavery. But when so many still subscribe to the alternative narrative, there’s no reason to expect a Republican president’s right-hand man to do any different. There was also no reason to expect Kelly not to defend his boss when he got into a spat with a Gold Star widow this month, or not to wade into the culture wars (women are “sacred,” society cares too little for the “dignity of life”) at the same time..."



John Kelly's Civil War comments shouldn't surprise us

Puerto Rico to lean on NY, FL for help restoring its grid after Whitefish "After terminating a controversial deal with Whitefish Energy, Puerto Rico will have lots of assistance from New York and Florida getting its grid working About a month after Hurricane Maria devastated the island, nearly 70% of residents are still without basic electricity."

 

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 Puerto Rico to lean on NY, FL for help restoring its grid after Whitefish: ""

Trump on Papadopoulos: 'He's an excellent guy'

Breaking Down Kelly's Civil War Comments in reaction to racist John Kelly continued statements| MSNBC

 

Breaking Down Kelly's Civil War Comments | MSNBC: ""

'This is only the beginning': Inside Mueller probe | MSNBC

'This is only the beginning': Inside Mueller probe | MSNBC:

Mueller’s First Indictments Send a Message to Trump - The New York Times

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Mueller’s First Indictments Send a Message to Trump - The New York Times

Ignorant And Racist John Kelly Says Lack Of 'Compromise' Started Civil War, Defends Statues | HuffPost





"On Fox News, Trump’s chief of staff calls Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee an “honorable man ... who gave up his country to fight for his state.”



White House Chief of Staff John Kelly said on Monday that a “lack of ability to compromise led to the Civil War” and called the removal of Confederate monuments a “dangerous” scrubbing of history.



Kelly, speaking to Fox News’ Laura Ingraham during the debut of her new show, “The Ingraham Angle,” made the comments when asked about his thoughts on the removal of two plaques honoring President George Washington and Gen. Robert E. Lee at a church in Alexandria, Virginia.



“I think we make a mistake, though, and as a society and certainly as, as individuals, when we take what is today accepted as right and wrong and go back 100, 200, 300 years or more and say: ‘What Christopher Columbus did was wrong,’” Kelly said. “You know, 500 years later, it’s inconceivable to me that you would take what we think now and apply it back then.”



John Kelly Says Lack Of 'Compromise' Started Civil War, Defends Statues | HuffPost

Monday, October 30, 2017

Mueller Indicts Three Former Trump Officials In Russia Investigation: A ...

Record surge in atmospheric CO2 seen in 2016 - BBC News

coal fired smoke stacks



"Concentrations of CO2 in the Earth's atmosphere surged to a record high in 2016, according to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).

Last year's increase was 50% higher than the average of the past 10 years.

Researchers say a combination of human activities and the El NiƱo weather phenomenon drove CO2 to a level not seen in 800,000 years.



Scientists say this risks making global temperature targets largely unattainable.

This year's greenhouse gas bulletin produced by the WMO is based on measurements taken in 51 countries. Research stations dotted around the globe measure concentrations of warming gases including carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide.

The figures published by the WMO are what's left in the atmosphere after significant amounts are absorbed by the Earth's "sinks", which include the oceans and the biosphere..."



Record surge in atmospheric CO2 seen in 2016 - BBC News

Upstairs at home, with the TV on, Trump fumes over Russia indictments - The Washington Post



Upstairs at home, with the TV on, Trump fumes over Russia indictments - The Washington Post

Highlights of the Special Counsel’s Case Against George Papadopoulos - The New York Times

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"Lies about contacts with Russia-linked people

On or about the 27th day of January, 2017, defendant GEORGE PAPADOPOULOS did willfully and knowingly make a materially false, fictitious, and fraudulent statement and representation in a matter within the jurisdiction of the executive branch of the Government of the United States, to wit, defendant PAPADOPOULOS lied to special agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, concerning a federal investigation based out of the District of Columbia, about the timing, extent, and nature of his relationships and interactions with certain foreign nationals whom he understood to have close connections with senior Russian government officials.

Mr. Papadopoulos is charged with lying to the F.B.I. during an interview in early 2017. A 14-page statement of the offense that accompanies the brief criminal information filing shows that Mr. Papadopoulos was questioned by the F.B.I. about his interactions during the campaign with two apparent Russian agents — an unnamed professor and an unnamed ‘female Russian national,’ who each had substantial connections to Russian government officials. The filing says Mr. Papadopoulos falsely played down the significance of those conversations and falsely said he had not yet joined the campaign when they reached out to him.

Lying to federal investigators is a felony that can carry a sentence of up to five years in prison, giving Mr. Papadopoulos an incentive to cooperate in exchange for leniency."

(Via.). Highlights of the Special Counsel’s Case Against George Papadopoulos - The New York Times:

"What is now known is that Russia tried to infiltrate the Trump campaign — and did so successfully, at least at some level.

"What is now known is that Russia tried to infiltrate the Trump campaign — and did so successfully, at least at some level. Put in context of other reporting around the Russia story, it is a remarkable establishment.

The court documents also establish that Russia promised "thousands of emails" that would have "dirt" on Hillary Clinton to Papadopoulos in April 2016. A trove of hacked Democratic emails was released by WikiLeaks three months later — in the midst of the Democratic National Convention.

"I will tell you this, Russia: If you're listening, I hope you're able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing," Trump said, appearing to encourage Russia to continue digging. His campaign denied he was doing that. "I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press."

Papadopoulos tried to set up additional meetings or contacts between people in the Trump campaign and Russians. There were many contacts, according to the court documents, which describe meetings or messages between Papadopoulos and at least two Russians, a "professor" in London and a woman.



Russia Tried To Infiltrate Trump Campaign, Mueller Documents Confirm
http://www.npr.org/2017/10/30/560786546/grand-jury-approves-first-charges-in-muellers-russia-investigation

posted from Bloggeroid

Federal judge blocks enforcement of Trump’s directive banning military service by transgender individuals

"The court upheld part of the president’s directive blocking military personnel from having sex reassignment surgery.

This is a developing story. It will be updated."



Federal judge blocks enforcement of Trump’s directive banning military service by transgender individuals

Three former Trump campaign officials charged by special counsel

Floods: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO)

Paul Manafort, Who Once Ran Trump Campaign, Told to Surrender - The New York Times

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 "WASHINGTON — Paul Manafort and his former business associate Rick Gates were told to surrender to federal authorities Monday morning, the first charges in a special counsel investigation, according to a person involved in the case.

The charges against Mr. Manafort, President Trump’s former campaign chairman, and Mr. Gates, a business associate of Mr. Manafort, were not immediately clear but represent a significant escalation in a special counsel investigation that has cast a shadow over the president’s first year in office…."

(Via.).  Paul Manafort, Who Once Ran Trump Campaign, Told to Surrender - The New York Times:

Saturday, October 28, 2017

After Charlottesville, White Supremacists Abandon Their Own Tennessee Rally





"A coalition of neo-Nazis and white nationalists suffered a setback in Tennessee Saturday when the larger of two planned rallies for the day was abruptly canceled in the face of massive local counter-protests.

The back-to-back rallies in Shelbyville and Murfreesboro were planned as the first joint event for extremist groups with racist, anti-Semitic and pro-Nazi views including the League of the South, the Traditionalist Worker’s Party, National Socialist Movement, Vanguard America and Anti-Communist Action since the August rally in Charlottesville, Virginia that resulted in a riot with dozens of injuries, one dead counter-protester and two police officers killed in a helicopter crash.

At the morning rally in Shelbyville, roughly 350 counter-protesters gathered to wait in 30 degree weather for the white supremacists to arrive. Most were local, hailing from Shelbyville or as far away as Nashville. Hundreds of police officers patrolled the area and kept the counter-protesters back about fifty yards from the designated demonstration zone. Three helicopters circled overhead. Approximately 200 protesters finally showed up at around 11:30 am, an hour and a half late.

Police had told counter-protesters that weapons, helmets and shields were not permitted, and people carrying such equipment were turned away from the rally until they had disposed of those items. But when the members of the far right and alt right arrived, many were wearing helmets and some held shields. The police did not order them to leave or confiscate those items.

For an hour and a half the white supremacists took turns speaking into a bullhorn, mostly drowned out by the chants, jeers and bullhorns of the counter-protesters.

"Make me a sandwich! Make me a sandwich!" shouted one man, wearing a T-shirt that read "White supremacists suck, Nazis swallow."

Ken Nichols, a local man in his late 20’s, wasn't pleased that the police kept him so far away."



After Charlottesville, White Supremacists Abandon Their Own Tennessee Rally

New Rule: Fetish Patriotism | Real Time with Bill Maher (HBO)

Largely White Opioid Epidemic Highlights Black Frustration | Tennessee News | US News

"...Of all deaths in 2015 from opioid and heroin overdoses in Tennessee and nationwide, about 90 percent of the people were white.

Black people accounted for little more than 6 percent in Tennessee and 8 percent across the country, according to U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data.

Among African-Americans critical of the modern drug war launched four decades ago by President Richard Nixon, the fact that the opioid epidemic is primarily striking the majority race helps explain why it is largely being called an epidemic and treated as a public health crisis, rather than a war.
"Look at the inner city, it's always been what we consider an epidemic," said the Rev. Ralph White, pastor of Bloomfield Full Gospel Baptist Church in Memphis.

"If this had been the case in other areas, the community would have been crying out long ago," White said. "But now that it's taking the lives of European Americans, we find that it's at a time of crisis."
Michael Eric Dyson, a Georgetown University sociology professor as well as minister and author, offered a similar view after an appearance in February at the University of Memphis.

"White brothers and sisters have been medicalized in terms of their trauma and addiction. Black and brown people have been criminalized for their trauma and addiction," said Dyson, whose latest book is "Tears We Cannot Stop: A Sermon to White America..."

Largely White Opioid Epidemic Highlights Black Frustration | Tennessee News | US News: ""

"ANSWER THE QUESTIONS!!!" Al Green GETS PISSED OFF & DESTROYS Ben Carson... Uncle Ben Carson, a brilliant fool.

Imeachment ad runs on Fox & Friends

Raising a black son in the US: ‘He had never taken a breath, and I was already mourning him’ | Life and style | The Guardian

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 " looked at the phone on the floor and thought of the little boy swimming inside me and of the young men I know from my small community in DeLisle, Mississippi, who have died young. There are so many. Many are from my extended family. They drown or are shot or run over by cars. Too many, one after another. A cousin here, a great-grandfather there. Some died before they were even old enough legally to buy alcohol. Some died before they could even vote. The pain of their absence walks with their loved ones beneath the humid Mississippi sky, the bowing pines, the reaching oak. We walk hand in hand in the American South: phantom children, ghostly siblings, spectre friends.

Sign up for the Bookmarks email Read more As the months passed, I couldn’t sleep. I lay awake at nights, worrying over the world I was bearing my son into. A procession of dead black men circled my bed. Philando Castile was shot and killed while his girlfriend and daughter were in the car. Alton Sterling was killed in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and the police who shot him were never held accountable for his murder, for shooting and killing the man who smiles in blurry pictures, for letting him bleed out in front of a convenience store. Eric Garner choked against the press of the forearm at his throat. ‘I can’t breathe,’ he said. ‘I can’t breathe.’

My son had never taken a breath, and I was already mourning him…"

(Via.). Raising a black son in the US: ‘He had never taken a breath, and I was already mourning him’ | Life and style | The Guardian:

Tennessee police on high alert for white nationalist and neo-Nazi rallies | US news | The Guardian

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  "As white supremacists prepared to rally in two small Tennessee towns on Saturday, local law enforcement was imposing strict security measures including the use of hand-held metal detectors to detect guns, pipes, chains and a long list of other banned objects.


Three men charged after protesters shot at following Richard Spencer speech  Both small cities are a short drive south of Nashville, and have majority white populations."

Tennessee police on high alert for white nationalist and neo-Nazi rallies | US news | The Guardian: "

This Week's Russia Round-Up

Friday, October 27, 2017

What do the new JFK assassination documents reveal? - The Washington Post





I remember walking home from school that horrible day John F Kennedy was assassinated, talking to a classmate that I believed Castro probably had killed Kennedy as a retaliation for US actions during the USSR initiated Cuban Missile Crisis .



What do the new JFK assassination documents reveal? - The Washington Post

First charges filed in Robert Mueller's Trump Russia probe | MSNBC




First charges filed in Robert Mueller's Trump Russia probe | MSNBC

There Are No 'Happy Endings' At An Illegal Asian Massage Parlor





"I represented a number of these woman back in another life. They were trafficked, back then, primarily from the ROK, just as the article says, including the age group. That someone would make a rap son g about them and ad insult to injury by mocking their accent is deeply offensive. I have repeatedly said that I like Germany's hate speech regulations far better than what I consider the overly broad projection provided for abusive degradation of racial, ethnic and religious groups. 



§ 130: Incitement to hatred

Main article: hate speech

Section 130 makes it a crime to:

incite hatred against segments of the population or call for violent or arbitrary measures against them in a manner capable of disturbing the peace

to insult, maliciously malign, or defame segments of the population in a manner capable of disturbing the peace

disseminate, publicly make accessible, produce, obtain, supply, stock, offer, announce, commend, undertake to import or export, or facilitate such use by another of written materials that assaults the human dignity of others by insulting, maliciously maligning or defaming segments of the population or a previously indicated group

approve of, deny or downplay an act committed under the rule of National Socialism in a manner capable of disturbing the peace."



There Are No 'Happy Endings' At An Illegal Asian Massage Parlor

The Menace of Trumpism - The New York Times





"Senator Jeff Flake gave a powerful, even poetic speech on Tuesday rebuking Donald Trump and the menace of Trumpism consuming the damaged Republican Party. But he undercut the power of the speech by coupling it with the announcement of his impending retirement from the Senate.



Anyone who has ever left a job knows that what you say during your exit interview — no matter how compelling and profound — is of limited utility.



More important, this was the kind of speech where people focus more on the excerpt-worthy flourishes than on the disturbing minutiae.



Yes, it was historic to have a sitting senator attack the sitting president of his own party from the Senate floor.



But Flake wasn’t only excoriating Trump, he was also excoriating his fellow elected officials, particularly Republicans, and the Republican Party, which finds itself caught in a perpetual rage spiral, in which no one but extremists are pure enough. The circle of inclusion is being drawn smaller and tighter around an electorally deadly singularity: White people who espouse Christianity, accept patriarchy and misogyny, and turn a blind eye to (or sometimes openly encourage) white supremacy.



Look at all the times Flake chided the “we” in that speech.



As he said at one point, putting the blame squarely on his Senate colleagues:



“And what do we, as United States senators, have to say about it? The principles that underlie our politics, the values of our founding, are too vital to our identity and to our survival to allow them to be compromised by the requirements of politics because politics can make us silent when we should speak and silence can equal complicity. I have children and grandchildren to answer to.”



He continued:



“And so, Mr. President, I will not be complicit or silent. I’ve decided that I would be better able to represent the people of Arizona and to better serve my country and my conscience by freeing myself of the political consideration that consumed far too much bandwidth and would cause me to compromise far too many principles.”



He followed by pointing out that “it is clear at this moment that a traditional conservative” has a “narrower and narrower path to nomination in the Republican Party,” which has “given in or given up on the core principles in favor of a more viscerally satisfying anger and resentment.”



First, it is true that Republicans in both the House and Senate have chosen career over country and have subordinated principle to party and power. They see in Trump a chance for a transactional relationship, each getting a bit of what they want, even though they know full well that Trump is unstable and unfit for the presidency.



Indeed, I’m growing increasingly angry with Republican lawmakers expressing grave concerns about Trump in private and on background, but biting their tongues in public.



It is no coincidence that the Republican legislators in Washington who have been most critical of Trump — Flake, Bob Corker and John McCain — are those who are definitely not seeking another term, or are unlikely to do so. Even George W. Bush criticized Trump (without saying his name), but he too has nothing to lose electorally.



Where are the real heroes, those with skin in the game and planning to keep it there? Where is the true courage? Well, not in the Republican Party. Political heroism and displays of principled valor have been banished from its ranks. In their stead stand the craven and the corrupt.



It is understandable for Trump to assume Republican senators adore him if, in public, they shower him with adoration. Three times, Trump has referred to getting a standing ovation at a lunch he had Tuesday with Republican senators.



When you bend to lick a boot you relinquish the posture required to stand and tell the truth.



But what is even more disturbing is the slide of the Republican Party toward a presiding sentiment of the “anger and resentment” Flake described. Make no mistake, Flake is no moderate simply because he opposes Trump as a person. He rarely opposes him legislatively.



What has happened is that the ground keeps lurching more rightward beneath Flake’s feet, toward fundamentalism and fanaticism. Indeed, Flake was a Tea Party darling who got scalped by Steve Bannon-ism.



Trump-era Republicans have accepted depravity and vitriol as the price they’re willing to pay to have a person willing to fight the people and institutions they distrust and detest. Encouraging violence isn’t disqualifying. Defaming Mexicans and Muslims is not disqualifying. Bragging about sexual assault is not disqualifying. Being a pathological liar is not disqualifying. Coddling white supremacists is not disqualifying. Attacking Gold Star families is not disqualifying.



None of it is disqualifying. To the contrary, it is supremely satisfying. the Moral Majority has become the iniquitous minority.



This Republican Party is the party of Trump and Bannon, not Flake and Corker.



As Corker correctly said of Trump on CNN:



“He purposely is breaking down relationships we have around the world that have been useful to our nation, but I think at the end of the day, when his term is over, I think the debasing of our nation, the constant non-truth-telling, the name calling … the debasement of our nation will be what he will be remembered most for, and that’s regretful.”



The Menace of Trumpism - The New York Times

In Antarctica, Two Crucial Glaciers Accelerate Toward the Sea - The New York Times





"Two of the frozen continent’s fastest-moving glaciers are shedding an increasing amount of ice into the Amundsen Sea each year.



The Pine Island and Thwaites glaciers are among the most critical in the world. They are currently holding back ice that, if melted, would raise the world’s oceans by nearly four feet over centuries, an amount that would put many coastal cities underwater."



In Antarctica, Two Crucial Glaciers Accelerate Toward the Sea - The New York Times

Donald Trump wrong that his tax plan is biggest cut ever


While we obsess over Trump, China is making history - The Washington Post





"While news and analysis in the United States continue to be obsessed with President Trump’s daily antics and insults, halfway around the world, something truly historic just happened. China signaled that it now sees itself as the world’s other superpower, positioning itself as the alternative, if not rival, to the United States.



This is not my opinion based on reading the tea leaves of Chinese politics. It is the clearly articulated view of China’s supreme leader, Xi Jinping. In his speech last week to the 19th Communist Party Congress , Xi declared that China is at a “historic juncture,” entering a “new era” that will be marked by the country becoming a “mighty force” in the world and a role model for political and economic development. He asserted that China’s “political system . . . is a great creation” that offers “a new choice for other countries.” And he insisted that the country will defend its interests zealously while also becoming a global leader on issues such as climate change and trade.



Ever since China abandoned its Maoist isolation in the 1970s, its guiding philosophy was set by Deng Xiaoping. At that time, China needed to learn from the West, especially the United States, and integrate itself into the existing international order. According to Deng, it should be humble and modest in its foreign policy, “hide its light under a bushel,” and “bide its time.” But the time has now come, in Xi’s view, and he said the Middle Kingdom is ready to “take center stage in the world.”





While we obsess over Trump, China is making history - The Washington Post

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Why Roy Moore’s Law-School Professor Nicknamed Him Fruit Salad | The New Yorker





"George Thomas Wilson, a retired magazine-marketing and P.R. professional now living in New York City, has never forgotten his first criminal-law class, at the University of Alabama School of Law, in 1974. It was taught by Clint McGee, who graduated from the law school himself, in 1940. Early in the class, McGee called on one of Wilson’s classmates, a United States Military Academy graduate named Roy Moore. “And, for the entire hour, McGee kept him standing and talking, standing and talking,” Wilson told me recently. “Finally, at the end of the hour, McGee said to him, ‘Mr. Moore, I have been teaching in this school for thirty years, and in all of that time you’re the most mixed-up person I’ve ever taught. I’m going to call you Fruit Salad.”



John D. Saxon, a civil-rights attorney practicing in Birmingham, also took McGee’s class. He confirmed Wilson’s account. “We’re all sitting there just kind of praying. ‘Dear Lord, glad this isn’t me, please help old Roy out.’ But he was totally, hopelessly confused.” Two days later, Saxon said, McGee called on Moore again. “He says, ‘Fruit Salad, take this case.’ ” Roy was puzzled, Saxon said, and McGee repeated himself. “He says, ‘Professor McGee, it’s me, Mr. Moore.’ At which point McGee gets him in front of the room, takes Moore’s hand, and starts turning him in circles. He says, ‘Mr. Moore, you’re all mixed up, like a fruit salad.’ He proceeded to call him Fruit Salad for the rest of law school.” Saxon added, “Years later, I’m watching the ten-o’clock news with my wife and there’s this circuit judge up in Etowah County with this little plaque with the Ten Commandments on the wall behind him, and I said to her, ‘Look, there’s Fruit Salad.’ ”

In September, Moore, who went on to become the chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court—a position from which he was twice removed, for violating the Alabama Canons of Judicial Ethics—won a Republican Senate primary runoff over Luther Strange. He is now favored in the general election, which will be held on December 12th, to fill the seat recently occupied by Jeff Sessions, who graduated from Alabama Law in 1973, the year before Moore matriculated. (Moore’s opponent in the race is Doug Jones, a Democrat and former U.S. Attorney best known for prosecuting two of the Ku Klux Klan members behind the 1963 bombing of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, which killed four African-American girls.) Over the past few weeks, ten graduates and professors of the class of 1977, of various political persuasions, shared memories of Moore, both on and off the record, from his time in law school. Some remain in touch with Moore. A few consider him a friend or occasional ally. None, however, expected him to become a successful lawyer, much less a U.S. senator. (The Moore campaign did not respond to a request for comment.)



Saxon, who chaired Bill Clinton’s Presidential campaign in Alabama, noted that Moore was not really involved in any of the law school’s extracurricular activities—the moot-court program, the student bar association, and so on. He called him “your average law student passing through.” Others offered harsher assessments.



“I remember our constitutional-law professor really ripping Roy apart using the Socratic method and thinking, in retrospect, ‘I can’t believe this man went to West Point.’ Because you kind of think that you have to be smart to go to West Point,” one classmate, who, like Moore, became a judge, told me. Another classmate said that she used to sit with a good friend of hers in every class. “Roy always sat in front of us, and he would turn around and flirt. He’s the one thing that brought humor to us, because he was, well, kind of a doofus,” she said. “He’d yak at us. We were both single, rolling our eyes.” She added, “And then Roy would ask all of these questions to put himself in the middle of debating with an intelligent professor, and he was always cut to shreds.”



Julia Smeds Roth, a partner at the law firm Eyster Key, in Decatur, said that she and her friends called Moore and those he spent time with “the lounge lizards,” because they were always in the student lounge playing cards. “He’d go to class, but he was argumentative, very stubborn, and not very thoughtful in his analysis of the cases. He was not a very attentive student. For the most part, students didn’t respect him much.” She added, “Of all my classmates, he was the least likely I’d think would become a U.S. senator.”



Moore is the oldest of five children born to a blue-collar family in Gadsden, and he was twenty-seven, a few years older than most of his classmates, when he entered law school. At the time, George Wallace, a segregationist Democrat and another Alabama Law School alumnus, was in the middle of his second term as governor. Moore had recently returned from Vietnam, where he’d been a military-police officer. Some who served under Moore there had referred to him, with sarcasm, as “Captain America,” chafing at his egoist style of command. One such officer, Barrey Hall, told the Associated Press, in 2003, that Moore’s “policies damn near got him killed in Vietnam. He was a strutter.”



Guy Martin taught Moore in a seminar titled Discrimination in Employment. He, too, served in Vietnam. Veterans told him that Moore demanded that he be saluted on the ground in Vietnam, Martin said, which everyone knew was a foolish thing to do. “When you go to Vietnam as an officer, you don’t ask anybody to salute you, because the Viet Cong would shoot officers,” he explained. “You’ve heard this a million times in training.” If Moore indeed violated this rule, Martin went on, “There’s nothing more telling about a person’s capability and character and base intelligence. It’s crazy.” In September, shortly before the Republican primary runoff, Martin, a self-described moderate, wrote an editorial in a local paper warning voters about his former student. In it, he describes Moore as a pupil so immune to logic and reason that he forced his exasperated teacher to “abandon the Socratic method of class participation in favor of the lecture mode.” (Martin remembers giving him “a C or a D. He did enough to pass.”)

Crawford Melton, a lawyer in Opelika, was friendly with Moore at the time. “He was very, very opinionated. To the point of just being ridiculous,” Melton said. “He had ultraconservative values and opinions. I’m not saying he wasn’t liked, he was just different.” Wilson said, “He was Looney Tunes from the beginning. But I never really thought he was malicious. Some of the verbiage that’s come out of him more recently, it’s a much harsher, meaner man than I remember.”



Most of Moore’s classmates didn’t recall Christianity being a noticeable part of his public persona. “I had no sense that Roy was a really religious person, that he was the kind of person who would say, as he said recently, that Islam is not a legitimate religion, that homosexuality should be outlawed,” Saxon said. He added, “I can’t get into his mind, or his heart, but I think it’s all political. He’s demagoguing on those issues.” (Saxon credited Moore’s work, as a judge, in advocating for court funding and siding with unions.)



Wilson believes that there were five gay members of Moore’s class, four men and a woman. “I was the only one who was really, obviously gay,” Wilson said. “I have a good sensibility about the way people treat me, and I never got a sense from Roy that he was judging me on that level. But it’s also true that through my entire law-school experience, I sang as a baritone soloist at the First Methodist Church in Tuscaloosa,” Wilson added. “Every Sunday I sang two services, and everybody in law school knew I did that. That Christian overlay may have been enough for Roy.”

None of the classmates or professors whom I interviewed, including those who described themselves as Republicans, said that they were supporting Moore’s Senate candidacy. “I probably won’t vote,” Melton said. “That’s how bad it is. I don’t think this Doug Jones has a snowball’s chance in Hell,” he added. “He’s a Democrat and they gonna  . . . ” Melton trailed off. “Hell, Moore will get sixty-five per cent of the vote. I don’t care what the polls say.” Melton referred to a recent poll showing that Jones and Moore were tied. “I know what the public is gonna get out and do,” he said, sighing. “I mean, we’re one of three states without a lottery. Southern Baptists control the damn state. And they’ll vote for Roy. It’ll be a landslide.”



Saxon, like the others I spoke to, expressed surprise that Moore had come this far: “I think Mr. Chief Justice Fruit Salad was as far as we figured he’d get.”



Why Roy Moore’s Law-School Professor Nicknamed Him Fruit Salad | The New Yorker

Trump’s Voter Fraud Panel under investigation | MSNBC



Trump’s Voter Fraud Panel under investigation | MSNBC

For Whom the Bell Tolls | Opinion - Once again the late Harvard Law School professor presciently predicted the different reaction to White kids using drugs to when the problem afflicted White kids. The Harvard Crimson

 “In the 'Chronicle of the Amber Cloud,' a strange affliction attacks priviliged white adolescents and is quickly diagnosed as 'Ghetto Disease.' Their skin color darkened, 'youngsters who had been alert, personable, and confident became lethargic, suspicious, withdrawn and hopelessly insecure.'

A cure for the disease is discovered, but when it is suggested that the same cure be given to poor black youngsters, the public balks. The courts defend the exclusion of Blacks from treatment on the grounds that since the disease itself afflicted whites, the cure could be limited to caucasians on medical and not racial grounds. Such are the limits of the 'Equal Protection Clause.'

Bell invokes the metaphor of disease throughout And We Are Not Saved to describe negative aspects of Black behavior. Thus the crime rate among Blacks can be cured like an illness. Again and again, cures for Black pathologies are discovered, then destroyed. But Bell is doing more than laying bare the hypocrisy of whites who blame the victims. By harping on the analogy of disease as an absurd explanation for Black behavior, he makes the unstated point that it is whites who are stricken with a disease: racism. Ultimately, it is they who must be cured. And, Bell seems to be saying, only Blacks can do it.

As the Curia sisters say, 'We find courage in the knowledge that we are not the opressors and that we have commited our lives to fighting the oppression of oursleves as well as others.' One hopes that Bell does not abandon his search for a new way of talking about civil rights and that And We Are Not Saved marks the beginnings of a legal movement that forces Americans finally to realize their own ideals."

(Via.). For Whom the Bell Tolls | Opinion | The Harvard Crimson:

Time for Bill O'Reilly to take some personal responsibility? | MSNBC



Time for Bill O'Reilly to take some personal responsibility? | MSNBC

Trump Data Guru: I Tried to Team Up With Julian Assange

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"The head of Cambridge Analytica said he asked the WikiLeaks founder for help finding Hillary Clinton’s 33,000 deleted emails.

Betsy WoodruffBETSY WOODRUFF10.25.17 10:30 AM ETAlexander Nix, who heads a controversial data-analytics firm that worked for President Donald Trump’s campaign, wrote in an email last year that he reached out to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange about Hillary Clinton’s missing 33,000 emails.On Wednesday, Assange confirmed that such an exchange took place.Nix, who heads Cambridge Analytica, told a third party that he reached out to Assange about his firm somehow helping the WikiLeaks editor release Clinton’s missing emails, according to two sources familiar with a congressional investigation into interactions between Trump associates and the Kremlin. (CNN later reported Cambridge backer Rebekah Mercer was one of the email's recipients.) Those sources also relayed that, according to Nix’s email, Assange told the Cambridge Analytica CEO that he didn’t want his help, and preferred to do the work on his own.The interchange between Nix—whose company made millions from the Trump campaign—and Assange represents the closest known connection between Trump’s campaign and Wikileaks.Cambridge Analytica did not provide comment for this story by press time. But after publication, Assange provided this statement to The Daily Beast: ”We can confirm an approach by Cambridge Analytica and can confirm that it was rejected by WikiLeaks.”Nobody has published the 33,000 emails that were deleted from the personal email server Hillary Clinton used while she was secretary of State.“It’s not at all clear that anybody hacked Clinton’s emails or has them,” said one of the sources familiar with the investigation.RELATED IN POLITICSTrump’s Data Firm Is Selling a Top Conservative Think Tank Its Trump Voter PlaybookTrump’s Data Firm Is Selling Its Trump Voter InformationWhite House Turns Over Russia Docs to Mueller ProbeWhite House Turns Over Russia Docs to Mueller Probe
Pro-Roy Moore Group Fundraises Off Trump’s NFL SmackdownThose 33,000 messages were a central focus of Trump and his allies during the campaign. At least one Republican operative tried to recruit hackers to obtain those emails, according to The Wall Street Journal. And at a press conference on July 27, 2016, while the Democratic National Convention was underway, Trump—then the Republican nominee—said he hoped the Kremlin would recover those emails.“Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’ll be able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing,” he said.And on the campaign trail, Trump praised WikiLeaks and tweeted about its findings. Politifact calculated that he mentioned the site about 137 times during the campaign."

Trump Data Guru: I Tried to Team Up With Julian Assange: ""

Ari Melber fact checks Trump-Russia dossier funding | MSNBC

Ari Melber fact checks Trump-Russia dossier funding | MSNBC: ""

(Via.)

Jimmy Kimmel Mocks Trump’s ‘Ivy League’ Brag: ‘He Might Be the Most Insecure Person Ever’

Wikileaks confirms Trump campaign reached out | MSNBC

Wikileaks confirms Trump campaign reached out | MSNBC: ""

Trump crosses another line - The Washington Post

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 "PRESIDENT TRUMP’S disdain for the integrity of the Justice Department may no longer surprise a weary public. But it is nevertheless shocking to learn that Mr. Trump has breached tradition to personally interview two candidates for U.S. attorney — both of whom would have the power to investigate him in the future.


Politico and CNN report that Mr. Trump met with Geoffrey Berman and Ed McNally, whom the administration is considering for the roles of U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York and the Eastern District of New York, respectively. This isn’t the first time Mr. Trump has spoken directly to a U.S. attorney candidate. In March, he met with Jessie Liu, who has since been confirmed as U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia.


The White House and the Justice Department assert that the president is acting within the scope of his authority, because he has the constitutional power to nominate U.S. attorneys in the first place. But the fact that Mr. Trump’s actions are legal does not mean that they are acceptable.
According to Matthew Miller, a Justice Department spokesman under President Barack Obama, Mr. Obama never interviewed a candidate for U.S. attorney. Past presidents have remained at arm’s length from nominees — and later, the attorneys themselves — to preserve the Justice

Department’s ability to enforce the law without political interference. It’s just this principle that Mr. Trump violated in requesting the loyalty of then-FBI Director James B. Comey and pushing the FBI and Justice Department to drop proceedings he disliked.


Any presidential interview of a U.S. attorney candidate would cross the line. But it is particularly concerning that Mr. Trump chose to speak with the men and women who could lead investigations into his business in New York and his activities as president in Washington. With special counsel Robert S. Mueller III already investigating Mr. Trump for possible obstruction of justice — and reports that the Manhattan U.S. attorney’s office is now looking into possible money laundering by former Trump aide Paul Manafort — such interference is not an abstract concern.


The Senate Judiciary Committee voted to confirm Ms. Liu after she assured members that Mr. Trump had not requested her loyalty or discussed any ongoing or future investigations. The same may turn out to be true of Mr. Berman and Mr. McNally. But the fact that the president spoke with them is concerning enough. And Mr. Trump’s continued violations show that a stronger response from Congress is required."

Trump crosses another line - The Washington Post: ""

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

NAACP warns black passengers of flying American Airlines after 'disturbing incidents' | US news | The Guardian

The NAACP said: ‘We for several months now have been monitoring a pattern of disturbing incidents reported by African American passengers.’



“We do not and will not tolerate discrimination of any kind,” CEO Doug Parker wrote in a memo to employees. “We have reached out to the NAACP and are eager to meet with them to listen to their issues and concerns.”



The first of the four cases cited by the NAACP appears to involve a flight boarded by the Rev Dr William Barber, a civil rights activist and president of the NAACP’s North Carolina branch. The Barber case is already the subject of a pending lawsuit.



Barber says he was kicked off an AA flight in 2016 after responding to two verbally abusive white passengers, who were allowed to remain on the flight.



“This differential treatment was based on race, as other passengers noted and stated to American Airlines employees,” the lawsuit says. “Reverend Barber was calm, complied with all directives from the flight crew, and did nothing that remotely warranted being ejected from the airplane.”



According to the lawsuit, a black airline employee at the gate told Barber that “this tends to happen a lot”. She said she was “sick of American Airlines doing this”.



NAACP warns black passengers of flying American Airlines after 'disturbing incidents' | US news | The Guardian

John Kelly showed his true colors (opinion) - CNN

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 ""Dorothy A. Brown is a professor of law at Emory University. The views expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

(CNN)On October 4, tragedy struck and four Americans were killed in Niger. For over a week Donald Trump was silent. On October 16, President Trump was asked why he had not spoken about the Niger ambush.


His answer: most presidents, including President Obama, had not contacted families of American troops killedin duty. He said, however, that he planned to make calls. When reporters followed up, President Trump conceded that President Obama probably did make calls sometimes. Trump said he was merely repeating what he had been told and that he relies on his generals.Trump finally did call the widow of one of the four service members killed, and controversy erupted when he reportedly told her that her slain husband "knew what he was getting into."

Dorothy A. Brown

But the real guilty party here is not President Trump, for insensitivity, but White House Chief of Staff Gen. John Kelly.Kelly, whose son, Robert, died in Afghanistan in 2010, was thrust into the spotlight on this issue by his boss, and appeared in the White House briefing room on Thursday afternoon. Here he delivered a powerful recounting of how the remains of soldiers killed in action are taken from the battlefield to their homes, honored, and revered. As stirring and emotional as these early remarks from the chief of staff were, what followed in the press conference revealed something else about Kelly: He is a Make America Great Again kind of guy.

Some background: Many found hope when Kelly was appointed as White House chief of staff. They said a grown-up was now in the White House.Kelly was appointed and heads rolled: out went Anthony Scaramucci, Steve Bannon, and Sebastian Gorka

Kelly was photographed hanging his head when, during a Q&A with reporters, President Trump was unable to condemn the Nazis and white supremacists marching in Charlottesville, while describing violence "on many sides."
In Kelly's press conference Thursday, he didn't live up to his reputation as a grown-up. He said, "President Obama did not call my family, " though he made it clear he wasn't criticizing Obama. He appeared to jump from his personal experience and to the conclusion that President Obama must not have called any families.

The White House chief of staff did not do his homework. President Obama not only made calls but he often consoled family members in real time. Whatever a chief of staff is supposed to do, he is supposed to get the facts right before advising the President or speaking to the press.
He also talked wistfully about how women were sacred in his youth and he seemed to long for those times. Kelly was born in 1950, so his youth wasn't particularly the best time for women or people of color in the US. Also, women have never been treated like we were sacred. Not when Kelly was a child and not in 2017.Some context: October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. It was not created because once upon a time women were sacred but now we need a month dedicated to domestic violence awareness because somehow we lost our way. Marital rape was not even a crime until 1979 -- and at the time was still not a crime in every state.Women are not sacred today. If we were, the White House would not be occupied by a man who was taped admitting to sexually assaulting women because "they let you do it," as he so unartfully put it. Kelly works for that guy.


If women were sacred, Kelly would not have referred to an elected member of Congress, a black woman, as an "empty barrel" -- an insult to Frederica Wilson's intelligence that was far out of line for someone who claims not to want to politicize this situation further. Neither would he have lied about what Wilson said at a dedication ceremony of an FBI building in 2015.
With this press conference, Kelly has done his President and the country a disservice. He took a tragic situation and made it worse. He owes his boss and the country an apology.

John Kelly showed his true colors (opinion) - CNN: ""

John Kelly's disgraceful and frightening failure to apologize - Chicago Tribune Old Schoo racists do not apologize. Sadly hjis behavior is as American as apple pie.

"I can think of no charitable reason that Kelly found this speech empty or unpleasantly stunning, or that he got so much wrong in his retelling.

At best, he was extremely careless with the truth when he embroidered his account with specifics that he didn’t recall accurately. At worst he flat-out lied in an effort to deflect criticism of his boss, thinking there wouldn’t be a video record to expose his treacherous deceit.

Either way it reflected poorly on him. An apology was in order and would have gone some distance in maintaining his moral standing — as a retired Marine general who has lost a son to war, Kelly came to the White House in late July with the presumption that he was a disciplined, ethical, serious person.

His failure in the days since to apologize to Wilson or correct the record has been surprising, disappointing and scary.

Surprising and disappointing because many of us hoped Kelly would be a stabilizing force in the West Wing, the Trump whisperer who moderated the rash, narcissistic and mendacious president. Instead, Kelly showed himself to be yet another enabler ready to throw away his reputation for momentary political advantage.

Scary because his refusal to apologize signals that he shares Trump’s stubbornness, vindictiveness and lack of humility, traits that can lead a nation headlong into nuclear conflict.

Seriously.

Kelly was supposed to be the man of integrity and reflection — the foot on the brake, not the pedal to the metal.

Oh well. Those of us looking for someone to save the country from Trump’s worst impulses are just going to have to keep looking."

(Via.).  John Kelly's disgraceful and frightening failure to apologize - Chicago Tribune:

Mr. "Personal Responsibility" Bill O'Reilly Plays the Blame Game - LOL, typical phony, self righteous conservative mocked for his hypocrisy. The Da...

The Bone-Spur Bozo at the White House - The New York Times





"President Trump likes epithets. His latest is “wacky Congresswoman Wilson,” referring to Representative Frederica S. Wilson, the Florida Democrat who listened to his botched attempt at expressing condolences to the widow of a United States soldier killed in Niger.



So I’d like to suggest “bone-spur bozo” for the president, referring, of course, to the five military draft deferments Trump received during the Vietnam War, one of which was a medical deferment for bone spurs in his feet. (They never apparently affected his life, or golf swing, thereafter.)



Repetition is part of Trump’s arsenal. The bone-spur bozo residing in the Oval Office, surrounded by terrified sycophants, has sinister talents. Turning the solemn rites of loss in the line of military duty into a squalid, race-tinged scandal is some achievement.



Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona and a decorated Vietnam War veteran, picked up on those foot issues in a C-Span interview the other day. McCain, who is fighting brain cancer, said of the conflict: “We drafted the lowest income level of America, and the highest income level found a doctor that would say they had a bone spur.”



That would be Trump, the coward who gets his testosterone kick from nuclear brinkmanship.



Trump has called McCain a “dummy.” He has called McCain a loser. He has said McCain was no hero because he was captured in war. The president warned McCain this month that, “I’m being very, very nice. But at some point I fight back, and it won’t be pretty.”



No, it won’t be pretty. When a draft-evading bone-spur bozo takes on a man of character who put his life on the line for his country and knows what the United States means to the world, the result can only be ugly. Trump will look very small. He will look smaller than his fingers, as small as his spite. No puffed-up chest, no jutting upraised chin will be able to conceal the zero at his heart.



Speaking of putting one’s life on the line, Sgt. La David T. Johnson was the soldier killed early this month in Niger, along with three other American servicemen. Trump, after consulting John F. Kelly, his chief of staff, elected to call the soldier’s widow, Myeshia Johnson, to express his condolences, a risky undertaking for a man who knows nothing of dignity. The president, predictably, blew it.



He said Sergeant Johnson knew what he signed up for. (Trump denies this, but Kelly confirmed the president used these words.)



Wilson, the congresswoman, is a family friend of the Johnsons. She listened to the call. She told reporters about the offense given to the widow. This enraged Trump, who deployed his “wacky” epithet, and upset Kelly, a retired Marine Corps general whose son was killed in Afghanistan. Kelly unwisely decided to come to the defense of his boss.



Kelly’s speech the other day was moving at the outset in its description of ritual and loss. He spoke of “the most important phone calls” for any grieving family. His gravitas was a reminder of all that has been lost in the tacky Trump White House. But then he descended into gross, unprofessional calumny.



Alluding to Wilson’s speech at the dedication in 2015 of an F.B.I. building in South Florida, named for two fallen agents, Kelly described the congresswoman as an “empty barrel” who was “making the most noise.” He falsely accused her of bragging about securing $20 million for the building and of saying she’d twisted President Barack Obama’s arm for funding.



Semper Fi. Well, Semper Fi-ish. Kelly owes Wilson an apology.



There’s a video of Wilson’s speech. She’s wearing a red hat. She’s brash. Kelly evidently found her tone inappropriate. But she did what people do at a ribbon-cutting ceremony, acknowledging lawmakers of both parties, and did not utter the words attributed to her by Kelly.



“Empty barrel” is interesting. Barrels are often locked in the dark in cellars and warehouses. They evoke guns, too. Wilson is black. The Johnsons are black. This is a president who laces contempt for African-Americans into everyday discourse. Lying about them, disparaging them, dehumanizing them, is just business as usual. Why should a four-star general bestir himself over getting his facts wrong or describing a black woman as a barrel?



Because Kelly has some notion of the American idea, knows the military depends on equal value being given to every life, and must understand that when truth dies America is lost.



The empty-barrel bone-spur bozo at the White House can’t apologize or get that. It’s beyond him.



Here’s McCain speaking this month on the America that’s bigger than Trump:



“To refuse the obligations of international leadership and our duty to remain ‘the last best hope of earth’ for the sake of some half-baked, spurious nationalism cooked up by people who would rather find scapegoats than solve problems is as unpatriotic as an attachment to any other tired dogma of the past that Americans consigned to the ash heap of history. We live in a land made of ideals, not blood and soil.”



Amen.



The Bone-Spur Bozo at the White House - The New York Times

The Megyn Kelly Problem - The New York Times





"You know that part in “Jurassic Park” when Dr. Grant and the kids are about to get chomped by velociraptors, but the Tyrannosaurus rex shows up and demolishes the raptors with her superior jaws? And you kind of forgive the T. rex for the first half of the movie when she was insatiably hungry for child meat, because in the end she stuck her neck out, as only a dino could, so our heroes could get away?



That’s how I feel when Megyn Kelly goes in on Fox News and Bill O’Reilly. Except, of course, that Kelly, unlike a fictional dinosaur, has been through some truly horrific sexual violations, including vile and gendered comments from a man who is now the president of the United States, as well as an online silencing campaign that will most likely continue for as long as she refuses to capitulate. (Though, by the same token, that T. rex, as far as we know, has never gone on television and insisted that “Santa just is white.”)



It’s a long, silly way to express the conflict at the heart of “the enemy of my enemy is my friend.” Sometimes the enemy of your enemy is still your enemy. Kelly spent more than a dozen years as part of the Fox News machine, churning out the same brand of soft propaganda that helped lead to the Iraq war, the Tea Party and, eventually, “fake news” and President Trump.



Kelly happily trafficked in racist tropes for profit — black communities have a “thug mentality,” asking repeatedly whether the deaths of Eric Garner and Michael Brown were necessarily related to race — until her own dehumanization at the hands of Roger Ailes, O’Reilly and others became untenable. If you’ve heard the term “white feminism” tossed around your social media feeds, this is a prime example: fighting for freedom and justice as far as the boundaries of your own identity and not beyond.



It’s an unfortunate reality that Kelly’s stature as a right-of-center icon confers a degree of credibility that the Fox News rank and file — and, let’s be honest, the public — withhold from the traditional heralds of the ills of rape, abuse and sexual harassment: feminists. Activists and scholars who devote their lives to the study of gender-based violence and its legislative and social amelioration have been systematically smeared as reactionary liars. America’s traditionalist wing has set a tidy trap: The more you actually know about the way abuse functions, the less seriously you’re taken. So, what do we do with the fact that, as destructive as some of Kelly’s work has been, there are people who listened to her indictment of Ailes who would never have listened to, say, Anita Hill.



When Kelly finds a righteous purpose, she is potent. She found one this week, when — with the Harvey Weinstein sexual abuse allegations still at a fevered peak — news broke that O’Reilly had agreed to pay a $32 million settlement to the former Fox News legal analyst Lis Wiehl.



“That is a jaw-dropping figure,” Kelly said Monday on her new NBC morning show. “O. J. Simpson was ordered to pay the Goldman and Brown families $33.5 million for the murders of Ron and Nicole. What on earth would justify that amount? What awfulness went on?”



In a profoundly hostile and disturbing interview about the settlement, O’Reilly told The New York Times that he had been the subject of no formal complaints to human resources in 43 years. Kelly dunked on that one, too: “O’Reilly’s suggestion that no one ever complained about his behavior was false. I know because I complained.”



She also released an email that she sent to Fox executives in 2016, when O’Reilly dismissed sexual harassment allegations on air. “Perhaps he didn’t realize the kind of message his criticism sends to young women across this country about how men continue to view the issue of speaking out about sexual harassment,” Kelly wrote.



It’s a phrase that wouldn’t have been out of place in Bitch or Bust or Jezebel. But what about the kind of message American conservatism has been sending to young women — particularly women who are not wealthy and white and conventionally attractive and heterosexual — for generations?



Kelly crystallizes an uncomfortable tension that’s risen to the fore since the Weinstein story hit: What happens when #MeToo meets “I’m not a feminist, but”? It goes without saying that men across the political spectrum routinely victimize the women in their lives. It goes without saying because feminists have already been saying it for years. Yet, in the flood of anger and catharsis this past week, I’ve seen multiple eloquent and heartbreaking accounts of rape and abuse from conservative women, who are careful to specify that they are not like those other women, those radicals, those tedious, troublesome feminists. That’s fine. Whether you like us or not, we carved out this space for you.



Conservative women, anti-feminist women, apolitical women, it is simply a fact: You are participating in feminism just by being alive. In the most passive sense, you are beneficiaries. You can vote, you can work, you can have your own bank account, you can bring a sexual harassment claim against someone at your place of employment, you can prosecute your husband for rape, you can get an abortion. These rights weren’t just won by the women’s movement of the past; they are protected by the feminist movement of today — and they are under constant attack by the Republican Party, particularly the current administration.



But in a more active sense, by participating in #MeToo, by fighting back against harassment, by telling your story, you are standing up for the idea that women are autonomous human beings who are preyed upon and subordinated by men. Sorry, but that’s feminism. We’ll be here when you’re ready."



The Megyn Kelly Problem - The New York Times

Rep. Frederica Wilson Might Have a Defamation Case Against John Kelly | LawNewz





"General John Kelly got it wrong. And how.



While threatening to drench a White House lectern with tears borrowed from a large reptile or Hollywood prop shop, Kelly recited what was likely a prepared takedown aimed at Democratic Representative Frederica Wilson. He said:



A congresswoman stood up, and in a long tradition of empty barrels making the most noise, stood up there in all of that and talked about how she was instrumental in getting the funding for that [FBI] building, and how she took care of her constituents because she got the money, and she just called up President Obama, and on that phone call, he gave the money, the $20 million, to build the building, and she sat down.



Except Kelly’s version of events isn’t remotely close to the truth.



The Orlando Sun Sentinel posted video footage of Wilson’s 2015 remarks about the FBI building in question.



In that video, Wilson does take credit for moving the legislation which named the building forward. But that’s a far cry from claiming that she “took care of her constituents” by securing the funding for the building.



And, it’s not just a matter of Kelly misremembering what occurred. Because his version of events is as detailed and lengthy as it brazen and false. It would be one thing if Kelly simply flubbed it by mixing up the words “naming” and “funding.”



Whom among us hasn’t accidentally given our recently purchased pets or newborn children a pile of cash instead of a name? It happens all the time.



But here, Kelly continued on and created a whole cloth tapestry of never-happened events to give his story a bit more imagery and vibrancy. After all, when you’re going to lie, go big or go home. And the White House trotted Kelly out like a weathered show poodle for a reason so he was quite eager to perform like the very good boy he is.



Instead of simply misremembering, Kelly’s attack on Wilson’s credibility created: (1) a scenario where she claimed to have helped her constituents–which she never claimed; (2) a repeat of the claim that got the money–which, again, she never said; and (3) a braggadocios description of a phone call with Barack Obama–both of which never occurred in our version of reality.



So, this was planned and probably scripted.



The most charitable reading for the general here is that he was fed the misinformation by Stephen Miller or some associated underling anxious to overplay their hand for a pat on the head. Good boys abound in the White House these days and they need constant affirmation. But Kelly should know better than to rely on the MAGA true believers and agitprop producers he’s supposed to be exacting a moderating influence upon. Turns out he’s not really doing that anymore–and probably never was.



So, once again conservatives are put into that classic bind from which they’ve got to choose whether to believe the rough-hued words of their father figure-like social betters or their own lying eyes. It should be fairly interesting to see how this all plays out.



In fact, were Representative Wilson so inclined, she might find it worth her while to pursue a claim of defamation against General Kelly. To be a bit conclusory–and based on the available evidence–it looks like most of the elements are there. They are:



The defendant made a false and defamatory statement concerning the plaintiff;

The defendant published the statement without privilege to a third party;

The defendant’s fault in publishing the statement amounted to at least negligence; and

Either the statement was actionable as a matter of law irrespective of special harm or its publication caused the plaintiff special harm.

Not only did Kelly baldly lie about Wilson’s remarks, he cast them in such a light that they would certainly qualify as defamatory–and by virtue of badmouthing Wilson in front of the nation, the publication element is easily satisfied. Simply defamatory statements alone don’t automatically rise to the level of legal defamation, of course, so Wilson would also have to show that Kelly was acting with something akin to negligence or actual malice–knowledge the statement was false.



Here, the availability of public records–from which Kelly could have referenced before making his accusations–and the possibility of Kelly having relied upon the Trump White House for the version he relayed to the country at least pose a question which could be provided to a jury. Since defamation cases rise and fail based on summary judgments, Wilson would have a fairly worthwhile case in line with D.C. court precedents. Where she would have the most trouble is the final element, pleading special harm.



In legalese, “special harm” isn’t particularly special. It just means an economic loss. Personally, Wilson isn’t likely to have suffered any such loss. However, if the representative could show a diminished amount of fundraising for her congressional campaign or something that effect, it would be an interesting case of first impression for the D.C. court system to hash out.



Needlessly distracting from Kelly’s genuine issues with the truth, however, Representative Wilson bizarrely characterized “empty barrel” as some sort of racial epithet. It’s not. (Though that charge might make a hypothetical slander lawsuit all the more interesting.)



There is the possibility that Kelly harbors anti-black bigotry because he grew up in Boston, a beautiful city with an exceedingly ugly history and legacy of racism and racial discord. But that’s not quite the same as inventing a racial slur out of thin air.



Kelly lied or was willingly fed misinformation by the error prone White House. That’s bad enough. So, let’s leave it at that."



Rep. Frederica Wilson Might Have a Defamation Case Against John Kelly | LawNewz

‘Dangerous,’ ‘utterly untruthful’: Two retiring GOP senators sound alarm on Trump



‘Dangerous,’ ‘utterly untruthful’: Two retiring GOP senators sound alarm on Trump

General John Kelly Sold his Soul to the Devil, Diminishing Himself and His Son’s Memory | The Chicago Board of Tirade



"White House Chief of Staff General John Kelly is chasing a bad trade. We've all done it, defended something that we knew was wrong, but we were in too deep to let go. But let it go he must, or it will pull him down into the mire.

Kelly went out on a limb Thursday, then he sawed the limb off behind himself. That good men come to diminish themselves within 90 days of their White House service is not just astonishing, it's a certainty.
General Kelly's performance in front of the White House press corps last week was part of Trump's charade to distract from the deaths of four soldiers.  Tomorrow, I'm going to tell you why those four soldiers died at the risk of your rage.
You will either think I'm lying or worse, suspect that I may be right.
General Kelly was disgusted that his son's death was politicized. Puffy-headed White House Press Secretary, Sarah Hucklebee Hound told us so, although she omitted the part about it being their boss, Donald Trump who dragged the name of Robert Kelly into his own quagmire of lies and distractions.
As a Marine, Kelly took an oath to defend the Constitution. He took the same oath when he signed onto his current position. Why he should defend THIS president is anyone's guess.
As always, Kelly was articulate and his words were moving, if not perplexing.
One of Kelly's more ridiculous claims was that if you haven't been in combat or are a member of the family of the deceased, you can't properly offer sympathy to someone in mourning.
Putting aside the fact that he's talking about the President of the United States, not a Starbucks barista, it's the same as saying that you can't offer comfort to someone who lost a loved one to cancer unless you, yourself have had cancer.
We know that Kelly understands sacred duty, but other things he mentioned as sacred left me scratching my head.
General Kelly said that he grew up in a world where women were sacred, which seemed to be a crack at this boss, the pussy grabber.
Kelly and I both grew up in the 50's and 60's and yes, we were taught to respect women. Nobody said anything about them being sacred though; they certainly weren't treated that way in the work place.  Women weren't even allowed to vote in national elections until 1930.
In the 60's, our image of the American woman was June Cleaver, properly dressed and waiting for her man to come home to the meal she'd cooked. The term "barefoot and pregnant" was understood by all.
barefoot-and-pregnant
General Kelly also mentioned Gold star families as being sacred, something with which I fervently agree. Gold Star families should be treated with the utmost of deference and respect.  It's only Donald Trump who doesn't seem to get that, which seems to play pretty well within the Basket.
Attacking Ghazala and Khizr Khan was even a step lower than Trump's attack on John McCain and his imprisoned comrades.
One of Kelly's problems defending his boss is that it's impossible to juxtapose the concept of selfless devotion with the name Trump. They don't get it, not any of them.
General Kelly voided his claim to non-partisanship by attacking Congresswoman Frederica Wilson.  More notable is that in his remarks, Kelly failed to mention the fallen soldier, Sergeant La David Johnson.
Isn't Johnson what this was supposed to be about in the first place?
Trump and Kelly both lambasted Congresswoman Wilson for listening in on the conversation between Trump and Myeshia Johnson, Gold Star widow of La David Johnson.  In irony or hypocrisy though, Trump cited Kelly's presence during the phone call as proof of his version of the conversation.
I cringed when Kelly called Wilson an "empty barrel," but he genuinely stepped in it when he incorrectly accused her of taking credit for the funding of an FBI building in Florida. She did not. Her remarks primarily heaped effusive praise on the two FBI agents for whom the building was being named.
With the stench of Trump clinging to his soul, Kelly did not apologize for misspeaking, doubling down instead.
When Hucklebee Hound was questioned about Kelly's false accusation,  she scolded the White House press corps for questioning a four-star general.
Ms. Hucklebee Hound apparently has the same disregard for the 1st Amendment as her boss.
It's unlikely that she ever read the 1997 book by National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster, himself a three-star general.
In "Dereliction of Duty: Lyndon Johnson, Robert McNamara, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the Lies that Led to Vietnam" McMaster makes the case that democracy and transparency demand questioning of the generals and the administration.
General Kelly's heretofore unblemished reputation is intertwined with the death of his son, Second Lieutenant Robert Kelly.  Sadly, both have been diminished in what has become a pattern for those who are forced to defend and explain Donald Trump's feckless and inarticulate abuse of the English language and his lies.
General Kelly is correct, some things used to be sacred and we should think about regaining those values. Why don't we start with truth?"
General John Kelly Sold his Soul to the Devil, Diminishing Himself and His Son’s Memory | The Chicago Board of Tirade

General Kelly's attack against Frederica Wilson was made maliciously with clear knowledge of it's falsehood. He must be sued for liable.

General John Kelly Sold his Soul to the Devil, Diminishing Himself and His Son's Memory

Congresswoman Frederica Wilson appears to have a strong case of libel against General Kelly.  He lied about her speech which he claimed to attend.  By calling her an empty barrell he show clear malice.  The law is clear here.  General Kelly must be sued:

New York Times Co. v. Sullivan (No. 39)   376 U.S. 254

Argued: January 6, 1964

Decided: March 9, 1964

"The constitutional guarantees require, we think, a federal rule that prohibits a public official from recovering damages for a defamatory falsehood relating to his official conduct unless he proves that the statement was made [p280] with "actual malice" -- that is, with knowledge that it was false or with reckless disregard of whether it was false or not. An oft-cited statement of a like rule, which has been adopted by a number of state courts, [n20] is found in the Kansas case of Coleman v. MacLennan, 78 Kan. 711, 98 P. 281 (1908). The State Attorney General, a candidate for reelection and a member of the commission charged with the management and control of the state school fund, sued a newspaper publisher for alleged libel in an article purporting to state facts relating to his official conduct in connection with a school-fund transaction. The defendant pleaded privilege and the trial judge, over the plaintiff's objection, instructed the jury that

where an article is published and circulated among voters for the sole purpose of giving what the defendant [p281] believes to be truthful information concerning a candidate for public office and for the purpose of enabling such voters to cast their ballot more intelligently, and the whole thing is done in good faith and without malice, the article is privileged, although the principal matters contained in the article may be untrue, in fact, and derogatory to the character of the plaintiff, and in such a case the burden is on the plaintiff to show actual malice in the publication of the article.

In answer to a special question, the jury found that the plaintiff had not proved actual malice, and a general verdict was returned for the defendant. On appeal, the Supreme Court of Kansas, in an opinion by Justice Burch, reasoned as follows (78 Kan., at 724, 98 P. at 286):

It is of the utmost consequence that the people should discuss the character and qualifications of candidates for their suffrages. The importance to the state and to society of such discussions is so vast, and the advantages derived are so great, that they more than counterbalance the inconvenience of private persons whose conduct may be involved, and occasional injury to the reputations of individuals must yield to the public welfare, although at times such injury may be great. The public benefit from publicity is so great, and the chance of injury to private character so small, that such discussion must be privileged.

The court thus sustained the trial court's instruction as a correct statement of the law, saying:

In such a case the occasion gives rise to a privilege, qualified to this extent: any one claiming to be defamed by the communication must show actual malice or go remediless. This privilege extends to a great variety of subjects, and includes matters of [p282] public concern, public men, and candidates for office.

78 Kan. at 723, 98 P. at 285.

Such a privilege for criticism of official conduct [n21] is appropriately analogous to the protection accorded a public official when he is sued for libel by a private citizen. In Barr v. Matteo, 360 U.S. 564, 575, this Court held the utterance of a federal official to be absolutely privileged if made "within the outer perimeter" of his duties. The States accord the same immunity to statements of their highest officers, although some differentiate their lesser officials and qualify the privilege they enjoy. [n22] But all hold that all officials are protected unless actual malice can be proved. The reason for the official privilege is said to be that the threat of damage suits would otherwise "inhibit the fearless, vigorous, and effective administration of policies of government" and "dampen the ardor of all but the most resolute, or the most irresponsible, in the unflinching discharge of their duties." Barr v. Matteo, supra, 360 U.S. at 571. Analogous considerations support the privilege for the citizen-critic of government. It is as much his duty to criticize as it is the official's duty to administer. See Whitney v. California, 274 U.S. 357, 375 (concurring opinion of Mr. Justice Brandeis), quoted supra, p. 270. As Madison said, see supra p. 275, "the censorial power is in the people over the Government, and not in the Government over the people." It would give public servants an unjustified preference over the public they serve, if critics of official conduct [p283] did not have a fair equivalent of the immunity granted to the officials themselves.

We conclude that such a privilege is required by the First and Fourteenth Amendments.

III

We hold today that the Constitution delimits a State's power to award damages for libel in actions brought by public officials against critics of their official conduct. Since this is such an action, [n23] the rule requiring proof of actual malice is applicable. While Alabama law apparently requires proof of actual malice for an award of punitive damages, [n24] where general damages are concerned malice is "presumed." Such a presumption is inconsistent [p284] with the federal rule. "The power to create presumptions is not a means of escape from constitutional restrictions," Bailey v. Alabama, 219 U.S. 219, 239, "the showing of malice required for the forfeiture of the privilege is not presumed but is a matter for proof by the plaintiff. . . ." Lawrence v. Fox, 357 Mich. 134, 146, 97 N.W.2d 719, 725 (1959).   

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Trump’s mindless cruelty to a soldier’s widow speaks to the core of his character - The Washington Post

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 "One person who obviously didn’t know “what he was signing up for” is President Trump. Others include Trump voters who believed they were electing a decent human being to be commander in chief.

What Trump reportedly said to the grief-stricken widow of Sgt. La David T. Johnson, who gave his life for his country, is not some kind of minor miscue or media-fueled distraction. It speaks to the core issue of Trump’s character and demonstrates, as clearly as any incident to date, his unfitness for the office he holds — and dishonors.


Johnson and three other U.S. soldiers — Staff Sgt. Jeremiah “J.W.” Johnson, Staff Sgt. Bryan C. Black and Staff Sgt. Dustin M. Wright — were killed Oct. 4 in Niger, apparently ambushed by Islamic State-affiliated militants. Exactly what happened is unclear, and Congress should be as dogged in investigating these deaths as it was in probing Benghazi.

For 12 days, Trump said nothing, not even a tweet, about the four Americans killed in action, and had no contact with the loved ones they had left behind. Pressed by reporters to explain his silence, Trump reacted by slandering his predecessors, especially President Barack Obama, falsely claiming that they, too, neglected to console the families of the fallen.

Trump then placed a phone call to Myeshia Johnson, La David Johnson’s widow. The truism “better late than never” is not always true.
According to two people who overheard the call, Trump told Johnson that her husband “knew what he was signing up for” although his death must still be painful. One witness who confirms these were Trump’s words is the woman who raised Johnson as a son, Cowanda Jones-Johnson. The other is Rep. Frederica S. Wilson (D-Fla.) , who was with the family when Trump called. Wilson was so dumbfounded and angry that she quickly called Trump out publicly for what he had said.

Trump tweeted a denial and said he had “proof,” but of course produced none. The president has shown himself to be such a liar that it’s impossible to take his word over almost anyone else’s.
Wilson was furious because instead of lessening Myeshia Johnson’s grief, Trump had deepened it. Surely that was not his intent. But mindless cruelty is still cruel.

Offering succor to the families of service members killed in the line of duty is one of the most solemn exercises a president must undertake. It is a task requiring, above all, a sense of humility. “In the hope that it may be no intrusion upon the sacredness of your sorrow, I have ventured to address you this tribute to the memory of . . . your brave and early fallen child,” Abraham Lincoln wrote to the parents of a deceased Union soldier.

Unlike true leaders, however, Trump seems to associate humility with weakness. When confronted with an error, big or small, he never just says, “I’m sorry, I made a mistake, I apologize,” and leaves it at that. He always seeks to deflect responsibility. Somebody else is really at fault. Others who came before him have done worse. Bad people in the media are treating him unfairly.


Trump is a weak, narcissistic man in a job that requires strength and empathy. I’m not sure that empathy is a concept he even understands. He acts as if he believes that feeling someone else’s pain is strictly for losers, not winners.

None of this is a surprise. We learned a lot about Trump during the campaign when he attacked the Khan family, who lost a son in Iraq, for having the temerity to criticize him politically. We have a president who believes that making the ultimate sacrifice for the nation is less important than supporting or opposing Trump.

The Post reported Wednesday that earlier this year, Trump phoned the father of Army Sgt. Dillon Baldridge, who was killed June 10 in Afghanistan. In the course of the conversation, Trump offered to send the father a personal check for $25,000 — but did not follow through. The check was finally sent this week only after The Post asked about it.

Sadly, that’s typical Trump. He makes a grand promise, which allows him to feel big and generous — which is the whole point. Even in interactions with Gold Star families, it’s all about him. Later, having played the role of Trump the Munificent, he forgets about it and goes in search of the next opportunity to shore up his fragile ego.

No one should expect him to grow in office. He’s 71. At that age, either you have compassion, self-knowledge and a conscience, or you don’t.
Read more from Eugene Robinson

Trump’s mindless cruelty to a soldier’s widow speaks to the core of his character - The Washington Post