22 thoughts on “News/Politics 6-13-17

  1. There’s a new sheriff in town. One not held hostage by his desperate quest for a legacy.

    https://finance.yahoo.com/news/trump-breaking-obamas-rules-syria-182753908.html

    “As US President Donald Trump enjoyed chocolate cake with Chinese President Xi Jinping at Mar-a-Lago in April, he ordered the military to do something his predecessor hadn’t dared: directly strike Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime.

    Trump, a political neophyte then inside his first 100 days in office, attacked an ally of Russia and Iran after intelligence services concluded that Assad’s forces had used chemical weapons on Syrian civilians, many of them children.

    But Syria never fired back. Neither did Russia. And so far, Iran hasn’t either. The salvo of 59 cruise missiles that took out a handful of Assad’s warplanes went virtually unpunished.

    The incident typifies the difference in Trump’s and President Barack Obama’s Syria policy, in which Trump seems to have successfully called Iran’s bluff.

    Obama was pressed by a similar situation in 2013, after evidence surfaced that Assad violated Obama’s “red line” by using chemical weapons. Instead of following through on his threat to hit Assad in response, Obama agreed to let Russia step in and deal with the chemical-weapons stockpile.

    Toward the end of Obama’s term, it became clear why he had shied away from striking Assad: He was focused on the Iran nuclear deal.

    “When the president announced his plans to attack [the Assad regime] and then pulled back, it was exactly the period in time when American negotiators were meeting with Iranian negotiators secretly in Oman to get the nuclear agreement,” Wall Street Journal reporter Jay Solomon told MSNBC last year.

    “US and Iranian officials have both told me that they were basically communicating that if the US starts hitting President Assad’s forces, Iran’s closest Arab ally … these talks cannot conclude,” Solomon continued.”
    ——————————

    It’s sad that Obama cared more about his legacy than the safety of the Syrians and the rest of the world.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. James Comey’s long history of questionable obstruction cases.

    https://thefederalist.com/2017/06/12/james-comey-long-history-questionable-obstruction-cases/

    “It’s worth looking at a few of these cases, and whether they say anything about his current judgment.

    One of the few media outlets that has consistently expressed skepticism about Comey is the Wall Street Journal. When he was nominated by President Barack Obama to be FBI director in 2013, they presciently wrote a piece headlined, “The Political Mr. Comey: Obama’s FBI nominee has a record of prosecutorial excess and bad judgment.” The article described even then Comey’s “media admirers” and a “media fan base” that refused to ask him tough questions. But the Journal had concerns:

    Any potential FBI director deserves scrutiny, since the position has so much power and is susceptible to ruinous misjudgments and abuse. That goes double with Mr. Comey, a nominee who seems to think the job of the federal bureaucracy is to oversee elected officials, not the other way around, and who had his own hand in some of the worst prosecutorial excesses of the last decade.

    Let’s begin with the case of one Frank Quattrone, a banker who Comey pursued relentlessly on banking related charges without fruition. But while he couldn’t find any wrong-doing on criminal conduct, he went after him for supposed “obstruction of justice” because of a single ambiguous email. Sound familiar?

    Before he was indicted, Comey made false statements about Quattrone and his intent. The first trial ended in a hung jury but the second one got a conviction.

    That conviction was overturned in 2006. Quattrone was so scarred by the harassment, he began funding projects designed to help innocent people who are victims of prosecutorial overreach or other problems. He said his motivation for supporting such projects was that at the very moment he was found guilty in the second trial, he realized there must be innocent people in prisons who lacked the financial resources to fight for justice. He also started the Quattrone Center for the Fair Administration of Justice at the University of Pennsylvania Law School.

    Quattrone has noted with interest the disparities in how he was treated by Comey for a single email compared to his handling of the Hillary Clinton email server scandal.”

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  3. I’ll start by saying that I know nothing about the argument.
    I was waiting for Richard to come by to take me to Lions, so I didn’t see it and only heard part of it. But I overheard on TV they were talking about Sharia (law).
    (You don’t day Sharia law, Sharia is law. It’s like saying “law, law”)

    None of what they discussed matters. No matter what it was.
    Sharia is unconstitutional in the US. It is a law imposed by Allah.
    In America, laws are passed by Congress, state and local governments.
    Jews obey the laws of the OT. But there is no statute that says I have to honor my father.

    People who argue for Sharia don’t know what’s in it.
    I once saw on TV, a man from Saudi Arabia discussing why women can’t drive in Arabia:
    She would have a driver’s license.
    Right? Right.
    She would have to have her picture taken.
    Case closed. End of discussion.

    Someday the 9th circuit may rule on the basis of Sharia.
    Any judge who rules on any law not passed by an elected representative should be removed.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. The Editorial Board representing the voice of the Editors and Publisher of the NY Times is still often using immature, name-calling in it’s headlines about the President, so I have cancelled my subscription. But since I still have it through the end of the month, I might as well use it where I can. Here‘s a story about demographic information regarding denomination/religious leadership and political party affiliation. What’s kind of interesting to me is that the writer is not a religious writer and the analysis seems to be from the outside looking in…trying to figure out how religion—or church attendance (they discovered it makes a difference) affects voting.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Debra, I got a “security alert” wile reading the first link.
    But I haven’t seen anything about it on Drudge.
    Maybe a false alarm.
    I think it was a Supreme Court ruling that “Blue Laws”. That is laws prohibiting certain activities on Sunday, were unconstitutional.
    Religious convictions can not be legislated in America.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. No, religious convictions cannot be legislated, but communities are free to define general parameters around which they operate—such as restricting pornographic materials, alcohol sales, etc. And these might look a little different from community to community.

    It’s interesting that you mention the Blue Laws. The remnants of Blue Laws were still in effect in CT until sometime around 2006 or 2008 (I don’t remember the exact year, but it was a few years before we moved South) as regards selling alcoholic beverages in stores on Sunday. It was a big no-no to sell alcohol on Sunday, and I hated to see that change.

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  7. Chas, the first link has an ad that pops up, but it goes away after a few seconds. That is the site for Connecticut’s primary newspaper, the Hartford Courant–“America’s oldest countinuously published newspaper”. They date their beginnings back to 1764. My husband worked there many years ago. He started as a Sr. Accountant and moved over to their nascent Electronic Publishing department. That began his career in software development, and he’s been doing software ever since.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Sigh…….

    http://www.nbcnews.com/feature/nbc-out/will-2017-be-year-trans-candidate-n768831

    “We are making 2017 the year of the trans candidate,” Victory Fund President Aisha C. Moodie-Mills said. “We have more transgender people running this cycle than almost all other cycles combined.”

    Roem is one of at least 20 transgender candidates currently running for office across the U.S., according to the LGBTQ Representation and Rights Initiative.”
    —————–

    “Roem is exactly the kind of candidate the Victory Fund is looking to support, according to Moodie-Mills, who called candidates like Roem “antidotes” to the tenor and policies of the Trump administration. The Victory Fund, Moodie-Mills explained, has “recruited candidates to run in state legislatures against current elected officials who would do our community harm.”

    Indeed, like most other states in the country, Virginia has seen its share of anti-LGBTQ bills, though none have become law.

    “This year, Delegate Marshall filed four anti-LGBT bills; all of them died in committee,” Roem said. One of the bills Marshall introduced — HB 1612 or the Physical Privacy Act — mandated transgender people in the state use restrooms that correspond with their “original birth certificate,” not their gender identity.

    “We are constantly on the defensive, [and] our private lives are more dangerous,” Roem said of the more than 100 anti-LGBTQ bills that have been introduced across the U.S.”
    ——————-

    I guess the defense of deviancy requires constant, ongoing effort.

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  9. Huh. So this is the “impartial” team responsible for investigating Trump?

    Maybe that Julius Caesar play IS art imitating life.

    http://www.cnn.com/2017/06/12/politics/robert-mueller-donations-democrats-fec/index.html

    “Three members of the legal team known to have been hired so far by special counsel Robert Mueller to handle the Russia investigation have given political donations almost exclusively to Democrats, according to a CNN analysis of Federal Election Commission records.

    More than half of the more than $56,000 came from just one lawyer and more than half of it was donated before the 2016 election, but two of the lawyers gave the maximum $2,700 donation to Hillary Clinton last year.

    Over the weekend, news outlets including CNN identified five attorneys that Mueller has already brought on board to help investigate potential collusion between associates of President Donald Trump’s campaign and Russia.
    The group includes seasoned attorneys who worked on cases ranging from Watergate to the Enron fraud scandal and have represented major American companies in court. While only five attorneys have been publicly identified as working on the Russia probe, there could be more on Mueller’s team.

    Three of the five lawyers have donations in FEC records. They gave overwhelmingly to Democrats, totaling more than $53,000 since 1988. More than half of the donations came from just one of the lawyers, James Quarles, whom Mueller brought over from his old firm, WilmerHale.

    Quarles has given nearly $33,000 to political campaigns over the years. He gave money to Democratic presidential candidates Michael Dukakis, Al Gore, John Kerry, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. In addition, Quarles gave more than $10,000 to help Democrats get elected to the House and another $10,000 on the Senate side, including money to Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.

    But Quarles is also the only lawyer among Mueller’s team for which records were available who ever donated to Republicans. He gave $2,500 to Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz in 2015 and gave $250 to then-Sen. George Allen of Virginia in 2005.”

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  10. Do I get a chance to complain about this witch hunt being a waste of taxpayer money. Surely if Russia interfered in our election they would have given us better candidates than Clinton or Trump. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  11. More on Mueller’s hires. Newt had it right.

    http://www.lifezette.com/polizette/robert-mueller-stocks-staff-democrat-donors/

    “Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich sparked a mini-meltdown in the media Monday with a tweet challenging the fairness of the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

    Gingrich, who also appeared on “The Laura Ingraham Show,” pointed to the early hires special counsel Robert Mueller has made.

    “Republicans are delusional if they think the special counsel is going to be fair,” he tweeted. “Look who he is hiring.check fec [sic] reports. Time to rethink.”
    —————-

    “One of the hires, Jeannie Rhee, also worked as a lawyer for the Clinton Foundation and helped persuade a federal judge to block a conservative activist’s attempts to force Bill and Hillary Clinton to answer questions under oath about operations of the family-run charity.

    Campaign-finance reports show that Rhee gave Clinton the maximum contributions of $2,700 in 2015 and again last year to support her presidential campaign. She also donated $2,300 to Obama in 2008 and $2,500 in 2011. While still at the Justice Department, she gave $250 to the Democratic National Committee Services Corp.”

    Andrew Weissmann, a former Justice Department lawyer who then worked at Jenner & Block until 2011, contributed $2,300 to Obama in 2008 and $2,000 to the DNC Services Corp. in 2006. Weissmann served as chief of the Justice Department’s criminal fraud section and worked on the Enron fraud case.

    A fourth lawyer on Mueller’s staff, Michael Dreeben, donated $1,000 to Clinton 2006 and $250 to Obama in both 2007 and 2008. He was deputy solicitor general and has appeared many times before the Supreme Court.”

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  12. “Do I get a chance to complain about this witch hunt being a waste of taxpayer money.”

    Nope, we don’t. And they’re now getting more money to continue their fruitless endeavors. As is typical of govt, don’t get the result you want, just throw more money at it. What a waste.

    http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/house-intel-panel-adds-staff-for-russia-probe/ar-BBCCP8k?li=BBnb7Kz&ocid=U452DHP

    “A lack of resources has been a major issue for both congressional investigations. At one point, the Senate’s probe did not have full-time staffers with investigative experience devoted to the Russia inquiry, and was slow to begin interviewing persons of interest. On the House side, California Rep. Adam Schiff, the committee’s top Democrat, confirmed in February that he was requesting more funding.

    “We have to multitask because our day job hasn’t gone away,” Schiff told The Daily Beast on Tuesday. “The other very important limitation is that the intelligence community is only granting so many clearances for staff to review the most sensitive material… [so this] doesn’t mean you’re getting that many additional eyes on the task.”

    The committee previously received $9.2 million over a two-year period in 2015 and 2016, compared to the House Armed Services Committee and House Foreign Relations Committee, which received $14.2 million and $14.9 million each during that same time. HPSCI had the lowest funding levels of any national-security-related committee.

    Schiff said the new round of funding meets the standard he was trying to reach in February. “We did get the funding we had requested,” Schiff added. “That’s what allowed us to bring on these new hires.”

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  13. Sessions defends his honor. Under oath, and on the record, unlike his cowardly anonymous accusers.

    http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/sessions-denies-false-and-scurrilous-allegations/ar-BBCBK8T?li=BBnb7Kz&ocid=U452DHP

    “Attorney General Jeff Sessions heatedly denied on Tuesday that he had any undisclosed meeting with the Russian ambassador or conversations with Russian officials about the U.S. elections. He vowed to defend his honor “against scurrilous and false allegations.”

    Testifying at a Senate hearing, Sessions said it was a “detestable and appalling lie” to suggest that he participated in or was aware of any collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign.”
    ———-

    “The former Alabama senator defended himself against accusations that he misrepresented himself during his confirmation hearing by saying he hadn’t met with Russian officials during the campaign. Sessions argued that in the context of the hearing, “my answer was a fair and correct response to the charge as I understood it.”

    Sessions said he recused himself from the Justice Department’s Russia investigation only because of a regulation to require the step because of his involvement in the Trump campaign. He never, he insisted, knew anything about the Russia probe or had any role in it.

    While he had recused himself from the Russia probe, Sessions said, “I did not recuse myself from defending my honor against scurrilous and false allegations.””

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  14. Ah yes, Kamala Harris, a rising star in the D party. 🙄

    It doesn’t take much to impress Dems I guess. Just be anti-Trump, and you’re in.

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  15. She’s definitely got the buzz going as a future Dem star — one of our gadfly readers who calls regularly (from a pay phone and usually a bit tipsy) has a crush on her and always asked me if I know her or might become good friends with her …

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Several states still have no-alcohol-on-Sunday laws, including Indiana and I believe Tennessee. (I never bought alcohol in Tennessee, and have really never tried to do so on a Sunday in Indiana, though we were once with a hospitalized family member on a Sunday, in another city, and went to Trader Joe’s to get some food and might have grabbed a bottle of wine, too, except it was Sunday.)

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