What Fresh Hell Is This?

May 18, 2019

HR 5 - Who Supports, Who Doesn't (Western PA Edition)

A day or so ago, I noticed this on Facebook:


So let's go see what HR 5 has to say.

The summary at Thomas.gov:
This bill prohibits discrimination based on sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity in areas including public accommodations and facilities, education, federal funding, employment, housing, credit, and the jury system. Specifically, the bill defines and includes sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity among the prohibited categories of discrimination or segregation.

The bill expands the definition of public accommodations to include places or establishments that provide (1) exhibitions, recreation, exercise, amusement, gatherings, or displays; (2) goods, services, or programs; and (3) transportation services.

The bill allows the Department of Justice to intervene in equal protection actions in federal court on account of sexual orientation or gender identity.

The bill prohibits an individual from being denied access to a shared facility, including a restroom, a locker room, and a dressing room, that is in accordance with the individual's gender identity.
Now let's go see who voted for/against this bill.

There are 6 Congressional districts in Western PA:
  • PA13: John Joyce (R) voted against
  • PA14: Guy Reschenthaler (R) voted against
  • PA15: Glenn Thompson (R) voted against
  • PA16: Mike Kelly (R) voted against
  • PA17: Conor Lamb (D) voted for
  • PA18: Mike Doyle (D) voted for
So the next time Representative Joyce, Reschenthaler, Thompson, or Kelly try to tell you they support freedom and equality, remind them of this vote - where they voted in favor of LGBT discrimination.

May 17, 2019

Congressman Mike Doyle's Statement on The Alabama Abortion Law

Before they rearranged the congressional districts, Mike Doyle was my representative.

Here he is speaking the truth:
I fear that in Trump's America with the full backing of his political party, the cruelty is the point.

May 16, 2019

A Woman's Right To Choose.

I'm just getting out of the way here:
And:
I'll just leave that here for you.

May 15, 2019

Now That Roe V Wade Seems To Be Back On The Table

When is it ever morally acceptable to force a woman to be pregnant when she does not wish to be?

Or - 

When is it ever morally acceptable to veto a woman's decision to end her own pregnancy? By whose authority?

An embryo is not a human being. A fetus is not a human being. If you believe otherwise, fine, but you still do not have the right to use that belief to stop a woman who wishes to end her pregnancy.

It is her decision and, quite frankly, none of your fucking business.

May 14, 2019

My HUNDRED AND EIGHTH Open Letter To Senator Pat Toomey

I'll be dropping this letter to Senator Pat Toomey in the mail today:
Dear Senator Toomey:

It's me, again - the constituent who writes for the local Pittsburgh-based political blog, "2 Political Junkies."

As you may already know, Donald Trump Jr. has been subpoenaed by the (Republican led) Senate Intelligence Committee. They reportedly want to ask him about some testimony he gave related to the Trump Tower meeting with the Russians now that it's been contradicted by the Mueller report. (Have you read the report, by the way? It doesn't exonerate the leader of your party on obstruction of justice. Did you know that?)

Recently, your colleague Senator Lindsey Graham (R-GA) has said in an interview that Donald Trump jr. should ignore the subpoena. The senator has since backtracked and said Trump should just "plead the fifth."

I am curious about your take on all this. In our system of co-equal branches of government where each branch serves as a balance to the others how healthy is it for our democracy for one branch (in this case yours) to abandon its Constitutionally mandated function of governmental oversight? A sitting senator advising a private citizen to ignore a Senate subpoena in order to protect a president from congressional oversight?

Are you OK with that?

Thank you and I await your response.
And I will be posting whatever response I get from him or his office.


Follow-up:

May 10, 2019

ESSENTIALLY No Obstruction?

I'll just leave this year for y'inz:
Interesting that Trump would throw in that word now.

May 9, 2019

The House Judiciary Committe Votes On Contempt (Guy Reschenthaler Edition)

From The NYTimes:
The House Judiciary Committee voted Wednesday to recommend that the House hold Attorney General William P. Barr in contempt of Congress for failing to turn over Robert S. Mueller III’s unredacted report, hours after President Trump asserted executive privilege to shield the full report and underlying evidence from Congress.

The committee’s 24-to-16 contempt vote, taken after hours of debate over the future of American democracy, was the first official House action to punish a government official in the standoff over the Mueller report. The Justice Department denounced the move as unnecessary and intended to stoke a fight.
And then there's this from Roll Call:
The resolution, approved on a 24-16 roll call vote along party lines...
Which means that all the "Yes" votes were from the Democrats and all the "No" votes from the Republicans.

So why am I writing this?

Pennsylvania Republican House Member Guy Reschenthaler is on the Judiciary Committee.

He even issued a statement regarding the vote:

You'll note Reschenthaler's defense of AG Barr as "transparent" while the contempt vote was for failing to turn over the complete, unredacted Mueller report.

And yet, in Trump's GOP that some how makes sense.

Remember this: Representative Guy Reschenthaler is defender and enabler of Trump's corruption.

May 8, 2019

Donald Trump, SUUPER GEE-NIE-US!

From The NYTimes:
In fact, year after year, Mr. Trump appears to have lost more money than nearly any other individual American taxpayer, The Times found when it compared his results with detailed information the I.R.S. compiles on an annual sampling of high-income earners. His core business losses in 1990 and 1991 — more than $250 million each year — were more than double those of the nearest taxpayers in the I.R.S. information for those years.
Go read the rest.

May 7, 2019

My HUNDRED AND SEVENTH Open Letter To Senator Pat Toomey

I'll be dropping this letter to Senator Pat Toomey in the mail today:
Dear Senator Toomey:

It's me, again - the constituent who writes for the local Pittsburgh-based political blog, "2 Political Junkies."

Yesterday Senator, a group of 370 former federal prosecutors (Democrats and Republicans, those who served in Democratic administrations and those who served in Republican administrations) signed and posted on the Internet a statement that said, were it not for the DOJ policy against indicting a sitting president, Donald Trump's conduct as described by the Mueller report would "result in multiple felony charges for obstruction of justice."

There are now,  at this writing, 566 signers.

They list discuss Trumps’s efforts to fire Robert Mueller and to falsify evidence about that effort, his efforts to limit the scope of Mueller’s investigation to exclude his conduct, and his efforts to prevent witnesses from cooperating with investigators probing him and his campaign. They say that each of these acts "satisfy all of the elements for an obstruction charge."

This week's question is much like last weeks: Given this, are you still supporting this dishonest administration? And if so, how on Earth can you?

Thank you and I await your response.
And I will be posting whatever response I get from him or his office.


Follow-up:

May 6, 2019

Just A Monday In Trump's America

First, from the AP:
Michael Cohen, the former lawyer, media attack dog and all-around fixer for President Donald Trump, is scheduled to begin serving a three-year prison sentence Monday for crimes including campaign finance violations related to hush-money payments made on Trump’s behalf.
And:
Federal prosecutors have said Trump directed Cohen to arrange the payments to buy the silence of porn actress Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal in the run-up to the 2016 election. Trump denies that he had trysts with either woman.

Cohen also pleaded guilty to lying to Congress about a Trump Tower project in Moscow, as well as to charges of tax evasion and bank fraud.
And then this from The New Yorker:
When we met, Cohen remained outraged that he was prosecuted and Trump was not. “You are going to find me guilty of campaign finance, with McDougal or Stormy, and give me three years—really?” Cohen said. “And how come I’m the only one? I didn’t work for the campaign. I worked for him. And how come I’m the one that’s going to prison? I’m not the one that slept with the porn star.”
How come, indeed.

May 5, 2019

Infinite Congratulations To Sue Kerr! And Pittsburgh Lesbian Correspondents!

Back in January of this year local blogger Sue Kerr's Pittsburgh Lesbian Correspondents was nominated for "Outstanding Blog" in this year's GLAAD Media Awards.

GLAAD, by the way, is a national LGBT media advocacy organization.

Well, last night she won.

And with that, she joined the ranks of other GLAAD media winners:
  • Samantha Bee
  • Don Lemon
  • Janelle MonĂ¡e
Along with the NYTimes and CNBC, etc etc and so forth...
There aren't enough "congratulation" type words to fully communicate how big a deal this is.

So I'll just go with this: Congratulations to Sue Kerr and her outstanding, nationally recognized blog, Pittsburgh Lesbian Correspondents!


May 3, 2019

May 3 Birthday

Wanna know who was born today?

Pete Seeger:


Remember when this was America? Yea, me too. Good Times.

James Brown:


The hardest working man in show business.

John Lewis:



Founder and music director of the Modern Jazz Quartet.

Oh, yea and John Lewis is also the pianist on this:


As I said, three majors.

May 2, 2019

More On Chuck McCullough

A brief Chuck McCullough update.

If you recall, Charles P. (Chuck) McCullough was:
...found guilty of illegally cutting checks on behalf of an elderly widow to local Republican candidates and a charity his wife ran.

The former Allegheny County councilman was also found not guilty of the remaining 14 of 24 charges in a theft trial that began in April and stemmed from Mr. McCullough, 60, of Upper St. Clair being charged in 2009.
That was July 31, 2015.

Today in the Post-Gazette:
Former Allegheny County Councilman Chuck McCullough, who was convicted in 2015 of taking money from an elderly widow but has yet to serve his sentence, was back in court Wednesday.
This is 3 years, 9 months and 2 days since he was found guilty.

By the way, the duration between Pearl Harbor and the Japanese surrender in WWII was 3 years, 8 months, and 26 days.

The time between Chuck's guilty verdict and when he would begin his prison sentence is longer than the US involvement in WWII.

May 1, 2019

Hey, Post-Gazette Editorial Board! I Got A Question!

Hey, remember when the Post-Gazette editorial board wrote:
The outrage, from certain quarters, directed at Attorney General William Barr following his Thursday press conference is as clear a case of “killing the messenger” as we’re likely to see for some time. While his message won’t please those eager to usher Donald Trump out of office, the messenger’s conduct was admirable.

The occasion was the release of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report of his investigation into whether members of the Trump campaign conspired with Russians to interfere in the 2016 election, and whether Mr. Trump obstructed this investigation. Mr. Barr’s presentation was concise, clear and matter-of-fact.
The editorial board, in particular, objected to this line of questioning:
In particular, much has been made of Mr. Barr’s one-word response to the last question he took: “Do you think it creates an appearance of impropriety for you to come out and sort of, what appears to be, spinning the report before the public gets a chance to read it?”

To which Mr. Barr replied, “No.”

The question is, of course, a double-barreled weapon: It asserts Mr. Barr was spinning his work product rather than explaining his process and, based on this assertion, accuses him of unethical behavior.
Um, have you seen this?
Special counsel Robert S. Mueller III wrote a letter in late March complaining to Attorney General William P. Barr that a four-page memo to Congress describing the principal conclusions of the investigation into President Trump “did not fully capture the context, nature, and substance” of Mueller’s work, according to a copy of the letter reviewed Tuesday by The Washington Post.
Or this?
Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel, wrote a letter in late March to Attorney General William P. Barr objecting to his early description of the Russia investigation’s conclusions that appeared to clear President Trump on possible obstruction of justice, according to the Justice Department and three people with direct knowledge of the communication between the two men.
A piece which contains this paragraph:
A central issue in the simmering dispute is how the public’s understanding of the Mueller report has been shaped since the special counsel ended his investigation and delivered his 448-page report on March 22 to the attorney general, his boss and longtime friend. The four-page letter that Mr. Barr sent to Congress two days later gave little detail about the special counsel’s findings and created the impression that Mr. Mueller’s team found no wrongdoing, allowing Mr. Trump to declare he had been exonerated.
And not to my friends on the Post-Gazette editorial board, I ask: I realize you were only doing your best when you wrote the pro-Barr editorial but considering how, given what's now known about AG Barr's 4 page summary-that's-not-a-summary letter and how Mueller disagreed with it, do you still think Barr "Took the high road" and "provid[ed] transparency" and "handled the Mueller report with class"?

Or did Attorney General William Barr mislead the public about what he knew about the report and what he knew about what the Special Counsel told him about his 4 page "summary"?

Will we be seeing a follow-up editorial explaining/correcting your previous editorial?

I look forward to it.

April 30, 2019

My HUNDRED AND SIXTH Open Letter To Senator Pat Toomey

I'll be dropping this letter to Senator Pat Toomey in the mail today:
Dear Senator Toomey:

It's me, again - the constituent who writes for the local Pittsburgh-based political blog, "2 Political Junkies."

As you may know Senator, The Washington Post has been tracking Donald Trump's "false and misleading" claims for some time now.

Recently, they've reached a milestone for Trump's dishonesty: 10,000 false or misleading statements.

He's lied about family separation, a woman's right to choose, and even the size of the crowds at his rallies.

All things easily checked and debunked - and yet he blatantly continues to lie and mislead the American people.

This week's question: Why do you continue to support this dishonest man and his dishonest administration?

Thank you and I await your response.
And I will be posting whatever response I get from him or his office.

Follow-up:

April 29, 2019

DONALD TRUMP LIES.

What Trump said IS A LIE:
The baby is born. The mother meets with the doctor. They take care of the baby. They wrap the baby beautifully. And then the doctor and the mother determine whether or not they will execute the baby.
This is a lie.

Read:
No one is executing children at birth. Doctors are providing standard medical care.

Pregnancy terminations at or after 24 weeks of gestation, the time largely accepted as viability, are typically performed because of severe fetal anomalies or fetal anomalies combined with maternal health problems.
Read the rest of it.

The writer (Dr. Jen Gunter) included this paragraph:
Politicians who twist the memory of a birth followed by a death to score political points and mislead about the reality of both abortion and newborns who are born to die should be ashamed of themselves.
And so should anyone who supports them.

April 26, 2019

Judge Napolitano From FOX NEWS




And Real Clear Politics has a transcript:
What is obstruction of justice? Late last week when the Attorney General of the U.S. released a redacted version of the report of the special counsel Robert Mueller into Russian interference with the 2016 election he made a number of conclusions.

One is that the Russians did materially and substantially interfere. They probably did not affect the ultimate outcome but they did interfere. They were physically here and they were digitally here.

Two is that even though the Trump campaign had 127 documented communications with these Russians between July 2015 when the campaign started and November 2016 when it ended -- 127 communications -- the government was unable to prove a conspiracy or illegal agreement between the campaign and the Russians to interfere with the outcome of the election.

The third conclusion that Mueller came to is a little bit more troublesome. That conclusion is that the president of the United States probably committed the crimes of obstruction of justice but probably should not be charged for them. That's a head-scratcher. Is the president above the law? What do we do if the president commits a crime? Do we let him get away with it?

The crime is not a difficult one to understand. Obstruction of justice, the statute making obstruction criminal prohibits interfering or attempting to interfere with a criminal prosecution or an investigation that the government is conducting. So if I'm about to go into a courthouse and testify against my neighbor, and the neighbor's kid comes and tackles me to prevent me from getting into the courthouse and I eventually pick myself up and get in to make the testimony, the neighbor's kid can be charged with obstruction of justice because he attempted to interfere with the work of a jury that was waiting to hear my testimony.

So when Bob Mueller said the president of the United States did about a dozen things to slow down, impede, negate, or interfere with the investigation of his campaign, or of his former national security advisor, Gen. Michael Flynn, that is a serious allegation of criminal activity. So when the president asked his former advisor and my former colleague at Fox News, KT McFarland, to write an untruthful letter to the file, knowing the government would subpoena it, that's obstruction of justice. When the president asked Corey Lewandowski, his former campaign manager, to get Mueller fired, that is obstruction of justice. When the president asked his then-White House counsel to get Mueller fired and then lie about it, that's obstruction of justice. When the president asked Don McGahn to go back to the special counsel and change his testimony that's obstruction of justice. When he dangled the pardon in front of Michael Cohen in order to prevent Cohen from testifying against him that is obstruction of justice. Why not charge him?

Because the attorney general would have locked such a charge because the attorney general is of the view that obstruction of justice can only occur if you're interfering with a criminal investigation of yourself. But that's not what the obstruction statute says, that's not what law enforcement believes, and that is not what prosecutors do. Prosecutors prosecute people who interfere with government functions. That is what the president did by obstruction.

Where is this going to end? We don't know. But I'm disappointed in the behavior of the president. His job is to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States, to uphold and to enforce federal law, not to violate it.

If he had ordered his aides to violate federal law to save a human life or to preserve human freedom he would at least have a moral defense for his behavior. But ordering obstruction to save himself from the consequences of his own behavior is unlawful, defenseless and condemnable.
You can also read Napolitano's piece at Foxnews.com

Judge Napolitano from FOX NEWS. 

April 25, 2019

Just How Stupid Is Donald Trump (Impeachment/Supreme Court Edition)

There's this:
Um, setting aside the false opening (Mueller is a Republican, the report refused to exonerate, etc), can I point out that the Supreme Court doesn't have any jurisdiction over Impeachment.

Let's take a look at the Constitution:
The House of Representatives shall choose their Speaker and other Officers; and shall have the sole Power of Impeachment. (Article 1, Section 2, Clause 5)
And:
The Senate shall have the sole Power to try all Impeachments. When sitting for that Purpose, they shall be on Oath or Affirmation. When the President of the United States is tried, the Chief Justice shall preside: And no Person shall be convicted without the Concurrence of two thirds of the Members present. (Article I, Section 3, Clause 6)
He's not even smart enough to know that.

April 24, 2019

Meanwhile, Outside

From the scientists at NOAA:
Globally, this was the second warmest March in the 140-year record, with a temperature departure from average at +1.06°C (+1.91°F). Only March 2016 was warmer at +1.24°C (+2.23°F). March 2019 also marks the third time (2016, 2017, and 2019) that the March global land and ocean surface temperature departure from average surpasses 1.0°C (1.8°F). The March 2019 global land and ocean temperature tied with January 2016 as the fifth highest monthly temperature departure from average for any month on record (1671 months). The 20 highest monthly temperature departures from average have all occurred since 2015, with March 2016 having the highest monthly temperature departure in the 1671-month record at +1.24°C (+2.23°F).
That's what the science says.

And if you wanted another reason as to why this is occurring (or better, "being allowed to occur") then take a look at this study just published by the National Academy of Sciences:
We find that global warming has very likely exacerbated global economic inequality, including ∼25% increase in population-weighted between-country inequality over the past half century. This increase results from the impact of warming on annual economic growth, which over the course of decades has accumulated robust and substantial declines in economic output in hotter, poorer countries—and increases in many cooler, wealthier countries—relative to a world without anthropogenic warming. Thus, the global warming caused by fossil fuel use has likely exacerbated the economic inequality associated with historical disparities in energy consumption. Our results suggest that low-carbon energy sources have the potential to provide a substantial secondary development benefit, in addition to the primary benefits of increased energy access.
So when the soft-core climate science denialists assert that the solution to climate change is a global redistribution of wealth (downward, from rich to poor), just remember that they're actually protecting a redistribution system that's already in place - one that's shifting money upward from poor to rich. 

April 23, 2019

My HUNDRED AND FIFTH Open Letter To Senator Pat Toomey

I'll be dropping this letter to Senator Pat Toomey in the mail today:
Dear Senator Toomey:

It's me, again - the constituent who writes for the local Pittsburgh-based political blog, "2 Political Junkies."

Have you had a chance to read the Mueller Report? I'm about half way through volume II. In any event, I'd like to ask you about it as your statement on April 18 only references collusion and not obstruction.

It's been reported that Donald Trump (twice) ordered White House counsel Don McGahn to fire Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller and then, when the story broke, ordered him to lie about it.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders admitted to lying to the American people regarding FBI support of ousted FBI Director James Comey.

In light of all that, how can you still support this administration?

Thank you and I await your response.
And I will be posting whatever response I get from him or his office.

Follow-up:

April 22, 2019

Even More From The Mueller Report

First, there's this:
In mid-June 2017- the same week that the President first asked Lewandowski to pass a message to Sessions- senior Administration officials became aware of emails exchanged during the campaign arranging a meeting between Donald Trump Jr., Paul Manafort, Jared Kushner, and a Russian attorney. As described in Volume I, Section TV.A.5, supra, the emails stated that the "Crown [P]rosecutor of Russia" had offered "to provide the Trump campaign with some official documents and information that would incriminate Hillary and her dealings with Russia " as part of "Russia and its government's support for Mr. Trump." Trump Jr. responded , "[I]f it's what you say I love it," and he, Kushner, and Manafort met with the Russian attorney and several other Russian individuals at Trump Tower on June 9, 2016. At the meeting, the Russian attorney claimed that funds derived from illegal activities in Russia were provided to Hillary Clinton and other Democrats , and the Russian attorney then spoke about the Magnitsky Act, a 2012 U.S. statute that imposed financial and travel sanctions on Russian officials and that had resulted in a retaliatory ban in Russia on U.S. adoptions of Russian children. (p. 310)
Then there's this:
Efforts to prevent public disclosure of evidence. In the summer of 2017, the President learned that media outlets were asking questions about the June 9, 2016 meeting at Trump Tower between senior campaign officials, including Donald Trump Jr., and a Russian lawyer who was said to be offering damaging information about Hillary Clinton as "part of Russia and its government's support for Mr. Trump." On several occasions, the President directed aides not to publicly disclose the emails setting up the June 9 meeting, suggesting that the emails would not leak and that the number of lawyers with access to them should be limited. Before the emails became public, the President edited a press statement for Trump Jr. by deleting a line that acknowledged that the meeting was with "an individual who [Trump Jr.] was told might have information helpful to the campaign" and instead said only that the meeting was about adoptions of Russian children. When the press asked questions about the President 's involvement in Trump Jr.'s statement, the President's personal lawyer repeatedly denied the President had played any role. (p. 217)
Donald Trump is a liar. His whole administration is dishonest and any elected official not denouncing him is complicit in this corruption.

April 20, 2019

More From The Mueller Report

Regarding that July 27, 2016 press conference where Trump denied any connection to Russia, the report says:
During the press conference, Trump repeated "I have nothing to do with Russia" five times. He stated that "the closest [he] came to Russia" was that Russians may have purchased a home or condos from him. He said that after he held the Miss Universe pageant in Moscow in 2013 he had be.en interested in working with Russian companies that "wanted to put a lot of money into developments in Russia" but "it never worked out." He explained , "[t]rankly, I didn't want to do it for a couple of different reasons. But we had a major developer ... that wanted to develop property in Moscow and other places. But we decided not to do it." The Trump Organization , however, had been pursuing a building project in Moscow-the Trump Tower Moscow project from approximately September 2015 through June 2016, and the candidate was regularly updated on developments , including possible trips by Michael Cohen to Moscow to promote the deal and by Trump himself to finalize it.

Cohen recalled speaking with Trump after the press conference about Trump's denial of any business dealings in Russia, which Cohen regarded as untrue. Trump told Cohen that Trump Tower Moscow was not a deal yet and said, "Why mention it if it is not a deal?" According to Cohen, at around this time, in response to Trump's disavowal of connections to Russia, campaign advisors had developed a "party line" that Trump had no business with Russia and no connections to Russia. (p. 231)
Even though he did.

April 19, 2019

More From The Mueller Report

The Trump-loving Post-Gazette Editorial Board sez:
According to a redacted version of the report, released Thursday by the Justice Department, Mr. Mueller found no evidence that President Donald Trump or his campaign colluded with Russia on election inference. Mr. Mueller was unable to determine whether the president tried to obstruct his investigation, although Mr. Trump said and did things during the probe that looked bad.
And yet from the report itself we can read:
Because we determined not to make a traditional prosecutorial judgment, we did not draw ultimate conclusions about the President 's conduct. The evidence we obtained about the President's actions and intent presents difficult issues that would need to be resolved if we were making a traditional prosecutorial judgment. At the same time, if we had confidence after a thorough investigation of the facts that the President clearly did not commit obstruction of justice, we would so state. Based on the facts and the applicable legal standards, we are unable to reach that judgment. Accordingly, while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him. (p. 393)
Take a look - they could not not state that Trump did not commit obstruction of justice - not, as the P-G board clearly wishes that they were "unable to determine whether the president tried to obstruct" the investigation.

More to come, obviously.

April 18, 2019

From The Mueller Report

This is all we need to know if we want to understand how AG Barr s the Mueller report.

Remember that 4 page letter "summarizing" the Mueller report?

This is what Barr took from it:
[T]he investigation did not establish that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities.”
The brackets around the "T" mean that it was not capitalized in the original. So this is a fragment of a sentence.

This is what the original sentence was:
Although the investigation established that the Russian government perceived it would benefit from a Trump presidency and worked to secure that outcome, and that the Campaign expected it would benefit electorally from information stolen and released through Russian efforts, the investigation did not establish that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities.
I bolded and italicized what Barr used from the sentence to show the skew. 

More to come, of course.

Some Things To Keep In Mind Before Today's AG Press Conference

The Fix Is In, as they say.

Consider that Trump's DOJ has already briefed The White House (but not the Congress) on the Mueller Report and that this was done while Barr's team was busy redacting it. The report itself (or what's left of it) will only be released to the Congress after the press conference - thus denying any of the reporters who'd be asking questions any chance of reading it before hand.

And as you're considering all that you should be asking yourself this question: If the report is, in fact, a "total exoneration" of Trump, then why is any of Barr's framing necessary?

Or

Don't you think that if it were a "total exoneration" of Trump, then they'd just simply open up the damn thing for everyone to read and go, "See?"

The Fix is in.

April 16, 2019

Thinking About The Fire In Paris



My HUNDRED AND FOURTH Open Letter To Senator Pat Toomey

I'll be dropping this letter to Senator Pat Toomey in the mail today:
Dear Senator Toomey:

It's me, again - the constituent who writes for the local Pittsburgh-based political blog, "2 Political Junkies."

Senator, despite the fact that the IRS Code section 6103(f) clearly states that the IRS "shall furnish" any return upon written request and despite the fact that there as been, in fact, been a written request from the House Ways and Means Committee regarding Donald Trump's tax returns, the administration has so far stonewalled the turnover of these legally requested documents.

I'd like to ask you what you are doing, as part of your Constitutionally mandated role a check on the Executive Branch, to guarantee that Donald Trump simply follow the law in this matter.

Thank you and I await your response.
And I will be posting whatever response I get from him or his office.

Follow-up:

April 15, 2019

SEE?

Remember yesterday, when I said that Trump's tweets are going to get someone killed?

And now:

April 14, 2019

He's Going To Get Her Killed.

Trump is going to get someone killed.

With this:
Let's make no mistake. Her words (however clumsy) were taken out of context. From The Atlantic:
Last month, Representative Ilhan Omar attended a banquet hosted by the Council on American-Islamic Relations, where she delivered remarks for roughly 20 minutes.

A major theme was prejudice against Muslims. “Here’s the truth,” she said. “For far too long we have lived with the discomfort of being a second-class citizen. Frankly, I’m tired of it. And every single Muslim in this country should be tired of it. CAIR was founded after 9/11 because they recognized that some people did something and that all of us were starting to lose access to our civil liberties.”

Omar’s meaning was clear: Many Muslims felt collectively blamed for something that was indisputably perpetrated by a tiny fraction of their co-religionists and marshaled new resources to protect their civil rights in response. (CAIR was actually founded in the 1990s, but expanded significantly after 9/11.)
And if you're wondering about the "inciting violence" part take a look at something that happened before the Trump-shit hit the Fox-fan:
On March 21, 2019,at approximately l2:20p.ffi., a telephone call was received by a staff member for United States Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, a representative from the 5th Congressional District in Minnesota, at Congresswoman Omar's offices in Washington, D.C. During the telephone call, an individual who eventually identified himself as PAT CARLINEO stated to the staff member, "Do you work for the Muslim Brotherhood? Why are you working for her, she's a fucking terrorist. I'll put a bullet in her fucking skull."
And in his interview with the FBI:
CARLINEO stated that he was a patriot, that he loves the President, and that he hates radical Muslims in our government.
Now, I wonder where he got his news? and how many more Trump-loving, Muslim-hating Pat Carlineo's are there out there?

Trump's gonna get someone killed and anyone who refuses to condemn him for this will shoulder some responsibility for it.

April 12, 2019

April 12 Birthday - Herbie Hancock

Happy Birthday to one of my favorite musicians - Herbie Hancock, born today in 1940.

Have a listen:


And here he is playing some Gershwin:


And then there's this:


Yes, that's all the same guy.

April 11, 2019

More On Trump Corruption

Hey, remember this?

The Time report begins with:
President Trump participated in dubious tax schemes during the 1990s, including instances of outright fraud, that greatly increased the fortune he received from his parents, an investigation by The New York Times has found.
And included this:
The most overt fraud was All County Building Supply & Maintenance, a company formed by the Trump family in 1992. All County’s ostensible purpose was to be the purchasing agent for Fred Trump’s buildings, buying everything from boilers to cleaning supplies. It did no such thing, records and interviews show. Instead All County siphoned millions of dollars from Fred Trump’s empire by simply marking up purchases already made by his employees. Those millions, effectively untaxed gifts, then flowed to All County’s owners — Donald Trump, his siblings and a cousin. Fred Trump then used the padded All County receipts to justify bigger rent increases for thousands of tenants.
This triggered an investigation into one of those siblings:
Maryanne Trump Barry, President Trump's older sister, has resigned as a federal appellate judge, ending a judicial investigation into apparently fraudulent tax schemes that could have theoretically led to her impeachment by the U.S. House, The New York Times reports. Judge Barry, 82, stopped hearing cases after her brother was inaugurated, but she was still a senior inactive judge on the U.S. Third Circuit Court of Appeals, one step short of retirement.

Barry, a federal judge since 1983, had been notified Feb. 1 that complaints filed last October about possible violations of judicial conduct rules were "receiving the full attention" of a judicial conduct council, the Times reports. She filed her resignation papers 10 days later. Retired judges are not bound by the conduct rules, and the people who filed the complains were notified last week that the inquiry had been dropped without a finding on the allegations' merits, the Times reports.
You'd think that if the allegations were false, she'd fight them, right?

No. She retires, slinks away with the fraudulent millions and:
Barry did not respond to requests for comment from the Times, which notes that as a retired judge, she is entitled to between $184,500 and $217,600 a year.

April 10, 2019

POW! Donald Trump's a Hypocrite

Official Trump, on Tuesday:
On National Former Prisoner of War Recognition Day, we honor the Americans captured and imprisoned by foreign powers while carrying out their duties to defend this great Nation. Throughout our history, hundreds of thousands of American service members have been held as prisoners of war (POWs), enduring harsh treatment, unforgiving conditions, and the anguish of being separated from their families. These brave Americans are true patriots, and their inspiring legacy of selfless courage is a testament to their fierce spirit, unshakeable loyalty, and enduring resilience.
And:
As a Nation, we must never forget or take for granted the traumatic ordeals of our former POWs. With honor and valor, they served to keep our country safe, and they stayed the course — despite conditions that were often harsh and agonizing.
Candidate Trump:


This is what he said of Senator John McCain:
He’s not a war hero. He was a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured.
Donald Trump is an asshole.

And he's been one for some time.  Take a look at this from 1999:
This is what he said of Senator John McCain:
The question is, does being captured make you a hero? I don't know.
Donald Trump is an asshole.

April 9, 2019

My HUNDRED AND THIRD Open Letter To Senator Pat Toomey

I'll be dropping this letter to Senator Pat Toomey in the mail today:
Dear Senator Toomey:

It's me, again - the constituent who writes for the local Pittsburgh-based political blog, "2 Political Junkies."

Senator, CNN has reported that Donald Trump, while speaking to a number of border agents told them to block everyone from entering the country. He even said to them, it is reported, that if a judge gives you any trouble to say, "Sorry, judge, I can't do it. We don't have the room."

In effect, he ordered them to break the law and then lie to about it to a judge.

He took an oath of office to uphold the Constitution and the Constitution itself states that his job is to "take care that the laws are faithfully executed."

Given all this, can you explain to me how and why you're still supporting this president and this administration?

Thank you and I await your response.
And I will be posting whatever response I get from him or his office.

Follow-up:

April 8, 2019

Some Sagan Sagacity For A Monday Morning

From the Demon-Haunted World:
I have a foreboding of an America in my children's or grandchildren's time -- when the United States is a service and information economy; when nearly all the manufacturing industries have slipped away to other countries; when awesome technological powers are in the hands of a very few, and no one representing the public interest can even grasp the issues; when the people have lost the ability to set their own agendas or knowledgeably question those in authority; when, clutching our crystals and nervously consulting our horoscopes, our critical faculties in decline, unable to distinguish between what feels good and what's true, we slide, almost without noticing, back into superstition and darkness. The dumbing down of American is most evident in the slow decay of substantive content in the enormously influential media, the 30 second sound bites (now down to 10 seconds or less), lowest common denominator programming, credulous presentations on pseudoscience and superstition, but especially a kind of celebration of ignorance.
Wind turbines cause cancer.