Thursday, September 20, 2018

Thursday Stuff (updates)


Rachel Maddow had a feature last night in which the woman pictured, Barbara Ledeen, was mentioned. Ledeen (wife of neocon Michael Ledeen) was involved with the document that was improperly taken from Sen. Patrick Leahy, something which first came out in Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearing for the federal appeals court years ago (this kind of winds a bit, so I’ll try to be careful in summarizing).

As noted here
(The Kavanaugh SCOTUS confirmation) hearing was the latest effort by Leahy to suggest Kavanaugh knew he had received information improperly taken from Democrats. He questioned Kavanaugh about the matter in confirmation hearings in 2004, when Kavanaugh’s nomination for the federal appeals court was stalled, and in 2006, when Kavanaugh won confirmation. During both hearings, Kavanaugh said he learned about (the action of Manual Miranda, Republican counsel on the Senate Judiciary Committee) only from news reports, and Leahy did not have access to Kavanaugh’s emails.

That changed at this week’s hearings, when the committee released a number of previously undisclosed emails that Leahy said raised new questions about Kavanaugh’s knowledge that the documents were improperly taken. In a July 28, 2002, email, Miranda wrote Kavanaugh that Leahy’s staff has distributed a confidential letter to Democratic staffers, and then described the contents of the letter.

An email written by Miranda on March 18, 2003, and copied to Kavanaugh, had the subject line was “for use and not distribution.” Miranda wrote that “Dem staffers say that they have confidential information,” and he then listed “points they make.” Leahy said the points came from a draft of a letter written by his office. “We have every reason to believe that was taken,” Leahy said.

Separately, an email written to Kavanaugh by a then-staffer to the Republican leadership, Barbara Ledeen, had the subject line “spying.” Ledeen wrote that “I have a friend who is a mole for us on the left,” and described information she had learned about spending plans by liberal groups on judicial nominations. “It is important to note that IF we have a nominee, we need to ZIP THAT PERSON RIGHT THROUGH THE PROCESS….WE CANNOT BEAT 20 MILLION DOLLARS,” Ledeen wrote on June 5, 2003.

Kavanaugh forwarded the message to his boss, Counsel Alberto Gonzales, and others, writing, “interesting Ledeen email . . .”

Ledeen, who now serves as a Republican staffer on the committee, did not respond to a request for comment.
No, I don’t suppose she would, would she?

Oh, and did I mention that (as noted in the story) Ledeen is on the staff of the Senate Judiciary Committee, working for Sen. Chuck Grassley, as noted here? She also circulates in all kinds of neocon circles and is pals with Michael Flynn (I realize that’s not legally actionable in and of itself, but I think it’s interesting all the same).

And by the way, when considering Kavanaugh’s response (something more likely to come from a political operative than someone charged with administering the law), I would ask that you recall what former Vice President Al Gore did in a similar circumstance when he received “oppo” information on then-presidential candidate George W. Bush here – namely, he turned it over without using it against his opponent.

At a minimum, Ledeen should be barred from serving in any kind of public capacity whatsoever given her subterfuge in obtaining the confidential Democratic Email and forwarding it to Kavanaugh (And please, Democrats, can we tighten up this sort of thing? I realize there’s only so much we can do about a “mole,” but we can damn sure not share ANYTHING on a server with a Republican!). I know the focus here is on the Supreme Court nominee, as it should be, but I don’t think Ledeen should be let off the hook in any way either.

And while we’re on the subject of Kavanaugh, Chris Kang of the Obama Administration (who vetted Obama’s Supreme Court picks) tells us more on the blocking of Kavanaugh’s records (a petition against Kavanaugh is here, and to contact your Senator and voice opposition, click here)…



Update 1: And by the way, in case anybody out there somehow doesn’t get how personal all of this is, I give you this.

Update 2: Man, is Dean Heller a piece of shit for this – to do something about it, click here.

Update 3: When somebody finds me the emoji of smacking the palm of a hand against a forehead, let me know, OK? (here and here).

…and while we’re also talking about The High Court of Hangin’ Judge JR, Cenk and Ana tell us about a ruling that’s actually GOOD for a change on campaign finance reform, affecting the Chamber of Commerce, the Kochs, and Karl Rove/Crossroads GPS, as well as other “big funders”…



…and Sam Seder of The Majority Report gives us the latest on the Beto O’Rourke/Ted Cruz contest, in particular on the Botham Jean case (and yeah, I know I touched on this story a bit yesterday, but kudos to O’Rourke – I see no demagoguery in O’Rourke’s words or actions whatsoever, by the way)…




…and it looks like, according to Trump econ guru and recovering cocaine addict Larry Kudlow, that cuts are indeed coming to Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid, which should surprise absolutely no one (Farron Cousins explains – and the reference to the Florida congressman with the yacht was this guy, by the way.)…



..which is actually the perfect segue into this clip from 9/20/11, in which The Onion teeters dangerously close to reality once more (some bad words at the end – and yeah, you guessed it…time once more for “This Day in Doomsy History”)…



...and despite it all, I think we all need to hear this song - maybe especially now.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Wednesday Stuff


Farron Cousins of “Ring of Fire” tells us about Ted (“Raphael” Born In Canada) Cruz claiming that Beto O’Rourke will ban barbecue, or some such nonsense…I’ll refuse to gloat over this until the day mercifully comes when Cruz is defeated…tells you something about Texas that this race is as close as it is, and I don’t mean that as a compliment (and in a related story, kudos to Willie Nelson for this)…



…and nice work here also by Maya Wiley here, former assistant U.S. Attorney for the southern district of NY, on the latest Brett Kavanaugh garbage (Nail. Hammer. Head.)…



…and when it comes to Kavanaugh and everything else really, Corker, Flake and the rest are just the same old Republicans (here – they’re going to use Dr. Ford’s quite reasonable demand to have the FBI investigate first as an excuse to have no more hearings at all and go right to the vote).



(By the way, I have been quite understandably flooded with requests to call Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Elevator) and urge him to vote No on Kavanaugh. And I haven’t done it. And it is because I’ve called Toomey over a dozen times on various issues since he tragically was elected to the Senate in 2010, and he has steadfastly refused to vote the way I have asked him to on ANY ISSUE WHATSOEVER.

If you live in PA and want to try, go ahead (here). Sadly, the opportunity to get rid of him came and went in 2016, and short of his resignation, I see no way to be rid of him until 2022 at the earliest.)...



Update: I emailed Toomey and told him to oppose Kavanaugh - should have made clear earlier that I did something anyway.

…and I know a little bit about this issue myself; Kyle of Secular Talk discusses the typically stupid and pointless crackdown on vaping by The Gropenfuhrer’s FDA…yes, I know that, when discussing cigarette smoking and vaping, you’re talking about two activities that are inherently unhealthy, but Kyle is absolutely right – in my experience anyway (which is supported by Kyle’s data), you have an easier time working yourself off regular cigarettes (with their many foul carcinogens, to say nothing of nicotine) than you do off of an e-cigarette…if you have to choose between the two, I suggest going the e-cigarette route (but of course, do that and Big Tobacco haz a sad...NSFW)…



…and Cenk and Ana of TYT tell us about this CNN segment with Trumpster-ettes, you might say – Nell Justilliano, who I think is totally out to lunch, is the first person interviewed by Alisyn Camerota – easy for me to look down my nose at these women, though I obviously am not doing that and I would be wrong to do so (the young twenty-something woman with black hair impressed me with her knowledge and overall awareness); I just thoroughly disagree with these women panelists, though I respect their right to have an opinion…should almost go without saying I know (and I think Cenk is particularly correct about them getting bad – or at a minimum, incomplete – information)…




…actually, maybe these panelists (and everybody else) should just watch this video from Robert Reich and THEN speak to Camerota…



…and I think this is a GREAT New York Times commentary on where we are vis-à-vis the midterms…



…and happy birthday to David Bromberg (and I promise I got the date right… biggest finish of them all coming up; just wait for it).

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Tuesday Stuff


I’ll have to admit that I don’t understand how a waste disposal company can sue anybody who doesn’t pay their bill (Doesn’t the municipality just withhold any monies owed by the customer whose waste is being picked up? Or are these customers that destitute? I don’t know.), but that’s what Scott Wagner and Penn Waste are doing, as noted here.

I have more of an issue with the fact that Wagner won’t release a tax return, as noted here (just like the Gropenfuhrer pictured above).

This makes me recall the following clip with Wagner (more here) – to do something about it, click here



…and with that in mind (under the heading of out-of-touch, self-entitled Republicans running for governor of PA), I give you the latest installment of “This Day In Doomsy History” (more or less) from 9/16/13, in which “Clueless Tom” Corbett said that, gosh darn it, those lazy cheats collecting unemployment just need to get off their asses, apply for work and stop trying to “game” the system…or something…




…and Kyle K. tells us that Former President Highest Disapproval Rating In Gallup Poll History is out campaigning for Republican politicians not named Ted Cruz (and yeah, I’ve had some issues with Glenn Greenwald lately, but he’s spot-on here – typical that Ex-Commander Codpiece would think Alleged Forcible Sexual Assault Supreme Court Nominee Brett Kavanaugh is just dandy…“there is nothing you can do to be excommunicated by the donor class.” – uh, yep…and Kyle is dead-on in the last minute on Bernie Sanders…NSFW)…



…well, since our corporate media has, as usual, come down with a case of amnesia on terrible Republican presidents, I guess I’d better present this clip once more to show why Number 43 should be vilified as much as possible…



…and this is ostensibly a humorous clip from Seth Meyers, even though I’m quite sure he realizes the predicament were in over the Kavanaugh mess and a host of other issues is definitely not a “laff riot,” expect maybe for Fix Noise “Judge” Jeanine “Demon Rats” Pirro…God, that woman is SOOO around the bend



Update: Typical Trumpster garbage on the Kavanaugh story, as predictable as flatulence after an attack of indigestion (here)…

..and Stephanie Ruhle tells us that Repug mega-donor Les Wexner is leaving the Repug Party (following the money as usual…sad that this character will get much more media attention than any of the 40 million people living in poverty in this country – interesting remark about the “92 percent”…and this business about “Oh, I heard Obama speak, so now I’m not a Repug” is ridiculous…YOU HEARD HIM SPEAK FOR EIGHT YEARS AS PRESIDENT, YOU SOULLESS GREEDHEAD MONSTER! YOU JUST CARE ABOUT YOUR BALANCE SHEET! And DEAR GOD, MICHAEL BLOOMBERG MUST NOT RUN!)…



…oh, and did you hear the one about FEMA’s Brock Long claiming that the horrific casualty numbers in Puerto Rico were due to spousal abuse (which, if anything, is in keeping with the overall Trumpster undercurrent of abusive behavior towards women…with that remark, of course, having nothing to do with the world of empirical reality)? Farron Cousins gives us the gory details…



…and I’m sorry that there’s not a lot that’s uplifting in this post (living up to the title of this blog again I guess), but there isn’t a lot I can do to try and control the news – oh, and I might as well finish it with this item; Jim Croce died in a plane crash 45 years ago today (oops - two days early on the date; my bad).

Monday, September 17, 2018

Monday Stuff


Cenk, John and the TYT crew tell us here about Arkansans losing Medicaid coverage over work requirements, with residents of Indiana and New Hampshire potentially facing the same fate (the pic ties into the clip near the end, at about 7:30)…



…and I thought Farron Cousins showed some commendable outrage here, outlining the wretched spending excess of the Trumpsters; add to that Nikki Haley’s curtains for $52K…



…and Kyle of Secular Talk tells us about the Trumpsters and the EPA rolling back federal regs on methane - I may have touched on this before, but here it is again...



…and all the best to Elissa Slotkin (here) - many thanks for her service (and THIS is how you go after a Republican...to do more, click here)...



…and I guess we have to find humor where we can in all of this; I have to admit that I was amused by this bit from Trevor Noah…



…and at first, I thought I was watching a teaser here for a “Walking Dead” spinoff, but maybe not.

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Saturday Stuff (update)


I would say these recent developments on Brett Kavanaugh should be enough to slam on the proverbial brakes when it comes to his nomination, at a minimum to investigate this charge against him…this whole thing looks seedier by the minute (more here, and let’s not forget this and this too, and GREAT points by John in particular…the U.S. Senate Repugs knew about this, especially Grassley, but are still trying to ramrod Kavanaugh onto the Supreme Court anyway, which is foul and disgusting on a whole other level I realize)…



Update 9/16/18: His accuser has gone public.

…and I would call this a particularly ridiculous attempt at distraction from Dana Loesch and the NRA, as Jeff Waldorf of TYT Nation tells us (It’s “Thomas The Tank Engine,” you dimwit, and when I watched this many years ago with The Teenaged One, I never considered Sir Topham Hatt to be "an authoritarian maniac"…puh-leeze!)…



…and speaking of idiocy, it looks like another one of Bri-Fi’s sleazy campaign tricks has backfired, as noted here (like this also) – to do something about it, click here



Update 9/19/18: Oh, for God's sake, Bri-Fi, knock off this shit!

…and as noted here, Lehman Brothers crashed 10 years ago today, ushering in The Great Recession, from which we were saved by President Obama and Congressional Democrats; here is a tune for the occasion.

Friday, September 14, 2018

Friday Stuff


Hasan Piker gives us another “Breakdown,” this time on the Gropenfuhrer lying about the PR death toll (good job to link this to what victims of Florence may face – love to be wrong, but what else can we expect from the insane, treasonous individual at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue?)…



…and Seth Meyers chimes in a bit also on Generalissimo Trump and his lies about the catastrophe in Puerto Rico (and we have to make that “blue wave” happen, people, which I'm sure we all know by now, right?)…



…and Kyle K. gives us a great big reason to vote these clowns out of office, tied to the reality point of view here on the deficit (GREAT analysis about the shell game on this issue played by the Repugs and their corporate media lackeys…NSFW)…



…and David Pakman tells us about the school in Georgia (of course) that has sent out consent forms asking if it’s OK to paddle students on the butt (and yes, I think it works to link this to abortion and other issues, given the notion of “strict father morality” as David discusses…and yeah, I also lean towards being horrified that a third of the parents surveyed think this is OK…what country am I living in again?)…



…and I now give you the latest installment of “This Day In Doomsy History” from 9/10/14 (more or less – I know I’m off by a few days with this…I miss these FAIR TV segments, to be honest…if you find yourself wondering why we seem to be engaged in wars without end, I think this segment from Janine Jackson gives you some insight; namely, skewed “reporting” gives us a skewed narrative that we want a more “muscular” response to problems around the globe…I give Richard Engel a little more credit than most other media types, but I think he was caught in a bit of hyperbole here too…oh, and the next time you hear about Bill Kristol, the man who is PERPETUALLY WRONG about just about everything, jumping on the anti-Trump bandwagon (which is the correct thing to do of course, against character you might say), remember how he, along with the late Charles Krauthammer, were probably the biggest media cheerleaders for Dubya’s Not-So-Excellent Adventure in Iraq)…



…and here’s a nice new tune to kick-start the weekend (hopefully a DRY one for as many of us as possible).

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Thursday Stuff


Sam Bee gives us our marching orders for the upcoming elections (and sorry, but I don’t know what the “one more thing” was)…



…and Robert Reich tells us how to rebuild a progressive coalition (he’s mostly dead-on with all of this even though I’m not completely sold on universal basic income, but boy, is he right about #4 in particular)…



…and I thought this was a GREAT breakdown segment from Francis Maxwell about the whole Colin Kaepernick/Nike flap with exactly the right historical context (echoing that great moment with Beto O’Rourke recently)…



…and Pap and Farron Cousins tell us that the evidence is pretty damn overwhelming at this point that fracking causes earthquakes (oh, and if you want to blame Obama for fracking, go ahead, though Pap correctly lays the blame at about 4:00 or so…but just imagine the wingnut caterwauling if Obama tried to stop it…as usual, the fault, dear Brutus, lies not in our stars, but in ourselves)…



…and if you’re looking for climate-related news that’s actually good, you might want to check this out…



...and happy birthday to Fiona Apple.