Responding to a Freedom of Information Act request, the government has now released the heavily-redacted FISA application requesting a warrant against Donald Trump campaign adviser Carter Page, suspected by the FBI as acting as «an agent of a foreign power.» For much of this year, House Republicans had demonized the FBI's efforts to investigate Page's actions during the campaign as a witch hunt; that demonization was premised around a «memo» by Rep. Devin Nunes purporting to summarize the still-classified document as a partisan-laced, spuriously sourced attempt by the FBI to infiltrate the Trump team's ranks in order to snoop around for Russia connections they oughtn't to have been looking for in the first place. Now that the (heavily redacted) documents are out for all to read, it's evident that Rep. Nunes simply lied about their contents, and lied brazenly. David Kris: I said then, and I still believe, that the “Nunes memo was dishonest. And if it is allowed to stand, we risk significant collateral damage to essential elements of our democracy.” Now we have some additional information in the form of the redacted FISA applications themselves, and the Nunes memo looks even worse. Many of Nunes' most salacious claims about the investigation into Page, repeated ad nauseum by a cadre of other House Republicans and quickly taken up as arguments by the White House itself, are amply debunked by the released documents. Investigators did indeed reveal to the court the partisan origins of the so-called «Steele dossier», the reports of a British investigator tasked with investigating Trump's Russia connections, and did so at length; there was indeed substantial information that came from sources aside from Steele; a news article Nunes claimed was being used to burnish the FBI's claims of Russian connections was in fact used in the document to note that Page was denying those claims; the Nunes fit over the document not mentioning either Steele nor Fusion GPS turns out to be a bout of epic stupidity on his part, as in fact all references to third parties are anonymized, even to the extent of not naming Trump himself, as matter of legal course. Nunes and other House Republicans used his would-be analysis of these documents to argue that the investigation of Trump campaign figures over Russian connections, during a period of intense Russian efforts to manipulate the outcome of the presidential election, was itself «illegal.» Nunes has staked his entire reputation on these claims, in fact–a mysterious move in itself. But the document itself does not back up his claims, or the claims of the Republicans that rallied to repeat the same notions. Nunes may have been under the assumption that, as a top-secret document, the FISA application he was railing against would never be made public, making his claims unchallengeable. But it is public, now, and it plainly demonstrates that he and his fellow Republicans misled the public substantively in order to protect the Trump campaign from an FBI investigation into possible collusion with figures in the Russian government. Rep. Nunes lied.
President Barack Obama gave a powerhouse speech this Tuesday in Johannesburg, South Africa, in honor of Nelson Mandela’s 100th birthday. Most of the coverage has focused on his warnings about “strongman politics,” his criticisms of nationalist hatred, and his arguments in favor of pluralism and democracy. Without mentioning any names, Obama thoroughly rebutted the ideas and policies promulgated by the Man Who Lost The Popular Vote. As Jelani Cobb summarized it: “[Obama] offered the sharpest possible contrast between himself and his successor—between statesman and demagogue—and, crucially, the distinction between a man who grasps history as the living context of our lives and one unburdened by the knowledge of how we arrived at the present and what that means for the future.” Let’s focus here on some other remarks made by our 44th president, ones that reflect his long-standing, highly nuanced views on the topic of racial and cultural resentment, in particular the resentment exacerbated by anxiety and fear about demographic change and the increased diversity that results therefrom. Although he didn’t use the words “white anxiety” or “white resentment,” or talk about why so many racially and culturally anxious and/or resentful white Americans voted for Trump, Obama did address those phenomena and explained how economic displacement that resulted from increasing globalization has exacerbated those ethno-cultural anxieties: From their board rooms or retreats, global decision makers don’t get a chance to see sometimes the pain in the faces of laid-off workers. Their kids don’t suffer when cuts in public education and health care result as a consequence of a reduced tax base because of tax avoidance. They can’t hear the resentment of an older tradesman when he complains that a newcomer doesn’t speak his language on a job site where he once worked. They’re less subject to the discomfort and the displacement that some of their countrymen may feel as globalization scrambles not only existing economic arrangements, but traditional social and religious mores. [snip] Within the United States, within the European Union, challenges to globalization first came from the left but then came more forcefully from the right, as you started seeing populist movements — which, by the way, are often cynically funded by right-wing billionaires intent on reducing government constraints on their business interests — these movements tapped the unease that was felt by many people who lived outside of the urban cores; fears that economic security was slipping away, that their social status and privileges were eroding, that their cultural identities were being threatened by outsiders, somebody that didn’t look like them or sound like them or pray as they did. Look at what Obama did—and did not—do here.
Recent events have driven home the point that Russian influence in American Republican politics is more prevalent than previously thought. The examples are numerous—and very serious: Donald Trump’s rejection of the conclusion of U.S. intelligence services about Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, and Trump’s embrace of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s denial of that interference (and no, the “would/wouldn’t” attempt at a take-back doesn’t cut it). The arrest of Russian agent Maria Butina, who is facing multiple charges and is being held without bail. The details of story and the reports of her offering sex to infiltrate groups like the National Rifle Association and the Republican Party read like a bad spy novel. Threats of Russian prosecution against—or “interrogation” of—11 U.S. citizens. They include longtime Kremlin critic and financier Bill Browder, who was born in the U.S. but is now a British citizen and whose Russian lawyer, Sergei Magnitsky, died in Russian custody; Michael McFaul, the former U.S. ambassador to Russia, who, of course, had diplomatic immunity; and Kyle Parker, a congressional staffer who wrote most of the Magnitsky Act imposing sanctions on Russia, which has been a thorn in Putin’s side for years. Trump officials pointedly failed to deny that they might cooperate in such prosecution, saying only that it was “discussed” by the two leaders when they met in Helsinki. They have since backed down. The report that Russians were asked for and sent stolen documents about the Democratic opponent of a sitting Republican U.S. congressman during the 2016 election. Some reports identify that congressman as California’s Dana Rohrabacher, who met with Butina in Russia in 2015 and is sometimes described as “Putin’s favorite congressman.” Condemnation by media, Democrats, and many Republicans has been swift and severe. Trump has made it crystal clear that he has no problem sucking up to Putin, described as his KGBFF by comedian Jimmy Kimmel on his late-night show on ABC. But exactly how deep are the claws of the Russian bear dug into the GOP?
We had known that Trump Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh was an extremist on the topic of whether or not a sitting president could be not just charged, but even investigated for alleged crimes, but the extremities of his extremism are still coming into view. For example, the re-discovery of a 1999 forum in which Kavanaugh repeatedly argued that the Supreme Court was wrong in (unanimously) ordering President Richard Nixon to turn over the recordings that would later lead to his resignation. “But maybe Nixon was wrongly decided — heresy though it is to say so. Nixon took away the power of the president to control information in the executive branch by holding that the courts had power and jurisdiction to order the president to disclose information in response to a subpoena sought by a subordinate executive branch official. That was a huge step with implications to this day that most people do not appreciate sufficiently...Maybe the tension of the time led to an erroneous decision,” Kavanaugh said in a transcript of the discussion that was published in the January-February 1999 issue of the Washington Lawyer. This is consistent with Kavanaugh's broader arguments that sitting presidents, by the sheer importance of their duties and office, should not be burdened with investigations of criminal acts they may undertake as president. And, as we've argued before, it is an opinion that is hard to flatteringly square with Kavanaugh's own service as one of Ken Starr's most devoted assistants in attempting to ferret out anything in any decade of then-President Bill Clinton's entire career that the Republican House could use against him, including the rabid, rancid, and contemptible far-right theories that maybe the Clintons had a White House staff member murdered. Kavanaugh has been consistent, yes; he has consistently argued that Republican presidents credibly accused of criminal activity, from Richard Nixon's obstruction of justice to the George W. Bush's program of state-sponsored torture, must be shielded from investigation, but worked himself on the most spittle-flecked and unending investigation of a Democratic president in modern history. (Kavanaugh's most notable assignment, «investigating» the suicide of Vince Foster at the behest of far-right lunatics, was among the stupidest and most malevolent subplots of the entire affair, and it is of little surprise that he, like so many other cheap partisan hacks of the era, were elevated to conservative stardom for their roles.) There's little question as to why the Trump Team settled on Brett Kavanaugh, out of all the possible Supreme Court picks pre-vetted for them. Donald Trump, his White House staff members, his top campaign lieutenants and his own children are all under investigation for criminal acts that include conspiracy with a foreign power. Trump is obsessed with shutting down the investigation; not a week goes by in which he does not vent his fury at the investigators, often by name, and declare the entire process to be a plot against him.
Many Congressional Republicans were shocked—SHOCKED!—this week at Donald Trump’s humiliation in Helsinki. Like the rest of the world, they watched in real time as an American president kowtowed on foreign soil to a dangerous adversary of the United States. Siding with Russian President Vladimir Putin over the repeated conclusions of the unified American intelligence community and the bipartisan Senate Intelligence Committee, Trump once again rejected the idea of Moscow’s ongoing interference in U.S. elections that began in 2016. “Make no mistake about it,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell warned, “I would say to our friends in Europe, we understand the Russian threat and I think that is the widespread view here in the United States Senate among members of both parties.” But that’s not all McConnell said after Trump shamed himself and his nation on the global stage: "We may take up legislation related to this. In the meantime, I think the Russians need to know there's a lot of us who fully understand what happened in 2016, and it really better not happen again in 2018.” [Emphasis added.] Mitch McConnell should know. After all, he was one of the Gang of 8 Congressional leaders briefed by the Obama White House in August 2016 on the strategy and scope of the Kremlin’s cyber-aggression designed to tilt the presidential election to the Republican Donald Trump. But McConnell chose partisan advantage over patriotism, warning Obama of hell to pay from the right if the president went public about the Russian attacks. Of course, it was hardly the first time that right-wing rage—or even just the threat of it—led American policymakers and law enforcement officials to backtrack, change course, or just remain silent. After all, in 2016 former FBI Director James Comey went public with the Bureau’s investigations of Hillary Clinton while withholding information about the growing Trump-Russia scandal, precisely because of the withering conservative hell storm he would face if did anything else. And as a quick glance back shows, from the fate of the Bush torture team and raising the debt ceiling to the battle over Obamacare and even the 2000 Florida recount, the focused fury and organized outrage of the ranting right led press and politicians alike to edit their options and alter history.
In the first episode of Season 3 on ABC’s hit TV show Scandal, Olivia Pope (Kerry Washington) gets an epic lecture from her father, Rowan (played by the brilliant Joe Morton). By this time in the fictional world created by writer Shonda Rhimes, the country knows what viewers have known since early in Season 1, that Olivia Pope is the mistress of the president of the United States. Rowan knows that the successful, overachieving daughter he raised is about to experience hell—not only for being outed as the woman who is sleeping with the married Republican president but also, or perhaps especially, because she is a black woman. As he addresses his soon-to-be-disgraced daughter, he reminds her of a lesson he taught her throughout her childhood: that she, as a black person, has to be twice as good as them (meaning white people) to get half as much as what they have. The show about politics and scandal in Washington, which ended its seven season run this April, was wildly unrealistic in so many ways—though in today’s political climate, the fictional world of Scandal seems way more normal and saner than our current reality. However, this particular scene and what Rowan was attempting to impart to Olivia is a concrete reality for many black people of a certain age who heard the exact same thing from our own parents.
Hope you like that flat interface style.
After largely bearish trade in the week-ended Friday, the key Indian equity indices would be driven by corporate earnings, futures and options (F&O) expiry and the rupee movement in the week ahead, analysts said.
Russia has left the top-30 list of top lenders to the United States by radically slashing US Treasury bills ownership. RT-polled analysts have shared their opinion on the move. Read Full Article at RT.com
Last week, the Sensex had hit an all-time high of 36,548.41, while the broader Nifty also reclaimed the 11,000-mark, touching a high of 11,078.30
More than half of top 500 listed cos will have to split CMD post to meet Sebi norms
Since charges are restricted to procedural lapses without any criminal intent, board will take a decision in that light
Snapcash ended up as a way to pay adult performers for private content over Snapchat, not just a way to split bills with friends. But Snapchat will abandon the peer-to-peer payment space on August 30th. Code buried in Snapchat’s Android app includes a “Snapcash deprecation message” that displays “Snapcash will no longer be available after […]
There was a time not so long ago when nine-figure venture capital rounds weren’t a near-daily feature of tech business news.
Data, they say, is the new oil, and open public data is the new commons. Give the people the facts, and they will use them to make informed decisions. Right? Except that’s not the bureaucratic instinct. Bureaucrats fear the free flow of information. And all too often they’ll try to quench it by intoning the […]
The blockchain is in the middle of a major hype cycle at the moment, and that makes it hard for many people to take it seriously, but if you look at the core digital ledger technology, there is tremendous potential to change the way we think about trust in business. Yet these are still extremely […]
Trill Project, founded by three high school girls, recently launched out of private beta to help people safely express themselves online. For those unfamiliar with the word “trill,” it’s a combination of “true” and “real.” An investor described it to me as a positive Yik Yak . Trill Project began as a community for teenagers, […]
Over the course of a weekend we got a glimpse at some of the coming seasons and movies for various sci-fi, superhero, and other types of highly-anticipated fan-favorite franchises from the San Diego Comic-Con this year. Here’s a quick selection of some of the ones shown over the weekend: Aquaman Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of […]
BOZEMAN, Mont. (AP) - A piece of Yellowstone National Park history has been purchased by an anonymous buyer at a Montana auction. The bright yellow touring bus was one of 27 vehicles used to carry visitors around Yellowstone. The Bozeman Daily Chronicle reports that the bus was donated to the ...
The Orville was one of last years biggest surprises. It was originally marketed as a parody of Star Trek, sort of a Family Guy in space, when it was really a loving homage. It was an earnest […] The post The Orville Brings a Much Better Trailer to SDCC appeared first on Geek.com.
LONDON (AP) - The British government is facing rising calls to liberalize abortion laws in Northern Ireland. More than 170 politicians called Sunday for action to be taken. The group included legislators from political parties in Britain, Ireland and Northern Ireland. They sent a letter to the Sunday Times to ...
JOHANNESBURG (AP) - South African police say gunmen have opened fire on a minibus carrying members of a taxi drivers' association, killing 11 people and critically wounding four others. Police Brig. Jay Naicker says the victims of the Saturday night attack had attended the funeral of a colleague and were ...
Today really was DC’s time to shine. They didn’t just kill it with their movie announcements, the Arrowverse had some big trailers too. DC closed out the day with a peek at Season […] The post The Flash Gets a New Villain and a Daughter at SDCC appeared first on Geek.com.
CINCINNATI (AP) Corey Dickerson homered for the fourth time in three days, and the Pittsburgh Pirates beat the Cincinnati Reds 9-2 on Sunday for their ninth straight victory.
Freddy Galvis had his second straight three-hit game back in Philadelphia and Tyson Ross ended a seven-start winless streak.
The Minnesota Vikings announced on Sunday that longtime NFL coach Tony Sparano has died at age 56, and the reaction from teams, coaches, players and executives shows just how respected he was across the league.Sparano, who is best known for his four-year stint as the Miami Dolphins’ head coach from 2008-2011, complained of chest pains last week and was admitted to the hospital on Thursday. He was released Friday after doctors conducted a series of tests, but he died Sunday morning. The NFL community was left stunned, and many paid tribute to the late coach. There were many more tributes, and they are sure to continue rolling in as people across the football world learn the tough news. Sparano leaves behind his wife, three children and four grandchildren.
Orioles second baseman Jonathan Schoop and right-handers Kevin Gausman and Dylan Bundy are drawing trade interest, according to Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com. The Braves have asked the Orioles about all three players, while the Brewers have inquired about Schoop and Gausman, and Kubatko confirms the Yankees’ previously reported interest in Gausman.Whether the Orioles are open to moving any of those players is unclear, but as a rebuilding team with the majors’ worst record (28-71), it stands to reason they’d listen to offers. Gausman and Bundy would likely bring back appealing returns, considering both the underwhelming trade market for starting pitchers and the fact that they’re affordable and controllable. The 27-year-old Gausman, who’s on a $5.6M salary, has two arbitration trips remaining. Bundy, 25, is much cheaper ($1.64M), and he’ll go through the first of three potential arbitration trips during the upcoming winter. Meanwhile, Schoop’s in his penultimate year of arbitration control and on an $8.5M sal