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Open thread for night owls: Facial recognition software to be installed in Lockport schools

The Buffalo News reports that come next fall, facial recognition software will be installed in all Lockport public schools. Lockport will spend $1.4 million of the state's money on the Aegis system, from SN Technologies of Ganonoque, Ont., in all 10 distric
Daily Kos

Open thread for night owls: Facial recognition software to be installed in Lockport schools

The Buffalo News reports that come next fall, facial recognition software will be installed in all Lockport public schools. Lockport will spend $1.4 million of the state's money on the Aegis system, from SN Technologies of Ganonoque, Ont., in all 10 district buildings this summer. It's part of a $2.75 million security system that includes 300 digital video cameras. [...] What it can do is alert officials if someone whose photo has been programmed into the system – a registered sex offender, wanted criminal, non-custodial parent, expelled student or disgruntled former employee – comes into range of one of the 300 high-resolution digital cameras. «A school is now a target, unfortunately,» said Robert L. LiPuma, Lockport's technology director. «Based on recommendations, things we saw, drills we did, pilots we did, we assessed all of that and we thought this was the best option, economically and responsibly, for the safety of our community.» If a known bad guy is spotted, or a gun or other weapon is visible to the system's cameras, the software could flash an alarm to any district officials connected to it, and also to police. In addition to scanning faces and objects in the school for known security threats, other administrators also anticipate using the cameras and algorithms to investigate breaches of school discipline. «If we had a student who committed some type of offense against the code of conduct, we can follow that student throughout the day to see maybe who they interacted with, where they were prior to the incident, where they went after the incident, so forensically we could also use the software in that capacity as well,» [Depew Superintendent Jeffrey R. Rabey] said. TOP COMMENTS • HIGH IMPACT STORIES • THE WEEK’S HIGH IMPACT STORIES TWEET OF THE DAY xLeading from behind: @realDonaldTrump cancels scheduled military exercise to appease North Korea.Could you imagine how Fox News would respond if Obama had allowed Kim Jong Un to dictate US military planning? https://t.co/o3Fum9UhVY— The Daily Edge (@TheDailyEdge) May 19, 2018 BLAST FROM THE PAST On this date at Daily Kos in 2004—Ahmed Chalabi Get a Night-time Visit: If it were not for all awfulness in the news coming out of Iraq, it would be almost impossible to suppress some glee at the fork-tongued Ahmed Chalabi’s current predicament. With a host of enemies in his homeland, and Bush allegedly telling King Abdullah he could “piss” on him, Chalabi now has to contend with armed searches of his house in the dead of the night.  As a result of the raid, Chalabi says he has cut off relations with the U.S.-guided Coalition Provisional Aurhority. «I am America's best friend in Iraq;” Chalabi said, and “if the CPA finds it necessary to direct an armed attack against my home, you can see the state of relations between the CPA and the Iraqi people.» Uh-huh. And I have a bridge over the Euphrates I’d like to sell you. Monday through Friday you can catch the Kagro in the Morning Show 9 AM ET by dropping in here, or you can download the Stitcher app (found in the app stores or at Stitcher.com), and find a live stream there, by searching for "Netroots Radio.” LINK TO DAILY KOS STORE

Why isn't the United States on the metric system?

My son recently asked me why the United States does not use the metric system, as that is all he uses in physics and chemistry classes. I am not sure he expected the answer I gave him. I was in middle school during the last push to put the United States on t
Daily Kos

Why isn't the United States on the metric system?

My son recently asked me why the United States does not use the metric system, as that is all he uses in physics and chemistry classes. I am not sure he expected the answer I gave him. I was in middle school during the last push to put the United States on the metric standard. But before I get to my time in Mrs. Rheumes 7th grade math class, I want to touch on the brief history of the metric system in America. The United States was one of the initial signatories to the Treaty of Meter in 1875.  To the Senate of the United States : I transmit to the Senate for consideration, with a view to ratification, a metric convention between the United States and certain foreign governments, signed at Paris, on the 20th of May, 1875, by Mr. E. B. Washburne, the minister of the United States at that capital, acting on behalf of this government, and by the representatives acting on behalf of the foreign powers therein mentioned. A copy of certain papers on the subject, mentioned in the subjoined list, is also transmitted for the information of the Senate. U. S. GRANT. But yet, the United States did not switch over to the metric system in 1875, and it would not be until 1975 when President Ford signed the Metric Conversion Act before it was considered.  1274.206 Metric Conversion Act. The Metric Conversion Act, as amended by the Omnibus Trade and Competitiveness Act declares that the metric system is the preferred measurement system for U.S. trade and commerce. NASA's policy with respect to the metric measurement system is stated in NPD 8010.2, Use of the Metric System of Measurement in NASA Programs.

No need for Democrats to fear their progressive wing: join it, instead

Last Tuesday's primary elections were a near-perfect day for progressives. They won races in Pennsylvania, Nebraska, Idaho, and Oregon. Should this outcome worry rank-and-file Democrats? The answer is a categorical no—and here is why. The progressive wing
Daily Kos

No need for Democrats to fear their progressive wing: join it, instead

Last Tuesday's primary elections were a near-perfect day for progressives. They won races in Pennsylvania, Nebraska, Idaho, and Oregon. Should this outcome worry rank-and-file Democrats? The answer is a categorical no—and here is why. The progressive wing is living up to the spirit of the Democratic Party platform. Tempering candidates’ progressive views is not only hypocritical, it also reveals that there is no intent to live up to the party’s stated tenets. When one reads the following in the Washington Post, it’s not difficult to understand why many get upset at those who believe they are ordained to determine the choice of candidates for Democrats. And how did the Post characterize Tuesday's good news? They titled their piece, «The far left is winning the Democratic civil war.» Worse, they subtitled it «Tuesday was a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day for Democratic moderates.» And then the preamble to the article: The success of very liberal candidates in primaries across four states is causing a new bout of heartburn among party strategists in Washington, who worry about unelectable activists thwarting their drive for the House majority. But it also reflects a broader leftward lurch among Democrats across the country since President Trump took office. Let's be clear: progressives are definitely not far left. Bill Clinton's Democratic Leadership Council, the DLC, moved the Democratic Party to the right. The fallacy has always been that said rightward move gave us the Bill Clinton presidency. The reality is that President Bill Clinton, the rightward Democrat, never got 50 percent of the vote in either one of his elections. Many will attribute that reality to a fairly strong third-party candidate, and that is hogwash. Americans know that either a Republican or Democrat will win, and make statements with their vote. For example: President Barack Obama, the leftward black candidate in a still-racist society, got more than 50 percent of the vote in both of his elections. During the Obama campaign, smack in the middle of white, working-class America, a canvasser asked a white family who they were voting for in the election. The wife asked her husband (strange, I know) and he shouted, “We’re voting for the n*gger!” This is telling. These people were at the point where they were voting based strictly on their personal economies. It superseded their racism, just like fear breeds camaraderie in a foxhole.

Rosenstein responds to Trump: We need to know if 'anyone' infiltrated a presidential campaign

Earlier today Donald Trump sent a furious tweet in which he «hereby demand[ed], and will do so officially tomorrow,» that the Department of Justice examine whether the government «infiltrated or surveilled the Trump Campaign for Political Pu
Daily Kos

Rosenstein responds to Trump: We need to know if 'anyone' infiltrated a presidential campaign

Earlier today Donald Trump sent a furious tweet in which he «hereby demand[ed], and will do so officially tomorrow,» that the Department of Justice examine whether the government «infiltrated or surveilled the Trump Campaign for Political Purposes.» Rather than waiting for Trump to hereby-officially his way into making it another Constitutional crisis tomorrow, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein quickly took the liberty of dumping that Twitter request into the Inspector General's office, where investibations into similar alleged misdeeds peddled by Trump-allied House Republicans have been already churning away. In response to the President's tweet calling for an investigation into whether or not the FBI/DOJ infiltrated or surveilled the Trump Campaign, Department of Justice Spokesperson Sarah Isgur has release this statement: The Department has asked the Inspector General to expand the ongoing review of the FISA application process to include determining whether there was any impropriety or political motivation in how the FBI conducted its counterintelligence investigation of persons suspected of involvement with the Russian agents who interfered in the 2016 presidential election. As always, the Inspector General will consult with the appropriate U.S. Attorney if there is any evidence of potential criminal conduct. You may choose to read something into the Justice Department statement specifically calling out that what Trump has been so vociferously objecting to is a counterintelligence investigation of persons suspected of involvement with Russian agents. The Justice Department statement appears to be emphasizing this even though it did not have to, but in fact the “surveillance” Trump is speaking of, and made furious by, was apparently instigated due to suspicious and possibly ongoing ties between several of Trump’s campaign aides and agents of a hostile foreign power. The Deputy Attorney General issued the following statement: «If anyone did infiltrate or surveil participants in a presidential campaign for inappropriate purposes, we need to know about it and take appropriate action.» You may choose to read something into Rosenstein using the word anyone there, in that «we need to know» whether anyone infiltrated or surveilled «participants in a presidential campaign.» Rosenstein did not limit his statement to Trump’s specific complaint of alleged surveillance by the Department of Justice, but crafted a terse statement against anyone who might «surveil» a campaign, and he did not specifically mention the Trump campaign but instead issued a statement equally applicable to each campaign.

The Republican solution to mass murders: America as police state

In the aftermath of yet another mass murder in an American school, the National Rifle Association and their apologists are out in full force with explanations of why such gun violence continues to happen in the United States—and only in the United States.
Daily Kos

The Republican solution to mass murders: America as police state

In the aftermath of yet another mass murder in an American school, the National Rifle Association and their apologists are out in full force with explanations of why such gun violence continues to happen in the United States—and only in the United States. According to international arms smuggler Oliver North, the soon-to-be NRA president, the problem is television ... and Ritalin. And they've come through a culture where violence is commonplace. All we need to do is turn on the TV, go to a movie. If you look at what has happened to young people, many of these young boys have been on Ritalin since they were in kindergarten. Now I am certainly not a doctor, I'm a [traitor], but I can see those kinds of things happening and endangering those two gals and their siblings. According to NRA shouting parrot Dana Loesch, the problem is the media. «[The media] has got to stop creating more of these monsters by oversaturation,» Loesch said on NRATV. According to Fox News talking head Howard Safir, the problem is «Common Core». Something that I don’t think anybody has mentioned and it’s probably not going to be popular, but we have to look at this Common Core curriculum, which takes emotionally disturbed kids and learning disabled kids and mainstream them in to the general population of students where they really don't get the kind of attention they need. According to Fox News talking head and ex-House Republican Jason Chaffetz, the problem is politically correct culture.

No, Rudy Giuliani doesn't have a clue when investigators will end Trump probe

This is bunk. The special counsel plans to finish by Sept. 1 its investigation into whether President Trump obstructed the Russia inquiry, according to the president’s lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani, who said on Sunday that waiting any longer would risk improp
Daily Kos

No, Rudy Giuliani doesn't have a clue when investigators will end Trump probe

This is bunk. The special counsel plans to finish by Sept. 1 its investigation into whether President Trump obstructed the Russia inquiry, according to the president’s lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani, who said on Sunday that waiting any longer would risk improperly influencing voters in the midterm elections in November. It's bunk. New Trump «lawyer» Rudy Giuliani can say that all he likes, but the special counsel is not obligated to wrap up his investigation into Russian espionage efforts against the United States, or possible assistance given to those espionage efforts by U.S. persons, or whether Trump himself sought to obstruct that investigation, in order to not make Donald Trump and his allies feel bad during the upcoming midterms. Every similarly-calibered investigation, and a great many far more stupid ones, has taken longer. Each of Trump's lawyers has attempted to keep their ranting client in check by promising him the investigation will be wrapped up Any Day Now. It has been used to try to prevent Trump from further interfering with the investigation or from doing something that, even with Republican control, would get the cretin impeached. It will be used again. The New York Times does not delve too deeply into any of the flaws of Giuliani's pronouncements; they merely repeat that he said them. But Rudy Giuliani is a liar; that Rudy Giuliani is claiming the special counsel's team has told him this or that is only news in that it provides a window into what Rudy Giuliani thinks is, on any given day, the most pressing issue for his new client. And right now his client wants the investigation into his campaign to go away, right now, this moment, before any other potentially criminal acts are exposed. Erik Prince, the private security contractor and the former head of Blackwater, arranged the meeting, which took place on Aug. 3, 2016. The emissary, George Nader, told Donald Trump Jr. that the princes who led Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates were eager to help his father win election as president. The social media specialist, Joel Zamel, extolled his company’s ability to give an edge to a political campaign; by that time, the firm had already drawn up a multimillion-dollar proposal for a social media manipulation effort to help elect Mr. Trump. That revelation is what launched Trump's Twitter tirade this morning. His team, and his son, now have to defend themselves from charges that they sought to accept the assistance of not just one, but at least three foreign powers during the 2016 campaign. He is therefore melting into a toxic puddle, and Rudy Giuliani's most pressing Sunday task is to keep his charge from doing something blatantly illegal or pigheadedly dictatorial as retaliation. And he is, it should be noted, failing.

Right wing tries again to divide black and Jewish Democrats by hyping Farrakhan and anti-Semitism

If there’s one charge Republicans are desperate to make stick, it’s that Democrats—and black Democrats in particular—have an anti-Semitism problem. Doing so is central to their efforts to peel off Jewish support for the Democratic Party (which typical
Daily Kos

Right wing tries again to divide black and Jewish Democrats by hyping Farrakhan and anti-Semitism

If there’s one charge Republicans are desperate to make stick, it’s that Democrats—and black Democrats in particular—have an anti-Semitism problem. Doing so is central to their efforts to peel off Jewish support for the Democratic Party (which typically comes in at about 75 percent in elections for federal office, including that of president). It’s also crucial to muddying the waters more broadly on the matter of the Republican Party—in particular under Donald Trump—being the party of racism and/or white nationalism. Charging Democrats with being at least too comfortable with anti-Semitism aids GOP efforts to claim that both parties supposedly have a problem with bigotry. One other thing the Trump-led Republican Party is doing is cozying up to the right-wing government of Israel. This past Monday, the U.S. officially opened its embassy in Jerusalem, fulfilling a long-held desire of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. It’s no coincidence that just a couple of days beforehand, the conservative “news” website Daily Wire ran an article about Democratic National Committee Vice Chair Rep. Keith Ellison, Louis Farrakhan, and anti-Semitism, despite the fact that there had been no new news on this issue over the previous few weeks. This push was all about combining the two stories in order to multiply their impact on public opinion, to spread their message more effectively: Democrats are against Jews, Republicans are for Jews. Therefore, Jews should be Republican. The Daily Wire article was in large part a reaction to remarks Ellison made about Louis Farrakhan and anti-Semitism at a Harvard Law Forum on April 2, during which he stated: “It is frustrating to be pulled out and … it’s like it’s your daily moment to denounce anti-Semitism. We denounce it. We absolutely denounce it. We think it is reprehensible, murderous, and genocidal. And it offends me that anyone would insist that I do it one more time.” Articles about Ellison’s remarks ran that week in various outlets. Nothing either mentioned or linked to in the May 11 Daily Wire article (which got over 25,000 views) is from later than the first week in April. This was a rehash job through and through. Despite that, the article tries to pretend that something new had happened: Now [Ellison]’s acting offended by charges over his ties with Farrakhan, complaining that the accusations of anti-Semitism are a “smear.” Now? Now? I guess if by “now” the author, Hank Berrien, meant “39 days ago,” then, well, sure. In an age when the head of the Republican Party says, to paraphrase Annie Lennox of the Eurythmics, “something that wasn’t true” 6.5 times a day, then what the hell, right?

Swamp things

It seemed odd when Trump decided to intervene on behalf of a questionable Chinese tech giant, particularly given the company's flouting of Iran sanctions, and even more particularly given that his new National Security Advisor John Bolton was suggesting that
Daily Kos

Swamp things

It seemed odd when Trump decided to intervene on behalf of a questionable Chinese tech giant, particularly given the company's flouting of Iran sanctions, and even more particularly given that his new National Security Advisor John Bolton was suggesting that Europe might be sanctioned if they didn't join Trump in violating the Iran deal. But nothing is odd with Trump. The normal would be odd. The rational would be odd. The ethical would be odd. Defending the national and public interests would be odd. Proving a hypocrite on Iran is not odd. Pissing off important traditional allies is not odd. This is Trump. But still people wondered why Trump would step up to protect a Chinese conglomerate. And it didn't take long for an obvious answer to appear. And with Trump it was the most obvious of obvious answers. Because Trump cares not only first and foremost but exclusively about Trump. If there's a quo, there must be a quid. A very big quid: A mere 72 hours after the Chinese government agreed to put a half-billion dollars into an Indonesian project that will personally enrich Donald Trump, the president ordered a bailout for a Chinese-government-owned cellphone maker. “President Xi of China, and I, are working together to give massive Chinese phone company, ZTE, a way to get back into business, fast,” Trump announced on Twitter Sunday morning. “Too many jobs in China lost. Commerce Department has been instructed to get it done!” Trump did not mention in that tweet or its follow-ups that on Thursday, the developer of a theme park resort outside of Jakarta had signed a deal to receive as much as $500 million in Chinese government loans, as well as another $500 million from Chinese banks, according to Agence France-Presse. Trump’s family business, the Trump Organization, has a deal to license the Trump name to the resort, which includes a golf course and hotels. In any other administration that would have been a political bombshell. In any other administration, that would have dominated the news not only for days, but for the rest of what likely would have been its political death spiral. Had a president Hillary Clinton or President Barack Obama so obviously violated not only the emoluments clause of the Constitution but such basic standards of ethics, the Republican Congress would have immediately begun impeachment hearings. But with Trump, it's just another shrug. Because the Republican Congress has no basic standards of ethics. The Republican Congress doesn't care a whit about the Constitution.

Fascism Watch moves closer to midnight as Trump 'demands' investigations into political opponents

While much of the media continues to pretend that the nation would enter a constitutional crisis if Donald Trump were to fire Special Counsel Robert Mueller, the truth is the United States has been in a constitutional crisis since Trump’s election. A crisi
Daily Kos

Fascism Watch moves closer to midnight as Trump 'demands' investigations into political opponents

While much of the media continues to pretend that the nation would enter a constitutional crisis if Donald Trump were to fire Special Counsel Robert Mueller, the truth is the United States has been in a constitutional crisis since Trump’s election. A crisis in which conspiracy between domestic and foreign agents to alter the outcome of the election by using stolen information and planting false stories, has been compounded by obstruction of justice, the transformation of the Republican Party into a cult of personality, and a rapid decline of institutional power. Republicans, who have spent decades weakening the rules and traditions of the House and Senate, are working to tear down the last walls between those institutions and executive power, putting their personal support of Trump above all other considerations.  Both the Department of Justice and the FBI have been improbable bastions against Trump from the beginning. Not only are they directly under Trump’s command, with the DOJ operating under the first Senator to announce his support of Trump, there have been multiple demonstrations that the executive is willing to destroy the lives and careers of life-long public servants that don’t fall it line. It has taken extraordinary bravery for any agents or officers in either area to continue attempting as if the normal rules of law still applied. But Trump is making it clear that he intends to crush any remaining pockets of resistance and do to the FBI what he’s already done with ICE — turn it into an instrument of his capricious will. Meanwhile, House Republicans have only stepped up their support of Trump and joined in the attempt to rip open the FBI by publicly exposing intelligence sources at risk to lives and the security of the nation. As more revelations of corruption and conspiracy appear, Republicans are closing ranks around Trump, not the constitution or institutions of the nation. For all these reasons, the Fascism Watch moves two minutes closer to midnight. The United States is still in a constitutional crisis, but that crisis is now closer to be resolved in the form of an autocratic state.

Trump demands investigation into whether FBI 'infiltrated' his presidential campaign

After the news that counterintelligence efforts against Russian hackers included sending an informant to make contact with Trump campaign advisers whose Russian ties were under investigation, during the 2016 campaign, Donald Trump is now “hereby” orderin
Daily Kos

Trump demands investigation into whether FBI 'infiltrated' his presidential campaign

After the news that counterintelligence efforts against Russian hackers included sending an informant to make contact with Trump campaign advisers whose Russian ties were under investigation, during the 2016 campaign, Donald Trump is now “hereby” ordering his Department of Justice to investigate that counterintelligence effort. xI hereby demand, and will do so officially tomorrow, that the Department of Justice look into whether or not the FBI/DOJ infiltrated or surveilled the Trump Campaign for Political Purposes - and if any such demands or requests were made by people within the Obama Administration!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 20, 2018 The alleged informant, who is described by the New York Times as an “American academic who teaches in Britain”, made contact after campaign adviser George Papadopoulous bragged to others that Moscow had gathered “thousands of emails” that would be compromising to opponent Hillary Clinton—long before those emails were eventually made public. That admission is among the strongest currently public ties between the Russian hacking effort and members of the Trump presidential campaign. That Trump knows of the informant is due to the actions of House Republican Devin Nunes and his allies, who have been emphatic that the Department of Justice turn over top secret information about the investigation—information which reliably leaked into the public sphere, and to Trump himself, soon afterwards. Trump is now ordering the department to launch an investigation into the FBI’s probe of Russian influence. Previously, Donald Trump fired the director of the FBI after asking multiple members of the government to curtail their investigation of Trump adviser Michael Flynn. That Trump is willing to “officially” demand interference into the investigation of several other members of his campaign team’s contacts with Russian intelligence figures suggests similar motive; the sitting president seeks to sabotage the investigation into campaign collusion with a foreign intelligence service.

Why wrongful convictions are so common—and why prosecutors and police rarely apologize

In 1991, former New York Police Department detective Louis Scarcella set up a Brooklyn teenager, John Bunn, for the murder of off-duty corrections officer Rolando Neischer. The fingerprints from two bicycles found abandoned at the scene amidst blood didn’
Daily Kos

Why wrongful convictions are so common—and why prosecutors and police rarely apologize

In 1991, former New York Police Department detective Louis Scarcella set up a Brooklyn teenager, John Bunn, for the murder of off-duty corrections officer Rolando Neischer. The fingerprints from two bicycles found abandoned at the scene amidst blood didn’t match Bunn or his co-defendant. Just a single witness identified Bunn in a photo lineup; that witness was the only person to testify at the trial, which lasted just one day. Yet, at just 14 years old, Bunn was convicted of murder. Bunn served 17 years before winning parole in 2009. He didn’t get the right to a new trial until 2016. And it wasn’t until May 2018 that he was formally fully exonerated in an emotional court proceeding before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Shawn'Dya Simpson. Prosecutors refused to do more than announce they wouldn’t retry Bunn for the crime it’s now abundantly clear he didn’t commit. That refusal to acknowledge, much less apologize, inflicted a new hurt on Bunn: "They won't admit I'm an innocent man.” Prosecutors’ recalcitrance is particularly mystifying given ample proof of Scarcella’s illegal tactics for securing convictions. Derrick Hamilton served 21 years in prison for a friend’s Brooklyn murder despite the fact that Hamilton was in New Haven, Connecticut, that night, with witnesses to prove it. Why? The judge wouldn’t give the defense time to produce their witnesses, and Scarcella fabricated a witness for the prosecution. He threatened the victim’s girlfriend: he’d take her children and jail her for a parole violation if she didn’t say she’d seen Hamilton shoot her boyfriend in the chest. She’d later recant. It wasn’t until 2011 that Hamilton secured his release from the parole board with the assistance of a ‘post-conviction lawyer,’ Jonathan Edelstein, and a reporter willing to write about his case. Hamilton then fought for exoneration, arguing to a state appellate court that “actual innocence,” meaning the absence of evidence of a crime, should be grounds for vacating a sentence. He won, paving the way for other wrongfully convicted people in New York to pursue justice. It only takes one bad actor. Scarcella alone could have corrupted as many as 50 convictions in New York. He’s just one example of how one bad actor in the criminal justice process—or one faulty institution—can thwart justice for myriads.

Roger Stone says he may be indicted by Russia investigators for 'some extraneous crime'

While Donald Trump and his House Republican allies continue to act to sabotage the investigation into Russian election hacking and possible (at this point, likely) collaboration with those efforts from U.S. persons, Trump ally Roger Stone let on that he is fu
Daily Kos

Roger Stone says he may be indicted by Russia investigators for 'some extraneous crime'

While Donald Trump and his House Republican allies continue to act to sabotage the investigation into Russian election hacking and possible (at this point, likely) collaboration with those efforts from U.S. persons, Trump ally Roger Stone let on that he is fully expecting to be indicted as a result of that investigation. “I am prepared should that be the case,” Stone said on «Meet The Press» after being asked if he was ready for a possible indictment. “But I think it just demonstrates, again, this was supposed to be about Russian collusion, and it appears to be an effort to silence or punish the president’s supporters and his advocates.” Stone reiterated that he felt Mueller’s team has found “no evidence whatsoever of Russian collusion,” so he speculated that they may work to connect him to other crimes instead. “It is not inconceivable now that Mr. Mueller and his team may seek to conjure up some extraneous crime pertaining to my business, or maybe not even pertaining to the 2016 election,” Stone said. “I would chalk this up to an effort to silence me.” The phrase «extraneous crime» is a wonderful one. I did not collude with Russian operatives, but have a suspicion investigators are going to find out about some of my extraneous crimes seems, at this point, to be standard dinner table conversation for each member of Trump's team to be caught up in the investigation. From Flynn to Manafort to Stone, you can't toss a meatball without hitting a Trump aide square in the extraneous crimes. But there is indeed evidence tying Stone to Russian collusion—evidence that Stone bragged about, when it served his purposes, but has sought to distance himself from since. Stone himself appeared to brag of advance knowledge of the contents and planned release date of a trove of Democratic emails by Wikileaks, and communicated directly with «Guccifer 2.0», now known by intelligence officials to be a Russian military officer, about documents stolen from the DNC throughout the summer. The man was talking to a Russian hacker about the documents released by Russian hackers, but he's not worried about that; instead, his mind is focused on extraneous crime.

Meet the law enforcement allies in the fight for gun safety

When it comes to common-sense gun safety laws, at least some major players in law enforcement are on the same page as the rest of the country. The National Law Enforcement Partnership to Prevent Gun Violence is made up of nine different police leadership org
Daily Kos

Meet the law enforcement allies in the fight for gun safety

When it comes to common-sense gun safety laws, at least some major players in law enforcement are on the same page as the rest of the country. The National Law Enforcement Partnership to Prevent Gun Violence is made up of nine different police leadership organizations, including groups representing African-American, Hispanic, and women command officers. Its website lists several solutions that a growing number of Americans agree should be enacted: Requiring universal background checks for all gun purchasers. Strengthening NICS, the National Instant Criminal Background Check System. Limiting the size of high-capacity ammunition magazines to 10 rounds. Opposing federal preemption of state laws governing the carry of concealed weapons. Strengthening the penalties for straw purchases of guns. Making firearms trafficking a federal crime. Passing “red flag” laws, which allow officials to remove guns from people who threaten to commit violence against themselves or others. Seven of the nine groups also support banning the sale of new semi-automatic assault weapons. There are approximately 900,000 sworn police officers (meaning those with powers to make an arrest) in 18,000 police agencies in the United States, and they’ve got a variety of opinions on gun laws. Polling on what police think about gun safety laws specifically is spotty and varied. One poll reports that 82 percent of police chiefs favor background checks before any weapons purchase. Other polls say that 86 percent of police chiefs favor concealed carry, and that large numbers of rank-and-file police officers oppose bans on sales of high-capacity magazines. The most recent polling from the Pew Research Center shows that two-thirds of police oppose a ban on assault-style weapons, contrasted with a similar number of the public in favor of such a ban. What the National Law Enforcement Partnership group does, as its website says, is to “inform elected officials and the public of the policies we need to better protect our nation.” The partnership, which covers the majority of police command groups representing chiefs, executives, and command staff, supports progressive gun violence and firearm safety proposals. And although the partnership itself is nonpartisan, those proposals are coming from Democrats.

International Elections Digest: Opposition ends six decades of governing-party rule in Malaysia

Leading Off ● Malaysia – parliament (May 9) In a potentially groundbreaking development for Malaysian democracy, the opposition Pakatan Harapan alliance won a parliamentary majority for the first time ever in elections earlier this month, delivering a m
Daily Kos

International Elections Digest: Opposition ends six decades of governing-party rule in Malaysia

Leading Off ● Malaysia – parliament (May 9) In a potentially groundbreaking development for Malaysian democracy, the opposition Pakatan Harapan alliance won a parliamentary majority for the first time ever in elections earlier this month, delivering a major defeat to the right-of-center Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition, which has ruled the country ever since it won independence from the United Kingdom in 1957.​ Campaign Action ​This victory was particularly notable because BN had gone to the limit and beyond in a desperate effort to retain power: They threw opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim in prison on trumped-up sodomy charges for a second time; they gerrymandered electoral districts; and they even moved Election Day to a weekday from its traditional weekend date. But all this interference wasn't enough to save BN's majority. Two major factors led to the downfall of the ruling party. The first and most significant were the corruption allegations against incumbent Prime Minister Najib Razak. As part of the so-called 1MDB scandal, the Wall Street Journal revealed, $700 million dollars had been channeled into Najib's personal bank account from a state-owned investment firm. Najib implausibly claimed that the money was donated to him personally from Saudi Arabia as a thanks for fighting ISIS. He fired the attorney general when he started investigating the scandal and removed the country's deputy prime minister from his position when he criticized Najib. Najib was able to hold on to his position within his party and in parliament, but he lost the support of many working-class Malays, long the core of BN's support. The scandal led to the second big development in this election, the return of former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad. Mahathir led BN and governed Malaysia from 1981 to 2003 before retiring, but he returned to politics in 2017 after harshly criticizing Najib for the scandal and for refusing to step down. With opposition leader Anwar in prison, Mahathir became the leader of the Pakatan Harapan. This gave the opposition something it never could have developed on its own: a trusted, experience hand that all Malays would be comfortable voting for. Mahathir, despite being 92, was still an energetic campaigner and led Pakatan Harapan to 48 percent of the vote and 121 of 222 seats in parliament. Upon getting sworn in as prime minister, he became the oldest head of government in the world. BN, meanwhile, won just 79 seats and 34 percent of the vote, and Najib resigned as head of the party. He has since been barred from leaving the country as the investigation into him has resumed. (An Islamist alliance won 18 seats with the remaining 17 percent of the vote.)

Another death blow to Puerto Rico: FCC plans to cut Lifeline phones as hurricane season draws near

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is planning to close the doors of opportunity, and perhaps even to survival for people in Puerto Rico, and others here on the mainland who depend upon the Lifeline phone program. Plans to make major cuts to Lifeline
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Another death blow to Puerto Rico: FCC plans to cut Lifeline phones as hurricane season draws near

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is planning to close the doors of opportunity, and perhaps even to survival for people in Puerto Rico, and others here on the mainland who depend upon the Lifeline phone program. Plans to make major cuts to Lifeline, at a time when the next hurricane season is only a few weeks away, are actually a matter of life or death for the 369,000 customers on the island: The Lifeline program, created in 1985 during the Reagan administration, is the only federal program that helps connect poor and marginalized communities to telecommunications services. Lifeline provides access to affordable broadband and voice for nearly 13 million Americans by providing a modest subsidy of $9.25 a month to help ease the high-cost of communications for individuals and families living on the margins, providing a means to participate in our digital society. Despite the positive role Lifeline played to assist victims of Hurricane Katrina, the Trump administration’s FCC has proposed changes that would sharply alter the purpose and scope of the program, further antagonizing hurricane victims who are still struggling to rebuild. Before the catastrophic 2017 hurricane season, over 500,000 island households relied on the Lifeline program to stay connected. After the storms, 95.6 percent of cell sites in Puerto Rico were out of service. Although the number has been reduced to 4.2 percent of cell sites, access to Lifeline is instrumental in helping Puerto Ricans recover and rebuild. The FCC’s proposals cruelly and inexplicably threaten to disconnect over 369,000 Lifeline customers in Puerto Rico alone. The FCC’s justification for these proposals relies on the pretext that the changes would stimulate investment in broadband networks; but there simply is no evidence that these changes would bring such a result. To the contrary, they would be counterproductive. What is abundantly clear is that the FCC proposals would not only result in unnecessary hardships to Puerto Ricans, Texans, and Floridians impacted by the 2017 hurricanes, but particularly harm low-income Americans across the United States.

Abbreviated Pundit Round-up: Trump Tower Two, cruelty lessons, and the spiritual cost of hate

This is one of those weekends where the news is unfolding rapidly, shaking things up well after the pundits parked their pens and went off to spend a weekend in the mountains, or on the beach, or down a bottle. Articles from the New York Times have revealed t
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Abbreviated Pundit Round-up: Trump Tower Two, cruelty lessons, and the spiritual cost of hate

This is one of those weekends where the news is unfolding rapidly, shaking things up well after the pundits parked their pens and went off to spend a weekend in the mountains, or on the beach, or down a bottle. Articles from the New York Times have revealed that the infamous Trump Tower meeting … was one of a pair, if not a set. Donald Trump Jr hosted another meeting at the tower in which representatives from Saudi Arabia and the UAE, improbably teamed with an Israeli social media expert, offered to lend a considerable hand to the Trump campaign. The meeting was brokered by Erik Prince. Seychelles Erik Prince. Russian back-channel Erik Prince. I had no contact with the Trump campaign, Mr. Congressman, Erik Prince. Why is he still not in jail, Erik Prince. That meeting also became part of a chain that included a who’s-who of other Trump associates and Republican big-wigs. Including Jared Kushner. Including Michael Flynn. Including Elliot Broidy, the guy who coincidentally signed a contract with Michael Cohen also using the name David Dennison, to buy his way out of his affair.  While a lot of details are still to come out, this second Trump Tower meeting and its follow-ups certainly look like the world’s biggest shakedown — one in which Trump agreed to let the Saudis and UAE blockade Qatar, silence their enemies, and enrich themselves from rising oil prices. And for a finishing note, Jared Kushner got to lean on Qatar to the tune of $1.2 billion. The Saudis won, the UAE won, and Putin won … all making enormous profits. And Jared got his billion. But hey, that’s just one aspect of how this deal could have screwed the world. Just the surface of it. Because everything seems to be about 10 times as awful, and 100 times more blatant, than it previously seemed. And it was already hideous. That’s not even touching on how any of this affected the election. Did Erik Prince put in teams of social media special forces to help Trump? Did the Middle Eastern autocracies that Trump was so eager to assist after the election help to make sure he made it over the line? None of that is yet clear. What is clear is just how far we are from knowing everything that the Trump campaign managed to fit into a few brief months of graft, extortion, and conspiracy. Though of course, Rudy Giuliani will probably be on the tube any moment now to explain that none of this — from lying to congress to selling out American allies — is an issue. Because … It’s just not. After all, Giuliani’s job seems to be to transition Trump fans from “he didn’t do it” to “he did it, so what?” The skull-splitting details of this story, on the top of a week that ended with yet another school shooting in Texas, I mean Georgia, make that Texas and Georgia, may make it tough to get through the week’s pundits. So … feel free to engage in some punditry of you own. Just come on in.

Open thread for night owls: Plot thickens in story regarding second Trump Tower meeting

As noted at Daily Kos earlier Saturday, The New York Times broke a story today saying that there was a previously unknown meeting at Trump Tower in August 2016 in which Donald Trump Jr. met with Erik Prince of Blackwater notoriety, Joel Zamel, an Israeli spec
Daily Kos

Open thread for night owls: Plot thickens in story regarding second Trump Tower meeting

As noted at Daily Kos earlier Saturday, The New York Times broke a story today saying that there was a previously unknown meeting at Trump Tower in August 2016 in which Donald Trump Jr. met with Erik Prince of Blackwater notoriety, Joel Zamel, an Israeli specialist in social media manipulation, and an emissary of the crown princes of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Topic: Providing foreign assistance to get Trump Jr.’s dad elected to the highest office in the land. The folks at Just Security have since added to that story, pointing out that if Prince was at that meeting, if he did, in fact, help make that meeting happen, then he perjured himself in testimony under oath to the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence on November 30, 2017, claiming that he had had no formal communication with the Trump campaign. Here, at Twitter, is Ryan Goodman, the founding co-editor-in-chief of Just Security and a former special counsel to the Department of Defense: TOP COMMENTS • HIGH IMPACT STORIES TWEET OF THE DAY xBeaded cap at Little Wound High School graduation. Pic via Ellie Nora Rosa pic.twitter.com/47PBYB1VKj— Ruth H. Hopkins (@RuthHHopkins) May 19, 2018 BLAST FROM THE PAST On this date at Daily Kos in 2009—Gallup: Moderates, liberals flee GOP: Gallup is out with an interesting new survey showing where the Republican Party has lost the most ground over the past eight years, and conservatives aren't going to like what it reveals. The narrative spun by the Rush Limbaughs and Sean Hannitys and Dick Cheneys of the world is that the GOP's problem is that it hasn't been conservative enough, and that rather than moderate its policies, the GOP should focus its rebuilding efforts on the party's conservative base. But the Gallup survey tells a completely different story. According to Gallup, only 1 percent of self-described conservatives have left the Republican Party over the past eight years. In fact, the only group more loyal to Republicans were those who attend church weekly. Meanwhile, even as Republicans held their conservative base together, 9% of moderates and 8% of liberals left the party Monday through Friday you can catch the Kagro in the Morning Show 9 AM ET by dropping in here, or you can download the Stitcher app (found in the app stores or at Stitcher.com), and find a live stream there, by searching for "Netroots Radio.” LINK TO DAILY KOS STORE

One dead, two injured after Friday shooting at Georgia high school commencement; arrests made

Friday morning started with a school shooting that left 10 dead in Santa Fe, Texas, and it ended with deadly gunfire at a graduation in Jonesboro, Georgia, south of Atlanta.  One woman was killed and another was injured when gunfire was exchanged around
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One dead, two injured after Friday shooting at Georgia high school commencement; arrests made

Friday morning started with a school shooting that left 10 dead in Santa Fe, Texas, and it ended with deadly gunfire at a graduation in Jonesboro, Georgia, south of Atlanta.  One woman was killed and another was injured when gunfire was exchanged around 8 p.m. The lot at Mt. Zion High School was being used as overflow parking for the Perry Career Academy graduation at the Clayton County Performing Arts Center, which is across the street on Mount Zion Parkway. Perry Career Academy is an alternative high school in Jonesboro. The ceremony had recently ended when the women were shot, but the incident was not related to the graduation or the high school, according to the school district. Authorities say the shooting broke out after an argument between different groups in the parking lot. None of the victims have been identified, but those still alive are expected to recover. Officials said a 21-year-old victim was taken to Atlanta Medical Center with gunshot wounds to the leg, while another woman was taken to Piedmont Henry Hospital. Officials said that woman, who was pregnant, was not shot rather she was hurt when she was pushed. A third victim, a woman in her 40s, was taken to Southern Regional, but was later pronounced dead. Officials said she was shot three times in the chest. On Saturday, the Clayton County sheriff’s office announced two arrests in the shooting, but declined to release the suspects’ names while charges are pending.

One little tweet was all it took for the American Atheists to change their position on hell

Maggie Haberman of the New York Times reported the United Talent Agency has pitched a reboot of the political talk show Crossfire to network executives. The show would feature the banter of Anthony Scaramucci, the man who was fired from the White House bef
Daily Kos

One little tweet was all it took for the American Atheists to change their position on hell

Maggie Haberman of the New York Times reported the United Talent Agency has pitched a reboot of the political talk show Crossfire to network executives. The show would feature the banter of Anthony Scaramucci, the man who was fired from the White House before his actual start date, and Michael Avenatti, the increasingly camera-friendly attorney for adult film star Stormy Daniels.  The reaction on Twitter was swift—and took a rather surprising twist: xOmg pic.twitter.com/jyaoGmvttO— Ben Smith (@BenSmithDC) May 17, 2018 Thanks for the laugh! Most of the reaction to a possible Scaramucci vs. Avenatti show was a giant NOPE.

Nuts & Bolts: Inside Democratic campaigns—Donor maintenance

Welcome back, Saturday Campaign D-I-Yers! For those who tune in, welcome to the Nuts & Bolts of a Democratic campaign. Each week, we discuss issues that help drive successful campaigns. If you’ve missed prior diaries, please visit our group or follow N
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Nuts & Bolts: Inside Democratic campaigns—Donor maintenance

Welcome back, Saturday Campaign D-I-Yers! For those who tune in, welcome to the Nuts & Bolts of a Democratic campaign. Each week, we discuss issues that help drive successful campaigns. If you’ve missed prior diaries, please visit our group or follow Nuts & Bolts Guide. We’re going back to a topic that has come up several times on Nuts & Bolts, because it is one of the questions that comes up most frequently from readers: How do you handle donors? This is a tough issue for many because there are a lot of misunderstandings about how to handle and treat donors to campaigns and political organizations, and several of those misunderstandings can harm your candidate or organization. We covered a large amount of this topic previously, in Nuts & Bolts: Care and feeding of donors. Now, though, I want to talk about relationship-building.

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