Today's News (2020/2/23)

Bit of a delay there, sorry for that. Here's the news. What is it with Republicans and shoplifting, anyway?


Anti-Trump protester arrested on ‘blatantly false’ charge reaches $105,000 settlement with WSP
Feb. 20, 2020 at 6:05 pm
By Mike Carter
Seattle Times staff reporter


The Washington State Patrol (WSP) has agreed to pay $105,000 to settle a civil-rights lawsuit filed by a man who claimed he was wrongly accused of assaulting a state trooper during a 2017 protest against President Donald Trump in downtown Olympia.

Kieran Moulton Shell claimed in a federal lawsuit filed last year that he was the “victim of a blatantly false pretextual” arrest during competing pro- and anti-Trump rallies held March 4, 2017, at Heritage Park.


In May 2017, two months after his arrest, Shell’s public defender filed a motion in Thurston County Superior Court seeking to dismiss the assault charge. He provided videos from the WSP, the prosecutor’s office and local media “that clearly showed Shell could not have committed the assault and that Alexander, Wright and Rosser knew exactly where Shell was when the alleged assault occurred.” Meanwhile, an investigation by the prosecutor’s office and detectives from the WSP was completed in June and concluded that Shell “did not and could not” have assaulted the trooper in Heritage Park.


Efforts to expel Rep. Shea from Washington Legislature ended
By Associated Press
Published: February 21, 2020


SPOKANE — Efforts to expel a controversial state representative from the Washington Legislature are likely over after no Republicans would sign a letter calling for state Rep. Matt Shea’s expulsion.

The Spokesman-Review reports that all 98 members of the state House of Representatives were asked Thursday to sign a letter calling for the expulsion of Spokane Valley Republican. All 56 Democrats signed the letter, but no Republicans did.

Democratic Rep. Tana Senn, one of the authors of the letter, says it likely signals the end of any effort to remove Shea from his seat.

The letter asked Democratic Speaker Laurie Jinkins and Minority Leader J.T. Wilcox to take the necessary steps to begin expulsion, although that process is not spelled out anywhere.

It cites the conclusions of an independent investigation by the Rampart Group, which alleged Shea was involved in planning political violence. Shea has denied the allegations and said he wants a chance to call witnesses to prove the allegations false. But he did not agree to be interviewed by the investigators, which the letter to leadership notes. He has refused calls from leaders of both parties to resign.


[Bloomberg's bought a Twitterbot army, and Twitter just shut down 70 of them.

Example here of a small swarm:



Twitter is suspending 70 pro-Bloomberg accounts, citing ‘platform manipulation’


By Suhauna Hussain, Jeff Bercovici
Feb. 21, 2020
9:40 PM

Michael R. Bloomberg’s presidential campaign has been experimenting with novel tactics to cultivate an online following, or at least the appearance of one.

But one of the strategies — deploying a large number of Twitter accounts to push out identical messages — has backfired. On Friday, Twitter began suspending 70 accounts posting pro-Bloomberg content in a pattern that violates company rules.

“We have taken enforcement action on a group of accounts for violating our rules against platform manipulation and spam,” a Twitter spokesman said. Some of the suspensions will be permanent, while in other cases account owners will have to verify they have control of their accounts.


Trump wants to block Bolton’s book, claiming most conversations are classified


Josh Dawsey,
Tom Hamburger and
Carol D. Leonnig
Feb. 21, 2020 at 4:46 p.m. PST

President Trump has directly weighed in on the White House review of a forthcoming book by his former national security adviser, telling his staff that he views John Bolton as “a traitor,” that everything he uttered to the departed aide about national security is classified and that he will seek to block the book’s publication, according to two people familiar with the conversations.


Trump Gives Defense Department Power To Abolish Bargaining For Civilian Unions
Mary Papenfuss
February 21, 2020


President Donald Trump has officially granted the Department of Defense the legal authority to abolish the collective bargaining rights of its civilian labor unions representing some 750,000 workers.

Gutting the unions would provide “maximum flexibility,” Trump wrote in a memo published Thursday in the Federal Register, which was first reported by Government Executive.

Trump signed the memo three weeks ago, invoking “national security” to justify granting the Defense Department an exemption from the law giving all federal workers the right to unionize.


Tim Eyman violated campaign finance law, concealed payments, judge rules
Feb. 21, 2020


By David Gutman
Seattle Times staff reporter

Tim Eyman has been in violation of Washington campaign finance laws for at least the last seven years, concealing nearly $800,000 in political contributions, a Thurston County Superior Court judge ruled Friday.

Since 2012, Judge James Dixon ruled, Eyman has raised more than $766,000 to compensate himself for the political work he does — serially running anti-tax ballot initiatives. But he didn’t report any of that money to the Washington Public Disclosure Commission, as is required for political donations.

“Undisputed fact establishes that Defendant Eyman has an expectation of receiving funds toward electoral goals, which requires reporting,” Dixon wrote in granting partial summary judgment to Attorney General Bob Ferguson, in his long-running lawsuit against Eyman. “This Court hereby finds that Defendant Eyman is a ‘continuing political committee’ as that term is defined” in state law.


Armed Gun Rights Activist Turns up at House of Lawmaker Who Sponsored Weapon Restriction Bill: 'We Know Where You Live'
By Brendan Cole On 2/19/20


A guns rights advocate angered by the prospect of tougher arms laws in Virginia turned up to the house of the lawmaker who sponsored the legislation armed with two semi-automatic weapons.

Hopewell GOP Chairman and founder of Right to Bear Arms Virginia, Brandon Howard, brought a Rock Island VR60 12-gauge shotgun and a Bersa .380 Thunder handgun and as a protest, stood in front of the Alexandria house of Democrat delegate Mark Levine, The Washington Post reported.


In speech, Mulvaney says Republicans are hypocritical on deficits


Josh Dawsey
Feb. 19, 2020 at 7:30 p.m. PST

Acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney said Wednesday night that the Republican Party is hypocritical when it comes to deficits, according to audio of an overseas speech obtained by The Washington Post.

“My party is very interested in deficits when there is a Democrat in the White House. The worst thing in the whole world is deficits when Barack Obama was the president. Then Donald Trump became president, and we’re a lot less interested as a party,” Mulvaney said at the Oxford Union to a group of several hundred people.

Mulvaney, who ran the Office of Management and Budget before taking the acting chief of staff role, said he found the growing deficit — which reached almost $1 trillion in 2019, soaring in the Trump era – “extraordinarily disturbing” but that neither party, nor voters, cared much about it. Republicans, he said, were “evolving” since Trump became president.


What national security adviser Robert O'Brien is saying about Russia briefing 'conflicts' with what lawmakers were told
By Jim Acosta, Zachary Cohen, Jake Tapper and Jason Hoffman, CNN
Updated 11:00 AM EST, Sun February 23, 2020


(CNN) National security adviser Robert O'Brien pushed back Saturday on information relayed to members of the House Intelligence Committee maintaining Russia is interfering in the 2020 election in order to benefit President Donald Trump.

O' Brien said he has seen no intelligence or analysis to support that claim, but a source told CNN that the intelligence assessment is not that cut and dry.

"The intelligence is that there is no preference right now," the official said. "Not Bernie (Sanders), not Trump," a senior national security official said.

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Trying to remember a name.

Need a little help.

In the late 1990s, a Russian ultra-rightist political theorist was going on about how the US was about as ripe for being pulled apart as the USSR had been, with the fault lines being racism and the lever being white racism in particular. I noted it at the time, discussed it with some people...

...but I can't remember his name to save my life.


eta: I think it was Igor Panarin.

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Today's News (2020/02/20) Late Edition

Trump's own acting Director of National Intelligence told Congress Russia - as has already been said - is acting in the 2020 election as it did in 2016, this time to keep Trump in office.

Trump fired him and is replacing him with a loyalist who has no intelligence experience.

This is straight up subversion. In public.


Lawmakers Are Warned That Russia Is Meddling to Re-elect Trump

A classified briefing to House members is said to have angered the president, who complained that Democrats would “weaponize” the disclosure.


WASHINGTON — Intelligence officials warned House lawmakers last week that Russia was interfering in the 2020 campaign to try to get President Trump re-elected, five people familiar with the matter said, a disclosure to Congress that angered Mr. Trump, who complained that Democrats would use it against him.

The day after the Feb. 13 briefing to lawmakers, the president berated Joseph Maguire, the outgoing acting director of national intelligence, for allowing it to take place, people familiar with the exchange said. Mr. Trump was particularly irritated that Representative Adam B. Schiff, Democrat of California and the leader of the impeachment proceedings, was at the briefing.

During the briefing to the House Intelligence Committee, Mr. Trump’s allies challenged the conclusions, arguing that he had been tough on Russia and that he had strengthened European security.


After a congressional briefing on election threats, Trump soured on acting spy chief
By Ellen Nakashima, Shane Harris and Josh Dawsey
Feb. 20, 2020


President Trump erupted at his acting director of national intelligence, Joseph Maguire, in the Oval Office last week over what he perceived as disloyalty by Maguire’s staff, which ruined Maguire’s chances of becoming the permanent intelligence chief, according to people familiar with the matter.

Trump announced on Wednesday that he was replacing Maguire with a vocal loyalist, Richard Grenell, who is the U.S. ambassador to Germany.

Maguire had been considered a leading candidate to be nominated for the post of DNI, White House aides had said. But Trump’s opinion shifted last week when he heard from a GOP ally that the intelligence official in charge of election security, who works for Maguire, gave a classified briefing last Thursday to the House Intelligence Committee on 2020 election security.

It is unclear what the official, Shelby Pierson, specifically said at the briefing that angered Trump, but the president erroneously believed that she had given information exclusively to Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.), the committee chairman, and that the information would be helpful to Democrats if it were released publicly, the people familiar with the matter said. Schiff was the lead impeachment manager, or prosecutor, during Trump’s Senate trial on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.


As acting DNI, Grenell would oversee the intelligence community’s efforts to combat election interference and disinformation, but he has been skeptical of Russia’s role in 2016.

“Russian or Russian-approved tactics like cyber warfare and campaigns of misinformation have been happening for decades,” he wrote in a 2016 opinion article for Fox News, playing down the severity of the threat. That view is at odds with the conclusions of senior U.S. intelligence officials, who have said Russia’s operation in 2016 was sweeping and systematic, and unlike previous Russian or Soviet efforts.

But Grenell’s view is in line with Trump’s assessment. The president has portrayed disinformation campaigns as commonplace and has compared Russia’s interventions to U.S. efforts to support democracy overseas.

Some lawmakers said that Grenell lacks the experience necessary for the job and have said his avid support for the president could impair his duty to speak candidly to Trump and represent the intelligence community as a nonpolitical body.


This Obscure Foundation Helped Fund The Alt-Right
By Sarah Jones - New York Magazine
18 February 2020


At first glance, Robert Rotella appears to be a typical libertarian donor. Through the foundation named in his honor, the Bellevue, Washington–based founder of Rotella Capital Management has donated millions to libertarian and conservative organizations like the Cato Institute, the Reason Foundation, and Turning Point USA. One of his particular favorites is the Institute for Justice. Since 2010, he has donated nearly a quarter of a million dollars to the group, and through it, he has helped set up a Supreme Court battle with dramatic implications for public schools. Justices heard Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue on Wednesday: the Institute for Justice had brought the case against the state of Montana in order to force it to include religious schools in its tax-credit scholarship program. The case has implications not just for the First Amendment but for teachers’ unions, who view it as yet another attempt to take precious resources away from public schools.

Rotella’s financial support for libertarian causes is enough to make him a consequential figure, but there’s another reason to know his name: A closer look at the financial records of the Robert P. Rotella Foundation, which he manages alongside his sister, Rosemarie, reveals that he isn’t just interested in right-to-work laws or free enterprise. He’s also a significant funder of white nationalism.

Of the $5.8 million the foundation has donated to various causes since 2002, roughly $105,000 has gone to organizations like the National Policy Institute, or NPI, which is led by neo-Nazi Richard Spencer. A comprehensive review of the foundation’s available 990 reports indicates that its financial support for white nationalism began in 2014 and continued through 2018. Though $105,000 is not an exceptionally large sum of money, white nationalist organizations are small, and it doesn’t take much money to keep them afloat. “Annual recurring donations are kind of where it’s at for these guys because they all have financial limits, imposed by federal law, on how large the donations can be,” explained David Neiwert, the author of Alt-America: The Rise of the Radical Right in the Age of Trump.


What is the 'boogaloo'? How online calls for a violent uprising are hitting the mainstream
The movement says it wants a second Civil War targeting liberal political opponents and law enforcement.
Feb. 19, 2020, 7:10 AM PST
By Brandy Zadrozny


An anti-government movement that advocates for a violent uprising targeting liberal political opponents and law enforcement has moved from the fringes of the internet into the mainstream and surged on social media in recent months, according to a group of researchers that tracks hate groups.

The movement, which says it wants a second Civil War organized around the term "boogaloo," includes groups on mainstream internet platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Reddit, as well as fringe websites including 4chan, according to a report released Tuesday night by the Network Contagion Research Institute (NCRI), an independent nonprofit of scientists and engineers that tracks and reports on misinformation and hate speech across social media.


"When you have people talking about and planning sedition and violence against minorities, police and public officials, we need to take their words seriously," said Goldenberg, who is also CEO of the security consulting company Cardinal Point Strategies.


Children stage mass-walkout after teachers were forced to quit for being gay
Jacob Geanous
Wednesday 19 Feb 2020 7:20 pm


Students at a Catholic school have walked out in protest at the resignations of two teachers who allegedly resigned because they were gay.

Paul Danforth and Michelle Beattie quit Kennedy Catholic High in Burien, Seattle, soon after getting engaged to their same sex partners. After hearing this, children staged a mass walk-out and many of them blocked the corridors.

They were said to have resigned ‘voluntarily’, but Paul’s fiance Sean Nyberg said he had been forced out soon after he proposed to him at Disneyland on November 1. Beattie had also recently got engaged to her same-sex partner.


Rohrabacher confirms he offered Trump pardon to Assange for proof Russia didn't hack DNC email
Michael Isikoff
Yahoo News
20 February 2020


WASHINGTON — Former California Republican congressman Dana Rohrabacher confirmed in a new interview that during a three-hour meeting at the Ecuadorian Embassy in August 2017, he told Julian Assange he would get President Trump to give him a pardon if he turned over information proving the Russians had not been the source of internal Democratic National Committee emails published by WikiLeaks.

In a phone interview with Yahoo News, Rohrabacher said his goal during the meeting was to find proof for a widely debunked conspiracy theory: that WikiLeaks’ real source for the DNC emails was not Russian intelligence agents, as U.S. officials have since concluded, but former DNC staffer Seth Rich, who was murdered on the streets of Washington in July 2016 in what police believe was a botched robbery.

A lawyer for Assange in London on Wednesday cited the pardon offer from Rohrabacher during a court hearing on the U.S. government’s request to extradite the WikiLeaks founder.

White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham immediately denounced the claim about a pardon discussion with Assange as a “complete fabrication,” adding that the president “barely knows Dana Rohrabacher” and has “never spoken to him on this subject or almost any subject.”


'Titanic, meet iceberg': Warren's 'devastating' takedown of Bloomberg goes viral
Allyson Chiu, Yahoo News
20 February 2020


It was open season on former New York mayor Mike Bloomberg during Wednesday night’s Democratic presidential debate in Las Vegas. But although all five other hopefuls took their shots, one person emerged as the leader of the onslaught: Sen. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.).

“Bloomberg went in as the Titanic — billion-dollar-machine Titanic,” CNN’s Van Jones said Wednesday night. “Titanic, meet iceberg Elizabeth Warren.”


Germany shooting: Investigation into 'deeply racist' gunman's links
20 February 2020


The investigation into a deadly gun attack in Hanau is focusing on whether others knew about or helped organise it, Germany's federal prosecutor says.

The suspect shot dead nine people "of migrant background" at two shisha bars on Wednesday evening. He and his mother were later found dead in his flat.

Peter Frank said material the suspect Tobias R had posted online showed a "deeply racist mindset".


Tobias R had posted videos and a kind of manifesto on his website, Mr Frank said.

In the manifesto he wrote that people from more than 20 countries including Turkey and Israel should be "destroyed", AFP reported.

London-based German counter-terrorism expert Peter Neumann said the text contained "various, but mostly extreme right views, with a do-it-yourself ideology cobbled together out of parts found on the internet".

"The pattern is clear, and not at all new," he added.

In her statement, Mrs Merkel said there were "many indications at the moment that the perpetrator acted on right-wing extremist, racist motives, out of hatred towards people of other origins, religion or appearance".


Trump calls for all cases stemming from Mueller probe to be 'thrown out'
February 18, 2020


WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump on Tuesday called for all cases stemming from Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election to be “thrown out” and suggested he could bring a lawsuit over the matter.

Trump made the comments hours before a telephone conference call between lawyers for the president’s former adviser, Roger Stone and prosecutors. Stone was convicted on seven counts of lying to the U.S. Congress, obstruction and witness tampering.

Prosecutors initially called for Stone to receive a prison sentence of between seven to nine years in the case but, after Trump publicly called the recommendation “unfair,” the Justice Department scaled it back. That sent shock waves through Washington and prompted all four prosecutors to quit the case and one to quit the agency.

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Today's News (2020/2/19)

The thing to remember from today's firehose is:

The Senate report on interference in the 2016 elections, as approved by the Republican-controlled Senate, clearly showed how it was Russian in origin, serving Russian purposes, and specifically helped Donald Trump.

No matter how hard they try to throw that down the memory hole now, remember.

The smaller point is that everything Assange's lawyer is saying is true, and we have Rohrabacher on tape talking about it in 2017 as something he was working on then. He frames it differently, but it's the same. damn. thing.

And now the news.


Trump Offered Assange Pardon if He Covered Up Russian Hack, WikiLeaks Founder’s Lawyer Claims

Lawyers acting for the WikiLeaks founder said Dana Rohrabacher, a former Republican congressman, had brought the message to London from Trump.
Nico Hines

London Editor
Updated Feb. 19, 2020 2:07PM ET


LONDON—A lawyer for Julian Assange has claimed in court that President Trump offered to pardon Assange if the WikiLeaks founder agreed to help cover up Russia’s involvement in hacking emails from the Democratic National Committee.

Assange’s lawyers said on Wednesday that former Republican congressman Dana Rohrabacher offered Assange the deal in 2017, a year after emails that damaged Hillary Clinton in the presidential race had been published. WikiLeaks posted the stolen DNC emails after they were hacked by Russian operatives.

The claim that Rohrabacher acted as an emissary for the White House came during a pre-extradition hearing in London.

Assange has argued that he should not be extradited to the U.S. because the American case against him is politically motivated. He spent almost seven years hiding in the Ecuadorian embassy in Central London claiming that he would be jailed in the U.S. if he wasn’t granted asylum. He was kicked out of the embassy last year.


Donald Trump 'offered Julian Assange a pardon if he denied Russia link to hack'
WikiLeaks published emails damaging to Hillary Clinton in 2016
Offer claim made at WikiLeaks founder’s extradition hearing

Donald Trump offered Julian Assange a pardon if he would say Russia was not involved in leaking Democratic party emails, a court in London has been told.

The extraordinary claim was made at Westminster magistrates court before the opening next week of Assange’s legal battle to block attempts to extradite him to the US.
Julian Assange: Australian MPs call on UK to block US extradition
Read more

Assange’s barrister, Edward Fitzgerald QC, referred to evidence alleging that the former US Republican congressman Dana Rohrabacher had been to see Assange, now 48, while he was still in the Ecuadorian embassy in August 2017.


White House spokeswoman, Stephanie Grisham, told reporters: “The president barely knows Dana Rohrabacher other than he’s an ex-congressman. He’s never spoken to him on this subject or almost any subject.”

“It is a complete fabrication and a total lie,” Grisham said. “This is probably another never ending hoax and total lie from the DNC.”

Trump, however, invited Rohrabacher to the White House in April 2017 after seeing the then congressman on Fox TV defending the president.

In September 2017, the White House confirmed that Rohrabacher had called the then chief of staff, John Kelly, to talk about a possible deal with Assange.

Rohrabacher told the Wall Street Journal that as part of the deal he was proposing, Assange would have to hand over a computer drive or other data storage device that would prove that Russia was not the source of the hacked emails.

“He would get nothing, obviously, if what he gave us was not proof,” Rohrabacher said.


Steven Portnoy


It seems like news today, but then-Rep. Rohrabacher went on camera and told our LA station in September 2017 that he was engaged in a "confidential interaction" with the WH on a pardon for Assange.



The EPA is about to change a rule cutting mercury pollution. The industry doesn’t want it.
By Juliet Eilperin and Brady Dennis
Feb. 17, 2020 at 3:00 a.m. PST


For more than three years, the Trump administration has prided itself on working with industry to unshackle companies from burdensome environmental regulations. But as the Environmental Protection Agency prepares to finalize the latest in a long line of rollbacks, the nation’s power sector has sent a different message:

Thanks, but no thanks.

Exelon, one of the nation’s largest utilities, told the EPA that its effort to change a rule that has cut emissions of mercury and other toxins is “an action that is entirely unnecessary, unreasonable, and universally opposed by the power generation sector.”


Sorry treatment of gay teachers suggests Rush Limbaugh was, sadly, right
Feb. 19, 2020 at 6:00 am
By Danny Westneat
Seattle Times columnist


Congrats, local Catholics. You have managed to demonstrate that Rush Limbaugh was right.

Just days after the right-wing radio bloviator declared that America is in no way ready for a gay, married president, the Catholic apparatus here in the allegedly not-backward Seattle region demonstrated it won’t even tolerate a gay, married English teacher.

“How’s this gonna look, a 37-year-old gay guy kissing his husband on stage next to Mr. Man, Donald Trump? What’s gonna happen there?” Limbaugh said last week, referring to Democratic candidate Pete Buttigieg. “America’s still not ready to elect a gay guy kissing his husband on the debate stage.”

Limbaugh, who said he was just imagining what freaked-out party bosses must be thinking, was roundly criticized for homophobia. Not to mention the irony of that slobbering nickname “Mr. Man,” as if the draft-dodging, thrice-married Trump embodies some sort of masculine ideal?

But then along comes Kennedy Catholic High School in Burien, with its parent, the Seattle Archdiocese, to push out two teachers in the middle of the school year for the crime of … getting engaged.


Bill Barr Is Not Quitting—He’s Doing Some Weapons-Grade Gaslighting of America
Don’t buy these crisis of conscience leaks. They’re all part of the plan—to give Barr even more latitude to provide cover for King Donald.
Rick Wilson, Editor-at-Large
Updated Feb. 19, 2020


No matter who sits in the Oval Office or which party controls Congress, the rules of one Washington, D.C., game never change: nothing draws nearly uncritical media coverage like the “crisis of conscience” leak.

The crisis of conscience leak is an old standby; the leader of an embattled agency or their deputies suddenly, shockingly discover that either the president or one of his policies is egregious, shocking, and wrong, wrong, wrongety wrong. Of course, they’re off the record or on background. Of course, the principal is portrayed as the sole man or woman of integrity left in a sea of corrupt, gibbering idiots who would happily sink the nation into a mire of corruption or submerge it into a sea of cleansing nuclear flame.


Trump Takes Up Call for Barr to ‘Clean House’ at Justice Dept.

With a series of retweets, President Trump kept up attacks on federal law enforcement agencies, despite pleas from the attorney general.


WASHINGTON — Ignoring appeals from his attorney general to stop tweeting about the Justice Department, President Trump renewed his attacks on the agency on Wednesday, demanding “JUSTICE” for himself and all future presidents.

With a series of retweets, Mr. Trump appeared to embrace the suggestion that Attorney General William P. Barr “clean shop” at the department. And the president promoted the idea of naming a special counsel to investigate what Tom Fitton, the head of the conservative nonprofit Judicial Watch, described as a “seditious conspiracy” at the department and the F.B.I.

A day earlier, Mr. Barr was, according to some of his associates, considering a different sort of shop cleaning: If his boss did not stop meddling with Justice Department investigations, he was said to be considering his own future.


Mormon Church Formalizes Punishments for Trans Members
By Trudy Ring
February 19, 2020


The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, known informally as the Mormon Church, has never been supportive of transgender identity, but now it has fully spelled out its anti-trans positions in a new handbook, available online.

“Gender is an essential characteristic of Heavenly Father’s plan of happiness,” says the General Handbook: Serving in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, released Wednesday. “The intended meaning of gender in the family proclamation is biological sex at birth.”

“Church leaders counsel against elective medical or surgical intervention for the purpose of attempting to transition to the opposite gender of a person’s birth sex (‘sex reassignment’),” the handbook continues. “Leaders advise that taking these actions will be cause for Church membership restrictions.”

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Rohrabacher did exactly what Assange's lawyers claim.

Okay the big thing today is former Congressman Rohrabacher (R-CA) trying to arrange a quid pro quo with Julian Assange, to wit:

Discredit the reports that Russia was involved in election meddling on behalf of Trump in exchange for a full pardon.

Everyone is of course denying everything, except, oh look, there's video from 2017 of Rohrabacher saying EXACTLY THAT to a REPORTER on TELEVISION.

I remind everyone that the REPUBLICAN Senate report on election interference determined conclusively that the interference was Russian, and it named names.

Because the GOP want to memory hole that as much as they can.


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Today's News (2020/2/17)

Slow day, relatively speaking. Says a lot about how much insanity one becomes used to handling.


Former Justice Dept. Lawyers Press for Barr to Step Down
More than 1,100 former prosecutors and officials who served in Republican and Democratic administrations signed an open letter condemning the president and the attorney general over the Stone case.
By Katie Benner
Feb. 16, 2020


WASHINGTON — More than 1,100 former federal prosecutors and Justice Department officials called on Attorney General William P. Barr on Sunday to step down after he intervened last week to lower the Justice Department’s sentencing recommendation for President Trump’s longtime friend Roger J. Stone Jr.

They also urged current government employees to report any signs of unethical behavior at the Justice Department to the agency’s inspector general and to Congress.


Trust and consequences
The government required him to see a therapist. He thought his words would be confidential. Now, the traumatized migrant may be deported.
By Hannah Dreier Feb. 15, 2020


It was time for another hearing in the ongoing efforts of the U.S. government to deport a Honduran teenager named Kevin Euceda, who had already been in detention for more than two years. In a Northern Virginia courtroom, U.S. immigration judge Helaine Perlman peered at a TV screen as a detainee came into blurry view: a slight 19-year-old with deep dimples and a V-shaped scar on his forehead. "Buenos días," Kevin said, hoping this was the day he would find out about his request for asylum, and then tried to follow along as Perlman began to explain the latest twist.

“I had made a decision granting your request — but the government disagreed with it,” she said. “They want me to make a new decision.”

Kevin was watching from a remote detention center. On one side of the judge, he could see his lawyers, ready to argue that he should be freed immediately. Across from them was a lawyer for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), there to argue that Kevin should be deported. And in front of them all, inside a thick folder, was an old report from a shelter for immigrant children that was the reason the long-running matter of Kevin Euceda existed at all: “Youth reports history of physical abuse, neglect, and gang affiliation in country of origin. Unaccompanied child self-disclosed selling drugs. Unaccompanied child reports being part of witnessing torturing and killing, including dismemberment of body parts,” the report said.

The person who had signed it: A therapist at a government shelter for immigrant children who had assured Kevin that their sessions would be confidential. Instead, the words Kevin spoke had traveled from the shelter to one federal agency and then another, followed him through three detention centers, been cited in multiple ICE filings arguing for his detention and deportation, and now, in the fall of 2019, were about to be used against him once more.


Trump's Secret Service hotel racket is hiding in plain sight. And he's getting away with it.
A complete accounting of how much taxpayers have forked over to the Trump Organization since its CEO's election is as likely as a Trump pardon for Michael Cohen.


Feb. 14, 2020, 8:14 AM PST
By Zach Everson

On Wednesday night, when President Donald Trump addressed supporters from behind a Trump Hotels lectern in a room at his Trump International Hotel Washington, D.C., one of his company's most faithful customers accompanied him.

The U.S. Secret Service.

The government agency charged with protecting the president has paid his businesses at least $471,000 to fulfill its congressional mandate, according to documents The Washington Post recently obtained via the Freedom of Information Act. That's money from U.S. taxpayers flowing to the Trump Organization, with a venerable 155-year-old law enforcement organization being used like one of Michael Cohen's Delaware shell companies and serving as a conduit for presidential profit. And that $471,000 figure? It's only through April 2018.


Harris, Castro introduce resolution condemning Trump aide Stephen Miller
By Zack Budryk - 02/13/20 03:29 PM EST


Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) and Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-Texas) introduced a resolution Thursday condemning White House adviser Stephen Miller and calling for his resignation, citing his role in the Trump administration’s controversial immigration policies and emails showing he promoted stories from white nationalist publications.

“Stephen Miller is the hateful force behind the cruel and xenophobic policies that have defined the Trump administration. His white supremacist, anti-immigrant ideology has no place in our country, let alone the White House,” Harris said in a statement. “I'm proud to lead this effort on behalf of immigrant families in California and throughout the country.”


Florida man complains after dialysis center prevents him from bringing Trump cutout to treatment
By Brooke Seipel - 02/14/20


A Florida man whose family cannot be with him during his hours-long weekly dialysis treatments is upset with medical staff who say he can't bring a lifesize cutout of President Trump.


Gibson complained that the Trump cutout is not disruptive and he does not understand why it is not allowed. He stopped going for treatment over the incident.


"While we cannot discuss any specific individual, we strongly support the ability of all our patients to express their views, which includes bringing reasonably sized items into our dialysis centers that do not create safety or infection control issues, or interfere with caregivers on the treatment floor," Brad Puffer said.


Bolton to break his silence as White House wrangles over content of his book
Anchor Muted Background
Kylie Atwood

By Vivian Salama and Kylie Atwood, CNN

Updated 2:21 PM ET, Mon February 17, 2020


Washington (CNN) - President Donald Trump's former national security adviser John Bolton is due to make his first public speech since the impeachment inquiry into Trump wrapped up, even as his lawyers continue to wrangle with the White House over the contents of his highly anticipated book.

Bolton, whose views of the President's policies toward Ukraine were cited by multiple impeachment witnesses, hasn't publicly commented about the events that unfolded last year.

Bolton's speech on Monday evening at Duke University, the first of two public appearances this week which is billed as focusing on national security challenges facing the country, isn't expected to directly address the issue of impeachment or the ongoing conflict over the contents of his manuscript though he is due to take questions. His other post-White House public speaking engagements have focused strictly on national security policy though he has not been shy to speak out on issues like North Korea where he disagrees with Trump.

The New York Times reported last month that Bolton, in his unpublished manuscript, alleges that Trump directed him to help with his pressure campaign to get damaging information on Democrats from Ukraine. According to the Times, he also alleges that Trump didn't want to lift a hold on military aid to Ukraine until officials there complied with the request. Bolton's lawyers have not denied the substance of the New York Times reports but have condemned the leaks behind it.

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The Arc of Conflict, Fragment e17,1: tea and pastries

Katya Volskaya's government in Russia has destroyed the omnium Koschei, and held their own against the Gods of Oasis. With no point to additional fighting, the overt war has paused. But covertly, the conflict carries on. The gods, after all, still have a plan, and will do what is needed - one way, or another.

Of Gods and Monsters: The Arc of Conflict
Fragment e17,1: tea and pastries

solarbird and bzarcher

Moira O'Deorain is determined to find the cause of these strange new cults. Fortunately, Dr. Konyegwachie is willing to take on the project.

But first, some tea.

Of Gods and Monsters: The Arc of Conflict is a continuance of The Arc of Ascension, The Arc of Creation, and In the Beginning, there was an Armourer and a Living Weapon. It will be told in a series of eddas, sagas, interludes, fragments, texts, and cantos, all of which serve their individual purposes. To follow the story as it appears, please subscribe to the series.

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Today's News (2020/2/16)

Leading Christian website says Pete Buttigieg is “deserving of death” because he’s gay
"When millions of Americans applaud Pete Buttigieg and his 'husband,' it is the death rattle of a nation."
By Alex Bollinger Friday, February 14, 2020


A major Christian website published a column saying that 2020 presidential contender Pete Buttigieg is “deserving of death” and worships Satan because he’s gay.

Charisma News, which is associated with the Christian magazine Charisma, published a column entitled “Gay Activism: The Death Rattle of a Nation” by Bert Farias that described Buttigieg as “a male presidential candidate who has a husband whom he publicly introduces and even kisses without shame.”

[EDITOR: According to Wikipedia Charisma, the magazine which produces this website, has a circulation of somewhere around 250,000. I have no data on how that translates to website viewership.]

Gay Activism: The Death Rattle of a Nation
10:00AM EST 2/14/2020 Bert Farias


In the name of progressivism we now have a male presidential candidate who has a husband whom he publicly introduces and even kisses without shame, while millions of Americans applaud and approve. And perhaps worse yet is that the shock effect has been so reduced that the rest of us are numb and desensitized to this most shameful and abominable behavior.


In fact, when those who practice such things that are "deserving of death" also approve of others who practice them (Rom. 1:32), it is one of God's final signs of His wrath on a society. This is a description of gay activism and constantly pushing for its normalcy and marginalizing those who disapprove. This is present-day America. How far we've fallen!

When millions of Americans applaud Pete Buttigieg and his "husband," it is the death rattle of a nation. When the never-Trump-ers and Trump-haters counteract with judgment and accusations of adultery against our own president, in response to Buttigieg's abominable lifestyle, they are grasping for straws in a last gasp of air of a drowning argument.


Another case Trump meddled in. Another unorthodox intervention from Barr.
By Aaron Blake
Feb. 15, 2020


On Thursday, Attorney General William P. Barr urged President Trump not to tweet about ongoing criminal matters, saying it makes it “impossible for me to do my job.”

On Friday, we got two separate reminders of just how many cases Trump has weighed in on. And one of them showed just how fruitful his efforts appear to have been.

The Washington Post confirmed that Barr has tasked a outside prosecutors with scrutinizing the case against Michael Flynn as well as other sensitive national security and public corruption cases. Trump has repeatedly decried the Justice Department’s actions regarding Flynn, who is awaiting sentencing. He has even doubted that Flynn lied, despite his pleading guilty to doing so.


Right Wing Watch


Rick Wiles and his guest, Jana Ben-Nun, report that Jews are using the transgender rights movement to make all of humanity androgynous.

[EDITOR'S NOTE: "The jew is using the black as muscle against you" from _The Blues Brothers_ wasn't even parody, it was just quoting. This is exactly the same thing. It's _all_ all the same thing, just different scapegoats swapped in.]

[EDITOR'S NOTE 2: There are allegations on Twitter that the "messianic Jew" (meaning Christian) Ben-Nun is a pseudonym, and a Russian agent. The first part is entirely plausible; "messianic Jews" are almost always not Jewish, but evangelical Christians with little or no actual Jewish heritage. There are other allegations, but I will not repeat them.]

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Today's News (2020/2/15)

The tactical ICE agent deployment is no doubt the worst thing in this list, followed closely by 45 declaring he has the right to intervene in any Justice Department case he wants. But there is - as always - plenty of other badness.


Trump allies take aim at Buttigieg’s sexuality, a possible sign of things to come
By Amy B Wang and Chelsea Janes
Feb. 13, 2020


Allies of President Trump have sharply focused attention on the sexual identity of presidential contender Pete Buttigieg in recent days, questioning in stark terms whether Americans are ready for a gay candidate who kisses his husband onstage.

The attacks are prompting blunt responses from Buttigieg’s allies and even his Democratic rivals, who call the remarks inappropriate and offensive. The exchanges were ignited by radio host Rush Limbaugh, who received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from Trump last week and who framed his comments as an ostensible analysis of how Democrats feel.

“They’re sitting there and they’re looking at Mayor Pete — a 37-year-old gay guy, mayor of South Bend, loves to kiss his husband on the debate stage. And they’re saying, okay, how’s this going to look, a 37-year-old gay guy kissing his husband onstage next to Mr. Man Donald Trump? What’s going to happen there?” Limbaugh said. (Buttigieg is 38.)


The key takeaway in this video for me is, "I don't want to hear any crap about an independent Justice Department."

Andrew Lawrence
13 February 2020


Lou Dobbs attacks Bill Barr, suggests he's part of the "deep state," calls the Justice Department "rancid, corrupt"



Trump bucks Barr’s request to stop tweeting about Justice Dept., declaring a ‘legal right’ to seek intervention in criminal cases
By Matt Zapotosky and John Wagner
Feb. 14, 2020


A day after Attorney General William P. Barr publicly warned President Trump not to tweet about the Justice Department, Trump did just that, declaring that he has the “legal right” to ask his top law enforcement official to get involved in a criminal case.

In his tweet, Trump quoted Barr from a television interview Thursday in which he asserted that the president had never asked him to do anything related to a criminal case.

“This doesn’t mean that I do not have, as President, the legal right to do so, I do, but I have so far chosen not to!” Trump added in his own voice.


Trump Admits to Sending Giuliani to Ukraine, Despite Past Denials
By Matt Stieb - New York Magazine
February 14, 2020


Either emboldened after his acquittal in the Senate impeachment trial or comfortable on the show of a longtime friend, President Trump told Geraldo Rivera on his podcast on Thursday that he had, in fact, sent his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani to Ukraine to investigate his political rivals. When Rivera asked if Trump if it was “strange to send Rudy Giuliani to Ukraine” and if he regretted the decision, Trump said, “No, not at all.”

“Here’s my choice: I deal with the Comeys of the world, or I deal with Rudy,” Trump said, referring to James Comey, who gave him a “very bad taste” of the capabilities of American intelligence after the former FBI director maintained the independence of the agency in the early days of the administration. Thus, Trump had to “use” Giuliani to solicit foreign interference in an American election.


Trump’s statement on Thursday contradicts past denials on the matter, including his claim in November that he “didn’t direct” Giuliani in Ukraine — despite the testimony of multiple administration officials stating otherwise. Indeed, in his July 25 call pressuring Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate the Bidens, Trump also stated otherwise. “Mr. Giuliani is a highly respected man,” the president said. “He was the mayor of New York City, a great mayor, and I would like him to call you … Rudy very much knows what’s happening and he is a very capable guy. If you could speak to him that would be great.”


Border Patrol Will Deploy Elite Tactical Agents to Sanctuary Cities

Agents from a special tactical team that normally confronts smugglers on the border are being sent to sanctuary cities across the country.


The Trump administration is deploying law enforcement tactical units from the southern border as part of a supercharged arrest operation in sanctuary cities across the country, an escalation in the president’s battle against localities that refuse to participate in immigration enforcement.

The specially trained officers are being sent to cities including Chicago and New York to boost the enforcement power of local ICE officers, according to two officials who are familiar with the secret operation. Additional agents are expected to be sent to San Francisco, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Houston, Boston, New Orleans, Detroit and Newark, N.J.


The deployment of the teams will run from February through May, according to an email sent to Customs and Border Protection personnel, which was read to The New York Times by one official familiar with the planning.


'Grim Reaper' Mitch McConnell Admits There Are 395 House Bills Sitting in the Senate: 'We're Not Going to Pass Those'
By James Crowley On 2/14/20


During a television interview, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said that 395 bills sitting in the Senate are not going to be passed.

On Fox News Friday, anchor Bret Baier asked McConnell if Democrats' statements about those bills were true and whether they could move forward. McConnell confirmed that it was the case, but also said that proposed legislation would be rejected.

"It is true," the senator said. "They've been on full left-wing parade over there, trotting out all of their left-wing solutions that are going to be issues in the fall campaign. They're right. We're not going to pass those."


Iowa bill would ban teachers from saying that Pete Buttigieg is gay without notifying parents
The bill's supporters said that Buttigieg's identity is a "controversial topic" that parents should have a right to opt their children out of.
By Bil Browning Thursday, February 13, 2020


A proposed law that would ban discussions of LGBTQ people in Iowa school could also prevent teachers from telling students that out Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg is gay.

The bill would make it illegal for educators to teach about any topics related to sexual orientation or gender identity without parental notification.

The bill applies to “any program, curriculum, material, test, survey, questionnaire, activity, announcement, promotion or instruction of any kind.” Current law allows parents to opt-out of sex education but is limited to health class discussions of human development.

Buttigieg, who won the Iowa caucuses in his race for the presidency, has kissed his husband on stage and regularly fields questions about being the first viable gay candidate for president. His sexuality has made him a target of the religious right and right-wing pundits like Rush Limbaugh.

During testimony before a House panel, Emily Piper from the Iowa Association of School Boards asked one of the bill’s co-sponsors, “What if we’re having a discussion on current events and there’s a presidential candidate who is gay? Can we not have that conversation in the government class?”

State Rep. Randy Salmon (R) replied that talking about Buttigieg’s candidacy “wouldn’t trigger notifying parents, but discussing his sexual orientation might.”


White House Memo Justifying Suleimani Strike Cites No Imminent Threat

A new report sent to Congress about the drone strike that killed Iran’s top general contradicted the original justification the administration provided.


WASHINGTON — The White House told Congress on Friday that President Trump authorized the strike last month that killed Iran’s most important general to respond to attacks that had already taken place and deter future ones, contradicting the president’s claim that he acted in response to an imminent threat.

In a legally mandated, two-page unclassified memo to lawmakers, the White House asserted that the strike that killed Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani was “in response to an escalating series of attacks in preceding months” by Iran and Iran-backed militias.


The document confirmed what lawmakers had privately suspected as the Trump administration has offered a shifting set of justifications for the strike against General Suleimani in Baghdad — taken with no congressional consultation — which brought the United States and Iran to the brink of war.

“This official report directly contradicts the president’s false assertion that he attacked Iran to prevent an imminent attack against United States personnel and embassies,” Representative Eliot L. Engel of New York, the chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, said in a statement. “The administration’s explanation in this report makes no mention of any imminent threat and shows that the justification the president offered to the American people was false, plain and simple.”

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Today's News (2020/2/14)

13 February 2020


He is literally saying here that any lawsuit brought against Trump himself by the states is a matter of national security and therefore must be dropped or the state will be punished by the Federal Gov.

Goddamn, Republicans, even you have to admit this is an abuse of power.


Donald J. Trump
13 February 2020


I’m seeing Governor Cuomo today at The White House. He must understand that National Security far exceeds politics. New York must stop all of its unnecessary lawsuits & harrassment, start cleaning itself up, and lowering taxes. Build relationships, but don’t bring Fredo!


Citizens for Ethics


You may be wondering why Trump wants to shut down NY lawsuits and investigations.

Here's an incomplete list:

-NY DA sued for tax returns
-NY AG forced $2 mil settlement for misuse of Trump charity
-SDNY & EDNY are investigating inaugural
-NY AG is investigating Trump Org loans


Alexandra Erin



When Donald was younger, his dad ran a scam where he bribed a government official for housing contracts. The official lived a "racy" lifestyle, while Fred Christ Trump lived beneath his corrupt means, hiding his ill-gotten wealth.


Links to:

Matthew Miller


This Barr interview is DeNiro in Goodfellas yelling at Johnny Roastbeef for buying his wife a Cadillac after the Lufthansa heist.

What Barr means to say: “I want the appearances of doing my job as an AG “ so he’s telling Trump to cut it, otherwise he can’t do his real job, which is to be Trump’s personal attorney/protector.


Barr blasts Trump's tweets on Stone case: 'Impossible for me to do my job': ABC News Exclusive
The AG spoke with ABC News Chief Justice Correspondent Pierre Thomas.
By Anne Flaherty
February 13, 2020


[EDITORIAL NOTE: I don't think Barr does this without coordinating with Trump. So keep that in mind when reading this interview. It's _probably_ a diversion/damage control.]

In an exclusive interview, Attorney General Bill Barr told ABC News on Thursday that President Donald Trump "has never asked me to do anything in a criminal case” but should stop tweeting about the Justice Department because his tweets “make it impossible for me to do my job.”

Barr’s comments are a rare break with a president who the attorney general has aligned himself with and fiercely defended. But it also puts Barr in line with many of Trump’s supporters on Capitol Hill who say they support the president but wish he’d cut back on his tweets.

“I think it’s time to stop the tweeting about Department of Justice criminal cases,” Barr told ABC News Chief Justice Correspondent Pierre Thomas.


Separately, Barr tapped U.S. Attorney John Durham in Connecticut to investigate whether any crimes were committed by FBI and CIA officials in the pursuit of allegations in 2016 that Russia interfered in the election to benefit Trump’s campaign.

After learning that the Huber investigation is not likely to produce charges, Trump has become more insistent that Durham finish his work soon, according to people familiar with the discussions. Trump, these people said, wants to be able to use whatever Durham finds as a cudgel in his reelection campaign.


Andrew Lawrence


Lou Dobbs attacks Bill Barr, suggests he's part of the "deep state," calls the Justice Department "rancid, corrupt"

[Embedded Fox News video]


The Government Says These Men Have No Recourse Against FBI Agents Who Used the 'No Fly' List To Punish Them
The Supreme Court will decide whether three Muslims who refused to be informants can sue for damages under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
Jacob Sullum | 2.13.2020


The FBI first approached Muhammad Tanvir, a permanent U.S. resident who was born in Pakistan, in February 2007, and asked him to inform on fellow Muslims in Queens. Tanvir declined, but the agents persisted for years, dangling promises, threatening him with arrest and deportation, and at one point confiscating his passport for six months.

In October 2010, Tanvir discovered that he had been added to the federal government's "no fly" list, which prevented him from visiting his family in Pakistan, forced him to quit his job as a long-haul trucker, and cost him the money he spent on airline tickets he was not allowed to use. His freedom to fly was not restored until March 2013, after he repeatedly challenged his inclusion on the list and hired a lawyer to negotiate with the FBI.

That October, Tanvir, joined by two other Muslim men who had similar experiences, initiated a case that the U.S. Supreme Court is scheduled to hear next month. They argued that the FBI violated their religious freedom when it punished them for refusing to become informants by preventing them from flying.

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