Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Tuesday's Political Pages

It's most of the paper:

"In Ohio election, GOP tests midterm rescue plan" by Alexander Burns New York Times   August 06, 2018

DUBLIN, Ohio — Republicans everywhere are confronting a challenging political environment, a Democratic opposition rippling with energy, and a president on their own side prone to divisive outbursts and policy decrees, but in a special election for Congress on Tuesday in the conservative suburbs of Columbus, Ohio, their biggest problem might be folks like Deanna Patchett.

That's the agenda-pushing narrative they are promoting despite having been wrong so many times; however, the use of the world ripple might be more accurate. 

Of course, this also presupposes that this person exists. I know she is not anonymous, but it's happened before and not just at the NYT or Globe.

Patchett, 49, a voter in a fastidiously tended golf community, said she habitually backs Republicans and her chief policy concern is taxes.

Yet when a pair of canvassers for the Congressional Leadership Fund, a Republican “super PAC,” knocked on her door on a recent afternoon, Patchett said she was barely following the battle for a vacant House seat in her area and had not picked a candidate to support.

And Patchett said her affinity for the Republican Party did not extend to the man who sits atop it.

“We vote Republican,” Patchett said firmly, standing in the door of her home. Of President Trump, she chuckled: “I think he sucks, but I knew that before he was elected.”

Voters like Patchett are now the focus of a multimillion-dollar Republican rescue operation in Ohio’s 12th Congressional District, the latest in a series of once-secure seats, from Pittsburgh to Phoenix, that the party has defended in special elections since Trump’s inauguration.

The strategy Republicans are using outside Columbus is one they intend to employ nationwide this fall to defend their hold on the House — or, failing that, to keep an incoming Democratic majority as small as possible.

That is probably what will happen in an honest election (and who really knows when the last time that was, if ever). A small majority in the House while they lose a couple of seats in the Senate due to an odd quirk in the 6-year cycle that has something like 26 Democrats up for reelection and only 9 Republicans. At one time Repugs were hoping to pick up half of those to garner a near supermajority, but they will probably end up with no more than a handful gain at best.

The district is awash in money from Republican outside groups, battering the Democrat, Danny O’Connor, with ads connecting him to Nancy Pelosi, the unpopular House minority leader, and branding him as a vote for higher taxes and lax border security.

Republican independent-expenditure groups have poured more than $3.7 million into advertising, outspending their Democratic counterparts more than fivefold.

That has been backfiring lately. The last few cycles since 2012 or so have had the big $$$ losing. Amurkn public sick of it!

On July 30, Vice President Mike Pence visited the district’s rural eastern end, where, standing beside Troy Balderson, the Republican nominee, he linked O’Connor to Pelosi five times in a roughly 20-minute speech, and signaling their concern about turnout, Republicans deployed Trump to carry the attack himself Saturday.

Remember when leaders (like Napoleon and Alexander the Great) were at the front of the army as they rode into battle? Bet there would be a lot less wars now if that were still the case.

In a speech laced with unrelated personal grievances — including against Matt Borges, a former Ohio Republican Party chairman who crossed him — Trump warned that Pelosi “controls Danny O’Connor, whoever the hell that is.”

Republicans had hesitated over whether to bring in Trump, fearing he could energize Democrats as readily as Republicans, and the evening before his trip Trump insulted LeBron James, the basketball star who is a heroic figure in many parts of Ohio, on Twitter, but the party ultimately decided to enlist Trump’s help, and at a rally with Balderson he pleaded with conservatives to block a Democratic takeover of Congress.


"Michelle Obama, the former first lady [and] a cochairwoman of a nonpartisan organization to encourage voting, announced Monday that the When We All Vote Week of Action will be held Sept. 22-29. Flagship events will be held in at least 12 cities, including Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles, Miami, and New York. The group wants volunteers to host events in other communities that week as well. Other leaders of the group include actor Tom Hanks; ‘‘Hamilton’’ creator Lin-Manuel Miranda; singers Janelle Monae, Faith Hill, and Tim McGraw; and NBA point guard Chris Paul of the Houston Rockets......" 

I just want celebrity to go away, and did you get your toolkit?

“They’re going to raise your taxes,” Trump said of the Democrats. “You’re going to have crime all over the place. You’re going to have people pouring across the border.”

The hook-shaped district, long dominated by business-minded Republicans, might appear to be an unlikely arena for harsh rhetoric and dystopian commercials about gun confiscation and migrant gangs.

What anti-semite gerrymandered that district?

Trump and his party have repeatedly wielded those themes in close elections, but with uneven results in areas like this one — an overwhelmingly white slice of Ohio where two in five residents have college degrees, but Republicans say their messaging is intended to polarize the electorate and exploit the Democratic Party’s leftward shift, jolting complacent conservatives and denying O’Connor, an easygoing 31-year-old official in Franklin County, the chance to win over disaffected Republicans.

Here is the message:

"AFTER SPENDING NEARLY two years pondering a new slogan, Democrats came up with one already associated with a nationwide personal injury law firm. “For the People” was just unveiled as the party’s battle cry for the upcoming midterm elections. It also happens to be the signature motto of Morgan & Morgan, a firm founded in Florida 30 years ago by John Morgan, which now has some 420 lawyers in 14 states, including Massachusetts. Morgan, a longtime Democratic donor who recently mulled a run for governor of Florida, said his Twitter account “blew up” with people asking if he plans to sue. He doesn’t. After all, he “stole” the words from Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, which ends with the phrase “that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.” Besides, he said, it’s “free advertising,” but, since Democrats are embracing his firm’s mission statement, Morgan does have some advice. “A slogan without a messenger is just a slogan,” he said in a telephone interview. “To put meat on the bone, you have to have an effective messenger. And the messenger has to tap into the center of America.” With that, he pokes at the major identity crisis lurking behind the borrowed slogan....." 

I've seen the advertisements, and that's what the me$h of corruption will do to you.

Most polling for both parties has shown a slim advantage for Balderson, 56, an auto dealer-turned-state legislator.

In a separate development Monday, Trump turned aside the advice of party officials and intervened in the Kansas Republican primary for governor, throwing his support behind the polarizing secretary of state, Kris Kobach, one day before voters go to the polls there.

This is what I like about this guy, and probably why he gets so much heat. On the foreign policy angle, I think he is doing the same thing. He's literally walking tightrope. He's lobbing chunks of meat out to the war-mongers, but he then pulls back. He's been around these types all his life in the New York real estate gig, and knows how to play them. 

Is he a saint? No. But what if he is the only brake on WWIII right now? How does a President Pence sit with you? What I see is a president who is trying to avoid wars. Wants out of Afghanistan and Syria, wants to be friendly to Russia, talking to Korea. 

Yes, there are problems vis-a-vis Iran and Yemen, Africa, South America, and all the other places the Deep State Empire has its tentacles. Literally in every country on the planet, no matter how small (maybe not a couple of Pacific atolls, but beyond that.....). My feeling regarding Iran right now is that the sanctions were a way of getting the Zionist lobby of his back. I know Jared is in charge of the region and all, but it is still Trump's call. 

What if, looking back through history's lens finds us realizing that the last, best hope to avert World War III was Donald Trump? If he can pull off that high-wire act over two full terms, they couldn't give him enough accolades. I can see him wanting go down in history as the president who brought world peace, what with the ego and all. Even the Space Force is a dodge. Just keep throwing money at the war machine. It'll keep 'em so fat they won't want to go to war.

Maybe I'm wrong. I'm not infallible with my sense of things, nor do I have a crystal ball telling me the future the globe-kickers have already charted for us all. I'm just calling them as I see them, and judging the guy as much by his words and actions and the reactions that spew forth from the bowels of power via their mouthpiece media.

In a tweet that Republican governors and some of his own aides had sought to avert, Trump called Kobach “a fantastic guy” and offered his “full and total endorsement.”

“Kris Kobach, a strong and early supporter of mine. . . . He is a fantastic guy who loves his state and our country,’’ Trump wrote.

Kobach is running against Governor Jeff Colyer, who succeeded Sam Brownback, and a handful of other Republicans in a contest that had been highly competitive, but Trump’s blessing is now likely to lift Kobach, who is best known for his hard-line views on immigration and voting rights.

He turned the state brown!

The Republican Governors Association and a number of high-level party operatives counseled Trump against siding with Kobach, because polls show he is unpopular with the general electorate in Kansas and would provide Democrats an opening to take back the governorship.


Have the voting rolls been checked for fraud?

Let's get over to the Senate side:

"Incumbent Florida senator facing formidable opponent" by Patricia Mazzei New York Times   August 06, 2018

STUART, Fla. — A few steps away from the St. Lucie River, which has been choked lately with thick blue-green algae that made neighbors sick, Senator Bill Nelson, Democrat of Florida, sat solemnly with a group of elected officials, scientists, and activists who had anxious questions about the toxic bloom.

A day earlier, Nelson’s political challenger, Governor Rick Scott, had begun airing an eye-catching TV spot that blamed the senator and the federal government for failing to prevent the environmental crisis.

The meeting Friday was Nelson’s second visit in a month. And this time, he declared, he was fighting back — not against the algae, but against the governor.

“I was playing nice-nice when I was here before, but I’m going to lay out the truth,” Nelson said. “Governor Scott, in the last eight years, has systematically dismembered and dismantled the environmental agencies of the state of Florida.”

That would be a first for a politician, 'eh?

Nelson, rarely a firebrand, then returned to his wonky element, delivering a long history lesson on water management and environmental policy. His audience nodded in agreement, but only a dozen people sat at the table listening to him.


Scott’s ad, on the other hand, with its alarming footage of contaminated Lake Okeechobee juxtaposed with an unflattering image of Nelson, would reach thousands of potential voters.

Faced with a formidable challenge by the wealthy governor, Nelson, a three-term incumbent, has been pushed into the unexpected position of underdog in one of the most closely watched Senate races of the midterms.

After 18 years in office, Nelson remains less known than his opponent and he is at risk of losing his seat in a battleground state where Democrats, fueled by anti-Trump energy, have notched four recent bellwether election victories.

Looks like it is time for a change.

“The only time I see Bill Nelson is five months before every election,” President Trump taunted at a rally in Tampa last week.

Panicked Democrats started appealing to Nelson’s team earlier in the summer to ratchet up the campaign. In the past, Nelson has won relatively easy re-election, but he faced weak opponents in years favorable to Democrats. In contrast, Scott has built a political brand around the state’s rebounding economy and is an aggressive campaigner.

Oh, the Repugs have a toolkit, too?

The senator has recently become more visible, helped in part by heavy media coverage of the Trump administration’s unpopular policy of separating families who cross the border illegally. Nelson made headlines when he led an effort to inspect a large shelter for migrant children in South Florida, but that event was something of an anomaly for Nelson: He has never been a cable news fixture with a national imprint.

Only problem is, that issue hurts him in Florida where there is a migrant problem.

“He is so modest,” said DeAnna Dean, who heads the Democratic Party in heavily Republican Sumter County, home to the state’s fast-growing retirement community, The Villages. “He needs to get out there and we need to tell people, ‘This is the man you can trust.’ ”

Nelson is a gentlemanly product of an earlier Florida and a different Democratic Party. He is a politician easier to envision in the president’s box at a University of Florida football game than posing for selfies in diverse South Beach.

When he first won a state House seat in 1972, President Richard M. Nixon was running for reelection and Florida was effectively a one-party state controlled by white Democrats, with relatively few blacks or Latinos in their ranks.

This is not the time to point out the history of racism in Southern Democrats (many who were KKK members) or that the reason the South gravitated to Democrats was because it was the Republicans and Lincoln that were the ones that ended slavery. Kind of wrecks the high-horse argument you get from that side.

Over time, many of Florida’s traditional Democratic voters drifted to the Republican Party as they did in other Southern states. The GOP now controls every statewide elective office in Florida except one: Nelson’s.

Proving that things change over 100 years, as they probably should.

Florida’s growing population, with newcomers moving in from other states and from abroad, also requires constant new introductions for a senator who is only on the ballot once every six years, Nelson said.

Nelson has extensive knowledge of Florida issues, ranging from the space program to commercial regulations to the environment.

But the race is likely to turn on whether he can energize Democrats and win over independents by harnessing widespread distaste for Trump around the state.

That all ya' got?


"To Take the Senate, Democratic Group Will Spend Big in Red States" by Alexander Burns   July 26, 2018

A heavily funded Democratic group will spend tens of millions of dollars to mobilize voters in the Republican-leaning states where control of the Senate is likely to be decided this November, stepping in to fill a void left by years of decay in Democratic infrastructure at the state and local level.

Uh-oh, OBUMMER!!

Senate Majority PAC, the principal super PAC supporting Democratic efforts to capture the chamber, intends to steer at least $20 million into the voter-mobilization campaign before the midterm elections, officials with the group confirmed. The program, which follows a similar — and successful — Democratic effort in Alabama last year, underscores the degree to which outside groups that can take massive donations have supplanted the traditional role of political parties.

The initiative by Senate Majority PAC — which will run through an affiliated nonprofit group, Majority Forward — will span more than a dozen states where Senate seats are at stake, but it is to focus on four states above all: Missouri and Indiana, where endangered Democrats are seeking reelection, and Arizona and Tennessee, where strong Democratic challengers are running for seats currently held by Republicans.

I wonder what will happen when Trump turns his attention there, and it looks like they broke Missouri.

Those four races are among the country’s most competitive, and for Democrats to take control of the Senate, they would likely have to win at least three of them, or perhaps all four, depending on the outcome of races in other states.


It's like they are hoping to draw an inside straight flush.

Republicans currently hold the Senate by a slim majority, with 51 seats, but Democrats are largely on defense this year because so many of their senators in red states are running for new terms.

How many?

Paul Dunn, a strategist for Senate Majority PAC, said that in those four states, Democrats need both to drive up turnout among left-leaning voters and to make inroads in more conservative communities.

Those would seem to be at cross purposes.

“These are states that you need to do everything to win,” Dunn said. “You have to have close margins in areas that are harder for Democrats, but we also need to increase participation in areas where we are strong.”

The turnout program, officials said, would mimic a narrower effort mounted by Senate Majority PAC in Alabama last year, during a special election for the seat Jeff Sessions vacated to become attorney general. Senator Doug Jones, a Democrat, won the seat with the help of $6 million from Senate Majority PAC, which funded both heavy advertising and get-out-the-vote operations.

Not every Republican candidate is going to be a creep.

In addition to those four states, the Senate Majority PAC field operation will also cover nine others, including North Dakota, Wisconsin, and Montana.

What about Arizona, and I'm told not even New Hampshire is safe?


And don't forget, the Democrats will probably lose West Virginia and cry foul.

Better check those voter rolls again.

I thought New Jersey was in play, but Senator Bob Menendez, Democrat of New Jersey, seems in good shape to win a third term despite voters ‘‘not being happy with his behavior, but they seem to be willing to overlook it.’’

Looks like Georgia is a win, though, no matter what happens in the governor's race, and they averted catastrophe in California, at least for the momentRhode Island could be in play, though (see what happens to you when you are antiwar?). It does look like Maryland will not be flipping, though, and South Carolina is in shaky hands (just before Trump visited).

 I wouldn't be measuring the drapes in the House just yet, either.

Also seeThe humiliating demise of Paul Ryan

So glad that smarmy fuck is leaving! 

"GOP senators rave about Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh" Associated Press  August 06, 2018

WASHINGTON — Now that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh has met privately with almost every Republican senator, it’s becoming increasingly clear President Trump’s pick for the court is running into little GOP resistance to confirmation this fall.

The conservative appellate judge is breezing past swirling questions over his views on executive power and his approach to gay marriage, abortion, and other legal issues.

Kavanaugh left some Republicans with the impression that his earlier reluctance to investigate sitting presidents would not impede the Russia investigation of special counsel Robert Mueller. Other senators avoided such queries, preferring more of a get-to-know-you session with the 53-year-old judge to hear his story.

Ask the GOP senators what they’re learning in their private chats and they’ll tell you the following: Kavanaugh loves his family. Lives for the law. And, like the president he once worked for, George W. Bush, he’s open and chatty, the kind of guy you’d like to have a beer with.

He looks like a smarmy frat boy.

‘‘I just wanted to understand — try to understand — what’s in his heart,’’ said Senator John Kennedy, a Louisiana Reupblican, who added that he was saving his legal questions for Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearings. ‘‘He impresses me as the sort of guy that would actually talk and get to know the people who clean his office.’’ 

What does that have to do with the Constitution or law (unless they are undocumented)?

The practice of Supreme Court nominees making ‘‘courtesy calls’’ to senators seems to have begun around 1970, according to the Senate Historical Office. That year, nominee Harry Blackmun made the rounds ahead of his confirmation hearing before the Judiciary Committee.

Some senators use the visits to inquire about the nominee’s judicial philosophy, while others treat it more like a photo op.

Since being nominated July 9, Kavanaugh has met with 47 senators — all but one of them Republican — at a rapid clip. The meetings have created growing momentum for Kavanaugh among Republicans that Democrats may be hard-pressed to stop. Even one early skeptic, Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky, is now a yes vote.

Still, the most challenging meetings for Kavanaugh are yet to come.

Two key Republican senators, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of Maine, remain among the holdouts. They plan to meet with the judge this month, but even those two independent-minded senators, who both support abortion rights, may be unwilling to break with their party and prevent Trump from filling a second seat on the Supreme Court.

Kavanaugh is also likely to meet with Democrats in mid-August, and they are certain to press the judge on a variety of hot-button issues. Only one Democrat, Joe Manchin of West Virginia, has met with Kavanaugh so far, and a person familiar with that session said Kavanaugh stressed his independence.

The Republicans who have already met with Kavanaugh are leaving the meetings increasingly confident in Trump’s choice.

Sob, sigh, I wanted a Hardliner.

In a separate development, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg gave a talk last week at a Duke Law School summer program in Washington, during which she said the court had fallen woefully short in its quest for consensus.

Ginsburg said the term that ended in June had been “much more divisive than is usual,” The New York Times reported.

The number of closely divided rulings had skyrocketed, she said, making up more than a third of the court’s signed decisions in argued cases.....

He can replace her with Barrett.


RelatedWith Roe endangered, governor races become battlegrounds in abortion debate

This guy should have aborted his trip:

"Senator Rand Paul invites Russians to Washington in unofficial bid to boost ties" by Amie Ferris-Rotman Washington Post  August 06, 2018

MOSCOW — Senator Rand Paul, one of President Trump’s more eager defenders on Russia, jetted into Moscow on Monday in a bid to increase engagement with the country.

He's a Russian agent then!

The Kentucky Republican met with several Russian senators including Sergey Kislyak, Russia’s former envoy to Washington and a key player at the heart of the election meddling scandal that continues to rock relations between the United States and Russia.

In a meeting at Russia’s upper house of parliament, Paul also invited Russian lawmakers to meet with members of Congress, in Washington or elsewhere, Interfax news agency cited him as saying.

‘‘I think this is incredibly important,’’ Paul said after the high-profile sit-down.

That meeting could take place as soon as this fall, said Konstantin Kosachev, head of the foreign relations committee in the upper house.

Monday’s whirlwind visit to Moscow, however, was not part of official diplomacy. ‘‘Senator Rand Paul is visiting Russia as part of a private group,’’ said a representative of the US Embassy in Moscow.

The senator, once a foe of the president, has emerged as a unique and somewhat renegade voice, coming as both Republicans and Democrats criticize Trump for not taking a tougher stance against Russia.

The relationship between the two countries has sunk to lows not seen since the Cold War days, as they spar over a range of issues from election interference to the crises in Syria and Ukraine.

Paul was accompanied by Republican Don Huffines from the Texas Senate, and the president and CEO of the libertarian Cato Institute, Peter Goettler. The group also planned to visit St. Petersburg and President Vladimir Putin’s hometown, Russian state-run media reported.

Paul’s visit occurred just weeks after a delegation of Republican representatives visited Moscow for meetings with the Russian Parliament, as well as Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, the first time the two sides had direct contact in some years.

Like they are some sort of deep state?

That largely conciliatory meeting, held over the July 4 holiday, was met with bipartisan scorn at home.


Why no outrage at those meetings? 

No outrage at the Congre$$ critters sidestepping a president on foreign shores before the Helsinki meeting?

Dare I say the T-word?

Paul is a key supporter of Trump’s controversial interactions with Putin, heralding the leaders’ Helsinki summit last month as exactly the sort of action Washington should be taking to mend ties between the two.

The summit drew sharp criticism at home after Trump suggested he was inclined to believe Putin’s version of events regarding the 2016 US presidential election — that is, Russia’s denial of meddling — over the conclusions of the US intelligence community.

Yeah, you don't swear faith to the lying intelligence agencies and something is wrong.

Related: "In 2013, President Obama’s five-year effort to reboot US-Russian relations crashed as the White House abruptly canceled his planned face-to-face summit with Russia’s Vladimir Putin."

That's what they wanted Trump to do.

Paul has also long insisted that Russia did not interfere, a sentiment reiterated by Kosachev after his meeting with the senator. ‘‘And it will certainly not happen during the ongoing election campaign, either,’’ he told reporters, referring to the midterms, Interfax reported. 

Yeah, turns out the DNC stuff was an inside leak, and the Steele dossier proves their was interference, just by the other side.

Kosachev said Paul “has access” to Trump and top US officials “and we expect that we will be able to convey through him our signals” of a desire to establish dialogue, according to the state-run RIA Novosti news service.

A bipartisan group of senators introduced legislation last week to impose “crushing sanctions” on Russia for interfering in US elections, amid warnings that November’s midterm elections may be targeted.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller is investigating Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential campaign, after the US intelligence community concluded that Putin ordered efforts to undermine Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton and aid Trump. The Senate is also investigating the alleged interference.

Kosachev said members of his committee are “ready to discuss this question in a reasoned manner” with US counterparts.

Good luck with that!


That gets us back to the front page and today's top story:

"Rick Gates testifies that he and Paul Manafort committed crimes" by Sharon LaFraniere and Emily Cochrane New York Times  August 06, 2018

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — The star witness against Paul Manafort, President Trump’s former campaign manager, admitted in federal court Monday that he helped Manafort commit a series of financial crimes over several years while also stealing from him and others.

In the most anticipated testimony in the tax evasion and bank fraud case against Manafort, Rick Gates testified that he and Manafort falsified tax returns and held 15 foreign bank accounts that were not disclosed to the federal government. Gates said the required financial filings were not submitted “at Mr. Manafort’s direction.”

The range of crimes to which Gates confessed was wide: bank fraud, tax fraud, money laundering, lying to federal authorities, lying in a court deposition, and stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from Manafort’s accounts by falsely claiming expenses.

Many of the crimes, Gates testified, were done with Manafort.

The case is being closely watched as the first test of the ability of the special counsel, Robert Mueller, to win a courtroom conviction, and because Manafort had served as Trump’s campaign chairman for five critical months, helping the real estate tycoon and reality TV star secure the Republican nomination and proceed to the party’s convention. He resigned in August 2016.

Never mind that it has nothing to do with collusion or interference in 2016.

Its outcome may well depend on what the jury makes of Gates, who continued to be associated with the campaign — and later, was named deputy chairman of Trump’s inaugural committee, raising huge sums for the event.....


M is for Manafort.

Trump hates NY bit loves Oregon:

"Millions on line in battle over ‘I love N.Y.’ signs" Associated Press  August 06, 2018

ALBANY, N.Y. — The big, blue ‘‘I love N.Y.’’ signs lined up in groups of five along New York State highways and roads are hard to miss. And that, according to federal transportation officials, is the problem.

The 500-plus tourism signs the state has installed from Long Island to Buffalo are at the center of a yearslong standoff between the Federal Highway Administration and Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo.

The agency says the signs don’t meet regulations and pose a potential distraction to drivers traveling at high speeds, and it has demanded that the state remove them by Sept. 30 or lose $14 million in federal highway funding.

The state Transportation Department, however, has said the signs don’t pose a safety risk and there’s no evidence they’ve directly contributed to any accidents.

While the ‘‘I love N.Y.’’ logo (with ‘‘love’’ depicted as a heart symbol) has been around for decades, Cuomo launched the initiative to put it on highway signs in 2013 as part of a campaign to boost the state’s $100 billion tourism industry.....


"Oregon police chief orders review of use of force at protest" Associated Press  August 06, 2018

PORTLAND, Ore. — Portland police were accused Sunday of being heavy-handed against people protesting a rally by extreme-right demonstrators, reportedly injuring some counterprotesters and prompting the city’s new police chief to order a review of officers’ use of force.


I saw them smashing windows with the bandanas over faces and all dressed in black!

Police in riot gear tried to keep the two groups apart, many of whom had come on Saturday dressed for battle in helmets and protective clothing. Dozens of the extreme-right protesters were bused to Portland, one of America’s most liberal cities, from nearby Vancouver, Wash.

So are the extreme left, but the pre$$ is on their side, so I guess “violence is actually a pretty good tool to use against people who don’t agree with your worldview.”

Saturday’s clashes were the most recent of several this year in the city as right-wing militants converged, met by counterprotesters, including members of antifascist, or ‘‘antifa,’’ groups. City officials have struggled with striking a balance between free speech and keeping events from spiraling out of control, but on Saturday, some said police seemed to act mostly against those protesting the presence of the extreme-right demonstrators, using stun grenades and what appeared to be rubber bullets against them.

Police ‘‘targeted Portland residents peacefully counterprotesting against racist far-right groups, including white supremacists, white nationalists, and neo-Nazi gangs,’’ the Oregon chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations and the Portland chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America said in a statement. It called on officials to investigate.

The head of the Oregon branch of the American Civil Liberties Union also criticized the way the Portland Police Bureau handled the demonstrations. ‘‘The Portland Police Bureau’s response to protest is completely unacceptable in a free society,’’ David Rogers said in a statement issued Sunday night.

‘‘The repeated use of excessive force and the targeting of demonstrators based on political beliefs are a danger to the First Amendment rights of all people,’’ Rogers said. “We call on the Portland Police Bureau, Mayor [Ted] Wheeler, and Chief [Danielle] Outlaw to immediately end the use of weapons, munitions, and explosives against protesters.’’

Look at how they are bending over backwards for those leftist thugs.

Police ordered the counterprotesters to disperse, then moved in behind a volley of stun grenades. One of the rounds reportedly hit a counterprotester in the head, becoming embedded in his helmet and injuring him.

One woman was taken to a hospital after being hit in the arm and chest with a ‘‘flash-bang’’ grenade, local media reported. The blasts echoed through downtown Portland.

Four people were arrested.

Outlaw, the police chief, who assumed command less than a year ago as Portland’s first African-American female police chief, said in a statement Sunday she takes all use-of-force cases seriously.

Outlaw directed the professional standards division to begin gathering evidence to determine if the force used was within policy and training guidelines.....


Time to get back to bu$ine$$:

"A Florida man who worked as a project manager for Schneider Electric Buildings America Inc., a company that has done more than $200 million of dollars in energy efficiency work for the U.S. government, pleaded guilty Monday to charges he took more than $2.5 million in kickbacks and bribes over a five-year period from subcontractors he was overseeing. Bhaskar Patel of Windermere, Florida, entered the plea during a hearing in federal court in Rutland. He is facing up to 10 years in prison for violating a law against taking kickbacks and bribes involving federal programs. The plea agreement also calls for the 67-year-old Patel to make cash restitution and liquidate some of his assets. Sentencing is tentatively scheduled for December. “Patel’s crime involved a sweeping fraud that harmed many federal agencies and the American citizens and government employees who depend upon them,” Vermont’s United States Attorney Christina Nolan said in a statement issued after the court appearance. Patel has been released pending sentencing. Patel’s attorney, David Haas, declined to comment on the case on Monday, but said he may have something to say at sentencing....."

He's $orry?

"Manufacturing companies including small businesses say they’re paying higher prices for raw materials and seeing longer wait times for deliveries of goods that must go through customs because of new US tariffs on imports from big trading partners. That comes in a report last week from the Institute for Supply Management, showing that manufacturing remained strong in July, but the industry group’s members are feeling the effects of the trade disputes. ‘‘Respondents are again overwhelmingly concerned about how tariff-related activity, including reciprocal tariffs, will continue to affect their business,’’ ISM executive Timothy Fiore said in a statement....." 

It's okay to sanction Iran, though.

Doesn't seem to affect the stock market:

"Stocks finished broadly higher for the third day in a row Monday. Media, retail, and technology companies rose, and Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway led gains for the financial sector. Most sectors climbed as companies including Facebook and Netflix recovered some of the losses they sustained recently. Investors continued to focus on companies’ quarterly results instead of the escalating trade threats the United States and China made last week. Company profits have rocketed higher this year thanks to the corporate tax cut and continued economic growth....."

Bringing the emoluments clause to bear on Trump’s D.C. hotel

Brand is shit now anyway.

Same as the pre$$:

"THIS WEEKEND, President Trump put the lives of American journalists at risk. In his escalating war on the news media, Trump has become a clear and present danger to the nation’s press corps....."

Even though he ordered flags to half-staff in honor of the newspaper shooting victims?

I'm tired of the the whining from these war-criminal aiders and abettors. They are just angry because Trump accused the news media of being capable of starting wars, tweeting, ‘‘The fake news hates me saying that they are the enemy of the people only because they know it’s true. I am providing a great service by explaining this to the American People. They purposely cause great division and distrust. They can also cause war!’’

Wow, he is REALLY ON TO THEM!! He obviously does have a sense of history!

No wonder he is being met with such vitriol!

Of course, "like most conspiracy theories, Trump's latest has a kernel of truth. Former aides said paranoia predisposed him to believe in nefarious, hidden forces driving events and a Monmouth poll released in March found that a bipartisan majority believes an unelected "deep state"is manipulating national policy....."

That's why the New York Times had to admit that a Deep State exists. 

Because WE can ALL SEE IT!

So what is Cohen suggesting anyway? 

That there will a newsroom shooting with another deranged patsy being let loose by the  government with proper cover story ready to go? 

Any reporter who exposes it will have to resign while the mourning victims heroically carry on and report through grief.

So before you send a ‘kill’ letter to the pressroom, stop and listen

Don't waste your time and effort on the pre$$. Just ignore them. They are not worth it.

And who knows? 

I may not even be here that much longer.



I didn't see the "debate."

Ohio, Kansas races are deadlocked, but Trump claims Ohio victory

In stretch of Arizona border, migrant families keep coming

Did you see what they found in the bathroom at LaGuardia?

Appeals court says no immunity for agent in cross-border killing

The conflicting opinions in different cases means it will all likely end up at Supreme Court some years from now.

Speaking of courts, my National Lead:

"Paul Manafort’s lawyers rip into Rick Gates’s credibility" by Rachel Weiner and Matt Zapotosky Washington Post  August 07, 2018

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — The courtroom showdown between Paul Manafort and his former right-hand man Rick Gates grew painfully personal Tuesday as a defense lawyer forced Gates, the prosecution’s star witness, to admit he had a trans-Atlantic extramarital affair and embezzled money to live beyond his means.

During his second day on the witness stand, Gates detailed the lies, phony documents, and fake profits he claims to have engineered at Manafort’s direction. Manafort, seated at the defense table, stared intently at his former protege and business partner, who has assiduously avoided Manafort’s gaze despite their proximity inside the federal courthouse in Alexandria.

Gates’s testimony is central to the prosecutors’ case as they seek to prove that Manafort, President Trump’s former campaign chairman, committed bank fraud and tax crimes. Gates has testified that most of his crimes were committed on behalf of his former boss, while others were self-serving. He pleaded guilty in February as part of a deal with Special Counsel Robert Mueller III.

As the first trial to emerge from the special counsel’s investigation, the Manafort case is a critical public test of Mueller’s work. His team of prosecutors and agents continue to probe Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and whether any Trump associates conspired with those efforts.

A "conspiracy," huh, you insulting bastards!?

Gates also admitted he embezzled from Manafort. Many of Manafort’s lawyer Kevin Downing’s questions sought to buttress Manafort’s central defense strategy — that Gates, not Manafort, is the real villain, a man who told so many lies and stole so much money he could not remember all of his illegal activity.

In one of the most heated exchanges, Gates compared himself favorably to Manafort, suggesting he had chosen a better path by cooperating with the FBI.

‘‘After all the lies you’ve told and fraud you’ve committed, you expect this jury to believe you?’’ Downing asked.

‘‘Yes,’’ Gates responded flatly.

‘‘I’m here to tell the truth,’’ Gates said. ‘‘Mr. Manafort had the same path,’’ he said, adding later: ‘‘I’m trying to change.’’

US District Judge T.S. Ellis III, as he has repeatedly through the trial, interjected during Gates’s cross-examination.

When Gates said that Manafort ‘‘was very good at knowing where the money was and where it was going,’’ Ellis remarked, ‘‘He didn’t know about the money you were stealing, so he didn’t do it that closely.’’

At one point, Gates conceded he might have swindled the Trump inaugural committee as well.

If I'm a juror..... not a credible witness.

At the judge’s instruction, the trial has largely stayed away from mentioning the Trump campaign or Russian interference in the 2016 election, but prosecutor Greg Andres asked Gates a series of questions about what happened after the election, when Gates worked for the inauguration committee. 

The judge instructed that they stay away from it, huh?

Andres showed Gates e-mails from Manafort requesting Gates use his position in the Trump campaign to offer favors to Stephen Calk, the founder of Federal Savings Bank, one of the banks that extended Manafort a loan in 2016. Those loans are a key issue in the trial because Gates has testified that he helped engineer false statements inflating Manafort’s income to qualify for the loans.

First, Calk’s name was added to a list of national economic advisers to the campaign. Then, in November 2016, Manafort wrote Gates: ‘‘We need to discuss Steven Calk for Sec[retary] of the Army. I hear the list is being considered this weekend,’’ indicating that he wanted Gates’s help getting Calk considered for the job. 

Wasn't LePage on the short list for that as well?

Manafort, in a December 2016 e-mail marked ‘‘urgent,’’ sent Gates a list of people he wanted invited to the inauguration. The list included Calk and Calk’s son.....

Nothing out of the ordinary in D.C., and no Russia 2016 anything.


Also see:

Trump administration moves on new round of tariffs

Google can return to China if it follows the law

As for the biggest threat to American democracy, we all know what that is. The question is how do you fix a voting $y$tem that is broken? It's literally become a sewer filled with sharks.

"..... Moderate liberal Joe Lieberman of Connecticut was a rising star in Democratic circles in the 1980s; by 2000 he was the party’s candidate for vice president. But Lieberman strongly supported the Iraq war, a position that by 2006 made him persona non grata in Democrats’ eyes. Lieberman’s ostracism confirmed that the once-robust national-security wing of the Democratic Party — the home of Cold War hawks like Harry Truman, Jack Kennedy, and Scoop Jackson — was defunct. Democrats, the original party of peace through strength, are now the party of disengagement and retreat.

Liberal Democrats in the 1960s believed in color-blindness. Liberal Democrats today insist on racial criteria, demanding rigid “diversity” in everything from workplace hiring to college admissions to the Academy Awards.

Your father’s Democratic Party was an ardent defender of Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East. No more: Liberal Democrats today, reports the Pew Research Center, are much less likely to support Israel than to support its Palestinian enemies.

Two decades ago, a popular president fought hard for a North American Free Trade Agreement, signed the Iraq Liberation Act, and kept his promise to “end welfare as we know it.” He not only enacted a Balanced Budget Act, but produced four consecutive federal budget surpluses. He cut the top capital-gains tax rate from 28 percent to 20 percent. He led NATO in liberating Kosovo. He resisted same-sex marriage. He codified economic sanctions against Cuba.

Bill Clinton is still popular with Democrats. But in a party that has shifted sharply leftward, there’s little room for the centrist positions he upheld as president......

They are no longer excusing him.



"President Trump on Tuesday sent lawmakers a plan to wipe more than $15 billion in unused spending off the books. It wouldn’t have much practical impact on targeted programs such as the popular Children’s Health Insurance Program, but it would take away leftover money that could be used to pay for other budget priorities. Trimming back previously allocated funding used to be common, but the so-called ‘‘rescissions’’ process hasn’t been used since the Clinton administration..... "

You know, the good old days? 

If they have left over money, how about returning it to taxpayers and cutting budgets? 


Where does all this waste, fraud, and abuse end anyway, the Pentagon and alphabet intelligence agencies?

Made it through another day anyway.