17 October 2017

BIG-OIL CORPORATIONS TEACHING 3RD-GRADERS…

2300 by Jeff Hess

The key moment in the report comes at timemark 5:30: Oklahoma’s legislature cut $214 million from the education budget and gifted Big Oil with $216 million in tax breaks.

Yea free market…!

17 October 2017

NOW DON’T TAKE THIS THE WRONG WAY…

1800 by Jeff Hess

When anyone begins a conversation with some form of “Now, don’t take this the wrong way,” or “Don’t be offended,” we all know that we’re about to take whatever artless words that follow in precisely the way the speaker is certain to blame us for misunderstanding. Here’s a clue, if you think what you’re about to say (or write) could me understood, stop.

David French, writing in The Las Vegas Shooting Is Still Very, Very Strange should have stopped. French begins with:

Before I begin, let me re-emphasize what I stated in a post the afternoon after the shooting. Do not read this post as implying any sort of conspiracy theory. In fact, even now—more than two weeks after the terrible event—we don’t even know enough facts to concoct a conspiracy. We do know, however, that the story keeps getting more bizarre.

In other words: Blah blah blah blah CONSPIRACY blah blah blahh TERRIBLE EVENT blah blah blah blah blah blah CONSPIRACY blah blah blah. Speculation, the need to fill dead air (or pages) gets us into trouble.

French is troubled by two facts: first, he doesn’t know where security guard Jesus Campos is:

Just before Campos was scheduled to appear at numerous media interviews, he allegedly went to a “Quick Care” health care clinic and hasn’t been seen since. [Oops, JH] There was an armed security guard outside his house, and now that guard is reportedly gone. No one seems to be suspecting foul play, and as the president of his union notes, “Somebody knows where he is.” But this elusiveness is obviously not quite normal. Campos’s disappearance is but one odd element in the story. Another, of course, is the shifting timeline of the shooting.

And second, nearly three weeks after the massacre, French doesn’t know why Paddock did what he did:

The fact that a man could plan one of the worst mass murders in American history and do so without leaving the typical trail of clues and intentions is deeply unsettling. Time and again when mass shooters strike, they leave a trail of bread crumbs—whether they’re deteriorating mentally or radicalizing (or both), the warning signs are often obvious and warnings have often been given. Not this time.

The commenters on French’s panic attack are not kind.

15 October 2017

WE’RE NOT CUSTOMERS, WE’RE THE PRODUCT…!

2300 by Jeff Hess

13 October 2017

WYPIPO BE FUCKIN’ CRAZY…! NO, SERIOUSLY…

1800 by Jeff Hess

Michael Harriot, reporting in The Root’s Clapback Mailbag: The Whitest Email of All Time for The Root, declares a winner!

From: Nancy
To: Michael
Subject: Your vile, sick, self deluded article

Hey Michael

Regarding your hateful rant about white people. If you think we are so bad you really need to go back to your African homeland where your own tribal leaders and ancestors pimped you for profit to jewish ship owners. Nothing to do with white europeans you despise so much. In Africa your honeland youll find they still never got civilized but there are cannibal warlords in Liberia. As Ben Carson said, a decent black man who excelled in a white mans world.” the best thing that ever happen to the black man was slavery as it gave them the opportunity they would have never had in Africa” you guys benefit from our civilization and our inventions. Cars, planes, trains, phones, electricity, tv, radio, archetecture. Roman and greek civlization is western civilization and Im sorry your ancestors are sad ass voo doo cannibals who never made a civlization.. Deal with it instead of hate and blame. Obama is a MuslIm which is very odd as Islam are the first to enslave your black ass. Go to Islam see what they still do to blacks today. So you should be thanking white men. We let you become millionairs in our society, Presidents, educated. Your complaining is vile and makes you unworthy. As far as crime. Lets face the facts. 40, 000 white women arr raped a year by black mren. White men dont rape black women. Wonder why? 300,000 black on white crimes a year. It is racial targeted hate. We cant help we are a beautiful intelligent race. But your acts of violence are transparent. We dont protest the way you people do as we have jobs. Not on welfare. In Japan during Fukishmi not one act of violence or looting. An honorable people. Katrina and other Us disaster its your breathen doing the looting not whites. It appears to me “Michael” sadly the name of a great warrior archangel you disgrace with your racial hate, jealosy, lies, and most import self delusions. What you are inciting with your so called “poetry” is that of your voo doo ancestors demonic verbal diarrhea . Id like to look you in the eys and expel your bullshit out of you. Your a disgrace to humanity and ungrateful trash. Like your islamic Breathen foul and unholy Obama.You will fall from your throne of hate and deceit and lies soon enough by the wrath of God. May i suggest you go to church and pray rather than hating on white peopke and twisting the reality. You could never make a civlization absent us and now think your going to slander us the hijack and get unearned credit. Well try. When we fight back I assure you we will win as we always do since the history of time.

USA…! USA…! USA…! USA…! USA…! USA…! USA…! USA…! USA…! USA…! USA…! USA…! USA…!

12 October 2017

PONDERING CALLIOPE’S NEMESIS, MY ASTARETH…

1800 by Jeff Hess

171012 zen pencils edgar allan poe imp of the perverse

I’ve had a copy of Edgar Allan Poe’s The Imp of the Perverse on my desk for several weeks. I came upon the story after reading an old essay by Oliver Burkeman: On being tempted by the call of the perverse. The piece is eight years old, but I recently finished reading Burkeman’s older essays and this was one that I had flagged for a deeper read.

This morning I got an email from Gavin Aung Than—the artist behind In The Mood For Work and many other wonderful illustrations—about his latest: Zen Pencils No. 218: Procrastination. Gav chose to illustrate the 5th paragraph of Poe’s short story:

We have a task before us which must be speedily performed. We know that it will be ruinous to make delay. The most important crisis of our life calls, trumpet-tongued, for immediate energy and action. We glow, we are consumed with eagerness to commence the work, with the anticipation of whose glorious result our whole souls are on fire. It must, it shall be undertaken to-day, and yet we put it off until to-morrow; and why? There is no answer, except that we feel perverse, using the word with no comprehension of the principle. To-morrow arrives, and with it a more impatient anxiety to do our duty, but with this very increase of anxiety arrives, also, a nameless, a positively fearful, because unfathomable craving for delay. This craving gathers strength as the moments fly. The last hour for action is at hand. We tremble with the violence of the conflict within us,—of the definite with the indefinite—of the substance with the shadow. But, if the contest have proceeded thus far, it is the shadow which prevails,—we struggle in vain. The clock strikes, and is the knell of our welfare. At the same time, it is the chanticleer-note to the ghost that has so long overawed us. It flies—it disappears—we are free. The old energy returns. We will labor now. Alas, it is too late!

I’ve written much before about my muse, Calliopemost recently this—but the synchronicity of Oliver’s and Gav’s pieces caused me to think of her nemesis, my own Imp of the Perverse. I did a search to see if there was an anti-muse demon but I did not find such a creature. I did, however, find the goddess/demon Astareth. Like most female deities, the patriarchy has worked hard to diminish her so I take a listing of her as provoking laziness, vanity and rationalization with a grain of salt, but for now I’m happy to give her name to my imp.

So, what kind of imp do you have?

Previously…

11 October 2017

EMINEM THEN: 2004—MEET EMINEM NOW: 2017…

1900 by Jeff Hess



With Lyrics

11 October 2017

TREVOR AARONSON, JABAR ALI REFAIE & THE FBI…

1700 by Jeff Hess

Trevor Aaronson, writing in “You Have the Way Out” —Recordings Capture Brutal FBI Tactics to Recruit a Potential Informant for The Intercept, offers a master class in protecting yourself from the Federal Bureau of Investigation:

Refaie and I had been in contact for a few months, starting well before his arrest. I had initially suspected that he would be like many others who have contacted me with claims of FBI harassment and surveillance. I had assumed his claims, like theirs, would be impossible to prove, but Refaie turned out to be different. By recording his conversations with federal agents and filing local police reports, Refaie had effectively run a one-man counterintelligence program against the FBI.

The long tale of why the FBI was interested in Refaie and the smart steps he took to protect himself should be read by all Americans.

I have to wonder how many informants the FBI was running in Mesquite, Nevada?

10 October 2017

WINNING THROUGH INTIMIDATION IS A FAIL…

1900 by Jeff Hess

There is a tradition in American politics that requires former presidents to disappear for a time, to write memoirs, plan libraries and depressurize from the insane demands of sitting behind the desk in the Oval Office so that the present occupant can go about governing. That has generally worked successfully for 43 former presidents. Ralph Nader, however, thinks that No. 44—blah, blah, Grover Cleveland, blah, blah—has a serious problem because No. 45 believes that having the bully pulpit means that he get to be the bully and no one will touch him.

Nader, in Obama—Too Cool for Trump’s Crises, writes:

Back in the nineteen seventies, there was a best-seller, widely read in the business community, called Winning through Intimidation. Barack Obama should pick up a copy, because that is what Donald Trump may be doing to him. Obama stays mostly silent as the belligerent Trump rolls back or destroys the legacies of Obama’s eight years in office. The mere thought of tangling with the Trumpster’s foul, prevaricatory, sneering tweets offends Obama’s own sense of civil discourse between politicians.

Given the present crises, this revulsion is just another form of self-indulgence by the former, self-described community organizer, Senator and President. There is no other political leader, in our celebrity culture, as well known or so high in the polls. Consequently Obama owes a different attitude and level of engagement to the American people.

In a previous column, I described some of these engagements, none of which involve a twitter fight with Trump. They provide focal points for Americans to rally around agendas and opposition to the politics of anxiety, dread and fear generated by the unstable occupant of the White House. That is, a way to respond to Trump’s Continue Reading »

10 October 2017

COLBERT, STEWART ATTEMPT BALANCE, AND FAIL…

1800 by Jeff Hess

10 October 2017

WHITE PEOPLE… WE NEED TO TALK…

1700 by Jeff Hess

First, Michael Harriot:

In the 241 years of America’s existence, we have purposely ignored the important topic that lingers over this country’s constant pursuit of happiness. Until we can come to grips with this pressing dilemma and confront it head-on, we can never hope for peace, justice and equality. For too long we have allowed ourselves to look the other way, blithely neglecting the one thing that could possibly heal the racial divide that cripples our great nation:

We need to talk about white people.

That’s how Harriot, writing in We Need to Have a Conversation About White People for The Root, begins his essay.

Time and time again I have said, written, preached that I fully recognize that as a white, male born in the United States, I am a member, by no merit of my own, of an elite group that stands on the backs of most of the other billions of humans on Earth. The gaps between myself and Bill Gates are smaller than those between myself and most of the world. Part of our existential challenge is recognizing that the former are far less important than the latter.

I won’t attempt to cherry pick the rest of Harriot’s excellent essay.

Read. Enjoy.

9 October 2017

NEW GUN-CONTROL LEGISLATION BY HALFTIME…

2000 by Jeff Hess

9 October 2017

OBAMA, TRUMP & TA-NEHISI COATES’ EVOLUTION…

1900 by Jeff Hess

Ta-Nehisi Coates is tired. Really, really tired, and the mantles dropped on his shoulders by the likes of Toni Morrison, The New York Times and the MacArthur Foundation are not making his life easier. The man just wants to write, damn it!

After publishing yet another insightful essay in The Atlantic and a third book which has demanded his presence on what must seem to his jet-lagged brain and endless succession of news and talk shows, I expect that Coates will go to ground—perhaps in his next Paris—for a few months to recharge. America has a long list of real—Henry David Thoreau, Jerome David Salinger (interesting middle names)—and fictional—Terrence Mann and William Forrester—reclusive writers. I don’t think Coates is of that ilk, but he is reflective, devoting great time and energy to getting his writing as right as humanly possible.

For example, Coates begins Donald Trump Is the First White President this way:

It is insufficient to state the obvious of Donald Trump: that he is a white man who would not be president were it not for this fact. With one immediate exception, Trump’s predecessors made their way to high office through the passive power of whiteness—that bloody heirloom which cannot ensure mastery of all events but can conjure a tailwind for most of them. Land theft and human plunder cleared the grounds for Trump’s forefathers and barred others from it. Once upon the field, these men became soldiers, statesmen, and scholars; held court in Paris; presided at Princeton; advanced into the Wilderness and then into the White House. Their individual triumphs made this exclusive party seem above America’s founding sins, and it was forgotten that the former was in fact bound to the latter, that all their victories had transpired on cleared grounds. No such elegant detachment can be attributed to Donald Trump—a president who, more than any other, has made the awful inheritance explicit.

Than consider his lede in We should have seen Trump coming for The Guardian:

I have often wondered how I missed the coming tragedy. It is not so much that I should have predicted that Americans would elect Donald Trump. It’s just that I shouldn’t have put it past us. It was tough to keep track of the currents of politics and pageantry swirling at once. All my life I had seen myself, and my people, backed into a corner. Had I been wrong? Watching the crowds at county fairs cheer for Michelle Obama in 2008, or flipping through the enchanting photo spreads of the glamorous incoming administration, it was easy to believe that I had been.

And it was more than symbolic. Barack Obama’s victory meant not just a black president but also that Democrats, the party supported by most black people, enjoyed majorities in Congress. Prominent intellectuals were predicting that modern conservatism – a movement steeped in white resentment—was at its end and that a demographic wave of Asians, Latinos and blacks would sink the Republican party.

I came to Coates through his blog. I don’t recall how I first found him, but he first showed up on my blogroll in 2007. My first post about him came in October 2008. In We Were Eight Years In Power, Coates writes about those blog years:

The blog had an open feel to it, but not too open. I moderated the commenters and banned people. I had to. I wanted to maximize the number of commenters who could tell me things, and for that I had to build something beyond the profane cynicism that inevitably overruns my unregulated space. Between all the posts about Ravkim and Spider-Man, I would write about my attempts to conquer Leviathan or my reconsiderations of Howard Zinn, and the commenters would offer their responses. We would engage, sometimes argue, and I would learn. Grad students would show up under anonymous handles, offering contexts, objections and clarifications. A kind of seminar evolved in which scholars dead and present—Beryl Satter, Rebecca Scott, Primo Levi, John Locke—became my virtual professors. The process began to feed itself—commenters would recommend other book, and I would those and we would engage again. The great Ishmael Reed says that writing is fighting, and I believe him. The blog was a gym, my commenters were my trainers. And the books were film reels offering up new angles, new combinations, and ultimately, new possibilities [Emphasis mine, JH]. It was not perfect. I think I could have been more charitable. I think, from time to time, I assumed malicious motives behind worthy objections. But these days, with the blog gone and thus my old community gone [Nah, we still here, JH], with the gym now shuttered and boarded up, I feel myself in constant danger—even as I write this—of allowing the power of my punch, the speed of my limbs, to lapse.

Coates honesty there as a writer should be seen, read by all writers. Perhaps that is why Coates goes out, why he doesn’t succumb to the lure of writing from an undisclosed location. The Obama years presented him with a great opportunity. I think the Trump years, few may they be, present an even greater one.

8 October 2017

AMERICA’S TRACK-SUIT-SEX-OFFENDER…

2300 by Jeff Hess

John Oliver almost gets there. He missed the opportunity for Americans to confront the reason, not the excuse, the reason why the Slavetocracy in the Confederacy was able to finally force votes to secede from the United States: wealth.

The teaching moment came at timemark 08:59. Oliver dismisses the argument, but that is the central truth. The 1 percent of 1861, North and South, were locked in a battle to preserve their fortunes. Those in the South, seeing that they were about to lose the fight, and generations of family wealth, decided to literally walk away.

That their financial heritage was built upon the exact opposite of everything the United States purported to stand for as laid out in our founding documents—with the exception of course of the shameful 3/5’s compromise found in Article 1, Section 2, Paragraph 3 of our Constitution which reads:

Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons. [i.e., slaves, JH]

—is our problem. The problem continues today around the world, but an insufficient number of Americans are troubled that their jewelry, clothing and smart phones are produced by slave labor.

It is also possible to argue that the Electoral College, found in Article II, Section 1, Clause 3 and modified by the 12th Amendment is a vestige of our slavery heritage brought about as a second compromise between the more populous, industrial free states and the agricultural slave states.

Where Oliver really misses the boat, is answering the question he ignores: why did the northern states commit hundreds of thousands of men and millions of dollars to stop the southern states from seceding?

Again, in a word, wealth.

Northern textile mills needed cotton and could not tolerate the loss, or the rise in prices that would have been a certainty once the South was able to throw off the economic punishments of the cotton tariffs. Other nations, primarily England, wanted the South’s cotton. The 1 percent in the North, whose wealth was represented by that regions textile mills, could not allow secession. This is also the reason why the North was so quick to take every avenue possible—including a little known clause in the 13th Amendment—to restart production. For northern millionaires to preserve the wealth, the cotton must flow.

8 October 2017

REED MUFFS CHANCE TO REBUFF MAYOR JACKSON

1700 by Roldo Bartimole

Mayoral challenger Zach Reed missed an opportunity to really distinguish himself from Mayor Frank Jackson and his leadership of the last decade.

The issue: Neighborhoods vs. Downtown.

It apparently jolts some energy among citizens. It was evident in the collection of more than 20,000 signatures to call a halt to the city/county gift-giving to the Cav’s billionaire owner Danny Gilbert.

That showed a negative response to the mayor’s free-wheeling give-away practices.

I can see why some 87 percent of Cleveland voters didn’t bother to vote for a contingent of candidates in the recent September primary.

Why bother, seemed appropriate.

What the low vote figure showed, however, was why so many citizens didn’t find purpose to making the effort to vote.

The Plain Dealer, which has low balled this election with sparse coverage, gave Reed the rare chance with a question that deserved a strong answer.

It questions a specific project: The ridiculously named nuCLEus 54-story mixed development near the heavily-subsidized Quicken Arena.

The developers are seeking a 30 year (30 years!) of tax gifting from the city with most of the dollars coming from the Cleveland schools.

Other public incentives may be involved.

Instead of grabbing the opportunity to show himself sharply opposite Continue Reading »

8 October 2017

WE DO KNOW HOW TO CURE IGNORANCE DANAE…

1600 by Jeff Hess

171008 non sequitur danae president donald john trump ignorance

8 October 2017

CAN THE GUN DEBATE COME DOWN TO TYRANNY…?

1500 by Jeff Hess

Matt Taibbi, writing in Gun Lobby Is Down to Its Last, Unconvincing Excuse for Rolling Stone, observes:

Polls consistently show that majorities of gun owners believe the purpose of the Second Amendment is “protection against tyranny.”
National Rifle Association merchandise sits on display during the 144th NRA Annual Meetings and Exhibits at the Music City Center in Nashville, Tennessee, U.S., on Saturday, April 11, 2015. Top Republican contenders for their party’s 2016 presidential nomination are lining up to speak at the annual NRA event, except New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, who were snubbed by the country’s largest and most powerful gun lobby

So we’re down to that—we need to put up with this, because it’s gun enthusiasts who will come to the rescue if this ever happens in America.

Here’s my question about that. Where were all these heroic tyrannophobe gun owners during the unprecedented expansion of police and surveillance powers that took place after 9/11?

Answer: nowhere. We didn’t hear them shrieking about habeas corpus becoming a joke in the Bush years, or torture and extrajudicial assassination becoming standard practices. We didn’t hear them protesting the vast expansion of the classification of government documents, or complaining about the widespread abuse of material witness statutes, the national security letter provision of the Patriot Act, or a hundred other problems.

Nor did they ever protest aggressive new domestic enforcement policies like stop-and-frisk and predictive policing, for the obvious reason that those programs were mostly directed against minorities in poor neighborhoods.

Taibbi concludes:

The tyranny argument, the gun lobby’s last excuse, is a joke. People aren’t buying up military-grade weapons in preparation for some new-world-order Anschluss into flyover country.

Americans are just bored and crazy and insecure and like to calm their nerves by shooting bottles, Kim Jong-un paper targets, and, pretty regularly now, crowds full of innocent human beings. It’s madness, and there aren’t enough highly paid pseudo-intellectual gun lobbyists in the world to justify it anymore. Can we finally at least drop the pretense that this is about anything but money?

Sadly, no we can’t, Matt. Sure, for the gun manufacturers, their lobbyists (and the NRA) as well as the many of the politicians they support, money is the ticket in the same way that money is the focus for drug dealers. The buyers, however, aren’t making money, they’re spending it and you have to wonder why someone making $900 a week—like one of my former students—would fork over several hundred dollars for a pistol. There are other motivations (and I use the plural advisedly here) for buying guns.

Let’s set aside for a moment, hunters or recreational gun owners who only want to legally kill game animals and paper targets. We might also ignore collectors who only want to display their firearms in cabinets in the same way a philatelist or numismatist might. I’m even willing to give a pass to the person who keeps a shotgun or pistol in the house for the sole purpose of protecting their home from invaders. The gun owners we have to ask about are those, like Steve Paddock, who amass personal arsenals. Of those people we have to ask: what the fuck are they afraid of?

The common trope is a tyrannical government, but that (Michael Brendan Dougherty notwithstanding) is a ruse de guerre. In our nation’s history—stretching from President George Washington and the Whiskey Rebellion to President Barack Hussein Obama and Cliven Bundy—no private citizen, no matter how well armed, has resisted the federal government. Private citizens, however, have repeatedly (and often with the blessing of local, state and federal authorities) wielded the militia might against lesser threats like Native Americans, African Americans, Latinos and Trade Unionists.

They fear Ragnarök, the final race war.

7 October 2017

WE’RE ALL OUT OF AFRICA, GET OVER YOUR SELF…

2000 by Jeff Hess

So, this is the bit that frustrates me, if you want to talk racial purity, there is no such animal for two reasons:

First, race is not a taxonomic classification and

Second, the common ancestors of humanity all came from Africa, so dudes dudettes—

We’re all Africans.

Deal.

7 October 2017

IS THIS MUELLER’S PLAN IN NEW YORK CITY…?

1900 by Jeff Hess

Back on 6 August I began to write a post with the headline: SO, WHERE IS MUELLER’S GRAND JURY GOING…? I got swept up in other writing and never finished the post. This morning, on my way to the library I stopped to listen to a segment on The New Yorker Radio Hour titled: The Trump Children Were Investigated for Fraud, but Avoided Indictment. Listening to Ave Carrillo reporting, my mind went back to the National Review piece that first sparked my interest.

Then, I wrote:

I’m not JD-impaired and most of what I know of the law I learned from Perry Mason, Jack McCoy and Dr. Dru Evarts. The last, a real person, almost set me on the path to law school, but that’s another story. All of that is to say that I’m at sea over evaluating Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s continuing investigation of President Donald John Trump and those around him.

That’s why I’m doing my best to read widely on the topic. This morning I pulled up Andrew McCarthy’s Is Mueller’s Grand Jury Impeachment Step One? for the National Review.

That story led me at the end of the month to the news that Special Counsel Robert Mueller was working with New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman on Mueller’s investigation of Paul Manafort. Josh Dawsey, reporting in Mueller teams up with New York attorney general in Manafort probe for Politico, wrote:

The cooperation is the latest indication that the federal probe into President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman is intensifying. It also could potentially provide Mueller with additional leverage to get Manafort to cooperate in the larger investigation into Trump’s campaign, as Trump does not have pardon power over state crimes. [Emphasis mine, JH]

President Donald John Trump, and his minions, may have been operating under the false impression that they would be ultimately protected by a presidential pardon. Mueller has burned that ace-in-the-hole by adding the potential for state charges to the investigation.

Which brings me to Donald Trump Jr., Ivanka Trump and Trump SoHo. Here is how How Ivanka Trump and Donald Trump, Jr., Avoided a Criminal Indictment begins:

In the spring of 2012, Donald Trump’s two eldest children, Ivanka Trump and Donald Trump, Jr., found themselves in a precarious legal position. For two years, prosecutors in the Manhattan District Attorney’s office had been building a criminal case against them for misleading prospective buyers of units in the Trump SoHo, a hotel and condo development that was failing to sell. Despite the best efforts of the siblings’ defense team, the case had not gone away. An indictment seemed like a real possibility. The evidence included e-mails from the Trumps making clear that they were aware they were using inflated figures about how well the condos were selling to lure buyers.

In one e-mail, according to four people who have seen it, the Trumps discussed how to coördinate false information they had given to prospective buyers. In another, according to a person who read the e-mails, they worried that a reporter might be on to them. In yet another, Donald, Jr., spoke reassuringly to a broker who was concerned about the false statements, saying that nobody would ever find out, because only people on the e-mail chain or in the Trump Organization knew about the deception, according to a person who saw the e-mail. There was “no doubt” that the Trump children “approved, knew of, agreed to, and intentionally inflated the numbers to make more sales,” one person who saw the e-mails told us. “They knew it was wrong.”

In 2010, when the Major Economic Crimes Bureau of the D.A.’s office opened an investigation of the siblings, the Trump Organization had hired several top New York criminal-defense lawyers to represent Donald, Jr., and Ivanka. These attorneys had met with prosecutors in the bureau several times. They conceded that their clients had made exaggerated claims, but argued that the overstatements didn’t amount to criminal misconduct. Still, the case dragged on. In a meeting with the defense team, Donald Trump, Sr., expressed frustration that the investigation had not been closed. Soon after, his longtime personal lawyer, Marc Kasowitz, entered the case.

Kasowitz, who by then had been the elder Donald Trump’s attorney for a decade, is primarily a civil litigator, with little experience in criminal matters. But, in 2012, Kasowitz donated twenty-five thousand dollars to the reëlection campaign of the Manhattan District Attorney, Cyrus Vance, Jr., making Kasowitz one of Vance’s largest donors. Kasowitz decided to bypass the lower-level prosecutors and went directly to Vance to ask that the investigation be dropped.

On May 16, 2012, Kasowitz visited Vance’s office at One Hogan Place, in downtown Manhattan—a faded edifice made famous by the television show “Law & Order.” Dan Alonso, the Chief Assistant District Attorney, and Adam Kaufmann, the chief of the investigative division, were also at the meeting, but no one from the Major Economic Crimes Bureau attended. Kasowitz did not introduce any new arguments or facts during his session. He simply repeated the arguments that the other defense lawyers had been making for months.

Ultimately, Vance overruled his own prosecutors. Three months after the meeting, he told them to drop the case. Kasowitz subsequently boasted to colleagues about representing the Trump children, according to two people. He said that the case was “really dangerous,” one person said, and that it was “amazing I got them off.” (Kasowitz denied making such a statement.)

All of this is done and dusted. Maybe.

I have no doubt that President Trump would easily throw any of his associates under the bus. Business is business.

Family, especially to Trump, is different.

I saw, but did read or even think about, this story in The GuardianIvana Trump: I talk to Donald regularly despite ‘insane’ divorce. Ivana is the mother of Donald Trump Jr. and Ivanka. The hook for the story is Ivana’s book: Raising Trump, but the coincidences are piling up. Her assertion that she and Trump now speak regularly.

Children, of course, would be the primary talking point. If Trump SoHo is about to become important again, if Mueller is looking for leverage, a mother could be worried, and Marc Kasowitz’s magic could once again, be needed.

6 October 2017

IN AMERICA, TERRORIST IS NOW THE NEW BLACK…

2000 by Jeff Hess

171007 dick gregory keef keith knight think
COINTELPRO, the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s infamous dirty-tricks gang, is back under the guise of the FBI’s Domestic Terrorism Analysis Unit and a declaration that:

Black Identity Extremist perceptions of police brutality against African Americans spurred an increase in premeditated, retaliatory lethal violence against law enforcement and will very likely serve as justification for such violence.increase in premeditated, retaliatory lethal violence against law enforcement and will very likely serve as justification for such violence.

Perceptions? Fucking perceptions? Sam Levin, writing in FBI terrorism unit says ‘black identity extremists’ pose violent threat for The Guardian, call’s bullshit:

The FBI’s dedicated surveillance of black activists follows a long history of the US government aggressively monitoring protest movements and working to disrupt civil rights groups, but the scrutiny of African Americans by a domestic terrorism unit was particularly alarming to some free speech campaigners.

“When we talk about enemies of the state and terrorists, with that comes an automatic stripping of those people’s rights to speak and protest,” said Mohammad Tajsar, staff attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union. “It marginalizes what are legitimate voices within the political debate that are calling for racial and economic justice.”

The document has emerged at a time of growing concerns about Donald Trump’s links to the far right and white nationalists, and increasing anxieties about his administration’s efforts to further criminalize communities of color and shield police from scrutiny. Anti-Trump protesters and Black Lives Matter activists have continued to face harsh prosecutions and close federal monitoring.

The FBI did not immediately respond to the Guardian’s request for comment on Friday, but defended its tracking of “black identity extremists” in a statement to Foreign Policy, claiming the “FBI cannot initiate an investigation based solely on an individual’s race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, or the exercise of First Amendment rights”.

The FBI’s report noted specific cases of recent violence against police, most notably Micah Johnson, a 25-year-old shooter in Dallas who killed five officers and said he was targeting white people and law enforcement. Black Lives Matter—a movement protesting the disproportionate killings of black citizens by police in the US—had no ties to Johnson or other targeted killings of police and has condemned those shootings.

The number of police officers killed on the job also remains a fraction of the number of citizens killed by officers each year, and statistics suggest that more white offenders than black offenders kill officers.

Deceased FBI Director John Edgar Hoover, a black man who passed for white, was allowed to run roughshod over our Constitution for decades. This latest manifestation of White Supremacy cannot stand and Anne Branigin isn’t having it.

6 October 2017

RESISTANCE IS NOT, MUST NEVER BE, FUTILE…

1900 by Jeff Hess

171007 resist keef kief knight sean spicer

Next »