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  # 2175376 9-Feb-2019 10:26
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freitasm:

 

Apparently AMI (National Enquirer parent company) has an agreement with Muller to not do anything illegal since it's been helping the investigations, or risk prosecution... If Bezos does a good job and prove blackmail... Oh, that'd be epic ownage.

 

 

The Guardian - Jeff Bezos 'blackmail' claim puts focus on National Enquirer links to Trump

 

08 Feb 2019

 

final paragraphs:

 


The justice department agreed last September to a non-prosecution agreement with AMI, which requires the company and some top executives, including Pecker and Howard, to cooperate with authorities.

 

But in the wake of the new revelations the Associated Press has reported that federal investigators are now looking at whether the recent revelations mean AMI has violated that agreement.

 

The agreement requires AMI commit no crimes for three years.

 





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  # 2175388 9-Feb-2019 10:27
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freitasm:

 

How to be a bad guy

 

 

 

Brilliant! Everyone should watch this.

 

Edit: And read the Guardian piece above. It's dynamite!

 

 

 

 





I don't think there is ever a bad time to talk about how absurd war is, how old men make decisions and young people die. - George Clooney
 


 
 
 
 


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  # 2175389 9-Feb-2019 10:30
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tdgeek:

 

I see Trump has been reasonable with the discussions leading up to the Feb 15 deadline. Just a new tactic. Being reasonable is a new tactic, that's sad in itself....

 


 





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  # 2175427 9-Feb-2019 12:47
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Nice pun ...

 

 

A classic headline from The New York Post on Friday about Jeff Bezos' accusations that David Pecker, publisher of The National Enquirer, sought to blackmail him.

 

 

 

EDIT

 

From the same paper, another classic headline: "HEADLESS BODY IN TOPLESS BAR" April 15, 1983  (yes, really!)





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  # 2175431 9-Feb-2019 13:00
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The clever thing is that is both literally and figuratively true, and on multiple levels as well.

 

 





I don't think there is ever a bad time to talk about how absurd war is, how old men make decisions and young people die. - George Clooney
 


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  # 2175465 9-Feb-2019 15:41
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https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/07/us/politics/democrats-trump-tax-returns.html

House Democrats Begin Push to Secure Trump’s Tax Returns
New York Times
By Nicholas Fandos

WASHINGTON — Democrats took the first cautious steps on Thursday in their quest to obtain President Trump’s long-hidden tax returns, further inflaming the contentious relationship between the president and the newly empowered House.

A fractious afternoon hearing of a Ways and Means oversight subcommittee was intended to begin building a case that Mr. Trump’s withholding of his returns was not only flouting modern political norms but also potentially hiding violations of federal tax laws and compromising the interests of the United States. Democrats argued that they had the legal authority and good cause to invoke an obscure provision in the federal code that gives the committee’s chairman access to private tax information to find the answers and potentially inform other related inquiries into Mr. Trump’s financial positions.

“We are not interested in getting someone,” Representative Bill Pascrell Jr., Democrat of New Jersey, said during one exchange. “We are interested in following the law, period.”

The Democratic lawmakers faced stiff objections from congressional Republicans, who accused them of seeking to violate Mr. Trump’s privacy, setting a dangerous precedent for political retribution and abusing the power laid out in the law. Earlier in the day, Mr. Trump had said the House’s multiplying inquiries into him, his business and his administration constituted “presidential harassment.”

“The Dems and their committees are going ‘nuts,’” he wrote on Twitter.

Tensions have also simmered between Democratic leaders who want to proceed slowly and liberals who think they are wasting time. But by the time the gavel fell in the Ways and Means hearing room, the Democrats had already made clear they were undeterred.

“Overwhelmingly, the public wants to see the president’s tax returns,” said Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California. “They want to know the truth. They want to know the facts. And he has nothing to hide.”

What comes next is far less clear. The statute in question — Section 6103 of the federal tax code — gives the chairman of the Ways and Means Committee extraordinary powers to request that the Treasury Department release to him tax information on any filer, including the president. The provision allows the committee to review the tax information privately, but it would have to vote to disclose any return information or findings to the public.

There is scant precedent for its use to investigate an individual, much less someone of Mr. Trump’s stature. That and an all but certain legal challenge from the administration will most likely leave the outcome to the federal courts.

The tax policy experts assembled by the committee generally supported Democrats’ view of the law, arguing that Section 6103 gave the chairman wide discretion as long as he could show a “legitimate purpose” for obtaining sensitive records.

“Congress in effect placed tax return information in a locked safe in 1976, but it preserved one key for purposes of disclosing such information to the public,” said George K. Yin, a University of Virginia tax law professor. “It gave that key to the tax committees. The law therefore should be interpreted to enable the tax committees to use the key in appropriate and necessary circumstances.”

Only one of the panelists, Ken Kies, a former Ways and Means aide and veteran Republican tax lobbyist, disagreed.

The committee’s chairman, Representative Richard E. Neal of Massachusetts, is working closely with the House’s general counsel, Doug Letter, to build a legal rationale that could withstand a court challenge. Mr. Neal, who prides himself more on his bipartisan policymaking skills than hard-nosed partisan oversight, is reluctant to move too quickly and risk making a mistake that could be exploited in court, people familiar with his thinking said.

Though it focused almost exclusively on invoking existing authorities, for instance, Thursday’s subcommittee hearing was technically a legislative session concentrated on a portion of Democrats’ broad election reform bill that would require all presidents and vice presidents to disclose their tax returns going forward.

But pressure from Mr. Neal’s left flank is growing. Three liberal groups — Tax March, Stand Up America and Indivisible — recently wrote a letter urging the chairman to “stop slow-walking” and even attached another form letter, addressed to the Treasury secretary and the Internal Revenue Service commissioner, for Mr. Neal to sign formally requesting the returns. Liberal lawmakers, too, are growing impatient.

Mr. Neal has not indicated when he plans to make a formal request under the law, how he would review what he got or if his committee or others will convene additional hearings first. Nor has he said whether he will request tax information on the Trump Organization or just the president’s personal returns.

As written, the law does not give the Trump administration clear grounds to deny a request from Mr. Neal. It says only that the Treasury secretary “shall” furnish the information upon request.

Steven Mnuchin, the Treasury secretary, has said he will comply with all legal requests from Congress for the tax returns of any taxpayer, including Mr. Trump. However, Treasury officials are preparing to challenge the legitimacy of any requests coming from the committee that they could argue are political in nature and not related to real legislative work.

Republicans forcefully defended Mr. Trump, beginning with a letter from the committee’s ranking member, Representative Kevin Brady of Texas, early Thursday urging Mr. Neal to reconsider “weaponizing the nation’s tax code” for political purposes.

“This isn’t about the tax returns of presidents and vice presidents but about making sure Congress does not abuse its authority,” he wrote. “This is about protecting the private tax returns of every American.”

In the hearing room, Republicans tried out various arguments. The current law does not actually require presidents or candidates to release their tax information, they pointed out. Representative Mike Kelly of Pennsylvania, the ranking Republican on the oversight subcommittee, said a committee review would be redundant since the I.R.S. is mandated to audit all presidential returns. Representative Brad Wenstrup, Republican of Ohio, compared requiring candidates to release their tax returns to asking them to make their medical records public.

“Where does it end?” Mr. Kelly asked. “What about the tax returns of the speaker? Members of Congress? Federal employees? Or, for that matter, any political donors? There is no end in sight for those whose tax information may be in jeopardy.”

Democrats called that argument ridiculous. They said their case was about a specific president who had defied norms and was known to have complicated financial entanglements. They also pointed to reports in The New York Times and other news media outlets that suggested that Mr. Trump had substantially misled the public about certain aspects of his wealth.

Mr. Trump is the first president or major party nominee to refuse to release his personal tax returns since doing so became the norm in the 1970s. During the campaign, he cited a continuing I.R.S. audit of his returns, but since taking office, the White House has signaled that Mr. Trump has no intentions of making the material public regardless of an audit.

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  # 2175771 10-Feb-2019 10:44
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The Washington Post - Yet another Trump doctor has contracted Trumpitis

 

February 9 at 1:26 PM

 


President Trump underwent his annual medical exam Friday, and while we don’t know the details of the 72-year-old president’s health yet, his doctor appears to have contracted a highly contagious disease that has afflicted all of Trump’s recent doctors.

 

Trumpitis.

 

Philip Bump first coined that term back when Harold Bornstein was issuing completely unserious reviews of the then-presidential candidate’s health.

 

Bornstein at the time stated Trump would be the healthiest president ever elected, despite also being the oldest. ...

 

... And now we have Sean Conley.

 

In a brief letter released Friday by the White House, Conley promised fuller results to come, but he wanted to make something clear right away.

 

While the reports and recommendations are being finalized, I am happy to announce that the President of the United States is in very good health and I anticipate he will remain so for the duration of his Presidency, and beyond,” the memo from Conley states.

 

 

Click to see full size

 

[click to view]





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  # 2175815 10-Feb-2019 12:22
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Great episode last Friday of "Real Time with Bill Maher", with great guests.

Here's a segment from https://www.youtube.com/user/RealTime/videos

New Rule: The Republicans Are the Problem | Real Time with Bill Maher (HBO)



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  # 2176013 10-Feb-2019 17:37
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The filthy piece of racist sh!t. He just can't stop his stubby little fingers from tweeting:

 


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  # 2176015 10-Feb-2019 17:40
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The capitalised "TRAIL" refers to this:

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trail_of_Tears


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  # 2176034 10-Feb-2019 18:23
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https://www.wsj.com/articles/saudi-arabia-sought-vices-help-to-build-a-media-empire-11549621800

Saudi Arabia Sought Vice’s Help to Build a Media Empire
Riyadh builds alliances with Western news outlets to reshape its image, battle rivals

By Rory Jones in Dubai, Benoit Faucon in London and Keach Hagey in New York

One sunny afternoon in August on a yacht off the Red Sea coast, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Vice Media Executive Chairman Shane Smith discussed an unlikely collaboration.

A Saudi government-controlled company had already hired Vice to produce documentaries on social reforms in the ultraconservative kingdom. The new proposal would elevate relations to a joint venture, similar to Saudi pairings with other Western media outlets, according to people briefed on the meeting.

Prince Mohammed was advancing a Saudi strategy evident in the earlier joint ventures: Build an international media empire to combat the kingdom’s rivals and remake its image in the West, according to bankers, consultants and people with knowledge of the Saudi effort.

“In their view, the problem is that they haven’t been telling their own story up to now, and they’d like to start,” said Elana DeLozier, a research fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. Saudi Arabia’s government press office and royal court didn’t comment in response to questions about Saudi media ventures.

Amazon Inc. founder Jeff Bezos on Thursday pointed to additional efforts on the part of Saudi Arabia to polish its image in the Western media. In a blog post, Mr. Bezos alleged National Enquirer publisher American Media Inc. had tried to blackmail him and potentially colluded with Saudi Arabia to damage his reputation. The National Enquirer last year published a front-page cover of Prince Mohammed and nearly 100 pages dedicated to his kingdom’s reform efforts. Saudi individuals also have held talks about a possible investment in AMI, The Wall Street Journal has reported.

When asked on Friday in Washington whether Saudi Arabia played any role in the dispute with Mr. Bezos, Adel al-Jubeir, the minister of state for foreign affairs, said: “As far as I know: flat no.”

AMI said it “believes fervently that it acted lawfully in the reporting of the story of Mr. Bezos.”

Prince Mohammed moved to control media assets soon after his father, King Salman, became king in January 2015, as it became clear that rivals were winning in the opinion-shaping realms of culture and news. Qatar’s Al Jazeera has long been the region’s dominant news voice—and more recently a nuisance to Riyadh in its feud with its smaller neighbor. Turkish entertainment is widely consumed across the Arab World—despite a move last year by a Saudi-owned pan-Arab broadcaster to take Turkish TV dramas off the air.

The Saudi effort to control the narrative became more difficult after the Oct. 2 killing by Saudi operatives of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi sparked an international backlash.
...
The Saudi connection with Vice came in 2017 through Prince Mohammed’s younger brother, Prince Khalid bin Salman, the Saudi ambassador to the U.S. and a fan of Vice’s provocative approach to news, according to people familiar with the discussions.

The Brooklyn-based firm had built its reputation and young audience with documentaries exploring subjects such as Japanese pornography and new varieties of illicit drugs—topics largely off-limits in conservative Saudi Arabia.

Prince Khalid initiated his brother’s meeting on the yacht last year, believing Vice, in partnership with SRMG, could speak to young Saudis more attracted to online platforms like YouTube than the satellite channels their parents watch, said one of the people familiar with the talks.

Despite the setbacks in the Saudi relationship, Vice Media, which suffered stalled revenue growth last year and recently said it would cut 10% of its workforce, already has some Middle East partners and remains open to working with others, according to people familiar with the company’s Mideast operations.
...
...

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  # 2176038 10-Feb-2019 18:33
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Fred99:

The filthy piece of racist sh!t. He just can't stop his stubby little fingers from tweeting





"Dog Whistle Politics: How Coded Racial Appeals Have Reinvented Racism and Wrecked the Middle Class"

https://www.amazon.com/Dog-Whistle-Politics-Appeals-Reinvented-ebook/dp/B00GHJNSMU/
One hour long video

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  # 2176437 11-Feb-2019 14:00
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  # 2176476 11-Feb-2019 14:19
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WHY IS IT SO HARD TO VOTE IN AMERICA? – VOTING PROBLEMS IN THE WORLD’S MOST POWERFUL DEMOCRACY.

 

By Colum Lynch  https://foreignpolicy.com/2018/11/05/why-is-it-so-hard-to-vote-in-america/

 

Americans like to think of their political system as the gold standard of democratic governance.

 

But a complicated registration process, the failure to make Election Day a national holiday, and political measures aimed at suppressing turnout—especially among African-Americans and other minorities—have combined to give the United States one of the lower voter participation rates in the developed world.

 

In the 2016 presidential election, only 56 percent of the U.S. voting-age population cast ballots, a slight increase over 2012. In contrast, 87 percent of voting-age Belgians, 83 percent of Swedes, and 80 percent of Danes voted in their most recent national elections, according to a May study by the Pew Research Center.

 

“We would not put up with our election system if it were delivering us a consumer product,” said Justin Levitt, an expert on elections at the Loyola Law School. “That product would go out of business tomorrow.”

 

Here’s a quick survey of the problems and how to solve them.

 

The Registration Barrier

 

Sweden and Germany automatically register eligible citizens onto their voting rolls. The United Kingdom and Australia actively promote voter registration. But in the United States, signing up to vote is a cumbersome process and might represent the biggest hurdle to voter participation. In parts of America, it’s getting worse.

 

Since 2010, 22 states have passed laws requiring photo IDs or curtailing early voting, according to the Brennan Center for Justice, a nonprofit public policy institute at New York University Law School that promotes democracy and justice. (Some of the most controversial laws have been challenged in lawsuits or struck down by courts.)

 

In Georgia, a Republican legislature has approved several complicated voting requirements and purged more than 600,000 voters—nearly 10 percent of registered voters—for failing to participate in elections for more than three years. More than 130,000 of those voters had registered to vote for the first time in 2008, when Barack Obama was elected president.

 

Georgia’s so-called exact match law, enacted in 2017, requires that information on a registration application precisely match the information on government Social Security or driver’s license databases. An examination by the Associated Press found that some 53,000 people—70 percent of them African-Americans—had their applications held up. The law also proved burdensome for newly naturalized citizens, whose new status is not always reflected in relevant governments databases.

 

“There is no inherent problem with requiring some sort of ID,” said Julie Ebenstein, a senior staff attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union’s Voting Rights Project. “The issue is when strict ID laws are rolled out while substantial segments of the population don’t have that ID or don’t have access.”

 

The upshot of all these measures is reflected in the numbers: Only about 64 percent of Americans who were eligible to vote were registered in 2016, according to the Census Bureau. By comparison, Canada and the United Kingdom in recent years registered 91 percent of their voting-age population, while Slovakia registered 99 percent.

 

The Scheduling Problem

 

To cast their ballots, many Americans have to rush to their polling stations before work or face long lines at the end of the day. That’s because voting in the United States is done in the middle of the week, and efforts to declare Election Day a national holiday have consistently faced congressional hurdles. Americans have voted on Tuesdays since the mid-19th century, when Congress decided to establish a single national voting day, historian Don Ritchie told NPR. Sunday—the day on which most other democratic countries hold their elections—was ruled out because it was the Sabbath. Other days were nixed for reasons that have long since become irrelevant: Monday was too close to the Sabbath for voters who needed to travel long distances to get to their ballot stations, Wednesday was the traditional market day, etc.

 

Some states have alleviated the issue by allowing early voting. But since 2010, seven states have scaled back early voting periods, according to the Brennan Center. In 2011, Ohio Republican lawmakers eliminated the so-called golden week—which allowed voters to register and vote on the same day for a six-day period. More than 80,000 people voted during the golden week in 2012.

 

Voter Suppression

 

A series of developments, including a 2013 Supreme Court decision truncating the 1965 Voting Rights Act, have erected new voting hurdles in recent years that disproportionately affect African-Americans, Hispanics, and Native Americans.

 

In 2016, 14 states had new voting restrictions in place before the presidential election that delivered President Donald Trump to power. They included requirements of proof of citizenship and purges of inactive voters on voter rolls. (In June, a federal judge struck down a Kansas law requiring proof of citizenship to register to vote on the grounds that it was unconstitutional.)

 

Republican lawmakers have justified the moves as necessary to prevent voter fraud, but they seem to target particular voting groups. Seven of the 11 states that had the highest African-American turnout in the 2008 election of Obama faced new voting restrictions by 2014, according to the Brennan Center.

 

The Pushback

 

The ACLU and other rights groups have been mounting legal challenges against restrictive voting laws, while some states are pressing for laws that would expand the nation’s voting franchise. Since 2015, 13 states and the District of Columbia have passed automatic voter registration laws, according to the ACLU. Sixteen states, plus D.C., allow voters to register on Election Day. Florida is set to vote Tuesday on a law that would extend voting rights to about 1.4 million people with felony convictions, excluding those guilty of murder or sexual crimes.

 

“If we are really going to address problems of voting, we would really try to expand participation by making it easier to vote and increasing our turnout,” said the ACLU’s Ebenstein.

 

“But a lot of states are looking to do the opposite, to narrow and restrict the electorate. The real problem with our democracy is turnout.”

 

-------------------------------------------------

 

NOTE: Read 'The Scheduling Problem' to better understand why traditional Tuesday voting discourages voter turnout. (And is preferred by the GOP) geekIT

 

EDIT: After rereading this, it occurred to me that the inequitable shambles that's the current US voting system could be placed under Federal jurisdiction- administered and controlled by the Justice Dept in the same way as the FBI.





Any fool can make money, but it takes a special person to earn the respect of respectable people.


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  # 2176486 11-Feb-2019 14:36
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When did being Republican come to mean winning at any cost, the end justifies the means, hypocrisy of the highest order, racism, discrimination and all the rest? When did it start to mean large scale gerrymandering and changing the rules to undermine the results of democratic elections? Where did the mean-spirited nastiness come from? What happened to conservatives with a sense of decency and fair play like John McCain? When did the Republican party become the a$$hole party? What happened?

 

 





I don't think there is ever a bad time to talk about how absurd war is, how old men make decisions and young people die. - George Clooney
 


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