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The mysterious death of Shawn Lucas

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Pam Martens and Russ Martens report in Wall Street on Parade:

According to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner for Washington, D.C., it has still not determined a cause of death for Shawn Lucas, the 38-year old process server who delivered the class action lawsuit against the Democratic National Committee and its then Chair, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, to the DNC headquarters on July 1. One month later, the girlfriend of Lucas came home to find him dead on the bathroom floor.

It has now been more than three weeks since Lucas died with no cause of death announced. We asked the Chief Medical Examiner’s office if the delay was a result of toxicology tests being conducted. We were told it can make no comment beyond the fact that the cause of death is “pending.”

The official report from the Metropolitan Police Department in Washington, D.C. indicates that officers Kathryn Fitzgerald and Adam Sotelo responded to a 911 call from the girlfriend of Lucas, Savannah King. The officers arrived “at 1913 hours,” or 7:13 p.m. on the evening of  Tuesday, August  2. According to the report, Lucas was “laying unconscious on the bathroom floor” and when “DCFD Engine 9 responded” there were “no signs consistent with life.”

A video of the service of process, which has garnered over 474,000 views as of this morning, shows Shawn Lucas saying he was “excited” and “thrilled” to be the process server on this lawsuit. He comments later in the video that it is like his “birthday and Christmas” rolled into one.

At the time the lawsuit was filed, the attorneys for the Sanders’ plaintiffs already had significant evidence that the DNC and Wasserman Schultz had put their fingers on the scale to tip the primary results in favor of Hillary Clinton while overtly undermining the campaign of Senator Bernie Sanders. (The DNC is prohibited from unfair treatment of Democratic primary candidates under its own bylaws.)

Then on Friday, July 22, 2016 at 10:30 a.m., just as the DNC was set to open its National Convention the following Monday, Wikileaks released 19,252 emails and 8,034 attached documents that had been sent by top DNC officials. The emails left no doubt that there had been a concerted campaign to undermine Sanders while boosting Clinton’s chances to win the primary. Wasserman Schultz had to announce she was stepping down before the DNC convention even began to quiet the outrage.

The Wikileaks emails showed DNC executives plotting to undermine Sanders as an atheist (which Sanders says he is not) and plotting to say that Sanders “never ever had his act together, that his campaign was a mess.” There was also DNC plotting on how to respond to press charges that the joint fundraising committee set up by Clinton’s campaign and the DNC was illegally laundering money to boost Clinton’s chances. (See related article below.)

Prior to Wikileaks releasing its emails, . . .

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Written by LeisureGuy

26 August 2016 at 12:55 pm

Posted in Democrats, Election

Why Did the Saudi Regime and Other Gulf Tyrannies Donate Millions to the Clinton Foundation?

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Glenn Greenwald reports in The Intercept:

As the numerous and obvious ethical conflicts surrounding the Clinton Foundation receive more media scrutiny, the tactic of Clinton-loyal journalists is to highlight the charitable work done by the foundation, and then insinuate — or even outright state — that anyone raising these questions is opposed to its charity. James Carville announced that those who criticize the foundation are “going to hell.” Other Clinton loyalists insinuated that Clinton Foundation critics are indifferent to the lives of HIV-positive babies or are anti-gay bigots.

That the Clinton Foundation has done some good work is beyond dispute. But that fact has exactly nothing to do with the profound ethical problems and corruption threats raised by the way its funds have been raised. Hillary Clinton was America’s chief diplomat, and tyrannical regimes such as the Saudis and Qataris jointly donated tens of millions of dollars to an organization run by her family and operated in its name, one whose works has been a prominent feature of her public persona. That extremely valuable opportunity to curry favor with the Clintons, and to secure access to them, continues as she runs for president.

The claim that this is all just about trying to help people in need should not even pass a laugh test, let alone rational scrutiny. To see how true that is, just look at who some of the biggest donors are. Although it did not give while she was secretary of state, the Saudi regime by itself has donated between $10 million and $25 million to the Clinton Foundation, with donations coming as late as 2014, as she prepared her presidential run. A group called “Friends of Saudi Arabia,” co-founded “by a Saudi Prince,” gave an additional amount between $1 million and $5 million. The Clinton Foundation says that between $1 million and $5 million was also donated by“the State of Qatar,” the United Arab Emirates, and the government of Brunei. “The State of Kuwait” has donated between $5 million and $10 million.

Theoretically, one could say that these regimes — among the most repressive and regressive in the world — are donating because they deeply believe in the charitable work of the Clinton Foundation and want to help those in need. Is there a single person on the planet who actually believes this? Is Clinton loyalty really so strong that people are going to argue with a straight face that the reason the Saudi, Qatari, Kuwaiti and Emirates regimes donated large amounts of money to the Clinton Foundation is because those regimes simply want to help the foundation achieve its magnanimous goals?

Here’s one of the Clinton Foundation’s principal objectives; decide for yourself if its tyrannical donors are acting with the motive of advancing that charitable goal: . . .

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Written by LeisureGuy

25 August 2016 at 3:09 pm

Kevin Drum asks a damned good question

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Why Has Only Hillary Clinton Turned Over All Her Emails?

Damn straight. I’d like to see Condi Rice’s emails, since you can get them just by asking.

Written by LeisureGuy

22 August 2016 at 11:23 am

Posted in Democrats, Election, GOP, Media

A Congressman Campaigns to “Stop the Madness” of U.S. Support for Saudi Bombing in Yemen

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Ben Norton reports in The Intercept:

For months, a California congressman has been trying to get Obama administration officials to reconsider U.S. backing for the Saudi-led war in Yemen. And for months, he has been given the runaround.

Ted Lieu, a Democrat representing Los Angeles County, served in the Air Force and is a colonel in the Air Force Reserves. The brutal bombing of civilian areas with U.S.-supplied planes and weapons has led him to act when most of his colleagues have stayed silent.

“I taught the law of war when I was on active duty,” he told The Intercept. “You can’t kill children, newlyweds, doctors and patients — those are exempt targets under the law of war, and the coalition has been repeatedly striking civilians,” he said. “So it is very disturbing to me. It is even worse that the U.S. is aiding this coalition.”

But he and a very few other lawmakers who have tried to take bipartisan action to stop U.S. support for the campaign are a lonely bunch. “Many in Congress have been hesitant to criticize the Saudis’ operational conduct in Yemen,” Lieu said. He didn’t say more about that.

The matter has gotten ever more urgent since August 7, when the Saudi-led coalition relaunched an aggressive campaign of attacks after Houthi rebels in Yemen rejected a one-sided peace deal.

More than 60 Yemeni civilians have been killed in at least five attacks on civilian areas since the new bombing campaign began. On August 13, the coalition bombed a school in Haydan, Yemen, killing at least 10 children and injuring 28 more.

Lieu released a statement two days later, harshly condemning the attack. “The indiscriminate civilian killings by Saudi Arabia look like war crimes to me. In this case, children as young as 8 were killed by Saudi Arabian air strikes,” he wrote.

“By assisting Saudi Arabia, the United States is aiding and abetting what appears to be war crimes in Yemen,” Lieu added. “The administration must stop enabling this madness now.”

Then, mere minutes after his office sent out the statement about the August 13 attack, another tragedy started making headlines: The . . .

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Written by LeisureGuy

22 August 2016 at 11:04 am

David Remnick comments on Donald Trump’s cracked integrity

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Donald Remnick comments in the New Yorker:

You have to say this for the crooked demagogues and reactionary populists of the American past: they may have stirred the bitter soup of nativist resentment with as much zeal as Donald J. Trump, but their family counselors did not take time out from politics to cruise the Aegean on a plutocrat’s yacht; their rhetorical counselors did not attempt, for decades, to instill fear in their employees through the most squalid sort of sexual terror; and their political counselors never worked in the interest of Slavic autocrats. Oh, Father Coughlin, we hardly knew ye!

Day by day, news bulletin by news bulletin, the Trump campaign spirals to new depths of strategic confusion and moral chaos. On the escalators at Trump Tower, the direction is always down, down, down.

At the center of the campaign is Trump himself, and, summoning the spirit of Sinatra’s most irritating song, he has made it clear that he will win or lose by doing it his way, by refusing to “pivot” or blandify his message and language. There is a kind of cracked integrity in this. No matter what the polls and cable gasbags say, he is going to be himself. “I am who I am. It’s me. I don’t want to change,” he told a local-television interviewer, in Wisconsin. “I mean, you have to be you. If you start pivoting, you’re not being honest with people.”

The people closest to Trump are his daughter Ivanka and her husband, Jared Kushner. Like the children of populist reactionaries the world over, they spent last week vacationing aboard David Geffen’s two-hundred-million-dollar collapsible dinghy, the Rising Sun, along with Rupert Murdoch’s former wife Wendi Deng. They Jet Skied and toured the old town of Dubrovnik. It is clear—both from legal documents and from Lizzie Widdicombe’s reporting—that Ivanka Trump and Kushner have occasionally been alarmed by the candidate’s public statements (particularly on Mexican “rapists”), but they are, despite their gestures toward feminism and social liberalism, completely committed to Trump and Trumpism. As their friend Reed Cordish put it, “They’re believers. They are all in. They have been all in from the get-go, without hesitation.”

With the polls suggesting a potential electoral wipeout in November, Kushner returned from Croatia and took part in meetings this past weekend that kicked Paul Manafort, the campaign manager, either upstairs or to the side of the road, depending on your reading of the spin. This announcement came shortly after the Associated Press broke the story that Manafort “helped a pro-Russian governing party in Ukraine secretly route at least $2.2 million in payments to two prominent Washington lobbying firms in 2012, and did so in a way that effectively obscured the foreign political party’s efforts to influence U.S. policy.” Under federal law, it is a felony if American lobbyists fail to report their ties to foreign political parties or leaders.

This story was just a new piece in a bewildering puzzle concerning the Trump campaign’s ties to, and the candidate’s own views on, the Putin regime. In an interview I conducted yesterday for “The New Yorker Radio Hour,” Jake Sullivan, Hillary Clinton’s closest adviser on foreign policy and national security, made it clear that the Russian issue would remain a focus of the Clinton campaign. Sullivan pointed to Trump’s statements excusing Putin’s anti-democratic behavior, his questioning of nato’s commitments in Europe, and his proposal that he might lift sanctions on Russia. “Those are just some of the examples of where the Trump campaign and Trump himself have gone out and basically adopted not just the position but the logic and the rhetoric of Vladimir Putin,” he said.

Sullivan added that the release of Clinton’s e-mails, almost certainly engineered by Russian intelligence, might only be a first step. “Given Russia’s track record and Putin’s track record, it would be folly to assume that there isn’t more that they would try to do to disrupt the election, more e-mails that they would put out,” Sullivan said. “We have to proceed on the assumption that that is going to happen.” . . .

Continue reading.

Read the whole thing. Very interesting all the way through.

Written by LeisureGuy

17 August 2016 at 12:23 pm

Posted in Democrats, Election, GOP

Hillary Clinton Picks TPP and Fracking Advocate To Set Up Her White House

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:Sigh: Progressive Hillary, we hardly knew ye. Zaid Jilani and Naomi LaChance report in The Intercept:

TWO BIG ISSUES dogged Hillary Clinton during the Democratic primary: the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement (TPP) and fracking. She had a long history of supporting both.

Under fire from Bernie Sanders, she came out against the TPP and took a more critical position on fracking. But critics wondered if this was a sincere conversion or simply campaign rhetoric.

Now, in two of the most significant personnel moves she will ever make, she has signaled a lack of sincerity.

She chose as her vice presidential running mate Tim Kaine, who voted to authorize fast-track powers for the TPP and praised the agreement just two days before he was chosen.

And now she has named former Colorado Democratic Senator and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar to be the chair of her presidential transition team — the group tasked with helping set up the new administration should she win in November. That includes identifying, selecting, and vetting candidates for over 4,000 presidential appointments.

As a senator, Salazar was widely considered a reliable friend to the oil, gas, ranching and mining industries. As interior secretary, he opened the Arctic Ocean for oil drilling, and oversaw the botched response to the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Since returning to the private sector, he has been an ardent supporter of the TPP, while pushing back against curbs on fracking.

The TPP would enhance the ability of corporations to sue to overturn environmental regulations, but Salazar helped a pro-TPP front group, the “Progressive Coalition for American Jobs,” argue the opposite. . .

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

16 August 2016 at 4:15 pm

Unfortunately, this cartoon strip mirrors my feelings

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And possibly yours as well.

UPDATE: Man, I’ve got to start following this guy. How’d he end up at the NY Times anyway: this is way edgier than the (infallible) editors have been comfortable with.

UPDATE 2: Jesus. He nails it. The shopping-network-with-campaigning bit is the simple truth with cartoon diagrams added.

UPDATE 3: Has he gotten a Pulitzer yet? If yes, how many? If no, why not?

UPDATE 4: Just one panel:

Screen Shot 2016-08-14 at 2.14.44 PM

To be honest, this is a good proposal: it is simply being respectful. Hard to object to that without recognizing very frequently common mass shootings occur now in the United States, land of the armed.

Written by LeisureGuy

14 August 2016 at 2:02 pm

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