H/t Modemocrat at Eschaton:
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Posted by Charles II on February 3, 2016
Posted by Charles II on January 27, 2016
Many news outlets covered Univision Communications’ purchase last week of a stake in The Onion, the world’s leading news publication. According to NPR, Univision bought a 40 percent controlling interest in the company, and also acquired the option to buy the remainder of The Onion in the future.
But what’s gotten no attention at all is that Haim Saban, Hillary Clinton’s biggest fan and financial supporter, is Univision’s co-owner, chairman, and CEO. Saban and his wife, Cheryl, are Hillary Clinton’s top financial backers, having given $2,046,600 to support her political campaigns and at least $10 million more to the Clinton Foundation, on whose board Cheryl Saban sits. The Sabans are also generous supporters of the overall Democratic Party infrastructure, donating, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, a total of $16.1 million since 1989 to Democratic and liberal candidates, party committees, leadership PACs, and federally focused 527s.
Saban is a rabid supporter of Israel and a business partner of the Murdochs.
Posted by Charles II on January 26, 2016
Can Turkey Be Trusted?
This puts Western intelligence services in a difficult position: Can the Turks be trusted?
Still, European diplomats in Turkey take information provided by MIT about potential IS terrorists seriously. For example, MIT has provided concrete information about possible terrorist attackers who are making their way to Europe or are already there. One diplomat, an expert on security issues, notes that Turkey maintains a “network of informants in Syria and Iraq that should not be underestimated.” Few other intelligence agencies have such good sources in the region. The source says the Turkish government has in fact “perceptibly increased” its efforts to combat IS during the last six months. Still, the source adds, doubts persist when it comes to Ankara’s political agenda.
“There’s always a residual risk about whether Ankara is truly interested in fighting IS, or if it actually has secret sympathies — either because it wants to use it as a means to weaken Assad or because, they feel closer to their fellow believers for religious reasons (as predominantly Sunni Muslims),” the source says.
Other experts draw a less flattering comparison to Pakistan’s ISI intelligence service. With ISI, too, they say, you never know which side it is actually on — whether it is combatting or supporting the Taliban or doing both at the same time.
European diplomats also find it problematic that MIT was given additional responsibilities in 2014 such that it can now be used as a “domestic policy instrument.” The secret service now has much greater access to data from companies, banks and their customers. “It is making life difficult for all people who are unpopular with the government,” the diplomat says. He says this has also resulted in further incursions into press freedoms. Journalists who report on the intelligence agency’s activities can now be subject to prosecution and stiff prison sentences because it can be claimed that they threaten security.
Posted by Charles II on January 20, 2016
John Batchelor’s latest interview of Stephen Cohen is here. Is there a secret deal for Ukraine?
Posted by Charles II on January 19, 2016
James Carden, The Nation:
In mid-December 2015, Congress passed a 2,000-plus-page omnibus spending bill for fiscal year 2016. Both parties were quick to declare victory after the passage of the $1.8 trillion package. White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters “we feel good about the outcome, primarily because we got a compromise budget agreement that fought off a wide variety of ideological riders.” The office of House Speaker Paul J. Ryan touted the bill’s “64 billion for overseas contingency operations” for, among other things, assisting ”European countries facing Russian aggression.”
Whether White House spokesman Josh Earnest was referring, in part, to the Conyers-Yoho amendment as one of those “ideological riders” the administration fought to defeat is unclear. What is clear is that by stripping out the anti-neo-Nazi provision, Congress and the administration have paved the way for US funding to end up in the hands of the most noxious elements circulating within Ukraine today.
Thanks, John Conyers and Ted Yoho.
Posted by Charles II on January 11, 2016
(Short answer: acupuncture works for various pain syndromes, but not in the way that its practitioners think):
The full multipart presentation is worth listening to.
Posted by Charles II on January 9, 2016
(From 2014) Senator Jeff Jackson speaks to his colleagues in the NC Senate
Posted by Phoenix Woman on January 2, 2016
Lost in all the noise about Trump is the fact that Trump’s views differ only in tone from those of his fellow Republican rivals. When even alleged “moderates” like Jeb Bush holler about “anchor babies”, an intelligent and educated oberver cannot with a straight face state that Trump is not the face of the GOP.
As the redoubtable “brooklynbadboy” states in the comments thread:
I was commenting on Cruz rapidly emerging organizational prowess long before the beltway media got wind of it or before he began moving in the polls. Plus, when he would discuss his theory of the campaign terrain in public, his analysis seemed to me the most closest to correct. That means he’s looking very clear-eyed at the campaign and is positioning himself based on that. That says to me “DATA AND ANALYTICS” and when I went through all their announcements of hirings and then looked into THOSE people…I said to myself haha…here’s a guy who knows what the fuck he’s doing. He’s been planning this a long, long time to get these people on board.
Then I started reading about his wife. Aha. Then things started coming together. Here is a powerful, dynamic woman who knows what she wants and by god, she’s going to get it. I like that. You can’t elect a president without a strong spouse.
So when I started fitting the pieces together, looking back and the things Cruz has done in Washington, putting the pieces together one by one, peering into his connections and his carefully orchestrated moves…well there you are.
Now, what I didn’t predict was the total collapse of Bush. Because I expected Bush to be able to destroy him. Nor did I predict the rise of Trump, whom I never expected to be taken seriously. So with Bush defeated, Trump not sustainable due to lack of organization, the way is wide open for Cruz.
And that tells me something as well…he’s got some LUCK on his side.
So who are the people quietly working on Cruz’ team? Over in another comments thread, Triple-B gives us a list:
Cruz’s campaign manager is Jeff Roe out of Kansas City. He helped Huckabee win Iowa in 2008 before Huck’s lack of cash led to his rapid demise. Roe is experienced with many statewide races, including in swing states. He’s elected 4 senators including Cruz. He’s very much a hard worker type…stays out of camerashot. Reminds me a lot of Plouffe. Just very…head down, do the work, shut up. Like the opposite of the Sanders people who talk more to the media than the candidate.
Often next to Cruz, basically anywhere he goes, youll see a tall young bald guy. That’s Jason Johnson. He’s a Texas guy. Been with Cruz since Cruz was working for now Governor Greg Abbott. He is ruthless and very smart.
Some folks have read about his young digital outreach guy Josh Perry who, like the others, stays out of the limelight as much as possible. But the real guys you need to know about are the “two chrisses” Chris Wilson and Chris Perkins. These guys are the ones that scooped most of the young talent from Rick Perry’s data nerds whom Sasha Issenberg wrote about in “The Victory Lab.”
He’s got a good solid young team, very Texas, not Washington based. They have experience in a variety of electoral environments, have all worked together before and all seem to have the greatly desired ability to shut up and let the candidate do the talking.
Like I said: Trump with a ground game.
Posted by Phoenix Woman on December 31, 2015
Posted by Charles II on December 23, 2015
(h/t 1WattHermit on Eschaton). Pema Levy, Motherjones)
It’s the campaign scandal that just won’t die. For three years, prosecutors in Wisconsin tried to investigate what they believed was illegal campaign coordination between Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and conservative outside groups. …
The Wisconsin Supreme Court dismissed the case, but on Friday, the case moved to the national stage when prosecutors signaled their intention to take it to the US Supreme Court. And the focus is now set to shift from the actions of Walker and his allies to potential ethical violations by the Wisconsin Supreme Court justices themselves.
Then, in August, the special prosecutor, Francis Schmitz, asked the state Supreme Court to consider reopening the investigation. The request was viewed as a sign that Schmitz was considering an appeal to the US Supreme Court. Not only did the court say no; it went further, issuing an opinion earlier this month that removed Schmitz from the case….
Although Schmitz was removed from the case, cutting him off from resources for an appeal, the court gave the other five prosecutors involved in the case the ability to intervene. On Friday, three Democratic district attorneys who had worked with Schmitz on the investigation chose to intervene in the case—signaling they want to go to the US Supreme Court.