[Photo: Emily Morter via Unsplash]

Open Thread: Oddments Olio

A dog’s breakfast, hodgepodge, pastiche, olio — this is a catch-all post with an open thread. I have a bunch of tidbits and loose ends with no place to go, not enough on which to center posts. Make of them what you will and bring your own potpourri in comments.

Loews — No, not Lowe’s as in the big box hardware store chain. Loews Regency, as in pricey hotel in NYC where Trump’s personal attorney and likely cut-out has been staying, ostensibly because of construction at his home. Yeah, the same home which was searched this past week along with this hotel room and office.

One detail folks may have forgotten: Loews Regency is the same hotel where Felix Sater arranged a 27-JAN-2017 meeting between Michael Cohen and Ukrainian lawmaker Andrey Artemenko to discuss a plan to lift the sanctions on Russia. Totally legal one week after the inauguration, right? But why meet with the president’s personal lawyer instead of State Department employees, or wait until Rex Tillerson was confirmed on February 1?

And when was the meeting set up — did Sater take a phone call from Artemenko before the inauguration?

It wasn’t clear back in early 2017 when exactly this back-channel was first established and it’s still not clear now.

Searching Cohen’s room at the Loews seems more reasonable considering the Artemenko meeting. Has Cohen had a room or rooms in Loews Regency since inauguration day or earlier?

~ | ~

Hacka cracka lacka — Hey, remember how former CIA director John Brennan was hacked in 2015 and 2016 by a couple of “Cracka” hackers? Two dudes from North Carolina were arrested and prosecuted, sent to prison for two years for hacking senior U.S. officials.

One detail sticking in my craw has been the third party characterized as a group leader; only a teenager at the time, they were located in the U.K.

Why have so many issues related to politics and information security had links to the U.K. — like Cambridge Analytica/SCL and Brexit? Did somebody manipulate an autistic U.K. teenager into work assisting larger aims?

~ | ~

Facebook’s Chancellor — Prof. David Carroll asked a very good question: why didn’t any member of Congress on either the Senate Judiciary Committee or the House Energy & Commerce Committee ask about Facebook employee Joseph Chancellor, a psychologist who had been hired away from Cambridge Analytica. Well?

Speaking of Facebook, there are several folks who’ve been all over the this scandal, some of whom have been responsible for the public’s awareness that Facebook data had been acquired without users’ consent. Give them a follow:

Carole Cadwalladr — reporter-writer for Guardian-UK and Observer who has doggedly covered Cambridge Analytica/SCL links to Facebook user data and their impact on the Brexit referendum in June 2016. Her Guardian content here (consider throwing them a few bucks for her great work.)

Chris Wylie — Cambridge Analytica’s former director of research now whistleblower who revealed much of the workings between CA/SCL and Facebook’s ill-gotten data.

David Carroll — Associate professor of media design at the School of Art, Media, and Technology at The New School’s Parsons School of Design; he’s been chasing his personal data located in the U.K and is now suing Cambridge Analytica’s parent, SCL, for U.S. data it obtained without consent. (Read about the case and chip into the legal fund at this link.)

Also note that Verge senior writer Sarah Jeong generously tweeted all the members of Congress who’d received donations from Facebook as they questioned CEO Mark Zuckerberg. Check it out.

~ | ~

Content bias — During this week’s committee hearings with Facebook CEO, GOP members of Congress tried repeatedly to make a case that Facebook was biased against conservative content. Too bad Facebook helped get a GOP POTUS elected, shooting that narrative in the ass.

But one related thing has stuck in my craw for quite some time, and I can’t help wonder if it was yet another way in which Facebook was manipulated by a disinformation operation.

Remember back in 2016 stories reporting Facebook’s contract content editors complained that Facebook was biased against conservatives? The story first appeared in Gizmodo on May 9, then got picked up by other outlets. A political story during the campaign season usually happens the other way around — covered first in a big national outlet then picked up in lesser outlets. Why did this story happen via Gizmodo first? This would be the perfect manner in which to launder information; the point of origin is obscured by the second and third outlets to pick it up as they typically go to the biggest source to confirm their story. In this case, an outlet like NYT or WaPo would go to Facebook and put them on the spot. They wouldn’t bug Gizmodo or the leakers who went to Gizmodo.

Another important factor: Gizmodo was part of beleaguered Gawker Media, which was about to implode and bought out months later by Univision. Anybody remaining at the time this story hit was uncertain about the security of their job. Journalists would have been ripe for manipulation because they needed an attention-getting story to improve their odds for a next gig.

In fact, Gawker Media filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy one month after the Facebook bias story was published — on June 10, 2016. Think of this 30-day time frame as two very stressful paydays for beleaguered Gawker employees who were trying hard to keep on keeping on but probably frantically wallpapering prospective media employers with resumes.

One more important factor: the reporter who covered this story was a technology editor whose beat wasn’t politics or free speech issues. This changed the way the story was covered and rolled out; if a reporter with more savvy and experience covering politics had been approached with this particular tip, they might have known there was something more to this than poor-conservatives-being-suppressed-by-liberal-bias. A political contributor might have questioned the insistance that outlets like Breitbart and Newsmax weren’t being included alongside NYT and WaPo.

Watching GOP congresspersons repeatedly bash Zuckerberg about media bias, I could see the same deer-in-the-headlights reaction Facebook had back in 2016 when these contract editors complained about bias. There was no bias; the hearings this week and the story in 2016 were naked attempts to screw with Facebook’s algorithms so that POS outlets like Mercer-funded, Bannon-operated Breitbart and Alex Jones’ InfoWars could get the same attention as legitimate outlets like NYT and WaPo.

We’re still going to have to press Facebook and other social media outlets to address this problem. It’s just not a problem of bias but identifying legitimate reported journalism. And we all have a problem with being easily played for our lack of sufficient skepticism.

~ | ~

Go for it. What detritus have you been carrying around that doesn’t fit anywhere else? Share in comments.

58 replies
  1. Bob Conyers says:

    One thing that has been nagging at me is the urgency Michael Cohen showed to get his $130K back for the Daniels hush money.

    Supposedly Cohen is a very wealthy guy, and yet he seems to have been pretty agressive in trying to get his money back. What does that say about his actual wealth, and what happened to the tens of millions he supposedly has?

    Also, he said the payoff money came from his home equity line, but wouldn’t a wealthy guy have better ways to draw funds?

    I think it’s pretty easy to say he’s laundering and his wealth is all on paper. Still, considering how much money he seems to have handled, wouldn’t his cut still mean he had a lot of cash on hand to take care of a $130K payoff in a more quiet way?

    • matt says:

      Yea, filling out the paperwork… going through the trouble of a special bank line of credit on a personal asset didn’t make any sense. And if it was done this way to keep it off the books… why tell the media about it.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Yes, interesting train of thought that may have Mr. Mueller also asking questions.  Nobody as wealthy as Mr. Cohen purports to be puts a lien on his own primary residence to do a favor of that magnitude for the boss, especially if he expected not to be paid back. Especially, too, as Stormy was apparently not an isolated or one-off transaction.

      If Cohen had a portion of the wealth he claims, he would have used cash or equivalents on hand or taken out an unsecured note or one secured, say, on a brokerage account.  The home mortgage idea makes him look stupid, a pauper, or a liar.

      • robert morris says:

        Maybe he leveraged a property he obtained through a laundering scheme, so the asset was not really his, and someone else would carry the debt sub rosa.

    • Procopius says:

      I seem to have missed the memo on this. I had the impression that the curious thing was that he did not seem in much of a hurry to be reimbursed. Who was he dunning for payment? Where did you see this story? When was this? I saw stories that he had publicly stated that he did not do this with Donald Trump’s knowledge nor on behalf of the campaign, so there doesn’t seem to be any other party he could ask to reimburse him. I reckon he might as well just write that off as a loss. Wonder if he can find a way to make it deductible on his taxes.

  2. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Cohen’s hotel rooms. I always thought it odd that a supposedly seriously wealthy guy from NYC, who at one time owned multiple homes in Trump properties in Manhattan, chooses to stay at a hotel. The home renovation argument never made much sense. Most people in that boat would have arranged a short-term lease on an upscale condo.

    Hotels are, of course, famously easy places to meet and greet other travelers. And Cohen might have become friendly with the local management and been the beneficiary of more than a room discount. Reduced paperwork, cameras turned off, special room cleaning services from New Jersey. The possibilities are endless and useful.

    • Lamsmy says:

      Setting up residence in luxury hotels is not uncommon among the wealthy. Swanky hotels in London, Paris, and New York all have long term residents. A nice suite with all of the mod cons of a luxury hotel with none of the hassles of home ownership is an attractive option for those who can afford it.

      That Cohen would have a particular favourite is hardly suspicious. But it is also very convenient for arranging quiet, anonymous meetings.

    • Rayne says:

      Other little sticky details —
      — Cohen lived in Trump Park Avenue; is this the home allegedly being renovated?
      — Assumption Cohen’s apartment home is under construction appears to hinge on second-hand info in a tweet;
      — Loews chain’s management changed abruptly on/about 18 October 2016; Kirk Kinsell stepped down for personal reasons after only 18-19 months on the job. What interesting timing.

      It’s a small world. I don’t think most Americans outside NYC realize just how small.
      Cohen-Trump-KushnerVille

  3. matt says:

    I’m wondering if we’re just going to see Trump go down on these sex scandals.  It’s so much more titillating than boring money laundering, emoluments violations, and cybercrime.  Plus, outrageous details about his deviant sex life has the benefit of turning the Conservatives against him.

    This is all well and good.  But, I’ll bet there are many powerful players tangled up the Mueller investigation that would prefer to stay under wraps.  What better way to whitewash/cover up all the other dirty doers (too many to count) than to get the madman out of office with sex scandal(s)?  Then the country can go back to business as usual.

    • Trip says:

      Murdoch was raided in the UK, about monopolizing sports on TV. I wonder if anything else will be uncovered.

      I don’t think the Trump affairs element is what is driving the investigations. It’s the level and coordination of hush money by multiple parties for mutual benefits and quid pro quo.

      • matt says:

        I hope you’re right. For all the work that EW has put into the dialog… and the political focus this country has had for the last year… I want all the dirt on all the people out in the open.   Especially the dots connecting Mercer/Bannon/CA to Russian interference.  From Tuesday’s testimony:

        During testimony on Capitol Hill on 10 April 2018, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg acknowledged — for the first time — that it is “entirely possible” there’s a connection between Facebook users who had their data taken by psychographics firm Cambridge Analytica and content generated by the St. Petersburg-based Internet Research Agency (IRA).

        • Trip says:

          Mueller holds cards tight to the vest. We don’t get a lot of leaks. He makes subtle statements through filings. The referral to SDNY is a hint that the corruption expands beyond his purview in focusing on Kremlin/Campaign conspiracy, but it hits very close to home, squeezing a player ‘in the know’ of both daily down-n-dirty dealing and any connections/ financial entanglements of Trump and Russians.

          The National Enquirer hush money connection appears to allude to Trump, once again, using the office of the presidency to reward past cooperation (via the Saudis, in this instance).

        • NorskieFlamethrower says:

          “…I want the dirt on all the people out in the open.”

          Yes indeed!! And no matter who or what jurisdictions do the investigating my bet is that all of it is gunna come back under the conspiracy to defraud charges ultimately. I just want to make sure that the long established structures of corruption that are being exposed are taken down before our institutions of governance and protection are dismantled. Seems like we are in a race against the clock here that, especially as it relates to the environment, we are losing right now.

    • Bob Conyers says:

      I am sure the thought has crossed the minds of many in the GOP of how they might pull off a clean kill of Trump’s career (not the man, of course) with no collateral damage,  and sex scandals would be a tempting method.

      If they somehow hold both houses of Congress and shut down Mueller’s work I could see that happening, but it’s looking harder to do all that. I suspect the rot in Trump is just too big to manage by sawing off a single limb of that tree, and now they’ve built their house too close to avoid damage when it comes down. (How’s that for some stretchy metaphor?)

      I think this is going to open up the gates to a completely new set of GOP political outsiders, maybe genuine reformers, maybe just charismatic hacks. The old order is going to shrink a lot.

      • punaise says:

        (How’s that for some stretchy metaphor?)

        You’ve gotten to the root of the matter, and your bark is no worse than your bright. :~)

        Downed power lines loom in the future.

  4. earlofhuntingdon says:

    The OPCW report out today is being read by the MSM as supporting the UK government’s claims that a very pure batch of a novichok nerve agent was used by the Russians to poison the Skripals.  The Guardian and Huffingtonpost take that line.

    The Guardian quotes the report’s public summary, which is careful to say that the poison was a “toxic chemical”.  It says nothing about the source of manufacture or who used it.  The classified report supposedly names the toxic chemical and describes its structure, but that has not been released.

    The Guardian fails to explain how it bridges the information gap to conclude that the OPCW report confirms the government’s claim that the toxic chemical was a specific form of novichok and that the Russians did it.  If it was a leak, it’s not mentioned.  I forget the current name of the Official Secrets Act’s old “D” notice to the press,  but presumably it’s still in play.

    https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2018/apr/12/novichok-used-in-spy-poisoning-chemical-weapons-watchdog-confirms-salisbury
    [Oddly, the Huffingtonpost article seems to have disappeared.]

    • Rapier says:

      This gas attack, like the 2013 Ghouta one, and the Ukraine airline shoot down of 14 all share the ‘how stupid can you be’ aspect. To those with a habit of skepticism with  dominant narratives. Which puts one onto the Alex Jones road. A bad road to be on.

      Let me suggest one shouldn’t invest much time or any emotion in these things because since the truth will never be known it’s a dead end, in the weeds, .on a side road

      • matt says:

        “one shouldn’t invest much time or any emotion in these things, because the truth will never be known- it’s a dead end, in the weeds”

        Fine, let’s just try not to start a war over it- which is what the media has been doing.  Those same 2 pictures of the Syrian kids with an oxygen mask have been pasted on hundreds of articles in the last four days along with certain language as to the culpability of “evil” “monster” “sick” Assad.

    • matt says:

      Thank you for your honest skepticism.  This is all the world should hope for is a little caution and a thorough investigation, possibly by multiple agencies.  The multilateral diplomat expulsion was a dramatic and dangerous escalation of political tensions that was uncalled for based on evidence (or lack thereof) three days after the event.

    • bell says:

      if anyone believes the guardian or huff po – there is little hope for any objectivity in any of that…

      btw – how is the war on russia coming along? we’re not quite their yet, but continue on…

      it is either trump or russias fault, LOLOL!

  5. yogarhythms says:

    MC Loews Regency address seems like right address for wanabe most powerful Palace Fixer. Thank you for shoutouts for working journalists/whistleblowers. Breakfast of champions vegan information spiced with raw morsels of Palace’s flechettes self-inflicted.

  6. Trip says:

    Smith digging on the dark web for Clinton emails and then talking to the WSJ about it still bugs me.

    • martyr says:

      Perhaps just means he had some vestigial twinge of conscience, while in the throws of a mental health crisis. That makes him a rare exception in TrumpWorld. Some people actually feel bad about being cognizant traitors or unwitting useful idiots helping Russia destroy the West.

  7. Rapier says:

    The stock market is giving Trump the green light to do whatever he wants.  I say, cryptically.

  8. GRichter says:

    The Loews coincidence reminded me of something minor I haven’t seen noted elsewhere: As this Post story says, Manafort’s August 2016 meeting with K Kilimnik took place at Manhattan’s Grand Havana Room. What the story doesn’t mention is that the club is located, conveniently, on the top floor of Jared’s 666.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/at-height-of-russia-tensions-trump-campaign-chairman-manafort-met-with-business-associate-from-ukraine/2017/06/18/6ab8485c-4c5d-11e7-a186-60c031eab644_story.html?utm_term=.498b15e3298a

  9. sand says:

    I’m still bothered by a story from three months ago that U.S. special forces could not breach the border wall prototypes. Here’s a link to the AP blurb as it appeared in the LA Times: http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-border-wall-test-20180119-story.html

    As the special forces involved were said to be based in Florida, perhaps they were Army 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne), but it’s not clear from the AP report.

    The clowns at Fox News reported that SEALs could not breach the prototypes, but the SEALs said they were not involved: https://gizmodo.com/navy-seals-call-bullshit-on-fox-news-report-that-they-c-1823453108 (Gizmodo!)

    There’s some much more detailed reporting from “The Drive” here: http://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/18885/did-trumps-much-touted-border-wall-prototypes-really-stop-us-navy-seals (Caveat: I’m not familiar with this site, but it appears to be a Time, Inc. property. I don’t know about the quality of the reporting, but it has a lot more detail than most newspaper sites that have only the AP blurb. It also looks pretty cool.)

    The original reporting strongly implied that U.S. special forces spent three weeks trying to breach or climb a 30-foot wall and couldn’t do it. I call B.S., and I argue it’s an insult to U.S. special forces. This is continuing to bug me because the current president loves to talk about how our military is the strongest and best in the world. At the same time, does he want us to believe that they can’t get over or through a 30-foot barrier in three weeks?

    I’m no special forces expert, but the “testers” could have let them try something like what these two guys did in 16 seconds: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rHb0hmK824I That looks like about 25 feet. I’m sure the special forces could send a guy up a 30-foot ladder with a rope on his back. Once he’s there, he drops one end of the rope back down to the Mexico side so that his team can belay, while he lowers himself down into the U.S. The rest of the team could likely be over in a few minutes or less.

    Beyond that, I’m pretty sure they could drill a hole in a concrete wall, insert a charge, take cover, and blow a nice breach into it that would cost a pretty penny to repair. That would attract a lot of attention, but the coyotes could make five holes every night until the U.S. gets tired of fixing them. Meanwhile, it seems they could do a lot of damage to the KWR and Caddell prototypes with a small hydraulic jack. (https://www.ocregister.com/2018/03/12/heres-a-look-at-8-mexican-border-wall-prototypes/)

    Has someone at CBP already thought of these things? I hope they do a solid testing program before they spend $20B . . . or maybe the wall is not a good idea. Maybe we should use the money to address the opioid national emergency that the president declared.

    • matt says:

      The hyped up claim of “impenetrability,” will give the xenophobes a false sense of security as they tuck themselves in at night.  It’s going to be hard to convince them that “the Wall” will do nothing and be a giant waste of money.

  10. tryggth says:

    You don’t suppose when Stormy was talking to Mueller she mentioned Cohen musing about the possibility of running her contract through the National Enquirer rather than the NDA they settled on?

  11. matt says:

    Why are Bannon and Stone still allowed to speak and influence the National debate with talking heads today on the Mueller investigation if they themselves are under scrutiny?  This is such a circus- either its a Swan Song… or, the Cohen raid was a set-up/pretext for Rosenstiein being fired, then Mueller.

  12. Trip says:

    Michael Avenatti: Cohen filing in Stormy Daniels’ civil case that he would plead the 5th in deposition with Avenatti.

  13. JacobLadder says:

    So now that we’ve found out that Alexander Downer, the Australian diplomat who tattled on Papadopolous to the FBI, is likely the “foreign agent” actually working with the FBI, named in the EC that Rosenstein finally turned over to the House Intelligence Committee… what’s that going to do to the whole Papadopolous-started-the-Russiagate-investigation-not-the-dossier narrative?

    • bmaz says:

      And like clockwork, here you are to troll by with the Devin Nunes position you are so consistent in expousing.

      • JacobLadder says:

        How is this the “Devin Nunes position”? It’s more like common sense. This, straight from the Hill article from yesterday:

        According to a Justice Department official, the remaining redactions in the document are “narrowly tailored to protect the name of a foreign country and the name of a foreign agent.” Specifics have been replaced with identifiers like “foreign official” and “foreign government,” the official said.

        It’s clear to anyone with a brain that Downer is the “foreign agent” and “Australia” is the “foreign country” whose identities they’re protecting. If this place weren’t so stuck on its own narrative, it’d be noticing the same. Plus, we know from the new texts that Strzok was in London in August 2016, meeting with said “foreign agent” — adding to the intrigue. On top of this factor in Downer’s ties to British intel through Hakluyt, the Brit oppo research firm that just happened to be working for the Hillary Clinton campaign at the time — and you have to wonder about things.

        So again, we ask, was Downer’s role in the Papadopolous story more than just being the guy who tipped off the Americans to Papadopolous’s drunken boastings?

        • bmaz says:

          Who the fuck is “we” Kemosabe? Also, you are full of shit. Second also, you are quoting “The Hill”? Now you are a confirmed joke.

          • JacobLadder says:

            Yeah, the Hill is like, so wacky, practically the National Enquirer. Actually, I’m quoting the Hill describing factually what’s in the EC.

            I know you don’t want to face inconvenient facts, it’s what you guys do here. So I don’t expect you to accept anything. Just file this away in your mind, as Downer becomes a more visible person of interest in this tale. And Grassley brings him in for a good grilling, like a shrimp on the barbie, mate.

            p.s. I didn’t even get to the part where we find out Downer’s connections to the Clinton Foundation. Oh, the tangled web.

            • bmaz says:

              You are completely full of shit. And if you do not like the environment of fact based argument here, please, feel free to get lost rapidly and not randomly stop by to troll.

            • Rayne says:

              I was going to let this shit go but it pissed me off just enough.

              1) Don’t come here spouting The Hill without leaving a link; we both know why you didn’t bring one in this case. You excerpted this piece, DOJ gives House Intel original document that prompted Russia investigation, which offers a nice example why The Hill is often suspect. That hed may say the DOJ “gave” the House Intelligence Committee a document, but that’s not what happened and it’s not what The Hill’s own article says.

              The Justice Department has provided House lawmakers with access to a two-page document that the FBI used as the basis for initiating its original counterintelligence probe into the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia.

              All members of the House Intelligence Committee received access to the document, a Justice Department official confirmed to The Hill on Wednesday.

              Emphasis mine. And why did the committee only get access to the document? Because Devin Fucking POS Nunes can’t be trusted to competently handle a sensitive document related to the Russia investigation without jeopardizing intelligence. How interesting your excerpt neatly avoids the issue of document access.

              2) You are pushing your own perspective to say that “anyone with a brain that Downer is the ‘foreign agent’ and ‘Australia’ is the ‘foreign country’ whose identities they’re protecting.” Without actually reading the intelligence document you do not know for certain another foreign agent and another foreign country were not the sources redacted — especially since we do know that at least one other country besides Australia has provided intelligence about Russia. Read the room: it’s been more than 24 hours since the committee got a peep at the document. Is Trey Gowdy complaining about it? Has he recanted his position that Mueller’s work should continue? Or are you waiting breathlessly for Devin Fucking POS Nunes to pule about this access?

              3) Fuck off with your conspiracy theory bullshit about Downer if you don’t have fact-based evidence instead of supposition. It’s also hardly a surprise that an Aussie diplomat might have relations with British intelligence because Australia and UK are both part of the same monarchy and members of the Five Fucking Eyes Alliance.

              4) You can exit with your “stick to the house narrative” crap. There is no one narrative here at Emptywheel, and I say that as a contributor who has repeatedly prefaced my posts as minority opinions.

              You’ve posted 11 times inside exactly two months. It’s clear your personal agenda is hung up on Devin Nunes and the Steele dossier; the bent of your political ideology is likewise obvious. It’s also clear you don’t understand the difference between criminal and counterintelligence investigations, let alone how different they are from congressional committee investigations. We have the cut of your jib.

              • JacobLadder says:

                Well, Rayne, that was a nice rant, but you proved exactly nothing. Except that people around here like to scream “Nunes!” as if they’re making some sort of point.

                What difference does “access” make? The point is, someone finally got to read the thing — but only after Rosenstein was threatened with impeachment for blowing off REPEATED subpoenas. So right there is a red flag — why did they not want to let the Committee read it? What did they have to hide?

                And as for my “conspiracy theory” by all means, come up with a better explanation of what happened. It’s what I requested in my original post. And all I’ve done is post facts — Downer is indeed connected to Brit intel through Hakluyt. And Hakluyt was indeed working for the Clinton campaign. If our media had real curiosity, and wasn’t simply invested in its own one-way narrative, it would have been looking into this interesting connection. Instead of just blindly passing on the Papadopolous narrative they were fed from (most likely) Peter Strzok and an FBI eager to quell the idea that the dossier is what in fact started the whole Russiagate investigation.

                You’re correct that I’m surmising Downer is the foreign agent named here. But I assure you I’m not the only one. And if you want to play doubter, then tell me, who else logically could it have been?

                And please, spare me the idea that there isn’t a consensus point of view with both the founder of this site and its core group of posters. One that involves a dislike of Trump and the idea that he was indeed in bed with Putin — we just haven’t found that smoking gun that Mueller’s going to uncover any day now.

  14. Badbisco says:

    Marcy,

    Does the Comments Policy apply to moderators? Bmaz’s constant ad hominem attacks on anyone who disagrees with him is disconcerting. Seems observing official policy and exhibiting common decency isn’t required for moderators in their own comments.

    • Rayne says:

      Says he’s “poised” to do so, and that he “has already signed off on the pardon,” but not that the pardon has been executed or accepted (which would mean Libby forfeited his Fifth Amendment rights related to the pardoned charges). Wording is so weird in this ABC piece I’m not certain if this isn’t a stalking horse fielded by “sources familiar with the president’s thinking.”

  15. JD12 says:

    That’s a good eye on the Gizmodo report, it sounded believable at the time. But sources were anonymous, and when other curators were contacted for confirmation they said it wasn’t true. Not good publishing standards.

    Ted Cruz, a Cambridge Analytica beneficiary, making accusations of political bias was ridiculous. It’s not what the hearing was about and the only bias was his.

    None of the other Republican Senators were asking about bias because FB has donated to all of them.

  16. Michael Keenan says:

    Just reported that Cohen had Nixon’s missing 18 1/2 minutes on one of the tapes the FBI found in his room.

  17. Rapier says:

    Here is my nightmare. Trump fires Rosenstein and the DOW has its first ever 1000 point up day.

    • Rayne says:

      If that should happen I will sell something in my portfolio and make a bigger donation to a Democratic candidate. But I hope the market doesn’t react that way; it would tell me the market has been manipulated in a way to prevent a logical response.

      • Rapier says:

        Oh my. Where to begin?  The ‘market’ has always been “manipulated” to a certain degree. Over time the manipulation  has become increasingly systematic. The entire system is designed to inflate asset prices especially financial asset prices.  The “market” is designed to go up.

        The only “logic” of the stock market is it rises on a rising amount of money being put into it. Period. We are now entering one of those brief periods when that amount of money is flat and due to shrink.

        Which made my nightmare unlikely but over any short term it could happen. My nightmare was that the stock market has been Trump’s most powerful substantiation.  To have the apparent immanent firings around the SC be substantiated by the stock market was a painful idea. Obviously it did not happen.

        By the way. To the extent that stocks and financial assets continue to inflate faster than the economy is the extent to which nothing will change in our political system.

        • Rayne says:

          Hmm. I can see we’ll talk past one another on this topic. In the age of dark pools and algorithmic trading while a compromised leader spews crap directly at the market with the deliberate intent to damage individual corporations, market manipulation is not at all what it was even two years ago.

          Like this past 24 hours — I’m pretty certain the aerospace industry is being manipulated and our governance is incapable or unwilling to address it. It’s not acting with expected logic which in turn causes greater market volatility.

          Or oil, the price of which will surely escalate with all the bombing in Syria and saber rattling. Never mind Syrian troops left the target areas early in the week and the bombing is just for show. Never mind consumers around the globe increasing moving toward electric cars, reducing demand for oil. Again, logic is evading the system.

  18. Rayne says:

    Oh LOL JacobLadder — the consensus at this site in the simplest terms is that we are anti-corruption. We just don’t have a shared narrative about it and corruption takes many forms. Stop wasting our time and spamming threads with your conspiracy theory in which you are so little invested that you expect us to do your homework (“come up with a better explanation of what happened. It’s what I requested in my original post,” you wrote. Nope.).

    Now I know why Michael Avenatti says “Basta” so often. Basta.

  19. greengiant says:

    Friday evening DOJ IG releases McCabe report. Four words, PADAG, PADAG, PADAG, PADAG. IG claims that the INSD instead of asking McCabe who leaked the CF investigation to Barrett, the INSD explicitly asked who leaked the Aug 12. PADAG, ( possibly Matthew Axelrod) conversation. If anyone believes that.
    .https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/justice-department-inspector-general-provides-report-to-congress-on-andrew-mccabe/2018/04/13/ce367c4c-3f36-11e8-974f-aacd97698cef_story.html

    http://apps.washingtonpost.com/g/documents/national/read-the-report-justice-department-inspector-generals-investigation-of-andrew-mccabe/2902/

    In 2016 the GOP operatives, err, senators, were already on the email and CF case, for example.
    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-11-02/more-collusion-between-clinton-campaign-and-doj-kadzik-provides-heads-podesta

    https://www.cnn.com/2016/11/02/politics/peter-kadzik-john-podesta-wikileaks/index.html

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