Federal Judge Destroys the Hopes of RICO Salvation in DNC Lawsuit

Yesterday, Clinton-appointed Judge John Koeltl dismissed with prejudice the DNC’s lawsuit against Russia, Trump’s flunkies, and WikiLeaks alleging they conspired against the party in 2016. He also ruled against a Republican demand to sanction the DNC for sustaining their claim in the wake of Robert Mueller finding that he “did not establish” a conspiracy between Trump and Russia. Koeltl’s decision is unsurprising. But his decision is interesting nevertheless for what it reveals about his legal assessment of the events of 2016, not least because of the ways it does and does not parallel Mueller’s own decisions.

The scope of the two analyses is different: The Democrats alleged RICO and some wiretapping charges, as well as the theft of trade secrets; Mueller considered campaign finance crimes and a quid pro quo. A short version of the difference and similarity in outcome is that:

  1. Mueller charged the GRU officers who hacked the DNC for the hack (which DOJ has been doing for five years, but which has never been contested by a state-hacker defendant); by contrast, Judge Koeltl ruled that Russia’s hackers could not be sued under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (which is what the Mystery Appellant tried to use to avoid responding to a subpoena); notably, Elliot Broidy’s attempt to blame Qatar for his hack serves as precedent here. For the DNC, this meant the key players in any claimed conspiracy could not be sued.
  2. While Democrats made a bid towards arguing that such a conspiracy went beyond getting Trump elected to getting Trump to enact policies that would benefit Russia, Koeltl treated any Trump role as just that, attempting to get Trump elected. This meant that (for example) Stone’s alleged criminal obstruction after Trump got elected was not deemed part of any conspiracy.
  3. As Mueller did with both the hack-and-leak itself but also with any campaign finance violation associated with getting hacked documents as assistance to a campaign, Koeltl ruled that the Supreme Court’s decision in Bartnicki meant the First Amendment protected everyone besides the Russians from liability for dissemination of the stolen documents.
  4. DNC’s RICO fails because, while the Trump campaign itself was an association, the DNC claim that there was an Association in Fact under RICO fails because the ties between individuals were too scattered and their goals were not the same. Moreover, the goal of the Trump associates — to get Trump elected — is in no way illegal.

The most important part of the decision — both for how it protects journalism, what it says about the EDVA charges against Julian Assange, and what it means for similar hack-and-leak dumps going forward — is Koeltl’s First Amendment analysis, in which he argued that even WikiLeaks could not be held liable for publishing documents, even if they knew they were stolen.

Like the defendant in Bartinicki, WikiLeaks did not play any role in the theft of the documents and it is undisputed that the stolen materials involve matters of public concern. However, the DNC argues that this case is distinguishable from Bartnicki because WikiLeaks solicited the documents from the GRU knowing that they were stolen and coordinated with the GRU and the Campaign to disseminate  the documents at times favorable to the Trump Campaign. The DNC argues that WikiLeaks should be considered an after-the-fact coconspirator for the theft based on its coordination to obtain and distribute the stolen materials.

As an initial matter, it is constitutionally insignificant that WikiLeaks knew the Russian Federation had stolen the documents when it published them. Indeed, in Bartnicki the Supreme Court noted that the radio host either did know, or at least had reason to know, that the communication at issue was unlawfully intercepted.

[snip]

And, contrary to the DNC’s argument, it is also irrelevant that WikiLeaks solicited the stolen documents from Russian agents. A person is entitled [sic] publish stolen documents that the publisher request from a source so long as the publisher did not participate in the theft. … Indeed, the DNC acknowledges that this is a common journalistic practice.

[snip]

WikiLeaks and its amici argue that holding WikiLeaks liable in this situation would also threaten freedom of the press. The DNC responds that this case does not threaten freedom of the press because WikiLeaks did not engage in normal journalistic practices by, for example, “asking foreign intelligence services to steal ‘new material’ from American targets.” … The DNC’s argument misconstrues its own allegations in the Second Amended Complaint. In the Second Amended Complaint, the DNC states that “WikiLeaks sent GRU operatives using the screenname Guccifer 2.0 a private message asking the operatives to ‘[s]end any new material (stolen from the DNC] her for us to review.'” … This was not a solicitation to steal documents but a request for material that had been stolen. [citations removed]

Koeltl analyzes whether the Democratic claim that GRU also stole trade secrets — such as their donors and voter engagement strategies — changes the calculus, but judges that because those things were newsworthy, “that would impermissibly elevate a purely private privacy interest to override the First Amendment interest in the publication of matters of the highest public concern.”

Koeltl goes on to note that the analysis would be the same for Trump’s associates, even though they make no claim (as WikiLeaks does) to being part of the media.

[E]ven if the documents had been provided directly to the Campaign, the Campaign defendants, the Agalarovs, Stone, and Mifsud, they could  have published the documents themselves without liability because they did not participate in the theft and the documents are of public concern. … Therefore, the DNC cannot hold these defendants liable for aiding and abetting publication when they would have been entitled to publish the stolen documents themselves without liability. [citations removed]

That analysis is absolutely right, and even while Democrats might hate this outcome and be dismayed by what this might portend about a repeat going forward, it is also how this country treats the First Amendment, both for those claiming to be journalists and those making no such claim.

All that said, there are several aspects of this analysis worth noting.

This is a DNC suit, not a suit by all harmed Democrats

First, this is a suit by the DNC. Neither Hillary nor John Podesta are parties. “Podesta’s emails had been stolen in a different cyberattack,” Koeltl said, “there is not allegation they were taken from the DNC’s servers.” Had they been, they would have had to have been prepared to submit to discovery by Trump and his associates.

Including Podesta might have changed the calculus somewhat, though Koeltl does not deal with them (though he does suggest they would not have changed his calculus).

They might change the calculus, however, because (as Emma Best has noted) WikiLeaks did solicit something — the transcripts of Hillary’s speeches — that was subsequently obtained in the Podesta hack. The DNC did not include that in their complaint and that might have changed Koeltl’s analysis or, at a minimum, tested one of the theories the government is currently using in the Assange prosecution.

Similarly, while there is now evidence in the record that suggests Stone may have had advanced knowledge even of the July 2016 DNC dump, the allegations that would show him having had an impact on the release of documents pertains to the release of the Podesta emails. Jerome Corsi (who was added in the DNC’s second complaint but not as a conspirator) claimed that he had helped Stone optimize the Podesta release in an attempt to drown out the Access Hollywood video, but Mueller was not able to corroborate that.

More tantalizingly, a filing in Stone’s case shows that in at least one warrant application, the government cited some conversation in which he and others — possibly Corsi and Ted Malloch — were discussing “phishing with John Podesta.” That’s not something that will be public for some time. But even if it suggested that Stone may have had more knowledge of the Podesta hack then let on, it would be meaningless in a suit brought by the DNC.

No one knows why Manafort shared polling data and his plans to win the Rust Belt (indirectly) with Oleg Deripaska

The second DNC complaint mentions, but does not explain, that Paul Manafort had Rick Gates send polling data to Konstantin Kilimnik intended to  be share with oligarchs including Oleg Deripaska.

At some point during the runup to the 2016 election, Manafort “shar[ed] polling data . . . related to the 2016 presidential campaign” with an individual connected to Russian military intelligence. This data could have helped Russia assess the most effective ways to interfere in the election, including how best to use stolen Democratic party materials to influence voters.

[snip]

In March 2016, the Trump Campaign also hired Manafort. As noted above, Manafort was millions of dollars in debt to Deripaska at the time. He was also broke.55 Yet he agreed to work for the Trump Campaign for free. A few days after he joined the Trump Campaign, Manafort emailed Kilimnik to discuss how they could use Manafort’s “media coverage” to settle his debt with Deripaska.56 Manafort had multiple discussions with Kilimnik in the runup to the 2016 election, including one in which Manafort “shar[ed] polling data . . . related to the 2016 presidential campaign.”57 This data could have helped Russia assess the most effective ways to interfere in the election, for instance, by helping it determine how best to utilize information stolen from the DNC .

[snip]

Manafort lied about sharing polling data with Kilimnik related to Trump’s 2016 campaign.226

The Mueller Report’s further details on the sharing, including Manafort’s review of his strategy to win the Rust Belt, came too late for the complaint. And as such, Koeltl doesn’t really deal with that allegation (which would likely require naming others as conspirators in any case), and instead treats any conspiracy as limited to the hack-and-leak.

Thus, he does not treat the hints of further coordination, nor is there currently enough public evidence for the DNC to get very far with that allegation. This is a ruling about an alleged hack-and-leak conspiracy, not a ruling about any wider cooperation to help Trump win the election.

No one knows what happened to the stolen DNC analytics

Finally, while the DNC complaint extensively described the September hack of its analytics hosted on AWS servers — a hack that took place after Stone scoffed at the analytics released to date by Guccifer 2.0 — Koeltl doesn’t treat that part of the hack in detail because it was never publicly shared with anyone.

The Second Amended Complaint does not allege that any materials from the September 2016 hack were disseminated to the public and counsel for the DNC acknowledged at the argument of the current motions that there is no such allegation.

The DNC included the analytics in their trade secret discussion, but given that Russia had FSIA immunity, and given that the GOP is not known to have received any of this, Koeltl did not consider the later theft (which is not known to have had the same public interest value as the claimed trade secrets that got leaked).

The SAC asserts: “The GRU could have derived significant economic value from the theft of the DNC’s data by, among other possibilities, selling the data to the highest bidder.” There is no allegation that the Russian Federation did in fact sell the DNC’s data, and any claims against the Russian Federation under the federal and state statutes prohibiting trade secret theft are barred by the FSIA.

Finally, given that it was not released publicly Koeltl does not consider how the GRU hack of analytics after Stone’s discussion of analytics with Guccifer 2.0 might change the analysis on whether Stone was involved prior to any hacks.

Similarly, Stone is alleged to have contacted WikiLeaks through Corsi for the first time on July 25, 2016 and spoke to GRU officers in August 2016 — months after the April 2016 hack. Stone is not alleged to have discussed stealing the DNC’s documents in any of these communications, or to have been aware of the hacks until after they took place.

[snip]

DNC does not raise a factual allegation that suggests that any of the defendants were even aware that the Russian Federation was planning to hack the DNC’s computers until after it had already done so.

Again, there’s too little know about the purpose of this part of the hack (which virtually no one is aware of, but which would have been particularly damaging for the Democrats), and as such the DNC would not be in a position to allege it in any case. But it is a key part of the hack that shifts the timeline Koeltl addressed.

Which ultimately leaves Koeltl’s final judgment about the DNC attempt to obtain some kind of remedy for having Trump welcome and capitalize on a foreign state’s actions to tamper in the election. “Relief from the alleged activities of the Russian Federation,” Koeltl said, “should be sought from the political branches of the Government and not from the courts.”

One of the few ways to do that is to impeach.

As I disclosed last July, I provided information to the FBI on issues related to the Mueller investigation, so I’m going to include disclosure statements on Mueller investigation posts from here on out. I will include the disclosure whether or not the stuff I shared with the FBI pertains to the subject of the post. 

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54 replies
  1. Rugger9 says:

    Add to the list of people with standing those Ds that were beaten by Rs in 2016 using the polling data in the House, Senate and state races. Many of them were in FL, and now-Gov DeSantis was a known beneficiary of Russian help.

    It’s one of the many reason Moscow Mitch McTurtle doesn’t want too much investigation into 2016, since it wasn’t only Kaiser Quisling that sold out to Putin, the rest of the GOP did too.

    • Democritus says:

      That’s been my running assumption. Why does no one ever talk about how once the RNC was hacked the GOP suddenly became proPutin? Removing sanctions, visiting Putin on the Fourth, sending retired congressional staffers/ aides to work out deal with Russian oligarchs once the back channel through the NRA is cut. And all of this has been publicly reported ffs, but with the media’s horse race coverage, just the political expediency not the morality, normalizing it along the way.

      I’ve been saying for a while that we need some sort of liberal channel, even if just streaming, and using videoed liberal podcasts at first with fact based daily news shows and updates on important stories.

      MSNBC is not the liberal channel, it is run by Andy Lack a Republican. Though I love my prime time block there who really does do a lot of good, but imagine if the earlier daytime shows moms watch in the am where actually a liberal fox and friends, but honest. Maybe even with segments on how to show your kids how to fact check material from primary sources yourself.

      Not just never trumpers with the occasional good or great guests, who usually populate the later shows, but all liberal guests where they DON’T USE REPUBLICAN TALKING POINTS. Except maybe to refute them cleanly. Man I love Liz Warren, she diagnosed that just right.

      Anyway back to the GOP, I have almost no respect for Ryan, just a tiny speck really, for him leaving if he wasn’t willing to spine/sac up and call out the treasonous activity that literally threatens the bedrock of, you know, our entire country and independent way of life. Hell the post WW2 Breton Woods framework seems to be on the chopping block. It’s absurd and frustrating as hell.

      Citation for staffers claim:
      https://www.politico.com/story/2019/07/31/mcconnell-staffers-lobbied-russian-backed-kentucky-project-1442550

  2. William King says:

    I wish that you would not lead with the fact that the judge is Clinton appointed. This elevates the (I believe false) narrative that judges are partisan. Of course some of them are partisan some of the time.

    The article is compelling on its own without leading with this. And yes the reader will want that information about who appointed the judge. Just not as the very first fact.

    • bmaz says:

      Hi there. You want to demand what, and how, articles are written, get your own blog. When a politically brought lawsuit is bounced summarily, by a judge putatively from the political party bringing it, it is indeed notable.

      So, yes, it is notable, even if for its curiosity. Write your own articles; we will write ours, and do not need your advice. Okay?

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Political affiliation is a constant. It is always relevant, though not always decisive. Kavanaugh and Gorsuch come to mind, but the phenomena is not limited to the Supremes. (The myth that it should not be considered in selecting a Justice is comparable to the devil’s trick in convincing people that he does not exist.) That’s not normally corruption, which exists, so much as priorities.

  3. Savage Librarian says:

    Thank you, Marcy. Hopefully, this will give reluctant members of Congress the impetus it seems they need to support a formal inquiry. It baffles the mind to try to understand what more they need to support democracy.

    Dems need to project a lot more heart about what democracy means to people. People value fairness, hope, the greater good, doing the right thing. What is so hard to understand about that? I can’t help but wonder if that is why Williamson received such a warm response in the debate last night. Others should take note.

  4. Areader2019 says:

    Well…bmaz was sceptical about the RICO angle from the beginning. He was right, it went nowhere.

    • rip says:

      That was my first reaction, also. RICO seems like a golden bullet (or silver stake/cross/whatever) for all sorts of misdeeds. Maybe I need to research all the cases where RICO has been successfully and unsuccessfully applied.

      Thanks, bmaz. Never thought I’d say that.

      • While We're At It says:

        Comey et al. often depicted Trump as using “mob” tactics, which is why many see this as a worthy application/attempt of RICO (35 crimes take your pick). Of course there was financial quid pro quo involving wire fraud. Cypress. Manfort. Flynn. Trump and Cohen.Via shell companies that far surpassed the 10 year rule for meeting “enterprise” legal definitions, so the parsing of verbal semantics delivered on stage before the world is no different than Winona Ryder leaving Sacks with all her shoplifted goods worn out the door: just because crime is done in broad daylight doesn’t mean “I was kidding” is the Orangutan’s FOREVER EXCUSE. Yes, He’s prone to bullshitting and hyperbolic statements, BUT when someone takes you up on your bullshit criminal request AND you benefit and receive it AND solicit more & more of it IN PUBLIC AND PRIVATE = bullshit ruling; this ruling is merely a facade of pedantic and academic jousting “limited”by the law. I call bullshit. It MAKES YOU WONDER WHY. Bill Barr is a gorilla. A fucking gorilla.

        As Toves noted, “the Committee and IC’s (the so-called experts)” speaks volumes about the judge’s hostility towards IC and expertise.

        Why is the judge hating on IC employees? Saying they’re not experts? It’s no different than me saying right fucking now, this judge is a supposed legal expert.

        Really? WHO THE FUCK ARE YOU? Who the fuck is this judge? I mean me? I just do “this” as a fucking side project for “community service” so I can try to go to fucking sleep at night at least knowing: well I did try to tell those motherfuckers what was going to happen EVEN if they hated me for doing THEIR job with zero resources.

        For fucksake, is this America or some banana republic? kangaroo court

        • bmaz says:

          No. Anybody who thinks RICO applies is nutty. It is not RICO. It is never RICO. Especially as to federal governmental officials. You are new here, or you would know that.

          • Frank Probst says:

            “It’s never lupus!”

            Whoops! Wrong website! My bad!

            (For the record, it often IS lupus. Lupus is one of the first things you should check for when you don’t know what the hell is going on.)

            • Savage Librarian says:

              :-) Maybe you meant, “It’s never Cushing Syndrome.” (Until, of course, it is…)

              One of my brothers was born with coarctation of the aorta and not expected to live past 12 years old. His body developed compensating vessels to survive. At 19, he had what was experimental surgery at the time, paid for by charitable contributions and a generous doctor. In his 50’s he had valve replacement.

              Another brother was diagnosed with schizophrenia in his teens. But he also developed positive ways to compensate for this challenge and has a wonderful doctor.

              A third brother has personality characteristics very similar to Trump’s and has only ever voted 3 times, twice for Nixon and once for DT. We are estranged, due to my need to protect my well being.

              And I had my left adrenal gland removed due to Cushing Syndrome. The endocrine system is fascinating, as I am sure you know.

              I am also intrigued by glial cells, and of course, neurons. All of which leads me to the prospect of what artificial intelligence will be like within 10 years.

              I think we were fortunate to have Yang in the debates. We really should pay much more attention to him. He is right about about some significant things, especially AI.

              BTW, thanks so much for the Randy Rainbow video the other day. I think he would make a wonderful Jared Kushner in the inevitable musical.

              • Democritus says:

                Huh, and now off to see what Yang has to say about AI. Any thoughts on fixing spinal cord damage/disorders within the next few decades, or is that something else entirely?

                (I am not so biosmart, and for instance had no idea what a glial cell until I did a google just now, but I do have some basic bio knowledge)

                Finally, not OP but Randy has been a lifeline of humor since I discovered him last year.

                I love the play on a modern major general musical number from Pirates of Penzance, titled a very stable genius .

                Twitter link:

                https://twitter.com/SporkenWord/status/1156398528572350464

                • Savage Librarian says:

                  The more I learn, the less I know. Or, at least I know I know less than I’d like. But you might want to google Neuralink which is Musk’s company doing brain computer interface experiments. As far as glial cells, there are several kinds. The astrocytes interest me the most.

                • Justlp says:

                  Thanks for Randy Rainbow. Just the kind of laugh I needed. :) Had not heard of him before. I will definitely check out more.

  5. AndTheSlithyToves says:

    We have entered the Age of Semantics, wherein no one has anything meaningful or worthwhile to say.

    For example, this sentence from Page 5 (under III. (U) THE ARC OF RUSSIAN ACTIVITIES) of the referenced US Senate Intelligence Committee report: “In its review of the 2016 elections, the Committee found no evidence that vote tallies were altered or that voter registry files were deleted or modified, though the Committee and IC’s insight into this is limited.”

    If “the Committee and IC’s (the so-called experts) insight into this is limited” then anything before the word “though” is pure speculative horse crap and should be called out as such and subsequently ignored.

    • P J Evans says:

      My response to that is: how do they know? They’re looking at data that is after the hacks, when it comes to voting, and maybe with the registrations too. Some of the data they’d need was destroyed intentionally by the states.

      • Areader2019 says:

        They did not find changed vote totals, because without an auditable paper trail there is no way to tell. Ron Wyden (D Oregon) keeps saying this, and people just pretend they are deaf and ignore it.

        I had a coworker who was supposed to test our software CD one last time before it went to the duplicator. He was lazy and never did it. He would report back ‘I did not find a problem’ … because he never checked!

        Finally the disk duplicator messed up, and we sent out 9,000 CDs with a rap album on it instead of our software. Oops.

        • P J Evans says:

          And when you run the unverifiable electronic ballot records (with no paper backups) through the same unverifiable third-party software, you’re not going to get different results.

      • AndTheSlithyToves says:

        lolol, Savage! #SenateIntelligence=oxymoron right up there with #MoscowMitch !!!

    • Democritus says:

      Yes, or Age of Disingenuousness . People don’t mean what they say, often it’s not even shading of truth it’s just outright lies.

      I honestly think Trump would not have won with Russia, though whether that is the campaign assistance or hacks. I also think Stacy Abrams would have won a fair election, and I’m side eyeing Florida.

      https://www.asc.upenn.edu/news-events/publications/cyberwar-how-russian-hackers-and-trolls-helped-elect-president-oxford

      I want this lady to update her book.

  6. Vicks says:

    I get why RICO doesn’t fly, and I understand the first amendment and it’s importance to journalism, but I also understand that this information had tremendous value* it was obtained (stolen) and used to manipulate an election, and that is a crime.
    It was done deliberately and with criminal intent.
    It also seems to me that if you can’t yell “fire” in a crowded theater there should be some similar exception for requesting and posting material stolen by the enemy of one country with the intent of causing harm to the other.

    * I think it’s possible that the information coming out about the DNC’s treatment of Bernie could have swayed the vote enough to give Trump his win

  7. Frank Probst says:

    Do we know what prompted Manafort to share the polling data with Kilimnik to begin with? It seems possible to me that Manafort may not have known exactly with Kilimnik planned to do with the data. He just knew that it might be useful to the Russians. Hell, Kilimink himself might not have known. The whole point of doing polling that is this granular is to help co-ordinate your campaign resources to have the maximum effect possible, so I’m not saying that they both didn’t have a general idea of why the data was useful. I just don’t think that there was a specific plan in place for what the Russians were going to do once they had the data.

    • Boro says:

      Perhaps it was not voting data. Manafort owed Deripaka a great deal of money, and was looking for a way to create another stream of money. Voting data does not appear to be a vehicle to do that?

      In either this article or the previous article it states it was not voting data.

  8. klynn says:

    After reading this…I have concluded that FL and Ohio vote count muck ups during national election years were test runs. Puts Michael Connell back in my mind. Imagine how surprised I was to find Smartech, the TN company Ohio outsourced, has operations overseas.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      His extended segment with Rahm Emanuel was a disappointing concession to bothsiderism.

    • Democritus says:

      This is wonderful, and his Biden joke about an insurance policy against rap music made me lol. My comment earlier I almost said Joe Biden was there as a way to ensure to the people who were afraid that Obama would throw a house party in the White House that he wouldn’t.

      Damn almost nailed it!

      I dvr Colbert every night, I need to watch more it’s like therapy almost. Maybe for me like reassurance that someone else sees the bs, and is decoding for people who won’t bother.

  9. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Like much of the MSM, Sabrina Siddiqui and her editors at the Guardian continue their centrist, faux neutral pluggin’ for Joltin’ Joe Biden.

    They lazily use the framing most useful to the Democrats’ establishment wing: the debate is an internal one between those who want “sweeping, progressive reforms” and those focused solely on the practical task of defeating Donald Trump. It is a structure that avoids the hard choices about what personalities and policies might best defeat Trump, and what should they do afterwards. One would think the latter is the point, but it gets lost in headlines like this:

    Joe Biden stands his ground and resists rivals’ attacks in testy second debate.

    Since it says nothing about the outcome, that would also describe Custer at the Little Big Horn.

    The Guardian has two takeaways: The former VP was the central target of his rivals, and he rejects criticism of the cornerstones of his campaign (his don’t rock the boat) healthcare and immigration reform.

    Unlike the last debate, the Guardian tells us, this time, the 76 year-old Biden “was ready for the fight.” Like Trump, Biden gets his do-overs. If that’s disinterested political reporting, I’m Joe Biden.

    [https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/jul/31/joe-biden-kamala-harris-and-other-2020-candidates-prepare-for-debate-rematch]

    • Democritus says:

      Why would we want to put all the eggs for literally the future of the country in the hands of an almost EIGHTY year old gaffe machine who just wants us all to get along and not hurt the banks of Delaware.

      Biden is a mirage of safety. He has lost five steps, and is far to easy to see having to withdraw for health reasons. I mean he calls fifty year old women kid because he THAT OLD.

      Let’s be real.

      Biden was, in part- I think a good part, of a compromise with whites with economic anxiety that Obama made to get elected, so that the black man wouldn’t scare them.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        I think that’s a reasonable summary of Biden’s utility for the risk-averse Obama.

        I think Biden used “kid,” not because he’s old, but because he wanted to dominate and infantilize Harris.

        If she is the “kid,” that makes Biden the adult. It also makes him sexist, despite the apparent chumminess. It’s useful, too, for a guy who might be having trouble remembering names.

        • Democritus says:

          Thank you earl, that is exactly what I was getting at but didn’t know how to put.

          Man, I just watched this, and I wish these would get highlighted more. Also whoever puts together the videos for this site is amazing, they produce tons of viral liberal, nay humane, content.

          From Nowthis:

          https://twitter.com/ScottHech/status/1156744362736246784

          Ugh, left and ran into an article that’s…

          Oh god, I’m gonna go be sick now. They better nail this fucker and find his accomplices.

          https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/31/business/jeffrey-epstein-eugenics.html

          “Jeffrey E. Epstein, the wealthy financier who is accused of sex trafficking, had an unusual dream: He hoped to seed the human race with his DNA by impregnating women at his vast New Mexico ranch.

          Mr. Epstein over the years confided to scientists and others about his scheme, according to four people familiar with his thinking, although there is no evidence that it ever came to fruition.”

  10. earlofhuntingdon says:

    On twtr last night [https://twitter.com/emptywheel], EW paraphrases Cory Booker: “The way we beat Donald Trump is understanding our common bonds, our common purpose. Put more indivisible under god.”

    Booker has read his Gwendolyn Brooks, the first African American to receive a Pulitzer. Hers was for poetry, such as her, “Paul Robeson.” Echoing the bible and Marley’s ghost, the last half of it describes the athlete, singer, actor, activist’s,

    Warning, in music-words
    devout and large,
    that we are each other’s
    harvest;
    we are each other’s
    business;
    we are each other’s
    magnitude and bond.

    [https://patrickmurfin.blogspot.com/2016/04/gwendolyn-brooks-on-paul-robeson.html]
    [https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2013/1/27/1182605/–The-Most-Persecuted-the-Most-Ostracized-the-Most-Condemned-Black-Man-in-America-Then-or-Ever-I]

    • Savage Librarian says:

      Julian Castro gave a very compelling response to Michael Bennet last night in the discussion about impeachment. It actually seemed like Castro was successful in changing Bennet’s mind, from anti to pro inquiry. Bennet gave the standard initial rebuttal about “No, because Mitch…”

      But Castro turned that on its head by saying DT would use it against the Dems if they * don’t * have an inquiry. DT would say, “See, they didn’t have an inquiry because I am innocent. No collusion, I’m exonerated.”

      That logic got Bennet’s attention. He even thanked Castro for it. So, maybe some House members should take note and give that some thought.

      • bmaz says:

        Between the first set of debates, and the set from this week, I actually thought Castro was consistently good. I know he is not polling very high, but he has some serious chops.

        • Savage Librarian says:

          Definitely. Too bad we Americans have some primal need for tall presidents. At least, that is what I read on some historical analysis made some time back…

          But maybe voters could double his height, two for the price of one ;-) BOGO

      • Democritus says:

        Ohhh, I like it and it’s another good point.

        I think my entire therapy session this week was mostly existential angst over the plight of our country. It’s this back and forth between taking care of yourself by not watching the crashing cars, but also not wanting to just sit idly by and be a good German. Granted part of that is my bs of losing my mojo when when my disability kicked in and I couldn’t keep working. It’s hard from going from a boss ass bitch, to just bitching about the news, ya know? Especially when that news shows babies in cages.

        Side note, I hope a drunk angry and horny porcupine fucks Lindsey Graham sideways next time he goes out at night. Fucking discarding the rules of order for crafting the rule of law, not for some noble purpose, but to lock up kids longer than twenty days in ways that will scar many, if not most, of them for life.

        • Tom says:

          I noticed on some twitter feeds that Senator Graham is being referred to as “Leningrad Lindsey”. I would respectfully suggest that “Gulag Graham” might be a better sobriquet (emphasis on the SOB) considering the nature of the legislation which he put through this afternoon.

            • P J Evans says:

              These are also Twitter hashtags.
              I understand McTurtle hates #MoscowMitch. He should have considered that about ten years ago, before he decided that power trumped the Constitution and all US laws.

            • Tom says:

              I agree that calling a public figure scurrilous names merely for the sake of venting one’s anger doesn’t accomplish much. But I like to think that someone who doesn’t follow politics that closely might hear “Moscow Mitch” and be curious enough to want to know why McConnell has been so labeled. Also, there is an American tradition of giving politicians nicknames: Andrew Jackson (“Old Hickory”), Zachary Taylor (“Old Rough and Ready”), Stephen Douglas (“Little Giant”), Abraham Lincoln (“Honest Abe”), Calvin Coolidge (“Silent Cal”), Huey Long (“The Kingfish”), all the way up to “Tricky Dick” Nixon.

      • Vicks says:

        Yep.
        Bennent didn’t just thank Castro for his explanation (after mixing him up with his brother in a good natured diss to congress) he ended things saying “that’s what we should do”
        Now if they could JUST STOP with the “walking and chewing gum at the same time” thing.

  11. earlofhuntingdon says:

    The MSM’s coverage of Joe Biden’s performance last night was that he was, in effect, “brilliantly adequate.” Like “all deliberate speed” and “cleverly dim,” the phrase is a contradiction in terms. It sets a new low Trump-era bar for presidential wannabe performance.

    Would you want to use that advertisement’s interpreter, whose Dutch was just OK, and who confuses, “We’ve gotta have this deal,” (already a weak position) with, “He needs a hug.”

    American voters should not be shoehorned into accepting the same standard because it makes life easier for the MSM and its corporate owners and advertisers. The next president’s job will be much tougher than Obama’s: she will need to pick up and repair the wreckage that Donald Trump will have left in his wake. That will make repairing the damage done by Katrina look like child’s play.

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