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Gender: Male
Hometown: Detroit, MI
Member since: Fri Oct 29, 2004, 12:18 AM
Number of posts: 74,636

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"Trump knew exactly what was going on": Inside the thinking of the Jan. 6 committee

"Trump knew exactly what was going on": Inside the thinking of the Jan. 6 committee
Guardian reporter Hugo Lowell says Jan. 6 committee is close to understanding what Donald Trump knew, and when


(Salon) The House select committee investigating the events of Jan. 6, 2021, was convened more than a year ago. Between the work of that committee, the FBI, various criminal and civil investigations, media interviews, books and other reporting, a great deal of information is now known about what happened that day and how.

Basic facts suggest that Donald Trump, his inner circle, senior members of the Republican Party and various other right-wing operatives worked together as part of a plan to nullify the results of the 2020 presidential election and keep Trump in power, in defiance of the popular will of the American people and in violation of the law.

As reported last Friday by CNN, this plot to keep Trump in power began months before that day in January. Donald Trump Jr. reportedly told White House chief of staff Mark Meadows on Nov. 5, 2020 — two days after the presidential election, which was still officially undecided — "We have operational control Total leverage.…Moral High Ground POTUS must start 2nd term now."


To gain some insight into that question, I recently spoke with Hugo Lowell, congressional reporter for the Guardian, who has been closely following the House select committee's investigation. In this conversation, Lowell provides an overview of the committee's many months of work and what its members appear to have concluded to this point.


Another narrative about Jan. 6 is that these events were really not that serious because Donald Trump is a hapless idiot who didn't really know what was happening, and that these concerns about a coup or conspiracy are much exaggerated because of that. What do we actually know?

Trump knew exactly what was going on. In the book "Peril," it was reported that Trump called Bannon the night before the insurrection. I reported separately for The Guardian that Trump, that same night, also called the lawyers at the Willard Hotel and Rudy Giuliani and Boris Epshteyn, and had separate conversations with them. We know that these are separate conversations because Giuliani made such a big deal about only having lawyers on legal calls to protect attorney-client privilege. We know that Trump was in direct contact with the Willard Hotel. I know the general substance of that call with the lawyers, which was that we need to find a way to stop the certification from taking place the following day. ..............(more)


The German Government's Hesitance over the War Is Angering Allies

The German Government’s Hesitance over the War Is Angering Allies
Berlin has refused to go along with a gas embargo against Russia and it has been slow with weapons deliveries for Ukraine. The atrocities in Bucha are creating additional pressure for the German government to act.

By Giorgos Christides, Matthias Gebauer, Konstantin von Hammerstein, Martin Hesse, Steffen Lüdke, Ralf Neukirch, Jan Petter, Marco Schulz und Gerald Traufetter
08.04.2022, 18.15 Uhr

(Der Spiegel) A state secret. It can be seen behind the security gate of the Marie Elisabeth Lüders Building, one of the many offices in Berlin of the German parliament, the Bundestag. Mobile phones and digital watches are prohibited in parliament’s Secret Protection Unit. Anyone who wants to read confidential documents here has to turn in their notes after reading them. They are kept locked until the next visit.

Members of parliament often send their staff to the room if they have the appropriate security clearance. But the document currently displayed in the red folder is classified as being so secret by the federal government that only the parliamentarians themselves are allowed to read it.


Melnyk knows how to put the Germans on the defensive. But sources in Lambrecht’s ministry defended their boss, saying that the Ukrainian deputy defense minister had explicitly warned against reports of arms deliveries at the end of March. That kind of information, after all, could help the Kremlin to "target its military actions more precisely."

Massive Pressure on Berlin

But by then, it was already too late. Once again, the German government had become the target of deep criticism. The Russian war against Ukraine is now entering its seventh week, and it has also left its mark on Berlin. Things are not going well for German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and his defense minister.

At the beginning of the war, Scholz was celebrated internationally for his speech in which he declared that the invasion was a "watershed" - and for completely reorienting German defense and foreign policy. The dramatic shift also raised hopes among Germany’s allies. Arms deliveries to Ukraine and a massive rearmament program for the Bundeswehr – it at last seemed as though the Germans were claiming a leading role for themselves in European security policy

Six weeks later, though, that elation has all but evaporated. Indeed, Scholz and his government are viewed internationally as standing in the way of more proactive steps. .................(more)


Trump claims the "lunatic left" is "mutilating" children -- as usual, the media looks away

Trump claims the "lunatic left" is "mutilating" children — as usual, the media looks away
Trump's malignant normality keeps getting darker, but the media isn't interested. RIP Eric Boehlert, a huge loss


(Salon) Donald Trump remains public enemy No. 1, and in all likelihood the most dangerous person in America today. If the rule of law was applied equally and fairly Donald Trump and his criminal confederates would have already been arrested, tried, convicted, and incarcerated for their many obvious crimes.

He leads a neofascist movement that attempted to nullify the results of 2020 presidential election. Through willful malfeasance, corruption, and negligence, Trump's regime was responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Americans during the coronavirus pandemic. Trump openly admires Vladimir Putin and other political thugs. He and his allies in the Republican Party yearn for the same kind of power here in America.

Yet Trump still commands the loyalty of tens of millions of Americans. Even after four years of his ruinous regime, Trump won more votes in 2020 than he did in 2016; Sick societies produce sick leaders.


In an op-ed for Salon this week, Noah Bookbinder, president of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics, summed it up:

The sheer scope of Trump's likely criminality is unprecedented, as is its severity. It is hard to conceive of more serious crimes that a president could be involved in than illegally acting to interfere with the peaceful transfer of power, which is the cornerstone of a successful democracy. Investigating and seriously weighing prosecution would not be political under these conditions.

In fact, the failure to investigate and seriously consider prosecuting such egregious conduct would be inexplicable. Forgoing meritorious prosecutions for fear of political criticism is itself a political act, and one that would do grave damage to the republic. It would send the message that a president can do essentially anything without consequences. If Donald Trump regains the presidency, which he seems poised to try to do, he would most certainly heed this lesson and become still more brazen in illegal steps to consolidate his own power.

At his rally last Saturday in Michigan, Donald Trump again showed himself to be a danger to the safety and security of the American people, American democracy and American society. As has become habitual, the mainstream news media was largely if not almost entirely silent. In its recent coverage of Trump's rallies, the media has become more interested in mocking his followers and the size of his crowds than in calling attention to his threats of right-wing violence. ............(more)


The BA.2 subvariant is now 72 percent of new Covid cases. Experts say don't panic.

The BA.2 subvariant is now 72 percent of new Covid cases. Experts say don’t panic.
Although the subvariant has overtaken BA.1 in the U.S., cases still remain low nationally.

(NBC News) The BA.2 subvariant of the omicron variant continues to rapidly spread throughout the U.S., now accounting for about 72 percent of all new Covid-19 cases, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The new CDC estimate is up from about 55 percent a week ago, when the subvariant, which is thought to be more contagious than the original strain of omicron, became the dominant variant of the coronavirus circulating in the country.

Despite its spread, health experts see no cause for alarm in the U.S.

That's because there is no indication the subvariant is more severe than the original omicron strain and because the high level of immunity in the country from vaccines and previous infections is unlikely to make it a major threat.

“I would not be hugely concerned about BA.2,” said Dr. Christopher Murray, a professor of health metrics sciences at the University of Washington and the director of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation. ..............(more)


Obama tells Democrats they have a story to tell, and they need to tell it

Cities Must Follow Through on Road Safety Plans. Here's How.

Cities Must Follow Through on Road Safety Plans. Here’s How.
There’s a way to overcome the political backlashes and bureaucratic delays that keep cities from implementing safety-focused street changes such as bike lanes.

Angie Schmitt
April 4, 2022, 12:15 PM EDT

(Bloomberg CityLab) Not long ago, Los Angeles seemed ready to take on its notorious traffic congestion and build a more balanced, walkable and safer city — or at least improve on the status quo.

Approved in 2015, the city’s Mobility Plan 2035 staked out an ambitious vision for transformation: Over the next two decades, 1,500 miles of streets were to be overhauled for safety and walkability. Mayor Eric Garcetti also made a commitment to Vision Zero, the international traffic safety movement that emphasizes redesigning roads to dramatically reduce transportation-related fatalities.

But in the last seven years, only 3% of the plan has been completed. At this rate, it will take 200 years to realize, not the 20 that the plan calls for, the Los Angeles Times recently noted. And instead of going down, traffic deaths have gone up, increasing 21% in 2021. A pedestrian is killed within the city’s boundaries about every three days.

This is a pattern repeated in city after city, where plans to build safer streets sit on shelves, get mired in endless red tape, or are reversed after backlashes — often led by business owners and drivers who fear traffic impacts or object to parking disruptions.

In Philadelphia, for example, the city recently quashed plans to reconfigure Washington Avenue, a crash-prone five-lane thoroughfare, despite an extensive engagement process in which 5,400 people participated, offering 71% support for the proposed lane reduction. “The city’s Washington Avenue head-fake reveals the sham of ‘community engagement,’” said a Philadelphia Inquirer editorial the following week. ..............(more)


Peace in Europe Must Now Be Defended Against Putin's Russia

Peace in Europe Must Now Be Defended Against Putin's Russia
An Editorial by Mathieu von Rohr

The horrific crimes committed by Russian soldiers in Vladimir Putin’s war of extermination shows that a return to the old status quo will not be possible with this Russia. Germany should be doing everything in its power to back Ukraine.
04.04.2022, 22.08 Uhr

(Der Spiegel) It is high time for those in Germany who still believe this war is only a temporary annoyance – after which, and hopefully soon, we can return to the status quo – to finally wake up. Some of the people who adhere to such ideas sit in editorial offices, others hold professorships or seats in parliament, and there may even be some in the government cabinet. Some of them actually hope that Ukraine will lose as quickly as possible or, even better: That the country will surrender so that everything can go back to the way it was before.

But there will be no return to the status quo that existed before the war. Not for Russia, not for Europe – and certainly not for Ukraine. This has to be clear following the images from Bucha. In the northern suburbs of Kyiv, it appears that large numbers of civilians have been shot indiscriminately in the streets by Russian troops, some of them still carrying their groceries on bicycles, others executed with their hands tied. Mass graves have been found in the Kyiv suburbs.

These are war crimes of staggering dimensions. Acts of barbarism of the kind last seen in Europe during the Balkan wars. Acts of barbarism that were never supposed to happen in Europe again. Russian soldiers are now committing them in Ukraine before our very eyes: undeniably, even if the Russian regime, as always, tries to brazenly deny it.

Putin Feels Threatened By Ukraine

This war that Vladimir Putin has unleashed in Ukraine, and which is largely supported by his people, is a war of extermination against Ukraine: against Ukraine as a state, as a nation and as an identity. Ukraine shouldn’t be allowed to live, it shouldn’t be allowed to exist because, in Putin’s paranoid worldview, its very existence threatens Russia’s existence.

The crimes of Bucha are proof of the true meaning of the Russian invasion: Putin’s soldiers have not only invaded a sovereign country, and they are not only shelling civilian neighborhoods with heavy artillery – no, they are also executing civilians in the streets. ....................(more)


On the Ground in the Unyielding City of Kharkiv

On the Ground in the Unyielding City of Kharkiv
The violence in Kharkiv has been brutal and the shelling relentless. Those still in the city are doing their best to keep going, keeping the streets clean and even finding time for some classical music – despite their fury, and mourning.

By Christoph Reuter und Maxim Dondyuk (Photos) in Kharkiv, Ukraine
01.04.2022, 20.37 Uhr

(Der Spiegel) They thought it would be a quiet day.

Quiet, at least, for Kharkiv, the proud metropolis in eastern Ukraine with its 54 institutes of higher learning and glorious Soviet past – a city which had been under almost constant barrage from Russian rockets and artillery shells for the last 10 days.

Quiet enough to pull three retirees out of hell. And Oleg and Yuliya set off to do just that – he the muscular 43-year-old manager of a fitness studio and she, the 23-year-old manager of an IT company. A disparate, happy couple.

Block 271 on Metro Workers Street is the address they had been given for the evacuation, a high rise on the outskirts of the residential district of Saltivka, a collection of prefab concrete buildings located across from a Russian position. And a neighborhood that has repeatedly been hit hard by salvos from the invading army.


The war comes in waves to Kharkiv. In the very first days of March, seven-meter-long Iskander missiles from Russia destroyed the magnificent regional administration building and the secret service headquarters. For several weeks, missiles and shells pummeled Saltivka and other districts in the eastern part of the city, until things began quieting down as March drew to a close. Instead, Russian shelling began targeting other parts of the city where residents had thought they were relatively safe.

But even the reports of hundreds of casualties – the precise number of which can no longer be accurately counted by city officials, who are running low on body bags and coffins – say little about the horror that has been visited upon this city. What is the incessant fear doing to those still in the city, the bombs, the screaming of the air raid sirens, the mourning and the anger? ...............(more)


Prices Rising For Just About Everything Travel-Related

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – With most COVID restrictions lifted, millions of people are looking to travel again.

Gina Kramer and her daughter Frankie recently flew into southern California to visit family they weren’t able to see during the pandemic.

“I haven’t seen my family that lived here in three years, four years,” Kramer said. “It’s gonna be a family reunion of sorts.”

But the Kramers trip is coming at a higher cost because oil prices are making jet fuel more expensive. That has ticket prices soaring.

Hopper reports the average cost for domestic airfares in March is around $311, up 31.8% from the beginning of the year. Gina saw those increases while shopping for her ticket online.

“If you missed a window two days later the prices were like $100 more,” she said. ...............................(more)


Universities Are Failing the Next Generation of Scientists

Universities Are Failing the Next Generation of Scientists
In a tight academic job market, graduate schools owe it to students to be transparent about their career prospects.

BY PAUL M. SUTTER 03.24.2022

THE LONG-TERM JOB outlook for a freshly minted science Ph.D. can be pretty grim. After devoting more than a half decade to becoming an independent researcher in the field of their passion, after sacrificing opportunities for better pay and work-life balance, and after writing papers and presenting at who-knows-how-many conferences, graduate students may emerge from the ivory tower only to find that there are no jobs that allow them to do the thing they’ve been training to do.

In 2020, colleges and universities throughout the United States awarded more than 42,000 Ph.D. diplomas for scientists and engineers. In many respects, that’s fantastic news; it represents a giant leap from the fewer than 6,000 degrees awarded in 1958. We have more scientists and engineers than ever before. In a society that thrives on highly skilled workers and that celebrates and respects those workers, many young people are heeding the call to enter the science, technology, engineering, and math disciplines.

And then what happens?

Many universities and colleges do not publish data on the long-term career outcomes of graduate students the way they do for undergraduate students. Why are they ignoring their advanced students? Perhaps it is because if they were to print the realities on their brochures, fewer graduate students would enroll in their programs.

Nevertheless, we can track the progress of the nation’s Ph.D. holders via independent surveys. Around 30 percent of new science Ph.D. graduates who responded to the 2019 Survey of Earned Doctorates, administered by the National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics, did not immediately have a job or postdoctoral study lined up. Depending on the field, between 20 and 40 percent of respondents reported that they were continuing on the academic path — the vast majority in postdocs, short-term research positions typically lasting one to three years. Tracking the path from postdoc to professorship is difficult, but one 2015 paper noted that “less than 17 percent of new Ph.D.s in science, engineering, and health-related fields find tenure-track positions within three years” of graduating. Many of the rest will land outside of practicing science altogether: The NCSES survey indicated that nearly a third of doctoral scientists and engineers in the U.S. are not employed as scientists or engineers. If the goal of graduate programs is to create highly trained scientists, then these programs are oversupplying the workforce by the hundreds of thousands. ..............(more)


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