HomeUncategorized3/25 News Roundup & Open Thread- Bernie’s West Coast Weekend, The DCCC’s Undemocratic Decision & More
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A big question hanging over William P. Barr’s nomination to be attorney general this year was whether, once he got the job, he would do President Trump’s bidding. Barr had made statements critical of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation, and he even wrote a long memo rejecting the need for the obstruction of justice portion of Mueller’s inquiry. Trump also repeatedly made clear his desire for a loyalist to oversee the investigation.

On Sunday, Barr made a big decision in Trump’s favor. And he did so in a way legal experts say is very questionable.

In his four-page letter describing the report’s major findings, Barr noted that Mueller didn’t conclude that Trump committed obstruction of justice but that Mueller also said, pointedly, that he wasn’t exonerating Trump either.

Then Barr stepped forward to offer his own exoneration.

And the last point is that this is not a determination Barr necessarily needed to make. Justice Department guidelines say that a sitting president can’t be indicted, so as attorney general, Barr’s conclusions about Mueller’s report weren’t really needed. Congress is the ultimate arbiter here, through potential impeachment proceedings. The fact that Mueller opted not to make a specific recommendation on obstruction of justice may have convinced Barr to weigh in, but he could have just left it at Mueller opting not to accuse Trump of a crime.

Instead, Barr made a determination based on reviewing Mueller’s report for less than 48 hours. In doing so, he invited Democrats to accuse him of going above and beyond for the man who appointed him — and who had, for months and months before then, very publicly resented the fact that his previous attorney general, Jeff Sessions, had recused himself from the investigation.

Ultimately, Congress will make its own determinations, and Democrats have signaled that they are not going to let this lie. But Barr’s statement is an important one when it comes to whether Republicans would ever go along with impeaching or removing Trump — and whether voters might support Trump in 2020.

This is what Barr’s critics feared when the Senate voted to confirm him two months ago. It’s why they urged him to recuse himself from the Russia investigation. And it’s going to be a significant point of contention in the hours and days ahead.




What this outcome is not, however, is a “Complete and Total EXONERATION,” as Mr. Trump unsurprisingly spun it. Mr. Mueller explicitly declined to exonerate the president on the matter of obstruction of justice — a crime that constituted one of the articles of impeachment for both Presidents Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton. After examining Mr. Trump’s actions and weighing “difficult issues” of law and fact, Mr. Mueller punted. “While this report does not conclude that the president committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him,” the report states.

Mr. Barr wasn’t as cautious. Less than 48 hours after receiving Mr. Mueller’s report, the attorney general briskly decided that Mr. Trump had not obstructed justice. Why not? Because there was no underlying crime to obstruct, Mr. Barr said, and anyway, most of Mr. Trump’s behavior took place in full public view, had no connection to any legal proceeding, and wasn’t “done with corrupt intent.” How did Mr. Barr make these determinations so quickly? On what evidence in the report did he base it?

Recall that Mr. Barr got his current job only after Mr. Trump shoved out his predecessor, Jeff Sessions, for not showing him enough personal loyalty and shutting down the Russia investigation at the start. Among the reasons Mr. Barr may have appealed to the president was an unsolicited memo he sent last year to the Justice Department, taking the position that Mr. Mueller should not be allowed to question Mr. Trump about obstructing justice, and that the president could not be guilty of obstruction unless there were an underlying crime to obstruct.

In other words, Mr. Barr did exactly as Mr. Trump hoped he would. But there’s a reason obstructing justice is a crime on its own. The justice system doesn’t work when people lie to authorities, no matter why they do so.

Mr. Barr’s curious views on obstruction are just one reason that Mr. Mueller’s full report must be made available, immediately, to both Congress and the American people.


Bernie agrees—the whole damn report!


Mueller is a Cheney-Bush/Dumbya man. So Barr is a bigger/dumber piece of ####? Big surprise, snort!


Trumpcorp is still under about 15 other investigations yet from various state and federal agencies/ committies. Some of these are tax related and his appointed Feds cant stop these as these at the state level.


He’ll be popped just like Al Capone.


The Taxman ooohhhh the taxman



President Donald Trump in his State of the Union address previewed the messaging the GOP plans to trot out during the 2020 campaign.

As expected from a man whose only known bedtime reading is a book of Hitler’s speeches, Trump will conscript the white nationalists and the Christian Right in his vilification of immigrants who are invading the “homeland.”

“Organized caravans are on the march to the United States,” Trump told the nation, explaining that he had “ordered another 3,750 troops to our southern border to prepare for this tremendous onslaught” against “working-class … innocent Americans.”

Trump, like authoritarians and neofascists in Brazil, Israel, Hungary, Russia and the Philippines, hopes that by stoking nationalist anxieties and delusions, he can propel his political base into a state of permanent hysteria. Trump and Trumpist ideologues like Tucker Carlson on Fox News profess to speak for the working class and denounce “elites,” even as their policies serve the interests of the super-rich. Theirs is an old and evil tradition of xenophobia and nationalism, retooled for the age of social media.

In addition to fomenting hate of “illegal immigrants,” Trump used the State of the Union to proclaim, “We are alarmed by new calls to adopt socialism in our country. … We renew our resolve that America will never be a socialist country.” Republican lawmakers jumped to their feet and shouted “U.S.A.! U.S.A.!”

More than a few Democrats also stood and clapped. Yet, most congressional Democrats refused to stand. According to Fox News, “refusing to stand” is now a crime akin to “taking a knee.”

The GOP is wagering that the Green New Deal and the rebirth of democratic socialism can be crafted into a campaign message that will mitigate the electorate’s growing revulsion toward the GOP brand. We bet that a bold program that empowers working people, repudiates racism and protects what’s left of our fragile planet will win at the polls in 2020.



It would be more expensive to keep the majority of U.S. coal plants open than to replace them with new wind and solar power alternatives, according to new findings published Monday.

Authored by the environmental firm Energy Innovation in partnership with the grid analysis company Vibrant Clean Energy, the research finds that replacing 74 percent of coal plants nationally with wind and solar power would immediately reduce power costs, with wind power in particular at times cutting the cost almost in half. By 2025, the analysis indicates, around 86 percent of coal plants could similarly be at risk of cheaper replacement by renewables.

“We’ve been closely following the cost of wind and solar in the U.S. and globally, and the costs have come down so far that we’re now seeing unprecedented low [costs] for wind and solar,” said Mike O’Boyle, Energy Innovation’s electricity policy director, on a call with reporters.

That trend has opened up an opportunity for a dramatic shift, the groups argue, one that could see coal largely replaced in many areas by energy sources that are better for both human health and the environment.


‘Coal is on the way out’: study finds fossil fuel now pricier than solar or wind

By 2025 the picture becomes even clearer, with nearly the entire US coal system out-competed on cost by wind and solar, even when factoring in the construction of new wind turbines and solar panels.

“We’ve seen we are at the ‘coal crossover’ point in many parts of the country but this is actually more widespread than previously thought,” O’Boyle said. “There is a huge potential for wind and solar to replace coal, while saving people money.”



WaPo’s Jennifer Rubin continues with her anti-Bernie obsession. I do wish though that he would get those taxes out so people like her will STFU.


We should recognize a special day for presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), an anniversary of sorts. One month ago, he promised during a town hall with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer to release his tax returns “soon”.

A month is more than enough to make a few fixes (!), as Sanders described it. There is no excuse whatsoever not to release nine years of taxes preceding 2018. They were completed long ago, and other than blacking out personal information (e.g. phone number, Social Security number), nothing should need to be done other than to post them online.

If this sounds familiar, it is. Sanders promised in an April 2016 debate that he would release his tax returns — the next day. He released a single year, 2014.

Are we too cynical to suspect Sanders doesn’t want to release 10 years of taxes? It’s peculiar, to say the least, that after a full presidential campaign in 2016 and significant time on the trail in the 2020 cycle, Sanders hasn’t felt the need to distinguish himself dramatically from Trump, adhere to his own standards regarding transparency, and spare his party and the country from any surprises (should he be nominated or elected).

Don midwest
Don midwest

Marcy Wheeler on Muller report

Two articles just out. First one from New Republic. Second one on her web page

Yes, Trump Obstructed Justice. And William Barr Is Helping Him Cover It Up.
The attorney general’s take on the Mueller report goes through contortions to avoid charging the president with a crime.

this article is before the Barr letter


She is my go to source

Don midwest
Don midwest

Shit. The WA Post does it again. Pumping Joe Biden.

In an article about a scientist who won the Nobel prize a few years ago, and was in a film premired at SXSW this year, he won the prize in 2018

That morning, Allison was handed a phone and told someone wanted to congratulate him. It was former vice president Joe Biden, whose son, Beau, died of glioblastoma in 2015.

“I’m so happy for you,” Biden told Allison. “You deserve the recognition and I pray to God you’re going to save an awful amount of lives.”

Joe Biden’s son died from immune disease from unsupervised burn pits in Iraq. His son had been Atty General of Delaware and was on the on the board of either a gas or an oil company in Ukraine.

Why the fuck did they put Biden in the article except to say something positive about Joe. THey didn’t remind us of the horrible death of his son.

In any case and interesting article.

A Texas scientist was called ‘foolish’ for arguing the immune system could fight cancer. Then he won the Nobel Prize.



A current media meme — ignoring the importance of Bernie’s longstanding record — assumes that he is likely to lose many votes to other candidates who’ve recently endorsed his 2016 campaign proposals.

But it matters greatly that Bernie has unique credibility as someone who has been part of progressive social movements during the last several decades — and who hasn’t waited for opinions to become fashionable before expressing them.

“It’s hard not to be a bit wary of people who know how the wind is blowing and now are blowing with it,” I told a San Francisco Chronicle reporter who quoted me in an article that appeared hours before the rally. “Bernie is part of movements that create the wind. Bernie is not a wind sock.”

For decades, Bernie has been tirelessly advocating for Medicare for All single-payer healthcare. In the last few years or months, some of his opponents have come around to voice often-equivocal support. The credibility of commitment is vastly different. When Sanders declared for the umpteenth time at the San Francisco rally that “healthcare is a human right,” no one could doubt that he really meant it.

Similarly, Bernie has long been calling for drastic new policies to push back against climate change. He voiced concerns about a warming planet as early as the 1980s.

Overall, a vast number of issues fall under a clear approach that Bernie has long stated, as he did on Sunday: “We say no to oligarchy, yes to democracy.”



These are getting to be a thing.


sometimes I do this bc it’s easier than doing 2 separate copy and paste actions.


This is real. I read the short article.


A bit of Chomsky to bump my brain.



Optical scanners, too. From the article.




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