More neo-neo-cons taking over high places

Screen Shot 2017-08-03 at 11.08.41

Everywhere you turn in Trumpland, you’ll find a slew of Thomas’ former clerks in high places. They are serving in the White House counsel’s office (Greg Katsas, John Eisenberg, David Morrell); awaiting appointment to the federal judiciary (Allison H. Eid, David Stras); leading the departments of the Treasury (Heath P. Tarbert, Sigal Mandelker) and Transportation (Steven G. Bradbury); defending the travel ban in court (Jeffrey Wall); and heading the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (Neomi Rao). Thomas clerks are also working with dark money groups to execute Trump’s agenda (Carrie Severino) and boosting him in the far-right media (Laura Ingraham).

pub. 08/2017

You should read at least something about Bill Browder’s testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee

The video is here.

A few choice quotes:

“What you need to understand about the Russians is there is no ideology at all. Vladimir Putin is in the business of trying to create chaos everywhere.”

“First, since 2012 it’s emerged that Vladimir Putin was a beneficiary of the stolen $230 million that Sergei Magnitsky exposed. Recent revelations from the Panama Papers have shown that Putin’s closest childhood friend, Sergei Roldugin, a famous cellist, received $2 billion of funds from Russian oligarchs and the Russian state. It’s commonly understood that Mr. Roldugin received this money as an agent of Vladimir Putin.”

“There are approximately ten thousand officials in Russia working for Putin who are given instructions to kill, torture, kidnap, extort money from people, and seize their property. Before the Magnitsky Act, Putin could guarantee them impunity and this system of illegal wealth accumulation worked smoothly. However, after the passage of the Magnitsky Act, Putin’s guarantee disappeared. The Magnitsky Act created real consequences outside of Russia and this created a real problem for Putin and his system of kleptocracy.”

all from 07/2017

A written version, from the Atlantic:

Screen Shot 2017-08-03 at 11.01.23.png

NPR’s coverage:

Screen Shot 2017-08-03 at 10.59.25

The light Huff Po version, in part focusing on the administration’s probable attempts to distract the public from the testimony:

Screen Shot 2017-08-03 at 10.49.15

The similar Metro version:

Screen Shot 2017-08-03 at 10.54.11

 

In case you missed this gift to Russia

Screen Shot 2017-08-03 at 10.16.23

“This is an extraordinary example of the dysfunction that is ripping through the State Department,” said Brett Bruen, a former U.S. diplomat in contact with State employees involved in the funding fight. “What we’re seeing is a small group of people with very thin knowledge making all the decisions in a very centralized and isolated process. It causes unnecessary delays and confusion.”

pub. 08/2017

It took me a long time to read this article because every paragraph was newly infuriating

Screen Shot 2017-08-03 at 10.05.38

The state is as politically divided as the rest of the nation. One can drive across it and be in two different states at the same time: FM Texas and AM Texas. FM Texas is the silky voice of city dwellers, the kingdom of NPR. It is progressive, blue, reasonable, secular, and smug—almost like California. AM Texas speaks to the suburbs and the rural areas: Trumpland. It’s endless bluster and endless ads. Paranoia and piety are the main items on the menu.

pub. 07/2017

When for-profit loan companies partner with “government by the people, for the people”

Screen Shot 2017-07-28 at 18.04.34

“There is an uncanny resemblance between the foreclosure crisis and our student default dilemma,” said Chopra, the Consumer Federation senior fellow.

He and others said that in both instances, loan servicers did not act in the best interest of borrowers, directing them into more expensive payment options, providing them with misleading information and mishandling paperwork — all with the aim of driving up borrowers’ costs and the servicers’ own income.

pub. 07/2017

Documenting the Trump Administration’s many shocking moves in the hope that they don’t become our new normal

Screen Shot 2017-07-27 at 09.01.00

Since soon after the 2016 election, Amy Siskind has been steadily cataloguing the craziness around us: Trump’s bizarre tweets and directives, the corrupt actions of those around him, and the subtle and not so subtle changes in our country. Her goal is to remind readers weekly that remembering a nation’s descent into authoritarianism is the key to digging out of it. Google her and you’ll find coverage and interviews all over the place including The Washington Post, Daily Kos, and the LGBT-focused Los Angeles Blade, or read her growing list on Medium, linked above.

pub. weekly from 11/2016

The endless disappointment of wanting to like John McCain

Screen Shot 2017-07-26 at 10.59.16

[I]t’s “nice” Republicans like McCain who provide cover for evil swine like Mitch McConnell, allowing them to gut the American security net and fuck over anyone who doesn’t live behind an iron gate.

But that didn’t stop McCain from having the gall—the unmitigated, repulsive GALL—to stand up in front of the Senate today and put on his Maverick jammies and deliver a sermon bashing the very non-legislation that, only minutes earlier, he had flown cross-country to help will into being[.]

pub. 07/2017