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Sad little racist

Sad little racist

by digby

From DKos:

A young Trump supporter from central California has lost his wrestling scholarship after being caught happily spewing hate on camera, alongside his father and a friend. On June 30, Bronson Harmon, 18, pictured above, showed up as counterprotesters to the Modesto #FamilesBelongTogether rally with his father, Todd, and an unnamed friend. After the event ended, an attendee encountered the screaming father-son-friend trio, and whipped out his phone.

Abdul Lasaing, who recorded the video, said he heard the men shouting as they approached so he pulled out his cell phone.

“I not once said anything to these guys, I was just walking,” Lasaing told The Tribune on Wednesday. “I’m not sure if I was disrespected for my skin color or my “World Peace” sign. I was shocked.”

Lasaing said he was scared because one of the men, Todd Harmon, was wearing gloves and looked like he was there to fight.

Just as the video begins, Papa Todd can be heard shrieking “Send their asses back!” Apparently unwilling to disappoint his father, the younger Harmon, who knows he’s being filmed, shouts “Fuck you, faggot!” at Lasaing. Bronson then flips him the bird, while a still-unnamed friend smiles for the camera.

Presumably, the Harmons and Bronson’s buddy headed home to do whatever racists do after a long day of hate mongering. Meanwhile, Lasaing uploaded the video to Facebook; as of this writing, it’s been viewed over 41,000 times. In another video, posted to Twitter but since deleted, the younger Harmon was recorded shouting “Take pictures of this! Trump 2020!” The family was later involved in a physical altercation, according to Modesto Police Department spokesperson Sharon Bear.

According to Harmon, he saw a man placing a screwdriver behind the tire of his father’s truck as they were getting ready to leave. The man, who later filed a complaint with police, said he saw the screwdriver and was trying to pick it up to prevent a flat tire.

Bronson and the others confronted the man and allegedly pushed him, according to the complaint, and he fell against a tree and scraped his arm. There was a small amount of blood on his arm and clothing, but he refused medical assistance at that time, Bear said. The victim asked to press charges. Harmon told The Tribune he never touched the man.

Just three days later, on July 2, Jon Sioredas, the wrestling coach at California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, called Harmon and told him his wrestling scholarship had been revoked. Cal Poly Athletic Director Don Oberhelman refused to discuss the decision in-depth, but did tell The Tribune that the video had been viewed by school officials before the scholarship was rescinded.

Oberhelman said the offer of financial aid signed by all student athletes says the university can cancel aid for actions that could cause embarrassment to the school at the discretion of the athletic director.

As of Tuesday, Harmon, who was one of the Golden State’s top-ranked wrestlers, still plans to attend the university, and focus on his dreams of being a mixed martial arts fighter. He also expressed something slightly resembling regret, with a healthy scoop of First Amendment victimhood.

“Saying what I said is definitely not the right thing. I am supposed to be there to help the community be the best person I can be and represent the college the best way I can,” Harmon told The Tribune on Tuesday. “But I still feel like my freedom of speech was taken away, and I don’t think my scholarship should have been revoked over something like that.”

Boo hoo.


The baby blimp

The baby blimp

by digby

The Washington Post has a great insider account of what happened at the White House over the last week. But it's the lede that says it all:
Executive time began early on Thursday, just after sunrise.

Feeling exasperated and feisty as he awoke in the White House residence, President Trump fired off his grievances on Twitter about how the media had been covering his Helsinki summit. And, refusing to be cowed, Trump gave national security adviser John Bolton an order: to schedule a second summit and officially invite Putin to visit Washington.

The two presidents had already discussed the likelihood of a follow-up meeting, but at Trump’s direction Thursday morning, Bolton sprang into action to make it official, making an overture to the Kremlin. By midafternoon the White House announced that plans were underway for a fall summit in Washington.

The bulletin landed midway through a remarkably candid interview of Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats at the Aspen Security Forum that underscored the disconnect and tension on Russia policy between Trump and his administration. The intelligence chief criticized Trump’s performance during the Helsinki summit and — taking a deep breath and then offering a prolonged grimace-laugh — made clear that he had no advance knowledge of the follow-up meeting with Putin.

“That’s going to be special,” Coats said wryly, as the crowd in Aspen, Colo., rallied around him in sympathy for being left in the dark.

For Trump and his White House, the days that followed the Helsinki summit amounted to an unofficial Walk Back Week — a daily scramble of corrections and clarifications from the West Wing. Each announcement, intended to blunt the global fallout of the president’s Russophilic performance in Helsinki, was followed by another mishap that only fueled more consternation.

The Giant Toddler had a tantrum after watching TV and decided to show everybody  by inviting the foreign leader who sabotaged Hillary Clinton's election campaign for him to a big summit at the White House.

That's what we're dealing with.

I have no doubt that he made some deal with or is under the influence of Vladimir Putin. There's just no way to avoid that reality anymore. But he's also a psychologically and intellectually unfit cretin. There's something very wrong with him. Either of those problems should disqualify him and render him subject to impeachment. Both together represents a clear and present danger to all of us.

More on his unfitness:



I’m Afraid It’s Only A Matter of Time by tristero

I'm Afraid It's Only A Matter of Time 

by tristero

Here on Hullabaloo, Tom Sullivan recently posted a tweet informing us that Trump supporter Michael Scheuer, an ex-CIA spook, bestselling author and world-class paranoid approvingly mentioned the growing interest on the right in assassinating those opposed to Trump:

As this week’s end, it seems likely that it is quite near time for killing those involved in the multiple and clearly delineated attempts to stage a coup d’état against the legitimately elected [sic] Trump government and thereby kill our republic. 
Finally, this week saw a significant and quickening advance toward the moment when those millions of well-armed citizens who voted for Trump, and who have been abused or wounded by Democrats, their Antifa-thugs, and their thug-civil servants for exercising their franchise to elect Trump, cannot be, in good conscience, patient for much longer.
Fortunately, they have in hand a long and very precise list of the names and photographs...
That's right. Scheur even provided a list of people who it is "quite near time to kill."

A day later, I came across this:

As Occupy Ice camps continue to spread across the US, some activists have warned that they have been subjected to intimidation by armed, Trump-supporting counter-protesters... 
American Action Force 3% members arrived at the Occupy Ice Louisville camp, outside the city’s Ice building, early on 14 July. Many in the group were carrying guns.
As Chekov memorably said, "One must never place a loaded rifle on the stage if it isn't going to go off. It's wrong to make promises you don't mean to keep." In this case, the "stage" is ICE protests. But, to paraphrase another dramatist, in Trump's reality-show America, any action protesting Trump is potentially a stage, and we are but targets.

It is my sincere hope that I am wrong but I'm afraid Charlottesville was a prelude.


Today In Both Sides Do It:  S,E. Cupp

As she skips lightly down the path towards a well-earned obscurity, the 2005 CPAC "It" Girl continues to flash her resume in public in the hopes that Jeff Zucker will take her back.

Behold, a Tip Jar!


Trump boosts manufacturing of orphans by @BloggersRUs

Trump boosts manufacturing of orphans

by Tom Sullivan

The Trump administration has returned only a small fraction of separated children to their parents.

The court-imposed deadline is less than a week away for the Trump administration to reunite migrant families it forcibly separated a the border as part of its "zero tolerance" approach to refugees. The administration missed a deadline last week for reuniting children under five with their parents. Of the more than twenty-five hundred children in government detention, only 450 between the ages of 5 and 17 have reunited with their parents ahead of the July 26 deadline.

The Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Homeland Security that found it easy to take children from their parents' arms at U.S.-Mexico border stations find it much more difficult to reunite them. DHS personnel admitted weeks ago that records linking parents and their children have disappeared and in some case destroyed (a DHS spokesperson disputes this). HHS requested volunteers to help pore through case records to match children with their parents.

The Trump administration admitted Thursday while it had found 1,606 parents "potentially eligible" for reunification with their children, another 900 have been classified ineligible.

CNN reported on Thursday:

Of the parents the government claims are ineligible for reunification, two are in state or federal custody, 136 "waived" reunification rights when interviewed, 91 had a criminal record or were otherwise deemed ineligible. But, the largest group -- mostly likely to cause further questions -- are 679 that require "further evaluation."
Talking Points Memo adds:
On Monday, an HHS official took the witness stand and revealed under questioning that the administration has not been able to identify the parents of 71 children. There is no reference to that group in Thursday’s filing. The filing also contained no information about parents who have already been deported without their children. The administration promised to provide that data to the court and the ACLU sometime on Friday, including the date of the deportation, the parents’ home country, and the last place they were detained in the United States.

In the same joint status report, the American Civil Liberties Union complained that the government has refused to give them the information it needs to contact parents and inform them of their legal rights. In particular, the attorneys say they are concerned about the roughly 700 parents in the class who have a final order of removal, and may be swiftly deported just after they are reunified.

Thus, Trump's America treats destitute refugees seeking asylum by making orphans of their children.

Barbara Hines, a retired clinical law professor from the University of Texas School of Law, describes for the Austin American-Statesman the detention system for asylum seekers as the tip of the iceberg in a sprawling system of mostly for-profit private facilities housing 40,000 immigrants daily:

An utter lack of transparency and incompetence have been hallmarks of detention. The disorganized reunification process of separated children is clear evidence. The focus on abducted children has highlighted problems that immigration advocates — including myself — have complained about for years. Abhorrent conditions, sexual abuse, inadequate food, lack of medical care and deaths in detention have been repeatedly documented. Although nothing in the system changes, the administration has pushed for expanded and longer detention.

Immigrants arrested in South Texas have always been held in freezing and crowded cage-like cells. Only now has this hidden gulag sprung into public vision.

In most facilities, immigrants in the so-called civil system are clothed in prison jump suits. They are transferred at will across the country from one detention center to another, even when they have legal representation. For example, separated parents were moved from Laredo, Texas, to Tacoma, Washington. Indigenous-language speakers cannot convey their legal claims or find their children. There are insufficient interpreters for this population, and phone interpretation lines are frequently broken. Attorneys must communicate with clients by leaving messages that may never be delivered. Waiting times to see clients can be up to three hours, and attorneys must share the few available visitation rooms. At the Hutto Detention Center in Taylor, where many separated mothers were incarcerated, the visitation rooms consist of see-through plastic cubicles that are not soundproof.

Despite the similarities with the prison model, immigrants are not entitled to court-appointed lawyers. This makes navigating the immigration court system nearly impossible for most immigrants.

Emma Platoff of the Texas Tribune on Thursday posted a Twitter thread of court documents in which detainees confirm what Hines's experience: detainees signing documents they cannot read; no legal assistance; denial of requests for asylum processing, etc.

National Public Radio last night ran a story of a woman Lourdes (last name withheld) who had a "credible fear" hearing with an asylum officer in El Paso:

Back in 2012, Lourdes says, she owned a small clothing store in Honduras. A local gang tried to extort money from her — money she didn't have.

"Four people came into my store, with their faces covered," Lourdes said. They beat her, and burned her arm with acid, she said, and damaged her left hand so severely that four fingers had to be amputated.

She went into hiding for five years. When she emerged, she says, the gang found her and threatened to kill her. The asylum officer in El Paso denied her claim. She is scheduled for deportation.
"The Trump administration is trying to send a message to asylum seekers," said Carlos Moctezuma Garcia, an immigration lawyer in McAllen, Texas. "Perhaps we will reunify you. But we'll reunify you on the plane back to your home country, without allowing you to present your full case before an immigration judge," Garcia said.

Garcia says he recently visited the ICE facility in Port Isabel, Texas, where some of his clients are detained. Out of 76 women in the cell block, Garcia says, his clients told him that only 8 had passed the credible fear screening.

L. Francis Cissna, the director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, testified before Congress in May that he wants to curtail "frivolous filings." Many smugglers, traffickers, and criminals, he said, are exploiting the system, creating "lingering backlogs can be exploited and used to undermine national security and the integrity of the asylum system." His testimony provided no data to establish the scope of the problem.

Is is a "get tough" argument similar to that used to erect barriers to voting in the name of election integrity. God forbid any who cheat get through the net – we cannot say how few. Better to make the barriers higher for everyone. "Zero tolerance" is not simply a policy, but an authoritarian mindset.

* * * * * * * * *

For The Win 2018 is ready for download. Request a copy of my county-level election mechanics primer at tom.bluecentury at gmail.


Friday Night Soother

Friday Night Soother

by digby

I think we all need a little cute this week:

Have a soothing week-end everyone. It looks like the next week is going to be just as wild as the last one.


Republicans are not enablers. They are accomplices.

Republicans are not enablers. They are accomplices.

by digby

I'm just going to post this Michelle Goldberg column and add a big +1000:

Of all the interlocking mysteries of the Trump-Russia scandal, one that I’ve found particularly perplexing is the utter servility of congressional Republicans before a president many of them hate and believe to be compromised by a foreign power.

Yes, I know they’re thrilled about tax cuts and judges. Given how Russia has become a patron of the right globally over the last decade, some Republicans might welcome its intervention into our politics, believing that the Democrats are greater enemies of the Republic. And some are just cowards, afraid of mean tweets or base blowback.

But that doesn’t explain why, for example, Speaker Paul Ryan, a Russia hawk who is retiring in January, allowed his party to torpedo the House Intelligence Committee investigation into Russian interference in the election. Ryan, after all, knows full well who and what Donald Trump is. In a secretly recorded June 2016 conversation about Ukraine, obtained by The Washington Post, the House majority leader, Kevin McCarthy, said, “There’s two people I think Putin pays: Rohrabacher and Trump.” Far from disagreeing, Ryan said, “What’s said in the family stays in the family.” If he were patriotic — or even if he just wanted to set himself up for a comeback should Trump implode — he would have stood up for the rule of law in the Russia inquiry. It’s hard to see what he got in return for choosing not to.

This week, however, a new possibility came into focus. Perhaps, rather than covering for Trump, some Republicans are covering for themselves.

Last Friday, Robert Mueller, the special counsel, indicted 12 members of Russian military intelligence for their interference in the 2016 election. The indictment claims that in August 2016, Guccifer 2.0, a fictitious online persona adopted by the Russian hackers, “received a request for stolen documents from a candidate for the U.S. Congress.” The Russian conspirators obliged, sending “the candidate stolen documents related to the candidate’s opponent.” Congress has, so far, done nothing discernible to find out who this candidate might be.

Then, on Monday, we learned of the arrest of Maria Butina, who is accused of being a Russian agent who infiltrated the National Rifle Association, the most important outside organization in the Republican firmament. Legal filings in the case outline a plan to use the N.R.A. to push the Republican Party in a more pro-Russian direction.

Butina, 29, appears to have worked for Alexander Torshin, a Russian politician linked to organized crime who is the target of U.S. sanctions. She developed a romantic relationship with Paul Erickson, a conservative operative close to the N.R.A. (Court filings cite evidence it was insincere on her part.) Erickson, in turn, wrote to a Trump adviser in May 2016 about using the N.R.A. to set up a back channel to the Kremlin.

The young Russian woman clearly understood the political significance of the N.R.A. In one email, court papers say, she described the central “place and influence” of the N.R.A. in the Republican Party. Through her pro-gun activism, she became a fixture of the conservative movement and was photographed with influential Republican politicians. A Justice Department filing quotes Torshin as comparing her to another young, famous Russian agent: “You have upstaged Anna Chapman. She poses with toy pistols, while you are being published with real ones.”

If the N.R.A. as an organization turns out to be compromised, it would shake conservative politics to its foundation. And this is no longer a far-fetched possibility. “I serve on both the Intelligence Committee and the Finance Committee,” Senator Ron Wyden, Democrat of Oregon, told me. “So I have a chance to really look at this through the periscope of both committees. And what I have wondered about for some time is this whole issue of whether the N.R.A. is getting subverted as a Russian asset.”

This is not a question that Republicans are eager to answer. Before Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee abruptly closed their investigation into Russian election interference, committee Democrats wanted to interview both Butina and Erickson. Their Republican colleagues refused. “If there were efforts towards a back channel towards the N.R.A., they didn’t want to know,” Representative Adam Schiff, a California Democrat who is the ranking member on the committee, told me. “It was too hot to handle.”

It is not surprising that Republicans would want to protect the N.R.A. According to an audit obtained by the Center for Responsive Politics, the N.R.A.’s overall spending increased by more than $100 million in 2016. “The explosion in spending came as the N.R.A. poured unprecedented amounts of money into efforts to deliver Donald Trump the White House and help Republicans hold both houses of Congress,” the center wrote.

McClatchy has reported that the F.B.I. is investigating whether Torshin illegally funneled money to the N.R.A. to help Trump. Wyden has also been trying to trace foreign money flowing into the N.R.A., but has found little cooperation from the organization, his Republican colleagues or the Treasury Department.

“The fact is, the N.R.A. has flipped their position more times than a kid does on a summer diving board,” Wyden said of the organization’s conflicting responses to his inquiries. At this point, the N.R.A. has acknowledged receiving just over $2,500 from Russians or people living in Russia, mostly for dues payments and magazine subscriptions. But that doesn’t tell us anything about money that might have been routed through shell companies, like, for example, Bridges, the limited liability corporation that Butina and Erickson set up in South Dakota in February 2016. 

Wyden said Republicans on the Intelligence Committee have thwarted his attempts to look deeply into the Russian money trail. “The Intelligence Committee has completely ducked for cover on follow-the-money issues,” he said. (As it happens, Richard Burr, the North Carolina Republican who heads the Senate Intelligence Committee, is one of Congress’s leading recipients of N.R.A. support.)

On Monday, a few hours after news broke of Butina’s arrest, the Treasury Department announced a new rule sparing some tax-exempt groups, including the N.R.A., from having to report their large donors to the I.R.S. Wyden called the move “truly grotesque,” saying it would “make it easier for Russian dark money” to flow into American politics. You might ask who benefits. The answer is: not just Trump.


And for a lot of reasons. 


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Brian Stelter: America’s Most Credulous Stenographer

"Inside Fox, there were real ethical concerns".


And inside the Donner Party there were real concerns over which fork to use with the fish course.

Our media sucks so hard.


Nothing and Everything: A Trump word cloud

Nothing and Everything

by digby

A new poll
asked what people would say is the worst thing about the Trump administration and this is the word cloud that came of it:

They also asked what was the best thing:

Aaaand, there's this:

Nearly half of the respondents (49 percent) said they agreed with assessments that Trump’s performance at the summit could be described as “treasonous.” That included 21 percent of Republican respondents. By contrast, a mere quarter (27 percent) of respondents disagreed with the assessment of treasonous behavior.

The findings are the latest in a round of highly critical reviews of the president’s performance, during which he criticized U.S. law enforcement, lashed out at special counsel Robert Mueller, and dismissed the American intelligence community’s conclusion that Russia undermined the 2016 U.S. presidential election. According to the pool, 49 percent of respondents agreed with the statement that Trump is “too deferential” towards Putin, including 69 percent of Democrats and one third of Republicans.

Respondents also said that the summit failed to serve America’s larger geopolitical interests. Only five percent of Americans think the United States benefited from the summit more than Russia, while a third of the public (34%) said the summit was more beneficial to Russia than to the United States. Sixteen percent think that the summit was not beneficial to either country.

Although Trump has repeatedly questioned that Putin meddled in the 2016 campaign, the majority of Americans believe that the Kremlin has not made its last foray into election espionage.

More than half, 51 percent, believe that Russia will interfere in the U.S. midterm elections, with 70 percent of Democrats convinced that the Kremlin will engage in a repeat attack and 37 percent of Republicans agreeing. Just a quarter of those polled believe that the Trump administration is able to prevent those threats.

That sounds like a problem to me.


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