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Feb 23, 2019, 01:50 PM
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 11 
 on: Today at 06:18 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Darja
Climate change will make extreme cold more prevalent — and that’s bad news for some animals

ZME
2/23/2029

A team of researchers from Binghamton University investigated the effect of climate change on amphibian health and susceptibility to parasites. The researchers focused on cold weather variability, a less-discussed consequence of climate change, and discovered that it makes amphibians more susceptible to some hazards while lessening the risk of others (such as parasites). They hope the study will help showcase the important role cold weather variability, not just warmer temperatures, play in the context of climate change.

Change goes both ways

    “There is a lot of misconception that global climate change only refers to an increase in warming temperatures,” says Jessica Hua, assistant professor of biological sciences at Binghamton and paper co-author. “We feel that the research in this paper is important because it highlights that global climate change is more complex than just an increase in average temperature. In fact, global climate change is also predicted to increase the prevalence of extreme cold temperature events, as well as increase the amount of variation in temperature fluctuations.”

While climate change is recognized as “one of the most serious issues facing us today,” its impact on animal and plant populations isn’t known in depth. Weather variability, in particular, can have dramatic effects on natural systems. For example, rising mean temperatures prompt organisms to breed earlier in the spring, the team explains, which paradoxically increases their risk of experiencing wild fluctuations in temperature during early development — especially cold weather.

These temperatures don’t have to fall into the ‘deadly’ range to cause damage, the team adds, to alter how susceptible amphibians are to other stressors. To investigate the issue further, they placed wood frog embryos in various cold temperature regimes, researchers looked specifically at the consequences of exposure to these lower temperatures.

Amphibians exposed to constant cold conditions as embryos were more susceptible to road salt contamination, but were able to recover as they aged, the team reports. This is particularly relevant, as salt use on roads is predicted to increase exactly as these extreme cold temperature events are taking place. The frogs exposed to cold temperatures as embryos were also smaller overall as they aged, and developed at a slower pace. This ended up protecting them against parasites as their small stature made them less attractive targets.

These results were not anticipated, the team adds, and determining whether the impact from the cold was harmful or helpful for the amphibians overall is difficult to gauge.

    “We initially predicted that exposure to cold temperatures would be stressful to developing embryos. As a consequence, we expected that exposure to stressful conditions early in life would make amphibians less able to deal with other stressors later in life (i.e. parasites),” Hua said. “We were also surprised because past studies have found that cooler temperatures can increase amphibian susceptibility to another parasite (the fungus, chytrid). In this case, the negative effects of the cooler temperatures on amphibians are driven by the fact that the fungus survived better in cooler temperatures.”

Amphibian populations are on the decline globally, so considering the effects of cold temperatures may be important in understanding how to better protect them in the future, the team concludes.

The paper “The effects of different cold-temperature regimes on development, growth, and susceptibility to an abiotic and biotic stressor” has been published in the journal Ecology and Evolution.

 12 
 on: Today at 06:16 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Darja
NASA finds a second huge impact crater beneath Greenland’s ice sheet

ZME
2/23/2029

A new impact crater has been found under more than a mile of ice in northwest Greenland. Credit: NASA Goddard.

Scientists didn’t think they would be able to find evidence of ancient impact craters in places such as Greenland or Antarctica, which should have been cleared away by erosion by underlying ice. But, in November, researchers found a huge 30-kilometer-wide crater (19 miles) beneath Greenland’s Hiawatha Glacier. It was the first meteorite impact found beneath an ice sheet, a breakthrough moment in geoscience that combined the latest imaging technologies. Now, researchers report finding an even larger crater beneath Greenland’s thick ice. With a width of 36.5 km (22 miles), if confirmed, the new crater would be the 22nd largest impact crater found on Earth.

Beneath the ice

The new site was identified just 183 km (114 miles) from Hiawatha, but, judging from current evidence, the two impacts weren’t likely made during the same time. Both are fairly recent though. Scientists estimate that Hiawatha is no more than three million years old, while the new impact site in northwest Greenland was likely formed by an asteroid impact within the past 2.6 million years. Although it doesn’t have a formal name yet, researchers are considering naming it the Paterson crater, in honor of the late glaciologist Stan Paterson, who helped reconstruct climate data for the past 100,000 years using ice cores from Greenland.

    “We’ve surveyed the Earth in many different ways, from land, air, and space—it’s exciting that discoveries like these are still possible,” said Joe MacGregor, a glaciologist with NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, who made contributions to the discovery of both craters.

MacGregor was inspired by last year’s discovery to scour topographic maps for more signs of other craters. He eventually noticed a circular pattern in an ice surface map made using data from NASA’s Terra and Aqua satellites. His suspicions were confirmed by raw radar data, including those collected by NASA’s Operation IceBridge, which were used to study the topography of the bedrock beneath the ice.

The images that MacGregor and colleagues assembled show all the hallmarks of an impact crater, including a flat, bowl-shaped depression in the bedrock, surrounded by an elevated rim and centrally located peaks. Measurements also revealed a negative gravity anomaly over the area, which is also characteristic of impact craters.

    “The only other circular structure that might approach this size would be a collapsed volcanic caldera,” MacGregor said in a statement. “But the areas of known volcanic activity in Greenland are several hundred miles away. Also, a volcano should have a clear positive magnetic anomaly, and we don’t see that at all.”

Given the proximity of the two craters, it’s plausible that a double asteroid system impacted the area. In order to investigate this possibility, the researchers studied the erosion rates of the two craters. The findings suggest that the new crater is far more eroded than the Hiawatha crater, and consequently older. Previously, two pairs of geographically close craters in Ukraine and Canada were also found to be unrelated.

    “The existence of a third pair of unrelated craters is modestly surprising but we don’t consider it unlikely,” MacGregor said. “On the whole, the evidence we’ve assembled indicates that this new structure is very likely an impact crater, but presently it looks unlikely to be a twin with Hiawatha.”

The findings appeared in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.

 13 
 on: Feb 22, 2019, 11:38 AM 
Started by Linda - Last post by Kristin
Hi All,

Here is an example of the distorted Cancer archetype of Lilith and how this manifests in Ivanka Trump.
(I do not have a birth time so we will use a Noon chart.)

Notice that her Pluto in Libra squares the Nodes, her North Node is in Cancer and she is about to have a Nodal Return.

Jupiter, the ruler of her Moon, is forming a balsalmic conjunction to Pluto. The Moon is the ruler of her Lilith in Cancer and her North Node.

Original Lilith is nearly 11.46 degrees of Cancer and squares her Saturn in Libra, the ruler of her South Node in Capricorn. Saturn is also forming a waxing square to the Nodes.

The ongoing relationship with the past with respect to family speaks for itself.

We will overlap her chart with her father in a bit but for now please comment on what you see in her natal chart in terms of the distorted dynamics in the past leading to now.

Goddess Bless,
Kristin

 14 
 on: Feb 22, 2019, 11:06 AM 
Started by Stacie - Last post by Stacie
I do want to add that my point is not geared to ignoring limitations and the lessons or growth processes that come with them.  

My point is that limitations can be understood in ways other than evidence of any kind of intrinsic lack that is inexcusable or “too different” or something you can’t live or work with.  God’dess develops us all in very unique ways.

Celebrate who you are, as you are now, the best that you can (just don’t fall in delusion when the confidence comes! Haha). Strive to become better, but also grant yourself a break, when you need it, and see what Godd’ess is designing in you.

❤️

 15 
 on: Feb 22, 2019, 10:32 AM 
Started by Stacie - Last post by Stacie
I just found myself reflecting on a very basic topic that most us already understand, but I thought is useful to revisit: the phenomena of limitations.  Ever notice how when you’re limited in some way that other capacities tend to rise up and deepen?  Let’s think about that for a second.  

Me for example. I have a 4th house Pluto, Moon in Pisces, Venus in 6th house, etc etc, which produces very deep personal challenges relative to confidence.  Sometimes my awareness, and the affects of the awareness of these challenges, have a direct impact on the most basic and mundane areas of my life, where I limit myself in ways that deeply inhibit me.  

But I was thinking about it this way.  One of my personal quirks is that I do NOT keep track of transits.  Isn’t that weird for an astrologer?  I usually find myself feeling like I need to overly explain it, or even apologize for it to people because I come across as as a complete airhead when the subject of transits shows up in discussion.  

Here’s what I finally gave myself permission to realize about that.  It’s not because I’m lazy or incapable of interpreting transits, I do it intentionally because I like to intuit the dynamic of things when I am so moved to do so, having no recollection whatsoever where any planet is in the zodiac any given moment in time, to see if my direct life perception and interpretation aligns with the planets are at.  For example I had a very intense emotional day recently, the worst I can recall in this lifetime that I have ever had. And this is why losing track of transits is kind of a weird, quirky way to develop yourself, because there came a point where the question came into my brain, saying “where is the moon?” So I checked and that thing was EXACTLY on my 4th house Pluto. Exact degree.

Those kind of events have been useful to me because it validates that my senses, i.e. my saggitarian understanding of life, are more on point than I sometimes give myself credit for.  I realized that my quirks of consciously losing track of transits has allowed me to develop myself in a very unique way, where I’m learning to trust my intuition first, ahead of my left brain.  It is that “limitation” that has allowed me to understand archetypes at deeper and deeper levels, sometimes to a point where I’m surprised with the wisdom that comes to me..or that I’m reflecting..whatever...

Think of Helen Keller.  Look at the all the limitations she came in with. Imagine what she deepened inside because of them and what that promoted.

My point is that we all have very unique ways, and capacities, and approaches to going about things.  These things shouldn’t be apologized for because they are literally promoting greater focus in other areas.

Love you all, my EA family
Stacie

 16 
 on: Feb 22, 2019, 06:36 AM 
Started by Stacie - Last post by Stacie
Oh!  I somehow had an understanding mixed up in my head that suicide is the worst thing you can possibly ever do, even over mass homicide. Gosh thank you, I don’t know where I got that idea from, other than my own run in’s with PL suicide and the fear that those penalties imprint in your soul. I remember JWG talking about how those post-morten penalties are designed by their very nature to “freak the soul out” to such a terrifying degree that the soul will hopefully never choose to do that again, and when they do, that the consequences get exponentially worse. Thank you for clarifying my basic mix up. Makes sense again.

God Bless,
Stacie

 17 
 on: Feb 22, 2019, 06:02 AM 
Started by Stacie - Last post by Rad
Hi Stacie,

Suicide is not worse that killing someone.

God Bless, Rad


 18 
 on: Feb 22, 2019, 05:54 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Darja
Here are 7 things to know about CNN’s claim that Mueller’s report is coming soon

Cody Fenwick, AlterNet - COMMENTARY
22 Feb 2019 at 15:42 ET                   

Building upon rumors and other vague reports that Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation may soon be coming to some sort of a close, CNN published a story Wednesday afternoon claiming that the Justice Department is preparing to receive a report from the former FBI director as early as next week.

Given the complexities of the case, the special counsel regulations, shake-ups in the Justice Department, and lack of clarity around reporting from anonymous sources, it was not initially clear what this story means. Some saw it as clear evidence that newly appointed Attorney General William Barr was working to shut down the investigation, while others argued that it reflected trends that have been clear in Mueller’s work for months. It’s also not clear if Mueller’s report means new charges could be coming or what would happen to pending cases.

But there is a lot we do know. Here are seven things to keep in mind to help make sense of this news:

1. Whatever happens next week or with Mueller, investigations of President Donald Trump are certain to continue.

Even if Mueller concluded that Trump was completely cleared of wrongdoing regarding the investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election and any efforts to obstruct this probe — the two prongs of the case believed to touch on the president — much more of Trump’s past is under scrutiny.

Mueller’s efforts, it seems, have led to at least two other investigations that directly implicate Trump. At this point, the public knows most about the case of Michael Cohen, who pleaded guilty to campaign finance crimes as charged by the Southern District of New York — crimes that he alleged he carried out on Trump’s orders. There is also the ongoing investigation out of SDNY of Trump’s inaugural committee, about which less is known but which may involve allegations of money laundering and foreign influence peddling.

Other investigative matters may have also spun off from Mueller’s probe to other parts of the Justice Department. Federal prosecutors from D.C., for example, are already known to be working alongside Mueller’s team on some cases. And on completely separate tracks, the New York attorney general and oversight committees in the House of Representatives are known to be pursuing multiple investigations of Trump and those around him.

2. The regulations are clear about what the “Mueller report” is and isn’t.

If Mueller does issue a “report,” it’s not entirely clear what this means in common parlance. But according to the special counsel regulations, he is required to draft a confidential report on his decisions about why he chose to prosecute — and perhaps most importantly, not to prosecute — certain people for certain crimes. For instance, if Mueller concluded that there was substantial evidence to charge Trump himself with crimes, but decided not to because DOJ policy says he can’t indict a sitting president, this decision would presumably be recorded in this report.

But that report is not public. It goes to the attorney general who then makes the decision about what to do with. It likely would contain classified material and other information, such as grand jury testimony, which cannot be made public. The attorney general may then decide to make part of the report public, share it with Congress, or lock it away in a filing cabinet.

Also of note is that, since Barr has only just joined the Justice Department, he may not have yet been cleared by ethics officials to oversee Mueller. That may mean that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who first appointed Mueller, may still be in charge of the investigation.

3. Mueller is preparing to submit a sentencing filing on Paul Manafort soon — and it could be explosive.

Some, like reporter Marcy Wheeler, have suggested that Mueller’s report may come in the form of court filings. And one major court filing coming up is Mueller’s sentencing memo regarding Paul Manafort.

Of course, we don’t know what it will say until it’s made public. But it’s possible Mueller may use this filing to make public a good deal of substantial and important information that was not previously known. This could end up serving as a something like a public “report” — one that the attorney general would likely be unable to block. However, it may be highly redacted.

4. People familiar with Mueller don’t believe he’d let the investigation be prematurely thwarted.

Much of the initial reaction to CNN’s report reflected fears that Trump’s new attorney general was inappropriately bringing the investigation to a close. Many people familiar with Mueller and the Justice Department, however, doubted this hypothesis.

“Everyone caterwauling over Barr immediately ‘ending’ Mueller probe: Remember Mueller’s team has had months to prepare to be ousted/fired/shutdown,” said Garrett Graff, who wrote a book about Mueller’s time leading the FBI. “Idea that they’d be caught by surprise, without recourse, is absurd. If Mueller is wrapping up, he means to.”

Matthew Miller, a former DOJ spokesperson, concurred.

“Agree 100%,” he said on Twitter. “Though we of course need to verify everything, if Mueller is ending now, it’s almost certainly his decision.”

5. If Mueller were being silenced, there could be leaks and resignations.

Fears about Mueller being obstructed internally are also misplaced because there would likely be significant signs of dissension were this to happen. Officials could resign from the department in protest. Information about the investigation could begin leaking. Mueller himself could hold a press conference to discuss any untoward efforts to shut him up — a move that would be guaranteed to hold the nation’s attention.

6. There are still many threads in the investigation that don’t appear to have concluded.

However, there is reason to have some doubts about the news. There are significant threads in the Mueller probe that have yet to be satisfactorily resolved.

For example, though Mueller has charged Roger Stone, he has yet to charge Stone’s associate Jerome Corsi. This is surprising because Corsi released what he said was a plea deal, which he rejected, that had been offered by Mueller. It seems unlikely that Mueller would have offered him a plea deal if he were not prepared to charge Corsi.

There are also to legal battles that Mueller has yet to resolve. One is a mysterious sealed case involving the subpoena of a foreign state-owned company; the other is a grand jury subpoena for another associate of Roger Stone. It’s not clear why Mueller would be wrapping up his investigation without finishing these fights, given that he must have thought they were important in the first place.

There are also myriad other reports and indications of criminal behavior that haven’t yet shown up in any public filings from Mueller. It’s possible none of these threads produced any prosecutable evidence. Of course, it’s also possible that Mueller has indictments on some of those matters, or others unknown to the public, under seal, and they may soon be revealed as part of his “report.”

Another possible explanation of these hanging threads, suggested by the CNN report, is that Mueller may have handed off even more aspects of the investigation to other parts of the DOJ than we know. He could be doing this for a variety of reasons, and we may never find out what they are until charges are brought by other prosecutors, if they ever are.

7. We’ve heard similar predictions before.

One final note of caution: We’ve heard claims that Mueller’s wrapping up before, and they’ve proven wrong in the past. Sometimes this idea was put out by Trump’s own attorneys, but reporters have also made the claim as well.

For instance, in June 2018, the Washington Post published a story indicating that Mueller would “write up his findings” about the obstruction of justice investigation into Trump by the end of the summer. Obviously, that didn’t happen.

However, this report did include one suggestion that provides a potential explanation for CNN’s report. It indicated that there would be at least two Mueller “reports” — one on obstruction of justice and another on Russia-related matters. It’s far from certain this prediction was accurate, but if it was, it’s possible the “Mueller report” that is coming down the pike is only one of these possible reports. That could help explain why significant threads in the case remain unresolved.

************

GOP’s latest defense of Trump quickly falls apart as his obstruction of justice becomes even more obvious

Heather Digby Parton, Salon - COMMENTARY
22 Feb 2019 at 12:44 ET                   

I wrote about former acting FBI director Andrew McCabe’s new book “Threat” last week after CBS News first teased its big interview with McCabe that aired last Sunday. At the time it seemed as if the big news coming from the book was a rehash of last fall’s story about Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein suggesting that he wear a wire into the Oval Office and about the supposed talk within the Department of Justice about invoking the 25th Amendment to declare President Trump unable to fulfill his duties.

When asked about it by CBS News’ Scott Pelley in the interview, McCabe confirmed that it happened, which made Trump have a nuclear Twitter meltdown and caused the right-wing media to start screeching about “Deep State coups” and suggesting that McCabe should immediately be arrested and that he and former FBI director James Comey should be waterboarded to spill everything they know. Presumably by CIA director Gina Haspel and former Vice President Dick Cheney. Because that’s their specialty.

As it turns out, that wasn’t in McCabe’s book at all. He answered the question when asked but told Anderson Cooper on CNN Tuesday night that he didn’t put it in the book because that episode hadn’t been revealed when he wrote it and he thought it would be a huge distraction if he did. He was right. An anecdote that wasn’t in his book has received far more attention than it should.

The big revelation in the book is that after Trump fired Comey, which everyone knew was because of the Russia investigation, McCabe opened a counter-intelligence investigation and an obstruction of justice investigation into the president of the United States, because of his suspicious behavior during the campaign and in the White House. And — surprise — it turns out that McCabe and Rosenstein briefed the Gang of Eight, which includes the leadership of both parties in congress and the chairs and Ranking Members of the House and Senate Intelligence Committees. At the time, the eight were Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., House Speaker Paul Ryan, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., and Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif.

McCabe notes that Nunes had “stepped back” from his role on the Intelligence Committee by that time, after having being exposed conspiring with the White House and lying to the media in his silly “midnight ride” and was not expected to show up. But he came anyway, and neither Rosenstein nor McCabe had the authority to ask him to leave, so he heard the whole thing. When asked by Anderson Cooper whether he believed Nunes would rush to tell the White House everything, McCabe said he always assumed someone would tell the White House about the investigations.

In his book, McCabe writes:

    After reminding the committee of how this investigation began, I told them of additional steps we had taken. No one interrupted. No one pushed back. The mood in the room was sober. Schumer had been nodding his head and looking at me very directly throughout the brief. On McConnell’s side of the table, I sensed a great deal of resignation.

Rosenstein then took over the meeting and told the assembled officials that he was appointing Robert Mueller as special counsel to investigate the Trump campaign’s apparent ties to Russia.

What this means is that these members of Congress have known from the beginning that the DOJ and the FBI had opened these two investigations because of the president’s suspicious behavior, and that they formed the basis for the Special Counsel’s investigation. If McCabe is right, and one of the little birdies in the meeting whispered in the president’s ear, he knew it right away too.

According to McCabe, Rosenstein was enlisted by the White House counsel to write the memo laying out the reasons for firing Comey and told him Trump had repeatedly asked him to “include Russia” (which he refused to do). What the president specifically meant by that isn’t spelled out but we know that the original letter firing Comey was cooked up during a long rainy weekend at Trump’s golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey, with senior adviser Stephen Miller, Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner. The letter they produced was so inflammatory that then-White House counsel Don McGahn nixed it. We don’t know how much of that original memo (described by those who read it as a “screed”) was focused on Russia, but Robert Mueller does. He has a copy of it.

What we do know is that in the letter Trump wrote firing Comey, he clumsily “included Russia”:

    While I greatly appreciate you informing me, on three separate occasions, that I am not under investigation, I nevertheless concur with the judgment of the Department of Justice that you are not able to effectively lead the Bureau.

And then came this, just a month after the Comey firing and the Mueller appointment:

    I am being investigated for firing the FBI Director by the man who told me to fire the FBI Director! Witch Hunt

    — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 16, 2017

As you can see, that was yet another lie. Trump had planned to fire Comey. He even admitted it on TV. And we know that his crack team of political advisers, led by Kushner, had assured him that it would be a big political winner.

Later, Trump would repeatedly insist that he wasn’t under investigation at all, despite the fact that it was obvious to everyone he was.

Looking back on that meeting, which laid out all the predicates for what turned into the Mueller investigation, shines a very different light on how this scandal has unfolded. And now we have the explosive New York Times piece published on Tuesday called “Intimidation, Pressure and Humiliation: Inside Trump’s Two-Year War on the Investigations Encircling Him,” which shows that not only did the president know very well that he was personally being investigated, he has been methodically trying to sabotage his own Justice Department for the better part of the last two years.

Trump’s most recent intrusion was trying to get his acting attorney general, Matt Whitaker, to order the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York to “unrecuse” himself from all those investigations into Trumpworld, a concept that never even existed until Donald Trump came along.

He just can’t stop obstructing justice. But then why would he? His new attorney general, William Barr, agrees with that Republican icon of corruption Richard Nixon, that “if the president does it, it’s not illegal.” Barr has told Trump he is perfectly free to interfere with investigations, order them up, protect his friends and punish his enemies. So I wouldn’t expect any of it to stop unless Congress finally steps up to do its duty.

The country is probably dizzy by now trying to keep up with the cascading news stories about the various investigations and rumors surrounding Trump’s presidency. It’s overwhelming. But it always comes back to one simple, common-sense observation: no innocent person could possibly act this guilty.

************

Trump already colluded ‘in plain sight’ — and his new attorney general can’t protect him from Mueller: conservative columnist

Cody Fenwick, AlterNet
22 Feb 2019 at 19:10 ET                   

Whether it’s true or not, multiple reports now suggest that some form of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s “report” will soon be released, and the U.S. political commentariat is bracing for the news.

Of course, no one seems to know for sure when any key documents from Mueller will be made public or when he will officially close up shop. But conservative writer Jennifer Rubin, a long-time critic of President Donald Trump, argued Thursday that whenever Congress receives Mueller’s conclusions, the pressure will then be left to Congress to decided how to proceed. She has little doubt that Mueller will decline to indict Trump, so if criminal charges are warranted, impeachment will be the only option.

“The immediate consequences for the president will be political,” she wrote in a new Washington Post op-ed. “Once Mueller is done, the host of other investigations will continue while the focus moves to Congress. Congress and the voters get the last say as to when and under what conditions Trump’s presidency will end.”

Like everyone else, Rubin doesn’t know what Mueller will ultimately conclude. And she notes that every step along the way, the special counsel has demonstrated that he is ahead of the game, revealing new explosive findings that haven’t previously been known.

Speculating about what might be in the report, she wrote:

    The only “collusion” by Trump we can definitively identify occurred in plain sight — his public request for the Russians to go find Hillary Clinton’s emails. WikiLeaks would later oblige, releasing the first emails within hours of the “Access Hollywood” tape’s release. (Trump’s efforts to pursue the Moscow Trump Tower deal despite Trump’s public denials provide a possible motivefor Trump to cover up his Russian connections, but do not on their face appear to be illegal.)

    More likely to be included in Mueller’s report is a catalogue of Trump’s efforts to disrupt and interfere with investigations into his and his campaign’s Russia contacts. Trump’s role in concocting phony cover stories (regarding the reason for firing James Comey as FBI director, to explain the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting), his offers to pardon witnesses, his efforts to influence the Manafort jury by publicly disparaging prosecutors, his attempts to get then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions to unrecuse himself, his attempt to persuade Comey to go easy on Flynn, and any potentially misleading written answers by Trump to Mueller’s written questions could be laid out so as to bring us to the inescapable conclusion that Trump obstructed justice.

It should be noted that Mueller has already provided a provocative detail about Trump’s call for the Russians to get Clinton’s emails. An indictment of the GRU officers involved in the hacking said that the Russians actively tried to access Clinton’s personal files the same day Trump explicitly made that public proclamation. There are also indications from the indictment of Roger Stone that the Trump ally may have had a role in ushering the release of the hacked emails on the day the “Access Hollywood” tape was released.

And for those who fear that the reported coming demise of special counsel’s office means newly confirmed Attorney General William Barr is prematurely silencing Mueller, Rubin is deeply skeptical.

“I am less concerned than many that Barr, who is a respected lawyer and owes Trump no particular loyalty, will bury the report, especially if Mueller has obtained approval from the chief judge to release grand jury materials to Congress,” she wrote. “Perpetuating rumors and speculation about what is in or not in the special counsel’s report serves no one’s interest.”

**************

Trump’s ‘national emergency’ border wall cash grab flounders — a huge chunk of the money has already been spent: report

Raw Story
2/22/2019

According to a new report in RollCall, some of the money President Trump wants to shuffle around from other federal programs to build his wall has already been spent, and is likely to be unavailable from the sources the Trump administration has previously identified.

Despite the ‘national emergency,’ Trump will still have to seek approval from both parties for some of the money, the report notes, effectively rendering a full one-third of the funds unavailable, RollCall’s John Donnelly writes.

As a result, it may be difficult for the president to circumvent Congress, who could still stop a large part of Trump’s ’emergency’ border wall funds from being spent.

“A reprogramming request must be approved by both Republicans and Democrats on the four authorizing and appropriating panels that oversee the Pentagon,” the new report notes. “Such approval in this case is all but certain to fail. All it would take is one chairman or ranking member to say no.”

Donnelly’s story quotes Indiana Democrat Peter J. Visclosky, chairman of the House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, who said he would turn down any request to reprogram military money to pay for a border wall.

“I am adamantly opposed to the use of any funds provided by Congress to the Department of Defense for the unauthorized construction of a wall on the Southwest border,” Visclosky said. “I and the other members of the House Appropriations Committee will carefully examine each element of the President’s proposal and the serious jurisdictional and Constitutional concerns that it raises.”

Even some Republicans have said they are opposed to raiding military construction budgets to pay for Trump’s wall. Just this week, a GOP Congressman from Texas stated at a town hall that he is opposed of taking money away from previously earmarked military construction projects to build any border barrier.

***************

Trump, Stephen Miller, and the ‘national sovereignty’ lie

Trump: 'If you don't have a wall system, we're not going to have a country'

By Greg Sargent
Opinion writer
February 22 2019
WA Post

We spend so much time chasing the small lies down rabbit holes that we often lose sight of the much bigger lies that undergird them. In this regard, one of the most monstrous lies we regularly hear from President Trump and his allies is the notion that our national sovereignty is under severe threat.

During Chris Wallace’s much-discussed cross-examination of Stephen Miller last weekend, Trump’s senior adviser pulled off a move of supreme rhetorical sleaze. In defending Trump’s declaration of a national emergency to build his wall, Miller slipped this in with almost no time remaining for Wallace to correct him:

    This is a deep intellectual problem that is plaguing this city which is that we’ve had thousands of Americans die year after year after year because of threats crossing our southern border. … If the president can’t defend this country, then he cannot fulfill this constitutional oath of office.

Post fact checker Glenn Kessler has a new piece that dismantles this absurdity from every different angle. It’s entirely baseless. There isn’t any national comprehensive data set on people killed by undocumented immigrants, but as Kessler shows, if you extrapolate out using other data sets, the claim is not even close to credible.

What’s more, studies show that undocumented immigrants commit crimes at lower rates than native-born Americans and that illegal immigration does not lead to increased crime or violence. And even if you give very generous treatment to the slippery rhetorical trick Miller uses — note that Miller refers to deaths at the hands of vaguely defined “threats” — and include deaths from drugs, this doesn’t support Miller’s argument, either, because Trump’s wall wouldn’t stop the flow of drugs, most of which come through official ports of entry.

A bigger absurdity

But what deserves more attention here is the much bigger underlying absurdity Miller’s claim is designed to push: the idea that we’re losing control of our country.

Miller claims that without the wall, Trump “can’t defend" our borders. Elsewhere in the Fox News interview, Miller broadens the claim: “You cannot conceive of a nation without a strong, secure border. It is fundamental and essential to the idea of sovereignty and national survival to have control over who enters and doesn’t enter the country.”

This is an assertion that Trump himself makes constantly — he regularly employs some variation of the formulation that “a country without borders isn’t a country” — yet it almost never gets examined in its own right.

It’s actually two lies in one. Let’s take the idea that we don’t have control over our borders. This is not true by any reasonable metric — illegal border crossings are near historic lows, while the number of Border Patrol agents has expanded to an extraordinary degree, and terrorists breaching the border is a nonexistent problem. This is all well documented. What needs to be pointed out more often is that these things blow up the second, bigger lie — that we don’t have a country or national sovereignty.

Indeed, a report from Trump’s own Department of Homeland Security found in 2017 that the southern border is “more difficult to illegally cross today than ever before.” That, too, renders the bigger lie even more absurd.

What about the big spike in asylum-seeking families? That is a very real problem. But it is not a problem of allegedly nonexistent borders, since these people are largely turning themselves in to seek asylum. Trump and Miller argue that many of these people are slipping into the interior while awaiting hearings, and have sought changes to the law to, for instance, make it easier to detain families together indefinitely. This is a worthy debate to have. The response is that such measures are deeply inhumane and that the better answer to the problem — which Trump absurdly hypes to begin with — is to invest more in streamlining and reorganizing the ways in which asylum seekers are processed.

But regardless of which side of that debate you take, there’s just no credible way to argue that this problem poses a serious threat to our national sovereignty, unless the real claim being made here is that any illegal infiltration of the country, no matter how minor in the larger scheme of things, represents a serious threat to it.

In truth, for Trump and Miller, the real goal is to dramatically downsize the numbers of asylum seekers in the country whether they are here legally or not. That’s why they keep trying to place limits on the ways asylum seekers can apply. (Notably, they are also busily slashing refugee flows at every chance they get.)

There’s one other pernicious argument here that must be addressed. Miller’s suggestion that there is a “deep intellectual problem in this city” is a variation of the claim that on illegal immigration, political elites are out of touch. As Trump recently put it:

    No issue better illustrates the divide between America’s working class and America’s political class than illegal immigration. Wealthy politicians and donors push for open borders while living their lives behind walls, and gates, and guards.

But this demagoguery about elites coddling undocumented immigrants, too, is at its core a lie. Large majorities of Americans support giving them a path to legalization. They simply do not see the general presence of undocumented immigrants in this country as the threat to America that Trump and Miller keep hyping.

Trump and Miller really do view the levels of overall immigrants here — legally or not — as a threat to our national sovereignty. As Jacob Levy notes, the view that sovereignty is synonymous with restricting immigration to keep the nation and “its people” homogeneous is a hallmark of Trump’s type of demagogic, xenophobic populism.

But this Trump/Miller conception of national sovereignty fundamentally misstates what the term really means. If it connotes the ability for the nation to govern itself — that is, to control who gets in and who gets out — then if majorities legitimately got their elected representatives to let in immigrants or to let more remain here legally, they wouldn’t constitute a threat to our sovereignty, either. And on this question, political majorities are aligned against Trump and Miller, and with the Democratic political class, which supports current levels of legal immigration and wants to give undocumented immigrants a path to citizenship.

**********

Why there is no end in sight for Trump’s legal troubles — regardless of what Mueller does

Matthew Chapman, Alternet
22 Feb 2019 at 12:18 ET                   

With special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe reportedly delivering a report to Attorney General William Barr as soon as next week, President Donald Trump may feel that if the report fails to implicate him directly in any specific wrongdoing, he will finally be out of the woods.

But as former acting Solicitor General Neal Katyal told CNN’s Anderson Cooper on Wednesday night, that is far from the case.

For one thing, Katyal said, while the report may be a final summation, signifying the end of the investigation under special counsel regulations, which is what the media seems to assume, that is not necessarily what it is. “There’s also a separate provision in the regulations for ‘urgent action reports,’ and it’s certainly possible that all this is is Mueller saying he’s providing some sort of report but not a final report. It doesn’t say he’s concluding the investigation on his own or anything like that.”

For another thing, if it is indeed the final report, Barr would then have to write his own report and deliver it to Congress, “and it’s contemplated in the regulations that that report should be public, if the public administration of justice so requires. So two different reports.”

“But most importantly, these are only about Mueller and his investigation, which is a very limited one, into Russia counterintelligence and then obstruction of justice, the firing of [FBI Director James] Comey,” Katyal added. “It doesn’t have to do with the Southern District investigation, the Trump Foundation, the other things Congress is looking into and the like. So that’s all separate.” And worse still, if the investigation only makes a brief summary public, that could actually be “counterproductive” to the president, because “it won’t resolve anything.”

If Trump believes the end of the Mueller investigation will be the end of his legal problems, Katyal said, he’s in for a big surprise. The investigation, he said, is like “the internet,” and when Trump focuses all his anger on the Mueller probe, “he’s like a 1950s hacker cutting a phone line … this is a much bigger, much more metastasized investigation.”

Watch below:

    Former Acting Solicitor General @neal_katyal says Pres. Trump seems not to fully understand the number of legal threats he faces outside the Mueller probe:

    "He's like a 1950s hacker cutting a phone line. This is a much bigger much more metastasized investigation." pic.twitter.com/ML4aTQtCWV

    — Anderson Cooper 360° (@AC360) February 21, 2019

Katyal is right. There are numerous investigations unfolding into Trump and the GOP that have nothing to do with Mueller, from the Southern District of New York’s probe into the president’s former attorney Michael Cohen paying off women, to the District of Columbia prosecutors investigating admitted Russian agent Maria Butina’s infiltration of the NRA, to the New York State Attorney General’s and Tax Office’s probe of the Trump Foundation, to the criminal investigation of Trump’s inaugural fund, to the lawsuitalleging Trump violated the Emoluments Clause when foreign diplomats stayed at his hotel, to the endless string of investigations in Congress into his finances, his actions in office, and his Cabinet members.

Even if Mueller goes away, Trump’s problems have no end in sight.

*********

Trump ridiculed by Canadian premier over disastrous tariff debacle: ‘He’s hurting the U.S. more than Canada’

Raw Story
2/22/2019

Ontario’s Progressive Conservative premier slammed American President Donald Trump’s trade policy with its northern neighbor during a speech in Washington, D.C. Thursday.

HuffPost Canada reported that Doug Ford — the province’s leader and brother to the controversial, drug-using Toronto mayor Rob Ford — ridiculed Trump’s tariffs on Canadian and Mexican steel.

“To be very frank, it’s hurting the U.S. more than it’s even hurting Canada,” Ford said at the event organized by the Canadian American Business Council. “For every job that they think they’re creating (with the tariffs), they’re losing 16 jobs.”

The Ontario premier noted that beyond the harm it causes the United States, the tariffs also hurt Canada as well.

“When we ship a part, some parts go back and forth across the border eight times,” Ford said. “And every time they go across they’re getting dinged.”

Ford added that he intends to raise the issue with US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer when they meet in Washington this week.

“We’re just provincial,” he said, “(but) for 19 states, their largest trading partner is Ontario.”

 19 
 on: Feb 22, 2019, 05:37 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Darja

North Korea appeals for food aid as regime cuts rations due to drought and sanctions

Nation facing 1.4 million ton shortfall as UN estimates that around half of the population is in need of extra supplies

Staff and agencies
Fri 22 Feb 2019 01.34 GMT

North Korea has issued an international appeal for help to combat food shortages after drought and floods led to a poor harvest, worsening the impact of UN sanctions.

Pyongyang has told the United Nations that it is facing a shortfall of 1.4 million tons in food production this year, including crops of rice, wheat, potato and soybean.

The UN estimates that 10.3 million people – almost half of North Korea’s population – are in need of food due to a sharp drop in crop production. It estimates that 40% of people in the country are undernourished.

“The government has requested assistance from international humanitarian organizations present in the country to address the impact of the food security situation,” said UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric.

UN agencies are holding talks with Pyongyang “to take early action in order to address humanitarian needs,” he said.

In a memo to the UN, the communist regime called on international organisations “to urgently respond to addressing the food situation”.

It said food production last year was 4.951m tons, 503,000 tons down on 2017. The UN confirmed these figures as official government data provided at the end of January.

North Korea said it would import 200,000 tons of food and produce about 400,000 tons of early crops, but that it would still be left with a gap and from January would cut daily rations to 300g (10.5 ounces) per person from 550g.

The release of the undated two-page memo by the North Korean mission to the UN comes ahead of a second summit next week between Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula.

Washington has been demanding that North Korea give up a nuclear weapons program that threatens the United States, while the communist regime has been seeking a lifting of punishing sanctions, a formal end to the 1950-53 Korean war and security guarantees.

The 15-member UN security council has unanimously boosted sanctions on North Korea since 2006 in a bid to choke off funding for Pyongyang’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs.

 20 
 on: Feb 22, 2019, 05:35 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Darja

‘Lives are hanging on the line’: Kenya delays landmark ruling on gay rights

Decision prompts anger as high court asks for more time to consider evidence

Jason Burke in Nairobi
Guardian
Fri 22 Feb 2019 08.23 GMT

Judges in Kenya have postponed a long-awaited landmark ruling that could have led to sex between men or between women decriminalised.

The attempt by LGBT campaigners to have colonial era legislation struck out has been closely watched by activists across Africa.

But Justice John Mativo said on Friday that the high court needed more time to consider the evidence. The judgment will now be given in late May.

The delay prompted anger and disappointment among campaigners who gathered to hear the decision in Nairobi, the Kenyan capital.

“I just wish the excuse was better. People’s lives are hanging on the line. Justice has been delayed, but it has not yet been denied,” said Yvonne Oduor, a campaigner.

Lawyers representing gay and lesbian associations have argued laws punishing “unnatural” acts with sentences of up to 14 years in prison contravene Kenya’s progressive constitution. There has been opposition from church groups who claimed homosexuality was a “perversion” and “unAfrican”.

LGBT people face systematic harassment and discrimination in a number of African countries, in many of which gay acts are illegal.

“Decriminalisation is just one percent of the struggle. Society is really homophobic. Being legal is not enough. We have to be safe too,” said Marylise Biubwa, a social justice activist.

Frank Mugisha, a campaigner for gay rights in Uganda, said before the ruling that a positive result would encourage other countries to follow Kenya’s path. Angola recently decriminalised homosexual sex and courts in Botswana will decide on the issue next month.

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