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‘They’re Coming for Roger Stone’: Former Prosecutor Explains What Mueller May Have on Trump's Fiery Ally

May 18, 2018 in Blogs

By Cody Fenwick, AlterNet

“He's been a shady character from day one in this investigation.”


Yet another associate of conservative provocateur Roger Stone has been subpoenaed by the special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation, according to a new report from Reuters on Friday. Former federal prosecutor Paul Butler explained on MSNBC that this fact builds the case that Mueller's team has something on Stone, an ally of President Donald Trump.

“They're coming for Roger Stone,” Butler told “The Beat” host Ari Melber Friday evening. “He's been a shady character from day one in this investigation.”

Butler noted that Stone has suspicious ties to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who is believed to have facilitated the released of Russian-hacked emails stolen from the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton's campaign Chair John Podesta during the 2016 campaign.

At the time, Butler said, “Roger Stone knows all about what's coming out before the hacked emails are released. He's going all over the media and Breitbart predicting that some dirt is coming out on Hillary. How does he know this? He's been inconsistent about his relationship with WikiLeaks. At times he says he knows Julian Assange, at times he says he doesn't know him. … Then, the day after the election, Ari, there's that bizarre tweet from WikiLeaks to Roger Stone: 'Now we're free to talk.' Really fishy, Mueller's got to investigate that.”  (Note: The correct quote from WikiLeaks to Stone, reported by the Atlantic, is “Happy? We are now more free to communicate.”)

Sam Nunberg, another close associate of Stone's has also been subpoenaed and testified for Mueller's team. Nunberg, too, though that Mueller intends to go after Stone.

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Georgia Republican's Sick 'Deportation Bus' Broke Down—Restauran Owner Tells Racist Candidate to Get Lost

May 18, 2018 in Blogs

By Gabe Ortiz, Daily Kos

The poorly-performing bigot is not having a good week.


Georgia Republican Michael Williams, bless his heart, is desperate for attention and even more desperate for the racist vote, which is why he kicked off his “Deportation Bus Tour” stunt, traveling from city to city and threatening to “fill this bus with illegals.” Impersonating a federal officer is illegal, by the way. But facts aside, things aren’t going well for Williams, aside from the fact that he’s polling dead last. Not well at all, actually:

Williams, a Georgia Republican state senator and gubernatorial candidate, has been taking a “deportation bus” to campaign rallies across the state. But on Thursday, Cracker Barrel and several other restaurants where the bus is scheduled to stop told The Daily Beast that Williams’ campaign isn’t welcome.

The news came the same day the bus broke down — a setback Williams’ campaign manager blamed on the left.

The bus is painted with slogans like “Follow me to Mexico” and “Danger! Murderers, rapists, child molestors [sic], and other criminals on board.” In a video for his tour, which YouTube briefly took down Wednesday for violating its hate speech policy, Williams promises to “fill this bus with illegals to send them back to where they came from.”

That same week, a Facebook user posted a video of a very polite Georgia business owner telling shit-for-brains to get his racist bus off his property. “Sir, can you do this somewhere else?” the business owner asks. “You’re blocking my parking lot.” Rather than just moving it right away, Williams makes two more inquiries about whether he’s really the owner. It’s probably no coincidence that the man has brown skin. “Yes, sir,” he replies. “You can go wherever you like, because you’re blocking the whole of my parking lot.”

Georgia’s history should be a lesson for Williams. Following the 2011 passage of anti-immigrant legislation, Bryan Tolar, president of the Georgia Agribusiness Council, said local farms lost $300 million in the immediate aftermath, after immigrant farm workers fled the state. Should be a lesson, but how can you expect common sense from someone who’s been banned from restaurants?

<Img align="left" border="0" height="1" width="1" …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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'I'm Not Discouraged—I'm Pissed Off': Parkland Father Slams GOP After Santa Fe Shooting

May 18, 2018 in Blogs

By Cody Fenwick, AlterNet

“You can't legislate by shutting up. And they're just shutting up. And it's pathetic.”


As national news outlets again descend on the site of another deadly school shooting, this time in Santa Fe, Texas, the father of a victim from the Parkland shooting expressed his outrage with the Republican Party for its failure to address gun violence at the national level.

CNN's Jake Tapper brought Fred Guttenberg on air to get his reaction to the horrific event that killed at least 10 people, mostly students, on Friday.

“It must be so discouraging,” Tapper said, “to think that the horror that you went through, now another set of families is going through it. And really, very little has changed in terms of anyone doing anything to prevent this from happening.”

“So, I'm going to say this: I'm not discouraged — I'm pissed off,” Guttenberg said in response. He noted that businesses and communities across the country have taken action to reduce gun violence, including to change laws at the state and local level. It's the federal government, he noted, that has done so little — and he blames the Republicans in charge.

“Shame on our president,” he said. “Shame on [House Speaker Paul] Ryan, shame on [Senate Majority Leader Mitch] McConnell, who simply won't even open their mouths. And I will tell you: Not speaking about an issue is not legislation. You can't legislate by shutting up. And they're just shutting up. And it's pathetic.”

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Source: ALTERNET

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Texas Lt. Governor Blames Doors for the Santa Fe Shooting

May 18, 2018 in Blogs

By Cody Fenwick, AlterNet

The bizarre comment points to an unwillingness to address the fundamental problem.


As officials struggled to respond to the Santa Fe shooting in Texas on Friday, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick made comments that struck many as bizarre. While discussing ways to address the problem of gun violence going forward, Patrick focused extensively on the idea the schools' many entrances may make them too unsafe. 

“We may have to look at the design of our schools,” he said. “And retrofitting schools that are already built. What I mean by that is that there are too many entrances and too many exits to our over 8,000 campuses in Texas. … There aren't enough people to put a guard at every entrance and exit.”

Patrick did also acknowledge the fact that parents need to lock up any guns they own so that their children don't have access to them. The shooter in Santa Fe reportedly used his mother's gun in the attack. However, many gun safety advocates argue that the large number of guns owned by the American people, not how they're stored, in the primary reason for elevated levels of gun violence. 

And as activist Michael Skolnik pointed out on Twitter, shootings can happen anywhere in the country — concerts, schools, offices, homes. The problem isn't, in other words, the architectural design of our public spaces. The problem is the ubiquity of firearms.

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Source: ALTERNET

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Trump's Corrupt Abuse of Power on Display in New Report About His Efforts to Target Amazon

May 18, 2018 in Blogs

By Cody Fenwick, AlterNet

The president is reportedly going outside the normal process to target a company he explicitly links with a critical publication.


President Donald Trump has personally been pressuring the U.S. Postal Service to raise rates on Amazon, according to a new report from the Washington Post. While the report is not particularly surprising, given Trump's public statement on the matter, it also suggests he's engaging in high-level corruption in an attempt to punish Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, who also owns the Post.

The report finds that Trump has pushed Postmaster General Megan Brennan to double Amazon's rate, but she has so far resisted, noting that contracts with firms like Amazon cannot be changed at a whim and are subject to oversight. While there are certainly reasons to be critical of the company, the Postal Service's parcel delivery — of which Amazon makes up a significant portion — is actually one of the profitable branches of its operations, in contrast to its overall budget.

Regardless of the specifics of the deal, though, it's unusual for the president to make a specific request — doubling prices — for a single company, and the report says that Trump has repeatedly made this request of Brennan. The executive branch has certain formal processes to go through so that these sorts of decisions don't need to be made by the president — one way in which the U.S. system functions differently from a monarchy.

But what's particularly troubling about this case is that Trump has explicitly targeted theWashington Post, which has an editorial board and investigative staff that has often roiled the president, for it's connections to Amazon. 

He wrote on Twitter in July 2017: “The Amazon Washington Post fabricated the facts on my ending massive, dangerous, and wasteful payments to Syrian rebels fighting Assad.” In April 2018, he tweeted: “The Fake News Washington Post, Amazon’s 'chief lobbyist,' has another (of many) phony headlines, 'Trump Defiant As China Adds Trade Penalties.' WRONG!”

Personally directing a federal agency to raise prices on Amazon, therefore, looks like a blatant attempt to punish Bezos and the Post for negative coverage. This would be …read more

Source: ALTERNET