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'Mueller Knows Everything!': MSNBC's Nicolle Wallace Explains Why Trump 'Is About to Blow' as the Russia Probe Closes in

September 20, 2018 in Blogs

By Cody Fenwick, AlterNet

So many of the president's aides and associates are now cooperating with the special counsel.


Special counsel Robert Mueller's team has racked up an impressive number of wins and indictments during his short period investigating Russia intervention in the 2016 election and potential collusion with President Donald Trump's campaign.

And now, as MSNBC's Nicolle Wallace explained Thursday, Mueller appears to have access to a wide range of information from both documents and people who have been close to the president but have since flipped. Former FBI Director James Comey said in a recent radio interview that Mueller appears to be in the “fourth quarter” of the investigation.

“Is that why you're reporting today … the president is about to blow?” Wallace asked Washington Postreporter Philip Rucker. “That seems to be in line with what ousted FBI Director James Comey is describing.”

“We don't really know what quarter Mueller is in,” Rucker said. “But people around Trump assume we're at that latter stage. That there's a report being developed that, if Trump does some sort of interview or answers some questions — that will happen at some time this fall, probably — and that this investigation, according to people close to the president, they don't think it's going to go too much into the new year, and they're hopeful it ends very soon.”

Wallace then listed some of the major figures who have cooperated with Mueller's probe: Mike Flynn, George Papadopoulos, Paul Manafort, Michael Cohen. She also noted that other potentially key witnesses, including White House counsel Don McGahn, have also spent extensive periods of time being interviewed by the Mueller team. 

“Mueller knows everything!” she said.

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Source: ALTERNET

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GOP Congressman Makes a Misogynistic Joke About Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sexual Assault as His Party Faces Major Crisis

September 20, 2018 in Blogs

By Cody Fenwick, AlterNet

The GOP is completely botching its response to sexual misconduct.


South Carolina Rep. Ralph Norman made light of sexual assault and mocked Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg Thursday at an election debate — a remark that reflect a troubling strain of thought within the Republican Party.

“Did y’all hear this latest late-breaking news from the Kavanaugh hearings?” Norman said. “Ruth Bader Ginsburg came out that she was groped by Abraham Lincoln.”

The callous and misogynistic joke comes as President Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh faces a credible allegation of sexual assault. Many conservatives have made light of the allegations and the conduct they describe, but Norman's remarks stand out for their brashness and for the congressman's elected position. (Some noted that the tasteless joke wasn't even original to Norman.)

It's an especially poor choice to mock one of the few female Supreme Court justices in history while the party is trying to put an accused sexual assailant on the bench. And while Republicans remain hopeful that Kavanaugh will be approved by the Senate despite the allegation, it's not clear what kind of damage the controversy will do to the party's standing in the country — particularly with female voters.

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Source: ALTERNET

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Mueller's Team Has Interviewed Michael Cohen for 'Hours' — Asking About Collusion and Pardons: Report

September 20, 2018 in Blogs

By Cody Fenwick, AlterNet

This would explain why he's been so quiet recently.


President Donald Trump's former lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen has been interviewed for “hours” by special counsel Robert Mueller's team as part of the Russia investigation, according to a new report by ABC News citing anonymous sources. This report supports a previous article in Vanity Fair that made similar claims.

Mueller's team has asked Cohen about the range of issues covered in its mandate, including potential collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia to interfere in the 2016 presidential election, according to the report. It also notes that Cohen has discussed Trump's financial dealings with Russia. This is of particular interest because Cohen was reportedly one of the key figures working to strike a deal to build a Trump Tower Moscow during the campaign.

Cohen pleaded guilty last month to bank and tax fraud. In addition, he admitted involvement in campaign finance violations during the 2016 campaign at the direction of Trump himself.

Cohen's prosecution was carried out by the Southern District of New York after the case was referred by the special counsel's office.

One of the intriguing aspects of the new ABC News report is that Mueller reportedly questioned Cohen about potential offers of a presidential pardon — suggesting that the special counsel may believe Trump has used the leverage of the pardon power as a means to obstruct justice.

ABC reported:

Cohen’s participation in the meetings has been voluntary — without any guarantee of leniency from prosecutors, according to several people familiar with the situation.

ABC News has also learned that Cohen is also cooperating with a separate probe by New York state authorities into the inner workings of the Trump family charity and the Trump Organization, where Cohen served as an executive vice president and special counsel to Trump for 10 years.

This news comes shortly after former Trump campaign Chairman Paul Manafort also pleaded guilty to charges brought by the special counsel and agreed to cooperate with the prosecutors in a range of matters.

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Christine Blasey Ford Is Reportedly Willing to Testify Next Week About Her Allegations Against Brett Kavanaugh

September 20, 2018 in Blogs

By Brad Reed, Raw Story

Republicans are trying to rush through the confirmation process.


Christine Ford, the woman accusing Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of trying to rape her when they were teenagers, has told the Senate Judiciary Committee that she will not be able to testify on Monday — but she’s open to testifying at some point in the near future provided certain conditions are met.

In an email sent to the Senate Judiciary Committee, an attorney for Ford said that their client will testify “provided that we can agree on terms that are fair and which ensure her safety.”

Ford has been on the receiving end of multiple death threats and has reportedly even been forced to leave her house in California due to safety concerns.

Ford’s attorney also said that it is their client’s “strong preference” to have the FBI conduct an investigation of her claims, although she is stopping short of making it a nonnegotiable precondition of testifying at this time.

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Source: ALTERNET

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Here Are 5 Reasons Why Christine Blasey Ford Faces More Challenges than Anita Hill Had in 1991

September 20, 2018 in Blogs

By Alex Henderson, AlterNet

There are still no GOP women on the Senate Judiciary Committee.


Back in October 1991—during the confirmation hearings for Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas—Republicans in the U.S. Senate put Anita Hill through the ringer, going out of their way to attack her credibility. Hill offered extensive, detailed testimony on her experiences working for Thomas, who she accused of sexually harassing her and inundating her with explicit and unwanted descriptions of hardcore porn.

But despite Hill’s testimony, Thomas was confirmed to the U.S. Supreme Court—where, if President Donald Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell have their way, he will soon be joined by Judge Brett Kavanaugh. And memories of Thomas’ confirmation hearings have come flooding back, with 51-year-old Palo Alto University psychology professor Christine Blasey Ford having accused Kavanaugh of attempting to rape her at a party back in 1982 (when she was 15 and he was 17).

A great deal has changed politically and technologically since 1991. As much partisan bickering as there was back then, the political climate of 2018 is a lot angrier and much more toxic—and Ford is facing an even nastier, more mean-spirited Republican Party than Hill faced 27 years ago. Ford is also facing death threats, and the situation is so bad that she has moved out of her house in Northern California out of fear for her safety and the safety of her two teenage children.

Here are five ways in which Ford is up against an even more intense situation in 2018 than what Hill faced in 1991.

1. The Republican Party Has Gone from Bad to Worse

In 1991, the late Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter received a lot of criticism from feminists for his questioning of Anita Hill. But in the Trump era, Specter (who once described himself as a “fiscal conservative” and a “social libertarian”) would be too far to the left for the Republican Party. In fact, the right-of-center Specter switched to the Democratic Party in 2009 because the GOP had become so extreme. And that more extreme version of the GOP presently controls the Senate under Mitch McConnell’s …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Oldest (and Weird-Looking) Animal Discovered Through 558 Million-Year-Old Fat

September 20, 2018 in History

By Becky Little

The find, confirmed through 558 million-year-old preserved fat, expands the known existence of animals by three million years..


The oldest known animal in history has been discovered thanks to some well-preserved animal fat that’s been sitting in northwest Russia for the past 558 million years. The find expands the confirmed existence of animals by three million years.

The ancient animal is a Dickinsonia, which looks more like a creature from a sci-fi movie than something you’d expect to run into on Earth. Dickinsonia were oval-shaped creatures spread flat like pancakes that could grow up to four and a half feet long. Previously, the oldest macroscopic animal in the geological record was the mollusc-like Kimberella from 555 million years ago.

We already knew that Dickinsonia existed because of fossil imprints that show the animals’ eerily symmetrical, rib-like segments all over their bodies. Many of these fossils are found in southern Australia. But Ilya Bobrovskiy, a PhD student at Australian National University, had to travel to a cold, remote area near the White Sea to find ones that still had preserved fat.

“These fossils were located in the middle of cliffs of the White Sea that are [195 to 330 feet] high,” Bobrovskiy said in a university press release. “I had to hang over the edge of a cliff on ropes and dig out huge blocks of sandstone, throw them down, wash the sandstone and repeat this process until I found the fossils I was after.”

Before his discovery, it wasn’t clear that Dickinsonia were animals—i.e., that they belonged to Animalia, the same biological kingdom as humans. Dickinsonia are a type of Ediacaran biota, a group of organisms that emerged during the Ediacaran Period between 635 million and 541 million years ago. These organisms predated the “Cambrian explosion” of animal life over the next nine million years.


Organic matter extracted from the ancient animal.

“Scientists have been fighting for more than 75 years over what Dickinsonia and other bizarre fossils of the Edi[a]caran Biota were: giant single-celled amoeba, lichen, failed experiments of evolution or the earliest animals on Earth,” said Jochen Brocks, a lead senior researcher at Australian National University, in the press release.

The Dickinsonia fossil tissue Bobrovskiy found contains cholesterol molecules; and because this type of fat is present in all animal tissues, it settles the debate. “The fossil fat now confirms …read more

Source: HISTORY

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Stop Saying Social Media 'Addiction'

September 20, 2018 in Economics

By Jeffrey A. Singer

Jeffrey A. Singer

Recently, the CEOs of Facebook and Twitter came before the
Senate Intelligence Committee, which held
hearings on attempts by foreign adversaries to use social media to
manipulate elections, proliferate “fake news,” and sow discord
among Americans. Senators also brought up the issue of social media addiction. There are fears that
manipulative efforts by malevolent hackers might have greater
impact on people whose addiction compels them to face
constant exposure
to this content.

But the American Psychiatric Society does not consider “social
media addiction” also called “internet addiction disorder” to be a
behavioral disorder. In the current Diagnostic and Statistical
Manual of Mental Disorders
(DSM) it’s listed as a
condition for further study.” Researchers have
yet to ap proach a consensus as to whether perceived
excessive time spent on the internet and engaged with
internet-based social media is an addictive behavioral disorder.
One of the leading researchers on the subject stresses that
most reports on the phenomenon are anecdotal
and peer-reviewed scientific research is scarce. As a result, most
“internet addiction” rehab programs in the U.S. are not covered by health insurance.

It has severe
implications for free speech.

The public perception that social media is addictive is no small
matter. Legacy media is threatened by the “creative destruction”
they face from social media platforms that bypass them to provide
access to news and viewpoints that might not otherwise get through
their gates. In the U.K., for example, where freedom of
speech is not constitutionally guaranteed, media companies are
urging the government to intervene to “counteract all potential
online harms, many of which are exacerbated by social media.”
Politicians are motivated to regulate social media platformsto
protect the integrity of the election process, but also to assure
that their political positions are presented in what they consider
to be the “proper light” and are not misrepresented. These examples of privilege-seeking are nothing
new.

But regulation of the internet and social media content has
serious implications for freedom of speech, freedom of the press,
and freedom of association. In some countries, tech companies have
collaborated with the government in efforts at social conditioning.
Last year police in Berlin raided the homes of 36 people
accused of “hateful postings” on social media. German law prohibits
a range of postings with punishments of up to 5 years in prison for
inciting racial hatred.

The U.S. Constitution stands in the way of laws like those in
many European Union countries. So do American sensibilities. But
those cultural sensibilities …read more

Source: OP-EDS