Thursday, October 18, 2018

Joe Biden does not want Democrats to impeach Trump

NBC News         ADAM EDELMAN          Oct 18th 2018 
Former Vice President Joe Biden cautioned Democrats about pushing impeachment against President Donald Trump if they win back the House in November.

"I hope they don't. I don't think there's a basis for doing that right now," Biden told CBS “This Morning.”

“I think we should wait until the report comes out,” he added, referring to the report being assembled by the team of special counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election.

He urged Democrats to focus, instead, on “all the terrible things that are happening now in terms of interest of the middle-class people and working-class people.”

"There are so many things to attend to immediately. Let's see where the investigation takes us," Biden said.

Biden, in a wide-ranging interview, also talked about voter suppression and weighed in on Trump’s response to the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

He said "absolutely, positively, without question" voter suppression was occurring in the U.S. and said Trump “seems to have a love affair with autocrats.”

Trump said Monday that the leader of Saudi Arabia had denied any knowledge of the whereabouts of missing journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Khashoggi has not been seen since visiting the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, on Oct. 2.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Mueller Ready to Deliver Key Findings in His Trump Probe, Sources Say

By Chris Strohm , Greg Farrell , and Shannon Pettypiece
© J. Scott Applewhite/AP Photo Special counsel Robert Mueller's work isn't expected to be completed before the midterms. 
Special Counsel Robert Mueller is expected to issue findings on core aspects of his Russia probe soon after the November midterm elections as he faces intensifying pressure to produce more indictments or shut down his investigation, according to two U.S. officials.

Specifically, Mueller is close to rendering judgment on two of the most explosive aspects of his inquiry: whether there were clear incidents of collusion between Russia and Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign, and whether the president took any actions that constitute obstruction of justice, according to one of the officials, who asked not to be identified speaking about the investigation.

That doesn’t necessarily mean Mueller’s findings would be made public if he doesn’t secure unsealed indictments. The regulations governing Mueller’s probe stipulate that he can present his findings only to his boss, who is currently Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. The regulations give a special counsel’s supervisor some discretion in deciding what is relayed to Congress and what is publicly released.

The question of timing is critical. Mueller’s work won’t be concluded ahead of the Nov. 6 midterm elections, when Democrats hope to take control of the House and end Trump’s one-party hold on Washington. But this timeline also raises questions about the future of the probe itself. Trump has signaled he may replace Attorney General Jeff Sessions after the election, a move that could bring in a new boss for Mueller. Rosenstein also might resign or be fired by Trump after the election.

Rosenstein has made it clear that he wants Mueller to wrap up the investigation as expeditiously as possible, another U.S. official said. The officials gave no indications about the details of Mueller’s conclusions. Mueller’s office declined to comment for this story.

Pre-Election Lull

With three weeks to go before the midterm elections, it’s unlikely Mueller will take any overt action that could be turned into a campaign issue. Justice Department guidelines say prosecutors should avoid any major steps close to an election that could be seen as influencing the outcome.

That suggests the days and weeks immediately after the Nov. 6 election may be the most pivotal time since Mueller took over the Russia investigation almost a year and a half ago. So far, Mueller has secured more than two dozen indictments or guilty pleas.

Trump’s frustration with the probe, which he routinely derides as a “witch hunt,” has been growing, prompting concerns he may try to shut down or curtail Mueller’s work at some point.

There’s no indication, though, that Mueller is ready to close up shop, even if he does make some findings, according to former federal prosecutors. Several matters could keep the probe going, such as another significant prosecution or new lines of inquiry. And because Mueller’s investigation has been proceeding quietly, out of the public eye, it’s possible there have been other major developments behind the scenes.

Mueller only recently submitted written questions to Trump’s lawyers regarding potential collusion with Russia, and his team hasn’t yet ruled out seeking an interview with the president, according to one of the U.S. officials. If Trump refused an interview request, Mueller could face the complicated question of whether to seek a grand jury subpoena of the president. The Justice Department has a standing policy that a sitting president can’t be indicted.

At the same time, Mueller is tying down some loose ends. Four of his 17 prosecutors have left the special counsel’s office in recent months. Three are going back to their previous Justice Department jobs, and the fourth has become a research fellow at Columbia Law School.

After several postponements, Mueller’s team has agreed to a sentencing date for Michael Flynn, Trump’s former national security adviser, who pleaded guilty to one count of making false statements last year. The Dec. 18 date comes more than a year after Mueller secured a cooperation deal with Flynn, suggesting that Mueller’s team has all it needs from him.

Trump’s former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, struck his own cooperation agreement with Mueller last month, after being convicted at trial in Virginia on eight counts of bank fraud, filing false tax returns and failure to file a foreign bank account. The plea agreement let him avoid a second trial in Washington. The judge in the Virginia trial, who wasn’t part of the plea agreement, has scheduled a sentencing hearing Friday, which could complicate Manafort’s cooperation agreement with Mueller.

Mueller’s prosecutors also have met with Michael Cohen, Trump’s former personal lawyer. Cohen pleaded guilty in New York in August to tax evasion, bank fraud and violations of campaign finance laws. That separate investigation, headed by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Manhattan, is one of several New York probes involving the Trump Organization, and could ultimately prove to be more damaging to the president than Mueller’s work.

Manafort’s Plea

Former federal prosecutors said that Manafort’s plea deal probably advanced Mueller’s timeline for determining whether there was collusion.

Manafort could be assisting Mueller’s team on questions related to whether the Trump campaign changed the Republican party’s stance on Ukraine as part of an understanding with the Russian government, and whether the Russians helped coordinate the release of hacked emails related to Democrat Hillary Clinton with members of Trump’s campaign, said another former prosecutor who asked not to be named.

QuickTake:From Cohen to Collusion, Tallying Trump’s Legal Risks

Manafort is also key to understanding a June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower between Donald Trump Jr. and a group of Russians who had promised damaging information concerning Clinton, the former official said.

Manafort appears to have good material to offer, said Samuel Buell, a former federal prosecutor who teaches at Duke University School of Law. “He’s not going to get that deal unless he can help Mueller make a case against one or more people,” Buell said. Cooperators can’t expect leniency unless they provide "substantial assistance in the prosecution of others," Buell added, citing sentencing guidelines.

Although the days and weeks after the election might test Mueller in new ways, he has confronted pressure before to shut down.

Done by Thanksgiving

Trump’s lawyers have attempted to publicly pressure Mueller into wrapping up his investigation, setting artificial deadlines since the early days of the probe when they predicted it would wrap by the end of 2017. In August 2017, then-White House lawyer Ty Cobb said he would be “embarrassed” if the investigation dragged on past Thanksgiving.

Even if Mueller’s probe stretched through 2019, the timeline wouldn’t be unprecedented. Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr spent four years investigating President Bill Clinton before releasing his report on the Monica Lewinsky affair, which spun out of a probe into an Arkansas land deal known as Whitewater.

It took almost two years for Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald to indict Scooter Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney’s chief of staff, for lying to investigators and obstruction of justice in October 2005 in the investigation into the public outing of CIA agent Valerie Plame.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Chief Justice Roberts asks federal judges to handle Kavanaugh ethics complaints

Brett Kavanaugh is sworn-in as Associate Justice of the US Supreme Court by Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy on October 8 at the White House.
  Chief Justice John Roberts is referring ethics complaints against new Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh to federal judges in Colorado and neighboring states.
The complaints deal with statements Kavanaugh made during his confirmation hearings. They were filed originally with Kavanaugh’s old court, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.
Roberts took no action on them while Kavanaugh’s nomination was pending. He received the first three of 15 eventual complaints on Sept. 20, a week before Kavanaugh’s angry denial of a sexual assault allegation by Christine Blasey Ford.
It’s possible the complaints will never be investigated if the lower-court judges determine they have no jurisdiction over a Supreme Court justice under the judiciary’s ethics rules. The judges may be forced to conclude “that intervening events have rendered the allegations moot or make remedial action impossible,” said Arthur Hellman, an ethics professor at the University of Pittsburgh.
Another ethicist, Stephen Gillers of New York University, disagreed that the complaints are moot. Kavanaugh remains a federal judge and the complaints “allege misconduct that occurred while Kavanaugh was on the D.C. Circuit and subject to the Code of Conduct for U.S. Judges. Any violation of the Code does not disappear because he is now on another federal court,” Gillers said in an email.
But Gillers said the complaints “may be found not to be meritorious in the end.”
The judiciary’s rules allow members of the public to lodge complaints about federal judges. They typically are dealt with by experienced judges in the courthouse or region where a judge serves. Judges who receive complaints have a range of options that include dismissing them out of hand, having local judges investigate them or asking Roberts, in his capacity as head of the federal judiciary, to assign the complaints to judges in a different part of the country.
Roberts assigned the complaints to the ethics council of the Denver-based 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to deal with the complaints, according to a letter posted Wednesday on the D.C. Circuit’s website.
Merrick Garland, the chief judge of the D.C. Circuit, typically deals with ethics complaints, but he apparently stepped aside from complaints against Kavanaugh.
The first public word of the complaints came Saturday when D.C. Circuit Judge Karen Henderson acknowledged that complaints about Kavanaugh had been filed. They only “seek investigations … of the public statements he has made as a nominee to the Supreme Court,” Henderson said in a statement. Details of the complaints have not been made public.
Merrick Garland, the chief judge of the D.C. Circuit, typically deals with ethics complaints, but he apparently stepped aside from complaints against Kavanaugh. Garland had been nominated to the Supreme Court by President Barack Obama, but Senate Republicans never acted on the nomination.
Roberts’ letter was sent to Judge Timothy Tymkovich, the 10th Circuit’s chief judge. Tymkovich was on President Donald Trump’s list of possible Supreme Court nominees.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Kavanaugh’s on the Court precisely because he’s ‘a close-minded partisan zealot’

 Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Sept. 27, 2018. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, Pool)                                    
By Jesse Jackson           10/08/2018
 Brett Kavanaugh is now a justice of the Supreme Court. He is there only because he is what he showed himself to be in the Senate hearings:  a vicious, partisan operative utterly committed to a right-wing judicial activism that will inevitably lead to a constitutional crisis.

The Republicans ensured that there would not be a full investigation of the charges against Kavanaugh, yet Maine Sen. Susan Collins dishonestly called the cribbed FBI investigation comprehensive.

Yet Kavanaugh revealed in the hearings exactly who he is — and why Trump chose him and Republicans lined up to confirm him, no matter what the evidence. A close-minded partisan zealot, he bizarrely embraced the most fantastical of conspiracy theories, including somehow that all this was revenge hatched by the Clintons. He demonstrated stunning contempt for senators — yet Republican senators, led by Chairman Charles Grassley, no longer have any institutional pride. The Senate be damned; they are purely into tribal partisan politics.

They stuck with Kavanaugh because they know who he is. He claims to be an “originalist” and “textualist” who only applies the Constitution, but that is simply a threadbare cover. He was vetted and approved by the Federalist Society and the Heritage Foundation — both dedicated to promoting activist right-wing lawyers who will overturn precedent to serve conservative ends.

Kavanaugh’s ascension to the court locks in a five-person majority for an extreme activist position. We’ve already seen what the conservative gang of five is prepared to do. They ignored unanimous Congressional intent to gut the Voting Rights Act. They overturned decades of precedent to empower corporations to pour money into elections. They trampled precedent to gut the ability of public employee unions to collect dues from the members they represent.

The threat Kavanaugh poses to Roe v. Wade, and a woman’s right to control her own body is clear. Less attention has been paid to his consistent effort to protect corporations from accountability. When faced with a choice between the polluter and the poisoned, Judge Kavanaugh stands with the polluter. When faced with a choice between the boss and the worker, he stands with the boss. When faced with a choice between a predator corporation and a consumer, he stands with the predator.

Public Citizen did an analysis of Judge Kavanaugh’s opinions on the U.S. Court of Appeals in cases where the court was divided. They found that nearly 9 of 10 times, Kavanaugh ruled against the public interest and for the corporate interest. In 17 cases involving worker rights, he stood with the employers 15 times. In 13 cases on the environment, he was with the polluter 11 times. In 22 cases between corporations and consumers, he stood with the corporations 18 times. On seven cases involving police abuse or human rights, he ruled against the victims in all seven.

In the Senate hearing, Kavanaugh vowed to have a partisan frame. Blaming Democrats for challenging his nomination, he pledged that “what goes around, comes around.”

The right wing has consolidated a majority on the court. It is a gang of five that is increasingly out of step with a society that grows more diverse, more inclusive, and is increasingly challenged by corporate corruption, big money politics, obscene inequality and catastrophic climate change. The gang of five is likely to stand in the way of fundamental reforms vital to this country.

The only thing that can save Democracy is the democracy. Even the Supreme Court responds to election returns. If Trump Republicans remain in control of the Congress and the White House, the gang of five will be emboldened. If voters rebuke them at the polls — if they elect progressive majorities focused on the changes we need — the gang of five will be more cautious.

Judge Kavanaugh is probably impervious to the will of the people, too bitter, too ideological, too zealous to be reached. But Chief Justice John Roberts and perhaps Neil Gorsuch may understand that their own legacy and the court’s legitimacy will be at risk if they try to defend the rich and corporations from a people demanding justice. Our task is clear. Don’t mourn, organize.

With this appointment, the Senate has traduced its reputation and abandoned its responsibilities. Now it is time for the people to speak.

Monday, October 8, 2018

Happy Birthday to the smartest boy in all over the world!

If you look in the dictionary under “Precious Cargo,” you’ll find your picture in there. They also have your photo under “birthday,” but that’s a special for today only.
You are a dreamer, and today, part of your dream comes true. May you find your way to the biggest star. May all your big dreams come true.
Today, you are a year older and wiser than you were last year, but not quite as old as you will be this time next year. Life is complicated,
As a new chapter begins in your life, I’d like you to wish that it brings you all the love and happiness you could have ever hoped to have.
You are never too old to learn something new. You are never too awkward to try something different. Welcome to another chapter of your life.
Words alone are not enough to express how happy  we are  you are celebrating another year of your life!  Our  wish for you on your birthday is that you are, and will always be, happy and healthy! Don’t ever change.
Today is the time of celebration; We  hope you have a beautiful day with loads of love and surprises. May your birthday gives you the best memories till the next one, may you have success waiting ahead.Celebrate the best-ever party today, but don’t forget to celebrate every day, along with the happiness that each day brings.
Happy Birthday our precious 'Little Man'
Daddy , Mama , Jonny , Sha , Jenny
Poppa in Spirit 

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Trump’s new trade deal gets a few things right while falling short

 The Trump administration has worked out a new trade with Canada and Mexico. | Photo by Lars Hagberg / AFP
ByJesse Jackson     10/01/2018
Donald Trump on Monday announced a new NAFTA draft treaty, renamed for showtime as the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement.

Canada, ignoring Trump’s insults and gibes, threats and posturing, joined Mexico in making a deal. The new pact contains some much needed reforms — and falls glaringly short in critical areas. Auto workers and truckers get some relief. Big oil and Big Pharma get paid off. The prices of prescription drugs will go up in Canada and Mexico.

For Trump, the agreement is about politics. He set the arbitrary deadline for signatures so that he might have a revised draft agreement to trumpet during the run-up to the November elections. For working people, particularly manufacturing workers and farmers, the show is less important than the substance. And the substance is a very mixed bag.

Trump is to be applauded for forcing the renegotiation, despite the hand-wringing of the corporate trade advocates in both parties. In many ways, he had little choice.

Working people had paid a huge price under the original NAFTA and demanded change. Labor unions built a large coalition against NAFTA and future agreements like it, including the Trans Pacific Partnership.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren led the assault on the outrageous private legal system that NAFTA and other agreements set up for corporations, giving them the right to sue the U.S. before private tribunals with corporate lawyers acting as judges.  Sen. Sherrod Brown and Rep. Rosa DeLauro built the coalition that made it clear that the TPP would never gain approval from the Congress.

 By the time of the 2016 election, every major candidate — Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump — announced their opposition to the TPP and criticized NAFTA. Trump was savvy enough to make trade and NAFTA a centerpiece of his economic argument in the campaign.

Trump’s deal makes some significant reforms that should be applauded. It reins in the outrageous Investor State Dispute Settlement, curbing the ability of corporations to use private tribunals to collect millions and attack environmental and health policies. It raises safety standards on trucks coming from Mexico, a significant concern for citizens across the country.

It increases the North American (read Mexico, Canada and U.S.) domestic content for tariff free automobiles and auto parts from 62.5 percent to 75 percent, which should help retain some jobs from being shipped to low wage producers across the seas.

It contains a truly innovative provision requiring that 30 percent of work done on automobiles be carried out by workers making at least $16 per hour. That helps protect workers in the U.S. and Canada, since it is three times the prevailing wage in Mexico.

It is, however, truly deplorable that the floor on autoworkers wages is $16 an hour, in contrast with the wages that they used to get before NAFTA.

But there is much in Trump’s new trade deal that reflects the corrupt corporate dealings of the old NAFTA. Big oil won the ability to sustain the private tribunals for its operations in Mexico. Big Pharma won increased monopoly protections. The price of drugs will go up Canada and Mexico and stay up in the U.S. as a result of this agreement.

More work remains to be done. As Lori Wallach of Citizen Trade Watch notes, “Unless there are strong labor and environmental standards that are subject to swift and certain enforcement, U.S. firms will continue to outsource jobs to pay Mexican workers poverty wages, dump toxins and bring their products back here for sale.”

Worse, Trump’s agreement waives buy American protections for U.S. procurement, leading to the continued outsourcing of U.S. jobs created from taxpayer’s money.

Canada and Mexico are our largest trading partners, with $1.2 trillion in trade between the three nations. Canada is the largest recipient of U.S. exports, our second largest trading partner and our second largest investor. Canada is a NATO ally whose soldiers have fought and died at our side.

We also have a huge stake in Mexico’s economic welfare. Part of the horrors of the first NAFTA was that it disrupted peasant agriculture in Mexico, forcing many workers to head north to care for their families. The resulting tensions from immigration — legal and illegal — have had a poisonous effect in our politics, with Trump and others profiting from an ugly, racialized posturing.

Getting this right is important.

Sadly, the deal, while an improvement over the old one, doesn’t get it right. Labor rights and environmental protections still lack serious enforcement. Mexico’s ability to pursue a clear economic course is circumscribed by protections of Big Oil and Big Pharma, among others.

Trump deserves credit for renegotiating NAFTA, something that his Democratic and Republican predecessors failed to do. Trump will no doubt use the new agreement as a centerpiece of his claim of “Promises made, promises kept.” A more accurate description would be “Promises made, performance lacking.”

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Trump’s stump speech is a con job

  President Donald Trump (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
ByJesse Jackson   September 25 , 2018
 President Donald Trump is back on the stump, promising to campaign “six or seven days a week” until the general election to try to keep Republicans in control of both Houses of Congress.

His stump speech is characteristically bombastic, filled with the exaggerations, insults and flat-out lies that people have come to expect.
Trump’s speech is at its core a con job. Republicans’ tax cuts went to the rich and the corporations, and the promise that everyone would get a $4,000 raise went up in smoke. Republican efforts first to repeal and then to lacerate Obamacare will deprive millions of health care, even as prices spike this fall because of the damage they’ve done.

Trump has ushered in the most corrupt administration in memory, appointing corporate lobbyists to rig the rules and roll back protections for workers and consumers and the environment.

Trump can point to a strong economy, but he inherited a growing economy from President Barack Obama. Working families still haven’t benefited from the so-called recovery. Trump has broken his promise to invest in rebuilding our dangerously decrepit and uncompetitive infrastructure. Inequality is worse than ever, with Trump’s tax cuts adding to the divide.

College tuitions continue to rise, and the student debt crisis gets worse and worse. Drug costs continue to soar, despite Trump’s promises to do something about it. The opioid epidemic claimed 72,000 lives last year, as the administration floundered in responding to the crisis.

 Even as catastrophic climate change ravages the U.S. from California to Houston to North Carolina and Puerto Rico, Trump remains in denial, with mere mentions of global warming erased from government web sites. As the crises accumulate, FEMA’s woeful performance in Puerto Rico makes President Bush’s disastrous operation after Hurricane Katrina look efficient in comparison.

The administration’s war on workers makes it harder for them to share in the benefits of the good economy. Republican governors and state legislatures work to block cities from raising the minimum wage within their own boundaries. The first vote of Trump’s appointee to the Supreme Court was to gut labor rights for public employees, as Republicans continue to undermine the right of workers to organize and bargain collectively.

Despite all of Trump’s tough talk, new data show the U.S. trade deficit in July grew at its fastest rate since 2015, as monthly deficits with China and the European Union both reached new records.

Given all this, the content of Trump’s stump speech is predictable. It is designed to distract and divide, not inform and unite.

As illustrated by his recent speech in West Virginia, his themes have an ugly racial cast. He began that speech by slandering NFL players, describing their protest against police brutality as “defaming our flag” and our “beautiful, beautiful national anthem.” He railed against Democrats, suggesting that they would make America safe for criminal aliens, take away the Second Amendment and rewrite our Constitution.

The “beating heart of this election,” he argued, “is border security.” He roused his audience against the “Russian witch hunt” on the same day his personal lawyer pleaded guilty and his campaign manager was convicted by that same investigation.

Americans need to decipher the Trump bombast. He boasts about adding billions to our military –—that already consumes over one-third of the world’s military spending — without admitting that he wants to slash investment in education, in clean energy, in Medicare and Medicaid.

He boasts of his tax cuts, without admitting that the next round will be to savage programs for the most vulnerable to help pay for the tax cuts larded on the rich and corporations. He brags about repealing the Clean Power Plan and abandoning the Paris climate accord, without mentioning that he’s opening the door to fouling our water and air and ignoring the greatest threat to our national security.

He trumpets record low black and Hispanic unemployment, without noting that he’s ended efforts to curb police brutality and racial profiling, gutting enforcement of civil rights laws, and encouraged efforts to suppress the right to vote.

I believe in passion in politics. Passionate stump speeches don’t offend me. Hyperbole, wit and humor have their place. But Trump is peddling division and fostering fear. He wants Americans to think that they are threatened most by immigrants and burdened most by the vulnerable.

But immigrants and the vulnerable don’t rig the rules to benefit the few. Trump is betting he can use our fears to divide and distract us to blind us from his con.

I believe that America is better than that. The election this fall will tell us who is right.