All posts by cjjohns08

Criminologist, writer, actor, storyteller, painter and a lover of all things feline.

It’s Monday

zelensky winning post

WORLD

  • There are mass rallies in Lebanon that have been going on since October 17. The protesters are demanding a “complete overhaul of a political system deemed inefficient and corrupt.” One of the protesters is quoted as saying: “They think we are playing here.” (Yahoo News)
  • Iraqi security forces have opened fire on protesters in fatal clashes in Baghdad (The Guardian).
  • Hong Kong protests continue.
  • More than a year after the killing of Jamal Khashoggi, critics of bin Salman continue to be arbitrarily detained. (Guardian)

 

CRIME AND LAW

. Oklahoma has the distinction of being the state with the highest incarceration rate in the U.S. But, Oklahoma is commuting prison sentences for around 500 inmates.  These are people serving sentences for low-level drug and nonviolent offenses.

  • White House officials again refuse to show up for closed-door hearings on Capital Hill. Democrats wring their hands and say that it will be used an evidence of obstruction.

POLITICS

  • Katie Hill (unfairly hounded out of the Congress) tweets that she hopes we elect a woman president in 2020. A woman, any woman?  This is supposed to be progress?

THE TRUMP TRANSNATIONAL CRIME FAMILY

The New York Times is reporting that in 2018, Ukraine’s chief prosecutor froze four cases that were being pursued which involved Paul Manafort.  It is highly likely that this was part of another deal between Ukraine and the Trump Crime Family.

(https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/02/world/europe/ukraine-mueller-manafort-missiles.html?module=inline)

  • The decision to halt the investigations came as the Trump administration was “finalizing plans to sell…anti-tank missiles, called Javelins” to Ukraine.
  • “The Ukrainian investigators had been tracing money paid to Mr. Manafort and a New York law firm, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, by figures in the political party of Viktor F. Yanukovych.”
  • The investigations were not closed, but an order blocked issuing subpoenas for evidence or interviewing witnesses.
  • One case involved a payment of $750,000 to Manafort from a Ukrainian shell company, being investigated as money laundering. This payment was part the multimillion dollar transfers to Manafort from politicians in Ukraine that underpin indictments filed by Mueller. Before the case was frozen, prosecutors had subpoenaed records from Ukrainian banks.
  • A second case concerned a former chairman of the Ukrainian Parliament’s foreign relations committee, Vitaly Kalyuzhny, who had signed nine of 22 entries designated for Manafort in a secret ledger of political payoffs uncovered after the 2014 revolution. The ledger showed payouts totaling $12.5 million for Manafort.
  • The handwritten accounting document, called in Ukraine the Black Ledger, formed an evidential linchpin for investigating corruption in the former government. Manafort denied receiving under-the-table payments from the party and his spokesman claimed the ledger might be a forgery.
  • The other two cases looked at Skadden Arps, which wrote a report with Manafort’s participation that was widely seen as whitewashing the politically motivated arrest and imprisonment of Mr. Yanukovych’s principal rival, Yulia V. Tymoshenko.
  • Two months before Ukraine’s government froze the cases, Horbatyuk reached out to Mueller’s office with a formal offer to cooperate by sharing evidence and leads. Horbatyuk (of the Prosecutor General’s office) said that he sent a letter in January and did not receive a reply, but that the offer was now moot, since he has lost the authority to investigate.
  • Entries in the ledger appear to bolster Mueller’s money laundering and tax evasion case against Manafort, said Serhiy Leshchenko, a lawmaker who has closely followed the investigation. They indicate, for example, payments from Ukraine to a Cypriot company, Global Highway Limited, that was also named in an indictment Mueller filed in federal court in Virginia this year. The company covered hundreds of thousands of dollars of Manafort’s bills at a high-end men’s clothing store and antique shop in New York.•
  • In another move seeming to hinder Mueller’s investigation, Ukrainian law enforcement allowed a potential witness to possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia to leave for Russia, putting him out of reach for questioning.
  • The special counsel’s office has identified the man, Konstantin V. Kilimnik, Manafort’s former office manager in Kiev, as tied to a Russian intelligence agency. Kilimnik was also under investigation in Ukraine over espionage, but no charges were filed before he left the country, sometime after June. During the 2016 campaign, Kilimnik met twice with Manafort. In December, a court filing in the United States said Mr. Kilimnik was “currently based in Russia.”
  • But in the United States, Mueller’s office appears still keenly interested in Manafort’s ties to Russia. Among the questions Mueller would like to ask Mr. Trump, according to a list provided to the president’s lawyers, was: “What knowledge did you have of any outreach by your campaign, including by Paul Manafort, to Russia about potential assistance to the campaign?”
  • In Kiev, the missile sale was seen as a political victory for Poroshenko, indicating American backing for his government in the war in eastern Ukraine against Russia-backed separatists and against the threat of a wider Russian intervention in the country. After Ukraine announced on April 30 that it had received the missiles, Poroshenko posted on Facebook that “the long-awaited weapon arrived in the Ukrainian Army.”
  • Apart from the missiles, the Ukrainian government is propped up with about $600 million in bilateral aid from the United States annually.
  • David Sakvarelidze, a former deputy prosecutor general who is now in the political opposition, said he did not believe that the general prosecutor had coordinated with anybody in the United States on the decision to suspend the investigations in Ukraine, or that there had been a quid pro quo for the missile sale.•
  • Ukrainian politicians, he said, concluded on their own that any help prosecuting Manafort could bring down Mr. Trump’s wrath.
  • “Can you imagine,” Sakvarelidze said, “that Trump writes on Twitter, ‘The United States isn’t going to support any corrupt post-Soviet leaders, including in Ukraine.’ That would be the end of him.”
  • Last summer, another member of Parliament, Andrey L. Derkach, initiated an investigation into leaks to the news media about Manafort’s dealings from Ukrainian law enforcement, saying they put at risk vital American aid to Ukraine. He has openly opposed any Ukrainian role in aiding the special counsel’s investigation.
  • Ukraine, Mr. Derkach said in an interview, would be taking grave risks if it assisted in what he called a politicized investigation in the United States. In Ukraine, he said, “everybody is afraid of this case.”

 

 

Chuck Todd, Joe Manchin, Adrienne Elrod and the Corporate Media

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The past week has convinced me once again that the corporate media is worse than useless.  The only reason for watching CNN and MSNBC is to collect examples of outrageous normalizing and insider smugness, examples of how the corporate media has sold us out, is selling us out and will get Trump re-elected.

The Joe Scarborough and dreadful Mika lecture about booing Donald Trump just did it for me.  I cannot watch anymore, not even to record the media’s subversive ushering-in of the take over of democracy by authoritarianism.

But, like a partner in a bad relationship, I thought I’d listen to Ari Melber, for a minute, while I looked for my copy of Elmer Gantry.  I was so wrong to do this.

When my television records a program, it starts early, so I must watch at least a few minutes of the amazingly obnoxious, arrogant and over-rated Chuck Todd.

There he was with one of my least favorite people in the world, Adrienne Elrod, one of the Clinton entitled jerk women (like Neera Tandem).  These women helped lose the 2016 election for the Democrats but will never, never forgive Bernie Sanders for exercising his political right to run for election.  They are bitter, nasty and never pass up an opportunity to trash Sanders.

The panel was talking about Joe Manchin’s decision to give an interview to Fox News in which he announced that if Bernie Sanders was the Democratic candidate, he would vote for Trump.  This video clip just made me sick and enraged me.  Joe Manchin is such a disgrace to the Democratic party.  Why they support him I don’t know.  He votes with the Republicans but still the leadership protects him.  Why would we want this jerk?

I phoned Manchin’s office earlier in the day to express my outrage that he had made such an announcement.  The staffer who took my call, said with obvious contemptuous disdain at the end of the call: “Have a nice day.”  “Oh you too.”  I answered back.  “You should be ashamed to work for this man.”

Elrod, however, predictably pronounced that Manchin’s statement that he would VOTE FOR A REPUBLICAN CRIMINAL AND MADMAN over Bernie Sanders wasn’t a problem at all.  If anyone in the party had said that they would vote for Trump over Clinton, people like the dreadful Adrienne Elrod would have been all over television talking party treason and accusing them of sexism. Why these programs continue to have her on just escapes me.  They do a story about Bernie Sanders and then have ADRIENNE ELROD on to comment on it, or Neera F…ing Tandem.  Jesus.

Then, after Elrod was finished saying that Manchin’s statement really wasn’t a problem, this other guest – a smirking, arrogant somebody  said that “everyone in Washington” understood Manchin as a Democrat from West Virginia and that only Bernie would have called Manchin on his statement.  The panel nodded their heads.

It is the contempt, the insider smirk, the “real players understand that you always sell your soul for political advantage” people that just make me sick.  I hate their satisfaction, their smug confidence that the real players all understand that this is just a game for power and they laugh at the rest of us who take it seriously, have to take it seriously because it means our lives.

I don’t know who this guy is.  But, after he said that Bernie was the only rube who would be so unsophisticated not to know that real cool people sell their souls every day, he said that Bernie should have just been quiet for the “good of the party.”

What?  What?

Joe F…ing Manchin should be quiet for the good of the party and not make a public statement (on Fox News) that he will VOTE FOR A REPUBLICAN MEMBER OF AN INTERNATIONAL CRIME SYNDICATE rather than vote for Bernie Sanders, the Democratic nominee.

Joe Manchin makes a cynical, self-interested statement that he would rather support a man who doesn’t believe in democracy rather than his party’s supposed candidate and they are blaming Bernie?  Bernie should just be quiet?

But, the arrogant F… and Chuck Todd bent over laughing at the idiocy of Sanders calling Manchin out.  To them it is laughable idiocy to believe in integrity, in morals.  They are what we need to get rid of – people who think selling their souls is such an ever day occurrence that they think the rest of us are stupid for objecting.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Elizabeth Holtzman Deserves an Interview about her 2012 book “Cheating Justice.”

cheating

“Have we celebrated 220 years of our Constitution to reach a point where, like a banana republic, our highest elected leaders can engage in crimes of illegal surveillance, lying to take the nation into war, torture, disappearance and degradation with impunity?” (xi)

Elizabeth Holtzman’s “Cheating Justice.”

elizabeth

Elizabeth Holtzman has been on many corporate news programs over the past year commenting on the Trump Administration.  She was on the House Judiciary Committee investigating Watergate.

The real shame, however, is that I have not heard a single corporate news host interview her on her important and relevant book “Cheating Justice” that came out in 2012.

Holtzman details in her book the way in which George W. Bush and Dick Cheney not only broke the law and lied us into a war, but took pains to manipulate the legal system so they couldn’t be held accountable afterward for their crimes.

If the corporate media could stop for five minutes getting every living soul in Washington to comment on the minutia of testimony by witnesses to a crime that White House has already admitted, we might learn how players like Bill Barr are manipulating behind the scenes to make it impossible to hold Trump accountable either.

George W. Bush is now considered by many as a harmless little guy you share a box with at a baseball game.  But, he lied us into a war, unnecessarily, a war that had grave consequences for this country and the Middle East.

But, as Holtzman notes:

“The former president had no apologies for starting a war in Iraq that had taken the lives of thousands and ruined many more: he thought the world was better off for it, even though no weapons of mass destruction, his ostensible reason for the war, were found in Iraq.”

This book is a great read and an important document for understanding what the Justice Department is most likely doing behind our backs.

cheating