Sunday, October 13, 2019

Last Call For Down Loosey Anna Way

Louisiana Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards is headed to a runoff after failing to capture 50% in yesterday's statewide election, against the state's version of Trump. businessman Eddie Rispone.

Edwards was unable to pass the 50 percent threshold; he received 47 percent of the votes cast, according to the AP, with 99 percent of precincts reporting. Rispone, meanwhile, held off a fellow Republican, Rep. Ralph Abraham, 27 percent to 24 percent, to capture second place and earn a head-to-head shot against Edwards on Nov. 16.

The outcome of the primary sets up a potentially very competitive general election. While pre-primary polls showed Edwards with significant leads over both Republicans in possible runoffs, GOP candidates combined for more than half the vote on Saturday.

"Over half of Louisiana voters went to the polls today and cast a ballot for someone other than John Bel Edwards," noted Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts, the chairman of the Republican Governors Association, who added that Rispone "will unite Republicans and all Louisianans who want to build a better future for their state."

Edwards, a conservative, anti-abortion Democrat who’s avoided close associations with the national Democratic party, framed his campaign as for “people over politics,” a phrase the Edwards campaign painted on the side of his campaign RV. The state Democratic Party, meanwhile, sent some voters a robocall recorded by former President Barack Obama. The minute-long robocall featured Obama praising Edwards for expanding Medicaid in the state.

But national and state Republicans made a heavy push in the closing week of the race to hold Edwards below 50 percent. President Donald Trump held an election-eve campaign rally in Lake Charles on Friday night, standing alongside both Rispone and Abraham as he urged Louisianans to vote for one of the GOP candidates and deny Edwards the outright victory. The two Republicans also appeared at similar events over the past week with Vice President Mike Pence and Donald Trump Jr., the president’s son.

Trump celebrated the results Saturday night — and took credit for preventing Edwards from winning a second term. Edwards, Trump said on Twitter, "has done a poor job" as governor, and he called Rispone "a great Republican" in all caps. He also claimed, without evidence, that "after I explained what a bad job [Edwards] was doing," the Democrat's poll numbers dropped from 66 percent to the 47 percent he received on Saturday. Edwards' highest vote share in pre-primary public polling was 52 percent, according to RealClearPolitics, a website that compiles public polls.

The reality is that Louisiana's jungle primary system, much like California's, makes for some interesting matchups and a lot of runoffs.  Trump can scream all he wants to, he certainly did in yet another bizarre, rambling, racist rally on Friday where he threatened to sue Nancy Pelosi and Adam Schiff for trying to impeach him.

Still, the outcome was expected.  Bel Edwards won with 52% of the vote four years ago in a runoff, and he's widely expected to have another close election again.

Ukraine In The Membrane, Con't

Thursday's scheduled deposition by EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland is going to be a doozy, because it's clear he doesn't want to spend a couple decades in prison for this Ukraine cover-up despite giving Trump a cool million or so for the post.

The U.S. ambassador to the European Union, Gordon Sondland, intends to tell Congress this week that the content of a text message he wrote denying a quid pro quo with Ukraine was relayed to him directly by President Trump in a phone call
, according to a person familiar with his testimony.

Sondland plans to tell lawmakers he has no knowledge of whether the president was telling him the truth at that moment. “It’s only true that the president said it, not that it was the truth,” said the person familiar with Sondland’s planned testimony, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive diplomatic matters.

The Sept. 9 exchange between Sondland and the top U.S. diplomat to Ukraine has become central to the House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry into whether the president abused his office in pressuring Ukraine to open an investigation into his political rival Joe Biden and his son, who sat on the board of a Ukrainian energy company. The White House and its defenders have held up Sondland’s text, which included “no quid pro quo’s of any kind,” as proof that none was ever considered.

Sondland will hold out the possibility that Trump wasn’t truthful in his denial of a quid pro quo as well as an alternative scenario in which the president’s interest in the scheme soured at a time when his administration faced mounting scrutiny over why it was withholding about $400 million in security assistance to Ukraine and delaying a leader-level visit with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

“Whether he’s deciding it’s getting too hot to handle and he backs off whatever his position really was a month earlier, I don’t know,” the person said of Sondland’s understanding.

Hours before Sondland called the president, he received a text message from the acting ambassador to Ukraine, William B. Taylor, raising questions about the aid holdup. “I think it’s crazy to withhold security assistance for help with a political campaign,” Taylor texted Sondland.
That’s when Sondland, according to the person’s understanding, called Trump, who then told him he didn’t “want a quid pro quo . . . didn’t want anything from Ukraine.” The call lasted less than five minutes, and Trump appeared to be in a foul mood, according to the person, who spoke to The Post with Sondland’s permission, an intermediary said.

The White House did not respond to a request for comment. Sondland declined to comment through his lawyers.

Sondland, who has emerged as a central actor in Trump’s efforts to persuade Ukraine to open investigations, will be deposed before House investigators on Thursday.

First US special envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker, then former US Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovich, now EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland, all three ignoring State Department orders to stay silent, all three throwing Trump under the nearest public transportation vehicle.   Expect to see more and more people bail on Trump in order to save themselves.

Trump's defenders are now out of defenses.

Sunday Long Read: The Man Who Never Left The Consulate

It's been a year now since the brutal murder of Washington Post contributor and Saudi dissident Jamal Khashoggi, hacked to pieces by a bonesaw in the depths of the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul, lured by the promise of finally being able to make the marriage to the woman he loved official.  Evan Ratliff at Insider reconstructs Khashoggi's final days and why he was literally butchered by a ruthless Saudi prince and abandoned by the worst leader in US history.

It was easy to forget, later, that he was a man in love.

That was the Jamal Khashoggi who arrived on a flight into Istanbul, early on the morning of October 2, 2018. He was a few days short of 60 and divorced, a voluntary exile from his native Saudi Arabia living a lonely existence in Virginia. His tall frame carried an unsubtle paunch, and his hair had thinned out to the sides. The graying of his beard was nearly complete, covering an owlish face with eyes that could simultaneously betray easy mirth and deep sadness.

An internationally acclaimed journalist writing for The Washington Post, he was considered brilliant by his peers. But he spent most of his days struggling under the burden of what he'd left behind, writing in hopes of breaking the world's indifference to the creeping repression in his home country. He'd grown dismayed to see its architect, Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman — known in the West as MBS — fĂȘted by Washington and Silicon Valley as a dynamic reformer, while his friends and colleagues back home languished in prison for speaking out. His mission, he had come to believe, was to speak for them.

But on that fall morning in Istanbul, Khashoggi stepped off the plane with an entirely different purpose. Five months earlier, at the opening of a conference on Middle Eastern politics, he'd been approached by a 35-year-old researcher named Hatice Cengiz. She knew his work and wanted to interview him for an article she was writing. At the next coffee break, he sought her out. They spoke for nearly half an hour. She asked him about the prospects for reform in Saudi Arabia; he peppered her with questions about Turkish politics. By the end, their exchange had already begun to feel like something deeper. Before his next trip to Istanbul, he emailed to ask if she'd see him again.

The rest happened quickly, at the speed of two people who already knew themselves. By September he had met her parents. Wedding plans were in motion. The pair bought an apartment in Istanbul, the eastern anchor of what would become a dual life there and in the US.

On September 28 they visited Istanbul's civil-marriage bureau to begin the secular portion of the nuptials. Just one small problem, they were told: Because Khashoggi remained a Saudi citizen, they'd need a certificate from the Saudi government stating that he was unmarried. That would require a trip to the Saudi Consulate.

On an impulse, the couple went straight there that day. Outside the gate, Khashoggi left his two phones with Cengiz, knowing consular officials would ask for them at the door and fearing they would take the opportunity to hack them. He was wary. But once inside, the staff greeted him warmly. The document he needed couldn't be produced instantly, but if he came back on October 2 they would have it ready for him, they said. That afternoon, he left for the airport and caught a 2:40 p.m. flight to London to attend a conference.

The night before his return, Cengiz couldn't sleep, her head a scramble of nerves and excitement. Finally she drifted off, and was awoken by a call from her fiancé: His flight had arrived early. Khashoggi caught a cab to the as-yet-uninhabited apartment they'd purchased, in a gated community in Istanbul's Topkapi neighborhood. A security camera in the entryway caught them lightly embracing as they walked inside, just before 5 a.m.

Khashoggi called the consulate. An official told him to arrive at 1 p.m. to collect his paperwork.

At about a quarter to one, they set out. CCTV cameras captured the couple's unhurried stroll as they walked, hand in hand. Khashoggi wore an open-collared shirt and a blazer, Cengiz a headscarf and a long black dress.

At the security blockade typically positioned at the consulate's south-facing side, Khashoggi once again handed her both his phones. Using a handheld metal detector, a security officer conducted a quick scan of Khashoggi's person. Then the journalist passed between the metal barriers and walked briskly up to the main entrance. A doorman in a powder-blue blazer greeted him with a slight bow, and he was gone.

The rest, as they say, is now just another bloody chapter in the ugly history of the House of Saud, a blot on this Earth and one of the most repressive and murderous regimes on the planet.

Right next to the repressive and murderous regime here in the States, of course.  These days we're sending thousands of troops to Saudi soil as mercenaries because Donald Trump expects MBS to pay up front.

Never forget Khashoggi's story, however.

Black Lives Still Matter, Con't

Four seconds.

That's how long Atatiana Jefferson lived after a Fort Worth PD officer entered Jefferson's property, saw her through a window, and shot her after a neighbor called police to check on her because Jefferson had left the door open.

Atatiana Koquice Jefferson, 28, was killed in a bedroom at the home at around 2:30 a.m., according to the Tarrant County Medical Examiner.

In a statement, the Fort Worth Police Department said that officers from its central division responded to a call at 2:25 a.m. and searched the perimeter of the house on the 1200 block of East Allen Avenue.

One officer, after seeing someone through the window of the home, drew his weapon and fired one shot, killing the woman.

“The individual, a black female, who resides at the residence succumbed to her injuries and was pronounced deceased on the scene,” read the Fort Worth PD’s statement. “The officer, a white male who has been with the department since April of 2018, has been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome [of] the critical police incident investigation.”

An officer handling public relations for the department did not immediately return a request for comment from BuzzFeed News.

In its statement, Fort Worth police said that after the shooting, officers entered the residence to find the resident and a firearm, and began administering emergency care. Texas is an open carry state.

Fort Worth PD released body camera footage from the incident taken from the angle of the officer who fired the shot. In it, the officer can be seen taking notice of an open door at the residence — which had its lights on — and then walking around the home’s perimeter with a colleague. He then opens a gate, and walks to a darker part of the yard while holding a flashlight.

Within seconds of walking though the gate, the officer peers through a window, where he presumably sees a person. He quickly raises his flashlight in one hand, gun in another. “Put your hands up, show me your hands,” he shouts before firing a shot — all in less than four seconds.

The body cam footage released by police also includes photos of a gun found inside the house. It's unclear if Jefferson was near the weapon when she was shot by the officer.

And here we're supposed to feel bad for the officer, who now has to live the rest of his life with the fact he murdered a black woman in cold blood.  We'll be told that the officer thought his life was at risk and that he had to kill Jefferson, because if you are black in America, you only draw breath because a police officer hasn't decided you are a threat yet.

Best part is Jefferson owned a firearm in her own home in an open carry state, but we all know open carry only applies to white people in Texas.  Anyone else gets butchered. Second Amendment rights only apply to those who looked like the founders of this "great" country, after all.

I'm so tired of this.  They kill us in our own homes now and get away with it 99% of the time. And if we try to defend ourselves, if we pretend even for a moment that we have the same rights as white people in this country, we pay for that fallacy with our lives.

I'm tired

Related Posts with Thumbnails