Manafort in for 7.5 years

Open thread



But Seriously… (International Women’s Day)

In 2018, the #MeToo hashtag on sexual harassment was one of the top 10 censored topics on China’s popular messaging app, WeChat, according to the University of Hong Kong’s WeChatscope.

Weibo and WeChat also banned China’s most influential feminist social media account, Feminist Voices. Authorities have closed down prominent women’s rights centres. They have also detained students and recent graduates advocating for #MeToo and workers’ rights.

Just as China’s crackdown on women’s rights activism is growing, the global backlash against feminism is likely to intensify, as misogynistic autocrats have been emboldened everywhere, in part by a US president who openly expresses admiration for “strongman” rulers…

Why are authoritarian rulers so threatened by feminism? The subjugation of women is a common feature in virtually all authoritarian regimes.

Putin signed a law in 2017 that partially decriminalised domestic violence in Russia, making it much more difficult for women to report abuse.

In Hungary, the autocratic Prime Minister Viktor Orban has banned gender studies programmes at universities. Putin, Orban and Xi, among others, are fixated on pushing women into more traditional roles in the home and having more babies for the state…

Far too often, women in resistance movements are overlooked by journalists and the narrative revolves around male opposition figures.

Yet more young women in authoritarian states have become fed up with the misogyny in their daily lives, demanding equality, dignity and an end to pervasive gender-based violence.

Young women standing up for their rights pose a growing challenge to male autocrats everywhere – not just in China – which is why authoritarian rulers are so threatened by the prospect of any large-scale women’s movement developing.

Male autocrats see patriarchal authoritarianism as crucial for their political survival, but one of the core demands of feminism – that women should be free to control our own bodies and reproductive lives – is in direct conflict with the coercive, often pronatalist policies of authoritarian states, which see declining birth rates as an existential crisis. And that is exactly what is happening in China…



Impeach DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen

Well, first things first. Via NBC News:

The Trump administration said in a court filing that reuniting thousands of migrant children separated from their parents or guardians at the U.S.-Mexico border may not be “within the realm of the possible.”

The filing late Friday from Jallyn Sualog, deputy director of the department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Refugee Resettlement, was an ordered response in an ACLU lawsuit challenging the government’s separation of at least 2,737 children of migrants detained at the border since summer 2017.

Sualog said her office doesn’t have the resources to track down the children, whose numbers could be thousands more than the official estimate.

“Even if performing the analysis Plaintiffs seek were within the realm of the possible, it would substantially imperil ORR’s ability to perform its core functions without significant increases in appropriations from Congress, and a rapid, dramatic expansion of the ORR data team,” she said.

Perhaps the Democrats could appropriate $5.7B to expand the data team and fund the analysis. Then, every time Trump or his minions bleat about WALL money, they could reply, “Oops, sorry — the very sum you requested had to be diverted to fund family reunification activities because your administration’s inhumane family separation policy was enacted by incompetents who took less care tracking human beings than an Ace Hardware store uses to track $.01 nails.

Then, file articles of impeachment on Nielsen and hold hearings to dig into the details of this horror, including the depraved indifference, the incompetence and the profiteering. I’m not a Constitutional scholar, but I’m pretty sure lying to Congress in sworn testimony (perjury) is an impeachable offense and that cabinet members are subject to removal via that mechanism.

Although nothing can atone for the trauma wrought in our name by the racist policies of these heartless liars, impeaching Nielsen would focus attention on the thousands of families who’ve been destroyed. It would force Republicans to go on record in support of the whole putrid Trump administration approach to immigration at the southern border — the cruel, ineffective policies, the rank carelessness, the repeated lies, etc. It would also serve as dress rehearsal for impeaching Nielsen’s boss.



One of Putin’s Other Useful Idiots Weighs In: Swanson TV Dinner Hour of White Power Glower Hour Edition

Tonight on The Swanson TV Dinner Hour of White Power Glower Hour, Putin’s other useless idiot has thoughts to share. Bozhe moi!

You can click across if you like for the rest of Dr. Stein’s deep thoughts on the structure and nature of the American political system, American politics, and, of course, Dr. Jill Stein who, Dr. Jill Stein holds in exceedingly high regard.

(Dr. Stein and LTG Flynn dining with Vladimir Putin in December 2015)

It is important to remember that when Dr. Stein and LTG Flynn were dining with Putin and enjoying the gala, the NRA’s delegation was being hosted in Moscow by Alexander Torshin, Mariia Butina, and several Russian government officials. This amount of coincidence takes a lot of planning!

Open thread!



EVERYTHING IS FINE THIS IS TOTALLY NORMAL

Sweet fancy moses:

President Trump has gone to extraordinary lengths to conceal details of his conversations with Russian President Vladi­mir Putin, including on at least one occasion taking possession of the notes of his own interpreter and instructing the linguist not to discuss what had transpired with other administration officials, current and former U.S. officials said.

Trump did so after a meeting with Putin in 2017 in Hamburg that was also attended by then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. U.S. officials learned of Trump’s actions when a White House adviser and a senior State Department official sought information from the interpreter beyond a readout shared by Tillerson.

The constraints that Trump imposed are part of a broader pattern by the president of shielding his communications with Putin from public scrutiny and preventing even high-ranking officials in his own administration from fully knowing what he has told one of the United States’ main adversaries.

As a result, U.S. officials said there is no detailed record, even in classified files, of Trump’s face-to-face interactions with the Russian leader at five locations over the past two years. Such a gap would be unusual in any presidency, let alone one that Russia sought to install through what U.S. intelligence agencies have described as an unprecedented campaign of election interference.

The this, from a real meeting of the minds:

“I’m going to ask you, are you now or have you ever worked for Russia, Mr. President?” Pirro asked.

Trump did not exactly deny it although he was very clear he found the Times report insulting.

In response to Pirro, Trump said this: “I think it’s the most insulting thing I’ve ever been asked. I think it’s the most insulting article I’ve ever had written. And if you read the article, you’d see that they found absolutely nothing. But the headline of that article, it’s called ‘The failing New York Times’ for a reason, they’ve gotten me wrong for three years. They’ve actually gotten me wrong for many years before that.”

I dunno for sure if he is an agent, but were I asked the question, my answer would be “No, I am not.”

I’ve hedged my bets the last couple of years, suspecting there was Russian influence, but now I am starting to be convinced there is a real there, there. The real question for me is how deep into the ranks of the GOP does the influence go. We know Trump’s orbit, the NRA, and a number of GOP Senators and House members are bought and paid for.