How in the Ever Loving Fuck is this Legal?

These motherfuckers are ruthless and shameless:

State and local Republicans have expanded early voting in GOP-dominated areas and restricted it in Democratic areas, an IndyStar investigation has found, prompting a significant change in Central Indiana voting patterns.

From 2008 to 2016, GOP officials expanded early voting stations in Republican dominated Hamilton County, IndyStar’s analysis found, and decreased them in the state’s biggest Democratic hotbed, Marion County.

That made voting more convenient in GOP areas for people with transportation issues or busy schedules. And the results were immediate.

We need to nationalize voting and spend billions on it.



Monday Morning Open Thread: NO CHAOS YOU’RE THE CHAOS!!!1!!

(Drew Sheneman via GoComics.com)
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Himself being on vacation, and the other Repubs busy hiding out from their voters, maybe we’ll get some peace this week. Rod Rosenstein’s busily trying to clean up some of the nastiest recent messes left behind.

According to the NYTimes, “Reporters Not Being Pursued in Leak Investigations, Justice Dept. Says”:

Rod J. Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general, said on Sunday that the Justice Department was not pursuing reporters as part of its growing number of leak investigations, just two days after he and other department officials had appeared to signal a harsher line toward journalists.

“We don’t prosecute journalists for doing their jobs,” Mr. Rosenstein said on “Fox News Sunday.” “That’s not our goal here.”…

On Sunday, Mr. Rosenstein left open the possibility that reporters could carry some legal responsibility for information published, but said the department had not revised any policy on reporters.

“Generally speaking, reporters who publish information are not committing a crime. But there might be a circumstance where they do,” Mr. Rosenstein said on Fox. “I haven’t seen any of those today, but I wouldn’t rule it out in the event that there were a case where a reporter was purposely violating the law.”…

From the Washington Post, “Rosenstein: Special counsel Mueller can investigate any crimes he uncovers in Russia probe”:

“The special counsel is subject to the rules and regulations of the Department of Justice, and we don’t engage in fishing expeditions,” Rosenstein said when asked about the probe in an interview on “Fox News Sunday.”

Rosenstein declined to comment on reports that Mueller is using a grand jury in a court in Washington to aid in his investigation but he said that such a step is a routine part of “many investigations.”

“It’s an appropriate way to gather documents, sometimes to bring witnesses in, to make sure that you get their full testimony,” Rosenstein said. “It’s just a tool that we use like any other tool in the course of our investigations. “…

Rep. Adam B. Schiff (Calif.), the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, called Mueller’s impaneling of a D.C. grand jury “a significant development,” noting that it has been more than a year since former FBI director James B. Comey launched a counterintelligence investigation into Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election.

“That means one year later, rather than turning that investigation off, rather than concluding ‘We’ve looked at this for a year; there’s really nothing to see here,’ as the president would claim, instead . . . it’s moving into a new phase,” Schiff said during an appearance on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “That wouldn’t be taking place if there was really no evidence, no evidentiary basis to move forward.”…

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Apart from wishing for a summer respite, what’s on the agenda as we start the week?



The judge’s wife screamed “let the man go free”

The New York Times’ crush on Jared Kushner has taken a strange turn. On Friday night, after the Washington Post broke the story of Kushner’s request for a back channel with Moscow, the Times ran a piece assuring everyone that the back channel was “to discuss strategy in Syria and other policy issues, according to three people with knowledge of the discussion.” Although it wasn’t obvious, the subtext of the whole article was “calm down everyone, it was for legitimate purposes.” It turns out the same people who fed this load of shit to the Times also tried to feed it to the Post but the Post wouldn’t run it unless the three people agreed to be described as Kushner surrogates.

Just now, the Times ran this ridiculous tongue bath of Kusher (via):

His preppy aesthetic, sotto voce style and preference for backstage maneuvering seemingly set him apart from his father-in-law — but the similarities outweigh the differences. Both men were reared in the freewheeling, ruthless world of real estate, and both possess an unshakable self-assurance that is both their greatest attribute and their direst vulnerability.

Mr. Kushner’s reported feeler to the Russians even as President Barack Obama remained in charge of American foreign policy was a trademark move by someone with a deep confidence in his own abilities that critics say borders on conceit, people close to him said. And it echoes his history of sailing forth into unknown territory, including buying a newspaper at age 25 and developing a data-analytics program that he has said helped deliver the presidency to his father-in-law.

He is intensely proud of his accomplishments in the private sector and has repeatedly suggested his tenure in Washington will hurt, not help, his brand and bottom line.

What is this about? Presumably it’s about cultivating Kushner and his people as surrogate, but, seriously…what the fuck? Other self-respecting papers don’t give their hand-jobs this publicly.



Open Thread

I was flipping a coin between this and the Kevin Bacon Animal House All is Well memes.

Open thread



Long Read: No Tears for Mr. Comey

(Jeff Danziger’s website)

Like you hadn’t sold it no later than the Great Clenis Hunt, you sanctimonious fraud. Politico on “The Political Isolation of Jim Comey“:

Jim Comey learned Tuesday afternoon the difference between being independent and being out on a limb. After years of charting his own course in a city that prides itself on loyalty, after marching to the beat of his own drum in a political culture that’s increasingly divided into teams, after making up the rules as he went along in a Justice Department that prides itself on precedent and tradition, the FBI director found this week that he had run out of time and run out of friends.

In becoming just the second FBI director ever to be removed from office for cause—with more than six years remaining on his 10-year term—Comey leaves just as ignominiously as William Sessions did when he was fired by the newly arrived President Bill Clinton in 1993. Sessions, under fire due to scandals involving his wife and improper spending, had stubbornly refused to leave until Clinton summarily threw him out of the Hoover Building.

Yet Comey leaves behind an even more troubling legacy: The FBI soon forgot the Sessions years, but it will be years before its public reputation recovers from the intense political firestorm that Comey plunged it into last summer with a fateful news conference. On July 5, 2016, Comey announced the FBI would not recommend charges against Hillary Clinton for using a personal email server to conduct the government’s business as secretary of state—and then, after making that already unprecedented announcement, proceeded to expound at length upon his own interpretation of the law and Clinton’s mind-set. It was a moment that left jaws wide open across the street at Main Justice, as well as up Pennsylvania Avenue at the White House—the original sin that begat months of turmoil and ultimately cost Comey the job he’d long dreamed of having.

Comey’s firing deservedly shocked official Washington on Tuesday afternoon, but to those who know the bureau well, the idea of Jim Comey and Donald Trump coexisting in Washington has never made much sense—and that was even before recent weeks have made clear the depth and scope of the FBI’s still-widening investigations into Trump’s own campaign and its ties to Russia. It wasn’t all that long ago that Trump was embracing Comey in the East Room of the White House. Two days after his inauguration, Trump greeted his new top cop by joking with observers, “He’s become more famous than me.” In the end, perhaps that will be remembered as Comey’s greatest sin. He forgot the most important lesson of his post: In Washington, FBI directors should be like children—seen but not heard…

Comey has spent his career in Washington biting the hand that feeds him—and for years, that was precisely what led his career to advance…

The STELLAR WIND showdown turned into the Jim Comey Creation Myth, the moment that made clear that he was as independent as they came and would pursue investigations and enforce justice without fear or favor. Whereas deputy attorneys general like Comey come and go nearly routinely and anonymously, that showdown—and Comey’s decision to kiss and tell—made him a person of stature and standing who could lead the nation’s most famous and storied law enforcement agency. It also set up a pattern of behavior that would ultimately lead to his downfall—always willing to speak out, controversial and unafraid of attempts to silence him. As one senior official told me, “He’s rapturous of his own righteousness.”

It was that righteousness, too, that led Barack Obama to appoint Comey to head the FBI in 2013, in part because his iconoclastic reputation ensured Republicans could be assured of his independence—the fact that he’d donated to Mitt Romney and to John McCain didn’t hurt, either. And in his early days as director, Comey worked hard to separate the bureau from the ugliest moments of its history…

“Jim Comey always has to be positioned oppositional to those in power,” one former Justice Department official told me. “He’s done huge, lasting damage to the FBI brand, but he’s done good protection of Brand Comey.”…



An important thing this evening

Get mad, stay mad and then be effective in doing something. Balloon Juice is adopting at least one district and perhaps more. We will be effectively active and angry.

UPDATE I will set up a CA-49 Nominee fund tonight for Act Blue



For the Record, First Draft of History: Sidebar to Adam’s Post