Shonda: The Stephen Miller Story

… he wanted to join a party which wouldn’t have him because he was a Jew.

Hannah Arendt’s remarks on Leo Strauss

This morning Politico published an op-ed by Dr. David S. Glosser, Sc. D. Dr. Glosser is one of Stephen Miller’s uncles. While Dr. Glosser’s, and much of Stephen Miller’s other relations views about him are not exactly news, this is the first time that one of his relatives has directly addressed a national audience about him, his ideology, and his actions as opposed to having those views reported about. Dr. Glossar’s column explains in detail what almost every other American Jew knows very well, that if the immigration policies, laws, and regulations that Stephen Miller is such a clear advocate of were in force when their grandparents or great grandparents came to the US, they would never have been allowed in. And given that they were in force during the Holocaust, many seeking safety were unable to find it.

The Glossers’ journey is an American story. It is the story of the families being detained and separated at the southern border right now. No one takes their children, whatever possessions they can carry, and sets out either overland or at sea unless they are desperate. Desperate to escape state directed or tolerated political violence, drug cartel violence, the violence that arises from the sex trade, and the poverty and imisseration that contributes to it and results from it. Dr. Glossar tells the story of just one of his patients – a young man who was able to flee the mental torture of being turned into a child soldier and the physical torture that arose from suspected religious deviancy to eventually make his way to safety in the US. Dr. Glossar’s patient’s story is a testament to what America is supposed to be – the safe haven for those who seek it and wish to contribute to it. When men and women like Dr. Glossar’s patient, as well as his great grandfather – and many of our great grandparents regardless of our ethnicity or religion – undertook their long, dangerous journeys to the US they knew that at the end of that journey, if they were lucky enough to make it safely to their destination, was safety. This is the ideal that is America. This is its promise. Not the cramped, small minded, bigoted, hateful belief that the wealthiest and most powerful nation-state to ever exist is somehow on the verge of collapse because desperate men and women are carrying their children with them from danger through danger in the hope that they can reach safety.

Stephen Miller is the wickedest of sons. His prejudices and petty grievances betray not a world changing intellect, but the small minded fear of the petulant child who once slighted can never give up his grudge. Miller, and the President he so gleefully serves, like Gen. (ret) Kelly, and most every other American, is only an American because of lax immigration laws at the time their forebears came to the US and family based migration (what the President calls chain migration). It is not that they are hypocrites, they most certainly are, or would be if they had any sense of shame. Rather they are small, fearful, timid men play acting as fierce warriors on behalf of a socially constructed ideal: whiteness. And in the case of Stephen Miller, because he is Jewish, he is only white on sufferance and that privilege can be revoked by the very extremists and white supremacists that Miller has been playing footsie with since he was trying to survive the mean sidewalks and quadrangle of Santa Monica High School.

Open thread!

Sunday Evening Open Thread: It’s All Fun & Games…

Saturday Morning Open Thread: “Get Your Act Together. Stop Hating”

… “They tried to kill my child to shut her up,” Susan Bro told mourners last August. “Well, guess what? You just magnified her!”

Bro now spends her days in a cozy office at the law firm where her daughter worked as a paralegal. It’s the headquarters of the Heather Heyer Foundation. Near her desk is a sign with her daughter’s favorite motto — “If you’re not outraged, you’re not paying attention.”

“I think that’s what we have with Heather’s legacy, is a call to action,” says Bro…

Portraits of Heyer hang on the walls, and there’s a collection of posthumous civil rights awards. Bro resists the notion that her daughter is some sort of symbol. She didn’t make speeches, or lead rallies, Bro says, but tried to persuade those around her to care more about inequality and social justice issues. Bro has taken up her cause.

“Not only will I speak and speak loudly and often,” she says, “I’m going to make sure that other people speak.”

She compares it to a relay race.
Read more

Friday Morning Open Thread: Readership Capture

In before the Friday News Dump, assuming we get another one here in mid-August…


In support of Marcia Blackburn’s opponent:


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#UniteTheReich Open Thread: This Crap, Again…

Dangerously serious:

Seriously dangerous:


The mayor and police chief of Washington, D.C., on Thursday promised tight security for Sunday’s “Unite the Right” rally and counter-protests marking the first anniversary of a white nationalist rally that erupted in deadly violence a year ago.

Mayor Muriel Bowser said the city was activating its emergency operations center and would be on high alert for violence.

“We have people coming to our city for the sole purpose of spewing hate,” Bowser said. “We denounce hate, we denounce anti-Semitism, and we denounce the rhetoric we expect to hear this Sunday.”

Bowser, Chief Peter Newsham and other officials spoke at a news conference held at a synagogue in the city of 700,000 people, about half of whom are black.

Newsham said guns will be banned from the rallies, even for gun owners with legal permits. He said the white nationalists and the counter-protesters would be separated, even though both have permits to use a park near the White House.

Newsham was reticent to provide security details, saying he didn’t want anyone with malicious intent to be able to “plan ahead.”
Read more

Space Force: Article 1, Section 8 of the US Constitution Edition

(Because most of our readers don’t speak Japanese*!)

I just want to quickly follow up on BettyC’s earlier post about the Vice President’s speech at the Pentagon today. Other than making some nice powerpoint slides and writing staff estimates that include projected budgetary costs, there is nothing the Department of Defense can actually do to fulfill the President’s request to create a Space Force. Article 8, Section 1 of the Constitution states:

The Congress shall have Power To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years;

To provide and maintain a Navy;

To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces;

To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions; provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;

To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.

The Department of Defense cannot, just as the President cannot, will a new military Service into existence. In order for a Space Force to be created, Congress will have to pass the legislation to make it happen, just as Congress did way back in 1789, after a lot of prodding by President Washington (who is an example of somebody who’s done an excellent job and is being recognized more and more), to formally create the US Army. As such, the Department of Defense is taking this as seriously as all the other good ideas that people pitch to it. They’re being polite and making sure that they appear to be doing everything they are legally allowed to do in response to what they’re being asked to do.

Basically ordering people to show up to the Vice President’s speech and not laugh out loud.

And should a Space Force be required, well my tribe’s got us covered!

Lot of wasted space in those ship designs…

Open thread!

* Original Japanese version for the purists! ETA: From the remake.

Update at 3:51 PM EDT:

Thanks to SSDD in the comments, we’ve got a clip of the original title sequence in Japanese. Also, why is the “Chef de Project” named MILFY?

Finally, on a more historical note, back in 2015 a team financed by Paul Allen of Microsoft fame found the Yamato’s sister ship the IJN Musashi. So, technically, this premise is workable…


Breaking: Congressman Chris Collins (R-NY 27) Arrested for Securities Fraud and Insider Trading!!!

Congressman Chris Collins (R – NY) was arrested this morning by the FBI shortly after he was indicted for securities related fraud related to insider trading allegations. From NBC:

Chris Collins, a Republican congressman from upstate New York, surrendered to the FBI on Wednesday morning on securities fraud-related charges, prosecutors said.

Collins, 68, faces insider trading charges along with his son, Cameron Collins, and Stephen Zarsky, the father of Cameron Collins’ fiancée, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Southern District of New York.

The case is related to Innate Immunotherapeutics, an Australian biotech company, on which the elder Collins served on the board.

The Daily Beast did the in depth reporting on the allegations, now charges, in April 2017 (emphasis mine).

When an Australian pharmaceutical company sought to raise money with the goal of entering the U.S. drug market, Rep. Chris Collins pitched in.

The Republican congressman purchased $2.2 million worth of stock in Innate Immunotherapeutics as part of its initial public offering in late 2013, according to a previously unreported document Collins filed with Australia’s securities authority. The IPO prospectus said Innate would seek FDA approval of its drug to treat multiple sclerosis. More than a year later, Collins wrote into a bill language to expedite the FDA’s approval process for such drugs. Four months before the bill was signed into law, Collins again purchased stock in Innate, this time as much as $1 million, according to congressional financial disclosure records.

Ethics experts say all of this amounts to a conflict of interest that warrants investigation by the Office of Congressional Ethics and the House Ethics Committee.

Collins said he did not participate in any IPO on a financial disclosure form filed in 2014 (PDF), but that’s not a crime, thanks to a gaping loophole in the STOCK Act discovered by The Daily Beast.

The law, passed to stop insider trading among members of Congress, only requires them to disclose involvement in U.S. IPOs, but not foreign ones, a House Ethics Committee official told The Daily Beast.

“This is simply outrageous,” Larry Noble, a former Federal Elections Commission lawyer, told The Daily Beast of the loophole. “One could argue that not only should foreign IPOs not be exempt, but that they present an even greater possibility of a conflict of interest because they’re involved with foreign persons.”

Collins owns approximately $22 million worth of Innate stock, or 16.5 percent of the company, and sits on its board of directors, according to the company. Since the IPO, Collins’s children, his chief of staff, and a score of campaign donors have bought into Innate, whose stock price has tripled since its initial offering in 2013.

“Do you know how many millionaires I’ve made in Buffalo the past few months?” Collins was overheard on Capitol Hill telling someone on the phone in January, though it is not known what exactly he was talking about.

Five other Republican congressman have also invested in Innate, including the new secretary of Health and Human Services, Tom Price.

All told, Collins and people with close personal and political ties to him own approximately 30 percent of Innate.

Innate’s prospectus also shows why Collins’s work on the 21st Century Cures Act presents such a potentially serious conflict of interest, ethics experts said. Collins’s provision in the bill makes it easier for companies to be granted investigative drug approval, something Innate’s prospectus repeatedly defines as its main strategy for reaching the U.S. market.

Money raised by the initial public offering that exceeded the amount needed for the second phase of clinical trials for MIS416 would go toward “initiating the Investigational New Drug process with the FDA,” according to Innate’s prospectus.

In a statement touting the Cures Act provision, Collins said that “the method used to evaluate investigational drugs have remained the same for decades,” and called for the approval process for those drugs to be streamlined. That is now law thanks to the passage of the Cures Act.

Noble, the former government lawyer and an ethics expert, said that because Collins’s provision will have a broad impact on companies across the pharmaceutical industry, it might not be seen as a direct conflict of interest. But it is the provision’s specific effect on Innate—and Collins’s lead role in pushing the provision—that should prompt an investigation, Noble said.

“It’s one thing for a member of Congress to simply vote on something like this, and it’s entirely another for that person to have been the one leading the charge on it,” Noble said. “This is a very serious conflict of interest matter. There’s a lot financially at stake for him, and there’s a serious question of whether or not he put a provision in a statute that will benefit that financial upside.”

Noble added that, at the very least, Collins should have informed ethics officials of his relationship with Innate before crafting legislation that would help the company. It is not known whether Collins consulted the House Ethics Committee, or disclosed the extent of his involvement with Innate prior to pushing for the provision included in the Cures Act.

Collins’s potential conflict of interest got deeper last year. In August 2016, he bought as much as $1 million in company stock, according to financial disclosure records (PDF). Two months later, Collins’s language was present in the Cures Act. Two weeks later President Obama signed the bill into law.

Not only is it in Collins’s interest to see Innate succeed, but getting MIS416 to the lucrative U.S. market would enrich a sprawling network of family, friends, and political donors of Collins.

Collins’s circle began investing heavily in 2013, when Innate offered its IPO.

Much, much more at the link!

While Congressman Collins was the first member of the House of Representatives to endorse the President’s campaign and was a member of the transition. There is no indication in the reporting that Congressman Collins’ very overt and very suspect financial dealings and their interaction with his legislative work is in any way connected to the Special Counsel’s investigation. Seeming congressional financial and investment shenanigans, however, has been a long standing problem that is occasionally reported on, but needs some serious sunlight and attention directed at it. Far too many members of Congress in both chambers enter Congress well off and, after a career making between $140 to $175K a year (rank and file versus leadership), leave Congress very, very wealthy. The reasonable suspicion is that much of this wealth is the result of trading on what they learn in the course of their congressional duties. This is clearly unacceptable and must be stopped. Unfortunately the people who would have to take action to stop it are also the people who are engaged in it.

Stay financially solvent!

Open thread.