Sean Hannity Conspired With Paul Manafort To Launder Information Through His Show On Fox and Then Back Into Manafort’s Legal Filings in Court

Earlier today new documents were unsealed from the Manafort case. They are chat logs from 2017 and include text messages between Hannity and Manafort during the investigation into and prosecution of Manafort. They can be found at this link or below.

Manafort_Texts

Among other interesting, not so interesting, and explosive information in them, it appears that Manafort was using Hannity and his Fox News show to launder information into his legal filings with the court. This was done through Sara Carter, who claims to be a national security specialist (she isn’t), but who is a protege of the execrable John Solomon who has been laundering right wing conspiracy theories since the late 1980s/early 1990s.

Here’s the specific section that was tweeted by Brad Heath and that Mariotti is referring to:

Here’s another one tweeted by Heath where Manafort is complaining about former Attorney General Jeff Sessions with an empathetic Hannity.

I haven’t had a chance to read through all 56 pages yet, but it is very interesting that Hannity is Client 3, in touch with Julian Assange in an attempt to get information to broadcast, and is in touch with Manafort in an attempt to get information to broadcast that is then laundered back into Manafort’s court filings.

Just one more bit of evidence about how Fox News coordinates the information that it broadcasts with Republican and conservative movement elites and notables. Makes you wonder who else Hannity regularly texts with and what about?

Open thread!








SSDD Open Thread: Roy Moore Wants to Run for Senate Again

Sure, his fellow Repubs have publicly vowed to ‘crush’ him‘This place has enough creepy old men’. They’re even trying to recruit Jeff Sessions to run against him (as if that idea wasn’t six different nightmares in its own right). But FiveThirtyEight refuses to dismiss ‘Sheriff’ Moore’s chances:

… [T]here is one factor working in Moore’s favor — a crowded primary field. Because the eventual GOP nominee stands a good chance of beating Jones in the general election (Alabama is 27 points more Republican than the country as a whole), even more candidates could join the race. A large primary field may fragment the vote, making it unlikely that a candidate could win a majority and avoid a runoff and making it easier for Moore to advance to a runoff with only the support of his base…

I kicked in a few bucks, as a preemptive offering, because I’m superstitious like that.








The Mueller Report Book Club – II. Russian “Active Measures” Social Media Campaign

(pp 14-35)

Much of this chapter is redacted under “Harm to Ongoing Matter,” (HOM) presumably referring to the court case against 13 employees of the Internet Research Agency (IRA). A few redactions are labeled “Personal Privacy” (PP) and “Investigative Technique,” (IT) and there seems no need to try to decipher them.

The unredacted part of the chapter is a story that has appeared in the news many times. I’ll outline it and provide a few juicy quotes.

The IRA is funded by Yevgeniy Viktorovich Prigozhin and companies he controlled, including Concord Management and Consulting LLC and Concord Catering. It conducted social media operations in the United States with objectives of sowing discord and later electing Donald Trump president, starting in at least 2014. By February 2016, the IRA was supporting Trump against Clinton. Proghozin was sanctioned by the US Treasury Department in December 2016.

The operations included running accounts on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, holding rallies, and buying advertisements. The accounts looked like they belonged to individuals, groups, and activists of various sorts – rightwing, black, political, and religious. The IRA also ran a bot network on Twitter to amplify their messages. By the end of the 2016 election, they had reached millions of people.

(testimony of Colin Stretch, General Counsel of Facebook) (“We estimate that roughly 29 million people were served content in their News Feeds directly from the IRA’s 80,000 posts over the two years. Posts from these Pages were also shared, liked, and followed by people on Facebook, and, as a result, three times more people may have been exposed to a story that originated from the Russian operation. Our best estimate is that approximately 126 million people may have been served content from a Page associated with the IRA at some point during the two-year period.”). The Facebook representative also testified that Facebook had identified 170 Instagram accounts that posted approximately 120,000 pieces of content during that time. Facebook did not offer an estimate of the audience reached via Instagram. (Footnote 6, p. 15)

The chapter contains numerous specific examples of tweets and other social media from the IRA, including @TEN_ GOP, which pretended to be “the informal voice of the Tennessee GOP,” and “Miners for Trump,” which held rallies in Pennsylvania.

“Main idea: Use any opportunity to criticize Hillary [Clinton] and the rest (except Sanders and Trump – we support them)”

The IRA recruited Americans across the political spectrum to help spread its message. This section, starting on page 31, also contains both HOM and PP redactions. Members of the Trump campaign shared or retweeted IRA matter. Donald Trump Jr., Eric Trump, Kellyanne Conway, Brad Parscale, and Michael T. Flynn all retweeted IRA tweets against Hillary Clinton.

IRA employees also tried to contact Trump campaign members directly, representing themselves as US persons. The IRA’s contacts included requests for signs and other materials for rallies and requests to promote the rallies and help coordinate Iogistics. Some campaign volunteers agreed to provide the requested support (for example, agreeing to set aside a number of signs), the investigation has not identified evidence that any Trump campaign official understood the requests were coming from foreign nationals.

A name that may be worth keeping in the back of your mind is “Project Lakhta,” which is mentioned as a larger project that includes the IRA operations. The rest of that paragraph is redacted.








Friday Open Thread: Summer Shade

Yesterday, Canada brings it:

The look on IQ45’s face. LOL Don’t know if it was intentional on Trudeau’s part, and I don’t care. It was perfect.

Open thread








The new Health Reimbursement Account rule for employer sponsored insurance

Last week, the Trump Administration released a new rule that will allow business to put money into a couple of different types of Health Reimbursement Accounts (HRA) for their employees to use that money to buy individual market insurance.  It is an interesting rule on several front; notably it presumes a well functioning (or at least not a dysfunctional individual market) and it advances a long term health/economics policy wonk goal of disconnecting insurance from employment.

The theory of change behind the rule is that employer sponsored insurance operates under price and scream at HR constraints which leads to broad networks at high reimbursement rates for all providers.  Moving people to the exchanges means people with low willingness to pay for access to a broad network won’t be paying for those broad, expensive networks.  And that will place downward aggregate pressure on medical prices.  This is not banana pants.

Below is a good summary of what the different types of HRAs do:

The other big part of the rule is that it is a radical transparency experiment on a quasi-hidden part of the compensation package of employees.

Right now, I can’t compare the value of my Duke employer sponsored insurance all that well to the employer sponsored insurance of any other employer.  There are too many hidden attributes that I can’t figure out how to value well (and this is what I do for both a living and for fun!) However I can see what Duke would offer if I was to buy on the Exchange vs what any other employer would offer if I was to buy on the Exchange.  That would provide tremendous clarity.

The Brookings Institute crew has been following this rule making process hard.  They’ve identified a potentially significant problem with the rule.  The employer contribution can vary no more than 3:1 by age.  This means that unless the employer is paying 100% of the premium, older employees are worse off.

Let’s walk through an example.  Let’s say Company X employs a 21 year old and a 64 year old.  Right now they are in the small group market and only offer a single plan.  Total monthly premiums for the group are $1,200/month of which the company pays 75% or $900.  Each employee than gets a $150/month payroll deduction  for their employer sponsored insurance.  Now fast forward and move these two people to the exchanges with an HRA.  The company will still  pay $900/month to the HRAs.  However the rules say that the 21 year old will face a $300 premium while the 64 year old will see a gross premium of $900/month with standard ACA 3:1 age banding.  The HRA contribution is split $225 to the youngster and $675.  The net premium for the 21 year old is now $75/month while the 64 year old will see a net out of pocket premium of $225.  The older workers are worse off in this scenario.

Here is how I visualize the impact of this rule on people who are currently buying insurance in the individual market.  These are mainly directional estimates that are highly sensitive to the number of people who will get their health insurance through employer provided HRA but buy their plans on the individual market.

There is a secondary HRA proposal that will allow employers to lightly fund ($1,800/year) anything goes purchases such as short term limited duration plans.  I think this would be attractive to fast food/low wage franchise operations only.  However, most of the action would be HRAs funding Exchange/ACA regulated plans though.








About last night…

After warming up by ranting about last night’s Fox News programming, Trump finally tweet-screams an account of the scrubbed Iran strike:

Jun 21, 2019 08:03:14 AM – President Obama made a desperate and terrible deal with Iran – Gave them 150 Billion Dollars plus I.8 Billion Dollars in CASH! Iran was in big trouble and he bailed them out. Gave them a free path to Nuclear Weapons, and SOON. Instead of saying thank you, Iran yelled…..

Jun 21, 2019 08:03:16 AM – ….Death to America. I terminated deal, which was not even ratified by Congress, and imposed strong sanctions. They are a much weakened nation today than at the beginning of my Presidency, when they were causing major problems throughout the Middle East. Now they are Bust!….

Jun 21, 2019 08:03:17 AM – ….On Monday they shot down an unmanned drone flying in International Waters. We were cocked & loaded to retaliate last night on 3 different sights when I asked, how many will die. 150 people, sir, was the answer from a General. 10 minutes before the strike I stopped it, not….

Jun 21, 2019 08:03:18 AM – ….proportionate to shooting down an unmanned drone. I am in no hurry, our Military is rebuilt, new, and ready to go, by far the best in the world. Sanctions are biting & more added last night. Iran can NEVER have Nuclear Weapons, not against the USA, and not against the WORLD!

Note that the outburst begins with several lies and contains multiple instances of self-aggrandizement, including the obligatory humble-brag about how generals call him “sir” — it’s pathetic how compulsively he points that out.

Anyhoo, what have we learned? Nothing. A malignant narcissist/pathological liar has weighed in with his account. I’ll believe it when someone with a shred of credibility, i.e., not Trump or a Trump minion, tells us how it went down.

Open thread!








On the Road and In Your Backyard

Good Morning All,

On The Road and In Your Backyard is a weekday feature spotlighting reader submissions. From the exotic to the familiar, please share your part of the world, whether you’re traveling or just in your locality. Share some photos and a narrative, let us see through your pictures and words. We’re so lucky each and every day to see and appreciate the world around us!

Submissions from commenters are welcome at tools.balloon-juice.com

Have a wonderful day and weekend; enjoy the pictures!

Read more








Friday Morning Open Thread: Well, *That* Was Timely…

Wednesday:


 
Thursday night:


 
Potential Friday distraction:








Tonight We Almost Started A War With Iran

My analysis skills lag at this time of night, but we might as well get it out there: The New York Times, and now ABC News, say that a strike was ordered on a number of Iranian military targets, and the President called it off when the planes were in the air.

This is the action of a deeply incompetent person, surrounded by those seeking their own agendas by toadying up to him. He is operating in a vacuum of advice, having downgraded his initially worthless cabinet to a bunch of people desperate for power and willing to abase themselves in acting position.

Some tweets:








Today In America’s Concentration Camps for Children

I want to refocus a bit on this:

SAN FRANCISCO (CN) – The Trump administration argued in front of a Ninth Circuit panel Tuesday that the government is not required to give soap or toothbrushes to children apprehended at the U.S.-Mexico border and can have them sleep on concrete floors in frigid, overcrowded cells, despite a settlement agreement that requires detainees be kept in “safe and sanitary” facilities.

All three judges appeared incredulous during the hearing in San Francisco, in which the Trump administration challenged previous legal findings that it is violating a landmark class action settlement by mistreating undocumented immigrant children at U.S. detention facilities.

“You’re really going to stand up and tell us that being able to sleep isn’t a question of safe and sanitary conditions?’” U.S. Circuit Judge Marsha Berzon asked the Justice Department’s Sarah Fabian Tuesday.

U.S. Circuit Judge William Fletcher also questioned the government’s interpretation of the settlement agreement.

“Are you arguing seriously that you do not read the agreement as requiring you to do anything other than what I just described: cold all night long, lights on all night long, sleeping on concrete and you’ve got an aluminum foil blanket?” Fletcher asked Fabian. “I find that inconceivable that the government would say that that is safe and sanitary.”

The settlement at issue came out of Jenny Lisette Flores v. Edwin Meese, filed in 1985 on behalf of a class of unaccompanied minors fleeing torture and abuse in Central America.

Finally agreed upon in 1997, the settlement established guidelines for the humane detention, treatment and release of minors taken into federal immigration custody. The guidelines include the right to a bond hearing and requirements that immigration authorities timely release children to parents or guardians and place those not released in facilities that meet certain standards. The facilities are supposed to be “safe and sanitary.”

I spent about 45 minutes this afternoon looking for a picture of me, from August or September 2008, handing out toothpaste, tooth brushes, floss, soap, shampoo, other sundries, and toys to Iraqi children during a Humanitarian Assistance (HA) operation with the Command Sergeant Major* of the 4th Battalion/27th Field Artillery Regiment – Iron Thunder.** The Command Sergeant Major was handing out small, portable water purifiers, and dry consumables like bags of legumes that wouldn’t spoil, to the women in the village we were visiting. I’ll never forget watching and hearing a 6’6 inch tall, African American Command Sergeant Major, bend over and tell little old Iraqi women through his interpreter: “Mother, I know things aren’t great right now and I’m sorry about that. But on behalf of my battalion commander, my brigade commander, the Soldiers of the US Army, and the American people may I give you some things to try to make your life a little easier?” You can’t teach or train that. He didn’t just give them something. He didn’t hand it to them and walk away. He asked them. He gave them some of their dignity back by making them subjects to be interacted with, not objects to be manipulated. He got it without having to even be taught, not by sitting through hours of cultural engagement classes.

The reason for this reminiscence is that we CANNOT EVEN BE BOTHERED TO DO THE SAME THING FOR CHILDREN WHO WE HAVE SEPARATED FROM THEIR PARENTS AND REFUSE TO RELEASE TO THERE PARENTS !!!!!!! Not in some foreign country, not some place where everyone has to actually go around armed for their own safety, but here in the US!

They’re concentration camps. Their purpose is to concentrate these children, and in other cases adults, in miserable conditions in the perverse belief that word of the immiseration will get back to others in Central America, which will stop those considering fleeing to the US to seek asylum. It won’t. It is also a violation of US Federal law and Senate ratified US treaty obligations that have the force of US Federal law. It is immoral. It is unethical. And anyone who claims to be a devout, believing, and practicing member of any religion that supports this is a fraud, a liar, and a hypocrite!

Home of the brave my ass!

Open thread!

Read more








Long Day Today and I Have No Idea What Trump Did and I Don’t Care

Long day today- bunch of things going on and I had a doctor’s appointment- I have lost 15 lbs since February, and my BP is now 122/75, so the doctor was happy and told me to keep at it, whatever that means.

Anything exciting going on?








Foreign Affairs Open Thread: Which #@%^ Keeps Queuing Up ‘Moldy Oldies’ on the History Channel?!?

Is there a ‘President Eisehower face-palm’ gif out there somewhere?


Read more








Request From WaterGirl For Testing The New Site

From an email (thanks to valued commenter and tester M. Bouffant):

Hey everyone, WaterGirl here.

You are receiving this message if you volunteered to test the new website and supplied information about your devices, but never followed up by sending email to [address deleted]

I am starting to get our ducks in a row for whenever testing will start.

Please write back to [address deleted] — one way or another — to say that you’re in for testing or that you don’t want to be contacted about testing again.

Hope to hear from all of you one way or another, very soon!

Thanks, WaterGirl








“I Have Never Made But One Prayer To God…

…’Oh Lord, make my enemies ridiculous.’…”

And, for us as well as Voltaire, “God granted it”:

More than 20,000 Christians have signed a petition calling for the cancellation of Good Omens, the television series adapted from Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman’s 1990 fantasy novel – unfortunately addressing their petition to Netflix when the series is made by Amazon Prime.

The six-part series was released last month, starring David Tennant as the demon Crowley and Michael Sheen as the angel Aziraphale, who collaborate to prevent the coming of the antichrist and an imminent apocalypse.

The petition is the work of Return to Order — a program of the American Society for the Tradition, Family* and Property, which is itself a project of the Foundation for A Christian Civilization — all of which is tied up in radical right anti-Vatican 2 revanchism in its modern guise.  The group(s) is/are deeply offended by contraception, all things to do with same-sex relationships, and the entire notion of a secular democratic state. to be replaced, according to the Brazilian founder of the movement, by a feudal form of governance in which the husband exercises authority over his family, more powerful family heads over their lessers, and kings over all.

There is, of course, a whiff of sexual scandal in and about these defenders of family, tradition and all that property — the speediest of google searches turned up an abuser at a school run by one tentacle of these folks.

They are, in other words, radical authoritarians who want to establish religious dictatorships in which women are subordinated and non-extremely-conservative Christians (perhaps all non-Catholic followers of Jesus) will have a very rough go of it indeed.

So, nasty bits of work, but, as it appears from their so-well-placed howls of rage about a satiric comedy in which neither Satan nor his counterpart come off that well, not the sharpest implements of torture available to the Inquisition.

TL:DR — you can’t fix stupid, which we knew. You can’t repair self-righteousness either, and the stew you get when both combine is…

Special.

Open thread.

*Approved traditions do not, it seems, include the Oxford comma.

Image: Hieronymus Bosch, inner right wing (Hell) from The Garden of Earthly Delights, between 1480 and 1505.








Women’s World Cup: US vs Sweden (Open Thread)

Kiddo just reminded me it’s on! US up 1-0 as of this posting. Open thread for discussion of the fútbol and anything else.