Senate confirms Paul Nakasone to head NSA and U.S. Cyber Command

The U.S. Senate today confirmed President Donald Trump’s selection to lead the National Security Agency and U.S. Cyber Command. Paul Nakasone will replace Mike Rogers, who is retiring.

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Paul Manafort was interviewed twice by FBI years before he joined Trump's political campaign

The FBI interviewed Paul Manafort two times when he worked as a consultant for a political party in Ukraine aligned with Russian President Vladimir Putin, in March 2013 and July 2014--that's long before Manafort teamed up with Donald Trump's 2016 presidential campaign. Read the rest

"But slavery was so long ago"

Originally commissioned as a wrist tattoo, the simple and powerful chart showing how recent black freedom is in America is now also a t-shirt.

"...but slavery was sooo long ago."

We've heard this quote over and over throughout the course of modern American history. In an attempt to urge black people to "move on" and to recognize just how good they have it in America, this dismissive and tone deaf statement attempts to transform relatively recent history into ancient history or myth.

However, when looking at this graphic, it is very clear that American slavery and segregation was not so long ago. In fact, it is very possible to have conversations with many African Americans who have vivid memories of Jim Crow South and the racist and subversive practices in the North.

I like this black and white version:

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FBI, DHS, and UK cyber agency warn of Russia internet attack that targets routers

The United States and Britain today accused Russia of launching a new wave of internet-based attacks targeting routers, firewalls and other computer networking equipment used by government agencies, businesses and critical infrastructure operators around the globe.

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Sean Hannity revealed as Trump lawyer Michael Cohen's client number 3

In New York today, a judge ordered Michael Cohen to reveal the name of a third client, someone who didn't want to be named. It's Sean Hannity.

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Prosecutors got 'covert' warrants to search Michael Cohen's email, here's what we know of their findings

A court filing in the case of President Donald Trump's lawyer Michael Cohen shows that prosecutors obtained “covert” search warrants on multiple email accounts belonging to Cohen. An early report says “Cohen is in fact performing little to no legal work,” according to sources, and “zero emails were exchanged with President Trump.”

If that's the case, attorney-client privilege doesn't apply.

According to all that is publicly known, Trump does not use email, personally. Others may read out the contents to him, or print out the messages. But he doesn't email.

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Trump to pardon Scooter Libby, Dick Cheney's former chief of staff

President Donald Trump plans to pardon Scooter Libby, the former chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney, reports ABC News citing 'sources familiar with the president’s thinking.'

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Trump will never, ever be impeached and removed from office

For Trump to be impeached and removed from office, 67 Senators would have to vote in favor of impeachment; assuming no Democrats voted against impeachment, the only way Trump could be impeached is if every single 2018 Senate election was won by a Democrat, and nine Republican Senators voted in favor of impeachment. Read the rest

A hive of scum and villainy: meet the right-wing "Democrats" the DCCC is planning to win 2018 with

Ann Kirkpatrick cast the vote that kept Guantanamo Bay open and voted against cap-and-trade, and has been a consistent opponent of EPA air-quality measures; Jason Crow says he won't take corporate PAC money, so instead he's funded by his law firm which lobbies for casinos, fossil fuel companies (he also opposed gun control after the Aurora shooting happened on his watch in his district, having received large sums from the gun lobby) and he's the beneficiary of Bain Capital's largesse; Paul Davis voted to bar cities from enacting gun control rules, and for a ban on the use of state funds to support gun control lobbying, he's supported drug tests for welfare recipients and a corporate tax cut during the recession. Read the rest

Governing a decentralized internet without votes

When we think of democracy, we generally think of voting: the people are polled, the people decide. But voting is zero-sum: it has winners and losers. There are other models of governance that can make claim to democratic legitimacy that produce wins for everyone. Read the rest

New York magazine depicts Trump

Splendidly grotesque work by cover artist Joe Darrow for a batch of articles in this month's New York Magazine about Trump corruption. Here it is without the layout: Read the rest

Colorado Republicans admit they hate poor people and explain why

Today in conservatives hastily adjusting masks:

"Out of self-respect– be Republican," the original post read. "Democrats love poor people because they think that poor people will vote Democrat. Republicans hate poor people because they think the dignity of man is above being poor."

In the apology, the group called the post "inappropriate and offensive."

As of Monday, though, the tweet is still up:

Republicans admitting they hate the poor is going to be an increasingly common slip. The party (and conservatives in general) are accomodating themselves to being more honest about their animus toward certain groups, now they no longer have plans to woo them at the ballot box. But they still need poor folk on-side, so being nasty to them in public will remain a serious faux pas.

Becoming the party of Christian nationalism is hard work when you hate working class white people almost as much as everyone else! Especially when all your young activists are rich kids and seething, smirking trumpkins. Read the rest

Watch countless American news anchors mindlessly intone the same propaganda script

"Extremely dangerous for democracy," is just one phrase in the uncanny propagandistic script that dozens (hundreds?) of news anchors "report" in this compilation video. The effect is creepy and surreal; the connection is that all the stations are owned by the same conservative corporation, Sinclair, which is where the marching orders come from. Read the rest

Referendums and low-engagement voters produce catastrophic outcomes (but what about corruption?)

The idea of representative democracy is that we pay lawmakers to give serious attention to the nuances of policy questions and cast votes on our behalf in accord with their understanding of our preferences, applied to those nuanced understandings. Read the rest

The Atlantic explains why it hired a columnist who wants a quarter of American women put to death

Last week, The Atlantic hired Kevin Williamson, a conservative famous for his flamboyant bigotry, a flair most famously exhibited when he wrote that women who have abortions should be hanged along with their nurses and doctors.

Online outrage was immediate, drawing attention to his other greatest hits: transgender women commit genital mutilation and are “effigies” of women; rape accusers should be publicly named; the poor are lazy and their communities should be abandoned; and a comically fabulated account of meeting a black child he compared to a primate and described as "three fifths" of a Snoop Dog. The Atlantic itself described him as "gratuitously nasty" way back in the mists of 2016.

"These are not views one would typically associate with the Atlantic," wrote Jordan Weissman at Slate. Sarah Jones, at The New Republic, wrote that it marks the mainstreaming of the reactionary right.

What I noticed, though, was the general assumption that The Atlantic's current brass simply didn't know about the things he'd written. Williamson deleted his Twitter account, after all, as if to hide his past from his new editors. (Compare to the New York Times, which recently hired a columnist only to fire her hours later over tweets it claimed it had never seen.)

But I had a hunch: I thought (and said as much) that Williamson was hired explicitly because of what he had written about women, black kids and the poor. To well-off center-leaning liberals, Williamson is the perfect post-Trump conservative: superficially literary, ostentatiously nasty, profoundly disgusted by the weak, yet (and this is super-duper important) opposed to the current president. Read the rest

Deer semen as currency

Last month in Texas, Ana Lisa Garza, a Democrat running for a state House seat, received a campaign donation of deer semen valued at $51,000. The semen is stored in straws that are worth $100 to around $5,000 each depending on the genetics of the "donor." From ABC7News:

...The donated deer semen was collected in a tank and put on an auction at an event hosted by the Texas Deer Association last month, according to the Dallas Morning News' initial reporting.

It is unclear how much the whole tank earned at the auction to fund Garza's campaign. Deer breeder Allan Meyer, who donated about $3,000 worth of semen straws to Garza, said deer semen is a valued commodity among breeders in Texas because that's the only way to bring specific desired genes in the herd.

Texas is a "closed border" state so deer are not allowed to be imported.

(via Weird Universe, image from North American Deer Registry) Read the rest

Trump Administration moves to stop transgender members of the military from honorably serving their country

In its latest bigoted move against anything that doesn't share DNA with a loaf of Wonder Bread, the Trump Administration unveiled a new policy on Friday that will all but eliminate the ability of transgendered patriots to serve in the military.

It's the continuation of shit that he's hoped would stick to Washington's bureaucratic walls in the past: in August of last year, Trump sent Defense Secretary Jim Mattis a memo that ordered him to change a policy put in place by the Obama administration. The policy allowed transgendered soldiers to proudly lay their lives on the line for their country and receive the quality medical care they deserve in thanks for their service.

The force behind Trump's stab at transgender service members comes from a policy laid out by the Pentagon and the Justice Department in February: it states that military personnel need to be available for deployment for up to a year at a time. If you can't hack that, you can't stay in the ranks. That could temporarily interrupt the military career of individuals who plan on having a child or come down with a severe illness that requires extensive medical treatment outside of a war zone. But it absolutely screws anyone seeking gender reassignment surgery, which can span multiple, complex visits under the knife. It actually sounds reasonable, when you think of it in terms of medical care and deployability. But that's because it's supposed to: the most hateful bile often comes from the mouths of seemingly rational men.  Read the rest

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