Tin Horn Monday

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Tin Horn Dicktator-in-Chief

“I need loyalty, I expect loyalty,” Trump told then FBI Director James Comey in January – even though FBI directors are supposed to be independent of a president, and Comey was only 4 years into a 10 year term.

Comey testified before the Senate that Trump tried to “create some sort of patronage relationship,” based on personal loyalty.

After Comey refused and continued to investigate possible connections between the Trump campaign and Russian operatives, Trump fired him.

Preet Bharara, who had been the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, said Trump tried to create the same sort of patronage relationship with him that he did with Comey.

Bharara’s office had been investigating Trump’s secretary of health and human services, Tom Price, and also looking into Russian money-laundering allegations against Deutsche Bank, Trump’s principal private lender.

When Bharara didn’t play along, Trump fired him.

Bharara said Comey’s testimony “felt a little bit like déjà vu.”

Den sez:
It should be noted that Sessions was the only point of contact for both men

@ TRUTHDIG

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Swarming Sunday

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The small earthquake that struck Yellowstone National Park on Thursday night was part of a swarm that has been hitting the area since Monday, scientists say.

The quake was centered near West Yellowstone, but was also felt by people in Gardiner and Bozeman.

“As of 10 a.m. this morning we had located a total of 235 earthquakes in the area,” said Jamie Farrell, University of Utah research professor of seismology.

Yellowstone gets about 1,500 to 2,000 earthquakes every year. About half of those come in earthquake swarms — lots of earthquakes in a small area in a short amount of time.

So this activity is fairly normal, Farrell said.

@ THE BOZEMAN CHRONICAL

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Selective Saturday

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Mixing up a mindless potion.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions, one of the first members of the Republican establishment to ally himself with then-candidate Donald Trump, appeared on Tuesday before the Senate Intelligence Committee. In his testimony, Sessions sought to staunch the increasingly rapid flow of embarrassing information from the Trump White House. The attorney general is near the center of multiple controversies dogging Trump. One is the firing of FBI Director James Comey, which Sessions recommended in a memo, for reasons that are still unclear. Another is contact between Sessions and Russian ambassador to Washington Sergei Kislyak, whom Sessions has variously claimed he did not meet with during the campaign, met with only twice, and now, perhaps, met with three times. The third alleged meeting with Kislyak, during a campaign event at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, was one of many important particulars that Sessions claimed he could not remember. He answered more than 20 questions with some version of “I don’t recall,” “I don’t recollect,” or “I don’t remember.”

Combined with last week’s testimony from Comey, today’s hearing crystallized the tenor of Washington under the Trump administration. Much of the government seems bogged down in litigating the Russia controversy and strange happenings in the Oval Office, where the half-life of presidential confidences has never been shorter. Today, Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., insisted that on top of its Russia investigation, his committee was continuing to oversee the intelligence community’s $50 billion-plus budget and considering the renewal of major, controversial legal authorities for government surveillance. In public, however, not much aside from the Russia investigation is getting done.

@ TI

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FRYday PFuneeZ

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Discrete Thug Thursday

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The NYPD’s arsenal of surveillance gear includes license plate readers, X-ray-equipped box trucks, body cameras, cellphone tower simulators, facial recognition software, a gunshot detection system, and a vast network of cameras and chemical sensors in the five boroughs and beyond. Given that much of what the public knows about New York City police’s spyware is thanks to public records requests and courtroom fights, there’s likely more that the NYPD is using and not disclosing. For example, in 2014, Miller and former police commissioner Bill Bratton said they had explored acquiring drones, so have they? A reporter’s long legal battle over drone documents has shown that the NYPD doesn’t want us to find out.

“The public should not have to learn about these technologies through costly litigation,” New York Civil Liberties Union legislative counsel Rashida Richardson testified at the hearing, saying the group supports the bill.

Contrary to the premise of the bill and the assertions of legislators and privacy advocates, Miller said that the NYPD is a model of transparency, and follows all privacy laws.

“The New York City Police Department is the most transparent municipal police department in the world,” he said. “A broad categorization that the NYPD is not transparent would be simply false.”

The NYPD is not transparent. The department was one of two city agencies to get an F grade in transparency from Bill de Blasio’s office when he was public advocate in 2013. In 2014, the department’s Freedom of Information Law Office claimed that its public records handbook was exempt from disclosure. When the agency finally did release the handbook, it incorrectly stated the length of time that records officers have to respond to FOIL requests as 10 days, double the actual window of time specified by law. The NYPD also only accepts FOIL requests by snail mail, another violation of state law.

@ THEGOTHAMIST

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Whittling the Earth Wednesday

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Edited Landsat 8 image of one of the deep blue holes in the Caribbean Sea. Once seen as too remote to harm, the deep sea is facing new pressures from mining, pollution, overfishing and more. (Photo: Stuart Rankin / Flickr)

Imagine sinking into the deepest parts of the Central Pacific Ocean, somewhere between Mexico and Hawaii. Watch as the water turns from clear to blue to dark blue to black. And then continue on for another 15,000 feet (4,600 meters) to the seafloor — roughly the distance from the peak of California’s Mount Whitney to the bottom of nearby Death Valley.

“As soon as you start to descend, all of the wave action and bouncing goes away and it’s like you’re just floating and then you sink really slowly and watch the light fade out through the windows and then you really are in another world,” says Erik Cordes, a researcher at Temple University and frequent visitor to the deep ocean.

Finally, you come to a stop 12,000 feet (3,700 meters) below the last bits of light from the surface. The water here is strangely viscous yet remarkably transparent, and the light from your flashlight extends for hundreds of yards. You are in the heart of the Clarion-Clipperton Fracture Zone, a region of the ocean seafloor roughly the size of the United States, populated by colorless invertebrates adapted in astounding ways to the sparse, crushing conditions found here.

And all around you — as far as the eye can’t see — are small, spherical rocks. Varying from microscopic to the size of a volleyball, they look like something stolen from the set of “Gremlins” or maybe “Invasion of the Body Snatchers.”

And they’re worth millions. Because inside these mysterious little eggs are untouched stores of copper, titanium, cobalt and especially manganese — crucial for making anything from the steel in your car’s frame to the circuitry that tells you how much gas is left in it. Some metals exist in larger quantities here than on all the continents of the world — and you had better believe they have caught the eye of mining companies.

@ TRUTHOUT

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Total Tard Trump Tuesday

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Trumps’ head is this big! Really!

High-profile supporters of President Donald Trump are turning on special counsel Robert Mueller, the man charged with investigating Russian interference in the U.S. election and possible collusion with Trump’s campaign.

As Mueller builds his legal team, Trump’s allies have begun raising questions about the former FBI director’s impartiality, suggesting he cannot be trusted to lead the probe. The comments come amid increasing frustration at the White House and among Trump supporters that the investigation will overshadow the president’s agenda for months to come — a prospect that has Democrats salivating.

Trump friend Chris Ruddy, the CEO of Newsmax, went so far as to suggest the president was already thinking about “terminating” Mueller.

“I think he’s considering perhaps terminating the special counsel,” Ruddy said in an interview with Judy Woodruff of “PBS NewsHour.” ″I think he’s weighing that option.”

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, an informal Trump adviser, tweeted Monday, “Republicans are delusional if they think the special counsel is going to be fair. Look who he is hiring,” tweeted

Just weeks ago, Gingrich had heaped praise on Mueller, hailing him as a “superb choice” for special counsel whose reputation was “impeccable for honesty and integrity.”

But after the testimony of former FBI Director James Comey last week, Gingrich said he’d changed his mind.

@ AP

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