It’s only generic collusion conspiracy

Balloon Juice - Mon, 12/10/2018 - 12:36

The Washington Post has a blockbuster on collusion between generic drug manufacturers:

Executives at more than a dozen generic-drug companies had a form of shorthand to describe how they conducted business, insider lingo worked out over steak dinners, cocktail receptions and rounds of golf.

The “sandbox,” according to investigators, was the market for generic prescription drugs, where everyone was expected to play nice…

Officials from multiple states say these practices were central to illegal price-fixing schemes of massive proportion.

Generic drugs have the ability to offer large costs savings. Those savings only occur when there is real competition. Research ** has shown that generic drugs are significantly cheaper than brand name drugs when there are many manufacturers.

Collusion and c Conspiracy to fix prices is a direct pickpocketing by the generic manufacturers out of the pockets of patients and insurers.

This is going to be a huge deal if the collusion conspiracy can be proven.

** December 28, 2017 N Engl J Med 2017; 377:2597-2598 DOI: 10.1056/NEJMc1711899

Categories: Politics

A historic first: country's first charter school strike may be over, with a victory for teachers

Daily Kos - Mon, 12/10/2018 - 12:31

Acero charter school teachers walked off the job in Chicago on Dec. 4, beginning the first charter teachers strike. By that Friday, Acero Schools officials were saying that the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) was “violating” the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Act. The CTU for their part, tried not to laugh out loud at the clearly desperate attempt (by what amounts to “management” in a charter school scenario) to paint teachers’ actions as anything other than righteous. Here’s how CTU president Jesse Sharkey responded to Acero’s allegations in a statement to New York magazine:

“Acero’s management is desperate, and our pressure is working. There is nothing illegal about our strike over wages, benefits, class size and other conditions that are mandatory subjects of bargaining under the federal labor law that governs this contract. Acero CEO Richard Rodriguez is a political hack trying to build his personal empire and the size of his wallet at the expense of our students. A growing groundswell of parents, neighborhood residents and elected officials are rejecting his spectacular greed, just as the courts will reject this desperate move to hoard power and public dollars at the expense the children in these schools and the educators upon whom they rely.

This is a pathetic and predictable ploy. Our bargaining team is at the table now and intends to work through the weekend to win a fair agreement.”

Damn. As LaborNotes.org points out, Acero charter schools CEO Richard Rodriguez is paid more for supervising roughly 8,000 students than than the Chicago Public Schools superintendent is for overseeing more than 350,000 students. The Chicago Tribune reports that Acero’s rhetoric was all bark and no bite.

More than 500 teachers and support staff will return to 15 Acero campuses across the city Monday after walking off the job and missing four days of school last week. The workers will vote in the coming weeks to approve the contract, which promises better pay and hours for teachers as well as smaller class sizes and sanctuary school protections for the majority Latino student body.

Categories: Politics

Dan Bongino Is A Dirty Liar, Chapter Infinity

Crooks and Liars - Mon, 12/10/2018 - 12:25
Dan Bongino Is A Dirty Liar, Chapter Infinity

Former Secret Service agent and NRA TV spokesman Dan Bongino went on Fox and Friends Monday morning, looked into the camera, and lied through his teeth about the felonies alleged to have been committed by Donald Trump and Michael Cohen with regard to the hush money paid to Karen McDougal and Stormy Daniels.

“That’s an election law violation,” Kilmeade explained. “According to everybody’s stats, Barack Obama’s campaign spent nearly $2 million in violations of election law. They got a fine of $300,000. But you want to throw this president in jail about payments to women that they may or may not have known about!

NARRATOR VOICEOVER: There is a recording of Michael Cohen informing Trump and getting his approval for the payments.

But Dan Bongino never lets facts get in the way of his burning desire to stand tall for His Hero, President Lying Liar. Like a good secret service guy, he'll take the bullet and he did, even though he's quite selective about which president he will protect.

“The Barack Obama team was guilty of the exact same thing and was given a civil fine… But because its Barack Obama — you know, the anointed one — nothing happened," he lied, repeating Donald Trump's bottomless lie about the same subject.

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Categories: Politics

Trump Tweets There's No 'Smocking' Gun' To Attack Democrats

Crooks and Liars - Mon, 12/10/2018 - 12:19
Trump Tweets There's No 'Smocking' Gun' To Attack Democrats

Trump's desperate and flailing Twitter rage over Robert Muller's special counsel and James Comey is making him look guiltier by the tweet.

Everybody makes typos, but "everybody" is not the so-called "commander in chief" of the United States of America. Doesn't he have a country to run?

And his incessant need to watch Fox and Friends and regurgitate their propaganda is not fitting behavior for any U.S. "President."

Click here to see what Trump's Twitter malapropisms look like as offical WH statements.

Matthew Getz caught it first.

Categories: Politics

Peter Navarro Claims Trump's Tariffs Bring Economic Growth

Crooks and Liars - Mon, 12/10/2018 - 12:04

FBN's Maria Bartiromo called out Peter Navarro, Trump's Trade Council Director for his crazed tariff policy with China that's crashed the markets and hurt the U.S. economy and he just shrugged and blamed the federal reserve instead.

Maria never followed up on her excellent opening question until the end of a segment. As Navarro started moronically gaslighting how wonderful his tariffs were, she abruptly cut him off to go to a commercial break.

Navarro, a hard-liner against China, joined Sunday Morning Futures with Maria Bartiromo to answer some questions about why the stock market is tanking.

Her opening salvo was right on target.

Maria said, "The DOW is down in negative territory, the S&P down in negative territory for 2018 on worries over trade tariffs, higher interest rates."

She continued, "We all know the tariffs were your idea and people are worried that these higher tariffs are cutting into company's ability to grow because input costs are going higher that's crushing profit margins and hurting the stock market. So what are you going to do about it?"

Asking "what are you going to do about it" normally would put any political advisor, whose policies have failed miserably, in the position to respond, but instead he just lied.

Navarro replied, "So, first of all, I think that's a false narrative in terms of the impact of the tariffs on the stock market. My view is that this is strictly an interest rate effect. I think the Fed went too far and too fast..."

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Categories: Politics

Dan Bongino Tells Fox And Friends Obama Is As Guilty As Trump

Crooks and Liars - Mon, 12/10/2018 - 12:00

A Fox & Friends segment on Monday insisted that President Donald Trump does not deserve jail time for illegally paying off two women during the 2016 campaign because former President Barack Obama “did the exact same thing.”

During a segment about Trump’s payments to two former mistresses during the 2016 campaign, conservative commentator Dan Bongino complained that federal prosecutors would be wrong to “throw the president in jail” for violating campaign finance laws.

“Explain to me how this isn’t police state tactics,” Bongino told the hosts of Fox & Friends. “For what? For civil violations?”

Fox News host Brian Kilmeade complained that federal prosecutors are “putting all these adjectives” in court filings to make a case against Trump.

“Let’s drill down on it,” Kilmeade continued. “There were two women coming forward that were going to say negative things about the president and relations. If you are running for office, whether it’s a bad business deal where you have a bitter partner, you want to make sure things are going the best you can to keep your eye on the ball.”

The Fox News host acknowledged that former Trump attorney Michael Cohen had paid Karen McDougal and Stormy Daniels over $100,000 each to secure their silence.

read more

Categories: Politics

Requiem for a California Dream

Daily Kos - Mon, 12/10/2018 - 12:00

Once upon a time, there was a tropical paradise where all were welcome to claim their slice of the American Dream. They settled into their ranch houses with perpetually green lawns; palm trees lined the wide boulevards; the people frolicked year-round on the sunny beaches. In newly built planned communities, planned lives could unfold in peace, far from the insidious influence of the decaying city centers of the East.

Jobs were plentiful. World-class universities were on their doorstep, affordable with just a minimum-wage job. A man could step across the street from his home and pluck a ripe orange from the groves. A boy could safely ride his bike from Long Beach to Knott’s Berry Farm along quiet roads lined by endless dairy farms. It was an idyllic place and time, a time of effortless wonder and magic, of freedom and individual initiative, and of promising new politicians.

And everybody voted for Republicans.

In reality, large portions of Southern California have indeed been dominated by conservative politics for decades, helping to push the state of California, and the nation as well, to the right. The epicenter, of course, was Orange County, home of Richard Nixon, and, as Ronald Reagan so famously put it, “The place that I've often described as 'where the Republicans go before they die.'”

Free enterprise über alles, law’n’order, cutting taxes as a means to limit government services for “those people,” and the scapegoating and targeting of minorities all played a prominent role here, where Republicans once fantasized they could create the perfect conservative state. But as with all fantasies, it was not meant to be.

It is especially delicious, then, to watch the real-time collapse of the Republican Dream in California—and specifically Orange County— as the state party’s power shrivels into a desiccated lump of greenish oatmeal. Meanwhile, California as a whole enjoys its status as one of the most diverse and dynamic states in the country, with a thriving combination of culture and creativity—and, yes, taco stands on many corners, if not every one—making it one of the most desired regions in the world in which to live, work, or play.

Categories: Politics

NRA-connected Russian spy set to plead 'guilty' in mystery deal with federal prosecutors

Daily Kos - Mon, 12/10/2018 - 11:56

David Clarke and Maria Butina at Russian rifle manufacturer Orsis in Moscow Decorated dummy David Clarke visiting a Russian rifle manufacturer with Russian spy Maria Butina.

Russian Maria Butina was living the life in the United States. The Putin-connected gun advocate was tasked with embedding herself in American conservative circles and as a former boss of mine was fond of saying, she dug herself in deeper than an Alabama tick. From hosting former NRA president David Keene and decorated dummy former Sheriff Davide Clarke in Moscow to being the first person to publicly get Donald Trump on the record saying he wanted to lift Russian sanctions, Butina and her Kremlin bosses likely never imagined they’d be so successful at infiltrating Republican circles. 

But Butina’s world came crashing down in July when a grand jury indicted her on charges of conspiracy to act and failing to register as an agent of a foreign government. Despite Russian cries for her release, she’s been sitting in a federal prison ever since and now, she’s ready to make a deal to escape a possible 15-year prison sentence. From The Washington Post:

Attorneys for Butina and federal prosecutors jointly requested in court documents Monday that U.S. District Judge Tanya S. Chutkan set a time for Butina to withdraw her previous plea of “not guilty.” They said they could be available for her to enter her plea as early as Tuesday.

Focus on her boyfriend and partner-in-crime, American Republican operative Paul Erickson, appears to be intensifying. And for good reason:

Erickson sent an infamous email to a top Trump campaign official in May 2016 slugged “Kremlin Connection,” seeking to use the setting of the 2016 NRA annual convention to establish “first contact” between Trump and Butina’s alleged handler, the Russian Central Banker and NRA life member Alexander Torshin. 

Categories: Politics

A message from President Obama: You have 5 days to get covered!

Daily Kos - Mon, 12/10/2018 - 11:46

Former President Barack Obama wants you to have health insurance.


Do what he says. Get covered. Spread the word. You have just five days in most states.

There’s free help for you or anyone you recruit. If you have questions about signing up or want to talk through your options with a trained professional, help is just a quick call or click away. Call 1-800-318-2596, visit localhelp.healthcare.gov or make a one-on-one appointment now.

Here are the states with extended deadlines for enrollment:
California – January 15, 2019
Colorado – January 15, 2019
D.C. – January 31, 2019
Massachusetts – January 23, 2019
Minnesota – January 13, 2019
New York – January 31, 2019
Rhode Island – January 31, 2019

Categories: Politics

BREAKING: Maria Butina Reaches Plea Deal

Crooks and Liars - Mon, 12/10/2018 - 11:33
  Maria Butina Reaches Plea Deal

Oh noes, it appears Putin's National Rifle Association honeypot doesn't like being in jail. CNN:

Accused Russian spy Maria Butina appears to have reached a plea deal with federal prosecutors.

Butina is accused of trying to infiltrate Republican political circles and party leaders during the 2016 campaign in order to advance Russian interests, and prosecutors have said the former American University student was in touch with politically powerful Russians about her activities in the US.

Her attorneys and prosecutors on Monday filed a two-page request for a "change of plea" hearing as soon as Tuesday.

Time will tell how much cooperation prosecutors demanded from Ms. Butina. I wouldn't bargain much if I were they.

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Categories: Politics

While Congress contemplates last-minute legislating, Trump demands shutdown

Daily Kos - Mon, 12/10/2018 - 11:26

With the funeral of George H.W. Bush, and any semblance of acting with decorum and dignity behind them, the lame-duck Republican leadership have to figure out how to keep Individual 1 from shutting down the government. So far, they seem to have landed on not doing anything and leaving it to Democratic leaders Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer, as if Trump's shutdown will somehow end up being blamed on them.

Since Trump has been trying to get his border wall shutdown since basically his first day in office, how this is going to end up being Chuck and Nancy's fault is unclear. But House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell have washed their hands of the negotiations, putting all the onus on them. They are expected to meet with Trump on Tuesday and they are expected to hold the line. "If President Trump wants to throw a temper tantrum and shut down the government over Christmas over the wall, that's his decision," Schumer said last week. "But there are two sensible options on the table," either moving ahead with the agreement they've already reached in Congress on border security spending, or doing a continuing resolution to keep Homeland Security spending level for the next year. The most sensible option is $0 new spending at the border—there's already $1.3 billion there unspent.

With that playing out in the background, members are trying to figure out how much they can pile into the must-pass spending bill, attempting to do in two weeks what Republican leadership has failed to do in two years. Among the possibilities are adopting new sexual harassment prevention rules for Congress itself, a criminal justice reform bill that could easily pass but that McConnell has for some reason refused to bring to the floor, protections for Robert Mueller's special counsel investigation, flood insurance, and, funding for disaster response in California and Florida. They also have to complete the farm bill and there's growing pressure to have a vote on rebuking Saudi Arabia for the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi by cutting off funding for the Saudi-led war in Yemen. The House has their last-ditch, supposedly middle-class tax cut bill, likely to be a casualty of their massive mid-term loss to Democrats, but they're still talking about it, so who knows.

Five of the 12 spending measures for 2019 have already been completed, so any shutdown would be partial, and would also most hurt the federal workers Trump is supposedly championing—Border Control. They'd be the ones forced to work without pay. There's no risk in this for Democrats to hold the line against any new border spending. There's no way that this would not be Trump's shutdown. His (hopefully last) Christmas present to the nation.

Categories: Politics

Trump and Pelosi set for their first meeting after the blue wave

Daily Kos - Mon, 12/10/2018 - 11:21

Donald Trump and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi are set to meet on Tuesday, kicking off a new phase in their relationship. What’s interesting is that Pelosi, the target of so many Republican attack ads, may be the only prominent Democratic woman Trump hasn’t personally attacked. He seems almost to respect her, as much as Trump can be said to really respect anyone:

"He has always maintained that the Democrats do a much better job of keeping their folks in line," said former White House communications director Sean Spicer, who once toiled on Capitol Hill himself. "He understands she's the person to make a deal with."

In part, Pelosi has carefully avoided strong attacks on Trump himself, though she’s been unsparing about Republican policies. And she’s been willing to make a deal if she thought she could get a good deal with him—but she won’t be too trusting:

"She questions whether or not he’s in charge, and I think that’s going to be the issue going forward," the source close to Pelosi said. "Can [a deal] survive outside of that room in his White House? That’s the question. The answer to that appears to be no ... Will that change now that there’s a different dynamic? Possibly.”

Never count out Nancy Pelosi …

Categories: Politics

Today's the last day to oppose Trump's 'public charge' proposal—submit your public comment here

Daily Kos - Mon, 12/10/2018 - 11:13

Today is the final day to submit a public comment opposing the Trump administration’s “public charge” revision, a discriminatory proposal that punishes working immigrant families for legally accessing vital programs like SNAP. While the administration must have an open comment period before implementing any changes, the proposal is already having harmful effects.

In September, providers in at least 18 states said they’d seen drops in enrollment in programs like WIC, while food bank leaders said they’d seen fearful families opt out of their services even though they have nothing to do with the federal government. "It's not like things were hunky-dory for immigrants before then,” Joel Berg of Hunger Free NYC said about the proposal, “and now it's just gotten so much worse.”

”Because one in four American children have at least one immigrant parent,” said the Protect Immigrant Families coalition, “this could impact millions. It would make us a sicker, poorer, and hungrier nation.” And, its the latest battle yet in the administration’s cruel war on children. Trump’s “immigration policies are far-reaching,” tweeted Human Rights First in a thread, “sometimes difficult to understand, and rooted in hate. But one thing seems to unite them all: a blatant, absolute disregard for the rights, safety, and well-being of children.”

More than 150,000 public comments have already been submitted regarding the administration’s proposal, including over 25,000 comments from the Daily Kos community, according to Daily Kos’s Huiying Chan. Let’s close out this comment period strong and in support of children and hardworking immigrant families. Click here to submit a public comment opposing this harmful proposal.

Categories: Politics

Trump makes history with record-breaking government spending ... on golf carts

Daily Kos - Mon, 12/10/2018 - 11:01

The current presidential administration’s capacity for corruption seems limitless. The big-ticket items, like tax breaks for the wealthy and the epic destruction of environmental protections and public lands, are the most glaring and far-reaching. But everything that con men like Donald Trump and his cohorts do is a scam. They do not believe in spending their own money on anything that isn’t for them, and in many cases they prefer stealing other Americans’ money in order to do even that. Quartz is reporting that the Secret Service, now under the purview of the Trump administration, is trying to set some new records in government spending … on golf carts.

According to federal spending data, the agency is set to pay a Delray Beach company as much as $92,740 between now and June for an unspecified number of “golf cars.” The firm supplying the carts, Maddox Joines Inc., does business as “Sunshine Golf Car” and is a straight 24-mile shot down the turnpike from Trump International Golf Club in West Palm Beach.

This should come as no surprise to anyone, considering that Trump has spent an estimated one-third of his time using taxpayer money to hang out on Trump-owned properties, and at least 25 percent of that time playing golf. Now, before you wonder out loud about how and why these golf carts are so expensive, Quartz did some reporting on the special qualifications these tiny vehicles must meet in order to follow our laziest president around 18 holes.

Standard golf carts have a top speed of about 14 mph. All of the golf carts required by the Secret Service must be able to reach a “ground speed” of up to 19 mph.

At Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, the Secret Service is asking for a total of 12 golf carts. Six four-passenger electric carts must have “hard canopies, chargers, headlights and the back seat flips over and creates a flat bed.” The other six will be two-passenger carts with the same features, minus the back seat.

After spending a reported $300,000-plus on golf carts since the advent of this nightmare administration in 2017, $92,740 is just par for the corrupt course. By the end of 2018, the amount of money taxpayers will have given to Trump in order for him to wine and dine himself out on the links will reach well beyond $400,000.

Categories: Politics

Cover Up At The FCC, Turning Down FOIA Requests About Themselves

Crooks and Liars - Mon, 12/10/2018 - 10:51
Cover Up At The FCC, Turning Down FOIA Requests About Themselves

Isn't identity theft against the law? Who should go to jail for this?


“The Justice Department is investigating whether crimes were committed when potentially millions of people’s identities were posted to the FCC’s website without their permission, falsely attributing to them opinions about net neutrality rules, BuzzFeed News has learned…

“The rule enjoyed broad public support, according to multiple polls, and required a period of public comment before Pai’s change could go into effect. More than 20 million comments have since appeared on the site, with the New York Attorney General’s office estimating that up to 9.5 million of those were filed in people’s names without their consent.”

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Categories: Politics

Lisa Booth Blames Media For Trump Staff Shakeups

Crooks and Liars - Mon, 12/10/2018 - 10:36

It's "blame the media" week at Fox News. On "The Next Revolution with Steve Hilton" Sunday night, panelist Lisa Bloom stayed on script:

LISA BLOOM: It's probably tough for President Trump to try to attract talent right now. Anyone that gets involved with the Trump orbit ends up getting destroyed by the media or at least the media seeks to destroy them.

Is anyone at Fox actually watching the Trump Staff Bingo Board? With the departure of John Kelly at year's end, it's now official: more than half of Trump's senior staff is out the door, either because they were corrupt, Trump fired them to distract from an unfriendly news story, or they fled the chaos on their own.

And this is before the House Oversight Committee is transferred to Democratic control and Trump's cabinet members begin to be called to testify.


Categories: Politics

137 days past judge's reunification deadline, children kidnapped from parents are still in custody

Daily Kos - Mon, 12/10/2018 - 10:36

At this point 173 children kidnapped from the arms of asylum seekers at the southern border continue to remain in U.S. custody, according to a recent court filing, with more than 100 of them the children of parents who have already been deported and have said, for varying reasons, that they do not wish to reunify with their child. Family separation remains a crisis.

Of this overall group of children, 102 have parents “presently departed from the United States whose intent not to reunify has been confirmed by the ACLU.” But many parents have said they “were coerced into signing deportation forms after being falsely told by Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers that it was the only way to reunite with their children.” 

Another 33 kids continue to remain separated because officials claim their parent is “unfit or presents a danger to the child.” Advocates have fought for transparency when it comes to how the government determines this, and for good reason: immigration officials make things up. Without presenting any evidence to justify their action, officials recently separated an asylum seeker and his son, claiming the dad, who was escaping gang violence, is a gang member himself.

Another eight of the children are “not ‘eligible’ to reunite,” with the court filing stating that for four of those parents, the “Steering Committee has advised that resolution will be delayed.” This could mean anything, but considering those parents were already deported, it most likely means the government has no idea where those parents currently are.

In some instances, ACLU leaders have had to do the job of incompetent Trump officials and navigate “treacherous roads, distrustful communities and remote villages” to try to locate parents that Trump officials carelessly deported. “Resolution will be delayed.” Really, a much less harsh way of saying, “permanent separation.” Today, Monday, Dec. 10, marks 137 days since a federal judge’s reunification deadline. Family separation remains a crisis.

Categories: Politics

Trump's first choice for his third chief of staff says no

Daily Kos - Mon, 12/10/2018 - 09:35

Donald Trump isn’t getting his first choice to replace John Kelly in the impossible, ugly job of Trump chief of staff. Nick Ayers, Mike Pence’s chief of staff, won’t be taking the job, leaving Trump scrambling not just to find a replacement candidate but to save face:

The president on Sunday disputed news reports that he had settled on Mr. Ayers as his pick. “I am in the process of interviewing some really great people for the position of White House Chief of Staff,” he said on Twitter. “Fake News has been saying with certainty it was Nick Ayers, a spectacular person who will always be with our #MAGA agenda. I will be making a decision soon!”

But two people close to Mr. Trump said that a news release announcing Mr. Ayers’s appointment had been drafted, and that the president had wanted to announce it as soon as possible.

Ayers says he’s going home to Georgia with his family, which includes three young children, and he will reportedly work on a pro-Trump super PAC. It’s not just the young kids, though:

Ayers was also skeptical of taking the job based on the challenges that Kelly and his predecessor, Reince Priebus, faced in the position, and talks between the two sides broke downaccording to an administration official with direct knowledge of the negotiations.

Ayers, 36, also had faced opposition among many senior White House aides, who worried that his elevation could trigger departures of other high-level staff members.

It doesn’t take a wild leap of the imagination to wonder how much of a role the looming legal threats to Trump played in Ayers’ decision, either.

Trump is now reported to be considering some of his administration’s top sycophants, including budget director Mick Mulvaney, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker, and Robert Lighthizer, the U.S. trade representative, as well as House Freedom Caucus Chair Mark Meadows.

Categories: Politics

GOPer Tries To Blame His Loss On Sinister 'Ballot Harvesting'

Crooks and Liars - Mon, 12/10/2018 - 09:19

Loser California Republican Jeff Denham did an extended tap dance on Morning Joe in defense of the Trump tax plan, an exercise in rationalization and outright lies. After he exhausted himself, Kasie Hunt jumped into the discussion.

"I want to pick back up on what you were just talking about with the tax cut," she said.

"If the tax cut is good for your district and isn't why you lost your election, why did you lose?"

"The earlier segment you talked about ballot harvesting. Ballot harvesting is legal now in California. When you can find 250,000 ballots after election day, you can move a lot of seats," Denham said.

"Are you implying that the results of your election are invalid?"

"No. I'm saying it's legal in California. If California is going to win Republican seats back, Republicans had better figure out how to ballot harvest as they have in other states."

"So your loss had nothing to do with President Trump in your view? It had to do with this, quote, unquote, ballot harvesting?"

"If you look at polling numbers, the president was pulling almost even, and we were up by eight points."

Watch her face.

Sore Loser Denham is of course following Paul Ryan's lead.

read more

Categories: Politics

Lying liar necessitates new WaPo fact-checker category

Balloon Juice - Mon, 12/10/2018 - 09:12

The Post debuted a new fact-check category today in an attempt to capture the unprecedented fire-hose volume of repeat lies coming out of Trump’s lie-hole. They call it the “Bottomless Pinocchio” category:

Trump’s willingness to constantly repeat false claims has posed a unique challenge to fact-checkers. Most politicians quickly drop a Four-Pinocchio claim, either out of a duty to be accurate or concern that spreading false information could be politically damaging.

Not Trump. The president keeps going long after the facts are clear, in what appears to be a deliberate effort to replace the truth with his own, far more favorable, version of it. He is not merely making gaffes or misstating things, he is purposely injecting false information into the national conversation.

To accurately reflect this phenomenon, The Washington Post Fact Checker is introducing a new category — the Bottomless Pinocchio. That dubious distinction will be awarded to politicians who repeat a false claim so many times that they are, in effect, engaging in campaigns of disinformation.

To qualify as a Bottomless Pinocchio, the lie must have been repeated at least 20 times since receiving a 3- or 4-Pinocchio rating from The Post. Glenn Kessler, WaPo’s chief fact-checker, says 14 of Trump’s lies already qualify.

The failure of the mainstream press to adjust the way it covers presidencies in the wake of the election of a pathologically lying stooge of a foreign autocrat has been nothing short of calamitous, IMO. The Bottomless Pinocchio isn’t a serious enough change, but it’s a start since it at least acknowledges the unprecedented nature of this maladministration and its liar-in-chief.

Categories: Politics