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Wednesday, December 12, 2018

NASA's Voyager 2 probe has reached interstellar space at about 11 billion miles from Earth, making it only the second human-made object to do so, according to the space agency read more

New York Attorney Gen.-elect Letitia James says she plans to launch sweeping investigations into President Donald Trump, his family and "anyone" in his circle who may have violated the law once she settles into her new job next month.

"We will use every area of the law to investigate President Trump and his business transactions and that of his family as well," James, a Democrat, told NBC News in her first extensive interview since she was elected last month.

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California state regulators have been working on a plan to charge mobile phone users a text messaging fee intended to fund programs that make phone service accessible to the low-income residents, reports said Tuesday.

The California Public Utilities Commission is scheduled to vote on the proposal next month, but critics have already come out against the scheme, the San Jose Mercury News reported.

"It's a dumb idea," Jim Wunderman, president of the Bay Area Council business group, told the paper. "This is how conversations take place in this day and age, and it's almost like saying there should be a tax on the conversations we have."

While the amount consumers would be expected to pay remained unclear, some business groups are saying the new charges could cost wireless users more than $44 million a year, FOX11 Los Angeles reported.

The Kremlin on Tuesday slammed Washington's "undiplomatic" response to its deployment of two bomber planes to Venezuela for exercises.

Two Russian long-range strategic bombers landed in Venezuela on Monday for what the Venezuelan government said were air force exercises aimed at strengthening the defence of the leftist-ruled South American country.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Twitter condemned Russia for "sending bombers halfway around the world." He said the deployment was a case of "two corrupt governments squandering public funds, and squelching liberty and freedom while their people suffer".

President Vladimir Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov said "this is of course highly undiplomatic of the secretary of state" and called Pompeo's tweet "unacceptable".

North Carolina Republican leaders sound resigned to the obvious: Given the evidence of absentee ballot tampering in the Ninth Congressional District, the subject of a state inquiry, a new election will likely need to be called.

State GOP executive director Dallas Woodhouse stopped just short Tuesday of formally asking for a new election between Republican Mark Harris and Democrat Dan McCready.

But he did say that if early voting totals were leaked, a new election would be necessary -- and one of the sworn affidavits that blew up this entire scandal describes exactly that.


As Trump Cries ‘No Collusion,' Other Campaign Inquiries Close In

...The tawdry tale of a hush money payment to a porn actress has ballooned into an investigation of considerable peril to people around President Donald Trump's campaign.

Fresh details emerged in court papers Wednesday about how Trump loyalists conspired to keep American voters from learning about the candidate's alleged affairs. A tabloid publisher, American Media Inc., told prosecutors that the president's lawyer and at least one Trump campaign member helped hatch the plan to buy and bury such stories more than a year before the election -- and federal prosecutors in New York are continuing to investigate.

It's the latest example of potential Trump campaign violations with no apparent link to Russian election meddling. The hush-money case was referred to federal prosecutors in New York by Special Counsel Robert Mueller's team, who have unearthed a raft of other legal problems while pursuing possible collusion with Russia.

Other authorities are asking questions about at least two more campaign issues: the improper use of money by the Trump Foundation in Iowa, and the possible coordination of messaging with the National Rifle Association. The investigation into the suppression of negative news has already resulted in a guilty plea by Trump's ex-lawyer, Michael Cohen.....

January is going to be interesting...

Tabloid King's Admission Shows New Peril for Trump's Circle

...At least one unidentified campaign member joined Trump lawyer Michael Cohen in an August 2015 meeting with David ------, the publisher of the National Enquirer, to discuss suppressing negative news stories during the election, the U.S. said.

Prosecutors' reference to unidentified campaign staff suggests that the number of Trump associates in legal trouble is still expanding.

The deeper involvement of Trump's campaign staff was revealed on Wednesday by federal prosecutors in New York, who disclosed they had reached a non-prosecution agreement with American Media Inc., the National Enquirer's publisher....

@#18 ... Do you have any idea the cost? The budgets couldn't take it. ...

You mean this...

National Debt Under Trump Is Surging at Its Fastest Pace Since 2012

...U.S. government debt is on track this year to rise at the fastest pace since 2012, as a stronger economy fails to keep pace with the wave of red ink that's rising under the Trump administration.

Total public debt outstanding has jumped by $1.36 trillion, or 6.6 percent, since the start of 2018, and by $1.9 trillion since President Donald Trump took office, according to the latest Treasury Department figures. The latter figure is roughly the size of Brazil's gross domestic product.

If this year's growth rate is sustained through the end of the year, it would be the biggest jump in percentage terms since the last year of President Barack Obama's first term, at a time when the economy needed fiscal stimulus in the aftermath of the financial crisis.

As of Monday, the nation's debt stood at a record $21.9 trillion....

Related article...

There's election fraud in North Carolina. That's not the same thing as voter fraud.

...There is an absolutely wild ballot tampering scandal unfolding in North Carolina, implicating an operative who worked on behalf of the Republican candidate. A GOP win in a competitive House race could be overturned and a new election called.

Puzzlingly, some conservatives have chosen this moment, of all moments, to spike the football and declare they were right: Voter fraud is a serious problem.

"The North Carolina race demonstrates how even relatively small-scale cheating ... can undermine faith in our system. And how, if anyone doubted it, voter fraud is real," read one column in the conservative National Review.

There are a few problems with that take, starting with the most important: What happened in North Carolina wasn't really voter fraud. It was election fraud -- and, yes, that is a meaningful distinction.

Yet the reason for the contortion is clear: Republicans are invested in the voter fraud narrative. They spent much of November warning that Democrats were trying to steal elections in Arizona and Florida, despite no evidence to support their outlandish claims. It goes back further than that, of course: President Donald Trump has made the patently ridiculous claim that he actually won the popular vote if you discount a couple million "illegal" votes in California. The specter of voter fraud has been used to justify voting restrictions in GOP-led states across the country over the past decade.

But the evidence for such fraud has always been lacking. So, strange as it might seem for conservatives to seize an example of fraud perpetrated on behalf of a Republican for validation, that explains why some conservatives have taken the line that the real lesson of the North Carolina scandal is that voter fraud is, in fact, real.

But the facts betray them....


"...Our Southern Border is now Secure and will remain that way......."
-- Pres Trump, Dec. 11, 2018

If it is secure, why do we need to spend billions on a wall?

@#21 ... Best bet is to use the House to contain the guy and focus on beating him in 2020. ...

You seem to basically agree with what fmr FBI Dir Comey said recently at the NYC 92nd Street Y.

Comey: Trump Impeachment Not the Best Answer for Country

...During the conversation, Comey said he is not sure what will happen with the release of memos from the investigation.

"I can't see what the end of the Mueller effort looks like. I don't know what form it will take, I don't know what they'll conclude, so I can't say in that respect. I can tell you that all of us should use every breath we have to make sure that the lying stops on January 20, 2021," Comey said.

When it comes to possibly removing Trump from office, Comey said that decision should be left to the American people.

"I hope Donald Trump is not removed from office by impeachment because it would let the country off the hook. And it would drive into the fabric of our nation a third of the people believing there was a coup. And we need a moment of inflection where we all get off the couch and say, 'That is not who we are,' and in a landslide rid ourselves of this attack on our values," Comey added.

He went on to say Democrats should work together to nominate a person best suited to defeat Trump in 2020. ...

It was an interesting interview.

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