Mudslides Kill 13, Russia Testimony Released
Wednesday, January 10, 2018
Vol. 7, No. 10
Mudslides: At least 13 people died in Southern California after heavy rains produced devastating mudslides on fire-ravaged hillsides. Homes were swept away and the 101 Freeway in Montecito southeast of Santa Barbara was buried in mud. Cars were destroyed and telephone poles snapped off.
Firefighters rescued a boy who was swept downstream for about a mile. His father is missing. A 14-year-old girl was rescued from a house that had been swept off its foundation.
Fires like the ones that burned late last year destroy the vegetation that holds dirt on the hillsides. Heavy rain soaks the soil until it becomes an avalanche of mud.
One Man, One Vote: In the first decision of its kind, a panel of federal judges has thrown out North Carolina’s congressional map, declaring that districts are unconstitutionally gerrymandered to favor Republicans, and ordering that the Republican-controlled General Assembly redraw the lines before this year’s midterm elections.
“A wealth of evidence proves the General Assembly’s intent to ‘subordinate’ the interests of non-Republican voters and ‘entrench’ Republican domination of the state’s congressional delegation,” Judge James Wynn Jr. wrote in a 191-page opinion.
The court threatened to draw a map of its own if the North Carolina Republicans don’t properly respond.
Pressure Drop: California Sen. Diane Feinstein yesterday released the transcript of a Judiciary Committee interview with one of the founders of Fusion GPS, the company that commissioned the infamous “Russian Dossier” about interference in the 2016 election.
The transcript had been kept under wraps and Feinstein made it public without permission from the Republicans controlling the committee.
Glenn Simpson of Fusion testified that Christopher Steele, the former British secret agent who researched and wrote the dossier has “a sterling reputation as a person who doesn’t exaggerate, doesn’t make things up, doesn’t sell baloney.” Steele believed that he had stumbled upon “a security issue about whether a presidential candidate was being blackmailed,” Simpson told the Judiciary Committee.
The NY Times reports that “current and former American and foreign officials” have said that “the dossier added material and buttressed what American law enforcement and spy agencies were gleaning from other sources.”
Simpson told the committee the FBI had a source within the Trump campaign. When he balked at answering a question about the dossier’s other sources, one of his lawyers interjected, “Somebody’s already been killed as a result of the publication of this dossier and no harm should come to anybody related to this honest work.”
Charles in Charge: President Trump hosted a lengthy televised meeting on immigration yesterday, made public in part to convince critics of his intellectual capacity that he’s got it all together.
Both Democrats and Republicans attended and Trump appeared to change his mind about what he would do according to the last person who spoke.
At one moment he said he would sign a “clean” DACA bill protecting young illegal immigrants, and the next he was saying it had to be attached to building his southern wall and border security.
Finally, Trump said, “I think my positions are going to be what the people in this room come up with.” He said, “I’ll take the heat. I don’t care. I don’t care. I’ll take all the heat you want to give me, and I’ll take the heat off both the Democrats and the Republicans.”
Fired Again: Right-wing firebrand and former Trump chief strategist Steve Bannon has been pushed out at Breitbart News for comments he made about a “treasonous” meeting held at Trump Tower during the 2016 campaign. His ouster was forced by the wealthy conservative backer, Rebekah Mercer.
Bannon issued a statement saying, “I’m proud of what the Breitbart team has accomplished in so short a period of time in building out a world-class news platform.” Blah, blah, blah. He was fired for breaking ranks with far-right supporters of Donald Trump.
Bannon had left Breitbart to work for Trump then returned immediately after Trump fired him from the White House. He set out to destroy Republicans who were not sufficiently loyal to the Trump agenda and also backed the accused child molester Roy Moore in Alabama.
He lived and breathed Breitbart after the death of its founder, Andrew Breitbart. Bannon worked out of his Washington townhouse, nicknamed the Breitbart Embassy.
Small Screen: CBS News appointed its Face the Nation host John Dickerson to be the third host of CBS This Morning. Dickerson is the son of Nancy Dickerson, one of the first women to be a national television news correspondent.
Cowboy Hat in the Ring: Former Phoenix Sheriff Joe Arpaio, 85, announced that he’s running for the Senate from Arizona. Arpaio, the blowhard who used to claim that he was “the toughest sheriff in America,” was pardoned by President Trump after he was convicted of criminal contempt of court. The immigration hardliner had ignored a court order to stop racially profiling and stopping Latinos on his Maricopa County turf. He said of his candidacy, “I have a lot to offer. I’m a big supporter of President Trump.”