The Big Picture: a back channel to coordinate with the people using property stolen by an adversarial government to tilt an election

Josh Marshall:

All the specifics are less significant than the big picture: Roger Stone ran a backchannel between the Trump campaign and Wikileaks, exchanging advance notice, requests for particular kinds of documents, suggestions to the campaign about messaging directions and more. Critically, this continued long after it became clear and widely assumed, if not proven, that Wikileaks was peddling out documents and emails that had been stolen by the Russian intelligence services.


Always worth repeating: this was all happening in plain view, making it obvious even in real time. All you had to do was follow along closely and it was there for you to see.

And of you don’t yet believe, remember that there are still dozens of shoes yet to drop.

Directed by Whom?

Marcy Wheeler:

The most important detail — by far — in the indictment reveals that a senior Trump Campaign official “was directed” to contact Stone about what else was coming from WikiLeaks.

I suspect that the senior Trump Campaign official was Rick Gates, though that’s a guess (Bannon is the very senior official named later in the indictment). The indictment doesn’t say, “directed by whom.”

And that, I think, is why Stone was arrested before dawn rather than permitted to self report, and why Stone was charged with obstruction plus five counts of false statements plus witness tampering (the latter of which carries real time).

This is an effort to get Stone to reveal who that “whom” was, and whatever follow-up contacts he had with that “whom.”

As this news unfolds, remember that Manafort makes an appearance in court today. This timing almost certainly is NOT coincidental.

It’s Roger’s time in the barrel!

CNBC offers a quick summary that include an appearance by Bannon!

Trump associate Roger Stone arrested on 7 counts, including lying to Congress, in special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe

• Roger Stone, a longtime political advisor to President Trump, has been arrested in Florida.

• Stone faces seven counts, including witness tampering, obstruction of justice and making false statements to Congress.

• The indictment alleges that Stone had been in contact with top-ranking Trump campaign officials about efforts to leak damaging information about Hillary Clinton just before the 2016 election.

• According to a person with direct knowledge of the matter, one of the senior officials who reached out to Stone was Steve Bannon, who served as CEO of the Trump campaign during the election’s final stages.

Kamala Harris: A study of contradictions or of a difficult balancing act?

I’ve been trying to figure out what to say about her record as a prosecutor, but German Lopez at Vox has managed to capture it so well I don’t have to. An excerpt:

A close examination of Harris’s record shows it’s filled with contradictions. She pushed for programs that helped people find jobs instead of putting them in prison, but also fought to keep people in prison even after they were proved innocent. She refused to pursue the death penalty against a man who killed a police officer, but also defended California’s death penalty system in court. She implemented training programs to address police officers’ racial biases, but also resisted calls to get her office to investigate certain police shootings.

But what seem like contradictions may reflect a balancing act. Harris’s parents worked on civil rights causes, and she came from a background well aware of the excesses of the criminal justice system — but in office, she had to play the role of a prosecutor and California’s lawyer. She started in an era when “tough on crime” politics were popular across party lines — but she rose to national prominence as criminal justice reform started to take off nationally. She had an eye on higher political office as support for criminal justice reform became de rigueur for Democrats — but she still had to work as California’s top law enforcement official.

Her race and gender likely made this balancing act even tougher. In the US, studies have found that more than 90 percent of elected prosecutors are white and more than 80 percent are male. As a black woman, Harris stood out — inviting scrutiny and skepticism, especially by people who may hold racist stereotypes about how black people view law enforcement or sexist views about whether women are “tough” enough for the job.

Still, the result is the same: As she became more nationally visible, Harris was less known as a progressive prosecutor, as she’d been earlier in her career, and more a reform-lite or even anti-reform attorney general.

Source: Kamala Harris’s controversial criminal justice record, explained – Vox

If your searching for perfection, then get out of politics, because you’ll never find it there or in any other endeavor similarly populated with humans. You just won’t. She’s got problems. I’ve got problems. You’ve got problems. We’ve all got problems. That’s interesting, but it’s not helpful in figuring out who to support and who to oppose. So don’t focus on that.

Instead, focus on what she has to say now about which past decisions she thinks are mistakes and what she has learned from those mistakes. That more than anything else will tell you something interesting about her potential as a leader. Unlike a lot of people who choose to run, she seems genuinely interested in having that discussion, so it will be worth paying attention to what she says.

“Fairness is too thin a standard…” because “some classes of people consistently get more fairness than others.”

This this this 1000x THIS:

At a basic level that’s not fair – something that quickly catches fire not only with white parents with pre-existing feelings of racial grievance but others just freaked out by the randomness of the blow up. I spoke to one Covington parent this week who is a diehard anti-Trump, Democrat who is nonetheless upset that his son is getting tarred for the actions of Sandmann and the kids surrounding him that afternoon. But fairness is too thin a standard. One of the essentials of social and racial inequality is that some classes of people consistently get more fairness than others. If we’re so concerned about fairness for Nick Sandmann, who now has high priced media advisors coaching him for sympathetic interviews on national news, what about Tamir Rice who did nothing wrong at all and ended up dead in a playground in Cleveland? Everybody deserves second chances. Some people get third and fourth chances and some get none. But this kind of either/or thinking doesn’t make sense. Taken too far this quickly degenerates into a sort of intersectional whataboutism.

The issue is less that it’s unfair as that it makes no sense, something that quickly becomes clear when you dig into the particulars. Sandmann is too random, callow and specific to possibly hold up for long as the focus for the issues he now represents. You dig in and there’s just not remotely enough there.

So we have the recurrent pattern of flash food social media blow ups in which the specifics of the people involved can’t bear the weight of the social realities and injustices they come to symbolize. In a sensible world Sandmann gets school level discipline for acting like a jerk and some consequence and education about racism, history and empathy. But since we’re in a world of social media he quickly ricochets between national bogeyman and white grievance hero until a few days go by and we forget about it. The story of privilege and inequality he is part of is quickly recapitulated in the production of media handlers, praise from the President and the fact that many in the majority culture can empathize with the firestorm he’s caught up in even as many recognize he acted terribly in the incident itself. We all empathize most with people who seem like us. The nature of empathy is second chances and seeing the full person rather than their worst moment. Like so much in our society it is unevenly distributed.

We shouldn’t lose sight of the fact that for all their jaggedness and insubstantiality these incidents do have some public educative effect.

Source: Nick Sandmann and the Poverty of Social Media Storms – Talking Points Memo

Mood isn’t personality. Anecdotes aren’t data. Weather isn’t climate. And this isn’t hard.

The world’s average temperature can be clearly and dangerously increasing, and it can still snow sometimes in the northeastern United States. Climate emerges from averages, and the averages are unambiguous. Snowpack and ice cover are decreasing, especially in the Mountain West. The Great Lakes’ winter-ice cover has declined by 71 percent over the past 40 years. The average time between the last frost of spring and the first frost of fall has increased in every region of the country since the early-20th century.
— Read on