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Court Rejects Mueller’s Request to Delay Russian Troll Farm Case While Giuliani Suggests Mueller Is Trying to Set Up Trump for Perjury: Reason Roundup

Plus: Obama-era calorie labeling law takes effect today, and Airbnb fights back against city rules that run afoul of Section 230.

Zach Gibson/picture alliance / Consolidated/NewscomZach Gibson/picture alliance / Consolidated/NewscomPlaying catch-up on Russian trolls, porn-star payouts, and presidential liability. Possible payouts to President Donald Trump's ex-lovers, potential Russian propaganda on Facebook, and leftover 2016 election drama were mingling in full force this past weekend.

On Saturday, a federal court rebuffed special counsel Robert Mueller's request to further delay a court hearing in the alleged Russian "troll farm" case. This is the one where the Internet Research Agency, Concord Management, and Concord Catering—along with 13 of their (Russian citizen) employees—were charged for spreading so-called "fake news" during the 2016 U.S. elections. A scheduled Wednesday arraignment of Concord must go forward, ruled U.S. District Court Judge Dabney Friedrich.

None of the indicted firms or citizens were expected to play along with the U.S. legal proceedings, but lawyers for Concord Management unexpectedly came forward in April. Politico says "the move appeared to be a bid to force Mueller's team to turn over relevant evidence to the Russian firm and perhaps even to bait prosecutors into an embarrassing dismissal in order to avoid disclosing sensitive information." So far, Concord's lawyers have asked for "a slew of discovery requests demanding nonpublic details" about Mueller's special investigation.

On Sunday, pro- and anti-Trump forces took to the cable news circuit for their regularly scheduled proxy battle. On ABC's This Week, lawyer Michael Avenatti—who is representing Stormy Daniels in her case against Trump and his personal lawyer, Michael Cohen—told host George Stephanopoulos that other women had been approaching him with tales of Trump payoffs.

Women have come forward and contacted our office, George, as I've stated in the past. And we haven't completed vetting those stories, but I think at the end of the day there's going to be evidence of such payments.

Meanwhile, Rudy Giuliani—the latest sap to play legal adviser to President Trump—told This Week that it was still possible Trump would take the Fifth in the Russia investigation. "We don't have to testify" if subpoenaed, Giuliani said. Trump is "the president of the United States," and "we can assert the same privileges other presidents have."

Later Sunday, Giuliani suggested that the only reason Mueller wanted Trump to testify was to set up the president for perjury, a la investigators' tack with Martha Stewart. And showing off that anti-elitist flair for which folks so admire the Trump administration, Giuliani also mocked the idea that Americans were getting so worked up over a mere $130,000, which is "not a lot of money."

"I never thought $130,000 was a real payment," said Giuliani. "It's a nuisance payment." If Daniels had "a meritorious claim," he suggested, she wouldn't have settled for such a small amount of money.

FREE MINDS

Airbnb is running up against local laws that may be prohibited under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act—and now it's fighting back. Along with the similar home- and room-rental site Homeaway, Airbnb has sued the cities of San Francisco and Santa Monica over ordinances that target not just residents who use these digital platforms to illegally rent out space in their homes but also the platforms themselves. "Unfortunately both efforts to enjoin them have resulted in federal district court decisions saying that Section 230 does not shield them from their reach, meaning that these local jurisdictions are fully able to hold these platforms liable if people use them to rent homes they aren't supposed to," explains Cathy Gellis at Techdirt.

The Santa Monica case is now before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Gellis, who works for the Copia Institute, wrote a brief backing Homeaway and Airbnb's position that Section 230 prevents Santa Monica from holding them liable if some locals go against city laws and use these platforms to rent out their homes. "It was important to say so, not just to support Airbnb and Homeaway," writes Gellis, "but because if Section 230 can't apply to them, then it won't be able to apply to a lot of other platforms that depend on it." She continued:

The crux of the problem appears to stem from courts not seeing how what is at stake in these cases is actually speech, perhaps because the kind of speech sites like Airbnb and Homeaway intermediate is so specific. But even if the only expression these platforms intermediates is, "I have a home to rent," it's still speech, speech created by someone other than the platform, and Section 230 therefore still applies.

FREE MARKETS

Calorie counts coming today. Starting today, chain restaurants across the U.S. are required to post calorie information on their menus and menu boards. Other nutritional information, such as fat and salt content, must be made available if customers want it.

The requirements were part of the Affordable Care Act, passed under Barack Obama. There was speculation that the Trump administration may try to block the calorie labeling rule, but that hasn't happened.

The law applies to food-serving establishments that have 20 or more locations. Fancy restaurants and fast-food chains alike are obviously implicated, but so are convenience stores, bodegas, movie theaters, vending machines, and even food delivery services.

QUICK HITS

  • Family members of four people killed in a March drone strike in Yemen are protesting the U.S. Department of Defense's assertion that their relatives were al Qaeda terrorists, insisting that they were innocent civilians erroneously targeted by the Pentagon.
  • A former Kentucky judge who worked on Trump's campaign in Kentucky has been sentenced to 20 years in prison for child sex trafficking.
  • Reanimated pig brains are now a thing.
  • The "number of hate crimes in Chicago dropped 16 percent in 2017 from the year before," according to new data.
  • "Arguments about who should, and shouldn't, be given a platform are hardly new."
  • Extreme anti-abortion activism is on the rise in America. While 2017 saw a decrease in vandalism against abortion clinics, it saw a significant increase in incidents of trespassing (from 247 in 2016 to 823 last year), obstruction, and threats involving clinic protesters.
  • NXIVM leader Keith Raniere pleaded not guilty to federal sex trafficking charges on Friday. Raniere's lawyer said everything Raniere's sex "slaves" did was consensual. "There are well-known groups of men who brand themselves," his attorney, Marc Agnifilo, told the court. "A group of women do that and suddenly they're victims."
  • "The Trump administration's crusade against illegal immigration tends to grab the headlines, but it obscures the equally concerted attack on the legal variety," laments the Washington Post editorial board.
  • Here is the latest barely coherent morning Twitter rant from our glorious leader:

Photo Credit: Zach Gibson/picture alliance / Consolidated/Newscom

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  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Is stripping art?

    Like all art, it's only good if its aim is to piss off fathers.

  • Leo Kovalensky II||

    Or piss on fathers, depending on what you might be into.

  • Don't look at me.||

    I don't know much about art, but I know what I like.

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    I am gonna have to see it to make a judgment.

  • This Machine Chips Fascists||

    Only if you leave your hat on.

  • ragebot||

    As Marshal McCluhan said 'Art is anything you can get away with'.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    Later Sunday, Giuliani suggested that the only reason Mueller wanted Trump to testify was to set up the president for perjury, a la investigators' tack with Martha Stewart.

    FBI hammer seeks nail?

  • Bubba Jones||

    Isn't reason full of articles on "don't talk to the FBI?" Or is that just Volokh?

  • MatthewSlyfield||

    I thought that was Popehat.

  • BYODB||

    It's anyone with a brain, I think, so you're both right?

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    ^Comey's Tinder profile tagline.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Reanimated pig brains are now a thing.

    Zombacon.

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    I will not let you insult the national gathering of Zumba enthusiasts. It is a great way to get into shape, fun, challenging, and a good way to meet people.

  • MatthewSlyfield||

    WW ZB or Resident Evil Bacon?

    Do these researchers work for the Umbrella Corporation?

    If they do, are they based in Bacoon City?

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    This. Is. Zombocom.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    Reanimated pig brains are now a thing.

    Thus the commentariat.

  • Cynical Asshole||

    It does explain Hihn, Tony, Simple Mikey, and PB.

  • Rev. Arthur Ꮮ. Kirkland||

    Stop persecuting me!

  • This Machine Chips Fascists||

    Brain and brain!

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Extreme anti-abortion activism is on the rise in America.

    I blame Trump.

  • Leo Kovalensky II||

    Perhaps, but you can't be sure that reanimated pig brains aren't somehow complicit in this.

  • SIV||

    THEY SAVED WILBUR'S BRAIN

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Starting today, chain restaurants across the U.S. are required to post calorie information on their menus and menu boards.

    I better not discover out of the blue that Big Macs are unhealthy.

  • Emotional Opposition Animal||

    Despite their unlibertarianness (under the old non-initiation of force definition rather than the tolerance and innovation definition Nick is promulgating), I love the calorie count regulations. When I go to a new restaurant I can instantly tell whether they have small portions, and familiar ones can't shrink their portions anymore without me noticing.

  • Don't look at me.||

    Here's an idea, quit eating so much.

  • Emotional Opposition Animal||

    Bah. With the world going to shit all around me, I may as well enjoy myself while I can.

  • Weigel's Cock Ring||

    An incredible story dropped in the Boston Globe: apparently the American Gigolo John Kerry is playing a very dangerous game, engaging in unauthorized "shadow diplomacy" around the world on Iran and the nuclear agreement.

    This jackass does realize Obama is no longer the president and he is no longer the Secretary of State, right? Time to rein him in now, before he does some serious damage.

  • Emotional Opposition Animal||

    The Logan Act isn't just part of an X-Men movie.

  • Red Rocks White Privilege||

    Ted Kennedy did this with the Russians before the 1984 election, and nothing happened to him. Kerry won't suffer any consequences for this, either, because Sessions doesn't have the stones to charge him.

    Laws are for little people, not career establishment politicians like Kerry.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    The "number of hate crimes in Chicago dropped 16 percent in 2017 from the year before," according to new data.

    Uh-oh. Time to broaden the criteria.

  • Emotional Opposition Animal||

    Well, good news that all the people murdering each other in Chi-town aren't doing it out of hate.

  • Leo Kovalensky II||

    Family members of four people killed in a March drone strike in Yemen are protesting the U.S. Department of Defense's assertion that their relatives were al Qaeda terrorists, insisting that they were innocent civilians erroneously targeted by the Pentagon.

    I didn't believe it at first, but Trump really is gunning for that Nobel Peace Prize after all.

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    Obama should walk around with his Nobel Peace Prize and keep mocking Trump for not having one. I am genuinely curious how Trump would react.

  • This Machine Chips Fascists||

    He'll be happy to collect his Hannity Peace Prize which, incidentally, is the most big league peace prize.

  • Dizzle||

    Why is it that families of people who do terrible things always act like they neeeeever saw it coming or believe it after the fact?

    If all the folks in parkland didn't think that kid was a worthy threat, why would anyone in Yemen raise an eyebrow at some jihadi propaganda and a few death threats to the west?

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Women have come forward and contacted our office, George, as I've stated in the past. And we haven't completed vetting those stories, but I think at the end of the day there's going to be evidence of such payments.

    And at the beginning of the next day people still aren't going to give a damn.

  • Don't look at me.||

    These rich men like to bang hot women. Number 9 will surprise you.

  • Emotional Opposition Animal||

    I don't see anything incoherent about Trump's tweet. In the last sentence "O" is presumably an abbreviation for obstruction. Not sure if you're aware of the obscure fact that there is a character limit on tweets.

  • MatthewSlyfield||

    "Not sure if you're aware of the obscure fact that there is a character limit on tweets."

    So true, twitter users are completely devoid of character. :P

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    Boy, you will defend just about anything having to to with Trump. Tell us about how big his fingers are.

  • MatthewSlyfield||

    #OnlyTwitsTweet

  • Jerryskids||

    That tweet was about one random capitalization away from being a Hihn comment, if you don't see anything suggesting incoherence there it may be time to see your doctor about upping your meds.

  • Cynical Asshole||

    That tweet was about one random capitalization away from being a Hihn comment

    Holy shit, how did I not put this together before now. Trump is Hihn. We're through the looking glass here, people!

  • Leo Kovalensky II||

    Lack of an Oxford comma alone should be an impeachable offense.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Extreme anti-abortion activism is on the rise in America.

    AKA GOP terrorism.

  • Leo Kovalensky II||

    it saw a significant increase in incidents of trespassing (from 247 in 2016 to 823 last year), obstruction, and threats involving clinic protesters.

    They're like anti-anti-anti-antifa, or something.

  • Emotional Opposition Animal||

    You kick a nice dog enough times, you get a nasty dog.

  • Leo Kovalensky II||

    Challenge accepted

  • Bubba Jones||

    Are you the dog or the kicker in this scenario?

  • Citizen X - #6||

    As a libertarian, he is both.

  • OpenBordersLiberal-tarian||

    And right-wingers pretend Islamic terrorism is the real problem?! Anti-abortion terrorists are FAR more dangerous!

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Religion Poisons Everything

    Hitchens

  • OpenBordersLiberal-tarian||

    I usually agree with you Mr. Buttplug, but you've just engaged in "whataboutism." It's not that "religion poisons everything" — it's specifically Christianity that's the problem. Islam is a peaceful, tolerant religion that only gets criticized because its adherents tend to be blacker and browner than Christians in western countries. In other words, Islamophobia is a form of racism, as my professors taught me.

    In fact, American Muslims are natural allies for left-libertarians like us: ISPU found that only 15 percent of Muslims in their survey wanted Trump to win over Hillary Clinton in November

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    No, Mr. Parody Cosmotarian, Islam is a form of conservatism and must be fought like all forms of conservatism.

  • OpenBordersLiberal-tarian||

    American Muslims support Democrats, just like you and I do. Why would you want to "fight" them? How would you go about doing so — by banning them from immigrating here?

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Muslims support a libertarian Open Society which they can then exploit.

  • Bubba Jones||

    I think it's more accurate to observe that people poison everything.

  • Mr. Dyslexic||

    For once I agree with you on something.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    The Trump administration's crusade against illegal immigration tends to grab the headlines, but it obscures the equally concerted attack on the legal variety...

    It's almost like setting perpetually to high the journalist freakout level is a detriment to actual news reporting.

  • Longtorso, Johnny||

  • Longtorso, Johnny||

  • Longtorso, Johnny||

  • Longtorso, Johnny||

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    I thought PUAs were opposed to the wall.

  • Weigel's Cock Ring||

    Meanwhile, miserable old S.O.B. John McCain is about to die any day now, and instead of spending his last hours on earth coming to peace with his maker, he's spending them sinking deeper and deeper in Trump Derangement Syndrome.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    He is making peace. He finally admitted the Birdbrain from Wasilla was his biggest mistake.

  • Longtorso, Johnny||

    When is the Reason meetup to piss on McCain's grave?

  • Shirley Knott||

    Why wait? Piss in his IV tube now, and every hour until his far-too-long-delayed death.

  • Weigel's Cock Ring||

    Good to see that you've finally recovered from a weekend of celebrating Karl Marx's 200th birthday. I'm sure it was a doozy for you and most of your JournoListic ilk!

  • Emotional Opposition Animal||

    Except he thinks his mistake was not to choose Joe Liebermann in her place.

  • Leo Kovalensky II||

    God, could you imagine a world with a McCain/Liebermann administration? Neither could I, it would have blown itself up by now.

  • Emotional Opposition Animal||

    If there's any justice he'll soon be in hell, fellating the decomposing bodies of the soldiers who died in his pet wars.

  • Don't look at me.||

    Only the good die young.

  • MatthewSlyfield||

    Only the young die young. :P

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Oil Prices Reach Highest Level Since 2014 Ahead of Iran Deadline

    WSJ

    Shitcan the Iran NNP deal and send oil prices soaring.

  • Longtorso, Johnny||

    Weigel, as a good environmental prog you want gas prices high. We could send Iran another few billion in small bills to fund terrorists if you want.

  • Emotional Opposition Animal||

    Correlation, causation, whatever.

    Of course this may not even be correlation.

  • Cynical Asshole||

    Of course this may not even be correlation.

    Well, it's not like gas prices naturally go up in the late spring and into summer every year or anything...

  • MarkLastname||

    Do explain what the one thing has to do with the other.

  • OpenBordersLiberal-tarian||

    Wow, Reason contributor Noah Berlatsky is really showing the Nazis who's boss on Twitter!

    Sargon is a bad actor and a fucking Nazi.

    Follow him @nberlat for more great left-libertarian analysis. And please Reason, have him write for you more often!

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Robert Lighthizer, the U.S. trade representative and lead negotiator for the Trump administration, is reworking Nafta to require that 40% of the content of any car that trades duty-free within the North American bloc to come from workers who earn above a particular wage level, according to industry officials familiar with the trade negotiations.

    In recent talks, the U.S. side has discussed a wage floor of around $16 an hour, the officials said. By comparison, Mexican auto assembly workers made less than $8 an hour on average in 2017, with workers at parts plants making less than $4 an hour, according to the Center for Automotive Research.

    Any manufacturer turning out cars with too little content at the wage threshold would face tariffs at the border. For light trucks, a higher amount—45% of the vehicle--would have to come from such higher-wage labor, the officials said.

    WSJ (behind paywall)

    Central planning at its finest!

  • Emotional Opposition Animal||

    You always start negotiations with an offer ridiculously lopsided in your own favor.

  • Juice||

    Only if you know that doing so won't make the other side just walk away and refuse to negotiate.

  • Nardz||

    I run into this in fantasy football. There's a guy in our league infamous for shitty trade offers (which he nonetheless defends when confronted about it at poker), hoping someone will accidentally accept or is just an idiot.
    I autoreject his offers, then make ridiculous counter.
    Sometimes that's where it ends, but sometimes we end up working something reasonable. I've benefited from this process in the past and likely will in the future.
    If your response is to stomp your feet, throw a temper tantrum, and refuse further negotiations - as juice implicitly advocates - then you're a f'ing moron.

  • Sevo||

    "WSJ (behind paywall)"
    How did you game it to keep from paying?

  • MAGA my NAGGA||

    Incognito mode, grampa

  • Juice||

    That doesn't work for paywalls.

  • sarcasmic||

    If consumers attempt to purchase vehicles comprised of parts made by workers who are not paid an arbitrary wage, they will punished with an import tax.

  • MarkLastname||

    Do you support it, right? Otherwise, how do you reconcile your support of the CFPB, Dodd-Frank, etc. with your supposed dislike of central planning?

  • Sevo||

    "Electric cars make inroads in California — but fast enough?"
    [...]
    "That's the message of a new report, which found that while sales of battery-electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles last year rose 29 percent over 2016, the state's total remains under 400,000 — less than 10 percent of the 2030 goal set by Gov. Jerry Brown this year.
    [...]
    The regional energy company, Sonoma Clean Power, has been partnering with local car dealerships to offer rebates of up to $3,500 on new zero-emission vehicles, on top of state and federal incentives."
    https://www.sfchronicle.com/business/article/
    Electric-cars-make-inroads-in-California-but-
    12892613.php?cmpid=gsa-sfgate-result

    They don't mention how much you and me are paying the schmucks who are buying them, nor the preferred parking, "free" charging, access to commuter lanes and probably some other benes I'm missing and they STILL can't get people to buy the things.

  • sarcasmic||

    Calling them zero-emission vehicles isn't exactly honest. Unless the electricity comes from hydro. Otherwise they burn coal instead of gas.

  • sarcasmic||

    Or natural gas.

  • MatthewSlyfield||

    Or uranium.

  • Bubba Jones||

    They run on salmon.

  • sarcasmic||

    No wonder it's gotten so expensive.

  • Cynical Asshole||

    I thought it was mixture of pixie dust and unicorn farts.

  • John C. Randolph||

    Not anymore. The DEA figured out what pixie dust is, and the unicorns got on board with the #metoo thing..

    -jcr

  • BYODB||

    Yeah, it's a big lie but fortunately those usually seem to go over well with the California type.

    Next you'll hear California is legislating zero point energy be widely available in five years. I'm sure that'll go well.

  • Incomprehensible Bitching||

    The subsidies aren't big enough.

    How can I be expected to pay the price to save the planet, if they won't pay me to save the planet?

  • Red Rocks White Privilege||

    They don't mention how much you and me are paying the schmucks who are buying them, nor the preferred parking, "free" charging, access to commuter lanes and probably some other benes I'm missing and they STILL can't get people to buy the things

    The biggest problem with EVs is that there's a limited market due to costs and capability. Teslas are the best models, but only upper-class SWPLs can afford their price tag here, their reliability ratings have gone into the shitter despite having fewer running parts, and who knows when the Model 3 will actually come online. The cheapest model, the Nissan Leaf, only has a range of about 150 miles--good for urban use and the occasional cross-city jaunt, but if you want to take a cross-state trip, you'll have to rent or own something that uses gas. And the kicker for both is that to make longer trips, you have to use super-chargers, which actually degrade battery life.

  • Red Rocks White Privilege||

    The other issue is that these cars are loss-leaders, like the Toyota Prius initially was, but unlike the Prius they've never been in a place where people will buy them in larger quantities to eventually be profitable. Hell, as much of a success as the Prius has been for Toyota, it still pales in comparison sales-wise to the Corolla and Camry, which aren't anything to get excited about, but have a justified reputation for reliability. I'll bet that for every Titan Nissan sells, it would have to sell 10 Leafs to make up the difference, and Tesla doesn't even have a high-profit margin truck to subsidize its niche offerings. That's why Tesla has rarely had a profitable quarter, and why their money losses have increased exponentially over the years. Tesla stays alive solely through overvalued stock prices, and if it wasn't for Musk's cult of personality, it would have gone under years ago.

  • Dizzle||

    I've got a friend working for the self driving division of uber in data mining, and have raised similar concerns. Uber is bleeding money and relying solely on Capitol investments to stay afloat. They can't ever go public until they're profitable, and i bed they run out of investment before they reach that point.

  • Red Rocks White Privilege||

    They can't ever go public until they're profitable, and i bed they run out of investment before they reach that point.

    It must be really bad, then, because Amazon ran deficits for nearly 20 years and Tesla has only been profitable, briefly, after the launch of a new model, but both have been public entities for some time.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    "A group of women do that and suddenly they're victims."

    Look who's suddenly a women's libber.

  • Bubba Jones||

    "Fancy restaurants" don't have 20 or more locations.

  • Weigel's Cock Ring||

    Your standards might be higher, but I suspect the average American certainly considers places like The Palm and Ruth's Chris to be "fancy" or "high end".

  • BYODB||

    I always thought it was pretty ironic that the more expensive the steak house, the more likely the meat has been left laying around for way longer. Why are virtually all of the 'high dollar' menu items more or less food that has been allowed to partially spoil before eating it?

    I blame the French...

  • OpenBordersLiberal-tarian||

    Oh no, the anti-abortion extremists are even more powerful than I'd feared!

    If you've had an abortion in America, now is the time to speak up, because we're about to lose our right to it. Tell your officials how many women that will impact #NotYourHandmaid

    Abortion is about to be completely banned nationwide?! It's just like The Handmaid's Tale!!!

  • Rev. Arthur Ꮮ. Kirkland||

    Trump's already banned abortion nationwide, it's just that the Russian political officers he installed aren't letting the media report it.

  • Robert||

    I've mixed feelings about labeling laws. Mandatory labeling is of course an imposition on liberty, but it springs from a sentiment that acknowledges the value of choice, so overall I think it signals an increasing desire for liberty in the gen'l popul'n, which is a good thing.

  • sarcasmic||

    Mandatory labeling is a cost that large companies can afford to absorb, but smaller ones not so much. It's yet another barrier to entry created by cronies and enforced by the government. Not only that, but it is difficult to get accurate calorie counts, especially when portions aren't completely consistent. This opens up the opportunity for lawsuits that again can be more easily absorbed by bigger companies.

    If this was something that consumers demanded, it wouldn't need to be legislated.

  • Bubba Jones||

    And this is why Trump isn't trying to overturn it. Regulatory capture by chain restaurants.

    And I seriously doubt that Trump ever eats at a restaurant with 20 or more locations.

  • sarcasmic||

  • Bubba Jones||

    yikes and lol

  • Red Rocks White Privilege||

    I'm actually amazed he's in the shape he's in with that kind of diet. Hillary Clinton is a walking drunk and we've seen that she can't even get up and down a set of stairs without someone holding her hand.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    He can't shit so he tweets?

  • Robert||

    No, I rather doubt that. It's probably just not an important enough issue to him, nor to most people.

  • Robert||

    All that is true. Yet its value as a signal as to what our rulers will allow us is so valuable, it may be worth the market distortions. It's a form of propaganda by deed: a demonstration of people being allowed to do stuff even in the face of some opinion that says it's bad stuff to do. I think it may help inoculate us vs. bans.

  • Cynical Asshole||

    I think it may help inoculate us vs. bans.

    Or it could do the opposite. Some busybodies might see the calorie counts and think "OMG, why didn't somebody tell me Big Macs were so unhealthy! There ought to be a law!"

  • Robert||

    Have we been seeing examples of that sort of sequence?

  • Robert||

    Isn't there a safe harbor such that there's no liability for overstating cal.?

  • Don't look at me.||

    You wish. "I expected this sandwich to have 2000 calories, and it only had 1500. Ripoff!"

  • Robert||

    It also acknowledges that regular folks can act on info, & make choices based on their own values, rather than hanving the dictated.

  • Bubba Jones||

    Yeah. If this were the worst thing that government did, I'd be more inclined to like government.

    But I'm not going to burn any calories arguing in defense of labeling.

  • Jerryskids||

    I find it funny that Trump is feigning outrage over anybody questioning Gina Haspel's fitness to head the CIA when all she was doing was being tough on terrorists. Isn't Haspel part of that Deep State Intelligence Community that's going after Trump for his collusion with the Russians in rigging the 2016 election? If you trust them so completely that there's no "alleged" or "accused" attached to their designation of "terrorist", why aren't you willing to accept their determination when it comes to you and Vlad? You trust them enough to allow them to go after anybody they see as a threat to America.....and they see *you* as a threat to America. So what's your beef, fat head?

  • Cynical Asshole||

    Reanimated pig brains are now a thing.

    Only a matter of time before they figure out how to do that with humans, at which point the zombie apocalypse will begin.

    Is stripping art?

    I don't know art, but I know what I like.

  • Ken Shultz||

    In regards to the Russian troll farm, I keep asking myself how I know what I know about what they did, and ultimately most of it seems to have come from coverage of Mueller's allegations--which probably isn't the most reliable source.

    Should I believe what Preet Bahara said about commenters here at Hit & Run? The correct answer is "no".

    So, why do we give Mueller the benefit of the doubt?

    It's telling that the lawyers for the Russian troll farm case are pushing for the trial to move forward rather than delay.

    Between this story and the judge asking Mueller about his mandate. My understanding is that they expect Mueller to drop the case against their client rather than provide the defense with the materials needed to move ahead with prosecution on Wednesday. It will be interesting to see what happens here. If Mueller's team refuses to release the information demanded by the defense, the judge may need to dismiss the charges, and if Mueller's team would rather have the charges dismissed than show the evidence at trial, then what does that say about the credibility of Mueller's case?

  • Ken Shultz||

    Ran a couple of sentences together and accidentally axed part of it--must be Monday morning.

  • Cynical Asshole||

    accidentally axed part of it

    You mean that comment was supposed to be longer?

  • Bubba Jones||

    I am unclear on why it would be illegal for a Russian to post on facebook. Regardless of what they posted.

    Meanwhile it was perfectly legal for Obama to accept anonymous credit card payments for campaign donations. While he was campaigning in Europe...

    WHATABOUT

  • Red Rocks White Privilege||

    If Mueller's team refuses to release the information demanded by the defense, the judge may need to dismiss the charges

    Wouldn't a refusal to release information be a violation of discovery? I can't see how the judge would not dismiss the case, considering he's already chastised the Mueller team for fucking around and bringing up specious charges.

  • Ken Shultz||

    My understanding is that the judge has demanded to see the material in question that supposedly can't be handed over to the defense. If Mueller claims that the information is too sensitive for the judge to see, then he probably will not let the trial move forward--rather than be bullied by Mueller and company.

    If Mueller gets handed a loss like that, the pressure on him to roll up his investigation will probably increase dramatically.

  • Illocust||

    I think the first sentence of the summary summed up this situation perfectly. Mueller never expected the troll farm to actually show up in court. This was supposed to be a public circus run by and for him. Then the other lawyer showed up, and all his carefully crafted plasma went to shit.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Exactly,

    The defendants were being tried in absentia!

  • wef||

    "None of the indicted firms or citizens were expected to play along with the U.S. legal proceedings..."

    And that's why the scammers issued those indictments.

  • Illocust||

    Yep, this was meant to be public theatre not an actual court case. Now they've been outplayed, because even a troll farm won't pass up the opportunity to get Mueller's files, so much juicy information to use, and essentially no cost to them.

  • Cynical Asshole||

    ...even a troll farm won't pass up the opportunity to get Mueller's files, so much juicy information to use, and essentially no cost to them.

    It's almost like Mueller has no idea what trolling is. Does he even know how to internet?

  • JRuss||

    Perp walk for Dirty Donny, the squealing trapped rat. Mueller, Sessions, Rosenstein, and the administration, all the investigation controlling players are Republicans appointed by Republicans. Keep the obstruction evidence conformation coming Dumb Donny. Wonder if Trump returned the favor and colluded with Putin to help him win election? Oh, and quit being a sniveling crybaby Donny, you're not King.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    Well, is he Dirty Donny or Dumb Donny? Your trolling will be marginally less ineffective if you just pick a crappy nickname and stick with it. Ask shreek or Simple Mikey if you need help.

  • Brett Bellmore||

    Does any sane person think Mueller isn't trying to set Trump up for a perjury charge?

  • BYODB||

    Of course that's what's happening, but lord knows why he would bother since perjury is already something that a U.S. President got away with in impeachment proceedings.

    It's like Democrats want their turn at a fruitless waste of time impeachment proceeding so they can lose big for a few more terms. I guess they learned zero lessons from the 90's. Even if Trump is impeached, the probability is that it would fail even if Democrats are in the majority. They just can't help themselves, though, it would seem.

  • BYODB||


    And showing off that anti-elitist flair for which folks so admire the Trump administration, Giuliani also mocked the idea that Americans were getting so worked up over a mere $130,000, which is "not a lot of money."


    "I never thought $130,000 was a real payment," said Giuliani. "It's a nuisance payment." If Daniels had "a meritorious claim," he suggested, she wouldn't have settled for such a small amount of money.


    I hate to break it to you, but when the other signatory has billions of dollars $130,000 is what you might expect to find in the couch cushions. I loathe Giuliani, but he's not wrong here.

  • BYODB||


    None of the indicted firms or citizens were expected to play along with the U.S. legal proceedings, but lawyers for Concord Management unexpectedly came forward in April. Politico says "the move appeared to be a bid to force Mueller's team to turn over relevant evidence to the Russian firm and perhaps even to bait prosecutors into an embarrassing dismissal in order to avoid disclosing sensitive information." So far, Concord's lawyers have asked for "a slew of discovery requests demanding nonpublic details" about Mueller's special investigation.


    So, in order to investigate collusion they investigators are going to hand over details of the investigation to one of the entities that supposedly colluded thus they end up colluding themselves?


    Ah, the irony. And, furthermore, the rampant retardation on display is frankly amazing.

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