February 28, 2017

FBI Once Planned to Pay Former British Spy Who Authored Controversial Trump Dossier

Tom Hamburger and Rosalind S. Helderman - The Washington Post:

The former British spy who authored a controversial dossier on behalf of Donald Trump’s political opponents alleging ties between Trump and Russia reached an agreement with the FBI a few weeks before the election for the bureau to pay him to continue his work, according to several people familiar with the arrangement.

The agreement to compensate former MI6 agent Christopher Steele came as U.S. intelligence agencies reached a consensus that the Russians had interfered in the presidential election by orchestrating hacks of Democratic Party email accounts.

While Trump has derided the dossier as “fake news” compiled by his political opponents, the FBI’s arrangement with Steele shows that bureau investigators considered him credible and found his line of inquiry to be worthy of pursuit.

...

The dossier he produced last year alleged, among other things, that associates of Trump colluded with the Kremlin on cyberattacks on Democrats and that the Russians held compromising material about the Republican nominee.

These and other explosive claims have not been verified, and they have been vigorously denied by Trump and his allies.

Drip, drip, drip.

#Trump #fraud #not #long #now

AG Sessions Says DOJ to 'Pull Back' on Police Department Civil Rights Suits

Pete Williams - NBC News:

Donald Trump’s attorney general said Tuesday the Justice Department will limit its use of a tactic employed aggressively under President Obama — suing police departments for violating the civil rights of minorities.

“We need, so far as we can, to help police departments get better, not diminish their effectiveness. And I’m afraid we’ve done some of that,” said Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

“So we’re going to try to pull back on this,” he told a meeting of the nation’s state attorneys general in Washington.

Police shootings of unarmed black men were down in 2016, suggesting DoJ civil rights suits against departments responsible for earlier shootings, and the retraining and restraint programs put into effect by them as a result have had good effect.

So why does our attorney general want to take his foot off the gas now? He says he wants to “help them get better.” Better is not shooting unarmed black men, or unarmed anyone else. Better is holding borderline police departments’ feet to the fire.

AG Sessions is backing off what works.

#Trump #administration #rotten #from #the #head #down #fraud

Trump Throws "His" Generals Under the Bus

Mr. Trump explains his way out of ultimate responsibility for military personnel under his command (ABC News):

Trump said Tuesday, “They explained what they wanted to do, the generals, who are very respected. My generals are the most respected we’ve had in many decades, I believe. And they lost Ryan.”

“And they lost Ryan.”

President Harry Truman had a sign on his desk reading, “the buck stops here.” Where else could it stop? The president bears ultimate authority and ultimate responsibility. Rather than take responsibility for the loss of a Navy SEAL on his watch, Trump passed the buck to “his” generals, who are largely the same generals who served under the recently retired President Obama.

They’ll accept that responsibility, I suspect, as their duty. The despicable cretin occupying our Oval Office has no shame, no dense of duty, and no moral agency. A president who will not own the military actions he authorizes has no credibility and no business commanding our armed forces.

#Trump #despicable #fraud

February 27, 2017

Congress and Mr. Trump, Hard at Work

As of tonight, the night before Mr. Trump addresses a joint session of Congress, the total new-laws-passed count stands at

 

 

5.  <— click me!

 

 

Six weeks into the Trump administration we have five new laws enacted, no substantive campaign promises kept, Republican Congressmen talking “independent prosecutor,” and the president telling us “nobody knew health care could be so complicated.”

Yes we did, Don.

The Heritage Foundation knew when they ginned up a white paper on it in 1993, Mitt Romney and the Massachusetts legislature knew when they negotiated and enacted their plan, the Obama administration and the 113th Congress knew when they negotiated the Affordable Care Act. Any patient with significant health problems and bills out the wazoo knows it. Even ignorant citizens claiming ”Obamacare” is not the Affordable Care Act know it.

You, though, don’t know it. You don’t appear to know much of anything useful for leading our country.

#Trump #GOP #fraud

Trump Administration Sought to Enlist Intelligence Officials, Key Lawmakers to Counter Russia Stories

Greg Miller and Adam Entous - The Washington Post:

The Trump administration has enlisted senior members of the intelligence community and Congress in efforts to counter news stories about Trump associates’ ties to Russia, a politically charged issue that has been under investigation by the FBI as well as lawmakers now defending the White House.

Acting at the behest of the White House, the officials made calls to news organizations last week in attempts to challenge stories about alleged contacts between members of President Trump’s campaign team and Russian intelligence operatives, U.S. officials said.

The calls were orchestrated by the White House after unsuccessful attempts by the administration to get senior FBI officials to speak with news organizations and dispute the accuracy of stories on the alleged contacts with Russia.

...

The effort also involved senior lawmakers with access to classified intelligence about Russia, including Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) and Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), the chairmen of the Senate and House intelligence committees.

The very officials who receive regular intelligence briefings from FBI Director James Comey, CIA Director Mike Pompeo, and who would figure greatly in any impartial (hah!) investigation of wrong-doing by the executive office of the president of the United States have been laying cover for Mr. Trump’s people.

The gun is beginning to smoke.

#Trump #Russia #US #intelligence #Congress #cover-up

Spicer Arranged CIA, GOP intelligence Push-back

Mike Allen - Axios:

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer personally picked up the phone and connected outside officials with reporters to try to discredit a New York Times article about Trump campaign aides’ contact with Russia, then remained on the line for the brief conversations, Axios has learned.

Spicer’s credibility is completely eliminated now. Rather than act as a trusted conduit of information for the president, he’s apparently acted behind the scenes to cover the agenda of a candidate, now president whose activities increasingly look underhanded.

Spicer, orchestrator of a cover story. The first act of an impeachable offense.

#Trump #Spicer #fraud #impeachment #Mike #Allen

February 26, 2017

Blowing Up Online Tonight

Louise Mensch’s research into Michael Cohen’s airborne comings and goings in the months before his client, Donald Trump, was elected president of the United States.

This could be the opening to the rathole that ends in Russia or the Ukraine. Or it could be a series of unrelated business and pleasure trips on very nice aircraft.

Keep digging, @LouiseMensch.

#Trump #GOP #fraud #election #Russia #Ukraine #Michael #Cohen

February 25, 2017

∴ Just Sayin'

Word to the wise, Don. You don’t run the government. The Civil Service runs the government.

They outlasted your predecessors. They will outlast you.

#Trump #fraud #do #not #fuck #with #us

Issa Calls For Special Prosecutor on Russian Interference in Election

Ricky Young - The San Diego Union-Tribune:

Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Vista, said on Friday that a special prosecutor needs to lead an investigation into the alleged ties between President Donald Trump’s campaign and Russian leader Vladimir Putin’s regime.

Issa made the comments to talk show host Bill Maher on HBO. Maher asked about allegations of Russian hacking and interference in the 2016 U.S. election.

Issa initially said House and Senate committees would investigate, and then Maher asked about the idea of an independent counsel handling the matter instead of Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

“You cannot have somebody — a friend of mine, Jeff Sessions, who was on the campaign and who is an appointee,” Issa said. “You’re going to need to use the special prosecutor’s statute and office — not just to recuse, you can’t just give it to your deputy, that’s another political appointee — you do have to do that.” 

Yes, you do. How damning, coming from a conservative of Issa’s stripe.

If the information uncovered to date is true, Mr. Trump and his toadies have betrayed us all. Anyone appointed by him or hired by his agencies and departments is tainted by association. An independent prosecutor is needed right now.

#Trump #Russia #Ukraine #Artemenko #Cohen #high #crimes #misdemeanors #25th #amendment #impeach

President Helpfully Points Out Accurate News Outlets

Image of Donald Trump's tweet criticising CNN and NYTimes

Lies about the past, tells the truth about the future. In the case of the press, libels those most actively reporting his administration’s lies, missteps, and failings.

Thanks, Mr. Trump. That’s helpful. I can safely ignore Breitbart, then?

#Trump #fraud #Russia #investigation #treason

February 24, 2017

Upbeat Post of the Day

Photo of a Golden Retriever

#happy #post

Picture, Thousand Words

Well at least we have them on record as to where they stand ...

Photograph of CPAC attendees waving Russian flags before Donald Trump speaks

Yep, those are Russian flags being waved by CPAC 2017 attendees before Mr. Trump speaks.

#Trump #conservative #traitors #treason

CBP Agents Exceed Authority Stopping Domestic Travelers

Tim Dickinson - Rolling Stone:

CBP agents inspected passenger identifications on the jetbridge by the door of the aircraft. A CBP spokesman insisted to Rolling Stone that this action is “nothing new” and that there is “no new policy.” But the unusual – and legally questionable – search of domestic travelers comes days after the Department of Homeland Security outlined its plans to implement President Trump’s sweeping executive order targeting millions of “removable aliens” for deportation.

Upon deplaning from Delta Flight 1583 in New York, passenger Anne Garrett tweeted, "We were told we couldn't disembark without showing our 'documents.'"

CBP only has authority over international arrivals to the US. This aircraft had arrived at JFK from San Francisco:

Rolling Stone asked CBP to point to its statutory authority to stop and examine the identity documents of deplaning domestic passengers. The spokesman sent a link to a document titled CBP Search Authority. The document refers to CBP's authority to inspect international arrivals. Specifically, it cites 19 C.F.R. 162.6, which states, "All persons, baggage and merchandise arriving in the Customs territory of the United States from places outside thereof are liable to inspection by a CBP officer." The CBP document adds: "CBP has the authority to collect passenger name record information on all travelers entering or leaving the United States." (Emphasis added.)

CBP claims to have been looking for an individual ordered removed by an immigration judge.

This administration will continue to overreach until it is slapped back by a federal court. No matter the issue, Mr. Trump’s minions will mis-use the levers of federal authority until they are stopped.

#CBP #Trump #immigration #unlawful #search #and #seizure

February 23, 2017

Ukrainian Lawmaker: Trump Lawyer Pushed Ukraine Deal

Nick Paton Walsh, Salma Abdelaziz - CNNPolitics.com:

In a CNN interview, Ukrainian lawmaker Andrii Artemenko said he discussed his left-field proposal for Ukraine in January with US President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, who offered to deliver the plan to the Trump administration.

The exact details of the plan are unclear, yet reports have suggested it revolves around leasing Crimea -- annexed by Russia from Ukraine in 2014 -- to Moscow for 50 to 100 years. In exchange, Russia would withdraw its troops from the separatist regions in Ukraine's war-torn east.

He said, he said. Somebody’s lyin’.

#Trump #fraud #Russia #Ukraine #Artemenko #Cohen #high #crimes #misdemeanors #25th #amendment #impeach

Ukrainian Lawmaker Who Met With Trump Lawyer Now Faces Treason Probe

Esme Cribb - TPM:

A Ukrainian lawmaker who met with President Donald Trump’s top lawyer Michael Cohen during the transition is now the subject of a treason investigation, according to several reports.

Prosecutors accused Andrii Artemenko, a member of Ukraine’s parliament, of conspiring with Russia to commit “subversive acts against Ukraine,” according to a Tuesday report by the New York Times. They accused Artemenko of pushing a proposed deal that could “legitimize the temporary occupation” of the Crimean peninsula, which Russia annexed by force in 2014.

Per the report, Artemenko met with Trump’s personal lawyer Michael Cohen and Trump associate Felix Sater, a convicted felon and government informant, to discuss the plan in January.

A Ukrainian lawmaker allegedly worked to legitimize Russian occupation, and Mr. Trump promised relaxing US sanctions against Russia enacted in the wake of that occupation. And the Ukrainian lawmaker met with Mr. Trump’s lawyer. Huh.

Remember those names. Connect the dots.

#Trump #fraud #Russia #Ukraine #Artemenko #high #crimes #misdemeanors #25th #amendment #impeach

White House Requests FBI Knock Down Recent Trump-Russia Stories

Jim Scuitto, Evan Perez, Shimon Prokupecz, Manu Raju, and Pamela Brown - CNNPolitics.com:

The FBI rejected a recent White House request to publicly knock down media reports about communications between Donald Trump’s associates and Russians known to US intelligence during the 2016 presidential campaign, multiple US officials briefed on the matter tell CNN.

White House officials had sought the help of the bureau and other agencies investigating the Russia matter to say that the reports were wrong and that there had been no contacts, the officials said. The reports of the contacts were first published by The New York Times and CNN on February 14.

The office of the president of the United States attempted to suborn the FBI, investigating the Trump campaign’s connections to the Russian government, and other agencies of the US government in fabrication of a cover story.

When this administration’s filthy laundry is made public, this will be known as the first impeachable offense of the cover-up.

#Trump #FBI #Russia #campaign #contacts #impeachable #offense

First House Republican Signs Bill Creating Committee to Investigate Russia, Election

Joe Uchill - TheHill:

Rep. Walter Jones (R-N.C.) has become the first House Republican to co-sponsor a bill calling for an independent investigation of foreign interference in the 2016 presidential election.

Well, well. Someone in the GOP grew a spine. Or found his scruples. And from North Carolina, no less.

#Trump #Russia #Congressional #investigation #fraud

I Was a Muslim in the Trump White House—and I Lasted Eight Days

Speaks for itself. Your government in action.

Rumana Ahmed, former NSC staffer - The Atlantic:

I told him I had to leave because it was an insult walking into this country’s most historic building every day under an administration that is working against and vilifying everything I stand for as an American and as a Muslim. I told him that the administration was attacking the basic tenets of democracy. I told him that I hoped that they and those in Congress were prepared to take responsibility for all the consequences that would attend their decisions.

He looked at me and said nothing.

It was only later that I learned he authored an essay under a pseudonym, extolling the virtues of authoritarianism and attacking diversity as a “weakness,” and Islam as “incompatible with the modern West.”

My whole life and everything I have learned proves that facile statement wrong.

...

Placing U.S. national security in the hands of people who think America’s diversity is a “weakness” is dangerous. It is false.

People of every religion, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender, and age pouring into the streets and airports to defend the rights of their fellow Americans over the past few weeks proved the opposite is true––American diversity is a strength, and so is the American commitment to ideals of justice and equality.

#Trump #fraud #Muslim #NSC #diversity

Susan Hennessey Nails It

Smart lady. Good follow.

Three tweets about personal responsibility and health care by Susan Hennessey

#ACA #affordable #health #care #personal #responsibility

February 22, 2017

Upbeat Post of the Day

One of my favorite places in Warrenton: the in-town end of The Warrenton Greenway.

Black-and-white photograph of a re-purposed train trestle.

#happy #post

How Trump’s Campaign Staffers Tried to Keep Him Off Twitter

Tara Palmeri - POLITICO:

The key to keeping Trump’s Twitter habit under control, according to six former campaign officials, is to ensure that his personal media consumption includes a steady stream of praise. And when no such praise was to be found, staff would turn to friendly outlets to drum some up — and make sure it made its way to Trump’s desk.

“If candidate Trump was upset about unfair coverage, it was productive to show him that he was getting fair coverage from outlets that were persuadable,” said former communications director Sam Nunberg.

“Steady stream of praise.” “Outlets that were persuadable."

We have elected a three-year old who lives in a daycare facility, watching on-demand cartoons.

#Trump #pathetic #man-child #fraud #six #months #on #the #outside

Former NSA Analyst: American ‘Deep State’ Is a Myth

John R. Schindler debunks claims that a “deep state” is at work in the US government, spilling secrets and telling lies about Mr. Trump. He explains the origin of the phrase “deep state” in Atatürk’s Turkey, and contrasts that country’s intelligence community (IC) with ours.

Revelatory is his assertion that while the main of FBI agents are of conservative stripe, CIA analysts tend liberal.

Below is a snippet from later in the piece echoing what I’ve read elsewhere. The gist I’m getting is that General Flynn was but the first domino.

What was Flynn’s downfall? Lying to the vice president? That’s political cover. His sin was what he lied about - contacts with the Russian government. I’m reading that the rabbit hole goes deeper, not only for Flynn.

There’s something deeply wrong about Mr. Trump’s administration right near the top. If you’re no fan of Mr. Trump’s, or if you consider yourself an American first, Trumpist second, you should find yourself some good sources with deeper knowledge and start boning up.

The Russia angle is most troubling to the IC. Behind closed doors, plenty of American intelligence experts believe that President Trump is the pawn of the Kremlin, wittingly or not, and assess that it’s only a matter of time before unseemly Moscow ties are exposed and the White House enters unsurvivable political crisis.

(Observer)

Yes, that would be much worse than Watergate. Bigly.

#Trump #IC #Russia #DeepState #fraud

February 21, 2017

The Ambassador and the President

There appears a gap between the two.

US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley:

Image of ambassador Nikki Haley's statement about US relations with Russia

Mr. Trump, in comments about the NATO alliance and Russia (The New York Times):

“I took such heat when I said NATO was obsolete,” Mr. Trump said.

...

On Russia, Mr. Trump said he hoped to strike a deal with President Vladimir V. Putin to reduce nuclear weapons stockpiles. He suggested that such an agreement could be part of a broader easing of tensions that would include lifting economic sanctions imposed after Russia seized Crimea from Ukraine in 2014.

#Trump #always #a #fraud #not #very #presidential #short #fingered #vulgarian #too

Speaking of Which ...

Image of a successful funding campaign to repair overturned Jewish gravestones

I went for a look at this campaign’s funding page, and it took over a minute to load. It’s real, it’s funded, and right now the web server is straining under the load. That’s pretty damned inspiring.

#Muslim #funding #campaign #Jewish #gravestones

Trump: Anti-Semitism 'has to stop'

Jordan Fabian - TheHill:

President Trump denounced anti-Semitism Tuesday after coming under pressure to address an uptick in incidents targeting Jewish institutions across the U.S.

“Anti-Semitism is horrible and it’s going to stop and it has to stop,” Trump told MSNBC during a tour of the National Museum of African American History and Culture. 

Nice start.

Better still had he disavowed anti-Semites and white supremacists on the campaign trail, where they represented votes. Your cynicism is showing, Mr. Trump.

Your daughter did a better job of it:

Tweet by Ivanka Trump calling for religious tolerance

#Trump #still #a #fraud #also #slow #on #the #uptake

This Century Is Broken

Excellent column by David Brooks for The New York Times. Brooks does a smart thing, asking the next question.

After Trump, who will implode, what do we do next?

The central task for many of us now is not to resist Donald Trump. He’ll seal his own fate. It’s to figure out how to replace him — how to respond to the slow growth and social disaffection that gave rise to him with some radically different policy mix.

...

In different ways Eberstadt and Cowen are describing a country that is decelerating, detaching, losing hope, getting sadder. Economic slowdown, social disaffection and risk aversion reinforce one another.

Of course nothing is foreordained. But where is the social movement that is thinking about the fundamentals of this century’s bad start and envisions an alternate path? Who has a compelling plan to boost economic growth? If Trump is not the answer, what is?

#david #brooks #new #york #times #op-ed

Memos Signed by DHS Secretary Describe Sweeping New Deportation Guidelines

David Nakamura - The Washington Post:

Homeland Security Secretary John F. Kelly has signed sweeping new guidelines that empower federal authorities to more aggressively detain and deport illegal immigrants inside the United States and at the border.

In a pair of memos, Kelly offered more detail on plans for the agency to hire thousands of additional enforcement agents, expand the pool of immigrants who are prioritized for removal, speed up deportation hearings and enlist local law enforcement to help make arrests.

Interesting that these don’t come directly from the White House Office of the President, but rather through one of the executive departments. I guess they’re using DHS as a buffer against further embarrassment if the memos are stayed by a federal court, as Mr. Trump’s immigration orders were last month.

I guess, too, we’ll see the administration in court over this, too:

Joanne Lin, senior legislative counsel at the American Civil Liberties Union, said in a statement that “due process, human decency, and common sense are treated as inconvenient obstacles on the path to mass deportation. The Trump administration is intent on inflicting cruelty on millions of immigrant families across the country.”

#Trump #still #a #fraud

February 20, 2017

Mr. Trump Hires Another Adult

Good for the United States (Peter Baker - The New York Times):

President Trump picked Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, a widely respected military strategist, as his new national security adviser on Monday, calling him “a man of tremendous talent and tremendous experience.”

Not so good for General McMaster:

General McMaster is seen as one of the Army’s leading intellectuals, first making a name for himself with a searing critique of the Joint Chiefs of Staff for their performance during the Vietnam War and later criticizing the way President George W. Bush’s administration went to war in Iraq.

General McMaster is an intellectual. Searing critiques and critical thinking are not Trump supporters' strong suit. This makes them McMaster's natural critics, as they’ve made clear their disdain for anyone who’s spent a lifetime learning in addition to doing.

From what I’ve read, McMaster is a good choice. From what I’ve seen of Trump’s supporters, and the man himself, hypocrisy is coin of their realm.

#Trump #fraud #hypocrite #notTooBrightEither

Jim Mattis to Baghdad: ‘We’re Not in Iraq to Seize Anybody’s Oil’

Helene Cooper - The New York Times:

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, on the first visit by a senior Trump administration official to Iraq, worked on Monday to repair breaches of trust with Iraq’s leaders caused by his boss just as the two sides began a major offensive to oust the Islamic State from its last stronghold in the country.

At least Mr. Trump hired an adult or two before the wheels came off his clown car.

#Trump #fraud #Mattis #secdef #Iraq #oil

Largest Witnessed Ice Calving Event Captured on Video

#global #warming #just #a #fad

February 19, 2017

Upbeat Post of the Day

An old Labrador Rteriever up close

(Thanks, Kathy.)

#happy #post

Corpse Reviver #2, #2

A frosty white cocktail with cherry at the bottom of the glass, a container of dark cherries behind

A redux on Friday’s classic cocktail of the day, the Corpse Reviver #2. This time I took the absinthe out of the shaken ingredients and used it as a rinse for the glass.

The Corpse Reviver is one of a handful of cocktails regarded as “hair of the dog,” dosed the day after an evening of over-consumption. In other words, a hangover killer. I can imagine this drink used that way, when the palate's a wreck, head a throbbing sore, and outlook somewhat south of kill-me-now.

Two observations: first, the scent of absinthe above the wash line was pleasing, but the small volume of residual liquor contributed nothing to the drink’s flavor. That left lime juice, Cointreau, Cocchi Americano, and gin to forge a cocktail. And that drink just didn’t do anything for me. The Cocchi was wasted, the lime overpowering this proportion, the gin flavorless under the lime, and the Cointreau an overpriced component in this arrangement.

Second, Including absinthe in the shaken ingredients does this cocktail justice, but it’s still an acquired taste. Lime predominates, anise acts as a weaker counterpoint, but there’s no center to the drink.

I’m up in the air about this cocktail. I don’t think I blew the preparation. Maybe I just don’t care for the drink.

Some day I’ll find a bar that gives a damn about well-made cocktails, a barman who knows this drink, and enjoy one well-made.

I’ve given it two tries, a fair hearing, and I’m moving on.

#cocktails #corpse #reviver ##2 ##2 #redux

The Silence of the Hacks

Paul Krugman - The New York Times:

The point is that you can’t understand the mess we’re in without appreciating not just the potential corruption of the president, but the unmistakable corruption of his party — a party so intent on cutting taxes for the wealthy, deregulating banks and polluters and dismantling social programs that accepting foreign subversion is, apparently, a small price to pay.

It’s telling how few Republicans can be heard speaking against the dishonesty and chaos of the Trump administration, and how few came out against the president’s statement about a free press.

Where, oh where are the patriots among the GOP? Do they love their president and party more than their country?

#Trump #GOP #fraud #lies #chaos #hypocrisy

Hannah Arendt on Lies and Totalitarianism

Hannah Arendt, 1978:

Quote of Hannah Arendt about the necessity of a free press

#Trump #fraud #lies #totalitarianism #hannah #arendt

McCain Warns That Suppressing Free Press Is 'How Dictators Get Started'

Esme Cribb - TPM:

“If you want to preserve democracy as we know it, you have to have a free and many times adversarial press,” McCain said in an interview on NBC News’ “Meet the Press.”

He said that a free press is “vital” to that.

“Without it I’m afraid that we would lose so much of our individual liberties over time. That’s how dictators get started,” McCain said.

Leading his statement with “if,” McCain leaves open the question of whether Mr. Trump’s supporters want what follows. Given recent polling results I have my doubts they do.

#Trump #fraud #lies #free #press #John #McCain #dictator #authoritarianism

Watergate Journalist Bernstein: True 'enemy of the people' is Presidential Lying

Elliot Smilowitz - TheHill:

The legendary journalist who helped uncover the Watergate scandal says President Trump’s attacks on the free press are more treacherous than Richard Nixon’s.

“The most dangerous ‘enemy of the people’ is presidential lying—always. Attacks on press by @realDonaldTrump more treacherous than Nixon’s,” Carl Bernstein tweeted Saturday.

“Real news (not fake) is that @realDonaldTrump trying to make conduct of press the issue instead of egregious (and unhinged)conduct of POTUS,” he added.

Sounds familiar.

#Trump #fraud #free #press #Carl #Bernstein #Watergate

February 18, 2017

Poll: Americans Want Democrats to Work With Trump

Jonathan Easley - TheHill:

A strong majority of Americans say Democrats should look to cooperate with President Trump to strike deals, according to the inaugural Harvard-Harris poll provided exclusively by The Hill.

The survey found that 73 percent of voters want to see Democrats work with the president, against only 27 percent who said Democrats should resist Trump’s every move.

Jesus. Fucking. Christ.

#Jesus #Fucking #Christ

White House Chief of Staff Says Take Trump Seriously

Reena Flores - CBS News:

Reince Priebus, the White House chief of staff, advised Americans to take President Trump’s attacks on the media “seriously,” following the president’s denunciations of the press as the “enemy.”

When Trump goes, Priebus goes with him.

Before that, though, how much horror are you willing to sustain before you raise your fucking voice?

Is there any doubt left that this jackass president begs removal?

#Trump #fraud #ignorant #motherfucker

If You Like Return Of The Jedi But Hate the Ewoks, You Understand Feminist Criticism

Caroline Siede - The A.V. Club:

“Return Of The Jedi is great, but the Ewoks are so annoying.” That’s a pretty common refrain from Star Wars fans. In fact there are whole fan edits dedicated to removing the little fuzzy bears from the film’s climax; I can only assume they’re made by the most hardcore of Star Wars lovers. The idea that a movie can be good despite its weaker elements is one of the most basic tenets of film criticism. Yet when it comes to dissecting films from a feminist viewpoint, we seem to have trouble keeping that in mind.

… and ...

If the Avengers team were made up of three or four women it wouldn’t be such a problem for Black Widow to have an arc that involves romance. But as it stands, she has to be all things to all people when it comes to the film’s female characters, and the filmmakers who create her are (understandably) buckling under that pressure.

That would explain the cat suit that unfortunately can’t be zipped up over Scarlett’s cleavage.

Anyway, I’ve always dinged Return of the Jedi for the Ewoks, but Caroline’s point is well taken. The film is entertaining and a satisfying end (for its era) to the Star Wars saga. But I fucking hated the Ewoks at first sight.

Loved Scarlett Johansson in just about everything she’s done, though, particularly Lost In Translation. I mean, Oh My God.

#star #wars #ewoks #feminist #criticism

∴ Tonight's Fun

A Manhattan cocktail

An Emerald-Sapp Manhattan. Only the select know what the hell that is: pretty tasty.

Next time, an Emerald Manhattan with an absinthe wash.

Cheers.

#Sokovia #is #going #for #a #ride #manhattan #cocktail

Because Who Wants a Gig on Hitler's Titanic?

Tweet about DoD candidates begging off

#Trump #fraud #yada #yada #yada

Reports: Petraeus Off the List, Trump Down to Three Candidates to Replace Flynn

Brooke Seipel - TheHill:

Retired general and former CIA Director David Petraeus has reportedly pulled his name from consideration to replace Michael Flynn as National Security Adviser.

According to a report by the Wall Street Journal Friday, Petraeus’s name was floated for the role, but the White House was miffed by his concerns about staffing and independence. It’s not clear how seriously he was being considered.

Lost another one, Mr. Trump. General Patraeus wasn’t interested in being a toady.

I suspect there’s a retired second lieutenant somewhere, a regular caller to Rush Limbaugh’s show with plenty of worldly experience who’d love the job, though.

Bottom line, nobody with enough experience and smarts to do the job wants any part of Trump's shitshow.

#Trump #fraud #national #security #advisor

The Downfall of Kellyanne Conway

Erin Gloria Ryan - The New York Times:

As Kellyanne’s once-forceful cable news denials have disintegrated into whimpers, I can’t say I feel anything for her at all. I don’t mind when people point out how tired she looks. I simply cannot dredge up any sympathy for a person who has acknowledged the structural problems most women face only when she is personally facing them, or used them as derailing tactics when she’s losing an argument. I can’t mourn the downfall of a fair-weather feminist, a woman who has used her power to hurt other women.

Ms. Conway made her bed. And now it’s time for her to get some sleep.

Conway has become the most trotted-out of the Trump enablers, more visible even than Press Secretary Sean Spicer. It’s become clear that she, like Spicer, utters no truth not convenient to her boss. Since the truth is a stranger to Mr. Trump, it is to Kellyanne Conway as well. And so we get lies, and lies about lies.

It’s useful to know that fraud runs all the way through this administration, like a ribbon of tough gristle through a pricey cut of meat. When you don’t know what to believe, believe nothing, lest you fall for lies.

It spoke volumes when MSNBC’s Morning Joe banned Conway's appearance on their air. There is nothing to be gained from listening to a paid lier.

#Trump #fraud #Kellyanne #Conway #fake #feminist

February 17, 2017

The Enemy of the American People Appears to be Our President

A Twitter post

Wake up, America. The fascist arrises. Once he’s turned you against your free press, you won’t know who to believe. He will have you.

#Trump #fraud #fascist #wake #the #fuck #up

∴ Friday Entertainment

A frosty white cocktail with cherry at the bottom of the glass, a container of dark cherries behind

The short-fingered vulgarian has decamped for the flat wasteland of the Sad Clown State. A week of chaos and growing insanity subsides, and my thoughts turn to sleeping in, long walks, Wort Hog Brewing’s new SayZon saison and A-10 Weisenbock brews, visits with friends, and a day away with my favorite person and all-around best friend on Sunday. The end of the week is upon us and, as always, there’s a craft cocktail reward waiting at Andrew’s Bar.

Tonight’s entertainment is a New Orleans classic, the Corpse Reviver #2. This one’s tough to pin down; lime juice balances a splash of absinthe, Cointreau provides sweet balancing the lime’s sour and packing 80-proof alcohol, all based on gin whose juniper doesn’t punch through all those other flavors. The cherry garnish is icing on the cake.

I’ll have to try this one again - knowing a cocktail requires understanding the balance of flavors, and one example doesn’t suffice. I’ll look around for variations on the recipe first, because a cocktail written in the book of great American classics should knock me out and while I enjoyed this coupe of joy, my socks are still on my feet. Not underwhelmed. Just whelmed.

To wit:

  • 1 part gin
  • 1 part Cointreau
  • 1 part fresh lime juice
  • 1 part Cocchi Americano
  • 1 dash Mt. Defiance Absinthe Superieure
  • Cherry garnish

 Combine all liquids in a shaker, fill the tin 2/3-full with ice, shake until cold and mildly diluted. Strain through a Hawthorne strainer, gate closed, and garnish. Cheers!

#Friday #Entertainment #cocktails #corpse #reviver ##2 #classic

C-SPAN Survey on Presidents 2017

C-SPAN rolled out the results of their third-ever survey of presidential historians, who ranked past chief executives first to last by scoring ten categories.

The man who saved the Union remains number one. Agreed.

#presidential #historian #poll #c-span

February 16, 2017

Upbeat Post of the Day

Notice how these get more necessary as the days roll by?

A Labrador Retriever laying on a quilt upon grass.

#happy #post

Mr. Trump's Press Conference

Mr. Trump staged a mystifyingly odd performance at today’s White House press briefing. What began as an announcement of his next nominee to be secretary of labor turned into a lie-filled screed against, well, nearly everyone who didn’t vote for him. An unfamiliarity with the truth, and a lack of interest in issues outside his own narrow view will do that.

His performance today should have shown leadership to an increasingly unsettled Congressional GOP. He probably made things worse. Republican legislators and the world got to witness a president of the United States adrift from reality, the embodiment of unhinged.

I wonder what effect it had on his supporters, though. The same people who didn’t care enough about his shortcomings to vote him into the White House probably don’t care what he said today, or that “chaos” is an apt description of his administration despite his rendering it as “a finely tuned machine.”

But hey, “Benghazi.” “Emails.” “Lock her up.” They asked for this dumpster fire.

FWIW, notes from The Washington Post. Click through for the transcript. The man has issues:

A solemn President Trump turned his Thursday afternoon announcement of a new labor secretary nominee into a screed against the media and large-scale defense of his first four weeks as president.

It was remarkable. Trump hit all the usual points: The polls, the electoral college, the media, etc. He even said that he inherited a “mess” four separate times. There were grievances galore.

Below is the transcript, which we’ll update as it comes in, along with our analysis and annotations.

#Trump #GOP #fraud #press #conference #unhinged

Time for Congress to Investigate Mr. Trump’s Ties to Russia

The New York Times:

In history, this is where Congress steps in. During the Vietnam War, Watergate and the Iran-contra scandal, when a president’s actions or policies crossed the line, Congress investigated and held the White House to account. The time has come for it to do so again.

Here, here!

#Trump #GOP #fraud #investigation #Russia #ties #illegal

Nick Kristoff on Trump, Congress, and Scandal

The New York Times:

I referred to Trump last year as “the Russian poodle,” and we’ve known for years of Trump’s financial ties to Russia, with his son Donald Jr. saying in 2008, “We see a lot of money pouring in from Russia.” It’s all the more important now that Trump release his tax returns so that we can understand any financial leverage Russia has over him. Yet the same Republicans who oversaw eight investigations of Benghazi shrug at far greater concerns involving Trump and Russia.

Republicans aren’t interested in finding the truth of Mr. Trump’s actions. They’re happy to have “their guy” in the White House, even if they have to squint just-so to see past his crookedness.

You need to care. There’s a trail of evidence known to US intelligence agencies and reported on in the press. It connects Trump campaign aids with Russian officials, ex-national security advisor Michael Flynn with the Russian ambassador, Russia’s non-response to President Obama’s sanctions immediately after Flynn conducted calls with Russian officials, and a British intelligence dossier of evidence that’s just this week been partly corroborated. There is good reason to suspect Russia acted and succeeded in tipping the US election in Trump’s favor.

These are treasonous acts if substantiated, and should lead to removal of the president if tied directly to him. An investigation is needed to find out.

Such an investigation must begin with Congress, because the Department of Justice simply cannot be trusted. It is both under the direction of Jeff Sessions, a deeply compromised man, and employs James Comey’s FBI as its investigative arm. Comey is the one who repeatedly made reference to Hillary Clinton’s emails in the final several months of the campaign, biasing public opinion. Both are creatures of the Trump administration.

Yet witness what action Congress has taken to date: investigation the Benghazi non-affair eight times while giving a pass to Trump on his taxes, which would reveal how deeply he’s compromised by Russian ties to his businesses.

The way to get an investigation begins with you contacting your senators and congressman, and telling them to get on it.

#Trump #GOP #fraud #Flynn #Russia #investigation

February 15, 2017

Andrew Puzder Withdraws From Consideration as Labor Secretary

Alan Rappeport - The New York Times:

“The simple truth is that given his relationship to employees at the companies he runs, he was not fit to lead a department responsible for defending workers’ rights,” said Senator Bernie Sanders

Puzder has multiple skeletons in his closet. To the point, though, the secretary of labor should not possess an execrable record for how his businesses treat their employees.

Easy is casting a vote. Difficult is governing. Help is available by surrounding a new president with smart, capable people. The last bit has been sorely lacking.

#Trump #GOP #fraud #unqualified #poorly #served #Andrew #Puzder #DoL #Labor #Secretary #nomination #confirmation #cabinet

Dems to White House: What Did Trump Know, and When Did He Know It?

Patrick Caldwell details in Mother Jones a letter from US House ranking Democrats asking the very question I asked my senators and Congressman yesterday.

You should ask your representatives the same. If illegal contact with the Russian government went as high as Mr Trump, or as far back as his campaign on his behalf, that needs to become public knowledge.

#Contact #your #representatives #because #Trump #lies #and #directs #his #people #to #lie #on #his #behalf #so #you #don’t #know #who #to #trust

Bonus Upbeat Post

Yep, she's a dog. That’s what you get here. Dogs. And wind farms. This girl needed a bath.

Image of a Golden Retriever after her bath

#happy #post

Graham: If Trump Camp Talked With Russia, We Need A Select Committee

Caitlin MacNeal - TPM:

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) on Wednesday said that if there is truth to reports that aides for President Donald Trump’s campaign were in contact with Russian officials ahead of the election, Congress should form a special committee to carry out an investigation.

“If in fact there are campaign contacts between Trump officials and Russian intelligence officers that would be a very serious event and would justify the Senate forming a Select Committee to look at all things related to Russia,” Graham said in a statement. “The Russians have been trying to break the backbone of democracies all over the world, and clearly in my view, interfered in the 2016 election.”

Cautioning that he doesn’t “believe it is appropriate for Congress to act based on a newspaper article,” Graham said it’s nevertheless that body’s duty to “perform oversight regarding any potential campaign contacts between Trump officials and Russian intelligence officials.”

With respect, Senator Graham, we need a Select Committee right now. Mr. Trump’s credibility, as reflected in his job approval rating, is in tatters. The latest reporting indicates a possible path to findings of impeachable offenses.

Graham has the right idea. His last comment begs a question, though: if not for the investigative efforts of newspapers and their resulting articles, how would he know there had been any wrong-doing in the first place? The White House has done nothing but sow disinformation in the person of Kellyanne Conway and talk in circles in the person of Sean Spicer.

There is smoke all around. Two officials directly reporting to Trump have stepped down from their duties, and the US intelligence community has divulged evidence of Russian involvement in hacking the DNC and efforts to sway the 2016 US election in favor of Trump.

The senator from South Carolina, unless he has back-channel information from US or allied intelligence agencies, need take his news from “newspaper articles,” and openly demand a Select Committee now.

#Trump #GOP #fraud #illegal #Russian #intelligence #contacts #Lindsey #Graham #Select #Committee #investigation

∴ Chaps My Hide

I’ll bet most of you who see me regularly didn’t notice a lack of eyeglasses the last three or four months. I broke my last pair last year and, knowing I could take eye care insurance for 2017, decided to forego replacing them right away.

I can see without glasses. I can’t read up close so well, and distance vision is … challenging. My driver’s license says I *need* corrective lenses, but I get by. I haven’t hit anyone, yet.

New year, new insurance, a visit with my optometrist (Shannon Colbourne, recommended for my Warrenton peeps), and a frame fitting. My prescription has revealed two things. My distance vision has pulled in, and my reading correction has pushed out. At some point they’ll touch, I guess, and then I can check the box for “legally blind” on my taxes. Not today, though.

What was to be a pair of ultra-light rimless lenses morphed into a pair that will make me a distant cousin of Edward Nygma (scroll down a bit for a close-up). My fashion consultant was pleased and, I admit, so was I. Another week or so and the results will be on my face and passers-by will hear me say, “I can SEE."

No victory occurs without loss. I’ve been on a random, recurring schedule for oral crowns with my dentist. I had one installed within the last six months, in fact. The tooth below it is a crown too, though of an older, less hard manufacture. And it’s part of a three-piece bonded bridge. So of course I’d chip that crown in the same week I claimed vision victory. I swear I’m slowly beginning to realize why people opt for dentures.

But hey, new glasses! Upcoming selfie! Weee!

#glasses #teeth #selfie #no #winning

In Lieu of Tonight's Upbeat Post of the Day, Images From The Westminster

Alan Taylor - The Atlantic:

A total of 2,908 dogs were entered in this year’s 141st annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, consisting of 200 different breeds or varieties. “Best in Show” was awarded yesterday to a German Shepherd named Rumor.

Click through for photos from this year’s show. Beautiful dogs.

We watch both nights every year, with particular enjoyment of the sporting and working groups. Retriever owners can relate. And of course we wait out the Best In Show round before toddling off to bed.

The images of the year were, for me, captured by photos #15 and #16. Devlin, a Boxer, was handled by Diego Garcia, and received an elated hug the likes of which I’ve never seen at Westminster. Diego is a very happy handler. I was glad to see them both as group winners.

#happy #post

Why Did Manafort Continue With His Russian Connections At All?

Matt Shuham - TPM:

Donald Trump’s former campaign manager said Wednesday that he didn’t think it was even “inadvertently” possible that he had spoken to Russian officials during the campaign.

Manafort seemed to be responding to reports from the New York Times and CNN that members of Trump’s campaign had repeated contact with Russian officials, including intelligence officers, during the campaign.

Begs the question why the campaign chairman for a party’s candidate would have any ongoing connections with the Russian government.

Manafort was a businessman who claimed Russian business ties before he became Mr. Trump’s campaign manager. Seems he, and others in his shoes, would want to put aside their business ties for the duration of the campaign. The appearance or actuality of contact with Russian government officials or intelligence agents taints his candidate. Manafort was forced to step down as a result.

Either not too bright, or purposeful for reasons that are gradually becoming clearer. And I have a hard time believing Manafort is a dope.

#Paul #Manafort #intelligence #agency #connections #Trump

Wind Penetration on Central US Grid Breaks Record

Megan Geuss - Ars Technica:

An organization that manages transmission systems across the central US announced on Tuesday that it broke a record for wind penetration in North America. On Sunday at 4:30am, Southwest Power Pool (SPP) became the first regional transmission organization (RTO) to serve 52.1 percent of its load using wind energy.

More efficient turbines and blades, better management technology and, of course, build-out of wind farms all contribute to the rising tide of US wind power. Great news.

#wind #power #record

Upbeat Post of Yesterday

So much news, so little time. Missed a puppy dog pic last evening for all the political chaos. Rectified.

She still looks that way as she sleeps. A little bigger, though.

Picture of a Labrador Retriever asleep on a carpet

#happy #post

Zooming in on Washington and Baltimore’s ‘snow hole’

Jason Samenow - The Washington Post:

Call it snow hole central. In the Mid-Atlantic region and even beyond, the Washington-Baltimore region occupies its own special island of snowless-ness.

Huh. Snow hole. That sounds familiar.

The article even has a graphic of the, umm, snow hole.

#snow #hole

February 14, 2017

Trump Campaign Aides Had Repeated Contacts With Russian Intelligence

Michael S. Schmidt, Mark Mazzetti, and Matt Apuzzo - The New York Times:

Phone records and intercepted calls show that members of Donald J. Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and other Trump associates had repeated contacts with senior Russian intelligence officials in the year before the election, according to four current and former American officials.

Getting closer.

Never underestimate the value of the fourth estate.

#Trump #GOP #fraud

Ethics Office Calls for Probe of Conway

Caitlin MacNeal - TPM:

The Office of Government Ethics sent a letter Monday to the White House calling on it to investigate whether Kellyanne Conway broke ethics rules by promoting Ivanka Trump’s business on television and to consider disciplining Conway.

When it rains, it pours.

Presidents usually surround themselves with smart people. Sometimes they add in a faithful lieutenant or two, out of loyalty and acknowledgement of their hard work. This president has surrounded himself with enablers of no apparent ability. They sure work hard at it, though.

#Trump #GOP #fraud #Kellyanne #Conway #ethics #investigation

Mental Health Professionals Warn About Trump

The New York Times' letters to the editor:

Mr. Trump’s speech and actions demonstrate an inability to tolerate views different from his own, leading to rage reactions. His words and behavior suggest a profound inability to empathize. Individuals with these traits distort reality to suit their psychological state, attacking facts and those who convey them (journalists, scientists).

In a powerful leader, these attacks are likely to increase, as his personal myth of greatness appears to be confirmed. We believe that the grave emotional instability indicated by Mr. Trump’s speech and actions makes him incapable of serving safely as president.

Anyone who knew or knew of Mr. Trump in his younger years as a New York City playboy knew these specialists’ opinions as fact. And anyone who knew these as facts also knew Trump would make for a terrible president, because presidents of the United States need a thick skin and a calm mind. Mr. Trump has neither.

The wheels are coming off the bus early. It’s not going to get any better from here on.

Go ahead, make an excuse for him. It’s your country ...

#Trump #GOP #dangerous #fraud

Trump Told Weeks Ago That Michael Flynn Withheld Truth

Peter Baker - The New York Times:

President Trump was informed weeks ago that his national security adviser, Michael T. Flynn, had not told the truth about his interactions with Russia’s ambassador and asked for Mr. Flynn’s resignation after concluding he could not be trusted, the White House said on Tuesday.

“Weeks ago.” The assistant to the president for national security affairs was known by the president to be a lier for weeks, and the president did nothing.

There’s a word for that: complicity.

#Trump #GOP #fraud #Michael #Flynn #national #security #advisor #Russia #Logan #Act

GOP Senate Intel Member: 'Exhaustive' Investigation Needed

Andrew Kaczynski - CNNPolitics.com:

Republican Sen. Roy Blunt, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, on Tuesday called for an exhaustive investigation into connections between President Donald Trump and Russia and said the Intelligence Committee should immediately speak with former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.

Speak of the devil and he shall appear.

Blunt is chair of the Senate Rules Committee, and a member of the Select Committee on Intelligence. On this issue I’m with him: “exhaustive” investigation is what’s needed. I don’t believe the Trump administration can survive it.

#Trump #GOP #fraud #Michael #Flynn #resignation #national #security #advisor #Roy #Blunt #investigation

And as for Mr. Trump

To use a hackneyed, though appropriate, phrase - what did the president know of General Flynn’s actions re: the Russian government, and when did he know it? And why didn’t he do something about it?

If Trump knew nothing, why did he nominate a cypher as NSA? General Flynn’s entire background should have been an open book to the incoming administration. Is elevating Flynn not a dereliction of duty to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States?

If he did know, or had back channel communication about what was rumored of Flynn’s actions, doesn't elevating a man so compromised to the most critical national security post in the US government rise to define “high crimes and misdemeanors?"

#Trump #GOP #fraud #criminal #dereliction #of #duty #Michael #Flynn

Flynn Resigns Amid Russia Controversy

The AP:

National security adviser Michael Flynn has resigned after reports he misled Trump administration officials about his contacts with Russia’s ambassador to the U.S.

Flynn’s departure less than one month into the Trump administration marks an extraordinarily early shakeup in the president’s senior team of advisers. Flynn was a loyal Trump supporter throughout the campaign, but his ties to Russia caused concern among other senior aides.

Extraordinary shake-up … I’d say so. The one person central to all of the White House’s national security operation violated the Logan Act, colluding with a foreign power on US foreign policy during the previous administration’s tenure, and lied about it to the vice president. And the VP embarrassed himself repeating the lies.

Now, if the strong suspicion that Mr. Trump had improper contacts with the Russian government turn out to be just as true as those that sent Flynn packing - well holy crap. We’ll truly have found a scandal “worse than Watergate."

#Trump #GOP #fraud #Michael #Flynn #national #security #advisor #Russia #Logan #Act

February 12, 2017

Mr. Trump and His NSA, Michael Flynn

Ed O’Keefe - The Washington Post:

On NBC’s “Meet the Press,” when moderator Chuck Todd asked whether Trump still had confidence in Flynn, Miller said he did not know. He said his colleagues at the White House “did not give me anything to say.”

“It’s not for me to tell you what’s in the president’s mind,” Miller told Todd. “That’s a question for the president, that’s a question for our chief of staff.”

I’ll tell you what’s in the president’s mind. A goofy moose, playing a ukulele.

As for General Flynn, I think we know whose is the first body under the bus for this administration.

#Trump #GOP #fraud #Michael #Flynn #national #security #advisor #chuck #todd

Yale to Rename Calhoun College After Pioneering Computer Scientist Grace Hopper

Grace Hopper is among the most-revered in computer science. Like Ada Lovelace, Charles Babbage, Alan Turing, Hopper (we put the punch cards in the …) made an indelible mark on our work, so this is only fitting, and long, long overdue (Lauren Evans - Jezebel):

Yale University announced on Saturday that it would finally relent to pressure to rename Calhoun College—named for former vice president and white supremacist John C. Calhoun—to something a little more befitting of the year, if not the times themselves. The school’s trustees settled on Grace Murray Hopper, a computer scientist and Navy rear admiral who earned both her master’s degree and doctorate from the university.

Here’s an awesome photo of her being saluted by crew members aboard the USS Constitution as she arrives for her retirement ceremony in 1986:

Image of Grace Hopper retirement ceremony aboard USS Constitution

The linked article is a 60-second read, and tells you (briefly) why Grace Hopper is such a big deal. Here’s a more complete biography.

Kinda makes you proud, doesn’t it?

February 11, 2017

GOP Bill Would Gut EPA

Timothy Cama - TheHill:

A House Republican is sponsoring legislation to do away with large portions of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), including environmental justice and greenhouse gas programs.

Rep. Sam Johnson (R-Texas)  introduced the Wasteful EPA Programs Elimination Act on Thursday, saying it would save $7.5 billion annually. That would leave the agency with a budget of less than $1 billion.

Major EPA climate change programs would be eliminated under the measure.

Sure, who needs clean water and clean air? Sounds like a great idea. Yay, Republicans!

Ignorant motherfuckers.

#Trump #GOP #fraud #EPA #budget

∴ More Disturbing Than Trump's Travel Ban

Though Mr. Trump has been temporarily rebuffed in his effort to keep out refugees and immigrants from seven Muslim-majority nations (with special treatment for Christian minorities), there’s something more disturbing than his attempt: more Americans support such a restriction than reject it. (Reuters/Ipsos poll):

NewImage

Kinda sickening how many Americans are willing to vest the supposed sins of the few upon the many. Factually wrong, too: zero killings have occurred in the US at the hands of foreign nationals from the seven countries included in Trump’s executive order (Cato Institute):

Foreigners from those seven nations have killed zero Americans in terrorist attacks on U.S. soil between 1975 and the end of 2015.  Six Iranians, six Sudanese, two Somalis, two Iraqis, and one Yemini have been convicted of attempting or carrying out terrorist attacks on U.S. soil. Zero Libyans or Syrians have been convicted of planning a terrorist attack on U.S. soil during that time period.

There have been attempts, arrests, and convictions of seventeen foreign nationals from those countries since 1975. There have been thousands of immigrants and refugees land in the US during that time.

Following the prevailing sentiment, but employing factual evidence we should let immigrants into our country from any nation exporting little violence, up to pre-existing immigration limitations.

An article in The Atlantic provides a handy breakdown of terrorists and murders on US soil, by country. The seven countries included in Trump’s executive order are bolded.

(Note the high number of murders committed by Saudi, UAE, Egyptian, and Lebanese terrorists. Those who carried out the 9/11 attacks on the US hailed from Saudi Arabia and Egypt, yet neither is on Trump’s list. That list needs updating if we’re to use it for excluding refugees - to hell with alliances of convenience. No-one exports more unbridled hatred than the Wahabist Saudi Arabia.)

Americans who support Trump’s executive order might have a look at the data, think back on US history, and admit their error. It’s only logical.

#Trump #GOP #fraud #executive #order #travel #ban #facts #statistics #human #error #discrimination #xenophobia

February 10, 2017

Bonus Upbeat Post of the Day

I missed yesterday, and it’s been tiring week, so one more for cheer.

Two dogs looking out the open back door of an SUV, one standing, the other laying.

#happy #post

Upbeat Post of the Day

An oldie, but a goodie.

Two coctails on a  table

#happy #post

The More Things Change ...

I’m continually reminded of a line from All the President’s Men, when Hal Holbrooks’ Deep Throat character says, of the Nixon White House staff,

Forget the myths the media's created about the White House. The truth is, these are not very bright guys, and things got out of hand.

“Things” do appear to be escalating. I wonder when the consensus will turn to “out of hand."

#Trump #GOP #fraud #not #too #bright

Populist Right-wing is as Populist Right-wing Does

French candidate Marine Le Pen says France will not allow dual citizenships with states outside the EU under her prospective government. EU member states must allow dual citizenships among the Union by treaty.

Does any of this sound familiar? (Hint: I might have emphasized it in bold.)

Haaretz.com:

Le Pen said that the ban will also apply to citizens of the U.S. and North African countries, but that dual citizens of the EU and of Russia, which she said is part of she termed the “Europe of nations,” will be exempted.

That Russia’s doing pretty good among rising populist whack-jobs.

#Trump #too #Marine #Le #Pen #France #Russia

Trump Vexed by Challenges, Scale of Government

A revealing look inside the Trump White House by Alex Isenstadt, Kenneth P. Vogel, and Josh Dawsey on POLITICO ends with this quote:

“I’m not disappointed in the President’s work so far - he operates like many great CEO’s I know - and I hope he continues to manage the country in a manner worlds apart from the way we’ve seen in the past,” said Michael Caputo, who was a Trump campaign aide. “It’s about time.”

Mistake number one: believing that a business chief executive can work as president of the United States in the same way he or she did in the private sector. CEOs rule by fiat, and answer only to the board of directors and shareholders, if any. US Presidents are subject to oversight and consent by the courts, Congress, and the American people. You know, all those folks protesting around the country. Must chap his hide.

#Trump #GOP #fraud #president #is #a #difficult #job #no #shit #unfit #for #the #office #of #president

Nine People Say National Security Advisor Mike Flynn Lied

Greg Miller, Adam Entous and Ellen Nakashima - The Washingont Post:

Flynn on Wednesday denied that he had discussed sanctions with [Sergey] Kislyak. Asked in an interview whether he had ever done so, he twice said, “No.”

On Thursday, Flynn, through his spokesman, backed away from the denial. The spokesman said Flynn “indicated that while he had no recollection of discussing sanctions, he couldn’t be certain that the topic never came up.”

…Nine current and former officials, who were in senior positions at multiple agencies at the time of the calls, spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss intelligence matters.

All of those officials said Flynn’s references to the election-related sanctions were explicit.

Hmm. A private citizen interfered with the foreign policy of the United States. This sort of thing is a violation of federal law.

A pattern appears to be forming among this administration. Can’t quite put my finger on it.

#Trump #GOP #fraud #Mike #Flynn #Russian #foreign #policy #Logan #Act

Trump Wont't Appeal Travel Ban Halt to Supreme Court

Pamela Brown, Laura Jarrett, and Jim Acosta - CNNPolitics.com:

The Trump administration is not currently planning to appeal the decision blocking its travel ban to the Supreme Court, a source familiar with the matter tells CNN.

The decision to not go to the Supreme Court comes as the White House is examining several options to save President Donald Trump’s controversial executive order on immigration.

Whoever talked Mr.Trump off the ledge gets a gold star.

Make no mistake, they’ll be back with more anti-Muslim hatred. It’s a core principle of the Trump administration, and one of the means by which he was elected.

Tonight, though, Donald’s virulent bullshit is as dead as his “soul.”

#Trump #GOP #fraud #Muslim #ban #court #appeal

Neil Gorsuch’s Criticism Wasn’t Aimed at Trump (!)

Julie Hirschfeld Davis - The New York Times:

White House officials insisted on Thursday that Judge Neil M. Gorsuch, President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, was not referring to Mr. Trump’s recent denigration of judges when he said privately that he was disheartened by attacks on the courts.

Of course not! Judge Gorsuch was referring to the other president who criticized a sitting judge's decision against him. Oh, wait:

Donald Trump's Twitter post criticizing a judge's decision against his executive order

Clear bullshit from Trump administration. I wonder when America- and Constitution-loving Republicans are going to begin speaking out against this guy.

#Trump #GOP #fraud #Neil #Gorsuch #criticism

Trump Bias Forces Out an Opinion Editor at WSJ

Rosie Gray - The Atlantic:

The Wall Street Journal’s editorial features editor has left the paper following tensions over the section drifting in a pro-Donald Trump direction.

News of the departure of Mark Lasswell, who edited op-eds for the Journal, comes as the paper’s internal tensions over Trump have begun to spill into public view.

The WSJ has always been reliably right-of-center. Now comes a “conservative” president leaning into authoritarianism, stirring hatreds and fears, successfully distilling them for votes. What to do? Looks like the Journal took the wrong path:

According to two sources with direct knowledge of the situation, Lasswell was in effect phased out over a period of months from the paper. He took a book leave during the election following conflict with his boss Paul Gigot, the editorial page director, about the extent to which the page should run material sympathetic to Trump.

Phased out the features editor?!

That right there is a shame. The not-newspaper of record has unloaded a principled editor at the behest of a long-time, well-known and award-winning, yet ideologically compromised Paul Gigot. Here’s the ugly internals:

According to a source close to Lasswell, the relationship between Lasswell and Gigot broke down in June when Gigot blocked Lasswell from publishing op-eds critical of Trump’s business practices and which raised questions about his alleged ties to Mafia figures.

Journal folks, you officially have a credibility problem. Your man, and we can now finger him as your man, is in the White House and you are firing those who refuse to become his toady. For shame.

#WSJ #Wall #Streeet #Journal #Paul #Gigot #Mark #Lasswell #BIAS

Kellyanne Conway’s White House Infomercial

The New York Times editorial board:

Ms. Conway’s remarks, made from the White House briefing room, plainly violated federal ethics regulations, which state that an employee “shall not use his public office for his own private gain, for the endorsement of any product, service or enterprise or for the private gain of friends, relatives, or persons with whom the employee is affiliated in a nongovernmental capacity.”

Not only were Conway’s remarks unsurprising, they were expected.

Before concerns about an authoritarian takeover of the US government arose, word was that Mr. Trump was in the presidential race for personal gain. Once in office, he’s been quick to express his dismay when those plans go awry:

Donald Trump's complaint against Nordstrom dropping his daughter's clothing line

Trump lies about the past. He tells the truth about the future. About making money off his high office, he told us so.

#Trump #GOP #fraud #Kellyanne #Conway #ethics #violation #profit

Disappearance of the Biggest Scandal in Washington

David Corn - Mother Jones:

According to the consensus assessment of US intelligence agencies, Russian intelligence, under the orders of Vladimir Putin, mounted an extensive operation to influence the 2016 campaign to benefit Donald Trump. This was a widespread covert campaign that included hacking Democratic targets and publishing swiped emails via WikiLeaks. And it achieved its objectives. But the nation’s capital remains under-outraged by this subversion. The congressional intelligence committees announced last month that they will investigate the Russian hacking and also examine whether there were any improper contacts between the Trump camp and Russia during the campaign. (A series of memos attributed to a former British counterintelligence officer included allegations of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.) Yet these behind-closed-doors inquiries have generated minimum media notice, and, overall, there has not been much outcry.

Lack of outcry is the result of playing Mr. Trump's game of misdirection. We’re spending all of our outrage on his poor performance as president, rather than letting some spill into larger and possibly greater issues. Note to legitimate media outlets: keep your eye on the ball.

It’s not that an investigation isn’t happening. We’re just not hearing much about it. That’s typical of a criminal investigation, but where was this professional discretion in the matter of Hillary Clinton’s email server just prior to the election?

#Trump #GOP #fraud #ties #to #Russia #wikileaks #Putin #election #intelligence #investigation

9th Circuit Appeals Court Rules Against Non-ban Travel Ban

In issuing their ruling, the three-judge court stated there was insufficient evidence that the government’s case would be successful on its merits, and there was insufficient evidence that continuing the lower court’s stay would be harmful.

They also stated the obvious, per our Constitution:

Text reminding the reader of the federal court's authority in Constitutional matters

Mr. Trump, predictably, had a public shit-fit:

SEE YOU IN COURT, THE SECURITY OF OUR NATION IS AT STAKE!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 9, 2017

This may be the first time Trump has heard the word “no.” Imagine how he’ll respond if and when the Supreme Court rules on, or refuses to take up his court challenge.

This is the difference in our government from those where an authoritarian leader has taken control: the federal judiciary. At the ultimate level of appeal they cannot be made to go away, they cannot be silenced. Judges and justices enjoy lifetime appointments. And they have enough integrity to put aside their political preferences and rule on the merits of a case.

Trump can whine and complain all he wants. His notion of national security, deeply flawed and prejudiced as it is, does not trump (hah!) the Constitution.

#Trump #GOP #fraud #travel #ban #appeals #court #ruling #stay

February 9, 2017

43 Percent of American Children's Families Live in Poverty

Mark Frauenfelder - Boing Boing:

“More than 40 percent of all children live in low-income families — including 5.2 million infants and toddlers under 3,” reports the National Center for Children in Poverty (NCCP) at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health.

Take a look at the accompanying graphic. That’s an image of disgrace.

#American #children #poverty

Donald Trump’s Approval Rating in Context

Will Jordan - Borderline:

It has already been pointed out that the current President rose to majority disapproval far more quickly than any other president, but I wanted to take a closer look at how his current standing compares to the record of other Presidents.

Fascinating discussion (with sharp graphics) of presidential net approval ratings going back to President Eisenhower.

Jordan talks through a few peculiarities of past presidential numbers, and adds an interesting “what-if” about the mid-term election of 2018.

Worth a five-minute read and look.

#presidential #approval #rating #graphed #context

I Don't Know How He'll Keep Up

Matt Kiser is off to a good start, though.

Want to know what happened in Trumpworld today, yesterday, last week? Head over to What The Fuck Just Happened Today? for the latest Trump administration-related news, supported by links to legitimate news outlets.

#Trump #GOP #fraud #WhatTheFuckJustHappenedToday #news 

February 8, 2017

Republicans Beg Their Party to Finally Do Something About Global Warming

Rebecca Weber - Mother Jones:

The contrast was especially clear this week. Just a day after Republicans on the House science committee accused government scientists of fabricating climate research, a group of Republican luminaries who don’t currently hold public office held a press conference calling for climate action. Specifically, they released a report—titled “The Conservative Case for Carbon Dividends”—in which they advocated a tax on carbon emissions.

Hypocrisy has a home in the US Republican party.

For how long have climate scientists been sounding this alarm? Now come "James Baker, who served as secretary of state and secretary of the treasury in the Reagan and first Bush administrations; Henry Paulson, who served as treasury secretary in the second Bush administration; Reagan Secretary of State George Shultz; and Martin Feldstein and Gregory Mankiw, who chaired the President's Council of Economic Advisers under Reagan and George W. Bush, respectively,” to make the case for taxing carbon emissions.

If only someone would tell the president.

The good news is, Mr. Trump spends a fair part of his day watching TV, waiting for his next meeting. Surely Fox “News” will report on these Republican luminaries and their report.

#GOP #fraud #hypocrisy #carbon #tax #emissions #greenhouse #effect

Amplifying Her Message

Matt Flegenheimer - The New York Times:

Republicans seized her microphone. And gave her a megaphone.

Silenced on the Senate floor for condemning a peer, Senator Elizabeth Warren, Democrat of Massachusetts, emerged on Wednesday in a coveted role: the avatar of liberal resistance in the age of Trump

Senator McConnell will so regret this move. The very next day several Democratic senators stood in the well of the Senate to read the very same letter, but were not censured. Surely it was  the context - these senators were not offering testimony against Senator Jefferson Sessions in his confirmation hearing for Attorney General of the United States.

And yet. What Senator McConnell did was no less than give the resistance to Donald Trump a face, an already popular one, at that.

There is much dissatisfaction among Americans about their new president. That’s cause. Now we have a person, a senator, no less, as focus for that cause.

The GOP will rue the day they nominated Mr. Trump as their candidate. His election will be nothing short of pyrrhic.

#Trump #GOP #fraud #Mitch #McConnell #Elizabeth #Warren #Coretta #Scott #King #letter #Jeff #Sessions

∴ World War Zero

Umair Haque, making an argument for the prospect of war, using our cultural divide as preamble - Medium:

America has seen a kind of social collapse in the last decade, and does not even really know it. It is not commented on, not discussed, barely even noticed. Everyday people have been turned into zeros, nobodies, invisible losers — and that is why I called this essay “World War Zero”. What do I mean?

There is shattering rage in America today primarily because people were left behind by the recovery, by globalization, by growth itself. A “recovery” touted and glorified by America’s leaders, in which more than 100% of gains were taken by the rich. Can you blame Americans for their rage? And yet. The result of being economically abandoned has been profound social fracture.

Half the country or more rejects modernity wholesale: they have retreated into tribal theocratic alt-clans, where public goods — from information to healthcare — are provided by churches and communities, not by society at large. Thus, they live wholly separated lives: their media, music, literature, art, information, entertainment, theories, facts, ideas — all of it is different to, say, what a New York Times reader (or writer) knows, unfamiliar, and all of it is essentially a symbol of their rage. The price of that retreat is a failure to be civilized: the losers of modernity do not read, they do not understand politics, government, civics, economics, they do not know basic facts about the world — and they do not care to. Just like the people they hate the most — Muslim fundamentalists — their lives are one story: a tale of regress into a dark age. Irony of ironies. And yet. There’s a truer way to see all that: they only know rage.

Haque’s thesis is about the likelihood of war, because that’s what authoritarians do. He takes the cultural rage that gave us Mr. Trump and projects it into open conflict abroad. I’m going to delve into the source of this “rage” he sees in our divide, because it’s a subject that has become dear to my heart lately.

Haque’s work requires some unpacking.

Can we say those who didn’t support Trump were in any sense enraged before his still-stunning victory? The only rage I’ve heard or read of among the rest of us has been in response to his actions after inauguration day.

Before election day, though, most of those intent on electing our first female president were a content lot, a little smug perhaps in our self-assuredness. The long simmering, more general rage, if we can call it that, came from a faction among Trump’s followers.

It’s worth asking, then, how many in number were these enraged people? For all their bluster, they represented less than a quarter of the population. A sizable lot, yes, in need of attention to get at why they're enraged, but not near enough for a plurality even in a parliamentary democracy.

About 55 percent of the US voting age population turned out for the 2016 election (about 5% of the VAP is ineligible), and of them only 46 percent cast their vote for Trump. 46% of 55% is 25.3%. That’s 25.3% of those aged 18 and over not incarcerated or otherwise ruled ineligible to vote. Not 25.3% of all Americans - we’re talking about a smaller fraction of the country and culture than that.

Many, but not all of these votes for Trump were an act of desperation. Those casting them weren’t looking for war. They weren’t enraged. They were looking for someone to hear them, for leadership, for relief of their suffering, for jobs, and for respect. They were cast by people self-identifying more as left behind or forgotten than, say, Republican.

They believe the American experiment has failed them.

Starting a shooting war with a foreign government doesn’t un-fail these people. It doesn’t answer their needs. It would be, more than anything, what I think they’d call “more of the same.” It would be their children, and now grandchildren who would go off to fight and die.

Still, Haque’s writing about our internal strife rings true. The problems we face are increasingly obvious as more of us read and think about how we arrived at a Trump presidency. A more interesting and relevant question, then, is whether these Americans’ rage could lead to civil war. I don’t believe so.

The US population isn’t neatly divided by region as it was a century and a half ago. A closer look of the election results shows voter preferences varied county by county, not state by state, much less region by region. Population centers, our hubs of education, employment, and more diverse populations tended to vote left. Rural counties tended to vote right.

Re-group the electoral college results by age and we find a large majority of younger voters voting left, period. These voters are the future of American politics, and most of them would have preferred a Sanders presidency had he won the nomination.

These demographics don’t support internal warfare.

Trump has “joked” about invading Mexico, taken pains to insult our close ally, Australia, and cozied up to Russia’s Putin.

Maybe he aims to put American soldiers and marines on the ground in Syria. Canada’s current PM is a leftie and an intellectual, two qualities denigrated by Trump followers; maybe Trump is eyeing the Great White North.

But Trump’s actions to date have been so disorganized it’s doubtful he could mount a successful campaign for a shooting war unless there’s a successful terrorist attack on US soil. No, our internal conflict will be cultural and political.

With that one exception - a successful terrorist attack - the next four years will be characterized less by warfare than by greater recognition of the roots of Trump’s rise. That’s good, cathartic. It’s the singular silver lining to his election: we now have an excellent chance of waking up Americans to the country and culture in which they really live.

Who are these Americans among us struggling every day, even as so many of us succeed with our hopes and aspirations? Why are so many of us disadvantaged so many years after our laws set a level playing field? How could we fail to provide for the inevitable result of the “giant sucking sound?” How did retraining the American workforce go so wrong, and what do we do about that and about the demagogue in the White House?

I know one thing we don’t do. We don’t let ourselves get talked into scapegoating anyone for our own problems. Not the free press, not immigrants, not other countries. We don’t let internal strife become external warfare.

And we unseat Mr. Trump, and toss the likes of him and his cronies into the ash heap of history.

#Trump #GOP #fraud #politics #culture #Umair #Haque #authoritarian #war #causes #civil #China