Monday, March 19, 2018

After Donald Trump attacked him on Twitter James Comey's book moves to number one on Amazon.

Courtesy of The Hill:

Former FBI Director James Comey’s unreleased book has landed at the No. 1 spot on the Amazon best-sellers list just one day after he told President Trump that “the American people will hear my story very soon.” 

Comey’s book, “A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership," rocketed up the list over the weekend, after starting at No. 15 on Saturday. 

The book is scheduled to be released on April 17. 

The fired FBI director is expected to use the upcoming book tour to challenge attacks on him and the FBI by Trump and some Republicans.

Speaking of attacks it appears that Comey's book got a boost after this tweet from Trump.
In response Comey tweeted this out.
You know I am going to go broke trying to keep up with all of these new must read books. 

So I think we know why Donald Trump suddenly decided to attack the Mueller investigation publicly.

Courtesy of the New York Times:  

The president’s tweets, posted on a Saturday in which he remained inside the White House with no public schedule, came as Mr. Mueller is said to have sent questions to Mr. Trump’s legal team as part of negotiations over an interview with the president. Mr. Mueller is seeking the interview, according to two people close to the White House, in order to ask follow-up questions, but put forward the list as a start. 

Mr. Dowd’s remarks about Mr. Mueller’s investigation represented an extraordinary shift in public strategy for the Trump legal team. Since taking over the case last summer, Mr. Trump’s lawyers have urged a strategy of restraint, in which the president avoids discussing Mr. Mueller or criticizing him, and the lawyers had done nothing publicly until now that could agitate the special counsel’s team. 

The comments by both Mr. Trump and Mr. Dowd lent credence to Mr. McCabe’s assertion that the president sees his firing as directly tied into Mr. Mueller’s case. Mr. McCabe, who is a potential witness in the investigation, declared that his dismissal was an attempt to undermine it.
According to Axios these are the questions that Mueller sent to Trump's attorneys:

Axios has learned that special counsel Robert Mueller has focused on events since the election — not during the campaign — in his conversations with President Trump's lawyers. The top two topics that Mueller has expressed interest in so far: the firings of FBI director James Comey and national security adviser Michael Flynn. 

That suggests a focus on obstruction of justice while in office, rather than collusion with Russia during the campaign. But both sagas are interwoven with Russia: Trump himself has linked Comey's firing to Russia, and Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about conversations with the Russian ambassador during the transition.

In other words Mueller may have Trump locked down both coming and going.

It has been clear for awhile that Trump's attorneys have barely managed to rein him in when it comes to tweeting out his frustrations with Mueller's investigations, but now having seen the questions that Mueller intends to ask him, and realizing that answering them under oath will be very bad for his presidency, I think that Trump is losing his shit entirely and only sees the firing of Robert Mueller as his only possible way out.

Of course if he actually does finagle a way to get rid of Mueller that will essentially e an admission of guilt, and then this whole things ramps way up.

Cambridge Analytica, who stands accused of stealing data from over 50 million Facebook users, is working overtime to stop media outlets from issuing reports revealing their tactics.

Courtesy of The Hill: 

Cambridge Analytica is trying to prevent an undercover report by London’s Channel 4 News that shows the firm’s CEO Alexander Nix speaking candidly about the firm’s practices from airing, according to the Financial Times. 

Reporters for Channel 4 posed as prospective clients and secretly filmed a number of meetings with the firm. 

The Financial Times's report did not make clear how the data firm was working to stop the report from airing. 

Cambridge Analytica also threatened to sue the Guardian to stop this story about the guy who blew the whistle on their Facebook data theft from being published: 

The Observer also received the first of three letters from Cambridge Analytica threatening to sue Guardian News and Media for defamation. We are still only just starting to understand the maelstrom of forces that came together to create the conditions for what Mueller confirmed last month was “information warfare”. But Wylie offers a unique, worm’s-eye view of the events of 2016. Of how Facebook was hijacked, repurposed to become a theatre of war: how it became a launchpad for what seems to be an extraordinary attack on the US’s democratic process. 

Wylie oversaw what may have been the first critical breach. Aged 24, while studying for a PhD in fashion trend forecasting, he came up with a plan to harvest the Facebook profiles of millions of people in the US, and to use their private and personal information to create sophisticated psychological and political profiles. And then target them with political ads designed to work on their particular psychological makeup. 

“We ‘broke’ Facebook,” he says. 

And he did it on behalf of his new boss, Steve Bannon.

Clearly that didn't work.

In another piece by the Guardian that I am sure Cambridge Analytica would like to make go away, we learn that the guy who orchestrated the data mining on Facebook has ties to Russia: 

Aleksandr Kogan, the Cambridge University academic who orchestrated the harvesting of Facebook data, had previously unreported ties to a Russian university, including a teaching position and grants for research into the social media network, the Observer has discovered. Cambridge Analytica, the data firm he worked with – which funded the project to turn tens of millions of Facebook profiles into a unique political weapon – also attracted interest from a key Russian firm with links to the Kremlin. 

Energy firm Lukoil, which is now on the US sanctions list and has been used as a vehicle of government influence, saw a presentation on the firm’s work in 2014. It began with a focus on voter suppression in Nigeria, and Cambridge Analytica also discussed “micro-targeting” individuals on social media during elections. 

The revelations come at a time of intense US scrutiny of Russian meddling in the 2016 US presidential election, with 13 Russians criminally charged last month with interfering to help Donald Trump.

Man no matter what the story, it always links back to Russia in some way or another. 

By the way Robert Mueller has requested all emails between the Trump campaign and Cambridge Analytica, so this party is far from over.

Interesting that not only is the Trump White House all super double secret about what they are up to, but so is just about everybody who helped them to get there in the first place.

Donald Trump had senior staff sign NDA's, which would extend beyond their time in the White House.

Courtesy of WaPo: 

In the early months of the administration, at the behest of now-President Trump, who was furious over leaks from within the White House, senior White House staff members were asked to, and did, sign nondisclosure agreements vowing not to reveal confidential information and exposing them to damages for any violation. Some balked at first but, pressed by then-Chief of Staff Reince Priebus and the White House Counsel’s Office, ultimately complied, concluding that the agreements would likely not be enforceable in any event.

The nondisclosure agreements, said a person who signed the document, “were meant to be very similar to the ones that some of us signed during the campaign and during the transition. I remember the president saying, ‘Has everybody signed a confidentiality agreement like they did during the campaign or we had at Trump Tower?’ ” 

At that time, in February or March of 2017, the source said, “There was lots of leaking, things that just weren’t true, and a lot of things that were true and should have remained confidential. The president’s point was that they [staff] would think twice about that if they were on the hook for some serious damages.” 

Moreover, said the source, this confidentiality pledge would extend not only after an aide’s White House service but also beyond the Trump presidency. “It’s not meant to be constrained by the four years or eight years he’s president — or the four months or eight months somebody works there. It is meant to survive that.” 

This is extraordinary. Every president inveighs against leakers and bemoans the kiss-and-tell books; no president, to my knowledge, has attempted to impose such a pledge. And while White House staffers have various confidentiality obligations — maintaining the secrecy of classified information or attorney-client privilege, for instance — the notion of imposing a side agreement, supposedly enforceable even after the president leaves office, is not only oppressive but constitutionally repugnant.

The draft of the NDA seen by the reporter for this story levied a fine of 10 million dollars for every unauthorized revelation about Trump or the Trump Administration.

That is beyond punitive, that his draconian.

It is also not enforceable, as explained by this professor of political science:
I am having a hard time getting over the fact that Trump is treating White House personnel in the same way that he treats an adult film actress with whom he had an extra marital affair.

After he does something criminal or despicable, they are just loose ends to be tied up by his attorneys.

Really makes you wonder exactly what Donald Trump is so concerned with people finding out about him, doesn't it?

New NBC poll shows that Democrats have a 10 point lead going into 2018, while Donald Trump's numbers have ticked up four points. Wait, what?

Courtesy of NBC News:  

Democrats enjoy a 10-point advantage over Republicans in congressional preference for the 2018 midterm elections, even as President Donald Trump's job approval rating has ticked up, the latest national NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll finds. 

Fifty percent of registered voters say they prefer a Democratic-controlled Congress, while 40 percent want a GOP-controlled one. 

That double-digit lead — typically a sign of strong Democratic performance for the upcoming election — is up from the party's 6-point edge in January's NBC/WSJ poll, which was 49 percent to 43 percent, though the change is within the poll's margin of error.

That falls in line with other polling that shows the Democrats with a substantial lead going into the 2018 election.

But then there is this: 

Meanwhile, the NBC/WSJ polls finds that Trump's approval rating stands at 43 percent among all Americans — up four points from January. 

Fifty-three percent of adults say they disapprove of the president’s job, down from 57 percent two months ago. 

The improvement for Trump comes from Republican respondents (who went from 78 percent approve in January to 84 percent this month), white men (52 percent to 59 percent) and independents (33 percent to 45 percent).

Man am I embarrassed to be a white man some days.

I am trying to work it out in my head exactly what Trump has done in the last month or so that could have improved his image even by four points.

Could it be his blatant attacks on our Justice Department?

The constant turnover in his White House?

Or was it the fact that he has definitely been outed as banging a porn star right after his wife gave birth to his last child, and his attempts to keep her quiet?

Yeah, I simply don't get it.

But who cares? Because once we get enough Democrats into office we can shut his ass down hard!

During Trump rallies there was an increase in violence. I know, color me surprised.

Courtesy of the New York Times:  

A study published on Friday appears to confirm what news reports suggested long ago: President Trump’s campaign rallies were associated with a rise in violence when they came to town. 

A city that hosted a Trump rally saw an average of 2.3 more assaults reported on the day of the event than on a typical day, according to the study, led by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania and published in the journal Epidemiology. The authors found no corresponding link between assaults and rallies for Mr. Trump’s Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton. 

“It appeared to be a phenomenon that’s unique to Donald Trump’s rally,” said Christopher Morrison, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Pennsylvania and the lead author of the study. 

It may come as little surprise that the rallies were associated with increased violence, as the often volcanic clashes between Mr. Trump’s supporters and opponents were widely covered at the time.

Yeah I think we all knew this even without a study.

And most of that violence probably happened right there at the rally.

So now that Trump is elected it appears that uptick in violence is now spreading across the country.

Natasha Bertrand ties it all together.

This my friends, is evidence of collusion.

I think that Mueller probably has all that he needs to make Donald Trump eat these words. 

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Sarah Palin with the only two black women in America that can stand her.

This is what the two women wrote on their original post:

Had a wonderful time at Mar-a-Lago with the fabulous Governor Sarah Palin along with her beautiful daughter Ms. Piper. She did a magnificent job as the keynote speaker at The Republican Party of Palm Beach County Lincoln Day Dinner. Such a phenomenal woman. 

Actually this Diamond and Silk duo has appeared on Fox News, and other Right Wing outlets, bad mouthing the BLM movement, speaking out against Barack Obama, and spouting conservative talking points which the racists eat up with a spoon.

So of course they love them some Sarah Palin.

Oh well, there is no accounting for taste.

Or integrity.

Or common sense.

Fred Meyers to stop selling guns and ammo in ALL of its stores.

Courtesy of the Seattle Times:

Fred Meyer is dropping guns and ammunition from its retail stores. 

Friday’s announcement follows the Portland, Oregon,-based chain’s decision about two weeks ago that it would no longer sell firearms and ammunition to buyers under age 21. Fred Meyer said in a statement it is working to phase out the firearms category after evaluating customer preferences.

A growing number of retailers including Kroger, Walmart, L.L. Bean and Dick’s have tightened gun restrictions or cut ties with the National Rifle Association after February’s school shooting in Parkland, Florida. However, several outdoors specialty chains continue to sell assault-style rifles. 

Fred Meyer, which carries general merchandise in addition to groceries, has 132 stores in four states. It is a division of The Kroger Co.

Damn, this is fairly huge.

Fred Meyer is my preferred one stop shopping destination, and it has bothered me for years that in order to get to the paint or electrical section I have to walk by a display that looks exactly like the  one pictured above.

There is no way to continue saying that these Parkland students are not having an impact. Because clearly they are indeed.

But still there is so much work to be done, as evidenced by this tweet this morning from Sarah Kendzior.
Yeah, that's a little obscene.

Apparently Trump's attorney has been trying to silence Stormy Daniels since way back in 2011.

Courtesy of WaPo: 

The president’s personal attorney Michael Cohen interceded in 2011 to prevent porn star Stormy Daniels from airing her story about an alleged affair with Donald Trump, telling the agent who arranged for its publication that he could harm her career, according to a person involved in the discussions. 

Randy Spears, the ex-husband of agent Gina Rodriguez, told The Washington Post he answered the phone when Cohen called Rodriguez after she arranged for Daniels to earn $15,000 by telling her story to a celebrity publication. 

“You tell Gina that if she ever wants to work in this town again, she’ll call me immediately,” Spears said Cohen told him. He said Rodriguez, who declined to take Cohen’s call, contacted her lawyer instead. 

Spears’s account offers the first look at the original effort by Trump’s lawyer to silence Daniels, who resurfaced again in 2016 as Trump ran for president. Cohen has acknowledged arranging a $130,000 payment in October 2016, using money from his own home equity line of credit, to ensure her silence. Cohen did not respond to questions from The Post.

According to Spears, Stormy Daniels, who was a friend and fellow adult film actor, told him about her affair with Trump right after it happened, and he even took a lie detector test about that in 2011.

The agency that Rodriguez worked for was also threatened with a lawsuit, and this story was essentially killed.

Unfortunately for Donald Trump, and his attack dog lawyers, that story did eventually come out within the pages of In Touch Magazine this last January.

However this is yet more proof that Trump has been trying to keep this story quiet for years, and it provides even more credibility for Stormy Daniels.

Not that she needs it at this point.

With Andrew McCabe's scalp now prominently displayed for all to see, Donald Trump goes on Twitter rant directed at Robert Mueller.

This was from last night.

I think everybody here already knows that the initial FBI investigation was NOT launched due to the Steel dossier, but instead inspired by a drunken chat that George Papadopoulos had with an Australian diplomat.

Trump is just hoping that nobody remembers that.

Here are today's tweets.
Ah, Trump's "executive time" has inspired yet another tweet based on fake news from the Fox News entertainment division.

It should be noted yet again that Robert Mueller himself is in fact a Republican, as is his boss Rod Rosenstein.

Not that it should matter since investigators do not allow their political points of view to shape their investigations.

Now some of this could be dismissed as Trump simply blowing off steam on Twitter if it were not for this.

Courtesy of the The Daily Beast: 

President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer, John Dowd, told The Daily Beast on Saturday morning that he hopes Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein will shut down special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into Russia’s election interference.

“I pray that Acting Attorney General Rosenstein will follow the brilliant and courageous example of the FBI Office of Professional Responsibility and Attorney General Jeff Sessions and bring an end to alleged Russia Collusion investigation manufactured by McCabe’s boss James Comey based upon a fraudulent and corrupt Dossier,” Dowd then wrote.

After that was reported by a number of news outlets along with the assumption that Dowd was speaking on behalf of the president, he tried to walk it back: 

Woodruff called into MSNBC to speak with Joy Reid about the report, but at one point shared this: 

“He just emailed me to say that he hopes I will share with you all that he was speaking in his personal capacity and was not speaking on behalf of the President… When he initially emailed me this morning, I asked him, ‘Are you giving me this quote on behalf of the President?’ He replied, ‘Yes, speaking as his counsel’… Now he’s emailing me to walk that back.”

It has been beyond clear for a few weeks now that Trump is trying to find some way to fire Robert Mueller,  and that has now become clearer than ever.

I think everybody is prepared for that eventuality and in the history books it will likely be noted as the day that the Trump presidency started to unravel completely.

Data analysis group associated with Trump campaign harvested information from millions of Facebook accounts in order to target them more effectively.

Courtesy of The Guardian:  

The data analytics firm that worked with Donald Trump’s election team and the winning Brexit campaign harvested millions of Facebook profiles of US voters, in the tech giant’s biggest ever data breach, and used them to build a powerful software program to predict and influence choices at the ballot box. 

A whistleblower has revealed to the Observer how Cambridge Analytica – a company owned by the hedge fund billionaire Robert Mercer, and headed at the time by Trump’s key adviser Steve Bannon – used personal information taken without authorisation in early 2014 to build a system that could profile individual US voters, in order to target them with personalised political advertisements. 

Christopher Wylie, who worked with an academic at Cambridge University to obtain the data, told the Observer: “We exploited Facebook to harvest millions of people’s profiles. And built models to exploit what we knew about them and target their inner demons. That was the basis that the entire company was built on.” 

Documents seen by the Observer, and confirmed by a Facebook statement, show that by late 2015 the company had found out that information had been harvested on an unprecedented scale. However, at the time it failed to alert users and took only limited steps to recover and secure the private information of more than 50 million individuals. 

The New York Times is reporting that copies of the data harvested for Cambridge Analytica could still be found online; its reporting team had viewed some of the raw data.

Couple of things to note here.

First off Jared Kushner took credit for bringing Cambridge Analytica into the Trump campaign:  

“I called somebody who works for one of the technology companies that I work with, and I had them give me a tutorial on how to use Facebook micro-targeting,” Kushner told Steven Bertoni of Forbes. “We brought in Cambridge Analytica. I called some of my friends from Silicon Valley who were some of the best digital marketers in the world. And I asked them how to scale this stuff . . . We basically had to build a $400 million operation with 1,500 people operating in 50 states, in five months to then be taken apart. We started really from scratch.”

Secondly if this breach happened way back in 2014, it might indicate that Trump was already getting his ducks in a row to run way back then, despite his claims that he did not decide until 2015. 

Thirdly using Facebook data was also how the Russians targeted users for their propaganda campaign, which could link their efforts directly to Kushner and the Trump campaign, something I am certain Robert Mueller is already looking into.

Have you noticed that the more we learn, the more it seems to indicate that the Russians and the Trump campaign worked hand in hand to win that 2016 election?

P.S. The Massachusetts Attorney General is now launching in investigation into Cambridge Analytica

Long island man pulls out knife during public meeting on school safety in order to intimidate teenager he was debating.

Courtesy of Raw Story:

A Long Island man terrified students and others by pulling out a knife to demonstrate why he believed schools should have armed security guards. 

The man took out the pocket knife during a face-to-face confrontation with a student Wednesday during a public meeting in Rocky Point on school safety, reported Newsday. 

“I’m considerably larger than you, OK?” the man tells the student in cell phone video recorded during the incident. “If something happened, if I decided to attack you, it would take the cops three to five minutes to come here — probably 10 if the traffic’s bad.” 

The man, whose name was not released, apparently disagreed with 17-year-old senior Jade Pinkenberg, who spoke up during the school board meeting to argue against arming teachers. 

“What are you going to do now?” the man says, as the teen backs away. 

Pinkenburg’s father and others shouted to tell the man to stop, and school security escorted the man out of the meeting. 

“I had no idea what was happening,” Pinkenburg said. “He was in my face a bit and I didn’t know what he was about to do. When I realized, I kind of jumped back. My legs got weak and my heart was beating fast.”

What is it with these adults thinking that violence, or the threat of violence, is the way to demonstrate to children that they are overreacting about violence?

Clearly this man believed that if he could scare this kid, that in some way he would make his point that the only way to feel secure in school is with armed guards at every  exit.

That is simply not the case, and in fact, as we have seen several times just recently, guns in school tend to go off accidentally and place MORE children's lives in danger, instead of protecting them from danger.

All this guy proved is that he's an asshole and a bad role model to his own children. 

Wife of the guy who founded the Oath Keepers gets restraining order accusing him of domestic violence and using gun to threaten people.

Courtesy of the Southern Poverty Law Center:  

Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes faces allegations of abuse and household violence in a motion for a temporary restraining order his wife filed last month with a Montana court. 

Stewart Rhodes, the head of the antigovernment Oath Keepers, will frequently threaten himself and his family with a weapon he always carries, and he has a history of violent outbursts against his family, including an incident in 2016 when he choked his teenage daughter by the throat. 

That history was outlined in a sworn petition Rhodes’ wife, Tasha Vonn Adams Rhodes, filed last month in a Lincoln County, Montana, court room asking for a temporary protective order against her husband. Hatewatch obtained a copy of the petition on Thursday. 

Vonn Adams Rhodes claims in the filing that the most recent incident involving her husband occurred last November at the family home in Trego, a far-northern Montana town where Rhodes lives with his wife and four of their six children. 

“Whenever [Stewart Rhodes] is unhappy with my behavior (say I want to leave the house — he doesn’t like me to leave) he will draw his handgun (which he always wears), rack the slide, wave it around, and then point it at his own head, telling me my behavior has caused this,” Vonn Adams Rhodes wrote in the petition, which was filed on February 20. “I filed for divorce a few days ago and am terrified.”

What? A gun toting Rambo wannabe is violent toward others? You're kidding?

Aren't the Oath Keepers the group that volunteered to stand outside public schools and keep them safe from gun wielding thugs? 

Yeah, I think it is a good idea to take a hard pass on that one.