Monday, December 11, 2017

Victims of Donald Trump's sexual misconduct call for a Congressional investigation.

Courtesy of WaPo: 

As the country grapples with a national reckoning over sexual misconduct allegations against powerful men, three women who accused the most high-profile man in America again questioned Monday why their claims did nothing to stop him from winning the presidency. 

It was “heartbreaking” for women to go public with their claims against President Trump last year, only to see him ascend to the Oval Office, said Samantha Holvey, a former Miss USA contestant who in October 2016 said Trump inappropriately inspected pageant participants. 

“I put myself out there for the entire world, and nobody cared,” Holvey said Monday on NBC's “Megyn Kelly Today” show.

During the television appearance and a news conference, Holvey sat alongside Jessica Leeds, a New York woman who said Trump groped her on a plane, and Rachel Crooks, who said he kissed her on the lips at Trump Tower, to renew their allegations against the president. 

The women also called for Congress to investigate these allegations amid the dramatic shift happening nationwide in response to charges of sexual misconduct against men from Hollywood to Capitol Hill. Claims have erupted across industry after industry, against lawmakers and movie stars alike, as the country has shown a sudden, newfound willingness to take such accusations seriously.

In response to the pleas of these women Kristen Gillibrand called for Trump's resignation.
And she is not the only one calling for an investigation, or his immediate resignation.

Even his own Ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, said these women deserve to be heard.

That apparently pissed off Donald Trump according to the AP:

Haley’s comments infuriated the president, according to two people who are familiar with his views but who spoke on condition of anonymity because they aren’t authorized to speak publicly about private conversations. Trump has grown increasingly angry in recent days that the accusations against him have resurfaced, telling associates that the charges are false and drawing parallels to the accusations facing Republican Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore. 

Poor baby. 

Today Sarah Huckabee Sanders' attempts to change the subject seemed especially strained and ineffective.
Things even got a little testy.
Let's face it, as this #MeToo revolution continues moving forward the fact that Donald Trump, a man accused by at least 16 women of sexually abusing or harassing them, remains in the White House becomes more and more conspicuous.

At some point soon it may simply be impossible for him to continue in that job as more and more people demand an investigation, or that he simply be removed from office.

Robert Mueller's focus on the Michael Flynn timeline suggests that he is building a case for obstruction. Update!

Courtesy of NBC News:

Special counsel Robert Mueller is trying to piece together what happened inside the White House over a critical 18-day period that began when senior officials were told that National Security Adviser Michael Flynn was susceptible to blackmail by Russia, according to multiple people familiar with the matter. 

The questions about what happened between Jan. 26 and Flynn's firing on Feb. 13 appear to relate to possible obstruction of justice by President Donald Trump, say two people familiar with Mueller's investigation into Russia's election meddling and potential collusion with the Trump campaign. 

Multiple sources say that during interviews, Mueller's investigators have asked witnesses, including White House Counsel Don McGahn and others who have worked in the West Wing, to go through each day that Flynn remained as national security adviser and describe in detail what they knew was happening inside the White House as it related to Flynn.

Some of those interviewed by Mueller's team believe the goal is in part to determine if there was a deliberate effort by President Trump or top officials in the West Wing to cover up the information about Flynn that Sally Yates, then the acting attorney general, conveyed to McGahn on Jan. 26. In addition to Flynn, McGahn is also expected to be critical to federal investigators trying to piece together a timeline of those 18 days.

Essentially Flynn lied to the FBI. two days later Sally Yates told Don McGahn that Flynn lied, McGahn told Trump, Trump fired Yates, and then only after the press started to report on some of this did Trump finally fire Flynn.

So it would appear that there is a solid case to be made for obstruction.

However I actually think that Mueller is coming at this from several different angles.

I think that he well might make a case for obstructionism, but that he is also looking to flip Manfort and then Kushner and make the case for conspiracy as well.

I think that is why Trump is starting to lose his shit and why there is increasing talk about firing Mueller, while the Right Wing propaganda outlets prepare the base to accept that decision.

Courtesy of New York Magazine: 

Trump is preparing to shut down Robert Mueller’s investigation of Russian intervention in the 2016 election. 

The administration and its allied media organs, especially those owned by Rupert Murdoch, have spent months floating a series of rationales, of varying degrees of implausibility, for why a deeply respected Republican law-enforcement veteran is disqualified to lead the inquiry: He is friends with James Comey, who is biased because Trump fired him; Comey is biased because he pursued leads turned up in Christopher Steele’s investigation, which was financed by Democrats; Mueller has failed to investigate Hillary Clinton’s marginal-to-nonexistent role in a uranium sale. 

The newest pseudo-scandal fixates on the role of Peter Strzok, an FBI official who helped tweak the language Comey employed in his statement condemning Clinton’s email carelessness and has also worked for Mueller. His alleged crime is a series of text messages criticizing Trump. Mueller removed Strzok from his team, but that is not enough for Trump’s supporters, who are seizing on Strzok’s role as a pretext to discredit and remove Mueller, too. The notion that a law-enforcement official should be disqualified for privately expressing partisan views is a novel one, and certainly did not trouble Republicans last year, when Rudy Giuliani was boasting on television about his network of friendly agents. Yet in the conservative media, Mueller and Comey have assumed fiendish personae of almost Clintonian proportions.

As I have said before, if this happens it will blow this investigation wide open, and essentially prove the case for obstruction.

I would bet big money that Trump is itching to fire Mueller and that the only thing holding him back are his lawyers and advisers telling him that it would be political suicide.

The only question is, how long can they hold him at bay?

Update:  

Okay this tidbit from the NBC report was brought to my attention, take a look at this: Mueller is trying to determine why Flynn remained in his post for 18 days after Trump learned of Yates' warning, according to two people familiar with the probe. He appears to be interested in whether Trump directed him to lie to senior officials, including Pence, or the FBI, and if so why, the sources said.

Okay well that is a whole new dimension to all of this.

That is suggesting that Mueller may have evidence that Trump not only ignored evidence that Michael Flynn lied to the FBI, but that he himself may have instructed him to do so.

If that pans out, I do not think that even the Republican majorities in the Senate and House can protect him from impeachment.

Roy Moore thinks that getting rid of all amendments to the Constitution after the 10th would "eliminate many problems."

Courtesy of CNN: 

Alabama Republican Senate nominee Roy Moore appeared on a conspiracy-driven radio show twice in 2011, where he told the hosts in an interview that getting rid of constitutional amendments after the Tenth Amendment would 'eliminate many problems' in the way the US government is structured.

Moore made his comments about constitutional amendments in a June 2011 appearance on the "Aroostook Watchmen" show, which is hosted by Maine residents Jack McCarthy and Steve Martin. The hosts have argued that the US government is illegitimate and who have said that the September 11, 2001, attacks, the mass shooting at Sandy Hook, the Boston bombing, and other mass shootings and terrorist attacks are false flag attacks committed by the government. (False flag attacks refer to acts that are designed by perpetrators to be made to look like they were carried out by other individuals or groups.) 

The hosts have also spread conspiracy theories about the raid that led to the death of Osama Bin Laden and have pushed the false claim that former President Barack Obama was not born in the US.

In Moore's June appearance, one of the hosts says he would like to see an amendment that would void all the amendments after the Tenth. 

"That would eliminate many problems," Moore replied. "You know people don't understand how some of these amendments have completely tried to wreck the form of government that our forefathers intended." 

Moore cited the 17th Amendment, which calls for the direct election of senators by voters rather than state legislatures, as one he particularly found troublesome. 

The host agreed with Moore, before turning his attention to the 14th Amendment, which was passed during the Reconstruction period following the Civil War and guaranteed citizenship and equal rights and protection to former slaves and has been used in landmark Supreme Court cases such as Brown v. Board of Education and Obergefell v. Hodges. 

"People also don't understand, and being from the South I bet you get it, the 14th Amendment was only approved at the point of the gun," the host said. 

"Yeah, it had very serious problems with its approval by the states," Moore replied. "The danger in the 14th Amendment, which was to restrict, it has been a restriction on the states using the first Ten Amendments by and through the 14th Amendment. To restrict the states from doing something that the federal government was restricted from doing and allowing the federal government to do something which the first Ten Amendments prevented them from doing. If you understand the incorporation doctrine used by the courts and what it meant. You'd understand what I'm talking about."

It should be noted that besides the 14th and 17th Amendments, which Moore seems to find so troubling, there is also the the 13th Amendment, which abolished slavery, the 15th Amendment which prohibited the federal and state governments from denying citizens the right to vote based on that person's "race, color, or previous condition of servitude," and the 19th Amendment, which extended voting rights to women.

So essentially in Moore's eyes the trouble really started after those damn females and the darkies got the same rights as their white male former owners.  (Yes, at one time women were considered the property of their husbands. Or as Roy Moore calls it, "the good old days.")

I guess that is yet another thing that Roy Moore has in common with Vladimir Putin.
Moore claims he learned to speak such good Russian when he was at West Point, but that certainly sounds much better than my attempts to speak the French that I learned back in the 8th grade.

Apparently Trump has recorded robo-calls for Moore, so it appears the push is on to make sure this traitorous pedophile wins that Alabama Senate seat.

ISIS inspired terrorist blows himself up and essentially nobody else this morning in New York City.

Courtesy of the New York Post:  

An ISIS-inspired would-be suicide bomber set off a homemade explosive device at the Port Authority Bus Terminal subway station Monday morning, seriously wounding himself and injuring three others, law enforcement sources said. 

The man — a 27-year-old Brooklyn man identified by high ranking police sources as Akayed Ullah — had wires attached to him and a 5-inch metal pipe bomb and battery pack strapped to his midsection as he walked through the Manhattan transit hub. 

The man partially detonated the device, which he was carrying under the right side of his jacket, prematurely inside the passageway to the A, C and E trains at Eighth Avenue and West 42nd Street around 7:40 a.m., sources said. 

Police quickly took the man into custody. 

Former NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton told MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” that the man was inspired by ISIS and possibly born in Bangladesh. Bratton, who said the man had been living in the US for seven years, “was supposedly setting the device off in the name of ISIS.” 

“So, definitely a terrorist attack, definitely intended,” Bratton said.

That of course could have been a very devastating attack if it had gone off perfectly.

Thankfully this guy was an incompetent terrorist, so lives were spared. Even his own. 

Here is a picture of the guy. 

As you can see he is brown skinned so I think we can comfortably expect Trump to start tweeting about this guy, and saying his big beautiful wall on the Mexican border would have stopped him, any minute now.

Award winning US diplomat writes stinging resignation letter directed at Rex Tillerson and his State Department.

Elizabeth Shakelford in Somalia.
Courtesy of Foreign Policy: 

An award-winning U.S. diplomat who was seen as a rising star at the State Department has issued a scathing resignation letter, accusing Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and the Donald Trump administration of undercutting the State Department and damaging America’s influence in the world. 

Elizabeth Shackelford, who most recently served as a political officer based in Nairobi for the U.S. mission to Somalia, wrote to Tillerson that she reluctantly had decided to quit because the administration had abandoned human rights as a priority and shown disdain for the State Department’s diplomatic work, according to her letter, obtained by Foreign Policy. 

“I have deep respect for the career Foreign and Civil Service staff who, despite the stinging disrespect this Administration has shown our profession, continue the struggle to keep our foreign policy on the positive trajectory necessary to avert global disaster in increasingly dangerous times,” Shackelford wrote in her Nov. 7 letter. 

“With each passing day, however, this task grows more futile, driving the Department’s experienced and talented staff away in ever greater numbers,” she wrote. 

“She’s emblematic of what we’re losing across the board,” said one of Shackelford’s former State Department colleagues. “She is the best among us. We should not be losing the best among us. And that should concern people that we are,” the former colleague said. 

In her letter, Shackelford said she was leaving with a “heavy heart” as she recognized the potential of the State Department’s mission. She said she was “shocked” when Tillerson appeared to cast doubt on the importance of human rights in remarks to department employees on May 3.

Shackelford ended her letter with this:  

In the closing paragraph of her letter, Shackelford called on Tillerson “to stem the bleeding by showing leadership and a commitment to our people, our mission, and our mandate as the foreign policy arm of the United States. 

“If you are unable to do so effectively within this Administration, I would humbly recommend you follow me out the door.”

The sad truth is that career State Department staff and diplomats are left to question whether their presence within the agency is helping to slow down its slow disintegration, or if they personally are being damaged due to their association with it as it visibly falls to pieces.

If all of the truly talented diplomats and staffers like this woman leave the agency, then diplomacy is no longer available in our tool kit and all we have left is the threat of military action.

For decades the United States and presented itself as a champion of human rights around the world, but if the Trump Administration has its way, we will be reduced to the bully on the playground keeping the smaller kids off the swings and collecting the younger children's lunch money for ourselves.

And we all know what eventually happens to the bullies, don't we?

Outspoken Brits don't want Franklin Graham and other American hate mongering Evangelical ministers anywhere near them.

Courtesy of HuffPo:  

Several British pastors and politicians are voicing concerns about a controversial American evangelist’s plans to preach in the U.K. next year. 

Franklin Graham, a prominent evangelical pastor who has made blatantly homophobic and Islamophobic statements in the past, is scheduled to headline the Lancashire Festival of Hope in Blackpool in September 2018. Graham’s three-day event — similar to the “crusades” once led by his famous father, Billy Graham — is reportedly taking place with the blessing of more than 300 church leaders and members in England. 

But not all residents of the area are enthused about Graham coming to town. Some have urged the U.K.’s home secretary Amber Rudd to ban the preacher from entering the country altogether, the Guardian reports. 

Nina Parker, the pastor of a church in Blackpool, told HuffPost in an email that she’s worried that Graham’s visit could embolden those who are prejudiced toward Muslims and queer people to express that hate. 

“It will give oxygen to those who hate as they will be aware of hatred being expressed by a man of high status in the Church,” Parker wrote to HuffPost. “It will portray a Trump style, hard line, hate filled version of Christianity devoid of understanding of and acceptance of ordinary people. It will destroy the reputation of Christianity in this region as it will be assumed that this man speaks for all. It will bring Christians into disrepute.”

Parker has more than 60,000 signatures on a petition to block Graham and his merry band of trouble makers from poisoning the UK with their hate speech. 

Personally I wish we could start a petition here in America to kick Franklin Graham and his toxic crew of evangelicals the hell out of this country.

But it wouldn't help.

Even if they left they would be quickly replaced by more just like them, some perhaps even worse.

You know it seems these days that all America exports anymore is stupidity, racism, and intolerance.

I guess that's what MAGA really means.

The US Navy is training for a possible air war over Korea because that is apparently where we are now.

Courtesy of the Daily Beast:  

The U.S. Navy has deployed special, radar-hunting warplanes to South Korea to train for a possible air war against North Korea. 

The five EA-18G Growlers have joined more than 200 American and South Korean planes and tens of thousands of military personnel for a five-day annual war game known as Vigilant Ace. 

The two-person crews of the twin-engine EA-18Gs are responsible for arguably the most dangerous mission in all of aerial warfare. Officially called “suppression of enemy air defenses,” the mission involves clearing a path through sophisticated air defenses so that other planes can safely strike their targets. 

The EA-18Gs carry sensors for detecting radars’ emissions, jammers for interfering with the sensors’ functions, and radar-homing missiles to destroy them. But to take out enemy air defenses, the Growler crews have to get close—and that puts them directly in harm’s way. In North Korea, the crews would face a growing arsenal of radars and surface-to-air missiles based on deadly Russian and Chinese designs. 

The Boeing-made Growlers arrived during the first week of December at Osan air base, around 50 miles from the border with North Korea. The EA-18Gs, from squadron VAQ-134 based in Washington State, were in the middle of a six-month training rotation with two squadrons of U.S. Air Force F-16s flying from an air base in Japan.

I think it is safe to say that the North Koreans have made more progress with their nuclear weapons program in the first year of the Trump presidency than they did in the last three administrations combined.

Nothing like having a thin skinned megalomaniac in office poking at another thin skinned megalomaniac to really speed up the production of weaponry, don't you think?

You know I keep thinking of all of those idiots who voted fro Jill Stein because they had been convinced, possibly by the Russians, that Hillary Clinton was going to take this country into another war.

Perhaps THEY should be the first ones drafted and sent to die in this one.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Rep. Adam Schiff says that we know that the Russians offered help, the Trump campaign accepted that help, and Donald Trump made full use of that help.

Courtesy of the New York Post:  

The top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee said the evidence mounting in the Russia probe against President Trump’s campaign is “damning.” “We do know this,” Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” 

“The Russians offered help. The campaign accepted help. The Russians gave help. And the president made full use of that help. And that’s pretty damning, whether it is proof beyond a reasonable doubt of conspiracy or not.”

I think most of us have realized this awhile ago, but to have the top Democrat on the house Intelligence Committee, which is currently investigating all of this, say it out loud is still pretty huge. 

Now we just need that top Republican in that committee agree and we are essentially off to the races.

My hope is that the 2018 mid term election will be a bloodbath for the GOP, and that we send so many new Democrats to Washington that there will be no choice but to proceed with impeachment proceedings.

If I have one Christmas wish, that would be it.

Laura Ingraham is concerned that the #MeToo movement might "killing all the fun of Christmas."

Courtesy of Share Blue: 

Fox News host and Trump cheerleader Laura Ingraham is concerned about the growing number of women who are coming forward to report incidents of sexual assault and harassment. 

Well, she’s not actually concerned about the women — she’s worried that they might ruin office Christmas parties this year. 

“Is the #MeToo movement becoming a spoiler for this season’s Christmas parties?” Ingraham asked Friday evening during a segment on Fox News’ The Ingraham Angle. 

Speaking with comedian Jimmy Failla, Ingraham said she was worried that women who feel empowered to report sexual misconduct might ruin the holiday season by making office Christmas parties less festive. 

“I can see this year it might be — a little less festive, let’s say that. No alcohol and no fun and no lampshades and, I don’t know, maybe that’s better,” she said. 

“Is this just killing all the fun of Christmas?” she wondered absurdly.

Yeah, what a shame that male employees can no longer drunkenly grope their female counterparts or attempt to drag them into a dark corner to sexually molest them.

Keep in kind that this idiot is currently employed at Fox News, which had to fire both founder Roger Ailes and top cable news host Bill O'Reilly for being perverts, as well as paying out millions of dollars in settlements to keep the female victims quiet.

I think today seems like the appropriate day to share this rather long Seth Abramson thread.














Almost half way there, keep reading.

Disturbing things we learned from a New York Times profile on Donald Trump.

The New York Times did a deep dive into Trump's first year as president, by interviewing as many as 60 advisers, friends, and members of Congress to get a picture of his day-to-day life.

The picture that emerges is...unsettling to say the least.

The start of Trump's day:

Around 5:30 each morning, President Trump wakes and tunes into the television in the White House’s master bedroom. He flips to CNN for news, moves to “Fox & Friends” for comfort and messaging ideas, and sometimes watches MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” because, friends suspect, it fires him up for the day. 

Energized, infuriated — often a gumbo of both — Mr. Trump grabs his iPhone. Sometimes he tweets while propped on his pillow, according to aides. Other times he tweets from the den next door, watching another television. Less frequently, he makes his way up the hall to the ornate Treaty Room, sometimes dressed for the day, sometimes still in night clothes, where he begins his official and unofficial calls.

How much cable news does he watch?

People close to him estimate that Mr. Trump spends at least four hours a day, and sometimes as much as twice that, in front of a television, sometimes with the volume muted, marinating in the no-holds-barred wars of cable news and eager to fire back.

That means Trump consumes as much as eight hours of cable news a day.

He has no plan:

For most of the year, people inside and outside Washington have been convinced that there is a strategy behind Mr. Trump’s actions. But there is seldom a plan apart from pre-emption, self-defense, obsession and impulse. 

Occasionally, the president solicits affirmation before hitting the “tweet” button. In June, according to a longtime adviser, he excitedly called friends to say he had the perfect tweet to neutralize the Russia investigation. He would call it a “witch hunt.” They were unimpressed. 

Trump needs to see himself talked about on TV every day:  

To an extent that would stun outsiders, Mr. Trump, the most talked-about human on the planet, is still delighted when he sees his name in the headlines. And he is on a perpetual quest to see it there. One former top adviser said Mr. Trump grew uncomfortable after two or three days of peace and could not handle watching the news without seeing himself on it. 

During the morning, aides monitor “Fox & Friends” live or through a transcription service in much the way commodities traders might keep tabs on market futures to predict the direction of their day. 

If someone on the show says something memorable and Mr. Trump does not immediately tweet about it, the president’s staff knows he may be saving Fox News for later viewing on his recorder and instead watching MSNBC or CNN live — meaning he is likely to be in a foul mood to start the day.

On the plus side even Trump cannot stomach Fox News host Jeanine Pirro for long:  

Jeanine Pirro, whose Fox News show is a presidential favorite, recently asked to meet about a deal approved while Mrs. Clinton was secretary of state that gave Russia control over some American uranium, which lately has become a favorite focus of conservatives. 

Mr. Trump, Mr. Kelly and Donald F. McGahn II, the White House counsel, met for more than an hour on Nov. 1 as Ms. Pirro whipped up the president against Mr. Mueller and accused James B. Comey, the former F.B.I. director, of employing tactics typically reserved for Mafia cases, according to a person briefed on the meeting. 

The president became visibly agitated as she spoke. “Roy Cohn was my lawyer!” he exclaimed, referring to the legendary McCarthy-era fixer who mentored Mr. Trump in the 1980s, suggesting that was the type of defender he needed now. 

At another point, Mr. Kelly interrupted. She was not “helping things,” he said, according to the person briefed. Even Mr. Trump eventually tired of Ms. Pirro’s screed and walked out of the room, according to the person.

That woman is so batshit crazy that she even makes Trump seem sane by comparison.

The article suggests that Trump IS learning, but the learning curve is so steep that, like Sisyphus with the rock, every inch of progress is often accompanied by a degree of backsliding.

In the meantime the needs of the country remain largely unmet as a reality television faux celebrity learns that not everything can be reedited to make him appear competent at his job.

Bat wielding Canadian attacks family from Colombia while yelling that they are ISIS.

Courtesy of Raw Story: 

On Thursday, a man armed with a baseball bat attacked a family in the parking lot of the Elgin Mall in St. Thomas, Ontario, accusing them of being Islamic terrorists. 

However, according to the Toronto City News, the family was from Colombia and were speaking Spanish as they made their way through the parking lot. 

“We got terrorists here!” shouted the man — who was later arrested at his home in London, ON. “ISIS!” He swung the bat at the family several times, striking an adult male and cracking his ribs. 

He then fled the parking lot in a white BMW. 

Police charged the 36-year-old attacker with aggravated assault and three counts of assault with a weapon. Officials said the attack “appears to have been racially motivated.”

Ah, so they do have Trump supporters in Canada.

Interesting to note that they are just as unhinged there as they are in America.

Just for the record, how many Spanish speaking members of ISIS have we identified thus far? 

The effects of global warming.

Courtesy of National Geographic: 

When photographer Paul Nicklen and filmmakers from conservation group Sea Legacy arrived in the Baffin Islands in late summer, they came across a heartbreaking sight: a starving polar bear on its deathbed. 

Nicklen is no stranger to bears. From the time he was a child growing up in Canada's far north the biologist turned wildlife photographer has seen over 3,000 bears in the wild. But the emaciated polar bear, featured in videos Nicklen published to social media on December 5, was one of the most gut-wrenching sights he's ever seen. 

"We stood there crying—filming with tears rolling down our cheeks," he said.

Not so very long ago we had an administration that understood what has happening and was willing to do the hard work to make a change for the better.

Now this poor animal will undoubtedly be joined by scores of other animals who will die needlessly because humans are either too arrogant or too selfish to do anything to save them. 

Really?

Does anybody else's head hurt as much as mine does?