My two cents on the political stories floating around each week.

  • Today Louis C.K., one of my favorite comedians, admitted to sexually harassing several women.
    –TAKEAWAY: Goshdangit, I just can’t even with this….
  • Former DNC Interim Chairwoman Donna Brazile has slightly modified her criticism of the 2016 primary and the DNC (‘it wasn’t rigged but it had cancer’) doesn’t matter now because her book has sold out on Amazon.
    –TAKEAWAY: She’s all about the Benjamins. Who wants to bet she ends up on Fox News as one of their token “liberal” pundits? 
  • While Congressional GOP members are dropping accused pedophile Roy Moore like hot potato, fellow Alabama GOP members think it’s not a problem.
    –TAKEAWAY: Alabama GOP thinks that ANY Democractic candidate is worse than a pedophile.
  • Enrollment on Healthcare.gov is surprisingly robust with new enrollment up 30%.
    –TAKEAWAY: Trump and his lackeys are so incompetent they aren’t even able to sabotage Obamacare effectively. 
  • Ret. General and Former NSA to Trump Michael Flynn is publicly worrying about the fate of his son regards the Russian Collusion investigation by Mueller.
    –TAKEAWAY: The pressure is getting to Flynn and he will flip soon, if he hasn’t already.
  • Trump has had his lips glued to the Chinese Leader’s ass for the last couple of days in complete opposition to his own positions on trade with China since forever and trade agreements like the TPP are moving forward without the US.
    –TAKEAWAY: If anyone doubted that the US has lost it’s preeminence on the world stage, this proves it conclusively. The world will now be led by China and Russia. 
  • Trump’s top economic adviser Gary Cohn admitted in an interview that the current tax bill in Congress is based on “trickle down” economic theory–ya know, the kind that doesn’t exist and the GOP is openly admitting that their wealthy donors will stop donating if they don’t pass this tax bill.
    –TAKEAWAY: The GOP cares more about giving money to the wealthy than it does the actual welfare of the US economy.
  • Trump’s bodyguard for the past several decades said that Trump was offerred Russian escorts when he traveled there.
    –TAKEAWAY: Does anyone believe that Trump turned down EVERY Russian offer of escorts? The Pee Tape is real. 
  • GOP Congresscritters were getting really frustrated with Carter Page’s testimony before Congress because he was incapable of giving a yes or no answer, or really any answer that made any sense whatsoever.
    –TAKEAWAY: The guy that the Russians thought was too stupid to be turned and used was, in fact, that stupid and useless.

Sources:
HT http://www.bobcesca.com/
HT https://www.balloon-juice.com/
https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/11/07/us/politics/document-carter-page-russia-investigation-transcript.html
https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2017/11/carter-page-international-man-of-mystery/545159/
https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/trump-bodyguard-testifies-russian-offered-trump-women-was-turned-down-n819386
https://www.cnbc.com/2017/11/09/gary-cohn-trickle-down-is-good-for-the-economy.html
https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/gary-cohn-tax-cut-ceos-donors_us_5a049571e4b0f76b05c4249e
http://www.newsweek.com/brazile-clinton-steal-2016-election-sanders-706766
http://www.msnbc.com/morning-joe/watch/donna-brazile-dnc-not-rigged-but-there-was-a-cancer-1091141187992
https://www.washingtonpost.com/investigations/woman-says-roy-moore-initiated-sexual-encounter-when-she-was-14-he-was-32/2017/11/09/1f495878-c293-11e7-afe9-4f60b5a6c4a0_story.html
https://twitter.com/ddale8/status/928756267425943553
https://twitter.com/Dpugel/status/928673017143676928
http://www.cnn.com/2017/11/08/politics/michael-flynn-son-special-counsel-russia-investigation/index.html
https://www.forbes.com/sites/alexcapri/2017/05/22/the-tpp-moves-forward-without-trumps-america/
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/10/arts/television/louis-ck-statement.html

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Updated:  To correct mistake on date, see text below in red.

This summarizes the information I have seen on an excellent Twitter thread by Seth Abramson, Attorney and Professor at that University of New Hampshire.

In the Papadopoulos indictment, it says he met with Russian national to set up Kremlin channel for Trump on 3/24/2016.  He told Trump about it and the ongoing DNC hack by the Russians on 3/31/2016—note the DNC did not know they were being hacked yet (hacked emails were dated from Jan 2015-May 2016).   Also note that Papadopoulos is saying that EVERY attendee of the 3/31/2016 meeting lied about it.  This includes Jeff Sessions, which means there is a good chance that he will face perjury charges soon.

According to J.D. Gordon, Trump campaign’s national-security policy rep for the RNC, told CNN that he and others advocated for watering down the language regarding support for Ukraine because Trump told them to do so back in March 2016–the infamous 3/31 meeting.  This is a change from what Gordon said earlier this year when he said Trump had nothing to do with the change.  He’s probably scared the FBI is coming after him next.

Papdopolous, per the indictment, notified Trump and others about the ongoing DNC hack in April 2016 —note the DNC did not know they were being hacked yet (hacked emails were dated from Jan 2015-May 2016).  Anyway, the DNC emails were released to the world by Wikileaks on July 22, 2016.

So it seems that DNC emails in July 2016 were “quid pro quo” for Trump changing the GOP platform on 3/31/2016.  Basically Trump knew the Russians wanted to collude (per Papdopoulos), that they had info that would help his campaign (also per Papdopoulos) and he took a direct act in furtherance to benefit Russia (per Gordon and others, probably Manafort once he flips, which venal guy that he is is expected, otherwise he’ll rot in Federal prison for the rest of his life).  That is collusion.   Mueller has Trump by short hairs and he’s just getting started with indictments.

Now let’s see what a Narcissist like Trump will do.  If he fires Mueller, a crisis might occur if Congress does nothing to protect Mueller.  The investigation won’t go away but Congress MUST protect Mueller in order to protect Rule of Law and the Balance of Powers.  Will they do it though?  I honestly don’t think they will, sadly.  For the GOP in control of Congress now, staying in power seems to be more important than supporting the foundations of our democracy.  Good Lord, I hope they prove me wrong and do the right thing.

No matter what though……Wow, just wow.

 

Sources:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2016_Democratic_National_Committee_email_leak

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/oct/30/trump-russia-indictment-george-papadopoulos

http://www.businessinsider.com/jd-gordon-trump-adviser-ukraine-rnc-2017-3

Our Glorious 5th Estate is so focused on Trump’s insults to the grieving families of our soldiers that they’re ignoring why those soldiers died in the first place.

What REALLY Happened in Niger

An explanation of what really happened to American soldiers in Niger and why Congress should investigate. To read this in Storify or just read my transcript below.  All content below from the Twitter feed of @laurasessions10 laurasessions10

THREAD 1. What happened in Niger.
2/ While everyone is so busy talking about the president’s handling of his call to the widow of the soldier killed in Niger….

tp://

3.you ‘re all missing the important part of that story…the part about what happened that night in Niger.

4. The story that is emerging is so much worse than anything that happened in Benghazi

 5. but the same GOP Congress that investigated Benghazi with a fury seems to have little or no interest in this story.

6. Here’s what we know so far…These soldiers went to a meeting in an area near the border with Mali a well known hot spot for ISIS

7 Our soldiers were not backed up by US Military air support- backed up by the French, who were not authorized to intervene or even fire

8. Our soldiers were given faulty intel… that said

9 “it was unlikely that they would meet any hostile forces.” Of course, they walked into an ISIS ambush-chaotic and they took three lives

10 It took the French 30 minutes to arrive. When they did they were not authorized to help.

 11. So, a dozen of our Green Berets fought a battle with more than 50 Isis fighters, without help, for 30 minutes.

12 Finally, a rescue helicopter arrived, but it was not a US military helicopter.

13 No, we apparently outsourced that job to “private contractors.”

14 So, these contractors landed and loaded the remaining troops, the injured and the dead.  Here’s where this gets really bad…

15 Because they were not military, they never did a head count. That is how Sgt. La David Johnson was left behind.
16 That’s right…they left him behind.
17 According to the Pentagon, his locator beacon was activated on battlefield, which indicates that he was alive when they left him there

18 They recovered his body 48 hours later but are refusing to say where.

19 According to his widow, she could not have an open casket. This means that he was mutilated after being left behind on the battlefield.

20 This is what led to the nonsense we’re obsessing over. This is the real story.

21 As usual, you’re allowing it to be about Trump’s distraction, but this is Benghazi on steroids

22 The Trump Pentagon gave these men bad intel, no support, outsourced rescue people and then,,,

24 He tweeted attacks on many but never mentioned this Only after pressure from the media did he acknowledge these men and their service.

 

                                                           Image from CNN 7-7-2017

Lately I’ve been incredibly puzzled by how little most Americans know or even care about Russia meddling in our elections. The news has been trickling in for some time and as an IT professional and former computer programmer professor with 20 years of experience in computer programming, I can tell you that it is probably worse than you know.  If you want to stay updated on the Russian story, the BEST site I’ve found to date is https://investigaterussia.org/, aka, the Committee to Investigate Russia.  Created by a bipartisan group consisting of experts and advocates (a couple of names you are probably already familiar with like James Clapper and Rob Reiner are on the advisory board), this site catalogs news articles from reputable sources, lists all of the key players (who are easy to get confused, especially with the long hard to pronounce Russian names), explains the various public investigations that are ongoing, and keeps track of timelines in the investigations.  I found the site by listening to Jacki Schechner on the Bob Cesca Show.  Jacki has a long history in the news business and her latest project has been to launch this news aggregation site launched.  It’s finally online and I STRONGLY encourage you to check it out.

Here’s a BRIEF summary of what we know.  The Russians attempted to hack 39 states and in at least one instance, tried to delete and alter voter data.  We know during the Democratic primaries that many Bernie voters complained that their change in registration from Independent to Democratic parties did not occur properly and so they were unable to vote in the closed primary.  In other instances many longtime Democratic voters were inexplicably given provisional ballots.  This led Bernie Sanders to file complaints, which in turn led to Hillary supporters becoming defensive and voila the damage was done.  The Left continues to argue among itself to this day and Putin is loving every moment of it.

We know that Putin engaged in a disinformation campaign and that it has been an unprecedented success on many levels.

  • He has succeeded in undermining our confidence in our democratic institutions.   If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a million times.  The hackers didn’t need to hack our voting machines to mess with vote tallies, they only needed to mess with our voter registrations.  There is mounting evidence that they did just that.  Now many people, including myself, don’t trust our election process.
  • He has succeeded in suborning the Executive Branch.  Herr Orangenfuhrerhas shown a pattern of letting Russia get away with far too much** (see Sources 4-7 at bottom).  The Executive Branch is being lead by a man who is, for all practical purposes, Putin’s “poleznyje idiot” or “useful idiot”.
  • He has succeeded in subverting the Legislative Branch.  Congress, under the control of the GOP, has been blocking progress into the investigation while mouthing crap about “being concerned”.  I don’t want to hear about how my Senator, John McCain is concerned.  I want to hear about how he and his colleagues are doing something to 1) stop the current collusion with Russia and 2) to stop it from happening again in the future.  Neither of which is happening.
  • He has succeeded in taking advantage of our ignorance and our openness.  Part of the problem is that the information has been trickling in and from so many different sources.  Another part of the problem is that it involves technology that most people don’t understand.  And yet another problem is our short attention span.  The final part of the problem is that far too many on both the Right and the Left are knowingly and unknowingly carrying Putin’s water.  The Right is repeating Trump’s BS rhetoric about “Fake News”.  It also doesn’t help that some on the left (like Jill Stein, Bernie Bros, and Russian plants pretending to be Bernie Bros) not only pushed anti-Hillary news but are now pushing the “Fake News” line of thinking as well.   As a result, unfortunately, too many Americans in the middle are throwing up their hands and saying, “We don’t know who to trust!”  All this confusion is EXACTLY what Putin wants.

Is it any wonder that the American people are too distracted and confused?!  Unfortunately, we need to pay attention to this story.  I honestly believe that this is the beginning of the end for our Democracy IF we don’t respond appropriately to this crisis.

Make no mistake about it–Russia attacked us.  They have attacked and are continuing to attack our democracy and we all need to wake up and pay attention.  We need to stay on top of this story and push Congress to do something about it.   Check out the “Committee to Investigate Russia“.

Notes:
*I refuse now and forever to give Trump the title of President.
**Too many articles to cite in that one sentence but a few are listed below (see sources 4-7)…I could go on and on
***These sources are listed in no particular order.  I have been trying to avoid any sources that might be of Russian origin but it is very hard to know who to trust.  For instance, I know that RT.com is basically Russian propaganda but there are many bloggers who seem to have a Russian/Wikileaks slant to them who might be reporting real news but they also might be knowingly and unknowingly repeating crap stories from Russia.  For that reason I’ve tried to avoid using links to other “unknown” bloggers and tried to stick to well known news sources.

Sources:***

  1. https://www.vox.com/world/2017/6/13/15791744/russia-election-39-states-hack-putin-trump-sessions
  2. http://www.latimes.com/politics/la-pol-ca-voting-problems-20160607-snap-htmlstory.html
  3. http://www.cnn.com/2016/04/19/politics/new-york-primary-voter-problem-polls-sanders-de-blasio/index.html
  4. http://foreignpolicy.com/2017/07/09/trump-has-picked-americas-enemies-in-russia-over-its-friends-in-europe/
  5. http://www.weeklystandard.com/trump-caves-to-putin/article/2008751
  6. https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/trump-administration-moves-to-return-russian-compounds-in-maryland-and-new-york/2017/05/31/3c4778d2-4616-11e7-98cd-af64b4fe2dfc_story.html?utm_term=.916898cc623e
  7. http://www.newsweek.com/trump-collusion-russia-what-we-know-so-far-630053
  8. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rob_Reiner
  9. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Clapper
  10. https://investigaterussia.org/
  11. http://www.bobcesca.com/the-bob-cesca-show-presented-by-bubblegenius-com-9717/
  12. http://www.cnn.com/2017/09/05/politics/house-intelligence-committee-subpoena-fbi-justice/index.html
  13. http://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow-show/if-only-john-mccains-actions-matched-john-mccains-rhetoric
  14. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/monkey-cage/wp/2016/08/10/are-u-s-voters-confident-in-their-electoral-system-yes-and-no/?utm_term=.8acf19b0f164
  15. http://thehill.com/policy/national-security/343292-jill-stein-looped-into-widening-investigation-of-russia-and-trump-jr
  16. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/bernie-sanders-fake-news-russia_us_58c34d97e4b0ed71826cdb36

 

I haven’t posted in a VERY long time.   A combination of struggling with my ongoing depression (Herr Hair became President, need I say more?) and having moved into a house that needs renovation.  Without regaling you in the detailed horrors of renovation (Maybe I’ll do that later with bonus photos) suffice it to say that I lived with three kids in a house without a kitchen for two and a half months.  If I ever have to look at another delivery pizza, I think I just might vomit.

Anyway, like I said, I’ll share details of my recent drama later.  For now, I just wanted to share a link to a heartfelt and touching story of someone who was the victim of a hate crime.

So I’m here, sort of.  How about you?

cheesypoof

Herr Drumpf is at it again.  He said yesterday he wants to punch Michael Bloomberg, the former mayor of New York and bona fide self-made billionaire (worth about 8x’s more than Trump), because Bloomberg had the nerve to criticize him at the DNC this week.  I mean, who would expect criticism during a Presidential election?  /snark

Seriously though, my five year old has more restraint both physically and verbally than this crusty old cheesy poof. I think this video nails the reason down as to why so many people do support him. He is a mostly unrestrained Id. Something very wrong probably happened to him as a child and his development is seriously arrested. Either he was very abused and his maturity is stuck at the age of trauma OR his parents were so lenient that he never suffered repercussions to his behavior and as a result he did not mature past a certain point. This kind of person doesn’t spring wholly formed into adulthood like this–this kind of sociopath is made. But either way, whether he is rebelling and reacting against some inner demon created by abuse or acting out because he has so little self-control, there is very little pause between his emotions, his thoughts and his actions. And that appeals to people who are afraid and frustrated. They WISH they could just let their crazy flag fly but they’re too scared–they’re scared because their parents taught them better and they know if they acted this way there would be serious consequences for them.

And since they can’t express themselves and this dried goop of semi-rancid orange marmalade can, they support him. He is their Id made manifest. Furthermore, they see his behavior as being honest and genuine. While it may be genuine, it isn’t honest. True honesty involves self-reflection and actually does incorporate filtering, and by filtering I mean expressing that honesty in a way that is constructive. People who spew truth without couching it in a way that people can hear, either through humor or through simple courtesy and humility, are being insulting, childish and basically assholes. Mature people recognize Herr Cheesy Poof (TM!) as the latter.

It comes down to this. I think we as liberals have to accept that voters, particularly American voters are not rational. Call me elitist if you want but the fact that hundreds of millions of people support this sad excuse for a human being is absolute proof of that irrationality. The Left’s failure to truly accept this is hurting us and it will continue to hurt us. People don’t vote rationally so we can’t appeal to their rationality alone. We MUST get better at appealing to their emotions and their deep seated needs along with presenting a rational, logic based case for our solutions and candidates. But for right now, we’re stuck with half the country hoping Herr Cheesy Poof, the Id from New York, will become the next leader of the most powerful country on Earth.

I don’t talk about my faith very much.  I tend to be privately spiritual, more so than the “go to church” and “let me witness to others” type of person.  But there are times when I am seriously worried and when the only thing left to do is to appeal to a higher power.  Now is one of those times.  God help us all.

UsefulIdiot

Herr Drumpf has declared China and Russia to be our friends because (the FBI says) they hacked the DNC’s emails (and modified some of them) in order to sow discord in the party’s convention.  While I’m irritated that a handful of emails were ugly they’re not game changers or smoking guns and the DNC has reacted appropriately to smooth things over.  I’m much more concerned with the fact that Putin is purposely interfering with our Presidential election, which is unprecedented in our country’s history to my knowledge.  What’s worse, it appears to be working because our Media, which can’t resist a controversy, is blowing the email story out of proportion and because Herr Drumpf, who relies on Russian oligarchs for money (the same oligarchs that put and help keep Putin in power), is saying that he would essentially abandon our NATO partners to Russia’s encroachment.   Either Herr Drumpf is actively working for Russian interests or he’s their Useful Idiot.  And you know we’re headed for some serious trouble when the best we can hope for is that a Presidential candidate is a Useful Idiot for an expansionist Russian dictator.

 

h/t Ashby at BobCesca.com