Tuesday, June 27, 2017
The New Conservative Line Is That Collusion with Russia Is OK
There’s something emerging in the right-wing media, especially something from prominent voices in the right-wing media who talk regularly to talk to President Trump and his entourage. That is a new line of defense – public, if not legal – in the Russia probe which is basically this: “if Trump colluded with Russia, it wouldn’t be a crime. In fact, it might be awesome.”SNIP
Now, obviously people say all sorts of crazy things, especially on Fox News. Hannity is a complete clown. So on one hand it may seem hard to draw any real conclusion based on his latest nonsense. But the thing is we know he talks to people in Trump’s circle a lot and he seems to have some kind of on-going conversation with Trump himself. In so many words, I don’t think this is just Hannity’s nonsense: I think these are essentially trial balloons from Trumpland. Just how formal and deliberate a policy this is, I don’t know. Is this just what the Trump people are saying among themselves and among their pals? Or is it a more concerted effort to prepare the ground? I suspect it’s a combination of the two.
Right-wing media is trying to brainwash their viewers to accept that TREASON is ok, as long as their guy does it.
It's just so fucking wrong.
WTF has happened to this country, or at least conservatives?
At least 60-70% of Americans know Trump is a disaster and disapprove of him.
Monday, June 26, 2017
Trump and GOP Collusion with Russia = TREASON
The first involved establishing personal contact with Americans perceived as sympathetic to Moscow — such as former Defense Intelligence Agency chief Michael Flynn, former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, and early Trump foreign-policy adviser Carter Page — and using them as a means to further Russia's foreign-policy goals.
The second involved hacking the Democratic National Committee email servers and then giving the material to WikiLeaks, which leaked the emails in batches throughout the second half of 2016.
The third was to amplify the propaganda value of the leaked emails with a disinformation campaign waged predominantly on Facebook and Twitter, in an effort to use automated bots to spread fake news and pro-Trump agitprop.
And the fourth was to breach US voting systems in as many as 39 states leading up to the election, in an effort to steal registration data that officials say could be used to target and manipulate voters in future elections.
Election Hackers Altered Voter Rolls, Stole Private Data, Officials Say
Interesting how Trump won every surprise swing state by a similar 1% margin. That 1% margin was just low enough to avoid automatic audits. Would the Russians know that? I assert this implies collusion with the Trump campaign and other Republicans.
The fact that Trump campaign officials were discussing Russian sanctions relief at all during the campaign, indicates collusion. Sanctions relief was the tacit payoff for the Russian hacking.
Over the weekend, Trump tweeted:
Hillary Clinton colluded with the Democratic Party in order to beat Crazy Bernie Sanders. Is she allowed to so collude? Unfair to Bernie!This sounds like Trump making excuses for his collusion, because he's a blathering idiot and that's how he loves to whine.
And of course:
NSA Chief Admits Donald Trump Colluded With Russia
However, the GOP obstructed efforts by the Obama administration to act on the Russia attack, and the Republicans still are thwarting investigations in congress. GOP traitors, all.
In terms of US politics, this is the single biggest story of my life -- a major America political party is outright engaged and covered up treason to consolidate power here in the US. Furthermore, their politics ONLY benefit the oligarchs and elites. This is disgusting and evil in the extreme.
The Two Styles of Current GOP Authoritarianism Complement Each Other to Benefit the Super-Rich
Trump’s authoritarianism and McConnell’s are two very different strains. The president is a narcissist who gathers power for personal gain self-gratification. He cares little for the specifics of policy outcomes, and merely wants victories that he can boast about. (SNIP)
(Trump) is the authoritarianism of pure spectacle. McConnell, by contrast, is withdrawn and diffident in his public. (He’s jokingly likened to a turtle because of his appearance, but behaves like one, too.) While the majority leader doesn’t crave attention, he does care deeply about a specific policy agenda: advancing the plutocratic preferences of the Republican party’s donor class. Infinitely more knowledgeable than Trump about how government functions, McConnell subverts norms with a laser-like focus on advancing that agenda. His authoritarianism, in other words, is one of procedure.
As different as they are, these two forms of authoritarianism depend on each other. It’s unlikely that the Republican Party would have won a unified government last fall without Trump’s theatrical flair.
To judge not only by last year’s election, but also this week’s special congressional election in Georgia, Trump’s tribalist politics have far more appeal with the Republican base than a forthright agenda of tax cuts for the rich and entitlement cuts to the poor.
And when it comes to that agenda, all that really matters is that the policies be sold through the lens of negative partisanship. After all, Trump campaigned on a promise not to cut Medicaid, whereas McConnell’s version of the AHCA would slash the program by hundreds of billions of dollars over the next decade.
But Trump easily resolves such dissonance by reminding his supporters of the real enemy here: Obamacare. If the Republican Party needs Trump, the president is equally dependent on the GOP. Given his manifest disinterest in policy and the details of governance, he would be unable to pass anything without crafty leaders like McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan.
But there is a more sinister dimension to Trump’s alliance with these Republican leaders: Congress has the power to check the president, including impeachment and removal if necessary. Ryan and McConnell are the bulwarks protecting Trump from a wide range of areas where he should be held accountable.
If they wanted to, they could push for laws requiring him to reveal his taxes, force him to place his assets in a blind trust, and use nepotism rules to limit the power of family members, among a range of other checks.Republicans in the House and Senate have implicitly made a devil’s bargain with Trump, giving him a free hand to indulge his kleptocratic and autocratic tendencies in exchange for what they want: stalwart conservative judges for the Supreme Court, and a presidential signature on whatever bills Ryan and McConnell manage to pass. And make no mistake: He will sign any major legislation that crosses his desk.
Also keep in mind they are also protecting each other from the crimes of the 2016 election: the Russian-collusion and TREASON.
Now That Infowars Has WhiteHouse Press Credentials
Shouldn't Alex Jones' buddy Trump be able to find the truth?
Sunday, June 18, 2017
Gaza Is Still a Nightmare, a Massive Concentration Camp Run by Israel
My last visit to Gaza had been in May 2014, just before Israel launched Operation Protective Edge, an assault that resulted in the deaths of more than two thousand Gazans – combatants and civilians – and the destruction of eighteen thousand homes. When I went back less than three years later the changes were evident everywhere. But two things struck me particularly: the now devastating impact of Gaza’s decade-long isolation from the rest of the world, and the sense that an increasing number of people are reaching the limit of what they can endure.
Gaza is in a state of humanitarian shock, due primarily to Israel’s blockade, supported by the US, the EU and Egypt and now entering its 11th year. Historically a place of trade and commerce, Gaza has relatively little production left, and the economy is now largely dependent on consumption. Although a recent easing of Israeli restrictions has led to a slight increase in agricultural exports to the West Bank and Israel – long Gaza’s principal markets – they are not nearly enough to boost its weakened productive sectors. Gaza’s debility, carefully planned and successfully executed, has left almost half the labour force without any means to earn a living. Unemployment – especially youth unemployment – is the defining feature of life. It now hovers around 42 per cent (it has been higher), but for young people (between the ages of 15 and 29) it stands at 60 per cent. Everyone is consumed by the need to find a job or some way of earning money. ‘Salaries control people’s minds,’ one resident said.(snip)
‘What do the Israelis want?’ I was asked the question again and again, with each questioner looking at me searchingly, sometimes imploringly, for an answer, for some insight they clearly felt that they didn’t have. Why is Gaza being punished in so heartless a manner, and what does Israel truly hope to gain by it? One well-placed person claimed that ‘50 to 60 per cent of Hamas’ would give up any claim to Jerusalem in return for the Rafah border crossing being opened up again. Israel has exhausted all the ways it has of putting pressure on Gaza. When Gazans were allowed to work in Israel, Israel had leverage: it would seal the borders and extract whatever concessions it sought. Now even that leverage is gone, and all that remains is menace – a policy towards Gaza that emerges not from any sense or logic but from what Ehud Barak once called ‘inertia’. According to an article in Haaretz, Israel’s ‘security cabinet has not held a single meeting on Israeli policy concerning Gaza for the last four years’. At what point does menace stop working as a form of coercion? What will Israel hope to gain from its next attack on Gaza, when people there already speak about entire families being wiped out as a normal topic of conversation?
If the Israelis were thinking clearly, one person said, ‘everyone could benefit. All they must do is give us a window to live a normal life and all these extremist groups would disappear. Hamas would disappear. The community must deal with … these groups, not IDF tanks and planes. Our generation wants to make peace and it is foolish for Israel to refuse. The next generation may not be as willing as we are. Is that what Israel truly wants?’ In the first six months of 2016, the Ministry of the Interior reported that 24,138 babies were born in Gaza, averaging 132 a day. In August 2016 alone, 4961 babies were born, or 160 a day: more than six babies every hour and one baby every nine minutes. The distance between Gaza City and Tel Aviv is 44 miles. ‘What will Israel do when there are five million Palestinians living in Gaza?’(emphasis added)
It's an insane, hopeless and intolerable situation.
Saturday, June 17, 2017
Degradation of the Environment is a Result of Deep Government Corruption
The pattern is the same around the world, and the Trump administration is very corrupt and bought off by the oil, coal and gas lobby.
Trump Tries to Work US House of Representatives to Go Soft on Russia
The White House plans to work with House Republicans on administration-friendly changes to the Senate’s overwhelmingly bipartisan bill that slaps new sanctions on Russia and curbs President Donald Trump’s power to ease penalties against Moscow, according to a senior administration official.
The White House is concerned that the legislation would tie its hands on U.S.-Russia relations, a sentiment publicly expressed by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. But Senate Democrats fear the White House may go overboard in preserving its power to talk to Russia and seek to defang the sanctions bill — which passed 98-2 on Thursday in one of the year’s most significant displays of bipartisanship.
Friday, June 16, 2017
Russian Hacking of the 2016 Election
We are creeping ever closer to actual evidence that there was Russian ratfcking of the vote totals in the last election. Not long ago, people wouldn't even suggest that out loud. We were made vulnerable to something like this because of the interference by the Supreme Court in Bush v. Gore, by the curious goings-on in Ohio in 2004, by a relentless campaign to convince the country of an imaginary epidemic of voter fraud, and by a decade of voter suppression by any means necessary. The Russians wanted to undermine the confidence Americans had in their elections? We made it pretty damn easy to do that.
And of course Trump denies this interference, to levels that may signify obstruction of justice if not covering up outright collusion.
50th Anniversary of the USS Liberty Attack
Good article-- it's clear it was intentional on the part of Israel.
We have an impeachment bill in the House.
Important to remember that far FAR more than any other major politician, Trump is a fundamentally dishonest and unethical person.
But even with my own limited reporting, it is quite clear to me that there are numerous people in Trump’s entourage (or ‘crew’, if you will) including Trump himself whose history and ways of doing business would not survive first contact with real legal scrutiny. It sounds like Mueller sees all of that within his purview, in all likelihood because the far-flung business deealings of Trump and his top associates are the membrane across which collusion and quid pro quos could have been conducted.
As I said, a basic perusal of business in the Trump world makes clear that serious legal scrutiny would turn up no end of problems. Just consider what was from a financial perspective, a tiny island in the Trump archipelago of mischief, The Trump Foundation which David Fahrenthold did so much with. Almost every rock Fahrenthold overturned exposed some self-dealing, at least legal violations and often real wrongdoing and as much as anything a wild level of sloppiness and indifference to doing business like even semi-honest people. From one perspective it’s hard to say Trump knowingly broke the law with the Foundation since the whole conduct of the Foundation seemed to be carried on as though none of the relevant laws even existed. Again, the Foundation was just a sideline for Trump. It’s not where he made his big money and ran off from his biggest obligations. That’s how they do business.
If Mueller is taking a serious prosecutor’s lens to Trump’s financial world and the financial worlds of Michael Cohen, Paul Manafort, Mike Flynn and numerous others, there’s going to be a world of hurt for a lot of people. And that is if no meaningful level of 2016 election collusion even happened.
And I don’t think that’s true.
And somewhat predictably, because that's how he rolls, Trump just threw GOP congressmen under the bus over healthcare.
But it is an odd move for someone who may be facing impeachment soon.
Sunday, June 04, 2017
Fucking Afganistan, the Never Ending War
I’m hardly alone in wondering. The confusion is so widespread that opposition has bled into public indifference. After a decade and a half – six years longer than the US had troops in Vietnam – it’s just something we do. What we are doing and why is another matter. Initially, the invasion had something to do with finding those responsible for 9/11. After that, there was never a clear answer, and so people who care turn to conspiracy theory, and understandably so. Actually, Afghanistan has been on my mind much longer.
I recall when the Soviets were trying to remake the country, and we Cold-War kids reveled in their failure. That they ever attempted such a thing in this vast country of seasoned warriors and fierce tribal loyalty seemed to underscore the bankrupting arrogance of the Soviet regime and the unrealizable delusion of communism.
As a kid, I wondered how the Russian people put up with it, knowing that their own government was sending its citizens to this vast and dangerous country, putting their lives at risk, killing and being killed, for no apparent reason. I recall feeling proud to live a country where the government would not do such a thing. Such naivete.
Today, we mostly try not to think about this war, unless a friend or family member is directly affected by it.
For this reason, it’s a great thing that Netflix’s 100-million subscribers have the opportunity to watch War Machine, a Netflix exclusive written and directed by David Michôd, and starring Brad Pitt, Anthony Hayes, John Magaro, and Emory Cohen. It is being advertised as a comedy but the reason is unclear. It is not particularly funny, unless you find humor in watching confused human failures unfold under impossible conditions.
It is based on the true story of General Stanley McChrystal, a forgotten figure today but briefly in the news in 2010. A story in Rolling Stone revealed the drunken aimlessness of the forces under his one year of command in Afghanistan. The story was a personal humiliation for him and he retired to teach classes at Yale University and run his own business consulting firm.
I haven't seen the flick, but the blog post does a good job going over it.
War is a racket, and the war on terror is a sick, venal, psychopathic enterprise.
Trump Withdraws from the Paris Climate Accords
I didn't think he could top his ghastly American Carnage inaugural address for sheer fact-free and paranoiac mendacity, but he managed to do it on Thursday. By announcing that the United States was withdrawing from the groundbreaking Paris Accords regarding the world climate crisis, the president* wallowed in rank, xenophobic victimhood while basking in the scattered applause of the otherwise unemployable yahoos whose self-respect is sufficiently low that they still work for him. Any doubt that Steve Bannon is running this White House now, either personally or through his finger-puppet, obvious anagram Reince Priebus, now has evaporated. The transformation of the American government into a Breitbart comments thread is complete.
It was appalling. It was condescending. It was awful content delivered by a dolt who wouldn't know the Paris Accords from a baguette without the shoddy talking points that someone put in front of him. (snip)
The least objectionable element of the speech was its utter internal incoherence.
The United States will cease all implementation of the non-binding Paris Accord and the draconian economic and financial burden the agreement imposes on our country.
Paris was a non-binding and ineffective agreement, but it was "draconian" nonetheless. The economy is booming under his leadership, but the Paris Accord was destroying it at the same time. This was a speech written by a fool, to be delivered by a fool, with the presumption that a great percentage of its target audience is made up of fools.
But the really noxious stuff was the attempt at transforming a worldwide agreement to combat an existential threat to life on this planet into what he stupidly called a scheme to redistribute our wealth to China, as if we're all not going to be buying our solar panels from China for the next 50 years because of this cluck. The really noxious stuff was all that simpering about how the rest of the world is playing us for suckers and laughing at us, as though the rest of the world doesn't think we've lost our mind as a nation simply by electing a vulgar talking yam. The really noxious stuff was all his crocodile tears about the Forgotten People, as though a lot of them are not suffering through drought, or losing their houses to floods and to landslides, about which he and his people care nothing at all. (snip)
It was a speech written by an angry child, to be delivered by an angry child, with the assumption that its targeted audience was made up of angry children, too. And it was of a piece with that lunatic Wall Street Journal op-ed from Tuesday in which H.R. McMaster and Gary Cohn pretty much decided that international diplomacy is nothing more than a larger-than-usual barrel of cannibalistic crabs. (snip)
The idea that these people put together a party in the Rose Garden to celebrate the withdrawal of American leadership in the world leads me to believe that they'd host a barbecue to celebrate a public execution. None of that matters. While the president was speaking, as it happens, a huge chunk of Antarctica was preparing to break off. Meanwhile, Wednesday was the first day of hurricane season, and this president*, who cares so much about the duties of his office and the people of this great land, still hasn't bothered to appoint a FEMA director yet. The nonsense he spewed on Thursday doesn't matter, either, even if it continues to gull the suckers out in the sticks. The oceans are not listening to him.(emphases added)
This "decision" (which thankfully won't matter too much in the grand scheme of fighting climate change, because most of the US is actually committed to reducing carbon emissions) easily moves Trump into the lead for WORST PRESIDENT EVER. It's just a complete bone-headed, petty move, that cedes any moral authority or global leadership by the US. In his few short months as POTUS, Trump has greatly diminished the stature of the US, much more than Bush, and of course, it must make his boss Vladimir Putin very happy.
Billionaire Space Mogul 'Absolutely Convinced' There Are Aliens Already on Earth
A billionaire aerospace entrepreneur who has recently worked with Nasa has said he is 'absolutely convinced' that there are alien visitors living on Earth.
Robert Bigelow, whose company Bigelow Aerospace has built expandable space habitats for the ISS, was speaking in an interview with 60 minutes on Sunday.
The conversation focused on working with Nasa before it shifted to Mr Bigelow's reported obsession with aliens, as the mogul revealed he has invested 'millions' into UFO research.
Asked whether he believed in aliens, Mr Bigelow responded: 'I'm absolutely convinced. That's all there is to it.'
'There has been and is an existing presence, an ET presence [on Earth].
'I spent millions and millions and millions - I probably spent more as an individual than anybody else in the United States has ever spent on this subject [aliens].'
Mr Bigelow did not specify exactly how much he has spent on this research, and declined to comment on any personal UFO encounters.
Correspondent Lara Logan, who was leading the interview, then asked Mr Bigelow whether he felt it was risky for him to say in public that he believes in aliens.
She asked him whether he worried that people might think he was 'crazy'.
Mr Bigelow responded: 'I don't give a damn. I don't care.'
War Is Still a Racket
FFS, that is the whole point of 9/11-- faking terrorism to start a major war enterprise.