Humint Events Online: March 2019

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

The Media Is Ever Happy to Be Gaslit by Republicans

Josh Marshall:
... I’ve marvelled at how ingenuous and pliable so many media voices have been in the face of spin that was entirely predictable. The Times has been among the most credulous, more or less taking at face value the Barr/Trump claim of blanket exoneration. Interestingly, Roll Call has been among the most cautious and focused. But most of the mainstream outlets have taken the Barr letter almost entirely at face value, a decision that seemed ill-considered yesterday and even more so today.

The Russia scandal isn’t a story in isolation. It’s part of a larger story about the rise of plutocratic corruption and right wing authoritarianism in the US, something Donald Trump has both embodied and catalyzed. In that sense it’s not separate from the rest of Trump’s scandals or, contrary to the claims of many, the range of right wing policies he and his Republican Party have advanced. With that said, I don’t think even this story – Trump’s relationship with Russia, the 2016 campaign and his efforts to obstruct and coverup – are really close to over.
On the obstruction question, what we have is a unilateral and unexplained decision on the part of an Attorney General recently appointed on the basis of a memo in which he argued that it was essentially impossible, as a matter of law and the constitution, for the President to obstruct justice. In other words, he’s already told us that he doesn’t think there’s any set of facts that could amount to obstruction or, more specifically, that there’s no way that the President could do so by the corrupt use of his legitimate executive powers.
His judgement tells us nothing as a substantive matter and asks us all collectively to pretend we didn’t see what we all saw happen before our eyes. As I wrote when Barr was nominated, he’s a partisan with a record of putting his hands on the scales for the President he serves. I said I thought he would do everything he could – that’s why he was appointed – to protect Trump short of destroying his reputation in Republican DC or breaking the law. This all fits that prediction to a T.
On the question of collusion or coordination, again, Barr’s gloss on the report similarly asks us to believe that none of us saw what we saw with our own eyes – numerous instances of covert communication, offers of assistance, back channels, business deals being secretly negotiated while the President aggressively pushed the Russian line, a campaign manager handing over campaign data to a Russian intelligence asset and planning peace deals and sanctions relief that was Russia’s top foreign policy goal.
The quote from the report says the investigation did not “establish” conspiracy or coordination. I think we need to take this at face value – they did not find sufficient evidence to prove that a crime had occurred. Was there no evidence? Did they not believe it could be proven beyond a reasonable doubt? Were they unable to gain the cooperation of key players?
As I said yesterday, these are questions the report likely answers. Perhaps when we see the report it will turn out that the story is quite different than we thought. But I tend to doubt it. Everything I see here tells me that the Barr letter looked its best on day one and will look worse on every succeeding day.

Will Wilkinson:
The crescendo of furious gaslighting following Barr's propaganda summary suggests a plan was place to exploit the gap between the submission of the report and public revelation of what's in it to delegitimize Mueller's actual findings and the ongoing investigations.
Trump cronies are incoherently claiming BOTH (a) that the report exonerates him AND (b) the investigation was so ethically compromised and politically biased nothing that came of it can be taken seriously and shouldn't be made public. Obviously can't be both.
Trump's "one weird trick" is the shameless public delegitimization of anyone aligned against his interests. Once again, we're seeing he's the GOAT at this evil art. It's what's made him the Houdini of industrial-scale white-collar theft.
Our idiot media still isn't capable of understanding how to not be co-opted by Trump's reality-bending propaganda machine, and continues to get played like a burgled Stradivarius.
Barr's cover-up gambit means Mueller will certainly be called to testify under oath in the House. That's why we're getting the full-on blitz to mischaracterize his findings: to lock the media and public into a favorable narrative nowhere in evidence, before he actually speaks.
The Trump machine's rush to assert an adamantly conclusive interpretation of the investigation on nothing but a crony appointee's spin on it, and then using this to discredit the larger attempt to uphold the rule of law and separation of powers is completely poisonous.
The media's atrocious gullibility, which is letting this happen without serious resistance, is even more scandalous than the credulity that herded public opinion behind the invasion of Iraq. Because we already *know* this administration does nothing but lie.
This Trump campaign memo seeking to de-platform Democrats constitutionally duty-bound to check executive abuses of power, on the basis of claims consistent with Barr's gloss on Mueller's report, gives away the aim of the game: no rule of law, no oversight.
The Trump machine is making a lot of political hay with necessary legal distinctions. Barr says Mueller didn't establish conspiracy or coordination b/w the campaign &"the Russian government," which doesn't imply there wasn't plenty with Russians hard to pin as agents of Putin. He says Mueller didn't establish that any Trump associate or U.S. citizen "knowingly coordinated" with the IRA to influence the election. Which doesn't imply that Stone (not part of the campaign) didn't coordinate with anonymous agents of the IRA, or with Assange (not American.)
Barr says Mueller supplies evidence of obstruction, then uses the fact that he doesn't establish conspiracy to a certain legal standard (which doesn't at all rule it out, in fact) to argue in a shady way that there was nothing to obstruct, so he let's Trump off scot-free.
The Trump admin/campaign then uses it's own opportunistic judgment as a fixed fact to leverage an attack on the legitimacy of Dem oversight officials in Congress. But Congress's constitutional oversight authority is wholly independent of the executive's findings about itself. Trump has gone to pains to confuse people into accepting that the legitimacy of congressional oversight depends on a prior, narrow legal finding of criminality, which it has done everything it can to prevent.
Having done it successfully, it's attacking the separation of powers. But congressional power over the executive under the constitution is entirely political. If it decides as a body that the president is guilty of high crimes and misdemeanors, that settles it. Trump's hand-picked AG (confirmed by a lapdog Senate, with a record of shielding presidents from scandal) telling us what the report says & sitting on it doesn't settle anything. But spinning it like it does to prevent congressional oversight tell us a lot.
This is far from over.  
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Monday, March 25, 2019

Republican-Led Investigation Into Republican President Apparently Clears Him

The fix is in. It's Iran-Contra all over again. William Barr will go down in history as covering up treasonous acts for 2 different Republican presidents. What a legacy.

Of course we don't know what Barr's report really says...

Of course there was "collusion" for fuck's sake.
David Corn: 
Trump Aided and Abetted Russia's Attack. 
That Was Treachery. 
Full Stop.
On Sunday afternoon Attorney General William Barr sent a letter to Congress noting that Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation “did not establish that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities.” The message also noted that Mueller could not exonerate President Donald Trump of obstruction of justice, but that Barr himself had decided that the evidence Mueller developed was “insufficient to establish” that Trump had obstructed justice. 
Trump proclaimed it was “complete and total exoneration.” And Trump champions popped the cork and declared case closed, nothing to see, end of story, no need for further investigation, Trump did no wrong. Well, that is fake news. Barr’s note is clear that Mueller did not uncover evidence Trump and his gang were in direct cahoots with Russia’s covert operation to interfere with the US election and boost Trump’s odds. 
But the hyper-focus on this sort of collusion—as if Trump instructed Russian hackers on how to penetrate the computer network of the Democratic National Committee—has always diverted attention from a basic and important element of the scandal that was proven long before Mueller drafted his final report: Trump and his lieutenants interacted with Russia while Putin was attacking the 2016 election and provided encouraging signals to the Kremlin as it sought to subvert American democracy. 
They aided and abetted Moscow’s attempt to cover up its assault on the United States (which aimed to help Trump win the White House). And they lied about all this. And, yes, there were instances of collusion—not on the specifics of the attack, but secret scheming between Trumpworld and Russia. None of the evidence underlying this is in dispute. No matter what Mueller report contains, a harsh verdict remains: Trump and his gang betrayed the United States in the greatest scandal in American history.

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Fascism In Full Swing

Trump campaign sends memo to television producers warning about ‘credibility’ of six Trump critics who it says spread false claims about collusion

Trump’s re-election campaign sent a memo to television producers on Monday instructing them to “employ basic journalistic standards when booking” six current or former government officials that the campaign said “made outlandish, false claims, without evidence” while on air.

The memo names:

Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn.
Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., the chair of the House Judiciary Committee
Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez
John Brennan, the former director of the Central Intelligence Agency
Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., the chair of the House Intelligence Committee
Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., who has floated a potential bid for president

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Saturday, March 16, 2019

Another Plane Crash with Initially Superficial Resemblance to Flight 93

Ethiopian airlines crash last week, killed 157 people.

This crater is very reminiscent of the flight 93 crash scene.

And the first set of photos of the crash showed little debris and mostly empty fields with scattered small debris. Annoyingly, the news articles gave no sense of the size of the crash field or what the overall debris field looked like.

But then pictures like this started appearing. These are all decidedly NOT like the flight 93 crash.

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Impeach the Motherfucker Already, Part 2

From the great Gaslit Nation podcast, every word here is gold:
Impeach Normalization GN32_Mix02_Export_Final.mp3
In this extra-long and extra-intense episode of Gaslit Nation, we discuss Paul Manafort’s sentences and Nancy Pelosi’s opposition to impeachment. We give our take on why the Mueller probe is thus far ineffective, and what it says about our justice system that a brutal career criminal like Manafort who has caused death and suffering around the world as well as threatening our own lives receives such a minimal punishment. We argue that it is in fact “worth it” to impeach Trump, the man whom Manafort served and who himself serves a transnational crime syndicate. We look back on our own decades of work studying authoritarian regimes around the world and the human toll of those regimes, and we examine the toll inaction has taken here in the US – a toll we are unwilling to abide and accept. We condemn the normalization of elite criminal impunity that has devastated our democracy, and we discuss what people can do to combat it. Because this is not about Trump, this is not about Pelosi, this is about the American people – and no matter what our officials tell you, you’re worth it.
On Impeachment:
In the Washington Post, Speaker Pelosi said:
I’m not for impeachment. This is news. I’m going to give you some news right now because I haven’t said this to any press person before. But since you asked, and I’ve been thinking about this: Impeachment is so divisive to the country that unless there’s something so compelling and overwhelming and bipartisan, I don’t think we should go down that path, because it divides the country. And he’s just not worth it.
As we have previously stated in multiple episodes, Gaslit Nation stands in favor of impeaching the motherfucker. This was previously not a controversial view, as Trump has committed a multitude of impeachable offenses, including but not limited to: violating the emoluments clause; obstruction of justice; ordering unconstitutional imprisonment of migrant families; abusing the pardon power; high crimes and misdemeanors; conspiracy against the US; and conspiracy to illegally influence the 2016 election. 
Trump has committed these crimes in plain sight and confessed to some of them, like obstruction, on television. These are not merely constitutional violations but severe threats to national security and public safety that require immediate action – investigation and indictment as well as impeachment. 
Impeachment is not a snap of the fingers producing an instant result. It is a process of hearings in which officials present evidence of crimes and deliberate in a public forum, removed from media bias. Americans these days tend to exist in information silos, but hearings, from Comey to Cohen, have brought our country together to bear witness. Hearings give the public information long withheld from them and shift expectations of accountability. We see parallels with Watergate, in which much of the republic was unconvinced of the severity of Nixon’s crimes until hearings began and they learned the full details. 
The public has the right to information and to make up its own mind. Our media is largely sponsored by dictators or dictated by sponsors. It is critical that officials present evidence to the public directly. This is not a partisan issue; it is a matter of public safety – Trump’s supporters have as much right to the truth as do Trump’s opponents. We are Americans, and we are in this together.
Pelosi, however, does not appear to see herself as in it together with us – she sees herself as above it. She sees Trump as a partisan matter, not an urgent public threat. She does not understand that we are already divided as a nation, and that truth and transparency are the salve. She is replicating the mistakes made by the Obama administration (and by the FBI and James Comey) when they withheld the truth about Trump and Russia from the American public due to their fear of seeming “divisive” or angering Mitch McConnell. 
The GOP has been hijacked by a transnational crime syndicate masquerading as a government. This is not a secret; we have seen the indictments and we have seen the panicked protectiveness of Trump by the GOP even when they are confronted with his most severe and obviously illegal infractions. Any possibility of bipartisan support for impeachment, for the GOP to put country before party is a myth. The Republicans created this situation: they long ago abdicated their duty through corruption and capitulation. If the GOP were to impeach Trump, they would effectively impeach themselves, since they are caught in Trump’s web of criminality. (Michael Cohen, for example, was the deputy finance chairman of the RNC.) But when Pelosi makes a bipartisan resolution that she knows is impossible the standard for following rule of law, she continues the very abdication that the GOP initiated – and in doing so, aids in their complicity.
Supporters of Pelosi believe there must be a secret message or a secret plan behind her statement, but there is very likely not. (We will be delighted if we are wrong and there is a secret plan, since we are thinking first and foremost about the welfare of the American people, but our track record of accurate assessments speaks for itself.) Some have said the point of Pelosi proclaiming Trump “not worth it” is to wound his ego – as if Trump remotely cares what Pelosi says. All Trump cares about is money, power and being immune from prosecution. Impeachment hearings actually threaten all three of these things. Attempted jibes do not. The message Pelosi conveys when she says Trump is “not worth it” is that it is not worth holding him accountable for crimes that have resulted in the loss of human life and the ongoing destruction of our nation. 
Pelosi may not have intended for this to be her message, but that is how many received it. She hurled a grenade into progressives and wounded many with her words. She may think we can vote Trump out, but she has hurt that very cause. We have heard from younger voters and voters from marginalized groups who no longer want to vote for the Democratic candidate because her flippant dismissal of impeachment as an outcome has led them to believe that the two parties are the same. They are not the same: one party is an existential threat, and one party is deeply flawed. We encourage you to support the Democratic candidate in 2020. But we demand that the Democrats confront our grim reality head on – that there may not be a 2020, that there may not be free and fair elections, and that every day is damage done. It may be a partisan game to you, Speaker Pelosi, but for the rest of us, and for this country, it is a matter of life or death. 
It is critical that the stakes are made clear. Refusal to impeach sends the message that the situation cannot possibly be that dire – it if were, the Democrats would move to impeach, right? This is the same disastrous miscalculation that gave us an unpunished cadre of criminals from Watergate, Iran-Contra, the War on Iraq, and the 2008 financial crisis – criminals who are working with the White House right now! This is not a comparative study; this is literally the same people committing crimes over and over without repercussions. We would not even been dealing with this crisis if officials had acted with conscience and conviction earlier, and brought these criminal elites to justice.
Let us be clear: we do not think that, if the House impeaches Trump, the GOP-dominated Senate will convict. We also do not think that if the Senate, by some miracle, impeaches Trump, that he will leave. Trump has made it clear he will not leave office even if the will of the people demands it in an election, and even if the will of Congress demands it in impeachment. Trump is an aspiring autocrat, and the GOP is seeking a one-party state. 
So what is the point of the House impeaching Trump? An informed public is a powerful public, and hearings are the best way of informing the people on what the White House has done. Autocrats and wannabe autocrats live by their brands, and a symbolic vote of impeachment by the House, sending the world the message that the United States still stands for the rule of law, damages the Trump brand and leaves a mark on it that Ivanka must carry with her as she continues to represent us abroad. The House must begin impeachment proceedings to help restore America's standing in the world and because it is their constitutional duty.
Impeachment sends a message about who we are as a country and what we will accept and abide. The rule of law demands action. Refusing to take action is normalizing atrocity. Lawlessness must be confronted regardless of the outcome, as a matter of principle and conscience. Fighting only the battles that you know you will win is a sure way of ensuring you lose; preemptive surrender, in a rapidly consolidating autocracy, is permanent surrender. The American people have suffered enough under Trump; they should not have to suffer due to Pelosi’s capitulation as well. We all deserve better than this.
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Kleptocrats Killing It

The Great American Heist of the Trump Presidency

Again, just mind-boggling, breath-taking, soul-crushing, criminal levels of corruption with this crew.
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33 of the Day: College Scam Edition

The University of Southern California rescinded the admissions of a half-dozen students, and several other colleges and universities pledged to take a closer look at their admissions processes as fallout continued from an admissions scandal that implicated coaches, athletic department administrators and 33 wealthy, well-connected parents who allegedly schemed to get their children admitted to prestigious colleges. A class-action lawsuit was filed Wednesday on behalf of applicants who were denied admission to several universities affected by the scandal. It alleged that those schools failed to take adequate steps to safeguard against fraud, depriving the applicants of a fair shot. And it emerged that the gen­esis of the FBI investigation came when an investor tipped off agents to the admissions scheme after he was caught committing securities fraud.

 33 wealthy, well-connected parents-- what are the odds?
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Sunday, March 10, 2019

President's Daily Intelligence Brief

I only recently found out why this information is so classified. It's not just a summary of what the CIA thinks is important.

It talks about COVERT OPERATIONS that the CIA runs. That info must be fascinating and also quite a bit creepy.  But it's also so FUCKING WRONG to have corrupt morons like Trump and Kushner having access to that info.

See the post below regarding Jared Kushner.

God help us.
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Kushner Worse Than Cheney?

Jared Kushner is now the greatest domestic danger to America. And many former US government officials know for a fact that what I've just said is true. 
1/ Whatever you think VP Dick Cheney was to President George W. Bush, take that, make it 3 times as sinister, make Bush 10 times more sociopathic and a devout criminal, and make Cheney stupid, venal, and entirely dismissive of our rule of law and you get what Kushner is to Trump. 
2/ Kushner is going to get us into a *devastating* war with Iran. Jared, singlehandedly. Jared, to make money for himself. I'll say now that Jared more richly deserves to be in prison for the rest of his life than Manafort, and Manafort richly deserves it. That's how bad this is. 
3/ I'm wondering today more than I ever have before whether Special Counsel Robert Mueller has spoken to one man: Rex Tillerson. For all that Tillerson presented a danger of a corrupt detente between Trump and Putin, I think he knows *now* exactly how dangerous Jared Kushner is. 
4/ Don't believe anything you hear from Kushner's attorney or from Kushner. *Ever*. The latter will always be lying to you, and the former will either be lying to you or will have been lied to by his client. I don't know if Mueller can save us from this particular danger or not. 
5/ Whether you realize it or not, Kushner having top secret security clearance is *the* issue in American politics right now, as Trump circumventing our intelligence community to give his son-in-law that access is the shibboleth that made the current danger to America *possible*. 
6/ Our foreign policy is totally off the rails in a way that is dangerous, and the sole reason for this is the Kushner-Trump axis. Our values have been betrayed in ways that we may shortly feel so keenly our heads will spin. We need whistleblowers to blow their whistles now. /end 
PS/ The extent to which you think that Jared Kushner does or does not keep things from his wife is precisely the extent to which you think that Ivanka Trump is complicit in covert actions that should, if there's any justice, put Jared Kushner in prison for a very, very long time.
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Saturday, March 09, 2019

Scandals Galore

The Trump administration literally has too many scandals to keep track of-- they are a smorgasbord of crimes, corruption from great to small, a thousand points of crookedness.

You know it's bad when even the most centrist conventional wisdom inside-the-beltway newsmag calls the Trump administration is the "The Biggest Political Scandal in US History"

Even without seeing Robert Mueller's report, or knowing what prosecutors with the Southern District of New York have unearthed, or what congressional investigators will find, we already have witnessed the biggest political scandal in American history. 
Historians tell Axios that the only two scandals that come close to Trump-Russia are Watergate, which led to President Richard Nixon's resignation in 1974, and the Teapot Dome scandal of the early 1920s, in which oil barons bribed a corrupt aide to President Warren Harding for petroleum leases. 
Mueller has already delivered one of the biggest counterintelligence cases in U.S. history, author Garrett Graff points out — up there with Aldrich Ames (a former CIA officer convicted in 1994 of being a KGB double agent), or Julius and Ethel Rosenberg (executed in 1953 for spying for the Soviets). 
Watergate yielded more charges than Mueller has so far: A total of 69 people were charged in Watergate; 48 people and 20 corporations pleaded guilty. Mueller so far has indicted 27 people; seven have been convicted or pleaded guilty. 
But historians say that both Watergate and Teapot Dome were more limited because a foreign power wasn't a central player, and a much narrower band of potential offenses was under investigation. 
A fourth notable scandal, the Iran-Contra affair of the mid-1980s — in which arms were traded for hostages held by Iran, with the money used to fund rebels in Nicaragua — also involved a more limited range of issues. 
The "biggest" realization might strike Trump supporters as overblown or plain wrong. But consider what we already know about actions of Trump and his associates: 
Scandal 1: Trump secretly paid hush money to two mistresses on the eve of his presidential victory, and lied about it. His longtime personal lawyer is going to prison after carrying out the scheme on his behalf. The historical parallel: Bill Clinton was impeached (but acquitted by the Senate) for lying under oath about an affair with a White House intern. Clinton impeachment Article 3, passed by the House, was obstruction of justice. Earlier presidents, or their friends, had also been known to pay off mistresses. 
Scandal 2: During the presidential campaign, Trump confidantes continued negotiating for a tower in Moscow, potentially one of Trump's most lucrative deals ever. He hid this from the public and lied about it. His lawyer is going to prison for making false statements to Congress about the deal. The historical parallel: None. 
Scandal 3: Russian officials had more than 100 contacts with Trump associates during the campaign and transition, including his son, his closest adviser, his lawyer, and his campaign manager. The Russians offered assistance in undermining Hillary Clinton. The FBI and other government authorities weren't alerted about this effort to subvert our election. The historical parallel: None. 
Scandal 4: Michael Flynn was national security adviser at the same time U.S. intelligence officials believed he was compromised by the Kremlin. He pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his Russian contacts. The historical parallel: None. 
Scandal 5: Trump fired FBI Director James Comey, and told NBC's Lester Holt it was at least in part because of the Russia investigation: "[T]his Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made-up story." The historical parallel: In the "Saturday Night Massacre" of 1973, Nixon tried to stop the Watergate investigation by abolishing the office of Watergate prosecutor Archibald Cox; and accepting the resignation of Attorney General Elliot Richardson, and firing Deputy Attorney General William Ruckelshaus, when they refused to fire Cox. 
Scandal 6: Trump overruled the advice of his lawyers and intelligence experts, and granted his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, a top-secret clearance. This so alarmed his White House chief of staff John Kelly that he recorded his opposition in a memo. Trump and his family repeatedly denied he had interfered. The historical parallel: None. The big picture: Presidential historian Jon Meacham tells us that this "transcends scandal — it’s a national crisis in the sense of a period of elevated stakes, high passions, and possibly permanent consequences." "We’re in the midst of making history more than we are reflecting it." 
Be smart: Trump himself might survive all of this — and even more. Republican voters seem basically unmoved by the mounting evidence.

And this literally is a small fraction of the outright criminality and crookedness of this administration. It's insane to think Trump could be re-elected.

Trump being elected once showed America was broken for sure. But if he is re-elected, it will show we are broken beyond all repair.

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Sunday, March 03, 2019

Impeach the Motherfucker Already

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The Trump Cult of Personality and Why the Lies Matter

From Teri Kanefield:
Michael Cohen, in his riveting testimony Wednesday before the House Committee on Oversight, illustrated how Trump’s Cult of Leadership operates. 
The classic definition of a leadership cult comes from Robert O. Paxton. 
1/ In a leadership cult the followers look for a strong authority (always male) culminating in a national chieftain who alone is capable of incarnating the group’s historical destiny. This is what Trump was getting at when he said, “I alone can fix it” Trump's Claim: ‘I Alone Can Fix It’ Breaking with two centuries of political tradition, Donald Trump didn’t ask Americans to place their trust in each other or in God, but rather, in Trump. 
2/ Lies are an integral part of a leadership cult. The leader’s utterances don’t have to be factually true—as long as they advance the group’s agenda. The agenda always includes consolidating power. Truth is “whatever permits” the Leader to dominate others. 
3/ On Wed., Cohen explained how Trump signals to his supporters what lie they are supposed to tell. “Mr. Trump did not directly tell me to lie to Congress,” Cohen said. “That’s not how he operates.” How does he operate? Cohen offered an example. . . 
4/ During the campaign, while Cohen was negotiating with Russia on Trump’s behalf (to build Trump Tower Moscow), Trump often asked how the negotiations were going. Other times Trump looked Cohen in the eye and say, “there’s no business in Russia.” Afterward. . . 
5/ . . .Trump went out and told the same lie to the American people. Cohen thus understood that “there’s no business in Russia” was the lie he was supposed to tell.” McCabe tells a similar story. After Trump fired Comey, he summoned McCabe to a meeting. Transcript: Ex-FBI Deputy Recalls 25th Amendment Discussions Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe said the Deputy Attorney General broached the 25th Amendment as a way to oust President Trump 
6/ Trump offered a “gleeful” description of what happened with the firing of Comey. McCabe knew this wasn’t true. He also knew Trump expected him to “adopt” this falsehood. McCabe refused. He said, “No sir. That’s not true . . . ” He knew that he’d “given him the wrong answer.” 
7/ McCabe knew he would lose his job because of his unwillingness to tell the lie that Trump wanted him to tell. Trump not only made sure McCabe was fired, he also made sure McCabe—after 21 years of service—would not receive his pension. 
8/ @PreetBharara tells a similar story. was startled shortly after Trump took office when Trump personally reached out to him. It was odd,” Bharara said, “because as a general matter, Presidents don’t speak directly to United States attorneys. . . " Preet Bharara on why Donald Trump fired him Fired US attorney Preet Bharara believes that if he had stayed President Donald Trump would have asked him "to do something inappropriate." 
9/ . . . "You know the number of times President Obama called me? Zero,” @PreetBharara said. The calls were particularly awkward because Mr. Bharara was prosecuting Russian money laundering and Russian mob crimes in Trump’s own neighborhood of Manhattan. Preet Bharara on why Donald Trump fired him Fired US attorney Preet Bharara believes that if he had stayed President Donald Trump would have asked him "to do something inappropriate." 
10/ Bharara accept a few of Trump’s phone calls. Trump just called to shoot the breeze. Bharara suspected nobody knew the president was calling him. He felt distinctly uncomfortable, so the next time the president called, he refused the call. He was fired twenty hours later. 
11/ McCabe and Bharara were clear warnings to what happens to those who ignore the leader’s signals. There are too many other examples to count, like this one: Asked Flynn to shut it down w/o verbally asking him to shut it down, like Cohen described. Shutting down any investigations must have seemed entirely doable. In fact, he acted as if he’d easily shut down the investigations—which of course means getting away with everything. Take his Feb. 2017 meeting with Comey. …  “I hope you can let this go,” the president told Comey, according to Comey’s memo. 
12/ Cohen explained how he was drawn into the Leadership Cult: “Being around Mr. Trump was intoxicating. When you were in his presence, you felt like you were involved in something greater than yourself — that you were somehow changing the world." 
13/ Cohen ended up “touting the Trump narrative for over a decade.” Cohen's job—and the job of everyone else in Trump’s orbit—was to stay on message and “protect” Trump. They did their jobs willingly and even eagerly. 
14/ A chilling moment in Cohen’s testimony on Wed. was when Cohen responded to insults by Congressional Republicans by saying: “I am responsible for your silliness because I did the same things that you are doing now. I protected Mr. Trump for 10 years.”   
15/ Cohen then issued a warning: “People who follow Mr. Trump blindly will suffer the same consequences I’m suffering.” Michael Cohen on President Trump: 'He Is a Racist. He Is a Con Man. He Is a Cheat.' Michael Cohen, President Trump's former lawyer, testifies before the House Oversight and Reform Committee about various investigations related to the 2016… The left-leaning TwitterVerse assumes that Trump has blackmail material on Graham. 
16/ The Graham-must-be-compromised theory arises because it’s hard to imagine how else Graham could have done such an abrupt about-face. But left-leaning people are not, by nature, susceptible to a leadership cult. Others are.
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Planetary Plastic Pollution Apocalypse

Ugh, we are poisoning all life on earth:
For the past decade, Jamieson, a marine biologist at Newcastle University, has been sending vehicles to the bottom of marine trenches, which can be as deep as the Himalayas are tall. Once there, these landers have collected amphipods—scavenger relatives of crabs and shrimp that thrive in the abyss. Jamieson originally wanted to know how these animals differ from one distant trench to another. But a few years ago, almost on a whim, he decided to analyze their body for toxic, human-made pollutants such as polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs, which have been banned for decades but which persist in nature for much longer. The team found PCBs galore. 
Some amphipods were carrying levels 50 times higher than those seen in crabs from one of China’s most polluted rivers. When the news broke, Jamieson was inundated with calls from journalists and concerned citizens. And in every discussion, one question kept coming up: What about plastics? 
The world produces an estimated 10 tons of plastic a second, and between 5 million and 14 million tons sweep into the oceans every year. Some of that debris washes up on beaches, even on the world’s most isolated islands. About 5 trillion pieces currently float in surface waters, mostly in the form of tiny, easy-to-swallow fragments that have ended up in the gut of albatrosses, sea turtles, plankton, fish, and whales. But those pieces also sink, snowing into the deep sea and upon the amphipods that live there. Brooks eventually found plastic fibers and fragments in 72 percent of the amphipods that the team collected, from all six trenches that they had surveyed. 
In the least polluted of these sites, half of the amphipods had swallowed at least one piece of plastic. In the 6.8-mile-deep Mariana Trench, the lowest point in any ocean, all of the specimens had plastic in their gut. 
Does a single fiber really matter amid all the sediment and detritus that amphipods regularly swallow? Jamieson thinks so. For a start, PCBs and other toxins can stick to plastic, turning fibers into sinks for other contaminants. Also, many of the pieces that his team found were relatively huge. “The worst example I saw was a purple fiber, a few millimeters long, tied in a figure-of-eight in an animal no longer than a centimeter,” Jamieson says. “Imagine if you swallowed a meter of polypropylene rope.” 
If trenches from places as distant as Japan, Peru, and New Zealand can be contaminated, it’s likely that humanity’s plastic fingers have stretched into every part of the ocean, including habitats we have barely begun to understand. No marine ecosystem is untouched. “It builds upon a growing body of evidence suggesting that the deep sea, by far the largest habitat on the planet, may very well be the largest reservoir of plastic waste on the planet,” says Anela Choy from the University of California at San Diego.
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The Trump Administration Tried To Rush Nuclear Technology To Saudi Arabia

It's illegal and quite corrupt and disgusting in itself.

But beyond the personal profit motive, why did they do it? There are lots of corrupt ways to make money in the presidency. Why give nuclear technology to the evil Saudis?

One reason is I think the Trump administration really wants a reason to go to war with Iran, but currently Iran is currently abiding by the nut,ear deal that the Obama administration negotiated with them.

However, if the Saudis got nuclear technology and then started developing nuclear weapons, well, that would incentivize the Iranians like nothing else to break the deal and go back to developing nukes... which would then give the Trump admin a "cases belli" to attack Iran.

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The Mainstream Media Continues to Downplay and Normalize Trump's Crimes

Because of their much greater seriousness, Trump scandals deserve way *more* coverage than Clinton-Lewinsky received— not LESS coverage.

Trump's speech to CPAC yesterday was absolutely bonkers. This is how USA Today covered it.

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