May 272017
 

The drip, drip, drip of accumulating evidence just became a flood.  Jared Kushner. who is not only married to Ivanka, but also, the virtual acting President.  Was just exposed for asking Russian Ambassador/Spymaster Sergey Kislyak to set up a secret network in the Russian Embassy for communications with the Kremlin, hidden from the US government, before Trump became Resident.

0527Kushner

Jared Kushner and Russia’s ambassador to Washington discussed the possibility of setting up a secret and secure communications channel between Trump’s transition team and the Kremlin, using Russian diplomatic facilities in an apparent move to shield their pre-inauguration discussions from monitoring, according to U.S. officials briefed on intelligence reports.

Ambassador Sergey Kislyak reported to his superiors in Moscow that Kushner, son-in-law and confidant to then-President-elect Trump, made the proposal during a meeting on Dec. 1 or 2 at Trump Tower, according to intercepts of Russian communications that were reviewed by U.S. officials. Kislyak said Kushner suggested using Russian diplomatic facilities in the United States for the communications.

The meeting also was attended by Michael Flynn, Trump’s first national security adviser.

The White House disclosed the meeting only in March, playing down its significance. But people familiar with the matter say the FBI now considers the encounter, as well as another meeting Kushner had with a Russian banker, to be of investigative interest…

From <Washington Post>

Lawrence O’Donnell covered the story in three segments.  If you let the video keep running as the first segment ends, iy should play the second and third.

Everyone seems unable (or unwilling) to understand why Kushner would do such a thing, and I have hear people ask if Trump knew.  On the latter, I see no possibility that Trump did not know.  On the former, there is one obvious solution.  If Trump id as Siberian Candidate, as I have suggested all along, a secret network would provide a way to discuss dividing the spoils.

RESIST!!

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May 272017
 

Yesterday, I was so tired that I actually thought it was Saturday.  I finally realized my error after lunch.  It's a good thing I did, or I would not have scheduled my follow up with Amanda (Prosthetist).  The too hot for May weather has returned.  I expect a high of 90°.  The Portland Rose Festival just began, waking me up last night with a fireworks display.  Historically, the Weather always turns to crap for the Rose Festival, but not this year.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today's took me 3:00 (average 4:49).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos: This humorous bit takes only several seconds to watch, but the laughter/smile will most likely linger much longer. On Thursday, Jordan (@JordanUhl) posted a hilarious GIF clip on Twitter, adding:

I don't care if this is fake I'm pretending it's real

0527TrumpPope

Trump considers the Pope to be a soft liberal pussy. In the absence of absolute proof that it's fake, we have to conclude this is a real Trump attempt to grab a pussy. RESIST!!

From NY Times: The Democratic defeat in a hard-fought special House election in Montana on Thursday highlighted the practical limitations on liberal opposition to President Trump and exposed a deepening rift between cautious party leaders, who want to pick their shots in battling for control of Congress in 2018, and more militant grass-roots activists who want to fight the Republicans everywhere.

Rob Quist, the Democratic nominee in Montana, staked his campaign on the Republican health care bill, but he still lost by six percentage points, even after his Republican opponent for the state’s lone House seat, Greg Gianforte, was charged with assaulting a reporter on the eve of the election.

The margin in this race was relatively small in a state that Mr. Trump carried by more than 20 percentage points last year. But Mr. Quist’s defeat disappointed grass-roots Democrats who financed nearly his entire campaign while the national party declined to spend heavily on what it considered, from the outset, an all-but-lost cause in daunting political territory.

The DNC is dead wrong. Failure to fight Republicans anywhere gives moderate voters everywhere the impression that the Democratic Party does not care about them. On the other hand, we may have lost the Montana war, but we won enough of the battles to make it worthwhile. We made the Republican Party spend millions more than grass-roots Democrats did to defend a supposedly "absolutely safe" seat. Furthermore, the Gianforte body slam audio will be hung around the neck of Republican candidates everywhere, because that act actually increased Gianforte's support among Montana Republicans, who sent him $100,000 within 24 hours. RESIST!!

From Raw Story:

But Media Matters and others have been debunking Hannity’s fake news for years. Here are 5 of his more baseless theories:

1. CIA framed Russia for hacking the DNCFox News reported on Russia’s hacking the DNC as well as the January 6 Intel report. [Faux Noise delinked] Yet, less than 48 hours after a Wikileaks dump of the Vault 7 documents (March 7), Hannity began citing Breitbart’s reporting of the scoop: “WikiLeaks: CIA Uses ‘Stolen’ Malware To ‘Attribute’ Cyberattacks To Nations Like Russia.”

The Fox News host was joined on his show by retired 9/11-truther [Fascist delinked] and torture proponent Army Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Schaffer.

“Sean, we did it. Not me, but our guys, former members of NSA, retired intelligence officers used these tools to break in there and get the information out. That’s what the Democrats don’t want to talk about because it doesn’t fit their narrative,” Shaffer said.

“You’re telling me this whole Russian story that the media has been running with for months and months and months — that it was our people that did it, and they put the fingerprints of the Russians on it?” Hannity asked.

“That’s right,” Shaffer said, although he then admitted on-air he had no proof.

Barf Bag Alert!!

 

What hogwash! I shared one. Click through for the other four.  RESIST!!

Cartoon:

0527Cartoon

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Everyday Erinyes #76

 Posted by at 10:26 am  Politics
May 272017
 

Experts in autocracies have pointed out that it is, unfortunately, easy to slip into normalizing the tyrant, hence it is important to hang on to outrage.  These incidents which seem to call for the efforts of the Greek Furies (Erinyes) to come and deal with them will, I hope, help with that.  Even though there are many more which I can't include.  As a reminder, though no one really knows how many there were supposed to be, the three names we have are Alecto, Megaera, and Tisiphone. These roughly translate as "unceasing," "grudging," and "vengeful destruction."

I've spent the last two weeks discussing the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, hoping to put its name into every article and every sentence which contains the words "Koch Brothers," and I'm not going to spend today's whole article on it.  But I did want to share that, in addition to everything else, Bradley also has an enemies' list.  And guess who is on it.  that's right, the Center for Media and Democracy, whose hard work built the expose summarized here.  (Others on the list include Alliance for Justice, Color of Change, and Common Cause.  Good groups.  I'm not on that list, not being an organization, nor is Politics Plus – yet.  But I'd be proud to be on it.)

But I have found two recent deaths to be so moving I need to say something about them.  You have probably heard about the murder of Richard Collins III, a student of Bowie State Uiversity (in just three days he would have been an alumnus).  He had been commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Army's intelligence division just two days prior.  Or maybe you didn't.  There is a strong tendency, when a person of color is killed, for media to present information to make it look like the victim was at fault, or at least "no angel."  That couldn't be done here.  Gordon Johnson, the special agent in charge of the Baltimore office of the FBI, said he should be remembered as a national treasure.  No one seems to have been found who had anything less than glowingly positive to say about him.

The murder is being investigated as a hate crime.  It has been called an act of terrorism.  Dave Zirin at The Nation Magazine has taken some flak for calling it a lynching.  Zirin belives that his categorization is important enough to defend it, and he makes an excellent case.

First he points out that, although we tend to think of a lynching as being a hanging, or, in other words, done with a rope, there have been many deaths totally accepted as lynchings in which no rope was involved.  He cites the case of Emmett Till, who was beaten to death and shot, not hanged, but definitely lynched.

To clarify the difinition of lynching, Dave spoke with Dr. Rasul Mowatt, a professor of American Studies at Indiana University.  Dr. Mowatt has written extensively about lynchings, and would appear to be the go-to guy on the subject.  He said:

The Tuskegee Institute in 1959 provided us with the clearest definition of a lynching: 1) Met death illegally; 2) Three or more persons participated in the killing; and, 3) the group was acting on the pretext of justice, race or tradition (vigilantism).… To me, the second criteria from Tuskegee is no longer a requirement for a lynching.   (emphasis mine)

Why is it no longer necessary to have the hands-on participation of a mob for a murder to qualify as a lynching?  Because mobs in the 21st century no longer need to be hands-on or physically present in order to incite murderous behavior.  They can be on line instead.

Sean Urbanski was part of a Facebook group called “Alt Reich: Nation,” which has since been taken down. Based on screengrabs still available online, this community performed the function of a mob: agitating its participants not only to racist bigotry but also to violence.

This stabbing needs to be understood as part of a tradition of homegrown violence aimed at black and brown people as an instrument of terror. If we don’t see Richard Collins III in the centuries-old continuum of lynchings, we are helping whitewash what took place. We are categorizing what happened as an aberration in the “post-racial” 21st-century United States.

Megaera and Tisiphone, while it's appropriate for you to go after the murderer, I think it must be Alecto who tackles the issue of the use of language.  Good luck.

The other death, Jayson Negron, was a shooting by police, hardly a novelty of course, but this was another victim who was found to be impossible to denigrate (what a word!), and this young man was only fifteen.  Here's why this stood out for Daily Kos user JoanMar:

(I have been forcing myself to watch the videos of some pretty horrific acts of brutality for some time now. It has not been easy, but I have determinedly stuck at it…until this one. I started watching the video of the defenseless, powerless, innocent young boy forced to lie prostrate on the ground and at the point where it became obvious that he’d moved his head, I lost it. I couldn’t continue.)

7. And this…this is almost unbearable: They watched him die and then left his body uncovered and exposed for 6 hours! Why???!!!

In addition, the bald-faced lying by law enforcement stood out, even in a world where police lies are routine:  "After his death, representatives of the police department went to break the news to his loved ones: 'Jayson was shot in the head and died instantaneously,' they told his mother."  In fact, he was shot several times in the chest and bled to death.  How could they think this lie would not be found out?  And that is just one lie among multiple lies.

Megaera and Tisiphone, the group Support the Dream Defenders, while mourning Jayson desparately, realize you cannot bring him back.  They would be best pleased if you see what you can do to help get legislation passed to require law enforcement to render first aid to anyone injured in a stop or an arrest.  Clearly no such legislation is going to be passed by a Republican Congress.  But at least some state legislatures would consider it.  Thank you.

The Furies and I will be back.

Cross posted to Care2 at http://www.care2.com/news/member/101612212/4054791

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Bernie Blasts Mulvaney

 Posted by at 1:46 pm  Politics
May 262017
 

You don’t need me to tell you how bad Trump’s Republican budget is.  You don’t need me to tell you that it is Lyin’ Ryan’s economic thermonuclear strike against the poor and middle classes.  He has been drooling for this opportunity for years.  However we all need to know how to dissect and oppose it.  At that, few, if any, are better than Bernie Sanders.

Shortly after the Trump administration unveiled its controversial budget proposal for 2018, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) totally dismantled the plan in a scathing op-ed.

"The [$4.1 trillion] budget introduced this week by the Trump administration constitutes nothing less than a massive transfer of wealth from working families, the elderly, children, the sick and the poor to the top 1%," Sanders wrote Wednesday.

On Thursday, the Vermont senator confronted Budget Director Mick Mulvaney on the budget’s $26.7 billion cuts

From <Alternet>

Click through.

 

Here is more extensive video clip than the one included.

This must not pass, but it must be hung around the neck of every Republican running for reelection.

RESIST!!

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May 262017
 

Please pardon my brevity.  After yesterday, I’m exhausted, and the muggy heat has returned.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:31 (average 5:12).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From YouTube (Real Time Channel): F**k Mars

I agree that Mars cannot save us from climate change, and our resources are far better spent in rehabilitating earth. However, e3xploring our solar system is still necessary, not as a place to live, but as a source of raw materials to use here. RESIST!!

From YouTube (Full Frontal Channel): Web Extra: A Brief History Of Florida’s Felon Voting Ban

 

Here in Oregon, prisoners with outside addresses can register to vote as part of the prerelease program, and have their ballots mailed to those addresses, allowing them to vote the day after release. Oregon leads the way! The best way to encourage felons to commit more crimes is to tell them they have no stake in the community. RESIST!!

From The New Yorker: The health-care bill passed by House Republicans earlier this month offers no coverage for injuries suffered as a result of body slamming, according to a report issued on Thursday.

The report, released by the nonpartisan Center for Comprehensive Health Coverage, warns of sharp increases in health-care costs for the nation’s body-slamming sufferers.

Costs associated with body slamming, such as X-rays to the elbow and other injured body parts, would have to be paid for out of pocket under the G.O.P. plan, the report says.

In a separate finding, the report indicates that the Republican health-care bill’s vision-care option does not offer replacement eyewear in the case of glasses being smashed or otherwise demolished in an unprovoked body-slamming incident.

Dang Andy! And Montana is a state of rabid fools too! RESIST!!

Cartoon:

0526Cartoon

Trump won’t be.

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May 262017
 

It’s been months since Twitler has had to share center stage with anyone.  But on his foreign trip this week, Melania and Pope Francis were also there – and it didn’t go all that well for Donnie.  And if you don’t think Twitler lusts for demands the starring role at center stage, take a look at his thuggish behavior that he showed to Montenegrin prime minister, Dusko Markovic yesterday.

On their arrival in Israel, Melania took matters into her own hand, so to speak.  There is absolutely no doubt that when Twitler tried to hold her hand walking down the red carpet on the tarmac, she swatted it away.

But you have to wonder if Donnie didn’t say something to her, because at the next attempt at hand-holding when arriving in Rome, she was much subtler in her avoidance by instead quickly fixing her hair.

Melania has clearly learned that Donnie requires constant adoration and affirmation.  That was sadly evident by keeping an eye on her during his inauguration.

But his inauguration was filled with episodes documenting his disdain for women in general – even including his wife.  But the Obamas came to Melania's rescue. 

Then again, we always knew the Obamas were gracious and loving people as evident in this clip.  And please note the caring squeeze Michelle gives her Marine escort’s hand as he departs.

So is it any wonder the Tiffany-wrapped giftbox that Melania gave to the Obamas on the White House porch steps actually held an urgent plea?

Then later this week there was the meeting with Pope Francis which also didn’t go well …

And the remarkable thing is that Pope Francis is quite a jovial, fun-loving guy … usually

But I swear the expressions in this photo …

Show that three out of four people are filled with abject fear that God’s “Smiting Lightning Bolt” might go wide!  (Feel free to add you own Caption in the comments.)

However, there is a very simple explanation as to why the Pope is not happy having Donnie around …

Sadly, Twitler’s travels will be coming to an end soon, and I guess we’ll have to take him back.  *sigh*

You think we can book him for another foreign junket … SOON?  I’d vote to send him to Somalia – but I’m open for suggestions.

 

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