Brennan Adds Fuel to the Fire

 Posted by at 2:15 pm  Politics
May 242017
 

Former CIA Director, John Brennan testified before the House Intelligence Committee yesterday.  He added fuel to the fire building under Donald Trump, aka Putin’s [R-RU].  Equally important, he resisted attempts by House Republicans to twist his testimony into providing a false appearance of innocence for Trump.

0524Brennan

Former CIA Director John Brennan told the House Intelligence Committee Tuesday that Russia "brazenly interfered in the 2016 election process," despite U.S. efforts to warn it off. Brennan testified in an open session of the committee, one of a handful of congressional committees now investigating Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

Brennan said he told his Russian counterpart, the head of Russia’s FSB, last August that if Russia pursued its efforts to interfere, "it would destroy any near-term prospect for improvement in relations" between the two countries. He said Russia denied any attempts to interfere.

In his opening statement, Brennan also recounted how he had briefed congressional leaders in August of last year, including House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and the chairs and ranking members of the House and Senate Intelligence Committees about the "full details" of what he knew of Russia’s interference in the 2016 election. Brennan said he became convinced last summer that Russia was trying to interfere in the campaign, saying "they were very aggressive."

Brennan said he is "aware of information and intelligence that revealed contacts and interactions between Russian officials and U.S. persons involved in the Trump campaign." Brennan said that concerned him, "because of known Russian efforts to suborn such individuals," and that it raised questions about whether or not the Russians "were able to gain the cooperation of those individuals." Brennan added he didn’t know if "collusion existed" between the Russians and those he identified as involved in the Trump campaign… [emphasis added]

From <NPR>

First, note that the "gang of eight" know about both Russian interference and Trump campaign Russian contacts in August, and Republicans refused to release the information to the public.

Second, note that the CIA does not investigate crime.  They gather intelligence and turn it over to the people who do investigate crime, the FBI.  Brennan would not know if collusion existed, because even considering that determination was outside of his purview. 

Lawrence O’Donnell covered Brennan and interviewed former CIA Acting Director John McLaughlin.

Note how Trey "Benghazi Barf Bag" Gowdy tried to get a No from Brennan, trying to box him in.

I think Trump was "suborned" before the urine was dry on the hotel room sheets.

RESIST!!

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May 242017
 

We have a couple days of cool weather, and they couldn’t have come soon enough for me.  I expect Store to Door to deliver my groceries between now (12:15) and 3:00 PM.  This evening Wendy will be here, and has plenty of stink to remove from the heat-waved TomCat.  Please expect no more than a Personal Update tomorrow, as I have an an appointment with a new Prosthetist.  My old one moved out of town, so the new one will need to familiarize herself with George, Stumpy and me in order to get approval for my annual upgrades.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 2:54 (average 4:45).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From YouTube (GQ Channel): So, What About Those Oval Office Tapes? | The Resistance with Keith Olbermann

 

For us, the best option may be impeachment in 2019, if we can take the House. Presenting Trump’s agenda is a less difficult win that stopping the same agenda under Pence. RESIST!!

From The New Yorker: Donald J. Trump’s foreign trip hit a snag on Tuesday, when the remaining countries on his itinerary announced that they would rather “wait a month” and meet with the next President instead.

“It makes no sense for us to roll out the red carpet for Trump when there is going to be a completely different guy in the White House in a month,” Hendrik van der Valde, a travel minister for the Belgian government, said. “We very much look forward to hosting the next U.S. President, be it Mike Pence or Paul Ryan or whoever.”

Citing the exorbitant costs of hosting a President, the Belgian said it “would be insane” to spend such sums on someone who “only has a few weeks left” in office.

LOL Andy! Those foreigners sure are smarter than we are! RESIST!!

From CNN: Conditions are right for a major Democratic wave to sweep out the House Republican majority next fall, according to Nathan Gonzales, who runs the "Inside Elections" campaign tipsheet.

"The midterm elections are still nearly a year and a half away, and the political dynamics could yet change, but we shouldn’t ignore the fact that history and the current environment are merging together for a potentially great set of elections for Democrats in November 2018," writes Gonzales in a piece published Wednesday morning.

God knows we need it! RESIST!!

Cartoon:

0524Cartoon

Republicans still don’t believe it.

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Liz Slams DeVos

 Posted by at 2:13 pm  Politics
May 232017
 

For many years the Republican Party has done everything in their power to deprive poor and middle class children of their right to an education.  Then they get to spend the money educating rich kids.  Also, the ignorant are more easy to control, and the only chance Republicans have to stay in power long term is to create an electorate with no critical thinking skills, one that will react as programmed to mindless Republican propaganda.  Sadly, that is now possible, and Elizabeth Warren thinks it stinks!

0523Warren

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos finds herself under fire once again, this time for a proposed $10.6 billion budget cut to her department. And much as she did during DeVos’ confirmation hearing in February, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) is leading the opposition.

Since January, when DeVos was handpicked for the role, "the big complaint was that this is a woman who does not believe in public education," Warren argued Monday. "Well she just proved it."

"They want to take away 22 programs that help kids K through 12," she continued…

From <Alternet>

Here’s her video.

The Trump-DeVos Budget: An All-Out Assault on America’s Kids

 

We must not allow this to happen.

RESIST!!

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May 232017
 

It’s another hot humid day, and I did not get much sleep last night.  Tomorrow and Wednesday will be cooler, but it will take a day or too for the excess heat in the interior hallways and bathrooms of the building to moderate.  After my morning Trump making on the throne at 5:45 AM, I had to change my shirt, as the one I had on was wet.  I have a reason for not covering the Manchester Arena attack.  I had MSNBC on for three hours last night through Chris Hayes, Rachel Maddow, and Lawrence O’Donnell, and none of them covered any other news.  They repeated mostly the same information over and over and over again.  I would never downplay the tragic loss suffered by the dead, the injured, the traumatized and their families.  They have been in my thoughts and prayers.  However the losses from that one incident cannot begin to compare to the tragic losses of both life and human suffering that the policies Republicans have wanted for many years will bring.  Therefore, I’ll cover other things that need covering.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 4:07 (average 5:15).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From YouTube (GQ Channel): This is How Low the Trump Apologists Will Stoop | The Resistance with Keith Olbermann

 

Republicans could not be more desperate to project their Fuhrer’s treason away. One cannot stoop lower than fronting the story with Scumbag Sean and Newtered. RESIST!!

From Daily Kos: Because he never stops being an entitled jackass:

President Trump’s first major budget proposal on Tuesday will include massive cuts to Medicaid and call for changes to anti-poverty programs that would give states new power to limit a range of benefits …

… The White House also is expected to propose changes to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, though precise details couldn’t be learned. SNAP is the modern version of food stamps …

Every penny spent to provide for the needs of sick seniors or hungry children is a penny Republicans can’t give to a billionaire. RESIST!!

From NY Times: The Trump administration, in a significant escalation of its clash with the government’s top ethics watchdog, has moved to block an effort to disclose the names of former lobbyists who have been granted waivers to work in the White House or federal agencies.

The latest conflict came in recent days when the White House, in a highly unusual move, sent a letter to Walter M. Shaub Jr., the head of the Office of Government Ethics, asking him to withdraw a request he had sent to every federal agency for copies of the waivers. In the letter, the administration challenged his legal authority to demand the information.

Mr. Shaub returned a scalding, 10-page response to the White House late Monday, unlike just about any correspondence in the history of the office, created after the Nixon Watergate scandal.

“O.G.E. declines your request to suspend its ethics inquiry and reiterates its expectation that agencies will fully comply with its directive,” Mr. Shaub wrote in a letter he also sent to every federal agency ethics officer, six members of Congress who oversee government operations and the inspector generals from agencies governmentwide. “Public confidence in the integrity of government decision making demands no less.”

Kudos to Schaub and O.G.E. RESIST!!

Cartoon:

0523Cartoon

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Pithy Progressive #2

 Posted by at 12:36 pm  Politics
May 232017
 

Back in the day when Democrats could actually run as Democrats, we never had to ask questions like the ones we are looking at today:  How can we get Democrats elected to offices since a Teflon President has apparently passed on that mantle (now usually referred to as IOKIYAR) to an entire guilty party, which people CONTINUE TO VOTE FOR?

I got an email last week from another Progressive who is running as a Progressive.  This one is running for Senator, opposing (Republican) Senator Dean Heller, who, having been elected in 2012 in his own right after having assumed the seat in a Special election, is now up for re-election on 2018.

Here's what Jesse Sbaih has to say (again, fundraising delinked.  I will be delinking fundraising regularly when I write about these fols.  Heaven knows it's no trick to find fundraising links should the spirit move anyone):

If progressives are going to take back the Majority and block President Trump’s hateful agenda, Nevada is simply a must-win.

That’s why I’m running a fiercely progressive campaign.

 I’m furious that families are barely scraping by on a minimum wage that is far too low. I’m furious that our children can’t afford to go to college. And I’m furious that Americans can’t afford health care.

 GOP Senator Dean Heller won’t stand up for what’s right. He’s propped up by billionaire donors, and takes orders straight from Donald Trump’s White House.

 In the Senate, I’ll fight the dark money seeping into our political system. I’ll fight for Medicare for All. I’ll fight for you….

Donald Trump has declared an all out war on our American values. Whether you’re an immigrant, a single mother, a member of the middle class, or a proud LGBTQ American — Donald Trump has attacked every single person in this great nation.

 As an immigrant to and adopted son of this great nation, I am ready to fight back and restore the progressive American dream.

A successful national campaign is a massive undertaking — especially when we’re taking on billionaire Donald Trump, corporate special interests, and the Republican fear machine.

 Republicans will spend every dollar they have to protect this seat — and maintain control of the Senate.

 But I’m determined to go up against them and fight for a better future for my children — for all of our children. Together, we can show every young person out there that a Muslim immigrant can come to this nation and represent the best that America has to offer.

He also has a petition on expanding Social Security up.  Like most online petitions, it will take you to a fundraising page after signing, but you can just close it.

Cross posted to Care 2 at http://www.care2.com/news/member/101612212/4054035

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May 232017
 

I have not posted in a while as I deal with my mother's passing and preparing her estate.  There is still much to do and it will get done eventually.  This week is very busy with numerous meetings all crammed into 4 days because yesterday was Victoria Day, a statutory holiday in most of Canada (Québec calls it Patriot's Day).  Today's big adventure is taking my 3 furbabes to the vet's for their annual checkup and shots.  They love their vet (he's their godfather) and he loves them.  By the time I get them home, the car and me will be covered in cat fur, literally!

Short Takes

CBC — A jawbone discovered by German troops in Athens during the Second World War could be evidence that apes and humans diverged 200,000 years earlier than the current theory says.

Chimpanzees and bonobos are the nearest known relatives to humans, sharing 99 per cent of our DNA. It's believed that we split between five and seven million years ago. 

However, researchers analyzing two fossils — a jawbone from a German museum and an upper premolar from a collection in Bulgaria — concluded their ages to be roughly 7.2 million years, and belonging to a pre-human.

But there's another significant finding: that human split occurred in the eastern Mediterranean and not Africa, as it is believed.

Well doesn't this just bite if you're an evangelical creationist who believes the earth was created only 6,000 years ago and that God created humans, and humans did not evolve from apes!  While the 7.2-million-year-old pre-human fossils might challenge current evolutionary theory, it certainly slams creationists.  Let's hear it for science!

Business Insider UK — For most in the hospitality industry, the odd bad review is part and parcel of the trade, but one venue appears to be determined to silence its critics.

According to The Mirror, Sarah Gardner, a 44-year-old mother and part-time nurse, has been threatened with legal action after posting a negative review on TripAdvisor of the Tunbridge Wells-based High Rocks restaurant and wedding reception venue.

The review posted on March 22 has since been taken down, but according to a screenshot obtained by the Daily Mail, it said: “Visited here with my family, been coming here for years. I have found the staff more and more rude each time."

“They have an arrogance that should not exist in a service industry, particularly the management. It’s as if they are doing you a favour, I found dealing with them frustrating and perplexing."

Click through for the rest.  Don't let Drumpf see this or he'll try to sue everyone and anyone who speaks negatively about him whether it comes under freedom or speech or not!

Washington Post — President Trump asked two of the nation’s top intelligence officials in March to help him push back against an FBI investigation into possible coordination between his campaign and the Russian government, according to current and former officials.

Trump made separate appeals to the director of national intelligence, Daniel Coats, and to Adm. Michael S. Rogers, the director of the National Security Agency, urging them to publicly deny the existence of any evidence of collusion during the 2016 election.

Coats and Rogers refused to comply with the requests, which they both deemed to be inappropriate, according to two current and two former officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss private communications with the president.

Trump sought the assistance of Coats and Rogers after FBI Director James B. Comey told the House Intelligence Committee on March 20 that the FBI was investigating “the nature of any links between individuals associated with the Trump campaign and the Russian government and whether there was any coordination between the campaign and Russia’s efforts.”

How many ways are there to say "obstruction of justice"?  Drumpf keeps digging a bigger and bigger hole with no end in sight until he is actually impeached or he resigns.  I agree with those that say Drumpf thinks he is untouchable.  If he resigns the presidency as Richard Nixon did back in 1974 before he could be impeached, I understand that he could still face criminal charges.  I guess things are going to get worse before they get better.

YouTube —  Last Week Tonight with John Oliver 5/21/17 : Stupid Watergate

John always has something to say and he does it with humour.  With the state of US politics right now, if we don't laugh on occasion, we might cry excessively!

US News and World Report — Like most things in politics, impeachment is not as simple as one might think.

The U.S. Constitution lays out impeachment powers for Congress, allowing the governing body to put certain government officials on trial and remove them from power. When an official is impeached, he or she isn't necessarily removed from office – that's a separate step in the procedure.

The process takes on the form of a trial, but the trial takes place in the House of Representatives and the Senate, not the courts.

The result is a blend of law and partisan politics in an often months-long process.

1. Who can be impeached?

According to the Constitution, at the federal level "the president, vice president and all civil officers of the United States" can be removed from office. There have been 19 formal impeachment proceedings at the federal level in the U.S., which ended in seven acquittals, eight convictions, three dismissals and one resignation.

State legislatures can impeach state officials, including governors.

This is a very simple look at the impeachment process.  It is not as simple as "kick the bumb out!" no matter how we wish it to be.  Some of us remember the Richard Nixon resignation in 1974 when he thought he would be impeached.

YouTube — John Oliver – James Comey              

Need I comment further?  The Drumpf administration is the worst administration I can think of.  Nixon was bad, but Drumpf has him beat.

YouTube — The Young Turks — BREAKING: Eric Trump Is Staggeringly Stupid              

I have always felt that Eric Trump was on the clueless side.  From confirming his like of nepotism to his comments on Russian money in the family real estate business, he might actually be a prosecutor's best friend.  And Drumpf wanted a security clearance for this rube?

My Universe — In the video, which was posted to Youtube by Vancouver’s Michael Fujiwara, the sea lion surfaces near the dock, and swims about looking harmless. No doubt it was drawn by the fish — this is an area, after all, that was once nicknamed Salmonopolis.

But after surveying the area and discovering no fish, the sea lion surprises everyone by approaching a young girl, then suddenly, biting down on her dress and dragging her backwards into the water. …

“The sea lion actually attracted a lot of attention from the visitors there, including the young girl,” he said. “She and her family, I guess, they came, they started feeding the animal bread crumbs or whatever it was, and then I guess the animal got a little too comfortable.”

Fortunately, the young girl was pulled from the water immediately by a family member. The young girl was unharmed, albeit a little soggy, and with a newfound, healthy fear of sea lions.

This happened at the Steveston Wharf which is where many fish boats are docked, so it would be quite normal for seals and sea lions to be around the wharf area.  People need to respect wild creatures for the potential harm they can inflict.  Seals and their bigger cousins, sea lions, can be dangerous.  Nobody should be feeding any wild animal.  Here is an additional CBC article about the incident with a little more detail.  Fortunately, this story has a happy ending.

 

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