Liberty In Peril

                                                                                              formerly,

                                                                                       The Llano Ledger

'President' Trump 18                          12-14-18 And Continuing  ©2018-19 All Rights Reserved

1-18-19

Judge blocks Trump rules.  ABC News reports:

"A U.S. judge in California on Sunday blocked Trump administration rules, which would allow more employers to opt out of providing women with no-cost birth control, from taking effect in 13 states and Washington, D.C. Judge Haywood Gilliam granted a request for a preliminary injunction by California, 12 other states and Washington, D.C. The plaintiffs sought to prevent the rules from taking effect as scheduled on Monday while a lawsuit against them moved forward. But Gilliam limited the scope of the ruling to the plaintiffs, rejecting their request that he block the rules nationwide. The changes would allow more employers, including publicly traded companies, to opt out of providing no-cost contraceptive coverage to women by claiming religious objections. Some private employers could also object on moral grounds."

Who the hell are they to force their outrageously perverse religious views on others?

"California and the other states argue that women would be forced to turn to state-funded programs for birth control and experience unintended pregnancies. "The law couldn't be more clear — employers have no business interfering in women's healthcare decisions," California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said in a statement Sunday. "Today's court ruling stops another attempt by the Trump Administration to trample on women's access to basic reproductive care. It's 2019, yet the Trump Administration is still trying to roll back women's rights. Our coalition will continue to fight to ensure women have access to the reproductive healthcare they are guaranteed under the law."

"At a hearing on Friday, Gilliam said the changes would result in a "substantial number" of women losing birth control coverage, which would be a "massive policy shift." The judge previously blocked an interim version of the rules — a decision that was upheld in December by an appeals court. The ruling affects California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Minnesota, New York, North Carolina, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and the District of Columbia."

NPR reports:

"A federal judge has blocked a Trump administration rule that would greatly expand the number of employers that could decline to offer contraceptive coverage on moral or religious grounds. The policy was set to go into effect nationwide Monday, but that's been put on hold for 13 states and the District of Columbia, which challenged the rule in court. The Affordable Care Act requires most companies to offer employees health insurance that covers FDA-approved birth control at no cost. But Trump has long promised employers that he would "vigorously" protect their rights to religious freedom. So the Trump administration developed rules to make it easier for more employers to opt out of the ACA requirement. The challengers "have raised serious questions going to the merits, on their claim that the Religious Exemption and the Moral Exemption are inconsistent with the Women's Health Amendment," wrote Judge Haywood Gilliam Jr., who was nominated by President Barack Obama in 2014 to serve on the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. The states had argued that the new policy "cannot be reconciled with the text and purpose of the ACA — which seeks to promote access to women's healthcare, not limit it." The Women's Health Amendment is the provision of the ACA that requires employer-provided health insurance to include coverage for free or low-cost birth control. Gilliam said that if he didn't block Trump's new policy, tens of thousands of women could lose that coverage. "The law couldn't be clearer — employers have no business interfering in women's healthcare decisions," California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said in a statement applauding the ruling. "Today's court ruling stops another attempt by the Trump Administration to trample on women's access to basic reproductive care."

Cowardly fail to financially and/or materially support those fighting for all civil and constitutional rights and liberties at great personal cost and risk?  Get what you truly deserve.


1-18-19

Additional pressure on Trump.  Noose figuratively tightens.  NPR reports:

"President Trump on Monday denied that he has been trying to conceal details about his discussions with Russian President Vladimir Putin after a pair of explosive press reports over the weekend.  "I never worked for Russia," Trump told reporters. "It's a disgrace that you even asked that question because it's a whole big fat hoax. It's just a hoax."

That right?

"Trump also said he doesn't know anything about what happened to the notes taken by an interpreter when he met with Putin last summer in Finland. The Washington Post reported that Trump took the woman's notes and instructed her not to brief anyone else in the administration about what the two leaders had discussed during their closed-door meeting. That followed a pattern of what the newspaper describes as attempts by Trump to limit access to his dealings with the Russian leader and the initially false explanation he gave about the meeting in June 2016 at which his top campaign aides hosted a Russian delegation that had offered "dirt" on Hillary Clinton. Trump said on Monday morning that he had a good meeting with Putin in Helsinki and that he often deals one-on-one with world leaders, including the presidents of China and Japan. The Post report followed an earlier story by The New York Times that said the FBI had opened a counterintelligence investigation into Trump in 2017 after he fired then-Director James Comey.

"The weekend's reports intensified calls by Democrats for more information about Trump's contacts with the Russian leader, particularly at the summit in Helsinki. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., has called for the interpreter to appear at a hearing or for Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to provide notes or other materials from the summit. House intelligence committee Chairman Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., said that although he couldn't comment on the specifics of the Times report, "counterintelligence concerns about those associated with the Trump campaign, including the president himself, have been at the heart of our investigation since the beginning."

The Washington Post reports:

"President Trump on Monday flatly denied that he worked for Russia, and he called FBI officials who launched a counterintelligence investigation to determine whether he did “known scoundrels” and “dirty cops.” Trump’s comments to reporters as he left the White House came in response to reports that an FBI investigation that was opened after Trump fired then-Director James B. Comey in May 2017 included a component to determine whether the president was seeking to help Russia. “I never worked for Russia,” Trump said as he prepared to leave for an event in New Orleans, adding: “Not only did I never work for Russia, I think it’s a disgrace that you even asked that question because it’s a whole big fat hoax. It’s just a hoax.” During a television appearance Saturday night, after the counterintelligence component of the Trump investigation was first reported by the New York Times, Trump called a question whether he had ever worked for Russia “insulting” but did not directly answer it. On Monday, he did not equivocate and also attacked Comey and others in the FBI responsible for the investigation of possible coordination between Russia and the Trump campaign during the 2016 presidential campaign."

The walls are indeed closing in on this abomination.

"That investigation is being conducted by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, who was appointed after Trump fired Comey. “He was a bad cop and he was a dirty cop,” Trump said of Comey. The president also attacked former acting FBI director Andrew McCabe as “a proven liar and was fired from the FBI.” McCabe made the decision to open the counterintelligence component of the investigation of Trump. Trump also pointed to “bias” shown by former FBI agent Peter Strzok and former FBI lawyer Lisa Page, two employees who were having an affair and exchanged derogatory texts about Trump. Speaking more broadly of FBI leadership at the time, Trump said “the people doing that investigation were people that have been caught that are known scoundrels. They’re ... I guess you could say they’re dirty cops.”

Trump is a congenital liar.

"Trump and Comey have sparred repeatedly, particularly since the release of a book last year by Comey that describes Trump’s presidency as a “forest fire” and portrays the president as an ego-driven congenital liar. McCabe was fired last year, and a grand jury is weighing possible charges against him for allegedly misleading investigators in a leak probe. Trump also sought Monday to play down a Washington Post report over the weekend that he had gone to extraordinary lengths to conceal details of his conversations with Russian President Vladi­mir Putin. Those included at least one occasion, in 2017 in Hamburg, when Trump took possession of the notes of his own interpreter and instructed the linguist not to discuss what had happened with other administration officials. Asked if he would be willing to share the interpreter’s notes, Trump did not directly answer, instead saying “it was actually a very successful meeting” in which he and Putin discussed “many subjects.” “I have those meetings one-on-one with all leaders including the president of China, including prime minister of Japan,” Trump said. “We have those meetings all the time. No big deal.”

NPR reports:

"President Trump has denied keeping details of his meetings with Russian President Vladimir Putin from his own administration. "I'm not keeping anything under wraps. I couldn't care less," Trump said in an interview with Jeanine Pirro on Fox News on Saturday night. Trump's denials follow a Washington Post report Saturday that "U.S. officials said there is no detailed record, even in classified files, of Trump's face-to-face interactions with the Russian leader at five locations over the past two years." Current and former U.S. officials told the Post that after a 2017 meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Hamburg, Germany, Trump took his interpreter's notes and told her not to speak of details of the meeting with other administration officials. "This is just at odds with how presidents have conducted diplomacy for decades and decades in the United States," said Washington Post reporter Greg Miller in a Sunday interview with NPR's Lulu Garcia-Navarro on Weekend Edition. "He's taking steps that suggest that there are things being discussed here that he doesn't even want his staff to hear about or to understand."

"Pirro went on to ask Trump, "Are you now or have you ever worked for Russia, Mr. President?" Trump responded, "I think it's the most insulting thing I've ever been asked. I think it's the most insulting article I've ever had written and if you read the article, you'd see that they found absolutely nothing." Rep. Eliot L. Engel (D-N.Y.), chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, told NPR his committee will investigate Trump's interactions with Putin. "It's our responsibility to try to find out, in the best interest of the country, what really has gone on with Putin and Trump," Engel told NPR's Sarah McCammon Sunday on All Things Considered. Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), chair of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, tweeted on Sunday that his committee tried to subpoena the interpreter who, according to the Post, Trump attempted to silence. "The Republicans on our committee voted us down," he wrote. Engel told NPR that issuing a subpoena for an interpreter would be the last resort to find out details of Trump's discussions with Putin."

Cowardly fail to financially and/or materially support those fighting for all civil and constitutional rights and liberties at great personal cost and risk?  Get what you truly deserve.


1-18-19

Trump wings it.  Fails to think things through.  The Washington Post reports:

"As Secretary of State Mike Pompeo crisscrossed the Middle East this week to explain the U.S. military withdrawal from Syria, he repeated that he was “confident” and “optimistic” that he was nearing a deal with Turkey on a mutually agreeable exit plan. But a pugnacious tweet from President Trump on Sunday night vowing to “devastate” the Turkish economy if Ankara attacks U.S.-backed Kurds revealed a much wider chasm between the two sides and prompted a new round of recriminations from Turkey. The United States “will devastate Turkey economically if they hit Kurds,” Trump tweeted."

Trump's an idiot.  Failed to consider consequences of withdrawal prior to announcement.

"Hours later, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu blasted Trump’s “threatening language” and said his country was “not going to be scared or frightened off,” adding: “You will not get anywhere by threatening Turkey's economy.” The row marked the second time in a week that the White House has intervened in negotiations led by the State Department in a way that infuriated Turkey and caught U.S. diplomats flat-footed. In trying to explain Trump’s tweets on Monday, Pompeo told reporters in Riyadh that he assumed Trump meant the United States would levy sanctions on Turkey if it attacked the Kurds but that he did not know for certain. “I assume he's speaking about those kinds of things, but you would have to ask him,” said Pompeo, who noted that he had not talked to Trump about the tweet."

Sound like executive material to you?

"It was not the first instance of mixed messaging from the White House and State Department on the delicate issue of leaving Syria. Last week, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan erupted after national security adviser John Bolton made remarks conditioning the withdrawal of American troops from Syria on protection of Syrian Kurdish fighters who fought alongside U.S. forces against the Islamic State. Turkey’s government considers the Syrian Kurdish fighters, also known as the YPG, to be part of a terrorist movement and has vowed to attack them after the United States withdraws. Bolton intended to refer specifically to America’s Kurdish proxy forces, but he struck a nerve by using imprecise language and appearing to dictate to Erdogan, U.S. and Turkish officials said."

Called Aryan arrogance.  Expected of Bolton.

"The misstep angered James Jeffrey, the U.S. special envoy to the coalition against the Islamic State, who had been immersed in negotiations with the Turks when Bolton's comment upended the talks, according to three people familiar with the negotiations. Trump's abrupt order to withdraw from Syria in December surprised U.S. allies and has left questions about the pace and scale of the pullout. Trump originally said U.S. troops were leaving “now,” but he has since said it would happen “slowly” after the United States ensured a lasting defeat of the Islamic State. Pompeo said U.S. messaging over concerns about Turkish attacks on the Kurds has never changed. “The administration has been very consistent with respect to our requirement that the Turks not go after the Kurds in ways that are inappropriate,” Pompeo said. “If they are terrorists, we're all about taking down extremists wherever we find them. I think the president's comments this morning are consistent with that.” Trump’s tweet included a demand that Turkey create a “ 20 mile safe zone.” After the tweet, the Turkish lira lost about 0.84 percent of its value against the dollar."

Cowardly fail to financially and/or materially support those fighting for all civil and constitutional rights and liberties at great personal cost and risk?  Get what you truly deserve.


1-18-19

More on Manafort. The Washington Post reports:

"New revelations about Paul Manafort’s interactions with a Russian associate while he was leading President Trump’s campaign provide a window into how extensively the special counsel has mapped interactions between Trump associates and Russians in his 20-month-long investigation. When Manafort pleaded guilty in September to federal crimes related to his work advising Ukrainian politicians, Trump said the admissions by his former campaign chairman had “nothing to do” with the special counsel’s main mission, which Trump described as “looking for Russians involved in our campaign.” But new details inadvertently revealed in a court filing last week — including the fact that Manafort shared polling data about the 2016 race with an associate who allegedly has ties to Russian intelligence — indicate that special counsel Robert S. Mueller III has also been scrutinizing interactions between Russians and Manafort while he led Trump’s presidential bid."

Surprised?  Why?

"Manafort is among at least 14 Trump associates who interacted with Russians during the campaign and transition, according to public records and interviews. The new examples of Manafort’s communications serve as a reminder that much about Mueller’s findings remains unknown in what are widely believed to be the closing weeks of his probe. Advisers to Trump are bracing for a final report by the special counsel, a confidential document summarizing his findings that they say could be turned over to senior Justice Department officials next month. What Mueller will conclude — and even the full scope of his investigation — remains closely held by the special counsel."

Have to admire Mueller's discipline.

"Mueller’s appointment was precipitated by Trump’s firing of FBI Director James B. Comey in May 2017 — a move that also led the FBI to open an investigation into the president to determine whether he obstructed justice and whether he sought to aid Russia, according to people familiar with the matter who spoke on the condition of anonymity. That investigation, which has criminal and counterintelligence components, was continued by Mueller. The new information about Manafort indicates Mueller has been exploring what he may have communicated to Russians while working for Trump. And it serves as a stark reminder that as Trump was offering Russia-friendly rhetoric on the campaign trail, his White House bid was led for a time by a man with long-standing ties to powerful Russian figures. Manafort, an international lobbyist and political strategist, was embroiled in a multimillion-dollar financial dispute with Russian businessman Oleg Deripaska, who is close to President Vladimir Putin, according to court filings. He was also owed money by a political party in Ukraine that had failed to pay him for work he did after his client, the ousted leader Viktor Yanukovych, fled to Moscow amid public protests in 2014, filings show. Even as he was working for the Trump campaign, Manafort continued to communicate with Konstantin Kilimnik, a Russian employee of his consulting business who the FBI says was linked to Russian intelligence, prosecutors said in court papers last year. A talented translator with impressive language skills, Kilimnik had been trained at a Moscow university known as a recruiting ground for the Russian intelligence services. After a stint in the military and time spent working for the International Republican Institute in Moscow, he was hired by Manafort in 2005 to assist his political consulting business in navigating the complicated Ukrainian political scene. Friends said Kilimnik emerged as Manafort’s right-hand man in Kiev and Russia, including serving as Manafort’s liaison to Deripaska."

What webs we weave.  Incredible how complicated this story is turning out.

"In a written statement to The Washington Post in 2017, Kilimnik denied that he had connections to Russian intelligence. But in documents filed in court last year, Mueller’s prosecutors wrote that Manafort’s deputy, Rick Gates, had said Kilimnik told him that he had formerly been an officer in the GRU, the Russian military intelligence unit accused of engineering the 2016 election interference. Prosecutors said the FBI has assessed that Kilimnik’s intelligence ties continued into that year. New details about what Manafort and Kilimnik discussed during the campaign emerged last week when Manafort’s team sought to rebut the allegation by the special counsel that Manafort lied to investigators after he pleaded guilty last fall and agreed to cooperate. His attorneys argued that Manafort, who has been jailed since June and they said is suffering from gout and depression, simply failed to remember certain key details until prosecutors refreshed his memory with documents and other evidence. In previous court filings, they have contended that Mueller has never turned over evidence to show that Manafort was in contact with Russian government or intelligence officials, suggesting prosecutors have not detailed their evidence against Kilimnik."

Cowardly fail to financially and/or materially support those fighting for all civil and constitutional rights and liberties at great personal cost and risk?  Get what you truly deserve.


1-18-19

No justice.  Repeat of history.  NPR reports:

"This won't be the first time that William Barr, President Trump's nominee to become attorney general, will be involved with what's been called a "witch hunt." Barr, who is scheduled to go before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday for his confirmation hearings, ran the Justice Department once before, under President George H.W. Bush. Back then, the all-consuming, years-long scandal was called Iran-Contra. On Dec. 24, 1992, it ended when Bush pardoned six people who had been caught up in it. "The Constitution is quite clear on the powers of the president and sometimes the president has to make a very difficult call," Bush said then. "That's what I've done."

The pardons were clearly legal, constitutional.  They were, however, obstruction of justice.

"Then-Attorney General Barr supported the president's decision in the Iran-Contra case, which gave clemency to people who had been officials in the administration of President Ronald Reagan, including former Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger. He had been set to go on trial to face charges about lying to Congress. To the man who led the Iran-Contra investigation, however, the pardons represented a miscarriage of justice. "It demonstrates that powerful people with powerful allies can commit serious crimes in high office, deliberately abusing the public trust without consequences," said Lawrence Walsh, the independent prosecutor in the case, at the time of the pardons."

He's right.  No more than legalized obstruction of justice.  To protect the criminal bastards at the top of the food chain.

"Barr said later that he believed Bush had made the right decision and that he felt people in the case had been treated unfairly."

Barr is unfit for office.  Lacks judgment.  Here's why:

"The big ones — obviously, the Iran-Contra ones — I certainly did not oppose any of them," Barr said as part of the Presidential Oral History Program of the Miller Center at the University of Virginia.  "I favored the broadest pardon authority," Barr said. "There were some people just arguing just for Weinberger. I said, 'No — in for a penny, in for a pound.' "

"As Washington prepares for Barr's confirmation hearings on Tuesday, this controversy from 1992 has begun to feel very familiar. Today's Justice Department also is running a high-stakes investigation into the current administration: Whether Trump or his campaign coordinated with the Russian attack on the 2016 election. The president's onetime aides also have been caught up in it. Trump, meanwhile, calls the investigation a "hoax" and a "witch hunt." And there also has been talk about whether Trump might pardon some of those people — or even, potentially, himself.

"Democrats are expected to press Barr on Tuesday about his views on the ongoing Russia investigation, about which he has been critical. Barr submitted a legal memo to the Justice Department explaining why he thought special counsel Robert Mueller didn't have a legal basis on which to investigate Trump for possibly obstructing justice, and Barr also has criticized the special counsel's office in the press. Barr's supporters say now that he wasn't in full command of the facts of the case when he wrote his memo, well before he'd been nominated to return to the Justice Department. Now that he is, Barr has pledged to let Mueller complete his work, said Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., the incoming chairman of the Judiciary Committee. What's more, Graham said this week after meeting the nominee, Barr and Mueller are personal friends — Mueller attended the weddings of Barr's children. The quality of that relationship should reassure Democrats in Congress and others that Barr isn't going to go back into the Justice Department and blow up the special counsel's office in order to protect Trump, Graham suggested. Moreover, Graham told reporters, Barr does not believe the Russia investigation is a "witch hunt."

Believe it?

The Washington Post reports:

"Attorney general nominee William Barr appears before the Senate Judiciary Committee for his confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill. (Melina Mara/The Washington Post)
11:30 a.m.: Barr says he will ‘strike the right balance’ on asset forfeiture

"Barr pledged that he would seek to “strike the right balance” when it comes to the Justice Department’s policy on civil asset forfeiture — the practice of seizing cash or other property from people suspected of crimes that has come under significant scrutiny from libertarian Republicans."

There is none.  It's legalized theft.  -- How unwanted dreaded second American revolutions spawn.

"Under questioning from Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), Barr said he would review the department’s current practices on civil asset forfeiture and that he believes “constant vigilance is necessary.” “I plan to get into it and see exactly what the horror stories are, where the problems and potential abuses are and also whether [former] Attorney General [Jeff] Sessions’s guidelines are providing sufficient protection,” Barr told Lee. “At the same time, I think it is a valuable tool in law enforcement.”

What it is is is raw nazism.  Outrageous abuse of authority.  Stands against everything our formerly great country once stood for.  All jackbooted treacherous pieces of human excrement that embrace it are traitors.  Including the attorney general nominee.

"Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) said in an interview on “Meet the Press” last month that he was “disturbed” that Barr appears to be a “big fan of taking people’s property” without due process. “Many poor people in our country have cash taken from them and then the government says, ‘Prove to us where you got the cash,’ and then you can get it back,” Paul said last month. “But the burden is on the individual. It’s a terrible thing called civil asset forfeiture. He’s a big fan of that.”

Makes him a traitor.  Unfit for office.

"11:15 a.m.: Barr says government must do a better job of stopping inflow of overseas drugs

"As part of Barr’s pledge to support criminal justice reform, he called on the administration’s diplomatic force to do a better job getting foreign governments to stop the inflow of drug shipments from overseas."

Where have we heard this before?  Where?

“The head of the snake is outside the country, and the place to fight this aggressively is at the source more than on the street corner,” Barr said. “I used to say we could stack up generation after generation of people in prison and it’ll still keep on coming.”

Nonsense.  The head of the snake is within outrageously corrupt, abusive law enforcement.  Prohibition of alcohol gave us the Mafia.  Drug prohibition corrupted every goddamned law enforcement agency in this country to at least some extent. It's illegality did nothing to control or end its usage.  Quite the opposite.  Increased profits.

Drug prohibition should be enforced only on those who are underaged.  Use drugs as an adult, get what you deserve.  There are more than enough laws on the books covering the ancillary effects of drug usage such as driving under the influence, acts of violence, etc..  Take the money out of drug trafficking, you control at least some of the ancillary effects of drug usage.  There is no simple easy soltution to this scourge.

"Barr made his comments as part of a defense he offered for his hard-line position on prosecuting drug offenders — something he said he pursued as a response to community leaders who, in the early 1990s, were appealing to the administration to do something about the crack epidemic. He said that the administration should listen to community leaders again who are testifying that those harsh penalties were incarcerating too many individuals and thus, ruining lives."

He's talking out both sides his clueless ass:

“I understand that things have changed since 1992. I held on a little bit longer to keeping strong sentences maybe than others,” Barr said, noting that he had not been serving at the Justice Department for several years. “I support an adjustment to these sentences and the safety valve and so forth.”

He's talking out both sides his ass.  Double talk.

"But Barr stressed that international options were the only way to address the new drug epidemics ably. “Fentanyl is sort of the new crack,” Barr said. “And they’re coming in from China.”

More horse shit.  Forget?  If there was no demand, there'd be no market.

"Though Barr addressed the drug crisis directly, he effectively dodged questions from Sen. Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.) about what he would do regarding the administration’s family separation policy and the “zero-tolerance policy” toward illegal immigration offenses his predecessor Jeff Sessions had endorsed. “I’m not sure I know all the details, because one of the disadvantages I have is I’m not in the department,” he said, noting that he believed the Department of Homeland Security makes the judgment calls about who should be referred to Justice to be prosecuted for illegal entry. “Now what is being done is DHS is not referring for prosecution family units that will lead to the separation of children,” he said."

More disingenuous bullshit.

NPR reports:

"Democratic senators are focusing their questions for Barr on special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation. "Now perhaps more than ever before," said ranking member Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., "the country needs someone who will uphold the rule of law, defend the independence of the Justice Department, and truly understand that their job is to serve as the people's lawyer: not the president's lawyer." Barr attempted to reassure those worried by his skepticism of Mueller's office by vowing to permit Mueller to complete his work investigating the Russian attack on the 2016 election. Mueller is determining whether any Americans played any role in that attack and The New York Times has reported that may include a direct look at Trump himself. Speaking to reporters Monday, the president denied that he has been trying to conceal details about his discussions with Russian President Vladimir Putin after a pair of explosive press reports over the weekend. "I never worked for Russia," Trump said. "It's a disgrace that you even asked that question because it's a whole big fat hoax. It's just a hoax." The White House press secretary also called The New York Times report "absurd," and on Twitter Monday the president even advised journalists covering him to "Take two weeks off and come back rested. Chill!"

Follow your own advice, Mr. 'President.'

"In his opening statement, Barr said it was "very important" for the public and Congress to see the results of the Mueller investigation. "If confirmed, I will not permit partisan politics, personal interests, or any other improper consideration to interfere with this or any other investigation," Barr said."

Delusionally believe so?

"Trump needs no Democratic Senate votes for his nominee to be confirmed, as Republicans hold a 53-47 advantage in the chamber, and Cabinet nominees require just a simple majority."

Cowardly fail to financially and/or materially support those fighting for all civil and constitutional rights and liberties at great personal cost and risk?  Get what you truly deserve.


1-18-19

Racism remains alive and well in the Republican Party.  NPR reports:

"House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy promises "action will be taken" against Iowa Republican Rep. Steve King for his latest offering in a well-documented history of making racially charged or racially insensitive remarks. "I'm having a serious conversation with Congressman Steve King on his future and role in this Republican Party," McCarthy told CBS's Face the Nation. The two lawmakers are expected to meet privately on Monday. "I will not stand back as a leader of this party, believing in this nation that all are created equal, that that stands or continues to stand and have any role with us." There are few options for punishment in the House: stripping King's committee assignments, censuring him on the House floor and expulsion. At least three House Democrats — Bobby Rush of Illinois, Tim Ryan of Ohio, and House Majority Whip James Clyburn — announced Monday they plan to introduce resolutions to censure or reprimand King. Rush's resolution includes a list of 14 controversial comments King has made going to 2006. A censure resolution is a way for the House to issue a public rebuke of a lawmaker's words or action, but does not carry with it any additional punishment if it is approved."

Cowardly fail to financially and/or materially support those fighting for all civil and constitutional rights and liberties at great personal cost and risk?  Get what you truly deserve.


1-18-19

Republicans are growing increasingly sensitive to the Steve King fiasco.  Rightfully, so.  About time.  NPR reports:

"House Republican leaders moved Monday to remove Republican Rep. Steve King of Iowa from two House committees as a punishment for his recent comments in a New York Times interview where he questioned whether "white supremacy" and "white supremacist" were offensive terms. "We will not be seating Steve King on any committees in the 116th Congress," House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., told reporters after the House Republicans who handle committee assignments met Monday night and voted to strip King of his positions. He was a member of the House Judiciary and Agriculture Committees. "Leader McCarthy's decision to remove me from committees is a political decision that ignores the truth," King said in reaction to the decision — a response that seemed to invoke his remarks on the House floor Friday where he denied being a racist. "Under any fair political definition, I am simply an American nationalist," King had said Friday."

Horse shit.  What you are is a national socialist, fascist, nazi.  A racist.  -- If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, guess what?  It's a duck.

"Monday, top House and Senate GOP leaders also condemned King's comments, which were the latest is a string of racially charged remarks he has made during his 16 years in Congress."

What took so long?

"Separately, House Democratic leaders are planning on a vote of disapproval of King's comments as early as Tuesday on the House floor. Some Democrats are seeking to censure King, a move that would be a stronger public admonition of the controversial Republican lawmaker. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., had promised "action will be taken" against King for his latest offering in a well-documented history of making racially charged or racially insensitive remarks. "I'm having a serious conversation with Congressman Steve King on his future and role in this Republican Party," McCarthy told CBS's Face the Nation Sunday. "I will not stand back as a leader of this party, believing in this nation that all are created equal, that that stands or continues to stand and have any role with us," McCarthy also said on the TV program. The two lawmakers met privately Monday. There are few options for punishment in the House: stripping King's committee assignments, censuring him on the House floor and expulsion. By Monday evening, House GOP leaders had begun to pursue taking away the committee assignments and some Democrats are seeking a censure."

Expel his ass.  A goddamned racist isn't worth a crap.  Needs to go.

"At least three House Democrats — Bobby Rush of Illinois, Tim Ryan of Ohio and House Majority Whip James Clyburn — announced Monday they plan to introduce resolutions to censure or reprimand King. Rush's resolution includes a list of 14 controversial comments King has made going back to 2006. A censure resolution is a way for the House to issue a public rebuke of a lawmaker's words or action, but does not carry with it any additional punishment if it is approved. In a statement, Rush chastised King's GOP colleagues for tolerating King's series of controversial comments. "Republicans, in the interest of political expediency, sought his endorsement, ignored his racist remarks, and continued to elevate him to positions of influence," Rush said, "Only now that his behavior is well known to those outside the beltway and tainted him politically, do they vigorously denounce him."

Precisely, why if he won't resign, expel his sorry ass.

"Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., who rarely weighs in on House GOP members' actions, released a written statement Monday condemning King."

About time.  This goddamned Republican racist is doing great damage to the GOP.

CBS News reports:

"Congressional Republicans issued a sharp rebuke to Iowa Rep. Steve King on Monday, barring the veteran lawmaker from serving on any House committees as punishment for comments he made defending white supremacy and white nationalism. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, who had pledged to take "action" against the Iowa lawmaker on "Face the Nation" Sunday, told reporters on Monday evening that the party's steering committee had voted unanimously to deny King any committee posts in the current congressional session. King had served on the Judiciary, Agriculture and Small Business Committees in the previous Congress. "These are not the first time we have heard these comments," McCarthy said. "That is not the party of Lincoln and it is definitely not America. All people are created equal in America and we want to take a very strong stance about that."

What took so long?

"The move came after days of bipartisan criticism of King for suggesting in an interview with the New York Times on Thursday that white nationalism and white supremacism were not offensive terms. "White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization — how did that language become offensive?" King asked. "Why did I sit in classes teaching me about the merits of our history and our civilization?" King reacted to McCarthy's move by calling it a "political decision that ignores the truth." In a statement, he said his comments had been mischaracterized by the Times. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said in a statement Monday that King "should find another line of work" if he didn't understand why white supremacy was offensive. Utah Sen. Mitt Romney, meanwhile, was more blunt, and called on King to resign. "Steve King's comments are reprehensible. They have no place in polite society. And certainly no place in the Republican party," Romney told reporters Monday evening. "And they should have no place in the United States Congress. He ought to resign and move on and let someone else who represents American values take his seat."

Indeed.  Time to go.

"Before Romney and McConnell's rebukes of King, House Democrats introduced several measures addressing the controversy. Rep. Bobby Rush, D-Illinois, introduced a motion to censure the veteran Republican congressman for his racist remarks. A senior member of the Congressional Black Caucus, Rush also called on Republican leadership to oust King from all committee assignments. "He has become too comfortable with proudly insulting, disrespecting, and denigrating people of color," Rush said in a statement before McCarthy's announcement. "As with any animal that is rabid, Steve King should be set aside and isolated." Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio, also introduced a similar, albeit narrower, resolution. And Majority Whip James Clyburn, D-South Carolina, said he intends to issue a resolution expressing his disapproval of King's comments, but that he did not believe censure was appropriate because King's most recent comments were made to a reporter and not on the House floor. President Trump was asked several times by reporters to comment on King's remarks on Monday. Mr. Trump replied, "I haven't been following it. I really haven't been following it."

Think so?  Believe the liar?

Cowardly fail to financially and/or materially support those fighting for all civil and constitutional rights and liberties at great personal cost and risk?  Get what you truly deserve.


1-18-19

At least one judge is willing to stand up against racism.  ABC News reports:

"A judge has overturned an Alabama law meant to prevent the removal of Confederate monuments from public property, ruling the act infringed on the rights of citizens in a mostly black city who are "repulsed" by the memorial."

About time.  What took so long?

"The 10-page ruling issued late Monday by Jefferson County Circuit Judge Michael Graffeo said a 2017 state law barring the removal or alteration of historical monuments wrongly violated the free speech rights of local communities. The law can't be enforced, Graffeo ruled, but the state could still appeal. The attorney general's comment had no immediate response to an email seeking comment Tuesday. The state sued the city of Birmingham after officials tried to remove a 52-foot-tall (16-meter)-tall obelisk that was erected to honor Confederate veterans in a downtown park in 1905. Rather than toppling the stone marker, the city built a 12-foot (3.6-meter)-tall wooden box around it. Birmingham's population of 210,000 is more than 70 percent black, and the judge said it was indisputable that most citizens are "repulsed" by the memorial. He rejected the state's claims that lawmakers had the power to protect historical monuments statewide."

The law is clearly outrageously unconstitutional.

"The law includes a $25,000 penalty for removing or altering a historical monument, but the judge said the penalty was unconstitutional. The city hasn't had to pay while the lawsuit worked its way through court. The ruling came hours after the inauguration of Republican Gov. Kay Ivey, who signed the law and opened her campaign last year with a commercial that prominently showed Confederate monuments. "We can't change or erase our history, but here in Alabama we know something that Washington doesn't. To get where we are going means understanding where we have been," Ivey said in the ad. Supporters of the law contend it protects not just Confederate memorials but historical markers of any kind, but rebel memorials have been an issue nationwide since a white supremacist gunman killed nine worshippers in a black church in Charleston, South Carolina, in 2015."

Cowardly fail to financially and/or materially support those fighting for all civil and constitutional rights and liberties at great personal cost and risk?  Get what you truly deserve.


1-18-19

Think a capitalist would embrace capitalism?  NBC News reports:

"President Donald Trump’s Cuba policy is driving millions of dollars from the island’s private entrepreneurs to its state-run tourism sector, the opposite of its supposed goal, according to new government figures. Trump announced in June 2017 that he was tightening limits on U.S. travel to Cuba in order to starve military-linked travel businesses and funnel money directly to the Cuban people. He restricted Americans’ ability to travel to Cuba on their own, rather than with a tour group. At the same time, he allowed U.S. cruise lines to continue to take passengers to Cuba, where they pay millions to disembark at military-run docks and make quick trips onshore that are generally coordinated by government tour agencies that steer travelers to state-run destinations. Cuban government figures from the first full year under Trump’s policy show occupancy of private bed-and-breakfasts in Havana plunged to 44 percent in 2018 after years at near capacity in the wake of President Barack Obama’s start of normalization with Cuba, said Michael Bernal, commercial director for the Ministry of Tourism.

"Trump administration's tougher stance is hitting ordinary Cubans, Cuban-Americans. That has had a devastating effect on owners and employees of Cuba’s 24,185 private bed-and-breakfasts and 2,170 private restaurants known as paladares. They cherished U.S. travelers as heavy tippers who crammed days full of activities like classic car rides and cooking classes that put money into private hands. David Pajon, a university professor who bought an apartment to rent in Old Havana, said he has had to drop his rates and his income has fallen 40 percent since Trump’s new policy went into effect in 2017. He still was a third empty last month, the first time in three years that he wasn’t fully booked in December. “U.S.-Cuba normalization inspired a lot of people who thought this was a good business to invest their savings in,” Pajon said. “And all of a sudden you have the U.S. government creating a situation that has an impact on the number of people who came, or changes the way they’re coming — on cruise ships!”

"Enrique Nunez, owner of La Guarida, perhaps Havana’s best-known restaurant, said he had to cut his employees’ hours last year because his revenue fell 40 percent. “We don’t understand the U.S. rules,” said Bernal, the tourism official. “We heard the president’s speech saying that the U.S. government supports entrepreneurs. However, that’s the sector that’s suffering most in Cuba.”

Fascinating, isn't it?  What webs we weave.

Cowardly fail to financially and/or materially support those fighting for all civil and constitutional rights and liberties at great personal cost and risk?  Get what you truly deserve.


1-18-19

Judicial push back on 2020 Census question.  The Washington Post reports:

"A federal judge has ruled against the Trump administration’s addition of a citizenship question to the 2020 Census."

Surprised?  Why?

"In the first major ruling on the controversial question, U.S. District Judge Furman of New York’s Southern District court ordered the administration to stop its plans to add the question to the survey “without curing the legal defects” identified in his opinion. Plaintiffs hailed the decision. “This ruling is a forceful rebuke of the Trump administration’s attempt to weaponize the census for an attack on immigrant communities,” said Dale Ho, director of the Voting Rights Project at the ACLU, which was a plaintiff in the case. The Trump administration had tried several times to stop the case from going forward, including requests to the Supreme Court; the adminstration is likely to appeal Furman’s decision in the high court. Plaintiffs in the trial include 18 states and several cities and jurisdictions, along with civil rights groups. The trial addressed two of seven lawsuits that arose from Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross’s March decision to add the question. Two more trials over the questions are underway or about to begin. Opponents of the question say it will reduce response rates in immigrant communities and make the constitutionally mandated decennial survey more costly and less accurate. The government had said the question was necessary to enforce the Voting Rights Act. Justice Department spokesperson Kelly Laco, said, “We are disappointed and are still reviewing the ruling,” and added that the government is “legally entitled to include the question on the census.”

Think so?

Cowardly fail to financially and/or materially support those fighting for all civil and constitutional rights and liberties at great personal cost and risk?  Get what you truly deserve.


1-18-19

Trump lines his pockets off the trappings of office.  ABC News reports:

"President Donald Trump’s inaugural committee spent more than $1.5 million at the Trump International Hotel in Washington ahead of his 2017 swearing-in, according to internal documents reviewed by ABC News."

How about that?

"It is part of an array of expenditures there and elsewhere that included more than $130,000 for customized seat cushions at two gala dinners for the president-elect, $10,000 to provide makeup to the servers at another formal dinner, and $2.7 million to a company that produced a Broadway-style rendition of Frank Sinatra’s “New York, New York” using Las Vegas show girls flown in by Trump pal Steve Wynn for a private event. Compared to past inaugurations, the festivities surrounding Trump’s swearing-in were modest in scale – the non-profit group established to oversee the celebration hosted only three major events. But the amount of money involved was record-breaking – with more than $107 million raised and $104 million spent, double the amounts of President Barack Obama’s first inaugural. "These inaugural committees if there’s not good transparency and disclosure, can turn into slush funds,” said Rep. John Sarbanes, a Maryland Democrat, who has served on the House Oversight Committee. “That’s why you need to have requirements that they disclose what the spending is, where it’s coming from, put some limits on the kind of spending that’s appropriate, so that it’s really going towards inaugural needs, and not other purposes."

About time Democrats conducted hearings to determine what went where:

"House Oversight Committee member Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, D-Ill., who has previously served on the committee, said he expects Democrats to look into the way the money was both raised and spent. "It’s all the more reason why there has to be sunshine on both ends -- who is actually donating to the committees and how this spending is going to be done," Krishnamoorthi told ABC News. Trump's inauguration committee was led by the president’s longtime friend Thomas Barrack. He was not paid as part of his role overseeing the inaugural festivities. ABC News reached out to a spokesman for Barrack. Already there had been questions about how that money was spent. Tax filings disclosed the five largest vendors included payments of nearly $26 million to an event planning firm run by a one-time adviser and close friend of Melania Trump. The adviser, Stephanie Winston-Wolkoff, created a company called WIS Media Partners based in California that handled some of the festivities. That firm paid out contracts to other sub-contractors that were hired and used some of the funds to hire sub-contractors. Winston-Wolkoff was also paid $1.62 million directly for her work, ABC News has previously reported. ABC News has left messages for Winston-Wolkoff’s attorney."

Imagine that.  Follow the money trail.

"Internal financial documents reviewed by ABC News on Monday show spending that was not required to be included on public tax filings. Those records outline in granular detail how money was, in some instances, directed to pay Trump’s political advisers. That included nearly $2.7 million to the company of Trump’s 2020 campaign manager, Brad Parscale, who handled digital operations for the inaugural. A separate company, Fortalice Solutions LLC, which specializes in cyber protection, was paid $450,000. The inaugural committee shelled out $130,000 to Tiffany & Company, which a source confirmed was to provide guests with salad bowls."

Jesus Christ.

"The documents also show sizeable amounts spent on the travel and feeding of dozens of friends and aides in the days leading up to the inauguration. According to the filings, for example, the committee paid $25,000 to reimburse hotel expenses for longtime Trump pal, real estate executive Howard Lorber. A breakdown of Melania Trump’s friend, Winston-Wolkoff’s company expenses shows thousands of dollars spent on dining, lodging and travel including $24 in Uber rides to “pick up exec meds,” and $13 to “drop off Jon’s laundry,” a reference to a Winston-Wolkoff aide. Her company’s expenditures also included a $12.72 Uber reimbursement for a ride ordered for Hollywood producer Mark Burnett, creator of “The Apprentice,” the show that launched Trump into reality TV stardom. ABC News has reached out to Lorber and Burnett for comment."

Think they'll get one?

"Many of Winston-Wolkoff’s employees stayed at the Trump International Hotel which was used as a prime meeting place during the festivities. But spending there had not previously been detailed. Among those expenses were numerous payments for food and beverages. For example, one couple working for Winston-Wolkoff billed the inauguration $1,835 in room service charges there over three days. There are few hard and fast rules governing how inaugural funds may be spent. The committee that raises and spends it is a tax exempt group that must comply with IRS rules, according to Brett Kappel, a campaign finance lawyer in Washington. Where the Trump inaugural spending could raise red flags, he said, is if the fund was being operated for the private benefit of any individual. “Substantial spending by the inaugural committee at the Trump Hotel would raise issues of impermissible self-dealing by the committee,” Kappel said. Kappel said the IRS would want to know, for instance, if the inaugural committee paid fair market value for the goods and services it purchased from the hotel. The committee spent more than $1 million each at two other hotels, the Willard Hotel and the Fairmont Hotel, the records show."

Think Trump's pockets weren't lined?

"Broadly speaking, spending at the Trump International Hotel in Washington has already been a focus of ethics groups and Democrats in congress. Even without the new figures showing the Trump Inaugural spending, other records have shown various Republican-affiliated campaigns and groups as well as U.S. and foreign governments spent nearly $2 million at the hotel since Trump took office."

Nothing quite like lining your pockets off your government job, is there?

"That has included more than $509,000 from the Republican National Committee, more than $137,000 from Trump's campaign and joint fundraising committees, according to FEC filings. House Democrats introduced a bill last year that would require the administration to publicly disclose every time Trump or other federal officials spend taxpayer money at Trump-owned hotels and golf courses. "The immense honor and responsibility of serving as president of the United States should never be exploited for profit, and this president, like no president before him, has made an art of making money off the federal government," said Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., who was a sponsor, said at the time."

Think Democratic presidents haven't done the same?

"The tax filing showed that the committee spent $104 million of the $107 million it raised. By way of comparison, for the 2009 inauguration, then-president elect Barack Obama’s team raised roughly $53.2 million and reported spending about $51 million. The Trump Inauguration also donated $5 million to various charities including the American Red Cross, Salvation Army and the Smithsonian Institute among others."

Cowardly fail to financially and/or materially support those fighting for all civil and constitutional rights and liberties at great personal cost and risk?  Get what you truly deserve.


1-18-19

Fear not.  IRS will supposedly be mailing out refund checks.  NPR reports:

"One of the agencies affected by the partial government shutdown — now in its third week — is the Internal Revenue Service. While many taxpayers may not feel this is a great loss, they'll still have to pay their taxes — and the shutdown has created a good deal of uncertainty for everyone planning to file their tax returns in the coming months. But fear not, the White House says; tax refund checks will be sent out, even though the IRS, part of the Treasury Department, is for the most part closed. Office of Management and Budget acting Director Russell Vought told reporters Monday that tax refunds will go out, contrary to previous government shutdown policies. "We have tried to make this as painless as possible, consistent with the law," he said. It's not clear, however, how it will happen smoothly, given the 70,000 IRS employees who are furloughed."

Cowardly fail to financially and/or materially support those fighting for all civil and constitutional rights and liberties at great personal cost and risk?  Get what you truly deserve.


1-11-19

Same old, same old.  Shutdown continues.  NPR reports:

"A closed-door briefing for congressional leaders in the White House Situation Room on Wednesday failed to resolve any issues between Democrats and the Trump administration over funding for border security. The stalemate has led to a partial government shutdown, now nearing the two-week mark. "I don't think any particular progress was made," Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., told reporters afterward. The lawmakers were invited to return to the White House on Friday to continue talks. Democratic leaders said they pressed President Trump to accept their proposal to approve measures to fund through the end of the fiscal year those federal agencies that have run out of money and to provide a short-term funding bill for the Department of Homeland Security that would provide spending authority until early February. The proposal regarding DHS would give the two sides additional time to resolve the border security funding impasse. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said Republicans and the White House "are now feeling the heat" over the shutdown. "It is not helping the president, it is not helping the Republicans to be the owners of this shutdown today," Schumer said. "We gave them an opportunity to get out of that and open the government as we debate border security." Incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said Democrats "are asking the president to open up the government. We are giving him a Republican path to do that — why would he not do that?"

Trump continues to lie:

"During a Cabinet meeting earlier, Trump said the government "is in a shutdown because Democrats refuse to fund border security." But Democratic leaders on Capitol Hill have previously supported $1.3 billion for border security, an amount far less than the $5 billion the president has insisted on, and Democrats have refused to accede to Trump's demand for funding specifically for building a border wall."

Total waste of taxpayer dollars.  Don't Republican national socialists, fascists, rabid nazis claim to be conservatives?  What's conservative about blowing billions on a wall that can be gone over, under, or through?

The president remains determinedly, concertedly separated from reality:

"Trump said he would keep the government in a partial shutdown "for as long as it takes," adding, "I think the people of the country think I'm right."

The hell they do.  Only, your sick sycophants.  You and your fellow GOP nazis own this fiasco:

"But a NPR/PBS Newshour/Marist poll taken before the shutdown began had a different finding. By a 21-point margin — 57 percent to 36 percent — Americans think the president should compromise on the wall to avoid a government shutdown."

... Proof positive an idiot cannot be confused by the truth.

"Other members of the administration chimed in during the Cabinet meeting, with praise for Trump's stance. Vice President Pence said, "I want to thank you for the strong stand you have taken on border security," adding that the administration "is ready to deal, we have an offer on the table."

Take your nose out of his ass, fool.  Butthole stinks.  Worse?  Get this:

"That offer, however, reportedly made by Pence to Democrats for $2.5 billion for border security, was publicly rejected by Trump later in the Cabinet meeting, illustrating the difficulties Democrats face in negotiating with the mercurial president."

This man is grossly unfit for office.  Remains an exigent threat to life, liberty, all civil and constitutional rights and liberties.

The Washington Post reports:

"While many federal workers go without pay and the government is partially shut down, hundreds of senior Trump political appointees are poised to receive annual raises of about $10,000 a year."

How about that?  LOL.

"The pay raises for Cabinet secretaries, deputy secretaries, top administrators and even Vice President Pence are scheduled to go into effect beginning Jan. 5 without legislation to stop them, according to documents issued by the Office of Personnel Management and experts in federal pay. The raises appear to be an unintended consequence of the shutdown: When lawmakers failed to pass bills on Dec. 21 to fund multiple federal agencies, they allowed an existing pay freeze to lapse. Congress enacted a law capping pay for top federal executives in 2013 and renewed it each year. The raises will occur because that cap will expire without legislative action by Saturday, allowing raises to kick in that have accumulated over those years but never took effect, starting with paychecks that will be issued next week. Cabinet secretaries, for example, would be entitled to a jump in annual salary from $199,700 to $210,700. Deputy secretaries would be entitled to a raise from $179,700 to $189,600. Others affected are under secretaries, deputy directors and other top administrators. The pay of Pence is scheduled to rise from $230,700 to $243,500. There was no immediate comment Friday by the White House. A spokesperson for Pence also did not immediately provide comment."

Imagine that.  LOL.  ... Still think Trump is executive material?

CBS News reports:

"Federal agencies have been directed to hold off enacting pay raises for top administration officials that were reportedly set to go into effect on Saturday as 800,000 federal workers remained furloughed or were working without pay. Departments were told in a memo issued Friday from the acting director of the Office of Personnel Management to hold off on enacting the raises during the partial government shutdown. The raises -- an additional $10,000 a year -- were set to go into effect because a pay freeze for top federal officials, including Vice President Mike Pence and cabinet secretaries, was reportedly due to expire Saturday, January 5. The 115th Congress had included an extension of the pay freeze in bills funding the government, but those bills failed to pass before that Congress expired and the 116th Congress was seated, according to The New York Times. The scheduled raises appeared to be an unintended consequence of the government shutdown, The Associated Press reported. The latest guidance on the pay raises was issued Friday in a memo from Margaret Weichert, the acting director of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM)."

Who'd 'a 'thunk' it, no?  LOL.

NPR reports:

"President Trump and congressional leaders met at the White House on Friday in what House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., called a "lengthy and sometimes contentious" session and in which the president threatened to keep the government shut down for months or years. And at the end, the two sides seemed no closer to resolving their standoff over funding a border wall that has forced a partial government shutdown now hitting the two-week mark, with the possibility of lasting much longer. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said Trump said he would "keep the government closed for a very long period of time — months or even years." Addressing reporters later, Trump confirmed his threat. "Absolutely I said that," adding, "I don't think it will" last that long, "but I'm prepared." He also maintained that the two sides had a "very, very productive meeting" and that "I think we've come a long, long way."

Once again, the lunatic Trump nazi lied.

"Vice President Pence said he, White House adviser Jared Kushner and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen would meet with congressional staffers over the weekend. "This is national security," Trump said in a sometimes-rambling news conference in the Rose Garden on Friday. "We're not playing games — we have to do it."

Goddamned horse shit.  Simply, not true.  The wall is a colossal waste of taxpayer dollars.  Perpetrated by GOP nazis who falsely claim to be 'conservatives.'  As previously discussed in this publication and elsewhere, there are far better ways of providing border security.  Trump is gutlessly pandering to his sick sycophant base.

CBS News reports:

"More descriptions of the heated exchanges between President Trump and congressional Democratic leaders during their two-hour meeting Friday are emerging – and the partial government shutdown wasn't the only topic on Mr. Trump's mind. Though the president later described the meetings over border security as "productive," Democratic leaders told reporters afterward that the discussions had been "contentious." According to a source familiar with the meeting, Mr. Trump initiated the talks – held for the second time this week in the White House Situation Room – by lambasting the shutdown impasse and again demanding $5.6 billion for border security, which he declared to be the minimum figure he needed to build the southern border wall he has been promising since his presidential campaign. But Democratic leaders, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, again refused to consider that number. The president then told them he was willing to continue to the shutdown "for months or even years" unless the Democrats agreed to what he says is crucial funding for the southern border. "I did say that. Absolutely, I said that," Mr, Trump later confirmed at a press conference, when CBS News' Major Garrett asked him if he had in fact told them that he'd keep the government shut for "years."

The lunatic Trump nazi clearly owns the shutdown fiasco.

"During the meeting, Mr. Trump also brought up the topic of impeachment, railing against calls by some Democrats to impeach him, according to a source familiar with the exchange. "Why does everyone want to impeach me, Nancy?" Mr. Trump asked. No one wants to impeach you, Pelosi told the president and tried to move the focus of the meeting back to border security. Although one freshman Democrat, Rashida Tlaib, had said of the president to a group of progressives this week, "We're going to impeach the motherf*****." Mr. Trump also tried unsuccessfully to appeal to Pelosi's Roman Catholic faith in arguing for wall funding."

Pathetic, isn't it?

"The Vatican has walls. The Vatican has walls surrounding the city," Mr. Trump said, according to the source. "You like the Vatican, Nancy?"

One sick son of a bitch.

"Let's change the subject, sir," Pelosi replied. It was not the first time the president has brought up the Vatican walls as a comparison in their discussions, administration sources said. The president mentioned the Vatican during their meeting earlier in the week, too. A source familiar with the exchange said the president respects Pelosi and was just kidding with her to make a point. But she seemed to take the comment "not well."

You think?  LOL.

"Pelosi and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen also had a contentious interaction over the border security facts that Nielsen presented during the meeting, an administration official confirmed. As she did during an earlier meeting in the week, Pelosi interrupted Nielsen's presentation and challenged facts she cited about the southwest border. "These aren't my facts," Nielsen replied." They are just facts."

Horse shit.  Unadulterated.

NBC News reports:

"President Donald Trump threatened Friday to keep the government shut down for months or even years if he doesn't get money for his border wall and said he is considering declaring a national emergency to build the barrier if necessary."

An out of control lunatic.

"We can call a national emergency because of the security of our country," he said in the White House Rose Garden after a closed-door negotiating session with congressional Democratic and Republican leaders. "I may do it. We can call a national emergency and build it really quickly."

Think so?  That psychotic, Mr. 'President?'

"One way the president could free up the bulk of the money he wants for the wall is through a transfer of up to $4 billion in Defense Department funds. Technically, that would require the Defense secretary to determine that the move is in the national interest and to notify Congress — a move that in the past has meant sign-off from top House and Senate lawmakers, but that Trump might try to execute without that assent."

Would immediately trigger a constitutional crisis.

Cowardly fail to financially and/or materially support those fighting for all civil and constitutional rights and liberties at great personal cost and risk?  Get what you truly deserve.


1-11-19

Think Trump's not soiling his pants as the noose figuratively tightens?  CBS News reports:

"Incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said that she believed a sitting president could be indicted, disagreeing with Justice Department guidelines. Pelosi made the comments in an interview with "TODAY" Thursday morning, hours before she is set to return to the speaker's office. "I do not think that is conclusive. No, I do not," Pelosi said when asked if Special Counsel Robert Mueller should adhere to DOJ guidelines that a sitting president cannot be indicted. "I think that is an open discussion in terms of the law."

Forget?  We have no kings, queens, dictators in a supposedly democratic republic.  No one is above the law.

"Pelosi also said that she was not ruling out the possibility of impeaching President Trump, depending on Mueller's findings in his investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election. "We have to wait and see what happens with the Mueller report. We shouldn't be impeaching for a political reason, and we shouldn't avoid impeachment for a political reason," Pelosi said."

No one is above the law.  If the Mueller report indicates Trump has indeed engaged in criminal activity, is not indicted, not removed from office through impeachment in the House and conviction in the Senate, this country will find itself in a constitutional crisis it has never seen before.  Would likely lead to the unthinkable.  An unwanted dreaded second American revolution already catastrophically looming.

"Pelosi is currently locked in a stalemate with Mr. Trump and Senate Republicans over a funding bill to end the partial government shutdown. Mr. Trump is unwilling to sign any bill which does not include sufficient funding for a border wall. He also told congressional leaders in a meeting Wednesday that he would not sign a bill to open government agencies other than the Department of Homeland Security, because it would make him "look foolish."

Too late for that.  LOL.

"Pelosi reiterated on "TODAY" that wall funding was a nonstarter for Democrats. "We can go through the back and forth. No. How many more times can we say no? Nothing for the wall," she said.  Pelosi also addressed her national unpopularity, saying that Republicans demonized her because she is effective. "I'm effective as a legislator -- I'm excellent at that. I'm effective politically, as a fundraiser -- the best. And they have to take me down, and that's what they've tried to do," she said."

Pelosi has been in office way too long.  Whatever happened to term limits?  -- Not to neglect to mention ole Sen. Mitch "The Bitch" McConnell in the Republican Party.  Both dinosaurs need to retire.  Only good thing about Pelosi currently is the fact she continues to stand up to the Trump nazi and his henchmen.  Other than that and like every other goddamned politician, she's not worth a crap.

The Washington Post reports:

"The House of Representatives elected Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) as speaker for a second time on Thursday, the first day of a new, divided Congress that is more likely to confront President Trump. The 78-year-old California Democrat secured the votes of 220 members of a total of 430 present. Rep. Kevin McCarthy (Calif.), the top Republican in the chamber, received 192 votes. Pelosi tamped down a challenge from a group of Democratic rebels clamoring for a generational change in leadership. She took over as the partial government shutdown was in its 13th day, with no end in sight to the dispute over Trump’s demand for billions of dollars for a U.S.-Mexico border wall. By the end of the day, Pelosi intends to push through legislation to reopen the government. But it has already been declared dead on arrival in the Republican-led Senate because it won’t meet Trump’s $5.6 billion demand."

Gridlock continues unabated.  So what else is new?  LOL.

ABC News reports:

"President Donald Trump is lashing out at fresh talk of impeachment as House Democrats assert their new power in Congress. And he's blaming them for the recent big losses in the stock market. In a Friday morning tweet, Trump claims he predicted that if the Democrats were to take over the House that there would be "disruption to the Financial Markets" and that "They only want to impeach me because they know they can't win in 2020, too much success!"

What success?  Where?  Lining the pockets at the top of the food chain?  Transition of the de facto  fascist police state we live in to the Trump nazi's Fourth Reich?

"As I have stated many times, if the Democrats take over the House or Senate, there will be disruption to the Financial Markets. We won the Senate, they won the House. Things will settle down. They only want to impeach me because they know they can’t win in 2020, too much success!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 4, 2019

"Trump has said similar about impeachment before -- but these are his first comments since the Democratic House takeover and they come after new House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in an interview that impeachment could be considered if not done for "a political reason" -- and said a possible indictment -- was "an open discussion."

Cowardly fail to financially and/or materially support those fighting for all civil and constitutional rights and liberties at great personal cost and risk?  Get what you truly deserve.


1-11-19

Trump grows increasingly desperate as Democrats deny him the wall.  NPR reports:

"More troops are expected to be deployed to the Southern border to construct or upgrade 160 miles of fencing and provide medical care to a steady stream of migrant families arriving from Central America, according to military sources. The deployment and fence construction along the California and Arizona borders would be paid for by the Pentagon, from the Department of Defense's discretionary funding. The move comes as President Trump continues to demand $5 billion from Congress for border security and a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Congressional Democrats oppose the move, and parts of the federal government have been shut down because of the impasse. The Department of Defense has not been affected by the shutdown."

Cowardly fail to financially and/or materially support those fighting for all civil and constitutional rights and liberties at great personal cost and risk?  Get what you truly deserve.


1-11-19

Think Trump hasn't lost his mind?  The Washington Post reports:

" Afghan officials on Thursday denounced President Trump’s praise of the 1979 Soviet invasion and occupation of their country, which he described this week as a fight against terrorism, breaking with decades of Republican anti-communist tenets."

Imagine that.  Couldn't be, could it?  Revisionist history embraced by the Trump nazi.  Who'd 'a 'thunk' it, no?  LOL.

"According to the revisionist historical account Trump delivered during a Cabinet meeting Wednesday, “the reason Russia was in Afghanistan was because terrorists were going into Russia.” He added: “They were right to be there. The problem is, it was a tough fight.”

Jesus Christ.  Day is night, night is day, and shit smells perversely sweet in the world of the Trump nazi.  The lunatic has, indeed, struck again.  Comfortable with his finger on the nuclear button?

"The comments marked a surprising split with U.S. conservatives dating back to President Ronald Reagan, who saw the invasion as an attempt to spread communism and aided insurgent forces fighting Soviet troops."

Those of us in the center politically, as well as most Democrats, thought the same.  Trump is delusional.  Unfit for office.

"The remarks also raised eyebrows among officials in Afghanistan at a time when Kabul has voiced frustration with Trump’s sudden announcement of a plan to withdraw up to half of U.S. troops as peace talks with Taliban insurgents continue without Afghan government involvement. A statement from President Ashraf Ghani’s office described the battle against the Soviets as a “national uprising for gaining freedom” and noted that the Soviet invasion was condemned by the United Nations and the United States at the time."

Indeed, it was.  Roundly condemned at the time ubiquitously.  Rightfully, so.

“All presidents of America not only denounced this invasion but remained supporters of this holy jihad of the Afghans,” read the statement, which added that the government would be seeking clarity from the United States. Foreign Affairs Minister Salahuddin Rabbani said the Soviet occupation violated Afghanistan’s national sovereignty. “Any other claim defies historic’l facts,” he said on Twitter."

That's right.  No question.  Trump has again proven he's an idiot.  Clueless.  Out to lunch.

"The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment."

What the f--k could they say?

"Saleh Mohammad Saleh, a lawmaker representing Konar province, also noted that the United States funded the rebels fighting the Soviets. To now hear Trump justifying the invasion was “really strange,” he said."

It's insanity.

“Our war against the Soviets was righteous. The international community stood by us. We gave more than enough sacrifices,” Saleh told The Washington Post. “This man proves to be more mad than people think.”

No question.  He's not fit.  Presents an exigent threat to life, liberty, all civil and constitutional rights and liberties.  His rabid insanity has left our allies in the hole, unsure of what to think, who to trust.  Has certainly emboldened the Syrians, Turks, and Russians.

"He also criticized the plan to pull out at least half the 14,000 U.S. troops in the country as bad for Afghanistan’s stability, especially in the midst of peace negotiations. Sayed Ikramuddin Masoomi, a lawmaker representing Takhar province who also fought the Soviets, said their occupation “was crystal clear and was specifically for supporting [Moscow’s] puppet communists in Afghanistan.” Trump’s invitation for Russia and India to join the fight against the Taliban — along with Pakistan, where the militants have enjoyed safe haven — further complicated matters, Masoomi told The Post."

The president has done tremendous damage to international relations.

"Trump also puzzled officials when he suggested the December 1979 invasion and decade-long occupation, which ended in a Soviet withdrawal in 1989, was the principal reason the Soviet Union collapsed two years later, and not a costly and escalating arms race with the United States."

As repeatedly stated in this publication and elsewhere, the Soviet Union had been floundering financially for decades.  Five Year Plan after Five Year Plan had failed.

Cowardly fail to financially and/or materially support those fighting for all civil and constitutional rights and liberties at great personal cost and risk?  Get what you truly deserve.


1-11-19

Trump considering rolling back anti-discrimination rules.  The Washington Post reports:

"The Trump administration is considering a far-reaching rollback of civil rights law that would dilute federal rules against discrimination in education, housing and other aspects of American life, people familiar with the discussions said."

Wouldn't expect anything less of the Trump nazi, would we?

"A recent internal Justice Department memo directed senior civil rights officials to examine how decades-old “disparate impact” regulations might be changed or removed in their areas of expertise, and what the impact might be, according to people familiar with the matter. Similar action is being considered at the Education Department and is underway at the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Under the concept of disparate impact, actions can amount to discrimination if they have an uneven effect even if that was not the intent, and rolling back this approach has been a longtime goal of conservative legal thinkers. Past Republican administrations have done little to erode the concept’s application, partly out of concerns that the Supreme Court might disagree, or that such changes would be unpopular and viewed as racist."

They are racist.  No question.  An attempt by the Trump nazi to impose his racist national socialist agenda.  Hitler and Mussolini would have been proud.  ... High-fiving on their fiery perches.

"Civil rights advocates said diminishing this tool could have sweeping consequences. “Disparate impact is a bedrock principle,” said Kristen Clarke, president and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. “Through the courts, we’ve been able to marshal data and use the disparate-impact doctrine as a robust tool for ferreting out discrimination.”

Can't have that, can we?  Certainly, not in a de facto fascist police-state, quickly transitioning to the Trump nazi's Fourth Reich.

Cowardly fail to financially and/or materially support those fighting for all civil and constitutional rights and liberties at great personal cost and risk?  Get what you truly deserve.


1-11-19

Portends of things to come.  ABC News reports:

"Freshman Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib is not apologizing for profane comments she made Thursday about impeaching President Donald Trump."

Imagine that.  Doesn't your heart break?  LOL.

"Tlaib, who was sworn in as Michigan's representative from the 13th Congressional District on Thursday, was speaking at an event for progressive advocacy group MoveOn.org when she relayed a conversation with her son to the crowd: "And when your son looks at you and says, 'Momma, look you won, bullies don’t win,' and I said, 'Baby they don't,' because we’re gonna go in and impeach the motherf-----."

Nothing quite like quickly, precisely, getting to the point, is there?  LOL.

"After the comments drew fire, especially from conservative quarters, Tlaib tweeted Friday morning, "I will always speak truth to power. #unapologeticallyMe"

"I will always speak truth to power. #unapologeticallyMe

— Rashida Tlaib (@RashidaTlaib) January 4, 2019

"This is not just about Donald Trump. This is about all of us. In the face of this constitutional crisis, we must rise.

— Rashida Tlaib (@RashidaTlaib) January 4, 2019"

You go girl!  Stick it to the nazi.  F--k the nazi bastard and any goddamned stuffed shirt who doesn't like it.  Tough shit.  Time to stand up to the rise of nazism.

"Tlaib, a mother of two, has called for the president's impeachment in more-restrained language previously, including in an op-ed for the Detroit Free Press on Thursday.  "President Donald Trump is a direct and serious threat to our country. On an almost daily basis, he attacks our Constitution, our democracy, the rule of law and the people who are in this country," she wrote, in an op-ed with a byline shared by John Bonifaz, co-founder of Free Speech for People. "Each passing day brings more pain for the people most directly hurt by this president, and these are days we simply cannot get back. The time for impeachment proceedings is now," the column concludes."

Be careful what you wish for.  Trump is insane.  Pence is not.

Think the following doesn't scare the living shit out of bigoted, racist, national socialist, fascist, rabid nazis in the Republican Party?  LOL.  Get this:

"The 42-year-old Tlaib has garnered attention as being part of a new crop of progressive lawmakers pushing the Democratic Party further left. Tlaib and Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., both sworn in Thursday, are the first two Muslim-American congresswomen in history. Tlaib and Omar have regularly joined with Reps. Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass., Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., Sharice Davids, D-Kan., and Deb Haaland, D-N.M., as minority women newly elected to the 116th Congress. Pressley is the first-ever black congresswoman from Massachusetts, Ocasio-Cortez is the youngest woman ever elected at 29, and Davids and Haaland are the first two Native American women elected to Congress."

NBC News reports:

"House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., criticized Pelosi for not distancing herself from Tlaib’s comments. "I think this is a role as a leader and the speaker to have a conversation with this member on whether she approves of this or not," McCarthy told reporters Friday morning. “They’re using foul language, they introduce that they just want to impeach the president. Over what basis? We have government shut down right now. Where are their priorities?”

Where are yours, you fascist son of a bitch?  Take your head out of your ass.  Such language is precisely what you jackasses need to hear.  Time to wake up.  ... Hear the rumble?  An unwanted dreaded second American revolution catastrophically looming.  You and your fellow GOP nazis are continuing to line the pockets of the top of the food chain.  Precisely, why the middle class is a vanishing, endangered species.  Not sustainable.

NPR reports:

"House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., who would preside over any impeachment proceedings, was quick to bat down the comments in an interview on CNN on Friday morning. "I don't like that language," Nadler said. "More to the point, I disagree with what she said. It is too early to talk about that intelligently. We have to follow the facts and get the facts." Pelosi also said she didn't like the use of the expletive, saying at a town hall on MSNBC, "I probably have a generational reaction to it," but added, "I'm not in the censorship business. I don't like that language; I wouldn't use that language, but I wouldn't establish language standards for my colleagues." The speaker also tried to downplay the incident, saying, "I don't think it's anything worse than what the president has said" and "I don't think we should make a big deal out of it."

Goddamned f--king right. Wake up.  ... Hear the rumble?

Cowardly fail to financially and/or materially support those fighting for all civil and constitutional rights and liberties at great personal cost and risk?  Get what you truly deserve.


1-11-19

Think the rabid Nazi Right hasn't lost itself?  Inspired by the Trump nazi and those who think like him?  NBC News reports:

"Around Christmas day, Karl Krause and Daan Colijn started receiving emails from their fans, telling them their pictures were being used to promote pedophilia in several viral posts on Twitter. “They were outraged emails,” Krause said. “They were saying, ‘How can that be? You are not pro-pedophilia. I know that.’” Krause and Colijn are gay travel bloggers who tell their followers of gay-friendly and LGBTQ-owned businesses and communities throughout the world. They had no idea their faces were being used to promote an idea they found abhorrent. One of their pictures, which features Krause and Colijn kissing in front of a rainbow flag, had been stolen by a Twitter troll who went by the name “Alex,” an account that was created in December. The account then tweeted messages promoting pedophilia. “It’s frustrating to see someone misusing our image for political purposes — basically supporting an argument against the LGBTQ community with our work,” Krause said. The account successfully spread across Twitter the deliberately defamatory idea that pedophilia is an acceptable part of LGBTQ life. Over the last half-decade, that concept has become a staple of far-right internet trolls on websites like the fringe message board 4chan, and the troll’s message quickly gained internet traction. Some far-right news websites wrote articles based on the tweet, including The Federalist Papers, which published a post with the headline, ”Resistance Member Says Pedophilia Is Sexual Orientation, Claims Bigotry.”

Above quote courtesy of a most gifted, insightful reporter, Ben Collins.

Cowardly fail to financially and/or materially support those fighting for all civil and constitutional rights and liberties at great personal cost and risk?  Get what you truly deserve.


1-11-19

Republicans intolerant of ethics in government.  Think not?  Wake up.  NPR reports:

"We heard loud and clear from the American people," Rep. John Sarbanes, D-Md., told reporters Friday. "They feel left out and locked out from their own democracy." If the bill ever becomes law, it's unlikely to happen this year. Republicans control the Senate, President Trump is in the White House, and the GOP vehemently opposes the basic approach of HR 1.

"Here's a rundown of the bill's major provisions:

"Voter registration would be made easier. Citizens could register online or get registered automatically, via data from driver's licenses or other government sources. For federal elections, states would have to provide same-day registration and at least 15 days of early voting. Election Day would be a federal holiday.
The bill would crack down on efforts to take voters off the rolls or prevent them from casting ballots. Felons could regain their voting rights after finishing their sentences. Federal elections would require paper ballots to prevent computer tampering. State chief election officials couldn't get involved in federal campaigns. The bill would declare an intent to revive core anti-discrimination provisions of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 that were effectively shut down by the Supreme Court six years ago. It would also state that failing to vote isn't grounds for taking away a person's voter registration."

Can't have that, can we?  How else could Republicans so easily steal elections?

"Provisions from the Disclose Act would expand the prohibition on foreign political money and mandate the disclosure of the big donors behind politically active 501(c)(4) social welfare organizations. Digital companies, like Facebook and Google, would have to set up public databases cataloging political ad purchase requests of $500 or more and create new measures to block ad buys by foreign nationals. Presidential inaugural committees would have to disclose expenditures, in addition to the existing requirement for donor disclosure. This is a response to reports of unexplained spending by Trump's inaugural committee. A new matching-fund program would support House candidates who agree to raise only small-dollar contributions. (Similar provisions for Senate candidates would have to come from the Senate.) The public financing system for presidential candidates, largely irrelevant since 2012, would be updated. The bill would quash "sidecar" superPACs that support individual candidates."

Can't have that, can we?  Republicans would be forced to compete, not steal elections.

"Presidents and vice presidents would have to release their tax returns, something that happened routinely in past administrations but not in this one. Presidents-elect would need ethics plans for their transition teams and would have to file financial disclosures within 30 days of taking office. The bill would tell presidents and vice presidents they should act as if they are covered by the conflict-of-interest law, which actually exempts them. Again, this wasn't an issue in previous administrations because past presidents did not have the volume of business entanglements that Trump has. House members would be barred from serving on corporate boards. Rep. Chris Collins, R-N.Y., is under indictment for allegedly using inside information he gained as a corporate board member. House members would be forbidden to use taxpayer money to pay penalties for employment discrimination. Former Rep. Blake Farenthold, R-Texas, used $84,000 in federal funds to settle a sexual harassment claim by a former staffer, said he would repay it, but changed his mind after leaving office. Congress passed a bipartisan measure in December requiring members to pay out of their own pocket for some settlements and court judgments in sexual misconduct cases. The Supreme Court would have to get a code of ethics, something it has never had. The laws regulating foreign and domestic lobbying would be expanded."

This legislation would force both major political parties to clean up their act.  Clearly, unacceptable to Republican national socialists, fascists, rabid nazis.

Cowardly fail to financially and/or materially support those fighting for all civil and constitutional rights and liberties at great personal cost and risk?  Get what you truly deserve.


1-11-19

Think the corporate community full of straight shooters?  Wake up.  The following is appalling.  CBS News reports:

"The chief executive officer of Hacienda HealthCare resigned Monday, just days after a vegetative patient at a Hacienda nursing facility in Phoenix gave birth. Bill Timmons' resignation, which was unanimously accepted by Hacienda's board of directors, came as new allegations of past abuses emerged.  CBS Phoenix affiliate KPHO-TV was first to report on the birth. Hacienda has been under intense scrutiny since the 29-year-old Native American woman had the healthy baby boy December 29, the station said. The patient has been in a vegetative state for 14 years, since a near-drowning incident, KPHO noted.  In a statement, Hacienda said Board Executive Vice President Gary Orman vowed that Hacienda "will accept nothing less than a full accounting of this absolutely horrifying situation, an unprecedented case that has devastated everyone involved, from the victim and her family to Hacienda staff at every level of our organization."

Amazing, isn't it?  These people are in a position of trust.

"Orman said in the statement that Hacienda "will continue to cooperate with Phoenix Police and the investigating agencies at all levels in every way possible."  The station said it's learned that she was raped several times. KPHO also spoke with a former Hacienda manager who said Timmons insisted that a 1988 incident of abuse of a different patient be covered up. The manager said female nurses were standing around a nonverbal male patient's bed, talking inappropriately about his genitalia. The ex-manager said when that was addressed at a subsequent manager's meeting, Timmons slammed his fist on a table and said, 'No! No one is going to report this,"' even though the law required that state health officials be notified. "I was scared," the ex-manager recalled. "Bill Timmons has a temper. And we knew not to mess with that temper because people got fired." She said no one reported that incident solely out of fear, and she believes there's been other abuse throughout the years. Parents of patients began coming forward, saying they had concerns about the facility's ability to keep their children safe."

If the allegations are indeed true, this guy has no business in this position.

Cowardly fail to financially and/or materially support those fighting for all civil and constitutional rights and liberties at great personal cost and risk?  Get what you truly deserve.


1-11-19

Despite the shutdown, tax checks will be going out.  NPR reports:

"Remember that big tax cut approved by Congress and the president? This is the first time it will be reflected in most people's tax returns. Miller said the IRS already had its hands full preparing for all the changes, updating its computer software and writing new paper forms. And while that work is likely being done by the IRS personnel who remain on the job, Miller said there is a lot of other work that isn't, including training in the new tax law for those who answer the IRS help line. "And even if the phones open," Miller said, whether those who answer the calls will be sufficiently trained to help taxpayers with questions "is a real issue in my mind." Another thing the IRS isn't doing now is conducting any audits or other types of enforcement. But Miller said the agency is still taking your money. "For example, if you paid your or are about to pay your Jan. 15 estimated tax payment as I did this past weekend," Miller said, "they are more than happy to accept that money." In 2018, the IRS paid more than $212 billion in refunds in the first three months of the year, an average of almost $2,900. Former Commissioner John Koskinen said for many folks, receiving a timely refund may not be a matter of life or death, but for some low-income taxpayers, their refund is a big deal, calling it "the biggest financial event in the year" for many."

Cowardly fail to financially and/or materially support those fighting for all civil and constitutional rights and liberties at great personal cost and risk?  Get what you truly deserve.


1-11-19

Gave the lying bastard air time.  Would you believe it?  The Washington Post reports:

"President Trump, who cemented a national following on reality TV, is used to addressing the American people on-screen and in prime time. So his speech Tuesday evening from the Oval Office will find him squarely within his comfort zone. The networks that have agreed to carry his remarks on immigration and his demands for a wall at the southern border won’t have it so easy. They are in uncharted waters, not because Trump is the first president to request airtime for a major address. But because “Trump is unlike any president that the country has ever had in the sense that he frequently and routinely says things that are untrue,” said Mike Ananny, an expert in media and technology at the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism."

Precisely, why they should challenge him each and every time he does so.

"This presents a dilemma for television networks and affiliated local stations around the country aiming to fulfill their “role as first informers,” as a spokesman for the National Association of Broadcasters described their function to The Washington Post. At the same time, these outlets are under mounting pressure not to propagate the president’s false statements, which have proliferated amid his standoff with congressional Democrats over wall funding and the partial government shutdown."

Tell it like it is.  Challenge him every time he does this.

“The challenge that the media faces is you don’t want to give a platform to somebody who is known to lie a lot, but at the same time, this is still the president of the United States, who has a lot of power and continues to use that power,” Ananny said in an interview with The Post. “The challenge the press has is to call the president out for what I expect will be the lies he will tell, because he tells them all the time, and to call them out in real time.”

Goddamned right.  Exactly, what needs to be done.  No slack.  Expose him for whom and what he is.

The Washington Post reports:

"As he prepares to make the case for a wall during a televised speech from the Oval Office tonight and with a trip to Texas on Thursday, President Trump has already made more false or misleading claims about immigration than any other subject. Through the end of 2018, The Washington Post Fact Checker team documented 7,645 false or misleading claims made by Trump since taking office. Of those, 1,130 were about immigration. Claims about foreign policy and trade tied for second, with 822 claims, followed by claims about the economy (768). The last week has brought a stream of additional falsehoods on the topic that’s defined his term as much as any other – and prompted a partial government shutdown now in its 18th day. To wit: -- All four living ex-presidents have now gone on the record to rebut Trump’s claim, made in the Rose Garden last Friday, that “some” of them have privately told him that they should have built the wall. “I have not discussed the border wall with President Trump, and do not support him on the issue,” Jimmy Carter said in a Monday statement, echoing earlier denials from spokesmen for Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama."

A congenital liar.  Cannot be trusted.

Cowardly fail to financially and/or materially support those fighting for all civil and constitutional rights and liberties at great personal cost and risk?  Get what you truly deserve.


1-11-19

Noose figuratively tightens.  NBC News reports:

"A Russian lawyer at the center of the 2016 Trump Tower meeting between Russians and Trump campaign officials has been charged with criminal obstruction of justice in a federal civil case in Manhattan. Natalia Veselnitskaya, who was representing Russian-based Prevezon Holdings in a fight against forfeiture of assets and money laundering penalties, is accused of submitting an intentionally misleading statement to the court. According to prosecutors, Veselnitskaya presented what she said were investigative findings by the Russian government that exonerated her client when she had actually helped draft the findings in secret cooperation with a Russian prosecutor. The indictment is not directly related to the Trump Tower meeting."

Cowardly fail to financially and/or materially support those fighting for all civil and constitutional rights and liberties at great personal cost and risk?  Get what you truly deserve.


1-11-19

Trump's out to lunch.  Get this.  CBS News reports:

"President Trump said he's prepared for the partial government shutdown to last months or even years, after a meeting with top Republicans and Democrats that was followed by an hour-long press conference in the White House Rose Garden.  Mr. Trump told CBS News' chief Washington correspondent Major Garrett that he had said in the meeting that the shutdown could continue for over a year. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer told reporters after the meeting that Mr. Trump "said he'd keep the government closed for a very long time, months or even years." "I did say that," Mr. Trump said. "I don't think it will but I am prepared." However, Mr. Trump said that the meeting with congressional leaders was "contentious" but "productive." Mr. Trump reiterated that he wants $5.6 billion for the wall, contradicting members of his own administration who offered Democrats a deal with $2.5 billion for the border wall last week."

The Washington Post reports:

"Lately it’s cold and gray in Washington. The days are short, the nights are long and the president has vowed to keep the government shut down for months, even years if he does not get what he wants. A southern border lined with “artistically designed steel slats,” apparently. For so many languishing federal workers — public servants alternately characterized as deep state antagonists or bloated bureaucrats — it’s all too much. Over two years, the Trump administration has dealt blow after blow to government employees — budget cuts, hiring freezes, inept Cabinet secretaries and, for some, open hostility to their fundamental mission. President Trump promised to shake up Washington, and he has. But the country’s 2 million federal workers have mostly soldiered on, believing in the value of their work even if they question decisions coming out of the White House. Until now. In what some see as the ultimate insult, almost half of them were told to stay home. Do not pass “Go.” Do not collect any dollars. Randy Erwin, national president of the National Federation of Federal Employees, says many of his members and their departments have been undermined since Trump took office. “A lot of these agencies have been starved for resources, which has made carrying out the mission difficult,” he explains. “With this shutdown, the mission has gone from difficult to impossible.”

A massive failure of the president.  Worse, not fixing at getting any better.

Cowardly fail to financially and/or materially support those fighting for all civil and constitutional rights and liberties at great personal cost and risk?  Get what you truly deserve.


1-4-19

Think a Commander-In-Chief who blatantly lies to the troops isn't a traitor?  NBC News reports:

"President Donald Trump told American troops in Iraq that he gave them a 10 percent raise, and that it was their first pay hike in a decade — but he didn't, and it wasn't. "You just got one of the biggest pay raises you've ever received," Trump said in remarks at the Al Asad Air Base during his surprise trip to Iraq on Wednesday, drawing cheers from the troops. "You haven’t gotten one in more than 10 years — more than 10 years. And we got you a big one. I got you a big one."

Trump lied:

Troops will receive a 2.6 percent — not 10 percent — pay hike for 2019; they got a 2.4 percent pay hike in 2018. What's more, American troops have received a pay hike every year for decades. 2019's raise is the largest in nine years. Military pay raises are tied to increases [in] private-sector wages, as calculated by the Department of Labor. Congress can also enact raises that exceed that rate, as well. Trump insisted that he personally had fought for this raise, because the troops put their lives on the line. "They said, 'You know, we could make it smaller. We could make it three percent. We could make it two percent. We could make it four percent.' I said, 'No. Make it 10 percent. Make it more than 10 percent,'" Trump told the troops. "It's been more than 10 years. That's a long time. And, you know, you really put yourselves out there, and you put your lives out there. So congratulations."

Trump is a congenital liar.  Regardless, the raise didn't even match true rate of inflation for the bottom and middle class.  Total sham by a clueless charlatan.  LOL.

ABC News reports:

"President Donald Trump struck overtly political chords as he addressed service members during a speech at the al-Asad Airbase in Iraq Wednesday -– his first visit to an overseas military installation. Abandoning, as he has before, the traditional maxim of politics ending at the water’s edge, the president said his military strategy puts an end to the United States being "suckers" and hammered Democrats for resisting his demands for border wall funding. The president gave incorrect information to the assembled soldiers about their pay raise this year and re-enacted a conversation with his military advisers who he claimed had encouraged him not to remove American troops from Syria. In past visits abroad the president has frequently admonished allies to be more committed to fights taking place in their own backyards. During the speech at al-Asad, Trump revisited that theme, saying that countries must sometimes pay a "monetary price" for the United States’ military involvement, "so we’re not the suckers of the world." "We’re no longer the suckers, folks. And people aren’t looking at us as suckers… We’re respected again as a nation," Trump continued."

The hell we are, Donny boy.  Direct opposite.  That achingly clueless, Mr. 'President?'  We're now the laughing stock of the world courtesy of your abject lunacy, sir.

Trump remains hopelessly delusional, out to lunch:

"The president noted that "stopping terrorists from entering America’s shores" is part of a broader strategy of homeland security. Then, taking a political turn, Trump said his political rivals are only blocking a more robust border wall out of blind opposition to everything he proposes. "I don’t know if you folks are aware of what’s happening -- we want to have strong borders in the United States, the Democrats don’t want to let us have strong borders. Only for one reason. You know why? Because I want it," he said. Trump said the "brilliant young faces, these warriors" in the crowd were inspiring him to try a new strategy, in which he insists he does not want a wall after all. "I think I’ll say, I don’t want the wall. And then they’re going to give it to me! I figured out the solution," he said."

Jesus Christ.  This idiot has clearly lost his mind.  Delusionally believe him fit for office?  Comfortable with his finger figuratively on the nuclear button?

"While praising the soldiers' contribution to the causes of justice and peace, and stating that the U.S. government will always protect its soldiers, Trump incorrectly took credit for the annual pay raise the military received. "Is anybody here willing to give up the big pay raise you just got?" he surveyed the crowd. "Raise your hand please. Oh, I don’t see too many hands." He continued, citing numbers that have since been debunked and declared untrue. "You haven’t gotten [a raise] in more than ten years," he said. "And we got you a big one. I got you a big one." As the independent fact-checking site PolitiFact noted, the military has received a routine pay raise every year since at least 1961. The 2.4 percent increase that went into effect in 2018 was the largest since 2010, but they have continued apace every year. Trump then falsely asserted that the pay increase was actually 10 percent, recounting phony conversations in which "plenty of people" tried to impose a smaller raise. "You had plenty of people that came up and said, 'you know, we can make it smaller. We can make it 3 percent, we can make it 2 percent, we can make it 4 percent.' I said, 'No, make it 10 percent. Make it more than 10 percent.'"

Goddamned liar.  Sick piece of human excrement.

"PolitiFact, which had fact-checked earlier, similar utterances from the president, has rated these claims Pants on Fire."

The Washington Post reports:

"A day after President Trump’s surprise visit to American forces in Iraq and Germany, questions persisted about whether he had jeopardized the political neutrality of the U.S. military by leveling partisan attacks and signing red “Make America Great Again” hats for the troops. The president’s behavior — out of step with that of his predecessors — highlighted the struggle Pentagon leaders face in navigating an avowedly apolitical military through a hyperpartisan era in U.S. politics, particularly under a commander in chief unafraid of breaking with established norms. The struggle is likely to intensify with the beginning of the 2020 presidential campaign and the departure of Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, who sought to prevent the military from becoming a pawn in the nation’s tribal politics, at times unsuccessfully, before his resignation last week."

Trump remains achingly unfit for office:

"Trump defended his conduct late Thursday. “CNN & others within the Fake News Universe were going wild about my signing MAGA hats for our military in Iraq and Germany,” he wrote on Twitter. “If these brave young people ask me to sign their hat, I will sign. Can you imagine my saying NO? We brought or gave NO hats as the Fake News first reported!” Critics also focused on the content of Trump’s speeches during his trip. By making overtly political remarks to uniformed troops who were excited to meet their commander in chief, Trump risked the American public seeing the military as a partisan fan base, the critics said, an image that may play well to his base but undermines the trust all Americans put in their armed forces. “As long as the message from the president is how wonderful it is that they are doing a service for the country, that’s great,” said Charles Blanchard, a former general counsel for the Army and the Air Force during the Clinton and Obama administrations. “But when it turns into a political rally, what do people see? They see enthusiastic soldiers clapping and yelling for a partisan message.”

The following misses the point, however:

"The risk, Blanchard and other experts said, is an erosion of public faith in a military that 74 percent of Americans expressed confidence in during a 2018 Gallup poll, making it by far the most trusted government institution in American public life. One of the ways the military historically has earned that trust is by steering clear of politics and assuring Americans that uniformed officers will carry out the lawful orders of whatever civilian leadership the country elects without bias."

The issue is of far greater significance than that.  The problem is separation, more precisely, lack thereof.  Between civilians and the military.  For damned good reason.  To ensure we don't turn into a banana republic run by a military junta.  Exactly, why the commander-in-chief is a civilian, not a military commander.

Consider the following:

"Robert Dallek, a presidential historian, said there’s always an element of politics when presidents visit troops overseas but that Trump transgressed the line.  “Lyndon Johnson went to Vietnam and visited the troops,” Dallek said. “Did he attack the Republicans? Did he attack his Democratic critics? No. It’s inappropriate. But, once again, what you have with Trump is someone who bends the rules and violates the norms in order to make himself look special or exceptional.” The reason for the norms, according to Rosa Brooks, a law professor and national security expert at Georgetown University, is to ensure that an institution endowed by the American public with tremendous power “isn’t being used for partisan ends.” “We have the line because we don’t want to turn into a banana republic,” she said, noting that she was less worried about a handful of troops meeting the president and forgetting their training and more concerned about Trump “using an address to military personnel as a partisan opportunity.”

The following is a problem:

"While the president cheered troops with his visit to Iraq, thanking them for their sacrifices and wishing them a merry Christmas, he otherwise approached his appearance much as he would a political rally or event. Speaking onstage at al-Asad Air Base in front of camouflage netting and a giant American flag, the president sported a military-style bomber jacket and alternated between political talking points and musings on foreign policy in between expressing appreciation and gratitude. He even imported the traditional stagecraft of his political rallies to Iraq, entering to the tune of Lee Greenwood’s “God Bless the U.S.A.” and exiting to a rendition of the Rolling Stones’ “You Can’t Always Get What You Want.”

Certainly, turned into a political rally:

"During his remarks, Trump attacked House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi by name, saying the only way he could get the California Democrat to support a wall on the U.S. border with Mexico was to say he no longer wanted one. He told the troops that Democrats oppose strong borders and defense spending increases that help take care of the military. At an earlier news conference on base, he said that “we have a problem with the Democrats because Nancy Pelosi is calling the shots.”

Worse?  Get this.  Trump undermined the chain of command in front of its subordinates, the troops:

"In another departure from traditional decorum, Trump questioned the judgment of the chain of command above the forces he met in Iraq, saying he had demanded a withdrawal from neighboring Syria but kept receiving requests from “our generals” to remain there for six more months. Finally, he suggested, he became fed up and told them “we’re doing it a different way,” suggesting the officers were wrong."

Shameless hucksterism:

"During a visit to the base’s dining facility, Trump signed several “Make America Great Again” hats that service members had brought with them and also signed a patch for one service member that read “Trump 2020.” At Ramstein Air Base in Germany, where the president stopped on the way home, photographs posted by a Bloomberg News reporter to social media showed uniformed troops holding the red hats and one officer carrying a Trump campaign banner."

Our clueless nazi fuhrer certainly should have known better:

"The Pentagon declined to say whether those activities amounted to a violation of military rules requiring active-duty troops to stay apolitical, referring the query to local units. U.S. Air Forces Europe, in a statement to Stars and Stripes, said those who brought the MAGA hats didn’t violate rules because “there is no rule against airmen bringing personal items to be signed by the president.” The rules are set out in Defense Department Directive 1344.10 and emphasized in training with American service members. The directive, among other things, prohibits active-duty service members from participating in political rallies, giving the appearance of endorsing a candidate or even displaying partisan political signs, posters and banners on a private vehicle or one’s house."

Exactly, what effectively happened during the president's visit.  The troops shouldn't be held accountable.  Trump should be.  Our nazi fuhrer turned the visit into a political rally.

"The visit to Iraq and Germany wasn’t the first time that Trump faced criticism for politicizing the U.S. military. In his first days in office, he signed a travel ban on people from predominantly Muslim nations in the Pentagon’s Hall of Heroes, a choice of venue that made it seem as though the policy decision carried the military’s imprimatur. Last year, in a commissioning ceremony for the USS Gerald Ford, Trump asked a crowd that included uniformed naval officers to call Congress and advocate both increased defense spending and his policy on health care. Since the campaign, Trump has viewed the military’s rank and file as his base. “We had a wonderful election, didn’t we?” he said at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa in February 2017. “And I saw those numbers, and you liked me, and I liked you.”

Not all Republicans are clueless:

“It’s important to the troops and morale that the commander in chief was willing to go out and see it with his own eyes,” said Rick Tyler, a Republican strategist. “But he diminished himself and the office by using it as an opportunity to politicize.” The advantage Trump has over his political rivals, Tyler said, is that he is commander in chief and carries the respect of the office. “You merely have to act the role,” Tyler said, “and you get all the political advantages without politicizing it.”

Trump is too aggressively stupid to understand this most salient, insightful point.

NBC News reports:

"On his trip to Iraq this week, President Trump exposed the faces of members of U.S. Navy SEAL Team 5, possibly putting them in danger, an expert said. During his surprise post-Christmas visit to troops in Iraq, his first trip to a combat zone since he was sworn in last year, the president and First Lady Melania Trump entered the dining hall Wednesday at the Al-Asad base west of Baghdad to greet about 100 troops. U.S. Navy Lt. Cmdr. Kyu Lee told Trump he is the chaplain for SEAL Team 5. Lee later said Trump told him, "Hey, in that case, let’s take a picture."

    ".@FLOTUS Melania and I were honored to visit our incredible troops at Al Asad Air Base in Iraq. GOD BLESS THE U.S.A.! pic.twitter.com/rDlhITDvm1
    — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 26, 2018

"The ensuing photos and video revealed the presence of the special operations forces, something some experts have said is generally frowned upon if not verboten in war zones."

Yet, the Defense Department brushed all concern away:

"However, the Office of the Secretary of Defense said in a statement that no rules were violated. "The special operators voluntarily participated in this open press event," the secretary's public affairs arm stated. "There was no security violation."

Think not?

"Retired U.S. Navy Admiral James Stavridis addressed the matter Thursday on "MSNBC Live with Hallie Jackson." "It's important he's a SEAL," Stavridis said of the chaplain. "That's a part of the force that is historically supposed to be very, very cloistered, very much in the shadows. If it wasn't a SEAL, it wouldn't be a big deal. Navy SEAL, that surprised me." Retired U.S. Navy Chief Petty Officer Malcolm Nance is an intelligence consultant for U.S. special operations forces who said by email that the presence of SEAL Team 5 members should not have been revealed. "The fact is they are a special operations force in a combat zone with a combat role," said Nance, who has also served as a counter-terrorism analyst for NBC News and MSNBC. "The reason their identities are protected is in case of capture." The former Navy intelligence operative said the exposure would increase their value if they're ever captured by enemies. "Most of our enemies, including Russian-backed Syrian forces, have very sophisticated social media organizations that follow the activities of these teams very closely," Nance said. "If protocols have been followed, by digitizing the faces of the individuals (as every other president has done) this would not be an issue," he said. "Now those sailors are a[t] far higher risk while in Iraq just because they posed with Trump."

Yet, others brushed off all concern.

Cowardly fail to financially and/or materially support those fighting for all civil and constitutional rights and liberties at great personal cost and risk?  Get what you truly deserve.


1-4-19

One has to wonder if presidential security regarding Trump's recent trip to visit troops in Iraq was indeed sufficient.  NBC News reports:

"President Donald Trump's unannounced visit to Iraq was no surprise to airplane buffs. While the trip was shrouded in secrecy for security reasons, an airplane aficionado spotted the distinctive blue and white Boeing jet flying over England, and posted pictures of it on his Flickr account Wednesday morning. When the president is on board, the VC-25A plane — a military version of the 747 — uses the call sign Air Force One. The plane spotted over England, however, was using the call sign RCH358. Online detectives figured out the plane's disguised call numbers, and tracked its movements — even sharing them on Twitter.

    "Is Trump on a surprise visit to Afghanistan? Turkey? Flight trackers show that one of two planes used for Air Force One (92-9000/VC-25) using what appears to be a fake HEXCODE of AE47C4, departed Andrews Air Force base at midnight. Transponders changed or disabled near Romania. pic.twitter.com/JtVzEPUoLv
    — WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) December 26, 2018

    "RCH358 left Joint Base Andrews around 0500 UTC & pinged up on my own receiver here in the UK around 1100 UTC. ?? pic.twitter.com/GPTziM8o94
    — CivMilAir (@CivMilAir) December 26, 2018"

Amazing, isn't it?  Security of all people on board that aircraft was clearly in jeopardy.  What could security planners possibly been thinking?

"WikiLeaks then got in on the act, tweeting out a map of the route the plane was taking. "The Boeing 747 usually used by Trump for Air Force One is currently moving towards Turkey," one of the tweets said. That led to speculation online that Trump was going to visit troops in Afghanistan, or to pay his respects to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who reportedly recently told the president that Turkey would take responsibility for finishing off the Islamic State if the U.S. pulled out of Syria. WikiLeaks then tweeted that the plane's transponders — the device used to to track plane flights — were either changed or disabled near Romania."

Major lapse in security:

"Paul Reickhoff, an Iraq War veteran and founder and CEO of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, questioned the White House's operational security measures on Twitter, saying it's "a bit troubling that so many folks seem to already know about this if it hasn't happened already."

    Sources telling me Trump’s on his way to visit troops—possibly in Iraq. Better late than never. But also a bit troubling that so many folks seem to already know about this if it hasn’t happened already. #OpSec anyone?
    — Paul (PJ) Rieckhoff (@PaulRieckhoff) December 26, 2018"

Appalling, isn't it?

"The online tracking appeared to thwart, to an unusual degree, the security protocols that often have kept the plane's movements obscured on visits to war zones in the past. The plane's shades were drawn and lights were out for much of the 11-hour trip for security reasons, according to a Reuters reporter who was on the flight. Trump, meanwhile, stayed off Twitter for the duration of the flight — which to many on social media was also a tell that something was up, given his prolific tweeting in recent days."

Trump is an idiot.  Get this:

"Asked if he'd had any concerns about making the trip, Trump said, "Absolutely." "I had concerns for the institution of the presidency, because, not for myself personally, I had concerns for the first lady, I will tell you," he said. "But if you would have seen what we had to go through, with the darkened plane with all windows closed, with no lights on whatsoever, anywhere, pitch black, I’ve never seen that, been on many airplanes, all types and shapes and sizes, I’ve never seen anything like it."

Proof positive, -- 'stupid is as stupid does.'  Ferociously pointed question.  Where the hell were security planners?  Out to lunch?

Cowardly fail to financially and/or materially support those fighting for all civil and constitutional rights and liberties at great personal cost and risk?  Get what you truly deserve.


1-4-19

Trump's visit to Iraq did not sit well with Iraqi lawmakers.  Imagine that.  ABC News reports:

"Iraqi lawmakers Thursday demanded U.S. forces leave the country following a surprise visit by President Donald Trump that politicians denounced as arrogant and a violation of national sovereignty. Trump's trip to U.S. servicemen and women at al-Asad Airbase in western Iraq on Wednesday was unannounced and the subject of extreme security, which is routine for presidential visits to conflict regions. But it came at a time when containing foreign influence has become a hot-button issue in Iraqi politics, and it provoked vociferous backlash. Iraqi lawmakers were smarting after the U.S. president left three hours after he arrived without meeting any officials, drawing unfavorable comparisons to the occupation of Iraq after the 2003 invasion. "Trump needs to know his limits. The American occupation of Iraq is over," said Sabah al-Saidi, the head of one of two main blocs in Iraq's parliament. Trump, al-Saidi added, had slipped into Iraq, "as though Iraq is a state of the United States." While Trump didn't meet with any officials, he spoke with Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi by phone after a "difference in points of view" over arrangements led to a face-to-face meeting between the two leaders to be scrapped, according to the prime minister's office. The visit could have unintended consequences for American policy, with officials from both sides of Iraq's political divide calling for a vote in Parliament to expel U.S. forces from the country."

Trump and his henchmen are idiots.  Have no clue:

"The president, who kept to the U.S. air base approximately 100 kilometers (60 miles) west of Baghdad, said he had no plans to withdraw the 5,200 troops in the country. He said Ain al-Asad could be used for U.S. air strikes inside Syria following his announcement last week to withdraw U.S. troops from there. The suggestion ran counter to the current sentiment of Iraqi politics, which favors claiming sovereignty over foreign and domestic policy and staying above the fray in regional conflicts. "Iraq should not be a platform for the Americans to settle their accounts with either the Russians or the Iranians in the region," said Hakim al-Zamili, a senior lawmaker in al-Saidi's Islah bloc in Parliament."

Clearly, the Trump nazi delusionally believes he rules the world.

Cowardly fail to financially and/or materially support those fighting for all civil and constitutional rights and liberties at great personal cost and risk?  Get what you truly deserve.


1-4-19

The Kurds are not happy campers.  NPR reports:

"The green landscape of rural northeastern Syria is home to wild ducks and donkeys, villagers tending cattle — and U.S. military bases housing 2,200 troops. American soldiers patrol the countryside in armored vehicles and hover overhead in Black Hawk helicopters. In the Kurdish-majority area known as Rojava, towns are bursting with Christmas decorations.

"But President Trump's sudden decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria has overshadowed most of this year's celebrations. Syrians who have made the U.S. troops feel welcome here say they are shocked and upset by the news. Some are calling it a "stab in the back." This is the part of Syria where U.S. troops have backed up local fighters in forcing ISIS out of nearly all the nearby cities and towns they once held. The Syrians — led by Kurdish fighters — have lost thousands in the fight, and some feel their sacrifices aren't being acknowledged or repaid."

Why are reporters denied access to American troops?  Is Trump afraid of what they may hear?

"This week, NPR tried to gain access to a few of the U.S. bases but was told the American troops there are not authorized to comment. Syrian civilians working and living near the bases, though, spoke openly about how they felt — and many say they feel betrayed by Trump's decision. Hatem Hassan, 37, runs a money exchange shop in Qamishli. He says Trump's decision hits close to home. "If they will leave, we will curse them as traitors," he says. "The Kurds helped them to destroy ISIS. ... I have seven people from my family who were fighting ISIS and who were killed. And they were very young, not even in their 20s." Haji Haidar, 39, is standing outside his blacksmith shop. Everyone here is angry and scared, he says. "ISIS is not yet defeated and there are still many sleeper cells to take care of," warns Mustafa Bali, a spokesman for the Syrian Democratic Forces."All the work they did together, and now they are leaving so suddenly," he says. "I don't understand it. People are afraid that they will just sell the country to someone."

Trump clearly, deliberately, concertedly failed to consider the ramifications of a sudden pullout.

"The Syrian Democratic Forces, the U.S.-backed Kurdish group, says it is scrambling to put together a backup plan now. Two SDF spokesman told NPR they heard the news of the U.S. withdrawal last week the same way as everyone else: while watching television. The SDF includes Christian fighters and commanders who may not make it home for Christmas this year, as they prepare for whatever comes next.

"But an ISIS resurgence isn't the only — or even biggest — concern now facing residents of northeastern Syria: They mainly fear an attack from Turkey. The stakes are especially urgent for Syria's Kurds, who make up the bulk of the population in the northeast, along the Turkish border, and have been the closest U.S. allies. Turkey has been threatening to attack the Kurds here. It views them as terrorists because of their links to militants who stage attacks in Turkey. Turkey has criticized the U.S. for helping the Kurds shore up control of this region and has indicated it could invade as soon as U.S. forces are out. If Turkey chooses to invade, the SDF may have to abandon fighting ISIS, Bali says. "You can't have your forces being busy fighting ISIS while another country comes in from behind and attacks your people and forces," he says."

What webs we weave.  Trump remains clueless.  An idiot.  Unmitigated fool.

Cowardly fail to financially and/or materially support those fighting for all civil and constitutional rights and liberties at great personal cost and risk?  Get what you truly deserve.


1-4-19

Trump can't refrain from lying.  NBC News reports:

"Just days after claiming that "many" furloughed government workers told him they're fine with not getting paid so long as he secures additional funding for a border wall, President Donald Trump tweeted Thursday morning that "most of the people not getting paid are Democrats." Trump, who offered no support for his claim, fired off the tweet early Thursday morning as the government shutdown entered its sixth day. Trump said on Christmas Day he will not reopen the government until he gets $5 billion in funding for a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

"Have the Democrats finally realized that we desperately need Border Security and a Wall on the Southern Border. Need to stop Drugs, Human Trafficking, Gang Members & Criminals from coming into our Country. Do the Dems realize that most of the people not getting paid are Democrats?

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 27, 2018"

The 'opposition' party continues to stand its ground:

"Democrats have said they won't provide Trump with that funding, and indicated they won't go beyond the $1.6 billion that has already been allocated for border wall purposes. Republicans and Democrats reached an agreement last week on a stopgap spending measure to prevent a shutdown — a deal that the White House signaled Trump would sign. But at the 11th hour, Trump scuttled the agreement because it did not provide additional funding for a border wall."

ABC News reports:

"President Trump threatened to shut down the entire southern border with Mexico and cut off aid to Central American countries if his demands for more border wall funding aren't met in the coming weeks."

Yet, another tantrum thrown by the Trump nazi who hasn't gotten his way.  Tough, isn't it?  Doesn't your heart bleed for this idiot?  Grow up, Donny boy.  You're behaving like a spoiled, egregiously out of control, five-year-old brat:

"Trump tweeted Friday that if "Obstructionist Democrats" don't give him the billions of dollars he is asking for he will "close the Southern Border entirely.

"We will be forced to close the Southern Border entirely if the Obstructionist Democrats do not give us the money to finish the Wall & also change the ridiculous immigration laws that our Country is saddled with. Hard to believe there was a Congress & President who would approve!
    — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 28, 2018

"Trump added that closing the southern border, which would dramatically impact trade and people living on the border, would be a "profit making operation."

Do it, Donny boy, do it.  What are you waiting for?  Idiotic move.  Billions lost. You own this, you psychotic idiot.

"Acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney told reporters on Friday that the president is threatening to shut down the border because "it's the only way we can get the Democrats' attention."

Like your fuhrer, the Trump nazi, you're an idiot, Mr. Mulvaney.  Democrats need to find a pair of cajones and stand firm on this goddamned insanity.  Forget?  Walls can be gone over, under, or through.  Aggressive stupidity at its very worst.  Will cost taxpayers dearly for something that will ultimately miserably fail.

"Earlier on Fox News, Mulvaney said the president canceled his New Year's Eve plans at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida, to stay in Washington for potential negotiations. "We are here and they know where to find us," Mulvaney said, adding, "The discussions have broken down, we expect this to go on for a while, we expect to manage it." "We could be in this for the long haul," Mulvaney said."

You and your fellow national socialist, fascist, nazi Republicans own this fiasco.

"The president also threatened that he would cut off aid to three Central American countries -- Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador -- for being the source of the migrant caravans. Reports emerged that a new caravan from Honduras is preparing to leave for Mexico. The president has threatened to cut off aid before but the administration recently struck a deal with Mexico to send billions of dollars in aid to Central American countries to curb migration. "Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador are doing nothing for the United States but taking our money. Word is that a new Caravan is forming in Honduras and they are doing nothing about it. We will be cutting off all aid to these 3 countries - taking advantage of U.S. for years!” Trump tweeted."

The United States is directly responsible for this ongoing debacle.  Goes back at least five decades since the Nixon era, -- then the Reagan Administration after that.  Deliberate interference by the US in Latin American affairs, ostensibly to block increased Leftist activity.  You nazi Republican bastards created this ongoing fiasco, now don't know what to do about the monster you cluelessly created.

Cowardly fail to financially and/or materially support those fighting for all civil and constitutional rights and liberties at great personal cost and risk?  Get what you truly deserve.


1-4-19

About time Democrats got up off their sorry asses and pressured the Trump nazi and his henchmen.  NBC News reports:

"Democratic lawmakers on Wednesday called for congressional hearings after the deaths of two migrant children in U.S. custody in one month and said they were working to draft legislation requiring health standards for immigration agencies. “We believe there should be a congressional investigation as soon as Congress comes back into session,” Rep. Joaquín Castro, D-Tex., the incoming chairman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, said on a call with reporters Wednesday afternoon. He added that "systemic failures" at immigration agencies were contributing "to serious injury and illness and to the deaths of these migrants." Rep. Raul Ruiz, D-Calif., called on immigration authorities to conduct more “meaningful medical screenings” after the deaths of 8-year-old Felipe Alonzo-Gomez on Christmas Eve and 7-year-old Jakelin Caal Maquin earlier this month. The Trump administration has yet to name the boy who died, but Congressional Democrats identified him as Felipe Alonzo-Gomez. Those medical screenings would include a questionnaire, a review of any symptoms, medical history, a check of a migrant’s vital signs and consultation with medical personnel, Ruiz said. “We need to think like physicians and think like humanitarian aid specialists and we need to match the response to the needs that we are seeing,” he said."

Empty rhetoric continues to come from Democrats who remain determinedly clueless as to how to handle the Trump nazi and his imposition of the Fourth Reich.  This lunatic, fascist piece of human excrement in the Oval Office has no heart, no soul, no principles.  Remains determinedly amoral.

"Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., the incoming speaker, also called for a congressional investigation into the deaths. "Democrats call on Homeland Security’s Inspector General to immediately open an investigation into Felipe Alzono-Gomez’s death,” she said in a statement. “The Congress will also investigate this tragedy and the heartbreaking death of Jakelin Amei Rosmery Caal Maquin, to seek justice and ensure that no other child is left to such a fate.”

Republican national socialists, fascists, nazis couldn't care less.  Have become as amoral as their fuhrer.

"Meanwhile, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said in a statement Wednesday that she has asked the Coast Guard Medical Corps to assess CBP’s medical programs and make recommendations for improvements. Both CBP and ICE are under the Department of Homeland Security. "This tragedy, the death of a child in government custody is deeply concerning and heartbreaking," she said."

You, your fuhrer the Trump nazi, and the rest of his henchmen are directly responsible.

"I will be traveling to the border later this week to see first-hand the medical screenings and conditions at Border Patrol stations," she said."

Why not do the right thing?  Resign in disgrace.  Your holding facilities are gulags.  Unfit for livestock, let alone people.

"She added that there were six deaths in CBP custody in fiscal year 2018, none of which were children, and prior to the two deaths this month it had been more than a decade since a child died in their custody."

Cowardly fail to financially and/or materially support those fighting for all civil and constitutional rights and liberties at great personal cost and risk?  Get what you truly deserve.


1-4-19

Drastic reduction of refugee admissions to the United States in 2018.  NPR reports:

"It's well known that President Trump wants a wall on the southern U.S. border. He insists it's urgent to curb illegal immigration. But more than any wall, new barriers to legal immigration are likely to have more bearing on people trying to enter the United States. The United States is rejecting more legal immigrants than ever before. The first casualty in 2018 was the U.S. refugee resettlement program, says Larry Yungk, a former official at the U.N. refugee agency and now co-chair of the advisory committee of Church World Service's refugee program. "This is one where the knobs were in reach," he explains, referring to the president's prerogative to set the yearly refugee admission cap. After framing refugees as a security threat, Trump slashed resettlement admission numbers for a second year to a historic low, says Yungk. Just 22,491 refugees were resettled in the U.S. in fiscal year 2018, roughly half the 45,000 cap."

Mark of a xenophobic nazi dictator.

"He has managed to convince people that somehow, out of the 75 million persons who enter the U.S. each year who are not American citizens, refugees are the ones we should worry about the most," he says. Now, the refugees approved for resettlement are mostly from Africa and European countries from the former Soviet Union. More than 2,500 were from Ukraine in fiscal 2018, according to the State Department Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration. At the same time, the number of Muslim refugees is down by 90 percent since fiscal year 2017, and Latin American refugee numbers are down by almost 40 percent, even though these asylum seekers are coming from regions that produce some of the highest numbers of refugees due to civil wars and violence. Just 62 Syrian refugees were resettled in the U.S. in the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30."

Land of the free?  Home of the brave?  Hell no.  Land of the enslaved.  Home of the gutless.  Under a lunatic nazi dictator.

"The cuts have been devastating for resettlement agencies. There are nine voluntary agencies that receive federal funding based on the number of refugees they resettle. Drastic budget cuts and staff layoffs began in 2018 and are expected to continue through 2019. "This is very much the dismantling of the program's infrastructure in the U.S.," says Jennifer Quigley, an advocacy strategist with Human Rights First in Washington, D.C. She believes the president's aim is to zero out the refugee resettlement program. "We would not be surprised if we do not have this program at the end of this administration," she says."

-- Adolf Hitler, circa 1933, soon after the national socialist, fascist, Nazi bastard became Chancellor of Nazi Germany.  ... History repeating itself.

"When Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced in September that the U.S. would admit no more than 30,000 refugees in fiscal year 2019, he said the lower refugee ceiling would help improve national security."

Think so?  Delusionally believe the lie?  Wake up.  With exception of 9/11 which could have been prevented had our goddamned government did full background checks on the hijackers and heeded warnings of the flight schools, all domestic terror since 9/11 has been homegrown.  Instead, gutless nazis in both major political parties obliterated liberty via the USA 'Patriot' Act, Homeland 'Security' Act, 'Real' Id Act, etc..  Traitors.  Now live in a de facto fascist police-state, quickly transitioning to the Trump nazi's Fourth Reich.

"Still, restricting the refugee program appears part of a larger administration aim to restrict or close paths to legal immigration, advocates say. A variety of programs are targeted and have new restrictions. The Department of Homeland Security has its highest rate of denial on record for foreign-born U.S. residents applying for work permits, travel documents and applications based on family reunification and petitions for fiancés. New policies slow or stop the admission of skilled foreign workers and entrepreneurs. The number of international students in the U.S. has declined in the past two years, in part because of visa restrictions."

Raw nazism imposed by the Trump nazi and his henchmen.  Gutlessly tolerated by the hopelessly cowardly sheep in our formerly great country.

"The U.S. military has also abruptly discharged some foreign-born recruits who were promised an expedited path to citizenship. Hundreds of thousands of longtime U.S. residents have lost temporary protected status and are now subject to deportation. The TPS program, established by Congress in 1990, was created to offer protections to foreign nationals of countries devastated by natural disasters or armed conflict. It allows them to get work permits, pay taxes and establish new lives in the U.S."

Trump has disgraced not only himself, but the Founders who must be spinning in their graves.  Wouldn't recognize the democratic republic they created all those years ago.

"Even as the Trump administration's hard-line immigration policies have triggered a crisis on the southern border, another less-known crisis is brewing along the northern U.S. border with Canada. Fearing Trump's crackdown, thousands have entered Canada at unmarked locations along the border this year. The largest group is Haitians, fearing deportation with the cancellation of TPS protection, followed by Nigerians, Turks, Syrians and Eritreans. The wave of asylum seekers has swamped Canada's immigration system. Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau blames his country's migration woes on the U.S. policies. In an interview last week, Trudeau cited "domestic realities within the political context in the United States" for driving people to flee across the Canadian border. The stream of asylum seekers has become a political wedge issue for Trudeau, who is up for re-election in the fall of 2019."

Our lunatic nazi fuhrer in the Oval Office, his henchmen, and achingly sick sycophants are ferociously reminded our UNDOCUMENTED white European forebears arrived in this continent centuries ago, STOLE this land from its native inhabitants, then BROKE every goddamned treaty signed.

Cowardly fail to financially and/or materially support those fighting for all civil and constitutional rights and liberties at great personal cost and risk?  Get what you truly deserve.


1-4-19

The above barely scratches the surface.  The problem of xenophobia remains alive and well in our formerly great country.  Consider the following.  The Washington Post reports:

"Lisa and Kenny Priddle are among 11 families who moved to Dothan, Ala., when a millionaire offered each up to $50,000 to attract more Jews to his hometown. She was already going to be late to the church, where once again she would try to explain her religion, even though it seems like most people in her town never really get it. And now the latkes are burning. Lisa Priddle wonders why she is trying so hard, why she is prepping and cooking and buying Hanukkah dreidels for people in the small Southern city that she and her husband moved to because a Jewish millionaire paid them to come build up the Jewish community there. Given an offer of up to $50,000, she and Kenny picked up their lives and came to Alabama, but now they must think seriously about the anti-Semitism they’ve experienced, about moments you don’t forget, about that lingering feeling of being on the outside.

"Lisa and Kenny pack up the latkes and drive to the massive Methodist church that dwarfs the Priddles’ synagogue across the street. The Jewish couple committed when they came here to share their faith with whomever they could, and on this day, they had been invited to the church to explain Hanukkah to a group of about a dozen adults with mild dementia. Lisa walks in flustered as the participants chat at round tables above the strains of a Christmas soundtrack. She starts to speak slowly. “We are Jewish,” she says. “I moved here eight years ago from New York, where there were lots of Jewish people.” Alabamians, she tells her listeners brightly, “have always been very welcoming and kind to us.” It’s not entirely true, she thinks, as Kenny circles each table, handing each participant a latke and a shiny new dreidel."

The ignorance of some in our formerly great country indeed knows no bounds.  Get this:

"One Alabamian shocked Kenny by stating her belief that Jews make hamburgers with babies’ blood. Another, who had hired Kenny as a home health-care aide, asked him recently where he went to church, and when he told her that he was Jewish, he got a call from the agency that night saying the patient no longer considered Kenny a good “fit” to care for her."

Yet, these hopelessly ignorant, achingly clueless bastards claim to be Christians.  Fail to recognize the Head Honcho of their religion was indeed a Jew.

"Lisa looks out at the people in the room, at the glittering miniature Christmas tree on every table, and decides then and there to share some of her fears as a Jew in America. She brings up the killing of 11 Jews at Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life synagogue in October. “It’s a vulnerable time for all of us as we gather together in groups now,” she says, her eyes flitting across the tables to see how people are reacting. Then, hopefully: “Does anyone have any questions?” The room is silent at first, and as Kenny tries to fill the gap by offering seconds on latkes, Lisa wonders whether they understood her or just don’t know what to say. A woman at the front table pipes up: “Can you talk about matzoh?” she asks. Another woman asks about potato knishes and gefilte fish. That’s all. A few minutes later, Lisa and Kenny toss the rest of the burned latkes in the church’s trash can and walk away, not sure whether they made any difference. “I don’t know why I got so nervous,” she says."

Goes on and on.  Extremely difficult decision to be made:

"Lisa sighs. “I have waffled on this so much.” Kenny leans back in his chair. “When you know, you let me know,” he says. “I think I’m ready to go back.” The sun had set. It was time to light candles, another night of Hanukkah. Another night of singing those Hebrew words that had helped Lisa discover as a child what was always in her soul. “I feel more relaxed already,” Lisa whispers, as they sit in the dark, staring at the flickering flames, gazing at the menorah’s metalwork figure of a man wrapping his arms lovingly around his wife. Kenny gave her this candle holder when he proposed. They took it to Dothan. They clung to their vision of a Jewish home, and they clung to each other, and, now, in the glow of the candles, Lisa knows what will come next. They will leave Alabama."

Above quotes courtesy of a most gifted insightful reporter, Julie Zauzmer.

Cowardly fail to financially and/or materially support those fighting for all civil and constitutional rights and liberties at great personal cost and risk?  Get what you truly deserve.


1-4-19

Trump's achilles' heel could very well be his defunct Foundation.  NBC News reports:

"The Trump Foundation and the Trump Organization shared much more than President Donald Trump's last name. And that's why, experts said, the New York state investigations into the charity could envelop the president's namesake business. "Nothing but overlap here. It all was held so tightly by he and his family members," NBC News/MSNBC legal analyst Glenn Kirschner, a former federal prosecutor, told NBC News. "I don't think there will be any investigative daylight between what the New York state authorities and investigators are looking into with respect to the foundation vs. the organization vs. anything else involving business dealings that have the name 'Trump' attached to them," he said, predicting that the foundation investigation will "crash through (the Trump Organization) like a Mack Truck."

Level of corruption within the Foundation is stunning.  Trump used the charity as his personal piggy bank.

"The office of New York Attorney General Barbara Underwood announced last week that the foundation — which Underwood said had exhibited a "shocking pattern" of illegality — agreed to dissolve and give away its assets to other nonprofit organizations within 30 days. The deal won't stop the civil lawsuit that Underwood filed in June against the foundation, which was formed in 1987. The AG's office continues to seek nearly $3 million in restitution plus additional fines as part of the suit, as well as a ban on Trump's leading a New York nonprofit for the next decade and placing one-year bans on the charity's other board members, which include the president's adult children."

Why haven't all principals involved in this fiasco been criminally prosecuted?

"Daniel Goldman, a former federal prosecutor and NBC News/MSNBC legal analyst, said that because some of the same people alleged by the state attorney general of persistent illegal activity in running the charity are also involved with the president's business, there is reasonable justification in broadening the investigation. "It is likely that the investigation into the Trump Foundation has sufficiently overlapped with the Trump Organization that (state) investigators would be justified in extending their investigation into the Trump Organization," he said."

Get this:

"The foundation itself had no employees, instead relying on Trump Organization staffers to cut its checks. Prior to taking office in 2017, Trump turned over day-to-day control of his business to his adult sons, Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump, and Allen Weisselberg, the Trump Organization's chief financial officer. Both sons were among the charity's board members, while Weisselberg was listed as its treasurer. Weisselberg claimed not to know he was the foundation's treasurer until investigators probing the charity told him. "There seems to be entanglements in terms of people and probably in terms of money, that's where businesses, frankly, do really start to get in trouble in terms of violating tax laws and regular criminal laws," said Mimi Rocah, a former federal prosecutor and NBC News/MSNBC legal analyst.

"In the background of the more public-facing attorney general's investigation into the Trump Foundation is an investigation that the state Department of Taxation and Finance is conducting into the charity. While the AG has brought a civil lawsuit, the state tax investigators have the ability to issue a criminal referral."

What are they waiting for?  This fiasco has gone on quite some time.  Why the snail's pace?

"Such a criminal inquiry could go far beyond the scope of that lawsuit and dip into the president's and his family's tax information. Already, those investigators issued a subpoena to Trump's former longtime lawyer Michael Cohen, who served as a top Trump Organization executive, for documents linked to the foundation. Cohen was sentenced this month to three years in federal prison after pleading guilty to nine federal counts. Amy Spitalnick, communications director for the state attorney general's office, declined to comment on whether the office received a criminal referral as a result of the tax investigators probe. Representatives for New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the state Department of Taxation and Finance did not return requests for comment."

Pressure is certainly increasing exponentially on the Trump nazi as the legal noose figuratively tightens.

"The intermingling of Trump Foundation and Trump Organization interests and expenditures will implicate both — that's one part of why it's a tax fraud problem," Jed Shugerman, a Fordham law professor who advised unsuccessful Democratic New York attorney general candidate Zephyr Teachout this year, told NBC News. "They were using the Trump Foundation for the business purposes of the Trump Organization. That's the easiest case."

Think Trump isn't soiling his pants?

"Adding to the fray is [Attorney Gen.-elect Letitia] James, who before taking office next month, told NBC News in a recent interview that she plans to use "every area of the law to investigate President Trump and his business transactions and that of his family as well."

How could Trump and his family ever think they could possibly get away with all the finagling?  Aggressive stupidity?  Aryan arrogance?  Off the charts.

Cowardly fail to financially and/or materially support those fighting for all civil and constitutional rights and liberties at great personal cost and risk?  Get what you truly deserve.


1-4-19

Let the games begin. The Washington Post reports:

"Incoming House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer said Friday that Democrats next week will not seat a North Carolina Republican amid allegations of election fraud in the state’s 9th Congressional District. “Given the now well-documented election fraud that took place in NC-09, Democrats would object to any attempt by [Mark] Harris to be seated on January 3,” Hoyer said in a statement to The Washington Post. “In this instance, the integrity of our democratic process outweighs concerns about the seat being vacant at the start of the new Congress.” The statement came after North Carolina dissolved its elections board Friday without certifying the results of the election, leaving the fate of the seat in doubt days ahead of the start of the new Congress."

Amazing, isn't it?  The bastards had since Election Day to resolve this fiasco.  Why haven't they?

"Dallas Woodhouse, executive director of the North Carolina Republican Party, told CNN on Friday that the elections board “failed in their duty” to certify Harris and suggested that the state GOP may take legal action. “Mr. Harris got more legal votes,” Woodhouse said. “He should be certified and he should go to Congress.”

Think so?  LOL.

"Wayne Goodwin, chairman of the North Carolina Democratic Party, countered by calling Republicans’ behavior “shocking” and accusing them of “trying to steal” a congressional seat. “This is purely obstruction of an ongoing investigation ... This investigation needs to continue,” Goodwin said."

You've had nearly two months to resolve this.  What does it take?

"The election board has been central to the probe into election fraud that has roiled North Carolina and drawn national attention for weeks."

Wake up.  Get your shit together.  Do the right thing.  Resolve the fiasco.  For once, act like Americans, -- not clueless idiots.

"The body’s decision not to certify the race in November — depriving Harris of a victory over Democrat Dan McCready even with a lead of 900 votes — signaled to political observers in the state that there was something potentially serious going on."

Think so?  ... Or, more of the same old bullshit.

"Reporters then disclosed affidavits that had been submitted to the board by voters who alleged various types of election-related impropriety. Some said that their absentee ballots had been collected by strangers, an illegal practice known as “ballot harvesting.”

Where the hell was proper oversight?  Forget?  This isn't rocket science.

"Reporting continued to flesh out the beginnings of what appeared to be a potential fraud operation, where absentee ballots were distributed and then collected, connected to McCrae Dowless, a Republican operative who had been hired by Harris for a get-out-the-vote operation. Investigators were looking into whether Dowless or anyone working for him had discarded ballots."

Fascinating, isn't it?  Don't most Republicans claim to be Christians?  Wouldn't steal, lie, cheat, engage in fraud, would they?

"Nonetheless, the state Republican Party began to battle the election board and the burgeoning investigation into potential fraud."

Nothing quite like Republican national socialist, fascist, nazi hypocrisy, is there?  Think the Trump nazi isn't laughing his sorry, clueless ass off?

"Woodhouse was part of a group of Republicans that successfully pressured the election board’s chairman, a Democrat, Andy Penry, to resign because of statements he’d made in the past on Twitter. The party softened its tone about the board’s investigation after it was disclosed that state law enforcement authorities were pursuing potential criminal investigations into the case. State election officials have also been working with the FBI and the office of Robert Higdon, the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina."

Think the FBI and U.S. Attorney under the Trump nazi will do the right thing?

"It remains unclear whether there will be an interim board of elections to serve between now and Jan. 31, when a new board is expected to be seated. North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper (D) said Friday that he intends to appoint a temporary five-member board, but Republicans have decried the idea of an interim panel as “unconstitutional” and a “sham.”

Think Republican national socialists truly want this fiasco to be properly, fairly, legally resolved?  Forget?  In today's political climate, anything goes, doesn't it?

"A hearing on the 9th District race had been scheduled for Jan. 11, after which the panel could decide whether to certify the election, call a new election or take some other course of action. The fate of that hearing is now in doubt as well."

Incredible, isn't it?  Total dysfunction.  ... As our formerly great country continues to deteriorate, Founders continue to spin in their graves.  Nazi America.  Delusionally believe this is sustainable?

Cowardly fail to financially and/or materially support those fighting for all civil and constitutional rights and liberties at great personal cost and risk?  Get what you truly deserve.


1-4-19

Portend of things to come. The Washington Post reports:

"Democrats have settled on a strategy for attempting to reopen the government when they take control of the House on Thursday, aimed at ending the partial shutdown quickly — but denying President Trump the new money he wants for a border wall. Democrats plan to pass a stopgap spending bill to fund the Homeland Security Department through Feb. 8. The bill would extend the existing $1.3 billion spending level on border fencing and other security measures, far short of the $5 billion Trump has sought to build new walls along the U.S.-Mexico border."

Time for Democrats to find themselves.  Wake up and smell the coffee.  Get out of the funk and dysfunction they've been in since November 22,1963, the Kennedy assassination.  Funding spent on a border wall is a colossal waste of money.  Fencing, electronic surveillance, border personnel, etc., are a far more appropriate and effective use of taxpayer dollars.

"But unless Trump retreats on his demands, it’s unlikely that House passage of the legislation would move Washington much closer to ending the partial shutdown that’s already dragged on for more than a week and sent hundreds of thousands of federal workers home on furlough."

Trump owns the shutdown.  Let the lunatic wallow in his abject stupidity.  Face the consequences.

"A spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Monday the Senate would only bring up legislation that has Trump’s blessing. And with talks at a standstill for days, Trump himself remained bunkered in the White House Monday, tweeting out demands for Democrats to accede to his wishes. “I’m in the Oval Office. Democrats, come back from vacation now and give us the votes necessary for Border Security, including the Wall,” Trump wrote."

Why should Democrats go along with Trump's profound aggressive stupidity, egregious waste of taxpayer money to please his sick sycophants?

"The White House had no immediate comment Monday on the House Democrats’ plan."

What could Trump and/or his henchmen say?  The public is fully aware Trump's intransigence is directly responsible for this ongoing fiasco.

"Under Democrats’ approach, the House would also pass a package of six other spending bills to fund an array of federal agencies that have been shuttered since Dec. 22, including the Interior, Agriculture, Commerce and Justice Departments. Workers at those agencies and others are facing the possibility of missing paychecks depending on how long the shutdown lasts. Those six spending bills would be passed through Sept. 30, the end of the fiscal year, at levels already embraced on a bipartisan basis in the Senate — an approach aimed at pressuring the Senate to go along."

Then again, the lunatic in the Oval Office will likely continue stonewalling no matter what to please his sick sycophants.  Forget?  'Stupid is as stupid does.'

"The stopgap bill the House plans to pass funding the Homeland Security Department through Feb. 8 takes a similar approach to a short-term spending bill the Senate passed the week before Christmas — only to watch Trump renounce it the very next day. McConnell, who will remain in control of the Senate in 2019 even as the House flips to Democratic control, does not want to put his members in that position again. “It’s simple: The Senate is not going to send something to the president that he won’t sign,” Don Stewart, McConnell’s spokesman, wrote in an email Monday."

Clearly, even Republican national socialists, fascists, nazis are tiring of the lunacy of our nazi fuhrer.  LOL.

"House Democrats settled on the approach of funding the Homeland Security Department on a short-term basis after liberals objected to a proposal to fund the agency through the remainder of the 2018 fiscal year, even without increasing spending at the border. A coalition of advocacy groups including the ACLU and others sent Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) a letter on Friday opposing extending funding for the Homeland Security Agency for a full year, citing concerns that such an approach “clearly funds Trump’s wall project and must be rejected.” A spokeswoman for the ACLU said Monday that the group supports extending Homeland Security funding only to Feb. 8, an approach that would allow newly empowered Democrats more latitude in determining the agency’s budget for the remainder of the 2018 fiscal year.

"Despite Republicans holding a bigger majority in the Senate in the next Congress, some Democratic votes will still be needed to pass funding legislation there, and Democratic senators have been resolute against wall funding even among their more moderate members. That much was clear soon after the November midterms, when Schumer started gauging where his members would be on $5 billion of border wall funding, through one-on-one conversations in his office. Repeatedly, Democratic senators told Schumer that they would support money for border security, but not Trump’s specific request, according to a person familiar with the conversations who spoke on condition of anonymity to describe them."

Be interesting to see if they stand tall, continue to resist this ongoing insanity.  ... Or, cave in to the national socialist, fascist, nazi element in the Republican Party.

Cowardly fail to financially and/or materially support those fighting for all civil and constitutional rights and liberties at great personal cost and risk?  Get what you truly deserve.


1-4-19

Wells Fargo saga continues.  CBS News reports:

"Wells Fargo will pay $575 million in a settlement with attorneys general from all 50 states and the District of Columbia that are investigating its banking practices, which have included phony accounts and manipulative sales practices."

Not enough.  Nowhere near.  Piss hole in the snow.  Why haven't these goddamned criminals been prosecuted?  ... Right, Amanda?

"The agreement, announced on Friday by the San Francisco-based bank and Iowa's attorney general, settles a range of allegations that have roiled the bank and its customers for years, including the 2016 revelation that employees had opened millions of fake bank accounts to meet sales quotas. The settlement also covers a host of other improper practices involving insurance, auto loans, mortgages and financing."

It isn't justice.  These bastards have not been criminally prosecuted, convicted, and doing prison time in a non-country club 'prison' reserved only for white-collar thieves.  ... Right, Amanda?  Those looted by these thieves have been nowhere near compensated for their losses.  ... Right, Amanda?

"This agreement underscores our serious commitment to making things right in regard to past issues as we work to build a better bank," said Wells Fargo CEO Tim Sloan, said in a statement."

Unadulterated horse shit coming from a goddamned clueless, self-serving piece of human excrement.  ... Right, Amanda?  Amazing how white collar criminals get special treatment, isn't it, Amanda?

"Wells Fargo said it will also create and maintain a website describing the issues along with contact information for customers. The company said it will provide "periodic reports" to states on remediation efforts."

'Symbolism over substance,' -- to shamelessly quote another national socialist, fascist, nazi Republican talk show host.

"Consumers who haven't been made whole through existing remediation programs can also seek a review for "possible relief," the Iowa attorney general's office said in its statement."

More unremarkable horse shit coming from a prosecutor who failed to criminally prosecute all those responsible.

"The agreement marks a major turning point after cascading bad practices emerged from Wells Fargo, starting around 2015. State and federal regulators lost patience with Wells Fargo's pledge of making amends earlier this year, and had put restrictions on its business. They also fined the bank more than $1.2 billion in penalties for its bad behavior."

Why the f--k didn't they criminally prosecute these thieves?  Forget?  Joe Blow down the block would have gotten his sorry ass rightfully prosecuted for shoplifting.  Yet, those in top management who effectively do the same on a colossal level criminally skate.  Why?  Why no equal justice?  ... Right, Amanda?

"The Federal Reserve went further earlier this year, forcing Wells Fargo to not grow any larger from its current size until it said otherwise. The Fed also made Wells Fargo replace some of its board of directors. In its statement today, the company said it "has been engaged with its federal regulators to address these issues and is remediating affected customers."

Nowhere near enough.  ... Right, Amanda?

"The company said it has $400 million set aside for the settlement, and expects to accrue the remaining $175 in the current quarter."

Piss hole in the snow.  Pocket change for this out of control corporate behemoth.  ... Right, Amanda?  No justice.  Certainly, not in Nazi America.

Cowardly fail to financially and/or materially support those fighting for all civil and constitutional rights and liberties at great personal cost and risk?  Get what you truly deserve.


12-28-18

Highly reminiscent of our outrageously bought and paid for judiciary, Llano County prosecutors, Sheriff Bill Blackburn and his criminal SS jackbooted bastards in black who continue to egregiously disgrace themselves and the badge, do as they please regardless of the law and Constitution, carefully consider the fo1llowing.  It's appalling.  Runs against the grain of everything our formerly great country once stood for.  No longer.

Yet, another needless death of a kid courtesy of the jackbooted bastards in the Border Patrol.  NPR reports:

"An 8-year-old boy from Guatemala has died in government custody, U.S. Customs and Border Protection says. The boy died just before midnight on Monday, at a hospital in Alamogordo, N.M. He is the second child this month to die in CBP custody after being apprehended by the agency. The Guatemalan Foreign Service has identified the boy as Felipe Gomez Alonso, NPR's Carrie Kahn reports.  Felipe was initially sent to Gerald Champion Regional Medical Center with his father during the day on Monday, according to a statement from CBP. Hospital staff diagnosed the boy with a common cold and a fever, and released him in the mid-afternoon with prescriptions for antibiotics and ibuprofen. He was transferred back to the hospital later that evening, after he began vomiting, and he died hours later. In its initial statement, CBP had said that the boy died after midnight on Tuesday, but the agency later adjusted the time to late Monday.  CBP says it does not know the cause of Felipe's death."

Much more on this as further information becomes available.  One thing is for sure at this time.  Detainees are not properly housed and cared for by the Border Patrol.  Squalid, egregiously inhumane conditions.

Cowardly fail to financially and/or materially support those fighting for all civil and constitutional rights and liberties at great personal cost and risk?  Get what you truly deserve.


12-28-18

Trump orders military out of Syria.  NBC News reports:

"President Donald Trump's abrupt decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria will be hailed as a victory in Russia and Iran and a betrayal among Kurdish and Arab opposition forces that have waged a seven-year war against the Damascus regime, experts and former officials say. Although Russian and Iranian forces had already turned the tide of the civil war in favor of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, the presence of U.S. troops has served as an obstacle to their ambitions and a source of leverage for Washington in any potential political settlement of the conflict. Just within the last week, senior U.S. officials had argued that the American military mission was needed to ensure the lasting defeat of ISIS militants and to serve as a bulwark against Iran. But with Trump's move to pull out the U.S. troops, Russia and particularly Iran — which sent thousands of proxies and its own elite forces into Syria — stand to emerge as the dominant players in a country that shares a border with Israel."

What webs we weave.

"The withdrawal, if carried out, will "provide Iran with solid control over the entire arc of the Levant from Baghdad to Beirut," said Nicholas Heras, Middle East security fellow at the Center for a New American Security think tank. Iran already wields significant influence next door in Iraq, where it has heavily backed Shiite militias and cultivated close ties to the Shiite-ruled government. Israel's ambassador to the United Nations, Danny Danon, said the presence of Iranian forces in Syria posed a threat to his country. "We have our concerns about Syria, about the presence of Iranian troops in Syria. And we will do whatever is necessary to protect our people regardless if you have American troops, Russian troops, or any other nations," Danon told reporters."

Circumstances in the Middle East indeed remain perilous.  Not sustainable.

"The roughly 2,000 U.S. troops in Syria, first deployed in 2015 on President Barack Obama's watch, helped Kurdish-led forces deliver a resounding defeat against Islamic State extremists that at one point held large swaths of territory. Now the Islamic State is severely damaged and is holed up in the Euphrates River valley. But senior U.S. officials and commanders have warned that the fight against ISIS is not over and that without more help and training from American troops, the extremists could regroup and return to the fray."

Where have we heard this before?  Where?

"The U.S. military's top officer, Gen. Joseph Dunford, said this month that training for local forces in Syria was still at an early stage, while stabilization efforts still had "a long way to go." Kurdish forces in Syria, which proved a reliable partner for the U.S. military's fight against ISIS, will almost certainly feel betrayed by Trump's move, experts said, and will now face a potential onslaught by Turkish forces that could jeopardize their hold on territory in the northeast. "The U.S. withdrawal means handing over our necks to Turkey's knives," said a Syrian Kurd, speaking to NBC News from the town of Rmelan in northeastern Syria, near the Abu Hajar air base used for years by U.S. forces. "My mother is crying on the phone. I feel that my heart will stop," he said, speaking on condition of anonymity out of concern for his safety. Arab opposition forces fighting the Syrian regime also have relied heavily on U.S. special operations forces to help pinpoint air raids and to guide them on the battlefield. Once the American commandos leave, the Arab fighters could be vulnerable to Assad regime forces, Russian warplanes, and Iran-backed fighters as well as ISIS militants, experts and officials said."

There will be ramifications of this decision the Trump nazi has clearly failed to fully consider.

"Even by the standards of the impulsive Trump presidency, the decision came as a shock to American allies and to his Cabinet, raising fresh questions abroad about America's reliability. Trump opted to withdraw U.S. troops despite opposition from nearly every member of his national security team. In an indication of the chaotic, last-minute nature of the move, top lawmakers, administration officials and foreign allies were blindsided by the announcement. Even the U.S. special envoy for Syria, Joel Rayburn, was caught off guard, and had to cancel his attendance at a private event Wednesday morning in Syria just a few minutes in advance, said a source familiar with the matter. The withdrawal puts members of the Trump team in the uncomfortable position of breaking the promise of a continued U.S. presence in Syria that reassured U.S. allies such as Israel, the Kurds and Gulf Arab states. The president's recently named special representative for Syria engagement, Amb. James Jeffrey, had said repeatedly and publicly as recently as this week that the U.S. was not walking away from Syria and that the military would stay."

ABC News reports:

"President Donald Trump took to Twitter Thursday with an extensive defense of his decision to withdraw U.S. forces from Syria, framing it as a campaign promise kept amid growing bipartisan backlash from lawmakers.

"Does the USA want to be the Policeman of the Middle East, getting NOTHING but spending precious lives and trillions of dollars protecting others who, in almost all cases, do not appreciate what we are doing? Do we want to be there forever? Time for others to finally fight.....

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 20, 2018"

Think this action may in fact be no more than a desperate attempt to deflect attention from all Trump's legal woes?

"....Russia, Iran, Syria & many others are not happy about the U.S. leaving, despite what the Fake News says, because now they will have to fight ISIS and others, who they hate, without us. I am building by far the most powerful military in the world. ISIS hits us they are doomed!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 20, 2018"

This lunatic remains a pompous jackass.

"But that argument contradicts warnings from a bipartisan coalition of lawmakers Wednesday evening following the president's announcement. "The withdrawal of American presence from Syria also bolsters two other adversaries to the United States, Iran and Russia," the group wrote in a letter addressed to Trump. "As you are aware, both Iran and Russia have used the Syrian conflict as a stage to magnify their influence in the region." The letter was signed by Sens. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, Angus King, I-Maine, Tom Cotton, R-Ark., and Marco Rubio, R-Fla. The line of criticism was echoed by "Fox and Friends" host Brian Kilmeade just minutes before the president sent out his first defensive tweet. "He is doing exactly if not worse than President Obama did. This is worse than blurring the ‘red line,’” Kilmeade said.

"In a news conference Thursday, Russian President Vladimir Putin confirmed that he approved of Trump's decision to withdraw U.S. forces. “If the U.S. removes its contingent, that is correct,” Putin said. “Let us not forget that American troops, your troops in Syria were not there legitimately."

Certainly, rattled the cage of the military and others:

"The sudden nature of the president's decision, which he confirmed in a Wednesday morning tweet, reportedly caught many of his military advisors and the State Department off guard. But the president contended Thursday that it should be "no surprise," and was in line with many of the promises he made before and during his run for president.

"Getting out of Syria was no surprise. I’ve been campaigning on it for years, and six months ago, when I very publicly wanted to do it, I agreed to stay longer. Russia, Iran, Syria & others are the local enemy of ISIS. We were doing there work. Time to come home & rebuild. #MAGA

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 20, 2018"

Think Trump hasn't lost his marbles?  Get this:

"In a video posted to his Twitter Wednesday evening and again Thursday morning, Trump again repeated his claim that the U.S. has "won against ISIS" and suggested that American troops killed in action in overseas conflicts are looking down with pride at his Syria decision.

"We’re proud to have done it," Trump said. "And I’ll tell you, they’re up there looking down on us and there’s nobody happier or more proud of their families to put them in a position where they’ve done such good for so many people."

"After historic victories against ISIS, it’s time to bring our great young people home! pic.twitter.com/xoNjFzQFTp

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 19, 2018"

Cowardly fail to financially and/or materially support those fighting for all civil and constitutional rights and liberties at great personal cost and risk?  Get what you truly deserve.


12-28-18

Secretary of Defense resigns in protest.  The Washington Post reports:

"President Trump’s decision to abruptly withdraw troops from Syria is a clear rebuke to Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, the last remaining member of a retinue of military men Trump once fondly called “my generals.” Mattis had argued that the counterterrorism mission in Syria is not over and that the small U.S. presence in Syria should remain, said current and former U.S. officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity to share internal policy discussions. The Pentagon chief also had tried to explain to Trump that there would be more chaos in the region and future problems for the United States if the troops leave, they said. On Wednesday, it became clear Trump was brushing aside his defense secretary’s advice. Once considered among the most influential advisers to a president with no prior government or military experience, Mattis has been repeatedly overruled by Trump in recent months and left out of key discussions as the president pursues his own national security path. The retired four-star Marine Corps general Trump likes to call by his detested nickname, “Mad Dog,” is now at a low point in his influence with Trump and potentially also a short-timer, current and former U.S. officials said."

How can a highly-gifted, well-respected retired four-star Marine Corps general effectively interact with an out of control, delusional lunatic?  How?

"In the beginning of the administration, Mattis maintained his influence with Trump even as he repeatedly argued against some of the president’s iconoclastic impulses — trying to explain with maps and charts how his decisions could hurt American interests, officials who have watched those interactions said. Mattis often wove in discussion of international trade and U.S. foreign aid, knowing that those subjects are likely to hold the president’s interest, those people said. The relationship between the two men has shown signs of strain in recent months, and Trump continues to weigh whether he should keep Mattis in the role and tells advisers in the Oval Office that he doesn’t agree with his defense secretary on much, according to current and former administration officials."

Come as any surprise?

"Mattis had lots of company in arguing that U.S. troops need to remain in Syria, including from the administration’s special envoy for the defeat of the Islamic State, Brett McGurk, who told reporters last week that U.S. forces would remain in place to secure their military gains. “It would be reckless if we were just to say, ‘Well, the physical caliphate is defeated, so we can just leave now,’” McGurk said Dec. 11. “I think anyone who’s looked at a conflict like this would agree with that.” Mattis said in September that while the military mission in Syria is focused on the defeat of the Islamic State, he cited destabilizing Iranian and Russian influences in saying that U.S. forces wouldn’t pull out abruptly. Dunford said earlier this month that the Pentagon still had “a long way to go” to train local counterterrorism forces in Syria. Both Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and national security adviser John Bolton have recently said the goal in Syria is broader than simply countering the Islamic State."

Trump is clearly a one-man show.

"The decision, first reported by the Wall Street Journal and Reuters, was apparently made Tuesday. It was not clear whether Mattis or Pompeo knew of Trump’s decision to make his announcement Wednesday morning. Throughout both Cabinet departments, officials appeared caught unaware when the president’s tweet appeared. Republican lawmakers were stunned and angry, with several demanding answers from Vice President Pence at a Republican lunch on Wednesday about why they were kept in the dark. “I don’t know what it is. I haven’t been briefed. I am completely blindsided, and I think there will be a lot of bipartisan concern,” Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (S.C.) said in an interview. “ISIS has been dealt a severe blow but are not defeated. If there has been a decision to withdraw our forces in Syria, the likelihood of their return goes up dramatically,” while Iran, Russia and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad benefit from the U.S. void, Graham said. Senators told Pence that “we did not appreciate reading about this decision in the paper,” Graham added."

Trump seems to have cluelessly ignored the fact he will need every Republican in the House and Senate should he be impeached by the incoming Democratic House.

The Washington Post reports:

"Defense Secretary Jim Mattis resigned Thursday after clashing with President Trump over the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria and Afghanistan, saying in a parting letter that the president deserves someone atop the Pentagon “better aligned” with his views. The retired Marine general’s surprise resignation came a day after Trump shocked American allies and overruled his advisers, including Mattis, upon announcing a withdrawal from Syria. In the process, Trump declared victory over the Islamic State, even though the Pentagon and State Department for months have been saying the fight against the group in Syria isn’t over. Trump also ordered the Pentagon, against Mattis’s recommendation, to come up with a plan to withdraw approximately half of the American troops deployed to Afghanistan, a move that military officials have warned could plunge the nation into chaos. The discord, coupled with an array of other disagreements, caused Trump to lose a respected Cabinet official who won widespread praise at home and abroad but who experienced increasing differences with a commander in chief known for his skepticism of American allies and military operations overseas. Long seen as a bulwark against Trump’s isolationist impulses and more extreme proposals, Mattis served as a calm “reassurer-in-chief” as the president sent out startling and provocative tweets. His departure prompted a chorus of concern about the president’s temperament and decision-making processes and injected new uncertainty into the administration’s approach to global threats."

Trump is, and remains, unfit for office.

"Mattis pointed to some of his differences with Trump in a parting letter he submitted to the White House on Thursday, which marked the first resignation of a Cabinet official in the Trump administration over a matter of principle that exploded into public view. The retired general emphasized that the United States derives its strength from its relationships with allies and should treat them with respect. He said the country must also be “clear-eyed” about threats, including from groups such as the Islamic State. “We must do everything possible to advance an international order that is most conducive to our security, prosperity and values, and we are strengthened in this effort by the solidarity of our alliances,” Mattis wrote. He did not offer any praise of Trump in the letter."

Why would he?

"The defense secretary resigned during what one senior administration official described as a disagreement in the Oval Office on Thursday afternoon, in which Mattis sought to persuade the president to stand down on the Syria withdrawal but was rejected. Trump was later given a copy of the resignation letter and noted to aides that it was not positive toward him. By then, the president had shocked the Pentagon by filming a video on the White House lawn in which he claimed the Islamic State had been defeated and said U.S. troops who had died in combat would be proud to see their fellow service members return home."

That's nuts.  Trump's clearly not all there.

"While the Syria announcement looked poised to score political points domestically, Mattis and other top advisers suspect that it will deliver a win to Russia, Iran and Syrian leader Bashar ­al-Assad, while risking a resurgence of the Islamic State. Mattis also has argued against drawing down troops from Afghanistan, which Trump is leaning toward executing in the coming months, according to administration officials. Senior administration officials said late Thursday that Trump had ordered the military to come up with a plan to remove approximately 7,000 of the 14,000 U.S. troops deployed to the country, after a 17-year war, starting as early as January. The Pentagon released the resignation letter moments after Trump announced on Twitter that Mattis would be leaving, saying the already retired Marine would “retire.”

That's equally insane. Mattis resigned in protestDid not retire.

"A staunch Russia hawk, Mattis bristled at the president’s conciliatory gestures toward Russian President Vladimir Putin and comments that undermined NATO, according to people close to him. Russia and China “want to shape a world consistent with their authoritarian model,” Mattis underscored in his resignation letter. Moscow and Beijing are looking for “veto authority over other nations’ economic, diplomatic and security decisions,” he said, warning the president that the United States must “use all the tools of American power to provide for the common defense.” Lawmakers, ambassadors and policymakers for two years have looked to Mattis as a source of stability in a chaotic administration. His sudden resignation on Thursday sent jitters through a Washington establishment already coping with a meltdown in the financial markets and a possible government shutdown."

Matters are certainly coming to a head.

"House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said she was “shaken” by the resignation and described it as “very serious for our country.” Republicans were also dismayed by the decision. Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) said it was “a sad day for America because Secretary Mattis was giving advice the president needs to hear.” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said the United States must maintain its carefully built alliances and a clear understanding of its friends and foes, recognizing that nations such as Russia are among the latter. “I was sorry to learn that Secretary Mattis, who shares those clear principles, will soon depart the administration,” McConnell said in a statement. “But I am particularly distressed that he is resigning due to sharp differences with the president on these and other key aspects of America’s global leadership.”

Mattis was certainly a Marine's Marine.

"Known as the “Warrior Monk” from his days in uniform, Mattis developed a reputation as a cerebral thinker in the Marine Corps who liked to deliberate, read and study all possibilities before making important decisions. That style clashed with the most freewheeling presidential administration in the postwar era, most notably this week, when Trump decided to withdraw from Syria without first running an in-depth policy process that would consider the options and ramifications. Mattis’s frustrations grew with the arrival of national security adviser John Bolton, who curbed decision-making meetings and interagency policy discussions that the defense secretary valued, according to people familiar with the matter. The final rupture between the defense secretary and the president came after weeks of tensions over Trump’s broadsides against allies, his demands to withdraw from military entanglements in the Middle East and personnel decisions.

"The departure of Mattis is likely to be greeted with mixed feelings among some in uniform, many of whom revered him as a straight-talking commander with deep knowledge of military affairs. Still, service members are prohibited from speaking negatively of Trump or other senior leaders.

"Retired Sgt. Maj. Carlton Kent, Mattis’s top enlisted Marine when the two were deployed in Iraq, said Thursday night that his phone has been “ringing off the hook” because service members and veterans wanted to talk about the departure. “They were concerned that he was the right man for the right job, and now he’s transitioning,” Kent said. “They thought he was leading the department in the right direction. And it was combat-hardened warriors saying that, people who have witnessed him in combat.”

No question, a Marine's Marine.  -- Heard a story on NPR about a combat situation where a non-com was making rounds at three in the morning to make sure that both men in each fox hole were indeed awake and on post.  The officer came to one of the fox holes and found three men.  One of them was Gen. Mattis.

Cowardly fail to financially and/or materially support those fighting for all civil and constitutional rights and liberties at great personal cost and risk?  Get what you truly deserve.


12-28-18

Another high-level resignation in protest.  The Washington Post reports:

"Brett McGurk, the U.S. envoy to the international coalition fighting the Islamic State, has resigned in protest of President Trump’s decision to abruptly withdraw U.S. troops from Syria. His resignation, confirmed by a State Department official familiar with the matter, comes on the heels of Defense Secretary Jim Mattis’s announced departure because of differences with the White House over foreign policy, immediately following Trump’s announcement on Syria. Mattis said he would stay on until February to ensure a smooth transition. Both Mattis and McGurk objected to what they saw as a shortsighted decision and a breach of faith with U.S. allies including the Syrian Kurds, who fought alongside U.S. forces in Syria and now face a dangerous and uncertain future. For Trump, the long-serving officials are the first high-profile departures in protest of his policy decisions. McGurk had already planned to leave by mid-February to take up a year-long post at Stanford University in March. Instead, he submitted his resignation letter, effective Dec. 31, to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo late Friday. In a tweet Saturday evening, Trump asked if McGurk was a “Grandstander.” “The Fake News is making such a big deal about this nothing event,” Trump wrote."

Think Trump's not soiling his pants as the noose figuratively tightens?  Must also be noted Trump in a pique of anger decided Mattis would be leaving on the first of the year, not in February.

"The resignations send a worrying signal to foreign partners whose support is crucial to containing the Islamic State, former officials said. Trump this past week ordered the withdrawal of all 2,000 or so U.S. troops from Syria and declared the Islamic State defeated. The move blindsided senior officials and ran counter to the advice of his own top aides, including Mattis. “We have defeated ISIS in Syria, my only reason for being there during the Trump Presidency,” Trump tweeted on Wednesday, a day before Mattis announced his resignation. But earlier this month, McGurk said that the Islamic State was far from vanquished despite its loss of territory. “Nobody working on these issues day-to-day is complacent. Nobody is declaring a mission accomplished,” McGurk said at a State Department briefing. “Defeating a physical caliphate is one phase of a much longer-term campaign.”

These two resignations were certainly quite some time in the making:

"McGurk, appointed to the job in 2015 by President Barack Obama and retained by Trump, had long maintained that the U.S. mission in Syria should focus on countering the Islamic State rather than wider regional ambitions such as the overthrow of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, said diplomats who worked with him over the years. Like many administration officials dealing with counter-Islamic State policy, McGurk was taken aback when Trump national security adviser John Bolton announced in September that U.S. forces would stay there for the indefinite future as part of a plan to counter Iran — a new goal for the deployment. “We’re not going to leave as long as Iranian troops are outside Iranian borders and that includes Iranian proxies and militias,” Bolton said. At the time, the Syria policy had been loosely based on a likely drawdown by the end of 2019, and McGurk and others were doubtful that Trump, who had repeatedly insisted he wanted to leave Syria, was fully cognizant of or had signed off on the new decision."

Imagine that.  Fascinating, isn't it?

"McGurk, meanwhile, was seeking to stabilize the eastern third of Syria, which had been liberated from the militants and was under U.S. control. Trump had announced that the United States would no longer pay to help restore vital services such as electricity and water to towns and cities destroyed by combat, including heavy U.S. air bombardment, and McGurk successfully solicited coalition contributions to cover the financial shortfall. Aside from Mattis’s resignation, the most significant factor in McGurk’s decision was an inability to reconcile the president’s decision with his experience as the U.S. diplomat who “spent time with the guys on the ground who have been fighting and dying,” including Kurdish fighters in Syria, said an official familiar with his views. “To just suddenly, in one split second” have to tell them the United States was leaving “is hard to face.” Even so, the official said, McGurk had always told the fighters that “you cannot count on us for a long-term stay,” and advised them to start thinking about Syria’s future after the Islamic State’s defeat. Numerous U.S. officials have said that final territorial defeat remains months away and that thousands of militant “sleeper cells” throughout Syria have been conducting guerrilla attacks in liberated areas and are awaiting a U.S. departure to reorganize.

"McGurk’s tenacity and personal touch in building relationships served the counter-ISIS effort well, colleagues said. He met face-to-face with Kurdish and Arab leaders of the SDF and was a constant presence in Baghdad and Irbil, the capital of the autonomous Kurdish region in northern Iraq, becoming the most recognizable American official in the country at a time when an Islamic State blitz threatened both capitals. “At the end of the day he was focused on defeating ISIS,” said one former official, speaking on the condition of anonymity because of the matter’s sensitivity. “All of his engagements make this [Syria decision] untenable because there’s a betrayal to foreign partners.”

Remains an incredibly complicated situation that Trump clearly has no intellectual grasp of.  Remains unwilling to carefully consider concerns of all principals and allies involved in this ongoing fiasco.

"McGurk valued partnerships, not only with the Kurds but with the British and the French, opposing a rapid withdrawal that left the U.S. commitment to those partners in limbo, said one diplomat, who was not authorized to speak about U.S. personnel. His departure is likely to complicate the counter-ISIS effort, former officials said. “Anybody coming into this role will have a very difficult time being credible with our foreign partners,” said Nicholas Rasmussen, former director of the National Counterterrorism Center under Obama and Trump. “Obviously our diplomats are only as credible as the willingness of their country to live up to their commitments, and that has been undermined significantly in this case.”

Indeed, we have military personnel fighting all over the globe.  Ostensibly, to combat terrorism.  In reality? To line pockets of greedy corporate war profiteers who in turn line pockets of their bought and paid for government lackeys.  Needs to change across the board.  -- Carefully, however.  Very carefullyWith due process, not by nazi dictator fiat.

The normal method of governing in a democratic republic is indeed through inter agency consultation, consultation with allies, robust debate within all branches of government itself, vigorous debate within the president's Cabinet, etc..  No longer possible.  We have a lunatic dictator governing by exceptionally f--ked up 'gut instinct.'  Concertedly plunging our formerly great country into total disarray.

Cowardly fail to financially and/or materially support those fighting for all civil and constitutional rights and liberties at great personal cost and risk?  Get what you truly deserve.


12-28-18

What we're now clearly seeing is an apparent melt down of the Trump nazi.  The Washington Post reports:

"President Trump began Thursday under siege, listening to howls of indignation from conservatives over his border wall and thrusting the government toward a shutdown. He ended it by announcing the exit of the man U.S. allies see as the last guardrail against the president’s erratic behavior: Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, whose resignation letter was a scathing rebuke of Trump’s worldview. At perhaps the most fragile moment of his presidency — and vulnerable to convulsions on the political right — Trump single-handedly propelled the U.S. government into crisis and sent markets tumbling with his gambits this week to salvage signature campaign promises. The president’s decisions and conduct have led to a fracturing of Trump’s coalition. Hawks condemned his sudden decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria. Conservatives called him a “gutless president” and questioned whether he would ever build a wall. Political friends began privately questioning whether Trump needed to be reined in."

Clearly, this president is growing increasingly desperate:

"After campaigning on shrinking America’s footprint in overseas wars, Trump abruptly declared Wednesday that he was withdrawing U.S. troops from Syria, a move Mattis and other advisers counseled against. And officials said Thursday that Trump is preparing to send thousands of troops home from Afghanistan, as well. The president also issued an ultimatum to Congress to fund construction of his promised U.S.-Mexico border wall, a move poised to result in a government shutdown just before Christmas. Trump and his aides had signaled tacit support for a short-term spending compromise that would avert the shutdown, but the president abruptly changed course after absorbing a deluge of criticism from some of his most high-profile loyalists. Leon Panetta, who served as defense secretary, CIA director and White House chief of staff for Democratic presidents, said, “We’re in a constant state of chaos right now in this country.” He added, “While it may satisfy [Trump’s] need for attention, it’s raising hell with the country.”

Indeed.  Trump remains unfit.  Delusional.  Unstable.

"Panetta said the resignation of Mattis is a singular moment and that his letter, which underscores how Mattis sees Trump’s approach as misguided, “puts the security of the nation right now at some degree of risk.” Trump has been isolated in bunker mode in recent weeks as political and personal crises mount, according to interviews with 27 current and former White House officials, Republican lawmakers, and outside advisers to the president, some of whom spoke on the condition of anonymity to offer candid assessments. “There’s going to be an intervention,” one former senior administration official said speculatively. “Jim Mattis just sent a shot across the bow. He’s the most credible member of the administration by five grades of magnitude. He’s the steady, safe set of hands. And this letter is brutal. He quit because of the madness.”

Indeed.  About time.  Time for others to step up, do the same.

"In his resignation letter, Mattis wrote, “My views on treating allies with respect and also being clear-eyed about both malign actors and strategic competitors are strongly held and informed by over four decades of immersion in these issues ... Because you have the right to have a Secretary of Defense whose views are better aligned with yours on these and other subjects, I believe it is right for me to step down from my position.” Although Trump’s relationship with Mattis has been rocky for months, the president spent the first part of Thursday focused on another fraying relationship: with his conservative base. On Thursday, as criticism over his capitulation on the wall grew louder by the hour, Trump complained to friends and aides that he felt politically shackled. He had no plan but was spoiling for a fight. By midday, the president picked one."

This man is not rational:

“I’ve made my position very clear: Any measure that funds the government must include border security. Has to,” Trump said Thursday. He added that he had “no choice” but to act. Trump’s advisers acknowledged that the funding may not be secured in the end but boasted that the spectacle would be remembered favorably by his base voters as proof of his mettle. A wall funding proposal was approved by the House late Thursday but faced uncertain prospects in the Senate."

Republicans appear to be equally frustrated:

"Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), habitually careful in his approach to Trump, avoided strong-arming the president in their recent exchanges, knowing that urging him to stand down on the wall funding probably would only embolden him, according to two people familiar with the discussions. At every turn, McConnell confided to Trump that congressional efforts this month — from the passage of the farm bill to bipartisan criminal justice reform — were a string of victories for him, the people said. Thanks to McConnell’s soothing, there was cautious optimism that the president would eventually sign a funding bill. “McConnell has a lot to do with it, of course. They talk a lot,” Rep. Harold D. Rogers (R-Ky.) said. “It’s smart to save the fight for another day.” House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) — busy this week bidding farewell to Congress after two decades in office — followed McConnell’s playbook, pointing out how Trump would be able to battle for wall funding in the new year, a person close to Ryan said. Both Ryan and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) told Trump last week that they could not pass a spending bill with $5 billion for wall construction, and McConnell was told by the White House that Trump would sign a short-term bill without it, according to two people familiar with the conversations."

Rabid Republican nazis on the Far Right were certainly spoiling for a fight:

"But on Fox News Channel and across conservative media, there was a brewing rebellion. Prominent voices urged Trump to hold firm on his wall money and warned that caving would jeopardize his reelection. Rush Limbaugh dismissed the compromise bill on his radio program as “Trump gets nothing and the Democrats get everything.” Another firebrand, Ann Coulter, published a column titled “Gutless President in Wall-less Country.” Trump even found resistance on the couch of his favorite show, “Fox & Friends,” where reliable Trump-boosting host Brian Kilmeade chided him on the air Thursday. The president was paying attention. He promptly unfollowed Coulter on Twitter. And he pecked out a series of defensive tweets blaming congressional leaders for not funding the wall, while also assuming a defensive posture. He suggested that a massive wall may not be necessary in its entirety because the border already is “tight” thanks to the work of Border Patrol agents and troops. “One of the things he’s most vulnerable to is mockery and mockery by his own supporters,” said Mark Krikorian, a leading anti-immigration activist."

Goes on and on.  None of this is good for the country.  Unsustainable.  Revolution doomsday clock strikes ever closer to midnight.

Cowardly fail to financially and/or materially support those fighting for all civil and constitutional rights and liberties at great personal cost and risk?  Get what you truly deserve.


12-28-18

The president has clearly lost his mind.  The Washington Post reports:

"President Trump warned Friday that a partial government shutdown would last “for a very long time” if Congress does not meet his demand Friday for billions in funding for his long-promised border wall in a stopgap spending measure. In a spate of morning tweets, Trump sought to pin blame on Democrats for a potential shutdown even though he said last week that he would proudly own one if lawmakers did not provide at least $5 billion toward his marquee campaign promise. And he suggested that Senate rules should be changed if necessary so that Republicans could pass the bill without any Democratic support — a move key Republicans oppose."

For damned good reason.  Know full well Democrats will return the favor.

"After Trump threatened Thursday to veto a Senate measure that did not contain the border funding he sought, the House hurried to appease the president, pulling together a bill that would keep the government funded through Feb. 8 while also allocating $5.7 billion for the border wall. The House bill also included nearly $8 billion for disaster relief for hurricanes and wildfires. Democrats, however, have enough votes in the Senate to keep that bill from advancing and have showed no signs of relenting.

“You own the shutdown—your own words, @realDonaldTrump,” Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) said in a tweet Friday morning. “The Senate UNANIMOUSLY passed a bipartisan solution to avoid a shutdown. Then you threw another temper tantrum and convinced the House to ignore that compromise. #TrumpShutdown”

"In a contentious Oval Office meeting last week with Schumer and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Trump said he would be “proud to shut down the government for border security.”

“So I will take the mantle,” he said. “I will be the one to shut it down. I won’t blame you for it.”

Now the lunatic is claiming the direct opposite:

“The Democrats now own the shutdown!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 21, 2018

"Senator Mitch McConnell should fight for the Wall and Border Security as hard as he fought for anything. He will need Democrat votes, but as shown in the House, good things happen. If enough Dems don’t vote, it will be a Democrat Shutdown! House Republicans were great yesterday!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 21, 2018"

Goes on and on.  This man remains irrational.

NPR reports:

"A partial shutdown of the federal government began just after midnight Saturday, after Congress and President Trump were unable to resolve an impasse over his demand for funding for his border wall. The stalemate comes just ahead of the Christmas holiday period next week, though if a way forward is found over the weekend the impact could be minimal since Monday and Tuesday are already federal holidays. Both the House and Senate are adjourned until noon on Saturday; once they return to Capitol Hill, lawmakers hope to try to find a way forward, with members set to be given a 24-hour notice of any planned vote. Still, it's the third time this year that the federal government has been shuttered, even if only briefly. A government shutdown is typically an unlikely occurrence and is virtually unheard of under unified party control, underscoring the dysfunction that's become normal in Washington even with a GOP-controlled Congress and White House through year's end.

"The political finger-pointing over who was to blame started well ahead of final negotiations. Trump tweeted Friday morning that "The Democrats now own the shutdown!" However, in an Oval Office meeting last week with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, the likely next speaker of the House, and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, Trump said he would be "proud" to shut down the government over the wall. "I'll be the one to shut it down. I will take the mantle. And I will shut it down for border security," Trump said then."

Trump clearly owns this.

"Trump had been slated to depart Friday for a 16-day holiday vacation at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, but postponed the trip once it was clear the government would shut down. Friday night, Trump posted a video to Twitter seemingly taking yet another position about responsibility for the shutdown vis-a-vis Democrats. "We're going to have a shutdown. There's nothing we can do about that because we need the Democrats to give us their votes. Call it a Democrat shutdown, call it whatever you want, but we need their help to get this approved," the president said. "So Democrats, we have a wonderful list of things we need to keep our country safe. Let's get out, let's work together, let's be bipartisan and let's get it done. The shutdown will hopefully not last long." Democrats, however, framed the situation far differently. On Thursday, Schumer said Trump's "temper tantrum will shut down the government, but it will not get him his wall." And Thursday night, Pelosi said on Twitter that "Democrats are for real border security solutions. Not for wasting billions of taxpayer dollars on an immoral, ineffective & expensive wall."

About time Democrats stood up to the Trump nazi and his henchmen.

NPR reports:

"I can't tell you when the government's going to be open," the president said in a Christmas Day video conference with representatives of all five military branches stationed in Alaska, Bahrain, Guam and Qatar. "I can tell you it's not going to be open until we have a wall or fence, whatever they'd like to call it," Trump said, suggesting that a change in semantics might allow for a breakthrough. "I'll call it whatever they want, but it's all the same thing."

Clearly, Trump does not live on the same planet as the rest of us.

"It's a disgrace what's happening in our country," Trump said in the Oval Office. "But other than that, I wish everybody a very Merry Christmas."

Certainly, is a disgrace, Mr. 'President."  That disgrace is you, sir.

Trump has lost his mind:

"I am all alone (poor me) in the White House waiting for the Democrats to come back and make a deal on desperately needed Border Security. At some point the Democrats not wanting to make a deal will cost our Country more money than the Border Wall we are all talking about. Crazy!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 24, 2018"

Continuing lunacy:

"When he was campaigning for president in 2016, Trump told supporters that the wall would be built and that Mexico would pay for it. Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer of New York suggested that the president's insistence on a wall is little more than an attempt to mollify his political base. "Instead of bringing certainty into people's lives, he's continuing the Trump Shutdown just to please right-wing radio and TV hosts," Schumer said in a joint statement issued on Christmas Day along with House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi of California. "The president wanted the shutdown, but he seems not to know how to get himself out of it," the Democratic leaders added."

Congress remains dysfunctional:

"Sentiment on Capitol Hill is that the closure could continue through the middle of January as tentative efforts at a compromise have been unsuccessful. As Politico reports, "While Trump has told allies he'd be willing to come down from his demand for $5 billion in border wall money, Democrats have stood firm on $1.3 billion for fencing, consistent with current spending levels. On Saturday, [Vice President Mike] Pence offered Schumer a bill to reopen the government that would provide $2.1 billion for fencing and an additional $400 million for Trump's other immigration priorities; Democrats countered with $1.3 billion in fencing and more aid for Puerto Rico as part of a disaster package, according to a person familiar with the talks, which essentially recirculated past offers."

... As the revolution doomsday clock strikes ever closer to midnight.

Cowardly fail to financially and/or materially support those fighting for all civil and constitutional rights and liberties at great personal cost and risk?  Get what you truly deserve.


12-28-18

Trump's hypocrisy knows no bounds.  The Washington Post reports:

"President Trump and first lady Melania Trump attended Christmas Eve services at one of the city’s most prominent — and liberal — houses of worship, Washington National Cathedral, and heard a sermon about the Christmas narrative — in particular, the use of power, human cruelty and the struggle of refugees who are turned away in “their greatest hour of need.” Bishop Mariann Edgar Budde, Washington’s Episcopal leader, said she learned of the decision by the Trumps and Vice President Pence and his wife to attend services shortly before they began and had written her sermon long before. She gave the same sermon to the 6 p.m. Service of Christmas Lessons and Carols, which the Pences attended, and the 10 p.m. Holy Eucharist, which the Trumps attended. Budde said Tuesday that she and Cathedral Dean Randy Hollerith greeted the president and the vice president before the services, as is customary. “President Trump went out of his way to participate,” she said. “He sang, prayed, greeted people. As we walked by [in the procession,] he was very present. I think that was lovely to see. In the midst of all we are struggling with right now, policy and practices aside, it’s Christmas, and the first family is always welcome.”

Sermon certainly struck home:

"Much of the sermon, “For Love’s Sake,” sought to explore what the enormous human-led efforts to celebrate Christmas are really about. During Christmas, Budde said, people seek to insert themselves into a “wondrous story” — the Christmas narrative. In doing that, she said, they glimpse the presence of God, through the extra kindnesses, forgiveness, generosity, grace and peace that people extend during Christmastime. But, she said, the narrative of Jesus’ birth isn’t about only that. "You only have to read the first sentence of the story to know that there are deep social implications to it, should we place ourselves in this story. It begins with an emperor who could move people about at will. And so two people forced to obey the emperor’s edict set out on a long journey on the last month of the young woman’s pregnancy. And they were denied a place of comfort in her greatest hour of need. And it wouldn’t be long before they would be forced to flee again, this time to find refuge from violence in another country. It’s right there. It’s in the text. It’s in the story. And those who passed it on to us wanted us to know Jesus is no stranger to struggle or sorrow or the whims of human cruelty. They wanted us to know, as they did, both the gift and the responsibility of tending to light shining in darkness. We are the ones now to keep the light shining; we are the ones to keep the hope alive. The message of love credible — and that is no small task."

Readers are reminded both Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini professed themselves Christians.

Cowardly fail to financially and/or materially support those fighting for all civil and constitutional rights and liberties at great personal cost and risk?  Get what you truly deserve.


12-28-18

More of the same old horse shit.  ABC News reports:

"Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker is not recusing himself from overseeing the Mueller investigation, even though a Justice Department ethics review determined that recusal would be appropriate, but not required, in his case."

Special treatment.  To protect the Trump nazi.

"Critics have complained that before taking the job as chief of staff to Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Whitaker frequently appeared on television making critical comments about the special counsel investigation, raising questions about his impartiality in overseeing the probe."

You think?

"Whitaker’s reasoning was described in a letter to Senate leadership sent late Thursday. The letter, signed by Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd, explained that “if a recommendation [about recusal] were sought,” Justice Department ethics officials “would advise that the Acting Attorney General should recuse himself from supervision of the Special Counsel investigation," because a reasonable person with knowledge of relevant facts would "likely question the impartiality of the Acting Attorney General."

Here comes the self-serving unadulterated bullshit:

"But the key phrase is: “if a recommendation were sought.” In considering whether he should seek an ethics review, Whitaker was briefed on what the results of such a review would be. Armed with the knowledge that if a review were ordered it would recommend recusal, he simply chose not to ask for one. The letter to drew a sharp response from Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer who said in a statement, “It’s crystal clear that Department of Justice ethics officials believe Mr. Whitaker should recuse himself from supervision of the special counsel’s investigation. And despite this clear guidance, Mr. Whitaker has refused to do so."

Clearly, for the sake of his lunatic nazi fuhrer.

"Officials also looked at whether there were conflicts of interest under applicable rules of conduct, due to personal or political relationships with people substantially involved in "conduct that is the subject of the investigation or prosecution" or would be "directly affected by the outcome." The ethics officials did not find any requirement to recuse under that analysis."

Jesus Christ.  Precisely, one of the reasons why there is absolutely no faith or trust in law enforcement and the judiciary.  ... Right, Sheriff?  Self-serving horse shit.

"But ultimate decision about whether to recuse, the Boyd letter states, rests with Whitaker himself."

Convenient, isn't it?  Fox guarding the hen house.  Nazi justice.  Abject kangaroo justice in a fascist police-state, quickly transitioning to the Trump nazi's Fourth Reich.  ... Right, Sheriff?

Gets worse.  Get this:

"The letter lays out seven reasons for Whitaker’s decision:

1) There is no actual conflict of interest

2) There is no precedent

3) Prior analysis said no recusal required

4) Whitaker hasn’t said anything bad about Mueller recently

5) Whitaker has said nice things about Mueller, too

6) Whitaker was unaware of any reason to fire Mueller

7) He is an experienced prosecutor"

Jesus Christ.  Nazi justice.  We've lost ourselves.

Cowardly fail to financially and/or materially support those fighting for all civil and constitutional rights and liberties at great personal cost and risk?  Get what you truly deserve.


12-28-18

Trump loses another one in court.  The Washington Post reports:

"A federal judge on Wednesday [12-19-18] blocked several Trump administration policies that made it more difficult for victims of gang and domestic violence to seek asylum in the United States. In a 107-page opinion, U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan wrote that the policies were “arbitrary and capricious and contrary to law” and ordered the government to cease their implementation. The ruling came in a lawsuit brought by the ACLU and Center for Gender & Refugee Studies, representing 12 adults and children who had sought asylum in the United States because they said they were sexually abused, beat and kidnapped in their home countries. Each was denied asylum — even though asylum officers felt their accounts were sincere, according to the ruling — based on the new policies restricting who qualifies. Some already had been removed, though Sullivan decreed they should be brought back to the United States and allowed to make their case again. In their lawsuit — which focused on migrants who had been placed in fast-track deportation proceedings — the advocacy organizations argued the new policies prevented migrants from getting a fair hearing on whether they could stay in the United States, and that thousands of people could potentially be affected. The groups hailed Sullivan’s ruling Wednesday. “This ruling is a defeat for the Trump administration’s all-out assault on the rights of asylum seekers. The government’s attempt to obliterate asylum protections is unlawful and inconsistent with our country’s long-standing commitment to provide protection to immigrants fleeing for their lives,” said Jennifer Chang Newell, managing attorney of the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project, who argued the case.

"Sullivan took aim at much of the new guidance. He wrote there was “no legal basis for an effective categorical ban on domestic violence and gang-related claims,” and he specifically invalidated the general rule that asylum officers should dismiss such claims in assessing applicants’ credible fear claims. Sullivan also blocked the requirement that applicants alleging harm by someone other than a government must “show the government condoned the private actions or at least demonstrated a complete helplessness to protect the victim.” Sullivan, who made a splash Tuesday at the sentencing of President Trump’s former national security adviser Michael Flynn, had earlier in the case halted a deportation in progress and threatened to hold Sessions in contempt after learning the administration had begun removing a woman and her daughter while a court hearing appealing their deportations was ongoing. He ordered the government Wednesday to provide new written guidance on making credible fear determinations to comply with his ruling."

Sullivan has certainly distinguished himself repeatedly standing up to the Trump nazi and his henchmen.

Cowardly fail to financially and/or materially support those fighting for all civil and constitutional rights and liberties at great personal cost and risk?  Get what you truly deserve.


12-28-18

Trump nazi can't, won't be deterred by court action.  NPR reports:

"Migrants who cross the U.S. southern border and seek asylum will be required to wait in Mexico while their claims are being processed, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said Thursday."

Think this won't be challenged in court?

"Currently, most people requesting asylum are allowed to stay in the U.S. — sometimes in detention — while their claim is pending in immigration court. The new policy will send such migrants to Mexico for the duration of that process."

Jesus Christ.  Our lunatic fuhrer has become a law unto himself.  LOL.

"That's true regardless of the migrants' country of origin: Many people crossing the U.S.-Mexico border are not Mexican, but are fleeing violence in Central America. " 'Catch and release' will be replaced with 'catch and return,' " Nielsen said, using the Trump administration's preferred term for current U.S. asylum claim practices."

Goddamned nazi.  Determined abrogation of Trump's oath of office to protect and defend the United States Constitution.

"The immigrants will still be interviewed by a U.S. asylum officer, but they will no longer be released into the interior with a notice to appear in immigration court. The Department of Homeland Security has long complained that many applicants simply disappear and never show up for their hearing."

That's unadulterated horse shit.  Simply untrue.  As repeatedly stated in this publication and elsewhere.  The president is a shameless pathological liar.

"The right to seek asylum is protected by U.S. and international law."

That's right.  As also repeatedly stated in this publication and elsewhere.  The president is determinedly, repeatedly, concertedly breaking the law.

"Houston immigration attorney Ruby Powers just returned from Tijuana, Mexico, where thousands of immigrants are waiting in makeshift camps to apply for asylum at the San Ysidro Port of Entry. After learning of the sweeping DHS announcement, she said, "This is going to cause utter chaos."

Precisely what our nazi fuhrer and his henchmen expect and desperately want.  Raw nazism.

"Powers said migrant shelters in Mexican border cities are already full and can hardly handle asylum applicants who are told to return to Mexico and wait. She said immigration lawyers like herself will find it logistically difficult to assist clients with their immigration cases since they will be in Mexico, some without phones or Internet.  "I think the ultimate plan is to prevent people from wanting to apply for asylum so they won't come to the United States," Powers said."

No question.  Certainly, appears to be the game plan of the lunatic nazi in the Oval Office.

"The Mexican government, while affirming its own sovereign rights to determine who enters the country, said it would allow the practice. Mexico also said it would extend some rights and protections to the non-Mexican asylum-seekers on Mexican soil who await immigration hearings in the U.S.  The migrants will receive humanitarian visas, have the opportunity to apply for work permits and have access to legal services, Mexico said. This is a major policy reversal for the Mexican government, which has traditionally refused to accept third-country migrants from the U.S."

This is not sustainable in Mexico.  Will likely quickly lead to weakening of the new Mexican president.  Further destabilize an already unstable country.

"The new shift will likely be seen as a capitulation by Mexico's new president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, as he tries to maintain cordial relations with President Trump. The Trump administration said earlier this week that it will contribute nearly $6 billion toward Mexico's recently announced $30 billion development plan for the southern part of the country and three Central Americans countries, in hopes of creating jobs and opportunities so people from the region won't have to migrate."

Too little, too late.

"In late November, Lee Gelernt, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union, said there were questions about the legality of such a proposal. "One thing we know right off the bat is that it cannot be legal unless they can assure all the asylum seekers who will be stranded in Mexico ... will be safe — not only from persecution by state actors in Mexico, but by criminal gangs," Gelernt told NPR. "And from what we know about what's going on, we see no likelihood that that is going to be true."

Sue the living shit out of Trump and his henchmen.

"On Thursday, Jacinta Ma, director of policy and advocacy at the National Immigration Forum, agreed that the proposal raises legal questions. "I would definitely expect a legal challenge, especially seeing all the legal challenges filed against the Trump administration on immigration matters," she told NPR."

What are you waiting for?  Keep up and increase legal pressure on our lunatic fuhrer.

"The news comes during a time of close national attention to issues of immigration and asylum, as Trump continues to denounce migration as a national security threat, and critics of the administration's actions accuse the White House of inhumane policies."

The president has repeatedly disgraced himself and our formerly great country.  Trump presents an exigent threat to life, liberty, all civil and constitutional rights and liberties.

"The recent arrival of a caravan of Central American migrants at the U.S. southern border brought fresh attention to asylum-seekers, particularly after a clash between protesters and Border Patrol agents. The Trump administration has been setting limits on the number of people allowed to claim asylum at those ports of entry per day. The result has been a massive backlog of migrants waiting to claim asylum — in addition to a backlog of migrants who have claimed asylum and are awaiting processing. The death of a 7-year-old migrant girl in Border Patrol custody this month has brought fresh outrage to the debate, as did the killing of two Honduran teens last weekend. The teenagers were killed in downtown Tijuana, not far from a migrant shelter for unaccompanied minors, where they were staying while they waited to start an asylum claim with the U.S. Meanwhile, Trump continues to seek funding for his border wall, which he had originally claimed would be paid for by Mexico. He recently said that Mexico is essentially paying for the wall through the new deal to replace NAFTA, a claim that is not true."

Trump is a congenital liar.  We no longer live in a democratic republic.  Certainly, not since 9/11.  With traitorous, treasonous imposition by both major political parties of the USA 'Patriot' Act, 'Real' ID Act, Homeland 'Security' Act, etc., we now live in a de facto fascist police-state, quickly transitioning to the Trump nazi's Fourth Reich.  A raucous boot clicking, goose stepping, treasonous, treacherous, traitorous Sieg Heil!, Mr.'President?'

Cowardly fail to financially and/or materially support those fighting for all civil and constitutional rights and liberties at great personal cost and risk?  Get what you truly deserve.


12-28-18

Think the Texas 'jurist' who ruled Obamacare unconstitutional is not a Republican partisan?  Did not determinedly legislate his perverse ideological views from the bench?  NPR reports:

"U.S. District Judge Reed O'Connor has a history of siding with Republicans on ideologically motivated lawsuits. His ruling last week, in which he sided with the GOP on a challenge to the Affordable Care Act, was not a one-off. In fact, critics say, his history is ultimately why that case was before him in the first place."

Precisely.

"By all accounts, O'Connor's ruling is sweeping. It says the entire health care law became invalid when Congress zeroed out, in 2017, the tax penalty for Americans who don't have health insurance — a penalty that had been tied to what's known as the law's individual mandate that nearly everyone have insurance. "I think he went too far in rejecting the entire law," says Josh Blackman, a conservative legal scholar and professor at the South Texas College of Law in Houston. "I think he could have stopped short and simply severed the Obamacare mandate." While O'Connor's decision may seem a bit extreme to some legal scholars, it wasn't surprising. Justin Nelson, a law professor at the University of Texas, Austin, says if you know anything about O'Connor's past rulings, this was predictable. "In case after case," Nelson says, "what he has shown is that he has tended to side with the Republican attorneys general who are bringing ideological suits."

Needs to be impeached, convicted, and removed from the bench.  Is not impartial.

"Nelson recently ran an unsuccessful campaign to oust Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, who led this multistate legal challenge to the health care law. Nelson says Paxton and the other Republican attorneys general have filed lawsuits in the U.S District Court for the Northern District of Texas because they know there's a good chance they'll get O'Connor as the judge. "Judge O'Connor has been the go-to judge for Ken Paxton and Republican attorneys general who want to file ideological suits in any court across the country," Nelson says. "Reed O'Connor is their best shot to get a ruling that they like."

Nazi justice.  Achingly, kangaroo.

"O'Connor, who did not respond to NPR's requests for comment, was a Republican staffer on Capitol Hill before he was nominated to the federal bench by George W. Bush in 2007. So far, he has had to weigh in on at least a couple of contentious issues. For example, O'Connor is known for striking down an Obama-era rule that protected transgender students. In that case he also sided with Paxton, who filed that legal challenge. "They've done this over and over again on the hope that Judge O'Connor would rule on behalf of an ideological agenda," Nelson says. "And I don't think that is proper. I don't think that is right."

Raw nazism.  Kangaroo justice.  One of the reasons there is no faith and trust in the judicial system.

"Paxton has filed lawsuits in other courts, too. He filed challenges to Obama-era immigration laws in a court in South Texas, which also has a reliably conservative judge on the bench.

They all do it.  Both parties.  Needs to change.  ... Hear the rumble?

Cowardly fail to financially and/or materially support those fighting for all civil and constitutional rights and liberties at great personal cost and risk?  Get what you truly deserve.


12-28-18

In follow up to the last edition, think Judge Sullivan isn't a truly great judge?  NPR reports:

"A name not normally in the news figured in some of it this week. U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan delayed Michael Flynn's sentencing and questioned the suggestion of prosecutors that he receive a lenient sentence. "I can't make any guarantees," he told President Trump's former national security adviser, "but I'm not hiding my disgust, my disdain for this criminal offense." He pointed to the flag in his courtroom and said, "Arguably, that undermines everything this flag over here stands for." A day later, Judge Sullivan halted the administration policy that made it difficult for immigrants to ask for asylum because of domestic abuse or gang violence. Judge Sullivan called those policies "arbitrary, capricious" and "unlawful."

"Emmet Sullivan has been a jurist since he was appointed to the Superior Court of D.C. in 1984 by President Ronald Reagan, and the U.S. District Judge for the District of Columbia in 1994 by President Bill Clinton. Over that time, he has pleased and/or upset both Republican and Democratic administrations."

Truly, non-partisan.

"He threw out the federal corruption case against the late Republican Sen. Ted Stevens of Alaska. He told the government in August to "turn that plane around" when a mother and daughter from El Salvador were flown out of the country before their asylum case could be decided. "It's outrageous," the judge added. I was once called for jury duty in Judge Sullivan's courtroom. He was unfailingly and conspicuously courteous, to lawyers, courtroom staff and the jury pool. "We are grateful for your service," he told us. "You men and women make democracy work. You hold the fate of a fellow citizen in your hands. There is no more important duty." I was excused from the jury before the case began. I am not only a journalist, which makes attorneys uneasy, but also the stepson of a man, whom I loved, who was once convicted of a crime. Judge Sullivan called me back into his chambers. "I'm sure you could be a fair juror," he told me. "It's just wise to avoid any side issue when a man is on trial for a serious charge." I was touched by Judge Sullivan's regard for a defendant and an individual juror. I was impressed by his innate, even slightly old-fashioned courtesy, and wound up putting his name on a character in a novel. He sent me a note with characteristic humility. In a week when Washington, D.C., bristled with showdowns, a shutdown, pleas and threats, Judge Sullivan's independence and sense of duty reminded us what the flag in his courtroom stands for."

Indeed.  Above quotes courtesy of a most gifted, insightful reporter at NPR, Scott Simon.

Cowardly fail to financially and/or materially support those fighting for all civil and constitutional rights and liberties at great personal cost and risk?  Get what you truly deserve.


12-28-18

Additional pressure on the Trump nazi.  NBC News reports:

"The Trump administration may be violating federal court orders that found it had unlawfully canceled a federal program to prevent teen pregnancies and shifted that funding to efforts focused primarily on abstinence, Senate Democrats said in a new letter obtained by NBC News. In the letter, sent to Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar on Wednesday, the Democrats said they're concerned the administration may be violating the court order by using a third-party government contractor to direct federal funds toward abstinence programs. "By attempting to direct funding in accordance with ideological goals, rather than towards the development of evidence-based practices, the Trump-Pence Administration is undoing years of progress towards supporting adolescent sexual and reproductive health and wellbeing," the letter, signed by Sens. Patty Murray, D-Wash., Tammy Baldwin, D-Wisc., Cory Booker, D-N.J., and Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, said."

What they're clearly trying to do is impose their perverse religious and ideological views on  others.

"Earlier this year, federal courts ruled five times against the administration's termination of the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program, an annual $101 million effort created under the Obama administration with bipartisan support in Congress to help teenagers avoid unwanted pregnancies. Later, courts in New York and Oregon found that redirecting the funds to abstinence programs that are not "proven effective through rigorous evaluation" is "unlawful." According to a government contracting website, shortly after the court rulings, HHS awarded $21.5 million to the MITRE Corporation, a nonprofit that performs federally funded research, for a "Teen Pregnancy Prevention Study." Details have not been made available to Congress, yet in recent years, MITRE has done a significant amount of work for HHS studying “sexual risk avoidance education,” or abstinence-focused research. “I am deeply concerned what the administration is doing is going in an ideological direction and they’re contracting out money contrary to the actual mission of the program and contrary to what the courts are doing,” Murray told NBC News in an interview. Murray organized the letter to Azar in the Senate, while Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Calif., organized a similar House letter.

"Many medical professionals credit the Obama-era program with helping to bring down the nation’s teen pregnancy rate to an all-time low.

"After the program's 2010 inception, teen pregnancy and birth rates fell faster than ever, and health professionals, including the American College of Obstetricians & Gynecologists, expressed alarm at its cancellation. They also warned that considerable research and money already invested in the program would be wasted if the program were to be terminated, and the number of at-risk teens would increase. The program's cancellation was directed by political appointees over the objections of career experts at the agency, NBC News reported in March based on internal notes and emails. Critics say the administration’s opposition to the TPPP is part of a broader effort by the Trump administration to target programs intended to improve women’s reproductive health. This includes attempting to roll back a federal contraceptive coverage provision allowing women to avoid out-of-pocket costs for birth control and the targeting of the Title X family planning program, which has a disproportionate impact on low-income women."

Cowardly fail to financially and/or materially support those fighting for all civil and constitutional rights and liberties at great personal cost and risk?  Get what you truly deserve.


12-21-18

Highly reminiscent of our outrageously bought and paid for judiciary, Llano County prosecutors, Sheriff Bill Blackburn and his criminal SS jackbooted bastards in black who continue to egregiously disgrace themselves and the badge, do as they please regardless of the law and Constitution, carefully consider the following.  It's appalling.  Runs against the grain of everything our formerly great country once stood for.  No longer.

Out of control ICE jackbooted bastards.  NPR reports:

"The Association of Legal Aid Attorneys along with dozens of unions, immigrant rights organizations, and community groups held a rally on December 7, 2017 at Brooklyn Borough Hall to call on the Office of Court Administration and Chief Judge Janet DiFiore to prohibit Immigration & Customs Enforcement agents from entering state courthouses, and to end coordination with ICE. For 25 years, schools, hospitals and places of worship have effectively been off-limits to federal immigration officers. Now, a group of dozens of former state and federal judges is asking U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to add courthouses to the list of "sensitive locations" where their officers generally do not go."

No longer.  The jackbooted bastards are ubiquitous, -- like flies on shit.  ... Right, Sheriff?

"Judges simply cannot do their jobs — and our justice system cannot function effectively — if victims, defendants, witnesses, and family members do not feel secure in accessing the courthouse," said the judges in a letter Wednesday to Acting Director Ronald Vitiello. "ICE's reliance on immigration arrests in courthouses instills fear in clients and deters them from seeking justice in a court building." The judges cited reports of a marked increase in ICE activity in courts over the past two years. One study by the Immigrant Defense Project found a 1200 percent increase in arrests and attempted arrests across New York state from 2016 to 2017. Arrests have been documented in dozens of states, the judges wrote, affecting survivors of domestic violence, parents seeking to protect their children from unsafe living conditions, and even victims of human trafficking."

Matters not to a jackbooted bastard in uniform who gets his cookies off abusing authority.  ... Right, Sheriff?

"We know firsthand that for courts to effectively do justice, ensure public safety, and serve their communities, the public must be able to access courthouses safely and without fear of retribution," the judges said. "For many, however, ICE's courthouse arrests have made courts places to avoid."

"In a January memo, ICE said it would limit its civil immigration enforcement actions inside courthouses to only certain people, such as gang members, those with criminal convictions, or people who pose national security threats. ICE officers won't go after family members of arrest targets unless they try to intervene. Officers "should exercise sound judgment when enforcing federal law and make substantial efforts to avoid unnecessarily alarming the public," the memo said."

Not good enough.  Nowhere near.

"That assurance didn't go far enough, the judges wrote. "Following nearly two years of high profile ICE courthouse activity, only unequivocal guarantees and protections will restore the public's confidence that it can safely pursue justice in our nation's courts."

No question.  Law enforcement cannot be trusted.  Lies like hell.  Yet, it's legal for them to do so.  Not so for their victims.  Goddamned double standard.  Not to mention legalized murder of innocent unarmed civilians, legalized theft vis a vis asset forfeiture, etc..  List can go on and on.  Precisely, one of the reasons why these outrageously corrupt bastards have zero credibility.  Cannot be trusted.  ... Right, Sheriff?

"In an FAQ on its web site, ICE says that "courthouse arrests seem to be occurring more frequently" because some law enforcement agencies no longer work with ICE agents as easily as they used to. "The increasing unwillingness of some jurisdictions to cooperate with ICE in the safe and orderly transfer of targeted aliens inside their prisons and jails has necessitated additional at-large arrests."

Unadulterated, blatant horse shit.  ... Right, Sheriff?  F--k these jackbooted bastards.  Aren't worth a crap.  Continually abrogate their oaths of office to protect and defend the United States Constitution.  ... Right, Bill?  No principles.  No honor.  Lying, conniving, abusive, murderous jackbooted thieving thugs.  The American Civil Liberties Union needs to step up and represent the victims of this abusive law enforcement agency.

To say nothing of innocent civilians all across our formerly great country who are victimized by abusive police.  Need far better representation than a public defender.  Forget?  It's how the bastards in government line government coffers.  All too often, looting the innocent.  Those on the bottom of the food chain.  ... Right, Sheriff?

No justice.  The American Way.  Nazi America.  When is this shit finally going to end?  All of it.  Wake up, Sheriff.  Again, where is dashcam video of the killing of Jeffrey Gray Wise, 52, of Austin by DPS and the Llano County Sheriff's Office?  One hundred thirty nine weeks, now.  A goddamned disgrace.

Why are you still sitting on this information?  What are you hiding, Sheriff?  What is the identity of the officers who killed Wise?  Too gutless to release this information to the public that pays your salary and that of your goons?  Reportedly, there were three officers involved in the shooting.  Who the hell are they?

When will the goddamned 'law' 'enforcement' community finally stop making excuses for engaging in outrageous criminal activity including blatant murder, violent assault, sexual assault, theft, drug trafficking, etc.?  List can go on and on.  Protecting its own no matter what it does or doesn't do?  Convenient, isn't it, Sheriff?  No foreign power, no terrorist organization, not even the criminal element presents a greater threat to life, liberty, all civil and constitutional rights and liberties than all branches and levels of government, -- including law enforcement.

Corruption within law enforcement remains an existential threat to life, liberty, all civil and constitutional rights and liberties.  So what else is new?  ... Right, Bill?  Same old duplicitous, aggressively stupid shit occurs right here in Nazi Llano County.  ... Doesn't it, Sheriff?

Think it'll change any time soon?  Don't hold your breath, readers.  Not how things work in Nazi America, right, Sheriff?  Highly reminiscent of how your goons operate though, isn't it, Bill?  Forget?  'Stupid is as stupid does.'  F--ked up is f--ked up no matter where, no matter how.  Problem throughout all law enforcement.

Including right here in Nazi Llano County, right, Sheriff?  Too many officers clearly have their heads securely lodged where the sun seldom shines.  Egregious insanity continues to be perpetrated by the criminal jackbooted bastards in blue.  Ongoing issue.  All over our formerly great country.

Not just in Dallas as in the Guyger case, but all over the nation.  No end to it.  Surprised? Why?  In today's increasingly national socialist climate anything goes, right, Bill?  Live in a de facto fascist police-state, quickly transitioning to the Trump nazi's Fourth Reich.  Certainly, a problem here in Nazi Llano County, isn't it, Sheriff?  Your goons, however, aren't held accountable when they egregiously f--k up. Ever.

Precisely why you refuse to release information on your deputies to the long-suffering public?  That is, employment history, criminal background, results of drug testing, etc..  ... Got to protect your criminal jackbooted thugs preying on the citizenry with virtual impunity, right, sir?

Equally pointedly, why hasn't Llano County Deputy Leroy Rodriguez, Badge #764 been held criminally accountable for egregious abuse of power involving denial of property rights to a Kingsland property owner?  To say nothing of consequent resultant physical damage done to a motor home on that property.  Why are you protecting this clueless son of a bitch, Sheriff?  Why hasn't he been prosecuted for official oppression?  Where is financial compensation for the damage this jackbooted piece of human excrement is responsible for?

Ferociously pointedly, why is the District Attorney and the County Attorney continuing to protect this jackbooted piece of shit?  He and others like him present an exigent threat to life, liberty, all civil and constitutional rights and liberties.

You're not doing your jobs, Sheriff.  You've got a loose vicious dog problem in Kingsland, Bill.  When will you and the troops finally do something about this ongoing issue?  Certainly, a recurring problem on Skyline, particularly on occasion at the intersection of Odessa.  Pedestrians, runners, and cyclists are at risk.  Too busy lining County coffers with bogus tickets?

Cowardly fail to financially and/or materially support those fighting for all civil and constitutional rights and liberties at great personal cost and risk?  Get what you truly deserve.


12-21-18

Highly reminiscent of our outrageously bought and paid for judiciary, Llano County prosecutors, Sheriff Bill Blackburn and his criminal SS jackbooted bastards in black who continue to egregiously disgrace themselves and the badge, do as they please regardless of the law and Constitution, carefully consider the following.  It's appalling.  Runs against the grain of everything our formerly great country once stood for.  No longer.

More of the same.  CNN News reports;

"A 7-year-old Guatemalan girl died last week, hours after she was taken into Border Patrol custody, the Department of Homeland Security said. The Washington Post first reported Thursday that the girl died of dehydration and septic shock last week in El Paso, Texas after she was taken into custody by Border Patrol after crossing illegally with her father into the United States. "Our sincerest condolences go out to the family of the child," the Department of Homeland Security, which oversees Border Patrol, said in a statement. "Border Patrol agents took every possible step to save the child's life under the most trying of circumstances. As fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters, we empathize with the loss of any child."

Think so?  An investigation is underway to determine if that is indeed true.

"The girl and her father were part of a large group of migrants who approached Border Patrol agents in a remote area of the New Mexico desert last Thursday, the newspaper reported, citing US Customs and Border Protection records. The child began having seizures hours after she was taken into custody and was airlifted to the Providence Children's Hospital in El Paso, CBP told the Post. She went into cardiac arrest and was revived by medics but the girl couldn't recover and died less than 24 hours later, DHS told CNN in a statement. "Due to patient confidentiality, the hospital is unable to provide any patient information and is referring any inquiries regarding this patient to CBP," said Monique Poessiger, a hospital spokeswoman. A DHS spokesperson said an autopsy will be performed but the results could take several weeks.

"Congressman Joaquin Castro, D-Texas, said late Thursday in a statement he was "devastated by reports that a seven-year-old girl who was taken into Customs and Border Patrol custody died of dehydration and exhaustion. I'll be asking for a full investigation by the Inspector General and Congress into the conditions and circumstances that led to her death." "We can do better as a nation," said Castro, a member of the House Foreign Affairs and House Intelligence Committees. "This is a humanitarian crisis and we have a moral obligation to ensure these vulnerable families can safely seek asylum, which is legal under immigration and international law at our borders," Castro's statement said."

Clearly, Trump and his henchmen couldn't care less.

"Cynthia Pompa, advocacy manager for the ACLU Border Rights Center, in a statement called for "a rigorous investigation into how this tragedy happened and serious reforms to prevent future deaths." "This tragedy represents the worst possible outcome when people, including children, are held in inhumane conditions," the statement said. "Lack of accountability, and a culture of cruelty within CBP have exacerbated policies that lead to migrant deaths. In 2017, migrant deaths increased even as the number of border crossings dramatically decreased."

Both CBP and ICE are jackbooted law enforcement agencies that desperately need to be abolished and replaced.

"Democratic Rep. Beto O'Rourke of Texas on Thursday called for transparency in the investigation of the child's death. "I am deeply saddened by this girl's death. There must be a complete investigation and the results shared with Congress and the public," he tweeted. The girl's death comes months after a toddler died six weeks after being released from an Immigrations and Customs Enforcement facility in Dilley, Texas. The toddler's mother and her attorneys alleged she contracted a respiratory infection after they arrived to the detention center and ICE provided substandard medical care for the toddler. The toddler and her mother came from Guatemala and were detained after crossing into the US via the Rio Grande."

CBP failed to immediately report the most recent death as required by law and had not identified the girl.  CNN News followed up with this:

"Her name was Jakelin Amei Rosmery Caal Maquin, and she had traveled with her father from a rural indigenous community in Guatemala's Alta Verapaz region. They were among a large group of migrants whom Border Patrol agents detained last week in a remote area of the New Mexico desert. Two days later, 7-year-old Jakelin was dead after becoming violently ill, according to Tekandi Paniagua, Guatemalan general consul in Del Río, Texas.

"Jakelin and her father, Nery Gilberto Caal Cuz, 29, hailed from the Mayan Q'eqchi' community of Raxruha, Paniagua said. After the migrants were detained December 6, Jakelin started vomiting and suffered a high fever en route to a Customs and Border Protection station in Lordsburg, New Mexico, according to Paniagua. She was treated by a medical team, but her condition worsened the following morning. She had seizures and was airlifted to a hospital in El Paso, Texas, where she suffered cardiac arrest. On Saturday morning, Customs and Border Protection agents informed Guatemalan authorities that Jakelin had died, Paniagua said. On Monday, Paniagua met with Jakelin's father, who he said was devastated and was allowed by US authorities to see his daughter one last time. The Washington Post first reported Thursday that the girl died of dehydration and septic shock last week in El Paso after Border Patrol took her into custody when she crossed illegally with her father into the United States."

Cowardly fail to financially and/or materially support those fighting for all civil and constitutional rights and liberties at great personal cost and risk?  Get what you truly deserve.


12-21-18

Think Trump's not growing increasingly desperate?  The Washington Post reports:

"President Trump denied Thursday that he had directed his former personal lawyer Michael Cohen to break the law during the 2016 campaign by buying the silence of two women who claimed they once had affairs with the future president. In morning tweets, Trump, however, did not dispute that he had directed Cohen to make the payments, as Cohen and federal prosecutors have alleged — actions that could imperil Trump if he knew what was being done violated campaign finance laws."

Ignorance of the law is no excuse if you're a peasant and get caught doing so.    Not so, -- at the top of the food chain.  Most convenient double standard for the high and mighty, isn't it?

"The president claimed that Cohen bore responsibility for any violations of criminal law but also asserted that Cohen “probably was not guilty” of even civil violations related to the payments to former Playboy playmate Karen McDougal and adult-film star Stormy Daniels — a view at odds with that of many lawyers who specialize in campaign finance law."

Say what?  Is Trump now a lawyer?  Playing one?  LOL.

“Those charges were just agreed to by him in order to embarrass the president and get a much reduced prison sentence, which he did,” Trump alleged."

Think so?

"Cohen was sentenced to three years in prison Wednesday for what U.S. District Judge William H. Pauley III called a “veritable smorgasbord of criminal conduct” — crimes that included tax violations and lying to a bank as well as those related to the hush-money payments. Trump’s tweets Thursday were his first public comments about Cohen since his sentencing. On Wednesday afternoon, the president ignored questions shouted by reporters about his onetime loyalist. “I never directed Michael Cohen to break the law,” he said Thursday. “He was a lawyer and he is supposed to know the law. It is called ‘advice of counsel,’ and a lawyer has great liability if a mistake is made. That is why they get paid.”

'Hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil.'

"During a television interview Thursday, Lanny Davis, an adviser to Cohen, said Trump’s credibility is questionable. Davis pointed to an assertion Trump made in April to reporters aboard Air Force One that he knew nothing about a $130,000 payment to Daniels. The White House has since changed its story. In a television interview in May, Trump personal lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani said that Trump had repaid Cohen for money he gave to Daniels. The next day, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was pressed by reporters on why she had previously denied Trump had any knowledge of the payment. Sanders said she had “given the best information I had at the time.”

Like her fuhrer, Ms. Sanders is a liar.

"In his three tweets Thursday morning, the president made no mention of a cooperation deal announced Thursday between federal prosecutors and the National Enquirer’s parent company, in which it acknowledged paying McDougal to “suppress the woman’s story” and “prevent it from influencing the election.”

Interesting, isn't it?

"Prosecutors announced that they would not prosecute the company, American Media Inc. (AMI), for its role in a scheme to tilt the presidential race in favor of Trump. In the agreement, AMI said it would cooperate with prosecutors and admitted it paid McDougal $150,000 before the 2016 election to silence her allegations of an affair with Trump."

If the kingpin is not the ultimate target of prosecutors, why would they make a deal with AMI?

"The deal signaled the unraveling of the deep relationship Trump and AMI chief executive David Pecker had forged over decades. It also made clear that Pecker, whose tabloid strongly supported Trump’s candidacy, has turned on the president."

Think Trump's not soiling his pants?

"Daniels was paid $130,000 to silence her about an alleged decade-old dalliance with Trump. Cohen facilitated the payments."

Hush money to protect Trump's sorry ass.

NBC News reports:

"President Donald Trump said Thursday that the criminal conviction of his former fixer, Michael Cohen, is a plot to "embarrass" him."

Say what?  LOL.  Did this to yourself, Donny boy.  No one else to blame.  Made your bed.  Now lie in it.

"They put that on to embarrass me," Trump said, referring to campaign finance violations related to hush-money payments made to women during the campaign that were among the charges for which Cohen was sentenced to three years in prison. "They're not criminal charges," the president insisted in the Fox interview, even though a federal judge accepted Cohen's guilty plea and sentenced him on those charges and others. "What happened is either Cohen or the prosecutors, in order to embarrass me, said listen: I'm making this deal for reduced time and everything else. Do me a favor and put these two charges on."

You're insane, Mr. 'President.'  No one's home, Donny boy.  Where did you lose yourself, sir?

"There's no evidence the charges were an attempt to embarrass the president."

No evidence at all.  This sick son of a bitch is lying out the ass as usual.  No credibility. Zero.  Zilch.  Nada.  Clearly, growing increasingly desperate.  Lies, finally coming home to roost.  In fact, the charges have grown increasingly credible with ongoing additional developments as the shit continues to hit the fan:

"They gained additional support Wednesday when the National Enquirer's parent company, AMI, admitted it made a $150,000 payment to former Playboy model Karen McDougal to "catch and kill" her story about an alleged affair that Trump denies. As part of an agreement shielding it from prosecution, AMI acknowledged its actions on behalf of Trump were designed to help him with the 2016 election by preventing potentially damaging allegations from becoming public."

Get this:

"Trump has argued that the payments were not made to benefit his candidacy, but rather to hide embarrassing allegations from his family, citing the argument used by former Democratic Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina in a similar situation. But Cohen, who pleaded guilty earlier this year to a series of felony counts, including two campaign-finance violations stemming from those hush payments, said under oath that he facilitated those expenditures at Trump's direction with the purpose of boosting his candidacy. Prosecutors wrote in court documents that the hush payments were made in coordination with then-candidate Trump. The payments were made to porn star Stormy Daniels and former playboy model Karen McDougal. McDougal's story was purchased by the National Enquirer's parent company, whose CEO was a close friend of Trump's. Federal prosecutors said Wednesday that the company admitted it purchased — and then refused to publish — McDougal's story in order to benefit Trump's candidacy, preventing what could have been damaging allegations against him from becoming public before Americans went to the polls."

NBC News reports:

"Despite President Donald Trump's public declaration that he isn't concerned about impeachment, he has told people close to him in recent days that he is alarmed by the prospect, according to multiple sources. Trump's fear about the possibility has escalated as the consequences of federal investigations involving his associates and Democratic control of the House sink in, the sources said, and his allies believe maintaining the support of establishment Republicans he bucked to win election is now critical to saving his presidency. On Wednesday Trump was delivered another blow when federal prosecutors announced an agreement with American Media Inc, in which the publisher of the National Enquirer admitted to making a $150,000 payment in 2016 to silence a woman alleging an affair with Trump, in coordination with his presidential campaign, to prevent her story from influencing the election. The agreement with prosecutors in the Southern District of New York follows the admission by the president's former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, that he violated campaign finance laws by arranging hush payments to women in 2016 at the direction of Trump. “The entire question about whether the president committed an impeachable offense now hinges on the testimony of two men: David Pecker and Allen Weisselberg, both cooperating witnesses in the SDNY investigation," a close Trump ally told NBC News."

Noose is certainly figuratively tightening.  Trump only has himself to blame.

"Weisselberg is the chief financial officer for Trump organization who was allegedly in the center of the hush money operation. He was reportedly granted immunity for his testimony. Pecker is the chief executive at AMI. The developments leave Trump as the lone party who argues the payments were not intended to influence the election. They also come as Trump’s search for a chief of staff is in disarray, with no consensus around a single choice in sight after multiple potential candidates have signaled they're not interested in the job."

Who the hell in their right mind would want to work for an unstable idiot?

"The president has yet to acquire a team to combat the expected influx of congressional investigations and continued fallout from multiple federal investigations of his associates. He’s been calling around to his friends outside the White House and allies on Capitol Hill to vent and get the input. On Wednesday the president wasn't in the Oval Office until noon."

Where the hell was he?

"Some Republican lawmakers have signaled cracks in what has been a solid wall of support for Trump amid intensifying federal investigations after prosecutors said Friday that Trump directed Cohen to arrange illegal payments to two women alleging affairs. "Am I concerned that the president might be involved in a crime? Of course," Republican Sen. Bill Cassidy of Louisiana told reporters Tuesday. "The only question is, then, whether or not this so-called hush money is a crime," he added. Republican Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida rattled the White House with similarly cautious remarks Sunday when asked about Trump's possible involvement in the violation of campaign finance laws: "If someone has violated the law, the application of the law should be applied to them like it would to any other citizen in this country, and obviously if you're in a position of great authority like the presidency that would be the case."

Sounds like a repeat of history, doesn't it?  To grossly understate the seriousness of the current debacle, -- Nixon fiasco on steroids.

"Trump is relishing the prospect of owning a government shutdown. But Republicans aren't."

Why would they?

"Trump has ranted about why no one around him is doing anything to stop any of it and vented about the lack of support he believes he has in Congress and within his own White House, the sources tell NBC News."

For damned good reason.  The president is an abject, unmitigated failure.

"In addition to the much-anticipated report from Mueller on the Russia investigation, Democrats could ask prosecutors in the SDNY to similarly share details of their probe into Cohen that are related to the president. Trump has in recent days been made aware of this possibility from people close to him, opening up a new vulnerability for the president."

ABC News reports:

"Donald Trump directed Michael Cohen to arrange hush-money payments with two women because then-candidate Trump “was very concerned about how this would affect the election” if their allegations of affairs became public, the president’s former personal attorney said in an exclusive interview with ABC News. Cohen’s comments are his first since being sentenced earlier this week to three years in federal prison for financial crimes, lying to Congress and two campaign finance violations in connection with the deals with the women, Karen McDougal and Stormy Daniels, who claim past affairs with Trump. “I knew what I was doing was wrong,” Cohen told ABC News’ Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos. “I stood up before the world [Wednesday] and I accepted the responsibility for my actions.” When asked if the president also knew it was wrong to make the payments, Cohen replied, “Of course,” adding that the purpose was to “help [Trump] and his campaign.” Cohen said he is “angry at himself” for his role in the deals, but that he did it out of “blind loyalty” to Trump. “I gave loyalty to someone who, truthfully, does not deserve loyalty,” he said."

Trump is certainly soiling his pants as the noose figuratively tightens:

"Federal prosecutors in the Southern District of New York have implicated, but not charged, the president in the deals reached in the closing weeks of the 2016 election. They allege that Cohen acted “in coordination with and at the direction of” Trump, according to court filings. Prosecutors also reached a non-prosecution agreement with AMI, the publishers of the National Inquirer, in which the tabloid admitted to making a $150,000 payment to McDougal “in concert” with the Trump campaign. The president has denied allegations of the affairs -- but has had shifting explanations about when he learned about the payments to the women. He has also contended that the deals were private and unrelated to the campaign and that if anything illegal occurred, it was Cohen’s responsibility. Trump has lashed out at Cohen since his sentencing, contending in a Thursday tweet that his former close confidant only agreed to plead guilty “in order to embarrass the president and get a much reduced prison sentence, which he did.” “It is absolutely not true,” Cohen said. “Under no circumstances do I want to embarrass the president. He knows the truth. I know the truth.”

Prosecutors have far more than Cohen's claims alone.

"Cohen was particularly distressed by another Trump tweet on Thursday, in which the president implied that prosecutors investigating Cohen had let his wife and father-in-law off the hook. “Instead of him taking responsibility for his actions, what does he do?” Cohen said. “He attacks my family.” And Cohen refuted the president’s contention that he never directed Cohen to do anything wrong. “I don't think there is anybody that believes that,” Cohen told Stephanopoulos. “First of all, nothing at the Trump organization was ever done unless it was run through Mr. Trump. He directed me to make the payments, he directed me to become involved in these matters. “He knows the truth. I know the truth. Others know the truth,” Cohen continued. “And here is the truth: People of the United States of America, people of the world, don't believe what he is saying. The man doesn't tell the truth. And it is sad that I should take responsibility for his dirty deeds.” When confronted about his convictions for lying to Congress and for tax evasion and banking crimes, Cohen said he was “done with the lying. I am done being loyal to President Trump and my first loyalty belongs to my wife, my daughter, my son and this country.” “Why should we believe you now?” Stephanopoulos asked. “Because the special counsel stated emphatically that the information that I gave to them is credible and helpful,” Cohen replied. “There’s a substantial amount of information that they possessed that corroborates the fact that I am telling the truth.”

Consider the following:

"Cohen -- who is due to report to prison on March 6 -- has professed his willingness to continue to answer questions for special counsel Robert Mueller and other federal and state investigators. He declined in the interview to answer specific questions about the Mueller investigation “out of respect for process.” “I don’t want to jeopardize any of their investigations,” he said. But when asked if he thinks the president is telling the truth about the Russia probe, Cohen replied simply, “No.” Cohen once said he would “take a bullet” for the president, but now he finds himself opposing the president and facing the prospect of becoming a witness against him. “It’s never good to be on the wrong side of the president of the United States of America, but somehow or another this task has now fallen onto my shoulders and as I also stated ... I will spend the rest of my life in order to fix the mistake that I made.”

Think there's redemption?  Any possibility of it?

The following is absolutely fascinating but not surprising:

"Cohen said as he observes Trump’s actions in the White House, he barely recognizes the man he served for more than a decade at the Trump organization. “He’s a very different individual,” Cohen said. “I think the pressure of the job is much more than what he thought it was going to be. It’s not like the Trump organization where he would bark out orders and people would blindly follow what he wanted done. There’s a system here; he doesn’t understand the system and it’s sad because the country has never been more divisive and one of the hopes that I have out of the punishment that I’ve received as well as the cooperation that I have given I will be remembered in history as helping to bring this country back together. “I will not be the villain of his story,” he said."

All from an insider exceptionally close to Trump and his henchmen.  In fact, was one of his henchmen.  What webs we weave.

The Washington Post reports:

"For months, President Trump’s spokesmen, his lawyer and his lawyer’s lawyer denied that Trump knew about payments during his 2016 campaign to buy the silence of women who alleged sexual encounters with him. The president himself claimed the same. But after mounting evidence and fresh courthouse revelations of wrongdoing this week exposed those denials as falsehoods, Trump is shifting his tune. The president no longer disputes that he instructed his then-personal attorney, Michael Cohen, to make the payments to former Playboy playmate Karen McDougal and adult-film star Stephanie Clifford, who goes by the stage name Stormy Daniels. Instead, Trump sought to evade that question Thursday by saying he never told Cohen to break the law — making a narrow assertion that was itself an admission that his and his team’s earlier denials were false."

Plot thickens.

"The evolving strategy on the hush-money allegations is textbook Trump: Tell one version of events until it falls apart, then tell a new version, and so on — until the danger passes. “What’s happened so far is not good, and it could get worse,” said a former senior administration official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to comment candidly. In reference to the Cohen case, this person added: “Are they crimes? Yes. Is that a bad look if the president is directly tied to it and could under normal circumstances be criminally prosecuted? Yes. And no, that’s not a good thing.”

Trump's anxiety level certainly has to be rising.

"The developments have shaken people in Trump’s orbit. White House staffers say they feel uneasy and nervous about what might come next, while Trump is publicly revealing a sense of betrayal that his longtime lawyer implicated him in crimes. Trump is worried about the intensifying state of not only the hush-money investigation by the U.S. attorney in the Southern District of New York, but also of the Russia probe by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, according to people with knowledge of the president’s private discussions. The Wall Street Journal also reported Thursday that federal prosecutors in Manhattan have opened another investigative front by probing whether Trump’s 2017 inaugural committee misspent some of the record $107 million it raised from donations. “He’s never been in a position where he can’t shuck and jive and work his way out of things,” said one Republican who works closely with the White House. “Well, it’s all coming home to roost.”

It is.  Moreover, some of the people closest to him may also wind up going down.

"The latest developments have exposed the depth of Trump’s efforts to deceive the public about the illegal hush-money payments, and some of his friends and advisers said privately that they fear those efforts could imperil the president. While there is a consensus view inside the White House that a sitting president will not be indicted, the former senior administration official described a deep uncertainty about other ways that Trump could be held liable. And there is growing anxiety among Trump’s allies, including in Congress, that he could be vulnerable to the various investigations and, eventually, Democratic-led impeachment proceedings."

Think Republicans won't wind up getting on board as they did during the Nixon fiasco when the truth becomes more than obvious?

"Joyce White Vance, who was a U.S. attorney in the Obama administration, explained that Trump may be accustomed to a business environment in which people posture and deceive for competitive advantage. She contrasted that atmosphere with the legal world, in which prosecutors must operate at a high ethical standard, because if they lie or cheat, they endanger their ability to continue practicing law. Vance said the federal prosecutors who implicated Trump in the illegal payments are likely to have relied on more evidence than just Cohen’s testimony. She noted that other witnesses have been cooperating with the investigation — including, for instance, Allen Weisselberg, the Trump Organization’s former longtime chief financial officer. “Trump should be concerned,” Vance said. “It’s not just the government saying it. It’s not just a single witness saying it. Prosecutors in the Southern District of New York, who are known for their rigor in making these assessments, have decided there’s evidence from a number of reliable sources and that they can prove it beyond a reasonable doubt.”

A whole different ball game for the Trump nazi.

Cowardly fail to financially and/or materially support those fighting for all civil and constitutional rights and liberties at great personal cost and risk?  Get what you truly deserve.


12-21-18

Plot thickens as judge has no sympathy for former Trump crony.  The Washington Post reports:

"For a full eight minutes, U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan read aloud an inventory of Michael Flynn’s lies — describing his “disgust” that President Trump’s national security adviser sought to deceive FBI agents while “on the premises of the White House.”

Wasn't this son of a bitch slated to likely get no prison time?  LOL.

"Flynn, a retired general who is the highest-ranking Trump aide to plead guilty as part of the special counsel investigation, listened tensely, his face tight, as the judge ticked through his misdeeds."

Jesus Christ.  Throw the book at him.  Treat him like you would a peasant breaking the law.  Why should this piece of crap receive special treatment no matter what assistance he gave Mueller after the fact?  -- Duty, Honor, Country.  Forget?

"This was not how Flynn’s supporters or Trump thought Tuesday’s sentencing hearing would unfold."

Bet it wasn't.  Finally, a white-collar thug has apparently run into a judge that has no sympathy.  Can we stand it?  LOL.

"They had pinned their hopes on Sullivan, an independent-minded jurist with a history of ferreting out prosecutorial misconduct, as the one who would reveal overreach by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III and the FBI. Some Flynn allies even speculated the judge might toss out Flynn’s guilty plea and clear his name. Instead, the 71-year-old ­veteran jurist used his platform to puncture conspiracy theories that paint Flynn as a victim of deep-state persecution. And he reminded the country of a few simple creeds commonly held in courthouses but increasingly dismissed by the president’s allies: Lying to the FBI is against the law. Breaking the law is bad. People who work in the White House are supposed to be held to a higher standard."

You think?

“This is a very serious offense,” Sullivan told Flynn, even after Mueller’s prosecutors told the judge they agreed that Flynn should face little to no incarceration because he cooperated with their investigation. The judge pointed to the American flag behind his bench and told the decorated combat veteran that he had undermined it: “Arguably, you sold your country out.”

No f--king kidding.  About time a judge had the cajones to tell it precisely like it is.

"Sullivan’s angry lecture from the bench — and his suggestion that he was willing to throw Flynn in jail — injected a moment of high drama into the long-running investigation and served as a reminder of the seriousness of the allegations that launched the special counsel investigation. The move was in keeping with Sullivan’s lack of tolerance for official misconduct, lawyers familiar with his court said."

About time.  Needs to extend not only through the Executive and Legislative Branches, but throughout the entire Judiciary.  -- Right up to and including the nazis ensconced on the highest court of the land, the United States Supreme Court.  To say nothing of state, county, and local authorities, jurisdictions.  ... Right, Sheriff?

“Judge Sullivan usually gives prosecutors a hard time, not because they’ve necessarily done anything wrong, but because he holds the government to a very high standard,” said Glenn Kirschner, a former federal prosecutor who has often appeared before Sullivan. “But today, it played out to the disadvantage of the defendant. And why? The defendant was a high-ranking government official who engaged in egregious conduct. And Judge Sullivan turned his wrath on the defendant.”

Again, about time.

"Sullivan also expressed frustration at a lack of information about what Flynn has given Mueller’s team. Although the special counsel earlier this month credited the former national security adviser with providing “substantial assistance” on his probe and another criminal investigation, the judge said Tuesday that it was nearly impossible to render a fair decision on Flynn’s sentencing without knowing the details of his cooperation."

Why wasn't that information provided?  Did Mueller truly believe the judge would simply go along?

"Sullivan, the longest-serving active federal judge on the U.S. District Court in Washington, was first appointed to the local D.C. Superior Court by President Ronald Reagan in 1984. He was named to the D.C. appeals court by President George H.W. Bush and appointed to the federal bench by President Bill Clinton."

Imagine that.  A bi-partisan judge.  Couldn't be, could it?  LOL.

"The product of Houston and Gardner, a storied Washington civil rights law firm, Sullivan is best known for his robust enforcement of the rule that prosecutors must disclose any evidence that could help defendants establish their innocence. Defense attorneys have given him the nickname “Brady,” a reference to the Supreme Court ruling requiring the disclosure of such exculpatory material."

Sounds like an honest judge.  Hard to believe that's possible in the current political atmosphere, isn't it?  LOL.

"In 2009, Sullivan overturned the bribery conviction of former senator Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) after it was discovered that FBI agents and prosecutors had improperly withheld that their key witnesses against him had given differing accounts. Before the 2016 election, Sullivan had criticized Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email address while secretary of state, at one point during a public records lawsuit decrying the “drip, drip, drip” of revelations about her email use. “When does it stop?” he wondered."
 

Republican nazis, for their part, certainly underestimated this judge.  Consider the following:

"So Trump’s allies were cheered when Sullivan last week ordered Flynn’s lawyers and Mueller’s team to turn over FBI records detailing agents’ interview with Flynn in January 2017. His demand came a day after Flynn’s attorneys argued their client deserved no prison time, stressing in a court filing that he had been “unguarded” when telling FBI agents about his conversations with the Russian ambassador during the presidential transition. Some Flynn allies, including the president, speculated that the judge was probing possible FBI misconduct. “I think it’s a great thing that the judge is looking into that situation,” Trump told reporters. The president tweeted “good luck” to Flynn early Tuesday."

Haughty, achingly clueless, intractably stupid, insufferably Aryan arrogant nazi bastard.  LOL.

Gets worse.  Get this:

"On Fox News, Trump ally and former judge Jeanine Pirro predicted Sullivan would throw out Flynn’s conviction. The Wall Street Journal published an editorial alleging that the FBI’s treatment of Flynn “reeks of entrapment” and calling on Sullivan to “question the entire plea deal.” Sullivan did. But not the way they expected."

Not at all:

"On Tuesday, nearly a dozen members of Mueller’s team showed up at the downtown Washington courtroom for the hearing, filling the front bench. Flynn, wearing a blue suit, was flanked by his two attorneys. Sullivan quickly indicated that he was offended by Flynn’s suggestion that he was misled by FBI agents. And he said it appeared that the former national security adviser was trying to have it both ways: to take a generous plea deal even as he telegraphed that he might have been entrapped. Sullivan said the FBI records — many of which the judge forced to be publicly disclosed in recent days — showed Flynn had repeatedly lied to agents, despite knowing it was a crime to do so. “You understand why” I was concerned, the judge told Flynn’s attorney Robert Kelner. “This sounds like a backpedaling on the acceptance of responsibility.” Kelner told the judge that he and co-counsel Steven Anthony were trying to show in their filing how Flynn was different from others who have admitted lying to special counsel investigators, noting that agents did not warn him he was under investigation and that he did not have an attorney advising him."

Clearly, the judge would have none of it:

"But Sullivan rejected that argument, saying Flynn should be held to a higher standard.

“He was a high-ranking government official, advising the president of the United States,” Sullivan said. “I’m not hiding my disgust, my disdain, for this criminal offense.” Sullivan also demanded to know from prosecutor Brandon Van Grack whether Flynn could have been charged with treason. Van Grack appeared to try to sidestep the question. He apologized to the judge, saying he didn’t want to misspeak about the case but that he believed the most he could say was that the special counsel did not consider such a charge “based on the evidence that the government had at the time.” Later, Van Grack told the judge that prosecutors did not believe Flynn committed treason. Nevertheless, Sullivan warned Flynn that he believed Mueller’s recommendation that Flynn serve little to no prison time was probably too kind. “I can’t promise you a sentence that involves no jail time,” the judge said."

Fascinating, isn't it?  About time a judge finally stood up to this ongoing bullshit.

"After a 30-minute recess to confer with his lawyers, Flynn agreed to delay sentencing until a later date, when prosecutors presumably could reveal more about the nature of his cooperation. Sullivan ended the tense hearing with a status conference set for March. At day’s end, the judge issued one last shot at Flynn, ensuring that he understood he will be treated like all other defendants. Noting that there had been no restrictions on Flynn’s travel, Sullivan wrote in an order that beginning Jan. 4, the former general will no longer be allowed to travel more than 50 miles outside Washington without permission. He will also have to surrender his passport."

Hat's off to the judge.

Above quotes courtesy of two exceptionally gifted insightful reporters, Carol D. Leonnig  and Rosalind S. Helderman.

Cowardly fail to financially and/or materially support those fighting for all civil and constitutional rights and liberties at great personal cost and risk?  Get what you truly deserve.


12-21-18

Another Trump crony skates.  No justice.  NPR reports:

"A specially appointed federal panel of judges has dismissed all 83 ethics complaints brought against Justice Brett Kavanaugh regarding his conduct at his confirmation hearings. The judges concluded that while the complaints "are serious," there is no existing authority that allows lower court judges to investigate or discipline Supreme Court justices."

Kangaroo justice from an achingly national socialist, fascist, nazi judiciary.  -- So what else is new?

"The complaints against Kavanaugh ranged from allegations that he had misled the Senate about some of his activities in the George W. Bush White House to his angry, partisan statements in denying charges of sexual assault in high school. At his contentious confirmation hearings, Kavanaugh railed against Democrats, accusing them of engaging in a liberal conspiracy, a sort of payback for his onetime role as a prosecutor investigating President Bill Clinton. "This whole two-week effort has been a calculated and orchestrated political hit fueled with apparent pent-up anger about President Trump and the 2016 election, fear that has been unfairly stoked about my judicial record, revenge on behalf of the Clintons, and millions of dollars in money from outside left-wing opposition groups," Kavanaugh thundered. "This is a circus. ... And as we all know, in the United States political system of the early 2000s, what goes around comes around."

Clearly, this nazi 'justice' does not have the temperament expected, moreover, required of a jurist.  Doesn't matter to his fellow nazis in the judiciary, however.  Fascinating, isn't it?  Get this:

"After the hearings concluded, Chief Justice John Roberts appointed a special judicial council panel of judges from the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals to look into the ethics complaints against Kavanaugh. But shortly thereafter, Kavanaugh was confirmed for a lifetime seat on the U.S. Supreme Court. And on Tuesday, Chief Judge Tim Tymkovich, of the 10th Circuit, acknowledged that while the complaints "are serious," the judicial council panel is obligated to dismiss them, because it has no authority over Kavanaugh."

Jesus Christ.  Unbelievable.  No justice.  No oversight.  -- Impeachment is out of the question since although the House will be soon in Democratic control, the Senate is still owned and ruled by Republican fascists who would never vote for conviction.

"The judicial council is empowered to act against lower court judges, he said, but it lacks any statutory authority to investigate or act on complaints against Supreme Court justices. That is, in part, because the Supreme Court was established by the Constitution, while the lower courts were established by Congress. Some reformers have long urged Congress to enact a code of conduct for the Supreme Court and to put in place some sort of disciplinary mechanism short of impeachment."

Cowardly fail to financially and/or materially support those fighting for all civil and constitutional rights and liberties at great personal cost and risk?  Get what you truly deserve.


12-21-18

Trump obstruction of justice in the military.  NBC News reports:

"President Donald Trump’s announcement over the weekend that he will be "reviewing" the case of a former Army Green Beret charged with murder has caused worry in national security and military circles — since it is the kind of thing he is not supposed to do. On Thursday, Major Matthew Golsteyn, was informed that he was charged with premeditated murder in the 2010 killing of an alleged Afghan bomb maker. According to all sides involved, Golsteyn first admitted to the killing during a CIA job interview in 2011, which triggered an investigation by the Army Criminal Investigation Command, or CID. They launched a probe, but did not charge him with any crime due to lack of physical evidence. Golsteyn was, however, issued a formal reprimand and stripped of his Silver Star, the military's third highest award for valor, and his Special Forces patch."

What webs we weave.  Gets worse.  Get this:

"Yet, now that the probe has been rekindled in a military court, Golsteyn faces a maximum penalty of death. Golsteyn told NBC News on Monday that he believes his case came under renewed scrutiny after he spoke of the incident in an October 2016 Fox News interview. And Golsteyn seemed to catch the president’s attention after a segment about the case aired on the weekend edition of Fox & Friends — Trump even tagged Fox News' Pete Hegseth and Fox News in his tweet about Golsteyn. At the request of many, I will be reviewing the case of a “U.S. Military hero,” Major Matt Golsteyn, who is charged with murder. He could face the death penalty from our own government after he admitted to killing a Terrorist bomb maker while overseas."

That's a problem.  The president is supposed to let justice take its course:

"Rachel VanLandingham, the former chief of international law with United States Central Command under President George W. Bush and President Barack Obama, and now a professor at Southwestern Law School, told NBC News that, "as commander in chief, [Trump] has an obligation to ensure a fair administration of military justice." To do this, VanLandingham said, the president cannot pressure lower-level commanders to make decisions, which she believes the President's Sunday tweet does. Dr. Karen Greenberg, director of Fordham Law School’s Center for National Security, agreed, telling NBC News “It’s inappropriate for the executive [branch] to interfere.” While Trump is well within his rights to look into any military case, pending or complete, it is specifically his public announcement so early in the court proceedings that is drawing concern. A date for the initial hearing in Golsteyn’s case has yet to be set, and a decision to prosecute has not yet been made."

Here is the problem:

"U.S. law requires that the Army fully investigate any and every allegation of a war crime. Trump could legally pardon Golsteyn even before the case goes through the military court, but some see this as a rebuke to the rule of law and an indifference to the judicial system."

So what else is new?  Certainly, one of many reasons Trump remains unfit for office.

"VanLandingham noted that the president's tweet "puts the Army in a hard spot because it misunderstands that the Army is doing its job."

Trump has no clue.

"Despite some precedent, Greenberg stressed that "for the most just outcome, what you want is the judicial system — whether they’re inside the military or whether they’re inside the federal court system — to operate independently." "To interfere in the charging or other procedural part of the military trial would be unacceptable," Greenberg said. She added that his tweet is "one more sign of the president’s disregard for the courts, and their presumed independence from White House interference."

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12-21-18

Pressure grows.  CBS News reports:

"President Donald Trump has agreed to shut down his family's embattled Trump Foundation, following investigators' allegations the charity misused funds by directing them to Mr. Trump or his businesses."

The hopelessly greedy fascist bastard lined his pockets.  Sound Christian to you?

"New York Attorney General Barbara D. Underwood said in a statement the Trump Foundation had signed an agreement to dissolve the charity under court supervision. The attorney general will review and approve the process, including approving the charities slated to receive the foundation's remaining assets. The attorney general's office filed a lawsuit in June accusing the Trump Foundation of misusing funds for personal benefit, including Trump Organization legal payments and Mr. Trump's 2016 presidential campaign. Among the claims were that the foundation raised money at a nationally televised fundraiser in January 2016, then allowed Trump campaign staffers to dictate how the money was spent in grants."

Convenient, wasn't it?

"The lawsuit, which seeks to bar Mr. Trump and his three eldest children from serving on the boards of other New York-based charities, will continue, the AG said in the statement. The lawsuit also seeks "millions in restitution" for what it said was a "a shocking pattern of illegality."

Then, why the hell hasn't he been prosecuted?  No one in this country is above the law, -- not even our nazi fuhrer.  Time to rethink this shit about not indicting and prosecuting a sitting president.  Enabling a criminal in the Oval Office destroys all faith and trust in the system.  Especially, when GOP nazis remain in bed with this piece of crap.

Wake up.  Get this:

"The Trump Foundation functioned "as little more than a checkbook to serve Mr. Trump's business and political interests," Underwood said in the statement. "This is an important victory for the rule of law, making clear that there is one set of rules for everyone."

Goddamned right.

"The Trump Foundation could not be immediately reached for comment."

What the f--k could they possibly say?

The Washington Post reports:

"President Trump has agreed to shut down his embattled personal charity and to give away its remaining money amid allegations that he used the foundation for his personal and political benefit, New York Attorney General Barbara Underwood announced Tuesday. Underwood said that the Donald J. Trump Foundation is dissolving as her office pursues its lawsuit against the charity, Trump and his three eldest children. The suit, filed in June, alleged “persistently illegal conduct” at the foundation and sought to have it shut down. Underwood is continuing to seek more than $2.8 million in restitution and has asked a judge to ban the Trumps temporarily from serving on the boards of other New York nonprofit organizations. Underwood said Tuesday that her investigation found “a shocking pattern of illegality involving the Trump Foundation — including unlawful coordination with the Trump presidential campaign, repeated and willful self-dealing, and much more.”

Our 'president's' a crook.  Who'd 'a 'thunk' it?  Think his sick sycophants will ever wake up?

“This is an important victory for the rule of law, making clear that there is one set of rules for everyone,” she added in a statement."

-- Not if the son of a bitch continues to be protected and coddled, not prosecuted.

"The shuttering comes after The Washington Post documented apparent lapses at the foundation. Trump used the charity’s money to pay legal settlements for his private business, to purchase art for one of his clubs and to make a prohibited political donation. Trump denied that the organization had done anything wrong. In late 2016, he said he wanted to close the foundation, but the New York attorney general blocked that move while it investigated. The settlement with Underwood’s office represents a concession by Trump to a state investigation he decried as a partisan attack. The case is one of numerous legal investigations of Trump organizations that have proliferated during his presidency."

Wake up.  We've got a problem.  A serious problem.

"In a court filing in New York, Underwood said that the foundation’s remaining $1.75 million would be distributed to other charities approved by her office and a state judge. The attorney general’s suit alleges that Trump used his charity’s money as his own piggy bank — including to help his presidential campaign by paying for giveaways at Iowa rallies."

Goddamned disgrace.  No principles.  No heart.  No soul.  Amoral.

“The Foundation was little more than a checkbook for payments to not-for-profits from Mr. Trump or the Trump Organization,” Underwood wrote in the initial suit. The Trump Foundation was never the most impressive part of Trump’s portfolio: At its peak, in 2009, it had only about $3.2 million in the bank, a small sum for a billionaire’s charity. The real estate mogul used other people’s donations to build up the foundation’s assets. In recent years, the largest gifts came from pro-wrestling moguls Vince and Linda McMahon, not Trump."

A piece of human excrement.

Get this:

"Trump gave away the money in his name and also used the foundation to pay his business’s legal settlements. Federal law prohibits using charity money for personal gain. The Post’s reporting showed that, for years, Trump appeared to treat the foundation — which was, by law, an independent entity — as a checkbook for gifts that bolstered his interests."

Prosecute.  We have no kings, queens, dictators in a supposedly democratic republic.

"The largest donation in the foundation’s history — a $264,231 gift to the Central Park Conservancy in 1989 — appeared to benefit Trump’s business: It paid to restore a fountain outside Trump’s Plaza Hotel. The smallest, a $7 foundation gift to the Boy Scouts that same year, appeared to benefit Trump’s family. It matched the amount required to enroll a boy in the Scouts the year that his son Donald Trump Jr. was 11."

Jesus Christ.  How low can you go?  Amoral piece of human excrement.

"The attorney general’s investigation turned up evidence that Donald Trump Jr., Eric Trump and Ivanka Trump — all listed as officers of the charity — had never held a board meeting. The board hadn’t met since 1999. The charity’s official treasurer, Trump Organization executive Allen Weisselberg, told investigators that he wasn’t aware that he was on the board."

That right?  LOL.

"State investigators asked him what the foundation’s policies were to determine whether its payments were proper. “There’s no policy, just so you understand,” Weisselberg said. At one point, Trump used the charity’s money to make a $25,000 political donation to Florida Attorney General Pamela Bondi (R). The charity didn’t tell the IRS about that, as required — and instead listed that donation as a gift to an unrelated charity in Kansas with a similar name. Trump’s team blamed accounting mistakes. During the 2016 campaign, state investigators allege, Trump effectively “ceded control” of his charity to his political campaign. He raised more than $2 million at a fundraiser in Iowa that flowed into the foundation. Then, the state said, Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski determined when and where it would be given away. “Is there any way we can make some disbursements ... this week while in Iowa?” Lewandowski wrote in an email cited in Underwood’s lawsuit."

If these allegations are indeed true, Trump needs to be prosecuted.  So do all those involved in this fiasco, -- including family members.

"Trump gave away oversize checks from the foundation at campaign events in the key early-voting states of Iowa and New Hampshire, pausing his campaign rallies to donate to local veterans’ groups. Federal law prohibits charities from participating in political campaigns. As president, Trump has called repeatedly for that law to be repealed."

Goddamned hypocrite.

Insult to injury?  Get this:

"The demise of the Trump Foundation still leaves one mystery regarding a large portrait of Trump that the future president bought for $20,000 in 2007, using money from the charity. What became of it after that is unknown. In 2017, after The Post wrote about the portrait, Trump listed it as an asset on his charity’s IRS forms. He assigned it a value of $700. But he did not say where it was. On this year’s tax forms, however, the painting’s value was listed at $0. Trump’s attorney did not respond to a query from The Post about why."

... Got to be a special place in Hell.

Cowardly fail to financially and/or materially support those fighting for all civil and constitutional rights and liberties at great personal cost and risk?  Get what you truly deserve.


12-21-18

Appears increasingly that US jurisdiction extends across the universe.  Not all agree, however.  Imagine that.  NBC News reports:

"The detentions of two Canadians in China this week have raised the stakes in a three-way international dispute with the United States. China's Foreign Ministry confirmed Thursday that it was holding two Canadian men on suspicion of "endangering national security." The broadly defined charge encompasses both traditional espionage and other forms of information gathering such as interviewing political dissidents and contacting non-governmental organizations."

Tit-for-tat.  Who'd 'a 'thunk' it?  Couldn't be, could it?  What webs we weave.  Quite a convoluted fiasco.

"Earlier, the Canadian government said that Michael Spavor, a China-based entrepreneur who organizes tours to North Korea, had gone missing. His disappearance follows the detention of former Canadian diplomat Michael Kovrig in Beijing on Monday."

Imagine that.  All related to the aggressive stupidity of our fuhrer in the Oval Office.

"Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang declined to say whether the men have been provided with lawyers. He said they are being handled separately. The two cases ratchet up pressure on Canada, which is holding a Chinese telecommunications executive wanted by the United States. The U.S. is seeking the extradition of Meng Wanzhou, the chief financial officer of Huawei Technologies, who was arrested in Vancouver on Dec. 1. Canadian officials have not been able to contact Spavor "since he let us know he was being questioned by Chinese authorities," Canadian Global Affairs spokesman Guillaume Bérubé said. "We are working very hard to ascertain his whereabouts and we continue to raise this with the Chinese government."

To date, to no avail.

"Another Canadian, Keven Garratt, spent 750 days in detention in 2014-16 and was given an eight-year prison sentence for espionage before being deported. Garratt's detention was seen as a tit-for-tat response to Canada's arrest of Chinese spy who was eventually extradited to the U.S. Spavor is a fluent Korean speaker with longstanding ties to North Korea through his company, Paektu Cultural Exchange. He was instrumental in bringing NBA player Dennis Rodman to Pyongyang in 2013 and has organized a number of tours and joint cultural projects with the North since then. Acquaintances said he was due in Seoul, the South Korean capital, on Monday, but never showed up."

How about that?

"At the root of the dispute is Canada's arrest of Meng while on a layover at Vancouver airport. The U.S. accuses Huawei of using a Hong Kong shell company to do business with Iran in violation of U.S. sanctions."

See!  LOL.  American jurisdiction extends across the universe.  -- At least, according to the Department of 'Justice.'

"The editor in chief of the Global Times, a Communist Party-run tabloid known for its provocative views, warned in a video Wednesday night of "retaliatory measures" if Canada doesn't free Meng. "If Canada extradites Meng to the U.S., China's revenge will be far worse than detaining a Canadian," Hu Xijin said, speaking in English."

Think so?

"Canada has asked China for extra security at its embassy because of protests and anti-Canadian sentiment and has advised foreign service staff to take precautions, a senior Canadian official told reporters."

Doesn't sound good, does it?  Chinese are certainly not happy campers.

"The United States and China have taken pains to emphasize that ongoing trade talks are separate from the U.S. case against Meng. But with a few words, President Donald Trump obliterated the distinction Tuesday, saying he'd wade into the case if it would help produce a trade agreement with China. "If I think it's good for what will be certainly the largest trade deal ever made — which is a very important thing — what's good for national security — I would certainly intervene if I thought it was necessary," Trump told Reuters in an interview. The comment suggests Meng could be a political pawn in negotiations and makes things more awkward for Canada. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau bristled at Trump's assertion, saying: "Regardless of what goes on in other countries, Canada is, and will always remain, a country of the rule of law."

Think it's not goose stepping in unison with its southern neighbor?

"Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said it was "quite obvious" any foreign country requesting extradition should ensure "the process is not politicized."

Too late for that.  Forget?  Get this:

"There is precedent for Trump intervening on behalf of a Chinese company accused of violating U.S. sanctions. Trump drew fire from Capitol Hill in June when he reached a deal that spared another Chinese telecommunications company, ZTE, from U.S. sanctions that probably would have put it out of business after it was accused of selling equipment to Iran and North Korea. U.S. regulators planned to bar it from receiving U.S. components that it depended on, effectively a corporate death sentence. But Trump issued a reprieve, perhaps partly because U.S. tech companies, major suppliers to ZTE, would also have been scorched. ZTE agreed to pay a $1 billion fine, change its board and management, and let American regulators monitor its operations."

Cowardly fail to financially and/or materially support those fighting for all civil and constitutional rights and liberties at great personal cost and risk?  Get what you truly deserve.


12-21-18

A bi-partisan Congress finally did the right thing.  Stood tall.  Can we stand it?  LOL.  The Washington Post reports:

"The House overwhelmingly approved a resolution Thursday to label the deadly persecution of a Muslim minority group in Myanmar by the country’s military a “genocide,” in sharp contrast to President Trump’s public silence on the matter."

Finally, stood up to the lunatic nazi in the Oval Office.  Overwhelmingly:

"The bill, approved by a vote of 394 to 1, also calls on Myanmar’s government leaders, including state counselor Aung San Suu Kyi, to pardon two Reuters journalists who have been jailed for over a year for their coverage of the violence, which resulted in more than 700,000 Rohingya Muslims fleeing the country last year. Though estimates vary, one independent report this year said more than 43,000 Rohingya parents are missing and presumed to have been killed.

"The House resolution said the violence against the Rohingya Muslims in Rakhine state last year met the U.N. definition of genocide and called on Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to make his own determination “based on available evidence.” The United Nations issued its report in August saying military leaders in Myanmar, also known as Burma, must face criminal prosecution on charges of genocide."

About time Congress finally stood up.  What took so long?

"The resolution also called on Trump to impose additional economic sanctions on members of Myanmar’s military and security forces responsible for human rights abuses, specifically naming the military commander, Min Aung Hlaing. In all, 211 House Republicans and 183 Democrats voted in support of the measure. Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.) was the only one who voted against it. “There’s a moral obligation obviously here for Americans, for all of us — regardless of political party, regardless of ideology — to stand up and say, ‘Enough. No genocide on our watch. This has to end now,’” Rep. Edward R. Royce (R-Calif.), chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said in an interview on Voice of America this week."

Indeed.  What took so long?

Cowardly fail to financially and/or materially support those fighting for all civil and constitutional rights and liberties at great personal cost and risk?  Get what you truly deserve.


12-21-18

Senate finally stands up to the Trump nazi.  The Washington Post reports:

"BREAKING: Senate votes unanimously to condemn Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman as responsible for killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Minutes earlier, the Senate voted, 57-38, to end U.S. military involvement in Yemen as lawmakers continue to express outrage and frustration with the president’s refusal to condemn Mohammed for Khashoggi’s death despite the CIA’s finding that the crown prince likely is responsible.

"As the Senate prepares to deliver a historic, bipartisan rebuke of the United States’ continued support for Saudi Arabia’s war effort in Yemen, House lawmakers remain bitterly divided along party lines about whether to challenge President Trump’s continued support for the Kingdom, even in the face of evidence implicating its crown prince in the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. House lawmakers emerged from a closed-door briefing with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis Thursday urging very different responses to Saudi Arabia and its crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, whom a recent CIA assessment found was probably responsible for the killing of Khashoggi, a Washington Post contributing columnist, in a Saudi consulate in Istanbul. “They have to be held responsible,” Rep. Eliot L. Engel (D-N.Y.), the incoming chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said after the briefing, referring to Mohammed and Saudi King Salman. On Yemen, Engel added that while the Saudis were right to worry about the growing influence of Houthi rebels aligned with Iran, “we cannot use it as an excuse to just say ‘whatever the Saudi government is doing is okay because we’re fighting for the greater cause.’”

No end to the idiocy, however:

"But there remain Republicans in the House who defend the crown prince — and those who think that even if he should be called out for his involvement in Khashoggi’s death, the punishment should stop there. “We recognize killing journalists is absolutely evil and despicable, but to completely realign our interests in the Middle East as a result of this, when for instance the Russians kill journalists...Turkey imprisons journalists?” Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) said. “It’s not a sinless world out there.”

To this GOP nazi and others who think like him, the ends justify the means.  Republicans have clearly lost themselves.

"That stands in sharp contrast to the Senate, where several Republicans have been encouraging a broad response to Saudi Arabia over not just Khashoggi’s killing and the Yemen war, but the Kingdom’s blockade in Qatar, its recent detainment of Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri, and a slate of human rights abuses they say have compromised the U.S.-Saudi alliance. The Senate is likely on Thursday [12-13-18] to pass a resolution seeking to invoke the War Powers Resolution to curtail U.S. support for the Saudi-led military campaign in Yemen. Sixty senators voted on Wednesday to debate the resolution — a showing that suggests that even if the effort fails to pass both chambers of Congress, senators are building momentum to challenge Saudi Arabia and Trump’s support for it that will continue into next year."

Cowardly fail to financially and/or materially support those fighting for all civil and constitutional rights and liberties at great personal cost and risk?  Get what you truly deserve.


12-21-18

Think Trump and his sidekick Pence aren't space cadets?  LOL.  NPR reports:

"Vice President Mike Pence announced the revival of the U.S. Space Command, saying on Tuesday that it will oversee more than 18,000 military and civilian personnel who currently work "in space operations for our national security." America's military operations in space are now back under a single unified command, as the Trump administration revived the once-retired U.S. Space Command on Tuesday. Vice President Mike Pence outlined the plan during his visit to the Kennedy Space Center on Tuesday. "Today, there are more than 18,000 military and civilian personnel working in space operations for our national security, all across the Department of Defense," Pence said."

Exigent threat?  Where?  Whose pockets are being lined in the war profiteering corporate management suite, Mr. Vice President?  Whose?

"The vice president added that under President Trump's order, Space Command will "integrate space capabilities across all branches of the military; it will develop the space doctrine, tactics, techniques and procedures that will enable our warfighters to defend our nation in this new era." "A new era of American national security in space begins today," Pence said."

Jesus Christ.  What a waste of money.  Think pockets aren't being lined?

"As Pence began his remarks in Florida, the White House made the move official by releasing a memo from President Trump to Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, directing him to establish the Space Command. The same entity was first created in 1985, but it was merged into Strategic Command in 2002."

Trump remains a lunatic.

Cowardly fail to financially and/or materially support those fighting for all civil and constitutional rights and liberties at great personal cost and risk?  Get what you truly deserve.


12-21-18

Think the following a step in the right direction?  Or, more of the same.  CBS News reports:

"The Trump administration unveiled a new Africa strategy based on "America First" principles, focused on enhancing trade ties, combating terrorism and cutting back on aid programs the administration deems inefficient."

Think the latter nothing more than a smokescreen to justify cut off of aid to a continent that desperately needs help?  Especially, since the United States intends to continue interfering in African affairs.

"Ambassador John Bolton, the President's national security adviser, unveiled the strategy in remarks delivered at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank in Washington, D.C."

The Heritage Foundation is no more than a group of national socialist elitists who are no more than fascists in reality.

"Under our new Africa strategy, we will target U.S. funding toward key countries and particular strategic objectives," Bolton said. "We will make certain that all aid to the region—whether for security, humanitarian, or development needs—advances U.S. interests," Bolton said."

Translation?  Intend to continue to interfere in African affairs while cutting off as much aid as possible.  In other words, f--k 'em on the cheap.  ... Right, Johnny boy?  The American Way.

"Currently, the U.S. sends more than $8 billion annually to African countries, though Bolton, citing a "longstanding pattern of aid without effect," indicated that amount may soon be slashed."

Surprise, surprise.  LOL.  Indeed, 'The King has no clothes!'  -- What a piece of disingenuous crap.  Human excrement.  Forget?  The Nazi Way.  ... Right, Johnny boy?

"Unfortunately, billions upon billions of U.S. taxpayer dollars have not achieved the desired effects," he said. "They have not stopped the scourge of terrorism, radicalism and violence."

More goddamned disingenuous horse shit coming from this clueless, haughtily ignorant, unabashed fascist. Wake up, Johnny boy.   Conveniently, forget? Purpose of aid is to feed, clothe, provide for those in need.  Especially, since our country egregiously contributed to ongoing current problems in Africa that were certainly exacerbated by slavery here in the United States all those years.

"Despite indications the strategy will ultimately involve a drawdown in overall U.S. funding, Bolton said the strategy has been designed to counter financial and political influence from China and Russia, which he said employ "predatory practices" to stunt economic growth and interfere with American military and security interests on the continent. "China uses bribes, opaque agreements and the use of strategic use of debt to hold states in Africa captive to Beijing's wishes and demands," Bolton said. "Its investment ventures are riddled with corruption." Russia, too, he said, seeks to increase its influence in the region through "corrupt economic dealings."

We don't?  Give me a break.  Only reason why Russia and China are in Africa is because we're there.  Putting our noses where they don't belong.  As we do all across the globe.  To line the pockets of the war profiteering corporate management suite who in turn line the pockets of their bought and paid for government lackeys.  Never ends.  Reap what we sow.  Then, haughtily piss and moan when others don't do our bidding, won't goose step along.

"China surpassed the U.S. as Africa's largest trading partner in 2009. In September, at a triennial forum for Chinese and African leaders, China's president, Xi Jinping, announced a $60 billion aid and loan package that he claimed came with "no political conditions."

There's an economic reason for this.  Cheap products.  Off the backs of the Chinese workforce.  Just like right here in the United States.  Bottom and middle class take it hard in the ass so the top of the food chain remains top of the food chain.  Two diametrically opposed political extremes, same end result.  Zero-sum, winner-take-all.  Orchestrated f--king.

"In subsequent remarks to reporters, Bolton said China's so-called "debt diplomacy," which begins with attractively financed projects before becoming mired in "onerous" terms and conditions, amounts to a "bait and switch" tactic of which developing countries have grown increasingly wary."

We don't do the same overseas?  To say nothing of right here, domestically.  Yet, you nazis in the Republican Party refuse to rein in your corporate masters.  Democrats?  Out to lunch since November 22, 1963, Kennedy assassination.

"Bolton also sharply criticized U.N. peacekeeping missions in the region, saying the U.S. would "no longer provide indiscriminate assistance across the entire continent, without focus or prioritization." "Our objective is to resolve conflicts, not freeze them in perpetuity," he said."

Crock of shit.  We do exactly the same.  Three current egregious examples?  Israel, Afghanistan, Iraq.  Wake up, Johnny boy.  Your head figuratively remains securely lodged up your ass.

"Bolton also criticized what he said was an "uneven" approach to the continent by previous U.S. administrations."

That right?  Come as a surprise?  Forget?  Policy changes every time the presidency changes.  Goes with the territory.

Ultimate folly?  Epitome of deliberately getting something determinedly ass backwards?  Get this:

"Africa's incredibly important to the United States," he said. "The competition posed by China and Russia, among others, should highlight it for us."

They're there, because we're there forcing our will, views, and ideology on others. Why wouldn't they do precisely the same?

Cowardly fail to financially and/or materially support those fighting for all civil and constitutional rights and liberties at great personal cost and risk?  Get what you truly deserve.


12-21-18

Think Trump's not only hopelessly delusional, but increasingly desperate?  The Washington Post reports:

"President Trump claimed Thursday that “money we save” from a new trade deal with Mexico and Canada would make good on his long-standing promise to have Mexico pay for a new southern border wall. Trump’s highly questionable assertion, in a morning tweet, comes as he is lobbying Congress for $5 billion to help fund construction of the wall and threatening a partial government shutdown if he does not get his way. In recent days, as the debate over the wall has come to the fore, Trump has faced renewed criticism for appearing to have abandoned his campaign pledge to make Mexico pay for it.

    "I often stated, “One way or the other, Mexico is going to pay for the Wall.” This has never changed. Our new deal with Mexico (and Canada), the USMCA, is so much better than the old, very costly & anti-USA NAFTA deal, that just by the money we save, MEXICO IS PAYING FOR THE WALL!
    — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 13, 2018

"Mexican officials have said there was no discussion in the trade-deal negotiations of mechanisms under which Mexico would pay for the wall."

They're not going to.

"And on Thursday, both House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) ridiculed Trump for his assertion. “It doesn’t make any sense,” Pelosi told reporters at a news conference. “Maybe he doesn’t understand how a trade agreement works. ... I think the Oval Office is an evidence-free zone.” Pelosi, who is likely to become House speaker in January, also pointed out that Congress has yet to ratify Trump’s new trade deal. Schumer, meanwhile, suggested on the Senate floor Thursday that if Mexico is truly funding the wall, Congress does not need to spend any money on it. “Mr. President, if you say Mexico is going to pay for the wall through NAFTA — which it certainly won’t — then I guess we don’t have to,” Schumer said. “Let’s fund the government. Honestly. If the president really believed what he tweeted this morning, that his new NAFTA would pay for the wall, he wouldn’t be threatening to shut down the government unless American taxpayers fund his wall. You can’t have it both ways.”

Can't confuse an idiot with the truth.

Cowardly fail to financially and/or materially support those fighting for all civil and constitutional rights and liberties at great personal cost and risk?  Get what you truly deserve.


12-21-18

More of the same.  Another Trump henchman resigns in disgrace.  The Washington Post reports:

"Interior Department Secretary Ryan Zinke submitted his resignation to the White House Saturday, after facing intense pressure to step down because of multiple probes tied to his real estate dealings in Montana and conduct while in office.

"While the former Navy SEAL and Montana congressman worked aggressively to promote Trump’s agenda of expanding domestic energy production, administration officials concluded weeks ago that he ranked as the Cabinet member most vulnerable to congressional investigations once Democrats took control of Congress in January. During his nearly two years in office Zinke came under at least 15 investigations, including inquiries into his connection to a real estate deal involving a company that Interior regulates, whether he bent government rules to allow his wife to ride in government vehicles and allowing a security detail to travel with him on a vacation to Turkey at considerable cost."

Delusionally believe Zinke isn't an Aryan arrogant nazi?  Get this:

"Zinke was cleared in several of those investigations, and chose to attack his critics rather adopt a more chastened tone. Late last month he accused Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.) — who had called on Zinke to step down and is poised to take over the committee that oversees Interior in January — of being a drunk. “It’s hard for him to think straight from the bottom of the bottle,” Zinke wrote from his official Twitter account on Nov. 30."

Cowardly fail to financially and/or materially support those fighting for all civil and constitutional rights and liberties at great personal cost and risk?  Get what you truly deserve.


12-21-18

Yet another trash appointment by the Trump nazi.  NPR reports:

"President Trump said Friday evening that Mick Mulvaney, his director of the Office of Management and Budget, will be the acting White House chief of staff. It's unclear how long Mulvaney will serve in the role, succeeding outgoing chief of staff John Kelly. Trump announced on Dec. 8 that Kelly would leave at the end of the year.

"When asked why Mulvaney was named as "acting" rather than the permanent chief of staff, the official responded, "Because that's what the president wants."

"Mulvaney has served multiple roles in the Trump administration. In addition to leading OMB, he also became the acting director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Mulvaney's replacement at the CFPB was confirmed last week. The White House clarified Friday night that Mulvaney will not resign from OMB. Spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement that Mulvaney "will spend all of his time devoted to his role as the acting Chief Of Staff for the President." OMB Deputy Director Russell Vought will "handle day to day operations and run OMB."

Will the son of a bitch be collecting multiple salaries off the taxpayer tit?

Cowardly fail to financially and/or materially support those fighting for all civil and constitutional rights and liberties at great personal cost and risk?  Get what you truly deserve.


12-21-18

The pressure must have been enormous.  NPR reports:

"The Education Department plans to erase debt for thousands of teachers whose TEACH grants were converted to loans, after an almost year-long NPR investigation into the troubled federal program. For nearly 10 years, the TEACH grant has helped cover tuition for teachers-in-training — as long as they agree to teach a high-need subject, like science or math, at a school that serves low-income families. But a report by the Education Department published earlier this year showed that nearly 12,000 educators in the program never got that money. These grants were turned to loans, with interest, due to small mistakes on the paperwork teachers filled out each year to prove that they fulfilled their end of the bargain. Now these teachers are given a second chance. As long as they meet the major requirements of the program and provide proof, the Department will likely convert the loans back to grants and refund any past payments."

Cowardly fail to financially and/or materially support those fighting for all civil and constitutional rights and liberties at great personal cost and risk?  Get what you truly deserve.


12-21-18

Another 'judge' perversely legislating his ideological views from the bench.  NPR reports:

"A federal judge in Texas issued a ruling Friday declaring the Affordable Care Act unconstitutional, apparently setting the stage for another hearing on the health care law by the U.S. Supreme Court. The ruling by U.S. District Judge Reed O'Connor invalidates what's commonly referred to as Obamacare nationwide, and casts into doubt the survival of the law on the eve of the deadline for tens of millions of Americans to sign up for health care coverage in 2019. The ruling comes in a lawsuit brought against what was one of the major domestic achievements of the Obama administration. An alliance of 19 Republican attorneys general and a governor led by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton challenged the law. As NPR's Alison Kodjak explained on All Things Considered, "The lawsuit had to do with whether when Congress last year repealed or eliminated the penalty for not having insurance — it was a tax penalty for people who didn't have insurance — whether that meant the rest of the law didn't apply anymore. The court case argued that all of the pieces of the law were dependent upon each other, so by eliminating the penalty the rest of the law fell apart. The judge agreed with that opinion."

Bought and  paid for by Republican national socialists, fascists, nazis.  So what else is new?  LOL.  Nothing changes, however, until all appeals are exhausted.

"California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, who led the coalition of states that defended the ACA promised to continue the court fight to preserve the law."

Cowardly fail to financially and/or materially support those fighting for all civil and constitutional rights and liberties at great personal cost and risk?  Get what you truly deserve.


12-21-18

More of the same.  Why is our military fighting all over the globe with no declaration of war as required by the United States Constitution?  NPR reports:

"The U.S. military says it hit the al-Shabab extremist group with six airstrikes over the weekend, killing 62 militants in an operation that targeted a camp in southern Somalia. No civilians were harmed, according to the U.S.  U.S. Africa Command says the "precision airstrikes" were conducted in close collaboration with Somalia's government. Four strikes near the town of Gandarshe on Saturday killed a total of 34 militants, and two strikes on Sunday killed 28, the U.S. says."

By what authority?  Why no declaration of war after so many years of fighting?

"The U.S. has been bombing the country for about a decade, but this year, there has been a big increase in airstrikes," Peralta says. "With this bombing run, the U.S. has killed more than 300 militants in Somalia this year." Peralta adds that the weekend strikes comes at a time of political crisis for the central government in Somalia. "Riots have broken out after a popular former al-Shabab leader was arrested," he says, "and the states are threatening a revolt against the federal government." Amid that backdrop, U.S. Africa Command is working to help the process of transferring long-term security responsibilities to the government from the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) — a peacekeeping mission that's been running since 2007."

Time to get the hell out of there.  ... Or, declare war.  Why do we continue to line the pockets of corporate war profiteers?

Cowardly fail to financially and/or materially support those fighting for all civil and constitutional rights and liberties at great personal cost and risk?  Get what you truly deserve.


12-21-18

Dose of reality in a world of fantasy?  Time to remove the punch bowl?  The Washington Post reports:

"Jerome H. Powell, chair of the Federal Reserve and one of the world’s top economic leaders, has spent much of 2018 telling people that the U.S. economy is strong and almost “too good to be true.” But last week, he stressed a different message — not everyone has been lifted by faster growth."

You think?  Economy is now zero-sum, winner-take-all.  Has been for years.

“The benefits of this strong economy and sound financial system have not reached all Americans,” Powell said in Dec. 3 speech. “The aggregate statistics tend to mask important disparities by income, race and geography.” He repeated that message in a Dec. 6 speech. “While the economy is strong overall, we recognize that some communities have yet to feel the full benefits of the ongoing expansion,” he said."

Strong for the top of the food chain.  At expense of the bottom and quickly vanishing middle class.  ... How unwanted dreaded revolutions are spawned.

"The reality is that in a year when unemployment hit the lowest level in almost 50 years, with inflation staying low and growth popping after the tax cuts, a surprising number of red flags remain in the economy, especially compared with the last period of strong economic growth, in 1999-2000. It’s a reminder, many experts say, that the U.S. economy has deep structural problems that are far from being cured."

No question.  While inflation may not be an issue for the top of the food chain, certainly is for the bottom and middle class which have seen significant rises in food prices, cost of health care, other staple items, goods and services, etc..  Clearly, the hopelessly avaricious bastards in the corporate management suite are doing all they can to suck every last drop of blood from the bottom and middle class.  Never get enough.

"Four in 10 adults still say they don’t have enough savings to cover a $400 emergency expense, according to the latest Federal Reserve report on the economic well-being of Americans. While that is an improvement over 2013, when half of Americans said they could not cover a $400 expense, it remains elevated at a time when unemployment is so low and wages are rising."

Where?  For whom?  Top of the food chain?  Certainly, not sharing the wealth.

"A substantial number of Americans — 45 percent — still rate the current economy as “only fair” or “poor,” according to a Gallup poll in November. Though that is better than in recent years, it is still far higher than November 2000, when only 29 percent of Americans gave the economy a poor grade. Despite the abundance of “We’re hiring!” signs across the country, an alarming number of men in their prime working years are not employed or looking for work. The labor force participation rate for men ages 25 to 54 is 89 percent, which is below the pre-recession level (90.6 percent in November 2007) and well below what the rate was in 2000, when nearly 92 percent of men of prime age had jobs or were actively searching for work. In another telling sign, the number of dollar stores has surged from 20,000 to 30,000 locations since 2011, according to a report by Marie Donahue and Stacy Mitchell of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance. These stores are growing rapidly in urban black neighborhoods and rural America, Donahue and Mitchell found, two parts of the country whose residents are starting to look like a “permanent underclass."

"About 4.8 million Americans who want full-time employment are stuck in part-time jobs, according to the Labor Department. That is still above the pre-recession level and, even more alarming, has jumped by 423,000 since August. Wages in several key sectors of the economy are also lagging behind, even at a time when employers say they can’t find enough people to hire and are offering more money. Average weekly pay, adjusted for inflation, fell slightly in the past year for transportation jobs and administrative and support jobs, according to Labor Department data. Average weekly wages in the hotel and food industries barely grew once inflation is factored in. These are some of the most common jobs for working-class Americans, who do not have college degrees and make about $30,000 to $69,000 for a household of three."

Precisely, why the bottom is foundering, middle class quickly vanishing.  Portend of far worse to come if we continue to fail to wake up.

Think the following isn't not only dangerous, but achingly appalling?

"Suicide rates are so high that life expectancy is declining in the United States. On average, 129 suicides occur a day, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the suicide rate continues to climb, especially among middle-aged men. In every state but Nevada, suicide rates have increased since 1999. Most of these problems are structural, not cyclical, and will not be reversed easily. Many of these issues emerged shortly after 2000, although they accelerated downward during the Great Recession. They are unlikely to be cured by faster growth alone, especially if that stronger growth lasts only for a year or two, as many economists now expect, and then retreats to around 2 percent annual growth in 2020 — or even into a recession."

Cowardly fail to financially and/or materially support those fighting for all civil and constitutional rights and liberties at great personal cost and risk?  Get what you truly deserve.


12-21-18

Further evidence of the hopeless aggressive stupidity of the corporate community.  NPR reports:

"Isela was denied life insurance because her medication list showed a prescription for the opioid-reversal drug naloxone. The Boston Medical Center nurse says she wants to have the drug on hand so she can save others.

"She contacted her insurance agent and was told her application was denied because something on her medication list indicated that Isela uses drugs. Isela, a registered nurse who works in an addiction treatment program at Boston Medical Center, scanned her med list. It showed a prescription for the opioid-reversal drug naloxone — brand name Narcan. "But I'm a nurse, I use it to help people," Isela remembers telling her agent. "If there is an overdose, I could save their life." That's a message public health leaders aim to spread far and wide. "BE PREPARED. GET NALOXONE. SAVE A LIFE," was the message at the top of a summary advisory from the U.S. surgeon general in April.

"But some life insurers consider the use of prescription drugs when reviewing policy applicants. And it can be difficult, some say, to tell the difference between someone who carries naloxone to save others and someone who carries naloxone because they are at risk for an overdose. "My biggest concern is that people will be discouraged by this from going to get a naloxone rescue kit at the pharmacy." Primerica is the insurer Isela says turned her down. (NPR has agreed to use just Isela's first name because she is worried about how this story might affect her ongoing ability to get life insurance.) The company says it can't discuss individual cases. But in a prepared statement, Primerica notes that naloxone has become increasingly available over the counter. "Now, if a life insurance applicant has a prescription for naloxone, we request more information about its intended use as part of our underwriting process," says Keith Hancock, the vice president for corporate communications. "Primerica is supportive of efforts to help turn the tide on the national opioid epidemic."

Think so?

Gets more convoluted:

"After Primerica turned her down, Isela applied to a second life insurer and was again denied coverage. But the second company told her it might reconsider if she obtained a letter from her doctor explaining why she needs naloxone. So, Isela did contact her primary care physician — and then realized that her doctor had not prescribed the drug. Isela had bought naloxone at a pharmacy. To help reduce overdose deaths, Massachusetts and many other states have established a standing order for naloxone — one prescription that works for everybody. Isela couldn't just give her insurer that statewide prescription; she had to find the doctor who signed it. As it happens, that physician — Dr. Alex Walley — also works at Boston Medical Center.

"We want naloxone to be available to a wide group of people — people who have an opioid use disorder themselves, but also [those in] their social networks and other people in a position to rescue them," Walley says. He says he's written a half dozen letters for other BMC employees denied life or disability insurance because of naloxone, and that troubles him. "My biggest concern is that people will be discouraged by this from going to get a naloxone rescue kit at the pharmacy," Walley says. "So this has been frustrating."

"Isela says the second company that rejected her has agreed to let her reapply, in light of Walley's letter stating that she carries the drug so that she can reverse an overdose. Isela is in the process of reapplying."

Why should anyone have to go through this hassle?  This lifesaving drug needs to be easily available and ubiquitous.  F--k the insurance industry.  Serve only themselves.  To line their pockets and those of shareholders.  Unbridled greed.

Cowardly fail to financially and/or materially support those fighting for all civil and constitutional rights and liberties at great personal cost and risk?  Get what you truly deserve.


12-21-18

Facebook continues its assault on privacy.  NPR reports:

"Facebook employees talk to visitors at a one-day Facebook pop-up kiosk in Bryant Park in New York City on Thursday. The company was fielding questions about its data-sharing practices and teaching users how to understand its new privacy controls. The next day, Facebook announced that a "bug" that had inappropriately shared users' private data — this time, their photos.

"Up to 6.8 million users may have been affected, Facebook says. The "bug" affects users who gave permission to a third-party app to access their Facebook photos. Normally, that would only include photos that someone actually posted to their timeline. But between Sept. 13 and Sept. 25, other photos were available, as well: Photos that a user posted to Marketplace, Facebook's platform for selling or buying goods. Photos posted to Stories, the platform for sharing images that disappear after 24 hours."

CBS News reports:

"Facebook gave some of the tech industry's biggest companies greater access to users' personal data than the social-networking company previously disclosed, The New York Times reported Tuesday. Special arrangements detailed in internal Facebook documents gave Microsoft's Bing search engine access to the names of all Facebook users' friends without consent and allowed Netflix and Spotify to read Facebook users' private messages, the Times reported. Other arrangements allowed Amazon to obtain users' names and contact information through their friends and permitted Yahoo to view streams of friends' posts as recently as this summer, the Times reported, despite Facebook's statements that it had ended that type of data sharing. Facebook has been under scrutiny since the revelation in March that consultancy Cambridge Analytica had misused Facebook user data in the run-up to the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Since then, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has testified in front of Congress and the European Parliament to answer questions about Facebook's handling of user data."

Never ends:

"The company has also been in the hot seat for not doing enough to prevent abuse from Russian trolls that posted misinformation and divisive content on the platform. The Russian activity was part of a coordinated campaign to interfere with the U.S. presidential election by sowing discord among voters. Facebook acknowledged in July it entered into data-sharing agreements with dozens of tech companies, admitting it continued sharing information with 61 hardware and software makers even after it said it had discontinued the practice in May 2015. The data-sharing agreements were intended to integrate the "Facebook experience" with mobile devices, something a Facebook representative at the time called a "standard industry practice." The Times reported Tuesday that the records show Facebook had arrangements with more than 150 companies -- mostly in the tech industry but also in the automotive and media industries -- to provide access to the data of hundreds of millions of people each month. The deals were all active in 2017, and some were still in effect this year, the Times reported."

Report goes on and on.  They're f--king users.  Wake up.

Cowardly fail to financially and/or materially support those fighting for all civil and constitutional rights and liberties at great personal cost and risk?  Get what you truly deserve.


12-21-18

Think anyone's worth a $120 million severance package?  NPR reports:

"CBS announced on Monday it will not pay out a controversial $120 million severance package to former CEO Leslie Moonves. The company said it had ample reason to fire the disgraced executive for cause. Disgraced former CBS CEO Les Moonves, who's been accused of sexual harassment and assault, has been denied the controversial $120 million severance package contained in his contract, the network's board of directors announced on Monday."

This guy is a piece of work.  Why hasn't he been prosecuted?

"The decision follows an investigation by two law firms into the allegations against Moonves which culminated in a graphic report that concluded that the company had ample of reasons to fire the television executive for cause, subsequently paving the way for it to withhold the whopping payout. "With regard to Mr. Moonves, we have determined that there are grounds to terminate for cause, including his willful and material misfeasance, violation of Company policies and breach of his employment contract, as well as his willful failure to cooperate fully with the Company's investigation," the statement said."

Clincher?  Get this:

"The board said harassment and retaliation are not pervasive at CBS, but the company has not placed a "high institutional priority" on preventing it."

Jesus Christ.  They're out to lunch.

"Moonves was forced to step down in September, following a New Yorker story in which a dozen women came forward claiming he had sexually harassed or assaulted them. That story came nearly a year after the #MeToo movement began to gain traction in the entertainment industry."

Time to wake up.  This behavior is intolerable.

"Among the CBS report's damning findings, according to The New York Times, which received a leaked copy, is that Moonves "destroyed evidence and misled investigators in an attempt to preserve his reputation and save a lucrative severance deal." The report also included several previously undisclosed allegations of sexual misconduct. Additionally, as The Times' Rachel Abrams, told NPR's All Things Considered: "The lawyer said that they investigated 11 of the 17 women who they knew of who had made accusations against Mr. Moonves. And they make a point multiple times in their report to say that they found the women credible. And by contrast - if I could just read you what they wrote about Mr. Moonves - they said they found him to be evasive and untruthful at times and to have deliberately lied about and minimized the extent of his sexual misconduct. And the lawyers also wrote that Mr. Moonves engaged in multiple acts of serious, nonconsensual sexual misconduct in and outside of the workplace both before and after he came to CBS in 1995."

Cowardly fail to financially and/or materially support those fighting for all civil and constitutional rights and liberties at great personal cost and risk?  Get what you truly deserve.


12-21-18

The following, while exceptionally un-American, comes as no surprise under Trump's Fourth Reich. The Washington Post reports:

"Bahia Amawi, a speech pathologist who has worked as a contractor in a Texas school district for nine years, received a new contract agreement to sign in September for the upcoming school year. The agreement asked her to affirm that she did not boycott Israel and assert that she would not while working for the school."

What the hell business is it of the school district?

"She declined to sign it. Amawi, an American citizen of Palestinian descent who was born in Austria, said the statements infringed on her principles: her stance on Israel’s treatment of Palestinians and her belief in the First Amendment. So she was forced to stop working with the district. The contract, which stems from a 2017 law passed by the state’s Republican-held legislature and governor that prohibited state agencies from contracting with companies boycotting Israel, is the subject of a lawsuit filed this week by Amawi in federal district court in Austin."

Sue the living shit out of the nazi f--kers.  Take them for all you can get.

"Amawi says the state’s enforcement of the law violates her right to free speech."

Indeed.  It does.  Outrageous abrogation of the First Amendment.

“My first reaction was shock,” Amawi told reporters Monday. “Why is the government restricting me from boycotting a certain entity?” Amawi started working for the Pflugerville Independent School District outside Austin in 2009. Her work entails doing evaluations of Arabic-speaking children, according to the complaint she filed. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and the school district are named in the lawsuit."

Here's what's remarkably interesting.  Get this:

"In a statement posted on Facebook, the district said it was bound by the recently passed Texas state law, which it cast in a negative light. “This language is required by the State of Texas for all school districts in Texas, along with other governmental entities,” the statement said. “Unfortunately, Pflugerville ISD and all Texas school districts are at the mercy of the state and the regulations printed into law, and in situations such as this, we are forced to spend time on state political issues and not on our core mission — educating students." Texas passed the law in 2017, part of a wave of states that have passed legislation requiring that state agencies not do business with companies that support the “BDS movement” (for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) to boycott Israeli goods."

It's none of the state's goddamned business.

Gets worse.  Get this:

"The bill’s language has been interpreted so broadly that the application for some grants for victims of Hurricane Harvey included a similar provision, drawing rebukes from local officials and the American Civil Liberties Union. It is not clear whether other states' laws have been written or interpreted in a way to include contractors such as Amawi. “Texas’ ban on contracting with any boycotter of Israel constitutes viewpoint discrimination that chills constitutionally-protected political advocacy in support of Palestine,” Amawi’s complaint states. Fred O. Smith, a constitutional law expert at Emory University, cited two Supreme Court precedents: a 1996 case that found that it was unconstitutional for government officials to retaliate against independent contractors for their speech, as well as 1976 ruling, Elrod v. Burns, that found it unconstitutional for governments to refuse to hire people for their political views, in most circumstances. “These principles taken together strongly suggest that refusing to renew a contract of someone who wishes to advocate a political position raises very serious constitutional concerns under those Supreme Court precedents,” Smith said."

Our nazi Governor, however, remains determinedly aggressively clueless:

"Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) tweeted his support for Israel on Monday as news of Amawi’s lawsuit began to circulate. “Texas stands with Israel,” he wrote. “Period.”

The hell it does, Governor.  You don't speak for all of us, Mr. Abbott.  Readers are reminded this piece of shit ignored repeated complaints against Wells Fargo made by this writer when Abbott was Texas Attorney General.  Clearly, the Governor is far more interested in lining the pockets of his cronies in the corporate management suite than in doing the right thing.  That is, prosecuting white-collar criminals.  Holding the greedy bastards accountable for their crimes.

Not everyone is in goose step with our national socialist Governor:

"Glenn Greenwald, a columnist and co-founding editor of the Intercept who writes frequently about Israeli politics as they intersect with those of the United States, wrote harshly of the contract.“  The language of the affirmation Amawi was told she must sign reads like Orwellian — or McCarthyite — self-parody, the classic political loyalty oath that every American should instinctively shudder upon reading,” he wrote. “In order to continue to work, Amawi would be perfectly free to engage in any political activism against her own country, participate in an economic boycott of any state or city within the U.S., or work against the policies of any other government in the world — except Israel.”

Outrageous, isn't it?  Unless, of course, you're the national socialist Governor of Texas. Raw nazism.

Our achingly fascist Governor could certainly learn something from Ms. Amawi:

"Amawi said that she made the decision for her own values, but also to serve as an example for her four children, telling the Intercept that she did not consider signing the pledge in order to keep her work. “I couldn’t in good conscience do that,” she said. “If I did, I would not only be betraying Palestinians suffering under an occupation that I believe is unjust and thus become complicit in their repression, but I’d also be betraying my fellow Americans by enabling violations of our constitutional rights to free speech and to protest peacefully.” Amawi’s lawsuit says she’s seeking an injunction that will strike the “No boycott of Israel” clause from school contracts, as well as others statewide, and pay her “reasonable costs” and attorney’s fees. “The point of boycotting any products that support Israel is to put pressure on Israeli government to change its treatment, the inhumane treatment of the Palestinian people,” she told the Intercept."

Indeed.  Hat's off, madam.  You've got guts.  Incredible courage.  Especially, since we live in a de facto fascist police-state, quickly transitioning to the Trump nazi's Fourth Reich.  ... Right, Governor?  Sheriff?  Sonny Boy?  Madam County Attorney?

Cowardly fail to financially and/or materially support those fighting for all civil and constitutional rights and liberties at great personal cost and risk?  Get what you truly deserve.


12-14-18

Highly reminiscent of our outrageously bought and paid for judiciary, Llano County prosecutors, Sheriff Bill Blackburn and his criminal SS jackbooted bastards in black who continue to egregiously disgrace themselves and the badge, do as they please regardless of the law and Constitution, carefully consider the following.  It's appalling.  Runs against the grain of everything our formerly great country once stood for.  No longer.

Some semblance of justice.  NPR reports:

"James Alex Fields Jr., who rammed his car into a crowd of counterprotesters during a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va., last year was found guilty on Friday of killing Heather Heyer and injuring dozens of others. The jury deliberated for several hours before convicting Fields, 21, of first degree murder, along with several counts of aggravated malicious wounding, malicious wounding and leaving the scene of an accident. Over the course of the trial prosecutor Nina-Alice Antony depicted Fields as an angry white nationalist who acted with hate and violence on Aug. 12, 2017 when he sped into unsuspecting counterdemonstrators after the Unite the Right rally was shut down by authorities. Antony reminded the jury of a meme Fields posted three months earlier on Instagram. That post showed flailing bodies — labeled "protesters" — being tossed into the air after a car plows into a crowd, the Associated Press reported."

NPR reports:

"On Tuesday, jurors sentenced James Alex Fields Jr. to 419 years plus life and roughly half a million dollars in fines. A judge will hold a separate hearing on March 29. The 21-year-old avowed neo-Nazi who murdered a woman when he plowed his car into a crowd of counterprotesters last year at a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Va., will likely spend the rest of his life in prison. A jury in Charlottesville said Tuesday that James Alex Fields Jr. should be sentenced to life plus 419 years in prison and $480,000 in fines, for killing Heather Heyer and seriously injuring 35 others. Judge Richard Moore will decide whether to sign off on the recommended sentence at a hearing on March 29."

Cowardly fail to financially and/or materially support those fighting for all civil and constitutional rights and liberties at great personal cost and risk?  Get what you truly deserve.


12-14-18

Highly reminiscent of our outrageously bought and paid for judiciary, Llano County prosecutors, Sheriff Bill Blackburn and his criminal SS jackbooted bastards in black who continue to egregiously disgrace themselves and the badge, do as they please regardless of the law and Constitution, carefully consider the following.  It's appalling.  Runs against the grain of everything our formerly great country once stood for.  No longer.

Delusionally believe the traitorous jackbooted bastards in ICE can be trusted?  UPI reports:

"Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials have arrested 170 undocumented adults seeking to sponsor migrant children in custody of the federal government, the agency said Tuesday. Agents conducted background checks, including fingerprinting, from early July to November on potential sponsors seeking to take in unaccompanied migrant children under the care of the Department of Health and Human Services, ICE said. Of those arrested, 109 did not have a criminal record, the agency said. ICE didn't specify the crimes of the 61 arrested. Just under 80 percent of people ICE screened during the sponsorship process weren't in the country legally, the agency said. In September, 41 people who had similarly tried to sponsor migrant children were arrested. Undocumented residents face deportation if arrested."

Worst of the worst.  Treacherous, traitorous, treasonous pieces of human excrement unfit to wear a badge.

"President Donald Trump authorized immigration authorities to examine the criminal background and legal status of anyone who wants to sponsor unaccompanied migrant children -- usually parents or close relatives already in the United States -- and any other adults living in their home."

Trump has no honor.  No principles.  No heart.  No soul.  No more than an amoral piece of human excrement unfit for office.

"Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., who introduced a bill in the Senate to prohibit ICE from using information in background checks to enforce immigration laws, posted on Twitter on Tuesday: "A natural consequence of these arrests is that these children have nowhere to go."

The amoral nazi in the Oval Office couldn't care less.

Clearly, the duplicitous pieces of human excrement in law enforcement cannot be trusted.  ... Right, Sheriff?

Cowardly fail to financially and/or materially support those fighting for all civil and constitutional rights and liberties at great personal cost and risk?  Get what you truly deserve.


12-14-18

Noose figuratively tightens.  NPR reports:

"In a case that could shed light on the finances of the secretive Trump Organization, a federal judge has signed orders to issue 30 subpoenas on behalf of the attorneys general of Maryland and the District of Columbia in their lawsuit alleging that President Trump is profiting from foreign and state governments' spending at the Trump International Hotel in downtown Washington, D.C. Trump owns a stake in the hotel and profits from those sources would appear to violate the Constitution's bans on gifts from foreign and state governments — as D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine called them, "our nation's original anti-corruption laws." Subpoenas are directed to 13 entities attached to President Trump, ranging from several involved with the hotel; up to Trump's umbrella entity, the Trump Organization; and the revocable trust that his lawyers created to insulate him from issues like the emoluments lawsuit. Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh told NPR those subpoenas are aimed at establishing "which foreign governments and which domestic governments are paying the Trump Post Office hotel, then where's it going, and how is the Trump hotel affecting the hospitality industry in D.C. and in Maryland." The lawsuit is based on an argument that the hotel, with a presidential boost, is taking business from other establishments. The Internal Revenue Service and four other federal agencies will also get subpoenas. Frosh said the IRS would likely have Trump Organization records showing "how much money they took in, how much money they spent, if they identified the sources of the income."

Here's the problem:

"If it turns out that now there are suggestions and maybe evidence presented there are people who at least took advantage of the Trump Hotel in Washington to try to curry favor, it's going to continue to stir a pot that the president would surely wish were left unstirred," he said. Kettl said the case, if it goes against Trump, could also bolster support for special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. And while it's unclear how many subpoenaed documents will become public, the plaintiffs' approach in this case could provide a road map for investigative journalists or oversight-minded House Democrats who will wield the majority in the new Congress beginning next year. The Emoluments Clauses of the Constitution have languished in legal obscurity for most of the past two centuries and have never before been tested in court in this way. Justice Department lawyers and private lawyers representing Trump have fought to derail the lawsuit, so far without success. They did block an earlier emoluments case. A third case, brought by some 200 congressional Democrats, is pending. The Justice Department says it will appeal the latest ruling in the Maryland-D.C. case to the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals."

The Constitution is clear.  So is the Emoluments Clause.  Trump clearly believes he's above the law.  In a democratic republic under the United States Constitution, no one is.

Cowardly fail to financially and/or materially support those fighting for all civil and constitutional rights and liberties at great personal cost and risk?  Get what you truly deserve.


12-14-18

Noose figuratively tightens on the Trump nazi.  The Washington Post reports:

"Federal prosecutors filed new court papers Friday directly implicating President Trump in plans to buy women’s silence as far back as 2014 and offering new evidence of Russian efforts to forge a political alliance with Trump before he became president — disclosures that show the deepening political and legal morass enveloping the administration. The separate filings came from special counsel Robert S. Mueller III and federal prosecutors in New York ahead of Wednesday’s sentencing of Trump’s former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen. Taken together, the documents suggest that the president’s legal woes are far from over and reveal a previously unreported contact from a Russian to Trump’s inner circle during the campaign. But the documents do not answer the central question at the heart of Mueller’s work — whether the president or those around him conspired with the Kremlin."

Think Trump's not soiling his pants?

Cohen's certainly not off the hook:

"The documents offer a scathing portrait of his former lawyer as a criminal who deserves little sympathy or mercy because he held back from telling the FBI everything he knew. For that reason, prosecutors said, he should be sentenced to “substantial” prison time, suggesting possibly 3½ years."

Further evidence of Trump's insanity?  Get this:

"Trump immediately declared that he was vindicated. “Totally clears the president. Thank you!” he tweeted. White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said the Cohen filings “tell us nothing of value that wasn’t already known.”

Think so?

"The special counsel’s office said Cohen had provided “useful information” about its ongoing probe of Russian interference in the 2016 election, as well as “relevant information” about his contacts with people connected to the White House between 2017 and 2018. Mueller revealed that Cohen told prosecutors about what seemed to be a previously unknown November 2015 contact with a Russian national, who claimed to be a “trusted person” in the Russian Federation offering the campaign “political synergy” and “synergy on a government level.” Cohen told investigators that the person, who was not identified, repeatedly proposed a meeting between Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin, saying that such a meeting could have a “phenomenal” impact, “not only in political but in a business dimension as well,” the special counsel’s office wrote. Cohen, though, did not follow up on the invitation, because he was already working on a Trump project in Moscow through a different person he believed to have Russian government connections, the special counsel’s office wrote."

Just the tip of the iceberg considering the amount of redaction.  Apparently, Mueller is sitting on far more.

Think the following isn't a problem for Trump?

"Prosecutors also singled out Trump as being directly involved in efforts to buy the silence of women who might level public allegations against him. The memo from New York prosecutors identifies three people at an August 2014 meeting: Cohen, “Individual 1” and “Chairman 1.” The document elsewhere identifies Individual 1 as Trump, and people familiar with the case said Chairman 1 is David Pecker of the National Enquirer. “In August 2014, Chairman-1 had met with Cohen and Individual-1, and had offered to help deal with negative stories about Individual-1’s relationships with women by identifying such stories so that they could be purchased and ‘killed,’ ” the prosecutors’ memorandum says. Cohen pleaded guilty in August to violating campaign finance law when he arranged payments to an adult-film star during the 2016 election. At the same time, he pleaded guilty to a handful of other crimes, including making a false statement to a bank. In recent weeks, he pleaded guilty to lying to Congress about efforts during the presidential campaign to get a Trump-branded tower built in Moscow."

The following is particularly interesting:

"Cohen had asked for a sentence of no prison time, citing his cooperation with investigators. Mueller’s office gave him some credit for his assistance, saying that while his crime was “serious,” he had “taken significant steps to mitigate his criminal conduct.” “He chose to accept responsibility for his false statements and admit to his conduct in open court. He also has gone to significant lengths to assist the Special Counsel’s investigation,” the office wrote."

Prosecutors in New York didn't see it quite the same:

"New York prosecutors, however, were far harsher in their assessment of Cohen’s character, saying he should get only a modest reduction in an expected prison sentence of about five years. In their 38-page filing, they suggest he should receive about 3½ years in prison. “He seeks extraordinary leniency — a sentence of no jail time — based principally on his rose-colored view of the seriousness of the crimes; his claims to a sympathetic personal history; and his provision of certain information to law enforcement,” prosecutors wrote in their filing. “But the crimes committed by Cohen were more serious than his submission allows and were marked by a pattern of deception that permeated his professional life.”

Fascinating, isn't it?  Then again, Mueller's perspective, focus is a bit different since he's apparently moving up the food chain to the kingpin.  Prosecuting and/or making plea deals as he goes.

"Robert Mintz, a former federal prosecutor now in private practice, said the filings show that Cohen “was trying to have it both ways” and that, instead of succeeding, he became “a textbook example of how not to cooperate with federal prosecutors.” Mueller submitted a seven-page memo that doesn’t take any firm position on how long Cohen should spend in prison. In their memo, federal prosecutors in New York lambasted Cohen, detailing his lies to the IRS and banks and his gaming of the campaign finance system — acts that prosecutors said were driven largely by his “own ambition and greed.” Cohen, they claimed, relished the role of being Trump’s “fixer,” trying to use it to win a role in the administration. When that failed, he set out to swindle companies out of money by tricking them into thinking he could provide access and insight. In reality, though, they said Cohen was not much more than “a man whose outlook on life was often to cheat,” and he did not deserve to be spared entirely because he finally decided to plead guilty. “After cheating the IRS for years, lying to banks and to Congress, and seeking to criminally influence the Presidential election, Cohen’s decision to plead guilty — rather than seek a pardon for his manifold crimes — does not make him a hero,” prosecutors wrote."

Certainly, no choir boy.

"Prosecutors repeatedly highlighted what they suggested was minimal information provided by Cohen, noting that while he also met with New York state investigators and tax authorities, that cooperation “warrants little to no consideration as a mitigating factor” because Cohen told them nothing of value beyond what they would probably have gotten without his help. The Mueller memo says that Cohen “repeated many of his prior false statements” when he met with the special counsel’s office in August, and it was only in a second meeting on Sept. 12 — after he pleaded guilty to the campaign finance charges — that he admitted “his prior statements about the Moscow Project had been deliberately false and misleading.”

No question, a shyster looking out for number 1.  Then again, the Trump nazi  doesn't do precisely the same?  LOL.  These guys are all pieces of human excrement.  All of them need to be held criminally accountable.

"The special counsel’s office wrote that Cohen’s lies to Congress “obscured the fact that the Moscow Project was a lucrative business opportunity that sought, and likely required, the assistance of the Russian government,” and that, if completed, the Trump Organization could have received “hundreds of millions of dollars from Russian sources in licensing fees and other revenues.” They noted, as Cohen had already admitted, that he and Trump discussed the project “well into the campaign.” The special counsel’s office added, though, that Cohen “has gone to significant lengths to assist the Special Counsel’s investigation.” The office wrote that Cohen had “explained financial aspects of the deal that would have made it highly lucrative,” and, without prompting, he had corrected other statements he made about his contacts with Russian officials during the campaign."

Fascinating, isn't it?  Two remarkably different assessments from two different prosecutorial teams with remarkably different ultimate goals.

"For example, Cohen said in a radio interview in September 2015 that Trump should meet with the president of Russia during the United Nations General Assembly, and he claimed for a time afterward that the comment had been “spontaneous” and not discussed with members of the campaign. In fact, the special counsel’s office said, Cohen later admitted that he had conferred with Trump about contacting the Russian government for the meeting — which ultimately did not take place. In asking for a sentence of no prison time, Cohen stressed his extensive cooperation with Mueller as well as investigators from other agencies. His lawyers linked his wrongdoing directly to Trump, writing that Cohen was motivated to pay the women to keep quiet and lie to Congress out of his “fierce loyalty” to Trump. Trump has publicly denied the affairs and said he “stayed away” from business in Russia. “He could have fought the government and continued to hold to the party line, positioning himself perhaps for a pardon or clemency, but, instead — for himself, his family, and his country — he took personal responsibility for his own wrongdoing and contributed, and is prepared to continue to contribute, to an investigation that he views as thoroughly legitimate and vital,” Cohen’s lawyers wrote in court papers submitted last week."

Readers are reminded Mueller will likely not recommend prosecution of a sitting president who may have engaged in criminal activity, but forward his report to Congress for consideration of impeachment.

NBC News reports:

"In court documents filed Friday, Special Counsel Robert Mueller for the first time cites President Donald Trump’s time in the White House as relevant in the investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election. It’s the same time frame in which Trump’s former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, says he prepared and circulated a statement to congressional investigators that was false. The revelations were two of four areas in which the special counsel says Cohen provided “useful” assistance in the Russia investigation over the course of seven meetings with investigators. The Mueller filing and a separate one also filed Friday by federal prosecutors in New York essentially place the president as a key figure in multiple federal investigations."

Noose figuratively tightening as Trump insanely deludes himself:

"Yet Trump wrote on Twitter about an hour after the filings became public: “Totally clears the President. Thank you!” White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement that the “filings in Mr. Cohen’s case tell us nothing of value that wasn’t already known.” “Mr. Cohen has repeatedly lied and as the prosecution has pointed out to the court, Mr. Cohen is no hero,” Sanders said."

Think Trump is?

"New York prosecutors state in their 40-page document that Cohen admits that during the campaign he violated campaign finance laws by arranging payments to silence women alleging affairs with Trump “in coordination with and at the direction of” the president. Separately, Cohen’s contacts with people connected to the White House while Trump was in office, as well as the “circumstances of preparing and circulating his response to the congressional inquiries” were two of the four key topics on which Mueller says he cooperated with the Russia investigation. Part of Mueller’s probe into Russia’s election interference, and whether any Trump associates colluded with Moscow on the effort, includes whether the president has tried to obstruct the investigation. In Mueller’s court filing to recommend sentencing for Cohen, the special counsel writes that the president’s personal lawyer provided valuable information “concerning his contacts with persons connected to the White House during the 2017–2018 time period.”

"NBC News has reported that Mueller has examined aspects of Trump’s transition, as well as his time in the White House. Mueller also writes in Friday’s filing that in November 2015, Cohen, acting as Trump’s personal lawyer and a senior executive in his company, was in communication with a well-connected Russian national seeking political and business “synergy” with the Trump campaign. A previous court filing revealed that Trump and members of his family knew more about Cohen’s efforts to construct a Trump Tower in Moscow than was previously known, and that those discussions went on longer into 2016 than he had told Congress they had. Trump insisted throughout the campaign he had no business connections with Russia."

No question, Trump's a congenital liar.  Presidency so far?  Massive failure.

NBC News reports:

"The court papers reveal for what appears to be the first time that Cohen was in contact with the Trump White House last year and this year, although it does not disclose what was discussed during that contact. The memo also contains additional revelations related to Russia – Cohen, for instance, admitted to lying to prosecutors when he told them that, while giving a radio interview in 2015, he “spontaneously” floated the idea of Trump meeting Russian President Vladimir Putin at the United Nations General Assembly. Cohen had in fact “conferred” with Trump about reaching out to the Russian government officials to gauge their interest in arranging such a meeting with Putin in New York, according to the court papers. Mueller’s office also said Cohen gave them information about attempts by Russian nationals to communicate with the Trump campaign. One of them claimed to be a “trusted person” in the Russian federation who could offer the campaign “political synergy” and “synergy on a government level, the memo says. Cohen told the investigators the Russian repeatedly proposed a meeting between Trump and Putin that he said could produce a “phenomenal" impact in matters of politics and business, according to the memo. The prosecutors noted that Cohen didn't follow up on the invitation."

Consider the following:

"After the filing from Mueller, Trump tweeted that it "totally clears the President. Thank you!" But in fact there was nothing in either court filing that exonerated Trump, and one portion strongly suggested that Trump was personally involved in a campaign finance violation. The Manhattan prosecutors said Cohen had paid off two women to suppress their stories about affairs with Trump — a campaign expense that was improperly not reported — and said he did so "in coordination with and at the direction of" Trump."

CBS News reports:

"The special counsel filed a memo Friday revealing more about what former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort lied about when he was supposed to be cooperating with federal investigators. His cooperation with the government was part of a plea agreement to avoid his second trial, focused in part on allegations related to money laundering and his foreign lobbying. The special counsel said that his lies to federal investigators were not simply "memory lapses" on the part of Manafort. According to the special counsel's memo, Manafort lied about several things in breach of his plea deal, including his contact with Konstantin Kilimnik, who ran Manafort's office in Kiev. Kilimnik, who has ties to Russian intelligence, was indicted in June. Much of the information about Kilimnik was redacted in the filing, although Manafort admitted he conspired with Kilimnik to obstruct justice. The special counsel also alleged that Manafort lied about a payment made toward a debt incurred by him to a firm that was working for him in 2017. According to the filing, he also provided false information to the Justice Department about another investigation. And while Manafort said he had no "direct or indirect communications" with anyone in the Trump administration and never "asked anyone to try to communicate a message to anyone in the Administration," the special counsel says he was lying about this, too. He asked someone to speak with an administration official on his behalf by text on May 26, 2018 and had been in communication with a senior administration official through February 2018."

A congenital liar just like his fuhrer in the Oval Office.  LOL.  Two peas in a pod.  Can we stand it?  LOL.

NBC News reports:

"An emotional Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump's former lawyer and fixer, was sentenced Wednesday to 3 years after pleading guilty to nine federal charges stemming from his failure to report millions of dollars in income and making secret payments to women who claimed they had affairs with Trump. One of the charges Cohen pleaded guilty to included a separate charge, stemming from Robert Mueller's probe into Trump's potential collusion with Russia, that he lied to Congress about his dealings with a proposed Trump Tower in Moscow. Cohen, 52, appeared in the Manhattan federal courtroom Wednesday morning with his wife and children. When standing before Judge William Pauley, Cohen said blind loyalty to Trump led him to "choose darkness over light." He said he will work to prove history wrong and that he is not the villain in this investigation. He appeared to tear up as he apologized to his family and to the people of the United States. “I am truly sorry and I promise I will be better," he said."

CBS News reports:

"The media company that owns the National Enquirer admitted to "working in concert" with the Trump campaign to pay off a woman who said she had an affair with Mr. Trump in order to squash her story, prosecutors in New York said Wednesday. The U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York said it had agreed not to prosecute American Media, Inc. (AMI), the Enquirer's parent company, for its involvement in the scheme in exchange for the company's cooperation in the investigation into the payment to Karen McDougal, a former Playboy model. AMI "admitted that its principal purpose in making the payment was to suppress the woman's story so as to prevent it from influencing the election," the office said. The announcement came hours after former Trump attorney Michael Cohen was sentenced in Manhattan to three years in federal prison for violating campaign finance laws for his role in paying off McDougal and Stormy Daniels.

"AMI further admitted that its principal purpose in making the payment was to suppress the woman's story so as to prevent it from influencing the election," the news release said. In exchange for avoiding prosecution, AMI accepted responsibility, agreed to assist in the investigation, and improve its internal compliance related to campaign finance laws, the U.S. Attorney's Office said."

Noose figuratively tightens.

Cowardly fail to financially and/or materially support those fighting for all civil and constitutional rights and liberties at great personal cost and risk?  Get what you truly deserve.


12-14-18

Trump nazi throws a tantrum in the Oval Office.  The Washington Post reports:

"President Trump, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer clashed Tuesday over funding for the border wall, an explosive Oval Office encounter that ended with Trump declaring he’d be proud to shut down the government to get what he wants. The stunning public spat, during which Schumer accused the president of throwing a “temper tantrum,” ended with no resolution and appeared to increase the chances of a partial government shutdown at the end of next week, just before Christmas. The three leaders pointed fingers, raised their voices and interrupted each other repeatedly as they fought over policy and politics, laying bare their differences for all to see."

About time someone stood up to the lunatic.

"Schumer lectured Trump that “Elections have consequences, Mr. President.” Trump claimed that, because she is working to nail down the votes to become speaker, “Nancy’s in a situation where it’s not easy for her to talk right now.” Pelosi retorted: “Please don’t characterize the strength that I bring to this meeting as the leader of the House Democrats who just won a big victory.”

"Pelosi repeatedly asked the president to take the encounter off-camera but it continued for nearly 20 rancorous minutes before Trump ejected the media. “We came in here in good faith, and we are entering into this kind of a discussion in the public view,” Pelosi said during the meeting’s public portion. Pelosi and Schumer both implored Trump not to shut down the government. Trump initially said he did not want a shutdown either but in the end announced he did. “I am proud to shut down the government for border security, Chuck,” Trump declared. “Because the people of this country don’t want criminals and people that have lots of problems and drugs pouring into this country. So I will take the mantel, I will be the one to shut it down. I won’t blame you for it.”

Trump is an idiot.  Hasn't a clue.  Doesn't know what he's talking about.

"The leaders also argued about the meaning of the midterm election results. As Pelosi and Schumer pointed to Democrats’ resounding win in the House, Trump said: “Excuse me did we win the Senate? We won the Senate.” “When the president brags that he won North Dakota and Indiana he’s in real trouble,” Schumer remarked in response. Vice President Pence sat near Trump in an arm chair the entire time without saying anything.

"The private part of the meeting apparently was not much more productive than what the public saw. After Pelosi and Schumer exited the White House, Schumer told reporters: “If he sticks to his position for a $5 billion wall he will get no wall, and he will get a shutdown. The bottom line is very, very simple.”

"Trump began the day Tuesday by posting a series of tweets threatening that if Democrats do not provide enough votes to build the wall, “the Military will build the remaining sections.” He did not elaborate on how that would be funded. Trump had long promised Mexico would pay for the wall, but it is now on U.S. taxpayers to foot the bill."

Cowardly fail to financially and/or materially support those fighting for all civil and constitutional rights and liberties at great personal cost and risk?  Get what you truly deserve.


12-14-18

More of the same incompetence, aggressive stupidity of the narcissist in the Oval Office.  NPR reports:

"Kathy Kraninger, a White House official, has been confirmed as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's new director over objections by critics who highlighted her lack of experience in consumer protection.  The Senate voted 50-49 Thursday to back Kraninger as head of the consumer protection watchdog agency. She has worked for the Office of Management and Budget since March 2017."

She is not qualified.

"She will succeed her OMB boss Mick Mulvaney, who has been the CFPB's acting director, for a five-year term. An associate director for general government at the OMB, Kraninger, 43, held prior jobs at the departments of Homeland Security and Transportation. Kraninger's appointment is another slight by the Trump administration against the CFPB, an agency Mulvaney has worked to weaken from within. "The White House has said she is the "right leader to reform and refocus" the agency."

That is, do nothing to protect consumers, only the financial community.  Forget?  The Republican national socialist way.

"The nomination spurred enthusiasm from Republicans and fierce rebuttal from Democrats during a heated Senate Banking Committee hearing in July. Kraninger has said that "under my stewardship, the bureau will take aggressive action against bad actors who break the rules by engaging in fraud and other illegal activity."

Highly unlikely.

"Republicans argued that her management experience at the OMB qualified her for the job. "I have the utmost confidence that she is well prepared to lead the bureau in enforcing federal consumer financial laws and protecting consumers in the financial marketplace," Committee Chairman Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, said at Kraninger's hearing. But Democrats disagreed, saying Kraninger has no financial industry regulation experience and was unresponsive to their hearing questions."

Precisely what Republicans want for their cronies in the financial community, -- which in turn generously lines their pockets.

"They contended she was an architect of the federal government's "botched" response to Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico. "Instead of turning to help them you pinched pennies," said Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J. "That does not give me the faith that when you have to stand up for seniors, service members, students, homeowners against some of the biggest financial institutions in this country that you'll do that," Menendez added during the hearing. Democrats also said Kraninger played a key role in overseeing the Trump administration's policy of separating immigrant children from their families at the border."

Certainly, quite a plus in the view of the Trump nazi and his henchmen in the GOP.

"These are innocent children who may be scarred forever by this policy," said Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., who helped create the CFPB. "It is fundamentally immoral and you, you were part of it Ms. Kraninger. It is a moral stain that will follow you for the rest of your life. And if the Senate votes to give a big promotion to you after this, it is a stain on the senators who do so."

Forget?  The American Way.

"At her hearing, Kraninger declined to answer questions about the specifics of her roles in those policies. "I don't think it's appropriate for me to get into the details of my advice" to agencies, she said."

Jesus Christ.  This woman will be no more than a shill for her corporate masters.

"She mentioned the value of the free market in her opening statement, noting she spent time in the then-Soviet Union as a member of the Peace Corps. There, she said, she saw "firsthand the devastating impact of communism, the economic consequences of central planning, and the absence of free markets and the rule of law."

There is no such thing as a 'free' market.  The market is owned, manipulated, controlled by those with the wealth to do so.  Moreover, the bottom and middle class receive far different treatment by the law and in the courts than those on the top of the food chain.  The end result of both extremes, that is, communism vs. unregulated or poorly regulated laissez-fair capitalism remains one and the same, -- abject subjugation of the masses to the advantage of the very top of the food chain.  No more complicated than that.  Both system extremes are designed to solely benefit the chosen few.

"Kraninger also pointed to her public service experiences, starting with an internship at the office of then-congressman Sherrod Brown. But Brown, a Democrat who is now an Ohio senator, said at the hearing: "I can't think of a professional reason that she's qualified for this job." The committee approved her nomination on a slim, party-line vote."

Traitors.  Corporate interests trump those of the people.

"Dozens of consumer and civil rights organizations, including the AFL-CIO, the NAACP and Public Citizen, signed a letter to the banking committee this summer, decrying her nomination. As director, she would "continue in the line of the dangerous leadership" and "prioritize the interests of industry over consumers and the rule of law," they wrote. In a statement, Karl Frisch, executive director of the consumer advocacy group Allied Progress, said: "Rather than reward her with a promotion she does not deserve and is not qualified for, Senators should have refused her nomination. The mission of the CFPB is far too important to be placed in the hands of someone who lacks candor and experience at such a fundamental level."

Precisely why Republican national socialists, fascists, nazis voted for her.  They have no honor, no standards, no principles, remain hopelessly amoral, self-serving.

"The CFPB is a watchdog agency, created by the government in 2011 to safeguard American consumers against some of the financial losses they suffered in the mortgage crisis and Great Recession."

Can't have that, can we?  Corporate management suite always comes first.  Forget?  Lines pockets of politicians in both parties.

"Mulvaney's appointment was viewed as a slam of the agency by the Trump administration — the Republican once sponsored a failed bill to shut down the CFPB altogether. The former congressman, who splits his time as director of the OMB, has worked to make the watchdog agency less aggressive. In his time as interim director, Mulvaney dismantled the agency's consumer advisory council, delayed a new payday lending regulation and saw key CFPB leaders resign, citing his leadership. Mulvaney also ordered the agency to drop a pending lawsuit toward Golden Valley Lending, which alleged the lenders engaged in unfair, deceptive and abusive business practices and charged annualized interest rates of almost 950 percent."

Forget?  The Republican Way.  Line the pockets of those who line theirs.  -- Not that both parties don't do the same, just that GOP national socialists, fascists do it far more blatantly.

"Democrats have pledged to examine the aftereffects of Mulvaney's tenure once they take control of the House in the new year.  "I call on Director Kraninger to put consumers first by rolling back the anti-consumer actions taken by her predecessor and allowing the Consumer Bureau to resume its work of protecting hardworking Americans from unfair, deceptive or abusive practices," Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., said in a statement after the confirmation vote."

Snowball's chance.

Cowardly fail to financially and/or materially support those fighting for all civil and constitutional rights and liberties at great personal cost and risk?  Get what you truly deserve.


12-14-18

Yet, another exceptionally poor pick by the Trump nazi.  NPR reports:

"President Trump said Friday that he intends to nominate William Barr, a prominent Republican lawyer and former attorney general, to return and lead the Justice Department. Barr, who served as George H.W. Bush's attorney general from 1991 to 1993, holds sweeping views of executive power and hard-line positions on criminal justice issues."

Another national socialist, fascist, law and order nazi just like the Sessions nazi.

"He was my first choice from day 1," Trump told reporters outside the White House. "I think he will serve with great distinction."

A national socialist, fascist, nazi just like you, Mr. 'President.'

"Barr's nomination also has been met with concern by civil rights and criminal justice reform advocates, who point to his hard-line views dating back to the early 1990s. "William Barr's record suggests he will follow Jeff Sessions' legacy of hostility to civil rights and civil liberties," said Faiz Shakir, the American Civil Liberties Union national political director. "Barr must commit to defending the rule of law and civil rights, not serving as a political arm of Trump's anti-constitutional agenda."

How is that possible for a racist nazi in the mold of Jeff Sessions?  How?

"In 1992, for example, Barr penned a note attached to a Justice Department document entitled: "The Case for More Incarceration." In his note, Barr writes "there is not a better way to reduce crime than to identify, target, and incapacitate those hardened criminals who commit staggering numbers of violent crimes whenever they are on the streets."

That approach is precisely why we have millions incarcerated for chicken shit crimes.  Exactly, why prisons are not correctional institutions, just warehouses.  Time to wake up.  Embrace reality instead of Right Wing nazism.

"His daughter, Mary Daly, currently leads the Justice Department response to the opioid crisis."

Doesn't his appointment as AG smack of nepotism?

CBS News reports:

"In the 1990s, William Barr, President Trump's pick for attorney general, oversaw a program that sent some 12,000 Haitian asylum seekers to Guantanamo Bay, effectively creating what one detractor called "the world's first HIV detention camp." After operating for about 18 months, the detention system was forcibly ended by a judge in 1993, but Barr defended the practice as recently as 2001."

Delusionally believe this sick son of a bitch fit for office?

"At the time, Barr was serving as attorney general for President George H.W. Bush, and a military coup in Haiti had led to mass executions that targeted thousands of supporters of the overthrown leader. The bloodshed sent thousands of Haitians fleeing to Florida to seek asylum. But soon the United States Coast Guard began intercepting the boats at sea and conducting preliminary screenings of the refugees on board. Those who didn't make it past the initial interview were immediately sent back to Haiti. When that practice was challenged in court, the Coast Guard quickly ran out of room to house the would-be migrants aboard ships. Federal immigration officials, wanting to avoid an influx of thousands of Haitian refugees in the U.S., instituted a policy of shuttling them to the U.S. naval station at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, rather than the States."

Delusionally believe Republicans don't have a problem with national socialism, fascism, nazism?  Not to neglect to mention racism, bigotry?  Equally ironic?  Most of these fascist bastards outrageously claim to be Christians.  ... As did Adolf Hitler, Benito Mussolini.

"A return to Haiti was a near certain death sentence for many of those who fled, said Ira Kurzban, an attorney and refugees' advocate who in 1991 fought against the program. The Haitian military would regularly patrol neighborhoods on the island, "literally pulling people out their homes to execute them in the streets," Kurzban said in a telephone interview with CBS News on Friday."

Clearly, Republicans had no problems returning them to such a fate rather than allow them to apply for asylum here.  Forget?  The Nazi Way.

"Those who made it to Guantanamo would go through a "credible fear" interview to determine whether they had a strong asylum case. Those who passed were eligible to enter the United States and begin asylum proceedings. But Haiti was also going through an AIDS crisis and some refugees were HIV-positive. Those who tested HIV-positive were forced to undergo a second interview at Guantanamo Bay and questioned again, facing a higher standard for proving their eligibility for asylum, according to a law paper published by Michael Ratner, the attorney who successfully fought against the HIV screening. Ratner died in 2016. The paper, titled "How We Closed the Guantanamo HIV Camp: The Intersection of Politics and Litigation," was released by the Harvard Human Rights Journal in 1998."

Nazi justice.  Gets worse.  Get this:

"In Ratner's brief, he wrote that a "high-level attorney in the Bush administration told us that Attorney General Barr believed that everyone who was HIV-positive should be returned to Haiti." The process effectively segmented off the HIV-positive asylum seekers and held them indefinitely at Guantanamo Bay, a military base where they weren't protected under any sovereign laws, including those of the United States. The system created "the world's first and only detention camp for refugees with HIV," according to Ratner's paper."

Nothing quite like American pride, is there?  Forget?  Land of the free.  Home of the brave.

"Aaron C. Morris, the executive director of Immigration Equality, an immigration rights organization focused on LQBTQ issues, called the program an effective "prison camp" and "a stain on United States history."

Couldn't be, could it?

"William Barr's embrace of those inhumane camps as well as his leading role in fighting to ban immigrants living with HIV from entering the country is appalling," Morris wrote in an email to CBS News."

Worse?  Gutless.

"The system occasionally put Barr at odds with then-Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Colin Powell, Vice President Dick Cheney and National Security Adviser Brent Scowcroft, all of whom didn't understand why a military base was being used for immigration purposes, according to an interview Barr gave in 2001 with the Miller Center, a presidential research center at the University of Virginia. The three often asked how much longer "the HIV people" would stay, Barr said, to which he responded: "Until it's over." "But we're not bringing these people into the United States." Barr recounted saying at the time. "This is a very convenient base outside the United States, and it's serving a good function."

Think so?

"While Barr said "politics was not the reason we were doing this by any means, because we were enforcing immigration laws," he did acknowledge the political undercurrents. "You want 80,000 Haitians to descend on Florida several months before the election? Come on, give me a break," Barr said in the 2001 Miller Center interview, which was intended to be an oral history of the George H.W. Bush administration."

Clearly, a goddamned racist as well as a national socialist, fascist, nazi.  Doesn't get any 'better' than that, does it?  LOL.

"Barr did not respond to an email from CBS News seeking comment."

What the f--k could he possibly say?  Democrats need to pointedly question him on this during confirmation hearings.  Let's see how the bastard tap dances out of this one.

"Unlike detention centers in the U.S., access to immigration attorneys at Guantanamo Bay was limited and "refugees could not apply for the protection of political asylum until they set foot in the United States," according to Ratner's brief."

Convenient, no?

"In the end, Ratner credits a combination of legal challenges and public pressure from high-profile activists with finally ending the policy. In 1993, District Court Judge Sterling Johnson Jr. ruled in the migrants' favor, stating that they were being held in "the kind of indefinite detention usually reserved for spies and murderers," even though they "are neither criminals nor national security risks ... merely the unfortunate victims of a fatal disease," the Washington Post reported. The Clinton administration, which by then had taken office, chose not to appeal further. At that point, Ratner says there were fewer than 150 Haitians still detained at Guantanamo and they were allowed to enter the U.S. "It's a shameful chapter of history because the United States kept these people in prison, denying them their legal rights to receive legal processing because [Guantanamo] is not a U.S. territory," said Muzaffar Chishti, the director of the New York Migration Policy Institute office, in a telephone interview with CBS News."

Delusionally believe this son of a bitch fit to be Attorney General of the United States?

Cowardly fail to financially and/or materially support those fighting for all civil and constitutional rights and liberties at great personal cost and risk?  Get what you truly deserve.


12-14-18

Another extremely poor choice by the Trump nazi.  NPR reports:

"From Fox & Friends to the State Department, and now likely to the United Nations. President Trump says he will nominate Heather Nauert, the State Department spokeswoman and a former Fox News host, to become the next ambassador to the U.N. Speaking to reporters Friday as he left the White House, Trump said Nauert is "very smart" and "very talented." If confirmed by the Senate, Nauert would replace Nikki Haley, who is leaving the post at the end of the year."

Has virtually no experience in diplomacy.

NBC News reports:

"President Trump has often boasted of the quality level of his political and policy advisers, once claiming that his administration featured "by far the highest IQ of any Cabinet ever assembled." But the first president to lack government or military experience has seemingly dismissed the need for traditional categories of relevant expertise in his picks for key posts as well, often tapping loyalists who lack the qualifications of their predecessors. His expected nomination of former Fox anchor and State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert to serve as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations despite a lack of traditional diplomatic experience joins a long list of similar selections."

Does she ever.  LOL.  Consider the following list compiled by NBC:

"—Ronny Jackson, VA Secretary nominee: Despite his medical and military credentials, Jackson lacked the relevant management and policy experience to run the government’s second-largest agency. Jackson ultimately withdrew his name from consideration amid allegations of workplace misconduct.

—Ben Carson, Housing and Urban Development Secretary: Carson, a pioneering neurosurgeon, had no expertise in housing or welfare policy when Trump put him in charge of meeting the housing needs of millions of low-income Americans.

—Rick Perry, Energy Secretary: Perry famously once called for the elimination of the department he now leads. The New York Times reported that Perry learned only after being offered the job that "he would become the steward of a vast national security complex he knew almost nothing about, caring for the most fearsome weapons on the planet, the United States’ nuclear arsenal."

—Betsy DeVos, Education Secretary: The billionaire charter school activist had no teaching or administrative experience when nominated. Vice President Mike Pence delivered the tie-breaking vote in her controversial Senate confirmation.

—Matthew Petersen, D.C. U.S. District Court Judge nominee: Petersen struggled to answer basic legal questions at his December 2017 confirmation hearing. His exchange with Republican Sen. John Kennedy went viral, and he ultimately withdrew his nomination.

—Brett Talley, Alabama U.S. District Court Judge nominee: Trump nominated the 36-year-old for a lifetime federal district judgeship despite Talley never having tried a case. Talley received a unanimous "not qualified" rating from the American Bar Association, largely due to his lack of courtroom experience. A record number of Trump nominees have received such a rating from the ABA.

—Sam Clovis, USDA chief scientist nominee: Trump nominated his former Iowa campaign manager for the position overseeing science at the Department of Agriculture, despite the fact that Clovis isn't a scientist. Clovis withdrew only after being linked to the ongoing Russia probe.

—Jared Kushner Ivanka Trump, senior advisers (appointed, not nominated): Neither Kushner nor Trump had government experience prior to becoming senior White House advisers. Kushner’s previous main work experience was running his father's real-estate firm."

Cowardly fail to financially and/or materially support those fighting for all civil and constitutional rights and liberties at great personal cost and risk?  Get what you truly deserve.


12-14-18

Trump sends Russians a message.  CBS News reports:

"The U.S. carried out an "extraordinary" flight over Ukraine Thursday days after Russia seized three Ukrainian naval ships off Crimea. Citing the Open Skies Treaty, the Pentagon said the U.S. and allies conducted the flight "to reaffirm U.S. commitment to Ukraine and other partner nations." "Russia's unprovoked attack on Ukrainian naval vessels in the Black Sea near the Kerch Strait is a dangerous escalation in a pattern of increasingly provocative and threatening activity," the Pentagon said in a statement. "The United States seeks a better relationship with Russia, but this cannot happen while its unlawful and destabilizing actions continue in Ukraine and elsewhere."

Cowardly fail to financially and/or materially support those fighting for all civil and constitutional rights and liberties at great personal cost and risk?  Get what you truly deserve.


12-14-18

After the above, Trump was clearly not done.  No, no, no.  LOL.  CBS News reports:

"The Kremlin has rejected U.S. criticism of Russian strategic bombers' deployment to Venezuela. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo responded to Monday's arrival of a pair of Tu-160 nuclear-capable bombers in Venezuela by tweeting that "the Russian and Venezuelan people should see this for what it is: two corrupt governments squandering public funds, and squelching liberty and freedom while their people suffer."

... Certainly, true.  Then again, aren't the Trump nazi and his henchmen doing precisely the same?  Both here at home as well as overseas.  -- As the de facto fascist police-state we've lived in since 9/11 quickly transitions to the Trump nazi's Fourth Reich.  ... Right, Donny boy?

"Russian President Vladimir Putin's spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, dismissed Pompeo's comment as "undiplomatic" and "inappropriate." He told reporters Tuesday that such criticism sounds odd from a country "half of whose military budget would be enough to feed the whole of Africa."

Sadly, great truth to that as well.  Forget?  Lines the pockets of corporate war profiteers who in turn line the pockets of their bought and paid for shills in Congress.  Both major political parties.  Truly, a non-partisan issue. Cozy, isn't it?

"Russian-U.S. ties have sunk to post-Cold War lows over Ukraine, the war in Syria and allegations of Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. election. Likewise, U.S.-Venezuela relations, which have long been strained, have been pushed to new lows under the leaderships of President Donald Trump and Venezuela's hard-line President Nicolas Maduro."

Idiots.  Two peas in a pod.  LOL.

"The bombers' arrival in Venezuela came on the heels of a meeting between Maduro and Putin in Russia. Russia, which has come to the aid of Maduro's cash-strapped government with cash infusions, has flown strategic bombers to Venezuela previously in a show of force during diplomatic flare-ups with the U.S.Maduro welcomes the visiting planes and often touts his partnership with Russia as evidence of how Venezuela could defend itself with help from friends in the face of any hypothetical U.S. military aggression. As Venezuela's ongoing political crisis spiraled into mass violence on the streets in the summer of 2017, President Trump said he was considering "many options" as a response. "I am not going to rule out a military option," Mr. Trump said at the time. "We have many options."

You're an idiot, Mr. 'President.'  Sadly, you determinedly, cluelessly, psychotically present an exigent threat to life, liberty, all civil and constitutional rights and liberties.  Certainly endanger a democratic republic under the United States Constitution.  Democrats, however, need to be very careful after taking over the House in January.  Don't impeach Trump.  Let him finish his term of office.  Forget?  Trump is an idiot and insane.  Pence is not.

Cowardly fail to financially and/or materially support those fighting for all civil and constitutional rights and liberties at great personal cost and risk?  Get what you truly deserve.


12-14-18

Raucous hard dump on the Constitution by rabid partisans.  NBC News reports:

"Two years after North Carolina first used a special legislative session to pass a series of bills limiting the powers of its incoming Democratic governor, GOP legislators in Wisconsin and Michigan followed suit, pushing through sweeping changes to the governor's power, the judiciary, and voter access after key midterm losses. Now, independent state government experts and political scientists warn that such power grabs foretell what could become a worrisome partisan trend: election nullification."

Raw nazism in what is supposed to be a democratic republic under the United States Constitution.

"I do think that once you do see a number of states move in this direction, if they have any level of success, we’re going to see more of them try to do it. And it’s very disturbing to me," Norman Ornstein, resident scholar at the conservative think tank American Enterprise Institute, told NBC News. "Once you start down the path of diluting, obviating, nullifying the results of an election, it’s very hard to pull back from that."

Think Democrats won't wind up returning the favor?

"Both national and statewide experts said they had never seen such efforts like the ones in Wisconsin and Michigan before — and that the GOP actions indicate a new level of toxicity has arrived in state government."

What it remains is no less than raw nazism perpetrated by national socialists, fascists, nazis in the not-so-grand GOP.

"Until recently, no party has tried to hamstring their opponents' future power to the way the Republicans are doing it now," John Chamberlin, professor emeritus of political science and public policy at the University of Michigan, told NBC News, adding, "They are a bad sign that state politics is being infected by the toxic national political environment."

Far worse than that.  Raw nazism.  Traitorous, treacherous, treasonous.  Again, delusionally believe Democrats won't wind up returning the favor?  Forget?  Both major political parties have lost themselves.

"The Republican lame-duck efforts follow the election of Democrats Tony Evers and Josh Kaul as governor and attorney general in Wisconsin, and Democrats Gretchen Whitmer, Dana Nessel, and Jocelyn Benson as governor, attorney general, and secretary of state, respectively, in Michigan. Republicans in those two states, like North Carolina entering the 2016 elections, currently hold what is known as a “trifecta” — control of the governor's mansion as well as both branches of the state legislature. Although the GOP in both states will soon lose the governor's office, the party remains in control of the statehouses, which has allowed it to move forward with the disputed legislation during the lame-duck session before the Democrats are sworn in next year. In Michigan, Republicans moved to usurp the secretary of state's power to oversee campaign finance issues and instead pass that authority on to an independent commission, while Republicans in Wisconsin have passed bills such as one that would require legislative approval before the governor could make changes to programs like welfare. In both states, GOP legislators seek to curb the ability of the newly elected governors and attorneys general to determine the state's position in court cases."

Republican national socialists, fascists, nazis remain a direct threat to life, liberty, all civil and constitutional rights and liberties.  What we are seeing now is a transition from the de facto fascist police-state we have lived in since 9/11 to the Trump nazis's Fourth Reich.

"Furious Democrats have vowed to fight back, while protesters have descended on both state capitols to condemn the efforts. "They represent a new level of political chicanery, mostly legal but deeply disrespectful of political norms and traditions," Chamberlin said."

Hear the rumble?  An unwanted dreaded second American revolution catastrophically looming.

"Conservative lawmakers in each state have insisted the efforts are not part of a power grab, even as some have expressed disdain for the liberal leanings of the incoming administrations. As the conservative Commentary Magazine pointed out, the efforts are not entirely unprecedented in U.S. history. But it is clear to experts that the playbook has begun to shift. Dennis Dresang, professor emeritus of public affairs and political science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, said the moves defy his state's long history of deferring to incoming officials — even those in the opposite party — after elections."

For damned good reason.  Respected the will of the electorate.  Clearly, no longer.

"In the 1970s and ‘80s, for example, vacancies have explicitly been left open so the newly elected governor [of a different party] could fill them,” Dresang said. “When Scott Walker was elected governor in 2010, his predecessor, [Democrat] Jim Doyle, did not proceed with a grant of $810 million from the federal government for high speed rail because during the campaign Walker said he opposed the project." What’s changed since the situation Dresang recalled in 2010 is the introduction of "intense polarization" and "an erosion of certain norms," according to Rick Hasen, chancellor's professor of law and political science at the University of California, Irvine, which could have something to do with President Donald Trump. "It’s hard to know how much Trump is the cause or the effect, but certainly there’s been a lot of norm erosion in terms of how we function in our democracy," Hasen said in an interview."

You think?

"And while Republicans are leading the way, Democrats may well follow. "I think that the attitude has become a win at any cost attitude on the part of some Republicans and they are seeking to squeeze every last ounce of power out of what they can do and I expect that Democrats, when given the chance, are going to be more apt to do something like this if faced with a similar situation," Hasen added. Ornstein, who for years has argued that the modern Republican party is broken, agreed: “It’s hard if one party is doing it for the other party not to say that they’re going to do it, as well.”

Hear the rumble?

Cowardly fail to financially and/or materially support those fighting for all civil and constitutional rights and liberties at great personal cost and risk?  Get what you truly deserve.


12-14-18

A good day for Planned Parenthood.  NBC News reports:

"The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday left lower court victories intact for Planned Parenthood in a legal battle with states over access by Medicaid patients to the group's services. The dispute did not involve abortion, but the action by the justices keeps a hot-button political issue off the docket. Three of the court's conservatives said the court should have taken the case. After an anti-abortion group released videos in 2015 that purported to show officials from Planned Parenthood talking about selling fetal tissue, several states immediately terminated Medicaid provider agreements with the group's affiliates. The videos were largely discredited, but the states involved said they found the allegations troubling. Medicaid patients in Kansas and Louisiana, two of the states that took action against Planned Parenthood, claimed the states violated Medicaid's requirement that patients must be free to seek their health care from any qualified and willing provider. They sued, and lower federal courts found in their favor, entering injunctions that ordered those states to lift their bans. In declining to take up the states' appeals, the Supreme Court's action on Monday leaves those lower court victories for the Medicaid patients in place."

Cowardly fail to financially and/or materially support those fighting for all civil and constitutional rights and liberties at great personal cost and risk?  Get what you truly deserve.


12-14-18

The following is courtesy of The Washington Post.  Carefully consider it.  A truly bipartisan letter to the current Senate signed by 44 former United States Senators:

"We are former senators. The Senate has long stood in defense of democracy — and must again.

Sunset at the U.S. Capitol on March 5. (Alex Brandon/AP)
By 44 Former U.S. Senators
December 10 at 8:30 PM

Dear Senate colleagues,

As former members of the U.S. Senate, Democrats and Republicans, it is our shared view that we are entering a dangerous period, and we feel an obligation to speak up about serious challenges to the rule of law, the Constitution, our governing institutions and our national security.

We are on the eve of the conclusion of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation and the House’s commencement of investigations of the president and his administration. The likely convergence of these two events will occur at a time when simmering regional conflicts and global power confrontations continue to threaten our security, economy and geopolitical stability.

It is a time, like other critical junctures in our history, when our nation must engage at every level with strategic precision and the hand of both the president and the Senate.

We are at an inflection point in which the foundational principles of our democracy and our national security interests are at stake, and the rule of law and the ability of our institutions to function freely and independently must be upheld.

During our service in the Senate, at times we were allies and at other times opponents, but never enemies. We all took an oath swearing allegiance to the Constitution. Whatever united or divided us, we did not veer from our unwavering and shared commitment to placing our country, democracy and national interest above all else.

At other critical moments in our history, when constitutional crises have threatened our foundations, it has been the Senate that has stood in defense of our democracy. Today is once again such a time.

Regardless of party affiliation, ideological leanings or geography, as former members of this great body, we urge current and future senators to be steadfast and zealous guardians of our democracy by ensuring that partisanship or self-interest not replace national interest.

Max Baucus (D-Mont.), Evan Bayh (D-Ind.), Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.), Bill Bradley (D-N.J.), Richard Bryan (D-Nev.), Ben Nighthorse Campbell (R-Colo.), Max Cleland (D-Ga.), William Cohen (R-Maine), Kent Conrad (D-N.D.), Al D’Amato (R-N.Y.), John C. Danforth (R-Mo.), Tom Daschle (D-S.D.), Dennis DeConcini (D-Ariz.), Chris Dodd (D-Conn.), Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.), David Durenberger (R-Minn.), Russ Feingold (D-Wis.), Wyche Fowler (D-Ga.), Bob Graham (D-Fla.), Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.), Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), Gary Hart (D-Colo.), Bennett Johnston (D-La.), Bob Kerrey (D-Neb.), John Kerry (D-Mass.), Paul Kirk (D-Mass.), Mary Landrieu (D-La.), Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.), Richard Lugar (R-Ind.), Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), Ben Nelson (D-Neb.), Sam Nunn (D-Ga.), Larry Pressler (R-S.D.), David Pryor (D-Ark.), Don Riegle (D-Mich.), Chuck Robb (D-Va.), Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.), Jim Sasser (D-Tenn.), Alan Simpson (R-Wyo.), Mark Udall (D-Colo.), John W. Warner (R-Va.), Lowell Weicker (I-Conn.), Tim Wirth (D-Colo.)"

Cowardly fail to financially and/or materially support those fighting for all civil and constitutional rights and liberties at great personal cost and risk?  Get what you truly deserve.


12-14-18

Privacy at Facebook?  NPR reports:

"Facebook's leaders gave certain big tech companies access to users' data — and the company refused such access to competitors, including the video app Vine, which it targeted right after it was launched by Twitter. These are two revelations about Facebook's business practices found in more than 200 pages of the social media giant's internal emails and documents from 2012 to 2015 that were released by British lawmakers on Wednesday. The revelations add to the mounting scrutiny of Facebook and its handling of user privacy. Earlier this year, the social media giant revealed that 87 million of its users had their data improperly shared with Cambridge Analytica, a data analytics firm that had worked with the Trump campaign. Facebook has long said it does not sell user data — and it reiterated that claim Wednesday, saying the newly released documents should not be taken out of context."

Many questions still not answered:

"As he released the records, Member of Parliament Damian Collins said, "We don't feel we have had straight answers from Facebook" to important questions. Chief among them, he said, are Facebook's "linking data to revenue" and whether it used data as a tool — both to punish competitors and to reward advertisers.Collins highlighted an email exchange from January 2013, when Facebook's Justin Osofsky noted that Twitter had just launched Vine, a short-video platform that allowed users to find Facebook friends on the app. "Unless anyone raises objections, we will shut down their friends API access today," he wrote, adding, "We've prepared reactive PR." "Yup, go for it," Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg replied, according to Collins. In contrast, Collins said, a dozen of the documents from 2014 and 2015 refer to Facebook "whitelisting" companies — giving them full access to users' friends lists. Other documents discuss setting an advertising threshold for companies that want to "maintain access to the data."

No problems with that?  None at all?  Report goes on and on.  Still no concerns?

Cowardly fail to financially and/or materially support those fighting for all civil and constitutional rights and liberties at great personal cost and risk?  Get what you truly deserve.


12-14-18

Think privacy is of concern to the outrageously clueless bastards at Equifax?  CBS News reports:

"A scathing new report finds one of the largest data breaches in U.S. history was "entirely preventable." A 14-month congressional investigation slammed credit rating agency Equifax for lacking preventative measures in a data breach that exposed the personal information of 148 million Americans last year. According to the House report, hackers gained access to the Equifax network in May of last year and attacked the company for 76 days. Thieves stole sensitive information, including social security numbers, from nearly half of U.S. adults and some lawmakers want Equifax to pay."

Not good enough.  Nowhere near.

"Republican Congressman Will Hurd serves on the House Oversight Committee, which conducted the investigation. "This breach could have been prevented if Equifax would have followed some very basic things when it comes to good digital system hygiene," Hurd said. The 96-page report says Equifax failed to modernize its technology, failed to patch its systems when vulnerabilities were detected and stored sensitive data on out-of-date and sub-par systems.

"The committee made several recommendations to prevent future incidents like the one at Equifax, including reducing the use of social security numbers as personal identifiers. To protect yourself freeze your credit, have secure passwords and be sure to shred sensitive documents.

"Equifax's full statement to CBS News:

"We are deeply disappointed that the Committee chose not to provide us with adequate time to review and respond to a 100-page report consisting of highly technical and important information. During the few hours we were given to conduct a preliminary review we identified significant inaccuracies and disagree with many of the factual findings. Equifax has worked in good faith for nearly 15 months with the Committee to be transparent, cooperative and shed light on our learnings from the incident in order to enrich the cybersecurity community. While we believe that factual errors serve to undermine the content of the report, we are generally supportive of many of the recommendations the Committee laid out for the government and private industry to better protect consumers, and have already made significant strides in many of these areas. Since the incident, Equifax has moved forward, taking meaningful steps to enhance our technology and security programs and will continue to focus on consumers, customers and regaining trust with all stakeholders."

All three credit agencies need to be abolished.  Only way this problem can and will be solved.  These three agencies f--k over people seeking credit, employment, housing, etc..  Remain an exigent threat to life, liberty, all civil and constitutional rights and liberties.  Forget?  Lenders, employers, and landlords managed to provide credit, employment, and housing decades ago before these three bastard agencies took over the industry.  Time for change.  ... Hear the rumble?  An unwanted dreaded second American revolution catastrophically looming.

Cowardly fail to financially and/or materially support those fighting for all civil and constitutional rights and liberties at great personal cost and risk?  Get what you truly deserve.


12-14-18

Think Google gives a crap about privacy?  Forget?  It's how it lines its pockets.  Profits off your personal information.  NPR reports:

"The Google+ social network inadvertently gave app developers access to information on some 52.5 million users — even data that users designated as private — because of a "bug" in its software, Google says. The company had already announced it was pulling the plug on the social network because of an earlier incident, and now says the shutdown will happen four months sooner. Users' name, birth date, email address, work history and other information were exposed for nearly a week in November, Google says in a blog post about the privacy flaw. Google announced in October that it was closing the consumer version of Google+ because of a vulnerability that left nearly 500,000 accounts exposed reportedly from 2015 to March 2018, as well as the fact that it had failed to catch on. There was no evidence that data was misused in either incident, Google says."

How could it possibly know that?

"No third party compromised our systems, and we have no evidence that the app developers that inadvertently had this access for six days were aware of it or misused it in any way," Google says about the November problem."

Believe it?

"The company adds that the November vulnerability did not expose passwords, financial information, ID numbers and other data often used for identity theft."

Should users consider themselves 'lucky?'

Cowardly fail to financially and/or materially support those fighting for all civil and constitutional rights and liberties at great personal cost and risk?  Get what you truly deserve.

Tim Chorney, Publisher
Liberty In Peril



Tim Chorney, Publisher
Liberty In Peril
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