Friday, March 24, 2017

Condolences to the UK on the terrorist attack

I applaud the UK for their typical response to events like the attack this week near Parliament.  They live the motto, Remain Calm, and Carry On.

I deeply admire this fierce, brave and resolute response, and I would like to see the USA behave more like our allies.

On behalf of the blog I wish to offer special, additional condolences to the family and friends of American Kurt Cochrane, who was killed, and our sympathies to his wife Melissa, who was injured in the terrorist attack.

Update2: Nunes and the House Intel debacle

Now Nunes via a spokesperson has retracted everything he said in his press conference but less publicly than his original statement.

He reluctantly apologized to the Democrats on his committee, but he initially tried to avoid the issue entirely.

And now others on the committee are -- quite properly -- accusing Nunes of trying a cover up for Trump. Nunes is also taking a lot of heat for cancelling public Intel committee hearings on Tuesday, without providing a reason.  He is being blamed, reasonably, that it was to protect Trump.

Stories have begun circulating that the source of the documents held by Nunes came from Trump.  While not yet confirmed, it has the ringvof truth, given Trump's past behavior, including pretending to be his own PR guy.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Updated!
TRUMP: Evidence exists, and it is not circumstantial evidence

Update: Rep. Nunes has first tried to dodge addressing the events of his conduct yesterday, but when unable to avoid it, eventually apologized.  It has now come out that Nunes shared the information with his Republican committee members, who asked him not to hold that press conference, and not to go to the president.  Nunes did it anyway.

Worse Nunes still has not shared that information, provided to the Republicans, with the Intel committee Democrats.  He indicated he would, eventually, but would not say when. Those Democrats have every right and responsibility to access to that information.  There is no legitimate justification for it not being provided yesterday.

So says Congressman and lawyer Adam Schiff, ranking democrat on the House Intelligence committee, about Trump and his government swamp rats.  I have no reason not to believe Schiff, a lawyer who uses and understands the term circumstantial fully as legal terminology.  Schiff, (unlike Trump and those who step 'n fetchit for him by lying), has an excellent truth track record.

The chair of that committee of which Schiff is the ranking (most senior) democratic member, the House Intelligence committee,  is Utah Republican, Rep. Devin Nunes.  Nunes turns out to have his own connections to the Russians, and was part of the demonstrably dishonest, corrupt, Trump transition team himself.

Just as bad, Nunes was one of those who did the White House lying for them about the Rump Russian scandals, calling journalists trying to squelch the stories.  That was wrong, that was dirty, and that was reported by the WaPo back in February.

Wednesday Nunes behaved not just oddly but inappropriately in sharing anonymous, LEGALLY collected "incidental" information on Trump and his transition team , per his unexpected urgently called press event, information which he did not share with his own committee.  As Schiff noted this was a violation of procedure and highly inappropriate.

While Nunes was part of that transition team, he did not indicate if he was included in the new information.  Vice President Pence headed that transition team, and Nunes was part of the executive committee of the transition per the LA Times last November.  Many of those brought into the Trump adminiustration by that committee ALSO have questionable business ties to Russia, specifically Putin, include Sec State Tillerson and Commerce Secretary Ross who chaired a Russian bank in Cypress involved with money laundering Russian oligarch dirty money.

If it walks and quacks like a duck.....well, in my opinion Trump and his administration, and those who carry water for him (or quack) for him in Congress are like a row of dirty paddling Baikal Teal ( a type of Russian ducks).

I would describe it as more like barely controlled panic on the part of Nunes, who has as his primary financial involvement a winery, Alpha Omega, with distribution connections to Russia, per the previously reliable Palmer report, in turn citing the LA Times, a source as gold standard as the New York Times, on the east coast.

Nunes has done everything in his power to try to give cover to Trump, and apparently to cover his own dubious backside.

Likewise in the Senate a potential conflict of interest with his own Russian involvement in a dubious pyramid scheme called Nu Skin, Chaffetz largest donor.  I personally have a substantial moral objection to pyramid schemes as scams, but they seem very popular with right wing wealthy scammers who make big bucks exploiting people.  Again a hat tip to the Palmer Report blog, citing Open Secrets, who list  over $100,000 from Nu Skin for his two election campaigns, and lists other credible sources. Chaffetz has received so much funding, he is described as practically owned by Nu Skin, which has branched out into Russia and the Ukraine while receiving cover from Chaffetz, in spite of YUGE fines for illegal business practices from the federal government.

Given how many Republican senators have seniority higher than relative newbie Chaffetz, other than his willingness to pursue pointless, endless investigations without merit, what I would call witch hunts, his position, and how he has used it, raises red flags.  Clinton investigations I would argue were pursued for purely political reasons, making Chaffetz impartiality is AT BEST suspect and at worst politically corrupt, and tainted with the same corruption stain as not-my-president (arguably not anyone's president) Donny J for jackass Trump.

Make America great again; deport all the Russian controlled or influenced or owned right wing swamp rats out of government, out of the country, and dump them in Vlad Putin's lap where they belong.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

King of Distraction and Little Else

Last week I had the pleasure of meeting Senator Al Franken (again).  I've met him a few times before.  I asked him one substantive question, probably shouldn't have, he's trying to relax on a plane ride at the end of the day, but I couldn't help myself.  My question was, "Does the Democratic Party leadership recognize that the claims against President Obama are merely a distraction, an intentional distraction, by President Trump to take focus off the very serious allegations about collusion between Trump and Putin?"

His answer was essentially, "Yes, it's clear to all of us."

I was pleased to hear it and in watching James Comey's testimony, specifically the questions and the answers to those questions, it was clear that the Democrats finally seem to be showing some wisdom regarding Trump.  They still (incorrectly) blame the FBI for Clinton's loss, they still (equally incorrectly, imho), think Trump won because he's a man and she's a woman.  They didn't realize that feeling "trumps" fact when people vote and Trump made people feel like they were winners, like they'd "win" their jobs back, like they'd be prosperous if the prosperous man won.  That he's mostly just playing a confidence game wasn't something they wanted to believe.

And then along came his rather obvious association with Vladimr Putin.  Trump is an inveterate blowhard, he demeans anyone and anything he feels he can get away with in order to pump himself up.  We're not "winning" in Iraq, demean our military leadership, John McCain doesn't like his comments on torture, demean McCain's military service.  So, when Russia is involving itself in propping up Bashar Assad, normally a man like Trump would have been all over Obama, he never restrained himself before where President Obama was concerned, but with Russia, with Putin, all you ever got was crickets.  He clearly had been to Russia, he certainly has ties to that part of the world (he has a large hotel in the capital of Azerbaijan, a dictatorial state run by a Putin puppet).  That didn't happen out of thin air nor coincidence.  He had reputed/alleged ties to Russian "suppliers" of concrete at a time when those suppliers shut down every other construction project in Manhattan.  In fact, the list of ties to Russia for Trump is so long, this post would be three pages before I stopped naming simply the first and second tier (ties through an immediate family member or close associate) between Trump and Russia. 

And then there's the fact that Trump was SILENT on the nature of the Wikileaks attacks except to at one point encourage them.  This may have telegraphed his myopic understanding of the law and of the gravity of any collusion which may exist.  Remember, the first thing he said was (paraphrase), "If Russia can find those missing e-mails, be my guest."  Perhaps he wasn't even aware such attacks weren't just an illegal attack on Ms. Clinton but would rightly be seen as an attack on the United States.  He's flouted the law in the past, perhaps he felt cyber attacks, which happen all the time, are no big deal.  After he was admonished, his line then became, "Well, you don't know it's Russia." A line he continued up until recently when he was advised and it was made very public, that we in fact do know.  His mockery of our intelligence community on this point undoubtedly was a catalyst which lead to the leaks he so despises, for undoubtedly that intelligence community took a look at the man and decided if he was going to attack them for doing their job correctly, they had ways of letting him know they knew his secrets. 

The story at this point goes then to this.  Trump has close ties to Putin and Russia and the various ex-KGB, oil oligarchs who surround Putin.  Those ties are deep, they include Mike Flynn (taking payments from Russia during the campaign it is alleged) and Paul Manafort, his campaign chair until the news about Russia started to leak and Trump fired him to save himself and for no other reason.

All of the things that have come up, from investigating leaks to blaming Obama for the investigation, they are all distraction, distraction meant, vainly tried, to take the focus off of Trump himself, off of what may well prove to be collusion between Trump's senior staff (and so almost certainly Trump) and hackers, hackers very likely directed by and employed by the Russian government.  If that turns out to be true, it would make Trump a guilible tool, a useful fool to use the Russian/KGB  terminology.  It would make him facile and feckless, a pawn to be exploited.  If true, Trump will be guilty of something for which he not only should be impeached but should be in prison.  Some might even call him a traitor, and if it proves to be true he helped Putin either before or after the break into DNC servers, if he colluded after the fact with Putin's men, then I'd be one of those looking long and hard at what we call treason and whether we should apply it to Donald John Trump.  The man who may well have the shortest Presidency in history where he did not die in office, and rightly so, if true.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

The alternative reality of the right collides with the real world

Trump and GOP members want Americans to believe they have a better plan for health care and health insurance.

They don't.

For starters you don't rationally use an increase in the cost of insurance after a lapse by making that insurance more expensive.  It is likely that the increase in premiums will cause people to lose coverage, and Trumpcare makes it much harder to regain insurance, only adding to the numbers of uninsureds, not cover more people or make it more affordable.

The idea they embrace is to screw you and enrich themselves and the special interests who own them. The obscenely rich jerk, the hedge fund manager, by the name of Mercer, who holds the leash to Steve Gannon's collar, openly believes the amount of money you make is the only important measure of human worth.  To him and those rich bastards on the right like him, ordinary everyday Americans are of little or no value, expendable and disposable.

According to the CBO and the Census Bureau, while somewhere between 20 and 28 million people currently insured under Obamacare will become uninsured, with overall uninsured numbers rising to 52 million Americans, higher than the previous high under Dubya in 2001, of 52 million.

Don't believe Trump, don't believe the GOP; don't believe in leprechauns and unicorn magic solutions. People won't be insured by cutting taxes for the wealthy, and giving cuts to corporations either.

Wake up, you are going to be more screwed than under Dubya's economic collapse.

Monday, March 20, 2017

First Day of Spring, news in brief

Trump is still a liar, and looks ridiculous; Trump has a problem with Russia being behind his silly Brit spy surveillance claim, and the hearings in Congress show it never happened. It looks more every day as if Trump and his campaign colluded with the Russians to cheat in order to win.

In other news more and more Americans disapprove of Rump, and more Americans view Rump as illegitimate. (I do too.)

In other news Trump continues to fail on promises and performance, playing golf and pissing away the goodwill and loyalty of our allies.

And last but not least, Trump wants to fund the military on the backs and wallets of children, the old and the poor.  At the same time Rump advantages and gifts the wealthy even more than the failed Dubya tax cuts and other more devils means that harm a majority of Americans.

Neil deGrasse Tyson summed it up when he noted the Trump budget leaves the nation weaker, sicker, and more stupid.