Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Former NATO Ambassador finds it "dismaying and objectionable" that Donald Trump "continues to deny the undeniable" when it comes to the Russian cyber attack.

Oh I like him!

This was testimony provided today during a hearing before the Senate Intelligence Committee during a hearing focused mainly on Russian interference with elections in Europe.

In other Russian interference news today we learned that the Intelligence Committee has struck a deal to their hands on those Comey memos.

And what has Donald Trump been doing while all of this is going on?

Well he is going on his Instagram page to share those heavily edited videos which claim that a CNN producer admitted that CNN's Russian investigation is a witch hunt.

A post shared by President Donald J. Trump (@realdonaldtrump) on

A post shared by President Donald J. Trump (@realdonaldtrump) on
It should be pointed out that these videos have not been vetted by other news outlets, and that this Project Veritas is the work of James O'Keefe who famously used deceptively edited videos to attack ACORN, which resulted in their closure.

Here is how the Washington Post reported on the videos:  

The latest video was apparently shot earlier this month using a hidden camera by a man having a private conversation with Bonfield, who is not involved in political coverage, catching him making several off-the-cuff remarks.

Yet the video includes several journalistic evasions and shortcuts that would likely elicit outrage from critics if a mainstream news organization had employed the same techniques. 

For example, it never mentions that Bonifield is a producer of health and medical stories, raising questions about how relevant his views are, and how informed he is, about CNN’s political coverage. It also doesn’t disclose that he is based in Atlanta — not in Washington or New York, where most of CNN’s coverage of national affairs and politics are produced. 

Instead, the video identifies him a “supervising producer,” suggesting a senior decision-making role. O’Keefe, who appears on the video as a kind of master of ceremonies, furthers this impression by saying the footage describes “the real motivation behind our dominant media organizations.” 

But CNN said Bonifield speaks only for himself. In a statement, it said stood by him and that “diversity of personal opinion is what makes CNN strong. We welcome it and embrace it.” 

The network said it had no plans to take any disciplinary action. The video also doesn’t identify the man to whom Bonifield is speaking, nor does it provide any clue about how he came to record Bonifield.

So in other words this is a CNN employee, who does not work nor have any real knowledge of the Russia investigation, sharing his personal opinion on what is very likely a heavily edited video created by an organization famous for misrepresenting the truth.

RT of course reported this as one of their top stories.

The takeaway from all of this is that while numerous investigations into Russian interference continue forward, the man who is supposed to be keeping this country safe from such attacks, is doing nothing to project us from the next one, and is instead sharing what is most probably fake news in an attempt to shut down at least one of the journalistic investigations.

Can you say "Acting guilty?"

By the way, according to Mother Jones we already have plenty of evidence that Trump is guilty of aiding Putin's attack on America.

Creepy Donald Trump continues to be creepy.

Courtesy of Buzzfeed: 

President Donald Trump on Tuesday interrupted his call with the new Irish prime minister to bring attention to a reporter, saying, "She has a nice smile on her face, so I bet she treats you well.

"The reporter, Caitriona Perry, who has been the Washington correspondent for the Irish public service broadcaster Raidió Teilifís Éireann since 2014, shared the "bizarre moment" on her Twitter feed and it quickly went viral.

Here was what the reporter said about the incident to RTE:

"One minute we were outside the window and the next minute I'm meeting the President of the United States," Caitríona told RTÉ Entertainment after her encounter with the US Commander in Chief. 

"Usually we would shoot from outside the window of the White House and that's what we were expecting today but instead we were invited inside to witness the President's call to the Taoiseach. When we went in he was already on the phone but I caught his eye and he called me over."

Well of course she "caught his eye," she is an attractive woman, and he is a notorious pussy grabber. 

In fact I would bet that the entire reason that all of the reporters were invited inside was so that he could get a better look at her.

As you might imagine the comments on Twitter were mostly outraged.

Great, just another reminder that we have destroyed the integrity of the presidency by allowing the Russians to install a vulgar, misogynist, ignorant, moron into the Oval Office.

Mother of young woman killed by bear asks for our help.

We have had an unprecedented number of bear attacks in Alaska this year, two of them fatal.

One of the fatal ones involved a young biologist named Erin K. Johnson who was killed by a black bear while collecting geological samples near the Pogo Mine at the time of the attack.

Erin's mother is a fan of IM, and she reached out to me last night asking if I would post a link to a memorial fund established in her daughter's name.

I said of course I would.

Just click here to visit the Erin K. Johnson Memorial Fund.

The money will go toward science education and youth outdoor activities, which seem like very worthy causes to me. 

I can only imagine this mother's immense grief at losing her daughter, and hope that at least with donations from kind strangers some good can be done in her child's name.

Thank you for reading this and for any support that you feel you can provide.

Sarah Palin really wants to prove to the naysayers that she WILL sue the New York Times. I'm a naysayer, and I say no she won't.

Courtesy of the New York Times:

Sarah Palin, former vice-presidential candidate, filed a defamation lawsuit against The New York Times Company on Tuesday, saying the newspaper had published a statement about her in a recent editorial that it “knew to be false.” 

In the lawsuit, which was filed in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, Ms. Palin contends that The Times “violated the law and its own policies” when it linked her in an editorial to a mass shooting in January 2011.

The article points out that it issued a correction both online and on Twitter, however apparently that is not good enough for the attention whore.

Ms. Palin said in the lawsuit that The Times’s response “did not approach the degree of the retraction and apology necessary and warranted by The Times’s false assertion that Mrs. Palin incited murder.”

Aww, poor baby. So upset that somebody called her out for her inflammatory rhetoric.

However perhaps Palin and her attorney should carefully read the end of this Times article: 

In a statement, a spokeswoman for The Times said, “We have not reviewed the claim yet but will defend against any claim vigorously.”

I would contend that the Times has vastly more legal resources at their disposal than does this dried up has been. 

And if she thinks they will settle with her, then she probably does not realize that the Times is engaged in almost constant litigation for one reason or another, and does not make a habit of settling.

It would take literally no time at all, in fact I volunteer my services as a resource, for the Times to establish a pattern of Sarah Palin inciting violence against others.

I know there are multiple folks in Alaska who would be willing to testify, as would the family of the now deceased Joe McGinniss who were harassed to aggressively they were forced to change their contact information.

Hell, one of her supporters even threatened to shoot me at the school where I worked.

And let's not forget that she even fomented violence within her own family, which led to a brawl on the streets of Anchorage and her son brutalizing his fiance while waving a gun around.

No the truckloads of evidence available to paint Sarah Palin as an individual who aggressively fanned the flames of hatred and inspired death threats and even acts of violence all across the country will prove insurmountable to any legal team that Palin could afford to put together.

Having said that I actually hope that she calls my bluff and goes for it.

I have been writing about the lunacy surrounding Donald Trump for far too long now, and I welcome the opportunity to write about Sarah Palin getting her ass handed to her yet again.

House members, many of who want every American to own a gun, are now demanding taxpayer money to pay for private security in the wake of the Virginia shooting.

Courtesy of McClatchy:  

House of Representatives lawmakers want $25,000 each to hire private security right away to protect them in their home districts, an unusually quick, bipartisan response to the shooting of a Republican House leader and others at a baseball practice. 

A House panel has approved providing an immediate $10 million for the rest of fiscal 2017, which runs through Sept. 30, for that purpose. 

Representatives could use the money to pay for an off-duty police officer or private security guard at town halls, fish fries, meet-and-greets or other public events in their districts. 

The legislation would also add $7.5 million for Capitol Police to bulk up threat assessment and security measures in Washington for fiscal year 2018 — especially when lawmakers gather in groups — and $5 million for members to invest in cameras, door buzzers, key cards and panic buttons in representatives’ district offices. 

The Federal Election Commission is considering allowing lawmakers to use campaign funds to secure their residences, as well.

Well it's a good thing I've taken my irony shots, or this overload might put me into a coma.

Keep in mind that the House is majority Republican, and that those Republicans have fought aggressively against gun registration, back ground checks, and for allowing more citizens to have conceal carry permits.

But now that somebody has directed the gunfire which kills thousands of Americans each year in THEIR direction they want more taxpayer money to keep them safe?

No, screw that!

If they want to feel safer let them purchase their own gun, and carry it with them wherever they go.

Isn't THAT what they have been telling us to do to stay safe?

Australia's number one religion is "No Religion."

Courtesy of Buzzfeed News:

The proportion of people reporting no religion increased to 30.1% in 2016 – up from 22% five years ago, and nearly double the 16% reported in 2001. Those aged from 18 to 34 were most likely to report not having a religion (39%) than other age groups. 

Those aged 65 years and over were more likely to report a religious affiliation. 

Christianity is still the most common religion (52% of Australians identified as any of the Christian denominations) but has been declining in popularity in Australia for the past 50 years – in 1966, 88% of Australians identified as Christian and by 1991 it was 74%.

 Just more good news on the march toward global enlightenment.

Hopefully America will soon catch up, though at last count there were still only 22.9% of us.

Finally, somebody has the guts to call out a White House spokesperson for attacking the media and spreading disinformation.

I think that might be my favorite White House press corps moment since Mellissa McCarthy's Sean Spicer impersonation for SNL.

That reporter's name is Brian J. Karem, an award winning journalist who once went to jail to protect a source.

After the exchange Karem also tweeted this:
Definitely has a point.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Only a short time in office and already Donald Trump has virtually destroyed America's reputation. Are we winning yet?

Courtesy of Pew Research Center:

Although he has only been in office a few months, Donald Trump’s presidency has had a major impact on how the world sees the United States. Trump and many of his key policies are broadly unpopular around the globe, and ratings for the U.S. have declined steeply in many nations. According to a new Pew Research Center survey spanning 37 nations, a median of just 22% has confidence in Trump to do the right thing when it comes to international affairs. This stands in contrast to the final years of Barack Obama’s presidency, when a median of 64% expressed confidence in Trump’s predecessor to direct America’s role in the world.

The sharp decline in how much global publics trust the U.S. president on the world stage is especially pronounced among some of America’s closest allies in Europe and Asia, as well as neighboring Mexico and Canada. Across the 37 nations polled, Trump gets higher marks than Obama in only two countries: Russia and Israel.

" Trump gets higher marks than Obama in only two countries: Russia and Israel." Color me unsurprised.

The poll cites two reasons for the decline in Trump and America's popularity, his policies and his character.

The policies essentially speak for themselves, but get a load of their take on his character:

In the eyes of most people surveyed around the world, the White House’s new occupant is arrogant, intolerant and even dangerous. Among the positive characteristics tested, his highest rating is for being a strong leader. Fewer believe he is charismatic, well-qualified or cares about ordinary people.

You know that is going to elicit an angry tweet.

And this might as well: 

Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin also get poor marks, though neither is rated as negatively as the U.S. president. Across the 37 nations surveyed, a median of 28% voice confidence in Xi, while 27% feel this way about Putin.

Trump comes in at a dismal 22% confidence rating.

Jesus, an American president even more disliked by the world than Vladimir Putin. 

There's something to brag about to our friends.

The GOP's plan to repeal Obamacare just went into a ditch. Or careened off a cliff. Kinda depends on who you ask.

Courtesy of CNN Politics:

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will delay the vote on the Republican leadership's health care bill until after the July 4 recess. 

McConnell told GOP senators that he wants to make changes to the bill, get a new Congressional Budget Office score and have a vote after the holiday, two sources told CNN. 

McConnell said that President Donald Trump had invited all Republican senators to the White House on Tuesday afternoon. 

"We're going to continue discussion in our conference," McConnell told reporters on Capitol Hill after his meeting with his caucus.

The republicans are insisting that this does not mean the bill is dead, but can you imagine what these Senators will face back home during this break?

Most will likely hide in their houses or state offices at avoid the angry crowds gathered outside, and those that are brave enough to hold a town hall will spend the entire time pressed up against the wall attempting to inch toward the exit.

There is NO WAY they come back from that anxious to pass a health care bill.

Alaska's Lisa Murkowski is clearly a no vote on anything that the Republicans could come up with.
And even Mitch McConnell has signaled that it might be time to bring in the "A" Team.

You know, the Democrats:  

Mitch McConnell is delivering an urgent warning to staffers, Republican senators and even the president himself: 

If Obamacare repeal fails this week, the GOP will lose all leverage and be forced to work with Chuck Schumer.

Those ought to be some fun negotiations, especially since Elizabeth Warren has now stated categorically that it is time for Democrats to push for single payer.
As we have already reported Americans are supporting the idea of single payer now more than ever, which might give Democrats a little more leverage than in times past.

I think the most important thing that Democrats can do in the interim is to make the Republicans solely responsible for every problem that crops up in health care until new legislation gets passed, and that includes higher rates, loss of coverage, and fewer available options.

If I were a Democratic Senator or Congressperson I would have a bumper sticker on my car that read "We can permanently fix health care in America, ask us how."

Donald Trump, hater of "fake news," once served as a source for stories in the National Enquirer, even had his own byline.

This comes from a rather expansive story in The New Yorker focused on Trump's relationship with the CEO of American Media, and publisher of the National Enquirer,  David Pecker: 

In the eighties and early nineties, Trump was something of a fixture in the Enquirer, thanks to his multiple marriages. A typical headline from 1990 read “trump’s mistress cheats on donald with tom cruise.” But, once Pecker took over, critical coverage of Trump vanished. “They have an agreement where David would not write anything that damages Donald,” a senior A.M.I. official from this period told me. 

One employee said that Trump was also a frequent source for Enquirer stories. “When there was something going on in New York, David would talk with Trump about it. Trump provided David with stories directly,” the employee said. “And, if Donald didn’t want a story to run, it wouldn’t run. You can put that in stone.” Indeed, early in the 2016 campaign Pecker simply turned over the pages of the Enquirer to Trump, allowing the candidate to write columns under his own byline. 

So apparently NBC, The New York Times, and The Washington Post, are all hotbeds of fake news, but a magazine that once ran the headline "sociopath’ Hillary Clinton’s secret psych files exposed!" is perfectly respectable?

In fact as it turns out the Enquirer is essentially Trump's own supermarket propaganda outlet:  

Throughout the 2016 Presidential race, the Enquirer embraced Trump with sycophantic fervor. The magazine made its first political endorsement ever, of Trump, last spring. Cover headlines promised, “donald trump’s revenge on hillary & her puppets” and “top secret plan inside: how trump will win debate!” The publication trashed Trump’s rivals, running a dubious cover story on Ted Cruz that described him as a philanderer and another highly questionable piece that linked Cruz’s father to the assassination of John F. Kennedy. 

It was even tougher on Hillary Clinton, regularly printing such headlines as “ ‘sociopath’ hillary clinton’s secret psych files exposed!” A 2015 piece began, “Failing health and a deadly thirst for power are driving Hillary Clinton to an early grave, The National Enquirer has learned in a bombshell investigation. The desperate and deteriorating 67-year-old won’t make it to the White House—because she’ll be dead in six months.” On election eve, the Enquirer offered a special nine-page investigation under the headline “hillary: corrupt! racist! criminal!” This blatantly skewed coverage continued after Trump took office. Post-election cover stories included “trump takes charge! success in just 36 days!” and “proof obama wiretapped trump! lies, leaks & illegal bugging.”

We of course already knew some of this, but what we did not know is that Trump and Pecker are such close friends that Pecker used to be a frequent guest on Trump's private plane, and that he has been covering for Trump for years.

This is what he told the Gus Wenner, of Wenner Media: 

"He told me very bluntly that he had killed all sorts of stories for Trump. He hired a girl to be a columnist when she threatened to go public with a story about Donald.”

Pecker then denied that he had ever admitted that, however the writer of this article, Jeffrey Toobin, asked about it point blank and this was his response:

When I asked Pecker about McDougal, who was Playboy’s Playmate of the Year in 1998, he told me that he first met her when she modelled for the cover of Men’s Fitness, another A.M.I. magazine. “When her people contacted me that she had a story on Trump, everybody was contacting her,” he said. “At the same time, she was launching her own beauty-and-fragrance line, and I said that I’d be very interested in having her in one of my magazines, now that she’s so famous.” But Pecker had a condition for hiring her: “Once she’s part of the company, then on the outside she can’t be bashing Trump and American Media.” 

I pointed out that bashing Trump was not the same as bashing American Media. 

“To me it is,” Pecker replied. “The guy’s a personal friend of mine.”

Now all of this might seem a little frivolous, after all who takes the National Enquirer seriously?

However currently Pecker is working out a deal to buy Time Inc., which would put him at the helm of Time, People, and Fortune magazines, which he would of course then turn into propaganda outlets for Trump as well.

Also keep in mind that this is not the ONLY media CEO that Trump plays footsies with, he has a similar relationship with Rupert Murdoch of Fox News, and of course we know where Stephen Bannon of Breitbart News currently spends his days.

Essentially Trump has taken what Roger Ailes did to insert partisanship into news coverage and amplified it.

So now consumers have a choice, they can either tune into Trump truths, or instead consume fact based "fake news" reported by ethical journalists.

And let's face it, a whole lot of Americans simply cannot tell the difference.

Late last night the White House issued a warning accusing Syria of preparing to gas its people. US defense officials have no idea why.

Okay so this was broadcast on cable news last night. (I personally saw it toward the end of the Rachel Maddow Show.)

And on the face of it this seems like kind of a crazy way to announce that the president of Syria is about to murder his own people again. Typically this would be addressed through diplomatic channels and the public would only become aware if there were an imminent military response planned by the United States. (And seriously what does "pay a heavy price" even mean?)

But then it gets even weirder.

Courtesy of The Independent

The White House has said it believes the Syrian government is planning a chemical weapons attack and warned Bashar al-Assad that his regime will “pay a heavy price” it it does so. However, several US defence officials have said they are not familiar with the intelligence that informed the statement.

White House officials did not respond to requests for comment on Monday night on the allegations or what form US retaliation would take. 

Several sources across the US State Department, Pentagon and Central Command, which oversees the country’s military operations in Syria and Iraq – said that they did not know what had prompted the unprecedented threat to the Assad regime. 

Okay, okay, let's back the fuck up here.

Are we to believe that the White House received intelligence that the Pentagon did not receive which justified a threat like this?

I call bullshit.

I am beginning to think that Donald Trump is becoming so desperate over those Russia investigations that he is literally considering plunging this country into a war simply to distract the public.

That bat shit crazy Toni Lahren woman has now shown up in a batshit crazy ad accusing the Special Counsel of engaging in a witch hunt.

Courtesy of Mediaite:  

Tomi Lahren has starred in her first ad for the pro-Trump nonprofit Great America Alliance, which the YouTube star joined after her firing from TheBlaze over her comments on abortion. 

Lahren, who spun shouting into a camera about liberal snowflakes into a popular video series for Glenn Beck’s website, stars in a Great America Alliance ad entitled “Witch Hunt,” which targets the current independent investigation into ties between the Trump campaign and Russia. 

“What does the Washington establishment independent investigation look like?” Lahren starts, throwing a very Trumpian set of scare quotes around “independent.”

“FBI director Comey leaks information to the press hoping to start an investigation,” Lahren continues, as sinister graphics of the former director and Mueller flash in the video. “The ploy works and his good friend and former boss Mueller is chosen to direct it.” 

“Then, who does Mueller select to help lead the independent investigation? Four top lawyers, all major donors to Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and the Democratic national party. One of them even worked for the Clinton Foundation,” she says, adding that “leaker” James Comey is Mueller’s “star witness.” 

“Only in Washington could a rigged game like this be called independent,” Lahren concludes.

This is such a clumsily transparent attempt to attack the messenger for fear of the message, that it is quite laughable on it's face.

The conservatives LOVED  Robert Mueller, and celebrated his selection as the Special Counsel, right up until it dawned on them that he was taking the job seriously and might actually discover something criminal.

And let this be a lesson to everybody who thought that this Lahren idiot demonstrated integrity when she stood up for a woman's right to choose and then lost her job at The Blaze.

She NEVER actually had integrity. 

She lied on behalf of the conservative agenda over at The Blaze, and she is lying on behalf of the conservative agenda for this Great America Alliance group.

Simply put her integrity is up for sale.

You know it seems there is a word for that kind of woman, but for the life of me I simply cannot remember what it might be.

Associated Press analysis proves that gerrymandering has given the GOP an unfair advantage in many state elections.

Courtesy of AP: 

The AP scrutinized the outcomes of all 435 U.S. House races and about 4,700 state House and Assembly seats up for election last year using a new statistical method of calculating partisan advantage designed to detect potential political gerrymandering. 

The analysis found four times as many states with Republican-skewed state House or Assembly districts than Democratic ones. Among the two dozen most populated states that determine the vast majority of Congress, there were nearly three times as many with Republican-tilted U.S. House districts. 

Traditional battlegrounds such as Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Florida and Virginia were among those with significant Republican advantages in their U.S. or state House races. All had districts drawn by Republicans after the last Census in 2010. 

The AP analysis also found that Republicans won as many as 22 additional U.S. House seats over what would have been expected based on the average vote share in congressional districts across the country. That helped provide the GOP with a comfortable majority that stood at 241-194 over Democrats after the 2016 elections — a 10 percentage point margin in seats, even though Republican candidates received just 1 percentage point more total votes nationwide. 

"The outcome was already cooked in, if you will, because of the way the districts were drawn," said John McGlennon, a longtime professor of government and public policy at the College of William & Mary in Virginia who ran unsuccessfully for Congress as a Democrat in the 1980s. 

A separate statistical analysis conducted for AP by the Princeton University Gerrymandering Project found the extreme Republican advantages in some states were no fluke. The Republican edge in Michigan's state House districts had only a 1-in-16,000 probability of occurring by chance; in Wisconsin's Assembly districts, there was a mere 1-in-60,000 likelihood of it happening randomly, the analysis found.

The Republicans have old fashioned, anti-progressive policy ideas, and they are facing a growing demographic that rejects their party out of hand.

The only way they can compete is by cheating.

And that has now become the go to strategy for both local and national elections.

No wonder they are not bothered by the knowledge that their party's nominee only won the presidency with the help of a foreign government that despises everything for which America stands.

Does Eric Trump's new haircut indicate an open display of his fascist beliefs? Or is it just a really crappy haircut?

As the Washington Post pointed out back in November, this haircut is extremely popular with those of a certain alt-right sensibility:

Young white-nationalism enthusiasts leaving a recent conference in Washington, D.C., where several of them performed a Nazi salute. 

The same haircut. The exact same haircut. 

It is the same haircut sported by white supremacist Richard Spencer.

As well as the Hitler Youth of the 40's.

Yeah but that's just silly.

After all both Brad Pitt and David Beckham have sported this style, and THEY are certainly not members of the Alt-Right.

Of course they seem to have sported this haircut BEFORE it became the unofficial haircut of the new white supremacist movement. I'm just saying.

All I know is that I am going to keep an eye on this Trump presidency for any other signs of blatant racism, you know like appointing a black man as the head of HUD simply because he's black, appointing a man who ran an alt-right news site on the internet as an adviser, or suggesting that the first black president was born in Africa and is therefore illegitimate.

Yep as soon as I see anything like that I will know for sure that the Nazis have taken over America.