Monday, July 17, 2017

"We are pretty close to a laughingstock" says outgoing ethics watchdog.

Courtesy of the New York Times:  

Actions by President Trump and his administration have created a historic ethics crisis, the departing head of the Office of Government Ethics said. He called for major changes in federal law to expand the power and reach of the oversight office and combat the threat. 

Walter M. Shaub Jr., who is resigning as the federal government’s top ethics watchdog on Tuesday, said the Trump administration had flouted or directly challenged long-accepted norms in a way that threatened to undermine the United States’ ethical standards, which have been admired around the world. 

“It’s hard for the United States to pursue international anticorruption and ethics initiatives when we’re not even keeping our own side of the street clean. It affects our credibility,” Mr. Shaub said in a two-hour interview this past weekend — a weekend Mr. Trump let the world know he was spending at a family-owned golf club that was being paid to host the U.S. Women’s Open tournament. “I think we are pretty close to a laughingstock at this point.”

The only dispute I have with that is that I don't think we are CLOSE to a laughingstock.

I think we ARE a laughingstock.  

In fact everything that we could be proud of as Americans seems to have been turned on its head, whether it is welcoming immigrants, our dedication to election integrity, or our treatment of minorities.

You would not think that it would only take six months to erase the prestige of America, but I guess that was not entering Donald Trump into the equation.


  1. Anonymous8:34 AM

    ot? 'laughingstock'

  2. Anonymous8:37 AM

  3. Anonymous8:38 AM

    "At the U.S. Women’s Open Golf Tournament, legitimate sports fans and players could not escape President Trump, HI$ supporters and HI$ merchandise."

  4. Anonymous8:41 AM

    Running for and being president is a Trump family business. Money is being made domestically and internationally.

    1. Anonymous11:20 AM

      Yeah butt what happens when it's hacked and transferred? Oh right only the rich can do that.
      Gag. Dick on a stick anyone? Money. Money. Money. M O N E Y.

  5. Anonymous8:41 AM

    Scarborough Takes A Shot At Sean Hannity UPDATED Slap Fight!

    Morning Joe's Scarborough was shaking his head today at the culture of lies around Donald Trump -- and Jay Sekulow's part in the practice. He told Jeremy Peters as much.

    "I've known Jay for a long time and liked Jay for a long time, but there are so many false statements there, talk about conflating things, it's staggering," he said.

    "And Jeremy Peters, if you look at what Jay Sekulow was forced to go out and say last weekend on the Sunday shows, if you look at the statement that the president of the United States signed off on with all the president's men around him on Air Force One, coming back from Europe, lying, lying to the New York Times, lying to the American people, saying this meeting was just about adoption, and then the next day, lying about the people that were in it. then going on a TV show that basically state-run television and being asked at the end of that TV show, is there anything else that we don't know about?

    "And Don Jr. saying, 'That's it.' And the next day we find out another person attended the meeting and the next day we find out that somebody connected with the KGB that basically was an intel officer at the meeting -- and the next day finding out there are two other people at the meeting. these people keep getting caught in their lies, day after day

    "The president of the United States keep saying nothing to see here, move along, move along. It's like actually a character out of The Simpsons. There is something to see here, and even their own base knows that."

    UPDATE: Predictably, Hannity has responded.

  6. Anonymous8:43 AM

    Russia Spent A Fortune Shilling For Trump – And May Not Have Broken Any Laws
    U.S. election laws never contemplated a foreign power inventing fake news and spreading it on the internet to influence an election.

    1. Anonymous9:46 AM

      That's right. Our forefathers and mothers could not even fathom treason and espionage by a usa citizen. The tar and feather and hangin' would have already occurred in downtown DC and NY city.

    2. Anonymous11:22 AM

      Woodrow Wilson had no problem with treason and lining his pockets. It's the Fabric of our lives. Too bad when it unravels to Civil War again.

  7. Anonymous8:44 AM

    Trump’s Air War Has Already Killed More Than 2,000 Civilians

    The president promised to ‘bomb the sh*t’ out of ISIS. But an Airwars investigation reveals that more and more innocents are being killed in American-led attacks.

    1. Anonymous11:34 AM

      Donald Trump's campaign against Isis results in nearly as many civilian deaths as during Obama's entire administration

  8. Anonymous8:48 AM

    Presidents set precedents. Trump is setting a precedent that if unchecked will open the door to larger ethical abuses by future presidents. Trump has turned the United States into a joke, but some of the biggest tragedies that are taking place under this administration involve the conversion of the presidency into a third rate banana republic personal ATM for the President and his family.

    1. Anonymous9:40 AM

      Uprisings across the country need to be initiated against Trump and his ilk. Something major needs to be done to get him out of office. Impeachment could/should be initiated by the Republicans but they are actually supporting the jerk!

      So, it is going to be up to Americans throughout the country to get things moving.

      RESIST!!! RISE UP!

    2. This is why it is imperative he be impeached for crimes directly connected to these ethics violations. To send a message to future administrations that they violate ethics at their own peril.

  9. Anonymous8:49 AM

    Democratic Iraq War Vet Rep. Shames Fox News For Their Bogus Praise Of Trump Family Service

  10. Anonymous9:01 AM

    Anybody with ethics or a conscience has left or has been fired -- who is minding the shop now? You think things are bad now.....? fasten your seat belt.

  11. Anonymous9:36 AM

    What in the Hell is the Republican majority doing in our U.S. Congress? All this information is out there in the 'public' eye about Trump and no one is doing a damn thing to get rid of the asshole!

    He is bringing our country down and I truly think we are moving toward civil war throughout the country.

    Republicans have zero credibility as it is now and will lose many of their seats in Congress as well as Republicans on the state and local levels when they come up for reelection.

    McConnell and Ryan also need to be given their walking papers due to not representing the majority of Americans!

    1. Anonymous10:46 AM

      their districts are rigged - they will never be voted out of office - that is why republicans will continue to do nothing, and trump supporters will stand by their man - they want more seats on the supreme court and more laws and the safety dismantled - once that is done - maybe they will try to get rid of trump - but by then he will be in his second term and one of his son's will be running for president (and his daughter as vice president) to follow to continue the trump rule for another 8 years... republicans do not care about America - only their bank accounts and their dreams of enslaving women and making that the majority of citizens are so poor and ill they can't fight back any more

    2. Anonymous11:23 AM

      One dying in bed can shoot! ;)

  12. Anonymous9:37 AM

    Former Trump Campaign Adviser Defends Russian Election Meddling

    Years before Michael R. Caputo was a top Trump campaign official, he helped secure the Russian presidency for Vladimir Putin.

    A former campaign adviser for President Donald Trump ― who also happens to have years of experience shilling for the Russian government ― is defending the Kremlin’s efforts to meddle in the 2016 presidential election.

    Michael R. Caputo, a public relations strategist who helped secure Russian President Vladimir Putin’s election victory in 2000, accused the U.S. of also interfering in foreign elections.

    The Republican operative claimed Russia’s meddling wasn’t a big deal, alleging that former President Barack Obama had attempted to influence an Israeli election.

    “I don’t know if we hack or phish emails,” Caputo told CNN’s Alisyn Camerota on Monday. “I’m not sure we’re on par, but we both get involved in foreign elections in our own way to try to tilt them in our favor.”

    The statement echoes the Trump camp’s latest talking point about the investigation into whether it colluded with Russia during the campaign. Supporters who previously denied any collusion or election meddling took place are now claiming such practices as perfectly legal.

    Caputo also said Monday that he didn’t consider the authoritarian Putin regime, which has been behind countless human rights abuses, to be a “hostile foreign power.”

    “Unless I woke up and I didn’t hear the news, we’re not at war with Russia,” he said, adding that he sees nothing wrong with Trump’s refusal to take a harder stance against Russia’s cyberattacks.

    Several U.S. officials, including Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.), have repeatedly deemed Russia a foreign adversary. But Caputo claimed such lawmakers are “absolutely” wrong about Russia.

    “I see a unique opportunity here to work with Russia,” Caputo said. “We often are looking at different priorities as nations, but we have a lot in common.”

    Caputo’s friendly attitude toward Russia follows a decades-long relationship with the innermost circles of the country’s top political players. Caputo moved to Russia in 1994 to work for the re-election campaign of former Russian President Boris Yeltsin, largely seen as the corrupt political puppet of several wealthy Russian billionaires. Later, Caputo helped run a propaganda campaign for a Russian government-owned media outlet to help get Yeltsin’s successor, Putin, elected to office in 2000.

    Caputo is one of several Trump associates who has been questioned as part of federal investigations into potential links between the Trump campaign and the Russian government. He has denied having ties to the Kremlin during his tenure with the Trump campaign.

    Spin, spin, spin.

  13. Anonymous9:42 AM

    Trump is killing the Republican Party

  14. Anonymous9:43 AM

    Donald John Trump represents all those that have abused the United States of America. Whether by tax evasion, tax loopholes, money laundering, ethics, Draft dodging, BK fraud, Bailouts, lying on applications, documents, forms, disclosures, trump and friends have lied, abused, used and taken at their leisure. Until now. This is the crossroad of serious dangerous decisions to be made and the history and morality of this nation. Will Our Constitution successfully remove trump and friends from their stolen power and deceit to Americans? Will justice be served?

  15. Anonymous9:45 AM

    If There Was No Collusion, It Wasn’t for Lack of Trying

  16. 150,000 attempts by hackers on election day.

    "Hackers tried to access South Carolina's voter registration system almost 150,000 times on Election Day alone, a new report from the state's Election Commission has revealed.

    The report plays into a larger pattern of attempted hacking in the 2016 election, in which the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) says more than 20 US states were targeted. Intelligence officials believe much of the election meddling was carried out by Russian hackers.

    The news comes as President Donald Trump's eldest son has been called to testify before a Senate committee on his meeting with a Kremlin-connected lawyer during the 2016 campaign.

    In South Carolina, state officials met with the FBI and state law enforcement about the attempted hacking as early as August 2016, according to The Wall Street Journal. In September, the state requested help from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and hired its own private cybersecurity firm.

    That month, the DHS located 55 different vulnerabilities on devices used by the Election Commission – vulnerabilities that could be used to access the voter registration database and the Commission's public-facing website."

    1. Geez. The Russians don't want me to post this link?

      "In 2006, Princeton computer science professor Edward Felten received an anonymous message offering him a Diebold AccuVote TS, one of the most widely used touch-screen voting machines at the time.

      Manufacturers like Diebold touted the touch-screens, known as direct-recording electronic (DRE) machines, as secure and more convenient than their paper-based predecessors. Computer experts were skeptical, since any computer can be vulnerable to viruses and malware, but it was hard to get ahold of a touch-screen voting machine to test it. The manufacturers were so secretive about how the technology worked that they often required election officials to sign non-disclosure agreements preventing them from bringing in outside experts who could assess the machines.

      Felten was intrigued enough that he sent his 25-year-old computer science graduate student, Alex Halderman, on a mission to retrieve the AccuVote TS from a trenchcoat-clad man in an alleyway near New York’s Times Square. Felten’s team then spent the summer working in secrecy in an unmarked room in the basement of a building to reverse-engineer the machine. In September 2006, they published a research paper and an accompanying video detailing how they could spread malicious code to the AccuVote TS to change the record of the votes to produce whatever outcome the code writers desired. And the code could spread from one machine to another like a virus.

      That was more than a decade ago, but Georgia still uses the AccuVote TS. The state is one of five ― the others are Delaware, Louisiana, New Jersey and South Carolina ― that rely entirely on DREs for voting. Ten other states use a combination of paper ballots and DRE machines that leave no paper trail. Many use a newer version of the AccuVote known as the TSX ― even though computer scientists have demonstrated that machine, too, is vulnerable to hacking. Others use the Sequoia AVC Advantage, which Princeton professor Andrew Appel demonstrated could be similarly manipulated in a 2007 legal filing. Appel bought a Sequoia machine online for $82 and demonstrated that he could remove 10 screws and easily replace the Sequoia’s memory card with a modified version that would alter the outcome of an election.

      Election security, typically a niche topic, emerged as a mainstream concern last summer after the Democratic National Committee announced that Russian hackers had penetrated their computer systems. The DNC hack was an early indication that Moscow had decided to interfere with the U.S. presidential election, raising alarms that their efforts could extend to the vulnerable touch-screen machines that record millions of votes around the country. By the time the cyberattack became public, it was too late to replace them, but in the year since the DNC hack revelations, there has been little tangible progress in securing America’s voting machines.

      “Basically nothing has changed, except that we are now at least more aware of the threat,” said Halderman, who is now a computer science professor at the University of Michigan. “Ten years ago, had you said a foreign government is going to try to hack U.S. election equipment, I’d say it’s technically possible but so unlikely. But what we saw in 2016 was a concerted attempt by a foreign power to attack election infrastructure.”"

  17. Anonymous10:32 AM

    ‘Commence a criminal investigation’: Fox analyst wrecks his network’s propaganda on Don Jr.’s Russia meeting

  18. Anonymous10:33 AM

    ‘LPGA dress code post Trump visit’: Pro female golfers furious over new ‘slut-shaming’ course attire

  19. Anonymous10:35 AM

    To many, the revelation that Donald Trump Jr. was anxious to get dirt on Hillary Clinton from the Russians will not come as a surprise. It is but the latest example of the take-no-prisoners, anything-goes politics of our day. Sure, soliciting help from a hostile foreign power is exceptional, and it is certainly true that the Trumps have taken “unconventional” politics to new heights. But how we do politics in the United States, the boundaries of acceptable behavior, has been shifting for two decades.

    The real surprise – the part of the story that we should be gravely concerned about – is that this disclosure will not matter to a great many American voters. After thinking and writing about politics for two decades, I have come to the conclusion that the real issue we face is not the conduct of public officials or their surrogates, but how nefarious acts are now sanctioned, and even applauded, by so many on both sides of the partisan fence.

    The Conversation

    So what’s changed in our politics?

  20. Anonymous10:44 AM

    Another one - one you might be interested in, Gryphen:
    Shown Here:
    Introduced in House (06/07/2017)

    Civil Rights Uniformity Act of 2017

    This bill prohibits the word "sex" or "gender" from being interpreted to mean "gender identity," and requires "man" or "woman" to be interpreted to refer exclusively to a person's genetic sex, for purposes determining the meaning of federal civil rights laws or related federal administrative agency regulations or guidance.

    No federal civil rights law shall be interpreted to treat gender identity or transgender status as a protected class, unless it expressly designates "gender identity" or "transgender status" as a protected class.

  21. Anonymous10:48 AM

    The Truth Comes Out As Trump’s Voter Fraud Commission Is Really About Rigging The 2020 Election

    Emails show that the real purpose of Trump's "election integrity" commission is to gather voter data and pass a new federal law that will make it more difficult for people to vote in 2020.

    ...The reason why the commission wants sensitive personal voter data such as Social Security numbers, driver’s license numbers, and voting history is because they are trying to create a profile of likely Democratic voters that they can use to craft federal legislation that will make it more difficult for those people to vote in the next presidential election. Judging from both the desired Republican legislative calendar and the pace of Trump’s commission, it appears that the 2020 election is the target for any new Trump voter suppression law.

    Trump is trying to rig the 2020 election and all future elections by reshaping the electorate to favor the older white conservatives that are Trump’s base of support. These efforts have hit a brick wall thanks to both the ACLU lawsuit and the refusal of states to turn over their voter data.

  22. Anonymous10:49 AM

    A new Monmouth University Poll found that 41% of Americans want to impeach Donald Trump six months into his term. In contrast, only 24% of Americans supported impeaching Richard Nixon six months into his second term.

  23. Anonymous10:51 AM

    Fox News Just Shared A Poll That Trump Is Going To HATE, Meltdown Inevitable (TWEET)

    The poll was taken just a few days ago and states that 50% of Americans approve Obamacare, and only 24% are willing to support a Republican replacement. Some weren’t fond of either (13%), but the evidence was clear – the people in this country do not want the GOP to repeal the Affordable Care Act and replace it with one of their death sentences.

    1. Those in charge don't give a shit what the American people want.

  24. Anonymous11:09 AM

    Sarah 'Clickbait' Palin vs NYT. Defamation Suit.

    The Judge in the defamation case has set a hearing on a Motion to Dismiss on July 31st. If it is not dismissed, the trial date is Dec. 11.

    1. "The Times revised the online version of the editorial the following morning to remove those references and to make clear that the crosshair on the map appeared over Giffords’ district rather than over her name or image. "

      Except that under the map Gifford's name and district were listed.

      We all know Palin targeted those lawmakers with a stylized rifle scope image. It implies shooting them to take them out.

      The only weak link is that the shooter didn't cite the map as his reason for the shooting.

      "The Judge will likely grant the Motion to Dismiss for several reasons:

      1. It is well established that defamatory words directed at a corporation or other entity simply do not give rise to a claim by the individuals associated with it,” the lawyers wrote. The editorial was commenting of the publication by SarahPAC, and thus not aimed at Sarah Palin individually.
      2. The article was an editorial, and thus clearly opinion. Under the First Amendment, the Times is allowed to publish an opinion even if it is incorrect.
      3. A defamation suit requires a Plaintiff to show damage or harm to a person’s reputation. Sarah Palin had already damaged her own reputation so badly that it would be impossible for her to establish any damage, beyond that which she herself caused."

      I'm loving me #3.

      "4. A Plaintiff in a defamation suit must prove actual “malice” in publishing the “defamatory statement.” An honest mistake is a defense to a defamation suit. Thus Palin’s attorney must show that the editorial board intentionally published inaccurate information with the intent to cause her harm. In this case any disparagement of Palin is by implication only. Based on the wording of the column itself and the retraction, it should be easy to show that the intent to cause harm is lacking.
      5. Perhaps the most compelling argument is that the Times included a link in it’s editorial. The article linked expressly clarified the two points of contention in the Palin suit. Palin argues that the editorial was incorrect because she didn’t target Giffords personally, but her district. That was explained in the linked article:

      “Crosshairs is a political phrase that emerged from Palin’s political action committee SarahPac that targeted congressional districts for the Tea Party campaign in the last election, including the district of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.”

      Crosshairs may be a political term but it's also a term used to target someone for a shooting since scopes on rifles have crosshairs.

      As we commented at the time, Palin could have used any other graphic on her map. She choose to use the crosshairs of a rifle scope. She's been publicly humiliated for that decision every since.

      Hell, yeah, she is going to lose. Again.

  25. Anonymous11:12 AM

    ...And then there’s Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), who reportedly went off in a closed-door meeting with GOP leadership about the bill’s cuts to Medicaid and pleaded with them to leave the program alone, but would not say publicly how she plans to vote on the bill itself. Murkowksi has previously said she can’t vote for a bill that repeals Alaska’s Medicaid expansion, and can’t vote for a bill that defunds Planned Parenthood. The Senate’s health care bill does both.

    Murkowski, however, will be shielded from some of the worst impacts of the Medicaid cuts by a carveout tucked into the bill specifically for her state. Dubbed the “Polar Payout” or “Klondike Kickback,” the provision would give Alaska hundreds of millions of dollars to help lower insurance premiums.

    Murkowski has promised before that such a sweetener would not be enough to win her over, saying in June: “Let’s just say that they do something that’s so Alaska-specific just to, quote, ‘get me.’ Then you have a nationwide system that doesn’t work. That then comes crashing down and Alaska’s not able to kind of keep it together on its own.” Whether she stands by this statement and opposes the revised bill remains unclear.

    1. Anonymous12:43 PM

      She's always been a two faced sell out. Worst than Donald. They go whichever way the wind goes, that's why Donald is able to aid and abed the Russians in their takeover of the United States. He smells money. And so does Lisa even if it'll put people in the lower 48 at odds. Typical stinky diaper politicians.

  26. Anonymous11:12 AM

    Trump = explosive diarrhea every day. Since the Trumpanzees love to wallow in it and fling it, we won't see this end anytime soon. They really want to see him up on stage stomping puppies. They would go orgasmic. They really need their own planet led by their dear leader with the good brain. Shitatonia. It would be out beyond the orbit of Uranus.

  27. Anonymous11:13 AM

    Kobach Pitched Rolling Back Voting Rights Law Day After Trump’s Election

    An email chain released as part of litigation around Kansas’ proof-of-citizenship voter registration requirement confirmed what many suspected to be Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach’s (R) long-term goal in partnering with President Trump’s administration.

    The email chain, first published Saturday by the Huffington Post, reveals that Kobach emailed Trump’s transition team the day after Trump’s surprise victory informing transition member Gene Hamilton that he was working on draft “amendments to the [National Voter Registration Act] to make clear that proof of citizenship requirements are permitted” to submit as legislation to Congress.

    The NVRA is also known as the “Motor Voter Law,” and it sought to streamline the process by which eligible voters can register at DMVs and other government agencies. It has been an obstacle in Kobach’s attempts to implement a proof-of-citizenship requirement in his state and courts have ruled against him multiple times.

    The email chain was released to the ACLU on Friday as part of its legal challenge against Kansas’ proof-of-citizenship requirement.

    Non-citizen voting has been found to be extremely rare, and civil rights groups like the ACLU argue that such requirements place a disproportionate burden on poor, minority and older voters, who are less likely to have handy the necessary documents.

    Not long after the email was sent in November, Kobach was photographed alongside then-President Elect Trump holding an outline that appeared to be proposing an amendment to the NVRA:

  28. Anonymous11:14 AM

    Bad Oppo, Secret Service Fail: Defenses Of Don Jr. Meeting Don’t Square

  29. Anonymous11:26 AM

    Trumpty Dumpty sat on a wall.
    Trumpty Dumpty took a great fall.
    All the Russians whores.
    And all of Putin's men.
    Could not put Trumpty Dumpty
    Back together again.

  30. Anonymous11:53 AM

    Oh, we passed "pretty close" as soon as tRump was nominated.

  31. Anonymous12:15 PM

    In trumps business dump and global world, meeting with money mob and adventure daily is normal.
    Unfortunately it is not normal while governing a country. It is a different gig. And ya cant be a obvious law breaker and liar representing a country.

  32. Anonymous12:16 PM

    McCain picked Sarah Palin and the rest is history. Sad.

    1. Anonymous4:10 PM

      I think that he was encouraged to do that to see just how stupid and gullible the majority of Americans were and they were not surprised by the findings and her massive support paved the way for Trump 2016...I can see it now, "well guys, Americans are almost dumb enough to elect our biggest puppet POTUS ever, Donald Trump! Let's just give them 8 years of fomenting racism and unrest due to having a black president and the country will be ours for the taking!"

  33. Anonymous12:46 PM

    So it took the United States and its' people almost 500 years to built it up to a wonderful dream it might have been, and Donald six months to decimate it into a heaping pile of streaming shit. Thanks, Donald. And Putin thanks you too by alleviating your debts. Traitorous bastardo.

    1. Anonymous4:08 PM

      I hate to pick nits, but where are you getting this "500 years" figure? The United States of America was formally declared in 1776, prior to that we were the United Colonies as Britain declared us as her holdings in the late 1600's.

      I guess if you go back to the Puritan and other settlers you can count this land has having been occupied by European settlers much longer, but we weren't officially the US of A until nearly 241 years ago. If you take into account the newest evidence of Norse settlements then European settlement of what is now the USA could have occurred over 1000 years ago.


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