Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Fox News retracts bogus Seth Rich story, while Sean Hannity doubles down and declares he is "not Fox"

You might remember this conspiracy theory put out by Info Wars, the Russians, Sarah Palin, and Fox News suggesting that a young DNC staffer was murdered after sending incriminating materials about Hillary Clinton and the DNC to Wikileaks.

The story had earlier been debunked by Snopes, but for some reason the Right Wing resurrected it to distract from the ongoing Trump/Russia investigation.

Well yesterday Fox came to their senses and deleted their story and made this comment: 

On May 16, a story was posted on the Fox News website on the investigation into the 2016 murder of DNC Staffer Seth Rich. The article was not initially subjected to the high degree of editorial scrutiny we require for all our reporting. 

Upon appropriate review, the article was found not to meet those standards and has since been removed. We will continue to investigate this story and will provide updates as warranted. 

Just a rare moment of journalistic integrity on their part, and Seth Rich's parents were quick to thank them for it 

Rich’s family said it was grateful for the story’s removal. 

“The family would like to thank Fox News for their retraction on a story that has caused deep pain and anguish to the family and has done harm to Seth Rich’s legacy,” the family said through a spokesman. “We are hopeful that in the future that Fox News will work with the family to ensure the highest degree of professionalism and scrutiny is followed so that only accurate facts are reported surrounding this case.”

The Daily Caller also removed their story:
However the story is still being spread on Right Wing news sites, and Sean Hannity has broken ranks with Fox to join with them in that endeavor.

Courtesy of The Hill: 

Fox News’s Sean Hannity ripped his critics and the mainstream media on his nationally syndicated radio program Tuesday, saying, “I am not or, I retracted nothing.”

"For those accusing me of pushing a conspiracy theory, you are the biggest phony hypocrites in the entire world," Hannity said Tuesday. 

“This issue, it’s so big now that the entire Russia collusion narrative is hanging by a thread,” he said, referencing media coverage of the investigations into the Trump campaign and possible ties to Russia's meddling in the presidential election last year. “If in fact, take Seth out of it, there was a whistleblower within the DNC — a truth-teller that was actually the source for WikiLeaks, not Russia — working with the Trump campaign. These are questions that I have a moral obligation to ask, and I will do the mainstream media’s job like I have most of my career.”

"I will do the mainstream media's job like I have most of my career?" WTF?

Hannity's bizarre fixation on this story has reportedly upset others working at Fox News: 

Staffers at the conservative Fox News Channel are blasting host Sean Hannity and others at the network for their "disappointing" choice to push conspiracy theories about the murder of Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich. 

"It hurts those of us who are legitimately focused on journalism," one employee told CNN. 

"We have a chance to turn the corner at Fox, and perpetuating this conspiracy theory damages our integrity," the employee continued.

This is odd, it is almost as if somebody is pushing Hannity to continue fanning this conspiracy theory who has more sway over him than his employers apparently do.

And as for his employment, I am beginning to think that Hannity's departure from Fox News is now imminent.

Donald Trump meets the Pope.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words.

I would say that this one is worth perhaps twice that many.

Have you ever seen a glummer group of people?

The only one smiling is the idiot in the early stages of dementia.

Here it looks as if the Pope cannot believe he has to actually interact with his moron as if he is the president of the United States.

After the meeting Trump had this to say: 

"He is something," Trump said of the Pope later in the day, during a meeting with Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni. "We had a fantastic meeting. We're liking Italy very, very much and it was an honor to be with the Pope."

For his part the Pope sent Trump a rather clear message: 

The Pope's gift left no questions about its symbolism, presenting Trump with an olive tree medal crafted by a Roman artist that the Pope said symbolizes peace. 

"We can use peace," Trump said. 

"I signed it personally for you," the Pope offered.

Like I said, a clear message. 

MSNBC hits number one in cable news ratings while Fox News flirts with the number three spot.

Courtesy of Variety:  

For the first time in its history, MSNBC ranked number one in both total viewers and the key adults 25-54 demographic during primetime for a full week among the big three cable news networks, according to Nielsen data. 

For the week of May 15, MSNBC averaged 2.44 million viewers with 611,000 in the key demo from 8 p.m.-11 p.m., beating out CNN and Fox News in both measures. In total day viewership for the week, CNN has ranked number one in cable news among adults 25-54 for six straight days (May 14-19), marking the network’s longest winning streak in that measure in six years. Fox News finished first in total viewers with 1.5 million and second in the demo with 321,000. MSNBC was second in total viewers with 1.2 million total viewers and third in the demo with 281,000. CNN finished third in total viewers with 1.05 million but first in the demo with 353,000. 

In addition, Fox News ranked number three in primetime in the key demographic for five straight days with 497,000 viewers, the longest streak at number three the network has had in that measure in 17 years, since June 2000. CNN finished second in the demo with 588,000. Fox was second in total viewers, however, with 2.41 million, beating out CNN’s 1.65 million.

This is just more bad news for Fox News who was hit with three new claims of discrimination this week, as well as an op-ed by Monica Lewisnky who specifically called them out for building their reputation by trashing hers.

I really am starting to believe that we are seeing the end of Fox News.

Or at least the end of Fox News as we have known it.

Which cannot be a bad thing in my mind.

White House attempts to block disclosure of Trump Administration ethics waivers, gets rejected.

Uh oh.
Courtesy of NPR: 

The Office of Government Ethics has rejected a White House attempt to block the agency's compilation of federal ethics rules waivers granted to officials hired into the Trump administration from corporations and lobbying firms. 

The White House action, a letter to OGE Director Walter M. Shaub Jr. from Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney, was first reported by The New York Times. The newspaper had earlier published a detailed account of lobbyists turned appointees who were granted waivers and now oversee regulations they previously had lobbied against. 

With an ethics waiver, a federal official is free to act on matters that normally would trigger concerns about conflicts of interest or other ethical problems. Federal regulations say the waivers generally should be made public on request. The Obama administration routinely posted waivers online. The Trump administration has issued an unknown number and released none. 

Shaub notified the White House and federal agencies in April that OGE wanted to see all ethics waivers issued by President Trump's administration. He set June 1 as the deadline. The broad request is known as a data call.

Oh I think we see another Trump White House scandal looming over the horizon.

Fighting this only goes to prove that the Trump Administration is terrified of ANY disclosures of  what they have been doing behind the scenes.

I would be willing to bet that there are some very interesting ethics waivers that have to do with, not just with members of the cabinet, but members of the Trump family as well.

In the run up to the election Hillary Clinton's emails dominated the perceptions of the American voters.

Courtesy of HuffPo:

 During last year’s election, the polling firm Gallup regularly asked Americans if they’d read, heard, or seen anything about the presidential candidates in the last few days. Those who had ― usually two-thirds or more of the public in any given week ― were asked to elaborate. 

The researchers then pulled out the words used by the public to describe what they were hearing about both candidates, as part of an effort to figure out what information was reaching voters and staying with them. 

In a chart of the most common words used in relation to Clinton between last summer and Election Day, the word “email” quite literally crowds out the rest, with several of the other most prevalent words also alluding to perceptions that she was scandal-plagued. 

With emails so prominently on the minds of the voters, which was constantly being reinforced by the Wikileaks drip drip of leaks from hacked Democratic email accounts, is it really any surprise that Comey's letter had the effect that it had?

It was almost a perfect storm of coordination between the Republicans, the Russians, and the far left who were just looking for a reason not to vote for Hillary in the general.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

The Atlantic explains why Trump scandals are good for Vladimir Putin.

Sort of obvious that Putin has reaped exactly what he set out to sow in the first place.

He has dramatically undermined American democracy and demonstrated his own power at the same time.

And his success is currently being supported and defended by the very Republicans who spoke out so harshly against the Soviet Union back during the Reagan Administration.

They say that revenge is a dish best served cold, I wonder if anybody has taken the temperature inside the White House lately?

In the wake of Donald Trump's election the military is seeing increased targeting of non-Fundamentalist Christians so severe that it is being considered a "national security threat."

Courtesy of Newsweek: 

Donald Trump’s election has led to such a steep rise in fundamentalist Christian evangelizing and religious bigotry in the U.S. armed forces that the matter is reaching the level of a “national security threat,” according to information shared exclusively with Newsweek by an organization that represents and advocates for secular and minority religious views in the military.

The number of complaints from servicemen and -women in the Army, Air Force, Marines and other service branches to the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF) has doubled in number since November 2016, according to lawyer Michael “Mikey” Weinstein, a former Air Force officer who founded the organization.

Many of the recent charges are coming from members of minority religions, including Roman Catholics, Jews and Muslims, and from atheists. Among the complaints: military family and marital therapy programs are being infused with Protestant Christianity, which would violate the U.S. Constitution; open anti-Semitism; anti-LGBT statements, posters, symbols and bullying; openly anti-Muslim teachers and Islamophobic attacks; a rise in on-base evangelizing; and increased pressure on recruits or lower-level personnel and service members to convert to fundamentalist Christianity. 

“With the advent of Trump as the commander in chief of our armed forces, MRFF has experienced a massive influx of new military and civilian personnel complaints of religion-based prejudice and bigotry, most of them coming from non-fundamentalist Christians being persecuted by their military superiors for not being ‘Christian enough,’” Weinstein tells Newsweek.

He says noncommissioned officers at one Air Force base reported that their superiors told them Trump would make it USAF policy that in order for “disbelieving Jews” to be allowed into the USAF or deemed fit for promotions, they would have to show via objectively established behavior that they were at least honestly “considering the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.” 

At another base, the wife of a combat-decorated Muslim U.S. Naval officer, who was wearing a Muslim headscarf, was surrounded in the commissary and spit upon and cursed as not being a “true American and being a spy and a terrorist.” She was with her children at the time.

Well the Trump supporters wanted him to return the country to "when it was great again."

Well congratulations, it is now America in the 1940's when it was only great if you were a white male Fundamentalist Christian attending a Protestant church.

And the real irony here is that Trump himself is NOT a religious man by any measure.

He simply recognized that the fundamentalist Christians of this country were the easiest voting bloc to manipulate so he did the bare minimum to get their support and the rest is history.

We should be seeing more burning of mosques and synagogues, and a return to public lynchings any day now.

Info Wars now has White House press credentials. Sorry, this is NOT fake news.

Courtesy of Business Insider:

Far-right website InfoWars was granted temporary White House press credentials on Monday. 

Jerome Corsi, the Washington, DC bureau chief for the site that's known for its propagation of conspiracy theories about the September 11 terrorist attacks and the Sandy Hook shooting, tweeted a picture of himself inside the White House press briefing room.

This was only a day pass but Info Wars is applying for a permanent one, and let's face it they will probably get it.

This is how Senator Chris Murphy responded to this news.
Trump feels he is under constant assault from the more fact friendly media, so allowing Info Wars in the room to ask if they have found Hillary Clinton's alien love child in the West Wing yet will undoubtedly be seen as a welcome change.

Besides it's not like there is not a precedent already set: 

A number of right-wing reporters and outlets have attended recent White House press briefings. The Gateway Pundit has frequently dispatched a reporter specifically to troll the White House press corps.

Well if you have a clown living in the White House why not turn the press briefings into a circus? 

Donald Trump asked top intelligence officials to push back against Russia investigation.

Courtesy of WaPo: 

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

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

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

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

The conversation with Rogers was documented by an internal memo, not sure about the Daniel Coats conversation, but if there was both of them will be made available to investigators.

So adding this information to the fact that we now know that Trump also tried to get James Comey to put an end to the investigation, I think that is plenty of evidence of interference by the White House.

And yes, that is an impeachable offense.

Currently going on as I am writing this post is a Congressional hearing at which former CIA Director, John Brennan, made these remarks:

Former CIA Director John Brennan told lawmakers Tuesday he was worried that Russia may have tried to recruit U.S. persons during the presidential campaign and that he believes the FBI's investigation into possible coordination between Moscow and the Trump campaign is “well founded.” 

By the time he stepped down as CIA director on Jan. 20, he told the House Intelligence Committee, “I had unresolved questions in my mind about whether or not the Russians had been successful in getting U.S. persons, involved in the campaign or not, to work on their behalf, again, either in a witting or unwitting fashion.” 

“Therefore,” Brennan added, “I felt as though the FBI investigation was certainly well founded and needed to look into these issues.”

Brennan also said that there was documented communication between the Trump campaign and the Russians during the election. 

If this gun is not yet smoking, it is about to.

Barack Obama to join Angela Merkel in Germany to help launch worldwide program to inspire young people.

Courtesy of CNN: 

Former President Barack Obama will sit side-by-side with German Chancellor Angela Merkel Thursday in the first event of what will eventually become his worldwide program to inspire young people to create change. 

Obama will join Merkel at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin to highlight his foundation's new global effort to inspire and support young people active in narrowing inequality, combating climate change, working on public health, empowering women and girls and boosting young entrepreneurs. 

"He and Mrs. Obama have been pretty clear that the foundation will have a global reach. They want to be really involved in programing throughout the world," an Obama Foundation official said.

Just a reminder that while Trump is overseas right now embarrassing our country, that former President Obama is still working to make the world a better place and to inspire future generations. 

I swear that every day Trump is in office my admiration and respect for President Obama just grows that much more.

The man was an amazing President, and history is going to be very kind to him indeed.

Don't touch me! Update!

Courtesy of Marie Claire: 

Speculation around Donald Trump and Melania Trump's marriage is about to get a whole lot more intense. In a video of the pair walking away from Air Force One after landing in Tel Aviv, Melania Trump can be seen slapping her husband's hand away as he tries to hold it.

(Closer look here.)

Such a loving couple don't you think?

I don't blame her. If that obese orange asshole tried to touch me I would knock him on his flabby ass.

I don't want my hand shook, I don't want my back patted, and I don't want my pussy grabbed by his POS.  (Okay technically I don't have that last one but if I did....)

Of course none of this is surprising.

Remember this from the inauguration?
Maybe this is why Melania and Trump do not sleep in the same room, or most of the time not even in the same city, he is probably afraid she will kill him the minute he slips into unconsciousness.

And really, who could blame her?

Update: Still think this was a fluke?
No that is a woman who is repulsed by her husband's touch.

And did he reach for her ass after that?

Great white hunter gets crushed by large grey elephant in Africa.

Courtesy of the Telegraph: 

A South African big game hunter died after being crushed by an elephant cow that had been shot on a game reserve in Zimbabwe at the weekend. 

Theunis Botha, 51, was leading a hunt with clients when the group accidentally walked into the middle of a breeding herd of elephants at the Good Luck Farm near Hwange National Park late on Friday afternoon, Zimparks spokesman Mr Simukai Nyasha said. 

Three of the elephant cows charged the hunters. Mr Botha fired a shot from his rifle but he was caught by surprise by a fourth cow that stormed them from the side, the Afrikaans news site Netwerk24 reported.

He shot these majestic animals in a place called "Good Luck Farm?"

 What, they didn't have any cows he could shoot instead?

This is one of those instances where you have to remind yourself that a man lost his life, and you should not feel any pleasure or sense of satisfaction.

But then you read that the man trained dogs to harass and chase the animals toward him so that he could shoot them more easily, and the struggle becomes just that much more difficult.

So let us mourn the passing of this man, but also remember that he died doing what he loved, slaughtering animals to make himself feel more manly.

Of course in the end he probably felt less like a man, and more like a mancake.