Sunday, December 10, 2017

Laura Ingraham is concerned that the #MeToo movement might "killing all the fun of Christmas."

Courtesy of Share Blue: 

Fox News host and Trump cheerleader Laura Ingraham is concerned about the growing number of women who are coming forward to report incidents of sexual assault and harassment. 

Well, she’s not actually concerned about the women — she’s worried that they might ruin office Christmas parties this year. 

“Is the #MeToo movement becoming a spoiler for this season’s Christmas parties?” Ingraham asked Friday evening during a segment on Fox News’ The Ingraham Angle. 

Speaking with comedian Jimmy Failla, Ingraham said she was worried that women who feel empowered to report sexual misconduct might ruin the holiday season by making office Christmas parties less festive. 

“I can see this year it might be — a little less festive, let’s say that. No alcohol and no fun and no lampshades and, I don’t know, maybe that’s better,” she said. 

“Is this just killing all the fun of Christmas?” she wondered absurdly.

Yeah, what a shame that male employees can no longer drunkenly grope their female counterparts or attempt to drag them into a dark corner to sexually molest them.

Keep in kind that this idiot is currently employed at Fox News, which had to fire both founder Roger Ailes and top cable news host Bill O'Reilly for being perverts, as well as paying out millions of dollars in settlements to keep the female victims quiet.

I think today seems like the appropriate day to share this rather long Seth Abramson thread.

Almost half way there, keep reading.

Disturbing things we learned from a New York Times profile on Donald Trump.

The New York Times did a deep dive into Trump's first year as president, by interviewing as many as 60 advisers, friends, and members of Congress to get a picture of his day-to-day life.

The picture that emerges is...unsettling to say the least.

The start of Trump's day:

Around 5:30 each morning, President Trump wakes and tunes into the television in the White House’s master bedroom. He flips to CNN for news, moves to “Fox & Friends” for comfort and messaging ideas, and sometimes watches MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” because, friends suspect, it fires him up for the day. 

Energized, infuriated — often a gumbo of both — Mr. Trump grabs his iPhone. Sometimes he tweets while propped on his pillow, according to aides. Other times he tweets from the den next door, watching another television. Less frequently, he makes his way up the hall to the ornate Treaty Room, sometimes dressed for the day, sometimes still in night clothes, where he begins his official and unofficial calls.

How much cable news does he watch?

People close to him estimate that Mr. Trump spends at least four hours a day, and sometimes as much as twice that, in front of a television, sometimes with the volume muted, marinating in the no-holds-barred wars of cable news and eager to fire back.

That means Trump consumes as much as eight hours of cable news a day.

He has no plan:

For most of the year, people inside and outside Washington have been convinced that there is a strategy behind Mr. Trump’s actions. But there is seldom a plan apart from pre-emption, self-defense, obsession and impulse. 

Occasionally, the president solicits affirmation before hitting the “tweet” button. In June, according to a longtime adviser, he excitedly called friends to say he had the perfect tweet to neutralize the Russia investigation. He would call it a “witch hunt.” They were unimpressed. 

Trump needs to see himself talked about on TV every day:  

To an extent that would stun outsiders, Mr. Trump, the most talked-about human on the planet, is still delighted when he sees his name in the headlines. And he is on a perpetual quest to see it there. One former top adviser said Mr. Trump grew uncomfortable after two or three days of peace and could not handle watching the news without seeing himself on it. 

During the morning, aides monitor “Fox & Friends” live or through a transcription service in much the way commodities traders might keep tabs on market futures to predict the direction of their day. 

If someone on the show says something memorable and Mr. Trump does not immediately tweet about it, the president’s staff knows he may be saving Fox News for later viewing on his recorder and instead watching MSNBC or CNN live — meaning he is likely to be in a foul mood to start the day.

On the plus side even Trump cannot stomach Fox News host Jeanine Pirro for long:  

Jeanine Pirro, whose Fox News show is a presidential favorite, recently asked to meet about a deal approved while Mrs. Clinton was secretary of state that gave Russia control over some American uranium, which lately has become a favorite focus of conservatives. 

Mr. Trump, Mr. Kelly and Donald F. McGahn II, the White House counsel, met for more than an hour on Nov. 1 as Ms. Pirro whipped up the president against Mr. Mueller and accused James B. Comey, the former F.B.I. director, of employing tactics typically reserved for Mafia cases, according to a person briefed on the meeting. 

The president became visibly agitated as she spoke. “Roy Cohn was my lawyer!” he exclaimed, referring to the legendary McCarthy-era fixer who mentored Mr. Trump in the 1980s, suggesting that was the type of defender he needed now. 

At another point, Mr. Kelly interrupted. She was not “helping things,” he said, according to the person briefed. Even Mr. Trump eventually tired of Ms. Pirro’s screed and walked out of the room, according to the person.

That woman is so batshit crazy that she even makes Trump seem sane by comparison.

The article suggests that Trump IS learning, but the learning curve is so steep that, like Sisyphus with the rock, every inch of progress is often accompanied by a degree of backsliding.

In the meantime the needs of the country remain largely unmet as a reality television faux celebrity learns that not everything can be reedited to make him appear competent at his job.

Bat wielding Canadian attacks family from Colombia while yelling that they are ISIS.

Courtesy of Raw Story: 

On Thursday, a man armed with a baseball bat attacked a family in the parking lot of the Elgin Mall in St. Thomas, Ontario, accusing them of being Islamic terrorists. 

However, according to the Toronto City News, the family was from Colombia and were speaking Spanish as they made their way through the parking lot. 

“We got terrorists here!” shouted the man — who was later arrested at his home in London, ON. “ISIS!” He swung the bat at the family several times, striking an adult male and cracking his ribs. 

He then fled the parking lot in a white BMW. 

Police charged the 36-year-old attacker with aggravated assault and three counts of assault with a weapon. Officials said the attack “appears to have been racially motivated.”

Ah, so they do have Trump supporters in Canada.

Interesting to note that they are just as unhinged there as they are in America.

Just for the record, how many Spanish speaking members of ISIS have we identified thus far? 

The effects of global warming.

Courtesy of National Geographic: 

When photographer Paul Nicklen and filmmakers from conservation group Sea Legacy arrived in the Baffin Islands in late summer, they came across a heartbreaking sight: a starving polar bear on its deathbed. 

Nicklen is no stranger to bears. From the time he was a child growing up in Canada's far north the biologist turned wildlife photographer has seen over 3,000 bears in the wild. But the emaciated polar bear, featured in videos Nicklen published to social media on December 5, was one of the most gut-wrenching sights he's ever seen. 

"We stood there crying—filming with tears rolling down our cheeks," he said.

Not so very long ago we had an administration that understood what has happening and was willing to do the hard work to make a change for the better.

Now this poor animal will undoubtedly be joined by scores of other animals who will die needlessly because humans are either too arrogant or too selfish to do anything to save them. 


Does anybody else's head hurt as much as mine does?

Saturday, December 09, 2017

Robert Mueller's investigators have retrieved a treasure trove of information from Paul Manafort and deputy campaign manager Rick Gates.

Courtesy of CNN: 

Prosecutors in the Russia probe have obtained hundreds of thousands of documents and gotten a host of information from laptops and phones in the ongoing investigation into former Trump campaign advisers Paul Manafort and Rick Gates. 

So far, special counsel Robert Mueller's investigators have collected 400,000 documents including financial records, corporate records and emails involving the defendants.

They also have the information from 36 laptops, phones, thumb drives and other electronic devices that were seized during the raid of Manafort's house. The investigators have gotten 15 search warrants in the investigation, according to a new court filing Friday. 

That collection of documents breaks down into several different pots of information, according to the filing: foreign bank account records, 116,000 pages of US financial records, 89,000 records on one hard drive, 120,000 records on two other hard drives, and 80,000 records on a fourth hard drive. The federal prosecutors also noted they have documents from Manafort's tax preparer "that were identified by the government as particularly relevant." 

So far, the government lawyers have identified 2,000 documents as "hot," the filing said on Friday.

Just a reminder that while the conservatives and Donald Trump are working over time to undermine this investigation, Robert Mueller is simply plugging away and inching closer and closer to taking Trump down.

By the way removing Robert Mueller will not make this investigation shut down, in fact doing so would only cause it to grow exponentially and almost certainly result in a finding of obstruction of justice.

And now a word from Alabama.

Well at least now we know why Alabama is not horrified about Roy Moore.

And why I will never visit Alabama.

Petty Donald Trump makes Romney niece change name in order to get work.

Courtesy of WaPo:

Before Ronna Romney McDaniel took over as Republican National Committee chairwoman earlier this year, President Trump had a request: Would she be willing to stop using her middle name publicly? 

Trump followed up by saying in a lighthearted way that McDaniel, the niece of former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, could do what she wanted, according to two people familiar with the comments. But the change was soon plain for all to see. Though she had used her maiden name for years in Michigan, where her grandfather George W. Romney had been governor, McDaniel dropped “Romney” from most official party communications and has rarely used it since. 

The moment offers a window on Trump’s complicated and often tense relationship with the 2012 Republican presidential nominee, who has remained a frequent critic of the president and is considering a Senate campaign next year in Utah. The pair’s history stretches from Romney’s pained courtship of Trump’s endorsement in 2012 to Trump’s searing criticism of Romney in 2016, when he called his predecessor a “stone cold loser” who blew an easy chance to beat then-President Barack Obama. 

Those tensions were on display again this week, when White House aides scripted a trip to Utah with a single political goal in mind: to convince Sen. Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah) to run for reelection and thwart Romney from mounting his own bid for the seat, according to a senior White House official involved in the preparations.

This guy simply never drops a grudge.

That's why he is still obsessed with Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.

Hell I think his entire campaign was inspired by his desire to get back at then President Obama over those jokes he made during that 2011 White House Correspondents' Dinner.

And as for this suggesting to Romney McDaniel to change her name being "lighthearted," it was not lighthearted, it was a thinly veiled threat.

It was just like the "lighthearted" thinly veiled threat that he issued to James Comey about dropping the Flynn investigation.

Comey's refusal to comply cost him his job, should we actually believe that McDaniel would have this job if she did not knuckle under?

By the way have you noticed how Trump likes to surround himself with the female relatives of his vanquished foes?

I'm almost surprised that he has not offered Chelsea Clinton a job.

Oh that's right, she is far too intelligent to allow him to marginalize her and make her act like a brainless sycophant.

Earlier this year FBI officials sat down with Hope Hicks to warn her that Russian operatives were trying to make contact with her.

Courtesy of the New York Times:  

F.B.I. officials warned one of President Trump’s top advisers, Hope Hicks, earlier this year about repeated attempts by Russian operatives to make contact with her during the presidential transition, according to people familiar with the events. 

The Russian outreach efforts show that, even after American intelligence agencies publicly accused Moscow of trying to influence the outcome of last year’s presidential election, Russian operatives were undaunted in their efforts to establish contacts with Mr. Trump’s advisers.

After he took office, senior F.B.I. counterintelligence agents met with Ms. Hicks in the White House Situation Room at least twice, gave her the names of the Russians who had contacted her, and said that they were not who they claimed to be. The F.B.I. was concerned that the emails to Ms. Hicks may have been part of a Russian intelligence operation, and they urged Ms. Hicks to be cautious.

The meetings with Ms. Hicks, what the F.B.I. calls a “defensive briefing,” went beyond the standard security advice that senior White House officials routinely receive upon taking office. Defensive briefings are intended to warn government officials about specific concerns or risks. A lawyer for Ms. Hicks declined to comment. 

The contents of the emails to Ms. Hicks are unclear, as are the identities of the Russians who sent them. The people who described the briefing and the emails spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to openly discuss intelligence matters. The F.B.I. declined to comment.

Now some are suggesting that this indicates that the Russians were having trouble gaining access to Trump's inner circle.

However since they had already made contact with George Papadopoulos, Michael Flynn, Paul Manafort, and even Donald Trump Jr., it actually appears they had worked their way up the food chain to the one person who had interactions with Trump on a daily basis.

If they wanted Trump to get their message, then getting the opportunity to whisper sweet nothings into the ear of his Girl Friday was essentially hitting the jackpot.

The article says that there is no evidence that Hicks did anything wrong, but it also does not say whether she ever responded to the emails or forwarded them to her boss or others.

Well whatever the case, Robert Mueller was sure keen to talk to her:

On Thursday and Friday, investigators working for Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel, interviewed Ms. Hicks as part of his investigation into Russia’s efforts to influence the 2016 election and whether any of Mr. Trump’s advisers assisted the Russian campaign. It is not clear whether the Russian efforts to contact Ms. Hicks were discussed during that interview.

I have said it before but it bears repeating, Hope Hicks is likely the one person that the Mueller team should pay special attention to as I am convinced that she knows WAY more than most of Trump's associates.

Old interview shows Roy Moore favorably comparing himself to Vladimir Putin and suggesting that America might be “the focus of evil in the modern world.”

This is courtesy of a Guardian article from August of this year: 

Roy Moore, the controversial former judge and a leading contender in Alabama’s Senate race, has said “maybe Putin is right” and “more akin to me than I know” given the Russian leader’s stance on gay marriage. 

Moore, who was propelled to fame in 2001 over his refusal to remove a monument to the Ten Commandments that he’d installed in state courthouse, is a leading contender to fill the vacancy left by Donald Trump’s attorney general, Jeff Sessions. 

Several polls have indicated Moore could have the edge in the Republican primary, which will be held next Tuesday, although the president’s endorsement this week of another candidate, Luther Strange, could change that dynamic.

In an interview with the Guardian’s Anywhere But Washington series, Moore also said that Ronald Reagan’s famous declaration about the Soviet Union being “the focus of evil in the modern world” might today be applied to the US. 

“You could say that about America, couldn’t you?” he said. “We promote a lot of bad things.” Asked for an example, he replied: “Same-sex marriage.” 

When it was pointed out to Moore that his arguments on gay rights and morality were the same as those of the Russian leader, he replied: “Well, maybe Putin is right.” He added: “Maybe he’s more akin to me than I know.”

Well I missed this back in August so it is new to me.

And now we know that not only is a religious zealot, and a possible pedophile, but also a man who sees similarities between himself and Vladimir Putin and believes America is the "focus of all evil in the modern world." 

Damn Alabama, could you not find a sleazier, more anti-American candidate?

But hey, at least he's not one of those liberal Democrats. Right?

Trump's "fake news" meme is also popular with another group of folks, authoritarian despots.

Courtesy of Politico:

Authoritarian rulers across the globe are adopting President Donald Trump’s favorite phrase to limit free speech, with prominent leaders or state media in at least 15 countries using his “fake news” line to denounce their critics, according to a POLITICO review. 

By aligning themselves with Trump’s words, despots have been able to use the U.S. president as a shield for their attacks on press freedom and human rights, said Joel Simon, executive director of the Committee to Protect Journalists. 

“I’m seeing it more and more,” he said. Trump, he added, “is providing a context and framework for all sorts of authoritarian leaders—or democratic leaders and others who are dissatisfied or upset by critical media coverage—to undermine and discredit reporting.” 

In February, for example, Syrian President Bashar Assad brushed off an Amnesty International report that some 13,000 people had been killed at one of his military prisons by saying, “You can forge anything these days, we are living in a fake news era.” 

In the Philippines, President Rodrigo Duterte has complained of being “demonized” by “fake news.” Last month, with Trump laughing by his side, he called reporters “spies.”

Over the weekend, a state official in Myanmar attracted notice when he said, “There is no such thing as Rohingya. It is fake news,” referring to the persecuted ethnic group. 

Those are hardly the only examples of Trump’s phrase being deployed internationally: In March, Chinese state media dismissed a prominent rights activist’s account of torture as “fake news.” And in May, the People’s Daily ran an op-ed with the headline, “Trump is right, fake news is the enemy, something China has known for years.”

Possibly the worst American export ever!

America, making the world a more shitty place since 2017.

Atheists have adopted Donald Trump's favorite catch phrase, but I do not think he will appreciate how they put it to use.

Courtesy of NBC News: 

Nick Fish, a spokesman for American Atheists, claimed the signs aren’t meant to offend, but to spark a dialogue by adding a topical tag line.

“It’s a way of starting a conversation not just with this organization but within a community,” Fish told NBC News on Wednesday. “The choice is often between being provocative or not being heard at all. If we can start that initial conversation, then we’re doing our jobs to get the ball rolling and get our foot in the door.” 

Since the signs were put up on Nov. 30, many atheists in the affected areas have come forward in support of them, Fish said. These atheists claimed that the billboards made them feel as though they weren’t alone in their community. 

American Atheists, which has gone after Christian groups as well as other organized religions since they formed in 1963, specifically targeted areas that they felt were particularly religiously homogeneous. 

“It’s about targeting areas where religious identity is assumed. Albuquerque is not necessarily a conservative place,” Fish said, “but there is a lot of religious expectation there and we want to challenge that.”

There is of course very little in the Bible that is supported by the facts, so defining it as "fake news" seems perfectly reasonable.

Of course if reason was something that the majority of Christians were to embrace there would be a whole lot fewer Christians.