Saturday, July 22, 2017

Jill Stein is now among the folks the Senate Judiciary Committee wants to talk to concerning the Russia probe. Let the speculation begin.

Courtesy of Newsweek: 

There are 41 names included in the document requests sent to Donald Trump Jr.’s lawyer, Alan Futerfas, and Paul Manafort’s lawyer, Reginald Brown, by the Senate Judiciary Committee. The requests include communications involving many individuals known to be ensnared in the Russia investigation, from President Donald Trump's former campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, to Russian President Vladimir Putin. 

But while this roster of characters would have made for a fine John Le CarrƩ novel, one name included therein immediately attracted online speculation: that of former Green Party presidential candidate Dr. Jill Stein.

What, exactly, Stein has to do with Trump Jr.’s meeting last summer with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya is unclear, as the Senate Judiciary Committee provided no context for its demands, which are to be honored by August 2. A request for an explanation to Stein’s former campaign manager remains unanswered at this time. And though she is active on Twitter, Stein has made no acknowledgement on that social media network of her name’s appearance in the Trump Jr. inquest.

I know what you're all thinking. I'm thinking it as well.

Still we should not jump to the conclusion that Jill Stein is a secret agent for the Kremlin who was sent to help Doanld Trump steal the election away from Hillary Clinton.

Not until that gets proven of course.
Yep, that shouldn't take too much longer. 

Originally scheduled to receive the William F. Buckly award, Sean Hannity will no longer be the recipient after Buckley's son expressed outrage.

Courtesy of CNN: 

Fox News Channel star anchor Sean Hannity will no longer receive the conservative Media Research Center's William F. Buckley Award for Media Excellence at its September 21 gala, sources familiar with the situation tell CNN. 

Buckley, the founder of the National Review, who died in 2008, was hailed in his day as "arguably the most important public intellectual in the United States." Giving an award in his name to Hannity -- a pugnacious talk radio host who has shared conspiracy theories on his popular cable news show -- had caused hand wringing among some conservatives. 

It also caused distress among Buckley's family -- in particular his only child, best-selling author Christopher Buckley. 

A source familiar with the situation tells CNN that Christopher Buckley "expressed great dismay" at the announcement that the award would go to Hannity, who has spent a great deal of time insulting conservative intellectuals on Twitter, particularly since he became a strong supporter of Donald Trump.

Buckley, sources say, called the Media Research Center and expressed his disapproval. Sources tell CNN that the MRC acquiesced and will no longer give the award to him. Hannity has since been removed from the gala website.

Apparently there was a lot of behind the scenes attempts at damage control over this by both sides suggesting that there was a "scheduling conflict."

However Christopher Buckley responded to that by saying, "perhaps Mr. Hannity has been offered the Ronald Reagan Great Communicator Award on the same evening and had decided to leverage upwards."

Oh yeah, THAT'S going to leave a mark.

I am old enough to remember watching William F. Buckley sparring with liberals and fellow conservatives on TV.

Even back then I totally disagreed with his politics, but I never once thought of the guy as ignorant or lacking in intelligence. Far from it in fact.

To have given a knuckle dragger like Sean Hannity an award named after him would have been an insult to the memory of a such an eloquent, if often acerbic, conservative giant.

Friday, July 21, 2017

According to Russian news agency Trump Administration and Kremlin continue plans to form joint cyber security unit.

Courtesy of CNBC: 

Moscow and Washington are in talks to create a joint cyber security working group, Russia's RIA news agency reported on Thursday, citing Andrey Krutskikh, a special presidential envoy on cybersecurity. 

U.S. President Donald Trump said earlier this month he had discussed the idea of creating such a group with President Vladimir Putin at a summit of the Group of 20 nations in Hamburg, Germany. 

But the idea was greeted with incredulity by some senior Republicans who said Moscow could not be trusted - and the U.S. president later tweeted that he did not think it could happen. 

"The talks are underway ... different proposals are being exchanged, nobody denies the necessity of holding the talks and of having such contacts," Krutskikh said, according to RIA. 

Svetlana Lukash, a Russian official who was at the Hamburg summit, said earlier this month that the two presidents had agreed to discuss cyber security questions, either via the United Nations or as part of a working group.

Okay so this is a Russian news agency so the first thing you think is "take it with a grain of salt."

And that is always a good idea, however also keep in mind that the Russian news agencies have reported on a number of things kept from the US press, such as that meeting with the Russian agents in the White House for instance.

Besides Trump seemed to be perfectly fine with the idea before he was lambasted by his fellow conservatives. But seriously, why would we think that any of that would have changed his mind?

Speaking of news coming out of Russia, there is also a report that Trump had more meetings with Putin than the two we have learned of thus far: 

President Trump may have held more meetings with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Group of 20 (G-20) summit earlier this month, Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said in an interview published Friday. (Lavrov you might remember was one of the Russian agents that Trump invited into the White House.)

“They might have met even much more than just three times,” Lavrov told NBC News. 

Lavrov did not deny the possibility of additional meetings but did dismiss the importance of the encounters, comparing it to children interacting at a kindergarten. 

“When you are bought by your parents to a kindergarten do you mix with the people who are waiting in the same room to start going to a classroom?” he asked.

Wait, "There might have been much more than three?" When did we hear there were three?

So the American media was left in the dark about multiple meetings, but the Russians know all about them?

Well that certainly does not give you any confidence that the idea of a joint cyber security unit is out of the question, now does it?

The president who promised to "put Americans back to work" is hiring dozens of foreign nationals to work at his private clubs.

This interview by the way took place in July of last year, but if anybody thought Trump was going to change tactics once he became president they simply don't know Donald Trump.

Courtesy of NPR: 

The Trump Organization is asking the federal government for special visas to hire scores of foreign workers for two of President Trump's private clubs in Florida — the Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach and the Trump National Golf Club in Jupiter. 

The requests for H-2B visas, posted on the Department of Labor website, are for 26 cooks, nearly 50 waiters and waitresses, plus housekeepers, a hostess and a bartender. The jobs range in pay from just under $12 to less than $14 an hour. Mar-a-Lago and the Jupiter club have relied on foreign workers in past years for staffing during their peak seasons, which run October through May.

This year, the request for foreign workers comes in the middle of "Made in America" week at the White House. 

Trump, who has had his own line of ties manufactured overseas, says he wants U.S. companies to focus this week on ways to create more opportunities for American labor. The Trump Organization hasn't responded to questions about the visa requests.

The thing that gets me about this is that it will MAKE NO DIFFERENCE.

The Trumpsters are unable to accept the reality of any negative information about Trump period, the rest of us are so exhausted from the overwhelming amount of hypocrisy that is coming from the White House that we can barely muster any more outrage.  

It is like our ethical nerve endings have been numbed down to the point of abject indifference.

And that is fucking dangerous, because it is EXACTLY what Trump and his administration are counting on.

Turning the heat up on the Russian probe.

Yesterday we learned that Robert Mueller was now investigating the Trump family finances.

But that was by no means not all of the bad news for Donald Trump.

Courtesy of TPM: 

The special counsel and congressional committees investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election are looking into possible money laundering by President Donald Trump’s former campaign chair Paul Manafort, the Wall Street Journal reported late Thursday.

Gee money laundering, why does that term keep coming up?

Oh, but that is not all.

Courtesy of the New York Times:  

Banking regulators are reviewing hundreds of millions of dollars in loans made to Mr. Trump’s businesses through Deutsche Bank’s private wealth management unit, which caters to an ultrarich clientele, according to three people briefed on the review who were not authorized to speak publicly. The regulators want to know if the loans might expose the bank to heightened risks. 

Separately, Deutsche Bank has been in contact with federal investigators about the Trump accounts, according to two people briefed on the matter. And the bank is expecting to eventually have to provide information to Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel overseeing the federal investigation into the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia. 

It was not clear what information the bank might ultimately provide. Generally, the bank is seen as central to understanding Mr. Trump’s finances since it is the only major financial institution that continues to conduct sizable business with him. Deutsche Bank has also lent money to Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and senior adviser, and to his family real estate business.

This, of course, is EXACTLY what Donald Trump expressed so much concern about in that bizarre  New York Times interview the other day.

It must literally be bananas in the Trump White House right now, with Trump losing his shit with every new revelation that comes down the pike.

Sean Spicer quits.

I guess Spicey did not like the news that Trump is bringing in Anthony Scaramucci to do his job.

I'm telling you right now this is just the beginning.

Remember the spokesperson for Trump's legal team also just quit.

There are also rumblings that this is a temporary position for Scaramucci and that his ultimate job trajectory has him taking over for Reince Priebus.

Shit's getting real now. 

Florida man upset that utility trucks are parked near his lawn, starts shooting.

Courtesy of the Miami Herald: 

He didn't like the AT&T work trucks in front of his Hialeah home, so Jorge Jove retrieved his revolver and began shooting out the tires and the engine, police said. 

Cell phone video rolled as Jove, 64, calmly walked around the first truck and shot at all four tires. The sound of the air coming out of the tires followed the blast. 

Jove then walked to the second bucket truck and began shooting at the front of it, reloading the gun several times. Meanwhile, one of the AT&T workers could be heard calling police to report the shooting. 

“He's shooting the truck right now,” said a man who identified himself as Derrick Taylor, a technician with AT&T. “There's a guy shooting the tires and shooting the engines and everything.” 

As Taylor spoke to the dispatcher, Jove continued his attack on the trucks.

At the end of the Miami Herald article it says "charges are pending."

But let's face it he is a white guy in Florida exercising his 2nd Amendment right to protect his lawn from utility trucks.

He probably won't get more than a slap on the wrist.

Actually probably get a commendation for protecting the neighborhood from those AT&T bastards.

Newest Senate health care bill would still leave 22 million more Americans without insurance.

Courtesy of Business Insider: 

Republicans in the Senate just released another update to the Better Care Reconciliation Act, their plan to overhaul the US healthcare system. 

Noticeably absent from this round bill is an amendment that was added just a week ago from Sens. Ted Cruz and Mike Lee that critics said could make plans with adequate coverage unaffordable to those who have certain medical conditions.

The Congressional Budget Office didn't have a chance to score that version of the bill. Instead, it analyzed the Senate bill based on the most-recently released draft that omits the amendment. 

The CBO concluded that the bill would leave 22 million more Americans without insurance by 2026 compared with the current law, in line with their estimates for the original bill. The CBO also said that the revised bill would add $100 billion in deficit savings. 

There is also this little nugget revealed by the CBO.
However as bad as all of that is, and boy that is bad, it does not even hold a candle to what happens if the Republicans move forward with that "repeal only" bill that some are still pushing forward.

Courtesy of Politico:  

A revived bill that would dismantle large parts of Obamacare without an immediate replacement would leave 32 million more people uninsured and double premiums over a decade, the Congressional Budget Office said in a report Wednesday. 

The legislation — an update of the repeal measure nearly all GOP senators voted for in 2015 — is on track to reach the Senate floor early next week, where it likely would fail.

Let's face it, the Republicans don't know dick about health care, and the ONLY way they are going to come up with a fix for the problems with Obamacare is if they stop attempting to get rid of it, and ask the Democrats to come on board to make it better. 

And I think some of these guys would rather have open heart surgery without benefit of anesthesia than to swallow their pride and do that.

Oklahoma teacher takes to panhandling to raise money for school supplies and public awareness as well.

Courtesy of Fox 23 News: 

A Tulsa teacher is making a bold statement about the state of education as she pleads for money at a local intersection in order to pay for classroom supplies. 

Teresa Danks is a third grade teacher in the Tulsa Public Schools systems.

As a result of serious education budget cuts, Danks says she is now spending between $2,000 and $3,000 of her $35,000 salary on supplies for her students. 

Oklahoma ranks nearly last in teacher pay when compared to other states across the U.S.

There is nothing unusual about that by the way, a LOT of teachers are forced to spend their own money to make sure that their students have the materials that they need to learn in the classroom. 

And good for this teacher to bring attention to that fact, and to hopefully shame some of the politicians in her area to start adequately funding public education.