Thursday Reads: A Baby-Man In Charge

 baby-man-1Good Morning!!

Just one more day before the authoritarian baby-man becomes the “leader” of our once-great nation. It’s obvious that he’s not qualified for the job and he has done very little to prepare himself to do it. He has surrounded himself with other wealthy men who in many cases have no experience in government service. Will we survive this catastrophe? We’ll have to wait and see.

Jonathan Bernstein at Bloomberg yesterday: The Empty Trump Administration.

We’re two days away from having a new president. But we’re apparently a lot longer than that from having a Trump administration with even a minimally functional ability to govern.

Politico’s Michael Crowley has a nice piece explaining the missing National Security Council staffers, and the dangers that could cause if there’s an early crisis. Hundreds of briefing papers have been created by Obama’s NSC and sent to Team Trump, but the New York Times reports that no one knows if they’ve been reviewed.

Yet the NSC is ahead of the curve for this administration. Look at the big four departments. There’s no Trump appointee for any of the top State Department jobs below secretary nominee Rex Tillerson. No Trump appointee for any of the top Department of Defense jobs below retired general James Mattis. Treasury? Same story. Justice? It is one of two departments (along with, bizarrely, Commerce) where Trump has selected a deputy secretary. But no solicitor general, no one at civil rights, no one in the civil division, no one for the national security division.

And the same is true in department after department. Not to mention agencies without anyone at all nominated by the president-elect.

Overall, out of 690 positions requiring Senate confirmation tracked by the Washington Post and Partnership for Public Service, Trump has come up with only 28 people so far.

The Atlantic’s Russell Berman had a good story two weeks ago about how far behind Trump was. Since then? If anything, it’s getting worse — he’s added only two of those 28 since Jan. 5. As Berman reported, the Partnership for Public Service suggested a president should have “100 Senate-confirmed appointees in place on or around Inauguration Day.” At this pace, he won’t have 100 nominees by the end of February, let alone having them confirmed and hard at work.

Please read the rest at Bloomberg View.

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Politico: Distrust and empty desks could stunt Trump’s government.

Just days before he ascends to the presidency, there are lingering questions about whether President-elect Donald Trump’s team is fully prepared to take over the sprawling federal government, according to more than two dozen interviews with Trump and Obama administration officials, lobbyists, experts and others close to the process.

A deep distrust has taken hold between Trump’s transition officials and Obama’s political appointees at a number of federal agencies, slowing down the handover of agency responsibilities on everything from meat inspections to drug pricing. There’s confusion over policy on several major agenda items, as Trump gives conflicting signals and often disagrees with his Cabinet nominees. And a number of federal agencies are far from having the staff they need to run on Day One, people close to the transition say….

“They look like they are designed for chaos,” said Stephen Hess, an expert on transitions at the Brookings Institution. “It’s just, there is no other word for it, weird for those of us who have been involved in government for decades.”

Trump transition officials insist that they are prepared. They say they have written detailed action plans for every major agency, adding they’ve even been charting a path forward at more obscure subagencies and departments. They note that securing the confirmation of their nominees is the most important near-term task and that they will soon announce hundreds of hires.

Much more at the link.

Many of us are apprehensive about tRump having the sole power to order a nuclear strike. But what about the man tRump has chosen (perhaps unknowingly) to maintain and manage the U.S. nuclear arsenal?

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The New York Times: ‘Learning Curve’ as Rick Perry Pursues a Job He Initially Misunderstood.

When President-elect Donald J. Trump offered Rick Perry the job of energy secretary five weeks ago, Mr. Perry gladly accepted, believing he was taking on a role as a global ambassador for the American oil and gas industry that he had long championed in his home state.

In the days after, Mr. Perry, the former Texas governor, discovered that he would be no such thing — that in fact, if confirmed by the Senate, he would become the steward of a vast national security complex he knew almost nothing about, caring for the most fearsome weapons on the planet, the United States’ nuclear arsenal.

Two-thirds of the agency’s annual $30 billion budget is devoted to maintaining, refurbishing and keeping safe the nation’s nuclear stockpile; thwarting nuclear proliferation; cleaning up and rebuilding an aging constellation of nuclear production facilities; and overseeing national laboratories that are considered the crown jewels of government science.

“If you asked him on that first day he said yes, he would have said, ‘I want to be an advocate for energy,’” said Michael McKenna, a Republican energy lobbyist who advised Mr. Perry’s 2016 presidential campaign and worked on the Trump transition’s Energy Department team in its early days. “If you asked him now, he’d say, ‘I’m serious about the challenges facing the nuclear complex.’ It’s been a learning curve.”

Unreal. And this is one of the departments presidential candidate Perry said he wanted to eliminate.

Mr. Perry, who once called for the elimination of the Energy Department, will begin the confirmation process Thursday with a hearing before the Senate Energy Committee. If approved by the Senate, he will take over from a secretary, Ernest J. Moniz, who was chairman of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology physics department and directed the linear accelerator at M.I.T.’s Laboratory for Nuclear Science. Before Mr. Moniz, the job belonged to Steven Chu, a physicist who won a Nobel Prize.

For Mr. Moniz, the future of nuclear science has been a lifelong obsession; he spent his early years working at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center. Mr. Perry studied animal husbandry and led cheers at Texas A&M University.

Mr. Moniz had such deep experience with nuclear weapons that in 2015, President Obama made him a co-negotiator, along with Secretary of State John Kerry, of the Iran nuclear deal.

Mr. Perry would sit atop the men and women making the judgments about whether Iran is complying with that accord. In the basement of the Energy Department’s headquarters, the agency’s intelligence unit monitors compliance, working closely with the C.I.A., the National Security Agency and other intelligence bodies.

That is just plain frightening. According to Politico, Perry now “regrets” calling for the elimination of the Energy Department.

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Journalists and biographers are still trying to figure out what’s going on in tRump’s psyche.

Politico: ‘He Has This Deep Fear That He Is Not a Legitimate President.’ I’d say that fear is very well-founded. The piece is a follow up to a previous one in which Politico talked to tRump’s biographers.

Now, after more than two months of Trump’s norm-shattering transition, we gathered Gwenda Blair, Michael D’Antonio and Tim O’Brien by conference call (Wayne Barrett, the dean of Trump reporters, could not participate because of illness) to assess whether Trump has continued to surprise them. Their collective wisdom? In a word, no.

From his pick of nominees for posts in his cabinet to his belligerent use of Twitter (our conversation was a day before he traded barbs with Congressman John Lewis) to his unwillingness to cut ties with his business to avoid conflicts of interest, they see the same person they’ve always seen—the consummate classroom troublemaker; a vain, insecure bully; and an anti-institutional schemer, as adept at “gaming the system” as he is unashamed. As they look ahead to his inauguration speech in two days, and to his administration beyond, they feel confident predicting that he will run the country much as he has run his company. For himself.

“He’s not going to be that concerned with the actual competent administration of the government,” D’Antonio said. “It’s going to be what he seems to be gaining or losing in public esteem. So almost like a monarch. The figurehead who rallies people and gets credit for things.”

Read the rest at Politico.

One more interesting read from Thomas Edsall at The New York Times: What Does Vladimir Putin See in Donald Trump?

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At noon on Friday, Donald Trump will become the 45th president of the United States. Millions of Americans will rejoice at the sight, and millions more will not. As a rule, foreign leaders don’t attend the inauguration of American presidents, but Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin, will be there in spirit. To understand why and to understand what’s happening as Trump takes over the White House, we need to go back two weeks.

On Jan. 6, the C.I.A., the F.B.I. and the National Security Agency asserted with “high confidence” that “Russian efforts to influence the 2016 US presidential election” formed part of a broader, worldwide agenda “to undermine the US-led liberal democratic order.”

According to the intelligence report, “Assessing Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent US Elections,” Vladimir Putin

ordered an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the US presidential election. Russia’s goals were to undermine public faith in the US democratic process, denigrate Secretary Clinton, and harm her electability and potential presidency. We further assess Putin and the Russian Government developed a clear preference for President-elect Trump.

The intelligence assessment raises the question: what made Trump an attractive vehicle through which to attempt to weaken the liberal democratic order. Why him?

The article is an excellent summary of reporting and opinions on Russia’s successful campaign to elect their own puppet to the U.S. presidency. Now we will have a baby-man in charge. It’s going to get very hairy folks.

What else is happening? Please post your thoughts and links in the comment thread and enjoy our country’s final day of sane, adult leadership.


Wednesday Hump Day Cartoons: Grizzlies and Hoes

Good luck y’all!

Yes, I’m sticking with it.


Image above from the Lady Parts Justice League Facebook page.

Before we get to the funnies, a few links to share.

On the title of this post, Grizzlies and Hoes:

Vladimir Putin Shades Trump ‘Dossier,’ Brags About Russian Hookers | TMZ.com

VLADIMIR PUTINWE HAVE THE WORLD’S BEST WHORES

Vladimir Putin scoffed at the now discredited dossier suggesting Donald Trump engaged in funny business in Russia … but it didn’t stop him from bragging about his country’s prostitutes.

Putin held a news conference in the Kremlin, throwing shade at the ex-British intelligence officer’s so-called report. Putin said Trump’s been surrounded by beauty pageant contestants for years, and … “I find it hard to believe that he rushed to some hotel to meet girls of loose morals, although ours are undoubtedly the best in the world.”

Bottom line? If you’re into that sorta thing … come to Russia!

Who needs SNL when the actual Putin is putting out his own comedic skits?

And lets remember, “hoes” are Putin’s go to device, when he needs to grab ’em by the pussy…so to speak: Prostitutes, hidden hotel cameras familiar Putin tools | MSNBC

Rachel Maddow tells viewers about a past example of prostitutes and hidden hotel cameras being used in a case of political hardball in Russia in which Vladimir Putin had a hand.

 

Then you have the Grizzly Bears…coming after your children!

Watch Betsy DeVos Say She’d Allow Guns In Schools “To Protect From Potential Grizzlies” | Mother Jones

At Tuesday’s confirmation hearing, longtime gun control proponent Sen. Chris Murphy asked Michigan billionaire and Donald Trump’s pick for education secretary Betsy DeVos outright whether guns had any place around schools.

“That’s best left to locales and states to decide,” DeVos responded. When pressed further by Murphy, who represented the district covering Newtown where the nation’s deadliest school shooting took place more than four years ago, DeVos looped back to a question asked earlier by Sen. Mike Enzi of Wyoming about an elementary school in his state. “I would imagine that there’s probably a gun at the school to protect from potential grizzlies,” DeVos noted.

If you think this is fake news…the video is at the link, you can watch it with your own two eyes.

 

Only a few more links and thoughts:

U.S. Abortion Rate Continues to Decline, Hits Historic Low | Guttmacher Institute

Improvements in Contraceptive Use Are Likely Contributing to the Decline, But Punitive Abortion Restrictions May Also Be a Factor

Contraception and Fewer Unintended Pregnancies Likely Drove 2011–2014 Abortion Decline | Guttmacher Institute

Contraception and Fewer Unintended Pregnancies Likely Drove 2011–2014 Abortion Decline But the Changing Political Landscape Imperils Access to Essential Reproductive Health Care

There Is No Greater Joy Than Watching Women Force… | ClickHole

There Is No Greater Joy Than Watching Women Forced To Experience The Miracle Of Birth

Mike Pence

Vice President-elect of the United States

Oh…fuck you Mike Pence.

 

And then there is this shit: GOP Rep Chris von Keyserling Arrested for Sexual Assault | The Mary Sue

After Donald Trump’s infamous Access Hollywood tape was leaked, one of the most prominent (and infuriating) responses was from all the people who brushed the whole thing off as just harmless words. These people refused to see Trump’s bragging of being able to do whatever he wanted to women because of his fame—that he could, as he so disgustingly put it, “grab ’em by the p—y”—as anything but talk, and those of us who dared to call the subject of that “talk” what it actually was (sexual assault) were criticized for not being able to take a joke, not letting boys be boys, and any number of other nonsensical excuses.

The problem many of us had with Trump’s words—you know, beside the fact that he was, yes, boasting about his penchant for violating women—was that when the now-President-elect brags about something like sexual assault, it is powerful, tacit permission for anyone and everyone else to do the same. And if you didn’t believe that was true before, well, here’s a disturbing new example of Trump culture, from another politician flaunting his presumed privilege.

Christopher von Keyserling, a “well-known” Republican representative in Greenwich, Connecticut was arrested last week, nearly a month after he basically recreated that boast of Trump’s, very literally.

Read about the grabfest at the link.

Now the cartoons.

 

This is an open thread…

 

 


Tuesday Reads: Civil Rights Legend vs. Shameless Racist Demagogue? No Contest.

John Lewis marching from Selma to Montgomery with Dr. Martin Luther King and other Civil Rights leaders.

John Lewis (right) marching from Selma to Montgomery with Dr. Martin Luther King and other Civil Rights leaders.

Good Morning!!

As we approach the dark day when tRump will take the oath of office, my feeling of living in an apocalyptic scifi novel grows ever stronger. How can this be happening?

This morning marks day 4 of tRump’s attacks on civil rights hero and member of Congress John Lewis; and over in Russia, Vladimir Putin went on state TV to defend his puppet from American criticism

Bloomberg: Putin Says Doesn’t Believe Trump Met Prostitutes in Russia.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said he doesn’t believe that U.S. President-elect Donald Trump met with prostitutes in Russia, calling the accusations part of a campaign to undermine the election result.

Unsubstantiated allegations made against Trump are “obvious fabrications,” Putin told reporters in the Kremlin on Tuesday. “People who order fakes of the type now circulating against the U.S. president-elect, who concoct them and use them in a political battle, are worse than prostitutes because they don’t have any moral boundaries at all,” he said.

Putin said that Trump wasn’t a politician when he visited Moscow in the past and Russian officials weren’t aware that he held any political ambitions. It’s “complete nonsense” to believe that Russian security services “chase after every American billionaire,” he said.

The Kremlin has denied that it holds any compromising material on Trump after U.S. intelligence officials informed the president-elect about unsubstantiated reports that Russia had compiled potentially damaging personal information on him….

Trump is “a grown man, and secondly he’s someone who has been involved with beauty contests for many years and has met the most beautiful women in the world,” Putin said. “I find it hard to believe that he rushed to some hotel to meet girls of loose morals, although ours are undoubtedly the best in the world.”c

Well I guess that settle that then . . . not. Does Putin actually think he’s helping tRump or is he trying to undermine his chosen POTUS? Who knows? Can anyone recall a foreign dictator defending an U.S. president-elect before?

20 May 1961, Montgomery, AL, wo battered Freedom Riders, John Lewis (left) and James Zwerg (right) stand together after being attacked and beaten by pro-segregationists in Montgomery, Alabama. --- Image by © Bettmann/CORBIS

20 May 1961, Montgomery, AL, two battered Freedom Riders, John Lewis (left) and James Zwerg (right) stand together after being attacked and beaten by pro-segregationists in Montgomery, Alabama. — Image by © Bettmann/CORBIS

Putin may be defending tRump, but he has already rejected the president-elect’s offer to remove sanctions on Russia in return for reductions in their nuclear arsenal.  Radio Free Europe reports:

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told reporters at the United Nations in New York on January 16 that Moscow was willing to talk to the United States about nuclear disarmament, but it was not going to discuss arms control as part of a deal to lift sanctions.

“Sanctions are not a subject for dialogue,” Ryabkov said. “We have never discussed any criteria for the listing of sanctions and are not doing it now. All these sanctions were introduced under contrived and illegitimate pretexts.”

Ryabkov said Russia was open to discussion on the subject of curbing nuclear arms, but stressed that Moscow would not make concessions on arms in exchange for the United States lifting sanctions.

“Without dialogue nothing will happen at all, but it would be too naive to think Moscow would change its [defense posture] for that or other reasons,” Ryabkov said.

Meanwhile back in the USA, tRump appears to be the least popular president-elect in history, according to two new polls.

CNN: CNN/ORC Poll: Confidence drops in Trump transition.

Donald Trump will become president Friday with an approval rating of just 40%, according to a new CNN/ORC Poll, the lowest of any recent president and 44 points below that of President Barack Obama, the 44th president.

Following a tumultuous transition period, approval ratings for Trump’s handling of the transition are more than 20 points below those for any of his three most recent predecessors. Obama took the oath in 2009 with an 84% approval rating, 67% approved of Clinton’s transition as of late December 1992 and 61% approved of George W. Bush’s transition just before he took office in January 2001.

Trump’s wobbly handling of the presidential transition has left most Americans with growing doubts that the President-elect will be able to handle the job. About 53% say Trump’s statements and actions since Election Day have made them less confident in his ability to handle the presidency, and the public is split evenly on whether Trump will be a good or poor president (48% on each side).

The President-elect dismissed the poll findings on Twitter: “The same people who did the phony election polls, and were so wrong, are now doing approval rating polls. They are rigged just like before.”

John Lewis, beaten during Selma to Montgomery march.

John Lewis, beaten during Selma to Montgomery march.

The Washington Post: Here’s just how brutal Donald Trump’s pre-inauguration poll numbers are, in context.

Donald Trump will take the oath of office as the most unpopular president in at least four decades, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll. Just 40 percent of Americans have a favorable opinion of Trump right now. A majority — 54 percent — have an unfavorable one.

And that probably undersells just how historically unpopular our new president is right now. The only reason we can’t go back further than four decades is because we simply don’t have the data; polls weren’t as plentiful back then.

The data we do have suggest most every non-Trump president experienced an outpouring of goodwill in the two months between their election and their swearing in. Trump just hasn’t gotten it.

The pre-inauguration favorable numbers for the six presidents to come before him, in fact, were all significantly higher than their share of the popular vote. For Obama, it was 26 points higher (79 percent favorable versus 53 percent of the vote). Every other recent president except Ronald Reagan was at least double-digits higher — as much as 28 points for Jimmy Carter. (Reagan’s was 7 points higher.)

The favorable rating for Trump, meanwhile, is actually six points below his vote share (46 percent).

More results from the poll at the WaPo link above.

Another shot of John Lewis during the Selma to Montgomery march.

Another shot of John Lewis during the Selma to Montgomery march.

The New York Daily News reports that scalpers are losing money on Inauguration tickets.

Donald Trump will take office as one of the most unpopular President-elects in recent history — and even scalpers may feel the pain.

Some flippers, who acquired tickets to Trump’s inauguration with the intent of reselling them on the secondary market, are striking out in their efforts to peddle them and are now looking at some relatively “yuge” losses.

Yossi Rosenberg, 36, of upper Manhattan, told the Daily News he bought a pair of tickets to Friday’s Washington, D.C. event from a woman in Westchester County for $700, thinking he could flip them for at least twice as much.

“Nobody wants to buy them,” Rosenberg told The News. “It looks like I’m stuck with them, I might even have to go.”

As tRump would say, “Sad.”

It’s difficult to see how tRump’s attacks on John Lewis could be helping him. Petula Dvorak at The Washington Post: Where was Donald Trump when John Lewis was fighting for civil rights? Let’s compare.

We can start in 1960, when Trump was 14 and Lewis was 20. They both clearly showed their leadership potential early.

At New York Military Academy in Cornwall, N.Y., Donald Trump won a “neatness and order medal.”

That same year, John Lewis became one of the original 13 Freedom Riders, defying laws that prohibited blacks and whites from sitting next to each other on public transportation.

Three years later in 1963, man-of-action Trump led his private school’s white-gloved drill team in the Columbus Day parade in New York. But he was also removed from that drill team command, classmates said, because he hazed younger students.

That same year, Lewis helped organize the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom and spoke alongside the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.

In 1965, Trump got his second Vietnam draft deferment as a Fordham University student.

In 1965, on a day that became known as Bloody Sunday, Lewis helped lead 600 marchers across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Ala. When the marchers stopped to pray, they were tear-gassed and beaten by troopers. Lewis’s skull was fractured.

In 1973, Trump’s actions got him sued by the Department of Justice. He was managing his dad’s properties and wouldn’t rent apartments to African Americans. The Trumps eventually settled the lawsuit without any admission of wrongdoing.

That same year, John Lewis was running the Voter Education Project, which pushed to register minority voters across the country.

John Lewis, with bandaged head sits next to MLK during press briefing.

John Lewis, with bandaged head sits next to MLK during press briefing.

Trump owned the ’80s, right? His actions that decade?

In 1981, Trump bought a 14-story building facing New York City’s Central Park and began a campaign to drive out the rent-stabilized tenants so he could begin gutting and renovating the building. According to lawsuits, Trump cut heat and water to the remaining tenants.

In 1981, John Lewis was elected to the Atlanta City Council.

In 1987, Trump’s book, “The Art of the Deal,” became a bestseller. Action? He didn’t even write it; talk about talk talk talk. And his ghostwriter, Tony Schwartz, now regrets the picture he painted of Trump in that book.

In 1987, Lewis was elected to Congress.

The truth is that tRump likely had no idea who John Lewis was; and after someone told him he still didn’t feel any shame. Psychopaths don’t feel shame like normal people do.

At The National Memo, Froma Harrop has some good advice for the media: treat him like a toddler. Too bad they probably won’t listen.

Dog trainers have long advised owners against reacting to their pets’ attention-seeking antics — the barking, jumping and pushiness.

“Dog owners often inadvertently reinforce (reward) these behaviors by interacting with the dog,” writes veterinary behaviorist Lisa Radosta. “Any attention can be regarded as a reward, even yelling.”

Similar advice is doled to parents of whining, tantrum-throwing toddlers. Many in the media could use it, as well. All that sputtering over Donald Trump’s personal taunts and stupid tweets is exactly what the president-elect seeks. Turn away. Turn away.

If Trump won’t take questions from serious journalists at a news conference, it’s not a news conference. Reporters are merely playing “straight man” on a reality TV show — complete with paid hecklers and promotions for Trump properties. They don’t have to be there.

Their job is to cover what Trump does, which includes his appointments and ties to foreign adversaries. If Trump publicly insults U.S. or foreign leaders, that’s still news. If he insults newspeople, so what?

Unfortunately, most in the “thin skinned” media will probably be more upset by his attacks on them than by his policies.

What else is happening? Please post your thoughts and links in the comment thread, and have a great Tuesday!


Happy Martin Luther King Day!!! Celebrate Civil Rights!

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Today is the day to think about the sacrifices that were made by Civil Rights leaders and activists under the leadership of Nobel Peace Prize winner Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King. Today is the day we celebrate his birthday and the struggle that committed our country to fully addressing the promise of equality for all of us including those Black Americans who built this great nation under the yoke of slavery and the oppression of Jim Crow. #BLACKLIVESMATTER

I want to share this op ed written in WAPO by Michael Gerson today on why the attack on Congressman Lewis on the eve of our celebration of King’s birthday and legacy is “the essence of narcissism”.  Gerson correctly characterizes Trump’s problem as

“Trump seems to have no feel for, no interest in, the American story he is about to enter. He will lead a nation that accommodated a cruel exception to its founding creed; that bled and nearly died to recover its ideals; and that was only fully redeemed by the courage and moral clarity of the very people it had oppressed. People like the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. People like John Lewis.”

Shepard-GreaterThanFearTrump has no appreciation for our roots as a nation and the sacrifice made by many men and women to bring it to where it is today.  Many of us had ancestors who did not make these sacrifices on their own terms or with consent or with recognition of their humanity which is an extremely important history to embrace.  This includes the endless humiliation and suffering of slaves and the atrocities committed against indigenous peoples.  It includes not extending the vote to woman until quite recently.  It includes not recognizing the dignity of all forms of love and being. We’ve struggled to get here and we struggle still.  Understanding the roads of our shared history is something we ask of our leaders. This shallow man who doesn’t read or appear to learn much of anything at all is preoccupied with himself alone.

A broader conception of the American story — a respect for the heroes and ghosts of our history — is absent in Trump’s public voice. He seems to be in the thrall of an eternal now. To some, the whole idea of a historical imagination will sound nebulous. Abraham Lincoln called it the “mystic chords of memory.” He hung his hopes for unity on the existence of a shared national experience that transcended regional differences. Today our divisions are more along lines of class and culture, but we also need to hear our story as one people.

Not every citizen shares this sense of history. It is a minority of Americans who visit Antietam and feel oppressed by the immense weight of collective death; or go to the Lorraine Motel in Memphis and feel sickened by the scale of such a loss; or walk across that bridge in Selma and hear the echoes of snarling dogs and nightsticks against bone.

But we need a president who respects and evokes this story — or at least does not peevishly attack its heroes.

Shepard Fairey has painted the faces of the Resistance that starts in earnest this weekend with the Woman’s March on Washington .  The faces of resistance grace today’s post along with the man who must be our role model for change.

Shepard has created three portraits for the campaign; two other artists, Colombian American muralist Jessica Sabogal and and Chicano graphic artist Ernesto Yerena, have each made one more. Together, they hope the faces of “We the People” — standing in for traditionally marginalized groups or those specifically targeted during Trump’s presidential campaign — will flood Washington, D.C., on Inauguration Day.

Fairey is collaborating with the Amplifier Foundation, a nonprofit that works to amplify grassroots movements and which commissioned the project. After learning that large-sized signs were prohibited at Inauguration, Amplifier came up with a hack to distribute the posters. Their plan: to buy full-page ads in the Washington Post on Jan. 20 that feature the “We the People” images, which can be torn out and carried as placards, or hung and posted around town. The posters will also be distributed at metro stops, from moving vans and other drop spots on Inauguration Day, as well as posted online for free download. A Kickstarter campaign for “We the People” has raised more than $148,000 since it was launched Tuesday night.

Today, his future press secretary has done the same thing that White House Mommy WE THE RESILIENT FINAL WITH TYPE !!!has said.  Do not be mean to Kremlin Caligula with the implication that some Russian Goon will visit us with brass knuckles if we continue not to accept his mocking of the disabled, his horrible treatment of Gold Star Parents who are Muslim and immigrants, his history of serial sexual assault and degradation of women and his fixation with SNL. The talk is that the White House Press will be sent to some far off administration building and out of their newly built offices in the White House.   Spicer wants Acosta and CNN to apologize for not treating the Toddler headed to the White House like an adult capable of answering questions germane to his job.

We’re about to become the anathema of the free world. Interviews with Hair Furor have set off shivers from our allies. Here’s some analysis from Martin Longman writing for Washington Monthly.

If Donald Trump has the goal of destroying American power, breaking up the European Union, dismantling NATO, lifting Russian sanctions, and helping to elect a bunch of Russian-aligned far right fascist parties in Western Europe, at least he’s willing to tell us exactly that. There’s very little subtlety about it at this point, and the only fig leaf he’s going to offer is the prospect that Putin will agree to some kind of reduction in our respective nuclear arsenals.

Is that a fair trade?

I don’t think so.

Donald Trump called NATO obsolete, predicted that other European Union members would follow the U.K. in leaving the bloc…

…Trump predicted that Britain’s exit from the EU will be a success and portrayed the EU as an instrument of German domination designed with the purpose of beating the U.S. in international trade. For that reason, Trump said, he’s fairly indifferent to whether the EU stays together, according to Bild…

…The Times quoted Trump as saying he was interested in making “good deals with Russia,” floating the idea of lifting sanctions…

“…[NATO is] obsolete, first because it was designed many, many years ago,” Trump said in the Bild version of the interview. “Secondly, countries aren’t paying what they should” and NATO “didn’t deal with terrorism.” The Times quoted Trump saying that only five NATO members are paying their fair share…

…With Merkel facing an unprecedented challenge from the anti-immigration Alternative for Germany as she seeks a fourth term this fall, Trump was asked whether he’d like to see her re-elected. He said he couldn’t say, adding that while he respects Merkel, who’s been in office for 11 years, he doesn’t know her and she has hurt Germany by letting “all these illegals” into the country.

Since when are Syrian refugees allowed into a country for the purpose of asylum “illegals”?   NATO obsolete?  Where the hell is this mad man taking us?  Hey you … you’ve under an asterisk next to your name as president* the same way pumped up druggie athletes get one.

 

How long can our institutions endure these assaults?  Trumps appointments are as compromised as he is and they’re all freaking crooks.

Here’s the latest in the ethics issues that we’re told aren’t happening/don’t exist.final after mask newest

A multi-million dollar expansion of President-elect Donald Trump’s golf resort in Scotland is reportedly underway just days after his attorneys said no new foreign deals would be made.

Expansion plans for the Trump International Golf Course Scotland in Aberdeenshire include a second 18-hole golf course and a new 450-room five-star hotel, timeshare complex and private housing estate, The Guardian reported Saturday.

Trump officials claim the venture does not conflict with the president-elect’s promise not to pursue new or “pending deals” during his presidency to avoid any conflicts of interest.

Shepard-ProtectEachOtherSo, here’s something interesting.  Anonymous is going after Trump.  

The exchange began with Anonymous repeating accusations from sources that Trump has deep “financial and personal ties with Russian mobsters, child traffickers, and money launderers.”

The group’s twitter feed read worthy if you want to see every piece of dirt any one has ever dug up on the guy to date.  I’m sure the hacktivists are working on more.

Shepard-DefendDignitySo, I’m still laying low and trying to figure things out. I’m looking into something that could me to an acreage on an island in the Puget Sound and it has lots of little cabins on it among other interesting things.  I’m wondering how much brave I have left in these old bones.

I’m going to the NOLA protest activities on Friday. Maybe that will inspire me.

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?

 


Sunday Reads: No Thank You, Pussy Hats and Clitoral Holy Veils

Good Luck

That is my new greeting from now forward, because with the fascist tRump leading our country…that is the best salutation you can expect.

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So many House Reps and Senate members are not attending the inauguration…I think the best reason was given by John Lewis, John Lewis: ‘I Don’t See Trump as a Legitimate President’ – NBC News

In an exclusive interview for “Meet the Press,” Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) said he believes Donald Trump’s election is illegitimate because of Russian interference in last year’s election.

img_2752That link will take you to the interview video which you can see in full.

More on the controversy here: Did Donald Trump Just Come for John Lewis During MLK Weekend?

I don’t want to re-hash the shit tRump said. It is too disgusting.

Here is a full list of Dems refusing to show up to Russia’s puppet swearing in party: WHIP LIST: Democrats boycotting Trump’s inauguration | TheHill

A growing number of Democrats are saying they won’t watch President-elect Donald Trump take the oath of office next week.

The majority of Democrats plan to attend the inauguration and uphold the tradition of watching the peaceful transfer of power, regardless of party. But after an exceptionally divisive election, some are breaking with the norm.
As Jan. 20 draws near, 17 Democrats have announced they’ll boycott the inauguration.

Check out the names at the link.

img_2756And as that link above from The Root points out…all this comes on the weekend before we celebrate the National Holiday of MLK Day. (At least most of us will celebrate it.) YIKES: Biloxi, MS Sends Out Tweet Renaming Martin Luther King Day ‘Great Americans Day’ | Crooks and Liars

You know, this shit is beyond contempt.

I shouldn’t be surprised that a state that has the confederate flag actually IN it’s state flag is racist. I mean, they are literally showing us their “patriotic” American views, right? And yet I was still shocked by this tweet that was sent out by the City of Biloxi’s office twitter account this afternoon:

https://twitter.com/CityofBiloxi/status/820047337863151618

Yes, they renamed Martin Luther King Day “Great Americans Day.”

Twitter jumped all over this, and rightfully so.

The tweet has been deleted…but thankfully…the internet:

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As some in the comment section of the C&L post observed, Mississippi was the last state to ratify the 13th Amendment. (Back in 2013)

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The City of Biloxi responded of course: Gilich: Change name to match federal holiday

And get the name of the mayor…

Biloxi Mayor Andrew “FoFo” Gilich, responding to a flurry of comments about a city tweet today referring to Monday as “Great Americans Day,” believes the Biloxi City Council on Tuesday should take steps to update the city’s Code of Ordinances to reflect the official federal name of the holiday, “Birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.,” commonly known as “Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day.”

img_2757“In my opinion,” Gilich said, “that is the appropriate step to take, for the holiday to have the same name as the federal holiday.”

Added the mayor: “This city’s longstanding support of our annual MLK celebrations speaks volumes about our support for this holiday. In fact, we’ve always celebrated this day as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day.”

The issue arose this afternoon when the city tweeted a one-line sentence that said non-emergency city offices would be closed on Monday  “in observance of Great Americans Day.” The name has since been traced back to a City Council on Dec. 23, 1985 to proclaim the third Monday of every January “to honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. as well as other great Americans who have made important contributions to the birth, growth and evolution of this country.”

Fucking hell…bullshit.

img_2761Speaking of shit…It’s the great port-a-potty cover-up for Donald Trump’s inauguration – The Boston Globe

It’s the great port-a-potty cover-up for President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration.

Workers preparing for the inauguration Jan. 20 have taped over the name of the company — ‘‘Don’s Johns’’ — that has long supplied portable restrooms for major outdoor events in the nation’s capital.

Virginia-based Don’s Johns calls itself the Washington area’s top provider of portable toilet rentals. But the name apparently strikes too close to home for inaugural organizers.

Workers have placed blue tape over the company name on dozens of portable restrooms installed near the Capitol for the inauguration.

What a basturd !

Donald Trump’s Press Conference Was Reportedly Packed With Paid Staffers Who Cheered for Him | Teen Vogue

img_2754PEOTUS Donald Trump 2016 No Entry Favicon: The Trump administration’s first blunder is an embarrassing web design oversight — Quartz

ACA Repeal Would Lavish Medicare Tax Cuts on 400 Highest-Income Households | Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

Had to give you those in a link dump. I just can’t take this shit anymore. ( I did read the Quartz article, now that was funny.)

I will end this post with some interesting articles, because I have to.

Leo Tolstoy and the Origins of Spiritual Memoir – Los Angeles Review of Books

TWO THINGS ARE TRUE about Leo Tolstoy in 1879. First, he had mostly given up on fiction, having published his two titanic novels, War and Peaceand Anna Karenina. The latter book exhausted him physically and morally: not long after its appearance, he termed his saga of adultery “an abomination.” He found novel writing to be a poor substitute for confronting religious issues and his existential lot. Second, because of his early literary acclaim and the immoral lifestyle it had spawned and enabled, he was miserable. He was so ashamed of himself that post-Karenina his ambivalent atheism collapsed and he sought a new relationship to the “truth.” He abdicated the throne of novelist and took up the mantle of religious critic — on the side of Christianity and against it.

img_2759[…]

…he asserts, in defiance, that “Christian teaching plays no part in life; one never comes across it in one’s relations with others and one never has to deal with it in one’s own life.” He pegs believers as “stupid, cruel, and immoral people who think themselves very important.” He tags unbelievers as the finest people he knows: they have “[i]ntelligence, honesty, uprightness, goodness of heart, and morality.” He renounces religion in favor of “reading and thinking” — in essence, reason — and recalls that five years prior “my only real faith […] was a faith in self-perfection.”

More at the link of course.

 

Pink ‘Pussyhats’ Planned for Women’s March on Washington

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Molly Cleator, right, takes part in the “pussyhat” social media campaign to provide pink hats for protesters in the women’s march in Washington, D.C., the day after the presidential inauguration, in Los Angeles, California, January 13.

I want to make one of these hats…if I could just remember how to knit.

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The last two links are with a H/T to some Sky Dancers via Facebook:

Recently Uncovered – 1930s Map of US Medicinal Plants for Pharmacists | Homestead Guru

Modern medical science relies heavily on pharmaceuticals to treat patients. In fact, the use of medicinal plants has become taboo and is often labeled (incorrectly) as pseudo-science.

There was a time in American history when big-Pharma did not have such an influence on doctors, pharmacists, or medicine. During this time, pharmacists actually prepared medicinal plants for people in need to treatment.

medicinal plant map

 

From natural plants to elements!

This awesome periodic table tells you how to actually use all those elements – ScienceAlert

 

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whether you’re looking at something common like calcium, iron, and carbon, or something more obscure like krypton and antimony, how well do you know their functions? Could you name just one practical application for vanadium or ruthenium?

Lucky for us, Keith Enevoldsen from elements.wlonk.com has come up with this awesome periodic table that gives you at least one example for every single element (except for those weird superheavy elements that don’t actually exist in nature).

There’s thulium for laser eye surgery, cerium for lighter flints, and krypton for flashlights. You’ve got strontium for fireworks, and xenon for high-intensity lamps inside lighthouses.

Oh and that very patriotic element, americium? We use that in smoke detectors.

First unveiled in 1945 during the Manhattan Project, americium is produced by bombarding plutonium with neutrons in a nuclear reactor.

The resulting americium is radioactive, and while the tiny amounts of americium dioxide (AmO2) used in smoke detector produces alpha radiation to sniff out a fire, it will deliver approximately zero radiation to anyone living nearby.

I kinda want to tell you all about rubidium and how we use it in the world’s most accurate time-keeping devices, and how niobium can help make trains levitate,but you should just check out the periodic table for yourself.

Be sure to go to the link to see the interactive periodic table. It is very cool.

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And that is all for this Sunday, this is an open thread….


Lazy Saturday Reads: tRump, Comey, and Kompromat

Resistance, by Gianluca Zanna

Resistance, by Gianluca Zanna

Good Morning!!

It looks like one thing we won’t have many of in the tRump era is slow news days. We are on the brink of something big–much bigger than Watergate, Iran-Contra, or any other scandal in my lifetime at least. We must brace ourselves to stand firm in the face of autocracy and the threat of actual tyranny. Watergate began slowly until the dam broke and it began escalating rapidly. This isn’t even starting that slowly.

Already we can see that tRump is planning some kind of real takeover–he’s already signaled a purge of the diplomatic corps, the state department, and the energy department. He has even ordered the commander of the DC National Guard to step down in the middle of the inauguration. 

The Army general who heads the D.C. National Guard and has an integral part in overseeing the inauguration said Friday that he will be removed from command effective at 12:01 p.m. Jan. 20, just as Donald Trump is sworn in as president.

Maj. Gen. Errol R. Schwartz’s departure will come in the middle of the presidential ceremony — classified as a national special security event — and while thousands of his troops are deployed to help protect the nation’s capital during an inauguration he has spent months helping to plan.

“The timing is extremely unusual,” Schwartz said in an interview Friday morning, confirming a memo announcing his ouster that was obtained by The Washington Post. During the inauguration, Schwartz will command not only members of the D.C. Guard but also 5,000 unarmed troops dispatched from across the country to help. He also will oversee military air support protecting Washington during the inauguration….

A person close to the transition said transition officials wanted to keep Schwartz in the job for continuity, but the Army pushed to replace him.

Schwartz, who was appointed to head the Guard by President George W. Bush in 2008, maintained the position through President Obama’s two terms. He said his orders came from the Pentagon in the form of an email that names his interim successor, a brigadier general, who takes over at 12:01 p.m. next Friday.

I don’t know if the fact that Schwartz is African American had any role in this decision, but the question must be asked.

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And then there is James Comey. Has this man been compromised by tRump, his fear of the New York FBI office, the Russians, or all three? As Scott Lemieux of Lawyers, Guns and Money wrote yesterday, it’s way past time for Obama to fire Comey for cause.

James Comey, who threw the election to Donald Trump by repeatedly violating norms and regulations to falsely imply that Hillary Clinton was a crook, refuses to be candid about the FBI’s investigation Trump’s relationship with the Russians even in private:

Embattled FBI director James Comey has refused to clarify whether his organization is investigating Donald Trump’s ties to Russia in a closed briefing on Friday for members of Congress, angering legislators who recall his high-profile interjections about Hillary Clinton during the 2016 presidential campaign, the Guardian has learned.

Comey’s lack of candor in a classified setting, intended to brief members on the intelligence agencies’ assessment that Russia interfered in the election to benefit Trump, follows a public rebuff this week to senators seeking clarification.

In that earlier hearing, Comey said he would “never comment” on a potential FBI investigation “in an open forum like this”, raising expectations among some attendees of Friday’s briefing that Comey would put the issue to rest in a classified setting.

But according to sources attending the closed-door Friday morning meeting, that was not the case. As such, frustration with Comey was bipartisan and heated, adding to intense pressure on the director of the FBI, whose conduct in the 2016 election itself is now being investigated by an independent US justice department watchdog.

Even in post-parody America, this is astounding conduct.

Revolution, by Borna Demel

Revolution, by Borna Demel

After yesterday’s closed door hearing with intelligence officials, House Democrats stormed out, visibly enraged.

The Hill: Wasserman Schultz confronted Comey about Russian hacking.

The former head of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) confronted FBI Director James Comey on Friday during a confidential briefing on Russian hacking that left many Democrats calling for Comey’s scalp, several lawmakers told The Hill.

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.), who was forced to resign last summer as head of the DNC amid the hacking scandal, told Comey that he should have come to her directly once the FBI was aware of the breach, just as he had done with other hacking victims….

“You let us down!” one Democrat yelled to Comey during the tense exchange, according to one attendee.

Another Democrat described the scene: “Essentially Debbie asked, how was it that the FBI knew that the DNC was being hacked and they didn’t tell her? He gave some bulls–t explanation, ‘That’s our standard, we called this one, we called that one’ — [she said] ‘Well, why didn’t you call me?’ ”

Recall that the only notification the FBI gave the DNC was a phone call from an agent to an IT guy who didn’t know whether the call was legitimate or a prank.

Yesterday, we also learned that top tRump aide Gen. Michael Flynn has been in in “frequent contact” with the Russian ambassador. The AP reports:

WASHINGTON (AP) — President-elect Donald Trump’s national security adviser and Russia’s ambassador to the U.S. have been in frequent contact in recent weeks, including on the day the Obama administration hit Moscow with sanctions in retaliation for election-related hacking, a senior U.S. official said Friday.

After initially denying that Michael Flynn and Ambassador Sergey Kislyak spoke Dec. 29, a Trump official said late Friday that the transition team was aware of one call on the day President Barack Obama imposed sanctions.

It’s not unusual for incoming administrations to have discussions with foreign governments before taking office. But repeated contacts just as Obama imposed sanctions would raise questions about whether Trump’s team discussed — or even helped shape — Russia’s response.

Russian President Vladimir Putin unexpectedly did not retaliate against the U.S. for the move, a decision Trump quickly praised.

More broadly, Flynn’s contact with the Russian ambassador suggests the incoming administration has already begun to lay the groundwork for its promised closer relationship with Moscow. That effort appears to be moving ahead, even as many in Washington, including Republicans, have expressed outrage over intelligence officials’ assessment that Putin launched a hacking operation aimed at meddling in the U.S. election to benefit Trump.

In an interview published Friday evening by The Wall Street Journal, Trump said he might do away with Obama’s sanctions if Russia works with the U.S. on battling terrorists and achieving other goals.

“If Russia is really helping us, why would anybody have sanctions?” he asked.

In the same interview, tRump said he is not “committed to the One China policy,” according to NBC news this morning.

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A couple of updates on the James Bond-like spy who gathered information on the likelihood that tRump has been compromised by the Russian government:

David Corn at Mother Jones: The Spy Who Wrote the Trump-Russia Memos: It Was “Hair-Raising” Stuff.

Last fall, a week before the election, I broke the story that a former Western counterintelligence official had sent memos to the FBI with troubling allegations related to Donald Trump. The memos noted that this spy’s sources had provided him with information indicating that Russian intelligence had mounted a yearslong operation to co-opt or cultivate Trump and had gathered secret compromising material on Trump. They also alleged that Trump and his inner circle had accepted a regular flow of intelligence from the Kremlin. These memos caused a media and political firestorm this week when CNN reported that President Barack Obama and Trump had been told about their existence, as part of briefings on the intelligence community’s assessment that Russia hacked political targets during the 2016 campaign to help Trump become president. For my story in October, I spoke with the former spy who wrote these memos, under the condition that I not name him or reveal his nationality or the spy service where he had worked for nearly two decades, mostly on Russian matters.

“Someone like me stays in the shadows,” the former spy said.

The former spy told me that he had been retained in early June by a private research firm in the United States to look into Trump’s activity in Europe and Russia. “It started off as a fairly general inquiry,” he recalled. One question for him, he said, was, “Are there business ties in Russia?” The American firm was conducting a Trump opposition research project that was first financed by a Republican source until the funding switched to a Democratic one. The former spy said he was never told the identity of the client.

The former intelligence official went to work and contacted his network of sources in Russia and elsewhere. He soon received what he called “hair-raising” information. His sources told him, he said, that Trump had been “sexually compromised” by Russian intelligence in 2013 (when Trump was in Moscow for the Miss Universe contest) or earlier and that there was an “established exchange of information between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin of mutual benefit.” He noted he was “shocked” by these allegations. By the end of June, he was sending reports of what he was finding to the American firm.

The former spy said he soon decided the information he was receiving was “sufficiently serious” for him to forward it to contacts he had at the FBI. He did this, he said, without permission from the American firm that had hired him. “This was an extraordinary situation,” he remarked.

The response to the information from the FBI, he recalled, was “shock and horror.” After a few weeks, the bureau asked him for information on his sources and their reliability and on how he had obtained his reports. He was also asked to continue to send copies of his subsequent reports to the bureau. These reports were not written, he noted, as finished work products; they were updates on what he was learning from his various sources. But he said, “My track record as a professional is second to no one.”

Read the rest at the link.

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The Guardian: Former MI6 agent Christopher Steele’s frustration as FBI sat on Donald Trump Russia file for months.

Christopher Steele, the former MI6 agent who investigated Donald Trump’s alleged Kremlin links, was so worried by what he was discovering that at the end he was working without pay, The Independent has learned.

Mr Steele also decided to pass on information to both British and American intelligence officials after concluding that such material should not just be in the hands of political opponents of Mr Trump, who had hired his services, but was a matter of national security for both countries.

However, say security sources, Mr Steele became increasingly frustrated that the FBI was failing to take action on the intelligence from others as well as him. He came to believe there was a cover-up, that a cabal within the Bureau blocked a thorough inquiry into Mr Trump, focusing instead on the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails.

It is believed that a colleague of Mr Steele in Washington, Glenn Simpson, a former Wall Street Journal reporter who runs the firm Fusion GPS, felt the same way and, at the end also continued with the Trump case without being paid.

WTF was Comey doing? Was he trying to hold off long enough to find another excuse to hurt Hillary Clinton’s chances and get tRump elected? Comey has to go!

That’s all I have for you this morning, but there is plenty more going on. Please post your own links along with your comments in the thread below.


Friday Afternoon Reads: With a Hack, Hack here and a Hack, Hack there …

Hi Skydancers!118_188658

I’m moving slow today so bear with me. Some really weird, odd glitchy things have been happening on the TV these days which kinda makes me think we’re seeing a bit of a hack of our communications satellites .  The Russians could possibly be behind it and what a great group of overlords they’d make for women: “Russian lawmakers move to decriminalize domestic violence in 368-to-1 vote”.  That fits right in there with Peeotus Pussy Grabber.

Meanwhile back on the weirdness of TV news interruptions we have two examples.  Yesterday, “C-SPAN Live Online Broadcast Taken Over By Russian Television” during a speech by Congresswoman Maxine Waters who was discussing SEC.

As allegations of Russia hacking the US presidential election continue to dominate headlines, C-SPAN’s live coverage of the House of Representatives was abruptly interrupted Thursday by a broadcast of Russia Today.

CSPAN says the RT airing, which cut away from a floor speech by Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., for about 10 minutes, was likely due to “an internal routing issue.”

“This afternoon the online feed for C-SPAN was briefly interrupted by RT programming,” C-SPAN said in a statement.

162389_600Later, MSNBC  and Hardball experienced a glitch during an interview with David Ignatius.

On Thursday, the lights mysteriously went out during the confirmation hearing for Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.) while he was being vetted by the Senate Intelligence Committee. Even stranger, the topic of conversation that was happening in the room at the time of the unexplained light outage was about Russian hacks.

Then, a C-SPAN feed was abruptly interrupted later in the day and in its place suddenly appeared a feed for Russia Today television (RT), the Kremlin-run news organization. Representative Maxine Waters (D – CA) was mid-sentence when the 10-minutes of RT footage overtook the airwaves. While C-SPAN meekly offered that is was likely a technical glitch, it has not established any further substantial explanation, though noted it was the first time in the network’s history that anything like that had occurred.

And THEN — mystery struck a third time Thursday night, and it also involved Russia.

During Hardball With Chris Matthews, an interview with David Ignatius was suddenly cut short when the journalist was discussing — surprise surprise — the Kremlin’s interference with the general election. “It’s dangerous when you have Russian jets buzzing U.S. warships in the baltic,” Ignatius said on Hardball. “But I think this whole flap — whatever the Russians intended with this their hacking has made it much more difficult to get to where they want,” he said.

Then, this happened, fully transcribed below as it appeared live on MSNBC:

“When you hear General Mattis today, Mike Pompeo, the CIA Director, [all] almost swearing that they’re gonna be hardliners on Russia Russia Russia Russia Russia Russia Russia Russia…”

Ignatius’ voice hung on that word over and over again, appearing to be a glitch of some kind. Eventually the feed was cut to black, and before long Matthews was back on the air, discussing FBI Director James Comey.

Well, isn’t that special?

Ignatius wrote a bombastic piece at WAPO yesterday accusing President Obama  of “dawdling” over the Russian Hacks.  This is for NW Luna whose been wondering the same thing.  BB posted  a link on Thursday’s reads downthread but I thought I’d repost this part because it’s interesting that the same day it was published that the glitch occurred later that day.

The intelligence community issued a statement Oct. 7 charging that “Russia’s senior-most officials” had sought to “interfere with the U.S. election process.” Given that, why didn’t Obama do more?

The White House probably feared that further action might trigger a process of escalation that could bring even worse election turmoil. Trump was barnstorming the country claiming that the election was rigged and warning he might not accept the outcome. Did the administration worry that the Russians would take additional steps to hurt Clinton and help Trump, and might disrupt balloting itself? We need to know.

20151209edshe-bMeanwhile, it seems possible that Penthouse has got the infamous Donald porn show tapes.  I have a weird little hypothesis that the Republican Establishment is getting ready to kick T-Rump to the curve in favor of Pence the Putrid.  So, this is the first in their little black ops adventures.  Let us not forget that the Bushes still have close ties to the CIA and the Bushes probably can still pull a few strings to undermine the short-fingered Vulgarian.

Adult magazine Penthouse has received three claims for its $1 million offer to anyone who could provide real tapes of President-elect Donald Trump’s alleged and unproven sexual escapades at the Ritz-Carlton in Moscow, the publication’s editor exclusively revealed to International Business Times Thursday.

Penthouse editor Raphie Aronowitz said the magazine isn’t conducting a “witch hunt,” but wants to prove whether the allegations against Trump are true. Aronowitz said the lucrative offer falls in line with the magazine’s well-established brand, though to his knowledge Penthouse has never made such an exorbitant offer before.

“If the story is real, which we don’t know if it is or not, it really kind of hits at the intersection between politics, scandal and sex, which as a brand both historically and currently is our sweet spot,” Aronowitz said in a phone interview.

He also said the advent and effect of “fake news” – articles containing false or inaccurate information spread by social media sites that many have credited with helping Trump win the Oval Office, including President Barack Obama – played a role in the offer.

“For us, this was the type of story that we wanted to jump all over. But at the same time there’s been so much floating around – as far as fake news stories – there have been so many people who have just been taking shots at President-elect Donald Trump because he’s an easy target, and we as a brand and as an informational source, we didn’t want to jump on the bandwagon,” Aronowitz said. “We wanted to make sure this story could be verified, that the murmurings of their being actual video documentation that corroborates the allegations, do exist. For us, this was a very real ask, which is just ‘Give us some facts, and let us share the real story with our readers and with the public.'”

We always knew Jason Chaffetz was both creepy and highly partisan but this is just about got me thinking he’s as corrupt as they come. AND he’s in charge of Ethics.  Catch this:  “Chaffetz threatens to subpoena federal ethics watchdog over Trump criticism”.  My favorite adjectives these days are Orwellian and dystopian.  I feel like I’ve had more occasions to use them than I would if I were writing criticisms of Mad Max and Terminator Movies.

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House Republicans have found a subject for their opening review of conflicts of interest under Donald Trump: the federal official in charge of investigating conflicts of interest.

Rep. Jason Chaffetz, the head of the House Oversight Committee, criticized the director of the federal Office of Government Ethics on Thursday over his criticism of Donald Trump’s plan to address conflicts of interest. And he threatened to subpoena the official, Walter Shaub, if he refuses to participate in an official interview.

“He seems to be acting prematurely at best, without doing investigations or thorough looks,” Chaffetz said in an interview. “He’s rendering opinions publicly that really cause you to scratch your head. We need the Office of Government Ethics to act ethically. Ironically, that’s not what they’re doing.”

Shaub, an appointee of President Barack Obama, has been a frequent critics of the incoming administration’s ethics plans, peaking Wednesday when he called Trump’s newly unveiled conflicts of interest policy “meaningless.”

The public rebuke of Trump’s business arrangements came during a press conference at the Brookings Institution that included the outspoken former White House ethics lawyers for Obama and former President George W. Bush. In his remarks, Shaub said the president-elect “stepping back from running his positions is meaningless from a conflict of interest perspective.”

“The plan does not comport with the tradition of our presidents over the last 40 years,” he added.

Chaffetz said Shaub has refused since the election to agree to a meeting to discuss matters related to OGE’s public remarks about Trump, as well as the Republican-led panel’s plans to pass language reauthorizing the office. If Shaub continues to resist, Chaffetz said he’d issue a subpoena “if we have to.”

women1Trump not only summarily dismissed the man who had been announcing inaugural parades since the Eisenhower years, he’s just gotten ridden of the head of the DC National Guard who has always been part of the security arrangements.  Why are so many people being dismissed so handily?  This man was a Dubya Bush appointee.

In a bizarre move, Donald Trump has demanded that the commanding officer of the Washington, D.C. National Guard resign from his post in the middle of the Inauguration ceremony, even though the general will be in the middle of helping oversee the event’s security, the Washington Post reported on Friday.

Maj. Gen. Errol R. Schwartz will be removed from his post at 12:01 p.m. on Inauguration Day, just after Trump is sworn in but before the Inaugural parade begins, according to a memo obtained by the Washington Post.

Schwartz has helped plan the security for Inauguration weekend, and he will be charged with overseeing the D.C. National Guard as well as an additional 5,000 troops sent in for the weekend. But he will have to hand over commend to an interim officer in the middle of Inauguration Day.

“The timing is extremely unusual,” Schwartz told the Washington Post on Friday.

“My troops will be on the street,” he added. “I’ll see them off but I won’t be able to welcome them back to the armory.

So, these last few comics that I’ve shared are by Drew Sheneman.  Go check him out.  He also illustrates children’s books.

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?