Lazy Saturday Reads

Good Afternoon!!

First, a public service announcement: Dakinikat told me about a digital demonstration that is happening today called “Fire the Fool.” You can read about it at this website. It doesn’t seem to be getting any news coverage (I can find no articles on Google News), so I don’t know how successful it will be. I’m going to pass, but I encourage anyone who thinks it would be fun to join in. It can’t hurt. Here’s their statement of purpose:

#Flood45 is YOUR chance to make it clear that you are ready to FIRE THE FOOLS in government who have abandoned the most sacred American ideals!

Download the PINK SLIP graphic at the bottom of this page and fill out why you want to FIRE trump. Then on APRIL 1st, attach a picture or video of yourself holding the pink slip on twitter at 12PM EST with this tweet:

.@realDonaldTrump We the People are serving you with your termination notice. You represent nothing that we stand for. YOU’RE FIRED #Flood45

To download the graphics, point your cursor over the image and right-click OR control click. Select “save as” and type in the location on your computer you wish to save and you will have a printable graphic!

Have fun with it! We’ll be online all day sharing all the pics and vids that come scrolling through the feed.

This is going to be such a fun day where We the People deliver a powerful statement to those FOOLS in government who have chosen their party and pocketbooks over the needs and safety of the American people.

The group’s FAQ explains that this isn’t aimed specifically at Trump–on of my problems with the idea–and “fire the fool” applies to officials in either party. They also claim that the women’s march was not directed at Trump. That wasn’t my understanding. If so, why was it planned for the day after the inauguration? The FAQ also reveals that this group is based in Nevada, but no names are provided. There is also a list of speakers, but no information about when and where they will speak. Perhaps you have to sign up to find out. If anyone has more information, please post it in the comment thread.

One clever touch on the “declaration” page is a set of playing cards that depict members of the Trump administration. I’ve used some of those to illustrate this post.

Now on to today’s news.

Yesterday, the Guardian had an interesting article about former Trump National Security Adviser Michael Flynn revealing new information on why the intelligence community was concerned about Flynn long before Trump appointed him the the top post.

US and British intelligence officers discussed Flynn’s “worrisome” behaviour well before his appointment last year by Donald Trump, multiple sources have said.

They raised concerns about Flynn’s ties to Russia and his perceived obsession with Iran. They were also anxious about his capacity for “linear thought” and some actions that were regarded as highly unusual for a three-star general….

One concern involved an encounter with a Russian-British graduate student, Svetlana Lokhova, whom Flynn met on a trip to Cambridge in February 2014.

At the time, Flynn was one of the top US spies and the director of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), which provides information to the Pentagon about the military strengths and intentions of other states and terrorist groups.

Lokhova claimed to be writing a book about the GRU and said she had had access to the secretive spy agency’s archives, something that other historians say is “…basically impossible.” Flynn was quite taken with this woman and kept in touch with her for some time.

Flynn and Lokhova were introduced to each other at the end of a dinner attended by 20 guests who included Sir Richard Dearlove – the former head of MI6 – and Prof Christopher Andrew, the official MI5 historian.

Flynn says the meeting with Lokhova was “incidental” and lasted just 20 minutes. However, Andrew has said Flynn invited Lokhova to accompany him on his next official visit to Moscow to help with simultaneous translation. The trip fell through soon afterwards because of Putin’s annexation of Crimea, Andrew wrote in the Sunday Times.

The Guardian understands Flynn and Lokhova remained in email contact, conducted through an unclassified channel. In one email exchange described by Andrew, Flynn signed himself as “General Misha”, Russian for Mike.

Lokhova also listed Flynn as one of four referees who would provide selective endorsements for her book, which is expected to detail how Russian spies penetrated the US atomic weapons programme.

Not 100 days into the Trump presidency, one thing is abundantly clear: it is completely unsustainable as it is operating today.

There are even rumblings in the seams of Washington that Trump may not last the summer, including Republican consultant Michael Steele, the former RNC chairman, reportedly telling clients to prepare for President Pence.

Indeed, something fundamental seemed to shift in the zeitgeist this week with General Michael Flynn’s Hail Mary offer to testify about Russiagate in exchange for immunity. The Senate intelligence community has already turned down Flynn’s offer, and it’s hard to imagine the House committee, led by the thoroughly compromised Devin Nunes, having the political capital to say yes. For the FBI to agree, Flynn would have to offer up someone bigger than him to make it worth the agency’s while. One wonders who that could be: Paul Manafort? He’s been around the political block much longer than Flynn and knows where more bodies are buried. Wouldn’t he be a better immunity target if you’re an elected Republican? Donald Trump? What would Flynn claim Trump personally did to advance Russia’s interference in our election, other than dutifully repeat Kremlin talking points, which we already know? Does he have some proof that Trump took a bribe? Broke a law? Made an incriminating phone call?

And if he doesn’t, what would be the point of merely hearing the “story he has to tell.”

Read the rest at the link above. Reid doesn’t even mention the “woman” problem, but there’s plenty else there that looks very bad for Flynn and Trump.

According to Politico, Trump is looking to “reorganize” his administration after the epic failure of the Trump-Ryan “health care” bill.

In interviews over the last week, several senior aides said they were carefully examining how the beleaguered administration functions as they weigh possible fixes. Among the top concerns: The circular firing squad continually playing out in the press pitting top aides against one another — a dynamic that one senior adviser described as increasingly unsustainable.

“It will have to either stop or there will have to be Motorcycle Accident Lawyer,” this person said, hinting that more serious changes would be made if the incessant shooting doesn’t end.

The discussions provide a window into an embattled administration that is scrambling to find answers. It’s also an acknowledgment that the White House is not the “fine-tuned machine” that Trump has sought to portray.

Of course the Trump gang claims there’s nothing to this story, but two top advisers were already shown the door yesterday. Boris Epshteyn left a few days ago. The other top adviser who’s leaving is Katie Walsh.

Walsh became the West Wing’s first casualty, when it was announced on Thursday that she would be departing to help run a pro-Trump outside group. Within the White House, the departure was seen as a blow to the influence of chief of staff Reince Priebus, who counted Walsh as a longtime lieutenant.

Those who have spoken with Priebus in recent days said he has expressed frustration with his own diminished power in the West Wing and with Walsh’s departure. One person close to the president described Walsh, who was an accomplished Republican fundraiser before becoming Priebus’s top aide, as the chief of staff’s “oxygen tank.”

White House aides strenuously deny that Priebus’s job is in jeopardy. But Trump, who churned through three campaign managers in 18 months, has a history of shuffling through top staff – sometimes abruptly. And one senior adviser said that aides with political and campaign backgrounds would gradually “fall off” and make way for others.

Read more at the Politico link.

More gossip from Politico: Kushner’s privileged status stokes resentment in White House.

In a White House where President Donald Trump commands reverence, Jared Kushner often refers to the president by one name: Donald. And while cable TV can dominate the president’s mood and set the agenda for senior administration staff, Kushner usually keeps his large flat-screen TV in his office turned off, a stark departure from other top aides.

Kushner, the president’s 36-year-old son-in-law and White House senior adviser, does essentially what he wants, having the benefit of not only Trump’s ear but — as a family member — his implicit trust.

That trust has resulted in a vast portfolio that so far includes negotiating an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal, helping oversee relations with Canada, China and Mexico and, as of this week, reinventing the federal government through the new White House Office of American Innovation.

But Kushner’s status as the big-issue guru has stoked resentment among his colleagues, who question whether Kushner is capable of following through on his various commitments and complain that his dabbling in myriad issues and his tendency to walk in and out of meetings have complicated efforts to instill more order and organization into the chaotic administration. These people also say Kushner can be a shrewd self promoter, knowing how to take credit — and shirk blame — whenever it suits him.

“He’s saving the government and the Middle East at the same time,” one senior administration official quipped.

Much more at the link.

And from don’t forget “first lady” Ivanka’s role in the family kleptocracy: Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner Still Benefiting From Business Empire, Filings Show.

Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, President Trump’s daughter and son-in-law, will remain the beneficiaries of a sprawling real estate and investment business still worth as much as $740 million, despite their new government responsibilities, according to ethics filings released by the White House Friday night.

Ms. Trump will also maintain a stake in the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C. The hotel, just down the street from the White House, has drawn protests from ethics experts who worry that foreign governments or special interests could stay there in order to curry favor with the administration.

It is unclear how Ms. Trump would earn income from that stake. Mr. Kushner’s financial disclosures said that Ms. Trump earned between $1 million and $5 million from the hotel between January 2016 and March 2017, and put the value of her stake at between $5 million and $25 million.

The disclosures were part of a broad, Friday-night document release by the White House that exposed the assets of as many as 180 senior officials to public scrutiny. The reports showed the assets and wealth of senior staff members at the time they entered government service.

Read about all the other financial filings at the NYT link a above.

What else is happening. Plenty! Let us know what stories you are following in the comment thread below, and have a terrific weekend!


40 Comments on “Lazy Saturday Reads”

  1. Mary Luke says:

    “capacity for linear thought “. That’s alarming. I am not a psychologist but doesn’t that indicate concern about some type of impaired thought processing?

    • bostonboomer says:

      Yes. He was dealing in conspiracy theories even when he was DIA. That’s one reason he was fired. Underlings thought he was nuts. They called it “Flynn facts.”

  2. bostonboomer says:

    //platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

    • ANonOMouse says:

      We’re going to get the truth and tRump can’t stop it. For the first time in his life he’s in a position of not being able to control everyone around him. He looks even worse than he did when he took office. You can tell he’s not sleeping. Fucker’s going down and the question now is, will he be impeached or will he quit? I bet he’s going to quit.

      • dakinikat says:

        It’s the TRUMPTANIC!!!

        • ANonOMouse says:

          It is and it’s so inept it’s becoming comical. This is what happens when you let a 70 year old ego maniac, con artist, thief, failed casino owner, who’s taking money from Russia in shady deals and who couldn’t run a McDonald’s because he’d eat all the burgers, become POTUS.

      • dakinikat says:

        And every day at the White House is April Fool’s Day

        • Enheduanna says:

          ummmmm….because everyone is relieved we have agencies who have surveilled your lying a$$?

          And why on earth is he hitting Todd for “sleepy eyes”. Wtf is he even talking about. No fan of Todd myself but just – huh? Could tRump be more childish and lame?

  3. Enheduanna says:

    Happy April Fool’s Day ya’ll! Love the cards BB. I think Ivanka should be Queen, though.

    So why would Priebus stick around and be part of this fiasco?

    I’d rather the whole admin goes down than just tRump resign. The investigation does seem to be moving along quickly.

    • bostonboomer says:

      I don’t see how Pence survives.

      • NW Luna says:

        I sure hope he doesn’t survive.

      • ANonOMouse says:

        Pence was chosen by Manafort. That association alone could well be his undoing. If the normal order or succession is followed after Pence is Orrin Hatch, then Ryan. UGH!!!!

        “The compromise they worked out established the President pro tempore of the Senate as next in line after the Vice President, followed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives. In either case, these officers were to “act as President of the United States until the disability be removed or a president be elected.”

        Damn!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

        • janicen says:

          Mouse, where are you getting your info? Speaker of the House is next in line after Veep according to every source I’ve seen. After Speaker of the House is President pro temp of the Senate.

    • dakinikat says:

      They need to build an Extra Large TrumpTanic Wing at Leavenworth. They’ll be headed there.

  4. bostonboomer says:

    Here’s more on Flynn’s friend Svetlana–from The Daily Mail. She was previously known by her co-workers as “Crazy Miss Cokehead.” She was fired, but won a sex-discrimination suit against her employer Russian investment bank, Sberbank CIB (UK) Ltd (!)

    That is the bank that John Podesta’s brother consulted for.

  5. janicen says:

    Read your post too late to participate in Fire The Fool, but I would not have anyway. I’m becoming more and more cautious and suspicious of a lot of these seemingly anti-Trump links and sites. The more I read about the data gathering and targeting, etc, the more cautious I become. Smarter people than I have been fooled and hacked and had their privacy violated so I’m avoiding joining any new groups or downloading stuff.

    bb, I hope you’re right about Pence. I think he’s more dangerous than Ryan.

  6. dakinikat says:

  7. bostonboomer says:

    Found this on Ezra Cohen-Watnick, the 30-year-old guy who gave the intel to Nunes

    //platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

    • bostonboomer says:

      I wonder if he could be keeping Trump in touch with Flynn and maybe feeding intel to Flynn, who had brought him in from DIA.

      • NW Luna says:

        The relationship diagram of all these actors is looking like a nest of snakes in more ways than one now.

  8. purplefinn says:

    Of course I have been against Trump as any kind of elected official from the first hint, and remain so. And I haven’t enjoyed any of his communications ever. BUT I am now just sick of him. Sick of anything he says and much of what is said about him. I’m wondering whether other people (who haven’t been against him from the get-go) are weary as well. In addition to his general offensiveness, and illegal and unethical behavior, he is boring and annoying. I can’t see how he can maintain his non-rabid supporters.
    Now that he is president, he seems less powerful than before. He’s in hiding somewhere tweeting absurdly.

  9. dakinikat says:

    I just discovered that the new white women berniebot term for your usual liberal woman is “pantsuit”.

  10. bostonboomer says:

    MUST WATCH!!

    //platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

    • NW Luna says:

      Ha! That is funny.

    • Delphyne49 says:

      Oh, that made me laugh! I’ve had 2 birds – a cockatiel and a Maximillian Pionus, both hilarious and loving in their own ways, but neither one reacted/danced like that cockatoo! The video made me laugh – a good way to go to bed! Thanks!

  11. NW Luna says:

    “Inciting violence is not free speech” Yes!

    A judge rules Trump may have incited violence … and Trump again has his own mouth to blame

    The courts keep taking Donald Trump both seriously and literally. And the president’s word choices are proving to be a real headache. A federal judge in Kentucky is the latest to take Trump at his word when he says something controversial. Judge David J. Hale ruled against efforts by Trump’s attorneys to throw out a lawsuit accusing him of inciting violence against protesters at a March 2016 campaign rally in Louisville.

    At the rally, Trump repeatedly said “get ’em out of here” before, according to the protesters, they were shoved and punched by his supporters. Trump’s attorneys sought to have the case dismissed on free speech grounds, arguing that he didn’t intend for his supporters to use force. But Hale noted that speech inciting violence is not protected by the First Amendment and ruled that there is plenty of evidence that the protesters’ injuries were a “direct and proximate result” of Trump’s words.

    “It is plausible that Trump’s direction to ‘get ’em out of here’ advocated the use of force,” Hale wrote. “It was an order, an instruction, a command.”

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2017/04/02/a-judge-rules-trump-may-have-incited-violence-and-trump-again-has-his-own-mouth-to-blame/?utm_term=.563ae69b1878