Monday Reads: Oy.JUST.Oy.

taken by Lynda Woolard at the NOLA March for Women (scowling dakinikat in background)

Photo taken by Lynda Woolard at the NOLA March for Women (scowling dakinikat in background)

Things–unpleasant and dangerous–are beginning to happen that shows we’ve been taken over by the Alt Right and the horrifying historical meaning of “America First”.  It’s not just in the speeches any more.  Some of today’s executive orders are horrifying and signal to the world we’re a really hostile presence for every one.  It makes no difference if you’ve been our friends, allies, or enemies.  We’re an agent of chaos on a level heretofore unknown.

Frankly, I believe an economic crisis is on its way sooner than I thought possible. There are several actions that look distinctly like acts of war.  The winners for this move are China and Australia if you want to know where to invest your money.   Trump is ending free trade.  BTW, nutter Bernie is ecstatic.  I really don’t think they understand the concept of trade at all.

lynda-and-krewe-of-hillary-nola-womens-marchThis will not create US jobs.  If anything, it will take away the jobs of those who work for firms that export US goods.  As an economist, I cannot stress enough how devastating this will be to the US economy, our geopolitical and geoeconomic standing in the region, and our relations with other nations. Isolationism has never been–historically–a good thing.   Additionally, it will not save or re-create US jobs destroyed by technology. For example, it’s only a matter of years before there will be no need for long haul truck drivers. We’re already learning to be our own grocery checkers.

I  think the deplorables are going to really be hammered on all of this as well as the rest of working people.  What’s needed are unions to offset the self-dealing of Senior Management and excessive dividend programs.

President Donald Trump abruptly ended the decades-old U.S. tilt toward free trade by signing an executive order to withdraw from an Asia-Pacific accord that was never ratified and promising to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement.

“Great thing for the American worker, what we just did,” Trump said on Monday after signing an order withdrawing the U.S. from the Trans-Pacific Partnership accord with 11 other nations. He didn’t sign any actions to direct a renegotiation of the Nafta accord with Mexico and Canada, yet he said on Sunday he would begin talks with the two leaders on modifying the pact.

“We’ve been talking about this a long time,” Trump said

nola-womans-marchMarching on Saturday with the 3 – 5 million others dampened my despair. I’m still extremely afraid of this insanity. But, it was so wonderful to know so many of us reject his delusions and aspire to create a more perfect union. We are a gumbo. We are a patchwork quilt. We are a jazz riff. We are so much more than Trump’s Narcissism can comprehend, respect, grasp, grok, appreciate, love … please enjoy my pictures of the NOLA March for Women and one other I got caught in by my friend Lynda Woolard who is–in turn–the red head in the photo shown second.  I’m scowling at the southern sun just to the right of the Vulva up top.

More on the executive orders he signed today which includes re-instating the Mexico City Policy and freezing federal hiring,  This is what putting America first is going to look like. Women, of course, were included in the slaughter. We will be hated more than we ever were before and we will likely hate ourselves.

“We must protect our borders from the ravages of other countries making our products, stealing our companies and destroying our jobs,” Mr Trump said in his short, nationalistic speech on Inauguration Day. “Protection will lead to great prosperity and strength.”

The TPP withdrawal order was one of three actions taken by the President in his third full day in office. He also ordered a freeze in government hiring and re-imposed a ban on providing federal money to international groups that provide abortions.

Mr Trump has criticised international free trade deals for rewarding companies to outsource work and has attributed the loss of US manufacturing to foreign labour.

girls-at-nola-womens-marchThe man is insane and has no idea of what he speaks.  Seriously, we’re headed to Depression. It’s the 30s all over again.

This is one piece of news that is also likely to isolate us from people we need as friends in the region.  It’s like to embolden suicide bombers and terrorists. IMHO, it is an act of war.   He plans to announce the movement of the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

UPDATE: The White House has now confirmed it is in the early stages of talks regarding the embassy’s move

Channel 2 cited an anonymous source as saying a member of the Trump administration would announce the highly controversial move on the President’s first full working day in office.

I imagine the Radical Chistianist Terrorists are preparing for the rapture–yet again–as we speak.

Here are some other things you may want to read.16251622_10154398555833512_4892005447479481464_o

From The New Yorker and the pen of Robin Wright: TRUMP’S VAINGLORIOUS AFFRONT TO THE C.I.A.

From Rolling Stone: The Radical Crusade of Mike Pence; He’s trampled on the rights of women, LGBTQ folks and the poor. Then there’s the incompetence. Meet, quite possibly, the next president

From the WSJ: U.S. Eyes Michael Flynn’s Links to Russia,Counterintelligence agents have investigated communications by President Trump’s national security adviser, including phone calls to Russian ambassador in late December

From Politico: Hillary Clinton plots her next move; The Democrat has been studying election presentations, including reports on where she underperformed.

From Variety:  CNN Declines to Air White House Press Conference Live

From Reuters:  Ethics lawyers to sue Trump over foreign payments

A group including former White House ethics attorneys will file a lawsuit on Monday accusing President Donald Trump of allowing his businesses to accept payments from foreign governments, in violation of the U.S. Constitution.

The lawsuit, brought by the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, will allege that the Constitution’s emoluments clause forbids payments to Trump’s businesses. It will seek a court order forbidding Trump from accepting such payments, said Deepak Gupta, one of the lawyers working on the case.

Trump does business with countries like China, India, Indonesia and the Philippines, the group noted in a statement.

“When Trump the president sits down to negotiate trade deals with these countries, the American people will have no way of knowing whether he will also be thinking about the profits of Trump the businessman,”

https://twitter.com/jonaschartock/status/822972043109011457

16142631_10154398966483512_8779650311873018180_nI really just can’t do today. I can’t.


Defiance Friday

So, I’m writing this on Thursday night because I’m joining in the protest events here in New Orleans in the morning. It all starts with a mock jazz funeral for Lady Liberty.

The Next Right Thing
10:30 a.m., Congo Square
The Next Right Thing — a march of “satire and dissent” — meets at Congo Square in Armstrong Park at 9 a.m., assembles at 10:30 a.m., marches at 11 a.m. toward the Mississippi River Moonwalk and marches toward Frenchmen Street at 1 p.m. There, an “inaugural ball” will be held at clubs along Frenchmen Street. A children’s parade starts at 3 p.m. The event ends at Check Point Charlie at 6 p.m. The children’s parade encourages costumes, signs, decorated wagons and floats. Families can meet at Washington Square Park for a picnic before the children’s parade.

4e96a4c8b259bf7c3032d3feb25fdd9aThere are many major protests planned for the next few days as I sadly watch the best of our country fade into whatever Orwellian dystopia awaits. This week’s cabinet hearings have been a major dumpsterfire.  I can’t imagine something better to do with the next few days other than to protest or wash your hair and read a good book.  Just don’t watch the TV unless it’s to watch the Women’s March on Washington or one of the Sister Marches planned for Saturday.

Event: The Women’s March on Washington

Date and time: Saturday, Jan. 21. Rally begins at 10 a.m.; march begins at 1:15 pm

About: In what is billed to be the largest event countering the president-elect’s inauguration, the Women’s March is bringing together a spectrum of advocates representing diverse communities. More than 213,000 people have said on the event’s main Facebook page that they plan to attend. The rally will feature a star-studded lineup of celebrities, including Cher, Katy Perry, America Ferrera, Scarlett Johansson, Chelsea Handler, and many more.

Event: ‘Sister Marches‘ around the world

Date and time: Details are listed here

About: Organizers are boasting that as many as 1.3 million people plan to participate in “sister marches” around the world in solidarity with the headlining Women’s March on Washington. More than 600 different demonstrations are planned in every major city in the United States and as far away as Australia, South Africa, Japan, Argentina and throughout Europe.

imageNYC saw a major protest event on Thursday night with celebs the Hair Furor can only dream about.  It’s probably why he was grousing all evening and not looking very happy during his little–emphasis on LITTLE–gathering. Oh, look where Robert DeNiro was and wasn’t.

De Niro was the first celebrity speaker to take the stage at the rally, which included thousands of attendees stretching across at least five blocks. The actor read mean tweets about the president-elect, adding that he thinks Donald Trump is “a bad example of this country and this city.”

Baldwin appeared to speak and insert a few Trump impressions along the way, commenting on Trump and his cabinet picks. “These people are a disgrace, but there is hope,” said the actor. “Trump and Pence think you’re going to lay down. That’s one thing about New Yorkers: You don’t lay down.”

Sharpton hyped the crowd after Baldwin’s speech. “This is Donald Trump’s hometown, but the hometown folk do not behave like Donald Trump,” he said. “America is already great, and we will make it even greater!”

Moore had somber words for the event: “We’re at a very dangerous moment in history,” said the filmmaker. “As bad as you think it’s going to be, it’s going to be worse. The good news is there are more of us than there are of them.”

Sally Field, talking about the labor movement, told the crowd: “I am a proud union member and have been for 52 years.” On the union fight for minimum wage, she said, “If we all stick together like we are now — if we all fight for dignity … we will find paths to victory over the next four years. Please, dear God!”

Ruffalo offered a hopeful note: “Man, I needed this. Did you need this?” he said to big cheers from the rally. “We’re coming here tonight to protect something precious to us, and that’s each other.”

Cynthia Nixon offered a message to the LGBTQ community: “We are not going back … we are here, we are queer and we have no fear!” She added to the Muslims, Mexicans and “straight while males” in the audience: “The LGBT community has got your back.”

Kremlin Caligula is not very well liked in his home town. Even Boston’s ducklings are in on the protests wearing bright pink pussy hats!

a958e74e13fb583ab9b877767c41b946We have to protest.  They’re about to give our country away to their cronies.

In the midst of highly publicized steps to dismantle insurance coverage for 32 million people and defund women’s healthcare facilities, Republican lawmakers have quietly laid the foundation to give away Americans’ birthright: 640m acres of national land. In a single line of changes to the rules for the House of Representatives, Republicans have overwritten the value of federal lands, easing the path to disposing of federal property even if doing so loses money for the government and provides no demonstrable compensation to American citizens.

At stake are areas managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), National Forests and Federal Wildlife Refuges, which contribute to an estimated $646bn each year in economic stimulus from recreation on public lands and 6.1m jobs. Transferring these lands to the states, critics fear, could decimate those numbers by eliminating mixed-use requirements, limiting public access and turning over large portions for energy or property development.

Well, the Republicans are getting ready to have an easy signature for whatever they want in the Oval Office, the connections between the Trump campaign and Moscow get clearer and murkier simultaneously.  It certainly appears that we were sold out to a foreign hostile state.

The New York Times is reporting that American law enforcement and intelligence agencies are investigating “intercepted communications” that potentially show ties between longtime Donald Trump ally Roger Stone and Russian officials.

The report confirming the ongoing investigation comes after U.S. intelligence agencies concluded that the Russian government meddled in the 2016 election by hacking the Democratic National Committee, as well as reports that the FBI and five other intelligence agencies have been investigating whether money from the Kremlin covertly aided Trump’s presidential run.

In July, reports surfaced that Trump’s foreign policy advisor on Russia and Europe, Carter Page, made almost his entire fortune off of investments in Russia. Soon after, NBC News reported on alleged payments to Donald Trump’s then-campaign manager Paul Manafort from former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych from 2007-2012. Roger Stone, a racist, sexist conspiracy theorist — who has previously claimed that there’s “greater freedom of the press” and expression in Russia than in the U.S. — has now also been implicated as another one of Trump’s associates currently under investigation. Media Matters first exposed Stone in August 2016, after he claimed to be in contact with Julian Assange regarding an “October Surprise.” In early October, Stone reassured anxious Alex Jones listeners that the “motherload” was coming.

The report, which will appear in the January 20 edition of The New York Times, confirms that intelligence agencies are investigating “intercepted communications and financial transactions” between Russian officials and Trump allies Roger Stone, Paul Manafort, and Carter Page. The report notes that the “continuing counterintelligence means that Mr. Trump will take the oath of office on Friday with his associates under investigation and after the intelligence agencies concluded that the Russian government had worked to help elect him.”

The White House is empty tonight.  The man about to get the nuclear codes is under active investigation by US Intelligence Agencies for ties with Russia.

And DC police have just lobbed tear gas at Protesters there.

Police in Washington, D.C. deployed tear gas as hundreds of protesters gathered outside a pro-Trump gala Thursday night. Local media reports that some attendees of the “DeploraBall” were hit by objects and clashed with anti-Trump protesters as they left the National Press Club. Some protesters, blocking the street, called gala attendees “racists” and “Nazis.” Other protesters set fires in trash cans and in the middle of the street. There was also a 15-foot-tall white elephant with a banner labeled “racism” on its side. Police arrested several people.

I don’t know how much more of this these old bones can take, frankly. But, I will be there with signs … regardless.

Does my sassiness upset you?

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?

Me on the Mighty Mississippi for the mock Jazz funeral of Lady Liberty.  You can actually see me around 2:48 for a sec on the video at WDSU so I can prove that I actually walked!!

me-on-the-mississippi-river-for-the-right-thing-protests

Update with video:

Ladies of the NOLA Abortion Fund. 

So these photos were taken in Congo Square prior to the march.  Th photo of the with the blue umbrella is of downtown New Orleans on Canal Street.


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?

 


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.

sheneman-trump-tantrumjpg-4aa139bcfb8840a6

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?


Live Blog: Farewell Mr President! We’re going to miss you and your family!!!

2016-11-14t215540z_525866115_ht1ecbe1ow72x_rtrmadp_3_usa-election-obama-trumpTonight we stand together on a precipice and we look once more to our leader to make sense of things.   President Obama’s farewell address from Chicago will be broadcasting live on CSPAN and other outlets tonight at 9 pm EST.

President Obama Farewell Address President Obama delivers his farewell address in his hometown of Chicago, Illinois. He’s expected to talk about the future of the country and American democracy, the role younger generations can play in the years ahead, and his time in office.

Many of my friends have headed there.  He had a great run and now we’re about to see things get horrid again.obama-family-portrait

Obama’s loyalists spent the day grabbing each other for hugs in the airport, catching up, posing for iPhone photos, laughing sarcastically about how funny it is to run into each other here of all places. They’ve made jokes about writing poetry, venting. They ask what people are going to do next.

“I’m fired up,” one said to another on a plane from Washington Tuesday morning, with a twist on the old Obama line. “I don’t want to go. I’m ready to stay.”

These are weird times at the White House, a mix of senioritis and bitterness and throwing themselves into whatever work is left to take their minds off of what’s coming next, reading the emails that come every day with each new wave of departures and deciding which Gmail addresses and cell phones to copy into their personal phones.

Getting a cup of coffee downstairs at the mess can bring on a wave of emotions. Walking through the halls, each day a little more aware of the countdown, they try not to think much about what’s coming but they can’t stop thinking about what’s coming. The photos blown up and hung in the West Wing that were regularly updated as a running picture diary of recent weeks have now become the greatest hits—a shot of the inauguration, one of the president with microphone in hand and singing along with a band at the White House, done up in a tuxedo and First Lady Michelle Obama in a gown on the way to an event, sitting alone at his desk in the Oval Office marking up a piece of paper. Down in the press area, on the wall that every morning was used to print out front pages from around the country to see what was registering with the news of the day, now are print-outs of the best days of the administration—when Obama announced that Osama bin Laden had been killed, when he signed Obamacare, when the Supreme Court legalized gay marriage.

“People are certainly taking stock of their tenure here, and I know the president is,” Earnest said Monday afternoon, in an interview with MSNBC.

We’ve spent 8 years without a scandal and with a first family that shine like stars.  It’s been frustrating on many levels but when the President catches his stride he lands on the right path and he took us in the right direction.

Join us to say good bye to a man with whom we’ve all had a complex and complicated relationship and his always classy and smart First Lady.


Tuesday Reads: Jeff Sessions Dog Whistles Dixie

3-1trumpsessionsbabyjpg-ff85ad365d53b7aeThe first of our new theocratic, Putin-loving, grifter overlords is sitting in front of a Senate committee with absolutely no vetting being grilled and testified against by his peers. Neoconfederate radical christianist Senator Jeff Sessions can sure tell some whoppers and he sure does whistle Dixie.

In an unprecedented move, Senator Corey Booker has chosen to testify about Session’s treatment of the law and of black people.

Democratic Sen. Cory Booker is set to testify against Republican Sen. Jeff Sessions Wednesday in an unprecedented move during his attorney general confirmation.

This would be the first time in Senate history that a sitting senator will testify against another sitting senator for a Cabinet post during a confirmation.”I do not take lightly the decision to testify against a Senate colleague,” Booker said. “But the immense powers of the attorney general combined with the deeply troubling views of this nominee is a call to conscience.”

Sessions’ confirmation hearings, which started Tuesday, are expected to raise additional questions on old allegations of racism from his past. When Sessions was a 39-year-old US attorney in Alabama, he was denied a federal judgeship because the Senate Judiciary Committee heard testimony during hearings in March and May 1986 that Sessions had made racist remarks and called the NAACP and ACLU “un-American.”

Booker told CNN on Tuesday morning shortly before Sessions’ hearing started that it was “consequential moment.”

“This is one of the more consequential appointments in American history right now given the state of a lot of our challenges we have with our policing, a lot of challenges we have with race relations, gay and lesbian relations,” Booker said.

LIVE Trump confirmation hearings: Jeff Sessions’ first hearing

Representative John Lewis will also testify against Sessions along with my Congressman Cedric Richmond who will represent the Black Caucus and me for that matter.1-20

Several other prominent African-American figures in addition to Booker also plan to testify against Sessions, including two members of the House: Rep. John Lewis, D-Georgia, a leader of the civil rights movement of the 1960s; and Rep. Cedric Richmond, D-Louisiana, the chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus.

The NAACP has also strongly opposed Sessions’ nomination, calling him “a threat to desegregation and the Voting Rights Act.”

Sessions is a hodgepodge of bad things. He’s failed to disclose his oil interests and ethnics experts are taking issue.

Attorney general nominee Jeff Sessions did not disclose his ownership of oil interests on land in Alabama as required by federal ethics rules, according to an examination of state records and independent ethics lawyers who reviewed the documents.

The Alabama records show that Sessions owns subsurface rights to oil and other minerals on more than 600 acres in his home state, some of which are adjacent to a federal wildlife preserve.

The holdings are small, producing revenue in the range of $4,700 annually. But the interests were not disclosed on forms sent by Sessions to the Office of Government Ethics, which reviews the assets of Cabinet nominees for potential conflicts of interest.

crowej20161121_lowHe is currently up on the stand doing things like telling Dianne Feinstein that he really thinks Roe v. Wade is unconstitutional and badly decided but it’s established law.  He’s explaining his vote against laws to protect women victims of violence as being against the establishment of the rights of Native Americans to hold trials against accused rapists in their own courts.  He’s just a big ol’ bug hiding nasty fangs and a poison sac right out there for every one to see.

You may want to read the story of Sessions and his role in prosecuting the Klan to really understand how deep his southern roots go.  Sessions has also testified he loathes the clan today.    Sessions apologists hold this case up as proof he’s really not all that racist.

letter from 23 former assistant attorney generals cited the fact that he had “worked to obtain the successful capital prosecution of the head of the Alabama Ku Klux Klan” as evidence of his “commitment to the rule of law, and to the even-handed administration of justice.” The Wall Street Journal said that Sessions, “won a death-penalty conviction for the head of the state KKK in a capital murder trial,” a case which “broke the Klan in the heart of dixie,” and The New York Post praised him for having “successfully prosecuted the head of the state Ku Klux Klan for murder.” Grant Bosse wrote in the Manchester, New Hampshire, Union Leaderwrote that “when local police wrote off the murder as a drug deal gone wrong, Sessions brought in the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, and brought Hays and the Klan to justice.”

Sessions himself recently listed the case as one of the “ten most significant significant litigated matters” he had “personally handled” on his Senate confirmation questionnaire. And in 2009, Sessions told National Review that there had been a campaign to “smear my record,” whereas in fact, he had “prosecuted the head of the Klan for murdering somebody.”

No one involved in the case disputes that Sessions lent his support to the prosecution. “Not all southern United States attorneys welcomed civil-rights division attorneys into their districts back then,” said Barry Kowalski, a former civil-rights division attorney who was one of the main lawyers on the investigation, and who defended Sessions in his 1986 confirmation hearing. “He did, he cooperated with us completely.”

However, in seeking to defend Sessions from charges of racism, Sessions’s allies, and even Sessions himself, seem to have embellished key details, and to have inflated his actual role in the case, presenting him not merely as a cooperative U.S. attorney who facilitated the prosecution of the two Klansmen, but the driving force behind the prosecution itself. The details of the case don’t support that claim.

188054_600You can read the details in the feature I’ve linked to which came for The Atlantic.

The Sessions hearings are on CSPAN if you want an uninterrupted view of it all. The Hill has a list of five things to watch. This first one is as important as questions on policing and voting rights.

 

Does he detail Trump’s plans on immigration?

Sessions is known as the foremost immigration hawk in the Senate, so you can bet he’ll be pressed on an issue that has liberals on edge in the age of Trump.

Expect Democrats to come armed with statistics challenging the notion that illegal immigrants are flooding across the southern border; that crime is out of control among illegal immigrants; and that President Obama has not done enough to deport those in the country illegally who have committed other crimes.

In addition, while it won’t necessarily fall under his purview at the Justice Department, Democratic senators will likely look to score political points by challenging Sessions on the complications of building a border wall.

And they’ll likely look to get him to say that he won’t move to deport, en masse, the estimated 10 million illegal immigrants in the country, and in particular the estimated 700,000 young undocumented immigrants protected under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

As president, Trump could do away with that program by executive order.

cxkiwkrxcaar5ywI have to work and grade today but will try to follow comments on Twitter.  They are plentiful.

I could use a few donations if you have a few bucks to spare.  Our TypeKit subscription is up in January. It’s not a lot, but every little bit you can help me defray would be great.  It basically keeps our nice logo up there in its cursive glory

So, anyway, I’ve got to go warp minds and grade papers.  BB’s successfully moved to her new apartment too!  She’s patiently waiting for the cable guy.  JJ is still with her mom in the facility and is having up and down days.  We’re just happy to have you all here for breaks in our mundane lives!!!

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?


Monday Reads

Steve Sack / Minneapolis Star Tribune
Steve Sack / Minneapolis Star Tribune

Good Morning!

I’m going to try to put up some interesting links prior to the “you’ll never guess what the Corrupt Russian Puppet is doing now” stories.  Believe me, ethics in Washington DC are headed for an all time nadir and that’s saying a lot.

 

 

 

One of the giant sequoias that has graced postcards and family photos for well over a century has fallen.  Pioneer Cabin Tree–known for being a “drive through”–likely fell when record levels of rain flooded the area.

It’s not clear why the tree fell, but probably had to do with the giant sequoia’s shallow root system — the roots only go about two or four feet deep — and the fact that the trail around the tree was flooded due to rain.

“When I went out there (Sunday afternoon), the trail was literally a river, the trail is washed out,” Allday said. “I could see the tree on the ground, it looked like it was laying in a pond or lake with a river running through it.”

The tree had been among the most popular features of the state park since the late 1800s. The tunnel had graffiti dating to the 1800s, when visitors were encouraged to etch their names into the bark.

Joan Allday, wife of Jim Allday and also a volunteer at the park, said the tree had been weakening and leaning severely to one side for several years.

“It was barely alive, there was one branch alive at the top,” she said. “But it was very brittle and starting to lift.”

Yosemite has flooded and three have been killed.

Meryl Streep stormed the Golden Globes with a political speech that has now become a T-Rump twitter obsession.

Meryl Streep received the Cecil B. DeMille Award at the Golden Globes on Sunday night, and she slammed Donald Trump’s “performance” in her acceptance speech.

“Hollywood is crawling with outsiders and foreigners, and if you kick us all out, you’ll have nothing to watch except for football and mixed martial arts, which are not arts,” she said tearfully and with a faint voice upon accepting the career-spanning honor.

She echoed Hugh Laurie’s comment about how the Hollywood Foreign Press Association is part of “the most vilified segments in American society right now” — Hollywood, foreigners and the press. “But who are we, and what is Hollywood anyway? It’s just a bunch of people from other places,” she explained, outlining her New Jersey upbringing, plus the non-Los Angeles backgrounds of Sarah Paulson, Sarah Jessica Parker, Amy Adams, Natalie Portman, Ruth Negga, Viola Davis, Dev Patel and Ryan Reynolds. She asked sarcastically, “Where are their birth certificates?”

Streep then noted that one “performance” stood out this year: that of Donald Trump when he publicly mockedThe New York Times‘ Serge Kovaleski, a disabled reporter. “There was nothing good about it, but it did its job,” she said. “It kind of broke my heart when I saw it, and I still can’t get it out my head because it wasn’t in a movie; it was in real life. That instinct to humiliate when it’s modeled by someone in a public platform, it filters down into everyone’s life because it gives permission for others to do the same.”

Disrespect invites disrespect, violence incites violence,” she continued. “When the powerful use their position to bully others, we all lose.”

After stressing the importance for the press to stand up to Trump — “We need the principled press to hold power to account, to call them on the carpet for every outrage … We’re going to need them going forward and they’re going to need us to safeguard the truth,” she said of journalists — Streep concluded her speech by quoting Carrie Fisher: “As my friend, the dear departed Princess Leia, said to me once, ‘Take your broken heart, make it into art.’ “

Adam Zyglis / Buffalo News

Adam Zyglis / Buffalo News

White House Mommy has taken to the air waves to once again whine “Leave him alone!  Leave Twitler alone!!!”  As for Twitler, Streep hit all the right little buttons.

Here’s an interesting bit of information on Margaret Wise Brown who wrote “Goodnight Moon”.

When she graduated from college, Brown worked at the Greenwich Village progressive Bank Street Cooperative School, which sought a more child-centric approach to teaching. Here, Brown discovered her gift for engaging children under the age of 5 with her prose. She contributed to the school’s textbooks and published stories under the school’s literary arm. Soon after she sold her first manuscript to a major publisher.

The ideas came quickly. “The Runaway Bunny,” for example, popped in Brown’s head while she was skiing — she wrote the whole story, start to finish, on her ski receipt. Perhaps because it all came so easily, she spent her money with an almost pathological frivolity. She bought the entire contents of a flower cart with her first advance check and sold full rights to a story to buy a gray fox coat.

Despite her growing success, she harbored a deep insecurity about her career and wished to write “real” literature.

“I hope to write something serious one day as soon as I have something to say. But I am stuck in my childhood, and that raises the devil when one wants to move on,” she said.

And like many of the great children’s authors (Roald Dahl and Maurice Sendak come to mind), she had a conflicted relationship with her young fans. She told a Life reporter in 1946, “I don’t especially like children . . . At least not as a group. I won’t let anybody get away with anything just because he’s little.”

Brown never married or had children and didn’t seem to bemoan that fact. In a letter to her college alumni newspaper in 1945, she wrote derisively: “How many children have you? I have 50 books.”

Politico has an indepth story on a man with much experience with Nuclear Arms threats.  Former Defense Secretary Bill Perry believes were more at risk today than ever before.

“I finally thought by the end of the ‘80s we lived through this horrible experience and it’s behind us,” Perry said. “When I was secretary, I fully believed it was behind us.”

After leaving the Pentagon, he accepted an assignment from Clinton to negotiate an end to North Korea’s nuclear development program—and seemed agonizingly close to a breakthrough as the last days of the president’s term expired.

Now, he sees his grandchildren inheriting a planet possibly more dangerous than it was during his public career. No one could doubt that the Sept. 11 terrorists would have gladly used nuclear bombs instead of airplanes if they had had them, and it seems only a matter of time until they try. Instead of a retreating threat in North Korea, that fanatical regime now possesses as many as eight nuclear bombs, and is just one member of a growing nuclear club. Far from a new partnership with Russia, Vladimir Putin has given old antagonisms a malevolent new face. American policymakers talk of spending up to $1 trillion to modernize the nuclear arsenal. And now comes Donald Trump with a long trail of statements effectively shrugging his shoulders about a world newly bristling with bombs and people with reasons to use them.

Jeffrey Frank asks  “WHAT IF A PRESIDENT LOSES CONTROL?” while writing for the New Yorker.cjh541wwuaapz8w

There’s no need to dwell on the particular character of Trump, who will be sworn in on January 20th. But it is worth examining what remedies exist if any President is too careless, inattentive, or impulsive to deal sensibly with questions affecting the nation’s survival. What could be done if a President behaves in a way that directly threatens to turn the planet into radioactive dust? And who could do it? Or, to rephrase that for a super-partisan era, who would be brave enough even to cross party lines, if taking that step were required to stop someone who, acting on a whim or in a tantrum, seemed ready to start a nuclear war? It might not take much to arrive in such a scenario; after all, it didn’t take much, recently, for Pakistan’s defense minister, reacting to a loony fake-news dispatch, to threaten nuclear retaliation against Israel.

The Constitution does provide certain remedies, foremost among them being impeachment, though that requires a high crime or misdemeanor, a House bill, a Senate trial. But there is another path, also complicated, and possibly impractical. President Obama, the other day, addressed some of the charming creakiness that the Founders left for their descendants, such as the compromise that gives equal senatorial representation to California, with thirty-eight million people, and to Wyoming, with little more than a half-million. That disproportionate inheritance is not likely to be changed, just as the Electoral College is unlikely to be changed—at least not any time soon; the Founders made it difficult to tamper with their extraordinarily durable, imperfect document.

But what if it were a matter of imminent peril, having to do with Presidential instability, or even insanity?

and on to the latest ethics “fracas” where the Republicans and T-Rump have decided that no one needs to be vetted.

We don’t need no stinking ethics!!

Donald Trump’s Cabinet parade marches to the Capitol this week, as Republican leaders are vowing to plow ahead with a slew of confirmation hearings despite a sharp warning from the government’s top ethics watchdog.

Nine of Trump’s Cabinet picks are slated to come before Senate committees for vetting at 10 hearings (Attorney general pick Jeff Sessions is expected to face questions over two days): two on Tuesday, five on Wednesday and three more on Thursday. But Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is encountering resistance not only from Democrats but the chief of the nonpartisan Office of Government Ethics, who said over the weekend that some of Trump’s nominees have yet to complete required financial disclosures and ethics documentation.

ows_146534117128259I’ve never been so disoriented before in my life. It feels like were living through a junta that just overthrew our democracy.  How can our institutions withstand this?  How can our planet withstand this?

China has just issued a threat to us.

“If Trump reneges on the one-China policy after taking office, the Chinese people will demand the government to take revenge. There is no room for bargaining,” said the Global Times.

Here’s a tidy summary of this week in Destroy US Democracy.

1. Trump fires all Ambassadors and Special Envoys, ordering them out by inauguration day.
2. House brings back the Holman rule allowing them to reduce an individual civil service, SES positions, or political appointee’s salary to $1, effectively firing them by amendment to any piece of legislation. We now know why they wanted names and positions of people in Energy and State.
3. Senate schedules 6 simultaneous hearings on cabinet nominees and triple-books those hearings with Trump’s first press conference in months and an ACA budget vote, effectively preventing any concentrated coverage or protest.


4. House GOP expressly forbids the Congressional Budget Office from reporting or tracking ANY costs related to the repeal of the ACA.


5. Trump continues to throw the intelligence community under the bus to protect Putin, despite the growing mountain of evidence that the Russians deliberately interfered in our election.


6. Trump breaks a central campaign promise to make Mexico pay for the wall by asking Congress (in other words, us, the taxpayers) to pay for it.


7. Trump threatens Toyota over a new plant that was never coming to the US nor will take jobs out of the US.


8. House passes the REINS act, giving them veto power over any rules enacted by any federal agency or department–for example, FDA or EPA bans a drug or pesticide, Congress can overrule based on lobbyists not science. Don’t like that endangered species designation, Congress kills it.

We’re so fucked.download-1

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?