This Administration and Republican Party has become an overwhelming… tRump-enema induced, massive blasted explosive shit…taken on American Democracy. Yesterday Boston Boomer wrote about the Ice Cube/Big3 Basketball connection that has shed light on the Qatar/Flynn bribery and money laundering scheme that was sparked by tweets from Michael Avenatti.
Maddow put it together last night:
I don’t know about you, but being a visual person…I found her explanation easier to follow. At least I was not lost in words that make me dizzy and disgusted.
Here is something else to get physically ill over:
Republican gubernatorial candidate in Oklahoma proposed euthanasia for people on food stamps who are too disabled to work.
In a Facebook post made by a page purporting to be for OK governor candidate Christopher Barnett, the administrator initially posted a poll about food stamp requirements — and then made comments claiming euthanasia is a solution to the “issue” of the poor and disabled.
“Most receiving food stamps work, or are disabled,” a user commented on the poll post. “Some are elderly.”
“The ones who are disabled and can’t work…why are we required to keep them?” the Chrisforgov account responded. “Sorry but euthanasia is cheaper and doesn’t make everyone a slave to the Government [sic].”
Defending his now-deleted comments, the account admin mused as to why American taxpayers should “have to keep up people who cannot contribute to society any longer?”
“Obviously, I’m not saying the Government [sic] should put these people down,” the Chrisforgov account wrote, contradicting its earlier statement. “I’m just saying that we shouldn’t keep them up.”
“If they can take care of themselves without Government assistance, great,” the comment continued. “If not, let them starve and die. Easy as that.”
Though the comments have since been deleted, the account admin wrote that they “stand by” the remarks in the poll thread, and later that day wrote that the interaction had been “fun.”
Screen shots at the link.
Fox News has settled several lawsuits according to The Hollywood Reporter:
For the past couple of years, 21st Century Fox has been haunted by hostile workplace and gender and racial discrimination claims in the wake of reports alleging misbehavior by former Fox News chairman Roger Ailes. The company has now reached a major settlement that could resolve nearly all — if not all — pending lawsuits on this front. Fox’s potential settlement is a bit unusual because the deal was negotiated with Douglas Wigdor, an attorney who represents plaintiffs across many different lawsuits. Not all of his clients were ready to drop their claims.
Among Wigdor’s cases against Fox is a discrimination suit in federal court from local TV reporter Lidia Curanaj, who accuses the company of fostering a “misogynistic culture” and alleges that she didn’t get a job at Fox News when she wouldn’t submit sexually to Ailes. The attorney is also representing more than a dozen women in New York state court on claims that Fox fosters a hostile environment for dark-skinned employees. In addition, there’s a lawsuit by political pundit Scottie Hughes, who says she was raped by a Fox Business host and that the company retaliated against her for complaining by blacklisting her.
There’s more, including a defamation suit by Rod Wheeler, who investigated the death of former DNC staffer Seth Rich, plus retaliation and discrimination claims from Fox News radio correspondents Jessica Golloher and Kathleen Lee.
But that could all be coming to an end.
Fox has reached a deal with Wigdor’s firm, which would technically be 19 individual settlements; the deal was signed today. But the overall financial package, arrived after the parties engaged in extensive mediation, is said to be far less than the $60 million that Wigdor reportedly demanded and Fox rejected last summer. Not all plaintiffs got money. One received nothing while others received little, but others received substantial compensation including contract buyouts. A source with knowledge of the agreement said it’s approximately 20 cases for closer to $10 million.
It seems to me that Fox News would have to deal with fines when it comes to discrimination lawsuits…I don’t know.
Tom Wolfe died on Monday:
Tom Wolfe died yesterday at age eighty-eight. Between 1965 and 1981, the dapper white-suited father of New Journalism chronicled, in pyrotechnic prose, everything from Ken Kesey’s Merry Pranksters to the first American astronauts. And then, having revolutionized journalism with his kaleidoscopic yet rigorous reportage, he decided it was time to write novels. As he said in his Art of Fiction interview, “Practically everyone my age who wanted to write somehow got the impression in college that there was only one thing to write, which was a novel and that if you went into journalism, this was only a cup of coffee on the road to the final triumph. At some point you would move into a shack—it was always a shack for some reason—and write a novel. This would be your real métier.”
The bursts of asterisks, the scattering of exclamation points and ellipses, the syncopated distribution of repeated phrases and capitalized words — one could spot a Tom Wolfe sentence a room away. He seemed astonished by America, and he expressed that astonishment in sentences that zinged up and out like bottle rockets.
Wolfe, who died on Monday at 88, was a breaker of journalistic conventions at a time when American society was breaking many of its own, and his was a style other writers liked to imitate and parody. Kurt Vonnegut, in his review of “The Kandy-Kolored Tangerine-Flake Streamline Baby” (1965), Wolfe’s first book, wrote: “Holy animals! Sebaceous sleepers! Oxymorons and serpentae carminael! Tabescent! Infarcted! Stretchpants netherworld! Schlock!”
Vonnegut was on more solid ground when he considered whether the young Wolfe more resembled Mark Twain or an extra member of the Beatles. With his trademark white linen suits and two-tone shoes, Wolfe did later seem like a dandified figure from the cover of “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.”
Those are two of the most interesting Obits I could find.
On with the fucking cartoons:
This is an open thread.
Hey, I don’t usually like or retweet David Corn…but those two tweets above made me laugh out loud.
Going straight to cartoons, since I’m writing this outside in a very dark and dangerous state park that is surrounded by national forest.
Please note that many of those cartoons are from the foreign press.
This is an open thread.
Good Afternoon Sky Dancers!
The world is a dangerous place and international relations are challenging to even the most skilled world leaders. Then, there is Kremlin Caligula. Tweeting all things ‘unhelpful’ at all times. This time it was about a terrorist attack in London.
An “improvised explosive device” was detonated on a Tube train in south-west London during Friday’s morning rush hour, injuring 29 people.
The blast, at Parsons Green station on a District Line train from Wimbledon, is being treated as terrorism.
So-called Islamic State says it carried out the attack, which Prime Minister Theresa May condemned as “cowardly”.,
A hunt is under way for the person who placed the device and the area around the station has been evacuated.
Speciralist officers there securing the remains 0f the improvised device and ensuring it is stable.
Trump never offers condolences or the proverbial thoughts and prayers. Instead, he tweets verbal bombs.
U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May on Friday said speculation about those behind the terror attack at London’s Parsons Green subway station was unhelpful, a clear reference to a tweet by U.S. President Donald Trump.
“I never think it is helpful for anyone to speculate on what is an ongoing investigation,” May told the BBC, without naming Trump. “The police and security services are working to discover the full circumstances of this cowardly attack and to identify all those responsible.”
Earlier Friday, Trump implied authorities were monitoring those responsible for setting off explosives.
“Another attack in London by a loser terrorist. These are sick and demented people who were in the sights of Scotland Yard. Must be proactive!” Trump tweeted.
He added in a second tweet that “loser terrorists must be dealt with in a much tougher manner. The internet is their main recruitment tool which we must cut off & use better!”
The explosion in southwest London, which authorities are calling a “terrorist incident,” left 29 people wounded. None of the injuries are thought to be life-threatening. Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley told reporters that most of the injuries appeared to be flash burns.
Rowley said police believe the explosion, at about 8:20 a.m. local time, was caused by an improvised explosive device.
Pictures of the alleged explosive device — a white bucket inside a plastic bag in an underground train carriage — circulated on social media but the blast did not seem to have caused major damage, according to the BBC.
“Londoners particularly can expect to see an enhanced police presence, particularly across the transport system across the day,” Rowley said
Meanwhile, North Korea has fired another ballistic missile over Japan. This came after a flurry of threats from its rogue leader that sounded like a big ol’ return fire to Trump. Thursday saw NK threaten to “sink Japan and turn America to ashes” which sounds similar to “fire and fury” to me.
North Korea has fired a ballistic missile across Japan, creating new tension in the region after its nuclear bomb test less than two weeks ago.
The missile reached an altitude of about 770km (478 miles), travelling 3,700km before landing in the sea off Hokkaido, South Korea’s military says.
It flew higher and further than one fired over Japan late last month.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said his country would “never tolerate” such “dangerous provocative action”.
South Korea responded within minutes by firing two ballistic missiles into the sea in a simulated strike on the North.
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson also condemned the launch and the UN Security Council will meet later on Friday in New York at the request of the United States and Japan.
Guess who did have substantive comments on North Korea?
Hillary Clinton may have lost the 2016 presidential election, but MSNBC host Rachel Maddow declared she “is not a retired politician” after an hour long interview with her Thursday.
Her assessment was echoed by many on Twitter as well, with many users agreeing with Clinton’s take on last year’s election, the Donald Trump presidency and current political situation around issues such as the Russia Investigation, North Korea, and DACA.
The interview with Maddow was a part of a book tour for Clinton’s “What Happened,” which follows her journey during the 2016 election.
Speaking about the situation in North Korea, Clinton said it was important for the country to work with allies like South Korea, which she thought the Trump administration was alienating; she also said Trump was failing to braing in experts to deal with the situation.
“We have decimated our state department. I don’t believe that people who have decades of experience with North Korean diplomacy are being brought to the table, even though they should be,” she said.
Speaking on the contentious Russian meddling in the presidential election, she summed up what Trump aspired toward. “I do believe Trump admires authoritarians. He doesn’t just like Putin, he wants to be like Putin. He wants to have that kind of power that is largely unaccountable,” she said.
Following Clinton’s interview, many users on Twitter commented how different the country would have been if Clinton had been elected the president of the U.S.
A Twitter user by the name Joy Reid was quick to draw comparisons between Trump and Clinton. “Excellent @HillaryClinton interview by #Maddow, and what a reminder of the contrast between the president we have and the one we could have,” she tweeted.
Bob Cesca from the Stephanie Miller Show called Clinton an exceptional woman. “Watching HRC on @Maddow and growing furious (again) at whoever first said presidents should be like us. They should be exceptional like her,” he tweeted.
There were many other tweets which hailed Clinton’s clear headedness and articulateness, with many users asserting she should have been the president of the U.S. instead of Trump.
There is no joy in MAGAville today. “‘You will never make America great again!‘: Watch angry Trump fans burn their MAGA hats over DACA deal.”
Supporters of President Donald Trump are still furious about his decision to work with Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) on helping to shield undocumented immigrants who were brought into the United States as children from being deported.Now some Trump fans have taken their displeasure a step further and have started setting their “Make America Great Again” hats on fire to protest Trump seemingly going soft on his signature campaign issue.
Angry Trump fan Luis Withrow posted a video of himself on Twitter angrily telling Trump that he will “never make America great again” if he didn’t “drain the swamp” in Washington, DC. He then set his MAGA hat ablaze.
Burn baby burn!
Last night was another reminder that we should have had a President Hillary! What’s on your reading and blogging list today?
The upcoming total eclipse is big news here in Georgia. I am sure it is making the rounds of top stories in states where folks will observe the complete and total event. In Banjoville they are closing the school:
Areas along the prime viewing path of the Aug. 21 complete solar eclipse are bracing for an influx of visitors and traffic.
In Nashville, the city’s school board has opted to close on the day of the eclipse. According to the Tennessean, more than 400 teachers and 100 bus drivers were scheduled to be off that day, with only a half-day possible for high schoolers and no pre-kindergarten. School officials cited other concerns in deciding to close, including heavy traffic.
Dubbed the “Great American Eclipse,” the main viewing path – or path of totality – for the complete solar eclipse spans from Oregon to South Carolina and includes portions of Tennessee. The Great Smoky Mountain National Park part of the viewing path and has several activities planned on that day.
My daughter works for the Georgia DNR, at Vogel State Park, and they are expecting to close the park because they will have reached full capacity within an hour after the park opens on Aug. 21st.
Concerns over traffic tie ups are growing as the eclipse nears. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, some 200 million people – a little less than 2/3 of the nation’s population – live within a day’s drive of the path of the total eclipse.
The traffic will not be the only effect this eclipse brings…5 surprising effects the total solar eclipse will have besides darkness
Subtle differences may be noticed in areas that only experience a partial solar eclipse, but much bigger changes will take place along the narrow path from Oregon to South Carolina that see a total eclipse of the sun.
1. 360-degree sunrise/sunset
While everyone’s attention will be focused on the sky, looking down can reveal another scene that not many have experienced.
Spectators that look at the horizon during totality will witness the colors of sunrise and sunset around them in every direction.
This 360-degree sunset effect is caused by the light from the sun in areas outside of the path of totality and only lasts as long as the face of the sun is covered by the moon.
2. Stars and planets
As the moon causes day to turn to night, the darkness will reveal the stars in the sky as well as a few planets.
People shouldn’t waste too much time looking for planets and constellations since many of these can be seen at night during different parts of the year. However, the eclipse will make it easy to spot Mercury, a planet that can be tricky to spot due to its close proximity to the sun.
I hope many of you get a chance to see these…Number 4 on the list has a historical record to match…
The celestial alignment will also reveal the sun’s corona, the area of hot gas the surrounds the sun.
A few lucky spectators may even be fortunate enough to see a meteor streak across the sky during the brief period of darkness.
3. Light pollution and city lights
Those watching the total solar eclipse from a city, parking lot or street corner may still see some light during the brief period of totality.
This light will not be from the sun, but rather streetlights that automatically turn on when it gets dark outside.
These automatic lights will not ruin the eclipse, but it may make it more difficult to spot planets and stars in the sky during totality.
4. Temperature change
Not only will an eclipse cause the environment to appear different, but also feel different.
“When sunlight fades at twilight, we always notice how things start to cool down. The same is true for the temporary dimming during a total solar eclipse,” NASA said.
Depending on factors such as the time of year, cloud cover and the length of totality, the air temperature can drop more than 20 degrees F.
During a solar eclipse in 1834, the air temperature in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania reportedly dropped by 28 degrees F.
Astronomers aren’t expecting the temperature to drop quite that much, but people may still feel the temperature drop by around 10 degrees F.
Here is a graph of the temperature change from a total eclipse in Zambia, 2001;Credit/Dr. Mitzi Adams NASA/MSFC:
The fifth thing you can see is something called Shadow Snakes. Now this one is a bit more tricky to witness, and does not always occur:
5. Shadow snakes
One of the rare phenomenon to look for during the total solar eclipse is something called shadow bands or shadow snakes.
“Shadow bands are thin, wavy lines of alternating light and dark that can be seen moving and undulating in parallel on plain-colored surfaces immediately before and after a total solar eclipse,” NASA said.
Some people also call these shadow snakes since their wavy motion can look like snakes slithering on the ground.
The article says if you want to see them, it is best to put a piece of white poster board or sheet on the ground and keep a close eye on the lookout for them. There is a video of the Shadow Snakes at the link, so please go and take a look at that…it took me a few minutes to realize what I was watching, until I noticed the faded glimpse of shadows streaking across the white portion of the screen. Very faint and difficult to see. It is almost like looking at those popular 3-d posters from back in the day…you would have to stare into them a long time and then pow…you saw it.
I have been actively avoiding the news the past week and a half. First because my aunt and family were in town, then it became a natural defense mechanism. The few times I did come out to see what was going on, stories of nuclear catastrophe caught my attention:
President Trump threatened on Tuesday to unleash “fire and fury” against North Korea if it endangered the United States, as tensions with the isolated and impoverished nuclear-armed state escalated into perhaps the most serious foreign policy challenge yet of his administration.
In chilling language that evoked the horror of a nuclear exchange, Mr. Trump sought to deter North Korea from any actions that would put Americans at risk. But it was not clear what specifically would cross his line. Administration officials have said that a pre-emptive military strike, while a last resort, is among the options they have made available to the president.
“North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States,” Mr. Trump told reporters at his golf club in Bedminster, N.J., where he is spending much of the month on a working vacation. “They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen.”
What the fuck? It made me welcome this bloody story out of Australia:
If you can’t see that video from Time magazine…here’s two articles for ya…
It’s not shark jaws you have to be worried about, but microscopic pincers.
If you’re terrified of the ocean because of sharks, you should reconsider—the real thing you need to be afraid of is invisible.
As reported by Australian news outlet The Age, 16-year-old Sam Kanizay decided to cool off after a difficult football practice on Saturday night by taking a dip in the water at the Dendy Street Beach in southeastern Australia. When he came out, his legs were dripping with blood.
Sam Kanizay’s father, Jarrod Kanizay, told Australian news outletnews.com.au that his son didn’t know he was bleeding until he stepped out of the water.
“He went back to his shoes and what he found was blood on his legs. As soon as we wiped them down, they kept bleeding,” he said. “There was a massive pool of blood on the floor [at the hospital].”
But the culprit wasn’t sharks, stingrays, or any of the usual suspects in marine attacks on humans.
Experts left stunned by possible sea lice bites after Sam Kanizay emerged from the beach at Brighton with severe bleeding
University of New South Wales marine invertebrates expert, Alistair Poore, said he had never seen a case like it.
Poore told Guardian Australia the biting must have been caused by a marine invertebrate, most likely sea lice. But he said a large number of sea lice would be needed to cause such extensive bleeding.
“If it is sea lice, then it is a pretty dramatic example of it,” Poore said.
He said often beachgoers mistook stinging from the remnants of jellyfish tentacles with bites. But Poore said the bleeding in this case appeared too severe for that scenario.
The next night, Kanizay went back to the beach with a pool net full of meat and captured the creatures he said were responsible.
“What is really clear is these little things really love meat,” he said of a video showing the bugs in a tray of water devouring chunks of meat.
Now that is some scary shit.
Forget all about Marabunta…
Now for some cartoons.
This is an open thread….
How goes it?
This latest “armada” shitbacle seems like a scripted backstory for Veep.
Yeah, it was going the other way…
Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told reporters on April 11 that the Carl Vinson was “on her way up there.” Asked about the deployment in an interview with Fox Business Network that aired April 12, President Trump said: “We are sending an armada, very powerful.”
U.S. media went into overdrive, and Fox reported on April 14 that the armada was “steaming” toward North Korea.
But pictures posted by the U.S. Navy suggest that’s not quite the case — or at least not yet.
A photograph released by the Navy showed the aircraft carrier sailing through the calm waters of Sunda Strait between the Indonesian islands of Sumatra and Java on Saturday, April 15. By later in the day, it was in the Indian Ocean, according to Navy photographs.
In other words, on the same day that the world nervously watched North Korea stage a massive military parade to celebrate the birthday of the nation’s founder, Kim Il Sung, and the press speculated about a preemptive U.S. strike, the U.S. Navy put the Carl Vinson, together with its escort of two guided-missile destroyers and a cruiser, more than 3,000 miles southwest of the Korean Peninsula — and more than 500 miles southeast of Singapore.
Instead of steaming toward the Korea Peninsula, the carrier strike group was actually headed in the opposite direction to take part in “scheduled exercises with Australian forces in the Indian Ocean,” according to Defense News, which first reported the story.
Here is the NYTs article:
Yet I wonder, if that was the real situation…what about this news from earlier in the week?
I really hate that fucker tRump.
But hey…even if it was all just play-acting…and the “armada” was too far away to actually do anything if the North Koreans did start a nuclear catastrophe, the swinging dicks had their fun.
As you can see, that “gentleman” had his own version of make-believe too:
North Korea marked the birthday of its founder on Sunday with a massive celebration featuring military musicians and singers performing beneath images that included a simulated missile attack on the United States.
Footage from North Korean state-run TV showed leader Kim Jong Un in attendance at the celebration of the 105th birthday of his grandfather, Kim Il Sung, who died in 1994.
About 1 hour and 13 minutes in, video screens in the concert hall highlighted various North Korean weapons, including missiles being launched. Eventually, the footage changed to computer graphics showing several missiles destroying a city.
The city wasn’t named, but one of the images featured a tattered American flag over a cemetery, with the entire scene engulfed in flames
Video at the link.
Now more cartoons, cause I can’t take this shit anymore.
News on Twitter:
This last one is for the medievalist in the group…
This is an open thread…
Boston Boomer is under the weather today, so I’m bringing you the round up for the day.
First up I have to start this thread with a little tongue in cheek;
Okay, now let’s get serious.
Why do I get the feeling the passengers that were “randomly” chosen for United to “reaccommodate” perhaps had a little more than a random pick behind it?
People are rallying around the passenger who was forcibly removed from a United Airlines flight on Sunday, in response to what many see as attempts to vilify a victim.
On Tuesday, the Louisville Courier-Journal published an article reporting that the passenger, David Dao, “has a troubled history in Kentucky.” The article cites past drug-related felonies in the early 2000s, noting that the Kentucky Board of Medical Licensure allowed Dao to resume practicing medicine in 2015.
Soon after the article published, many people took to social media to criticize the Courier-Journal for seemingly attempting to justify an incident in which Dao was dragged from United Express Flight 3411 by law enforcement officers. Dao suffered injuries to his face, and was taken to a local hospital for treatment.
None of this man’s past has anything to do with the atrocious treatment he received…but I would not put it past the company to have orchestrated the chosen 4 for just this possible situation. I bet that is part of the protocol. Pick people that can be exploited negatively in the press if you need to…
More tweets of anger at CJ and support of David Dao at that link.
Onward to the shooting and murder of two people at a California primary school.
I mentioned in a comment last week that my dad is part of this survival group, and that there was a rumor going on about the strike force heading to the Korean Peninsula…well, last night he told me the new rumor is that China is dealing with a huge number of refugees from North Korea flooding into the country because of the fear that tRump is going to blow Kim Jong Un off the planet.
I don’t know, the shit is hitting the fan.
I had to do it…
But here are some news links about all that shit.
As for the Syria and Putin and Assad shit. (The word shit has become my go to expression for everything lately, you can take a look at some of these updates.
It is all so disturbing.
Thursday evening, Trump attacked Syria, a sovereign country, with 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles. This act of war was done without Congressional authorization, even after Trump’s August, 2013, tweet that “Obama needs Congressional approval” before attacking Syria in nearly-identical circumstances.
The following morning, headlines like this one appeared in the business press: Raytheon, maker of Tomahawk missiles, leads premarket rally in defense stocks:
Defense and energy stocks dominated the list of premarket gainers on the S&P 500 Friday, led by Tomahawk missile-maker Raytheon Corp., after U.S. missile strikes against a Syrian air base overnight.
Donald Trump apparently owns Raytheon stock. In May, 2016, Trump reported to the Federal Elections Commission (FEC) that he owned Raytheon stock. Interestingly, this FEC report does not appear to include the extensive web of offshore anonymous shell corporations Trump uses to mask assets.
Since that filing Trump’s assets have not been sold with the proceeds placed into a “blind trust,” and there is no public record of his having otherwise sold the stock. Not only that, but Trump is able to draw cash from his “trust” at any time. He could literally have pocketed cash from his gains from attacking Syria.
Read the rest at the link.
But tRump is not only profiting on the attack in Syria. He is making money on his time off, away from, the White House:
Again, I can’t believe that nothing has been done to move forward with impeachment.
The Sessions’ Justice Department had tried to stop the ruling.
Margaret Atwood—author of The Handmaid’s Tale and dozens of other novels, short-story collections, children’s books, works of poetry and criticism, and the new comic-book series Angel Catbird—is the subject of a lengthy and insightful profile in The New Yorker. She speaks briefly on Donald Trump’s presidency, telling New Yorker writer Rebecca Mead, “If the election of Donald Trump were fiction… it would be too implausible to satisfy readers.” It’s an insightful viewpoint from the writer of speculative fiction (her preferred term over “science fiction”), who’s penned arguably the most influential speculation through the lens of patriarchy. Atwood goes on to say:
Fiction has to be something that people would actually believe. If you had published it last June, everybody would have said, “That is never going to happen.”
This study looks like an interesting read….
Why did the Arab spring fail? Despite a number of revolutions in the Arab world, in the end only Tunisia emerged as a functioning democracy. Results from an interdisciplinary research project at the University of Gothenburg indicate that the problem might be traced partially to the lack of women’s civil rights in the region.
A new study published in the European Journal of Political Research discusses the importance of women’s rights for countries to become democratic. The researchers used a dataset developed by V-Dem, a research institution cohosted by the University of Gothenburg (Sweden) and the University of Notre Dame (USA). The dataset includes the state of democracy in 177 countries over the years 1900 to 2012.
The study demonstrates that countries do not become fully democratic without political and social rights for women. This is particularly true for the Arab Spring countries, where the failure to foster women’s rights compromised any attempt at democratic governance in the area.
According to Professor Staffan Lindberg, director of the V-Dem Institute, the result is important because it shows that democratic development is not gender blind: societies transitioning from authoritarian regimes strongly need women in order to develop functioning democratic governments.
This next link is for Dak, another grave for you.
The desert bloom from space….is something to see.
And I will end it on that note.
This is an open thread. I hope BB starts to feel better, and that y’all have a good afternoon.
It’s hard to know where to get started on the utterly boorish behavior of our of so-called President over the weekend. It’s only topped by his utter cluelessness when it comes to the decorum of the world stage. Our country makes Banana Republics look perfectly democratic and functional at the moment.
All I can say, is get ready, there’s bound to be some war or major attack coming down the pipe. What’s worse is that our allies and our own national intelligence assets are unlikely to share that information with our So-Called President because the assumption is that the current White House shares everything with the Kremlin. The breaches of security protocol are just unbelievable.
Today’s photos are of Saturday Night’s Krewe de Vieux Parade coming out of my neighborhood and heading into the French Quarter and downtown. It’s a political satire parade and you can see where it went this year. You can enjoy the fun while I write about extremely scary things.
BB sent me this extremely important article written by John R Schindler for The Observer. Among the horrifying conclusions is this: “Intelligence Community pushes back against a White House it considers leaky, untruthful and penetrated by the Kremlin.”
In light of this, and out of worries about the White House’s ability to keep secrets, some of our spy agencies have begun withholding intelligence from the Oval Office. Why risk your most sensitive information if the president may ignore it anyway? A senior National Security Agency official explained that NSA was systematically holding back some of the “good stuff” from the White House, in an unprecedented move. For decades, NSA has prepared special reports for the president’s eyes only, containing enormously sensitive intelligence. In the last three weeks, however, NSA has ceased doing this, fearing Trump and his staff cannot keep their best SIGINT secrets.
Since NSA provides something like 80 percent of the actionable intelligence in our government, what’s being kept from the White House may be very significant indeed. However, such concerns are widely shared across the IC, and NSA doesn’t appear to be the only agency withholding intelligence from the administration out of security fears.
What’s going on was explained lucidly by a senior Pentagon intelligence official, who stated that “since January 20, we’ve assumed that the Kremlin has ears inside the SITROOM,” meaning the White House Situation Room, the 5,500 square-foot conference room in the West Wing where the president and his top staffers get intelligence briefings. “There’s not much the Russians don’t know at this point,” the official added in wry frustration.
So, it’s hard to know where to start other than our foreign policy has turned into a complete dumpsterfire. Instead of the usual State Dinner at the White House with celebrities, cultural and intellectual folks, political leaders, artists and musicians, and just basically the cream of the US crop, Japanese Prime Minister Abe got treated to a tacky weekend in Florida. The Taxpayers undoubtedly footed the bill and wrote a huge check to that tacky “resort” owned by the Uber Tacky So-called President. I’m pretty sure the Prime Minister wasn’t expecting he’d become a wedding crasher but I’m also pretty sure that every one knows that anything classy, dignified, and in keeping with decorum is off the table these days.
Then there was a phone call about North Korea taken on his cell phone in the middle of the public dining room.
What was happening — as first reported by CNN — was an extraordinary moment, as Trump and Abe turned their dinner table into an open-air situation room. Aides and translators surrounded the two leaders as other diners chatted and gawked around them, with staffers using the flashlights on their cellphones to illuminate documents on the darkened outdoor terrace.
The scene of their discussion, Trump’s club, has been called “The Winter White House” by the president’s aides. But it is very different than the actual White House, where security is tight and people coming in are heavily screened. Trump’s club, by contrast, has hundreds of paying members who come and go, and it can be rented out for huge galas and other events open to non-members. On the night of the North Korea launch, for instance, there was a wedding reception underway: CNN reported that Trump dropped by, with Abe in tow.
As a Mar-a-Lago member, DeAgazio already had remarkable access to a president that day. He had earlier snapped pictures of Trump and Abe golfing and of the president and White House strategist Stephen K. Bannon schmoozing guests.
Now, as a national-security crisis broke out in front of him, DeAgazio continued snapping pictures — and posting them on Facebook.
“The President receiving the news about the Missile incident from North Korea on Japan with the Prime Minister sitting next to him,” DeAgazio wrote as the caption for a photo he posted on Facebook at 9:07 p.m. Eastern time on Saturday.
Later, he posted other photos of Trump and Abe’s discussion, including some that seemed to have been taken from just a few feet away. Those photos have now been seen around the world, providing photographic proof of this unusual moment.
This description came from Richard “DeAgazio — a retired investor who joined Mar-a-Lago three months ago … ” as described by David Farenholdt.
But DeAgazio, for one, said he was impressed that Trump had not gotten up from the table immediately, to seek a more private (and better-lit) place for his discussion with Abe.
“He chooses to be out on the terrace, with the members. It just shows that he’s a man of the people,” DeAgazio said.
Membership at the Mar-a-Lago Club now requires a $200,000 initiation fee — a fee that increased by $100,000 after Trump was elected.
DeAgazio also posted photos of himself with a man that he identified as the military member who carries the “football” that would allow Trump to launch a nuclear attack. In that Facebook post, DeAgazio described how “the football” functions, but said that the military member did not divulge that information to him.
“I looked it up” on Wikipedia, DeAgazio said. “He didn’t say anything to me.”
Yes. A real man of the people. That initiation fee is about what my entire house is worth.
Oh, and the wedding crashing part came after the let’s broadcast stuff about North Korea around Florida thing and an embarrassing presser.
On Saturday, as President Donald Trump was hosting Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at Trump’s private Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, news broke that North Korea had launched a ballistic missile into the Sea of Japan. CNN was the first to report last night that Trump was joined at the dinner table by his embattled national security adviser, Mike Flynn, and chief strategist Stephen Bannon. As Mar-a-Lago members dining separately looked on, they reviewed classified documents with Bannon and Flynn using their cell-phone lights so Trump could see what he was reading.
After that awkward exchange, Trump and Abe held a hastily assembled joint press conference where Trump made a statement that was shorter than his awkward handshake with Abe at the White House on Friday.
What did Trump do after that? Bunker down with his National Security Council? Spend the evening on the phone with his Defense Secretary James Mattis? No. CNN reported that Trump dropped by a wedding that happened to be taking place at Mar-a-Lago, took the mic, and spoke to the guests.
I’ve seen movie frat boys with a better sense of gravitas than our So-called President. So, first a guest gets a photo op with the nuclear football and then we get some twisted version of The Wedding Crashers. WTF? We’re going to owe Japan some big time apologies for insulting their PM. Phillip Bump points out the absolute hypocrisy on running intelligence security breaches by Clinton and then governing like the entire world can listen in to our highest secrets and he’s got no issue with it. Good Grief there must be Victory Dancing Putin over there in Moscow.
Earlier in the week, Trump had been criticized for leaving intelligence documents vulnerable to people without security clearance. Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) noticed that the president kept the key in a secured bag while hosting people in the Oval Office, which is a bit like leaving your house keys in your front door while you’re having a party in your backyard. There’s no indication that anyone saw anything confidential in this incident, but this, Heinrich suggested, was “Classified 101.”
Compared to holding a national security conversation over dinner in the public dining room at his private club, though, the lockbag incident pales.
It’s not clear that anyone heard particulars of the conversation, but other diners certainly noticed. Richard DeAgazio was in the room and posted photos of the moment to Facebook.
Shock and awe aside, there’s this:
Why is this important? Mobile phones have flashlights, yes — and cameras, microphones and Internet connectivity. When Edward Snowden was meeting with reporters in Hong Kong at the moment he was leaking the material he’d stolen from the NSA, he famously asked that they place their phones in the refrigerator — blocking any radio signals in the event that the visitors’ phones had been hacked. This was considered the most secure way of ensuring that the phones couldn’t be used as wiretaps, even more secure than removing the battery. Phones — especially phones with their flashes turned on for improved visibility — are portable television satellite trucks and, if compromised, can be used to get a great deal of information about what’s happening nearby, unless precautions are taken.
It’s just hard to know what to say about all!
President Trump’s national security adviser, Michael T. Flynn, had a pretty wretched week. The Post’s reporting revealed that Flynn, contrary to his and the White House’s earlier assertions, had discussed U.S. sanctions against Russia with Moscow’s ambassador in Washington prior to Trump’s inauguration. Flynn, according to intelligence sources, likely signaled that the question of sanctions would be revisited by a more friendly Trump administration.
So, I’m just left smh and rather speechless.
How do you explain this kind’ve behavior? I mean, if I had a relative that did this sort’ve thing I would surely get them committed! I wouldn’t freaking elect them President.
The fun news today is that the White House cannot find a comedian to do Nerd Prom and the entire things seems to be falling apart. It’s the press’ big party and damn ya’ll cry if you want to!!
In recent years, the dinner has become a star-studded event attracting A-list celebrities ranging from George Clooney to Helen Mirren to Lindsay Lohan, with politics mainly an afterthought.
This year, The New Yorker and Vanity Fair have canceled parties they traditionally host as part of the hoopla surrounding the dinner.
Also, many stars are avoiding the event this year and no “headliner” comedian has committed so far, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
– ‘Stick a fork in it’ –
Washington Post media columnist Margaret Sullivan said the glitzy party and related events around it no longer seem appropriate.
“Once merely embarrassing and ridiculous, the annual White House correspondents’ dinner is poised to tip over into journalistic self-abasement,” she wrote. “It’s time to stick a silver-plated fork in it.”
Slate correspondent Jacob Weisberg echoed those sentiments, saying in a tweet: “Please cancel the White House Correspondents’ Dinner. Unseemly spectacle, totally at odds with the press holding administration accountable.”
Well, Sky Dancers, have at it! I’m not sure I’m up to describing the many ways that all this is so very very very wrong.
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?