Attorney General Jeff Sessions is entertaining the idea of appointing a second special counsel to investigate a host of Republican concerns — including alleged wrongdoing by the Clinton Foundation and the controversial sale of a uranium company to Russia — and has directed senior federal prosecutors to explore at least some of the matters and report back to him and his top deputy, according to a letter obtained by The Washington Post.
The revelation came in a response by the Justice Department to an inquiry from House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), who in July and again in September called for Sessions to appoint a second special counsel to investigate concerns he had related to the 2016 election and its aftermath.
The list of matters he wanted probed was wide ranging but included the FBI’s handling of the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server while she was secretary of state, various dealings of the Clinton Foundation and several matters connected to the purchase of the Canadian mining company Uranium One by Russia’s nuclear energy agency. Goodlatte took particular aim at former FBI director James B. Comey, asking for the second special counsel to evaluate the leaks he directed about his conversations with President Trump, among other things.
In response, Assistant Attorney General Stephen E. Boyd wrote that Sessions had “directed senior federal prosecutors to evaluate certain issues raised in your letters,” and that those prosecutors would “report directly to the Attorney General and Deputy Attorney General, as appropriate, and will make recommendations as to whether any matters not currently under investigation should be opened, whether any matters currently under investigation require further resources, or whether any matters merit the appointment of a Special Counsel.”
I don’t know about you all, but I need a break from the news.
So today, we will have links from stories about science and history and other sorts of shit.
Starting with the images for the post…this week, TCM and Bonhams is holding another auction, one of them is centered around old vintage movie posters: Bonhams : TCM Presents … Vintage Movie Posters featuring the Ira Resnick Collection
The poster auction starts tomorrow, so be sure to check out the wonderful eye candy at that site. All the images below are items available to bid at the link above.
Okay, now lets get to the links:
Since we are starting off with a connection to film, and Hollywood, we have to cover the recent deaths and hospitalizations of a few popular cultural icons…
Ann Wedgeworth, a Tony Award-winning actress most widely known for roles on sitcoms Evening Shade and Three’s Company, died Thursday following a lengthy illness at a New York area nursing home, her family has announced. She was 83.
Wedgeworth, who won a National Society of Film Critics Award for her tough but poignant performance in 1985’s Sweet Dreams – she played the mother of Jessica Lange’s Patsy Cline – won the 1978 Tony Award for best featured actress in a play for Neil Simon’s Chapter Two.
Born in Abilene, Texas, Wedgeworth moved to New York City in the late 1950s and soon joined The Actors Studio. She debuted on Broadway in 1958’s Make a Million, and went on to take roles is such stage productions as Period of Adjustment and Blues for Mister Charlie. She appeared in A Lie of the Mind, Sam Shepard’s off-Broadway play, in 1985. Her costar in the production, Geraldine Page, had married Wedgeworth’s ex-husband, actor Rip Torn.
Wedgeworth’s other credits include Scarecrow, Bang the Drum Slowly, Thieves, Steel Magnolias, Hard Promises, Love and a .45, and 1977’s Handle with Care, for which she won her first National Society of Film Critics Award.
Former Partridge Family star David Cassidy is reportedly clinging to the last moments of his life in a Florida hospital.
Per TMZ, Cassidy’s condition is currently listed as “critical” as he suffers from organ and kidney failure, and “unless he gets a liver transplant soon he could soon die.” He’s also been in and out of a consciousness from an induced coma since earlier this week, with his family and friends beginning to arrive at the hospital to pay their final respects. Earlier this year, the 66-year-old Cassidy revealed he’d been battling dementia for many years, which prompted him to stop performing live. “I was in denial, but a part of me always knew this was coming,” he said at the time. “I want to focus on what I am, who I am, and how I’ve been without any distractions. I want to love. I want to enjoy life.”
The rock world mourned today as Malcolm Young, co-founder and guitarist for AC/DC and writer on a miles-long list of soundtracks for TV and film, died at age 64. He had been suffering from dementia and was no longer touring with the Australian hard rock band.
The band announced his death on its web site.
“Today it is with deep heartfelt sadness that AC/DC has to announce the passing of Malcolm Young,” the statement read. “He leaves behind an enormous legacy that will live on forever. Malcolm, job well done.”
Young was the rhythm guitarist and co-writer on all of the band’s music, which became a TV and film soundtracks staple for its anthemic choruses. His music graced such TV shows as The Sopranos and ER, and also enhanced films like Iron Man and The Avengers.
Another statement from the band noted that he died surrounded by family.
“Renowned for his musical prowess, Malcolm was a songwriter, guitarist, performer, producer and visionary who inspired many,” the statement read. “From the outset, he knew what he wanted to achieve and, along with his younger brother, took to the world stage giving their all at every show. Nothing less would do for their fans.”
Brother Angus Young said Malcolm’s legacy “will live on forever,” noting that he was stubborn, but “he stuck to his guns and he did and said exactly what he wanted.”
(Damn, I was going to stick with non-newsy items, but while grabbing those links above this popped up at me: Harvey Weinstein Drew Up List For Investigators To Target: Report | Deadline The list was over 90 people btw…)
Connecting the Weinstein Effect to Film Criticism: How Does Film Criticism Climb Out From Underneath the Hollywood Scandals?
With Hollywood scandals making headlines in waves, how do we overcome our collective paralysis?
Yesterday afternoon, the staff of Birth.Movies.Death released a statement addressing their lack of coverage of Hollywood’s ongoing sexual abuse scandals. “That this ongoing tsunami of revelations came on the heels of our own troubled history has weighed heavily on us here at BMD,” the statement read, admitting that “responsibility and humility collided, and to be frank, we froze.” This statement also came on the heels of a statement by entertainment site Tracking Board, which recently underwent staff-wide sensitivity training when certain members of their staff made offensive comments about the cycle. While the effects of these statements depends on the perspective of the person reading them – one site that said too little, one site that said too much – it does speak to how poorly prepared many entertainment sites are to handle the seriousness of the moment. It feels overwhelming.
This post is written by a white male Hollywood writer. I think it does take a look at things from one perspective I have not thought about, and actually said to to myself…who gives a shit, another white man’s point of view. But, it does point to some good things:
Since the collapse of Cinefamily, it seems like the entertainment industry has been dominated by stories about sexual harassment and abuse, and it’s easy to rationalize yourself into circles as a writer about your part in all of this. How can you talk about comic book movies and award season buzz when people are putting themselves on the line to protect others? Shouldn’t I, as a white man, keep my mouth shut and my ears open to help amplify the voices of women in the industry? Or is it my responsibility to speak out in the hope that I might reach people disinclined to listen to anyone who doesn’t look like them? Or am I trying to make myself the victim by even acknowledging this conflict? When faced with these layers of doubt, it certainly seems like the prudent course of action to keep one’s voice out of the mix.
(Worth noting: no writer has better tackled these twisting concerns than The Cut’s Rebecca Traister, who captured each side of the argument – the good intentions of men and the road to hell that they may ultimately pave – in a piece titled “We Are All Implicated in the Post-Weinstein Reckoning.”)
All of this was difficult enough when the accused (Weinstein, James Toback) loomed large as cartoonish villains in Hollywood. In the past week, though, the entertainment industry’s wave of sexual harassment issues has enveloped people known just as much for their advocacy as for their talent. First it was George Takei – an outspoken advocate for both LGBTQ and Asian/Asian-American representation in film and television – who was accused of sexually assaulting a male model in 1981. Just yesterday, Transparent star Trace Lysette corroborated previous claims of misconduct levied against Jeffrey Tambor with her own on-set experiences; meanwhile, former comedian and current Minnesota senator Al Franken faced accusations of his own by radio host Leeann Tweeden. Each of these men had made a name for themselves as performers, but in recent years they had also taken on a special significance as outspoken allies against underrepresentation in the media. They were advocates. Now they’re just part of the problem.
Take a look at the rest of the piece…as more revelations come forward, these twisted feelings become more griping.
Roy Moore, that is a criminal act. Period. (Check this out: Roy Moore’s Systemic Danger to Our Democracy | History News Network)
Geez, we need Al Franken…what he did was during a script for a USO tour skit, right? It is not the same…right? Cough…Cough.
Fucking hell, Takei too?
Oh, and then Bill Clinton. ML…was consensual, but we already have been there and done that…
We all have admittedly said these things. Right?
We’ve been really excited about the upcoming Archie Comics ongoing title, Betty and Veronica: Vixens, in which Betty and Veronica are the leaders of the Vixens, the toughest motorcycle gang in Riverdale! In an exclusive essay for TMS, writer Jamie L. Rotante explains why this new comic is so important. Especially right now.
by Jamie Rotante
The premise of Betty & Veronica: Vixens is simple enough: the iconic duo hits the open road for wild adventures on their new toys as they lead an all-girl motorcycle gang. There’s leather, brass knuckles and an appropriate amount of ass-kicking. It’s what you’d get if you made the two BFFs the stars of a Russ Meyer film.
But it’s a lot more than that, too. It’s not just about motorcycles. It’s not just about a subversion of classic characters we’ve all come to know and love. Hell, it’s not even just about Betty and Veronica—there’s a larger story that spins out of it, one that extends past the comic page itself and bleeds into everyday life. It’s about women who have waited their turn for decades finally getting the chance to take charge. It’s about Betty, Veronica and a host of the other ladies of Archie Comics who have only ever been explored as passing characters. And it’s about these female characters coming together to rise above. It’s women helping women.
Video here on ice melt: How worried should we be about melting ice caps? – BBC News
The UN climate change conference in Bonn, designed to activate the Paris agreement about greenhouse gases in 2020 that President Trump pulled out of earlier this year, has come to an end.
BBC Science Editor David Shukman has looked into how worried we actually should be about melting polar caps.
You can blame a ‘medicane’ for this week’s deadly flooding in Greece.
Nope, a “medicane” is not a new type of health insurance. It’s a Mediterranean hurricane — such as the one currently developing in the Mediterranean Sea, where warming waters have produced a weather system with the characteristics of a subtropical cyclone.
Flash floods linked to moisture from the storm hit parts of Greece on Wednesday, killing 16 people and injuring dozens more. The storm is projected to skirt Sicily and head toward Greece this weekend, potentially inflicting more damage.
Medicanes are so uncommon that scientists have yet to establish a clear set of criteria for them. Weather systems like these are more typically found in the Caribbean, where warmer water temperatures feed tropical storms.
Now for some psychology science news:
When children become upset, showing negative emotions or behaviors, some parents become distressed, while others are able to talk their child through the difficult situation. Studies have shown that a mothers’ reaction — positive or negative — to her child’s negative emotions can predict whether her child develops the ability to effectively regulate his emotions and behavior. A new study explores potential predictors of mothers’ supportive or non-supportive behavior during emotional challenges.
A family studies researchers believed that if the attention restoration theory, which describes how interaction with natural environments can reduce mental fatigue and restore attention, worked for individuals it might also work for families to help facilitate more positive family interactions and family cohesion. They tested their theory by looking at sets of moms and daughters who were asked to take a walk together in nature and a walk in a mall.
In the fight against brain damage caused by stroke, researchers have turned to an unlikely source of inspiration: hibernating ground squirrels. While the animals’ brains experience dramatically reduced blood flow during hibernation, just like human patients after a certain type of stroke, the squirrels emerge from their extended naps suffering no ill effects. Now, scientists have identified a potential drug that could grant the same resilience to stroke patients.
The origins of social inequality might lie in the remnants of ancient Eurasia’s agricultural societies, according to an article recently published in the major science journal Nature.
The article, “Greater post-Neolithic wealth disparities in Eurasia than in North America and Mesopotamia,” includes research from Anna Prentiss, a professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Montana.
Prentiss and UM anthropology Professor Emeritus Tom Foor provided data from the archaeological sites at Bridge River, British Columbia, and Ozette, Washington.
As people became more agricultural and settled, the rich became richer as the ancient farmers who could afford oxen, cattle and other large animals increased their crop production. This provided significant opportunities for amassing and transmitting wealth, and the degree of household wealth-based inequality became much higher in Old World, Eurasian contexts, as measured by house size.
“High degrees of inequality did not contribute to long-term stability in ancient societies,” Prentiss said. “That is something that should concern us given the extraordinary high degree of inequality in our own society.”
And lets finish up with some history!
Earlier this month, we celebrated the 800th anniversary of the Forest Charter, Magna Carta’s little sibling. It inspired a new Tree Charter, with accompanying events ranging from bike rides to pole launches. Today, we commemorate the Statute of Marlborough. At 750 years old, issued on 19 November 1267, it’s one of the the oldest pieces of legislation in England still in force today.
The Statute of Marlborough almost didn’t make it to this day. Only four of its twenty-nine sections are still in force. In 2014, the Law Commission made plans to scrap it altogether. The surviving sections are now known as the Distress Act and the Waste Act. The Distress Act states that anyone seeking reimbursement for damages must do so through the courts, while the Waste Act ensures that the tenants do not lay waste, sell or ruin their lands and other resources without special permission.
The Bibliothèque nationale de France is a trove of hidden treasures, for, although researchers visit this unique library time and time again, its contents are seemingly endless. Manuscript Latin 9333 has a very special story. It apparently went missing in 1848 for unknown reasons, only to appear a hundred years later in 1948 for the first time in the hands of a researcher in the reading room. This researcher, none other than Otto Pächt, recognised its outstanding artistic worth and announced his find as a “rediscovery”. Another fifty years were to pass, however, before the particular appeal of this remarkable manuscript was once again remembered. Now, at last, a facsimile edition acknowledges the book’s true importance.
We now move on to the bakery where a woman next to the counter can be seen watching a young baker removing several large, round, white loaves from the oven (f. 61). The basket on the counter is already full and several more loaves lie on the table. Whereas the back door in the Italian image leads into a dark room, the German artist depicts it opening onto a magnificent landscape in the small inset with shapes of hills or perhaps mountains vaguely suggested in the distance, and a blue sky. One remarkable detail in this miniature is that, as we know, a bakery requires a chimney, hence the one on the roof.
A team of Frankfurt-based archaeologists has returned from the Iraqi-Kurdish province of Sulaymaniyah with new findings. The discovery of a loom from the 5th to 6th century AD in particular caused a stir.
The group of Near Eastern archaeology undergraduates and doctoral students headed by Prof. Dirk Wicke of the Institute of Archaeology at Goethe University were in Northern Iraq for a total of six weeks. It was the second excavation campaign undertaken by the Frankfurt archaeologist to the approximately three-hectare site of Gird-î Qalrakh on the Shahrizor plain, where ruins from the Sasanian and Neo-Assyrian period had previously been uncovered. The region is still largely unexplored and has only gradually opened up for archaeological research since the fall of Saddam Hussein.
The objective of the excavations on the top and slope sections of the settlement hill, some 26 meters high, was to provide as complete a sequence as possible for the region’s ceramic history. Understanding the progression in ceramics has long been a goal of research undertaken on the Shahrizor plain, a border plain of Mesopotamia with links to the ancient cultural regions of both Southern Iraq and Western Iran. These new insights will make it easier to categorise other archaeological finds chronologically. The excavation site is ideal for establishing the progression of ceramics, according to archaeology professor Dirk Wicke: “It is a small site but it features a relatively tall hill in which we have found a complete sequence of ceramic shards.
However, the archaeologists had not expected to find a Sasanian loom (ca. 4th-6th century AD), whose burnt remnants, and clay loom weights in particular, were found and documented in-situ. In addition to the charred remains, there were numerous seals, probably from rolls of fabric, which indicate
that large-scale textile production took place at the site. From the neo-Assyrian period (ca. 9th-7th century BC), by contrast, a solid, stone-built, terraced wall was discovered, which points to major construction work having taken place at the site. It is possible that the ancient settlement was refortified and continued to be used in the early 1st millennium BC.
That is a lot to digest…so catch y’all in the comments below!
Some more poster images:
Once again, there is so much news breaking that it’s difficult to decide what to focus on. So I’ll begin with what’s happening right now, and take it from there.
Right now Attorney General Jeff Sessions is testifying before the House Judiciary Committee. Guess what? He doesn’t remember the meeting where he is pictured with George Papadopoulos and at which Papadopoulos discussed setting up a meeting between Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin. That’s really strange, because just a short time ago, he claimed to remember objecting to the proposal.
Vanity Fair on Nov. 2: Sessions Suddenly Remembers Russia Conversation He Said Didn’t Happen.
Back in June, there was some cause for concern that Attorney General Jeff Sessions was having memory problems. When questioned from multiple angles during multiple appearances before Congressional investigators about the Trump campaign‘s relationship to Russia, Sessions‘s consistent refrain was: “I don’t recall.”
He gave an equally evasive response when Minnesota Senator Al Franken specifically asked whether surrogates from the Trump campaign had communicated with Russians during the 2016 election in October. “I did not, and I’m not aware of anyone else that did, and I don’t believe it happened,” Sessions told the Senate Intelligence Committee under oath. (He made similar statements to the Senate Judiciary Committee.)
Now, however, Sessions has reportedly changed his tune. Citing a source familiar with Sessions’s thinking, NBC News reported on Thursday that the attorney general—who served as a top Trump surrogate and headed the then-presidential hopeful’s national security team—does in fact recall rejecting George Papadopoulos’s offer to arrange a meeting between Trump and Putin, after the Republican candidate stopped short of ruling out the idea.
“The March 31 comments by this Papadopoulos person did not leave a lasting impression,” the source told NBC News. “As far as Sessions seemed to be concerned, when he shut down this idea of Papadopoulos engaging with Russia, that was the end of it and he moved the meeting along to other issues.” The source added that Papadopoulos was viewed by those in attendance “as someone who didn’t have a lot of credibility.”
The Washington Post, among other news outlets is reporting that Jeff Sessions is thinking about appointing a second special counsel to investigate Hillary Clinton.
In today’s hearing, Sessions said he can’t confirm or deny any investigation involving the DOJ. It’s important to note that during his confirmation hearing, Sessions pledged to recuse himself from any matters involving Hillary Clinton.
The New York Times has published some direct quotes from Sessions’ testimony this morning: Jeff Sessions Displays Unsteady Recall on Trump-Russia Matters.
Mr. Sessions denied that he lied in October when he testified that he knew of nobody in the Trump campaign who had contacts with Russians during the presidential campaign. “And I don’t believe it happened,” he said.
Court records later revealed that Mr. Sessions led a March 2016 meeting in which George Papadopoulos, a campaign aide, discussed his Russian ties and suggested setting up a meeting between Mr. Trump. and Vladimir V. Putin, the Russian president.
“I had no recollection of this meeting until I saw these news reports,” Mr. Sessions said.
Mr. Sessions testified Tuesday that was still hazy on the details about what Mr. Papadopoulos had proposed.
But on one matter, he said his memory is clear: he said he shot down Mr. Papadopoulos’ idea of a Trump-Putin meet-up. And he said he told Mr. Papadopoulos that he was not authorized to represent the campaign in such discussions.
To sum up: Mr. Sessions said he could not remember much about Russian influence on the Trump campaign, except when he could block such influence.
In other news, Don Jr. is in more trouble. You’ve probably read the article by Julia Ioffe in The Atlantic: The Secret Correspondence Between Donald Trump Jr. and WikiLeaks.
Just before the stroke of midnight on September 20, 2016, at the height of last year’s presidential election, the WikiLeaks Twitter account sent a private direct message to Donald Trump Jr., the Republican nominee’s oldest son and campaign surrogate. “A PAC run anti-Trump site putintrump.org is about to launch,” WikiLeaks wrote. “The PAC is a recycled pro-Iraq war PAC. We have guessed the password. It is ‘putintrump.’ See ‘About’ for who is behind it. Any comments?” (The site, which has since become a joint project with Mother Jones, was founded by Rob Glaser, a tech entrepreneur, and was funded by Progress for USA Political Action Committee.)
The next morning, about 12 hours later, Trump Jr. responded to WikiLeaks. “Off the record I don’t know who that is, but I’ll ask around,” he wrote on September 21, 2016. “Thanks.”
The messages, obtained by The Atlantic, were also turned over by Trump Jr.’s lawyers to congressional investigators. They are part of a long—and largely one-sided—correspondence between WikiLeaks and the president’s son that continued until at least July 2017.
Read the rest at the link if you haven’t already. Julian Assange, who controls the Wikileaks Twitter account has responded by claiming he was just “Trying to ‘Beguile’ Donald Trump Jr. Into Leaking.”
There’s another hearing going on simultaneously with the Sessions hearing on Trump’s ability to use nuclear weapons. Quartz: Watch live: Should Trump have control of US nuclear weapons?
Today (Nov. 14), expert witnesses will testify before senators on US national “authority and process” over its nuclear arsenal. The hearing follows a tense few months, in which North Korea has continued nuclear testing, and Donald Trump has responded with belligerent improvisational statements, threatening “fire and fury” and warning that a military response was “locked and loaded.”
Could the US president start a nuclear war with North Korea? That’s what the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing aims to figure out. The hearing will be broadcast on public-service network C-SPAN at 10am US Eastern Time. You can watch it online here.
There’s also the ongoing Roy Moore scandal. Some links to check out if you haven’t already:
CBS News: New accuser steps forward in Roy Moore case.
AL.com also posted an editorial yesterday: Our view: Roy Moore grossly unfit for office.
Roy Moore simply cannot be a U.S. Senator. Even if his party and many of its adherents still think it possible, it is unthinkable — for his state, and his country.
Last week, four women described Moore’s unseemly taste for dating high school girls when he was a single man in his 30s. Another described what can only be seen as a sexual assault on her when she was 14. In a radio interview last week, Moore himself suggested that he may have dated teenage women during his 30s, though he vehemently denied the claims made by these women.
Today, even as those women face disgusting attacks on their motives and credibility, a fifth brave Alabama woman stepped forward and described how when she was 16, Moore violently sexually assaulted her in his car. She said she felt it to be an attempted rape, and that it ended with her bruised from either falling from or being pushed from the car, with Moore warning her he was a powerful man and that no one would believe her if she told anyone.
The seriousness of these incidents cannot be overstated. They should not be parsed with talk of statutes of limitations or whether proof exists. Proof beyond a reasonable doubt is a consideration for the courtroom, not the ballot box. When choosing our representative before the rest of the world, character matters….
We believe these women.
As a news organization, we have independently investigated as many of these claims as possible and have found no reason to doubt the accounts outlined in the Washington Post. If anything, the stories we’ve heard in Etowah County have only further corroborated them.
In our view, Moore has already revealed himself as grossly unfit to be a U.S. Senator before these revelations.
At The New York Times, Michelle Goldberg suggests that past accusations against Bill Clinton should be reevaluated in the light of recent revelations about powerful men harassing and assaulting women: I Believe Juanita. The title is explosive, but Goldberg’s only reason for believing Juanita Broaddrick’s accusations is that they are similar to recent allegations against Harvey Weinstein.
Of the Clinton accusers, the one who haunts me is Broaddrick. The story she tells about Clinton recalls those we’ve heard about Weinstein. She claimed they had plans to meet in a hotel coffee shop, but at the last minute he asked to come up to her hotel room instead, where he raped her. Five witnesses said she confided in them about the assault right after it happened. It’s true that she denied the rape in an affidavit to Paula Jones’s lawyers, before changing her story when talking to federal investigators. But her explanation, that she didn’t want to go public but couldn’t lie to the F.B.I., makes sense. Put simply, I believe her.
What to do with that belief? Contemplating this history is excruciating in part because of the way it has been weaponized against Hillary Clinton. Broaddrick sees her as complicit, interpreting something Hillary once said to her at a political event — “I want you to know that we appreciate everything you do for Bill” — as a veiled threat instead of a rote greeting. This seems wildly unlikely; Broaddrick was decades away from going public, and most reporting about the Clinton marriage shows Bill going to great lengths to hide his betrayals. Nevertheless, one of the sick ironies of the 2016 campaign was that it was Hillary who had to pay the political price for Bill’s misdeeds, as they were trotted out to deflect attention from Trump’s well-documented transgressions.
And now they’re being trotted out again. It’s fair to conclude that because of Broaddrick’s allegations, Bill Clinton no longer has a place in decent society. But we should remember that it’s not simply partisan tribalism that led liberals to doubt her. Discerning what might be true in a blizzard of lies isn’t easy, and the people who spread those lies don’t get to claim the moral high ground. We should err on the side of believing women, but sometimes, that belief will be used against us.
To say that Bill Clinton “no longer has a place in decent society” is a bit much at this point, IMHO. I don’t know much about Broaddrick’s claims; but apparently these old accusations are going to be recycled. Will Jeff Sessions appoint another special prosecutor?
So much news happening–what will today bring? What stories are you following?
Good Morning Sky Dancers!
I have lived in the deep south for nearly 25 years and I still cannot figure out the strange mix of white grievance and supremacism, neoconfederate ideology and anti-theological christianity, and the overt racism and sexism that characterizes much of the exurbs and hinterlands here.
It was recently ignited by the election of a Black President whose character and attainment is beyond what most of these folks could achieve because they’d never even dream that big. It’s been stoked by the insistence we recognize members of the GLBT community as citizens with full rights. It’s been threatened by the diversity of others’ philosophies and religions and the idea that we quit glorifying the traitors of the past. It’s a movement that’s reactionary, angry, and resentful of shared progress. It seeks to hold tight to the idea that only certain people are deserving of upward mobility and any one else must’ve stolen it from the deserving folks. The more I see and read of it, the more I wonder if it will die off and when. I further wonder what we can do to rid public life of it.
I began rethinking this when I read a series of articles last night discussing why many White Evangelicals seem to have no compunction about voting for absolute moral reprobates. But, I’m going to start by providing this link to the Atlanta Journal Constitution. Much of what I’ve been reading has to do with polling the people that the media wants to portray as some how simple white working Joes with economic woes. These polls show something much more perverse. Here’s the headline: “Poll: In the old Confederacy the racial gap shows no sign of closing”.
Black Southerners and white Southerners are so profoundly split on central questions of equality and opportunity that the only thing they seem to share is geography, a new poll of the South suggests.
The Winthrop University poll of the 11 states of the Old Confederacy, released last week, finds some common ground between the races on certain issues. But 61 percent of white people in the survey believe that all Americans have an equal chance to succeed if they work equally hard. Only 33 percent of black people surveyed feel that way.
Likewise, 60 percent of black Southerners believe strongly that the legacy of slavery and discrimination continues to hold black people back. But only 19 percent of white Southerners share that strong conviction.
“I came from a modest background and built something because I stuck with it and took some risks,” says Lyza Sandgren, a white business owner in Suwanee. “That is available to everyone in this country. Does everyone have the same ability to succeed on the same level? Of course not. The only avenues that any of us have are education, hard work and the willingness to take a few risks. Nobody’s going to do it for us. On that level, I say that everyone in the United States has an equal chance to succeed.”
Sandgren said she finds the poll results unpersuasive.
“To anyone who in these polls says, whites think this, blacks think that: I don’t care. I listen to the person, not the race,” she said.
Courtney Spencer, an African-American resident of Paulding County, argues that the deck has been stacked against black people since the earliest days of colonial America.
“During slavery you have the slave owners, who actually created wealth off of the ones that they put into slavery,” said Spencer, who works in the pest control business in Hiram. “So, basically that wealth trickled down from generation to generation. But when black people finally got their freedom, they were already hundreds and hundreds of years behind. They’re having to play catch up, and it’s hard to play catch up because there are people who don’t want them to.”
The key to racial understanding? “I really think progress can only come from uncomfortable conversations,” Spencer said. “There are a lot of people, regardless of race, who don’t want to talk about race. They’d rather be silent about it and hope it will go away. But it never does.”
Fifty percent of White Southerners in the poll feel “under attack”. I do not understand how a group of people feel under attack just because the majority of us do not choose to live as they do and would like their worldview to be kept out of public institutions.
Nearly half of white Americans living in the South feel like they’re under attack, a new Winthrop University poll found.
Forty-six percent of white Southerners said they agree or strongly agree that white people are under attack in the U.S. More than three-fourths of black respondents said they believe racial minorities are under attack.
And 30 percent of all respondents in the poll agreed when asked if America needs to protect and preserve its white European heritage. More than half of respondents disagreed with the statement.
Forty percent of respondents said they believed that Confederate statues should remain as is, while nearly a quarter said a plaque should be added to contextualize the statue.
Twenty-seven percent of respondents said the statues should be moved to a museum. Nearly half of black respondents said the statues should be in museums, and a quarter said they should be completely removed.
Southerners overall said that racism is the most important issue facing the U.S., and black respondents were twice as likely to say it is the most important issue.
They’re so aggrieved that a huge swath of white Evangelicals–which is really a Southern fixture–would rather vote for corrupt reprobates as long as they get lip service to their brand of religion. They trust the untrustworthy over institutions that will not let them run amok over the rest of us.
Quick: do you think politicians can still do their jobs if they’ve screwed up in their personal lives?
Many Americans answer this question differently now than they would have five years ago. And for white evangelical Protestants, it’s especially likely their opinion has changed.
That’s what a new PRRI/Brookings poll says. In 2011, 30 percent of white evangelicals said that “an elected official who commits an immoral act in their personal life can still behave ethically and fulfill their duties in their public and professional life.” Now, 72 percent say so — a far bigger swing than other religious groups the poll studied.
It’s just one poll, but it does suggest a sizable shift in how Americans of several religious stripes think about the connection between morality and politics. White evangelicals also are less likely than they used to be to say that “strong religious beliefs” are “very important” in a presidential candidate. That share fell from 64 percent in 2011 to 49 percent this year.
White mainline Protestants and Catholics also grew more accepting of a candidate who has committed “immoral acts,” while religiously unaffiliated people barely changed. Those “unaffiliated” people in 2011 had been much more willing than the broader population to believe candidates who had committed “immoral acts” could do their jobs. Now, they are in line with Americans as a whole. (The published results did not include data on other groups.)
There is no way to know what caused these shifts. That said, it’s difficult to see this outside of the context of the 2016 election, and in particular what role Donald Trump — fending off allegations of sexual misconduct — plays in it.
Some white evangelical leaders (and other Christians) have decided to stand behind the Republican nominee even as other Christians strongly condemn him.
Evangelicals have always been an odd lot. You may recall the history of the likes of Aimee Semple McPherson. There have been movies like “Elmer Gantry” based on the 1926 novel by Sinclair Lewis. Try this plot description on for size and then think about all the icky pastors that continue to bring in the money and the converts. Gantry was played by Burt Lancaster who was simply brilliant in the role.
Elmer Gantry is a satirical novel written by Sinclair Lewis in 1926 that presents aspects of the religious activity of America in fundamentalist and evangelistic circles and the attitudes of the 1920s public toward it. The novel’s protagonist, the Reverend Dr. Elmer Gantry, is initially attracted by booze and easy money (though he eventually renounces tobacco and alcohol) and chasing women. After various forays into evangelism, he becomes a successful Methodist minister despite his hypocrisy and serial sexual indiscretions.
Here’s a list of “fallen pastors”. Ted Haggard is at the top. He’s probably got the honors because he turned out to be Gay which is far more unforgivable than preying on young girls or married women. Which leads to the question of the original article that I read yesterday. “Has Evangelical Christianity Become Sociopathic?” This has led me and many others to believe the word “more” should be inserted before the “Sociopathic”.
Evangelical speaker, author, and university professor, Tony Campolo, said Christianity was redefined in the mid-70s by positions of “pro-life” and opposing gay marriage. “Suddenly theology fell to the background,” he said. And somewhere in the middle of all the change, Evangelical Christianity crossed the line of faith and belief to hatred and abuse. Those who cruelly implement the actions of their faith are oblivious to the destruction they cause to their religion, or the people their beliefs impact. Is it fair to call it sociopathic?
Psychology Today listed sixteen characteristics of sociopathic behaviors, which include: Untruthfulness and insincerity, superficial charm and good intelligence, lack of remorse or shame, poor judgment and failure to learn by experience, pathologic egocentricity and incapacity for love, unresponsiveness in general interpersonal relations, specific loss of insight, and general poverty in major affective reactions (in other words, appropriate emotional responses).
We see examples of these kinds of behaviors in church leaders and followers. Franklin Graham, for example, stated that immigration was “not a Bible issue.” His stand fits well with his conservative politics and vocal support of Donald Trump, but his callousness toward immigrants and those seeking asylum in the United States goes against everything he says he believes (Lev. 19:33-34, Mark 12:30-31). Yet, Graham doesn’t see one bit of irony between his political stance and his religious belief. Nor does he seem to notice the horrific casualties in war-torn countries these immigrants are desperately trying to flee.
I never recognize the actual teachings and actions of the Jesus of the New Testament in any of these folks. Their pastors seem quite obsessed with power and wealth. They’re a natural fit with the Republican Party. David Atkins of Washington Monthly has some great analysis.
Yesterday I wrote that Roy Moore’s behavior was in keeping with hardcore conservative evangelical culture of sanctioned patriarchal sexual abuse. I have also stated that the release of the Access Hollywood tape almost certainly actually helped Trump with some evangelicals because, despite being a philandering adulterer, Trump established a more fundamental cultural rapport with their moral value system. I have similarly pointed that that the abuses of the Harvey Weinsteins of the world, far from being the product of liberal sexual revolution, are the product of patriarchy and capitalism, and that conservative religious orthodoxy tends to amplify rather than curtail the abuse.
These are admittedly controversial positions. But they’re also hard to refute after today’s polling shows that 37% of Alabama evangelicals are actually more likely to vote for Roy Moore after hearing the allegations against him, and 34 percent said it would make no difference:
Nearly 40 percent of Alabama evangelicals said in a new poll that they are more likely to vote for GOP Senate candidate Roy Moore following allegations of sexual misconduct against him.
A JMC analytics poll found that 37 percent of evangelicals surveyed said the allegations make them more likely to vote for the GOP Senate candidate in the upcoming election.
Just 28 percent said the allegations made them less likely to vote for Moore and 34 percent said the allegations made no difference in their decision.
These numbers cannot be attributed to pure political tribalism. It is quite simply a culture of abuse.
Moore is and has always been one of their own. His offenses against the law, his bigotries, his lack basic compassion are their own. And yes, his (alleged) active predation on teenage girls is part of it, too. It’s culturally expected. And if it went just a little too far, well, Moore is a man of God who has almost certainly been forgiven by the Lord, so all is well in the land of the Duggars and Duck Dynasty.
And it’s time that all of us started calling it exactly what it is: a culture of explicitly sanctioned sexual abuse.
We are looking at Tribalism and it’s very much a throwback from the Confederacy, the Jim Crow years, and the post-reconstruction rewrite of American’s sin of Slavery. This entire situation smacks of a deal with devils. Mitch McConnell may say he believes Moore’s accusers but then tax cuts for the Donor Class and appeasement of this angry base always goes straight to the top of the priority list. Of course, the Pussy Grabber thinks Moore as falsely accused. It would take a huge amount of self reflection for a confessed and unrepentant serial sexual assaulter to come to any other conclusion. We know Kremlin Caligula has no ability to do that.
Top White House officials have now made President Trump’s position on Roy Moore absolutely clear: Trump does not believe that the allegations that Moore initiated sexual contact with a 14-year-old — and pursued three other teenagers — should disqualify him from becoming a U.S. senator.
This is not how they presented their position, of course. On the Sunday shows, legislative director Marc Short and senior adviser Kellyanne Conway both expressed great shock and horror over the charges. But then each of them carefully carved out a position that appears designed to allow Moore to continue with his run for Senate largely unobstructed and, ultimately, to accept Moore as a senator if he wins, while letting the allegations fade away in a fog of he-said-she-said uncertainty.
On NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Short claimed “there’s a special place in hell” for such sexual predators and said that “no Senate seat” is “more important than the notion of child pedophilia.” But then Short said the White House would object to seating him as a senator only “if more evidence comes out that can prove that he did this,” while adding that this is “a huge if,” because “more facts” could still “come out.” Said Short: “We have to afford him the chance to defend himself.”
This is exactly the kind of leadership we expect now from Republicans. Take a look at this from our Authoritarian Curious Usurper: “Trump Bonds With Duterte Over Their Dislike of Obama, Avoids Human Rights”.
U.S. President Donald Trump bonded with Rodrigo Duterte over a common dislike for Barack Obama, whose criticism of the Philippine leader’s deadly war on drugs last year spurred a rift between the allies.
“The relationship appears to be very warm and very friendly,” Duterte spokesman Harry Roque told reporters after they met in Manila on Monday. “They’ve been very candid in their dealings, and it’s very apparent that both of them have a person who they consider as not their best friend. They have similar feelings toward former U.S. President Barack Obama.”
This is truly disturbing.
There’s a lot to be read and written about why Evangelicals support sexual predators like Judge Roy and the Pussy Grabber-in-Chief. None of them are easy to read or stomach. Issac J Bailey has this to say at Vice.
No one should be surprised if, after everything, Roy Moore still becomes the next US senator from Alabama.
In a Thursday Washington Post article, Moore, the Republican senatorial candidate in a December special election, was accused by a woman of initiating sexual contact with her when she was 14 and he was 32. This puts the Southern evangelical Christians who have supported Moore—who is so far to the right on social issues that he said in 2005 that “homosexual conduct” should be illegal—in a position to make a choice. This is a chance to draw the line and begin declaring, again, that their faith, their principles, matter more than blind partisanship.
I’m not so sure they will.
From what I’ve seen up close, these voters embarked on this path long before Donald Trump arrived on the scene. They have allowed politics to supersede what they’ve been telling themselves every Sunday. That’s why too many of them hated a Christian like Barack Obama, even though he had lived the kind of adult life evangelicals say all men should and whose policies helped push the abortion rate to its lowest level since Roe v. Wade. They then embraced Trump, who bragged about his adulterous ways, said he never asked God for forgiveness, then was caught on video bragging about casually sexually assaulting women.
I’ve lost friends for pointing this out—friends who are white evangelical Christians I spent nearly two decades praying with in the same church pews. They despise me for daring to bring up this inconsistency between how they talk about their faith and how they live it in the political sphere. That’s why I’m not convinced that even the accusation that Moore molested a 14-year-old is necessarily enough to turn them off of him. Opioids and heroin are killing the bodies of too many people in my region, but the drug of political partisanship has killed off the principles of many more.
In trying to puzzle out how abusive men gain power and hang on to it, it’s tempting to focus on intimidation tactics: macho posturing, aggression. But reflecting on how I ignore the misogynies of men I like, I realise that kindness, affection and loyalty are stronger glue than fear. Wouldn’t dismantling patriarchy be so much easier if abusers were two-dimensional villains? But it’s their charm, their humanity and – yes – their virtues that draw people to them. In turn, the strength of those relationships gives them permission to behave in hurtful ways.
What do we do with our loyalty when men we care about are accused, when we are, after a fashion, accused ourselves of seeing and doing nothing? Is it our feminist duty to betray the genuine bonds that tangle us up in systems of oppression? Or, to put it more viscerally: are we really going to look at a man who gave us a hand up and kick him when he’s down?
We’ve all got our own moral compass (some in better working order than others, clearly). I don’t think there can be a simple imperative in these situations. But maybe there is a duty to remember that power isn’t all threats and tantrums; it’s also friendship and poetry.
When victims speak out, they’re not just confronting an abuser. Often they’re facing an entire community of people who have affection for that man – many of them women. That must be petrifying. And knowing that, you’ve got to have crazy respect for those who dare to tear through layers of love and loyalty, through palimpsests of doubt and shame, to reveal the poison at the very heart of the thing.
So, here’s also something from New Orleans: “Statue of woman appears where Jefferson Davis monument once stood”.
A music video director on Sunday morning (Nov. 12) temporarily placed a twice-life size statue of an African-American woman on the slab where the statue of Jefferson Davis once stood. The controversial monument to the President of the Confederacy was removed on May 11.
New Orleans filmmaker Zac Manuel explained that the installation will set the scene for a video accompanying a new song titled “If All I Was Was Black” by renowned folk singer and civil rights activist, Mavis Staples, who was not present Sunday.
You can check out more from Doug McCash at the NOLA.com link above.
So, let’s watch the wave and the blowback and hope the wave wins in the end. What’s on your reading and blogging list today?
The Wall Street Journal has a story on Michael Flynn’s plot to kidnap Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen and “deliver” him to a Turkish prison. We knew about this plan, but the WSJ provides more details. The article is behind the paywall, but I go access by clicking on Twitter link.
Special Counsel Robert Mueller is investigating an alleged plan involving former White House National Security Adviser Mike Flynn to forcibly remove a Muslim cleric living in the U.S. and deliver him to Turkey in return for millions of dollars, according to people familiar with the investigation.
Under the alleged proposal, Mr. Flynn and his son, Michael Flynn Jr., were to be paid as much as $15 million for delivering Fethullah Gulen to the Turkish government, according to people with knowledge of discussions Mr. Flynn had with Turkish representatives. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has pressed the U.S. to extradite him, views the cleric as a political enemy.
Federal Bureau of Investigation agents have asked at least four individuals about a meeting in mid-December at the ‘21’ Club in New York City, where Mr. Flynn and representatives of the Turkish government discussed removing Mr. Gulen, according to people with knowledge of the FBI’s inquiries. The discussions allegedly involved the possibility of transporting Mr. Gulen on a private jet to the Turkish prison island of Imrali, according to one of the people who has spoken to the FBI….
The people who described the alleged proposal said they didn’t attend the December meeting and didn’t have direct knowledge from Mr. Flynn or his associates about its purported details. It isn’t clear how advanced Mr. Mueller’s investigation of the alleged plan to remove Mr. Gulen is, nor is there any indication that any money changed hands, according to those familiar with the discussions and the FBI investigation.
But federal investigators’ interest in whether Mr. Flynn was pursuing potentially illegal means to forcibly deal with Mr. Gulen indicates that the former Trump adviser faces another investigation stemming from his work on behalf of Turkish government interests, both before and after the presidential election.
One more interesting bit:
One person familiar with the alleged discussions about Mr. Gulen said Mr. Flynn also was prepared to use his influence in the White House to further the legal extradition of the cleric, who lives in Pennsylvania.
According to the WSJ, there were two meetings to discuss the kidnapping. The second one was attended by former former CIA Director James Woolsey, who was concerned enough to tell then Vice President Joe Biden about it. It seems both Mike Flynns are in serious trouble.
Randall D. Eliason of George Washington University Law School writes at The Washington Post: How Robert Mueller can play hardball with Michael Flynn.
Special counsel Robert S. Mueller III and his team are no strangers to the practice of prosecutorial hardball. That skill may be coming into play once again if, as news reports indicate, the special counsel is turning his attention to former national security adviser Michael T. Flynn and Flynn’s son Michael G. Flynn, who worked with his father’s lobbying firm and was also involved in the Trump transition. The elder Flynn has long been thought to be in Mueller’s sights, and CNN reported Wednesday that Flynn and his wife are worried about their son’s legal exposure as well.
If in fact prosecutors have built cases against both men, they now have a huge, juicy carrot to dangle in front of the elder Flynn: Plead guilty and testify against others, and we’ll go easy on your son. Given the former national security adviser’s prior positions with the Trump campaign and administration, that prospect has to make other potential targets of Mueller’s inquiry extremely uneasy.
Members of Mueller’s team are very familiar with — and have not been shy about employing — the tactic of persuading a witness to cooperate in exchange for leniency toward a family member. His chief deputy is Andrew Weissmann, a career prosecutor with a reputation for aggressiveness. More than a decade ago, Weissmann served on and ultimately headed the Enron task force, the team of prosecutors charged with investigating the financial collapse of the huge energy corporation. Weissmann and the other Enron prosecutors wanted the cooperation of Andrew Fastow, Enron’s former chief financial officer, whom they had indicted on dozens of federal charges. When prosecutors later added additional charges against Fastow, they also indicted a new defendant: Lea Fastow, Andrew’s wife, who had also worked at Enron. With the felony charges pending against Lea Fastow, the couple faced the prospect of spending years in prison while their two young sons were raised by others.
Eventually Andrew Fastow was sentenced to 10 years in prison and his wife got one year, which she was allowed to serve before Andrew went to prison so they could care for their children. It looks like we’re about to find out what Michael Flynn will do to protect his son.
A couple more Russia investigation stories:
ABC News reports that George Papadopoulos, who is cooperating with the Mueller investigation in return for a reduced sentence, initially lied to FBI investigators “out of loyalty to Trump.”
Trump had publicly denied that there had been any contact between his campaign and Russian officials, and Papadopoulos did not want to contradict the official line, the source said.
“It’s all fake news,” Trump said of any alleged connections in January. “It’s phony stuff. It didn’t happen.”
Papadopoulos met with the FBI agents investigating those alleged ties shortly thereafter, and he later acknowledged that he lied during that meeting about the timing of certain contacts.
How may other advisers lied out of loyalty to the liar in chief? And how many of those advisers will end up turning on Trump? Mueller is on the case.
After a business meeting before the Miss Universe Pageant in 2013, a Russian participant offered to “send five women” to Donald Trump’s hotel room in Moscow, his longtime bodyguard told Congress this week, according to three sources who were present for the interview.
Two of the sources said the bodyguard, Keith Schiller, viewed the offer as a joke, and immediately responded, “We don’t do that type of stuff.”
The two sources said Schiller’s comments came in the context of him adamantly disputing the allegations made in the Trump dossier, written by a former British intelligence operative, which describes Trump having an encounter with prostitutes at the hotel during the pageant. Schiller described his reaction to that story as being, “Oh my God, that’s bull—-,” two sources said.
The conversation with the Russian about the five women took place after a morning meeting about the pageant in Moscow broke up, two sources said.
That night, two sources said, Schiller said he discussed the conversation with Trump as Trump was walking back to his hotel room, and Schiller said the two men laughed about it as Trump went to bed alone. Schiller testified that he stood outside Trump’s hotel room for a time and then went to bed.
One source noted that Schiller testified he eventually left Trump’s hotel room door and could not say for sure what happened during the remainder of the night.
Schiller is one of Trump’s closest and longest-term employees. He would probably lie for his boss. So why didn’t he just say there was nothing to the story at all? A couple of legal experts on TV have suggested that Schiller may be afraid that someone else overheard the offer and thus he’s afraid to give a complete denial.
Disguised Russian agents on Twitter rushed to deflect scandalous news about Donald Trump just before last year’s presidential election while straining to refocus criticism on the mainstream media and Hillary Clinton’s campaign, according to an Associated Press analysis of since-deleted accounts.
Tweets by Russia-backed accounts such as “America_1st_” and “BatonRougeVoice” on Oct. 7, 2016, actively pivoted away from news of an audio recording in which Trump made crude comments about groping women, and instead touted damaging emails hacked from Clinton’s campaign chairman John Podesta.
Since early this year, the extent of Russian intrusion to help Trump and hurt Clinton in the election has been the subject of both congressional scrutiny and a criminal investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller. In particular, those investigations are looking into the possibility of collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians.
AP’s analysis illuminates the obvious strategy behind the Russian cyber meddling: swiftly react, distort and distract attention from any negative Trump news.
Read the rest at the AP link above.
Meanwhile Trump is bumbling through his Asia trip, working on destroying U.S. credibility around the world.
Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe’s recent hosting of Donald Trump was a masterclass in how to make the US president comfortable—feed him familiar food, take him on his favorite outing, golf, and tell him how much you like him.
But Chinese president Xi Jinping added a creamy layer of pomp and circumstance to the mix when the White House delegation reached Beijing. Trump has been feted with everything from an unprecedented private dinner in the Forbidden City to a red carpet welcome in Tiananmen Square, the Beijing landmark where hundreds of students were killed by the Chinese military in 1989.
Trump has responded in kind, calling Xi a “very special man” with whom he has “great chemistry.” While US businessmen had high hopes that Trump and his back-to-the-1980s China advisors would wring concessions from Xi to cut the $350 billion trade deficit, the only concrete result has been a mish-mash of previously announced deals and non-binding agreements that probably aren’t worth the $250 billion both governments claim….
Beyond the numbers, it’s Trump’s embrace of Xi that has diplomats and human rights activists around the world concerned. China’s government is “playing Trump like a fiddle,” said Jorge Guajardo, Mexico’s ambassador to China from 2007 to 2013. “You don’t have good chemistry with a Chinese leader who doesn’t speak your language and is geared to not develop chemistry,” he said.
Read more at Quartz.
Putin is playing Trump too. Trump has been dying to meet with him again, but it’s not going to happen. Putin was just jerking him around and trying (successfully) to humiliate him.
Da Nang, Vietnam (CNN)President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin will not hold a formal meeting at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit here in Vietnam, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders told reporters aboard Air Force One on Friday.
But the two world leaders did briefly meet during the so-called APEC class photo, where all the heads of state come together to take a photo before the summit officially starts. Trump and Putin shook hands and had a briefly spoke before the photo was snapped….
Citing “scheduling conflicts on both sides,” though, Sanders said no formal meeting will take place during the two-day gathering, but that an informal interaction between the two world leaders was likely to happen, a notion reinforced by her Russian counterparts.
“Regarding a Putin meeting, there was never a meeting confirmed, and there will not be one that takes place due to scheduling conflicts on both sides,” Sanders said. “There is no formal meeting or anything scheduled for them.”
Sure Sarah. Poor Donald was so looking forward to a private audience with his idol. But it was not to be.
What else is happening? What stories are you following today?
I am so disgusted with Brazile and Warren.
I am pissed off that this latest and blatant smear campaign on Hillary Clinton followed the same MO as the Comey fuck over from last year…release some “bombshell” reported as “over the top” and “scandalous” news by MSM, which is an obvious attack on a powerful and strong woman…that turns out to be false. Yes, all the reports of rigging are fucking flat out wrong. And no, there is no taking back what all this crap of the last few days has done.
Just like with Comey’s subversive “letter” released so close to an election that saw tRump placed in office with minimal amounts of votes in key counties, what kind of effect will Brazile’s sabotage have on the important elections coming up on Tuesday?
The whole thing sounds too fucking familiar.
It all makes me ill.
Oh and by the way…
And still I am with her:
And while all this is going on, remember:
Okay, I know that most of those tweets are on the stale side, but I had to get that out of my system.
Here are some links to more recent stories:
As usual, this is an open thread.
I finally got around to reading Donna Brazile’s nutty screed at Politico, and I still have no idea what she’s going on about. Basically, she says that Obama bankrupted the DNC and Clinton bailed it out. The Clinton campaign signed an agreement to raise money for the DNC and in return the DNC would have to live within its budget.
Hillary also raised millions for down-ballot Democrats, but the money couldn’t be released to the states until Bernie admitted he’d lost, and he refused to do so until the bitter end. We know that Bernie raised zero money for the DNC, so I don’t get what the accusation is. Hillary tried to rescue the party, and now they are busily working on self-destructing again.
Here’s what Elizabeth Warren had to say about this yesterday:
“This is a real problem,” Warren said. “But what we’ve got to do as Democrats now, is we’ve got to hold this party accountable.”
Warren said the moment is a test of DNC Chair Tom Perez’s leadership.
“And either he’s going to succeed by bringing Bernie Sanders and Bernie Sanders representatives into this process and they’re going to say, ‘It’s fair, it works, we all believe it.’ Or, he’s going to fail, and I very much hope he succeeds,” Warren said. “I hope for Democrats everywhere, I hope for Bernie and for all of Bernie’s supporters that he’s going to succeed.”
As far as I can tell Bernie Sanders supporters are already controlling the direction of the party with their constant whining and caterwauling. But since Bernie refuses to join the party or raise money for it, I fail to see how handing him control of the DNC will lead to success in 2018–particularly since Bernie is determined to ignore women and people of color and focus on winning Trump-supporting white men.
But what do I know? I only know this: I’m done with the DNC and I still don’t regret changing my registration to unenrolled after 2008.
Unfortunately, Brazile and Warren have handed a huge gift to Trump and his gang; and he is reveling in it. His tweets are crazier than ever this morning.
Apparently Trump is focused on the Mueller inquiry in and prosecuting his political enemies rather than on his upcoming foreign trip. Because everything is always and only about him. Check this out:
In what barely passes for an interview — with almost no questions, but plenty of praise — Donald Trump told new Fox News host Laura Ingraham why he hasn’t bothered to fill a number of empty positions at the State Department….
INGRAHAM: Your state department still has some unfilled positions. Are you worried that the state department doesn’t have enough Donald Trump nominees in there to push your vision through? Because other state departments, including Reagan’s at times, undermined agendas. There is a concern that the State Department is currently undermining your agenda.
TRUMP: So we don’t need all the people that they want. You know, don’t forget, I’m a business person and I tell my people, when you don’t need to fill slots, don’t fill them. But we have some people that I’m not happy with there.
INGRAHAM: But assistant secretary of state – you’re not getting rid of that position.
TRUMP: Let me tell you — the one that matters is me. I am the only one that matters. Because when it comes to it, that’s what the policy will be. You have seen that strongly. We are filling up.
Remember how Trump and Huckabee Sanders claimed that George Papadopoulos was just a “low level volunteer” who only attended one meeting during the campaign? Scott Dworkin has been hunting down the truth and posting photos of Papadopoulos’ campaign activities:
Papadopoulos was pretty busy for a low-level volunteer coffee boy; and as a result of the focus on his campaign activities, Jeff Sessions is now in trouble. CNN: Sessions under renewed scrutiny on Capitol Hill.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions is once again under scrutiny on Capitol Hill regarding his candor about Russia and the Trump campaign amid revelations that he rejected a suggestion to convene a meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump last year.
According to court filings unsealed this week, Trump campaign foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos suggested at a March 2016 meeting that he could use his connections to set up a meeting between Putin and Trump with the then-GOP candidate’s national security team. An Instagram picture on Trump’s account shows Sessions attended the meeting at which Papadopoulos made the suggestion.
I posted that photo at the top of my Tuesday post. Here it is again.
Back to the CNN article:
After Trump declined to rule out the idea, Sessions weighed in and rejected the proposed meeting, according to a person who attended.
But Sessions, who was a top surrogate for Trump during the campaign, did not disclose these discussions despite a persistent set of questions from Democrats and some Republicans about Russia during multiple hearings on Capitol Hill. The new information is renewing attention to how forthcoming Sessions has been with Congress.
There is interest from Democrats on both the Senate intelligence and judiciary committees for Sessions to formally clarify his remarks made before both committees given what’s now known about his interactions with Papadopoulos, a Senate aide told CNN. The source said the request for clarification could take several forms, such as having Sessions testify again or submitting a clarification in writing, but that has not yet been determined.
Lock him up!
This from The New York Times is even more damning: Trump and Sessions Denied Knowing About Russian Contacts. Records Suggest Otherwise.
At a March 31, 2016, meeting between Mr. Trump and his foreign policy team, Mr. Papadopoulos introduced himself and said “that he had connections that could help arrange a meeting between then-candidate Trump and President Putin,” according to court records.
“He went into the pitch right away,” said J. D. Gordon, a campaign adviser who attended the meeting. “He said he had a friend in London, the Russian ambassador, who could help set up a meeting with Putin.”
Mr. Trump listened with interest. Mr. Sessions vehemently opposed the idea, Mr. Gordon recalled. “And he said that no one should talk about it,” because Mr. Sessions thought it was a bad idea that he did not want associated with the campaign, he said.
In other words, because it might leak out.
Lock him up!
Is it possible that George Papadopoulos’s supervisor on the Trump campaign, Sam Clovis, could also be cooperating with Special Counsel Mueller? Why else would he have failed to tell the administration he had been questioned?
The White House first learned one of its senior staffers met with the grand jury hearing the case presented by the special counsel into alleged Russian meddling into the 2016 election not from the staffer but from media reports, sources with knowledge of the investigation tell ABC News.
Former Trump campaign co-chairman Sam Clovis recently testified before that grand jury into his role on President Donald Trump’s campaign. Clovis currently serves as the senior White House adviser to the Department of Agriculture.
Clovis’ testimony comes on the heels of another Trump campaign adviser, George Papadopoulos, pleading guilty to lying to federal authorities. As part of Papadopoulos’ admission of guilt, details of emails were disclosed that showed him describing to top Trump campaign officials communications he had with contacts in Russia.
The correspondence between Papadopoulos and a group of foreign nationals detail that within weeks of being described by Trump as an important part of his national security team, Papadopoulos was in London meeting with people who said they could deliver “dirt” on rival candidate Hillary Clinton, including “thousands of emails.”
The emails indicate multiple top level campaign officials that Papadopoulos communicated with including one listed as a “campaign supervisor”.
Sources familiar with the emails tell ABC News the “campaign supervisor” was Sam Clovis.
Clovis appeared to encourage Papadopoulos to engage with Russian contacts; in one instance Clovis responded directly to Papadopoulos, hailing him for his “great work” and saying “I would encourage you” to “make the trip, if it is feasible”, referring to a trip the young campaign adviser pitched to go abroad.
Since it’s Friday, there could be new breaking stories coming. I’m hoping for another indictment.
I’ll end with this: Allegations of sexual harassment and sexual assault by powerful men are still coming thick and fast. Here are the latest, links only:
Hollywood Reporter: Dustin Hoffman Sexually Harassed Me When I Was 17 (Guest Column).
In my state: On Beacon Hill, Female Reps Press Action In Wake Of Sexual Harassment Report. (NPR)
What else is happening? What stories are you following today?
I’ve struggled with anxiety for as long as I can remember. I was one of those kids who used to get up in the morning with tummy aches before school. I spent a week or so in hospital during high school suspected of having an ulcer. A lot was expected from me, so I pretty much tried to be as perfect as possible and that’s a recipe for self-doubt and high stress. It’s a hard habit to kick too.
I have to admit that I thought my Buddhist practice coupled with living in the Big Easy with a pledge to avoid relationships at all costs would keep my nerves pretty much under control. I made it through my doctoral program with very little of the usual stomach thing which they now call irritable bowl syndrome. But, life has these ways of reminding you that your imperfections are always lurking and that you probably never have them completely exorcised. At least I know that I am not alone in this by any means.
We’ve become the United States of Anxiety. This is the year of the national nervous breakdown. I’m right there with the rest of the country. So, you can read the official, peer reviewed title: APA Stress in America™ Survey: US at ‘Lowest Point We Can Remember;’ Future of Nation Most Commonly Reported Source of Stress. You can also read the media version: “Americans Are Officially Freaking Out; Almost two-thirds say this is the lowest point in U.S. history—and it’s keeping a lot of them up at night.” Yes it’s keeping me up at night too. I’m one face in that number. This is from the Bloomberg link.
For those lying awake at night worried about health care, the economy, and an overall feeling of divide between you and your neighbors, there’s at least one source of comfort: Your neighbors might very well be lying awake, too.
Almost two-thirds of Americans, or 63 percent, report being stressed about the future of the nation, according to the American Psychological Association’s Eleventh Stress in America survey, conducted in August and released on Wednesday. This worry about the fate of the union tops longstanding stressors such as money (62 percent) and work (61 percent) and also cuts across political proclivities. However, a significantly larger proportion of Democrats (73 percent) reported feeling stress than independents (59 percent) and Republicans (56 percent).
The “current social divisiveness” in America was reported by 59 percent of those surveyed as a cause of their own malaise. When the APA surveyed Americans a year ago, 52 percent said they were stressed by the presidential campaign. Since then, anxieties have only grown.
A majority of the more than 3,400 Americans polled, 59 percent, said “they consider this to to be the lowest point in our nation’s history that they can remember.” That sentiment spanned generations, including those that lived through World War II, the Vietnam War, and the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11. (Some 30 percent of people polled cited terrorism as a source of concern, a number that’s likely to rise given the alleged terrorist attack in New York City on Tuesday.)
“We have a picture that says people are concerned,” said Arthur Evans, APA’s chief executive officer. “Any one data point may not not be so important, but taken together, it starts to paint a picture.”
Okay, so I highlighted the factors the studied controlled for which is pretty amazing. Read that list of big events in US History and people still came up with this year, right now, and probably due to you know who.
There’s almost an overload of horrid news these days but at the top of my list is the number of my fellow citizens that fell for Russian Trolls. Actually, it’s even scarier that we have high level official that followed Russian trolls. This is from The Daily Beast which is combing through a drop from the House of Russian propaganda from the election. “Michael Flynn Followed Russian Troll Accounts, Pushed Their Messages in Days Before Election.”
Former White House National Security Adviser Michael Flynn followed five Twitter accounts based out of the Russian-backed “troll factory” in St. Petersburg—and pushed their messages at least three times in the month before the 2016 election.
Over 2,750 troll accounts based out of the Kremlin-backed Internet Research Agency were made public by House investigators on Wednesday. The accounts, some of which had previously been identified by The Daily Beast as Russian-generated, were pulled from Twitter due to their ties to the troll factory over the past three months.
The Daily Beast had previously discovered Flynn, Donald Trump Jr., Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway, and Trump campaign digital director Brad Parscale retweeted Ten_GOP several times in the month before the election.
The news that Flynn also pushed Russian propaganda comes at an unwelcome time for the former three-star general and head of the Defense Intelligence Agency. Flynn is one of the people under investigation by Robert Mueller’s widespread probe into Russian influence in the 2016 campaign.
During Flynn’s brief tenure as President Trump’s top national security aide, Flynn pushed for cooperation between the Russian and American military that would have been, at best, borderline illegal. Flynn ultimately resigned amidst reports that he had undisclosed meetings with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kisylak during the campaign.
Of course, Flynn wasn’t necessarily hostile to Russian agitprop. In December of 2015, he traveled to Moscow for a gala celebrating Russia Today, the Kremlin’s propaganda network. At Flynn’s side for dinner: Russian president Vladimir Putin.
Lawmakers on Wednesday released a trove of ads that Russian operatives bought on Facebook, providing the fullest picture yet of how foreign actors sought to promote Republican Donald Trump, denigrate Democrat Hillary Clinton and divide Americans over some of the nation’s most sensitive social issues.
The ads that emerged, a sampling of the 3,000 that Russians bought during the 2016 presidential campaign and its aftermath, demonstrated in words and images a striking ability to mimic American political discourse at its most fractious. The targeting information also showed a shrewd understanding of how best to use Facebook to find and influence voters most likely to respond to the pitches.
As a group, the ads made visceral appeals to voters concerned about illegal immigration, the declining economic fortunes of coal miners, gun rights, African American political activism, the rising prominence of Muslims in some U.S. communities and many other issues. Some of the ads, many of which were bought in Russian rubles, also explicitly called for people to attend political rallies amid a campaign season that already was among the most polarizing in recent U.S. history.
The ad was highly specific—and specifically Russian.
It was for a Facebook group called Defend The 2nd. Above an image showing a cornucopia of bullets, it billed itself as “The community of 2nd Amendment supporters, guns lovers & patriots.” That was how it appeared to the public—the American public—but Facebook internally held data that told a different story.
Ad targeting information associated with Defend The 2nd showed how highly targeted it was. The location for viewership had to be within the United States. They had to be between the ages of 18 to over 65. They had to match Facebook users with interests including the National Rifle Association, Second Amendment Sisters, Gun Owners of America, Concealed carry in the United States, and Second Amendment to the United States Constitution.
House Democratics are responsible for the data dump. You can see 14 ads on Facebook directly planted by Russian Trolls here at Motherboard. They are broadly spread between helping Trump and helping Bernie Sanders against Clinton. You can go see them. I have no intention of putting them up here.
Lawmakers finally disclosed a small sample of the more than 3,000 ads that Russian trolls bought on Facebook and Instagram during the 2016 presidential election. The 14 ads released on Wednesday show a glimpse of the political issues that Russian government trolls tried to harp on to sow divide among Americans and influence the 2016 presidential election.
Some of the ads disparage Hillary Clinton and Bill Clinton, or promote divisive trends like anti-muslim or anti-immigration sentiment. Some promote rallies and counter-rallies that ended up in real life events.
So, the Mustang is finally back running and has totally left me without the ability to pay for anything else. I’m trying to round up funds to take Kinsey to the vet to get her on her meds and to pay the house note. I’m not used to asking for money for anything but the blog but if you could spare something please help. I feel awful that I got this cat with hyperthyroidism to save her and now I can get her to the vet but I can’t pay for the visit and meds up front and Dinah needs to go too. She’s in the throes of a reaction to mites. Thanks and I promise not to do this again if I can at all help it!
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?