The days do pass…
…and the horror with each passing day becomes more unbearable.
In a little-noticed 6-3 vote today, the House Administration Committee voted along party lines to eliminate the Election Assistance Commission, which helps states run elections and is the only federal agency charged with making sure voting machines can’t be hacked. The EAC was created after the disastrous 2000 election in Florida as part of the Help America Vote Act to rectify problems like butterfly ballots and hanging chads. (Republicans have tried to kill the agency for years.) The Committee also voted to eliminate the public-financing system for presidential elections dating back to the 1970s.
“It is my firm belief that the EAC has outlived its usefulness and purpose,” said Committee chair Gregg Harper (R-MS), explaining why his bill transfers the EAC’s authority to the Federal Election Commission.
Doesn’t it make you want to puke? Curse the GOP? And then puke again?
Thirty-eight pro-democracy groups, including the NAACP and Common Cause, denounced the vote. “The EAC is the only federal agency which has as its central mission the improvement of election administration, and it undertakes essential activities that no other institution is equipped to address,” says the Brennan Center for Justice.
This move is particularly worrisome given reports that suspected Russian hackers attempted to access voter-registration systems in more than 20 states during the 2016 election. Moreover, the Presidential Commission on Election Administration set up by President Obama in 2014 outlined an “impending crisis” in voting technology and the Brennan Center found that 42 states used voting machines in 2016 that were at least a decade-old and at risk of failing. The EAC was the agency tasked with making sure these voting systems were both modernized and secure.
The EAC is not a perfect agency. It lacked a quorum of members from 2010 to 2014 and was paralyzed by inaction. Then, last year, its executive director unilaterally approved controversial proof-of-citizenship laws in Kansas, Georgia, and Alabama, which the federal courts subsequently blocked.
But given the threats to American democracy at this moment, the EAC needs to be strengthened, not replaced.
The whole last few weeks have been nothing but a farce, filled with ridiculous appointments, statements and orders. I no longer find things to be “ironic” but absurd…For instance, the last paragraph of this Nation article…
It’s particularly ironic that the Trump administration is preparing to launch a massive investigation into nonexistent voter fraud based on the lie that millions voted illegally while House Republicans are shutting down the agency that is supposed to make sure America’s elections are secure. It’s more proof of how the GOP’s real agenda is to make it harder to vote.
No fucking shit!!!!!!!!!!!
There is no fucking irony people. It is being done ON PURPOSE!!!!
How else does a fascist take over a government? How else does fascism and authoritarianism gain control? We are seeing it every minute of every day.
So here are the bloody cartoons. My life is so disgustingly depressing, not even these babies are laughing it up anymore for me…but maybe it will bring a smile to you all? I hope.
Funny video below, enjoy it!
This is an open thread.
That is my new greeting from now forward, because with the fascist tRump leading our country…that is the best salutation you can expect.
So many House Reps and Senate members are not attending the inauguration…I think the best reason was given by John Lewis, John Lewis: ‘I Don’t See Trump as a Legitimate President’ – NBC News
In an exclusive interview for “Meet the Press,” Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) said he believes Donald Trump’s election is illegitimate because of Russian interference in last year’s election.
More on the controversy here: Did Donald Trump Just Come for John Lewis During MLK Weekend?
I don’t want to re-hash the shit tRump said. It is too disgusting.
Here is a full list of Dems refusing to show up to Russia’s puppet swearing in party: WHIP LIST: Democrats boycotting Trump’s inauguration | TheHill
A growing number of Democrats are saying they won’t watch President-elect Donald Trump take the oath of office next week.The majority of Democrats plan to attend the inauguration and uphold the tradition of watching the peaceful transfer of power, regardless of party. But after an exceptionally divisive election, some are breaking with the norm.
As Jan. 20 draws near, 17 Democrats have announced they’ll boycott the inauguration.
Check out the names at the link.
And as that link above from The Root points out…all this comes on the weekend before we celebrate the National Holiday of MLK Day. (At least most of us will celebrate it.) YIKES: Biloxi, MS Sends Out Tweet Renaming Martin Luther King Day ‘Great Americans Day’ | Crooks and Liars
You know, this shit is beyond contempt.
I shouldn’t be surprised that a state that has the confederate flag actually IN it’s state flag is racist. I mean, they are literally showing us their “patriotic” American views, right? And yet I was still shocked by this tweet that was sent out by the City of Biloxi’s office twitter account this afternoon:
Yes, they renamed Martin Luther King Day “Great Americans Day.”
Twitter jumped all over this, and rightfully so.
The tweet has been deleted…but thankfully…the internet:
As some in the comment section of the C&L post observed, Mississippi was the last state to ratify the 13th Amendment. (Back in 2013)
The City of Biloxi responded of course: Gilich: Change name to match federal holiday
And get the name of the mayor…
Biloxi Mayor Andrew “FoFo” Gilich, responding to a flurry of comments about a city tweet today referring to Monday as “Great Americans Day,” believes the Biloxi City Council on Tuesday should take steps to update the city’s Code of Ordinances to reflect the official federal name of the holiday, “Birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.,” commonly known as “Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day.”
Added the mayor: “This city’s longstanding support of our annual MLK celebrations speaks volumes about our support for this holiday. In fact, we’ve always celebrated this day as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day.”
The issue arose this afternoon when the city tweeted a one-line sentence that said non-emergency city offices would be closed on Monday “in observance of Great Americans Day.” The name has since been traced back to a City Council on Dec. 23, 1985 to proclaim the third Monday of every January “to honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. as well as other great Americans who have made important contributions to the birth, growth and evolution of this country.”
It’s the great port-a-potty cover-up for President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration.
Workers preparing for the inauguration Jan. 20 have taped over the name of the company — ‘‘Don’s Johns’’ — that has long supplied portable restrooms for major outdoor events in the nation’s capital.
Virginia-based Don’s Johns calls itself the Washington area’s top provider of portable toilet rentals. But the name apparently strikes too close to home for inaugural organizers.
Workers have placed blue tape over the company name on dozens of portable restrooms installed near the Capitol for the inauguration.
What a basturd !
Had to give you those in a link dump. I just can’t take this shit anymore. ( I did read the Quartz article, now that was funny.)
I will end this post with some interesting articles, because I have to.
TWO THINGS ARE TRUE about Leo Tolstoy in 1879. First, he had mostly given up on fiction, having published his two titanic novels, War and Peaceand Anna Karenina. The latter book exhausted him physically and morally: not long after its appearance, he termed his saga of adultery “an abomination.” He found novel writing to be a poor substitute for confronting religious issues and his existential lot. Second, because of his early literary acclaim and the immoral lifestyle it had spawned and enabled, he was miserable. He was so ashamed of himself that post-Karenina his ambivalent atheism collapsed and he sought a new relationship to the “truth.” He abdicated the throne of novelist and took up the mantle of religious critic — on the side of Christianity and against it.
…he asserts, in defiance, that “Christian teaching plays no part in life; one never comes across it in one’s relations with others and one never has to deal with it in one’s own life.” He pegs believers as “stupid, cruel, and immoral people who think themselves very important.” He tags unbelievers as the finest people he knows: they have “[i]ntelligence, honesty, uprightness, goodness of heart, and morality.” He renounces religion in favor of “reading and thinking” — in essence, reason — and recalls that five years prior “my only real faith […] was a faith in self-perfection.”
More at the link of course.
Molly Cleator, right, takes part in the “pussyhat” social media campaign to provide pink hats for protesters in the women’s march in Washington, D.C., the day after the presidential inauguration, in Los Angeles, California, January 13.
I want to make one of these hats…if I could just remember how to knit.
The last two links are with a H/T to some Sky Dancers via Facebook:
Modern medical science relies heavily on pharmaceuticals to treat patients. In fact, the use of medicinal plants has become taboo and is often labeled (incorrectly) as pseudo-science.
There was a time in American history when big-Pharma did not have such an influence on doctors, pharmacists, or medicine. During this time, pharmacists actually prepared medicinal plants for people in need to treatment.
From natural plants to elements!
whether you’re looking at something common like calcium, iron, and carbon, or something more obscure like krypton and antimony, how well do you know their functions? Could you name just one practical application for vanadium or ruthenium?
Lucky for us, Keith Enevoldsen from elements.wlonk.com has come up with this awesome periodic table that gives you at least one example for every single element (except for those weird superheavy elements that don’t actually exist in nature).
There’s thulium for laser eye surgery, cerium for lighter flints, and krypton for flashlights. You’ve got strontium for fireworks, and xenon for high-intensity lamps inside lighthouses.
Oh and that very patriotic element, americium? We use that in smoke detectors.
First unveiled in 1945 during the Manhattan Project, americium is produced by bombarding plutonium with neutrons in a nuclear reactor.
The resulting americium is radioactive, and while the tiny amounts of americium dioxide (AmO2) used in smoke detector produces alpha radiation to sniff out a fire, it will deliver approximately zero radiation to anyone living nearby.
I kinda want to tell you all about rubidium and how we use it in the world’s most accurate time-keeping devices, and how niobium can help make trains levitate,but you should just check out the periodic table for yourself.
Be sure to go to the link to see the interactive periodic table. It is very cool.
And that is all for this Sunday, this is an open thread….
It’s just under two weeks until President Obama steps down and the Kremlin controls our government. Congressional Republicans are salivating–dreaming of taking away health care from millions of people and finally destroying Medicare and Social Security. They just can’t wait to destroy everything President Obama has accomplished, crash the economy again, and destroy as many jobs as they possibly can–all while claiming they are doing good work.
The New York Times: Erasing Obama, by Timothy Egan.
And Obama? He bequeaths the incoming president “the longest economic expansion and monthly job creation in history,” as my colleague Andrew Ross Sorkin noted. Trump, the pumpkin-haired rooster taking credit for the dawn, has already tried to seize a bit of that achievement as his own. Thanks, Obama. But he’s also likely to screw it up, perhaps by a trade war, or a budget-busting tax cut.
Already, Trump has flirted with treason, flouted conflict-of-interest rules, bullied dissidents and blown off the advice of seasoned public servants. He has yet to hold a news conference since winning the election. And did another day just pass without a word of the promise to “reveal things that other people don’t know” about Russian interference with our election? Maybe he’s waiting for more whispers in his ear from the Kremlin
n advance of his farewell adIdress next week, the president has tried to Trump-proof a climate pact that commits the world’s second leading producer of earth-warming pollutants — the United States — to making this little orb of ours a less perilous place for Sasha’s and Malia’s and Ivanka’s kids. Trump has promised to go rogue on the planet, as quickly as he can.
Until Day 1, Trump is just a 70-year-old man with a twitchy Twitter account. But on Jan. 20, he becomes what Grover Norquist wished for in a pliantly conservative president: “A Republican with enough working digits to handle a pen.”
With that pen, the new president can take health care from 20 million Americans, free Wall Street to once again wildly speculate and smash things up for the rest of us, and require schools to let people carry guns into classrooms — all campaign promises.
Please read the whole thing at the NYT.
Fortunately, the intelligence community has stated conclusively that Vladimir Putin ordered his cyberspies to interfere with the election. At this point, tRump can only be seen as an illegitimate POTUS. Unfortunately, tRump is threatening to neuter the intelligence community. He doesn’t need their help, because he gets his orders from Russia. If you think I’m just joking, look what intelligence expert Malcolm Nance had to say about it.
If that doesn’t scare every sane American, nothing will.
Nance published a book months ago about the Russian attack on our democracy, and it’s very similar to the report the intelligence community just issued. It’s fascinating reading, with lots of historical background on Russia’s spying activities.
This is from an ad at Yahoo News, but it’s a good summary of the book: Malcolm Nance, US intelligence expert, delivered Russian hacking details months before the CIA’s report.
In The Plot to Hack America, published one month before the election, New York Times bestselling author and MSNBC contributor Malcolm Nance not only identifies the hackers as Russian but digs deep into the biggest political scandal since Watergate.
In April of 2016, computer technicians at the Democratic National Committee discovered that someone had accessed the organization’s computer servers. In the days and weeks that followed, they learned that the cyberthieves had helped themselves to everything: sensitive documents, emails, donor information, even voicemails. Nance’s investigations led him to none other than Russia’s spy service. Their method: A new hybrid cyber warfare called Kompromat.
In The Plot to Hack America, we learn how technicians discovered that Russia’s spy agency was responsible for the hack, how the Russians have devastated individuals, political groups, and entire nations with their cybercrimes, and how they may have cultivated Donald Trump as an unwitting “asset” to facilitate their ultimate foreign policy goals: disband NATO, dominate Eastern Europe, and replace America as the world’s superpower.
But why would Vladimir Putin want to tip the scales of an American election? Nance follows the fascinating real-life spy story through a labyrinth of cyber espionage, the history of Russia’s spy services, and Vladimir Putin’s rise through the KGB from junior officer to spy-in-chief. And he details Donald Trump’s many disturbing personal associations with Putin and Russia’s oligarchy, as well as Trump’s loose affiliation of advisors nicknamed “the Kremlin Crew.”
The Plot to Hack America reads like a spy thriller, but it’s all too real.
I highly recommend it.
Fortunately, the intelligence community has stated conclusively that Vladimir Putin ordered his cyberspies to interfere with the election. Unfortunately tRump is threatening to neuter the intelligence community. He doesn’t need their help, because he gets his orders from Russia. If you think I’m just joking, look what intelligence expert Malcolm Nance had to say about it.
Now check this out from WaPo conservative columnist Kathleen Parker: If Obama is a Muslim, is Trump a Russian spy?
No, I don’t really think he’s a spy because, unlike the man himself, I’m not given to crazy ideas. But what’s with this double standard? Under similar circumstances, how long do you think it would have taken for Obama to be called a traitor for defending a country that tried to thwart our democratic electoral process?
How surreal to realize that the man who soon will become president was long committed to a rumor soaked in paranoia and propagated by conspiracy theorists whose pursuit of truth stops at the point where facts and willful ignorance collide.
How perfectly terrifying.
And now? What is so obviously a conspiracy of Russian leadership, hackers and spies, Trump has repeatedly dismissed as lousy intelligence. Why would he do such a thing? Is it that he’s so thin-skinned he can’t tolerate anyone thinking that he might have benefited from the cyberattack? Or is it that he knew about it in advance and doesn’t want to be found out? This is how conspiracy theories get started. Then again, sometimes a conspiracy is just a conspiracy — and a fool is just a fool.
Actually, there’s little doubt that tRump is at least an unwitting tool of Putin; and if you look at his top advisers and cabinet choices, it seems quite likely that there was collusion between Russian spies and the tRump campaign.
David Remnick: Trump, Putin and the Big Hack.
Vyacheslav Molotov, Stalin’s foreign minister, once remarked while on a trip to Berlin in the early days of the Cold War, “The trouble with free elections is that you never know how they will turn out.”
On the morning of November 9th, Molotov’s grandson, Vyacheslav Nikonov, a member of the Russian Duma’s foreign-affairs committee, announced to the parliament, “Three minutes ago, Hillary Clinton conceded defeat in the American Presidential elections. And just this second Donald Trump began his speech as President-elect.” The Duma members cheered and applauded.
In the days to come, there were more declarations of acid satisfaction among the Russian élite. Dmitri Kiselyov, the host of “News of the Week,” a popular current-affairs show on state-controlled television, gloated over Trump’s victory and Barack Obama’s inability to prevent it. Obama, he said, was a “eunuch.” Trump was an “alpha male”—and one who showed mercy to his vanquished rival. “Trump could have put the blonde in prison, as he’d threatened in the televised debates,” Kiselyov said on his show. “On the other hand, it’s nothing new. Trump has left blond women satisfied all his life.” Kiselyov further praised Trump because the concepts of democracy and human rights “are not in his lexicon.” In India, Turkey, Europe, and now the United States, he declared, “the liberal idea is in ruins.”
Vladimir Putin did not showboat, but he, too, made his satisfaction plain. His spokesman, Dmitri Peskov, told reporters that the similarity between Trump and Putin’s “conceptual approach to foreign policy” was “phenomenal.” Trump’s victory was the basis for Russia’s “moderate optimism”; now both sides could discuss how “to clear out the Augean stables in our bilateral relations.”
All of this is all the more alarming to recall now, in the light of the latest news: according to U.S. intelligence reports, Putin “ordered an influence campaign” to undermine Clinton and work with “a clear preference” to enhance Trump’s prospects.
Read the rest at The New Yorker.
WHEN I wrote in August 2016, in this newspaper, that Donald J. Trump’s character traits posed a national security threat, I didn’t imagine that the first manifestation of that dynamic could play out with the very organization where I spent the first 33 years of my career, the Central Intelligence Agency.
President-elect Trump’s public rejection of the C.I.A., and by extension the rest of the country’s intelligence community, over the assessment that Russia interfered in our presidential election is not only an unprecedented political challenge for our national security establishment — it is a danger to the nation.
While Mr. Trump’s statement on Friday that he had a constructive meeting with senior intelligence officials on the Russian hacking issue was a step in the right direction, his disparagement of American intelligence officers over the last few months is likely to cause significant damage to the C.I.A.
Mr. Trump has questioned the agency’s competence — repeatedly asking, often via Twitter, how we can trust the organization that incorrectly judged that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction (criticism that, in my mind, is unfair for an agency that has changed dramatically in the last 15 years). But he has also accused the agency of being biased and political, implying, in comments to The Times, that the C.I.A. manufactured its Russia analysis to undercut him. Mr. Trump, in essence, said that the agency’s officers were dishonorable. To the men and women of the C.I.A., sworn to protect the nation, this was a gut punch.
Mr. Trump’s behavior will weaken the agency, an organization that has never been more relevant to our nation’s security. The key national security issues of the day — terrorism; proliferation; cyberespionage, crime and war; and the challenges to the global order posed by Russia, Iran and China — all require first-rate intelligence for a commander in chief to understand them, settle on a policy and carry it out.
Please read the whole thing if you haven’t already.
More News, Links Only
Joe Conason: Investigate The Hackers — And Ignore Trump’s Chaff.
Washington Post: Hill Republicans embrace building of border wall, despite cost.
New York Times: Jared Kushner, a Trump In-Law and Adviser, Chases a Chinese Deal.
Now I have to get back to packing for my move. Have a great weekend, Sky Dancers!
So now we know for certain what many of us have believed for months: Russia interfered in the 2016 election in order to put Donald #tRump in the White House. Not only that, we know that Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell and other GOP leaders knew this and argued against release that information to the American public. We now know that Mitch McConnell told President Obama that if the administration. And perhaps just as troubling, we know that President Obama chose not to release the information even after James Comey put his own finger on the scale in order to elect #tRump.
The Washington Post: Secret CIA assessment says Russia was trying to help Trump win White House.
The CIA has concluded in a secret assessment that Russia intervened in the 2016 election to help Donald Trump win the presidency, rather than just to undermine confidence in the U.S. electoral system, according to officials briefed on the matter.
Intelligence agencies have identified individuals with connections to the Russian government who provided WikiLeaks with thousands of hacked emails from the Democratic National Committee and others, including Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman, according to U.S. officials. Those officials described the individuals as actors known to the intelligence community and part of a wider Russian operation to boost Trump and hurt Clinton’s chances.
“It is the assessment of the intelligence community that Russia’s goal here was to favor one candidate over the other, to help Trump get elected,” said a senior U.S. official briefed on an intelligence presentation made to U.S. senators. “That’s the consensus view.”
This was made very clear to the President Obama and to Congressional leaders well before the election. And James Comey knew all about it too.
The Obama administration has been debating for months how to respond to the alleged Russian intrusions, with White House officials concerned about escalating tensions with Moscow and being accused of trying to boost Clinton’s campaign.
In September, during a secret briefing for congressional leaders, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) voiced doubts about the veracity of the intelligence, according to officials present.
The response of the #tRump transition team was a series of blatant lies.
The Trump transition team dismissed the findings in a short statement issued Friday evening. “These are the same people that said Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. The election ended a long time ago in one of the biggest Electoral College victories in history. It’s now time to move on and ‘Make America Great Again,’ ” the statement read.
Here is what #tRump told Time Magazine in their “person of the year” interview:
I don’t believe they interfered. That became a laughing point, not a talking point, a laughing point. Any time I do something, they say ‘oh, Russia interfered.’
Why not get along with Russia? And they can help us fight ISIS, which is both costly in lives and costly in money. And they’re effective and smart.
It could be Russia. And it could be China. And it could be some guy in his home in New Jersey.
I believe that it could have been Russia and it could have been any one of many other people. Sources or even individuals.
As we all know, #tRump is not even taking his daily intelligence briefings, and his transition team has not even been in contact with the intelligence officials who need to help them get up to speed on how these government functions work. It seems pretty clear that #tRump plans to get his security briefings from Vladimir Putin.
Where are the Democrats? This is a constitutional crisis. It is hundreds of times more serious than Watergate, and yet our so-called “leaders” are ho-humming and getting ready for their long winter vacations. We need immediate public investigations not only of the Russian interference but also of FBI Director James Comey. And Mitch McConnell needs to be forced to answer some tough questions STAT.
The New York Times reported this morning that Russia also hacked the RNC but held onto the data, probably for future use. They’ll be able to blackmail Republicans to prevent serious investigations.
American intelligence agencies have concluded with “high confidence” that Russia acted covertly in the latter stages of the presidential campaign to harm Hillary Clinton’s chances and promote Donald J. Trump, according to senior administration officials.
They based that conclusion, in part, on another finding — which they say was also reached with high confidence — that the Russians hacked the Republican National Committee’s computer systems in addition to their attacks on Democratic organizations, but did not release whatever information they gleaned from the Republican networks.
In the months before the election, it was largely documents from Democratic Party systems that were leaked to the public. Intelligence agencies have concluded that the Russians gave the Democrats’ documents to WikiLeaks.
Republicans have a different explanation for why no documents from their networks were ever released. Over the past several months, officials from the Republican committee have consistently said that their networks were not compromised, asserting that only the accounts of individual Republicans were attacked. On Friday, a senior committee official said he had no comment.
But that’s not what the intelligence community says.
It is possible that in hacking into the Republican committee, Russian agents were simply hedging their bets. The attack took place in the spring, the senior officials said, about the same time that a group of hackers believed to be linked to the G.R.U., Russia’s military intelligence agency, stole the emails of senior officials of the Democratic National Committee. Intelligence agencies believe that the Republican committee hack was carried out by the same Russians who penetrated the Democratic committee and other Democratic groups.
The finding about the Republican committee is expected to be included in a detailed report of “lessons learned” that Mr. Obama has ordered intelligence agencies to assemble before he leaves office on Jan. 20. That report is intended, in part, to create a comprehensive history of the Russian effort to influence the election, and to solidify the intelligence findings before Mr. Trump is sworn in.
Too little, too late. Perhaps if some Republicans discover some patriotic feelings in their hearts, we will get investigations. Meanwhile the Electoral Colleges votes on December 19.
AP Big Story: Obama orders review of election-season hacking.
President Barack Obama has ordered intelligence officials to conduct a broad review of election-season cyberattacks, including the email hacks that rattled the presidential campaign and raised fresh concerns about Russia’s meddling in U.S. elections, the White House said Friday.
The review, led by intelligence agencies, will be a “deep dive” into a possible pattern of increased “malicious cyber activity” timed to the campaign season, White House spokesman Eric Schultz said. The review will look at the tactics, targets, key actors and the U.S. government’s response to the recent email hacks, as well as incidents reported in past elections, he said.
The president ordered up the report earlier this week and asked that it be completed before he leaves office next month, Schultz said.
“The president wanted this done under his watch because he takes it very seriously,” he said. “We are committed to ensuring the integrity of our elections.”
Just not seriously enough to do it before the election.
Aaron Blake at The Fix on the situation Republicans are in now:
The report highlights and exacerbates the increasingly fraught situation in which congressional Republicans find themselves with regard to Russia and Trump. By acknowledging and digging into the increasing evidence that Russia helped — or at least attempted to help — tip the scales in Trump’s favor, they risk raising questions about whether Trump would have won without Russian intervention.
Trump, after all, won by a margin of about 80,000 votes cast across three states, winning each of the decisive states by less than one percentage point. So even a slight influence could have plausibly made the difference, though we’ll never be able to prove it one way or another.
While saying that Russia clearly tried to help Trump doesn’t inherently call into question the legitimacy of Trump’s win —earlier Friday, the White House made sure to emphasize that it’s not making that case — it’s not hard to connect the dots. And Trump and his party know it. The Post’s report cited Republicans who expressed skepticism about the available evidence when presented with it in September, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).
In addition, any GOP effort to dig into the matter risks antagonizing the president-elect, who has said flatly that he doesn’t believe Russia interfered with the election, despite receiving intelligence briefings to the contrary. And he’s proved more than willing to go after fellow Republicans who run afoul of him.
On the other hand, if Republicans play down the issue, they risk giving a pass to an antagonistic foreign power that significant majorities of Americans and members of Congress do not trust and which, if the evidence is accurate, wields significant power to wage successful cyberwarfare with the United States.
Senate Minority Leader Harry M. Reid on Sunday accused FBI Director James B. Comey of breaking federal law in disclosing possible new evidence in the Hillary Clinton email investigation.
Reid (D-Nev.) said in a letter sent to Comey that his disclosure to Congress, made 11 days before the election, might have violated the Hatch Act, which prohibits partisan politicking by government employees.
“Your actions in recent months have demonstrated a disturbing double standard for the treatment of sensitive information, with what appears to be a clear intent to aid one political party over another,” Reid wrote. “I am writing to inform you that my office has determined that these actions may violate the Hatch Act, which bars FBI officials from using their official authority to influence an election. Through your partisan actions, you may have broken the law.”
Reid did a telephone interview with Joy Reid this morning, and if you didn’t hear it, please check it out. Reid’s entire show this morning was “must watch TV.”
Please post your thoughts and links in the comment thread and enjoy your weekend. We don’t have much longer before our government is turned over to an authoritarian puppet of Russia.
So . . . we have a president elect who is completely unqualified, overwhelmed, surrounded by racists and conspiracy theorists, and openly supported by Neo Nazis and the KKK. After 7 days as president elect, he has yet to address the American People except for his acceptance speech and his bizarre appearance on 60 Minutes.
According to Rachel Maddow last night, the Trump team has not yet reached out to the DOJ, the intelligence community, Homeland Security or any other government entity we know about and they are not answering calls from people in the government who are anxious to begin working on the transition.
He has announced the appointment of Reince Priebus as WH chief of staff and Steven Bannon as chief White House strategist and senior counselor. Neither of these men has any experience in government. Priebus does know GOP leaders, of course; but he has little apparent knowlege about how the White House and the Federal government work. Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner is so ignorant of government that on Thursday he actually asked White House staffers how many of them would be staying on after Obama leaves!
Rudy Giuliani is the top choice to be Secretary of State. The second choice is John Bolton. One positive note: Ben Carson has said he doesn’t want a role in the Trump administration. He was being mention as Secretary of Education! So now many they’ll just go ahead and eliminate that department as Trump as threatened.
President Obama gave a press conference yesterday in which he provided veiled warnings about what may happen, announced that he will be visiting a number of foreign countries to try to reassure them, and that he will be helping Trump get ready for a job he will never be ready for.
Brian Beutler at The New Republic: Obama Is Warning America About Trump’s Presidency. Are You Listening?
President Barack Obama’s remarks about Donald Trump in his Monday press conference contained some of the most ominous words I’ve heard since news networks began calling the election for Trump early last Wednesday morning….
In a tense environment in which reporters, government workers, world leaders, and anxious citizens and immigrants understandably are scrutinizing every Donald Trump tweet and utterance and leak, Obama’s closing thoughts on the presidency and his successor will inevitably be given short shrift. But the things he says about the transition contain critical information about its progress and his confidence that, on the other side of it, things will run fairly smoothly.
His Monday comments suggests he has very little confidence that they will.
On the subtext of Obama’s remarks:
On the surface, his comments were reassuring. He was chipper. He did not doomsay. He searched for the generous and hopeful things to say about Trump and Trump’s designs on the presidency. But the sum total of his remarks, on close reading, were frightening—a stage-setting, at the very least, for an administration that Obama expects will be hobbled by incompetence and likely to fail.
Obama kept returning to three basic themes: that Trump will be given every opportunity to succeed, thanks to the tutelage Obama and his team will be providing, and the fact Trump won’t be inheriting massive crises—which should give him the kind of running room Obama never enjoyed; but that the work of a presidency is ceaseless, and much of it highly detail-oriented; and finally that Trump’s grasp of what he’s been elected to do is at best remedial.
Obama may be subtly trying to communicate to the Trump transition team that they need to make massive strides, and quickly, or they will be, in Obama’s words, “swamped.” But his expectation that Trump and his entourage will get their act together is clearly very low.
Please go read the rest.
On November 10 Elliot Cohen, a conservative, hawkish foreign policy guy who worked for awhile under Condoleeza Rice and who helped organize other national security experts to oppose Trump, wrote this at The American Interest: To An Anxious Friend…
First, the buffers and restraints built into our system—Congress, the courts, the press, bureaucratic inertia, federalism, and certain norms—are really quite strong. Republican politicians know that with a better candidate they would not have eked out a bare tie in the popular vote, but would have crushed Clinton and added to their Senate majority rather than reduced it. They are not beholden to Trump and do not feel that they should be. He will not be able to rule as a dictator. And in truth, Democratic fears that he may are salutary. So many of them dismissed Republican complaints about a politicized Internal Revenue Service—my guess is that they are rediscovering a healthy respect for older values of rigid political neutrality, as well as the larger system of checks and balances.
Second, Trump may be better than we think. He does not have strong principles about much, which means he can shift. He is clearly willing to delegate legislation to Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell. And even abroad, his instincts incline him to increase U.S. strength—and to push back even against Russia if, as will surely happen, Putin double-crosses him. My guess is that sequester gets rolled back, as do lots of stupid regulations, and experiments in nudging and nagging Americans to behave the way progressives think they should.
Third, part of the magic of America is its ability to regenerate itself. Both parties produced rotten outcomes at the presidential level; both deceived themselves about the actual concerns of the American people; both desperately need new generations of leaders. Those will emerge. What one can hope for as well is a sobering realization about the extent to which both have played dangerous games—with identity politics, with falsehoods, with cultural contempt, and above all, with the transformation of politics into a matter of unthinking tribalism.
Tough times ahead, no doubt. But I think about my grandparents, who fled pogroms, arrived here penniless, and experienced World War I and the influenza pandemic, as well as ethnic and religious discrimination of a kind now unthinkable. My parents lived through the Depression and World War II—and then the social upheavals of the 1960s.
Then he apparently reached out to the Trump people. Here’s what he tweeted about that today.
Not very reassuring.
A couple more stories that caught my attention:
The Donald Trump transition, already off to slow start, bogged down further Tuesday with the abrupt resignation of former Congressman Mike Rogers, who had been coordinating its national security efforts.
Two sources close to Rogers said he had been the victim of what one called a “Stalinesque purge,” from the transition of people close to New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who left Friday. It was unclear which other aides close to Christie had also been forced out….
He [Rogers] and his top aide had been working for months, preparing the groundwork for transition. Two sources close to the situation described an atmosphere of sniping and backbiting as Trump loyalists position themselves for key jobs….
Rogers’ departure follows Christie’s demotion from head of the team to a vice-chair, with Vice President-elect Mike Pence taking over for him last week.
The purge indicates the emphasis on loyalty — and significant influence of Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner, husband of Ivanka — that characterized Trump’s campaign will carry over into his White House.
Multiple sources indicated that Christie was demoted because he wasn’t seen as sufficiently loyal to Trump, failing to vocally defend him at key moments on the campaign trail.
Rogers had been mentioned as a candidate for CIA director, but now he’s out.
USA Today Exclusive: Fox anchor Megyn Kelly describes scary, bullying ‘Year of Trump.’
In her new memoir, Settle for More, Kelly describes how an unexpectedly anxious Trump complained to Fox News executives last year about what she’d do as a moderator of the debate. The questions Kelly and her colleagues planned to ask the candidates were secret. She wrote that days before the debate, Trump called Fox “in an attempt to rein me in. … He said he had ‘heard’ that my first question was a very pointed question directed at him.” Kelly’s first question was in fact for Trump and about his treatment and descriptions of women. She wondered, she wrote, “How could he know that?”
In an exclusive interview Monday with USA TODAY — one in which she discussed what she called her “Year of Trump” and her stand against former Fox News chief Roger Ailes — Kelly said she did not believe her question leaked to Trump beforehand. “I don’t think he had any idea,” she said. “What I think he was worried about was his divorce from Ivana Trump. … He was afraid I was going to bring that up.”
Much more about Kelly’s dealings with Trump and his pal Roger Ailes at the link.
More reads, links only:
Columbia Journalism Review: Eight steps reporters should take before Trump assumes office, by Dana Priest
WaPo: Paul Ryan’s plan to phase out Medicare is just what Democrats need, by Paul Waldman
LA Times: Paul Ryan is determined to gut Medicare. This time he might succeed, by Michael Hiltzik
Daily Beast: Steve Bannon’s Dream: A Worldwide Ultra-Right, by Christopher Dickey
That’s all I have. I’m still really struggling with my emotions, and I don’t know how long it’s going to take before I find my center again. This situation has triggered my deepest childhood fears and traumas. I just hope it isn’t going to be as disastrous as I expect.
Courage, Sky Dancers!
Hey, here’s a post with some quick links for you to check out. Again today I found myself having difficulty writing something. My enthusiasm is about as high as a contestant on the Miss America pageant…when she is told to make way for Trumpy as he barges in the dressing room.
I have had to deal with some family members posting things on my Facebook wall during this election. One, who is becoming a Catholic Priest…posted some links to the usual anti-abortion/pro-life shit, and proceeded to get into it with dear friends on patriarchy and such. Mona and I put the kibosh on that one.
But another cousin has been a little more vocal with the Trump rhetoric. Going so far as to put some bigoted stuff on my Hillary threads.
Well, last week I put up a link to an amnesty that was held on the Mexican Border for 3 minutes so that families could come together from the USA and Mexico and see each other and hug and kiss…it was an emotional video.
Well, he mouthed off about immigrants again, using that passive aggressive crap about defriending him etc…and it took me a few days but I finally put him in his place today. (By the way, Mary Maw is Junior’s mother.) Here is what I told him…
Junior…just a few thoughts. I think it is so ironic that you seem so full of hatred towards immigrants when our family immigrated here all those years ago, and had to deal with the same hateful prejudices that you are projecting now. Please think about it…understand something about our Latin last names. Do you not realize that my Nana and Mary Maw had experienced this same hate and prejudice back in the days when Trump says that his America was Great. If your heritage is Italian, Spanish, Cuban…you were treated with disgust. You could not swim over at Sulfur Springs public beaches. (the signs read no dogs blacks or Italians ) and in our own personal case, my Nana’s niece, Annie Centinaro, who graduated at the very top of her class in secretary school back in the late 1930s…never found a job in her field because she was of Italian descent. Don’t forget that in Tampa Florida…The Latin community had to band together to form Centro Espanol and Estudiano Hospitals to help other Latins get medical care because of the lack of options available to them…all because of the similar hate and prejudice which is tearing the nation apart. Why else would the KKK be supportive of a candidate whose slogan is Make America Great Again. It is a turn on the phrase Make America White Again…and it is not what our country is about. At least it is not what my country is about. I will not defriend you. That is ridiculous. We are family. But I only ask that you respect my wishes and refrain from posting hate filled statements on my wall. Thank you.
It made me also think about another thing his mother shared with me back when I was younger…in 6th grade, and had to do a report on home remedies for an English assignment. Mary Maw was one of three women to give me a recipe on how to induce an abortion. Give that a few moments thought.
So for my Great Aunt Mary Maw…My Nana…My other Great Aunt Annie…I look forward to Tuesday’s results, when that fucking Glass Ceiling is broken, and Hillary Clinton, a woman is elected President of the United States.
Now a few links, I warn you a few are upsetting…
… mother of a St. Louis, Missouri man was horrified to see a leaked photo of a police officer giving the “thumbs up” sign next to her son’s dead body.
KMOV Channel 4 reported that now Kim Staton — mother of Omar Rahman, who was 28 when he died on August 8 — wants answers.
“I really don’t know, actually, what happened to my son,” Staton told Channel 4’s Lauren Trager. The county medical examiner ruled that Rahman’s death was an accidental drug overdose.
Weeks after his death, a photo surfaced of Rahman’s body at the location where he was found dead. In it, an officer from the North County Police Cooperative is wearing latex gloves while holding Rahman’s limp arm with one hand and giving a “thumbs up” to the camera with the other.
The photo does not break any specific laws, but it raises serious questions about officers’ conduct and the handling of evidence.
“In your mind, is there any reasonable explanation for what that officer was doing?” Trager asked the grieving mother.
“No,” she replied. “Because when they come to a call, they’re supposed to be there to help and protect, not doing what he was doing with thumbs up and a smirk on his face.”
Her attorney, Antonio Romanucci, said, “It’s hideous. The implications of this photograph are just astronomical.”
“I have seen thousands and thousands of forensic photographs, I have never seen a staged photograph of an officer next to a deceased body,” he said. “Who was there that allowed this to go on? Was there any Sergeant involved? Those are the questions that need to be asked and that’s what needs to be found here.”
It’s still unclear how the photo was leaked to the public. Police only responded to Staton’s queries when the TV station became involved. They said that they can’t find their official crime scene camera and that hard copies of the photos are missing as well.
Cops refused to answer questions on camera. More at the link.
What’s it like for sexual assault survivors to hear Donald Trump talk about his accusers?
If you cannot see that embedded link.
In another article about a similar topic: Therapists Say the Election Is Giving Women Anxiety
Yeah, can you believe it.
His dog whistle about Hispanic voters wasn’t exactly subtle.
The latest SNL skit…
Hey, can you imagine the scene of this event: Report: Aides block Trump from Twitter | TheHill
Now that is a SNL skit I would like to see. Trump Campaign people taking his twitter away from him.
I’ve got another three videos from Facebook. So if you cannot see the embeds, click on the links.
Pretty much exactly what’s happening in real life.
This is a video of the line to see Hillary from Kissimmee FL…it is great to see such diversity.
The moment a baby Chameleon is born 😍
Credit: Simply Rock Creek Chameleons
I’ve never seen anything like that, have you?
This is an open thread…good night y’all.
FBI Director James Comey, in the words of Lawrence Tribe, has “throw[n] a huge bomb at the election.” Hillary will still win, but Comey, with pressure from House Republicans and Donald Trump, may have negatively affected downticket races for Democrats.
As we all know, yesterday Comey sent a letter to GOP chairmen in Congress announcing that FBI investigators had found emails that could be “pertinent” to the Clinton server investigation. Here’s the full text of the letter:
Dear Messrs Chairmen:
In previous congressional testimony, l referred to the fact that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) had completed its investigation of former Secretary Clinton’s personal email server. Due to recent developments, I am writing to supplement my previous testimony.
In connection with an unrelated case, the FBI has learned of the existence of emails that appear to be pertinent to the investigation. I am writing to inform you that the investigative team briefed me on this yesterday, and I agreed that the FBI should take appropriate investigative steps designed to allow investigators to review these emails to determine whether they contain classified information, as well as to assess their importance to our investigation.
Although the FBI cannot yet assess whether or not this material may be significant, and I cannot predict how long it will take us to complete this additional work, I believe it is important to update your Committees about our efforts in light of my previous testimony.
James B. Comey
Naturally, Rep. Jason Chaffetz immediately released the letter to the press, and hundreds of political reporters and cable talking heads went wild in a disgusting feeding frenzy, falsely reporting that the investigation into Clinton’s serve had been “reopened” even though Comey’s letter didn’t say any such thing.
Later in the day, Comey tried to cover his ass by sending a second letter to FBI employees. That letter was also obtained by The Washington Post. Here’s the text:
This morning I sent a letter to Congress in connection with the Secretary Clinton email investigation. Yesterday, the investigative team briefed me on their recommendation with respect to seeking access to emails that have recently been found in an unrelated case. Because those emails appear to be pertinent to our investigation, I agreed that we should take appropriate steps to obtain and review them.
Of course, we don’t ordinarily tell Congress about ongoing investigations, but here I feel an obligation to do so given that I testified repeatedly in recent months that our investigation was completed. I also think it would be misleading to the American people were we not to supplement the record. At the same time, however, given that we don’t know the significance of this newly discovered collection of emails, I don’t want to create a misleading impression. In trying to strike that balance, in a brief letter and in the middle of an election season, there is significant risk of being misunderstood, but I wanted you to hear directly from me about it.
No kidding. The Justice Department, which is in charge of the FBI, has historically tried to avoid politicizing investigation, especially within at least 60 days of an election. But Comey already chose to politicize the Clinton investigation with his highly inappropriate press conference in July. Following that clusterfuck, former Justice Department spokesman Matthew Miller strongly criticized Comney’s actions.
“It’s not just unusual, it’s unprecedented,” said Matthew Miller, who was director of the Office of Public Affairs for the Department of Justice under Attorney General Eric Holder and now works at strategic advisory firm Vianovo. “He’s put himself into the middle of a political campaign in a way that will call into question the legitimacy of the office.”
“You’ll now have people in the middle of a campaign able to say, ‘Well, the FBI director said Hillary Clinton was careless,'” Miller added. “That’s not the FBI director’s job to do, and the rules are set up to prohibit that kind of behavior.”
As we all know, Comey was then pressured by Republicans to testify before Congress about his decision not to charge Clinton. After that he took the unprecedented step of publicly releasing the FBI’s notes of Clinton’s private interview about the server. Comey is apparently hoping to become J. Edgar Hoover 2.0 with his blatant abuse of power.
We now know that the emails were found on a laptop that Huma Abedin shared with her estranged husband and social media pervert Anthony Weiner. They were not sent or received by Clinton and very likely are simply copies of emails that the FBI has already examined.
This morning, Jane Mayer revealed that in his letter yesterday Comey went against the recommendation of Attorney General Lorretta Lynich–his boss: James Comey Broke with Loretta Lynch and Justice Department Tradition.
Coming less than two weeks before the Presidential election, Comey’s decision to make public new evidence that may raise additional legal questions about Clinton was contrary to the views of the Attorney General, according to a well-informed Administration official. Lynch expressed her preference that Comey follow the department’s longstanding practice of not commenting on ongoing investigations, and not taking any action that could influence the outcome of an election, but he said that he felt compelled to do otherwise.
Comey’s decision is a striking break with the policies of the Department of Justice, according to current and former federal legal officials. Comey, who is a Republican appointee of President Obama, has a reputation for integrity and independence, but his latest action is stirring an extraordinary level of concern among legal authorities, who see it as potentially affecting the outcome of the Presidential and congressional elections.
“You don’t do this,” one former senior Justice Department official exclaimed. “It’s aberrational. It violates decades of practice.” The reason, according to the former official, who asked not to be identified because of ongoing cases involving the department, “is because it impugns the integrity and reputation of the candidate, even though there’s no finding by a court, or in this instance even an indictment.”
Traditionally, the Justice Department has advised prosecutors and law enforcement to avoid any appearance of meddling in the outcome of elections, even if it means holding off on pressing cases. One former senior official recalled that Janet Reno, the Attorney General under Bill Clinton, “completely shut down” the prosecution of a politically sensitive criminal target prior to an election. “She was adamant—anything that could influence the election had to go dark,” the former official said.
Four years ago, then Attorney General Eric Holder formalized this practice in a memo to all Justice Department employees.
Not only that, but Comey’s announced resulted in a dramatic drop in the stock market. Once masssive FBI leaks clarified that Hillary Clinton likely didn’t send or receive any of the emails in question, the market began to rise again.
To top it all off, we have now learned that the FBI had the emails in question at least a month ago!
According to Newsweek reporter Kurt Eichenwald, many in the FBI are angry at Comey.
And there’s this from Josh Marshall.
I don’t see how Comey recovers from this. He needs to resign, and I’m not the only one who thinks so. CNN legal analyst Paul Callan: Time for FBI director Comey to go.
Donald Trump’s oft-repeated claim that the FBI’s investigation of “Crooked Hillary” and the presidential election itself were and are “rigged,” seems to have thrown FBI Director James Comey into a state of panic. In foolishly making a public announcement that the bureau is reviewing newly discovered emails related to Hillary Clinton’s personal server, he has inserted himself yet again into the presidential campaign.
The old, sensible FBI rule book apparently has been thrown on the trash heap this year. While undoubtedly attempting to be open and “transparent,” to protect the reputation of the FBI, the FBI director has tossed a Molotov cocktail into the presidential race.
Voters must now be subjected to endless speculation in the press and explicit accusations from the Trump campaign and other Republican candidates that Hillary Clinton is a “criminal” aided and abetted by a rigged FBI and Justice Department. Comey’s “openness and transparency” will blow up in his face and further tarnish the FBI’s reputation. He has reinserted the Bureau into the political process.
More interesting reads on the Comey mess:
Politico: Comey’s disclosure shocks former prosecutors.
Benjamin Wittes at the Lawfare blog: Memo to the Press: What Comey’s Letter Does and Doesn’t Mean.
Jamie Bouie: Why the “October Surprise” Is Dead
Now it’s your turn. What do you think? What stories are you following today?