Monday Reads: Naughty Folks Beware!

Good Morning Sky Dancers!

I spent some time Saturday Night watching the Krewe of Krampus wander the neighborhood. I’m a big fan of the new found interest of claiming the history and pagan roots of the season. It’s so much better than all crass consumerism floating around the modern day holidays. I love Europe’s twist on the Anti-St Nick.  It lets me extend the Halloween season a bit which I’ve come to appreciate more than I did as a kid.

A mangled, deranged face with bloodshot eyes tops a furry black body. Giant horns curl up from his head, displaying his half-goat, half-demon lineage. Behind this terror, a dozen more stomp through the snow of the streets of Lienz, Austria, among a din of cowbell jangles. The creatures dash through the streets, chasing giggling children and adults alike, poking them with sticks and scaring some with the realization that they were naughty this year.

Krampus himself historically comes around the night of December 5, tagging along with St. Nicholas. He visits houses all night with his saintly pal. While St. Nick is on hand to put candy in the shoes of good kids and birch twigs in the shoes of the bad, Krampus’ particular specialty is punishing naughty children. Legend has it that throughout the Christmas season, misbehaved kids are beaten with birch branches or can disappear, stuffed into Krampus’ sack and hauled off to his lair to be tortured or eaten.

“The Krampus is the yin to St. Nick’s yang,” Seghers tells Smithsonian.com. “You have the saint, you have the devil. It taps into a subconscious macabre desire that a lot of people have that is the opposite of the saccharine Christmas a lot of us grew up with.”

In fact, Krampus’ roots have nothing to do with Christmas. Instead, they date back to pre-Germanic paganism in the region. His name originates with the German krampen, which means “claw,” and tradition has it that he is the son of the Norse god of the underworld, Hel. During the 12th century, the Catholic Church attempted to banish Krampus celebrations because of his resemblance to the devil. More eradication attempts followed in 1934 at the hands of Austria’s conservative Christian Social Party. But none of it held, and Krampus emerged as a much-feared and beloved holiday force.

I’m totally happy getting rid of the Romanization of culture.  As a student of history, I have to say that most of what they did was turn perfectly good science and shamanism into bland mindlessness.  These kinds of traditions show us how far we have and haven’t come.

I have a vivid memory of my friend hanging off a door horizontally, her nails digging into the wooden frame as a giant, fur-covered beast with demonic red eyes and giant fangs pulled her into the cold December night.

A few feet away, a girl was sobbing while a horned monster whipped her with branches.

Kids everywhere were screaming and crying, desperately seeking safety.

We were eight years old, and the whole thing was arranged by our parents.

Krampusnacht, or Krampus Night, is an ancient Austrian tradition that is also celebrated in Germany, Hungary, Slovenia, and the Czech Republic. Basically, Santa, or Sankt Nikolaus (St. Nicholas), comes around with his devils (or Krampuses) in tow.

He is there to determine whether kids have been naughty or nice — but in this case, being naughty has severe consequences: a run-in with his demon assistants.

So there are some folks that Krampus and his minions should stick in their baskets and take straight to hell.  There’s Roy Moore the teenage predator deplorable from Alabama who was thrown off the bench quite a few times for not following the US Constitution .

A couple of weeks ago, the three biggest newspapers in Alabama splashed the same tough editorial across the tops of their front pages.

“Stand for Decency, Reject Roy Moore,” read the bold headline in Birmingham, Mobile and Huntsville, all part of Alabama Media Group. Arguing that the credible sexual-misconduct charges against the former judge, a Republican, disqualified him, it endorsed Democrat Doug Jones for U.S. Senate.

Some readers cheered, and some disagreed enough to cancel their subscriptions.

But at a small-town daily in eastern Alabama, top editor Troy Turner wouldn’t even consider running such an editorial.

“I would have bullet holes in my windows,” said Turner, who grew up not far from the Opelika-Auburn News, where he supervises an 11-member newsroom staff. After starting there as a cub reporter in the 1980s, he came back in 2015 after holding high-ranking editing posts from New York City to New Mexico.

What’s more, he said, his own staff has mixed views about Moore. Not everyone is convinced about the allegations first reported by The Washington Post last month. Four women said Moore pursued them romantically as teenagers. And one, Leigh Corfman, said Moore touched her sexually and guided her hand to touch him over his underwear when she was 14 and he was in his early 30s.

Still, this 12,000-circulation paper, which has won numerous statewide awards for excellence, has not ignored the issue.

Instead, mindful of how people feel throughout conservative Lee County (named after the Confederate general), it has taken a cautious approach.

Turner wrote an editorial last month calling for Moore to step down as a candidate, concluding that he could not be an effective senator. Its headline, too, was bold: “It’s time for Roy Moore to step aside for Alabama.”

There are pockets of common sense in Alabama.  Then, there are folks that think they’re christians but really are just fodder for Krampus.

Moore, who is neck and neck in polls with Democrat Doug Jones in the unpredictable special Senate election in Alabama on December 12, has been accused by several women of inappropriate sexual relationships while they were teenagers. Proceeding with a playbook that recalls Trump’s after the Access Hollywood tape came out last year, Moore has vehemently denied every allegation, maintaining that every woman who has come forward is lying. In a state consistently hostile to Democrats, this defiant strategy has been at least somewhat effective; a poll released on Sunday showed that 71 percent of Alabama Republicans believe the charges are made up.

After the initial allegations came out, almost every major national Republican disavowed Moore  but not President Trump. The man who has now taken to denying observable reality about his own past with women made it clear to his advisers that he was skeptical of Moore’s accusers. “Roy Moore denies it,” he said. “And, by the way, he gives a total denial. And I do have to say, 40 years is a long time.”

Still, the White House hadn’t explicitly offered the divisive Republican its support, though Trump has knocked Doug Jones on Twitter and Kellyanne Conway gave Moore a quasi-endorsement on Fox & Friends in November.

Though Trump has said he will not campaign personally for Moore, he is holding a rally this Friday in Pensacola, Florida, which is close to the Alabama state border, and Moore has encouraged his supporters to attend. It was only a matter of time before Trump stopped playing coy and expressed his true affinity for the man who has been disbarred twice for flouting federal law.

Deplorable Kellyanne Conway is always in the middle of the worst of the worst. How she and Sisterwife Huckabuck face their children at night is beyond my comprehension. It’s a daily grind to see who can lie for Kremiln Caligula the most.  He’s got an entire team lined up to explain how he really didn’t say that or mean that. It’s gone beyond Orwellian to pathological.  Here’s this morning’s example abetted by the Trump Propaganda Outlet known as Faux News.

During a morning hit on Fox & Friends, White House counselor Kellyanne Conway was knee-deep in her standard anti-media jeremiad when she dropped a pretty damning nugget that had been promoted on the same channel just the day before. She claimed that “MSNBC didn’t even cover the Kate Steinle murder verdict. Not a single minute, even according to your graphic.”

And just for clarity, here is said graphic:

The thing is that she — and the Fox & Friends Weekend report from yesterday — are 100% false, and can easily be proven as much.

Some background…On Sunday morning’s episode of Fox & Friends Weekend, co-host Pete Hegseth had on as guest Bre Payton, who is described as the “culture and millennial politics reporter” by her employer The Federalist.  Together they discussed their frustration that MSNBC completely ignored Friday’s verdict in the Kate Steinle tragedy,ostensibly as evidence of the network’s biased coverage.

But a very simple search of transcript archive TV Eyes clearly shows that MSNBC covered the story three specific times on Friday. It also came up once on Sunday during MSNBC Live. 

They’re also scrambling to say Trump didn’t write or tweet his admission of guilt this weekend on a matter related to Flynn too.

President Trump believed that then-national security adviser Michael Flynn probably told the FBI the same lies that he told Vice President Mike Pence.

In journalism, we are taught to avoid using too many words like “believed” and “probably,” but this is the only way to describe the latest spin coming from Donald Trump’s personal lawyer. It is meant to clean up a much less nuanced tweet Trump sent, saying he had to fire Flynn “because he lied to the Vice President and the FBI.”

Trump’s personal lawyer, John Dowd, had already taken the blame for drafting the tweet. But now, according to The Washington Post, Dowd is also saying that “Trump knew generally that Flynn’s account to the FBI and Pence (his claim to have never spoken with then-Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak about sanctions) were similar…”

Pardon me if I don’t see how this latest revelation helps Dowd’s client. Even with this new explanation, we are left with the impression that Trump assumed Flynn had committed a felony. That didn’t stop Trump from pressuring then-FBI director James Comey to go easy on him—or from firing Comey when he didn’t.

I’m no legal scholar, but the distinction that Trump believed something as opposed to knowing it might not quell the allegations that he obstructed justice.

Perhaps this is why Dowd is now telling Axios that “the president cannot obstruct justice.” (Or, as Richard Nixon said, “When the president does it, that means it’s not illegal.”

Then, there’s the entire Comrade Trumpinsky thing with ruining US Diplomacy and influence.  That’s pretty Kramups-worthy.

In response to Russia’s election hacking, the U.S. expelled not just one, but 35 spies posing as diplomats — the strongest response ever to a cyberattack against the U.S.

In addition, President Obama made a public statement on the expulsions, calling them a “necessary and appropriate response to efforts to harm U.S. interests in violation of established international norms of behavior.” Both the magnitude of the sanctions and the public condemnation by the president was intended to send as sharp a rebuke as possible to Russia’s attack on our democracy.

As Flynn’s plea deal reveals, the Trump transition team immediately made a concerted effort to undermine the signal that the United States was sending. In particular, Flynn, with the approval of “senior transition officials” (identified in reporting as Jared Kushner and Katie McFarland), sought to discourage Russia from escalating the situation. Flynn reportedly promised that the Trump administration’s foreign policy goals would be more conciliatory.

By relaying this message covertly (and in spite of a “pointed request” by the Obama administration to avoid sending mixed signals to foreign officials), the Trump team negated the message being sent by the United States to Russia — and effectively put its stamp of approval on Russia’s efforts.

The repercussions of the Trump team’s covert efforts are not merely symbolic; they have also had serious long-term consequences on our intelligence capabilities against Russia. After secretly “reassuring” Russia that it need not worry about facing consequences, the Trump administration did not deliver. In July, Congress passed (and the president after much delay signed) a sanctions bill against Russia. Putin, either angry for being misled or having to save face from taking no action at all in December (or both), retaliated much more forcefully than he likely would have otherwise. Russia expelled 775 American diplomats in response, severely crippling our intelligence and diplomatic apparatus in that country.

I believe Trumpinsky is a Russian asset.  It may be knowingly. It may be due to his severe mental issues as discussed by BB in an earlier post. However, his reaction to any Russian news–and especially within the last few days--has been simply over the top.

Then there’s Russia, where the White House’s own lawyer is creating legal headaches – if you believe official accounts.

President Donald Trump’s reaction is to lash out at his own FBI and Hillary Clinton, noise that only builds a case by the special counsel, if he chooses to go there.

Chris Ruddy, the CEO of Newsmax and a Trump friend, summed up the stakes on “This Week”: “Robert Mueller poses an existential threat to the Trump presidency.

The president may control where things go from here, to an extent.

He’s started directly attacking the FBI which makes me wonder what he’s saying to the oldest living confederate widow whose currently serving as Attorney General.  What kind of pressures are raining down her Keebler elfishness? Sally Yates has finally spoken.

Mr Trump posted a barrage of criticism on Sunday morning, saying the FBI’s reputation was “in tatters” and was the “worst in history”, while again accusing it of failure in its treatment of his former opponent for the presidency, Hillary Clinton.

Mrs Clinton was investigated by the FBI ahead of the election after it emerged she had used a private email server to conduct state department business, but no charges were brought against her or her team.

The president seized on news that an FBI officer had been dismissed from the investigation after he was discovered to have made anti-Trump remarks in text messages, tweeting: “Report: ‘ANTI-TRUMP FBI AGENT LED CLINTON EMAIL PROBE’ Now it all starts to make sense!”

Mr Trump denies that his team colluded with Russia to get him elected, but four members of his inner circle have now been charged as part of the FBI inquiry lead by Robert Mueller.

Former acting attorney general Sally Yates hit back at Mr Trump, tweeting that “the dedicated men and women of the FBI deserve better” and that the “only thing in tatters is the president’s respect for the rule of law”.

Here’s an MSNBC Time line on the recent Michael Flynn stuff.

To recap: Flynn spoke to Russia’s ambassador about a UN vote and sanctions against Russia, and Flynn lied to the FBI about the conversations. Flynn didn’t act alone (his conversations came after discussions with Kushner and McFarland). And the day after Flynn resigned, Trump talked to Comey about “letting this go.”

Then, on Saturday, Trump tweeted this: “I had to fire General Flynn because he lied to the Vice President and the FBI. He has pled guilty to those lies. It is a shame because his actions during the transition were lawful. There was nothing to hide!” Why this is significant: It’s an admission that he KNEW Flynn lied to the FBI, and he KNEW THAT when he had his conversations with Comey.

“You tweet and comment regarding ongoing criminal investigations at your own peril. I would be careful if I were you, Mr. President. I would watch this,” Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said Sunday on CBS. Added Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., on “Meet the Press” yesterday: “I think what we’re beginning to see is the putting together of a case of obstruction of justice.”

After the tweet, Trump lawyer John Dowd said he composed the tweet for Trump, and he later acknowledged to NBC’s Kristen Welker that it was the only tweet he ever composed for the president. Our question: Will Dowd admit he wrote that tweet under oath?

Meanwhile, our nation turns its terrified eyes to Jared Kushner who is in deep doo doo. He continues to demonstrate his inability to fill out a simple government form.

Jared Kushner failed to disclose his role as a co-director of the Charles and Seryl Kushner Foundation from 2006 to 2015, a time when the group funded an Israeli settlement considered to be illegal under international law, on financial records he filed with the Office of Government Ethics earlier this year.

The latest development follows reports on Friday indicating the White House senior adviser attempted to sway a United Nations Security Council vote against an anti-settlement resolution passed just before Donald Trump took office, which condemned the structure of West Bank settlements. The failure to disclose his role in the foundation—at a time when he was being tasked with serving as the president’s Middle East peace envoy—follows a pattern of egregious omissions that would bar any other official from continuing to serve in the West Wing, experts and officials told Newsweek.

Completely submerged SOS Tillerson is definitely pissed at him.  Trumpinsky may be undermining Kushner’s Peace efforts already. 

And the ambassador, Ron Dermer, one of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s closest confidants, confirmed in a rare on-the-record conversation that Trump this week is likely to take a controversial step by recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital—a move that Palestinians have threatened will blow up any talks even before they start.

Not recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital is a “farce,” Dermer said, characterizing Trump’s likely decision to change that as sending a message to the Palestinians of: “Hey, wake up. Understand that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital. You have to deal with that reality.” But Arab leaders have braced for public protest, and several Middle East officials with whom I have spoken in recent days said they had not been formally consulted by Kushner and Trump on the move and worried it would backfire. “It sure would make things a lot harder,” one key administration supporter from the Arab world told me.

If anything, Dermer seemed more adamant about the prospect for a new round of military conflict between Israel and the Iranian-backed militia Hezbollah than about the outlook for Kushner’s peace process. “The chances of military confrontation are growing,” he said when I asked about a possible fight in neighboring Syria or Lebanon, and in fact Israeli jets reportedly hit targets inside Syria last week. “I don’t want to tell you by the year or by the month. I’d say even by the week. Because the more they push, we have to enforce our red lines … So in taking action to defend ourselves, you don’t know what could happen. But I think it’s higher than people think.”

Yup. I think the Word is ripe for a big time Krampus comeback.  So much naughty. Not a lot of a nice.  I’ve got a pretty long list of folks just itching for a Krampus abduction.

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?

 

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