Thursday Reads

Good Morning!!

While I was browsing for interesting stories this morning, I watched Trump’s embarrassing speech at the opening of the 9/11 center at NATO headquarters. He began with a lecture on how the U.S. is paying so much for defense and other countries are failing to meet the 2% GDP requirement. How long is he going to keep beating this dead horse?

After that, he seemed to imply that NATO had spent too much money on the 9/11 memorial. He said that the U.S. would not abandon NATO, but he did not reaffirm article 5, which states that if one NATO country is attacked, all have been attacked.

Last night a reporter for The Guardian, Ben Jacobs, was assaulted by the GOP candidate for the House in Montana.

The Guardian: Republican candidate charged with assault after ‘body-slamming’ Guardian reporter.

The Republican candidate for Montana’s congressional seat has been charged with misdemeanor assault after he is alleged to have slammed a Guardian reporter to the floor on the eve of the state’s special election, breaking his glasses and shouting: “Get the hell out of here.”

Ben Jacobs, a Guardian political reporter, was asking Greg Gianforte, a tech millionaire endorsed by Donald Trump, about the Republican healthcare plan when the candidate allegedly “body-slammed” the reporter.

Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs

“He took me to the ground,” Jacobs said by phone from the back of an ambulance. “I think he whaled on me once or twice … He got on me and I think he hit me … This is the strangest thing that has ever happened to me in reporting on politics.”

Fox News reporter Alicia Acuna, field producer Faith Mangan and photographer Keith Railey witnessed the incident at Gianforte’s campaign headquarters in Montana, according to an account published on the Fox News website. After Jacobs asked Gianforte his question, Acuna wrote: “Gianforte grabbed Jacobs by the neck with both hands and slammed him into the ground behind him.

“Faith, Keith and I watched in disbelief as Gianforte then began punching the man, as he moved on top the reporter and began yelling something to the effect of ‘I’m sick and tired of this!’ … To be clear, at no point did any of us who witnessed this assault see Jacobs show any form of physical aggression toward Gianforte, who left the area after giving statements to local sheriff’s deputies.”

At least 3 Montana newspapers have now unendorsed Gianforte, and the election is today.

This might explain Gianforte’s anger toward Jacobs and the Guardian. On April 28, Jacobs published this story on Gianforte, whom Trump endorsed in voice message: GOP candidate Greg Gianforte has financial ties to US-sanctioned Russian companies.

A Republican congressional candidate has financial ties to a number of Russian companies that have been sanctioned by the US, the Guardian has learned.

Greg Gianforte, who is the GOP standard bearer in the upcoming special election in Montana, owns just under $250,000 in shares in two index funds that are invested in the Russian economy to match its overall performance.

According to a financial disclosure filed with the clerk of the House of Representatives, the Montana tech mogul owns almost $150,000 worth of shares in VanEck Vectors Russia ETF and $92,400 in the IShares MSCF Russia ETF fund. Both are indexed to the Russian equities market and have significant holdings in companies such as Gazprom and Rosneft that came under US sanctions in the aftermath of the Russian invasion of the Crimea.

The Moron-In-Chief is now in trouble with two countries and the U.S. Department of Defense for his blabbing of top secret intelligence. First it was Israel, now the U.K.

Politico: Israel changes intelligence sharing with US after Trump’s revelations to Russia.

Israel has changed the way it shares intelligence with the U.S., Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman said Wednesday. The move comes after U.S. President Donald Trump divulged to Russia classified information reportedly obtained from Israel.

“We discussed the issue with our friends in America,” Liberman said in an interview with Army Radio. “We did our checks.” The defense chief didn’t specify what changes had been made, saying: “Not everything needs to be discussed in the media, some things need to be talked about in closed rooms.” ….

Israel has changed the way it shares intelligence with the U.S., Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman said Wednesday. The move comes after U.S. President Donald Trump divulged to Russia classified information reportedly obtained from Israel.

Manchester police making arrests after bombing

The Guardian: UK police stop passing Manchester bombing information to US over leaks.

British police have stopped sharing evidence from the investigation into the terror network behind the Manchester bombing with the United States after a series of leaks left investigators and the government furious.

The ban is limited to the Manchester investigation only. British police believe the leaks are unprecedented in their scope, frequency and potential damage.

Downing Street was not behind the decision by Greater Manchester police to stop sharing information with US intelligence, a No 10 source said, stressing that it was important police were allowed to take independent decisions.

Relations between the US and UK security services, normally extremely close, have been put under strain by the scale of the leaks from US officials to the American media.

After chairing a meeting of the emergency Cobra meeting Theresa May said: “I will make clear to President Trump that intelligence shared between our security agencies must remain secure.” She is due to meet the US president at a Nato summit in Brussels on Thursday.

Not Good.

As for the Defense Department’s reaction to Trump leaks, have you read the transcript of Trump’s call to Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte? It’s beyond shocking. Not only did the Moron-in-Chief praise Duterte for his extra-legal murders of suspected drug dealers and addicts, but also he revealed the location of two U.S. nuclear submarines!

Trump’s good buddy Rodrico Duterte

Reuters: Trump praises Duterte for anti-drug campaign in call transcript.

Trump commended Duterte’s actions in the same call in which the U.S. president invited him to Washington, according to a transcript of their conversation published by the Washington Post and the investigative news site The Intercept. The document included a “confidential” cover sheet from the Americas division of the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs.

Almost 9,000 people, many small-time drug users and dealers, have been killed in the Philippines since Duterte took office on June 30. Police say about one-third of the victims were shot by officers in self-defense during legitimate operations. Human rights groups say official accounts are implausible.

“I just wanted to congratulate you because I am hearing of the unbelievable job on the drug problem,” Trump told Duterte, according to the transcript.

“Many countries have the problem, we have a problem, but what a great job you are doing and I just wanted to call and tell you that.”

Duterte thanked Trump and said “this is the scourge of my nation now and I have to do something to preserve the Filipino nation.”

“I think we had a previous president who did not understand that,” Trump replied.

And then there was this:

The attack submarine USS San Francisco (SSN 711) is escorted by two harbour tugs in this file picture. – Wikimedia Commons

Buzzfeed: The Pentagon Can’t Believe Trump Told Another President About Nuclear Subs Near North Korea.

Pentagon officials are in shock after the release of a transcript of a call between President Donald Trump and his Philippines counterpart revealed that the US military had moved two nuclear submarines towards North Korea.

“We never talk about subs!” three officials told BuzzFeed News, referring to the military’s belief that keeping submarines’ movements secret is key to their mission.

While the US military will frequently announce the deployment of aircraft carriers, it is far more careful when discussing the movement of nuclear submarines. Carriers are hard to miss, and that, in part, is a reason the US military deploys them. They are a physical show of force. Submarines are, at times, a furtive complement to the carriers, a hard-to-detect means of strategic deterrence.

According to the transcript, released Wednesday, Trump called Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte April 29, in part to discuss the rising threat from North Korea. During that call, while discussing ways to mitigate North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s nuclear ambitions, Trump said: “We have two submarines — the best in the world. We have two nuclear submarines — not that we want to use them at all. I’ve never seen anything like they are but we don’t have to use this, but [Kim] could be crazy, so we will see what happens.”

It takes a madman to recognize another madman, I guess. In reading the transcript, I got the feeling that Trump would like nothing more than to use those nukes. But now, all our enemies know where they can fine our nuclear subs.

By announcing the presence of nuclear submarines, the president, some Pentagon officials privately explained, gives away the element of surprise — an irony given his repeated declarations during the campaign that the US announces far too many of its military plans when it comes to combatting ISIS.

Moreover, some countries in the region, particularly China, seek to develop their anti-sub capability. Knowing that two US submarines are in the region could allow them to test this.

Finally, it is unclear why Duterte would need to know the specific number of subs in the region. The Philippines is not a part of US military efforts to deter North Korea, so why would Duterte need to know such details?

There is so much Trump Russia news that I’ll have to give you the rest as links only.

Three big stories broke last night, and I posted them on JJ’s thread.

NYT: Top Russian Officials Discussed How to Influence Trump Aides Last Summer.

WaPo: How a dubious Russian document influenced the FBI’s handling of the Clinton probe.

CNN: AG Sessions did not disclose Russia meetings in security clearance form, DOJ says.

More Trump Russia stories:

Politico: Manafort advised Trump team on Russia scandal.

Daily Beast: Reince Priebus Sweating Secret Comey Memos, White House Sources Say.

The Atlantic: The Known Unknowns of the Russia Investigation.

Politico: White House tries to avoid ‘paralysis’ amid investigation.

Other News:

NBC News: Trump Failing to Track Foreign Cash at His Hotels.

Axios: Trump’s “street fighters.”

NBC News: Ben Carson Says ‘Poverty Is a State of Mind.’

The Atlantic: Pope Francis, Trump Whisperer?

Bloomberg: Obama Feted in Berlin as He Praises Merkel Before Trump Summits.

What else is happening? Please share your thoughts and links in the comment thread below, and I hope you enjoy your day.

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Another Piece of the Snowden-NSA Leaks Puzzle Falls into Place

64 Gigabyte thumb drive

64 Gigabyte thumb drive

Another piece of the puzzle fell into place this morning when Ken Dilanian of the LA Times broke the news that Edward Snowden somehow managed to save stolen data on a thumb drive and walk out of the NSA facility in Hawaii with it.

Former National Security Agency contract employee Edward Snowden used a computer thumb drive to smuggle highly classified documents out of an NSA facility in Hawaii, using a portable digital device supposedly barred inside the cyber spying agency, U.S. officials said.

Investigators “know how many documents he downloaded and what server he took them from,” said one official who would not be named while speaking about the ongoing investigation.

Snowden worked as a system administrator, a technical job that gave him wide access to NSA computer networks and presumably a keen understanding of how those networks are monitored for unauthorized downloads.

On Tuesday the Guardian reported that Snowden arrived at Hong Kong airport carrying four laptops. From the article:

As he pulled a small black suitcase and carried a selection of laptop bags over his shoulders, no one would have paid much attention to Ed Snowden as he arrived at Hong Kong International Airport. But Snowden was not your average tourist or businessman. In all, he was carrying four computers that enabled him to gain access to some of the US government’s most highly-classified secrets.

This led a number of security experts to wonder if Snowden had absconded with four NSA computers, which would have been an incredible security failure for the agency. It’s not clear why the Guardian focused on these computers as carrying the stolen classified secrets, but the Guardian’s reporting on this story has so far been flawed by misinformation–perhaps because of a lack of understanding of the relevant technology.

Back to the LA Times article:

Officials said they still don’t know how Snowden got access to an order marked “Top Secret” from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, or a highly-classified directive from President Obama authorizing a military target list for cyber attacks. Neither document would be widely shared, or normally available to a low-level NSA employee.

A larger number of NSA employees and contractors might have access to a PowerPoint slide show on PRISM, which uses online data from nine U.S. Internet and technology companies. Snowden said he provided the slides to the Washington Post and The Guardian.

There is another disturbing aspect to Snowden’s actions that is still mysterious. When did he decide to steal the data and when did he begin copying the classified documents? We know that Snowden first contacted journalist and film-maker Laura Poitras in January 2013, and he contacted Glenn Greenwald in February.

But Snowden did not begin working for Booz Allen Hamilton as an NSA contractor until either late March; because when Booz Allen fired him on June 10, they stated that Snowden had worked for them for less than 3 months. This strongly suggests that Snowden deliberately too the job with Booz Allen in order to steal government secrets.

In March of 2012, Snowden was apparently working for Dell, because there is a record of his donating $250 to Ron Paul’s campaign as a Dell employee living at an address in Maryland. When he gave an additional $250 to Paul in May 2012, he gave an address in Waipahu, Hawaii and listed his occupation as “Senior Advisor,” with no employer noted. So what was Snowden doing between May 2012 and March 2012 when he went to work as an NSA contractor for Booz Allen?

I guess we’ll find out eventually. Stay tuned.

This is an open thread.


Glenn Greenwald’s NSA Source, Edward Snowden, Outs Himself

Edward Snowden

Edward Snowden

Another “bombshell” from Glenn Greenwald and The Guardian: the NSA whistleblower reveals his name, his reasons for copying classified material, and his plans for the future.

He has had “a very comfortable life” that included a salary of roughly $200,000, a girlfriend with whom he shared a home in Hawaii, a stable career, and a family he loves. “I’m willing to sacrifice all of that because I can’t in good conscience allow the US government to destroy privacy, internet freedom and basic liberties for people around the world with this massive surveillance machine they’re secretly building.”

Three weeks ago, Snowden made final preparations that resulted in last week’s series of blockbuster news stories. At the NSA office in Hawaii where he was working, he copied the last set of documents he intended to disclose.

He then advised his NSA supervisor [He is currently employed at Booz Allen Hamilton] that he needed to be away from work for “a couple of weeks” in order to receive treatment for epilepsy, a condition he learned he suffers from after a series of seizures last year.

As he packed his bags, he told his girlfriend that he had to be away for a few weeks, though he said he was vague about the reason. “That is not an uncommon occurrence for someone who has spent the last decade working in the intelligence world.”

On May 20, he boarded a flight to Hong Kong, where he has remained ever since. He chose the city because “they have a spirited commitment to free speech and the right of political dissent”, and because he believed that it was one of the few places in the world that both could and would resist the dictates of the US government.

Snowden apparently decided to leave his life behind and begin a new one. He told the Guardian “I do not expect to see home again.” And if that isn’t dramatic enough, he has barely left his hotel room since arriving in Hong Kong because

He is deeply worried about being spied on. He lines the door of his hotel room with pillows to prevent eavesdropping. He puts a large red hood over his head and laptop when entering his passwords to prevent any hidden cameras from detecting them.

OK, I’m in no position to evaluate the truth value of all this. It does sound a little paranoid, but look what has happened to Bradley Manning. Certainly the Feds will go after Snowden, whether his revelations are truly damaging to U.S. national security or not and despite the fact that other journalists than Greenwald are now pooh-poohing the revelations.

So who is Snowden? He has an unusual biography for someone in his position. He grew up in North Carolina. He was not a very good student and never graduated from high school, although he took computing courses at a community college. He went into an army special forces training program, hoping to go to Iraq, but he was badly injured and had to be discharged.

After that he worked at the NSA as a security guard, then somehow because of his apparent genius for computers he stepped up the CIA where he worked on IT network security. He eventually worked in Switzerland under diplomatic cover. He gradually became disillusioned and left the CIA to work for private contractors.

He thinks the

value of the internet, along with basic privacy, is being rapidly destroyed by ubiquitous surveillance. “I don’t see myself as a hero,” he said, “because what I’m doing is self-interested: I don’t want to live in a world where there’s no privacy and therefore no room for intellectual exploration and creativity.”

Once he reached the conclusion that the NSA’s surveillance net would soon be irrevocable, he said it was just a matter of time before he chose to act. “What they’re doing” poses “an existential threat to democracy”, he said.

You can read the rest at the Guardian.

I really don’t know what to think at this point. I’m not sure if we have learned anything new beyond what we have known throughout the Bush and Obama administrations–that we are being spied upon constantly, but government and corporations. I hate it, and I hope these revelations–whether they are new or not–may lead to change.

I’m going to add a few more links to add to the discussion.

Reuters: Senator seeks review of Patriot Act amid surveillance report

Bob Cesca: NSA Bombshell Story Falling Apart Under Scrutiny; Key Facts Turning Out to Be Inaccurate

ZDNet: The real story in the NSA scandal is the collapse of journalism

Rayne at Emptywheel: Truck-sized Holes: Journalists Challenged by Technology Blindness

Reuters: Government likely to open criminal probe into NSA leaks: officials

Tim Shorrock: Who’s helping the NSA? A Look at Palantir

What are you hearing and reading? What do you think?


Evening Catch-Up: Zimmerman and Syria

Good afternoon

Let’s catch up on things, eh?

Syria is really heating up, but of course the situation remains the same.

Syria shows al-Assad, amid speculation on his whereabouts – CNN.com

Amid fierce fighting, Syrian TV on Thursday showed video of President Bashar al-Assad, the first images broadcast of him since a deadly attack on top officials a day earlier.

The development cameas rebels fought government forces in Damascus and its suburbs and made significant attacks on strategic border points, officials said.

[…]

Although al-Assad has not often appeared on television or in public events during the near 17-month crisis gripping his country, it is unusual for a leader not to address a nation in the wake of a major bombing, and as violence rages in the capital.

Wednesday’s blast at a government building in Damascus killed three top officials, one of whom also was the president’s brother-in-law.

Syrian borders in rebel hands, battles in Damascus | Reuters

Syria’s international borders and torched the main police headquarters in the heart of old Damascus, advancing relentlessly after the assassination of Bashar al-Assad’s closest lieutenants.

The battle for parts of the capital raged into the early hours of Friday, with corpses piled in the streets. In some neighborhoods residents said there were signs the government’s presence was diminishing.

Officials in neighboring Iraq confirmed that Syrian rebels were now in control of the Syrian side of the main Abu Kamal border checkpoint on the Euphrates River highway, one of the major trade routes across the Middle East.

Rebels also claimed control of at least two border crossings into Turkey at Bab al-Hawa and Jarablus, in what appeared to have been a coordinated campaign to seize Syria’s frontiers.

In Damascus, a witness in the central old quarter district of Qanawat said the huge headquarters of the Damascus Province Police was black with smoke and abandoned after being torched and looted in a rebel attack.

“Three patrol cars came to the site and were hit by roadside bombs,” said activist Abu Rateb by telephone. “I saw three bodies in one car. Others said dozens of security men and shabbiha (pro-Assad militia) lay dead or wounded along Khaled bin al-Walid street, before ambulances took them away.”

The next few days will be critical in determining whether Assad’s government can recover from the devastating blow of Wednesday’s bombing, which wiped out much of Assad’s command structure and destroyed his circle’s aura of invulnerability.

Streaming live coverage here: Russia, China Veto Syria Resolution at U.N. – WSJ.com

Syria: Bashar al-Assad swears in minister as diplomacy stalls at UN | World news | The Guardian

Hopes for any kind of peaceful resolution of the escalating crisis faded as Russia and China used their vetos at the UN security council to block a western-backed resolution calling for punishment if Assad failed to implement an internationally backed agreement on a ceasefire and political transition with the opposition.

The foreign secretary, William Hague, condemned the UN developments as “inexcusable and indefensible” and warned Assad that his regime was “doomed”. The White House also condemned it as “highly regrettable.”

An estimated 15,000-17,000 have been killed in the 16 months of bloodshed in Syria. Funerals were held in Damascus for Wednesday’s bomb victims as Assad’s sister Bushra and mother Anisa received condolences for the death of Shawkat.

Western diplomatic sources told the Guardian they believed the loss of the highly experienced Shawkat and Dawoud Rajha, the defence minister, would now make it harder for the regime to judge how much force it could use without risking alienating Russia, still Assad’s most influential and supportive ally. In one of the most significant events on a fast-moving day, fighters of the Free Syrian Army took control of the border crossing into Turkey at Bab al Hawa – gateway to Idlib province – and Bab al Salam and Al-Boukamal crossings into Iraq, according to videos posted on the internet. That seems certain to make it easier for the FSA, being financed and armed by Saudi Arabia and Qatar, to step up their fight.

Syria: US condemns UN veto as ‘highly regrettable’ – as it happened | World news | guardian.co.uk

United Nations Security Council meets about Syria

Russia and China vote against a UK drafted resolution at the UN security council. Photograph: Justin Lane/EPA

5.35pm ET / 10.35pm BST: Here’s the latest summary of today’s events:

The US has condemned Russia and China’s veto of a new draft resolution on Syria as “highly regrettable”. The UK and France were also highly critical of the countries’ third veto, with the French UN ambassador accusing Russia and China of buying time “for the Syrian regime to smash the opposition”.

Russia’s ambassador accused western countries of “attempting to fan the flames of conflict”. Vitaly Churkin said the draft resolution vetoed by Russia and China was “biased”, with threats of sanctions “levelled exclusively at the government of Syria. China’s ambassador said the resolution would have “further aggravated the turmoil”.

On a side note, congratulations to Glenn Greewald: Glenn Greenwald joins Guardian US from Salon | Media | guardian.co.uk

The Guardian has announced the addition of Glenn Greenwald, the renowned political commentator and bestselling author. In his new role, Greenwald will write a daily blog and weekly column appearing in the Guardian’s Comment is Free section.

“The Guardian offers the opportunity to reach a new audience, to further internationalize my readership, and to be re-invigorated by a different environment,” said Greenwald. “Salon has fully supported my work in every possible way, which makes it difficult to leave, but I’m an admirer of the Guardian’s journalism and concluded that it was a great match,” Greenwald added.

Greenwald is a former constitutional and civil rights litigator and current contributing writer at Salon.com. He is the author of three New York Times bestselling books: How Would a Patriot Act?, A Tragic Legacy and With Liberty and Justice for Some. Greenwald was named by The Atlantic as one of the 25 most influential political commentators in the nation and by Newsweek as one of the country’s top 10 online political opinion writers.

“Glenn will be a great fit, and we’re delighted to have him join our provocative line-up of Guardian voices,” said Janine Gibson, Guardian US’s editor-in-chief.

I think it is a good fit too, Home news – Salon.com

After five-and-a-half highly fulfilling years at Salon, I will be leaving to join TheGuardian beginning on August 20. My last day writing on a daily basis for Salon will be August 15. Politico‘s Dylan Byers has an article about the move here. I will write daily at the U.S. edition of TheGuardian, which is based in New York, and will do so exactly the same way as I have here: with full editorial independence and the same type of readership involvement and support upon which I’ve long relied, including a vibrant comment section. In addition to the daily writing, I’ll also write a more traditional once-a-week column there.

And now for the Zimmerman links:

Here is some “class” real class, from George…Zimmerman Posts ‘Thank You’ Video For ‘The Masses,’ Re-Launches Website | Mediaite That website is now a bit more professional looking but what an ass Zimmerman is.

Thursday afternoon, George Zimmerman, the accused killer of Trayvon Martin, posted a video to YouTube entitled “Thank You,” thanking “the masses” for their support during his ongoing situation.

In the video, Zimmerman stands in front of a window and announces the re-launch of “TheRealGeorgeZimmerman.com,” which he describes as a website where “you can personally communicate with me,” and will be the “website to provide facts” as his case unfolds.

This comes as Barbara Waters tells about how she was given conditions by Zimmerman: Barbara Walters Rejects George Zimmerman’s Interview Demands

Barbara Walters revealed on Thursday that she had rejected demands made by Trayvon Martin shooter George Zimmerman in exchange for an interview.

The New York Post reported on Thursday that Walters had traveled down to Florida with the intention of interviewing Zimmerman, but walked away after he requested that ABC get him a hotel room for a month.

Walters was not competing for the first interview with Zimmerman, as he had already granted that privilege to Fox News’ Sean Hannity. Hannity’s interview aired on Wednesday night.

Walters confirmed much of the Post’s story on Thursday’s “View.” She explained that Zimmerman’s lawyer, whom she referred to as “effective,” confirmed Tuesday night that Zimmerman would do an interview. Walters said that Zimmerman was going to tape an interview with Hannity before sitting down with her. Walters said Hannity “had been very supportive to [Zimmerman] in the past and George Zimmerman told me that he was very grateful, and I appreciated his loyalty to Hannity.”

Walters agreed that her interview would tape and air after Zimmerman sat down with Hannity. She said that she had then flown down to Florida for the interview.

When Walters and her team arrived in Florida, she said that Zimmerman came in dressed in a t-shirt, rather than a suit. “That should have been my first clue,” she said.

According to Walters, Zimmerman said that the plans had changed, and he was refusing to do the interview unless ABC granted him one request. Walters refused to confirm that he had requested a month-long stay in a hotel. “It was a condition that, being a member of ABC News, I was unable to grant,” she said.

Money, could be the condition?

Walters described Zimmerman as “desperate for money” and “very worried about his family.” She also said he was “polite, soft-spoken, stubborn.” She said that his lawyers “wanted him to do the interview.”

George then pulled a Trump, calling Walters while the View was being taped live: Zimmerman calls ‘The View’ after Barbara Walters walks away from interview meeting  – NY Daily News

Near the end of Thursday’s show, Walters told viewers that Zimmerman called “The View,” but she refused to put him on the air.

“Mr. Zimmerman, if you could not do the interview yesterday, I don’t think we should do a quick one today,” Walters said.

“In the future if you feel differently, we will consider it,” she snipped.

Zimmerman’s call-in came hours after Martin’s parents made the morning show rounds to slam his claim to Hannity that the deadly confrontation with the teen was “all God’s plan.”

This New York Daily News article says Zimmerman wanted ABC to put him and his wife up in a hotel for a month…ugh.

As far as that interview with Hannity: Trayvon Martin’s Family on Zimmerman Apology: ‘We Must Worship a Different God’ | NewsFeed | TIME.com

George Zimmerman sat down Wednesday night on Fox News’ The Sean Hannity Show, speaking to the press for the first time since the night when he shot and killed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. (Watch clips from the interview here.)

It looks like evidence to the prosecution. George Zimmerman Prosecution May Use TV Interview as Evidence – ABC News

George Zimmerman’s television interviewin which he said had few regrets about the night he killed teenager Trayvon Martin has been entered as possible evidence in his upcoming murder trial.

In a wide ranging interview with Fox News’ Sean Hannity Zimmerman, appearing articulate and calm, said he neither regretted carrying a gun that night nor pursuing the 17-year-old Martin.

“I feel that it was all God’s plan,” he told Hannity. When asked if there was “anything you might do differently,” Zimmerman responded, “No Sir.”

For a good review of the interview: 5 things George Zimmerman told Sean Hannity that may come back to haunt him | theGrio

1. Trayvon wasn’t running. 

Hannity seemed taken aback when Zimmerman repeatedly insisted that Trayvon Martin wasn’t running, since Zimmerman told the police dispatcher that he was. The Fox News host asked Zimmerman to try to “get into the mind-set” of the teen, and questioned whether he might have been running from Zimmerman because he was afraid of him and didn’t know who Zimmerman was. Zimmerman’s one word response to that proposition: “no.”

You don’t think — why do you think that he was running then?” Hannity asked, to which Zimmerman replied that maybe he “said running,” but that Martin was “more … like skipping, going away quickly. But he wasn’t running out of fear.”

You could tell the difference?” Hannity asked, to which Zimmerman replied more emphatically: “He wasn’t running.” Hannity asked again: “So he wasn’t actually running?” And Zimmerman reiterated, “No, sir.”

Hannity, who has been sympathetic to Zimmerman and didn’t cross-examine him forcefully during the interview, eventually gave up on that line of questioning, but not before adding, “OK. Because that’s what you said to the dispatcher, that you thought he was running.”

Meanwhile, Zimmerman said on the 911 tape, as he was describing where he was inside the gated community the Retreat at Twin Lakes on February 26th:

“… you go straight in, don’t turn, and make a left. Sh*t, he’s running.”

The dispatcher asked, “he’s running? Which way is he running?” to which Zimmerman responded, “down towards the other entrance to the neighborhood.” A few seconds later, Zimmerman tells the dispatcher, “he ran,” and then begins trying to give directions to where his truck is parked.

Click that link for the four other “problems” with the interview. Wow…and I thought the skipping thing was the biggest one!

One more update: Court won’t halt execution of Georgia death row inmate  | ajc.com

A state court has declined to halt the execution of a Georgia death row inmate set to die Monday.

Warren Lee Hill is set to die by lethal injection on Monday.

A Butts County Superior Court judge Thursday denied requests filed by Warren Lee Hill’s lawyer. Lawyer Brian Kammer argued Hill is mentally disabled and shouldn’t be executed. Similar requests are pending at the U.S. Supreme Court.

The court said Hill has proven an IQ of 70 beyond a reasonable doubt, and he meets the overall criteria for being mentally disabled by a preponderance of the evidence.

This is an open thread…


Rightwing Canards 101

left wingIn 2008, I decided to go from blog lurker, to thread poster, to front-pager.  It has been one strange trip that has been both oddly satisfying and exasperating. I think I popped out of the womb with an opinion and a need to express it.  If my first grade teacher Miss Pearl Jensen of Herbert Hoover elementary school could speak to this, she’d probably say, that child has too much to say and I just felt the need to “shake the toenails off her” all the time.   She used to pick  me up, shake me, and scream that at me. I assume she’d do that again if she met me today.

My mother was always being called to school about me because I was always saying something.  In fourth grade, I refused to say the pledge of allegiance because I saw absolutely no use in it.  I announced in fifth grade, after reading my social studies assignment on eastern religions, that I must be a Buddhist because it’s the first religion I’d read about that didn’t seem less real than ‘The Hobbit’.  I’ve always been in trouble throughout my corporate work life for being ‘verbose’, ‘glib’, and ‘mouthy’.  Thank goodness for academic freedom where I can now get away with it.  So,  I guess you shouldn’t be surprised that I would eventually find a home as a front pager some where.

Since front-paging really doesn’t come with instruction manuals, other than the usual, wow, we like the sound of how you write, knock yourself out here, I’ve had to learn by the hunt and peck method.  I’ve learned which buttons attract what type of nasty comments.  I usually avoid pushing those buttons because frankly, unless it’s really important, I hate doing troll duty.  Some how, there’s just one button I keep pushing.  It is the “I hate your source” so you must be a ______ button.

Look, I’m used to writing scholarly stuff and finance reports.  I recognize that sometimes the people who drive you the craziest can some times come up with a good point and good data.  Other times, the people you really want to support and put forward can come up with some stinkers.  This is a blanket warning to every one who ever reads my stuff.  People that you disagree with can frequently be quotable as more than just examples of wingnuts.  On the other hand, some times people that you disagree with, and get quoted a lot can be very very very wrong and what they say will be printed over and over and over and over.  The only thing I think is completely over the top is taking a comment out of context and creating a moonbat feeding frenzy with it.

With that statement and story, I present to you Michael Tomasky of the Guardian (last time I checked both reliably liberal and credible sources) and ” How they lie: a case study; Did an Obama judicial nominee really express a preference for Allah over Jesus? No, not by a long shot”.  Tomasky basically chases down one of those right wing memes around the web, then exposes that meme as untrue by actually using (gasp) facts  and showing the context.  His gut told him with a title like that,  it was undoubtedly one of those right wing smear jobs, but he didn’t just take it at gut or face value.  He chased down the truth before he pounded out the story.  In other words, he acted like a journalist who writes a blog rather than a blogger that acts out what he supposes is journalism.

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