Saturday, March 31, 2018
Mai Oui! C'est Vrai
There is a Hell on Earth
The people who know what they are doing
Sort of, around Donald Trump are pushing for a harder US position on Russia. Donny, whose balls are in Putin's salad shooter doesn't agree.
With hundreds of diplomats in Washington, Moscow and European capitals packing their bags as the tensions stemming from the poisoning of a former Russian spy living in Britain have worsened, the Trump team is eyeing additional sanctions and other measures against Russia. But while aides say the president has become increasingly convinced that Russia is dangerous, he has still refused to embrace a tougher public posture himself and remains uncertain how far to authorize his administration to go.It is bad enough that Donny Dimplebutt, famous for having no clue, is losing the people who do have a clue. The expulsions on both sides is also reducing the means of communicating between countries where a mistake can be not just a disaster but an apocalypse.
Mr. Trump has emphasized the importance of dialogue with Russia and its president, Vladimir V. Putin, yet the departure of so many diplomats expelled from both Russia and the United States will make it that much harder to maintain a semblance of normal relations between the two countries. Cooperation in areas as varied as agriculture, counterterrorism, military affairs and space exploration could diminish, as could private travel and business dealings.
The perils of the diplomatic breakdown came into sharper relief on Friday. Russia’s ambassador in Washington lamented that no one would meet with him, and his embassy complained that Russian diplomats were being harassed by American intelligence agencies eager to recruit them.
The Pentagon, for its part, said that it had no notice of a test of a new intercontinental ballistic missile conducted by Russia and announced on Friday, a lack of communication that experts worry could lead to miscalculation.
“I don’t remember such bad shape of our relations,” Anatoly Antonov, the Russian ambassador to Washington, told NBC’s “Today” show. “There is a great mistrust between the United States and Russia.”
Since his arrival last year in Washington, Mr. Antonov said he had invited American officials to his residence only to be repeatedly rebuffed. “If they are scared, I said, ‘Come on, we can meet in a restaurant and to discuss all outstanding issues,’” he said. “It was four or five months ago. And I got answer: silent.”
American officials said a shift in the administration’s approach has been building for weeks. Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson, whose last official day on the job is Saturday, had come to the conclusion before Mr. Trump fired him this month that a year of attempting to cooperate had not yielded much success, according to people familiar with his thinking. As a result, they said, Mr. Tillerson had begun mapping out a tougher policy toward Russia and found agreement in the White House.
While Mr. Tillerson is on the way out, his designated successor, Mike Pompeo, and the incoming national security adviser, John R. Bolton, are both considered even more hawkish on Russia.
At the same time, some officials at the Pentagon have expressed caution about the escalating conflict with Russia, citing consequences in Syria, where the United States and Russia have both conducted military operations.
If God listens to anybody
It is Jimmy Carter and he prays that Donny Dimplebutt does what is right in office.
Samantha Bee went to Puerto Rico
And, among other things, observed the vultures at play
Where you can avoid any Trumps
Friday, March 30, 2018
The Soul Of A Man
Oh, yeah. About that wall...
If the Evil Koch Brothers are behind it
It must rank right up there with the election of Donald Trump as a truly horrible event in American government. The Veterans Administration hospital system was created to care for those who put their lives on the line for their country. It is now being threatened by those who ran away when their country called.
President Trump’s dismissal of David J. Shulkin, the secretary of veterans affairs — and the nomination of a Navy doctor with no known policy views to take his place — has brought renewed focus to an increasingly contentious debate over whether to give veterans the option of using the benefits they earned through military service to see private doctors rather than going to government hospitals and clinics.Calls for privatization mean that a group of already rich people see a chance to get richer at government expense while delivering empty promises to those currently using the VA. With the current Republican chokehold on government there is a real chance the evil ones could do serious damage to s systen that so many rely on.
The issue, which has pitted almost every major veterans group against Concerned Veterans for America, an advocacy group funded by the [evil] billionaire conservative brothers Charles G. and David H. Koch, and its allies, has been at the center of months of intrigue at the sprawling Department of Veterans Affairs, which is charged with caring for the United States’ 20 million veterans.
But Mr. Shulkin’s departure and the abrupt elevation of Dr. Ronny L. Jackson, the White House physician, to the department’s top job on Wednesday have raised new fears among Democrats and groups like the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the American Legion. They worry that the Trump administration will push for a major change in veterans’ health care that they have bitterly opposed.
The groups say the end result would be disastrous, effectively bleeding to death a network of 1,700 hospitals and clinics that has taken decades to build.
Dr. Shulkin, who was dismissed Wednesday evening by presidential tweet, argued in an op-ed article in The New York Times and in a subsequent interview on Thursday that such radical restructuring of veterans’ health care would not work.
He said that a middle path that he had tried to pursue — investing in the department’s own health care system while offering veterans more, though not unfettered, access to private doctors — had been rejected by Trump administration officials interested in rewarding private individuals and companies with a windfall in government money.
“They saw me as an obstacle to privatization who had to be removed,” he wrote in one of the most forceful statements offered yet by a fired Trump administration official.
Senior White House officials offered a different rationale for his firing that was based more on a damaging report about Dr. Shulkin’s use of government funds on a trip to Europe released last month than on a dispute over policy.
Lindsey Walters, a deputy White House press secretary, told reporters aboard Air Force One on Thursday that the nomination of Dr. Jackson should not be interpreted as a signal that Mr. Trump wants to privatize veterans’ health care.
But Mr. Trump seemed to renew those concerns just a short time later, promising in a speech in Ohio that he was going to ensure that veterans “have choice,” harkening back to a campaign promise to enact something like the Koch-backed plan.
Will your GOP Moop show up?
I know my Congressman is avoiding the town hall called for by March For Our Lives organizers. This is not unexpected because the bastard prefers to be Home On The Range, seldom hearing any discouraging words.
The organizers of March for Our Lives are hoping they can turn more than 700 marches in the U.S. on ending gun violence into 535 town halls on April 7 – one for every member of Congress right before they return to work on April 9.Nobody promised these critters an easy job so when their voters ask them to show up they should despite the promise of abuse. If they had been doing their jobs, that abuse would probably not happen. Go to a meeting if your jamoke is going to show up, give them Hell if they don't.
It’s an uphill battle under normal circumstances. But with fewer in-person town halls generally, polarized demonstrations at town halls last year over Obamacare, and the volatility of a congressional election year, it’s more a mountain than a hill.
“This is not an unreasonable thing to expect. If they can meet with donors every recess they can take an hour to talk to constituents – it is called ‘district work period,’” said Nathan Williams, managing director of the Town Hall Project, which is helping out March for Our Lives organizers on the issue. “But yes, it’s safe to say that not all 535 will host town halls over recess. There will probably be mostly empty chair town halls on the seventh.”
Williams said they’ve gotten calls from more than 300 potential organizers from about 130 districts on hosting town halls on April 7. If the member of Congress refuses to show up, they’ll have an “empty chair” town hall, inviting members’ campaign opponents and hosting constituents to voice their concerns. So far, 48 members of Congress have in-person town halls scheduled over the recess, and about a third of them are Republicans.
More than a dozen such empty chair town halls were officially organized by Thursday, including ones for Reps. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., Ken Buck, R-Colo., Ron Estes, R-Kan., Erik Paulsen, R-Minn., and Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio.
“Nobody likes to get shouted at, or have their humanity called into question,” said Michael Neblo, a professor at Ohio State University who has studied town halls for over a decade. “Especially in purple districts, you won’t have members willing to stand there and look contrary to their constituents.”
The town hall on gun violence hosted by CNN in February after the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting that killed 17 people in Parkland, Florida, was a “red flag” for many Republicans, according to Scott Jennings, a Republican political strategist and special assistant to former President George W. Bush. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., was both repeatedly booed for his views on gun control and occasionally thanked for showing up to the debate, as other Republicans such as Florida Gov. Rick Scott and President Donald Trump declined invitations. Rubio was also a frequent target of Stoneman Douglas students who spoke at the D.C. march last Saturday.
“He’s been drug through the mud ever since. And he’s not a radical on this issue,” Jennings said. “We have a saying in debate prep – if someone is moving your way, don’t step on them. That’s what they’re doing to Rubio.”
There is no historic data on how often town halls are held, according to Neblo, but most who study the issue say it has markedly decreased. It started when Democrats took heavy criticism over Obamacare in 2009, and then suffered another drop after renewed debate over repealing Obamacare targeted Republicans in 2017.
The Town Hall Project has identified 158 “missing members,” the group’s term for members who have not held an in-person town hall since January 2017. Nearly half of Republican House and Senate members make the list compared to 10 percent of Democratic members.
Stephen interviews "John Bolton"
You suck at both
Stephen recaps the latest follies from Spanky
As long as Pooty gets his cut
Happy Cruciversary Jesus
Thursday, March 29, 2018
Spanky prepares the new Census
R.I.P. Daniel Joseph Staub
With that ginger mop, Rusty was natural and Le Grand Orange was perfect. And your baseball career was pretty darn good, too.
Once an asshole, always an asshole
Which could be used as the motto for this president and his administration. Prezident Spanky has shown a remarkable constancy in his ability and willingness to be an asshole. While they may not have the range and depth of Spanky, his cabinet have all shown their own talents for assholery. And the latest add to his staff, The Menacing Moustache of Mediocrity John Bolton should fit right in.
The last time — perhaps the only time — John R. Bolton inspired bipartisan agreement, it was over the shared conclusion that he was perhaps the least diplomatic personality a president could have ever picked to be an American diplomat.Proficient at the bureacratic art of "Kiss Up, Kick Down" and a real screamer. He should fit right in until he chaps Spanky's ass with all his kissing.
That was in 2005, when Mr. Bolton was last considered for a government job. Accounts of his red-faced tirades against intelligence analysts whose findings he disagreed with so concerned members of the Senate that they refused to approve his nomination as President George W. Bush’s ambassador to the United Nations.
He wound up getting the job anyway through a recess appointment by Mr. Bush, who later regretted spending the political capital on such a divisive figure, telling conservatives, “I don’t consider Bolton credible.”
Thirteen years later, another president has given Mr. Bolton the far more consequential job of national security adviser. But because that post does not require Senate confirmation, the five months in 2005 that the Senate took to decide whether Mr. Bolton should go to the United Nations remain the only extensive examination of his record and his temperament.
Those who opposed him then, like Carl W. Ford Jr., along with many who supported him, say Mr. Bolton has not changed.
In an appearance before a Senate committee vetting Mr. Bolton’s nomination in 2005, Mr. Ford, a former assistant secretary of state for intelligence and research in the Bush administration, summed up Mr. Bolton, then an under secretary of state for arms control and international security, as a “kiss-up, kick-down sort of guy.”
“I believed then, as I believe now, he lacks any of the qualities to be a senior government official,” Mr. Ford said last week. “It has been my experience that his mouth is much bigger than his brain.”
Senator Christopher J. Dodd, Democrat of Connecticut, told the committee that “trying to remove someone as an analyst from their job because you disagree with what they’re saying, I think, is dreadfully wrong.”
Mr. Bolton responded that he had targeted the two officers for reassignment, not for firing, because “If I may say so, their conduct was unprofessional and broke my confidence and trust.”
The next day, Mr. Ford, who had run the bureau where Mr. Westermann worked, rattled the committee by describing Mr. Bolton as a “serial abuser” of lower-level staffers.
“There are a lot of screamers that work in government,” Mr. Ford said. “But you don’t pull somebody so low down the bureaucracy that they are completely defenseless. It’s an 800-pound gorilla devouring a banana.”
Reflecting on the hearing in an interview this week, Mr. Dodd called Mr. Ford’s testimony “a galvanizing moment.”
During the week after Mr. Ford’s appearance, more testimony emerged about Mr. Bolton’s efforts to tailor, suppress or selectively use intelligence as well as intimidate intelligence analysts and other professionals who disagreed with the views held by him or Mr. Cheney and his allies.
Rexon Ryu, a former State Department official, told the panel he encountered Mr. Bolton’s ire after he neglected to forward a cable related to United Nations weapons inspections in Iraq. Mr. Bolton then tried to block Mr. Ryu’s appointment as a liaison on nonproliferation issues. Mr. Ryu was transferred elsewhere at the State Department, and then recently joined the staff of Senator Chuck Hagel of Nebraska, a committee Republican.
The unnamed national intelligence officer for Latin America was revealed to be Fulton Armstrong, who in an interview last week said that Mr. Bolton had targeted him for “vicious attacks,” “rumor campaigns” and “infantile” character assassination.
Spend a Trillion dollars on one weapon
And then ask, what is left to defend. A very pertinent question when that weapon system has yet to show it can perform any of the many promised tasks whose inclusion has bloated the cost from the ridiculous level to the WTF! level.
As Lockheed Martin celebrates a major milestone for the F-35 program Wednesday, some of the plane’s biggest critics concede its political opposition in Washington has all but fizzled.What is left is a serong desire to continue diverting needed tax dollars to the greatest waste of public monies ever devised by the hand of man. But the folks in charge learned from past failures and built in a fail-safe measure with this boondoggle
Congress’s latest budget funds 90 of the planes — 20 more than requested by President Donald Trump, who once railed against their “tremendous cost.”
Government watchdog groups criticize the program for missing deadlines, exceeding cost estimates and failing to live up to promises. But with little appetite left to slow the current program in Washington, they’re now focused on stopping future versions of the plane, rather than convincing Congress to reconsider its investment.
“I have no real illusion we’re going to affect any drastic changes to the F-35,” said Dan Grazier, a military fellow at the Project On Government Oversight and one of the program’s leading critics in Washington. “It’s next to impossible to generate enough political opposition to the program.”
Steve Ellis, vice president of another watchdog group, Taxpayers for Common Sense, likened the plane’s inclusion in Congress’ budget to “the [appropriations] version of Oprah.”
“You get a plane, you get a plane, you get a plane!” Ellis said.
“Components [of the F-35] are built in 46 states, and about 350 Congressional districts,” said Grazier. “That’s an awful lot of organic Congressional support for the program on Capitol Hill.”Can't beat bringing home the pork.
The Go Fund Me wall
Stephen explains the options when the Pentagon doesn't fund Spanky's wall.
What we need, more conspiracies
Roy Wood Jr covers the March on Saturday you didn't hear of.
Wednesday, March 28, 2018
Has he tried Perry Mason?
The scent of gunsmoke in the air
The Mueller Investigation has revealed in a document released yesterday that Rick Gates was in frequent communication with a former Russian GRU agent.
A top Trump campaign official had repeated communications during the final weeks of the 2016 presidential race with a business associate tied to Russian intelligence, according to a document released on Tuesday by the special counsel investigating Russian interference in the election.
The campaign official, Rick Gates, had frequent phone calls in September and October 2016 with a person the F.B.I. believes had active links to Russian spy services at the time, the document said. Mr. Gates also told an associate the person “was a former Russian Intelligence Officer with the G.R.U.,” the Russian military intelligence agency.
The special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, is investigating numerous contacts between President Trump’s advisers and Russians leading up to and after the November 2016 election. The document, filed in Mr. Mueller’s name, stated that the communications between Mr. Gates and the individual were “pertinent to the investigation.”
The individual is identified only as “Person A,” and the document describes him as someone who worked for Mr. Gates and Paul Manafort, Mr. Trump’s campaign chairman, as part of their earlier lobbying efforts in Kiev on behalf of the former pro-Russian president of Ukraine. The description of the person matches that of Konstantin V. Kilimnik, who for years was Mr. Manafort’s right-hand man in Ukraine.
Mr. Manafort has told associates that he does not believe that Mr. Kilimnik has ties to Russian intelligence, but the document released on Tuesday shows that Mr. Gates told others of his history in the intelligence services.The evidence revealed so far is circumstantial. Mueller may well have more detailed information about the meetings but it is nice to see a little humor in these events. The idea that a GRU agent may be considered "former" in Putin's Russia is a real laugher.
At the time of the calls, Mr. Gates was the Trump campaign’s liaison to the Republican National Committee and, before that, he was the campaign’s deputy chairman. Mr. Manafort served as the campaign chairman until August 2016, when he resigned amid the growing controversy about secret payments he had received for his lobbying in Ukraine.
John Bolton is war horny
Trevor Noah profiles the Muttering Moustache of Menace
A fish filet in a 100 ruble bill
Stephen gives us the latest on Prezident Spanky
Among his base
Tuesday, March 27, 2018
Are You Out There
Stephen adores the next generation
As well he should
Donny's School Daze
Wanted: White House Spanker
Trevor Noah highlights Stormy Daniels method of making Donny Dimwit a nice guy, sort of.
Monday, March 26, 2018
Lara Price Band
The Best Explanation Yet
Tom Tomorrow uses science to explain the distortion of the universe in proximity to Donald Trump. The good news, it all makes sense. The bad news, we are all DOOMED!
Reason for concern
No worries about pesky legal advice
When your full time legal team working to defend you in the most dangerous investigation you have ever faced is the least competent of the lawyers you hired and the only one still around. Either Prezident Fuckface von Clownstick has an unwarranted faith in his case or he plans something to show us he is the King of Everything.
As President Trump heads into one of the most critical phases of the special counsel’s investigation, his personal legal team has shrunk to essentially just one member, and he is struggling to find any top lawyers willing to represent him.If having a coherent strategy is necessary, then Donny Dinkydick is "sliced bread that has been browned by exposure to radiant heat", toast. Unfortunately his vulnerability increases the possibility that King Donkeydick might try somekind of coup to eliminate his danger. If that shit hits the fan we are all in deep shit.
Working for a president is usually seen as a dream job. But leading white-collar lawyers in Washington and New York have repeatedly spurned overtures to take over the defense of Mr. Trump, a mercurial client who often ignores his advisers’ guidance. In some cases, lawyers’ firms have blocked any talks, fearing a backlash that would hurt business.
The president lost two lawyers in just the past four days, including one who had been on board for less than a week.
Joseph diGenova, a longtime Washington lawyer who has pushed theories on Fox News that the F.B.I. made up evidence against Mr. Trump, left the team on Sunday. He had been hired last Monday, three days before the head of the president’s personal legal team, John Dowd, quit after determining that the president was not listening to his advice. Mr. Trump had also considered hiring Mr. diGenova’s wife, Victoria Toensing, but she will also not join the team.
That leaves the president with just one personal lawyer who is working full time on the special counsel’s investigation as Mr. Trump is facing one of the most significant decisions related to it: whether to sit for an interview.
That lawyer, Jay Sekulow, is a conservative commentator who made his name on religious freedom cases. Mr. Sekulow is in talks with other lawyers about joining the team, although it is not clear how far those discussions have progressed.
Hours before the announcement of Mr. diGenova’s departure, which Mr. Sekulow said was related to a conflict of interest, the president took to Twitter to reject any suggestion that lawyers do not want to work for him.
“Many lawyers and top law firms want to represent me in the Russia case … don’t believe the Fake News narrative that it is hard to find a lawyer who wants to take this on,” he wrote. “Fame & fortune will NEVER be turned down by a lawyer, though some are conflicted.”
Adding new lawyers, he said, would be costly because they would take months “to get up to speed (if for no other reason than they can bill more).”
“I am very happy with my existing team,” he added.
This month, the president met with the veteran lawyer Emmet Flood about the possibility of joining the legal team. But Mr. Trump was put off by the fact that Mr. Flood, a Republican, had represented Bill Clinton during his impeachment process, and Mr. Flood has made clear that he will not represent the president if Marc E. Kasowitz, his brash longtime personal lawyer, has any role in the effort.
Mr. Trump also tried to recruit Theodore B. Olson, a well-known Republican lawyer, but Mr. Olson has said he would not be representing the president.
The first phase of legal work for Mr. Trump in the inquiry by the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, was led by a White House lawyer, Ty Cobb. That work, which in part involved the production of documents and the arrangement of interviews with White House officials, has been largely completed.
The second phase, which is now focused on the question of a presidential interview with Mr. Mueller, had been led by Mr. Dowd. One reason Mr. Dowd quit was that, against his advice, Mr. Trump was insistent that he wanted to answer questions under oath from Mr. Mueller, believing that it would help clear him.
Mr. Dowd had concluded that there was no upside and that the president, who often does not tell the truth, could increase his legal exposure if his answers were not accurate.
Roger Cossack, a seasoned legal analyst, said the key to successfully defending a high-profile client under immense scrutiny was to have a cohesive legal team with a consistent strategy.
A look at Women's Health
And all that isn't being done about it by Samantha Bee
Sunday, March 25, 2018
Good As Gold
Sarah Shook & The Disarmers
Don't worry, the Zuck will fix it
That Storm on the horizon
Should definitely not be taken lightly. In addition to her more obvious talents, Stephanie Clifford a/k/a Stormy Daniels is a hard nosed business woman who has taken the opportunity given her and charted her own destiny in a business not known for kindness to women.
She is the actress in pornographic films who is suing a sitting president, with whom she said she had a consensual affair, in order to be released from a nondisclosure agreement she reached with his lawyer just before the 2016 election. Over the past two months, she has guided the story of her alleged relationship with President Trump — and the $130,000 she was paid to keep silent — into a full-fledged scandal. If Ms. Clifford’s court case proceeds, Mr. Trump may have to testify in depositions, and her suit could provide evidence of campaign spending violations. She is scheduled to appear on “60 Minutes” on Sunday.A woman who knows her body and mind and will use them in any combination necessary to make a better life for herself and her family. The American Dream come true.
And if her name has seemed ubiquitous — repeated on cable television and in the White House briefing room, and plastered on signs outside nightclubs, where her appearance fees have multiplied — there is this to consider: Unlike most perceived presidential adversaries, about whom Mr. Trump is rarely shy, Ms. Clifford has not been the subject of a single tweet.
To many in the capital, Ms. Clifford, 39, has become an unexpected force. It is she, some in Washington now joke, and not the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, who could topple Mr. Trump.
Those who know her well have registered the moment differently. Ms. Clifford has subsisted amid the seamier elements of a business often rife with exploitation and unruly fare; more than a few of her film titles are unprintable. But for most of her professional life, Ms. Clifford has been a woman in control of her own narrative in a field where that can be uncommon. With an instinct for self-promotion, she evolved from “kindergarten circuit” stripper to star actress and director, and occasional mainstream success, by her late 20s. Why would a piece of paper and an executive legal team set her back?
“She’s the boss, and everyone knew it,” Nina Hartley, one of the longest-working performers in the industry, said about Ms. Clifford.
“The Renaissance porn star,” said Ron Jeremy, once perhaps the most famous porn star of all.
“She was a very serious businesswoman and a filmmaker and had taken the reins of her career,” said Judd Apatow, who directed her cameos in the R-rated comedies “Knocked Up” and “The 40-Year-Old Virgin.” “She is not someone to be underestimated.”
In her own scripts, she has gravitated at times toward more ambitious productions, with elaborate plotlines and nods to politics.
Her standards on set can be exacting. Ms. Clifford does not mind firing people, colleagues said, banishing those who flub a scene or gild a résumé. She has demanded that an actor change his “dumb” stage name because it would look silly on her promotional materials. And she has coaxed singular performances from her charges, once guiding Mr. Jeremy through a scene in which he sang to her small dog.
Her competitive streak is not well concealed. After industry award nominations were announced one year, Ms. Clifford, who had amassed more than a dozen such honors, reminded an interviewer that she had been snubbed in the categories of cinematography and editing.
When opportunities have presented themselves outside her domain — a Maroon 5 music video, a public flirtation with a Senate run in Louisiana, an appearance at a celebrity golf tournament that included a future president — Ms. Clifford has made the most of the publicity, helping her carve out a comfortable life in the Dallas suburbs.
She has a daughter, a third husband and an expensive hobby: equestrian shows. “She blends right in,” said Packy McGaughan, a trainer on the competition circuit. “A pretty girl riding a horse.”
A dog's breakfast
Should never be the description of the foreign policy of the world's leading nuclear threat but that is what you get when you elect a raging ignoramus as president. And his policy advisers could only be said to be on the same page if they were booklice munching on a coffee table book.
The incoming national security adviser has called for the “swift takeover” of North Korea by the South. He and the newly nominated secretary of state have urged withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran. The pick for C.I.A. director once oversaw interrogations in which terrorism suspects were tortured.So the last voice Cheeto Mussolini will hear, aside from the ones in his head, is a guy who never lost sleep sending other peoples children to die in a hugely wasteful and probably inconclusive conflict. And with a president who envisions the Oval Office as his new reality show, the presence of those who see governing as a serious business may rapidly diminsh in the days and weeks ahead leaving us all in a constant state on BOHICA.
The two generals celebrated by President Trump for their reputations for toughness are now considered the moderates — and at risk of falling out of favor.
Not since the immediate aftermath of Sept. 11, 2001, have key national security leaders so publicly raised the threat of military confrontation if foreign adversaries do not meet America’s demands.
But George W. Bush’s war cabinet was responding to the biggest direct attack on the United States since Pearl Harbor. The current moment of peril arises from Mr. Trump’s conviction that the United States is being pushed around by adversaries who need to understand that “America First” means they have a brief window to negotiate a deal, or force may follow.
Now, the members of Mr. Trump’s newly constituted team are about to face multiple, simultaneous tests of their past proclamations and sometimes conflicting instincts. North Korea and Iran pose the most immediate challenge, with Mr. Trump setting negotiation deadlines that are only months away.
Over the longer term, they must straighten out the strategic incoherence surrounding Mr. Trump’s approach to Russia and China, defining the meaning of the administration’s policy declaration earlier this year that “great power competition — not terrorism — is now the primary focus of U.S. national security.”
Washington is now consumed by a debate over whether Mr. Trump’s new team plans to govern as far to the right as it talks.
So far, the incoming national security adviser, John R. Bolton, has declared that his past comments are “behind me.” Hours after his selection was announced, Mr. Bolton vowed that he would find ways to execute the policies that Mr. Trump was elected on, but that he would not tolerate slow-walking and leaks from bureaucrats he dismissed as “munchkins.”
Some who know Mr. Bolton and his operating style predict titanic clashes.
Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, the retired general who has argued for keeping the Iran deal intact and warned that military confrontation with North Korea would result in “the worst kind of fighting in most people’s lifetimes,” told colleagues on Friday that he did not know if he could work with Mr. Bolton. The White House chief of staff, John F. Kelly, another retired four-star general, was also unenthusiastic about Mr. Bolton’s hiring.
Mr. Bolton’s harshest critics — mostly Democrats, but their ranks include some members of the Bush administration — argue that the odds of taking military action will rise dramatically when he becomes the last person a volatile American president consults.
“John Bolton is not some gray bureaucrat whose views are unknown to us,” said Michael McFaul, the American ambassador to Moscow under President Barack Obama, and now a Stanford professor and the director of the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies.
“He’s very clear that there should be regime change in Iran and North Korea, and military force should be used to achieve those goals,” Mr. McFaul said. “If you hire him, you’re making a clear signal that’s what you want.”
But others who have worked for years with Mr. Bolton argue that Mr. Trump knows exactly what he is getting: leverage, not conflict.
“I think this notion everybody talks about, that the risks of war have gone up, is wrong,” said Stephen J. Hadley, who was Mr. Bush’s national security adviser and a major architect of the invasions of Afghanistan in 2001 and Iraq in 2003. “This is the peace-through-strength crowd who want to make clear to people that they’re tough and that no one should cross them. But the reason for that is to deter war.”
Dov Zakheim, a former senior Defense Department official who has known Mr. Bolton for 35 years, wrote on Friday that Mr. Bolton “may be a fire breather, but he is a man who cares deeply about his country,” in comparison to his boss, who “cares deeply about Donald Trump.”
Whatever Mr. Trump’s motives, his selection of this team would have been hard to imagine when he first came to office declaring that the continued American presence in Iraq was a “disaster,” that he was comfortable with Japan and South Korea getting their own nuclear weapons so the United States would not have to defend them, and that America would no longer be the world’s policeman.
Mr. Bolton has come to the opposite conclusion.
Happy Anniversary Iraq
A few days late but Samantha Bee shows us what we have learned in the last 15 years. Spoiler: Damn Near nothing.
He's what you call an asshole's asshole
Bill Maher talks about John Bolton and others
Happy Palm Sunday
Saturday, March 24, 2018
Mighty oaks from little acorns grow
Roscoe P. Coltrane she ain't
But Morgan County Alabama Sheriff Ana Franklin does share some things in common with altogether too many other US sheriffs, a willingness to use the office as a power trip and source of personal enrichment.
One evening last fall, an informant for the Morgan County sheriff entered the office of a small construction business near this old river town and, he said, secretly installed spyware on a company computer. He had no warrant.These tin star despots can whine all they want about "federal overreach" but that does not protect them from state and local laws against theft, breaking and entering and others that they are charged with enforcing. What they do use is an almost feudal atmosphere in their jurisdictions that lets them believe the end justifies the means. It never does.
The sheriff, Ana Franklin, wanted to know who was leaking information about her to a blogger known as the Morgan County Whistleblower.
The blogger had been zeroing in on the sheriff’s finances, specifically $150,000 that by law should have gone toward feeding inmates in the county jail. Instead it had been invested in a now-bankrupt used-car dealership run by a convicted bank swindler.
Now the sheriff has become ensnared, along with others, in a wide-ranging government investigation. The Federal Bureau of Investigation is looking at her stewardship of taxpayer money, as well as the dealership and its financial links to prominent people in town, including several state law enforcement agents, according to more than a half-dozen people who say they have spoken to the F.B.I. Government divers recently searched the bottom of a creek for evidence.
What, if anything, investigators have uncovered is not known. But The New York Times found that since taking office in 2011, Sheriff Franklin has failed to comply with court orders, has threatened critics with legal action and has not publicly accounted for tens of thousands of dollars raised through charity events.
Her activities point to questions about the broad powers afforded America’s county sheriffs, newly emboldened in the era of President Trump. Unlike appointed municipal police chiefs, sheriffs answer only to voters, giving them often-unfettered dominion not just over county law enforcement but over the jail and the lucrative service contracts that go with it.
“In certain jurisdictions there is a feeling by sheriffs that this is my fiefdom — I am in charge, my way or the highway,” said Sarah Geraghty, a lawyer at the Southern Center for Human Rights in Atlanta, which has filed lawsuits against a number of sheriffs. “Sometimes that kind of culture can lead to sort of a sheriffs-gone-wild kind of behavior.”
If these officers of the law are also politicians, their politics have increasingly adhered to the idea of the sheriff as an almost mythic figure — a pure expression of democracy, local protector of the people, accountable only to the people. In recent years, a group of activist sheriffs has coalesced around such hot-button conservative issues as gun rights, immigration and the use of federal lands in the West.
“Mostly we protect people from criminals, but sometimes we protect them from an overreaching government,” said Brad Rogers, the sheriff of Elkhart County, Ind. He added: “I’m answerable to the people. I have a face and a name. Try asking the federal government for a face and a name.”
The apotheosis of the idea that federal and state law is subordinate to local authority is Joe Arpaio, the former Arizona sheriff who earned notoriety for his aggressive pursuit of unauthorized Latino immigrants. After the 2012 school massacre in Newtown, Conn., hundreds of sheriffs allied with Mr. Arpaio signed a pledge not to enforce the Obama administration’s gun-control proposals.
Ultimately, Mr. Arpaio was convicted of contempt for defying a federal judge’s order to stop violating immigrants’ constitutional rights. But Mr. Trump pardoned him over the summer, seemingly endorsing his view of local authority. Indeed, the Trump administration has instructed sheriffs to disregard federal law and detain undocumented immigrant suspects longer than a number of federal judges have said is constitutionally allowed. And when the president announced this month that he was drastically shrinking two national monuments in Utah, he cast the decision in terms of protecting citizens from “federal overreach.”
In a burst of foolish generosity
The NRA appears ready to let its herd of paid minions in Congress pass a few. essentially toothless gun "safety laws so the boys can tell the folks back home they stood up to the "powerful gun lobby".
Republican-controlled Washington is taking steps to curb gun violence. Steps approved by the National Rifle Association.Neither one really changes anything, the first has already been legislated and this does not improve anything. And the second really would be unnecessary in a civilized society. Bloody Wayne LaPierre, who usually prefers bathing in the blood of innocents, knows he has to give his faithful servants a fig leaf for the upcoming elections.
Two narrow gun safety measures included in a funding bill President Donald Trump signed Friday — each sponsored by both Republicans and Democrats — have the group’s explicit support.
One is designed to ensure states and government agencies upload relevant criminal records into the already-existing background check system.
The other offers money to train teachers, students and law enforcement to detect violent actors and stop school shootings before they happen.
NRA spokeswoman Jennifer Baker called Congress’s plan to improve the background check system “something that should have been done long ago.” She praised the school safety bill as a “much needed” solution that could prevent future tragedies.
A third measure, aimed at opening up federal research on the causes of gun violence, does not include any funding. Democrats count the small change — an added sentence stating that the research is allowed — as a tiny victory for gun safety.
A Plethora of F's
Used by Samatha Bee in discussing what happened this past week.
The Raised Finger of Fuck-Off
Bill Maher calls on Hollywood to give conservatives a chance so they won't take their anger at rejection out on the whole country.
Guns don't protect
Friday, March 23, 2018
Kacy & Clayton
If you present it right...
This should not be what parents pray for
From the pen of Stephen Pastis
The Congress finally passes a spending bill
UPDATE: The Orange Shithead did sign the bill, but he sulked all the way.
And it comes in the nick of time as the deadline for previous funding was set to expire tonight. As usual, it is a dog's breakfast of good and bad ideas since Omnibus bills are perfect for everybody to throw on their favorite spending idea.
The House voted 256 to 167 to approve the bill early Thursday afternoon, less than 24 hours after the spending plan, which stretched 2,232 pages, had been unveiled.And now that Congress has come as close as possible to doing what it was elected to do, Agent Orangesky does what he does best, create some havoc with a threat to veto the bill because it is missing something he did nothing to encourage.
After a scare over whether a fiscally conservative senator might force a brief government shutdown this weekend, along with an unexpected grievance from another senator over the renaming of an Idaho wilderness area, the Senate voted 65 to 32 to approve the bill around 12:30 Friday morning.
Government funding was set to expire Friday night, but by approving the bill, lawmakers moved to avert what would have been the third shutdown of the year.
The spending bill, which congressional leaders agreed to on Wednesday and President Trump seemed to grudgingly endorse on Twitter, provides big increases to the military and to domestic programs — and clearly rebuffs the Trump administration’s efforts to sharply scale back the reach and scope of the federal government.
The bill funds the government for the 2018 fiscal year, which began Oct. 1 and is already almost halfway over. Congress paved the way for this week’s legislation with a two-year budget deal last month that raised strict limits on military and domestic spending by about $140 billion this year.
In dividing up the spoils of that budget agreement, Congress rebuked the Trump administration’s initial vision for the federal government in many ways. The president’s desire to drastically cut spending on the environment was rebuffed. Programs like the National Endowment for the Arts and the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, far from being eliminated, were spared any reductions. Not only did the administration’s request for deep cuts to the National Institutes of Health go nowhere, but Congress gave the agency an additional $3 billion.
“Sometimes you save the president from themselves,” said Representative Tom Cole, Republican of Oklahoma and the chairman of the House Appropriations subcommittee that funds the health institutes.
The spending bill “repudiates the abysmal Trump budget, investing robustly in critical priorities like child care, transportation infrastructure, national security, election protection, medical research, opioid abuse prevention and treatment, veterans’ health services and much more,” said Representative Nita M. Lowey of New York, the top Democrat on the House Appropriations Committee.
At the White House, Mr. Trump’s top advisers worked to put the best face on a package they conceded fell short of fully funding his priorities and contained many items he would rather not have accepted.
“In order to get the defense spending, primarily, but all the rest of our priorities funded, we had to give away a lot of stuff that we didn’t want to give away” to Democrats, Mick Mulvaney, the White House budget director, told reporters during a briefing where he also highlighted funding in important areas like the military, school safety, border security and combating the opioid crisis.
“My job is to get the president’s priorities funded, which this does,” added Mr. Mulvaney, a onetime budget hawk in Congress who routinely voted against large spending packages and sidestepped a question on whether he would have done so for this week’s measure. “The president wants it to pass and wants it to be signed.”
President Trump threatened on Friday to veto a $1.3 trillion spending package just hours before the government was set to shut down for lack of funds, lashing out over Congress’s failure to fund his long-promised border wall.So the Tangerine Shitgibbon has decided to fling a big pile of poo, fresh out of his ass. No doubt he is hoping it will distract from from his continuing growing legal problems. And he may be flinging poo from the rest of us, too. His chaos is scaring the shit out of all of us.
“I am considering a VETO of the Omnibus Spending Bill based on the fact that the 800,000 plus DACA recipients have been totally abandoned by the Democrats (not even mentioned in Bill) and the BORDER WALL, which is desperately needed for our National Defense, is not fully funded,” Mr. Trump posted on Twitter in a message that imperiled a sweeping bipartisan agreement brokered by congressional leaders over his reservations.
He was referring partly to the fact that he failed to reach a deal with Democrats to include provisions in the spending measure that would preserve Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, an Obama-era program he rescinded last fall that allows undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children to apply for permits to work legally and avoid deportation.
But the president was most angry about the lack of funding in the bill for a massive wall on the nation’s southern border that he has billed as the centerpiece of his crackdown on illegal immigrants. The measure includes nearly $1.6 billion for border security — including new technology and repairs to existing barriers — but not Mr. Trump’s wall, as he claimed on Twitter on Wednesday. It provides $641 million for about 33 miles of fencing, but prohibits building a concrete structure or other prototypes the president has considered, and allocates the rest of the funding for new aircraft, sensors and surveillance technology.
It was the latest instance of the president parting ways with his advisers in a sudden reversal that could have serious consequences. The measure cleared Congress early Friday morning and, while Mr. Trump had made plain he was unhappy with some aspects of it, his senior advisers spent Thursday telling reporters that the president would sign it.
A veto would almost certainly shut down the government at midnight, just as hundreds of thousands of teenagers and adults are slated to descend on Washington for a gun control march. With Congress on spring recess for two weeks starting Monday, many lawmakers had already departed Washington early Friday. Some were on their way out of the country as part of official congressional delegations overseas.
Trevor Noah explains what happened
50 Shades of Legal Troubles
Seth Meyers takes A Closer Look at Orangina's many legal problems.
The piss on your back doesn't count
Thursday, March 22, 2018
Go Down Moses
Trump never coud spel gud
When you have an idiot for a client
The American lawyer is inculcated from the beginning with the idea that every man woman or child facing the American justice system deserves a lawyer. Sometimes the lawyers that practice this find their clients very difficult if not impossible to defend.
The president’s lead lawyer for the special counsel investigation, John Dowd, resigned on Thursday, according to two people briefed on the matter, days after the president called for an end to the inquiry.Unconfirmed reports indicate that Dowd quit because Cheeto Mussolini refused to follow his advice and keep his Tweet shut, a failing that Bob Mueller is most grateful for.
Mr. Dowd, who took over the president’s legal team last summer, had considered leaving several times in recent months and ultimately concluded that Mr. Trump was increasingly ignoring his advice, one of the people said. Under Mr. Dowd’s leadership, Mr. Trump’s lawyers had advised him to cooperate with the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, who is investigating Russia’s election interference and possible ties to Trump associates as well as whether the president obstructed the inquiry.
Mr. Dowd’s departure comes as the president has made clear he is seeking a more aggressive response to Mr. Mueller’s investigation. The president has in recent days begun publicly assailing Mr. Mueller, a shift in tone that appears to be born of Mr. Trump’s concern that the investigation is bearing down on him more directly. He has also privately insisted he should sit for an interview with the special counsel’s office, even though Mr. Dowd believed it was a bad idea.
Mr. Trump now is veering toward the combative approach supported by his longtime personal lawyer, Marc E. Kasowitz, who stepped back last summer but was still in contact with the president occasionally over the past several months. He could take on a larger role again, two people close to the president’s legal team said.
The president was said to be pleased with Mr. Dowd’s resignation, as he had grown frustrated with him, particularly over the weekend when Mr. Dowd called on the Justice Department to end the special counsel investigation. Mr. Dowd, who had forged relationships with the special counsel’s office, said at first that he was speaking for the president, but later backtracked.
The president was angered with Mr. Dowd’s handling of the episode, telling people it was ham-handed and Mr. Dowd should not have backed off his initial statement. Mr. Dowd, a former Marine Corps captain, has told people that the president has recently implored him to stay but was said to be considering quitting on Monday, which he denied in an interview that night.
Despite claiming otherwise on Twitter, the president has expressed displeasure with his legal team for weeks. He has met with the veteran Washington lawyer Emmet T. Flood, who represented President Bill Clinton during impeachment, about coming inside the White House to serve as his top lawyer. Neither Mr. Dowd nor Jay Sekulow, the president’s other personal lawyer for the investigation, knew about the meeting at the time, and after The New York Times reported about it, were said to be concerned that their standing with the president had fallen. He tried to reassure them on Twitter.
“The Failing New York Times purposely wrote a false story stating that I am unhappy with my legal team on the Russia case and am going to add another lawyer to help out. Wrong. I am VERY happy with my lawyers, John Dowd, Ty Cobb and Jay Sekulow,” Mr. Trump wrote. “They are doing a great job.”
It is not clear who will take over the team. Mr. Sekulow is liked by Mr. Trump and brought on this week one of his longtime friends, Joseph E. diGenova, to join the team.
Mr. Cobb, the White House lawyer for the investigation, came aboard around the same time as Mr. Dowd and Mr. Sekulow and advocated on behalf of cooperating with the special counsel. But the president has discussed with close associates in recent days whether to fire Mr. Cobb, while reassuring Mr. Cobb that he had no plans to do so.
“John Dowd is a friend and has been a valuable member of our legal team,” Mr. Sekulow said. “We will continue our ongoing representation of the president and our cooperation with the office of special counsel.”
A Stormy Review of Trump's Scandal
As Stephen Colbert channels his inner Gregory Peck
He is a Self-Framer
Seth Meyers taks A Closer Look at The Angry Inch's self incriminatory powers.
Wednesday, March 21, 2018
When We Were Young
The Good Lovelies
B.I.H Peter George Peterson
You were worth $2 Billion and chose to spend it trying to take away Social Security and Medicare from people who could only dream of that much money.
With brainless passenger
American Stinkhead Suckerfish
Qui analyzes coniectoribus*
Why Stephen Colbert does and he does it well.
*Google Translate says it means "Who analyzes the analysts?"
Donald Trump on drugs
Trevor Noah reviews Cheeto Mussolini's ideas on the opioid crisis and comes up with a better idea.
The Angry Inch is still a dick
Tuesday, March 20, 2018
Just Won't Cut It
Sad Sam Blues Jam
Where he leads them, they will follow
We want to sell you junk food
But we don't want you to be able to label it as junk food so we can profit fromthe ignorance of your people. And those people will include Americans.
The contentious negotiations over the fate of the North American Free Trade Agreement have veered into one of the world’s most pressing health issues: fighting obesity.Please, let us decide if the food we are selling is crap. We promise to be 'fair and accurate' just like in everything else we do.
Urged on by big American food and soft-drink companies, the Trump administration is using the trade talks with Mexico and Canada to try to limit the ability of the pact’s three members — including the United States — to warn consumers about the dangers of junk food, according to confidential documents outlining the American position.
The American stance reflects an intensifying battle between trade officials, the food industry and governments across the hemisphere. The administration’s position could help insulate American manufacturers from pressure to include more explicit labels on their products, both abroad and in the United States. But health officials worry that it would also impede international efforts to contain a growing health crisis.
Obesity has at least doubled in 73 countries since 1980. Many public health officials, worried about the rapid spread of highly processed foods, have found hope in a new tactic: the use of vivid warnings on foods with high levels of sugar, salt and fat.
Officials in Mexico and Canada — along with governments in Brazil, Peru, Uruguay, Argentina and Colombia — are discussing options like the use of colors, shapes and other easy-to-understand symbols that warn consumers of health risks. They were inspired in large part by Chile’s introduction of stringent regulations in 2016 that include requirements for black stop-sign warnings on the front of some packages.
But the Office of the United States Trade Representative, which is leading the Nafta talks on the American side, is trying to head off the momentum. It is pushing to limit the ability of any Nafta member to require consumer warnings on the front of sugary drinks and fatty packaged foods, according to a draft of the proposal reviewed by The New York Times.
The American provision seeks to prevent any warning symbol, shape or color that “inappropriately denotes that a hazard exists from consumption of the food or nonalcoholic beverages.”
Some experts have likened the fight over food labeling to that over tobacco — and the fierce if ultimately unsuccessful opposition and lobbying that industry waged to prevent the imposition of health warnings on packaging. The Trump administration’s position on food labeling reflects the desires of a broad coalition of soft-drink and packaged-foods manufacturers in the United States.
The Grocery Manufacturers Association, a food industry trade group that sits on the advisory board to the trade talks, says it favors voluntary labeling programs. The group says it “supports a modernized Nafta that will ensure standards are based on science, minimize unnecessary trade barriers, and benefit consumers in all three countries.”
The organization is fighting to keep Chile’s model from being adopted more widely. Roger Lowe, a spokesman for the group — whose board members include executives from Coca-Cola, PepsiCo and Mondelez International, which owns brands like Oreos, Chips Ahoy and Ritz crackers — said it was concerned about the “evidence and impact” of Chile’s laws.
The Angry Inch gets sued again
By another former 'fun fuck', this time it is former Playboy model and woman who should have known better, Karen McDougal. Actually she is not suing the Orange Weenie directly but going after the publishers of The National Enquirer for conspiring with Weenie to cover up her story.
A former Playboy model who claimed she had an affair with Donald J. Trump sued on Tuesday to be released from a 2016 legal agreement requiring her silence, becoming the second woman this month to challenge Trump allies’ efforts during the presidential campaign to bury stories about extramarital relationships.Another sad tale of a woman exploited by a bunch of sleazebags who use the law to make sure they get away with it. I wish her luck but she does not appear to have as stong a case as Stormy.
The model, Karen McDougal, is suing the company that owns The National Enquirer, American Media Inc., which paid her $150,000 and whose chief executive is a friend of Mr. Trump’s. The other woman, the adult entertainment star Stephanie Clifford, better known as Stormy Daniels, was paid $130,000 to stay quiet by the president’s personal lawyer, Michael D. Cohen. She filed suit earlier this month.
Both women, who argue that their contracts are invalid, are trying to get around clauses requiring them to resolve disputes in secretive arbitration proceedings rather than in open court, where the proceedings. Mr. Trump has denied the affairs.
Ms. McDougal, in a lawsuit filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, claims that Mr. Cohen was secretly involved in her talks with A.M.I., and that the media company and her lawyer at the time misled her about the deal. She also asserts that after she spoke with The New Yorker last month after it obtained notes she kept on Mr. Trump, A.M.I. warned that “any further disclosures would breach Karen’s contract” and “cause considerable monetary damages.”
In an email to The New York Times, her new lawyer, Peter K. Stris, accused A.M.I. of “a multifaceted effort to silence Karen McDougal.”
“The lawsuit filed today aims to restore her right to her own voice,” he said, adding, “We intend to invalidate the so-called contract that American Media Inc. imposed on Karen so she can move forward with the private life she deserves.”
Ms. McDougal filed her suit just days before Ms. Clifford was to appear on “60 Minutes” to discuss her relationship with Mr. Trump and the efforts Mr. Cohen undertook on his client’s behalf to pay for her silence.
Mr. Trump joined a legal effort last week seeking some $20 million in penalties tied to Ms. Clifford’s agreement.
The court dispute has drawn public attention to an issue that was previously sidelined. And both women’s suits could provide more fodder for federal complaints from the watchdog group Common Cause that the payoffs were, effectively, illegal campaign contributions.
Congratulations to his BFF
On the completion of his latest epic, The Russian Campaign in which Vladimir Putin gave himself a record 74% of the vote, Putin's American Puppet called to congratulate him on his hard won success.
President Trump on Tuesday congratulated President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia for his recent re-election victory and said the two are likely to meet soon to discuss the arms race between the United States and Russia.He probably also apologized for having to say those mean things about him because other people made him do it. And he was looking forward to their meeting to get his new orders.
“We had a very good call,” Mr. Trump told reporters in the Oval Office, where he was meeting with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia. “We will probably be meeting in the not-too distant future to discuss the arms race, which is getting out of control.”
Mr. Trump’s comments came a few days after the White House imposed sanctions on Russia for its meddling in the 2016 election and other “malicious cyberattacks,” and sharply criticized it for its apparent role in a nerve agent attack on a former Russian spy and his daughter on British soil.
"Donald Trump Is A Proper Asshole"
Trevor Noah on McCabe's firing
Final Trump Jeopardy
Seth Meyers takes a Closer Look at Trump's guilty behavior
Monday, March 19, 2018
All At Once
Captain Marvelous Me Does Zapp Brannigan
And Tom Tomorrow gets a sneak peak at the latest White House role playing.
One way you can tell
When you smear people with lies
Even the most notoriously reticent group like former federal law enforcement personnel will respond. And they will respond with facts, having spent their working lives seperating the wheat from the chaff.
Usually, top intelligence and law enforcement officials withdraw to lives of tight-lipped relative anonymity after their careers end. (Suffice it to say, they are not exactly known for viral Twitter battles.)Obviously Putin's Pet Monkey is upset at being investigated for what he considers his private and personal crimes, but attacking a group of straight arrows who, despite some mistakes, have a better reputation for honesty and integrity could be a serious problem for the orange poo flinger. If nothing else, it opens up all manner of stuff to further investigation.
But as President Trump has voiced his grievances against the F.B.I. with a series of insult-laden tweets, his targets have responded nearly in kind, turning a conflict that would in the past have stayed behind closed doors into a brawl for all to see.
Throughout the weekend, the president attacked “lying James Comey,” the F.B.I. director he fired last year. He also celebrated the dismissal of Mr. Comey’s onetime deputy, Andrew G. McCabe, calling it on Friday “a great day for Democracy.”
Mr. Comey struck back on the president’s preferred digital soapbox. “Mr. President, the American people will hear my story very soon,” he wrote on Twitter on Saturday, in what was most likely a reference to his coming book. “And they can judge for themselves who is honorable and who is not.”
Mr. McCabe, through his lawyer, tweeted a similar message, though with a biting flourish. “We will not be responding to each childish, defamatory, disgusting & false tweet by the President,” said the lawyer, Michael R. Bromwich. “The whole truth will come out in due course.”
Other former officials who have been the subject of the president’s taunts have also had choice words for him on Twitter. John O. Brennan, a former C.I.A. director who now refers to himself as “a nonpartisan American who is very concerned about our collective future,” attacked the president’s character on Saturday.
“When the full extent of your venality, moral turpitude, and political corruption becomes known, you will take your rightful place as a disgraced demagogue in the dustbin of history,” wrote Mr. Brennan, whom Mr. Trump once called “one of the biggest liars and leakers in Washington.” “You may scapegoat Andy McCabe, but you will not destroy America...America will triumph over you.”
Throughout history, presidents have found themselves in private conflict with members of law enforcement and intelligence agencies. Bill Clinton clashed with Louis J. Freeh, who oversaw the F.B.I. during the Lewinsky scandal. Richard M. Nixon fired the independent special prosecutor in the “Saturday Night Massacre,” and his attorney general and deputy attorney general resigned in protest.
But those tense interactions, experts say, seem almost quaint compared to the public mudslinging unfolding now.
“We’ve never had anybody so blatantly go after a president before,” Gary J. Schmitt, a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute who was once an intelligence adviser to President Ronald Reagan, said in an interview. “It’s also unprecedented to have a president so overtly going after various intelligence officials.”
He added, “It’s a race to the bottom.”
The president, who has no qualms about publicly attacking individuals as well as institutions, has grown only more frustrated as the investigation into his campaign’s ties to Russia continues well beyond the timeline given to him by his lawyers. On Saturday, one of them, John Dowd, said that he thought the investigation was baseless and should end.
Bill Maher had Beto O'Rourke on Real Time
If Trump is impeached
John Oliver gives us a look at what we will get with Mike Pence who hears voices in his head
And buy the book here www.betterbundobook.com
A gentle reminder
Sunday, March 18, 2018
Getting a piece of the action
There is good money in it
And the clandestine shipping of US tecnology overseas to Russia and China and elsewhere has grown considerably since the end of the Cold War.
Foreign smugglers are trying to ship advanced American technologies — which can be used for weapons and spy equipment — to China, Russia and other adversaries at rates that outpace shadowy and illegal exports during the Cold War, according to United States officials and experts.WASF! Nowadays all a hacker has to do is pretend he is from Russia and he will get Cheeto Mussolini's blessing. Still, all is not lost.MAybe we can let them steal the F-35 technology and then steal it back when they figure out how to make it work.
Since 2013, nearly 3,000 people have been swept up by Homeland Security Investigations alone for trying to smuggle weapons and sensitive technologies — including circuits or other products that can be used in ballistic missiles, drones or explosive devices. In that time, according to documents from the Department of Homeland Security, federal agents also seized more than 7,000 items, including microchips and jet engine parts, set to be smuggled out.
Exporting such items is tightly controlled by the American government to prevent hostile nations or terrorist organizations from turning them into weapons or devices that could harm the United States. In the past, such technology has turned up in improvised explosive devices in Iraq, Russian fighter jets and Chinese military satellites.
Russia, China, North Korea and Iran are some of the countries most active in trying to illegally acquire American military technology, officials said.
Adversaries have long deployed spies and black market dealers to obtain American technology. But the scale of current efforts is unusual — “worse than anything that occurred during the Cold War,” said Robert S. Litwak, the vice president for scholars and director of international security studies at the Wilson Center in Washington.
“During the Cold War, there was essentially one threat: the former Soviet Union,” said Mr. Litwak, who served on the National Security Council during the Clinton administration. “Now there are numerous threats.”
The rise is connected to an increase in foreign hackers who are infiltrating the American defense industry and technology companies to steal blueprints for weapons and sensitive technology.
“So they can sit in Iran or North Korea, out of reach of U.S. authorities, and just take what they need without trying to smuggle the item out of the country or getting someone to steal it,” said Patrick McElwain, who runs a special export enforcement unit at Homeland Security Investigations.
“It makes things difficult for us,” he added.
China and Russia have poured billions of dollars into research and development as they challenge the United States for global superpower status. But experts said their military and space programs remain years behind, unable to engineer advanced circuitry needed to match American satellites and weapons systems.
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