Friday, March 16, 2018

Former FBI Director Andrew McCabe fired just days before he was to retire with his pension intact.

Courtesy of thew New York Times:

Andrew G. McCabe, the former F.B.I. deputy director and a frequent target of President Trump’s scorn, was fired Friday after the Attorney General Jeff Sessions rejected an appeal that would have let him retire this weekend. 

Mr. McCabe promptly declared that his firing, and Mr. Trump’s persistent needling, were intended to undermine the special counsel’s investigation in which he is a potential witness. 

Mr. McCabe is accused in a yet-to-be-released internal report of failing to be forthcoming about a conversation he authorized between F.B.I. officials and a journalist. 

In a statement released late Friday, Mr. Sessions said that Mr. McCabe had shown a lack of candor under oath on multiple occasions. 

“The F.B.I. expects every employee to adhere to the highest standards of honesty, integrity and accountability,” he said. “I have terminated the employment of Andrew McCabe effective immediately.”

McCabe however disputes that explanation:
McCabe was even more blunt in another interview: 

“The idea that I was dishonest is just wrong,” he said, adding, “This is part of an effort to discredit me as a witness.”

It should be pointed out that a Fox News draft of their article on this firing was leaked on Twitter hours before anybody else knew it was happening.
So clearly Trump's favorite "news" outlet was given a heads up well before the rest of the media was informed about this unprecedented decision.

By the way we should also remember that Trump has been trolling McCabe about this possibility for months now. 

This is how the president of the United States treats a man who gave over 20 years in service to his country.

Fox's Shepard Smith claims that many of his fellow hosts are there strictly to entertain, and that he and they "serve different masters."

Courtesy of Time: 

Smith says he’s unbothered by the divergence between his reporting and Fox’s opinion slate. “We serve different masters. We work for different reporting chains, we have different rules. They don’t really have rules on the opinion side. They can say whatever they want. If it’s their opinion. I don’t really watch a lot of opinion programming. I’m busy.” He laughs, enigmatic punctuation that may indicate he’d been trying for a bon mot, or might just be a Mississippi-nice way of indicating he’s said what he’s going to say, bless my heart.


Unlike some portion of the audience that reflexively switches on Fox News, Smith is disengaged by politics. “I get it,” he says, “that some of our opinion programming is there strictly to be entertaining. I get that. I don’t work there. I wouldn’t work there. I don’t want to sit around and yell at each other and talk about your philosophy and my philosophy. That sounds horrible to me.” 

So to sum up, much of Fox News broadcasting is there simply to entertain, there are no real rules on the opinions side of things, and yet this is Donald Trump's go to source for news and policy advice.

Do you remember that 2012 study which found that people who watched Fox News were less informed than people who did not watch any news at all?

Well apparently that's not a bug.

It's a feature.

And now it features into how the president makes decisions which effect this country, and our world.

P.S. By the way since this story came out suddenly we are learning that Smith is going on a "previously planned vacation."

Thea last time I heard that phrase was when it was used to explain why Bill O'Reilly was not showing up to do his show after those sexual harassment allegations became public.

I hope that is not the case here as Shep is probably the last remaining actual journalist currently working at Fox News.

P.P.S. Here was Hannity's response.
I think Hannity is confusing "breaks news" with "pulls conspiracy theories out of my ass."

Attorney claims that Stormy Daniels was physically threatened by Trump or one of his associates.

So that is what I woke up to this morning.

According to the attorney some of these incidents even happened during the campaign.

And before any Trump defenders start arguing that Trump would not be this stupid, take a look at this story: 

Lawyers for President Donald Trump’s family hotel business threatened a Panamanian judicial official handling a dispute related to Trump Hotels’ management of a 70-story luxury hotel, according to a complaint filed with the anti-corruption division of Panama’s chief prosecutor. 

The complaint reviewed by The Associated Press said lawyers from the firm representing Trump’s hotel management business accosted a justice of the peace, Marisol Carrera, in her office after she ruled against Trump’s business on a minor issue in the fight over control of the Trump-branded luxury hotel. The abuse continued, she wrote, even after she called police to defuse the situation.

Trump has a long history of using strong arm tactics and intimidation to get his way.

But threatening a woman who he once had an affair with is a new kind of low.

Not that doing so will change anything as there are at least six more women coming forward with similar stories. Two even have their own NDA's.

By the way that 60 Minutes segment with Stormy Daniels is now scheduled to air next Sunday.

I have a feeling it will be a ratings hit.

New reporting suggests that Trump is preparing to kick both National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster, and Chief of Staff John Kelly to the curb.

Courtesy of WaPo: 

President Trump has decided to remove H.R. McMaster as his national security adviser and is actively discussing potential replacements, according to five people with knowledge of the plans, preparing to deliver yet another jolt to the senior ranks of his administration. 

Trump is now comfortable with ousting McMaster, with whom he never personally gelled, but is willing to take time executing the move because he wants to ensure both that the three-star Army general is not humiliated and that there is a strong successor lined up, these people said. 

The turbulence is part of a broader potential shake-up under consideration by Trump that is likely to include senior officials at the White House, where staffers are gripped by fear and un­certainty as they await the next move from an impulsive president who enjoys stoking conflict. 

For all of the evident disorder, Trump feels emboldened, advisers said — buoyed by what he views as triumphant decisions last week to impose tariffs on steel and aluminum and to agree to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. The president is enjoying the process of assessing his team and making changes, tightening his inner circle to those he considers survivors and who respect his unconventional style, one senior White House official said.

When this news hit the airwaves Sarah Huckabee Sanders responded with a tweet. 
Essentially this is how you know a story is accurate, when Sanders denies it is accurate.

You may recall that in the past the White House has also denied that Reince Priebus, Steven Bannon, and Rex Tillerson were about to be fired.

But don't think the drama stops there.

Courtesy of CBS News: 

The man brought in last summer to impose order in the White House, chief of staff John Kelly, may also be on the way out, according to congressional and administration sources. 

Sarah Huckabee Sanders has not yet had the chance to deny/confirm this news yet, but it is pretty clear that Trump wants to do away with anybody with an ounce of competence in his administration, so I think this news is likely pretty accurate.

I wonder which Fox News talking head he will tap to replace him?  

Russian hackers breach power grids, water processing plants, and air transportation facilities all over the United States.

Courtesy of Bloomberg:  

Russian hackers are conducting a broad assault on the U.S. electric grid, water processing plants, air transportation facilities and other targets in rolling attacks on some of the country’s most sensitive infrastructure, U.S. government officials said Thursday. 

The announcement was the first official confirmation that Russian hackers have taken aim at facilities on which hundreds of millions of Americans depend for basic services. Bloomberg News reported in July that Russian hackers had breached more than a dozen power plants in seven states, an aggressive campaign that has since expanded to dozens of states, according to a person familiar with the investigation. 

"Since at least March 2016, Russian government cyber actors" have targeted "government entities and multiple U.S. critical infrastructure sectors," including those of energy, nuclear, water and aviation, according to an alert issued Thursday by the Department of Homeland Security and Federal Bureau of Investigation. 

Critical manufacturing sectors and commercial facilities also have been targeted by the ongoing "multi-stage intrusion campaign by Russian government cyber actors." 

Cyber-attacks are "literally happening hundreds of thousands of times a day," Energy Secretary Rick Perry told lawmakers during a hearing Thursday. "The warfare that goes on in the cyberspace is real, it’s serious, and we must lead the world."

In other reporting it was made clear that the Russians had gained control over some of these facilities, and could turn off power to millions of Americans or interfere in air travel at will.

This means that the Russians can render us helpless with a literal flip of the switch.

No phone, no internet, no lights, no nothing.

And while all this was going on the Trump Administration did NOTHING to protect us.

But hey they finally moved on those old sanctions to punish the Russians for interfering in the 2916 elections.

Courtesy of CNN:

The Trump administration announced Thursday it is enacting new sanctions on Russia, including individuals indicted last month by special counsel Robert Mueller, in a sweeping new effort to punish Moscow for its attempts to interfere in the 2016 US election. 

In enacting the sanctions, the administration is finally meeting a congressional mandate to impose measures punishing Moscow for its cyber intrusion. The delay had led to questions over President Donald Trump's willingness to punish Moscow. The new measures, however delayed, amount to the most stringent punishment yet by Trump for Russia's election interference.

This is the very definition of "A day late, and a dollar short." 

By doing nothing for over a year the administration empowered the Russians to keep right on hacking into our systems and now they have gained control over our communications, air travel, and security. 

I have felt we were fucked before, but this is a whole new level of fucked.

Contender for "Worst Person ever" Tomi Lahren apparently kicked her dog five times during Fox New appearance.

Courtesy of Unilad: 

Bad news if you’re a dog: Tomi Lahren is tired of your attitude. So tired in fact, that she is more than happy to indulge animal abuse in the name of a bit of peace and quiet. Sad! 

Yep, the Fox & Friends contributor has announced she had to kick her dog ‘about 5 times’ during a recent TV appearance . 

Lahren shared a video of her pooch Kota on her Instagram berating the little guy for chewing a bone loudly. 

Now Lahren has since denied that she ever really did this, but if you watch the Fox News portion of the above clip you can actually see when she was doing the kicking. Just watch for her mouth to tense up and her body to bob as she punishes her dog for being a dog.

Boy Hillary Clinton certainly nailed it when she called these people a "basket of deplorables."

I wonder what is next for Lahren?

Drowning a sackful of kittens perhaps?

The wife of Donald Trump's eldest son files for divorce.

Courtesy of Page Six:  

Vanessa Trump filed for divorce against her husband Donald Trump Jr. late Thursday in Manhattan Supreme Court. 

The president’s daughter-in-law filed for an uncontested proceeding, meaning she’s not expecting a legal battle over custody of the couple’s five children or their assets. 

They were married in 2005.

I would actually not be surprised if all of the Trump's end up in divorce court by the time we get to 2020.

Let's face it all of the idiots that married into this family did so for money.

I mean does anybody think that Eric Trump attracted this woman with his looks, charm, or savoir faire?

Hell no. She saw an easy way to get rich, and she took it.

But now that the Trump brand is so badly damaged, and investors are starting to flee like rats leaving a sinking ship, these women (and Jared), are likely going to start reevaluating their options.

But the divorce that I am most certain about is the one between these two.

There was clearly not much holding them together before the election, and now with the Trump brand in tatters, and the Stormy Daniels' allegations thrown into the mix, I just do not see Melania staying once her contract is up.

I would say that the Evangelicals are about to have a "come to Jesus" moment, but those idiots could not find Jesus if he was standing at the foot of their bed when they woke up in the morning.

So while those brave kids were protesting for more stringent gun legislation this is what the NRA was tweeting out.

Jesus Christ was assholes!

I am really going to enjoy watching this terrorist organization finally come to an end. 

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Robert Mueller issues subpoena to Trump Organization demanding documents about Russia.

Courtesy of New York Times:  

The special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, has subpoenaed the Trump Organization to turn over documents, including some related to Russia, according to two people briefed on the matter. The order is the first known time that the special counsel demanded documents directly related to President Trump’s businesses, bringing the investigation closer to the president. 

The breadth of the subpoena was not clear, nor was it clear why Mr. Mueller issued it instead of simply asking for the documents from the company, an umbrella organization that oversees Mr. Trump’s business ventures. In the subpoena, delivered in recent weeks, Mr. Mueller ordered the Trump Organization to hand over all documents related to Russia and other topics he is investigating, the people said. 

The subpoena is the latest indication that the investigation, which Mr. Trump’s lawyers once regularly assured him would be completed by now, will drag on for at least several more months. Word of the subpoena comes as Mr. Mueller appears to be broadening his investigation to examine the role foreign money may have played in funding Mr. Trump’s political activities.

Keep in mind that this is a subpoena, not a request, for these documents.

That means that Mueller is not giving the Trump Organization any wiggle room.

This of course is REALLY going to piss Trump off, and that might mean that he would pull the trigger on a plan reported by Vanity Fair to replace Jeff Sessions with somebody who could rein Mueller in a little: 

Perhaps most consequential for Robert Mueller’s investigation, sources said Trump has discussed a plan to fire Attorney General Jeff Sessions. According to two Republicans in regular contact with the White House, there have been talks that Trump could replace Sessions with E.P.A. Administrator Scott Pruitt, who would not be recused from overseeing the Russia probe. Also, as an agency head and former state attorney general, Pruitt would presumably have a good shot at passing a Senate confirmation hearing.

If Trump were going to make a move to get rid of Mueller, I would think that this would be the thing that would push him to do it.

 And remember there is virtually NOBODY in the White House anymore to talk him down.

Today's weather report sees Stormy skies ahead.

Courtesy of CNN:

A hearing date has been set for the lawsuit adult film actress Stormy Daniels filed against President Donald Trump and his lawyer Michael Cohen's company to dissolve their non-disclosure agreement. 

The hearing has been set for July 12 at the Los Angeles County Superior Court. 

Daniels, whose legal name is Stephanie Clifford, filed suit last week against the President. The lawsuit said Trump never signed a hush agreement to keep Daniels quiet late in the 2016 campaign about an alleged sexual encounter between the two before Trump was president.

The lawsuit said Cohen had signed it on Trump's behalf and therefore the agreement was void. Both Cohen and the White House have denied the allegations of an affair between Daniels and Trump.

The lawsuit also accuses Cohen of continuing the efforts to "intimidate Ms. Clifford into silence and 'shut her up'" by initiating a "bogus" arbitration proceeding last month without notifying Daniels or allowing due process.

Tweet from Daniel's attorney:
So despite every effort by Trump's legal team this thing is definitely still moving forward.

They will of course attempt to put this hearing off, but then they have to be careful not to have it take place too close to the 2018 election cycle, or THAT will be at least one of the questions posed by reporters to GOP candidates.

Daniels has also started a fundraising campaign to help pay her legal fees.

So far it has raised more that $121,000, and that is only since yesterday.

What might be perhaps just as troubling for the Trump camp is that according to her lawyer multiple women have been inspired Daniels to consider filing their own lawsuits against Donald Trump.

Courtesy of Buzzfeed News: 

Multiple women are exploring potential legal cases against President Donald Trump, following the lead of an adult film actor who has filed a lawsuit in order to speak out about an affair she says she had with Trump in 2006, her attorney said Wednesday. 

Michael Avenatti, who represents Stephanie Clifford — better known by her professional name, Stormy Daniels — told BuzzFeed News that other women have reached out to him for representation in cases against Trump. Avenatti did not answer questions about the number of women or the nature of their allegations. 

When asked by BuzzFeed News if other women had approached him about potential legal cases, Avenatti replied, "confirmed."

An attorney for Buzzfeed also believes that he has found a way for Daniels to divulge everything she knows about Trump without defying the NDA.

Courtesy of Politico

BuzzFeed may have found a legal opening to allow the porn actress Stormy Daniels to discuss her alleged relationship with President Donald Trump and a $130,000 payment she received just before the 2016 election as part of a nondisclosure agreement she is now trying to void. 

The same Trump attorney who brokered the deal with Daniels, Michael Cohen, filed a libel suit in January against BuzzFeed and four of its staffers over publication of the so-called dossier compiling accurate, inaccurate and unproven allegations about Trump’s relationship with Russia. 

Now, BuzzFeed is using Cohen’s libel suit as a vehicle to demand that Daniels preserve all records relating to her relationship with Trump, as well as her dealings with Cohen and the payment he has acknowledged arranging in 2016. 

On Tuesday, BuzzFeed’s lawyer wrote to Daniels’ attorney asking that the adult film actress, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, preserve various categories of documents. Such preservation letters are often a prelude to a subpoena. If Daniels’ testimony is formally demanded in a deposition, the nondisclosure agreement would likely be no obstacle, legal experts said.

What's more this payoff by Michael Cohen is very much like the allegations in the Steele dossier, which identified him as the one "sweeping things under the carpet" for Donald Trump.

Like I said, Stormy skies ahead. 

Donald Trump bragged in a speech to fundraisers about lying right to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's face.

Courtesy of WaPo: 

President Trump boasted in a fundraising speech Wednesday that he made up information in a meeting with the leader of a top U.S. ally, saying he insisted to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau that the United States runs a trade deficit with its neighbor to the north without knowing whether that was the case. 

“Trudeau came to see me. He’s a good guy, Justin. He said, ‘No, no, we have no trade deficit with you, we have none. Donald, please,’ ” Trump said, mimicking Trudeau, according to audio of the private event in Missouri obtained by The Washington Post. “Nice guy, good-looking guy, comes in — ‘Donald, we have no trade deficit.’ He’s very proud because everybody else, you know, we’re getting killed. 

“ ... So, he’s proud. I said, ‘Wrong, Justin, you do.’ I didn’t even know. ... I had no idea. I just said, ‘You’re wrong.’ You know why? Because we’re so stupid. … And I thought they were smart. I said, ‘You’re wrong, Justin.’ He said, ‘Nope, we have no trade deficit.’ I said, ‘Well, in that case, I feel differently,’ I said, ‘but I don’t believe it.’ I sent one of our guys out, his guy, my guy, they went out, I said, ‘Check, because I can’t believe it.’ 

‘Well, sir, you’re actually right. We have no deficit, but that doesn’t include energy and timber. … And when you do, we lose $17 billion a year.’ It’s incredible.” 

That last part is of course pure bullshit, we have a trade surplus with Canada, not a deficit.

First off Canada is an American ally, not enemy.

Secondly obviously Trudeau knew Trump was full of shit, so what was the point of lying?

And thirdly if this buttmunch cannot even handle diplomacy with our allies, how can we trust him to deal with North Korea?

Fourthly this idiot is still pushing this lie on Twitter.
You know I have no idea how much more damage Donald Trump is going to be able to inflict on America's image, but I know that we have not seen the bottom yet.

California teacher accidentally fires gun in classroom while teaching class on safety.

Courtesy of KSBW: 

A teacher who also serves as a reserve police officer accidentally fired a gun inside a Seaside High School classroom Tuesday, police said, and three students were injured. 

Dennis Alexander was teaching a course about gun safety for his Administration of Justice class when his gun went off at 11 a.m.

Alexander was pointing his gun at the ceiling when it fired. Pieces of the ceiling fell to the ground.

A news release from the Seaside Police Department said no one suffered "serious injuries." One 17-year-old boy suffered moderate injuries when fragments from the bullet ricocheted off the ceiling and lodged into his neck, the student's father, Fermin Gonzales, told KSBW. 

The teacher had just told the class that he wanted to make sure his gun wasn't loaded, when the gun fired, according to Gonzales. 

"It's the craziest thing. It could have been very bad," Gonzales said. 

The teacher was about to use the gun for a demonstration about how to disarm someone, according to Gonzales.

So to be clear a teacher, who is also a police officer, with extensive training in firearms, accidentally fires his weapon in a classroom full of children, injuring one. 

And yet the solution to gun violence in schools is supposed to be MORE armed teachers?

Got it.

There are a number of things about this story that deeply trouble me, but right at the top is the fact that this individual was teaching children that they should attempt to "disarm" a gun man.

I studied martial arts for decades, and the idea of going after a gun wielding assailant was NEVER encouraged.

As one instructor put it, "You are not going to be a help to anybody while bleeding out on the floor."

This teacher was teaching dangerous ideas while also introducing an instrument of death into his classroom.

He should be fired immediately. From BOTH of his jobs.

The FBI has been trying to contact the two prisoners in Thailand who claim to have evidence of Russian interference in the 2016 election.

Courtesy of CNN: 

FBI agents have tried to meet a pair of self-styled "sex coaches" detained in a Bangkok jail who claim to have evidence of Russian meddling in the 2016 US election, a senior Thai official told CNN. 

Belarussian citizens Anastasia Vashukevich and Alexander Kirillov sent a handwritten letter last month to the US Embassy in Bangkok asking for help in getting them released in exchange for information on alleged meddling in the US presidential election. 

The FBI agents contacted Thailand's Immigration bureau last week to try to organize the meeting, the highly placed source in the department said. 

The request was refused by Thai officials because only legal representatives and family members of the detainees are permitted access to the detainees, added the source, who is not authorized to speak to media.

As I reported before this Anastasia Vashukevich claims to have taped evidence that Russian oligarch Oleg V. Deripaska participated in the meddling. Deripaska also has close ties to Paul Manafort.

A number of people have tried to dismiss these women out of hand as simply saying anything to get out of that Thai prison, but it appears that the FBI might be taking their claims seriously.

We shall see.

The Jeff Sessions Justice Department looking for way to take authority away from Federal Courts.

Courtesy of Mother Jones: 

Last April, when a federal judge in Hawaii blocked the Trump administration’s effort to ban entry to people from six Muslim-majority nations, Attorney General Jeff Sessions took to conservative talk radio to vent his frustration. “I really am amazed that a judge sitting on an island in the Pacific can issue an order that stops the president of the United States from what appears to be clearly his statutory and constitutional power,” he told host Mark Levin. 

Residents of Hawaii pointed out that it was every bit as much a state as the other 49, but Sessions was making a broader legal point, one that the Supreme Court will now consider. The Justice Department wants to permanently remove the ability of federal judges to issue nationwide injunctions—orders that stop a policy from taking effect until the court has officially ruled on its legality. Instead, a Hawaiian judge overseeing a travel ban case brought by the state of Hawaii would be able to block the ban only in that state. The implications, if the Supreme Court agrees with the Justice Department, will be enormous for the future of judicial review and the federal government’s balance of power. 

Federal courts have repeatedly blocked the administration’s efforts to implement a hardline immigration agenda. More than a year into Donald Trump’s presidency, attempts to crack down on sanctuary cities, end Obama-era deportation protections for Dreamers, and block nationals from Muslim-majority countries have been stopped by federal judges enacting nationwide injunctions.

Okay this might actually be the MOST troubling thing we have learned about this administration.

The Founders wanted there to be three co-equal branches of government, executive, legislative, and judicial.

And the Judicial is the one that is tasked with protecting the constitutional rights of American citizens.

If the Trump Administration were actually successful in pulling this off, that would mean that each state's court system would determine what was a constitutionally protected right in their jurisdiction ONLY.

That means that some states could block gay marriage, women's rights, civil rights, equal pay, essentially EVERYTHING.

That would overwhelm the Supreme Court almost overnight, and if Trump gets one more judge on the panel they would be loathe to do anything to challenge a state's right to remain in the dark ages.

Federal authorities charged three Trump supporters with bombing a mosque in Minnesota.

Courtesy of TPM: 

Federal authorities on Tuesday charged three men from rural central Illinois with the bombing of a Minnesota mosque last year and said one of the suspects told an investigator the goal of the attack was to “scare” Muslims out of the United States. 

A statement from the U.S. attorney’s office in Springfield, Illinois, says the men also are suspected in the attempted bombing of an abortion clinic. The Dar Al-Farooq Islamic Center in Bloomington, Minnesota, was bombed just before morning prayers on Aug. 5, causing a fire and extensive damage although no one was injured or killed. And there was an attempted bombing of the Champaign, Illinois, Women’s Health Practice on Nov. 7. 

One of the men, Michael B. Hari, 47, described in an April 2017 Chicago Tribune article how he drafted a $10 billion plan to build a wall along the border with Mexico, citing President Donald Trump’s call for such a wall. Hari drew up the proposal after launching a security company, Crisis Resolution Security Services, the newspaper said.

The other two men charged in the mosque bombing with Hari were identified as Joe Morris, 22, and Michael McWhorter, 29. All three are from Clarence, a rural community of less than 100 residents some 35 miles (56 kilometers) north of Champaign-Urbana. A fourth man was charged with a gun offense, but he was not identified as a suspect in the bombing or attempted bombing.

Boy these Trump supporters seem like a nice bunch, don't they?

Screaming obscenities at brown people, bombing mosques, attacking people on social media, they are just brimming over with hostility for those who are not just like them.

Of course the worst thing they do is to vote.

Which is how we get so many ignorant, anti-science, xenophobes in positions of power.