Mike Flynn-Fake News Pro

Fake news right from the White House. But we knew that before he was confirmed. Now that he’s in the seat as National Security Adviser we continue to learn more about contact with Russia. Short story, he was in contact with Russia, he lied about it, the White House protected him, now we’ll see where it all ends. Good read here today from Foreign Policy.

“The allegation that Gen. Flynn, while President Obama was still in office, secretly discussed with Russia’s ambassador ways to undermine the sanctions levied against Russia for its interference in the presidential election on Donald Trump’s behalf, raises serious questions of legality and fitness for office,” Schiff said in a statement.

“If he did so, and then he and other administration officials misled the American people, his conduct would be all the more pernicious, and he should no longer serve in this administration or any other.”

Today the White House is quiet on this subject. Will Flynn be the sacrifice, or will we learn of deeper involvement as the investigation continues? Perhaps both.

13 Feb Update:

Two points this morning as we watch the fallout unfold. Look back to the post here here and see how we all saw this train coming. There was no doubt Mr Flynn was unreliable and untrustworthy, something already clear to the prior Administration. This will likely become noteworthy in Mr Flynn being fired by two consecutive Presidents.

May also want to have a look at this take from the Palmer Report regarding how deep the problem may run in this Administration. While we see no direct evidence supporting the Presidents knowledge of Mr Flynn’s calls, it is hard to perceive a senior official, long-time friend and supporter, interacting with a foreign power in complete isolation. So who else? And to what level? There is certainly much more to come…

14 Feb: Yes there was and still is more to come. Flynn has resigned, the President says he’s more concerned about the “leak” that caused this.

The White House is framing this as Flynn mislead Pence verses the security risk and legal violation, we learn the the Attorney General (Yates) had advised the Administration of the risk weeks ago, and we (the Administration too) already know Flynn had mislead the public with fake stories before the election even happened.

The Administration hired a guy to lie for them and didn’t like it when he lied to them.  Way too simple an explanation even from this group of amateurs. Never mind the security of the nation and the illegality, the issue is being carefully boxed in as a Flynn-Pence issue. More to come. My hunch is there are more conversations, more involvement, more investigations and more fall guys before we see the full breadth and depth of this…

Roll Back to 2008

The 2008 recession is still recent history. We came oh so close to a near global financial collapse. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) sinking by about 54% in the 17 months from the market high in October 2007 to the trough in March 2009. 

But we survived, barely. Part of the medicine included the largest bank bailout in U.S history to stave off a complete collapse. Another part was the enactment of a law to reign in the reckless, deceptive, and predatory practices which caused and amplified this great recession, the Dodd-Frank Act. Now we’re considering doing away with it. How short our memory has become. Here is the NY-Times take:

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/03/opinion/a-poison-pill-for-the-recovery.html?action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=opinion-c-col-left-region®ion=opinion-c-col-left-region&WT.nav=opinion-c-col-left-region

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What is old is new again, and so will be the lessons if we’re not careful.

Separation of Church and State

That separation of Church and State so important to the founders of this great nation is at risk. Here are the comments by Mr Trump at this mornings National Prayer Breakfast:

“I will get rid of and totally destroy the Johnson Amendment,” Trump said during his remarks on Thursday, according to Jeff Sharlet of the New York Times who was present at the breakfast.

The Johnson Amendment was passed in 1954 and specifies that organizations that endorse candidates or make calls to political action will forfeit their tax-exempt status.

Couple with adviser Steve Bannon who supports Christians over other religions…nothing to see here. Lets watch anyway.

Amateur Hour, US Comedy

I took a few days respite from social media and news to re-calibrate. Checking back in it looks as if Washington has become a new reality show—Amateur Hour. I can’t believe what I am seeing.

Policy without professionalism. Enacting an immigration ban, temporary or not without engaging legal council for advice or input is amateurish. No coordination with Homeland Security. No consultation with the experts, the professionals, to fill in details, add coherence and coordinate between departments. The very people who will have to defend and enforce the policy were left out of the process completely. Foreign Policy experts are in disagreement saying it will make us less, not more safe. Results are all over the news. First a Green Card isn’t OK, then it is. People already holding approved visa being turned back, and the order itself under legal challenge within hours of the attempted implementation. Not to mention the attacking and mocking being done by Mr Trump.

Without getting into analysis, the reasons given so far are questionable. I’ve heard talk of getting ahead of threats and deterring potential threats. What is that, a potential threat? You? My Hispanic neighbor? Me? Or could this broad use of “potential” be a step to identify groups and turn the public against them? I don’t have an answer, but keeping your (my) own government professionals out of the loop is suspect from the beginning. And then the threat from the spokesman: If you can’t get with the agenda you should resign. Agenda? Just what agenda has become the most obvious question.

But it looks like this is just the start. Amateur hour also extends to talk of forcing Mexico to pay for the wall through import tariffs. Five to 20 percent were numbers tossed around. Except for who pays import tariffs? That would be the consumer. You, me, and other Americans. Huh? The argument and strategy ignores the most basic economic tenants.

Next up we have Steve Bannon on the National Security Council and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs off. What? White Nationalist, Fake News-Alt-right advocate with no experience.

Bannon is the precisely wrong person for this wrong role. His national security experience consists of a graduate degree and seven years in the Navy. More troubling, Bannon’s role as chairman of Breitbart.com, with its racist, misogynist and Islamophobic perspectives, and his avowed desire to blow up our system of government, suggests this is someone who not only has no business being a permanent member of the most powerful consultative body in the world — he has no business being in a position of responsibility in any government.

Worse still, it is a sign of other problems to come. Organizing the NSC this way does not reflect well on national security advisor Michael Flynn — whether the bad decision is a result of his lack of understanding of what the NSC should do or because he is giving in to pressure from his boss.”

My goal in starting this site was to focus on issues over politics. But can’t not address this. Yes I did hit on the economic issue of tariffs, admittedly because of the unsupportable argument out of the White House. But the question of the day remains. Just what the heck is going on? Whether we agree with the policies or not, it is clear these folks are amateurs, day after day failing to consult with experts, or trust the competence and demonstrate confidence in many of their own choices for department heads. So sad. Embarrassing my country.

ACA–Listening Now?

For years the GOP has vowed to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Last week Mr Trump vowed “the people will never be ignored again”. As of today’s Quinnipiac University National Poll the people have spoken:

“Only 16 percent of voters say President Donald Trump and Republicans in Congress should repeal all of the ACA, while 51 percent say repeal parts of the law and 30 percent say don’t repeal any of the ACA, the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University Poll finds.”

Here’s the visual depiction of the Quinnipiac survey results: Poll on Repealing Obamacare

No genius required to see the two positions are mutually exclusive. Either the GOP/Trump combo can ignore the people, or ignore their long-term vow to repeal the ACA.

While we’re here, they also asked several questions regarding Planned Parenthood funding and abortion.

“In a question with no mention of abortion, American voters oppose 62 – 31 percent cutting off federal funding to Planned Parenthood.”

And they found “American voters agree 70 – 26 percent with the U.S. Supreme Court Roe v. Wade decision.”

What’s it going to be: The people, or the ideology.

Women’s March Follow Up

Two issues here relative to yesterdays march. One offering thoughts for success from a dear friend who has tremendous personal experience with past labor movements. The second points out the stupidity of some objections to the event.

I received a note from a friend last night talking about my post, the march, and his experience with anti-establishment movements, and he has lots of experience. He pointed out the idea and the march itself were good things. But there were few demands:

“There was no demand for jobs, public works, the right to organize, single payer healthcare, free child care, relief from student debt, a living minimum wage and living social security payments or any economic issues what so ever.. There was no demand to prosecute the Wall Street swindlers and law breakers. The march was basically a march for “classless”, women’s’ identity politics. I’m sure it felt good to be there. But there wasn’t much there there. Working class women’s and working class needs were pretty much ignored.”

He continued with a key point:

“Therefore, in the end this vague protest march will accomplish very little unless serious organizers are able to use it to begin the fight for the needs of all the American people and the working class in particular. Economic equality is the prerequisite for gender and race equality. You cannot have women’s’ or race or ethnic equality without economic equality.”

He’s right. That doesn’t take anything away from what was one of, if not the, largest mass peaceful protests ever in this country. And the march was about women’s rights. But his thoughts point out the question of, and need for what to do now, next? How to use the mass of power demonstrated yesterday to do more than identify a strong voting block? How to mold that energy into the actions needed for women’s, or race or ethnic equality on the front we care about? Economics, healthcare, education, living wages, and social security are the foundation blocks to make women’s rights  happen as this march stood for. I like the demonstration yesterday. My friends point, a stand will have to be taken and not backed away from if those ideals are to be enacted.

Second issue hits objections floating about today on social medWhat Rightsia. Here is one of the gems posted by several acquaintances. The point as best as I can understand is that you can’t defend a right until it is taken or lost. Intent to discredit the women’s movement. Sorry, that just doesn’t fly. The smart, the prepared, the one’s read and educated in the history of the man, and the history of our elected representation all are smarter to defend than to have to regain lost rights after-the-fact. But there is one more twist. Two of the folks who re-posted this meme worked as I did in my former life, in the business protecting and defending our governments resources. Weapons to be more exact, with a capital W.

Our past jobs indicate the ignorance of this meme. Every day, every night, every hour, year after year, after year, men and women stood watch to make sure these resources were not lost.  One of the re-posters became a leader of those who stood watch. Everyone from the bottom of the chain to the President agreed it was smarter to defend than to have to regain a lost resource after-the-fact. Same for rights. Anyone saying otherwise is driven by a questionable double standard.

Well done protesters to prepare and take a stand now than later.

Americans–Never Ignored Again

A march today by millions of women. Across the country with support DCfrom around the world, women and supporters spoke out in a resounding message of resistance to Mr Trump. More people were on the Washington Mall than for yesterday’s Trump Inauguration. Too many in Chicago to actually march. Boston, New York, Miami, Seattle, and LA all drew large crowds. Not just major cites but towns small and large, from friends In St Augustine and Tampa, wife and daughter in Albuquerque, to another daughter in St Paul, friends in Houston…all had women in the streets with a resounding voice. Women’s Rights are Human Rights was the Clinton stance. By all appearance and speech, this large group holds the same powerful position.

BostonJust yesterday we heard Mr Trump promise they will be heard. He actually said “you will never be ignored again.”

“What truly matters is not which party controls our government but whether our government is controlled by the people. January 20th, 2017 will be remembered as the day the people became the rulers of this nation again.”

“So to all Americans in every city near and far, small and large, from mountain to mountain, from ocean to ocean, hear these words — you will never be ignored again.”

Now we get to see if as President, we can take him at his word. But there is oneSt Paul word,
Americans
, of which a definition can make a difference. Is it code for just some kinds of
Americans, or not? I hope it means all of us, black, white, Hispanic, Asian American, LGBT…and women too. With both positions so public, and so strong, on days one and two, we will know very soon.

Just who is included in Mr Trump’s definition of an American?

 

Fake News Twist–Manufacturing Events so Sympathetic Sites Report

The eve of inauguration brings a bit of discussion about protests. While masses plan to highlight their concerns and objections to the Trump Presidency through peaceful protest, the right works to undermine  their statement.

Manufacturing events. It’s been around for a long time but today internet speed spreads it far and fast. Protests planned for tomorrow and Saturday are not fake and seem consistent with the current low approval ratings of the incoming President. So how to make them appear fake to sway and embolden followers? Manufacture a story indicating they are paid to protest of course. Here’s a screen shot of site promising just that:

Capture_Demand Protest

They promise to supply protesters, paid protesters, at a cost of course, for any cause. But that’s not the real point as they have no customers, no protests, and no revenue. They just have an ad on the internet. So the point became one picked up by right wing news outlets. Gateway Pundit, Breittbart, Drudge Report, essentially all outlets leaning to the far right with the claim protesters are being paid to object to the Trump Presidency. Of course then it’s on to the social media system where no one has, or takes, responsibility for fact checking anything.

The site is a hoax, admittedly pro Trump, making the entire story a hoax. Yup, all fake. All from right wing actors, and right wing media outlets. The very same people clamoring about media bias and fake news. But as rumors go, it’s a good one as it feeds into what some on the far right want to believe, and as a result still spreading.  Like the TV ads many grew up with, wait there is more:

Bring on James O’Keefe. Right wing operative/hero, benefactor of Trump Foundation donations, film-maker, selective editor,  many claim liar, but you be the judge of his plot:

“Right wing operatives would present themselves as representatives of a well-heeled donor (probably the great bogeyman of the right, George Soros, although no names are mentioned), offering large sums of money to progressive activists to create mayhem in Washington during the inauguration. The aim was supposedly to distract from Trump’s big day by getting news coverage to focus on the anti-Trump unrest.”

But they were busted by Undercurrent’s Lauren Windsor, and on video:

Capture_Project Veritas

Capture_Busted

 

 

This first video details the plot:

 

 

 

And this covers the interviews and response when confronted:

 

 

We shouldn’t  be surprised by these dirty tactics but we can still be disappointed Mostly it points to the extraordinary efforts being taken to undermine some of our fundamental rights. Our right to peacefully protest and the freedom of the press to inform.  Pay attention to the narrative tomorrow and the morning after. Check the source. Do not forget if someone undertakes a violent act, there is a good probability they are a paid right wing operator. Discrediting the protesters, and discrediting the media is underway, bigly.

Confirmation Hearings, Attorney General

As confirmation hearings are underway, this piece from conservative columnist George Will hits a couple key points. First the quality of the candidate in Alabama Senator Sam Sessions, and next the issue of seizing and selling property of people who have not been accused, let alone convicted of a crime. Policing for profit of which Mr Sessions supports.

will-on-sessions

will-on-sessions-2

 

Don’t Pass on Fake News–leave that to the professionals

With confirmation hearings this week fake news is back on the front page. Specifically Michael Flynn, Mr Trump’s nominee for National Security Adviser.  Retired General Flynn’s last position was Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, from July 22, 2012, to August 7, 2014. He IS  the quintessential trained professional. But here’s the problem

Mr Flynn was passing on fake news via Twitter before the election. Not just any fake news but Pizzagate. This isn’t about stretching a truth here, but a completely false, entirely made up story about Hillary Clinton’s involvement in sex crimes and money laundering.

capture_-mike-flynn-tweet

 

Either Mike Flynn is truly incompetent as an intelligence official or he deliberately passed on a known false story to impact the Presidential race.  Either way, he is unqualified to become the  National Security Adviser.

Think about it, a  National Security Adviser who either can’t tell fake information from real, or he is willing to disseminate fake information deliberately for personal and/or political gain. The link below is the Tweet from Mr Flynn. Look closely, not just at the Tweet but at the web address of this link. Since the Tweet was deleted after a gunman allegedly stormed into Comet Ping Pong with an assault rifle went to its back room, and fired at least one shot before cops nabbed him, this link takes you to the archive.

http://web.archive.org/web/20161107234222/https:/twitter.com/GenFlynn/status/794000841518776320

And don’t forget, Mr Flynn apparently also doesn’t understand that what goes on the internet, stays on the internet…can’t be deleted. Unqualified.

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