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 Post subject: Re: You've been Trumped!
PostPosted: Sat 19 Jan , 2019 4:03 pm 

Joined: Fri 10 Aug , 2012 4:42 pm
Posts: 1577
Mueller has issued an unusual statement (they've otherwise been silent about the investigation) disputing BuzzFeed's report that Trump instructed Cohen to lie to Congress about the Trump tower project, but it seems to be vague. BuzzFeed is standing by their reporting, saying that Mueller should clarify what exactly they're disputing. It seems very unlikely that they'll do so.
https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/426128-special-counsel-issues-rare-statement-disputing-buzzfeeds-cohen

Here's the statement.
Quote:
"BuzzFeed's description of specific statements to the Special Counsel's Office, and characterization of documents and testimony obtained by this office, regarding Michael Cohen's Congressional testimony are not accurate."



Cohen's lawyer is saying nothing:
https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/426110-cohen-adviser-refuses-to-confirm-or-deny-buzzfeed-report
Quote:
"Neither deny nor confirm, we're just not commenting on the story," Davis said during an appearance on NBC's "Meet the Press."

Davis, speaking with host Chuck Todd, notably did not say anything to confirm or discredit the report.

..."You have, in the past, denied others or corrected the record when something has been wrong," Todd said, citing a Wall Street Journal report published Thursday. John Gauger, director of RedFinch Solutions LLC and the chief information officer at Liberty University, told the Journal that Cohen hired a small polling firm during the 2016 election to rig two online polls in Trump's favor and paid less than half of what was owed in cash.

Todd pressed Davis about corrections to BuzzFeed's story, but Davis did not say anything to knock down or bolster the report.

"I'm going to just say read the story and the journalists have written about their sources and other corroborating evidence," Davis said. "I can't confirm anything, I have no independent evidence."



All this seems to hang on a technicality - did Trump explicitly tell Cohen to lie to Congress, which would be an actual federal crime. And yet it's pretty clear that Trump and Cohen kept the information about his Moscow project out of sight. Which is pretty much lying by omission.

So it seems we're just disputing whether they're crooks who got caught breaking a federal law, or just crooks. Pretty weak stuff for Dear Leader's admirers to be rejoicing over.

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The building of castles in sand, of queens in snow,
That we cannot make any corner in life or in life's beauty,
That no river is a river which does not flow.

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 Post subject: Re: You've been Trumped!
PostPosted: Mon 21 Jan , 2019 6:08 pm 

Joined: Fri 10 Aug , 2012 4:42 pm
Posts: 1577
Too wacky not to share:

https://www.newsweek.com/mike-pence-compares-trump-martin-luther-king-jr-eve-mlk-day-both-inspired-us-1298644
Quote:
During a segment on Sunday’s Face The Nation, host Margaret Brennan pressed Pence on the president’s latest offer to end the partial government shutdown, ...“If this is a genuine attempt [at ending the shutdown], why weren’t any Democrats included in the consultations?” Brennan asked Pence on Sunday.

Pence responded by reciting Trump administration talking points before adding a surprise comparison of the president to Martin Luther King Jr. to sell the proposed border wall.

...One of my favorite quotes from Dr. King was, ‘Now is the time to make real the the promises of democracy,’” he said, quoting a passage from Dr. King’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech.

Pence continued on to argue that like MLK, Trump has also “inspired us to change.” “You think of how he changed America, he inspired us to change through the legislative process, to become a more perfect union,” he said. “That’s exactly what President Trump is calling on the Congress to do, come to the table in a spirit of good faith.”




https://thehill.com/policy/defense/426170-trumps-missile-defense-plan-faces-reality-check
Quote:
Trump's missile defense plan faces reality check
Quote:
President Trump’s grand plans for the next generation of missile defense don’t line up with his administration’s new Missile Defense Review, with many of his promised technologies still years away from fruition, missile defense officials and experts say.

Trump, in unveiling the long-overdue document this past week, said he would “accept nothing less” than cutting-edge missile systems likely to require billions of dollars in investments.

...“There is a bit of a difference between the aspiration expressed by the president and what the missile defense review actually does,” said Tom Karako, a missile defense expert with the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “I think it’s important to not get taken by the speeches.”

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The building of castles in sand, of queens in snow,
That we cannot make any corner in life or in life's beauty,
That no river is a river which does not flow.

- Louis MacNeice, Autumn Journal


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 Post subject: Re: You've been Trumped!
PostPosted: Mon 21 Jan , 2019 6:47 pm 
A green apple painted red
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At least, they are exactly what Dr. King was talking about.

Quote:
“Through their control of mass media, they revised the doctrine of white supremacy. They saturated the thinking of the poor white masses with it, thus clouding their minds to the real issue involved in the Populist Movement.” MLK, Selma March 1965

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 Post subject: Re: You've been Trumped!
PostPosted: Tue 22 Jan , 2019 1:35 pm 

Joined: Fri 10 Aug , 2012 4:42 pm
Posts: 1577
The Atlantic has a thoughtful analysis of the incident:
https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2019/01/martin-luther-kings-legacy-and-those-who-claim-it/580903/
Quote:
The Consequences of Martin Luther King Jr.’s Canonization

The civil-rights leader is now celebrated as a modern founding father, a celebration that gives those who oppose his policy agenda a claim to his legacy.

Though, really, it was just Pence's contortions that made me roll my eyes. It reminded me of Trump's cabinet meetings where his advisers take turns praising him (a sycophantic display that, at one time, would have disgusted most Americans.)



https://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/426323-russian-oligarch-allies-retain-key-ownership-in-company-after
Quote:
A Russian oligarch with ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin along with his allies will maintain a majority ownership in an energy company under a Treasury Department plan to lift sanctions against the business, according to The New York Times.

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, in a letter to Congress last month, said that the agreement to lift the sanctions will reduce Oleg Deripaska's "direct and indirect shareholding stake in those entities"— Rusal, EN+ and EuroSibEnergo—"to below 50 percent."

But, according to documents obtained by the Times, Deripaska and his allies would own approximately 57 percent of EN+ under the Treasury Department plan.

... Deripaska will also be freed from debt he owes to VTB, a Russian government-owned bank, in exchange for transferring shares worth roughly $800 million to the financial institution.



Edit:
This is an old report from 2016 but it seems especially appropriate these days when Trump's Moscow tower, etc. are under discussion:
https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2016/05/donald-trump-2016-mob-organized-crime-213910
Quote:
Just What Were Donald Trump's Ties to the Mob?

I've spent years investigating, and here's what's known.



https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/426394-trump-i-told-sanders-to-stop-briefings-because-press-covers-her
Quote:
President Trump on Tuesday said he directed White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders to stop holding regular briefings, citing unfair treatment by the news media.

“The reason Sarah Sanders does not go to the ‘podium’ much anymore is that the press covers her so rudely & inaccurately, in particular certain members of the press,” Trump tweeted. “I told her not to bother, the word gets out anyway!”

...White House press briefings grew increasingly rare over the course of 2018. Sanders held two briefings in October, and one each in November and December, respectively. Trump appeared in the briefing room earlier this month but did not take questions from reporters.
The president is supposed to keep people informed. Sure, Ms Sanders lies constantly to support Trump, but we need to know that too. At least you can go out and look for the truth, as people did in the former Soviet Union when they heard government lies.


And another Trump administration official defies the House and refuses to appear:
https://thehill.com/policy/healthcare/426439-hhs-chief-refuses-to-testify-on-child-separation-policy
Quote:
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is refusing to have secretary Alex Azar testify before the House Energy and Commerce Committee about the administration’s child separation policy, according to the panel’s chairman.

“[Azar’s] denial to appear before the Committee in the coming weeks on the family separation policy is unacceptable, and we are going to get him here at some point one way or another,” Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. (D-N.J.) said in a statement.
This is the 3rd or 4th person from Trump's administration who's refusing to testify to Congress.




https://thehill.com/policy/international/russia/426395-russia-releases-from-custody-model-who-claimed-she-had-secrets-on
Quote:
A model from Belarus who claimed she had evidence Russia interfered with the 2016 U.S. presidential election to aid President Trump has reportedly been released from Russian custody.

Reuters reports that Anastasia Vashukevich was freed from Russian police custody Tuesday, but is still a suspect in an unrelated criminal case regarding allegations she forced women into prostitution.

Interesting. Most of us assumed she'd be permanently incarcerated or killed. So it seems likely that either she doesn't have any incriminating information or she has convinced authorities that she isn't going to tell anyone anything. Or maybe she'll just meet with an accident once media attention has moved on.



And another one gone:
https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/426407-trump-administrations-top-european-diplomat-to-resign-in-february
Quote:
The Trump administration’s top diplomat on European affairs will reportedly resign from the State Department next month, thrusting further uncertainty into an already tense relationship between the White House and the European Union.

A. Wess Mitchell, 41, cited personal and professional reasons for leaving his post in a Jan. 4 resignation letter obtained by The Washington Post.


Also, the Supreme Court has ruled (on partisan lines) that Trump can go ahead with his transgender ban in the military while the lawsuits make their way through the courts. How much money is all this costing us? The military had already done studies showing that it would be fine to have them enlist and established plans to make it work, before Trump (Pence?) decided to throw a wrench in the system.
https://thehill.com/regulation/court-battles/426377-supreme-court-allows-transgender-military-ban-to-be-enforced
Quote:
The Supreme Court on Tuesday granted the Trump administration's request to allow it to temporarily enforce its restrictions on transgender people serving in the military.The justices stayed district court injunctions that blocked the new policy pending a ruling in the 9th Circuit on the government's appeal.

_________________
It is this we learn after so many failures,
The building of castles in sand, of queens in snow,
That we cannot make any corner in life or in life's beauty,
That no river is a river which does not flow.

- Louis MacNeice, Autumn Journal


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 Post subject: Re: You've been Trumped!
PostPosted: Wed 23 Jan , 2019 8:24 pm 

Joined: Fri 10 Aug , 2012 4:42 pm
Posts: 1577
https://www.economist.com/united-states/2019/01/18/our-coverage-of-the-american-government-shutdown
Quote:
AMERICA’S GOVERNMENT shutdown has become the longest in history. Hundreds of thousands of federal workers remain either stuck at home or forced to work without pay. To reopen the government President Donald Trump is demanding $5.7bn for his border wall. Nancy Pelosi, who presides over the most polarised House of Representatives in recent memory, does not want to give it to him. Read our latest coverage here:

Leader: How America’s shutdown ought to end
America’s government shutdown is an act of economic self-harm
Why don’t other countries’ governments shut down?
How did the world's most powerful government become so dysfunctional?
The effects of the shutdown on America
Explainer: The president’s emergency powers
Active national emergencies in America
The migrant surge on America’s border slowed long ago
How America’s government shutdown is affecting flyers



Federal workers are also protesting. It sounds like there were protests today at the Senate, followed by loud and angry protests at Mitch McConnell's office - who richly deserves protests, IMO.

https://thehill.com/blogs/floor-action/426668-mcconnell-blocks-bill-to-reopen-most-of-government
Quote:
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) blocked legislation on Wednesday that would reopen most of the government currently closed during the partial shutdown.

Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) went to the Senate floor to ask for consent to take up the House-passed bill that would fund every agency and department impacted by the partial shutdown, except the Department of Homeland Security, through Sept. 30.

McConnell, however, objected. It's the fourth time he's blocked the bill to reopen most of government. He has also blocked, as recently as Tuesday, a House-passed bill to fund the Department of Homeland Security through Feb. 8.


Not that his Republican colleagues get a pass, either.
https://thehill.com/homenews/house/426666-house-passes-eighth-bill-to-reopen-government
Quote:
The House passed a Democratic-backed package of six appropriations bills Wednesday that would fund the government through the end of the fiscal year.

The legislation, which passed in a 234-180 vote and would fund the government through Sept. 30, is the 10th clean-funding measure that Democrats have voted on to end the partial government shutdown, with most of them passing in the chamber.

Ten Republicans joined Democrats in voting for the latest measure.
Which means that most of them are still voting the party line and supporting Trump in his demand for a wall.



Trump's administration is also bringing back more nonessential workers (working without pay) to blunt public anger that things are not getting done. They are stretching the definition of "essential," as defined by the regulations, to the breaking point. One example:
https://thehill.com/policy/finance/426485-usda-to-recall-more-than-9000-furloughed-workers-to-provide-farm-aid
Quote:
The Agriculture Department (USDA) on Tuesday announced it would call back to work more than 9,700 employees currently furloughed during the government shutdown to help provide financial assistance to farmers and ranchers.

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said in a statement that the USDA would reopen all Farm Service Agency (FSA) offices starting Thursday, allowing farmers and ranchers to apply for loans and financial assistance.



Trump had decided that he will give the State of the Union address from the House as usual and on the usual date. I assume he was trying to show Speaker Pelosi who's the boss. I think he chose the wrong person to try to intimidate. She said no.
https://thehill.com/homenews/house/426649-pelosi-tells-trump-no-sotu-on-tuesday
Quote:
Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Wednesday she will block President Trump from delivering the State of the Union address in the House chamber until the government reopens, rejecting the president’s demand to deliver the speech on Jan. 29.

In a letter to Trump, Pelosi said she would not move forward with the legislative steps needed for the address to take place.
Seriously, what did Trump expect, especially after he retaliated for her request to delay it by cancelling the Congressional delegation's trip to visit the US military in Afghanistan? (incidentally, a trip the avid Trump supporters and bots are mislabeling as a vacation, in hopes that people will believe them). Even Lindsay Graham was supposedly shouting in his office after Trump pulled that little stunt.

I suppose Trump has spent his life surrounded by people who bow down to his wishes and can't conceive of a situation where he has to actually work with other people to get things done.

Admittedly, it's petty bickering over a political speech that very few of us listen to or give a damn about. But it's Trump trying to play supreme ruler again, which is beyond tiresome. And stupid. If he wants to play president, he needs to learn there are rules. The courts have been trying to teach him that, but it's a lesson he refuses to learn.




People in San Antonio mock Trump:
https://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/426614-texan-organizes-search-party-event-to-look-for-san
Quote:
While speaking to reporters on Saturday, [Trump said].. "Everybody knows that walls work,"... "You look at San Antonio, you look at so many different places. They go from one of the most unsafe cities in the country to one of the safest cities, immediately.”

...San Antonio resident Manuel Lopez Jr. has created a Facebook event to organize a search party to find the nonexistent wall following the president's remarks.

More than 3,000 people have responded that they are "going" to the Facebook event, while 15,000 people have said they are "interested" in attending.

“I propose that we all meet up and find this wall! We as San Antonians deserve to know where this wall is at and deserve some answers!” Lopez wrote on the event page....like: “Who paid for the wall? Why were we not made aware of this wall?” and “Where exactly is this wall?”

“Together, we will find this wall!” Lopez added.



Also, it seems that someone down below might be looking for Trump again. ;)
https://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/426490-sinkhole-opens-up-a-block-away-from-white-house
Quote:
A sinkhole opened up on Tuesday afternoon in the road a block away from White House grounds in Washington, D.C.



EDIT:

https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/426691-mulvaney-asks-for-list-of-programs-vulnerable-to-a-lengthy-shutdown
Quote:
Acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney has asked federal agencies to provide lists of key programs that could be endangered if the partial government shutdown drags on until March or April, an administration official confirmed on Wednesday.

Mulvaney has asked for the information by Friday, a request that was was first reported by The Washington Post.

The request is one of the clearest signs yet that the White House is preparing for a shutdown of indefinite length that could have a significant impact on the economy.

President Trump’s top economist said earlier Wednesday that the shutdown, which has entered its 33rd day, could wipe out an entire quarter’s worth of gross domestic product growth if it lasts until March.

Unbelievable. I can understand that Trump doesn't care what happens. It's pretty clear by now that he has a snowball's chance in hell of getting re-elected. The Democrats could probably run a dead cow and get a decent number of people to vote for it over Trump. But what boggles my mind is that the Republicans in Congress are willing to support him to the point of destruction.


https://thehill.com/policy/healthcare/426681-trump-admin-allows-foster-care-group-that-only-works-with-christians-to
Quote:
The Trump administration announced Wednesday it will allow a ministry in South Carolina that only works with heterosexual Christian families to participate in a federally funded foster care program.

That means Miracle Hill Ministries can receive federal funding to participate in the program while not working with non-Christians, or those who identify as LGBT.

The organization was in violation of a regulation issued by the Obama administration that states organizations receiving funds from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) can't discriminate on the basis of religion or sexual orientation.

But Trump's HHS issued an exemption for the ministry to participate in the program, writing that to force it out would be a violation of its religious freedom.




btw, McConnell refused to meet with the demonstrators and had them arrested:
https://thehill.com/homenews/senate/426678-demonstrators-protesting-shutdown-arrested-outside-mcconnells-office
Quote:
A group of demonstrators were arrested Wednesday after holding a sit-in outside an office for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to protest the partial government shutdown.

Video posted on social media showed several people sitting and repeatedly chanting "stop the shutdown" and "we need a paycheck" outside McConnell's office in the Russell Senate Office Building.

The protesters were later shown being zip-tied and detained by Capitol Police officers. Chants of "we want to work" and "where is Mitch?" could be heard as individuals were escorted out of the building.

...The individuals were arrested for "unlawfully demonstrating," a Capitol Police spokesperson told the network.

Protesters sat outside of McConnell's office after being denied a meeting with the GOP leader, The Washington Post reported.

_________________
It is this we learn after so many failures,
The building of castles in sand, of queens in snow,
That we cannot make any corner in life or in life's beauty,
That no river is a river which does not flow.

- Louis MacNeice, Autumn Journal


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 Post subject: Re: You've been Trumped!
PostPosted: Thu 24 Jan , 2019 1:27 pm 

Joined: Fri 10 Aug , 2012 4:42 pm
Posts: 1577
This looks like a disaster waiting to happen. The Trump administration has recognized the opposition leader as the legitimate president of Venezuela, which is their prerogative. Most countries consider the election of President Maduro to have been rigged and many have called him illegitimate. So Maduro expelled US diplomats, which is his prerogative, since he's still really in control. The trouble is that Trump and Pompeo are playing chicken and refusing to get them out of there.
https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/426716-pompeo-says-venezuelas-maduro-cant-break-diplomatic-relations-with-us
Quote:
"The United States does not consider former president Nicolas Maduro to have the legal authority to break diplomatic relations with the United States or to declare our diplomats persona non grata," Pompeo said in a statement.

..."The United States will take appropriate actions to hold accountable anyone who endangers the safety and security of our mission and its personnel," he warned.

... "The United States maintains diplomatic relations with Venezuela and will conduct our relations with Venezuela through the government of interim President Guaidó, who has invited our mission to remain in Venezuela," he added.

I suspect the military hawks are currently running the show, the diplomats have been sidelined, and Trump is going along with whatever Pompeo and Bolton want. He may even welcome a new war to get his approval ratings up. The news media usually lines up dutifully behind the president in any war. And if diplomats are killed in an attack, I'd be willing to bet that many people will conveniently forget that Trump was the one who used them as pawns.


Meanwhile, Putin has weighed in:
https://thehill.com/policy/international/426723-russia-us-military-intervention-in-venezuela-would-be-catastrophic
Quote:
The Russian government warned the Trump administration Thursday against military intervention in Venezuela, where opposition leader Juan Guaido declared himself interim president in an attempt to oust the country's President Nicholas Maduro.

...“We warn against such adventurism which is fraught with catastrophic consequences,” the foreign ministry said.

A Kremlin spokesman weighed in as well, according to the news service, accusing President Trump and his team of trying to undermine Venezuela's legitimate government. “We consider the attempt to usurp sovereign authority in Venezuela to contradict and violate the basis and principles of international law,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov reportedly said.




More about the situation, from The Atlantic
https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2019/01/trump-recognizes-guaido-as-venezuelan-interim-president/581104/
Quote:
President Donald Trump’s provocative move to recognize Juan Guaido as the legitimate leader of Venezuela is rich in symbolism but raises the question, “What next?”

...As significant as Washington’s announcement might be, it potentially puts the Trump administration in a difficult position: What happens if Maduro arrests Guaido, 35, and crushes the protests? Also, how or will the administration funnel support to Guaido? If Guaido names new ambassadors to capitals that recognize him as the new leader, how will the international community deal with two rival power centers in Caracas? ...

The uncertainty risks defanging U.S. policy, relegating the latest move to an empty gesture with Maduro still in power and ultimately weakening Guaido. Alternatively, it could be the harbinger for an escalating showdown, putting Washington in a corner about what actions to take next...

...Venezuela has one of the world’s largest oil reserves, but its industry, once the crown jewel of state-run firms, is now a shadow of its former self. ... Maduro remains close to China and Russia, which both have substantial investments in Venezuela. Both support Maduro, who since his election in 2013 has steadily eroded democracy, choked the opposition, and stifled dissent. Two weeks ago, he declared himself president again following elections last year that were described widely as flawed. Moscow and Beijing both recognized the results of the vote.


More details on how other countries are lining up:
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/jan/24/juan-guaido-venezuelas-opposition-leader-declares-himself-interim-president
Quote:
Recep Tayyip Erdoğan phoned Maduro and offered his support, a spokesman for the Turkish president said on Thursday. ...

Mexico, part of the 14-member Lima Group, departed from the regional bloc’s call for democratic transition and said it would stick to its “constitutional principles of non-intervention”. It joined with Uruguay, the only other prominent Latin American country still recognising Maduro, in calling for additional talks between the government and opposition to find a “peaceful solution”. Previous talks brokered by the Vatican on the Venezuelan situation broke down.

Mexico had previously criticised Venezuela but its new president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, has returned the country to its traditional foreign policy of not weighing in on other internal affairs of other countries and expecting the same silence in return.

...Iran denounced events in Venezuela, saying the opposition’s claim there that it holds the presidency was a “coup” and an attempt to take over power unlawfully......Cuba expressed its support, with the state newspaper Granma saying that by recognising Guaidó as interim president, Donald Trump was “directing a coup d’état”. Cuba is hugely dependent on Venezuelan petroleum paid for with doctors.

...In Britain, by contrast, Theresa May’s spokesman expressed support for Guido but stopped short of following the US in recognising him as interim president.

...The UN secretary general, António Guterres, said talks in Venezuela were needed to avoid the political crisis spiralling out of control. ..





EDIT:

I often wonder what hold Trump has over GOP leaders. Many people guess that they fear his committed base and that the Republican party would split in two if they abandon him. Personally, I wonder if he knows something that would make them look very bad if revealed.

The Republican National Committee, the party’s governing body, is pushing a resolution that would effectively stop any Republicans from trying to challenge him in a primary. This story doesn't seem to have reached most news outlets.

From a source on the left (Rawstory has a mixed record for fact checking, but it's just quoting an AP reporter here. https://mediabiasfactcheck.com/raw-story/ Overall, we rate Raw Story Left Biased based on story selection that favors the left and Mixed for factual reporting due to half-true and unproven claims, as well as promotion of mild pseudoscience misinformation.):
https://www.rawstory.com/2019/01/republican-party-passes-resolution-cancel-gop-primary-due-trumps-effective-presidency/
Quote:
The Republican National Committee’s resolutions group passed a resolution effectively canceling the GOP primary in 2020.

“RNC Resolutions Committee just voted unanimously to “undivided support” for Trump and his “effective presidency,” clearing way for passage before full GOP governing body on Friday,” tweeted Associated Press reporter Zeke Miller.

The Resolution Committee bill must pass through the full RNC to be adopted by the party. Presumably, the act would not stop any other Republicans from running, but the RNC would refuse to endorse the opponent.



And one on the right (https://mediabiasfactcheck.com/washington-examiner/ Overall, we rate the Washington Examiner Right Biased based on editorial positions that almost exclusively favor the right and High for factual reporting due to proper sourcing and a relatively clean fact check record.):
https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/news/campaigns/some-republicans-fear-rnc-resolution-backing-trump-shows-weakness
Quote:
The Republican Party was set to reaffirm support for President Trump in 2020, an unusual move that is quietly dividing GOP insiders between those anxious about possible primary challengers and others concerned about feeding a false narrative of vulnerability.

Resistance to Trump and noise about upending his renomination has motivated certain members of the Republican National Committee, the party’s governing body, to push a nonbinding resolution expressing the GOP’s commitment to the president in the 2020 primary, typically presumed for an incumbent. The RNC is expected to approve one of two proposals, or some combination, when it meets this week at a posh New Mexico resort for an annual business meeting.

But there is apprehension, especially among veteran RNC members. They’re expected to back the resolution without protest.





And one of the quiet little things that shows just how messed up things are, behind the scenes, in the Trump administration.
https://thehill.com/blogs/in-the-know/in-the-know/426758-roma-actor-may-miss-oscars-due-to-problems-with-obtaining-visa
Quote:
A Mexican actor who played a role in the critically acclaimed film "Roma" may not attend the Academy Awards this year due to problems trying to obtain a visa.

Jorge Antonio Guerrero has said that he's been denied entry into the U.S. three times, according to Vanity Fair. The actor told Quién that he was first denied entry at the beginning of 2018, and that he was denied entry again in November after attempting to attend one of the red carpet events for the film.

Guerrero said he then went to the U.S. Embassy in Mexico with a letter saying that he'd be expected to travel to award ceremonies such as the Golden Globes and the Oscars. But the actor was denied entry again.

"Expressly, I took a letter that they did not want to read. In my second attempt, they said that I was going to work, and I answered no, that I was going as a guest. And this last attempt was unmemorable, it seemed that there was even an anger on the part of the young lady who interviewed me," he said in the interview, according to a translation from the website.

_________________
It is this we learn after so many failures,
The building of castles in sand, of queens in snow,
That we cannot make any corner in life or in life's beauty,
That no river is a river which does not flow.

- Louis MacNeice, Autumn Journal


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 Post subject: Re: You've been Trumped!
PostPosted: Fri 25 Jan , 2019 2:14 am 

Joined: Fri 10 Aug , 2012 4:42 pm
Posts: 1577
https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/donald-trump/officials-rejected-jared-kushner-top-secret-security-clearance-were-overruled-n962221
Quote:
Jared Kushner's application for a top secret clearance was rejected by two career White House security specialists after an FBI background check raised concerns about potential foreign influence on him — but their supervisor overruled the recommendation and approved the clearance, two sources familiar with the matter told NBC News.

The official, Carl Kline, is a former Pentagon employee who was installed as director of the personnel security office in the Executive Office of the President in May 2017. Kushner's was one of at least 30 cases in which Kline overruled career security experts and approved a top secret clearance for incoming Trump officials despite unfavorable information, the two sources said. They said the number of rejections that were overruled was unprecedented — it had happened only once in the three years preceding Kline's arrival.


No wonder a House committee now controlled by Democrats is looking into whether there were irregularities regarding security clearances. You have to wonder why the GOP-controlled committee didn't. On second thought, never mind - we all know why.


btw, someone with sense has decided to get most US diplomatic staff out of Venezuela after all. But "emergency" staff still has to stay and Trump is keeping the embassy open in defiance of Maduro.

_________________
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The building of castles in sand, of queens in snow,
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That no river is a river which does not flow.

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 Post subject: Re: You've been Trumped!
PostPosted: Fri 25 Jan , 2019 2:31 pm 

Joined: Fri 10 Aug , 2012 4:42 pm
Posts: 1577
https://thehill.com/policy/national-security/426927-mueller-trump-campaign-officials-communicated-with-stone-on
Quote:
Officials in President Trump’s 2016 campaign asked longtime Trump associate Roger Stone about future email releases by WikiLeaks ahead of the 2016 presidential election, special counsel Robert Mueller’s office has alleged [in an indictment unsealed Friday].

...“Stone was contacted by senior Trump Campaign officials to inquire about future releases by Organization 1,” the document states, in an apparent reference to WikiLeaks. Those communications took place after WikiLeaks released emails stolen from the Democratic National Committee (DNC) in July 2016.

The indictment charges that Stone stayed in touch with the campaign about WikiLeaks and potential email releases in the months leading up to the election.

Federal prosecutors say that Stone received an email from a “high-ranking Trump Campaign official asking about the status of future releases” by WikiLeaks in early October 2016.


Edit: NBC says the high-ranking official is Bannon:
https://www.cnbc.com/2019/01/25/steve-bannon-is-high-ranking-trump-official-mentioned-in-roger-stone-indictment.html
Quote:
Former White House chief strategist and Trump campaign CEO Steve Bannon is the unidentified "high-ranking Trump campaign official" in special counsel Robert Mueller's indictment of Roger Stone, CNBC has learned.

The indictment released Friday said the campaign official reached out to Stone in October 2016, a month before President Donald Trump was elected, "about the status of future releases by Organization 1." The unidentified organization clearly refers to WikiLeaks and Julian Assange.

Bannon is the campaign official, according to a person with direct knowledge of the matter. This person, who declined to be named, added that Bannon has spoken with Mueller's team, along with the Senate Intelligence Committee, about the exchange...



Our Minister of Propaganda weighs in with her lies:
https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/426933-sarah-sanders-on-stone-arrest-nothing-to-do-with-the-president
Quote:
White House press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Friday said the arrest of former Trump campaign adviser Roger Stone has no links to the president.

“The charges brought against Mr. Stone have nothing to do with the president, nothing to do with the White House,” Sanders said on CNN. Sanders refused to say whether President Trump directed campaign officials to reach out to Stone about stolen Democratic emails published by Wikileaks during the 2016 campaign.

The pro-Trump toadies and bots on one political discussion site look absolutely desperate this morning. They're trying things like "This is a coup by Mueller!" "Hillary Clinton is behind it all!" and similar wild conspiracy stuff in their attempts to spin it. (The rational conservatives there mostly went silent, as far as supporting Trump, some time ago.)





https://thehill.com/homenews/senate/426922-gop-senator-reportedly-slams-mcconnell-over-shutdown-this-is-your-fault
Quote:
Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) tore into Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Thursday, saying the record-long government shutdown was McConnell’s “fault,” according to The Washington Post.

Frustrated Republican senators lashed out at each other and Vice President Pence on Thursday during a private GOP lunch.


https://thehill.com/homenews/senate/426896-gop-senators-read-pence-riot-act-before-shutdown-votes
Quote:
Frustrated GOP senators read Vice President Pence the riot act at a closed-door meeting Thursday, telling him the partial government shutdown needs to end soon, according to lawmakers in the room.

Republican senators, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.), warned the vice president that prolonging the shutdown is not a smart political strategy, in hopes of sending a clear message to President Trump that he needs to resolve the crisis as soon as possible.

Lawmakers vented their irritation to Pence shortly before six GOP senators defected to vote for a Democratic-backed bill that would open the government without funding Trump’s proposed border wall.
btw, I have no idea why the word "fault" is in quotes in the first article about the lunch. That's exactly what Johnson said to McConnell, "This is your fault." Probably just one of the many writers clueless about the implications of putting a word in quotes, like the sign I sometimes see advertising Fresh Brown "Eggs." I've never dared ask what those eggs might actually be.



Edit:
https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/427004-trump-agrees-to-end-shutdown
Quote:
President Trump said Friday he will back a short-term funding bill to reopen the government that does not include funds to construct a wall along the southern border.... [He] said he would sign a bill that would open the government for three weeks. In that period, he said, a bipartisan committee of House and Senate lawmakers will meet to develop a funding proposal for Homeland Security.

He expressed optimism that the resulting pitch would include funds for his long-promised border wall, which he maintained "should not be controversial."



https://thehill.com/policy/healthcare/426997-migrant-children-illegally-held-in-unlicensed-facilities-attorney-says
Quote:
The Trump administration has been illegally holding unaccompanied migrant children in unlicensed facilities in violation of a federal agreement designed to protect them, attorneys say.

Peter Schey, one of the lead attorneys representing detained children, told The Hill he sent the Justice Department a letter outlining a series of violations, including about ten or 12 facilities that failed to produce licenses when inspected.

Among them was the largest facility for unaccompanied children in the country, located in Homestead, Florida.

...Schey said he is preparing to file a motion in the coming days, alleging numerous violations of the Flores agreement from the Departments of Justice and Health and Human Services. “I don’t think they’re ignorant of this, they know they’re violating federal law,” Schey said of the HHS Office of Refugee Resettlement, which oversees the facilities for detained migrant children.




https://thehill.com/homenews/media/426999-roger-stone-to-appear-with-fox-newss-carlson-tonight
Quote:
Roger Stone will appear on Tucker Carlson's Fox News show Friday night in his first one-on-one TV appearance since being indicted as part of special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe earlier in the day, the network says.

...Stone challenged the charges filed against him after his hearing before a federal judge in Florida. “I am falsely accused of making false statements,” Stone said, adding that he looks “forward to being vindicated."

Stone appeared on InfoWars, the far-right conspiracy website run by Alex Jones, directly after his court appearance before speaking to media outside.
The crowd outside the courtroom today jeered at Stone, who didn't seem chastened at all by his arrest. I expect he'll be treated far more kindly by Fox.

Stone has also promised publicly that he won't turn on Trump - though he phrased it coyly as refusing to bear false witness. What else do you expect of a guy who apparently has a tattoo of Nixon?




The RNC has indeed essentially cancelled any possibility of Republican primaries. And fully integrated the party with Trump's reelection campaign. Considering what we've been seeing of the people in Trump's 2016 campaign, the RNC seems to have just openly united with a bunch of very sleazy people.
https://thehill.com/homenews/campaign/427003-rnc-votes-to-give-trump-undivided-support-ahead-of-2020
Quote:
Republican National Committee members voted on Friday to throw the party’s “undivided support” behind President Trump ahead of his 2020 reelection bid, as speculation continues to mount about potential primary challengers.

The resolution unanimously approved by the RNC at its winter meeting in New Mexico offered “undivided support for President Donald J. Trump and his effective Presidency.”

...The vote isn’t the only sign of the party’s deepening ties to Trump. The president’s campaign committee is expected to merge its field and fundraising operations with the RNC for the reelection bid, creating a single entity intended to streamline campaign efforts.

...RNC members also voted unanimously on Friday to reelect Ronna Romney McDaniel as party chair.
McDaniel, who is the niece of Mitt Romney, has been an ardent defender of President Trump since assuming the top RNC role in 2017, even criticizing her uncle for his op-ed earlier this month.
So, instead of distancing themselves from Trump as evidence builds against his associates - and Trump, by implication - the Republican leadership has voted to support him more firmly.

_________________
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The building of castles in sand, of queens in snow,
That we cannot make any corner in life or in life's beauty,
That no river is a river which does not flow.

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 Post subject: Re: You've been Trumped!
PostPosted: Sat 26 Jan , 2019 6:48 pm 

Joined: Fri 10 Aug , 2012 4:42 pm
Posts: 1577
https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/427053-pompeo-taps-elliott-abrams-as-state-department-venezuela-point-person
Quote:
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo tapped State Department veteran Elliott Abrams on Friday as the government’s point person to handle the escalating crisis in Venezuela.

..."Elliott will be a true asset to our mission to help the Venezuelan people fully restore democracy and prosperity to their country,” Pompeo said Friday.

Abrams’s appointment could draw scrutiny over a checkered past in government. He served in various State Department roles during the Reagan and George W. Bush administrations, but is well-known for being convicted of withholding information from Congress about the infamous Iran-Contra affair. He was later pardoned by President George H.W. Bush.

Abrams has also drawn criticism for his role during the Reagan administration of trying to prop up friendly dictators in El Salvador and Nicaragua who assisted the White House’s foreign policy of keeping the Soviet Union’s influence in Latin America at bay.

Abrams’s rejoining of the State Department comes as friction between the State Department and Maduro reaches new heights...
Quote:
“The next step is going to be a bunch of tit-for-tat stuff, and how far it goes is the question,” Michael McCarthy, an expert on Venezuela at American University, told The Hill.



What happens when Trump sends an unpopular ambassador to an ally:
http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/u-s-ambassador-richard-grenell-is-isolated-in-berlin-a-1247610.html
Quote:
These days, the spotlight on Grenell seems to have grown dimmer, though not necessarily by choice. He still tweets assiduously and he never seems to say no when Fox News calls, but in Berlin, he has largely become isolated. The powerful avoid him. Doors have been shut. Few politicians to the left of the right-wing populist Alternative for Germany (AFD) and the populist-conservative Christian Social Union (CSU), the Bavarian sister party of Merkel's center-right Christian Democrats (CDU), want to be seen with him.

...Because the ambassador was unwilling to grant an interview, DER SPIEGEL focused its reporting on conversations with more than 30 sources who have come into contact with Grenell. ...Almost all of these sources paint an unflattering portrait of the ambassador, one remarkably similar to Donald Trump, the man who sent him to Berlin. A majority of them describe Grenell as a vain, narcissistic person who dishes out aggressively, but can barely handle criticism.

...They also say Grenell knows little about Germany and Europe, that he ignores most of the dossiers his colleagues at the embassy write for him, and that his knowledge of the subject matter is superficial.

... Anyone who doesn't absolutely need to meet Grenell avoids it. " ...In conversations with parliamentarians, the ambassador apparently pushed hard for invitations to visit lawmakers in their constituencies. Many said no. Who, after all, wants to be seen in their home district with Grenell? And those who did invite him, didn't all have the best things to say about the experience.




https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2019/01/roger-stone-indicted-mueller/581338/
Quote:
Decades of Dirty Tricks Finally Catch Up to Roger Stone
Trump’s longtime adviser said after appearing in federal court, “The only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about.”
Quote:
Throughout his decades-long career operating in Republican circles, Stone, who has a likeness of Richard Nixon tattooed on his back, has taken pride in mastering the “black arts” of politics. He’s been accused of threatening political opponents, has been sued for defamation, and regularly spreads conspiracy theories about JFK’s assassination and Hillary Clinton’s infidelity. He served as Trump’s Washington lobbyist in the late 1990s and early 2000s and has been encouraging him to run for president for more than a decade. “Roger’s relationship with Trump has been so interconnected that it’s hard to define what’s Roger and what’s Donald,” Paul Manafort, Trump’s campaign chairman, said of Stone in a 2017 documentary. Though he wasn’t initially seen as an integral part of Trump’s campaign, he kept hovering—and now the dirty tricks have finally caught up with him.

...The indictment unsealed on Friday offers the clearest link yet between the Trump campaign and WikiLeaks, and suggests that the Trump campaign might have known about additional stolen emails before they were released. I...The indictment also details the extent of Stone’s scheming in 2016 to find emails damaging to Clinton; how he communicated those plans to Trump’s campaign team; and his efforts to prevent a key witness from disclosing his efforts to the FBI, calling him a “rat.” His false statements to the House Intelligence Committee during his September 2017 interview about his ties to WikiLeaks comprised five of the seven counts against him....




https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/427108-trump-met-with-group-led-by-ginni-thomas-at-white-house-report
Quote:
President Trump met last week [for about an hour] with a number of right-wing activists including Ginni Thomas, wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, who grilled the president on why his own supporters were being supposedly blocked from administration positions.

...Other members of the delegation reportedly included Rosemary Jenks of the anti-immigration NumbersUSA think tank, and Frank Gaffney, the founder of the Center for Security Policy known for anti-Muslim rhetoric and conspiracy theories. The chief of staff for Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas.) also attended the meeting, though she was introduced as a "conservative columnist," according to the Times.

...Some close to the president have questioned why Thomas was given access to the president as the wife of a sitting Supreme Court justice, and reportedly told the Times that the meeting was inappropriate.

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That no river is a river which does not flow.

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 Post subject: Re: You've been Trumped!
PostPosted: Mon 28 Jan , 2019 7:18 pm 
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So, according to the CBC, the cost of the shutdown was 3 billion dollars.

Remind me again why it was shutdown and how much funding Trump was trying to get?

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 Post subject: Re: You've been Trumped!
PostPosted: Mon 28 Jan , 2019 8:20 pm 

Joined: Fri 10 Aug , 2012 4:42 pm
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You expect Trump's actions to make sense? ;)
(Yeah, I know you were being sarcastic.)



https://www.thedailybeast.com/dithering-gop-stalls-houses-new-trump-russia-probe?ref=home
Quote:
The new leadership on the House intelligence committee is eager to revive the panel’s probe into the connections between Donald Trump’s camp and Russia, an urgency underscored by the latest indictment of a Trump associate accused of lying to its investigation. But three weeks into the Democratic-controlled Congress, House Republicans haven’t taken a critical step necessary for the committee to begin any work at all.

The House Republican leadership has yet to name the intelligence committee’s Republican membership for the new Congress, with the exception of retaining Devin Nunes as ranking Republican. ... It’s not clear what the holdup is. “That will be announced when it is ready,” said Matt Sparks, a spokesperson for House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy

Thus far, Democrats on the panel are not accusing the House GOP of deliberately dragging its feet ... But, a Democratic committee aide said, “There is an urgency in getting all of our transcripts to Mueller that we cannot ignore.”

...Committee Democrats suspect others [besides Roger Stone] of having lied or otherwise giving them misleading testimony. One, identified by Connecticut Democrat Jim Himes, is Erik Prince, the founder of mercenary company Blackwater.

...Democrats on the panel have spent two years seething at their GOP colleagues, formerly a majority, for obstructing the committee’s Russia investigation to protect Trump. Under Nunes, the committee declined to issue subpoenas, including for documents, communications records or other material that investigators typically require to vet witness testimony and assess its truthfulness.

Nunes turned the panel’s attention instead to scrutinizing the Justice Department and FBI officials investigating Trump, and subpoenaed them instead.




(https://mediabiasfactcheck.com/daily-beast/
Overall, we rate the Daily Beast Left-Biased due to story selection that favors the left and High for factual reporting based on proper sourcing.)

_________________
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The building of castles in sand, of queens in snow,
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That no river is a river which does not flow.

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 Post subject: Re: You've been Trumped!
PostPosted: Tue 29 Jan , 2019 1:42 pm 

Joined: Fri 10 Aug , 2012 4:42 pm
Posts: 1577
https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/427383-white-house-says-all-options-on-the-table-after-bolton-notepad
Quote:
The White House said Monday that "all options" remain on the table when it comes to Venezuela, after national security advisor John Bolton was spotted holding a notepad that included details about troops being transferred to Colombia.

“As the President has said, all options are on the table," the White House said in a statement to The Associated Press. The administration did not elaborate further.
Not too surprising. The "adults"had to talk Trump out of assassinating a foreign leader at one point. The adults are now mostly gone, the neocons are still there, and Bolton brought back someone who was convicted (then pardoned) in the Iran-Contra affair to coordinate the US response in Venezuela.

Meanwhile, the Venezuelan military still seems to support Maduro - at least, on the surface - and civil war seems one possibility. And considering the sordid past of the US in helping to replace elected leaders in South America with right wing dictators (or propping up right wing dictators), I'm not sure any country in the region will welcome US interference. Especially the military interference Bolton and Trump seem to be considering.





https://thehill.com/policy/international/427407-top-un-judge-resigns-over-shocking-interference-from-trump-admin-turkey
Quote:
A senior United Nations judge who worked in one of the body's international courts in The Hague is reportedly resigning over "shocking" political interference from the Trump administration and Turkey.

The German judge, Christoph Flügge, accused the U.S. of threatening other judges after steps were taken to investigate U.S. soldiers' conduct in Afghanistan, according to The Guardian. He also claimed that Turkey's government made baseless accusations against a Turkish judge in order to end his tenure at a U.N. court.

_________________
It is this we learn after so many failures,
The building of castles in sand, of queens in snow,
That we cannot make any corner in life or in life's beauty,
That no river is a river which does not flow.

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 Post subject: Re: You've been Trumped!
PostPosted: Wed 30 Jan , 2019 3:03 pm 

Joined: Fri 10 Aug , 2012 4:42 pm
Posts: 1577
https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/427505-trump-putin-talked-at-g20-without-us-translator-note-taker-report
Quote:
President Trump reportedly met late last year with Russian President Vladimir Putin without a translator or aide from his administration present.

The Financial Times reported Tuesday that Trump sat with Putin on the sidelines of the Group of 20 (G-20) summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in late November after an evening event.

Trump was joined by his wife Melania Trump, but there was no note-taker or translator from the U.S. at the meeting. Putin was reportedly accompanied by a translator, with all four at a table.

A Russian government official told the Financial Times that the talk lasted about 15 minutes and included discussions about the Syrian conflict and a clash days earlier between Russian forces and the Ukrainian navy. ...The White House previously acknowledged that Trump came together for an "informal conversation" with Putin during the summit, but did not disclose specifics.



https://thehill.com/policy/national-security/427608-trump-blasts-intel-chiefs-for-wrong-iran-assessment
Quote:
Trump tweeted Wednesday morning...

The Intelligence people seem to be extremely passive and naive when it comes to the dangers of Iran. They are wrong! When I became President Iran was making trouble all over the Middle East, and beyond. Since ending the terrible Iran Nuclear Deal, they are MUCH different, but....
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 30, 2019

The president, who claimed Iran has recently tested rockets, also mocked the intelligence leaders in his administration, suggesting they "should go back to school."

The two tweets came a day after Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and CIA Director Gina Haspel offered testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee that seemed to contradict things the president has said. Coats testified that the intelligence community found that Iran is not currently seeking to develop its nuclear weapons capabilities, basing his remarks on an intelligence assessment.

...The officials also contradicted Trump on several other issues, testifying that ISIS remains a threat to the United States despite Trump's repeated comments that they have been defeated.

And Coats said the intelligence community believes North Korea won't be willing to fully denuclearize because nuclear weapons are viewed as key to the state's survival — a statement that undermines Trump's previous claims that Pyongyang is "no longer a nuclear threat."
Coates is the person I'm usually thinking of when I qualify my statement by saying that most of the adults are gone from the Trump administration, leaving mostly sycophants and people using Trump for their own favorite agenda.




https://thehill.com/policy/energy-environment/427498-new-epa-policy-would-offer-alternative-to-penalties-for-some-oil
Quote:
The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) office of enforcement will soon unveil a new finalized audit policy that will offer significant new penalty reductions for the oil and gas industry, according to two internal memos obtained by The Hill.

The New Owner Clean Air Act Audit Program, tailored specifically for oil and natural gas producers, will focus on offering more flexibility to new company owners who choose to self-audit their emissions and report any failures to meet EPA’s regulations, according to the December draft memos for the new policy.




https://thehill.com/policy/defense/427519-pentagon-to-send-a-few-thousand-more-troops-to-southern-border
Quote:
The Pentagon will send “a few thousand” more troops to the U.S.-Mexico border, Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan announced Tuesday.

Shanahan said the military is supporting the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in its recent request for an extension of the Pentagon’s mission at the border. That request also called for more assistance in laying additional concertina wire and expanding surveillance.




https://thehill.com/policy/defense/427546-dem-lawmakers-reintroduce-bill-to-prevent-president-from-launching-nuclear
Quote:
Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) and Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) on Tuesday announced that they will reintroduce a bill that would stop the president from being able to launch a first strike nuclear attack without first having congressional approval.

At a press conference announcing the legislation, Lieu said the bill is needed because President Trump is “unpredictable and rash.”

“Trump’s brand is to be unpredictable and rash, which is exactly what you don’t want the person who possesses the nuclear football to be,” Lieu said, according to a press release. “We introduced this bill under the Obama administration but Trump’s presidency has highlighted just how scary it is that any president has the authority to launch a nuke without congressional consultation.”




https://thehill.com/policy/national-security/427548-dems-demand-records-from-mnuchin-on-move-to-lift-sanctions-on
Quote:
Three top House Democrats have formally requested documents related to the Trump administration’s decision to lift sanctions on companies connected to a prominent Russian oligarch with ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin
.



And another Trump administration official refuses to testify in the House. I'm not sure how many this makes, so far.
https://thehill.com/homenews/house/427555-house-homeland-security-chair-says-nielsen-refused-to-testify-on-feb-6
Quote:
House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) criticized Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen on Tuesday for declining to testify before the panel.

Thompson wrote to Nielsen, indicating she had refused to appear before the committee on Feb. 6 to discuss border security. Thompson called her decision "unreasonable and unacceptable."

"Your attempt to use the President’s recent shutdown as an excuse not to testify before Congress prior to the impending shutdown is outrageous," he wrote. "As Secretary of Homeland Security, you should be prepared to testify on border security, the very issue that caused the recent shutdown, at any time and certainly prior to the potential February 15 lapse in appropriations."

_________________
It is this we learn after so many failures,
The building of castles in sand, of queens in snow,
That we cannot make any corner in life or in life's beauty,
That no river is a river which does not flow.

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 Post subject: Re: You've been Trumped!
PostPosted: Thu 31 Jan , 2019 3:24 pm 

Joined: Fri 10 Aug , 2012 4:42 pm
Posts: 1577
https://thehill.com/policy/national-security/427816-trump-admin-to-abandon-arms-pact-with-russia-as-soon-as-saturday-top
Quote:
The Trump administration will stop abiding by a landmark arms control pact with Russia as soon as Saturday after last-minute diplomatic efforts to bring Moscow back into compliance failed, a top State Department official told Reuters.

...The process to formally withdraw from the treaty takes a total of six months, but the U.S. plans to stop complying with it immediately as soon as Saturday, Thompson said.

She said the Pentagon would be able to begin developing longer-range missiles if it so chooses.

So, will the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists move the Doomsday Clock even closer to midnight? I think it's around 2 minutes to midnight right now, the closest it's been in decades.

And with the so-called "low yield" or "tactical" nuclear weapons the US and others are developing, the incentive to use nuclear weapons has never been higher.

From the Federation of Atomic Scientists:
https://fas.org/programs/ssp/nukes/new%20nuclear%20weapons/loyieldearthpenwpnrpt.html
Quote:
Despite the global sense of relief and hope that the nuclear arms race ended with the Cold War, an increasingly vocal group of politicians, military officials and leaders of America's nuclear weapon laboratories are urging the US to develop a new generation of precision low-yield nuclear weapons. Rather than deterring warfare with another nuclear power, however, they suggest these weapons could be used in conventional conflicts with third-world nations.

....As described in detail below, however, the use of any nuclear weapon capable of destroying a buried target that is otherwise immune to conventional attack will necessarily produce enormous numbers of civilian casualties. No earth-burrowing missile can penetrate deep enough into the earth to contain an explosion with a nuclear yield even as small as 1 percent of the 15 kiloton Hiroshima weapon. The explosion simply blows out a massive crater of radioactive dirt, which rains down on the local region with an especially intense and deadly fallout.

Moreover, as Congress understood in 1994, by seeking to produce usable low-yield nuclear weapons, we risk blurring the now sharp line separating nuclear and conventional warfare, and provide legitimacy for other nations to similarly consider using nuclear weapons in regional wars.


http://dc.medill.northwestern.edu/blog/2018/02/09/exactly-low-yield-nuclear-weapon/
Quote:
President Donald Trump’s new nuclear strategy emphasizes a strategic shift towards the use of “low-yield” nuclear weapons to increase deterrence against mounting nuclear threats from Russia, China, and North Korea.

Experts have questioned this decision, saying that the term “low-yield” is a deceptive description of these nuclear weapons. Moreover, they say, a strategy that depends on the possible use of smaller bombs could enhance the chance that a nuclear weapon will be used.
Quote:
1. How destructive is a “low-yield” nuclear bomb?

Experts said that the most important thing to remember when talking about nuclear weapons, whether low-yield or large-yield, is understanding how big any of these weapons actually are.

A nuclear bomb is measured in terms of its explosive yield, which is referenced in terms of “tons,” “kilotons,” and “megatons” of the TNT explosive power they put off. For example, the explosive yield from a conventional bomb that is dropped by bombers would be about 500 pounds.

The largest conventional weapon in the U.S. arsenal is the “Mother of all Bombs,” or MOAB. The last time this bomb was dropped was in Afghanistan in 2017 by the Trump administration.

...While low-yield nuclear bombs can range from .1 kilotons to 10, 20, or 50 kilotons, according to Cirincione, the explosive yield from a low-yield nuclear weapon is equivalent to 1,000 MOABs. That is equivalent to the sizes of bombs dropped by the U.S. over Nagasaki and Hiroshima at the end of World War II...


https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/jan/28/us-nuclear-weapons-first-low-yield-warheads-roll-off-the-production-line
Quote:
US nuclear weapons: first low-yield warheads roll off the production line

New type of weapon, ordered by Trump’s nuclear posture review, could make conflict more likely, say experts





https://thehill.com/policy/energy-environment/427810-sales-of-oil-leases-proceeding-near-sacred-sites-in-nm-report
Quote:
The Federal Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is reportedly moving forward with plans to lease land near sacred Native American sites in New Mexico to companies for oil and natural gas drilling.

The Associated Press reports that a BLM spokeswoman confirmed that a public comment period for the leases will begin on Feb. 11.

Democrats in the state and other local officials have blasted the agency for continuing the process even though critics were largely shut out of the process in January due to the record-long shutdown.

...The final sale, which is scheduled for March 28, has not yet been finalized. If the deals go through, oil and natural gas drilling could begin near Chaco Culture National Historical Park, a historic Native American heritage site home to massive ancient stone structures, the AP noted.



Edit:
https://www.politico.com/story/2019/01/28/epa-toxic-chemicals-drinking-water-1124797
Quote:
The Trump administration will not set a drinking water limit for two toxic chemicals that are contaminating millions of Americans' tap water, two sources familiar with the forthcoming decision told POLITICO.

The expected move is yet another sign of the administration's reluctance to aggressively deal with the chemicals, which have been used for decades in products such as Teflon-coated cookware and military firefighting foam and are present in the bloodstreams of an estimated 98 percent of Americans. And it comes less than a year after the White House and the Environmental Protection Agency faced criticism for delaying publication of a health study on the chemicals, which a White House aide had warned could trigger a "public relations nightmare."



The Trump administration has suspended the whistleblower in the security clearance office who revealed that a Trump political appointee overruled more than 30 denials of security clearances, including Jared Kushner's.
https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/national-security/whistleblower-white-house-security-clearance-office-gets-suspended-n964826
Quote:
Newbold's two-week suspension from the White House security office was for failure to supervise, failure to follow instructions and defiance of authority, according to the suspension decision notice obtained by NBC News.

...Wednesday's notice is signed by Bailey and mentions that in Newbold's 18-year career she has not faced any "prior formal disciplinary action." The document also harshly criticizes Newbold for her "defiance" and notes that Newbold said she would "continue to do what is best for the Executive Office of the President."




btw, I've found Euronews* to be a good source of information about the crisis in Venezuela. US news sources tend to be superficial, often turning everything into a simplistic good guy/ bad guy scenario and/or approaching it from a very US-centric viewpoint. European sources are more likely to explain the politics behind the mess.

(Not that I consider Maduro a good guy by any stretch of the imagination. But there's usually more to the story and the political situation than the U.S. papers present.)
https://www.euronews.com/2019/01/23/is-venezuela-on-the-verge-of-a-coup-d-etat-euronews-answers
Quote:
Is Venezuela on the verge of a coup d'état? | Euronews Answers
Quote:
The Venezuelan government and the opposition measured their support on the streets of Venezuela on Wednesday after a few days on the edge of the abyss. Ghosts of a military rebellion returned in the wake of the recent swearing in of Nicolás Maduro for a second term.

The Venezuelan National Assembly, the country's de jure legislature that has a resounding opposition majority, announced on Tuesday its takeover of the executive power, backed by the US government. The army claimed to have detained dozens of soldiers who rose up against Maduro in Caracas.



https://www.euronews.com/2019/01/27/watch-why-are-tensions-running-high-in-venezuela-euronews-answers
Quote:
Watch: Why are tensions running high in Venezuela? | Euronews Answers
Quote:
Tensions are running high in Venezuela since President of the National Assembly, Juan Guaidó, assumed the presidency of the country following the decision of the National Assembly to take executive power last week. However, decisions by the National Assembly are not recognised by the official justice system, which is aligned with the left-wing political ideology of Chavezism. "The only transition that will take place in Venezuela is that towards socialism," responded Diosdado Cabello, president of the Constituent Assembly, a parallel body to the National Assembly led by Maduro's partisans.Stuck in an unprecedented situation, Venezuelans are now asking the armed forces to bring back the path towards democracy.

Watch Euronews' Venezuela expert, Camille Bello, explain Venezuela’s political crisis.



https://www.euronews.com/2019/01/27/is-it-legal-for-juan-guaido-to-be-proclaimed-venezuela-s-interim-president
Quote:
So is it legal for Guaidó to have been declared interim president of Venezuela?




https://mediabiasfactcheck.com/euronews/
Quote:
*Factual Reporting: HIGH
Notes: Euronews is a European multilingual news media service, headquartered in Lyon, France. Created in 1993, it aims to cover world news from a pan-European perspective. Present news with neutral wording and appropriate sourcing

_________________
It is this we learn after so many failures,
The building of castles in sand, of queens in snow,
That we cannot make any corner in life or in life's beauty,
That no river is a river which does not flow.

- Louis MacNeice, Autumn Journal


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 Post subject: Re: You've been Trumped!
PostPosted: Fri 01 Feb , 2019 2:53 pm 

Joined: Fri 10 Aug , 2012 4:42 pm
Posts: 1577
https://thehill.com/regulation/labor/427948-watchdog-probes-trump-administration-over-labor-rule-changes
Quote:
A government watchdog says it is investigating the Trump administration’s process for making changes to labor rules. Labor Department Inspector General Scott Dahl informed Democratic lawmakers of the probe in a letter reported by NBC News on Thursday.

The investigation comes after claims that administration officials are removing worker protections without following proper procedures.



https://thehill.com/policy/energy-environment/427941-epa-puts-climate-skeptic-conservative-think-tank-scholar-on-science
Quote:
Acting Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) chief Andrew Wheeler has put eight new members on the agency’s main board of external science advisers.

The new members include an outspoken skeptic of climate change science, a scholar at a conservative group funded in part by billionaire businessman Charles Koch and researchers who have received industry funding.

The Science Advisory Board is the main body that advises the EPA on scientific matters, like scrutinizing regulations and directing the agency’s actions.



https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/427985-white-house-abruptly-cancelled-meeting-with-intel-chiefs-day-after
Quote:
The White House cancelled President Trump’s daily intelligence briefing Wednesday after the nation’s top intelligence officials contradicted the administration’s foreign policy in front of Congress.

Presidents typically meet with intelligence officials daily to review threats to the nation. While those meetings are sometimes cancelled in the Trump White House, the abruptness Wednesday was unusual.
So Dear Leader doesn't even meet with them daily when he's not throwing a fit over being contradicted for his ignorance.



As expected, the new nuclear arms race is now on.
https://thehill.com/policy/national-security/427996-trump-administration-to-suspend-nuclear-treaty-with-russia
Quote:
The Trump administration announced Friday that it would suspend its obligations under a decades old Cold War arms control pact with Russia on Saturday, citing Moscow's violations of the treaty.

The White House announced the decision to stop complying with the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty in a statement early Friday, just before Secretary of State Mike Pompeo addressed the move in remarks from the State Department.

https://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/inf-nuclear-treaty-bites-dust-181022104406151.html
Quote:
The end of INF: Another nuclear treaty bites the dust

The 1987 treaty was not perfect, but President Trump is unlikely to secure a better deal that can make the world safer.
Quote:
The US believes Russia's land-based, nuclear-capable Novator 9M729 missile system, dubbed SSC-X-8 by NATO, is a violation of the 1987 deal because it has a range of over 500km - the threshold set by the INF treaty. The Russians, on the other hand, say that their new missile system has a much shorter range, well beneath what is allowed under the INF treaty. But, most crucially, Moscow does not offer any evidence to prove this. So far, neither the US nor NATO seems to be satisfied with Moscow's denial. Moreover, even if the Russians are telling the truth, and their new missiles are technically legal, it can easily be argued that the creation of this missile system clearly breaches the spirit of the agreement and gives Washington reason to be very concerned.

However, Russia's alleged violation does not fully legitimise Trump's decision to withdraw from the deal. Under the 1987 treaty, the verification procedures to ensure compliance were extensive. Although these have been used in this instance, they had not yet been exhausted. The Trump administration could keep using these and additional diplomatic means to push Russia into complying with the conditions of the treaty. But now that it chose to abandon the deal, it has no way of pressuring the Russians into compliance.




https://thehill.com/homenews/morning-report/427989-the-hills-morning-report
Quote:
A bipartisan group of lawmakers seeking a border deal has only met for two days, but there are new headwinds with only 15 days to go until a quarter of the government runs out of money again. President Trump...is splashing cold water on the negotiations at every turn.

On Thursday, Trump said Republicans in the bipartisan group are “wasting their time” dealing with Democrats.
...And Trump is insisting on wall language in any bill, departing from his earlier openness to barriers constructed with steel slats.
Not surprising. The right wing pundits criticized Trump for backing down from his government shutdown and he relies on them to keep his supporters motivated.




https://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/427983-trump-denies-involvement-in-kushner-security-clearance
Quote:
President Trump said in an interview with the New York Times Thursday that he had no role in advising the White House to give his son-in-law and senior advisor Jared Kushner a top-level security clearance.

Reports emerged last week that two White House security specialists initially rejected Kushner's application before being overruled by the head of the president's personnel security office.
Yeah, he just appointed this guy to head the security office in 2017 and didn't have any expectations of what he'd do.



Not Trump alone, but this seems likely to further destabilize things between Israel and the Palestinians. Kushner may give lip service to wanting to resolve the conflicts, but openly supporting one side in the conflict - the occupying and militarily far more powerful side - while making the other side poorer, less educated, sicker and more desperate, is an unlikely road to peace.
https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/02/usaid-ceases-assistance-west-bank-gaza-official-190201105531606.html
Quote:
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has ceased all assistance to Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and Gaza, according to a US official. The decision announced on Friday was linked to a January 31 deadline set by new US legislation under which foreign aid recipients would be more exposed to anti-terrorism lawsuits.The deadline also sees the end of about $60m in US aid for the Palestinian security forces, whose cooperation with Israeli forces helps maintain relative quiet in the West Bank.

Congress's Anti-Terrorism Clarification Act (ATCA) empowers Americans to sue foreign aid recipients in US courts over alleged complicity in "acts of war". The Palestinian Authority declined further US funding over worries about its potential legal exposure, although it denies Israeli accusations that it encourages armed attacks.

...Last year, Washington cut hundreds of millions of dollars of aid to the Palestinians, which included funding to humanitarian groups supported by USAID. The US cuts were widely seen as a means of pressuring the Palestinian leadership to resume peace talks with Israel and to engage with the Trump administration in the run-up to its long-awaited Middle East peace plan.

As a result, dozens of NGO employees have been laid off, health and unemployment programmes have been shut down, and infrastructure projects halted. In August, Washington announced an end to all US funding for the UN agency that assists Palestinian refugees. The agency received $364m from the US in 2017. In January, the World Food Programme cut food aid to about tens of thousands of Palestinians due to a shortage of funds.


Don't forget that the Trump pleased US evangelicals and Netanyahu's hard liners and infuriated the Palestinians by taking away one of the potential bargaining points in peace negotiations and moving the US embassy to Jerusalem.
https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2018/05/jerusalem-lockdown-moves-israeli-mission-180514112733896.html
Quote:
The United States has officially relocated its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, in a deeply controversial move that angered Palestinians and drew widespread regional condemnation. The ceremony on Monday took place amid road closures and heavy police presence in anticipation of Palestinian protests, as well as deadly demonstrations in Gaza calling for the refugees' right to return to the homes they were forcibly expelled from 70 years ago.

...at least 55 Palestinian demonstrators in Gaza were killed by Israeli forces along several points near the fence with Israel. More than 2,400 others were also wounded... and there were fears the death toll could rise in what was the deadliest day for Palestinians killed by Israeli forces since the 2014 Gaza war.

...Before Netanyahu's speech, Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner told those assembled at the ceremony Jerusalem was the "eternal heart of the Jewish people"... In response, a spokesperson for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas reiterated that the US embassy move had ruled Washington out of future mediation efforts.

_________________
It is this we learn after so many failures,
The building of castles in sand, of queens in snow,
That we cannot make any corner in life or in life's beauty,
That no river is a river which does not flow.

- Louis MacNeice, Autumn Journal


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 Post subject: Re: You've been Trumped!
PostPosted: Mon 04 Feb , 2019 6:15 pm 

Joined: Fri 10 Aug , 2012 4:42 pm
Posts: 1577
Trump is appointing his unethical allies to new positions:

https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/428196-trump-taps-ronny-jackson-to-serve-as-assistant-to-president-chief
Quote:
President Trump appointed White House doctor Rear Adm. Ronny Jackson to serve as assistant to the president and chief medical adviser, the White House announced Saturday. The appointment comes amid a federal inquiry into Jackson’s alleged misconduct as the head of the White House Medical Unit. The Defense Department's Office of Inspector General is probing allegations that surfaced after Trump nominated Jackson to become Veterans Affairs secretary last year.

...The president also reportedly re-nominated Jackson earlier this month to be promoted to a two-star admiral. It is unclear if the Senate Armed Services Committee will consider the nomination while the Pentagon investigation is ongoing.

https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/428179-author-of-nunes-surveillance-memo-joining-national-security-council
Quote:
Kashyap Patel, a senior staffer for Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee, reportedly will begin working for the National Security Council's International Organizations and Alliances directorate on Monday...Patel will help develop the White House’s stance toward the U.S. relationship with the United Nations and other international organizations, CNN reported

...Patel helped pen the so-called Nunes memo, a document excoriating the FBI and Justice Department over allegedly abusing the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) to obtain a warrant on former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.. ..The memo also alleges that Christopher Steele, the former British spy who compiled the dossier, did so out of hostility toward President Trump.

...Using the memo’s authority, the committee moved to declassify the classified information from the FISA warrant, accusing the FBI of hiding that an opposition memo compiled on Trump and Russia was allegedly funded by Democrats. Trump approved the memo’s release, despite FBI officials' requests not to do so.




https://thehill.com/policy/defense/428276-pentagon-announces-nearly-4000-additional-troops-heading-to-us-mexico-border
Quote:
Nearly 4,000 additional U.S. troops will be deployed to the southern border to assist Customs and Border Protection, the Pentagon announced Sunday. According to a statement released by the Defense Department, 3,750 troops will head to the border for 90 days to aid in placing razor wire along the border, as well as with mobile surveillance operations.
No one seems to mention what the National Guard is doing down there, now that the army has been sent down too. Or why Trump isn't hiring more people for the border patrol instead of playing with the military. Or why we suddenly need a bunch of military at the border. Or the cost of these military deployments...


https://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/428211-government-watchdog-ice-doesnt-fully-hold-contractors
Quote:
A new report published Tuesday by a government watchdog said that Immigrations and Customs Enforcement does not sufficiently hold its private contractors responsible for wrongdoing.

The Department of Homeland Security’s inspector general found that between October 1, 2015, and June 30, 2018, ICE only imposed financial penalties on contractors twice, despite “thousands of deficiencies and instances of serious harm to detainees.” The report found 14,003 instances where ICE standards were not met in that period of time.


https://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/428206-immigrant-attorneys-and-reporters-were-reportedly-denied-entry
Quote:
Two immigration attorneys and two reporters told the Los Angeles Times they were not allowed to enter Mexico. All four told the newspaper that they were held by Mexican immigration authorities and sent back to the U.S., saying that a foreign government flagged their passports.
They think it's retaliation. The Trump administration denies it.


Whether the Trump administration will allow lawyers to enter Mexico is important, since they have started returning asylum seekers to Mexico to wait until their case is approved or rejected. :
https://www.nbcnews.com/news/latino/trump-administration-begins-returning-asylum-seekers-mexico-n964256
Quote:
The Trump administration began Tuesday its policy of sending migrants seeking asylum back to Mexico...
According to the article, Mexico says it's only taking people between the ages of 18 and 60 and only at the Tijuana border crossing.

An earlier article from the New York Times :
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/20/us/politics/mexico-trump-asylum-seekers-migrants.html
Quote:
The Trump administration, mired in a battle with Congress over funding of a border wall, announced on Thursday that the United States would begin requiring people seeking asylum at the southwest border to wait in Mexico for a court ruling on their cases.

A senior Department of Homeland Security official said that Thursday’s announcement surprised many people in the agency’s leadership, as well as the rank-and-file employees who would be charged with carrying out the policy.

...Critics of the policy predicted that it would soon be challenged in court

...Mexican officials said they were told of the American decision on Thursday morning in letters from the Department of Homeland Security and the United States chargé d’affaires in Mexico, John S. Creamer. The Mexican Foreign Ministry has essentially agreed to accept the decision by the United States. A spokesman for the ministry, Roberto Velasco, said the move did not represent an agreement between the two countries, but rather “a unilateral move by the United States that we have to respond to.”

...Given the public enmity between Mr. Trump and Mexican leaders, the decision to turn Mexico into a waiting room for migrants seeking entry to the United States is bound to stir anger in Mexico.




Edit:

Trump has nominated Zinke v.2.0 to permanently head the Dept of the Interior. Not a surprise.
https://thehill.com/policy/energy-environment/428395-trump-picks-ex-oil-lobbyist-david-bernhard-for-interior-secretary
Quote:
President Trump is picking David Bernhardt, a former energy lobbyist, to be the Interior Department’s next secretary.

...He became the agency’s deputy secretary in 2017 and has led the department on an interim basis since former Secretary Ryan Zinke resigned amid ethics scandals in January.

...As deputy secretary, Bernhardt, a Colorado native, worked hand in hand with Zinke on his oil and gas leasing agenda and took the lead on many others, including the administration's push to drill in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and the rollback of a number of Endangered Species Act regulations.

... Under ethics standards, he has recused himself from matters involving so many former [oil industry] clients that he carries a card with him listing the recusals.

...One of the most recent controversies surrounding Bernhardt involved the recent partial government shutdown, which furloughed most of Interior’s workforce. He drew criticism after announcing the National Park Service would pull from their entrance fee revenue coffers in order to pay for the clean-up and maintenance of parks.... Environmentalists, park rangers and politicians alike questioned the legality of the move...The NPS is currently conducting a legal review of that decision.... Bernhardt also was criticized for bringing certain furloughed workers back to work on oil and natural gas drilling permits, offshore drilling and drilling in the Alaska refuge.



This is not the first time insiders have said that Trump spends little of his time doing the things a president should be doing, but what's different here is that Axios has published his actual schedules:
https://www.axios.com/donald-trump-private-schedules-leak-executive-time-34e67fbb-3af6-48df-aefb-52e02c334255.html
Quote:
A White House source has leaked nearly every day of President Trump's private schedule for the past three months.

...The schedules, which cover nearly every working day since the midterms, show that Trump has spent around 60% of his scheduled time over the past 3 months in unstructured "Executive Time."

... Each day's schedule places Trump in "Location: Oval Office" from 8 to 11 a.m. But Trump, who often wakes before 6 a.m., is never in the Oval during those hours, according to six sources with direct knowledge. Instead, he spends his mornings in the residence, watching TV, reading the papers, and responding to what he sees and reads by phoning aides, members of Congress, friends, administration officials and informal advisers....Some days, Executive Time totally predominates. ...
And when he does meet with experts, apparently they have to spoon-feed him tiny bits of information, preferably as pretty pictures and charts, trying to get something into that ignorant head. Time had an article about this a day or two ago, but they're not the first to say it.

_________________
It is this we learn after so many failures,
The building of castles in sand, of queens in snow,
That we cannot make any corner in life or in life's beauty,
That no river is a river which does not flow.

- Louis MacNeice, Autumn Journal


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 Post subject: Re: You've been Trumped!
PostPosted: Tue 05 Feb , 2019 2:00 pm 

Joined: Fri 10 Aug , 2012 4:42 pm
Posts: 1577
More evidence that the Trump administration is hostile and defiant with the House, now that it no longer has a Republican majority that will protect Trump on everything.
https://thehill.com/policy/finance/428479-treasury-preparing-plans-to-drag-trump-tax-return-requests-into-legal-limbo
Quote:
Officials at the White House and Treasury Department are reportedly working to stymie any requests from Democratic lawmakers for President Trump's tax returns even before they occur.

Four Trump administration sources told Politico that Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin plans to hinge his arguments against providing the president's past tax returns to Democrats based on the assertion that Democrats would be unable to prevent the leak of Trump's returns — a felony — from occurring.

Publicly, the administration plans to cast requests for Trump's returns as a blatant partisan attack against the president in the hopes of turning public opinion against the newly-elected House Democratic majority.

...One former chief of staff on the House Joint Committee on Taxation told the news outlet that such a refusal from Mnuchin to House Democrats would throw House committees into "uncharted territory." “What happens if the Treasury secretary just doesn’t answer or sends back a note saying we refuse to do what you are saying?” said George Yin, currently a professor of law and taxation at the University of Virginia. “To my knowledge, that has never happened."

Yin hasn't been paying attention. Trump official after Trump official has been refusing to testify before the House. We're already in uncharted territory.

_________________
It is this we learn after so many failures,
The building of castles in sand, of queens in snow,
That we cannot make any corner in life or in life's beauty,
That no river is a river which does not flow.

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 Post subject: Re: You've been Trumped!
PostPosted: Wed 06 Feb , 2019 3:45 pm 

Joined: Fri 10 Aug , 2012 4:42 pm
Posts: 1577
Now Trump is trying to nominate people to head international institutions who are fundamentally opposed to that institution. Seriously. And he expects the rest of the world to just roll over and do whatever he likes?
https://thehill.com/policy/finance/428618-trump-pick-sets-up-fight-over-world-bank
Quote:
President Trump’s pick to lead the World Bank could spark an unprecedented battle over the future of the multinational lender.

Trump is set to nominate Treasury Under Secretary David Malpass — a fierce critic of the World Bank — to serve as its next president, spurring concern within the development finance world.

...The United States holds the largest stake in the World Bank, and the American president has chosen each of its previous leaders. But the nomination of Malpass could face resistance from within the bank, risking a blow up between Trump and another major international institution.



https://thehill.com/homenews/media/428608-cbp-apologizes-after-buzzfeed-reporter-questioned-about-trump-coverage
Quote:
Customs and Border Protection (CBP) apologized Tuesday after an immigration agent questioned a reporter from BuzzFeed about the outlet's coverage of President Trump.

..."The officer’s comments do not reflect CBP’s commitment to integrity and professionalism of its workforce. In response to this incident, CBP immediately reviewed the event and has initiated the appropriate personnel inquiry and action."

Mack was questioned by an officer when he landed at JFK Airport on Sunday about BuzzFeed's story that Trump had instructed his former lawyer Michael Cohen to lie to Congress. .."The immigration agent at JFK just saw that i work for buzzfeed and just grilled me for 10 minutes about the cohen story which was fun given he gets to decide whether to let me back into the country," Mack wrote on Twitter at the time.







In case anyone cares what Trump's speechwriter said, the transcript of Trump's State of the Union address:
https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2019/02/trumps-second-state-union-full-text/582025/

Embarrassingly, the GOP seems to have acted like rowdy fans at a ball game:
https://thehill.com/homenews/house/428648-chants-of-usa-after-trump-says-america-will-never-be-a-socialist-country
Quote:
President Trump pledged during his State of the Union address Tuesday that "America will never be a socialist country," sparking chants of "USA" from GOP lawmakers.

Trump, transitioning from talking about the escalating political crisis in Venezuela, said that he was "alarmed by new calls to adopt socialism in our country." "We are born free, and we will stay free. Tonight, we renew our resolve that America will never be a socialist country," Trump said.

Pretty-sounding utter crap. From the president who just sent a bunch of taxpayer money to farmers suffering from his tariffs. That isn't socialist? Not to mention Medicare for seniors, unemployment insurance, etc.
Meh. I suppose this was a message to Americans from the health insurance lobby. They're feeling threatened by talk of a public health care system and have put their advertising into high gear to protect their industry. Needless to say, they also have tons of lobbying money to influence Congress.


Never thought I'd agree with Ann Coulter - even if it's just in shared cynicism:
https://thehill.com/homenews/media/428660-ann-coulter-blasts-trump-speech-lamest-sappiest-state-of-the-union-ever
Quote:
So Trump is AGAINST childhood cancer, AIDS and the Holocaust,” Coulter tweeted. “Glad I tuned in to hear that.”


And Trump is going to find a way to eradicate AIDS in 10 years?. Baloney. How long did it take to eradicate smallpox? Or almost eradicate polio? (and there are still a few pockets that are proving very hard to eliminate). And at least those viruses only infect you for a short while. HIV persists even when it's being controlled by drugs and can bounce right back if those drugs are stopped.

Not to mention that there are hotspots in Africa where HIV infection rates are through the roof. And guess what the Trump administration has done? Reduced foreign aid. And decided that if you provide any information about abortions, you can't get US aid at all. Which means that they've cut off funding from many of the organizations trying to combat AIDS worldwide. So yeah, let's eradicate HIV by ensuring that it spreads more easily.

So, what is Trump going to do? Throw more money at research that already gets at least its fair share of disease-related funding, if not more?



Apparently, he also jumped on the anti-abortion bandwagon big time last night.
https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2019/02/trump-decries-late-term-abortions-state-union-address/582127/
Quote:
Trump Sees an Opening With Voters on Late-Term Abortion

The president lamented bills that would allow “a baby to be ripped from the mother’s womb moments from birth” in his State of the Union address.


The GOP's anti-abortion wing has been in high gear lately, spreading misinformation about New York's new law that permits late term abortions if the fetus is nonviable or the health/life of the mother is in danger. https://www.politifact.com/facebook-fact-checks/statements/2019/feb/01/viral-image/no-new-york-abortion-law-doesnt-let-mothers-abort-/Here's%20the%20truth%20about%20that%20law.
Quote:
No, New York abortion law doesn't let mothers abort babies a minute before they would be born
Quote:
Online, abortion opponents have crafted many Facebook messages about the New York law. One post from Jan. 23 attacked it by suggesting it allowed murdering babies a minute before they would otherwise be born.

...Jen Villavicencio, an ob-gyn in the Midwest who provides abortions, said in a statement to PolitiFact that the post is "inaccurate."

"Abortions are not performed at 40 weeks on healthy, viable pregnancies," she said. "Overwhelmingly, abortions that occur at this point in pregnancy are pregnancies where lethal fetal anomalies have been diagnosed."

In some cases, she said, complications aren’t detected or haven’t developed until the third trimester. Doctors may ask patients if they want to continue the pregnancy and deliver a "nonviable fetus," she said, or have an abortion. There are situations where abortion is necessary to save the mother’s life, Villavicencio said. "However, if a mother’s life is at risk and she is pregnant with a viable fetus, most often delivery is pursued, not abortion. The care becomes about saving both the life of the mother and the fetus."

Third-trimester abortions account for "far less than 1 percent of abortions," she said. Data back that up.


Incidentally, this issue also seems to be why a right wing group went after Virginia governor Northam. They've really got some people worked up on social media, calling him "baby killer."
https://www.vox.com/2019/2/1/18205428/virginia-abortion-bill-kathy-tran-ralph-northam
Quote:
A bill to remove abortion restrictions in Virginia was always going to be controversial. But a contentious committee hearing, and some confusing comments by Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, have turned debate over the bill into a nationwide furor.

Virginia House Bill 2491 would roll back a number of requirements, including a 24-hour waiting period and a mandate that second-trimester abortions take place in a hospital. Always something of a long shot in the Republican-controlled state legislature, the bill may now be doomed by the national firestorm surrounding it....

Gov. Northam, a Democrat, was asked about the bill in a radio interview on Wednesday, and his response only added to the controversy. Appearing to discuss what would happen if a child was born after a failed attempt at abortion, he said, “the infant would be resuscitated if that’s what the mother and the family desired, and then a discussion would ensue between the physicians and the mother.”

Soon afterward a group called Big League Politics (highly conservative and pro-Trump) publicized an old yearbook photo of him and a friend in really tasteless party costumes from the 1980s (one person in blackface and the other in a KKK costume having a beer together. I suppose they thought the juxtaposition was funny but it's pretty tactless and clueless.) This photo was supposedly unearthed by a classmate outraged by Northam's remarks on the abortion bill. The same right wing group almost immediately also re-publicized old accusations of unwanted sex against the lieutenant governor, Fairfax, by a political science professor. I'm not sure who would be next in line if both Democrats had to step down but I would guess it's probably a Republican and someone saw an opportunity.
[Edit: Interestingly enough, the third person in line for governor seems to be the attorney general, who just came out and said that he had darkened his face for a party when he was young - he and some friends apparently dressed up as a famous rap (?) group and performed one of their songs. Many news sites are reporting this just as "he admitted to wearing blackface." It seems possible that either he assumed or heard that he was next and decided to admit it first. I heard that the next would-be governor after that is a Republican, though I'm not sure if that's accurate. ]


For what it's worth, I think that Northam, a physician, is absolutely right. I see no reason to force a family to prolong their agony and put a dying infant through life-prolonging procedures with little to no hope of success. Much like the people who refuse to give up when their loved one is almost certainly beyond help and prolong the misery for everyone, including the patient, in hopes of a miracle.

His mistake seems to have been in assuming that listeners knew why that fetus was aborted in the first place, i.e., it's not expected to survive for long in any case, instead of explaining that as well.

Nor do I think it right that a woman should be forced to carry a nonviable fetus inside her for weeks, knowing that the baby will suffer and die when it's born. If it makes someone feel better not to abort their own fetus in that situation, that's fine. But to force someone else to go through that? No. Let them end the agony and start the healing, if that's what they want.



And anyone who wonders why even more Americans aren't completely outraged at Trump should note this:
https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/428617-12-percent-in-new-poll-say-they-have-never-heard-of-pence
Quote:
Roughly 12 percent of Americans say they never heard of Vice President Mike Pence, according to a new poll.

The survey from CNN conducted by SSRS asked respondents if they had a favorable or unfavorable opinion of Pence, among other prominent politicians. “Never heard of” was one selection for respondents to answer with, which 12 percent chose...Twenty-one percent of non-white respondents said they had never heard of him.
Many people pay very little attention to what's going on in the world around them.


Edited to add and correct some details in the very odd situation in Virginia. Which has nothing to do with Trump but just seems queer. Some of it is based on real* - if very old - events, but the orchestration of the outrage seems highly manipulated to me.

*Except for Fairfax, where there's no evidence for Tyson's claims of forced oral sex during an otherwise consensual sexual encounter. It's a he said/she said situation at the moment and likely to stay that way. The Washington Post investigated during the midterms last year when she went to them with her claims and didn't run the story because they couldn't corroborate it.

btw, another odd twist is that Tyson has a publicized interest in "political discourse surrounding sexual assault, corresponding policies, and the unique identities of sexual assault survivors." https://casbs.stanford.edu/people/vanessa-tyson (I wouldn't necessarily assume this interest has anything to do with Fairfax or anyone else she met as an adult. I saw somewhere else that she has talked about her father sexually abusing her as a child. )

_________________
It is this we learn after so many failures,
The building of castles in sand, of queens in snow,
That we cannot make any corner in life or in life's beauty,
That no river is a river which does not flow.

- Louis MacNeice, Autumn Journal


Last edited by aninkling on Thu 07 Feb , 2019 4:37 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: You've been Trumped!
PostPosted: Thu 07 Feb , 2019 2:40 am 

Joined: Fri 10 Aug , 2012 4:42 pm
Posts: 1577
https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/feb/06/arizona-razor-wire-border-wall-nogales
Quote:
Officials in a small Arizona border city are decrying the installation of reels of dangerous razor wire that now cover the entirety of the tall border wall that runs through downtown.

The city council in Nogales, which sits on the border, is set to consider a proclamation on Wednesday night condemning the use of concertina wire. It follows reports that US military troops installed more horizontal layers of the wire along the downtown border fence over the weekend.

...US soldiers have installed concertina wire at or near several official crossings, or ports of entry. In late November, US Customs and Border Protection said the military had sent 36 miles of concertina wire for use in California, Arizona and Texas.

...Mayor Arturo Garino told the Nogales International paper on Monday: “That wire is lethal, and I really don’t know what they’re thinking by putting it all the way down to the ground.”
This runs through their downtown, where there might be toddlers, dogs, cats, etc. ?! What the hell was the military thinking?

It's bad enough putting razor wire where it's going to maim ranchers' cattle and other animals. This country has gone insane under Trump.






Edit: In all fairness, this would be a welcome development in Trump's AIDS policy. But Trump claiming in his speech that we're going to eradicate AIDS in 10 years is still completely ignorant and misleading.
https://thehill.com/policy/healthcare/428877-trumps-aids-turnaround-greeted-with-skepticism-by-some-advocates
Quote:
Administration officials on Wednesday released a multi-year, multi-agency approach that would direct “substantial” money to parts of the country most impacted by HIV, including counties in California, Florida and Georgia.

The administration will request funding in its budget to go toward diagnosing and treating HIV, while protecting those at highest risk‚ including the LGBT community and African Americans. The plan would expand access to antiretrovirals, medicines that treat HIV and PrEP, a drug to prevent HIV for those most at risk.

_________________
It is this we learn after so many failures,
The building of castles in sand, of queens in snow,
That we cannot make any corner in life or in life's beauty,
That no river is a river which does not flow.

- Louis MacNeice, Autumn Journal


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 Post subject: Re: You've been Trumped!
PostPosted: Fri 08 Feb , 2019 2:21 pm 

Joined: Fri 10 Aug , 2012 4:42 pm
Posts: 1577
https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2019/03/how-kleptocracy-came-to-america/580471/
Quote:
Russian-Style Kleptocracy Is Infiltrating America

When the U.S.S.R. collapsed, Washington bet on the global spread of democratic capitalist values—and lost.

It's a very long and involved read, even for The Atlantic. But it helps explain some of the things happening in the Mueller investigation. And also why people are so interested in the shell companies that have been buying Trump's real estate, especially since he became president.
Quote:
. For all the new fastidiousness of the financial system, foreigners could still buy penthouse apartments or mansions anonymously and with ease, by hiding behind shell companies set up in states such as Delaware and Nevada. Those states, along with a few others, had turned the registration of shell companies into a hugely lucrative racket—and it was stunningly simple to arrange such a Potemkin front on behalf of a dictator, a drug dealer, or an oligarch.

...Over time, the gap between the noble intentions of the patriot Act and the dirty reality of the property market became too wide to ignore. In 2016, Barack Obama’s administration tested a program to bring the real-estate industry in line with the banks, compelling brokers to report foreign buyers, too. The ongoing program, piloted in Miami and Manhattan, could have become the scaffolding for a truly robust enforcement regime. But then the American presidency turned over, and a landlord came to power. Obama’s successor liked selling condos to anonymous foreign buyers—and may have grown dependent on their cash.
Quote:
This decay has been on full display in Robert Mueller’s investigation. We have seen how the firm Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, a sturdy pillar of the legal profession, placed itself in the service of kleptocracy. One partner at the firm from 2010 to 2018, Gregory Craig, had served as Barack Obama’s White House counsel, the man responsible for safeguarding the integrity of the presidency. At Skadden, he oversaw the creation of a report that was used to justify Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych’s arrest of his primary political opponent on what were widely viewed as highly dubious grounds. (The firm, according to testimony in Mueller’s investigation, said privately that evidence to support the arrest was “virtually nonexistent.”) Another lawyer who worked for Skadden has pleaded guilty to lying to prosecutors during the Mueller team’s probe of the firm’s Ukrainian work.

The Ukrainians hired Skadden through a middleman, the now-jailed political consultant Paul Manafort. Once upon a time, it might have been possible to think of Manafort as a grubby outlier in Washington—the lobbyist with the lowest standards, willing to take on the most egregious clients. But Mueller has exposed just how tightly tethered Manafort’s work on behalf of Ukrainian kleptocrats was to Washington’s permanent elite.



This is even more damning for Trump's support of the Saudis:
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/feb/07/jamal-khashoggi-saudi-arabia-turkey-united-nations
Quote:
Saudi Arabia’s crown prince told a senior aide he would go after Jamal Khashoggi “with a bullet” a year before the dissident journalist was killed inside the kingdom’s Istanbul consulate, according to a US media report. US intelligence understood that Mohammed bin Salman, the country’s 33-year-old de facto ruler, was ready to kill the journalist, although he may not have literally meant he planned to shoot him, according to the New York Times ($).

...US intelligence chiefs have told Congress that Prince Mohammed almost certainly ordered the killing or was aware of it, even though Donald Trump and his secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, have insisted the evidence is incomplete and investigations would continue. Pompeo met Saudi foreign minister of state for foreign affairs, Adel al-Jubeir, in Washington on Thursday.






Some weirdness involving David Pecker, the owner of the National Enquirer, and Jeff Bezos and a blackmail attempt. Because Pecker has ties to Trump and was involved in killing stories that would have reflected badly on Trump's presidential campaign, some are speculating that this might reach further:
https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/07/technology/jeff-bezos-national-enquirer-blackmail.html
Quote:
The richest man on earth accused the nation’s leading supermarket tabloid publisher of “extortion and blackmail” on Thursday, laying out a theory that brought together international intrigue, White House politics, nude photos and amorous text messages.

Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon and the owner of The Washington Post, made his accusations against American Media Inc., the company behind The National Enquirer, in a lengthy post on the online platform Medium. Last month, The Enquirer published an exposé of Mr. Bezos’ extramarital affair with Lauren Sanchez, a former host of the Fox show “So You Think You Can Dance.”

...Tech executives are not the usual subjects of Enquirer covers, and the story set off speculation in Washington and New York media circles that the tabloid’s aggressive coverage of Mr. Bezos was tied to the closeness of Mr. Pecker, The Enquirer’s chief, and the White House. ...


https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2019/02/blog-post-bezos-sanchez-medium/582316/
Quote:
On Thursday evening, Jeff Bezos, the chief executive of Amazon and the owner of The Washington Post, published a post on the website Medium that—

—well, it’s hard to describe what it did, really. Bezos accused the owner of the National Enquirer of “extortion and blackmail,” alleging that the supermarket tabloid threatened to publish revealing photos of Bezos if he did not call off an investigation into its practices. According to an email that Bezos reproduces in full,...

That is the content of the post, at least. But Bezos’s post did something that has become common in this cultural-political moment. His blog post is, well, a blog post. But it is also so salacious, so bizarrely stimulating, that it overwhelms the thinking brain and presents instead as pure spectacle. In a little more than 2,000 words, Bezos seemed to rip every headline out of the newspaper and bind them in an eternal neon braid: the mighty power of billionaires, the immiseration of American journalism, the thin smudge of porniness that smartphones have layered onto reality—all of that, and President Donald Trump (who is a close friend of David Pecker, AMI’s chief executive), and the corruption and journalist-murdering malice of the Saudi government, which Bezos alleges is wrapped up in his story “for reasons still to be better understood.” Bezos once founded the Everything Store; now he has given us the Everything Story.


https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2019/02/jeff-bezos-accuses-national-enquirer-extortion/582319/
Quote:
Soon after the Enquirer’s story was published, President Donald Trump tweeted gleefully that Bezos (whom he called Bozo) was “being taken down by a competitor whose reporting, I understand, is far more accurate than the reporting in his lobbyist newspaper, the Amazon Washington Post.” That tweet spurred more speculation about the political relationship between Trump and the Enquirer.

... In the emails... AMI appears to be extremely concerned about Bezos’s comments about the Enquirer’s reasons for publishing the exposé. “American Media emphatically rejects any assertion that its reporting was instigated, dictated or influenced in any manner by external forces, political or otherwise,” one email from Fine reads. “We hereby demand that you cease and desist such defamatory conduct immediately. Any further dissemination of these false, vicious, speculative and unsubstantiated statements is done at your client’s peril.”

...“They are very worried about their reputation,” Levinson said, “so in an effort to be respected they’re engaging in the most disrespectful kind of behavior. That is not the way any real news publication functions—it’s thuggery.”

...Of course, Bezos also gains something by exposing this conversation with the Enquirer, even if he is highlighting the existence of embarrassing and explicit photos. ...His Medium post portrays him as a victim, and as someone who wants to stand up for legitimate news organizations by supporting The Washington Post and by shedding light on the Enquirer’s shady practices.

Without further evidence of Trump's involvement, I'm not reading anything into his tweet, other than his usual open enjoyment of anything that would embarrass his political opponents. But his connections with Pecker are another story. As are questions about who else AMI/ Pecker might have blackmailed.

As an aside, it amazes me that some of what The National Enquirer publishes is apparently true. I've always looked on it as no more than a "aliens stole my husband!" bored-in-the-checkout-line amusement.

_________________
It is this we learn after so many failures,
The building of castles in sand, of queens in snow,
That we cannot make any corner in life or in life's beauty,
That no river is a river which does not flow.

- Louis MacNeice, Autumn Journal


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