Archive for category National Politics

Is This Really Happening?

Via Raw Story:

Scotland’s The Sunday Herald struck a chord this week with a hilarious and chilling preview of Donald Trump’s presidential inauguration.

In its Sunday TV guide section, the paper characterizes Trump’s swearing in as a return of The Twilight Zone…

8 Comments

Evil Russkie Conspiracy Theory Report: High Confidence But No New Evidence

Vladimir Putin

Sam Biddle, writing on The Intercept:

After President Obama and Donald Trump were briefed on a classified report explaining the United States Intelligence Community’s belief that Russia hacked the Democratic Party, the public has received its own, declassified version. Unfortunately for us, it appears virtually anything new and interesting was removed in the redaction process, leaving us without the conclusive, technical evidence we were hoping for — and that the American people are owed….

The immensely confident report, based on the combined findings of the NSA, CIA, and FBI, includes virtually no new details about why the nation’s intelligence agencies attributed the attacks to the Russian government (and in some cases, directly to Vladimir Putin)…

Last night, Rachel Maddow was waving around this redacted nothingburger and shouting as if it were proof positive of the Evil Russkie Conspiracy Theory. But there is no supporting evidence in it unless you count already-debunked stuff about “Guccifer 2.0.” Repeating a baseless allegation in an official report does not convince anybody.

Here is what we know. A DNC staffer delivered the DNC e-mails on a disk to Craig Murray, a former British ambassador who now works for WikiLeaks. John Podesta’s e-mails became public after he fell for a simple phishing scam.

Unlike the U.S. intelligence agencies, WikiLeaks has never been found to have disseminated false information to the public. Certainly every DNC and Hillary campaign e-mail was genuine, because the authors of the e-mails never disavowed what they wrote.

Last Thursday, I watched James Clapper’s testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee. Remember that Clapper has lied to Congress previously, which makes his credibility very low indeed. At the hearing, Clapper was challenged on the issue of nonexistent Iraq WMDs. He acknowledged that he was partly responsible for the lies that the Bush administration used to launch the illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq, but claimed that mistakes were made and lessons were learned – things are different now!

So far I believe WikiLeaks over James Clapper. No doubt there will be further investigations, but at this point it looks like nobody can prove anything.

UPDATE:
Josh Marshall: Mind-Boggling

[J]ust two weeks before a new President is sworn into office, the country’s intelligence agencies are publicly releasing a report claiming that the United States’ great 20th century rival, Russia, conspired to assist in that new President’s election. Step back and just absorb that. That is simply mind-boggling.

29 Comments

President Obama Proclaims Bears Ears National Monument

Arch Canyon
Arch Canyon, Bears Ears NM / Manti-La Sal NF

Today President Obama proclaimed a 1.35 million acre Bears Ears National Monument, which is just two-thirds the area proposed by the Bears Ears Coalition. Instead of sticking the right-wing with what they deserve, Obama fell short, in his usual “well, it’s better than nothing” style. The smaller-than-expected boundary is close to what Rep. Rob Bishop proposed in his Public Lands Initiative bill.

Of course the Tea-GOP is exploding with rage anyway despite Obama’s futile attempt to make them feel listened to. Via the Salt Lake Tribune:

Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch on Wednesday issued a scathing indictment calling Obama’s action an “attack on an entire way of life” and an “astonishing and egregious abuse of executive power” that far exceeds the intent of the Antiquities Act.

“In the next Congress under President [Donald] Trump, I will do everything in my power to reverse this travesty,” Hatch said.

…Gov. Gary Herbert said he was “deeply disturbed” by the designation, by which he said the president “misused his authority” and “violated assurances made by his Interior Secretary [Sally Jewell] to take into account local concerns.”

Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes said he is working with Herbert, the state’s congressional delegation and lawmakers on a lawsuit, “and we are confident in our chances of success.”

Comment in an e-mail from USA-ALL (right-wing anti-wilderness group):

We called this early in 2016. This is one we hate to be right about. There is much we could say about this…like how it will undermine the possibility of collaborative planning and compromises over disputed areas, like how shady and dishonest groups like SUWA are, or how naive and foolish native american tribes are for buying into the lies of enviros, and how the Obama administration cares little about REAL local input and doing the right thing for the land and the people…we could go on.

USA-ALL will make it our mission, in 2017, to convince the Trump administration to undo in entirety or part this latest assault.

UPDATE:
As much as I dislike SUWA, they have the right idea here:
TELL THE UTAH DELEGATION: HANDS OFF BEARS EARS!

More info:
Statement by the President on the Designation of Bears Ears National Monument…
Department of the Interior press release
Beauty of Bears Ears on Vimeo
BLM website: Bears Ears National Monument
Forest Service website: Bears Ears National Monument
Barack Obama Names Two New National Monuments Important To Native Americans Before His Term Ends
Chaffetz Outraged by Obama Decision to Impose Unwanted Midnight Monument in Utah (Note: This is on Rep. Chaffetz’ website, and you can leave a comment!)
Utah Attorney General Vows To Sue Obama Over New National Monument

7 Comments

‘To them, we were a leftist nuisance, nothing else’

The Daily Beast explains how Hillary lost the swing states. They ignored the advice they received from veteran Bernie Sanders campaign staffers.

“We were saying we are offering our help—nobody wanted [President] Donald Trump,” [Bernie surrogate Nomiki] Konst continued, noting that the “Bernie world” side was offering Clinton’s team their plans—strategy memos, lists of hardened state organizers, timelines, data, the works—to win over certain voters in areas she ultimately lost but where Sanders had won during the primary.

“We were painting them a dire picture, and I couldn’t help but think they literally looked like they had no idea what was going on here,” she continued. “I remember their faces, it was like they had never fucking heard this stuff before. It’s what we had been screaming for the past 9 months… It’s like [they] forgot the basics of Politics 101.”

As the days and weeks flew by, the Bernie delegation kept underscoring TPP, jobs, union allies, the youth vote, and the environment, and pitched multiple rallies with Sanders in states such as Pennsylvania and Michigan (a state where Sanders unexpectedly beat Clinton in the Democratic primary, and a state that Clinton actively neglected during the general).

“The math that they lost on, is the math we won on,” Konst said. “So we wrote out a plan, and sent it to them, telling them to stop thinking you’re going to get this ‘Obama coalition,’ it’s not going to happen.”

Assurances were then made with various Clinton senior staffers that they would follow through with subsequent meetings and phone calls to address these gaps and warnings. Instead, meetings were canceled and “rescheduled” into oblivion.

“We not only screamed about this, we wrote memos, we begged,” Jane Kleeb, Nebraska Democratic Party chair and another Sanders booster who was at the DNC meeting, said. “I spent a good chunk of time writing memos about how [Bernie’s surrogates] could be utilized on the campaign trail, about ‘issue voters,’ about the environment, Black Lives Matter, Dakota Access Pipeline, rogue cops, you name it… I was [also] talking specifically about rural communities, and how [Hillary] completely ignored and abandoned anything that we cared about.”

…“To them, we were a leftist nuisance, nothing else,” a former senior Sanders campaign aide said.

1 Comment

Glenn Greenwald: ‘Fake News is being aggressively spread by the very people most loudly complaining about it’

MSNBC fake news
Craig Melvin wags his finger at purveyors of fake news, as if MSNBC wasn’t guilty too

Glenn Greenwald lands a solid punch on his website The Intercept.

“Fake News is being aggressively spread by the very people most loudly complaining about it.”

After WikiLeaks published the Podesta e-mails the first week of October, regular viewers of MSNBC heard a constant refrain that the damaging revelations (including excerpts of paid Wall Street speeches that Hillary Clinton refused to make public) were somehow fabricated. When the e-mails were released, MSNBC analyst and intelligence expert Malcolm Nance instantly declared that they were “riddled with obvious forgeries.” This claim was repeated on air ad nauseam.

I noticed at the time that neither John Podesta nor any other author of the released e-mails denied that the information was genuine. To this day, they have neither confirmed nor refuted the authenticity of the e-mails despite being asked. It reminded me of the classic Sherlock Holmes story where the most important clue was the dog that didn’t bark. All that Hillary had to do to prove the contention that the e-mail documents were doctored would have been to release the full speech transcripts, that remain shrouded in secrecy.

Greenwald has the rest of the story:

That the emails in the Wikileaks archive were doctored or faked – and thus should be disregarded – was classic Fake News, spread not by Macedonian teenagers or Kremlin operatives but by established news outlets such as MSNBC, the Atlantic and Newsweek. And, by design, this Fake News spread like wildfire all over the internet, hungrily clicked and shared by tens of thousands of people eager to believe it was true. As a result of this deliberate disinformation campaign, anyone reporting on the contents of the emails was instantly met with claims that the documents in the archive had been proven fake.

It turns out that Malcolm Nance got the idea that the e-mails were “riddled with obvious forgeries” not from his sources in U.S. intelligence or even from the Hillary campaign, but from a tweet(!) sent by fake news author Marco Chacon.

In his Daily Beast article, published on November 21, Chacon describes how he manufactured the forged Goldman Sachs speech transcript. He says he did it prior to learning that the WikiLeaks releases of Podesta emails contained actual Clinton speech excerpts to Wall Street banks. But once he realized WikiLeaks had published actual Clinton transcripts, Chacon began trying to lure people he disliked – Clinton critics – into believing that his forged speeches were real, so that he could prove they were gullible and dumb.

Sadly for Chacon, however, the people who ended up getting fooled by his Fake News items were the nation’s most prominent Clinton supporters, including supposed experts and journalists from MSNBC who used his obvious fakes to try to convince the world that the WikiLeaks archive had been compromised and thus should be ignored.

Has anyone at MSNBC issued a correction/apology for spreading fake news? No. Have they at least stopped doing it? Well, in between frequent segments deploring the prevalence of fake news all over the place, MSNBC is telling us all day every day that Russia intervened in the 2016 election to help Donald Trump win the presidency. This story is supposedly based on anonymous sources at the CIA. Point of information: the CIA is an organization made up of professional liars. Anybody who says “the CIA has released a report” is lying. None of the other 16 U.S. intelligence agencies have weighed in, as far as we know.

Glenn Greenwald reports: Anonymous Leaks to the WashPost About the CIA’s Russia Beliefs Are No Substitute for Evidence.

Yes, I predicted the Evil Russkie theory would go away after the election because along with everybody except Michael Moore I believed Hillary would win. But I also said that if Hillary lost that this talking point would be used an an excuse. Remember that a key part of Hillary’s agenda was to re-start the Cold War for the neocons and the defense contractors.

UPDATE:
Malcolm Nance is now on MSNBC peddling his latest book…

The Plot to Hack America: How Putin’s Cyberspies and WikiLeaks Tried to Steal the 2016 Election

This was published two months ago, when Malcolm thought Hillary would win. But what the hell, Russkie bashing is still a thing.

55 Comments

Say Goodbye to Medicare, Hello to ‘CouponCare’

Trump hat

During the presidential campaign that ended a little over two weeks ago, Donald Trump promised again and again to defend Medicare.

During the primaries Trump said, “Every Republican wants to do a big number on Social Security, they want to do it on Medicare, they want to do it on Medicaid. And we can’t do that. And it’s not fair to the people that have been paying in for years.”

His campaign even accused Hillary Clinton of “destroying Medicare.”

Now that Election Day is behind us, the unified Tea-GOP regime has revealed new plans to phase out Medicare next year. Speaker Paul Ryan wants to get rid of the defined-benefit program and replace it with defined-contribution coupons for for-profit private insurance that won’t cover health care costs for seniors.

Trump now says he wants to “modernize Medicare,” which of course is code for phasing out the program and replacing it with CouponCare.

Minority leader-elect Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) predicted the push for CouponCare will fail, but didn’t say how Dems can stop it.

1 Comment

Kendrick Eagle Message to Obama: ‘You said you would have our backs’

Via HuffPo:

In a plea for President Barack Obama to support protestors of the Dakota Access Pipeline, one member of the affected Sioux tribe reminded him about their personal encounters two years ago.

Kendrick Eagle, a member of the Sioux Nation at Standing Rock reservation in North Dakota, addresses Obama directly in a video from filmmakers Lori Woodley, Doug McLea and Jonathan Klett uploaded to YouTube this week. Eagle, one of the pipeline protestors from more than 200 other Native American tribes, first met the president when he visited the reservation in 2014.

…“It’s like you cared about me and you cared about my story … it was amazing to hear you say that in front of people, in front of all the tribal leaders in DC,” Eagle said.

“You said, ‘Let’s not make this just a dream,’ and right now it kind of feels like it was a dream, because you said you had our backs, and here we are,” Eagle continued. “Help us stop this pipeline.”

President Obama has apparently decided to ignore the $3.8 billion, 1,134-mile Dakota Access Pipeline (#NoDAPL) until he leaves office. A recent night-time assault by police using water cannons sent 26 people to the hospital and injured hundreds more. The pipeline requires Corps of Engineers approval to cross the Missouri River, which means the President could stop it anytime simply by issuing an executive order.

And Happy Thanksgiving.

More info:
How Washington’s bid to buy time on Standing Rock let anger brew on both sides in pipeline fight

9 Comments

Welcome to the dawn of a new unified Tea-GOP government

Trump

Actually Speaker of the House Paul Ryan said, “Welcome to the dawn of a new unified Republican government.” But ever since former Speaker John Boehner famously declared that there is no difference between the Tea Party and the Republican Party, I have always used the term Tea-GOP.

What is to be done? Well, trying to work with Trump isn’t an option.

Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-AZ):

Given everything we know about Donald Trump — and everything we don’t know — I was alarmed by the words of senior leaders from both the progressive and centrist wings of the party regarding their openness to working with Donald Trump on infrastructure.

Under ordinary circumstances, we would welcome a plan to invest in infrastructure — even if that plan came from the other side of the aisle. Especially if it came from the other side of the aisle!

But Donald Trump is not an ordinary politician. He is a con artist. He has refused to give the American people reason to believe that he is not in this to enrich himself. In fact, he has bucked tradition by maintaining his family’s interest in a private corporation.

And, unfortunately, his infrastructure plan is really a privatization scheme, rife with graft and corruption, whose real purpose is to enrich the Trump family and his supporters. He is not reaching out. He is reaching his hand into America’s pockets, just as he has his whole career. And we must not let him do it.

Democrats, progressives, and independents have to fight Trump using every means available.

Trump is tremendously unpopular, and he will rapidly lose support. Did Trump voters know that they were voting for more tax cuts for the rich and corporations and Medicare phase-out? No, they were lied to. Oh, and Trump’s first “job creation” idea is a federal government hiring freeze.

Anyone who yelled “Drain the swamp!” at a Trump rally cannot be encouraged to learn that Trump has already established the most corrupt administration in our lifetimes, and he still has two months to go to Inauguration Day.

In the quite reasonable assumption that Trump, imitating former President George W. Bush, racks up vacation days while outsourcing policy to Speaker Ryan and an assortment of extremists appointed to key posts like the National Security Advisor and Attorney General, he is on track to inherit Bush’s title as Worst President Ever.

According to some economic indicators, economic stagnation may have already tipped over into recession. If our new Tea-GOP government is able to enact tax cuts for the rich and benefit cuts for everybody else, this recession could be worse than the last one.

6 Comments

Worst Campaign Strategy Ever

Podesta leaves stage
Election night, 2:05 am: John Podesta walks offstage after telling Hillary supporters to go home

The Podesta e-mails confirm what many suspected. The Hillary campaign encouraged the media to promote Trump, thinking he would be easy to beat and that running against a Tea-GOP extremist would make the Dems’ own right-wing candidate seem more acceptable.

How the Hillary Clinton campaign deliberately “elevated” Donald Trump with its “pied piper” strategy

7 Comments

The Trump Trainwreck

Trump trainwreck on 538
FiveThirtyEight.com election night blog tells the story – what a trainwreck!

Going into Tuesday’s election, the FiveThirtyEight model actually gave Trump a higher probability of victory than the rest. HuffPo declared Hillary’s chance to win at 98.2 percent!

By midnight Utah time, 2 am in New York, Hillary’s celebratory fireworks show was cancelled and MSNBC reported Lady Gaga and Cher were in tears backstage at the Javits Center.

“Let me be very clear. In my view, Democrats will not retain the White House, will not regain the Senate, will not gain the House and will not be successful in dozens of governor’s races unless we run a campaign which generates excitement and momentum and which produces a huge voter turnout.

With all due respect, and I do not mean to insult anyone here, that will not happen with politics as usual. The same old, same old will not be successful.

The people of our country understand that — given the collapse of the American middle class and the grotesque level of income and wealth inequality we are experiencing — we do not need more establishment politics or establishment economics.

We need a political movement which is prepared to take on the billionaire class and create a government which represents all Americans, and not just corporate America and wealthy campaign donors.

In other words, we need a movement which takes on the economic and political establishment, not one which is part of it.”

— Bernie Sanders August 28, 2015

The Clinton Collapse graph

I get a strange feeling when I look around during my morning commute on FrontRunner and think that most of the people I am looking at, fellow Utahns, willingly chose Donald Trump to be their President. But let’s face facts, it wasn’t a Trump surge that decided this election, it was the Clinton Collapse. Yes, some states implemented voter suppression. But Hillary’s enthusiasm gap lost votes just about everywhere. The media got their predictions wrong because they were almost all in the bag for Hillary.

More info:
Poll: Bernie Sanders would have beaten Donald Trump 56% to 44%
61 percent of Mormon voters supported Trump
Robert Reich: What Donald Trump’s Election Really Means
The election was a repudiation of the American power structure.
DNC Staffer Screams At Donna Brazile For Helping Elect Donald Trump
Donna Brazile: I’m sorry only that I got caught cheating with debate questions
Interim DNC chair won’t apologize for helping Clinton, recycles discredited claims that Russians altered emails.

7 Comments

Glenn Greenwald Sums Up What Happened

Glenn Greenwald and The Intercept deserve credit for upholding progressive values throughout the election. Unlike many so-called “progressive” sites, they never went all-in for Hillary and maintained the highest journalistic standards of truth-telling.

Greenwald deserves the last word on the Dem debacle that unfolded last night…

Put simply, Democrats knowingly chose to nominate a deeply unpopular, extremely vulnerable, scandal-plagued candidate, who — for very good reason — was widely perceived to be a protector and beneficiary of all the worst components of status quo elite corruption. It’s astonishing that those of us who tried frantically to warn Democrats that nominating Hillary Clinton was a huge and scary gamble — that all empirical evidence showed that she could lose to anyone and Bernie Sanders would be a much stronger candidate, especially in this climate — are now the ones being blamed: by the very same people who insisted on ignoring all that data and nominating her anyway.

The whole piece is worth reading: Democrats, Trump, and the Ongoing, Dangerous Refusal to Learn the Lesson of Brexit

3 Comments

Can’t Make This Stuff Up

Jason Chaffetz business card

Thing 1: Chairman Chaffetz’ Statement on Hillary Clinton’s Use of Personal E-mail at The State Department

“Violations of the Federal Records Act within federal agencies is something we take very seriously. …The House Oversight Committee will work with Mr. Gowdy and the Select Committee on Benghazi to further explore Hillary Clinton’s use of personal emails while at the State Department.”

Thing 2: Rep. Jason Chaffetz’s Business Card Lists His Gmail Address

A business card obtained by ABC News shows that Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, lists his Gmail address on his official House card.

Rep. Chaffetz is already threatening years of investigations during the Hillary administration. But it looks like he tripped over his own feet back in March 2015.

1 Comment

%d bloggers like this: