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Bill USA

Bill USA's Journal
Bill USA's Journal
March 3, 2017

The Trump-Russia scandals: a quick visual guide - Vox.com


President Donald Trump’s Russia scandals are deeply intertwined.

As Vox’s Zack Beauchamp writes, there are three separate Trump-Russia scandals that together call into question the nature of Trump’s relationship with Russia: the resignation of former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn; the hacking of the DNC; and the as yet mostly unproven dossier. Now it seems there could be a fourth: The Washington Post reported Wednesday night that Attorney General Jeff Sessions met with Russia’s ambassador to the US twice, even though he has stated twice that he did not.

To explain how the players in these scandals are related, we made a web that highlights the important cross-connections in this Trump-Russia universe.

March 3, 2017

Trump Chumps: Media echoes Iraq War cheerleading by praising Trumps empty speech

"The mainstream media is falling back into an old pattern of enabling the worst possible presidential behavior (and fawning over any Repugnant in the WH or Congress) by praising Donald Trump’s disastrous address to Congress."


Trump’s speech was packed to the gills with lies, exaggerations, xenophobia, and all manner of falsehoods. Few of the lines read off a teleprompter — which he repeatedly attacked President Obama and Hillary Clinton for using — had any truth, and even when not lying, Trump was touting ideas and policies designed to hurt the most vulnerable communities in America.

It was a bad speech, unworthy of the office he holds.

But the mainstream press is apparently tired of reporting on an unpopular president with an unpopular legislative agenda who has failed to get the basic daily functions of the federal bureaucracy staffed at a reasonable level (though it has plenty of billionaires, men, and cronies), let alone delivering on what the country needs.

Because Trump spoke in uncharacteristically measured tones, the media has decided to fall over themselves in a rush to praise him, largely ignoring the actual substance — or lack thereof — of his words.

We have been here before.
March 2, 2017

Jeff Sessions said that people who commit perjury must be removed from office - ThinkPRogress


The Washington Post reported Wednesday night that Attorney General Jeff Sessions spoke to Russia’s ambassador twice last year, despite testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee that “I did not have communications with the Russians.”

Eighteen years ago, however, then-Sen. Sessions (R-AL) was called upon to judge a president who, he believed, had lied under oath. As political scientist Scott Lemieux notes, Sessions did not look kindly on President Bill Clinton during that president’s impeachment.

It now appears very likely that Sessions committed the very same crime he once voted to convict President Clinton of. The federal perjury statute forbids anyone who has “taken an oath before a competent tribunal, officer, or person” from “willfully and contrary to such oath” making a statement on “any material matter which he does not believe to be true.”

There is, to be fair, some wiggle room in this statute. To convict Sessions, for example, a prosecutor would have to prove that Sessions did not believe that his reportedly false statements about “the Russians” to be true. Thus, if Sessions had somehow forgotten about those meetings, that would provide him with a defense.
March 1, 2017

Trump Advocated White Nationalism With An "Indoor Voice," And Pundits Loved It - Media Matters


After President Donald Trump gave a speech to joint members of Congress filled with exaggerations, lies, and policy plans that contained no specifics -- and in many cases were based on propagating fear about and demonizing immigrants -- the takeaway from pundits and talking heads was somehow that he sounded “presidential.”

That's how low the bar has been set. So low that because the president sounded like an adult for an hour and refrained from transparently attacking people of color, allies, or the press, media figures forgot the glaring abnormalities of Trump’s presidency thus far. To some in the media, the speech was a “reset” for the new president.

As soon as he finished speaking, the accolades from pundits began to roll in. Fox’s Chris Wallace said, “I feel like tonight, Donald Trump became the president of the United States.” ABC’s Alex Castellanos similarly said Trump “became president tonight. I think we saw the long-awaited pivot.” MSNBC’s Steve Kornacki claimed that Trump had “a more presidential tone, a more optimistic tone,” and Fox’s Chris Stirewalt said Trump “did sound like the president, look like the president, act like the president.” They weren’t the only ones.

It wasn’t just pundits on TV either. Newspaper headlines also lauded “a more temperate Trump,” his supposed “milder tones,” and his call for an “end to ‘trivial fights.’”

Essentially, the media set the bar so low for the speech that when Trump, the president of the United States, sounded like the president of the United States, it was lauded as a victory.

March 1, 2017

Reports: the House GOP is planning a remarkably secretive rollout of its Obamacare (attack) plan

Republican legislator told multiple news outlets that he and other members of Congress will gather in a private room on Capitol Hill Thursday to review a secret draft of the party’s Obamacare replacement plan.

Via Bloomberg News:

The document is being treated a bit like a top-secret surveillance intercept. It is expected to be available to members and staffers on the House and Energy Commerce panel starting Thursday, but only in a dedicated reading room, one Republican lawmaker and a committee aide said. Nobody will be given copies to take with them.

“The draft of it is going to be available tomorrow for those of us on the health subcommittee to start pouring through,” said Representative Chris Collins of New York, a Trump ally and member of the health subcommittee of Energy and Commerce. “Unfortunately for you, we’re making sure it won’t be leaked.”

“We’re not having a hearing or anything,” added Gus Bilirakis of Florida, another panel member. “But there’ll be a place for us to view it, the draft.”

Collins also told Bloomberg that the committee may vote on the bill without receiving a score from the Congressional Budget Office. That is the budget agency tasked with estimating how many people the bill will cover and what it will cost.

“It looks like, unfortunately, based on the delays, we may be marking it up and voting on it before we have a score,” Collins said. The Washington Examiner reported a similar story, although one Politico reporter has also tweeted that the meeting is not happening.

It’s easy to see why secrecy is appealing to Republicans right now. One of their more recent proposals was leaked to Politico and quickly caused intraparty strife, as the Freedom Caucus began to protest tax credits in the individual market.
February 27, 2017

Robert Mercer: the big data billionaire Trump supporter waging war on mainstream media

[font size=3"]Here's another example of how technical brilliance and analytic ability does not necessarily come with simple, common sense. Nor does it guarantee one's mental health....[/font]


Just over a week ago, Donald Trump gathered members of the world’s press before him and told them they were liars. “The press, honestly, is out of control,” he said. “The public doesn’t believe you any more.” CNN was described as “very fake news… story after story is bad”. The BBC was “another beauty”.

That night I did two things. First, I typed “Trump” in the search box of Twitter. My feed was reporting that he was crazy, a lunatic, a raving madman. But that wasn’t how it was playing out elsewhere. The results produced a stream of “Go Donald!!!!”, and “You show ’em!!!” There were star-spangled banner emojis and thumbs-up emojis and clips of Trump laying into the “FAKE news MSM liars!”

Trump had spoken, and his audience had heard him. Then I did what I’ve been doing for two and a half months now. I Googled “mainstream media is…” And there it was. Google’s autocomplete suggestions: “mainstream media is… dead, dying, fake news, fake, finished”. Is it dead, I wonder? Has FAKE news won? Are we now the FAKE news? Is the mainstream media – we, us, I – dying?

I click Google’s first suggested link. It leads to a website called CNSnews.com and an article: “The Mainstream media are dead.” They’re dead, I learn, because they – we, I – “cannot be trusted”. How had it, an obscure site I’d never heard of, dominated Google’s search algorithm on the topic? In the “About us” tab, I learn CNSnews is owned by the Media Research Center, which a click later I learn is “America’s media watchdog”, an organisation that claims an “unwavering commitment to neutralising leftwing bias in the news, media and popular culture”.

Another couple of clicks and I discover that it receives a large bulk of its funding – more than $10m in the past decade – from a single source, the hedge fund billionaire Robert Mercer. If you follow US politics you may recognise the name. Robert Mercer is the money behind Donald Trump. But then, I will come to learn, Robert Mercer is the money behind an awful lot of things. He was Trump’s single biggest donor. Mercer started backing Ted Cruz, but when he fell out of the presidential race he threw his money – $13.5m of it – behind the Trump campaign.

This article also shows why it's important to click on articles mentioned in DU posts, and to Post your own comments here and anywhere else on the web - with links to good articles - because "links to" articles from other articles and posts help that article rise in Google's listed links returned to a given search term/s.

February 26, 2017

The First 100 Lies: The Trump Teams Flurry Of Falsehoods - Huffington Post


To say that President Donald Trump has a casual relationship with the truth would be a gross understatement. He has repeatedly cited debunked conspiracy theories, pushed voter fraud myths, and embellished his record and accomplishments. The barrage of falsehoods has been so furious that journalists have taken to issuing instant fact-checks during press conferences and calling out false statements during cable news broadcasts.

All presidents lie, but lying so brazenly and so frequently about even silly factoids like his golf game has put Trump in his own category. His disregard for the truth is reflected in his top aides, who have inflated easily disproved figures like the attendance at his inauguration and even cited terror attacks that never happened.

The Huffington Post tracked the public remarks of Trump and his aides to compile a list of 100 incidents of egregious falsehoods. Still, it is likely the administration has made dozens of other misleading and exaggerated claims.


96. Trump claimed that he negotiated $1 billion in savings to develop two new Boeing Co. jets to serve as the next Air Force One. The Air Force can’t account for that number. (Feb. 22)
February 26, 2017

Every News outlet WH banned from press briefing is chasing stories on Trumps Russia ties

[font size="3"]News outlets banned from the White House press gaggle all have one thing in common: They have all broken or urged the pursuit of major stories about the Trump team’s illicit relationship with Russian intelligence.[/font]


White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer took what several White House reporters who have covered both parties described as unprecedented action by banning several major outlets from a press briefing. The briefing was designed to push back on reporting indicating that the Trump administration has been colluding with the FBI to squash stories on contacts between Donald Trump’s team and Russia.


While restricting the outlets that could participate, the move was described in an Orwellian White House release as an “expanded pool.”

Among those excluded were The New York Times, Buzzfeed, Politico, and CNN. All of those outlets have done significant reporting on the Trump-Russia connection. Additionally, the Guardian was banned, and they have pressed for investigating Trump’s Russian ties.

Here is a rundown of the stories that motivated this latest Trump attack on the free press:
February 25, 2017

100 days of Trump claims - catalogued - a continuing project of WaPo

.. a must see, continuing report!


Throughout President Trump’s first 100 days, the Fact Checker team will be tracking false and misleading claims made by the president since Jan. 20.

In the 37 days Trump has been in office, we’ve counted 140 false or misleading claims.


Donald Trump earned 59 Four-Pinocchio ratings as a presidential candidate. Now that he’s president, he has continued his proclivity for making dubious, misleading or false statements. He also often repeats the same debunked claims even though they have been fact-checked. It’s hard to keep up with all of Trump’s rhetoric, so the Fact Checker is assembling in one place all of his suspect statements from his first 100 days as president. You can sort them by various categories and see how many times he has repeated the same false statement.

The most frequent topic of these claims is immigration, which came up 25 times. Other frequent topics are jobs (20 claims) and biographical record (17 claims).


Great project!
February 25, 2017

WH blocks CNN, NYT from press briefing hrs after Trump slams media - when will Goosestep be required

of the military?


The White House on Friday barred news outlets — including CNN, the New York Times, Politico and the Los Angeles Times — from attending an off-camera press briefing held by spokesman Sean Spicer, igniting another controversy concerning the relationship between the Trump administration and the media.


The Wall Street Journal, which did participate in the briefing, said in a statement that it was unaware of the exclusions and "had we known at the time, we would not have participated, and we will not participate in such closed briefings in the future."

The Washington Post did not have a reporter present at the time of the gaggle.

CNN's Sara Murray went on air to describe what happened:

We lined up. We were told there was a list ahead of time, which is sort of abnormal, but we put our name on a list. And then when we went to enter, I was blocked by a White House staffer, who said we were not on the list for this gaggle today.

Now, normally, if you were going to do something like this — an extended gaggle, off camera — you would have one person from each news outlet. As you know, we have multiple people from CNN here every day. So, if you're going to do something beyond a pool, which is sort of the smallest group of reporters that then disseminates the information, you would have one person from every news outlet.

That is not what the White House was doing today. What the White House was doing was handpicking the outlets they wanted in for this briefing. So Breitbart, the Washington Times, the One America News Network — news outlets that maybe the White House feels are more favorable were all allowed in, whereas I was blocked from entering, Politico was blocked from entering, the New York Times, the L.A. Times. All of these news outlets were blocked from going to a gaggle.




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About Bill USA

Quotes I like: "Prediction is very difficult, especially concerning the future." "There are some things so serious that you have to laugh at them. __ Niels Bohr Given his contribution to the establishment of quantum mechanics, I guess it's not surprising he had such a quirky of sense of humor. ......................."Deliberate misinterpretation and misrepresentation of another's position is a basic technique of (dis)information processing" __ I said that

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