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Member since: Mon Nov 29, 2004, 10:18 PM
Number of posts: 5,785

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Remaining Countries on Trump's Itinerary Say They'd Rather Wait a Month and Meet with Next President

By Andy Borowitz

BRUSSELS (The Borowitz Report)—Donald J. Trump’s foreign trip hit a snag on Tuesday, when the remaining countries on his itinerary announced that they would rather “wait a month” and meet with the next President instead.

“It makes no sense for us to roll out the red carpet for Trump when there is going to be a completely different guy in the White House in a month,” Hendrik van der Valde, a travel minister for the Belgian government, said. “We very much look forward to hosting the next U.S. President, be it Mike Pence or Paul Ryan or whoever.”

Citing the exorbitant costs of hosting a President, the Belgian said it “would be insane” to spend such sums on someone who “only has a few weeks left” in office.

“When a President comes to your country, you have to feed not only him but a whole plane full of people that he brings,” the minister added. “Jared Kushner, for example, eats a ton, and no one even knows what he does.”

NATO ministers, who had been slated to meet with Trump in Brussels on Thursday, voted unanimously last night to reschedule the meeting for June to accommodate his replacement.

According to one NATO minister, “We don’t see why we should be speaking to Donald Trump when even Melania isn’t doing that.”


Jon Ossoffs opponent finally agrees to debate as poll shows him pulling ahead

The past couple of weeks in the runoff for Georgia’s 6th Congressional District have seen continued escalation between Democrat Jon Ossoff and Republican Karen Handel.

Democrats are increasingly hopeful that Ossoff, a charismatic young filmmaker and former congressional staffer, can flip a district that has been red for nearly 40 years.

Republicans, for their part, are frantically trying to shore up Handel, a perennial failed candidate who championed voter suppression, tried to cut off Susan G. Komen for the Cure’s grants for cancer screening at Planned Parenthood, and blindly cheerleads for Trump on nearly every issue.

This special election has now become the most expensive congressional race in history. The Democratic National Committee is pouring money into field operations for Ossoff, and Vice President Mike Pence has announced he will personally campaign for Handel in Georgia.

But one area of standoff between the candidates has been the debate schedule.

Soon after winning the first round, Ossoff called for six debates with Handel. Although Handel initially accepted, she withdrew from the first debate after learning it was open to the public. Now, at last, she has finally agreed to a hard date: June 6 at 8:00 PM ET on WSB-TV Channel 2.



That will be a must-watch debate.

Masterclass on Spin Specifics: Fox "News" Five Steps for Shutting Down a Trump Scandal. By Vox.

This is a very informative video by Vox on specifically how Fox spins the news. It's 6 minutes long with narration explaining the technique between each one. If you can't stand the Fox clips in between the narration, mute that part, or whatever. At about the 4:30 minute point, the narrator explains why this is important, so you could just skip to that if you really can't stand the clips. The point is that it's really important to understand what Trump supporters are hearing in order to understand why Rs are so loathe to break from this narrative that their base believes (Complicity, greed and all the other reasons aside.)

Between President Trump’s leaking of classified information to the Russian ambassador and the memo from former FBI Director James Comey suggesting Trump may have tried to obstruct the investigation into Michael Flynn, Fox is in major damage control mode. The network has worked tirelessly to downplay the significance of both scandals and deflect attention from Trump’s actions.

And though the Russia leak and Comey memo stories are different, Fox handled them both in strikingly similar ways. In both cases, Fox’s first response was to raise doubts about the story -- echoing the White House’s talking points, describing the stories as “fake news” or conspiracy theories, and generally expressing disbelief about damaging reporting. The network attacked the sources, describing the Washington Post as part of the “destroy-Trump media” and painting Comey as a vengeful, unreliable “drama queen.” It fixated on the government sources who leaked damaging information to reporters, describing them as a threat to national security. And when all else failed, Fox personalities dismissed the scandals as silly, suggesting that other news networks were overreacting.

Fox News’s dedication to defending Trump might help explain why his popularity with his supporters hasn’t waned much since the start of his presidency. Trump supporters rely heavily on Fox News as their primary source of information, which means even well-sourced, powerful reporting about Trump’s mistakes likely won’t penetrate the Fox News echo chamber.

Watch the video above to see Fox News’s five steps for shutting down a Trump scandal.


Voting Tech Experts to GA SOS Kemp RE FBI criminal probe into cyber attack of GA election systems

I hope someone who is connected to Ossoff can get this info to him and that he is
prepared to demand a forensic audit of the voting machines if he does not win. Verified Voting is a highly credible organization. Why does media not pay attention to this? The state of our elections is critical.

Verified Voting Blog: Technology Experts’ Letter to Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp
Mar 15 2017

This letter was sent to Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp on March 14, 2017. Download PDF

On March 3rd it was reported that the Federal Bureau of Investigations is conducting a criminal investigation into an alleged cyber attack of the Kennesaw State University Center for Election Systems. According to the KSU Center for Election Systems’ website, “the Secretary of State authorized KSU to create a Center for Election Systems, dedicated to assisting with the deployment of the Direct Record Electronic (DRE) voting technology and providing ongoing support.” The Center is responsible for ensuring the integrity of the voting systems and developing and implementing security procedures for the election management software installed in all county election offices and voting systems.

The Center has access to most if not all voting systems and software used in Georgia. It also is responsible for programming these systems and accessing and validating the software on these systems. It is our understanding that the Center also programs and populates with voter records the electronic poll books used in polling places statewide. A security breach at the Center could have dire security consequences for the integrity of the technology and all elections carried out in Georgia.

In order for citizens to have faith and confidence in their elections, transparency is crucial, including about events such as the KSU breach, and its extent and severity. While we understand that this investigation is ongoing and that it will take time for the full picture to emerge, we request that you be as forthcoming and transparent as possible regarding critical information about the breach and the investigation, as such leadership not only will be respected in Georgia but also emulated in other states where such a breach could occur. We expect that you are already pursuing questions such as the following, regarding the breach, and trust that you will make public the results of such inquiry:

Can you estimate when the attacker breached KSU’s system?
How did the attacker breach KSU’s system?
How was the breach discovered?
Which files were accessed?
Were any files accessed that related to software or “hashes” for the voting machines?
Is there any evidence that files were modified? If so, which files?
Had KSU begun ballot builds for the upcoming special election?
To whom are these attacks being attributed? Could this be an insider attack? Has the FBI identified any suspects or persons of interest?
Has the FBI examined removable media for the possibility of implanted malware?
Has the FBI examined the hash or verification program for tampering?
What mitigations are planned for the near- and long-term?

In any state an attack on a vendor providing software and system support with such far-reaching responsibilities would be devastating. This situation is especially fragile, because of the reliance on DRE voting machines that do not provide an independent paper record of verified voter intent. KSU has instead sought to verify the validity of the software on the voting machines by running a hash program on all machines before and after elections in an effort to confirm that the software has not been altered. However, if KSU’s election programming were compromised, it is also possible that the verification program could have been modified to affirm that the software is correct, even if it were not. This is a risk of using software to check the correctness of software.

Of course all Georgia elections are important. This month and next include special elections as well. If these upcoming elections are to be run on DREs and e-pollbooks that are maintained and programmed by KSU while the KSU Center for Election Systems is itself the subject of an ongoing criminal investigation, it can raise deep concerns. And today’s cyber risk climate is not likely to improve any time soon.

We urge you to provide Georgia’s citizens with information they need to confirm before going to vote that their name will appear correctly on the voter rolls, as well as back-up printed voter lists in case anomalies appear. Most importantly, we urge you to act with all haste to move Georgia to a system of voter-verified paper ballots and to conduct post-election manual audits of election results going forward to provide integrity and transparency to all of Georgia’s elections. We would be strongly supportive of such efforts and would be willing to help in any way we can.


Dr. Andrew W. Appel
Eugene Higgins Professor of Computer Science,
Princeton University

(Signed by 20 cyber security experts, all with equally impressive credentials)


Trump & Co. Put Out a Call for Plumbers (for leaks)- Moyers

Trump & Co. Put Out a Call for Plumbers

With so many leaks in the White House and no one to stop them, the Trump administration and the right-wing media are stepping up attacks on the "fake news" mainstream media and whistleblowers.

By Todd Gitlin | May 22, 2017


As the firestorm over FBI Director James Comey’s firing reached blast-furnace temperatures, enter poor Sean Spicer to reinforce the theme that the “enemy of the people” has been missing the real story: “that our national security has been undermined by the leaking of private and highly classified conversations.” At the same time, according to The New York Times, Fox News hosts were airing “stories about the Clintons’ charitable foundation — the Fox News equivalent of a greatest hits reel.”

A topic of heated dinner-party discussions these days is whether Trump’s eruptions are (1) uncontrollable outbursts, (2) arousal calls to his base or (3) a strategic attempt to cow his enemies. This is a close question. In varying measures, all three might be true, though I lean to (1) and (2). Intention doesn’t matter much. (It’s not clear that Trump is capable of holding on to what in other people might be called “intentions” for more than 30 seconds.) The fury of the obsession is what counts. You don’t have to go full Freudian to understand that the fixation is a clue to the mentality of the fixer — his fears and his animus.

In the bunkers of paranoid regimes, it’s a rule of thumb that the enemy always lurks. Paired with that one is a second: that the enemy would be lost without a fifth column. This term has become a staple of the right. In a superficially architectural reference, Trump knowingly alluded to it in his remarks to the CIA in Langley on Jan. 23, saying: “We won’t have columns. You understand that? We get rid of the columns.”

Columns, columns everywhere. No wonder Trump and his drum-beaters are agitated. Indeed, Trump and his Vortex loyalists have tracked the fifth column to the interior of the swamp: “the low-life leakers.”

Lots of snip

Meanwhile, Trump’s hard-core supporters are said to be hanging tough, tuning out Comey’s firing. For them, cognitive dissonance meets feel-good, and they have more urgent concerns. What, them worry? This from the AP:

“I tuned it out,” said 44-year-old Michele Velardi, a mother of three sons, during a break from her job at a Staten Island hair salon. “I didn’t want to be depressed. I don’t want to feel that he’s not doing what he said, so I just choose to not listen.”

But Trump’s handlers need, from a critical mass of their followers, more than a tune-out. They need a rally. Toward that end, they need an alt-narrative, a story of their own to make sense of the unpleasantness that gathers around them. The explanation of first resort is that the “very, very dishonest press,” and its fifth column allies, are pumping them full of toxic untruth.

Much more snip


Michael Flynn expected to invoke Fifth Amendment, decline senate subpeona (CNN)

Video at link; won't let me copy URL. If anyone else can, please post in reply.

Updated 11:31 AM ET, Mon May 22, 2017

(CNN)President Donald Trump's former national security adviser Michael Flynn won't provide records to the Senate intelligence committee and will invoke his Fifth Amendment rights in response to a subpoena from the committee, according to a source close to Flynn.

Flynn's refusal to cooperate comes as he faces scrutiny in several inquiries, including on Capitol Hill and a federal grand jury that has issued subpoenas to associates of the ex-national security adviser.

Flynn's refusal to cooperate will also intensify scrutiny over Trump's decision to hire him initially for the job and his decision to keep him on staff for 18 days after the President was warned by former acting Attorney General Sally Yates that Flynn may have been compromised by the Russians.

The Senate committee had asked Flynn earlier this month to produce all records over his communications with Russian officials by this Wednesday. But Flynn is expected to send a letter later Monday invoking his Fifth Amendment rights.

The source close to Flynn said it would be "highly imprudent for him not to exercise his Fifth Amendment rights" given that several members of Congress have called for his prosecution.

The Associated Press first reported Flynn's plans to invoke the Fifth Amendment.
Flynn's decision to decline the subpoena does not come as a surprise to Senate intelligence leaders, as Flynn's lawyer, Robert Kelner, also told the panel last month he would not provide documents in response to an April request.


During the 2016 campaign, Trump blasted aides to Hillary Clinton for taking the Fifth Amendment in relation to the investigation of her use of a private email server while secretary of state. He said at a September Iowa rally: "So there are five people taking the Fifth Amendment, like you see on the mob, right? You see the mob takes the Fifth. If you're innocent, why are you taking the Fifth Amendment?"


Must watch Joy and O'Donnell from earlier today: why Rs keep backing Trump; turned on Nixon- why?

Great discussion between Joy and Lawrence about difference between Congress now and during Nixon's time and why Rs continue to back Trump. Other good stuff too. One reason O'Donnell is so good is because of his background in politics. He knows it from the inside.


Trevor Noah Interview with Al Jazeera - Brilliant & Perceptive. Not funny.

This Al Jazeera interview is from Feb. I wasn't aware of it before, but it's well worth listening to. Trevor understands much of what is happening now politically in light of his own history growing up under Apartheid.

"Asked about a recent comment he made, in which Noah related current events in the US to what he has already lived through in his life, the comedian expresses concern over worries that a culture of segregation and oppression is brewing.

"If you live in a place where people use economic instability to blame on certain groups of people, those are the first steps to building a society that is isolated, and most importantly, seeks out to oppress," says Noah. "A leader like Trump who has shown - even in the little time that he has been in power - that he will use this to his advantage."

"When people are hungry and afraid, you can get them to believe anything if you point at the right enemy."


I was disappointed when he first took over the Daily Show but he brings his own unique perspective from his unusual background and does not disappoint.

Rep. Ted Lieu Hilariously Trolls Trump With Cheat Sheet For First Big Trip Abroad

Congressman Expertly Trolls Donald Trump With Cheat Sheet For First Big Trip Abroad
“Russia = not ally.”
By Lee Moran

Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) majestically trolled Donald Trump by tweeting him a cheat sheet for his first big trip abroad as president.

As Trump jetted off for his nine-day jaunt to the Middle East and Western Europe on Friday, Lieu thought it prudent to give the president some advice to ensure he stays out of trouble while overseas.

“DON’T leak classified information,” was his top tip. He also felt compelled to state that Israel is an ally of the U.S., and Russia is not.




Nation Favors Travel Ban on Person Who Has Recently Visited Muslim Country (Borowitz)

RIYADH (The Borowitz Report)—In a notable shift of public opinion, a substantial majority of Americans now favor a travel ban on a person who has recently visited a Muslim country, a new poll shows.

According to the poll, if such a person travelled to a country in the Middle East, for example, he should be subjected to extreme vetting before he is allowed to return to the United States.

If, in the course of such vetting, the person is found to have recently engaged in activities to undermine or even destroy American democracy in collaboration with a foreign enemy, he should be barred forever from entering the U.S., poll respondents agreed.

In sizable numbers, those polled “strongly agreed” with the statement, “Any American who travels to a Muslim country with the intention of selling them deadly weapons should not be allowed to return.”

Finally, a broad majority of poll respondents said that if such a person were to remain outside the borders of the U.S. forever, they would “sleep better at night.”


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