AMERICAblog NewsAMERICAblog News http://americablog.com A great nation deserves the truth // One of America's top progressive sites for news and opinion Mon, 20 Feb 2017 14:18:20 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.7.2 It’s moving day, I’m leaving NYC http://americablog.com/2017/02/moving-day-im-leaving-nyc.html http://americablog.com/2017/02/moving-day-im-leaving-nyc.html#comments Mon, 20 Feb 2017 14:18:20 +0000 http://americablog.com/?p=141402 Today is moving day. After two incredibly interesting years in New York City, I’m moving back to Washington, DC to take the fight directly to Donald Trump.

I love New York. I never lost the sense that people here, on the street at least, are some of the nicest folks anywhere. People talk to each other. They talk to strangers. You bond over the smallest, dumbest thing. It’s wonderful. Even the cops are nice. And I know there have been longstanding issues with the police in this city, but they’re actually nice. In DC, they’re not. To anyone. Try talking to a DC cop on patrol. Try asking a DC cop why there are 4 squad cars outside your apartment building with police tape blocking you way. More often than not, you get a brusque mono-syllabic blow-off. Talk to a NYC cop, they smile, are chatty, and helpful as hell. I’ve never seen anything like it.

My room with a view.

New Yorkers in the workplace, I’m less convinced. I only have my own anecdotal evidence to go on, but I fear working in this city requires a cutthroat, hypocritically bitchy attitude I’ve not seen in other places I’ve lived. In the workplace, New Yorkers go out of their way to be nice to you, while sharpening the blade behind their back. Again, this is just a working theory, but it’s something I’ve noticed.

But otherwise, it’s a great city. A bit hard to meet people, I’ve found. Lots of people are married with kids, and it’s awfully difficult to break into that when you’re new. (Though a younger nephew in Phoenix tells me the same is true there.) And a bit expensive. The cost of living in NYC is similar to that in DC, except for housing. In my neighborhood, in Long Island City, Queens, across the river from Manhattan, rent for a 700 sq ft one bedroom apartment runs $3,300. It’s worse in Manhattan, though better when you go further out in Queens. Still, I’d have to go pretty far out, in a neighborhood I might not want to live in, to pay the same I do for my condo in DC.

So, it’s back to DC. A lot of calculations went into my decision to move back. First and foremost, there’s more national political work in DC, and with Donald Trump as president, that work is needed more than ever. I can simply get more done by moving back. So I am.

I’ll be writing more about this likely in the days ahead. And may or may not be writing for the next few days during the move. Though I’ll still be tweeting and Facebooking — you can see those links below. Then I’m off to Chicago for a few months while I wait for my condo in DC to open up by early June. So stay tuned.

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I strongly oppose Donald Trump using 100,000 National Guard troops to round up undocumented immigrants http://americablog.com/2017/02/strongly-oppose-donald-trump-using-100000-national-guard-troops-round-undocumented-immigrants.html http://americablog.com/2017/02/strongly-oppose-donald-trump-using-100000-national-guard-troops-round-undocumented-immigrants.html#comments Fri, 17 Feb 2017 16:01:39 +0000 http://americablog.com/?p=141394 The Associated Press has just reported​ that Donald Trump may mobilize 100,000 National Guard troops to find, detain and deport undocumented immigrants across America.

Trump promised us a “deportation force,” and it’s time we took Trump at his word.

Sign the petition, tell Donald Trump that his fascism stops here.

The use of military-style troops to target a specific ethnic group nationwide — let’s be honest, this is about Mexicans — is unprecedented in recent times.​ You’d have to back to the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II to get anything close.

Sadly, targeting people by their faith and their genetics is not unprecedented for this president and this White House. During the presidential campaign, Trump made clear his animus for Mexicans​​ and Muslims​. And recently, the Trump White House has shown repeated animus towards Jews as well.

It’s no coincidence that Trump’s White House is staffed at its most senior level with Alt Right/white supremacist sympathizers. And Trump himself has shown past sympathies to fascism. Trump admires “strong leaders” like Russia’s murderous thug Vladimir Putin, who Trump defends at every instant, and the communist Chinese leaders who violently put down the Tiananmen​ Square uprising. Here is what Trump​ has to say about Tiananmen:

“When the students poured into Tiananmen Square, the Chinese government almost blew it, then they were vicious, they were horrible, but they put it down with strength. That shows you the power of strength.”​

During the recent presidential campaign, Trump referred to the democracy uprising in China as simply “a riot.” And a riot, we all know, is something every government must put down.

Enough is enough. Mobilizing the United States Armed Forces — and that is what the National Guard is, part of the reserve component of the US Armed Forces — to target a specific ethnicity in American society is fascism at its worst. And it is only a matter of time before Trump’s fascist sympathies lead to violence.

Donald Trump is un-American. Any decision to use National Guard troops in mass numbers to round-up any community in this country is un-American. We must resist Trump’s illegitimate presidency and creeping fascism with every fiber of our being. Tell Donald Trump is no uncertain terms that you will not accept him sending 100,000 troops into our towns and cities in order to round up our neighbors.

Sign the petition, tell Donald Trump that his fascism stops here.

 


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Trump flips out on Jewish reporter for asking about anti-semitism http://americablog.com/2017/02/trump-flips-jewish-reporter-asking-anti-semitism.html http://americablog.com/2017/02/trump-flips-jewish-reporter-asking-anti-semitism.html#comments Fri, 17 Feb 2017 01:05:29 +0000 http://americablog.com/?p=141390 Donald Trump today flipped out on a Jewish reporter for asking a good question about the uptick in reported anti-Semitic attacks — including bomb threats — since Trump was elected.

The reporter simply wanted Trump to comment on the uptick, presumably to condemn it (which was an easy softball), and talk about the things the administration can do to fight anti-Semitism.

Well, Trump was having none of it. He apparently felt the question was too hard, too complicated, and presumably, too negative. The guy was asking about ant-semitic hate crimes, so it’s not like he could put much of a happy spin on it.

The reporter even defended Trump against charges of anti-semitism. It wasn’t enough.

Trump’s response was dismissive and rude. He told the reporter it wasn’t an “easy” question and it wasn’t a “fair” question. Trump then ordered the reporter to “sit down.” Trump went on to say that the reporter “lied” about his intent to ask a “straight simple question.” Trump then went on to call the question “very insulting.” And didn’t respond. Trump said nothing about the uptick in anti-semitic attacks, or what his administration planned to do if anything about them.

But Trump isn’t anti-semitic.

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Fox News BLASTS Trump over Russia. You read that right. http://americablog.com/2017/02/fox-news-blasts-trump-russia-read-right.html http://americablog.com/2017/02/fox-news-blasts-trump-russia-read-right.html#comments Fri, 17 Feb 2017 00:19:41 +0000 http://americablog.com/?p=141385 Fox News host Shepard Smith blasted Donald Trump today for refusing to come clean about Team Trump’s ties to Russia.

Smith’s commentary came in response to Trump’s messy press conference this afternoon, in which Trump was ranting and raving, and generally unhinged. Trump started the presser somewhat sedate — or sedated. But then worked himself up into a lather on a variety of topics, including Russia.

Shep Smith was having none of Trump’s obfuscation on the Russia issue, which Trump called “fake news”:

“It’s crazy what we’re watching every day. It’s absolutely crazy. He keeps repeating ridiculous throwaway lines that are not true at all, and sort of avoiding this issue of Russia, as if we’re some kind of fools for asking the question. Really?

“Your opposition was hacked, and the Russians were responsible for it, and your people were on the phone on the same day it was happening, and we are fools for asking those questions? No sir, we are not fools for asking those questions, and we demand to know the answer to this question. You owe this to the American people. Your supporters will support you either way. If your people were on the phone with her, what were they saying? We have a right to know. We absolutely do. And that you call us ‘fake news’ and put us down like children for asking these questions on behalf of the American people is inconsequential. the people deserve that answer at the very least.

Bra-freaking-vo.

Here’s the video:

Now, Shep Smith is not all of Fox News. Still, Fox usually runs a pretty tight ship, and the marching orders clearly come down from above, and one doesn’t stray too far from the party line. So it’s interesting that Smith was this incensed at Trump over the Russia issue, and doubly interesting that he was permitted to say something about it publicly.

This goes to a larger point that I’ve believed for a while. I was a Republican once, way back in the 1980s, and it’s difficult for me to believe that a good chunk of the GOP is fine with the growing evidence of Team Trump collusion with the Russians. Republicans aren’t terribly big fans of the Russians, nor are Republicans very fond of people who are seen to be weak on defense. “Let’s aid and abet the enemy” is not a rallying cry you’ll hear from most GOP public relations flaks.

So it was only a matter of time until Republicans became so incensed with Trump’s Russophilia that they began to stand up and speak out. And that has now begun. At Fox News, of all places.

 

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Trump says Dems concocted Russia conspiracy, but he fired Flynn anyway http://americablog.com/2017/02/trump-says-dems-concocted-russia-conspiracy-fired-flynn-anyway.html http://americablog.com/2017/02/trump-says-dems-concocted-russia-conspiracy-fired-flynn-anyway.html#comments Thu, 16 Feb 2017 17:45:22 +0000 http://americablog.com/?p=141369 In his latest tweetstorm, Donald Trump, furious over the ongoing leaks that are methodically building the case for treason against him, claimed that Democrats are responsible for creating the “fake news” about Russia’s involvement in our election, including Russia’s penetration of his campaign.

Trump then praised Gen. Flynn and bemoaned the loss of him as National Security Adviser, even though it was Trump who fired him.

You’ll recall that in the last 48 hours, we learned that Trump’s now-former National Security adviser, and two other Trump campaign staffers, allegedly had “constant contact” with Russian intelligence during the campaign.

Those revelations, which included the fact that Gen. Flynn lied to the public, and possibly to VP Pence (it’s still unclear if Pence is also lying), about his conversations with the Russians, led Trump to ask for Flynn’s resignation earlier this week.

Telling Congress to create an independent bipartisan commission to investigate Russia’s penetration of our government.

Yet only 24 hours after Trump fired Flynn, Trump claimed that the “fake media” has treated Flynn “unfairly.” More from CNN:

“Gen. Flynn is a wonderful man. I think he has been treated very, very unfairly by the media, as I call it, the fake media in many cases,” Trump said. “And I think it is really a sad thing that he was treated so badly.”

If it was so unfair and unjustified, then why did Donald Trump fire Flynn based on the media reporting?

Here’s Trump’s morning meltdown:

We also learned last night that Trump is hiring New York billionaire Stephen Feinberg, who has zero experience in intelligence matters, to oversee a purge of the US intelligence community in retaliation for the information that was leaked about Trump’s increasingly creepy ties to Russia. On two different previous occasions Trump has called the CIA “Nazis,” and this past week he called the NSA and FBI “un-American,” and claimed those agencies act “like Russia.” Those attacks on patriotic Americans come on the heels of Trump’s claim on Super Bowl Sunday that US service members are “killers” as bad as Putin in Russia.

Back to Feinberg overseeing the intell purge. Trump was previously considering Feinberg to be his Director of National Intelligence, or the head of the CIA’s clandestine services — meaning, Trump was considering putting a business guy with no intell experience in charge of our most secret undercover spy operations. What could possibly go wrong?

Telling Congress to create an independent bipartisan commission to investigate Russia’s penetration of our government.

 

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Trump smears NSA & FBI, says they’re “un-American,” act like Russians http://americablog.com/2017/02/trump-smears-nsa-fbi-agents-says-act-like-russians.html http://americablog.com/2017/02/trump-smears-nsa-fbi-agents-says-act-like-russians.html#comments Wed, 15 Feb 2017 15:53:58 +0000 http://americablog.com/?p=141355 Only one month after twice accusing the CIA of acting “like Nazi Germany,” Donald Trump has now accused the NSA and FBI of acting “just like Russia.”

Trump’s comments come on the heels of him accusing US service members of being “killers” on a moral par with Russia’s Vladimir Putin. That led General Barry McCaffrey to call Trump’s words “the most anti-American statement ever made by the President of the US.”

Join us in telling Congress to create an independent bipartisan commission to investigate Russia’s penetration of our government.

Trump’s attack on the NSA and FBI came in series of angry and paranoid tweets this morning, in response to growing concerns — one might even call it a frenzy at this point — over Trump’s secret ties to the Russians, and speculation as to whether Trump himself has now been compromised by a foreign power.

In that last tweet, Trump just confirmed that the information being reported isn’t “fake news” made up by the NYT and Washington Post, but rather it’s hard intelligence coming from our own intelligence agencies.

Un-American? No gurl, you’re un-American.

Of course, it’s the height of irony for Donald Trump to accuse anyone of leaking, when he welcomed Wikileaks’ and the FBI’s leaks about Hillary Clinton during the campaign. And the FBI played a large role in Trump’s election.

Then Trump added this:

On that last point, Trump is trying desperately to make it sound as if he’s not soft on Russia. In fact, President Obama put some pretty tough sanctions on Russia as a result of its invasion of Crimea. Trump, on the other hand, kept talking about lifting those same sanctions. That is why Obama was not soft on Russia, But Donald Trump is.

Join us in telling Congress to create an independent bipartisan commission to investigate Russia’s penetration of our government.

Trump’s increasing paranoia is a result is a result of last night’s explosive news that Trump campaign officials, and other Trump colleagues, had ongoing communications with Russian intelligence during the campaign. GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham called that development “a game-changer.”

Trump wouldn’t be having any of these problems had he not surrounded himself with a growing number of senior staff who have nefarious ties to Russia. Three of Trump’s senior advisers (Page, Manafort and now Flynn) have been let go as a result of their creepy ties to Russia. And Trump himself has inexplicably put Russia’s national interest above America’s on a number of foreign policy matters.

The information leaked because Trump has refused to take it seriously. Trump was informed of the intelligence showing that Gen. Flynn had talked in depth about the sanctions with Russia’s ambassador. Trump let Flynn stay on staff, even though Trump was told by the FBI and DOJ that Flynn could be subject to Russian blackmail.

And the news that Trump’s staff has been in ongoing communication with Russian intelligence, does anyone seriously expect Donald Trump to investigate himself on this matter? And Trump can shut down any investigation by the intelligence community or the FBI. If the information doesn’t leak, Russia wins. And I’m not willing to accept that.

Join us in telling Congress to create an independent bipartisan commission to investigate Russia’s penetration of our government.

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NYT: Trump campaign had repeated contacts with Russian intelligence http://americablog.com/2017/02/nyt-trump-campaign-repeated-contacts-russian-intelligence.html http://americablog.com/2017/02/nyt-trump-campaign-repeated-contacts-russian-intelligence.html#comments Wed, 15 Feb 2017 03:21:46 +0000 http://americablog.com/?p=141346 The New York Times reports that members of Donald Trump’s campaign, and other Trump associates, had repeated contacts with Russian intelligence during the presidential campaign.

These intercepted phone calls came to light around the same time US officials began to become concerned about Russia’s attempt to hack their way into the American election.

If this were Hillary Clinton, her presidency would already be over.

Use this link to contact your members of Congress and demand an independent bipartisan commission to investigate all of this.

We have Donald Trump just last week suggesting that US service members and presidents are “killers” as bad anything Vladimir Putin has done.

We have Trump campaign staff going to Moscow and criticizing American democracy while praising Russia, and losing their job as a result.

We have Trump’s campaign manager Paul Manafort being forced to step down following increasing revelations about his ties to Moscow-backed autocrats in Ukraine.

We have Trump’s National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, who led a standing ovation for Vladimir Putin a year ago, fired last night for his secret conversations with top Russian officials during the transition finally becoming too big a scandal for Trump to handle.

And now we have the revelation that Trump campaign staff, and other Trump colleagues, were having repeated contacts with Russian intelligence during the election.

We are seriously at the point of wondering whether our president has committed treason. Whether he is a knowing agent of a foreign power, and for all intents and purposes a foreign “enemy” of the United States. There is no other way to frame this.

Hillary Clinton would have been facing impeachment charges at this point.

I just don’t even know what to say, this is so bad. And the implications are so far-reaching. The good news, if you can call it that, is that a growing number of Republicans in Congress are calling for an investigation of more and more parts of the Russia story, including the Michael Flynn imbroglio. And this NYT story is only going to add to those concerns.

At this point, at the very least, we must have an independent bipartisan commission set up to investigate Russia’s penetration of our government, and whether our president is a traitor.

Use this link to contact your members of Congress and demand an independent bipartisan commission to investigate all of this.

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White House already lying about Flynn “resignation.” We need an investigation. http://americablog.com/2017/02/white-house-already-lied-flynns-resignation-need-investigation.html http://americablog.com/2017/02/white-house-already-lied-flynns-resignation-need-investigation.html#comments Tue, 14 Feb 2017 16:00:15 +0000 http://americablog.com/?p=141334 The White House responded to the breaking news that Trump National Security Adviser Michael Flynn resigned last night, by doing what they do best: lying.

Last night, General Flynn resigned after a slew of news stories raised serious questions about what Trump and his team knew about Flynn’s secret backroom-dealings with top-level Russians before Trump was sworn in, and when they knew it.

This morning, top Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway claimed to NBC’s Matt Lauer (video below) that Flynn resigned in spite of Trump wanting him to stay on. Kellyanne repeatedly made this point: Trump wanted Flynn to stay, and would have kept him, but Flynn decided to leave.

But then, the NYT reports, and GOP House Speaker Paul Ryan confirms, that Donald Trump “asked” Flynn to resign.

Stephen K. Bannon, the president’s chief strategist, asked for Mr. Flynn’s resignation — a move that he has been pushing for since Friday, when it became clear that the national security adviser had misled Mr. Pence.

In other words, Flynn was fired, and Trump most certainly didn’t want to keep him on staff. Of course, this already makes no sense, as the White House knew Flynn lied a month ago, when senior FBI and DOJ officials informed them that they had wiretaps detailing Flynn’s conversations with the Russians. What’s worse, FBI and DOJ warned that Flynn was vulnerable to Russian blackmail as a result of his lies. Still, Trump kept him on.

Also, the wiretaps contradicted Flynn’s public statements via Pence, and otherwise, that he did not discuss the Obama cybersanctions put in place as retaliation for Russia hacking our election. So why was Flynn asked to go in the past few days, when Trump knew he misled the VP last month?

We need answer. Send an email to your members of Congress asking them to create an independent bipartisan commission to investigate this entire Russia issue.

Next up: Kellyanne Conway. Kellyanne said that Flynn “resigned” because he had misled the vice president Pence. Again, that doesn’t make sense — they knew last month that Flynn had misled the VP, and Lauer said just that. So why was the situation “untenable,” as Kellyanne put it, last night, when in fact the White House found out Flynn was lying a month ago?

The most likely assumption is that Flynn wasn’t going rogue, in multiple calls with the Russian ambassador, somehow finagling a Russian promise not to retaliate against the US for the new sanctions, possibly in exchange for some as-of-yet-unnamed quid pro quo. The most likely assumption is that Flynn was acting under Trump’s orders. And that this scandal is far bigger, and reaches far deeper, than we know.

Please join us in emailing your members of Congress, and urging them to create an independent bipartisan commission to investigate Russia’s hacking our election and penetration of our government.

Here’s Kellyanne’s lie-filled performance on the Today Show:

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“Un-american,” the t-shirt to resist Trump in style http://americablog.com/2017/02/un-american-t-shirt-resist-trump-style.html http://americablog.com/2017/02/un-american-t-shirt-resist-trump-style.html#comments Tue, 14 Feb 2017 13:00:41 +0000 http://americablog.com/?p=141314 As part of our ongoing “Resist Trump” effort, I’ve created a new anti-Trump t-shirt that I call “un-American.” 100% of the proceeds go to financing our work to fight the Trump agenda.

The shirt incorporates ~250 words describing the horror that is Donald Trump. From racist, sexist, and homophobe to pretty much anything you can come up with, I included it.

Buy your shirt here, only available for the next two weeks.

Here is a close-up of the design, and below is how the shirt looks from afar. The idea is to have it be a bit of a surprise as you get closer to the shirt.

We have six t-shirt colors, including: white, black, navy blue, sports grey, red, and brown. Shirts costs $20 each, with an additional charge for shipping. And 100% of the profits go to support our work — as we sell more shirts, our margins grow.

This campaign will run for two weeks. I hope you like it, and thanks as always for your support. Get your shirt here! And thanks as always, JOHN

 

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Tell Congress to appoint an independent Russia commission now http://americablog.com/2017/02/tell-congress-appoint-independent-russia-commission.html http://americablog.com/2017/02/tell-congress-appoint-independent-russia-commission.html#comments Tue, 14 Feb 2017 00:30:53 +0000 http://americablog.com/?p=141324 Please join me in urging Congress to support an independent and bipartisan commission to investigate Russian attempts to subvert our democracy.

You can send a letter to your members of Congress here.

The US intelligence community has concluded that Russia was involved in a multi-faceted attack on the integrity of our election, that included hacking various political entities in Washington, DC and the production and dissemination of “fake news” used to confuse and wrongly influence American voters.

And there is growing concern about secret communications between members of the Trump campaign, and now-administration, and top officials of the Russian government.

Specifically, we recently learned that (now-former) White House National Security Adviser Michael Flynn lied to the American people about the content of his secret communications with the Russian ambassador during the transition; and there is now a report that Flynn may have encrypted some of those communications, in order to hide them from everyone, including US intelligence.

Even worse, the Washington Post is now reporting that the Trump administration was warned about Flynn’s contacts with the Russians, and the fact that Flynn was lying about them, and could thus be subject to future blackmail from the Russians. And Trump did absolutely nothing about it. Was that because Flynn was acting on Trump’s orders?

Send a letter to your members of Congress here.

Also disturbing is Donald Trump’s refusal to release any information about his financial, personal and political connections to Russia, while he repeatedly stakes out positions more in line with Russian than American national interests (such as repeatedly defending Putin’s murder spree against political opponents and journalists).

As a result, there are recent reports that America’s intelligence agencies no longer trust sharing their most classified intelligence with the Trump White House. If that’s the case, then who is actually running our national security?

And now, the latest news is that Michael Flynn has been forced to resign over his secret contacts with the Russians. Who else knew that Flynn was talking to the Russians? Did Trump approve it? Did anyone else on staff know about it? It’s difficult to believe that Flynn would “freelance” with the Russian ambassador, in multiple phone calls, without telling Trump. What did Trump know and when did he know it? Only an independent investigation will answer those questions.

The integrity of our democracy and the safety of our country goes beyond partisan politics. Democrat or Republican, we are all united in demanding that no foreign power be permitted to co-opt our elections and our elected officials.

Send a letter to your members of Congress here.

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Gen. Flynn led standing ovation for Putin in Moscow http://americablog.com/2017/02/gen-flynn-led-standing-ovation-putin-moscow.html http://americablog.com/2017/02/gen-flynn-led-standing-ovation-putin-moscow.html#comments Sun, 12 Feb 2017 02:08:52 +0000 http://americablog.com/?p=141303 Donald Trump’s embattled National Security Adviser led a standing ovation for Russian dictator Vladimir Putin last winter during a gala celebrating the ten-year anniversary of Russia’s propaganda organ, RT (aka Russia Today).

Flynn didn’t just join the standing ovation for Putin. He started it.

In a video posted by the Democratic Coalition Against Trump, not only did Flynn joined in the standing ovation following Putin’s speech, but on closer examination, it’s clear that Flynn and the woman next to him led the standing ovation for Putin.

Flynn had the honor, along with Jill Stein (who also joined in the ovation), of sitting at Putin’s table.

The full video is below, but take a look at these photos from the beginning of the ovation. First, the larger photo showing only Flynn and the woman next to him standing as Putin finishes. Then a close-up.

And there’s no doubt once you watch the entire video, that’s Flynn.

After Flynn and the woman started the ovation, the entire crowd eventually rose. You can see it all much better in the video, below.

Flynn’s troubles grew yesterday when it was revealed that multiple current and former US investigators alleged that Flynn did in fact discuss US sanctions against Russia during his calls with the Russian ambassador. Flynn, and VP Mike Pence, have both claimed that Flynn never discussed the sanctions with the Russians. It now seems that was not entirely honest of either of them.

As the Washington Post notes, we now have a situation in which Flynn and Pence misled the American people in order to hide Flynn’s contacts with the Russian government. Why did they do this? Why did they feel the need to lie about what was actually taking place behind the scenes with Putin’s top advisers?

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Sean Spicer was SNL’s Melissa McCarthy today http://americablog.com/2017/02/sean-spicer-snls-melissa-mccarthy-today.html http://americablog.com/2017/02/sean-spicer-snls-melissa-mccarthy-today.html#comments Thu, 09 Feb 2017 21:23:04 +0000 http://americablog.com/?p=141296 White House press secretary Sean Spicer was off his rocker today, getting visibly angry and cutting off reporters at his daily White House briefing.

Spicer quite literally became his own parody. He became Melissa McCarthy’s wonderfully evil Saturday Night Live impersonation. See video below.

The said thing for Spicer is that one suspects today was all Trump. It’s no secret that Donald Trump regrets hiring Spicer as White House press secretary, and regularly criticizes Spicer’s look and demeanor. I suspect that on days like this, when Spicer is particularly spicy, he acting on Trump’s orders.

And while acting like a jerk is sure to please Trump, it’s also a good way to alienate the media and much of the public. Sure, Trump’s base likes it, but they’re irrelevant. They’re going to support Trump, regardless. We’re now fighting for the middle, and the middle wants a mature White House, not a belligerent one. And this White House is anything but mature. The adults are clearly not in charge. And in the long-run, that’s going to hurt both Trump and Republicans at the polls. And that may eventually neuter Trump, or get him removed from office entirely — whether by election, impeachment, or the 25th amendment (though I’m particularly partial to imprisonment).

That’s assuming he doesn’t get us all killed first.

Here’s Spicer today:

And here’s Melissa McCarthy on Saturday Night Live the other night:

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Mike Pence lied about Steve Bannon’s military service http://americablog.com/2017/02/mike-pence-lied-steve-bannons-military-service.html http://americablog.com/2017/02/mike-pence-lied-steve-bannons-military-service.html#comments Thu, 09 Feb 2017 17:35:09 +0000 http://americablog.com/?p=141215 Donald Trump’s Vice President, Mike Pence, claimed last week that embattled top Trump adviser Steve Bannon served as a captain in the US Navy, and he was not.

Bannon, you may recall, is the former executive chairman of Breitbart, a far-right Web site that caters to the white supremacist Alt Right. Bannon bragged this summer that Breitbart is “the platform for the Alt Right.” The Alt Right is a hipster white supremacist movement that hates people of color and Jews.

Back to Pence’s lies. Contrary to Pence’s claim that Bannon served as a “captain,” in fact, Steve Bannon served in the US Navy as a lieutenant, three ranks below Captain.

military-ranks

But that’s not what Trump’s VP Mike Pence told PBS’ NewsHour the other day. See the 13:46 mark in the video below:

“But we value Steve Bannon’s input. Here’s an individual serving in uniform, a captain in the United States Navy, a partner at Goldman Sachs, successful businessperson who brings a strong perspective into discussions.”

Yeah, not so much. We already know that Bannon was just a lieutenant, not a captain. From Navy Times:

Bannon attended Officer Candidate School in Newport R.I., and was commissioned in the summer of 1977…. Bannon left the Navy as a lieutenant on Oct. 30, 1983.

Here’s the video of Pence making the false claim, again forward to the 13:46 mark in the video:

UPDATE: An earlier version of this story incorrectly transcribed the video of Pence speaking about Bannon. The story has been updated accordingly, we regret the error.

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Trump, who skirted military duty with a “bone spur,” says McCain “emboldens the enemy” http://americablog.com/2017/02/trump-skirted-military-duty-bone-spur-says-mccain-emboldens-enemy.html http://americablog.com/2017/02/trump-skirted-military-duty-bone-spur-says-mccain-emboldens-enemy.html#comments Thu, 09 Feb 2017 16:34:27 +0000 http://americablog.com/?p=141275 If it was unclear before if John McCain was going to be a major thorn in the side of Donald Trump, that was cleared up this morning when Trump tweeted that McCain “emboldens the enemy.”

This all goes back to the fated Yemen anti-terrorism mission of a few weeks ago, in which two Americans were killed — Chief Petty Officer William “Ryan” Owens and a young American girl — along with many others.

It’s questionable to what degree the raid was a success. As the NYT put it, “almost everything that could go wrong did.” (It’s an excellent NYT piece, that walks you through a lot of the criticism of the raid.)

Not only were there American deaths, but also some of the highest-profile intelligence that the raid obtained wasn’t even real. In an attempt to prove how successful the raid was, the Trump administration published a ten-year-old terrorist training video and tried to pass it off as “new” intelligence found at the scene of the raid.

Once criticism of the raid started mounting, the Trump White House then tried to claim that this was really a raid planned by the Obama administration. We then found out that in fact, the Obama administration refused to approve the raid.

That didn’t stop Trump and company from claiming that the raid was a wild success, and anyone saying otherwise was un-American. Which is pretty cheeky from a White House that thinks America has no better morals than Putin’s Russia.

White House spokesman Sean Spicer weighs in. From the Hill:

“The life of Chief Ryan Owens was done in service to his country and we owe him and his family a great debt for the information we received during that raid,” Spicer said. “Any suggestion otherwise is a disservice to his courageous life and the actions he took. Full stop.”

McCain then responded:

“Many years ago, when I was imprisoned in North Vietnam, there was an attempt to rescue the POWs,” McCain said. “Unfortunately, the prison had been evacuated, but the brave men who took — risked their lives in an effort to rescue us prisoners of war were genuine American heroes.

“Because the mission failed did not in any way diminish their courage and willingness to help their fellow Americans who were help captive. Mr. Spicer should know that story.”

And none of this has stopped Donald Trump from criticizing our intervention in Iraq. Was that criticism a disservice to the thousands of American service members who died in that war?

Of course, incapable of letting sleeping dogs lie, Trump himself had to weigh in this morning on Twitter. Read from the bottom up:

Trump was eligible for the draft during Vietnam, but didn’t get drafted first because of an education deferment, then because Trump alleged he had “bone spurs” in his heels.

John McCain had no such “bone spurs.”

What’s particularly interesting about Trump’s remarks is just how politically stupid they are. McCain is the chairman of the US Senate Armed Services Committee, a highly influential position. He’s someone the Trump administration needs on their side. Trump’s ongoing attacks on McCain during the campaign — and now attacking McCain’s patriotism! –pretty much ensure that McCain isn’t going to be doing Trump any favors in the years ahead.

And at some point, when Trump’s poll numbers start to hurt Congress’ own re-election chances, Trump is going to need all the friends he can get.

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CNN: White House lawyers “cringing” over Trump’s attacks on judges considering Muslim ban http://americablog.com/2017/02/cnn-white-house-lawyers-cringing-trumps-muslim-ban-comments.html http://americablog.com/2017/02/cnn-white-house-lawyers-cringing-trumps-muslim-ban-comments.html#comments Wed, 08 Feb 2017 21:21:01 +0000 http://americablog.com/?p=141268 CNN reports that Trump’s own lawyers in the White House and the Justice Department are “cringing” today over Trump’s ongoing attacks against the judges deciding on the constitutionality of his Muslim ban.

Trump said today that “a bad high school student” would know to decide in his favor. Trump also called the judges “so political.”

Earlier this week, Trump said that any future terrorist attacks would be blamed on the judges hearing the case:

Trump also suggested that the judges should decide the case based on their own petty concerns of how the public perceives them:

“But I have to be honest that if these judges wanted to, in my opinion, help the court in terms of respect for the court, they do what they should be doing,” he added. “It’s so sad.”

And then we learn from CNN today that lawyers at the Justice Department and the White House itself are “cringing” over Trump’s comments.

These ongoing leaks — and they’re usually leaks that incriminate Trump — are a disaster for Trump. His own people are already turning against him. It’s amazing.

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Elon Musk flip-flops again on Muslim ban http://americablog.com/2017/02/elon-musk-flip-flops-muslim-ban.html http://americablog.com/2017/02/elon-musk-flip-flops-muslim-ban.html#comments Wed, 08 Feb 2017 16:10:11 +0000 http://americablog.com/?p=141219 In the face of mounting public pressure, Tesla/SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has changed his mind (again) on Trump’s Muslim ban. This time for the better.

Musk now opposes the ban, and has added his name to a Washington state court brief opposing Trump’s ban.

Musk had initially expressed concerns about the ban. Here he is on January 28.

Then, on January 30, suddenly Musk is defending the Muslim ban — and feeling deceived by “the left.”

Then, on February 2, Musk once again has “objections” to the Muslim ban, though it’s unclear what exactly he objects to, since only 3 days before he thought concerns about the ban were overblown:

And on February 4, a day after the White House meeting, Trump reports that he “raised climate”and “the travel ban.” Though again, it’s unclear what Musk said.

A day later, Musk is blasting “activists,” a word that tends to be used by critics, not simpaticos.

And finally yesterday, February 7, we learn that Musk has joined the Washington state lawsuit against the Muslim ban.

Woosh. That’s a heck of an evolution. And you, all of you, deserve credit for helping make it happen. It was public pressure on all of corporate America, starting with Uber and Disney, and then Tesla/SpaceX, that pushed Musk to finally come around (again) on the Muslim ban.

elon musk

Elon Musk at the Summit 2013 – Picture by Dan Taylor / Heisenberg Media – www.heisenbergmedia.com

It’s still not clear why Musk is joining the law suit. Has he reversed his earlier opinion that “the left” was exaggerating concerns about the ban? If so, why? What specific concerns does Elon Musk have with the ban?

And just as importantly, will Musk remain on the two Trump business councils he eagerly joined? The one council met last Friday, and after Uber and Disney refused to attend, Musk claimed it was better to be present than not. But Musk attended and what came of it? Trump is still forging ahead with the Muslim ban, and is crazier than ever. If anything, Musk and the other CEOs in attendance simply validated Trump’s legitimacy and agenda. They were trophy CEOs that Trump was collecting like nubile brides to prove his legitimacy and virility. So why remain on the two business councils when clearly Trump isn’t listening?

And what of Trump’s other policies? Tesla hangs its hook on being good for the climate, but Trump thinks climate change is a Chinese hoax. Did his opinion change after meeting with Musk and other CEOs last Friday? Nope. And Musk still hasn’t recanted his support for Trump’s secretary of state Rex Tillerson.

It’s one thing for Elon Musk to claim that engaging Trump will somehow yield progress. But when Musk engages either he agrees with Trump (e.g, Tillerson and the Muslim ban), or his engagement yields not benefit (Musk flip-flopped again on the ban, and Trump still didn’t change his mind).

I get that it’s tempting for a corporate CEO to want to suck up to the president. But then stop pretending that your company is the vanguard of the environmentally-conscious hipster, when you’re simply another company interested in a quick buck.

Maybe it’s time we started asking Tesla board members what they think. Let’s start with Ira Ehrenpreis @IraEhrenpreis.

And sign the petition, calling on Elon Musk to cut his warm and fuzzy ties to Donald Trump.
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Someone needs to remind Donald Trump that killing your political opponents is not normal http://americablog.com/2017/02/someone-needs-remind-donald-trump-killing-political-opponents-not-normal.html http://americablog.com/2017/02/someone-needs-remind-donald-trump-killing-political-opponents-not-normal.html#comments Wed, 08 Feb 2017 13:00:12 +0000 http://americablog.com/?p=141246 Donald Trump recently defended Russian president Vladimir Putin, suggesting that Putin’s ongoing murder of political opponents and journalists is somehow a normal thing that every leader does, even American presidents.

No, Mr. Trump, it’s not normal. It’s not something every leader does. And it most certainly is not what American presidents do.

More in this week’s Russia update:

 

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GOP Senate censors Coretta Scott King http://americablog.com/2017/02/gop-senate-censors-coretta-scott-king.html http://americablog.com/2017/02/gop-senate-censors-coretta-scott-king.html#comments Wed, 08 Feb 2017 02:45:43 +0000 http://americablog.com/?p=141249 The Republican majority in the United States Senate just censored the words of civil rights leader Coretta Scott King, the wife of Martin Luther King.

Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren was reading a scathing letter that Mrs. King wrote about the judicial nomination of Senator Jeff Sessions back in the 1980s.

King’s letter blasted Sessions for “using the power of his office as United States Attorney to intimidate and chill the free exercise of the ballot.”

That was too much for GOP Senator Leader Mitch McConnell, who accused Warren of violating Senate rules that prohibit attacking other members of the Senate. A vote was held, and Warren was effectively silenced for the rest of the debate.

Yes, the United States Senate just ruled that Coretta Scott King is simply too offensive to be heard from. And that Senator Elizabeth is now silenced for the rest of the debate on Sessions’ nomination because she quoted Coretta Scott King.

Karoli Kuns at Crooks and Liars has the video of the moment Warren was shut down:

It’s ironic, to say the least, that in a debate about whether Jeff Sessions is a racist, Republican Senators found it necessary to silence the widow of civil rights hero Martin Luther King, herself a civil rights icon.

It’s also a bit of a joke that Republican Senators are hiding behind Senate rules in order to protect Sessions from very real allegations of using his office to suppress the vote of minorities. No other nominee gets the special snowflake treatment that Sessions is getting due to his position as a sitting senator. If Sessions can’t be criticized for things he may have done, because he’s a Senator, then he shouldn’t be nominated in the first place. Nominees need to be vetted. And they shouldn’t be permitted to hide behind Senate rules.

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Trump White House thinks it and media have “joint custody” of the country http://americablog.com/2017/02/trump-white-house-thinks-media-joint-custody-country.html http://americablog.com/2017/02/trump-white-house-thinks-media-joint-custody-country.html#comments Tue, 07 Feb 2017 23:03:27 +0000 http://americablog.com/?p=141236 Senior Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway made a bizarre comment to CNN’s Jake Tapper today, telling him that the Trump White House and the media have “joint custody” of the country.

Conway’s comment was odd for a number of reasons.

But first, have a look at what she said:

 

 

First off, no one has “custody” of the country. Conway and Trump are not our parents. We are not their kids. We are their bosses.

Second, how would the media have “custody” of the country; and why would Trump and the media be some kind of co-equal parents, as if somehow Trump and the media are two sides of the same coin?

This seems to harken back to Trump’s earlier bizarre statement last month about how the media is “the opposition party.” Trump made the comment ostensibly because the media has been challenging him on his growing list of lies.

The media is the media. Their job is to report and defend the truth. They’re not the opposition party. The Democratic party is the opposition party. And the media was just as tough on Barack Obama during his presidency, and Hillary Clinton during the last election, as they are on Donald Trump now.

The Trump White House is feeling embattled because: a) they have a lying lunatic at the helm; and b) the media and the American people aren’t going to let them get away with their serial lies.

For instance, yesterday, Trump claimed that the media never reported on 78 terrorist attacks, including the Paris nightclub attack, the horrific truck that ran through the crowd in Nice on Bastille Day, the Pulse LGBT nightclub mass shooting in Orlando, the multiple bombings in Brussels, and the San Bernardino shootings.

There was non-stop media coverage of all of those. We all saw it with our own eyes.

If Trump has custody of the country, the kids are moving out.

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White House says media didn’t cover Bataclan, Nice, Brussels, San Bernardino attacks http://americablog.com/2017/02/white-house-says-media-didnt-cover-bataclan-nice-brussels-san-bernardino-attacks.html http://americablog.com/2017/02/white-house-says-media-didnt-cover-bataclan-nice-brussels-san-bernardino-attacks.html#comments Tue, 07 Feb 2017 01:28:01 +0000 http://americablog.com/?p=141204 The White House has just released a list of 78 terrorist attacks that Donald Trump says the media conspired not to cover.

Trump made the bizarre claim earlier today during an address U.S. Central Command in Tampa, Florida.

Trump first mentioned the recent attacks in France, then went off on this odd tangent:

“You’ve seen what happened in Paris and Nice, all over Europe it’s happening. It’s gotten to a point where it’s not even being reported. And in many cases, the very, very dishonest press doesn’t want to report it. They have their reasons, and you understand that.”

As you can imagine, Trump’s comments left a lot of people scratching their heads as to just which terrorist attacks the media had covered up. Also still unanswered, what is the secret “reason” the press has for covering up these attacks —  Trump seems to know it, he thinks the US military knows it, perhaps they’ll share it with the rest of us.

In response to growing criticisms of Trump’s clearly false claim, the White House just released a list of 78 terror attacks that the media conspired to hide from the American public. They include:

  • The attack at the Bataclan dance club and other venues in Paris, that killed 130 people and injured 368.
  • The horrific Bastille Day truck attack in Nice, France that killed 86 people and injured 434.
  • The three coordinated suicide bombings in Brussels, Belgium, that killed 32 and injured 300.
  • And the San Bernardino attack, where 14 were killed and 22 were injured.

CNN’s Jim Acosta has more:


I did a quick Google search for each attack, and found the following results:

None of those attacks were under-reported by the media. I stayed up all night watching the Nice coverage, and we spent days watching the response to the Paris attacks on every media outlet (remember all the coverage of the beautiful flower memorials everyone left behind, including the adorable young French boy who asked his dad if the bad men were going to kill his family too?). Each attack got wall-to-wall coverage because they’re newsworthy. There is no way any media outlet would skip a news story that big.

Which again raises the question of what is wrong with Donald Trump? Only into the 3rd week of his presidency, he seems even crazier than he was during the campaign. It was bad enough that yesterday he called the US military a bunch of “killers,” but now he’s claiming that Paris, Nice, Brussels and San Bernardino weren’t covered by the media? When all of us watched the coverage live for days.

Trump is not well. And he control our nuclear weapons, among other things.

Trump’s unfitness for office is beginning to become a serious crisis.

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