Saturday, December 16, 2017

Sarah Palin must be feeling neglected so she resurrects old stories from the past as an attack on journalists.

Courtesy of Palin's Facebook page: 

Nice to see light shine. Doesn’t it make you wonder about other accusations (absolutely false, in Todd’s and my case) that are reported as truth? Total lies that escape real journalists’ “who/what/where/when/why” ethical reporting practices. - SP 

I have to tell ya that this really feels like Palin is specifically baiting me, since a number of these stories involved me in one way or another. 

I guess somebody is feeling lonely, and is desperate for people to talk about her again.

Well I am pretty damn tired of constantly posting about Donald Trump so why the hell not?

That Star Magazine cover seems to be reporting on my Splitsville story so for the handful of you who may not be familiar with it, here is a link.

I will also include this follow up post that I made last year after receiving some corrections from Levi Johnston.

As you can see the post did contain some misinformation provided to me by Tank Jones, who I hired as a private investigator.  However the story of their marital problems, Palin's desire to leave the state, and the fact that she was looking to get a job in media (We thought at the time talk radio, but it turned out to be Fox News.) all turned out to be accurate.

Now let's move on to the Shailey Tripp story.

I first reported on that story only after The National Enquirer story came out with it, even though I had been hearing about it for weeks.

Later of course I made contact with Shailey and recorded an interview with her.

(Here is a transcript for those who do not want to listen to the audio.)

Of course Sarah and Todd denied the story vehemently ("Have you seen Todd?"), but this still remains a case of she said she said. You can choose for yourself who seems more believable.

I have to say that if Palin had not brought these old stories up that I was prepared to never talk about them again. They are, after all, old news.

But since she opened Pandora's Box, why not take a look at all of the embarrassing things inside?

The Trump Administration is now restricting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from using words like "science-based" and "evidenced-based."

Courtesy of WaPo: 

The Trump administration is prohibiting officials at the nation’s top public health agency from using a list of seven words or phrases — including “fetus” and “transgender” — in any official documents being prepared for next year’s budget. 

Policy analysts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta were told of the list of forbidden words at a meeting Thursday with senior CDC officials who oversee the budget, according to an analyst who took part in the 90-minute briefing. The forbidden words are “vulnerable,” “entitlement,” “diversity,” “transgender,” “fetus,” “evidence-based” and “science-based.” 

In some instances, the analysts were given alternative phrases. Instead of “science-based” or ­“evidence-based,” the suggested phrase is “CDC bases its recommendations on science in consideration with community standards and wishes,” the person said. In other cases, no replacement words were immediately offered. 

The question of how to address such issues as sexual orientation, gender identity and abortion rights — all of which received significant visibility under the Obama administration — has surfaced repeatedly in federal agencies since President Trump took office. Several key departments — including Health and Human Services, which oversees the CDC, as well as Justice, Education, and Housing and Urban Development — have changed some federal policies and how they collect government information about lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans.

Does your country feel any dumber yet? 

Well if not, just wait, it's about to.

Remember the New Mexico school shooter? Yeah, well he was a Trump supporting white supremacist.

William Edward Atchison
Courtesy of the Daily Beast:  

In real life, William Edward Atchison—people called him Bill—lived in a little yellow house with his parents, about a mile away from the Giant gas station where he worked and from Aztec High School, where he shot and killed two students and then himself last Thursday. 

At the murder scene, police found a thumb drive with a note that read, “If things go according to plan, today would be when I die. I go somewhere and gear up, then hold a class hostage and go apeshit, then blow my brains out.” 

He wrote “work sucks, school sucks, life sucks. I just want out of this shit.”

And yet online, the 21-year-old New Mexico resident lived a prolific life as a white supremacist, pro-Trump meme peddler who was most known for his obsession with school shooters. For a half-decade, Atchison spent most of his days online, repeatedly posting threats of violence and cries for help. 

When users saw posts from Atchison, who went by dozens of names like “Adam Lanza” and “Future Mass Shooter” on both larger platforms like YouTube and racist communities like The Daily Stormer, they would often ask how his manifesto was going.

This kid literally spent most of his time online obsessed with school shooters and asking for hep to fix his life.

And yet he seems not to have been on the radar of any law enforcement officials.

Could that simply be because he was white?

As it turned out the two kids he killed, Casey Marquez and Francisco Fernandez, were non-whites so it would seem that this could indeed be racially motivated.

The FBI has been saying for decades that the White Supremacist and militia groups were far more dangerous than terrorist groups from overseas, and clearly this is yet another example to prove that point.

These two young people should not have died, and if their attacker had been a Muslim kid name Abdul they probably wouldn't have. 

Rep. Adam Schiff expresses concern that the Republicans will soon shut down the House Intelligence investigation as a precursor to firing Robert Mueller.

Courtesy of Mother Jones: 

Republicans on the House intelligence committee appear intent on shutting down the panel’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election as soon as next Friday, according to the committee’s top Democrat. Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) warned in a series of tweets that the move could presage an all-out GOP attack on Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of possible Trump campaign coordination with Russia. Schiff said House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) could be pressuring the panel to prematurely wrap up its work and would have “responsibility” for any effort to curtail the probe. 

Schiff noted that Republicans have scheduled no witness interviews after Friday, December 22. That’s despite “dozens of outstanding witnesses on key aspects of our investigation that they refuse to contact” and unexecuted document requests. Committee Republicans did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Friday.

Rep. Schiff is by no means alone in his concern, and many Washington Democrats, journalists, and  every day people on Twitter are also putting two and two together and recognizing that the groundwork is being laid out for the removal of Robert Mueller.

And in fact we have talked about it here several times.

The attacks on the credulity of Mueller's investigation seem to be coming from a variety of directions, and from a variety of conservative politicians.

Courtesy of Business Insider:

Republican Rep. Trey Gowdy, who sits on the House Judiciary Committee, suggested in a Friday interview that FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe will be forced out at the top law enforcement agency as soon as next week. 

Gowdy argued that newly released FBI records reveal political bias against President Donald Trump — and in favor of Hillary Clinton — at the highest levels of the FBI. Gowdy said that McCabe will likely be pushed out of the agency as a result of the perceived bias. 

"I'll be a little bit surprised if he's still an employee of the FBI this time next week," Gowdy told Fox News of McCabe, adding that he would be "shocked" if McCabe testifies before the House next week. 

Apparently this McCabe guy was supposed to have been breaking into the phones of his agents and spying on what they were texting to their girlfriends.

There was also this from the sitting Florida Attorney General.
Can you believe that shit?

And there is certainly reason for the Trump White House and the Republicans to be very worried.

Courtesy of The Independent: 

The investigation into links between Trump campaign officials and Russia has requested documents from a data firm which worked on both the 2016 presidential election and Brexit, said US media. 

Robert Mueller, who is leading the federal probe, asked Cambridge Analytica to hand over the emails of any employee who worked to support Donald Trump’s 2016 election win, the Wall Street Journal reports. 

The special counsel’s request, which the firm reportedly voluntarily complied with in the autumn, suggests the investigation is now probing the Trump campaign’s data operations.

You know that has some sphincters in the White House puckering up. 

The threat of Mueller being fired has now become such a concern that the former director of the US Office of Government Ethics issued this directive:

“Make a plan folks. Be ready to take to the streets. This is an attack on our Republic.”
This is typically the point where I say something like "The shit just got real."

Well actually I think this shit has been real for sometime, and it may now be about time for all of us to start shoveling. 

More than 700 employees have left the EPA since Scott Pruitt took over.

Courtesy of Think Progress: 

Since Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt took over the top job at the agency in March, more than 700 employees have either retired, taken voluntary buyouts, or quit, signaling the second-highest exodus of employees from the agency in nearly a decade. 

According to agency documents and federal employment statistics, 770 EPA employees departed the agency between April and December, leaving employment levels close to Reagan-era levels of staffing. According to the EPA’s contingency shutdown plan for December, the agency currently has 14,449 employees on board — a marked change from the April contingency plan, which showed a staff of 15,219. 

“There has been a drop of employees of 770 between April and December. While several hundred of those are buyouts, the rest of those are either people that are retiring or quitting in disgust,” Kyla Bennett, director of New England Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER), told ThinkProgress. “Is that number higher than it would normally be? I think it is.”

I imagine the number of exiting employees will only continue to grow. 

After all how many employees do you need at the Environmental Protection Agency if they have no intention of protecting the environment?

President Obama put a lot of effort into plans to protect this planet, so of course Donald Trump's focus is on undoing everything that he tried to accomplish even if it means the death of every creature in existence.

Widow of Kentucky politician who committed suicide in response to allegations of sexual misconduct will run for his now vacated seat.

Courtesy of Fox News: 

The wife of Kentucky State Rep. Dan Johnson, who killed himself on Wednesday amid a bombshell report's accusations of sexual assault, announced Thursday that she would pursue her husband’s seat, saying “his fight will go on.” 

Dan Johnson, a preacher and a Republican, committed suicide Wednesday on a bridge in Mt. Washington, according to Bullitt County Sheriff Donnie Tinnell. The coroner confirmed that Johnson died of a single gunshot wound to the head, and the weapon was found near the 57-year-old's body. 

The statement from Johnson’s widow, Rebecca, said she was running for the position because “these high-tech lynchings based on lies and half-truths can’t be allowed to win the day.” 

“Dan is gone but the story of his life is far from over,” she said.

I think the story of his life is that he was yet another over privileged white guy who hid behind religion while preying on young girls and when he got caught killed himself.

Seems pretty cut and dried to me.

The Simpsons' take on the Trump/Mueller situation.

Sadly this is probably very close to what's really going on behind the scenes.

Friday, December 15, 2017

Those texts messages between the two FBI agents were not authorized for release by the DOJ, and in fact may have been the fault of Rep. Devin Nunes.

Courtesy of NBC News:  

The Department of Justice released 90 pages of text messages late Tuesday night, many harshly critical of candidate Donald Trump, that were exchanged between an FBI lawyer and an agent who was later assigned to Robert Mueller's special counsel team. 

e-mails were exchanged between Peter Strzok, one of the top FBI agents assigned to the Mueller investigation, and Lisa Page, an FBI lawyer. The two were romantically involved. 

When Mueller learned of the e-mails last summer, he removed Strzok from the team.

One message sent by Page to Strzok on March 4, 2016, reads, "God trump is a loathsome human," according to a transcript obtained by NBC News.

Later that year, in August, shortly after Trump secured the Republican nomination, Page sent Strzok an article on Trump's fumbling to understand Russia's annexation of Crimea, adding: "Jesus. You should read this. And Trump should go f himself." 

Strzok responded that he liked the article "And F Trump." 

Strzok told Page on July 14, "It's clear he's capturing all the white, poor voters who the mainstream Republicans abandoned in all but name in the quest for the almighty $$$$." 

In other messages, the couple shared pro-Clinton views. Strzok told Page in March, "God Hillary should win 100,000,000-0." 

Strzok then praised Clinton's nomination in July: "Congrats on a woman nominated for President in a major party! About damn time!"

So that was the story a few days ago.

Now keep in mind that these are not emails sent back and forth on the FBI's official accounts, these  are private  texts between two people in a relationship.

Also keep in mind when Mueller learned of them he had this agent removed immediately.

But if you think that is going to placate the Right Wing, well then you have simply not been watching enough Fox News.

Courtesy of Politico: 

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley demanded answers Thursday about when top Department of Justice officials became aware of anti-Donald Trump text messages sent in 2015 and 2016 by top FBI officials, including one senior agent involved in the investigation of any Trump campaign connections to Russia. 

"The limited release of 375 text messages between Mr. Peter Strzok and Ms. Lisa Page indicate a highly politicized FBI environment during both the Clinton and Russia investigations," Grassley wrote in a letter to deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who appointed special counsel Robert Mueller to lead a criminal probe of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

Right on cue.

Now Democrats have been wondering why we are seeing these texts in the first place, as they are private and should probably have remained an internal FBI matter.

Courtesy of Politico: 

Democrats pressed the Justice Department on Thursday to explain why it released salacious, anti-Donald Trump text messages exchanged between two FBI employees who are still under investigation for their work on the Russia special counsel investigation.

As it turns out the DOJ was not really behind the early  release of the texts. At least not officially:

The Department of Justice acknowledged in a statement on Thursday night that copies of private text messages exchanged between two former special-counsel investigators were disclosed to certain members of the media before they were given to Congress, even though those disclosures "were not authorized." 

Sarah Isgur Flores, a DOJ spokeswoman, told Politico that the text messages exchanged between Peter Strzok and Lisa Page were given to key members of the House Judiciary Committee the night before Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein's public testimony on Wednesday. 

The DOJ's Public Affairs division shared the same messages with a group of reporters after they were shared with the lawmakers, Flores said. But some members of the media "had already received copies." 

"As we understand now, some members of the media had already received copies of the texts before that — but those disclosures were not authorized by the department," she said.

So why did these private texts even get released in the first place?

Courtesy of Business Insider: 

Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz on Friday said the Justice Department was "forced" to release private text messages exchanged between former special counsel investigators Peter Strzok and Lisa Page because House Intelligence Chair Devin Nunes "was about to subpoena them." 

During an interview, CNN anchor Chris Cuomo had asked Gaetz, a Republican member of the House Judiciary Committee who has introduced a resolution to remove special counsel Robert Mueller from his post, what he knows about the ongoing investigation that has led him to believe it has been tainted. 

"What do you know that Rod Rosenstein does not?" Cuomo asked, referring to the deputy attorney general. 

"Well, Chris, all the American people can see the text messages that were forced to be released 'cause Devin Nunes was about to subpoena them," Gaetz said.

Nunes, and a number of the House Republicans, have been desperately searching for a way to derail Robert Mueller and his investigation,  and they are willing even to subpoena private texts between a man and his girlfriend to do it. 

Is it a smoking gun.

No, especially since this Strzok guy also made nasty remarks about Bernie Sanders and former Attorney General Eric Holder.

But the Republicans don't necessarily need a smoking gun,  they just need enough to create doubt in the minds of some Americans so that Mueller can be canned and they will believe it was completely  justified.

And they are already starting to put those wheels in motion.

Apparently Secretary of State Rex Tillerson may soon be on his way out as well.

Courtesy of WaPo: 

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson seemed focused this week on rebooting his image as a beleaguered Cabinet member on the outs with his boss and his own employees — holding a rare town hall with employees, promising foreign trips into 2018 and saying he is “learning” to enjoy his job. 

But then he went off script by offering another invitation for diplomatic talks with nuclear-armed North Korea, putting him at odds once again with President Trump and senior White House officials, who are increasingly exasperated with the secretary of state and say he cannot remain in his job for the long term. 

The episode highlights the deep distrust between the White House and Tillerson and suggests how difficult it will be for the relationship to continue. While Trump and Tillerson have clashed on several policy issues — including negotiating with North Korea, the U.S. withdrawal from the Paris climate accord and planning to move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem — much of the distance between them seems personal and probably irreversible, White House officials said. 

Tillerson, one White House official said, “had not learned his lesson from the last time,” when Trump publicly rebuked his top diplomat on Twitter over the wisdom of talking to North Korea. 

A senior U.S. official said foreign diplomats and leaders often ask if Tillerson is speaking for the administration and when he will depart. Another White House aide said White House officials, diplomats and other Cabinet secretaries largely deem the former ExxonMobil chief executive “irrelevant.”

Inside the White House, this person said, there are fairly regular conversations about who will replace Tillerson even as he remains in the job. CIA Director Mike Pompeo, for example, may no longer be the leading choice because it means he would not brief Trump every day, and the president likes him in that role, the official said. 

“I think our allies know at this point he’s not really speaking for the administration,” this Trump official said — a particularly sharp slap given that Tillerson has sought to be a buffer and interpreter for allies angry or bewildered by some of Trump’s actions.

Tillerson "had not learned his lesson."

Yeah, how dare this guy to continue trying to do his job.

At some point it seems possible that Trump will have replaced every single original member of his administration and White House staff. 

However he should keep in mind that rearranging the deck chairs did not keep the Titanic from sinking to an icy grave.

Donald Trump's FBI schizophrenia.

Courtesy of The Hill: 

President Trump on Friday tore into the FBI just hours before speaking at the agency’s training academy. 

“It’s a shame what's happened with the FBI. But we’re going to rebuild the FBI; it’ll be bigger and better than ever,” Trump told reporters. 

The president doubled down on his criticism of the nation’s top law enforcement agency before leaving the White House for the FBI’s campus in Quantico, Va., where he spoke to law enforcement leaders graduating from a training program. 

Trump said revelations about the FBI’s handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation and text messages from a top agent that were critical of him were “really, really disgraceful.” 

“You have a lot of very angry people who are seeing it,” the president said. "It's a very sad thing to watch, I will tell you that."

By the way when Donald Trump says that "a lot of people are very angry" those people are really just the voices in his head.

They are also the same "people" who were finding "amazing" things about Barack Obama's birth certificate in Hawaii.

Now those statements above were straight from the orange tinted anus mouth of Trump in the morning, but later in the day he was singing a different tune.

Courtesy of Time Magazine: 

President Trump praised FBI agents as “great, great people” and “heroes for all of us” at a graduation less than an hour after criticizing the agency to reporters on the South Lawn of the White House. 

In a speech to the FBI National Academy’s graduating class, Trump argued that America should do more to protect and respect law enforcement officials, even calling for the death penalty for people who harm them. 

“Deliver a message to your fellow officers — the President of the United States has your back 100 percent,” he said.

I try not to watch Trump in real time, and tend to wait until later and watch journalists reporting on what he said.

However this morning I actually watched both of these exchanges as they were happening, and during that speech to the  FBI graduates by jaw just went slack.

It quite literally made me doubt what I had heard earlier today.

The man is either completely schizophrenic, or the comments to the reporters on the White House lawn are his actual opinions, and the shit he spewed in front of the graduates are words written for him by his speech writers to make him seem presidential, that he just reads off robotically like an episode of the Apprentice.

You decide.

The Donald Trump/Vladimir Putin bromance continues with late night phone calls and public mash notes to each other.

Courtesy of Sky News:  

Vladimir Putin has revealed he and Donald Trump are on first name terms, as the Russian President spoke to the media during his four-hour, end-of-year news conference. 

"This is how relations should be between people like us," Mr Putin said to reporters at the marathon annual event. 

He praised Mr Trump's "accomplishments", saying: "I'm not the one to evaluate the (US) President's work. That needs to be done by the voters, the American people. 

"(But) we are objectively seeing that there have been some major accomplishments, even in the short time he has been working. 

"Look at how the markets have grown. This speaks to investors' trust in the American economy."

Putin also claimed that allegations that Russia tampered in the 2016 election are made up by the US media.  (Perhaps forgetting that a number of Russian media outlets have confirmed that as well.)

Courtesy of Yahoo News

"All of this has been invented, made up by people who are in opposition to President Trump with a view to shedding a negative light on what President Trump is doing " Putin said, translated from Russian, and going on to call it "nonsense."

Personally I'm just amazed he restrained himself from calling it "fake news," because you know he wanted to.

For his part as soon as he learned that his boyfriend and complimented him, Donald Trump gave him a ring.

Courtesy of USA Today: 

Russian President Vladimir Putin had some kind words for President Trump's handling of the U.S. economy on Thursday — so Trump called Putin to personally thank him. 

The two sides sent out only bare-bones summaries of the afternoon phone call, but the White House version of the call noted that Trump "thanked President Putin for acknowledging America’s strong economic performance" earlier in the day. 

In his annual freewheeling press conference Thursday, Putin remarked on the booming U.S. stock market — a regular Trump talking point — and said it was a sign that investors "trust in what President Trump has been doing in this field."

Jesus, get a room already. 

I heard a host on MSNBC today saying that Trump's consistent affection for Putin is "one of the greatest mysteries facing us right now." And that it "made no sense."

I beg to differ.

If somebody gifted you with the most powerful political office on the planet, wouldn't you be making goo goo eyes at them as well?

Majority of Americans believe that Donald Trump should resign over allegations of sexual misconduct.

Courtesy of Public Policy Polling:

PPP’s newest national poll finds that a majority of voters think Donald Trump should resign from the Presidency because of the allegations of sexual harassment against him. 53% think Trump should step down to just 42% who think he should remain in office. 53% of voters believe the women who have accused Trump of harassment, to 31% who think they aren’t telling the truth.

The pressure is building from all sides and it does not seen viable at this point that Trump will serve out his entire four years.

Personally I do not care how Trump is removed from office, whether it be due to the Mueller investigation, or due to these allegations of sexual harassment and assault, just so long as he is removed from office.

Former British Prime Minister says that Trump's attack on the media, and use of term "fake news," is dangerous.

Courtesy of Politico:

Former British Prime Minister David Cameron called out Donald Trump’s attacks on the media, saying his use of term “fake news” was “dangerous.” 

Giving Transparency International UK’s annual lecture in London on Wednesday evening, Cameron said attacks on journalists were “bad news for the fight against corruption.” 

He then turned his attention to the U.S. president, saying: “When Donald Trump uses the term ‘fake news’ to describe CNN and the BBC, that is not just a questionable political tactic. It’s actually dangerous.”

“Of course broadcasters make mistakes and it’s right they correct them,” Cameron said. “But what is being attempted here goes far beyond that. It’s an attempt to question the whole legitimacy of organizations that have an important role in our democracy. 

“Let me put it like this. President Trump: ‘Fake news’ is not broadcasters criticizing you, it’s Russian bots and trolls targeting your democracy … pumping out untrue stories day after day, night after night.”

This is how the world sees the current Commander-in-Chief, as a thin skinned buffoon.

And they are correct to do so.

PepsiCo reserves one hundred of Tesla's new electric semi trucks. The future is here.

Courtesy of Reuters:  

PepsiCo Inc has reserved 100 of Tesla Inc’s new electric Semi trucks, the largest-known order of the big rig, as the maker of Mountain Dew soda and Doritos chips seeks to reduce fuel costs and fleet emissions, a company executive said on Tuesday. 

Tesla has been trying to convince the trucking community that it can build an affordable electric big rig with the range and cargo capacity to compete with relatively low-cost, time-tested diesel trucks. 

Early orders reflect uncertainty over how the market for electric commercial vehicles will develop. About 260,000 heavy-duty Class-8 trucks are produced in North America annually, according to FTR, an industry economics research firm. 

PepsiCo’s 100 trucks add to orders by more than a dozen companies such as Wal-Mart Stores Inc, fleet operator J.B. Hunt Transport Services Inc, and foodservice distribution company Sysco Corp. Reservations to date are at 267 Tesla trucks, according to a Reuters tally. 

PepsiCo intends to deploy Tesla Semis for shipments of snack foods and beverages between manufacturing and distribution facilities and direct to retailers within the 500-mile (800-km) range promised by Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk.

I know I must drive some of you crazy with my fixation on new technologies and the move to renewable energies, but what can I say, the future is indeed exciting.

Alternative energy sources, autonomous vehicles, Artificial Intelligence, the next decade or so is going to be amazing.

Now if only our humanity can catch up with our technologies.