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Name: Don
Gender: Male
Hometown: Cleveland, Ohio
Home country: USA
Current location: Greenfield, MA
Member since: Sat Sep 1, 2012, 03:28 PM
Number of posts: 29,926

Journal Archives

Trump is building a Cabinet ready for political, legal war

Mike Allen 58 mins ago

When President Trump makes more changes in his West Wing (insiders suspect August or September, but who knows?), any new faces are likely to be in the mold of Anthony Scaramucci, age 53, the pugilistic Wall Streeter known as "Mooch" who was named White House communications director, beginning Aug. 15.

The announcement: "Scaramucci, a successful entrepreneur, financier, and founder of SkyBridge Capital, ... will oversee the entire communications operation, including message development and strategy. He will report directly to the President." (Usually would report to the chief of staff.)

The President is building a wartime Cabinet, for political and legal war. One longtime ally who's likely to have a more visible, frequent role: Newt Gingrich, husband of Callista Gingrich, Trump's choice for ambassador to the Vatican. Trump relishes fights, and creates plenty of them. But now he's in a real one, with special counsel Bob Mueller signaling that he plans an expansive, exhaustive investigation aimed at Trump, his relatives, and current and former political lieutenants.

One West Wing confidant says Trump really might dismiss Mueller. So POTUS needs "a group that can fight through what could end up being something quite amazing. We're going to see out-and-out political warfare, and not over ... Medicaid," the confidant said.

Be smart: As Matt Miller, the MSNBC contributor and former Obama Justice Department official, tweeted after the revelation that Trump was digging dirt on Mueller and contemplating pardons: "Takeaway from the Post & NYT pieces is we are headed for a certain crisis. Trump just will not, cannot allow this investigation to go forward."



Indonesian President orders officers to shoot drug traffickers

Source: Reuters

JULY 22, 2017 / 4:54 AM / 4 HOURS AGO

JAKARTA (Reuters) - Indonesia's President Joko Widodo has instructed law enforcement officers to shoot drug traffickers to deal with a narcotics emergency facing the country.

"Be firm, especially to foreign drug dealers who enter the country and resist arrest. Shoot them because we indeed are in a narcotics emergency position now," Widodo said in a speech delivered at an event held by one of Indonesia's political parties late on Friday.

His remarks have drawn comparison to that of Philippine's President Rodrigo Duterte, who launched a brutal anti-drug crackdown about a year ago that saw many alleged drug dealers killed.

The bloody campaign in the Phillipines has drawn condemnation from the international community, including the United Nations.

Read more: http://www.reuters.com/article/us-indonesia-drugs-idUSKBN1A708P?il=0

President Trump's Interview Bashing Jeff Sessions Meant Legal Spokesman Mark Corallo Had to Quit

The former spokesman for the president’s legal team confirmed to The Daily Beast that he resigned from his position—and those close to him say Trump gave him no other choice.

07.21.17 9:20 PM ET

When the president sat down for an interview with The New York Times, he all but begged his own attorney general to resign. Instead, his legal team’s own spokesman called it quits.

Mark Corallo, who had spent months defending President Donald Trump as spokesperson for his personal legal team—headed by longtime Trump attorney Marc Kasowitz—confirmed to The Daily Beast on Friday morning that he resigned. He didn’t provide any detail on his reasons.

But people who have known Corallo for years said the president’s New York Times interview, where he questioned Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ integrity, meant he had no choice but to leave.

“To people who know him, his choice to leave was unavoidable on a moral and professional level,” said a longtime friend of Corallo’s.

“Anyone with Mark’s professional capabilities would have seen The New York Times interview was a debilitating P.R. calamity,” the friend added. “To direct broadsides on Mueller and the A.G. is going to be impossible from which to recover, and Corallo certainly would have known that. It makes total sense that he got out of dodge. He’s always had tremendous political instincts.”


Coats says he intends to 'try to get some details' on Sessions report

Source: Politico

By JOSH MEYER 07/21/2017 11:38 PM EDT

ASPEN, Colorado – U.S. Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats said Friday that he intends to “try to get some details” about a media report alleging that Attorney General Jeff Sessions discussed campaign-related matters, including policy issues important to Moscow, with Russia’s ambassador to the United States during the 2016 presidential race.

The Washington Post reported Friday that Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak told his superiors in Moscow that he discussed those issues with Sessions during the campaign when he was serving as a top foreign policy advisor to Republican candidate Donald Trump.

Kislyak’s accounts of two conversations with Sessions were intercepted by U.S. spy agencies, which monitor the communications of senior Russian officials both in the United States and in Russia, the Post reported. It also noted that Sessions initially failed to disclose his contacts with Kislyak, that he then denied that the meetings were about the Trump campaign, and that he has testified that he has no recollection of such an encounter last April.

One U.S. official told the Post said that Sessions has provided “misleading” statements that are “contradicted by other evidence.” And it reported that a former official said that “the intelligence indicates that Sessions and Kislyak had ‘substantive’ discussions on matters including Trump’s positions on Russia-related issues and prospects for U.S.-Russia relations in a Trump administration.”

Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2017/07/21/coats-sessions-russia-report-240837

Justice spokeswoman questions report of Sessions' exchange with Russian officials

Source: Politico

By CRISTIANO LIMA 07/21/2017 09:48 PM EDT

A Justice Department spokeswoman on Friday questioned the credibility of a report that Attorney General Jeff Sessions discussed campaign-related topics with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.

The Washington Post, citing anonymous sources, reported on Friday that Kislyak had told his supervisors in Russian that he and Sessions had talked about campaign-related topics important to the Kremlin during the 2016 presidential race. The alleged exchange would appear contradict sworn testimony by Sessions.

"Obviously I can't comment on the reliability of what anonymous sources describe in a wholly uncorroborated intelligence intercept that the Washington Post has not seen and that has not been provided to me," Justice Department spokeswoman Sarah Isgur Flores said.

Isgur Flores added that Sessions stood by testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee last month when he stated he "never met with or had any conversations with any Russians or any foreign officials concerning any type of interference with any campaign or election."

Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2017/07/21/justice-spokeswoman-questions-sessions-report-240827

Federal grand jury indicts U.S. soldier on terrorism charges

Source: Associated Press

By ASSOCIATED PRESS 07/21/2017 11:27 PM EDT

HONOLULU — A federal grand jury in Hawaii has indicted a U.S. soldier for attempting to provide material support to the Islamic State group.

Army Sgt. 1st Class Ikaika Kang was indicted Friday after he was arrested by an FBI SWAT team on July 8. Kang was ordered held without bail.

Because of the indictment, Kang will no longer have a preliminary hearing that was scheduled for Monday.

Kang's court-appointed attorney Birney Bervar said after his detention hearing that he will ask for a mental health evaluation.

Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2017/07/21/ikaika-kang-islamic-state-indicted-240836

Trump Twitter-rages about pardons and at media

Source: RawStory

22 JUL 2017 AT 07:31 ET

President Donald Trump was up bright and early Saturday morning, attacking the media for reporting that Attorney General Jeff Sessions discussed Trump campaign issues with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak before the 2016 election.

The report was based on intelligence sources, which upset the president who called it a “INTELLIGENCE LEAK,” while attacking the “Amazon Washington Post.”

No content with that, Trump then accused the New York Times of aiding “the single most wanted terrorist, Al-Baghdadi” — but without providing any details.

“The Failing New York Times foiled U.S. attempt to kill the single most wanted terrorist,Al-Baghdadi.Their sick agenda over National Security,” Trump tweeted.



Read more: http://www.rawstory.com/2017/07/trump-twitter-rages-at-media-for-reporting-intelligence-leak-of-sessions-secret-meeting-with-russians/

Draining the swamp - of brainpower: Trump's corrupt administration is fueled by anti-intellectualism

SATURDAY, JUL 22, 2017 06:00 AM EDT

Trump got elected by attacking "elites." But he didn't mean rich people — only those with education and expertise


On the campaign trail last year Donald Trump forcefully promoted himself as the anti-corruption candidate and famously promised that he would “drain the swamp” in Washington if elected president. “For those who control the levers of power in Washington, and for the global special interests they partner with, our campaign represents an existential threat,” boasted the candidate at one point during a speech in which he assailed the “corrupt political establishment” and the “corrupt Clinton machine.”

This populist rhetoric was critical to Trump’s success, and the Republican candidate was elected in large part because he was perceived by many as an outsider who would bring change to Washington, in direct contrast to Hillary Clinton, who was widely seen as the ultimate insider who epitomized that “corrupt political establishment.”

Though many saw right through Trump’s rhetoric, it became clear just how farcical his promise to “drain the swamp” was when he began assembling his cabinet shortly after winning the election. The president-elect managed not only to put together the richest and most unqualified cabinet in history, but also filled his administration with many of the revolving-door insiders he had regularly lambasted on the campaign trail. While candidate Trump frequently called out Clinton (and other political opponents) for her connections to Goldman Sachs, for example, President Trump has created a “Government Sachs” of his own, employing five veterans from the infamous investment bank as top advisors, including Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

Trump’s cabinet is the richest in American history, and its members have more combined wealth than a third of the American population. And for many of Trump’s top advisers, massive wealth seems to be the sole qualification. Billionaire Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos has no experience in education (though she has spent much of her life trying to destroy public education), Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson is a neurosurgeon with zero experience in housing policy (whom Trump seems to have chosen solely because of his ethnicity), Energy Secretary Rick Perry knew almost nothing about the Department of Energy before being tapped to run it (as a presidential candidate in 2012, he called for its elimination — though he was unable to name it during an infamous debate), and EPA administrator Scott Pruitt has long opposed the department he now runs. The list goes on, but suffice it say that most of Trump’s cabinet members are about as rich — and unqualified — as the president himself.


Trump's White House Has Evangelicals "On Speed Dial," Says Activist Who Prayed Over President

July 22, 2017
Conor Gaffey
Displayed with permission from Newsweek

Evangelical Christians have unprecedented access to President Donald Trump’s White House and are “on speed dial” with the administration, according to an activist who prayed over the president in the Oval Office.

The evangelical community overwhelmingly backed the Republican in November’s election, and Trump has been quick to repay it. The president has signed an executive order on religious liberty and cut funding to abortion providers overseas.

Now, it appears that the president is rewarding one of his most important support bases with a hotline to the White House and some of the most senior officials in the administration.

A photo emerged last week of a meeting between over 20 evangelical leaders and Trump, along with Vice-President Mike Pence, in the Oval Office. In the photo, Trump has his head bowed and several people have placed their hands on him in prayer; Pence is pictured with his eyes close, presumably praying.


Johnnie Moore, a Christian businessman and activist based in California, took the photo. Moore tells Newsweek that the occasion was an impromptu “time among friends” and that evangelicals feels like they can raise their concerns at the highest level in this administration—a contrast to the situation under former President Barack Obama.

“I couldn’t get the Obama administration to do anything. They denied a visa to an Iraqi nun that was petitioned to testify in front of our Congress, and I took it all up the chain to the State Department. It was a fight every step of the way and the White House was trying to block it and it was just crazy,” says Moore, a former senior vice president for communications at Liberty University, the largest evangelical Christian college in the U.S. and the venue for a commencement speech by President Trump in May.

(The nun in question was Diana Momeka, whose visa to testify before a congressional hearing on the persecution of religious minorities by the Islamic State militant group (ISIS) was initially denied by the State Department in 2015, but was later granted.)

But things have changed under Trump, he says. “It’s a totally different time now. They’re not only on our speed dial, we’re on their speed dial. In my opinion, it’s good for America,” says Moore.


Hillary Clinton is America's Biggest - And Most Important - Loser


Hillary Clinton's election loss can still be seen and felt across the country, just as if it were that same night in early November when millions were glued to their screens, witnessing a stunning moment of history in real time. Now, six months into a presidency that isn't hers, the former Democratic candidate continues battling criticisms from all sides of the nation, as if she were still on the ballot.

The right covers her flaws with tunnel vision, even as a failed candidate with no tangible influence in policymaking or domestic affairs, focusing on Clinton while explosive new reports undermine the ethics of Donald Trump’s White House. To this day, she is used as a scapegoat to avoid any real criticism of the president by conservative media: the same hour it was announced Donald Trump failed in rallying his party behind a landmark health care bill (unlike his predecessor in 2010), Fox News was pushing a conspiracy theory that she was instead the one guilty of collusion during the 2016 presidential election with the Ukrainians—not the Russians, nor the Trump campaign.

The most popular cable news network has steadily pushed fake news about Clinton in Trump’s America. When she delivered a commencement speech at her alma matter, one of the first times she spoke in public since the election, the pundits were back to promoting false claims the 69-year-old grandmother was secretly terribly ill. Newscasters mocked her for sharing the pain she felt after losing the election, claiming she should "go back to the woods" where she belongs, and adding that she clearly never possessed the stamina to be president.

"She started the speech actually with a coughing fit that required them to bring her water and a lozenge," Fox News contributor and former MTV Real World cast member Rachel Campos-Duffy said at the time. "So, quite the juxtaposition to how strong our president looked this week traveling, you know, all the way to the Middle East and Europe. After resting and drinking chardonnay, and cleaning her closets like she talked about in her speech you would presume she’d be in better shape."

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