Posted by: maboulette | March 8, 2019

A Really Bad Week


trump bad week

Fox News analyst and former judge Andrew Napolitano warned that President Donald Trump had a bad week the likes of which he won’t survive again. 

TRUMP FAILED

Napolitano recapped the prior week in the conservative Washington Times on Wednesday, describing how Trump failed to reach a nuclear disarmament deal with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un and saw his former personal lawyer Michael Cohen accused him of crimes during congressional testimony.

HOUSE

On top of that, the House of Representatives moved to block Trump’s declaration of a national emergency on the U.S.-Mexico border, and The New York Times reported that Trump had overruled intelligence agencies to demand his son-in-law obtain a security clearance, despite concerns. Oh, and Democrats launched a widespread investigation into Trump, his family and his business dealings, which resulted in document requests from 81 individuals, entities and agencies close to the president ― including his two sons.

TORMENTORS

“The president has serious and powerful tormentors whom he cannot overcome by mockery alone. He needs to do more than demean them with acerbic tweets, because many of those tormentors can legally cause him real harm,” Napolitano wrote. “Can President Trump survive all this? Yes — but not if he has another week like the last one.”

 

Posted by: maboulette | March 7, 2019

Celebrating Women’s History Month


spacewalk

Astronauts Anne McClain and Christina Koch, along with flight controller Jackie Kagey, are set to conduct the International Space Station spacewalk on March 29.

 ALL FEMALE SPACEWALK

NASA plans to conduct its first all-female spacewalk later in March during Women’s History Month. 

EXPEDITION 59

The International Space Station spacewalk, part of Expedition 59, is scheduled for March 29, and will include astronauts Anne McClain and Christina Koch, as well as Jackie Kagey as the lead EVA, or spacewalk, flight controller, NASA told HuffPost on Wednesday. The spacewalk will last around seven hours, according to NASA’s website.

SPOKESWOMAN

“The March 29 spacewalk will be the first with only women,” NASA spokeswoman Kathryn Hambleton said, hedging that “assignments and schedules could always change.”   “It was not orchestrated to be this way; these spacewalks were originally scheduled to take place in the fall,” Hambleton added.

FLIGHT CONTROL ROOM

The on-the-ground flight control team at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston will include lead flight director Mary Lawrence and NASA engineer Kristen Facciol. 

FACCIOL

Facciol tweeted her excitement last week, writing, “I just found out that I’ll be on console providing support for the FIRST ALL FEMALE SPACEWALK with @AstroAnnimal and @Astro_Christina and I can not contain my excitement!!!!”

SPACEWALKS ARE RARE

Spacewalks are somewhat rare and are usually done for reasons that include exterior work on a spacecraft or satellite, or testing new equipment. 

NASA TOLD HUFFPOST

McClain is currently on the International Space Station as part of Expedition 58. Koch is set to leave Earth on March 14 to join Expeditions 59 and 60. McClain, Koch and Kagey are all from the 2013 astronaut class, which NASA told HuffPost was 50-percent women.  

 

 

Posted by: maboulette | February 26, 2019

Al Gore Claims Climate Change Is Responsible For Migrant Caravans


al gore

Former Vice President Al Gore appeared on The Circus Sunday night and reiterated his belief that climate change is responsible for the migrant caravans from Central America heading to the U.S. To prove his point Gore showed an area, spanning several countries, that is known as the Dry Corridor, part of which is so dry it’s gone an entire year without a harvest. This, according to Gore, is where the journey begins for many migrants.

DROUGHT

“The drought becomes unbearable, so they pick up stakes and they say, ‘We can’t live here,’” Gore said. “First of all, they leave their farms and go to these cities, and they run into these criminal gangs, and they say, ‘We can’t handle this.’ And they head on north.”

CARAVANS

If what Gore says is true, the caravans won’t be stopping anytime soon — not just from Central America to the U.S., but all over the world.

ONE BILLION

“The estimates are that in this century there could be as many as 1 billion climate refugees migrating across borders to other countries,” Gore said. “That’s a threat to political stability and peace.”

DENY CLIMATE CHANGE

Donald Trump, and many other Republicans, deny that climate change is real, or at the very least deny that humans are responsible for the speed at which it’s happening. But according to Gore, there are those who say one thing in public and something entirely different in private.

“There are a lot of Republicans who I know who understand the climate crisis,” he said. “But if they say they’re on my side of this, then they get a primary opponent, and so they keep quiet about it.”

The Circus airs Sundays at 8 p.m. on Showtime.

Read More…


fast food

Jonathan Reiner, the longtime cardiologist of former Vice President Dick Cheney, sounded the alarm bells on the Trump White House refusing so far to release any medical data from President Donald Trump’s physical examination that took place last week.

TWITTER

Taking to Twitter, Reiner writes that, “it’s been four days since the president underwent his annual physical exam and still no data has been released.”   He then asks, “What are they hiding?”

LAST FRIDAY

Last Friday, presidential physician Dr. Sean Conley announced that Trump was “in very good health” while also projecting that “he will remain so for the duration of his presidency, and beyond.”

NO FURTHER INFORMATION

However, no other information or data about the results of the examination has been released, which is a contrast to the president’s first annual exam that offered some details about Trump’s cardiac health, blood pressure and mental acuity.

RONNY JACKSON

Dr. Ronny Jackson, who at the time served as Trump’s physician, said the president was in excellent health but could stand to lose some weight. Overall, the president was listed at 239 pounds, or exactly one pound below the obesity level for a man of his height.

 

Posted by: maboulette | February 12, 2019

Trump Supporter in MAGA Hat Attacks BBC Cameraman at Rally


Trump rally

A screaming Trump supporter in a red Make America Great Again hat attacked a BBC cameraman during the president’s Monday night rally in El Paso.

SHOVED OFF BALANCE

Footage of the incident shows the BBC’s Ron Skeans being shoved off balance before the man is pulled away by security while screaming “F ck the media.”

LEAVE HIM ALONE

Trump supporters near the attack can be heard chanting “Leave him alone.” Skeans told the BBC the “very hard shove” came from his blindside and he “didn’t know what was going on.”

BBC WASHINGTON EDITOR

The reporter who was with Skeans, BBC Washington Editor Eleanor Montague, said: “The crowd had been whipped up into a frenzy against the media by Trump and other speakers all night.” A Trump campaign official suggested the attacker was drunk. The president reportedly checked Skeans was OK with a thumbs-up, and continued on with his speech after the cameraman returned the gesture.

 

 


NewTrump

The President Is Reducing the Intelligence Apparatus That Can Prevent a Crisis from Becoming a Catastrophe.

 

On January 26, 2 Russian TU-160 Blackjack strategic bombers buzzed North America. American and Canadian fighter jets quickly scrambled to escort them away, in what was just the latest game of aerial chicken between Moscow and the West. Nuclear-capable Russian bombers also evaded the Alaska coast in both September and May of last year, every time diverted and chased out by U.S. fighters. Putin’s message is clear: Russia is a great nation and the United States is vulnerable.

 HANDLE EMERGENCE

 Such close encounters have occurred occasionally since the Cold War. So far, these close calls, sometimes measured in yards and feet, have not resulted in disaster. But they easily could. If so, how would things play out? Is the Trump admin capable of handling a serious international crisis thoughtfully and systematically?

HEAD-ON COLLISION

A head-on collision between U.S. and Russian or Chinese warfighting assets could easily spiral into a Guns of August-style avalanche toward armed conflict. Just as feckless European powers a century ago let the assassination of a Balkan archduke lead to world war, an incompetent U.S. president, dismissive of his national security apparatus and operating in a policy vacuum, puts our security at serious risk. As President John F. Kennedy once said, “Domestic policy can only defeat us. Foreign policy can kill us.”

TRUMP REVERSED US POLICY

In December, President Donald Trump reversed U.S. policy on Syria and Afghanistan, withdrawing all U.S. military personnel from the former and half from the latter. There were no policy discussions with the Pentagon, State Department, or even within the National Security Council. The intelligence agencies were not asked for their input. Nor were Congressional or international allies consulted, much less the Afghan government or Syrian opposition forces. It was off-the-cuff policymaking at the touch of Trump’s Twitter finger.

TRUMPS AT ODDS WITH HIS GOVERNMENT

Since he came into office, this president has been at odds with his own government, likening the intelligence community to “Nazis,” attacking the FBI and justice system, demeaning cabinet secretaries and other senior officials to the point of their quitting or being fired.

JAMES MATTIS

James Mattis, Trump’s former defense chief, was the latest to leave, following the decisions on Syria and Afghanistan.  Last week, Trump called his intel chiefs “extremely passive and naïve” and suggested they “go back to school” in response to the latest Worldwide Threat Assessment report, the intelligence community’s comprehensive overview of significant threats to our national security, which happens to contradict the president’s alternative facts, notably regarding Iran, ISIS, North Korea, and Russia. In an astonishing and unparalleled move, the president’s intelligence briefers warned, anonymously, that his rejection of intelligence is threatening our country. “When it comes to the effective stewardship of our nation’s security—especially during crises—the most successful administrations had three things in common: people, process and policy,” notes President Obama’s former Deputy National Security Advisor Anthony Blinken. In the Trump administration all three are severely lacking.

SENIOR POLICY PERSONNEL

In terms of senior policy personnel, the Trump administration resembles a ghost ship more than a fully functioning executive branch: nearly 40 percent of top government positions remain unfilled, including a third of the nearly 200 senior policy jobs in the State Department; thirty-one ambassadorships are vacant; political appointees, often unqualified campaign contributors and cronies, comprise fully half of the rest; and a quarter of cabinet-level departments are headed by “acting” secretaries, according to the Partnership for Public Service. What’s more, there has been a record two-thirds turnover in senior White House staff, including three national security advisors since Trump came into office.

 If this doesn’t scare you – nothing will!

 

Posted by: maboulette | February 7, 2019

Adam Schiff Just Dropped A Bomb on Donald Trump


Adam Schiff

“President” Donald Trump gave his State of the Union Address Tuesday and was “low energy.” But Trump and his orbit are likely schitting themselves today, with the news that House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff has announced a broad investigation by his committee into Trump and his behaviours.

TRANSCRIPTS

First, the committee voted to send transcripts to Special Counsel Robert Mueller on Jared Kushner, Hope Hicks, Corey Lewandowski, Jeff Sessions, Alexander Nix, Brad Parscale, Steve Bannon, Donald Trump Junior, and dozens of other lesser-known names.

SCHIFF STATEMENT

The statement released by Schiff stated that it would continue the Russian probe but would also include an examination into “whether any foreign actor has sought to compromise or holds leverage, financial or otherwise, over Donald Trump, his family, his business or his associates.”

THIS IS SERIOUS

This is serious, and despite the warning from the House Chambers last night about investigations, the schitt is hitting the fan. Trump lashed out at Schiff, stating, “He’s just a political hack trying to build a name for himself. It’s called presidential harassment and it is unfortunate.”

YOU’RE BUSTED

No, Trump, it means you’re busted, and you better buckle up, butterTrump, because the investigations are just getting started. And if that were the only news hitting Trump today, it would be bad enough. But today, the New York Times, is reporting another item that might concern Trump: his close pal, Paul Manafort, is being investigated for his involvement inflows of foreign money to law and lobbying firms trying to help the president of Ukraine. While this news is not directly related to the Trump investigation, it does provide additional vulnerability for Manafort.

TRUMP REFERRED

Trump referred to Adam Schiff as “Little Adam Schitt” in a tweet a while ago, part of Trump’s game of assigning derogatory nicknames to his adversaries. But this is no schitt: the transcripts are in Mueller’s hands, the subpoenas will be flowing, and it is not just a little bit by Schiff. Maybe we know now why Trump’s Twitter thumbs have been silenced since last night: he and his orbit are schitting themselves with what is soon to come.

 


State of the union

At one particularly low point during Donald Trump’s offensive and ineffective State of the Union address, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi took things to the next level. She’d been handed an advance copy of his speech, so she began reading it just to see how badly he was going off the rails.

OFFENDED MIKE PENCE

The fact that Pelosi was reading at all was surely offensive to her seat mate Mike Pence, who thinks women shouldn’t be taught how to read, and to Donald Trump, who can’t read. But that was just the beginning. At another point, when Trump looked back at Pelosi during an applause break, she did this weird sarcastic sideways clap that sparked a thousand memes.

TOOK HER SHOTS

It wasn’t just that Nancy Pelosi took her shots at Donald Trump for all the world to see. It’s that she seemed to know exactly how much she could get away with, coming just shy of the threshold that would have resulted in mainstream criticism of her decorum. Instead she threaded the needle perfectly, and simply owned him.

MASTERY OF MOMENT

Nancy Pelosi’s mastery of the moment was also on full display when Donald Trump began telling a particularly offensive lie, and some of the House Democrats began a murmur that was on the verge of booing. Pelosi quickly waved them off, because it would have looked bad in the eyes of the moderates and nonpolitical types who had tuned in for the speech.

DEMS LISTENED TO NANCY

House Democrats promptly listened to Nancy Pelosi in that moment, because they’ve completely bought into the idea that she’s the kind of skilled leader who can get them where they need to go. Even while showing full command of her own team, Pelosi dominated her opponent Donald Trump on such a sophisticated level, he didn’t even seem to understand whether he was being taunted.

MONTH INTO CURRENT TENURE

Nancy Pelosi is only a month into her current tenure as Speaker of the House, but she already has Donald Trump so spun around, he doesn’t know what to do with her. Just wait until the Democratic House hearings into Trump’s criminal scandals start later this week – and then we get to the impeachment part. She’ll eat him alive, and he’ll wish he were dead.

 

Posted by: maboulette | January 29, 2019

Kamala Harris for President 2020


kamala harris

As Kamala Harris introduced herself as a 2020 presidential candidate to Iowa caucus-goers and the nation on Monday night, she showed exactly why she is viewed as such a formidable contender.

CNN TOWN HALL

During a CNN town hall at Drake University in Des Moines, she demonstrated an easy command of the policies that are most important to Democratic progressives in early states like Iowa. She was warm, witty and quick to laugh at the jokes audience members made at President Donald Trump’s expense. She locked eyes with her questioners, responding to them by name and walking toward them as she answered, while displaying empathy for their struggles.

STRONGEST AGAINST TRUMP

Perhaps most important, as Democrats weigh their options in the 2020 field, she made a succinct case for why she believes she would be the strongest candidate to take on Trump and not get “caught up in his crazy,” as one questioner put it.

PRESENT AS LEADER

“It’s very important that anyone who presents themselves as a leader, and wants to be a leader, will speak like a leader, and that means speaking with integrity — speaking the truth,” Harris said. “And speaking in a way that expresses and indicates some level of interest and concern in people other than one’s self.”

“Right there we will see a great contrast,” she said to laughter. She added the country deserves a leader who doesn’t speak to “the lowest common denominators and base instincts and speak in a way that is about inciting fear as a distraction from the fact that you’re getting nothing done, helping the richest people and the biggest corporations.”

1st TOWN HALL OF 2020

Her appearance at CNN’s first town hall of the 2020 political season capped several weeks of events in which she has introduced herself and her biography to Americans. She officially announced her presidential bid on Sunday in her birthplace of Oakland, California, where thousands showed up hoping to catch a glimpse of her in the surrounding streets.

MEDICARE FOR ALL

During the hour-long town hall, Harris staked out a set of progressive policy positions, including backing “Medicare for all” and doing away with private health insurance as well expressing support for a “Green New Deal” to address climate change. She also touted her plan to cut taxes for the middle class, saying it would be the first thing she would do if she were elected president.

DREAMERS

She was passionate and definitive when she answered a question from a recipient of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, commonly called “Dreamers,” who told Harris that she didn’t want to be used as a bargaining chip in the negotiations over a border wall. (Harris was the only potential 2020 presidential candidate who voted against the deal in February 2018 that would have created protections for Dreamers in exchange for wall funding).

“I will say to you, I stand with you,” Harris said. “We should not be trading on your life.”

FORMER CALIFORNIA ATTORNEY GENERAL

The former California attorney general, who also served as district attorney of San Francisco earlier in her career, was also critical of her congressional colleagues who have failed to support gun control measures like the assault weapons ban after mass tragedies like the Parkland, Florida shooting and the massacre in Newtown, Connecticut.

COLLEAGUES IN CONGRESS

She argued that her colleagues in Congress should have been forced to look at the autopsy photos of the “babies” who were killed in Newtown and then be asked to vote their conscience.

GOOD IDEAS

Listing the various proposals that have been introduced, she argued that legislators have no shortage of good ideas: “What’s missing is for people in the United States Congress to act the right way.”

1st WOMAN BLACK ELECTED PRESIDENT

Often on the campaign trail, Harris is quick to dismiss questions about what the historical significance would be if she were the first black woman elected president. She often deflects the question by quoting her mother, who told her, “You may be the first to do many things, but make sure you’re not the last.”

“That’s how I think about those kinds of things,” she said. But she went on to add that it would also be about “breaking barriers, it is something that is very important.”

She added that she has had similar conversations with fathers and sons.

SHE IS THE FIRST

“I will also say to you that I have seen fathers bring their sons up to me and say, ‘she is the first,’ in a way that is to also speak to those sons about the fact they should not ever be burdened by what has been and they should see what can be,” Harris said. “I think that’s really the most important takeaway, which is that with each barrier we break, it is saying to all of us, don’t be burdened by what has been. See what can be and strive for that.”

 

 

 

Posted by: maboulette | January 24, 2019

Fact check: Trump’s Claim That Democrats Gave Iran $150B


long nose

“The Democrats and President Obama gave Iran 150 Billion Dollars and got nothing, but they can’t give 5 Billion Dollars for National Security and a Wall?”

— President Trump in a tweet, Dec. 12, 2018

WRONG

This is an egregious version of a claim that President Trump has made repeatedly — about 30 times, according to our database of Trump’s false and misleading claims. We had originally looked into the details of the $150 billion for a fact check during President Barack Obama’s administration, fact-checked the claim during the 2016 presidential debates and noted it in roundups of various Trump news conferences and interviews.

PINOCCHIO TEST

Somehow it’s never been put to the Pinocchio Test. But if the president is going to keep getting this wrong, it’s time to give this falsehood a Pinocchio rating.

INTERNATIONAL NUCLEAR AGREEMENT

There are two numbers that Trump loves to reference when discussing the international nuclear agreement negotiated with Iran when Obama was president: $150 billion and $1.7 billion. The latter was a cash transaction, said to be the settlement of a long-standing Iranian claim against the United States, with interest, that was curiously timed to arrive when Iran released four detained Americans. (We discussed this payment at length in this fact check.)

ALL WET

Trump might have grounds to complain about the circumstances of the $1.7 billion cash transaction. But he’s all wet about the $150 billion claim, especially when he suggests it was taxpayer money. That’s certainly what he did in this tweet, asking why Democrats will not agree to appropriate $5 billion for a wall on the southern border with Mexico when they “gave Iran 150 Billion Dollars.”

But unlike the cash deal, this was not U.S. money. It was Iran’s money, frozen in international financial institutions around the world because of sanctions intended to curb Iran’s nuclear ambitions. For instance, many of the funds were held in banks in Asia, including China and India, as well as Turkey. Many of the countries received waivers to buy Iranian oil and gas during the sanctions but placed the payments in escrow-style accounts that remained off-limits to Iran. The Islamic Republic also transferred assets to Asian banks from Europe in anticipation of financial sanctions.

OFF-BASE

On top of that, Trump’s repeated use of the $150 billion figure is off-base. That was an upper-range estimate, but the Treasury Department said much of it was not liquid. Once Iran fulfills other obligations, it would have about $55 billion left, Treasury said.

TREASURY SAID

“Estimates of total Central Bank of Iran (CBI) foreign exchange assets worldwide are in the range of $100 [billion] to $125 billion,” Adam J. Szubin, acting Treasury undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, told Congress in 2015. “Our assessment is that Iran’s usable liquid assets after sanctions relief will be much lower, at a little more than $50 billion. The other $50-70 billion of total CBI foreign exchange assets are either obligated in illiquid projects (such as over 50 projects with China) that cannot be monetized quickly, if at all, or are composed of outstanding loans to Iranian entities that cannot repay them. These assets would not become accessible following sanctions relief.”

ACTUAL NUMBER

For its part, the Central Bank of Iran said the number was actually $32 billion, not $55 billion.

IRAN’S FROZEN ASSETS

Nader Habibi, a professor of economics at Brandeis University’s Crown Center for Middle East Studies, did his own calculation of Iran’s frozen assets in 2015. He noted that $10 billion was in Iraqi banks and could not be recovered quickly and that nearly $25 billion was deposited in Chinese banks as collateral for several Chinese investments in Iran. He estimated that only about $29 billion would be available to Iran for immediate use. In context of Iran’s oil revenue, he wrote, “$29 billion of released funds doesn’t amount to that much and represents only half of Iran’s current oil export revenue.”

TRUMP SAID

We should note that Trump said Obama “got nothing” in exchange for lifting sanctions as part of the nuclear agreement. Perhaps that’s a matter of opinion, but experts said that Iran was generally in compliance with the agreement when Trump decided to terminate it.

CONTINUES BE PROBLEMATIC

Trump’s use of the $150 billion continues to be problematic. That was a high-end estimate, and the actual number available to Iran appears to have been between $25 billion and $50 billion.

SUGGEST TAXPAYER MONEY

But even more troubling, Trump suggests this was taxpayer money. In the tweet, he explicitly compared it to a congressional appropriation. That’s just flat wrong — and worthy of Four Pinocchios.

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