Posted by: maboulette | January 20, 2018

Boo Hoo Donald: Shutdown Fight Makes Him Miss ‘My Party’

melt down

Before the federal government shutdown at midnight Saturday, President Donald Trump privately vented frustrations that the political impasse would possibly keep him from attending a glitzy inauguration anniversary bash and fundraiser set for Saturday at his Florida getaway Mar-a-Lago.


Two sources close to the president, one a White House official and the other a longtime confidant, told The Daily Beast how excited he was for the event and relayed his growing concern that the potential failure to strike a deal to keep the federal government open could keep him from “my party,” as the president has said.


A different source who spoke to Trump earlier this week previously told The Daily Beast that the president had joked that it would be a “shame” if a government shutdown were to occur on, or overshadow, the first anniversary of his inauguration as president.


White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders declined to comment on the record for this story.


The White House officially cancelled Trump’s trip to Florida that was scheduled for Friday afternoon, and he spent the day attempting to help congressional leaders reach a deal to forestall a shutdown.


Administration officials who briefed reporters on the logistics of the impending shutdown on Friday said the expiration of government funding would not necessarily impede the president’s travel plans to Mar-a-Lago or elsewhere. In particular, one official said, Trump will still be free to attend the World Economic Forum in Davos next week, though the White House did not say whether the shutdown would affect Trump’s plans to attend the glamorous gathering of globalists.


But sources didn’t report Davos coming up on Friday. For the president, it seems, the weekend’s party at his Florida estate was the more pressing engagement.


The Saturday gala is set to be hosted by Ronna Romney McDaniel, chairwoman of the Republican National Committee, and businessman Steve Wynn, and proceeds will go toward the RNC and the Trump re-election campaign.


The event, which the president had been scheduled to headline, was a hot ticket in Trump-world. Ticket prices started at $100,000 a pair, according to an invitation obtained by Bloomberg, with that sum paying for dinner and a photo op with President Trump. High-rollers forking over $250,000 get to participate in a roundtable.

Instead, he might have to settle for tweeting his displeasure from afar on his one-year anniversary as president.


This is the One Year Anniversary of my Presidency and the Democrats wanted to give me a nice present. #DemocratShutdown

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 20, 2018


Posted by: maboulette | January 20, 2018

Trump Issues Bizarre Post-Shutdown Statement About “Losers

government shutdown

Donald Trump, likely, is passed out face-down somewhere right now in a tub of Kentucky Fried Chicken. He disappeared from the scene hours before the government shutdown at midnight last night, having clearly given up, and presumably wishing he’d never run for president to begin with. But his Press Secretary did release a late-night statement about the shutdown on his behalf, and suffice it to say that it’s surreal even by his uniquely low standards.


The statement issued on Trump’s behalf by Sarah Huckabee Sanders started off by insisting “Senate Democrats own the Schumer Shutdown.” This is a bizarre false claim, as the Republicans hold the majority in the House and Senate, and they were so fractured on this effort that four Republicans ended up voting against the last-minute Republican bill. The statement went on to accuse Democrats of prioritizing “unlawful immigrants” while holding “lawful citizens” hostage. At this point we all know that “unlawful” is Trump’s racist code for non-white people. It got even worse.


The Trump statement went on to say, “This is the behavior of obstructionist losers, not legislators.” That’s right, he called the opposition party “losers” in an official White House statement. The show has reached a new low. Trump spent the past week taking significant heat over his profane racist tirade about black immigrants, and how such behavior is simply not presidential, yet now he’s yelling around about how one of the nation’s two major political parties are “losers.”


Donald Trump and his handful of remaining White House advisers who haven’t resigned in disgrace can try to spin this all they want. There is a reason that #Trump Shutdown was the top trending topic on Twitter throughout Friday evening and early Saturday morning. Mainstream Americans know precisely who is to blame for this fiasco: the loser who is illegitimately occupying the White House.



climate change

A year ago,  the 1992 “World Scientists’ Warning to Humanity,” Signed by a majority of Nobel laureates in sciences at the time and more than 1,700 leading scientists worldwide, the document warned, “Human beings and the natural world are on a collision course.”


It called for a new ethic that encompasses our responsibility to ourselves and nature and that recognizes our dependence on Earth and its natural systems. It also called for stabilizing human population through “improved social and economic conditions, and the adoption of effective, voluntary family planning.” Now, 25 years later, we’ve added two billion people, a 35 percent increase.


Despite progress in stabilizing the stratospheric ozone layer, all the other problems scientists looked at in 1992 have worsened.


On the declaration’s 25th anniversary in November, more than 15,000 scientists from around the world signed a new warning—“the most scientists to ever co-sign and formally support a published journal article.” The BioScience article states, “By failing to adequately limit population growth, reassess the role of an economy rooted in growth, reduce greenhouse gases, incentivize renewable energy, protect habitat, restore ecosystems, curb pollution, halt defaunation, and constrain invasive alien species, humanity is not taking the urgent steps needed to safeguard our imperiled biosphere.”


It raises concerns about climate change, driven by greenhouse gas emissions from “burning fossil fuels, deforestation, and agricultural production—particularly from farming ruminants for meat consumption.” And it points out, “we have unleashed a mass extinction event, the sixth in roughly 540 million years, wherein many current life forms could be annihilated or at least committed to extinction by the end of this century.”


Some have criticized the warning for being overly alarmist, but the situation is alarming, and we aren’t doing enough to avert catastrophe. Where will we be 25 years from now? It won’t be chance that determines our future. It will be the choices we make today.


There’s a hint of hope. The scientists note that co-operative government actions resulted in a “rapid global decline in ozone-depleting substances,” and that global poverty and hunger rates have dropped. Investing in education for girls and women has contributed to falling birth rates in many regions, deforestation has been reduced in some countries, and the renewable-energy sector has been growing rapidly.


We can make positive changes if we co-operate, but it will take action from all of humanity. We can’t leave it to governments, especially as so many in thrall to the fossil fuel industry are failing to work for citizens. As the scientists argue, “Sustainability transitions come about in diverse ways, and all require civil-society pressure and evidence-based advocacy, political leadership, and a solid understanding of policy instruments, markets, and other drivers.”


The warning offers many solutions, many policy-based. They include protecting habitat on land, water and air; recognizing and maintaining the important services intact ecosystems provide; restoring forests and other “native plant communities”; re-introducing native species “to restore ecological processes and dynamics”; using policy to protect species from poaching and illegal trade; reducing food waste and promoting a shift to more plant-based diets; reducing fertility rates through “access to education and voluntary family-planning services”; promoting nature education and appreciation; shifting investment and spending to “encourage positive environmental change”; fostering advances in green technologies and renewable energy while eliminating subsidies to fossil fuels; altering the economy to reduce wealth inequality “and ensure that prices, taxation, and incentive systems take into account the real costs which consumption patterns impose on our environment”; and “estimating a scientifically defensible, sustainable human population size for the long term while rallying nations and leaders to support that vital goal.”

In short, if we take the urgency to heart, there are solutions.


Although government action and policy are crucial, so too is citizen engagement. “With a groundswell of organized grassroots efforts, dogged opposition can be overcome, and political leaders compelled to do the right thing. It’s also time to re-examine and change our individual behaviors, including limiting our own reproduction (ideally to replacement level at most) and drastically diminishing our per capita ­consumption of fossil fuels, meat, and other resources.”

As a new year begins, we can and must do everything possible to shift course. If we wait another 25 years, it will be too late.



Posted by: maboulette | January 19, 2018

Trump, His Ambien Habit, And His Increasingly Bizarre Behavior


This week Donald Trump’s military doctor announced that Donald Trump was in “excellent health” and had “excellent genes” in a bizarre spectacle which ultimately only served to erode the credibility of the doctor and cast new questions about Trump’s health. Even as the doctor was wildly misrepresenting Trump’s height and weight, he volunteered that Trump is taking Ambien to help him sleep. So, what? Plenty of Americans take Ambien. But most of them don’t put on Trump’s increasingly bizarre displays of behavior. So, what’s going on here?


The doctor claimed that Trump takes Ambien on occasion, and he pointed out that this is commonplace behavior. That is correct.  That is correct. USA Today reports that Ambien was prescribed more than forty-three million times in 2012 alone. In other words, Trump isn’t doing anything out of the ordinary by taking the drug. However, he is behaving in a manner which cannot possibly be described as ordinary. Even as Americans increasingly ask if Trump is mentally ill or senile or high on cocaine or perhaps all three, maybe there’s a different explanation altogether: Ambien abuse.


The website lists the following symptoms of Ambien abuse: “Amnesia or short-term memory loss. Coordination problems. Fatigue. Delusions or hallucinations.” Donald Trump regularly loses track of what he’s trying to say. He slurs his words. He regularly tweets his delusions and hallucinations about, well, pretty much everything.


These symptoms would be caused by Ambien abuse which would go completely against the usage recommended by the drug manufacturer and the FDA. Donald Trump’s doctor claims that Trump only uses the drug on occasion. But Trump’s doctor also stated that Trump is taller and thinner than he is, among other absurd and plainly false claims. So, if the doctor is claiming Trump uses Ambien on occasion, does that mean he’s abusing it? Considering Trump’s increasingly bizarre behavior, it’s a question that needs to be asked.

President Trump.jpg

Donald Trump is now just 24 hours away from indefinitely shutting down the federal government, a fitting climax now that Trump has spent the past year bringing the American system of democratic government to its knees. Some have suggested that Trump may be trying to shut down the government in the hope of derailing or delaying Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into his Russia scandal. So, what would happen to Mueller and his probe if Trump shuts everything down?


As it turns out, Trump wouldn’t be able to shut everything down. Here’s how the Department of Justice has explained the matter: “All employees with the Special Counsel’s Office are considered exempt and would continue their operations in the case of a lapse in appropriations.” In other words, Mueller and his entire team – from his high profile prosecutors to his lowest level researchers – will remain on the job. Now comes the question of whether Trump even understands this.


Anyone who has even so much as watched The West Wing is aware that a federal government “shutdown” only shuts down what are considered nonessential services. Some people remain on the job while others don’t. Some government doors close and others remain open. Is it possible that Trump is so ignorant, he thinks everything gets shut down and everyone goes home? Come to think of it, is he under the impression that even he must go home? Is this all a ploy to play more golf?


It’s an increasingly dangerous game to try to guess what might be going on inside of Donald Trump’s increasingly fractured and failing mind. But we do know this: even if Trump does shut down the federal government at the end of this week, it won’t negatively impact Robert Mueller’s ongoing investigation into Trump’s crimes.

Lindsey graham

Information for Palmer Report

Poor Lindsey Graham. The “maverick” senator from South Carolina had spent the last two years expressing his scorn for Donald Trump,  calling him “unfit” and “a kook.” Then, sometime in the late summer, Graham apparently reconciled himself to the fact that Trump wasn’t capable of growing or “pivoting” into the job, so he took it upon himself to cultivate the mercurial manchild, perhaps in the vainglorious belief he could influence Trump to become a mainstream conservative and stamp out the rapidly burning fuse that was going to blow up the presidency and likely the entire Republican Party.


Graham played golf with his president, he complimented him on his swing, he flattered his intelligence and he even agreed to throw some red meat at the base on Trump’s behalf by taking up the ridiculous crusade to jail Hillary Clinton. He cajoled and he petted and he whispered the sweet nothings that the president needs to hear to make him feel powerful. Graham thought Trump trusted him and looked to him for guidance. He thought he could speak for the president in negotiations.


He was wrong — and it was proven in classic Trump fashion last week. Like so many of Trump’s close confidantes before him, Graham was stabbed in the back by the man he thought he was guiding. He was outmaneuvered by other “guides” who understand the dark impulses that drive their leader much better than Graham ever will.


Graham and Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., along with a few others, have been working for months on a bipartisan immigration deal that would save the young DACA recipients from being deported by Trump’s ICE agents after his abrupt cancellation of their program. In a televised meeting last Tuesday, this group all believed they had received guidelines from the president. By Thursday, they came up with a tentative compromise deal. Graham and Durbin called Trump at 10 a.m. He sounded enthusiastic and told the two senators to come up to the White House at noon to talk about it.


When the bipartisan duo got there, the room had been stacked with hardline anti-immigration right-wingers, led by Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas and Sen. David Perdue of Georgia, whom staffers had hurriedly called to get to the meeting and help run interference.


According to The Washington Post, Chief of Staff John Kelly (a well-known anti-immigrant zealot from way back) got in the president’s ear and worked him up so much that when Graham and Durbin showed up to find they’d been sandbagged, he was already fuming. That’s when he went off about not wanting any more immigrants from “shithole” countries. Graham and Durbin tried to fight for their deal, but they had been outplayed.


It turns out that Graham’s not the only one who is trying to manipulate this president. The old-guard Breitbart “base whisperers” Steve Bannon and Sebastian Gorka have been supplanted by Kelly and professional hard-right extremists like Cotton, Perdue, Stephen Miller and Jeff Sessions, with backup from Trump’s “candyman,” House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy. They were more than willing to appeal shamelessly to Trump’s racist id to get what they wanted. They knew it was what he really wanted too.


This bunch evidently told Trump “the base” would be thrilled if he rejected “shithole” immigrants, and he was so proud of himself for doing it, at least at first, that he called up his friends to see how they thought it was playing. It was only later that he realized he’d caused an international incident and destroyed the best hope of a bipartisan deal.


What happens now is anybody’s guess. The deadline to fix this DACA problem is fast approaching and the government will shut down at the end of the week if the Congress fails to act on a budget. At the moment it’s a standoff, with Republicans (and some members of the press) absurdly insisting that the Democrats will be responsible for a shutdown if they hold out for the DACA fix, even though the Republicans control both houses of Congress and the White House and can pass any bill they actually agree on. If the government turns off the lights this week, the GOP leadership needs to talk to the Republicans who refuse to vote for their own bill.


The other important question for the country is how we can preserve our democracy when one of the major parties has decided that it would rather accommodate and manipulate an unfit, unqualified and unstable president in pursuit of its white nationalist agenda than do its constitutional duty.


That’s what’s known as selling your soul. It would be one thing if “shithole” was the only offensive racist comment Trump has ever made. But it isn’t even close.

Trump is also wholly corrupt, making millions of dollars servicing his “brand” as president. He refuses to release any information about his finances and is under intense scrutiny by the press and possibly law enforcement for past dealings that look an awful lot like money laundering for foreign criminals.


He’s got absolutely no knowledge of policy, or ability to learn about it, and his nepotistic, amateurish White House is in a constant state of chaos. Trump acts belligerent toward America’s allies and weirdly friendly toward many of its adversaries. He uses his Twitter feed to spew juvenile insults and, in some cases, alarming threats of nuclear war.


Trump has been credibly accused of sexual assault by nearly 20 women and was revealed just this week to have paid porn stars to keep silent about his sexual escapades with them, possibly lending credence to charges that he was a potential target of blackmail.


He is the subject of the first counterespionage investigation ever launched against a president over suspicions that he conspired with the Russian government to win the presidential election. There is ample evidence that he has obstructed justice trying to stop the probe.


If Republican officials have decided to overlook all that, it’s hard to imagine what it would take to get them to do their duty.

Tuesday’s Senate testimony by Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen had poor Lindsey Graham lamenting:

[Last] Tuesday we had a president who I was proud to golf with, call my friend, who understood immigration had to be bipartisan … but he also understood the idea that we had to do it with compassion. I don’t know where that guy went. I want him back.


That guy never existed. The president of the United States is a man named Donald Trump. He is a racist and a xenophobe, and the vast majority of the Republican Congress doesn’t have a problem with that. In fact, they’ve eagerly signed on to the Trump crusade. Who’s manipulating whom?



Posted by: maboulette | January 18, 2018

The Happiest Man In The World

AOL BUILD Speaker Series: Arianna Huffington And Matthieu Ricard Discuss His New Book "Altruism"

The life of a typical Tibetan Buddhist monk involves detachment from chaotic modernity, spent primarily in monasteries in the mountains. Matthieu Ricard is not a typical monk.


Born in France in 1946 to prominent parents, his father a philosopher and his mother a painter, Ricard received his PhD in molecular genetics at the prestigious Pasteur Institute before dedicating his life to Buddhism in the Himalayas. He studied under a series of masters before becoming a monk at age 30, and became the Dalai Lama’s French interpreter in 1989.


Ricard cowrote a book with his father in 1997, “The Monk and the Philosopher,” primarily as a bonding experience with his aging parent, but it went on to become a surprise bestseller in France. And once the media took notice of Ricard, he reluctantly became a kind of celebrity.


The Western media also proclaimed him “the happiest man alive,” a title Ricard has unsuccessfully tried to shed, after his brain’s gamma waves were recorded as the strongest among fellow monks in a University of Wisconsin study on meditation in 2000.


Following the lead of the Dalai Lama, Ricard decided to use a media spotlight to promote lessons on honing happiness and altruism, and any of his share of the proceeds from his work goes toward his nonprofit, Karuna-Shechen.


Depending on the year, Ricard may spend most of his time abroad either at other monasteries or speaking to an audience at an organization like TEDGoogle, or the United Nations, but his true home is at the Shechen Monastery in Nepal.


We spoke to Ricard about his life for an episode of Business Insider’s podcast “Success! How I Did It,” ahead of the release of his latest book, “Beyond the Self.” And a representative of Karuna-Shechen sent us a collection of Ricard’s photography (he’s a sophisticated photographer) that we combined with some other images to give an idea of what a typical spring day in the life in Nepal is like for him. Additional insights are drawn from his books “Happiness” and “Altruism.”


Ricard wakes at dawn, watching the sun rise over the mountains.



He has a simple one-room home that contains only a couple robes, a small kitchen, and a patch of lawn in front. “Through simplicity we arrive at inner peace,” he wrote.


He told Michael Paterniti for a GQ profile that he has never allowed his home to be photographed because it remains his truest escape from the world.


Ricard watches the people of the villages below, as well as the monks of Shechen Monastery, spring to life with the new day.


If he has a year packed with presentations or events around the world, he may spend as little as a couple months in his home.


But this year, he said, he will be foregoing intensive traveling to spend time in Nepal.


He will venture out to nearby villages to visit schools that he constructed through his charity, Karuna-Shechen. He’ll often bring his camera along.


Karuna-Shechen brings educational opportunities to remote communities, with a focus on disadvantaged girls and women, who traditionally have been neglected. The kids are happy to greet Ricard.

“Altruistic love and compassion are the foundations of true happiness,” Ricard 


Posted by: maboulette | January 16, 2018

Chuck Grassley Hits the Panic Button

grassly and graham

Apart from perhaps Steve Bannon, no one in national politics has had a tougher week last week than Republican Senators Chuck Grassley and Lindsey Graham. They each recently and suddenly became cartoonish Donald Trump cheerleaders, and days ago they conspired to try to bring phony criminal charges against the author of the Trump-Russia dossier. Now that Palmer Report and others have pointed out that Grassley and Graham have been acting like they’re being blackmailed, Graham is stammering like a fool and Grassley is hitting the panic button.


After Dianne Feinstein released the Trump-Russia dossier transcripts last week, Chuck Grassley and Lindsey Graham both seemed to have been thrown off script. Grassley whined that he was disappointed in Feinstein, while Graham said it was a good thing. Graham then took to Twitter today and kept trying to revise his position with six separate tweets. Grassley has taken a different approach entirely.


Donald Trump fired Preet Bharara, the U.S. Attorney for New York City, early last year in an attempt at preventing Bharara from exposing his financial crimes. The plan all along was that Trump would appoint one of his own loyalists to the position who would decline to investigate him, and that the Republican-controlled Senate would rubber stamp that nomination. Trump just recently got around to nominating someone with close ties to a bank that launders Russian money. Democratic Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York officially objected to the nomination.


Per Senate custom, that means the nomination should be scuttled. Based on his actions of late, it seemed clear that Chuck Grassley would use his position as chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee to ignore Gillibrand’s objection. But now, in an almost stunning move, Grassley says he’ll honor the request after all, and reject Trump’s nominee. This is a major blow that could end up causing major legal trouble for Trump back home in New York, yet Grassley is siding against Trump anyway.


Why is Chuck Grassley suddenly going against Donald Trump in such a major way? The only explanation is that, after he took his pro-Russia antics too far last week when he began trying to bring phony criminal charges against those who might be able to take Trump down, he’s panicking and trying to cover his tracks. We still deserve answers as to why Grassley and Lindsey Graham are suddenly acting so deeply out of character, and who may be influencing them to do so. But for now, at least, Grassley appears to be pulling back out of fear.



Posted by: maboulette | January 15, 2018

Haiti Government Unloads On Donald Trump


Donald Trump has created so many international incidents during the year in which he’s illegitimately occupied the White House, it’s difficult to recite them all from memory. His latest incident came yesterday when he said he didn’t want immigrants coming to the United States from places like Haiti because they’re “shithole countries” and that he wants immigrants from (whiter) places like Norway. Now the government of Haiti is taking Trump to task and demanding answers.


After Trump’s racist remark took over the news cycle on Thursday, NBC News contributor Yamiche Alcindor tweeted this development: “I just talked to Haiti’s Ambassador to the United States Paul Altidor who said he and the Haitian government ‘vehemently condemn’ President Trump’s comments which they believe are ‘based on stereotypes.’ ‘Either the president has been misinformed or he is miseducated.” She then added this: “Haiti’s US Ambassador Paul Altidor tells me Haiti’s government has formerly summoned a US official to explain Trump’s comments to Haiti’s officials. ‘Haitians fought along US soldiers in the revolutionary war and we continue to be great contributors to American society,’ he said.”


Trump, who speaks on a fourth grade level and tweets in even more infantile fashion, probably doesn’t even know what words like “miseducated” mean. Conor Finnegan of ABC News tweeted that “Haiti summoned top US diplomat over Trump’s “shithole” comments. Currently no ambassador, so Charge d’Affaires Robin Diallo met w/ Haitian president.” That’s right, the Trump administration is such a disaster that it doesn’t even have a U.S. Ambassador to Haiti.


This is stunning development. Haiti is an ally in close proximity to the United States. Donald Trump has created such an embarrassing international incident here that the government of Haiti is making the uncharacteristic move of publicly unloading on the President of the United States. Then again, Haiti seems to feel the same way about Trump that the vast majority of Americans do.

laptop celphones

 Information from Palmer Report

Special Counsel Robert Mueller has been so secretive about his investigation into Donald Trump’s Russia scandal, we’re often left to dig for clues in his official court filings about what he’s been up to. A month ago we learned that Mueller had taken possession of numerous laptops, cellphones and electronic devices belonging to the Trump team. Now we’re learning that Mueller has taken possession of far more of the Trump team’s electronic devices.


It was Rachael Maddow who discovered that in Mueller’s latest court filings in the case against Paul Manafort and Rick Gates, the Mueller team is now disclosing possession of eighty-seven electronic devices, as opposed to just thirty-six such devices a month ago. That means that in the past month, Mueller and his team have somehow come into possession of an additional fifty-plus laptops and cellphones from Trump’s people. Here’s what that means in terms of prosecution and the overall investigation.


If Trump’s people were their usual sloppy selves, it’s unlikely that they wiped (or sufficiently wiped) any of the devices they had been using. This means Mueller would have access to every word processing document they typed, and perhaps access to personal email accounts that were being used on those laptops. The cellphones would not provide recordings of transition team phone conversations, but would have call histories, and potentially copies of voicemails.


This is just the latest reminder that Robert Mueller and his team have consistently been several steps ahead of Donald Trump and his team throughout this investigation. Now we know that Mueller has his hands on eighty-seven of the Trump team’s electronic devices. What all has he found on them? What evidence does he have against Trump and his co-conspirators that they don’t even know about? This is why the Trump team should be shaking in its collective boots.

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