Sunday, December 17, 2017

Rep. Jackie Speier says there is a rumor on the Hill that Trump plans to fire Robert Mueller on December 22nd while Congress is in recess.

Courtesy of The Hill: 

Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) said Friday that "rumors" on Capitol Hill suggest President Trump could fire special counsel Robert Mueller before Christmas, after Congress leaves Washington for the winter recess. 

“The rumor on the Hill when I left yesterday was that the president was going to make a significant speech at the end of next week. And on Dec. 22, when we are out of D.C., he was going to fire Robert Mueller," Speier told California's KQED News. 

Speier, a member of the House Intelligence Committee, said that Trump was trying to shut down the committee's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, pointing to the lack of interviews scheduled for the new year. 

"We can read between the lines I think," Speier said. "I believe this president wants all of this shut down. He wants to shut down these investigations, and he wants to fire special counsel Mueller." 

Well there you have it. The idea that Trump might be planning to fire Mueller has been talked about for months, but to have an actual date bandied about is especially chilling.

I think it is smart for Speier and the Democrats to repeat rumors like this and to get people agitated about a potential Mueller firing, because ultimately Trump is a coward and it might make him think twice about a plan like this if he thinks everybody is just waiting for a reason to take to the streets in protest.

Track Palin arrested!

Courtesy of KTUU: 

Court records show the son of former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin has been arraigned on three charges Sunday morning, all are domestic violence related. Track Palin, 28, faces a Class B Felony charge of first-degree burglary, one charge of assault in the fourth degree and one charge of criminal mischief in the fourth degree 

According to CourtView, the charges were all committed on Saturday, Dec. 16. Palin was arraigned in the Palmer Courthouse at 10:00 a.m., Sunday morning. 

Records indicate he previously faced domestic violence charges in 2016. At that time, Palin faced fourth-degree assault charges, a weapons charge and a charge of interfering with a domestic violence report. He was allegedly intoxicated. Former Gov. Sarah Palin spoke about those accusations against Track Palin, suggesting post-traumatic stress disorder may have been a factor from his service in the army.

Well now we know what got Palin so fired up about those old stories about her family yesterday.

So you want to hear something really funny?

Dennis Zaki and I were just joking around on Friday that Track was definitely going to end up back in jail anytime now.

And lo and behold.

Update: According to Court View Track is currently in custody.

Perhaps nobody is interested in bailing his drunken ass out this time. 

Update 2: Court View also did not identify WHO Track assaulted, so right now we do not know if it was another hapless girlfriend or a family member.

Anybody seen Todd lately?

NBC confirms that it paid off former assistant producer after she brought a sexual harassment complaint against Chris Matthews.

Courtesy of Fox News: 

The website, citing two sources, reported that NBC paid the woman $40,000 to settle her claim against Matthews in 1999. An NBC spokesperson told The Daily Caller the network paid a smaller, unspecified amount as part of a severance package. 

The woman complained to executives that Matthews, now 71, had made inappropriate comments to her and made inappropriate jokes about her to others. 

An MSNBC spokesman told The Daily Caller that Matthews had been slapped with a formal reprimand at the time the woman made her complaint. The website reported that the network decided that the complaints were "inappropriate and juvenile," but were not intended as propositions.

There is no way that this should be unexpected to people who watch Hardball. 

Matthews' often uncomfortable remarks toward female guests has been prominently on display for decades.

Even as a male viewer of the program, I have been creeped out by Tweety more than a few times.

However let's keep in mind that according to this story Matthews was NOT trying to sleep with these women nor using his power to bully them. At least as far as we know right now.

And that should puts him in a separate category than the Roy Moore's or Donald Trump's of this world.

I still think he is going to lose his job however.

Robert Mueller obtained thousands of Trump transition team emails during the summer and the Trump folks had no idea he had them.

Courtesy of Axios: 

Special Counsel Robert Mueller has obtained “many tens of thousands" of Trump transition emails, including emails of Jared Kushner, transition team sources tell Axios. 

Trump officials discovered Mueller had the emails when his prosecutors used them as the basis for questions to witnesses, the sources said. 

The emails include 12 accounts, one of which contains about 7,000 emails, the sources said. 

The accounts include the team's political leadership and the foreign-policy team, the sources said. 

Why it matters: 

The transition emails are said to include sensitive exchanges on matters that include potential appointments, gossip about the views of particular senators involved in the confirmation process, speculation about vulnerabilities of Trump nominees, strategizing about press statements, and policy planning on everything from war to taxes. 

“Mueller is using the emails to confirm things, and get new leads," a transition source told me.

Mueller apparently circumvented the transition team by going to the government agency that hosted their email system.

Apparently the transition team had been sifting through their own emails all of this time in preparation for a subpoena from Mueller, and taking out the ones they considered privileged or sensitive.

However unbeknownst to them Mueller has already had the emails in his possession since the summer and has been using them to crosscheck against testimony from Trump folks who have come in for questioning.

If you think that might panic the Trump team, well you are certainly right about that.

Courtesy of Politico: 

A lawyer for President Donald Trump’s transition team is accusing special counsel Robert Mueller of unlawfully obtaining tens of thousands of private emails during its investigation into Russian meddling in last year’s presidential election. 

Kory Langhofer, an Arizona-based attorney representing Trump for America, spelled out the complaint in a seven-page letter sent Saturday to the main House and Senate oversight committees where he raises potential violations of attorney-client privilege and the Fourth Amendment, which protects against unlawful search and seizure. 

Mueller’s office got the records earlier this summer from the General Services Administration, the government agency charged with holding all transition materials, even while it was “aware that the GSA did not own or control the records in question,” Langhofer wrote. 

The Trump attorney also argued that Mueller’s office has “extensively used the materials in question” during its investigation even though its prosecutors were aware some of the materials were subject to claims of attorney-client privilege and other protections.

That accusation received a response from a Mueller spokesman:  

Mueller spokesman Peter Carr defended the special counsel’s work in a statement issued just past midnight on Sunday, several hours after this story first posted. “When we have obtained emails in the course of our ongoing criminal investigation, we have secured either the account owner’s consent or appropriate criminal process,” he said.

Now I am not a lawyer but I am pretty sure that translates into "Boo hoo, you lose." 

Do not forget that Mueller's team is made up of top prosecutors who know full well what they can legally do to obtain information, and this is perfectly legal.

Now Trump's lawyers are of course going to challenge this and attack the Mueller folks for outsmarting them, but essentially, and remember I am not a lawyer, the Trump folks are fucked.

London borough passes a motion saying that Donald Trump is simply not welcome in their area of the city.

Donald Trump is not welcome here.
Courtesy of The Independent:  

A London council has called on the Government to revoke its state visit invitation to the “bigoted” US President after he shared messages from a far-right group. 

A motion passed by the Royal Borough of Greenwich vowed that Donald Trump “would not be welcome” in the area if the engagement goes ahead. 

Councillors said they were alarmed by Donald Trump’s decision to retweet Islamophobic posts by Jayda Fransen, the deputy leader of Britain First.“

Council further notes with sadness the President’s bigoted attitude towards women and ethnic minorities which has resulted in examples of division and hatred within the US,” it continued. 

“As such, Council calls upon the Government to abandon plans to invite Donald Trump on a state visit to the UK.” 

Councillors said the huge security costs of the trip should be paid instead to charities that “promote peace and understanding”, such as the Jo Cox Foundation.

There's Donald Trump "Making America Great Again." 

I swear this is like the rest of the world's reaction to George W. Bush's stupidity and warmongering, only on steroids.

Female Democratic candidate running for a Congressional seat in Kansas drops out over sexual harassment allegations. Well you knew it had to happen sometime.

Courtesy of the Kansas City Star:  

Andrea Ramsey, a Democratic candidate for Congress, will drop out of the race after the Kansas City Star asked her about accusations in a 2005 lawsuit that she sexually harassed and retaliated against a male subordinate who said he had rejected her advances. 

Multiple sources with knowledge of the case told The Star that the man reached a settlement with LabOne, the company where Ramsey was executive vice president of human resources. Court documents show that the man, Gary Funkhouser, and LabOne agreed to dismiss the case permanently after mediation in 2006. 

Ramsey, a 56-year-old retired business executive from Leawood, was one of the Democratic candidates vying to challenge Republican Rep. Kevin Yoder in 2018 in Kansas’ 3rd District. 

She was running with the endorsement of Emily’s List, a liberal women’s group that has raised more than a half-million dollars to help female candidates who support abortion rights.

Ramsey will drop out on Friday, her campaign said.

It was really only a matter of time before a Democratic female candidate was taken out by the #MeToo movement as well.

And in some ways this is the very example of gender equality.

Of course women can sexually harass male co-workers, hell it's happened to me.

However they are typically not as crude, and certainly not as physically threatening while they do it.

But still it happens, and when it does we need to respond to it just like we would if it were a Republican male.

By the way I was first tipped to this story by a tweet from the Wasilla Wendigo, who has been largely silent about charges directed at Donald Trump and Roy Moore, but can't resist going on the attack when it's a Democrat in the crosshairs.
Yeah we Democrats were "brooding" so hard that most of us did not seem to even know about this story.

Here, this should help to start your day off right.

The conservative argument that Barack and Michelle Obama were not pro-Christmas was always ridiculous.

And look here they are demonstrating the Christmas spirit far more effectively than some people we could mention. 

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.