Tuesday Open Thread | Kremlin paid $40,000 to Michael Flynn for 2015 Moscow visit

michael-flynn-iranSix days ago, Michael Flynn resigned as Donald Trump’s National Security Adviser after it was exposed that he had colluded with the Russian ambassador, both before and after election day. It was then revealed that Flynn had also colluded by phone with Russian intel officials while serving as a Donald Trump campaign advisor. Now comes the detail that may tie it all together: the Kremlin paid off Flynn shortly before he became a Trump campaign advisor.

Here’s the sequence of confirmed events as we now know them. In April of 2014, Michael Flynn was forced out of the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency for erratic behavior, ending his career in the United States military and government. In June of 2015, Donald Trump entered the presidential race. In December of 2015, the Kremlin paid Michael Flynn the sum of $40,000 to travel to Moscow and sit at the same dinner table as Vladimir Putin during a Russia Today event. In February of 2016, Michael Flynn became a campaign adviser for Donald Trump, during which time he routinely colluded with Russian agents.

Flynn’s attendance with Putin at the dinner in Moscow has long been documented, and there’s even a now infamous photo of the two of them sitting together at the same table. But until today, it wasn’t known that Flynn had been paid to be there. New York Daily News now reports that Flynn was paid $40,000 just to attend the dinner, and that Flynn failed to ask for the necessary Pentagon approval for such a payment.

michael-flynn-putin-trump

That’s a bizarrely large amount of money for the Kremlin to have paid Flynn, who was a nobody and who at that point had already been run out of the U.S. government, just to attend a dinner event. Moreover, Russia Today is directly funded by the Kremlin itself, meaning the Kremlin paid Flynn the $40,000. It all comes together to suggest that the money was actually for a different purpose.

And not long after the Kremlin suspiciously paid Michael Flynn a whopping $40,000 to attend a dinner, Flynn managed to get himself hired as an adviser to the Donald Trump campaign, suggesting the Kremlin had paid him to act as a mole or handler in the Trump campaign. Now the search is on to investigate if this a one time payment, or if there were additional payments from Putin to Flynn after he went to work for the Trump campaign.

About SouthernGirl2

A Native Texan who adores baby kittens, loves horses, rodeos, pomegranates, & collect Eagles. Enjoys politics, games shows, & dancing to all types of music. Loves discussing and learning about different cultures. A Phi Theta Kappa lifetime member with a passion for Social & Civil Justice.
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77 Responses to Tuesday Open Thread | Kremlin paid $40,000 to Michael Flynn for 2015 Moscow visit

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  3. rikyrah says:

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  4. rikyrah says:

    Luvvie cracks me up..

    I’m YoungOld and So Are You
    Awesomely Luvvie — February 20, 2017

    One of my favorite people, Samantha Irby, always talks about how old she is. Last week was her birthday, so in honor of the day the world got slightly less shitty, I had to tell people how old I am. I’m “If I wear heels out in public, I got a pair of flats in my bag” years old. I don’t have time for discomfort and the way my don’t give a fuck is set up, I’ll switch to those flats in a hot second.

    I’m “Golden Girls is now on Hulu and that news made me squeal” years old.

    Anywho, I dropped this on my Awesomely Luvvie FB page, and LuvvNation showed out talmbout how old they are too.

    …………………….
    Some of the funniest ones:

    LaQuita: I’m “once I take this bra off, I’m not going back out” years old.

    Erin: I’m “WHY is the music so loud in this bar?!” years old.

    Amber: I feel you. I’m the “Why is the music so loud in Target?” old.

    Ebony: I am “peering out the blinds with the stank eye at the neighborhood kids walking on my grass” years old. I’m about 6 months away from standing in the doorway shaking my fist

    Dee: I’m “cut the fan on by my side the bed because I can’t sleep when I’m hot, I got everything in my purse from a bottle of honey, tweezers, flashlight, to a sewing kit, plus a notepad to jot down stuff I might forget, keep my drivers license and insurance card in my pocket in case my purse is stolen” years old.

    Sarah: Old enough to give a woman an honest answer if she asks me if she looks fat. NOT PLAYING WITH YOUR FEELINGS, JESSICA.

    Donna: I’m if it starts after 7:30 I can’t make it years old. Bedtime is 8 pm. No weekend exceptions. No emergency exceptions. So even if you’re in the ER make it before 7:30 or I can’t make it.

    LOL…..

    Only a sample of the comments….

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  5. rikyrah says:

    Luvvie is back…and commenting on Milo..

    About Milo Yiannopoulos Being Trash and Lines Not to Cross
    Awesomely Luvvie — February 21, 2017

    Let me start this off by saying that Milo Yiannopoulos is trash. You might be asking “who the hell is this Milo dude?” He is garbage in human form. He is a retch and walking, talking upchuck. In fact, here’s a portrait:

    Milo is a vile, racist, sexist, transphobic, DECENCYphobic dudebro who writes for Breitbart. And he makes more than enough anti-gay statements, even though he’s gay himself. Uncle Ruckus face ass. Self-hate is a summagoat. He is Darth Chad (word to Very Smart Brothas). He is so awful that he’s been banned from Twitter (the land where trolls go to get air). One of his crimes? Leading the charge and inciting the drudge of the internet to torment Leslie Jones when the remake of Ghostbusters came out. He’s just a terrible human being and he deserves nothing good.

    But because he’s a white man, all he gets is flourish. The dude gets all types of press, gets paid hella money to speak, and even got a book deal for $250,000 from Simon & Schuster. That very book deal made Roxane Gay pull her book from her S&S imprint, having been a target of one of Milo’s harassment. He’s been getting rewarded for being a vile piece of shit for a long time. Soooooo: white history in a sentence.

    ……………..

    Today, audio of a podcast that he recorded came out. There, he talked about how sexual relationships between young boys and older men might provide them with love and safety and security. Basically, HIGH FIVE PEDOPHILIA. And then all hell broke loose for Milo. The Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) took back their invitation for him to keynote their conference. ANDDDDDD Simon & Schuster dropped his book, rescinding his deal.

    That parasite got his beloved book deal snatched! YAY. It’s just a shame that it took pedophilia for Milo to lose his deal. Like… bruh. This dude BEEN on boolsheet. Only NOW is he outta line? NOW is when he’s done too much? NOW is when people can no longer stand with him? Pedophilia should not be the only line folks need to cross before they start losing at life and losing their livelihood. There’s a lot in between “good person” and “sexual desire in an adult for a child” that should warrant someone being punished in society. Maybe there is, but if you’re a white man, you have more leeway

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  6. rikyrah says:

    WHO thought that this was ‘natural causes’?

    NYC medical examiner says more study needed in death of Russian diplomat
    February 21, 2017

    The cause and manner of death of Russia’s ambassador to the United Nations needs to be studied further, the city medical examiner said Tuesday, a day after the diplomat fell ill at his office at Russia’s U.N. mission and died at a hospital.

    Further study usually includes toxicology and other screenings, which can take weeks. The case was referred to the medical examiner’s office by the hospital.

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  7. rikyrah says:

    Like

  8. rikyrah says:

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  9. rikyrah says:

    Liked by 1 person

  10. rikyrah says:

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  11. eliihass says:

    Shame on the coons and any black person willing to – and helping to normalize Donald Trump and the white supremacists that surround him..

    And please, spare us the new weasel blanket excuse about doing this for ‘the office’ bull crap they are all spinning hiding their coon behind….especially those who were always quick to put out disclaimers and had attitudes when they were asked to show up for the historic black FLOTUS and POTUS …

    Shame.

    And anyone who wonders why we never get any respect and why we aren’t taken seriously and the racists are even more brazen than ever before and and now call our bluff ….and we’ve stopped making head way as a group, this is a huge part of the reason why…they know they can now buy more than a few tokens – and for even cheaper than ever, not just to provide cover for their racism, but these days to gleefully and loudly do their dirty work for them…

    There will always be those willing to sell out for breadcrumbs, ‘sham-access to nowhere via the help’s door’, a pat on the head and to be able to kiss and sit at the feet of the oppressor as token decorative faces…

    And Donald Trump who over the years to show us just how close they were and how well they’d deconstructed black folk, often proudly and unapologetically regaled us with tales of how he frequently exchanged notes with the Clintons regarding the ‘blacks’ – and just how ‘ungrateful and disloyal’ ‘the blacks’ are….

    Trump – the unabashedly racist so of his rabidly racist father, has an ever deeper contempt and disregard for and a deep distrust of the quid quo pro ‘blacks’ that greedily swarm to him, with an eye to personally profiting by self-servingly aligning with a pariah like him…

    These black folks forget that the buffoon has traded and gotten ahead his entire life on scams and con games and unending bullshitting…no different from the scam and bullshit they themselves now perpetrate in pretending to align with him for high-minded reasons and to be used in the process to normalize and legitimize him, his bullshit, and more concerning, his racist and dangerously nefarious and treasonous dealings…

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  13. rikyrah says:

    LIPS PURSED

    Malia Obama: Just Another Face On Ultimate Rich Kids’ Ski Trip
    2/21/2017 10:12 AM PST

    Malia Obama is on an Aspen vacay that will absolutely make you HATE your life when you see who she’s posing with in what has to be the richie richiest photo of all time.

    Here’s the answer key for who’s who in this shot, taken last weekend at Cloud Nine Alpine Bistro in Aspen:

    1. Malia
    2. Elizabeth Tisch, daughter of NY Giants co-owner Steve Tisch
    3. Audrey Kotick, daughter of Activision/Blizzard CEO Robert Kotick (think Call of Duty money)
    4. Fashion designer Monique Lhuillier
    5. Jamie Tisch, ex-wife of Steve
    6. Tom Bugbee, Monique Lhuillier’s husband
    7. Holden Tisch, daughter of Steve
    8. Zachary Tisch, son of Steve
    9. Tassilo von Furstenberg, grandson of Diane von Furstenberg

    When President Obama’s daughter is the “poor” kid at the table, you KNOW you can’t sit with them.

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  14. rikyrah says:

    HOLLERING!!

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  15. rikyrah says:

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  16. rikyrah says:

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  17. eliihass says:

    Regarding that vile a-hole Milo Yiannopoulos…

    Another one down, many more to go…

    As for Simon and Schuster’s belated back-pedaling, those who made the initial decision to sign that racist evil to a book contract, cannot escape now, and will still have their very own individual reckoning…

    https://mobile.twitter.com/cmclymer/status/833829275287556098

    And shame on any black person that goes along with this okie-doke…Shame on all those playing footsie with and those trying to justify the footsie-playing with this condescending and unapologetic racist buffoon and the white supremacists he surrounds himself with…

    Liked by 1 person

  18. yahtzeebutterfly says:

    Like

  19. rikyrah says:

    Following a week of pressure, Trump denounces rise in anti-Semitism
    02/21/17 02:52 PM—UPDATED 02/21/17 03:27 PM
    By Steve Benen
    At a White House event last week, a reporter asked Donald Trump about the recent rise in anti-Semitic incidents in the United States. The president responded by talking about how impressed he was with his electoral vote totals in the 2016 election.

    A few days later, a Jewish publication raised the same concerns. Trump said it was “not a fair question,” told the reporter to “sit down,” talked about how he isn’t personally anti-Semitic, and blamed his “opponents” from “the other side” for anti-Semitism. The Anti-Defamation League issued a statement soon after, describing the president’s answer as, among other things, “mind-boggling.”

    The fact that his rhetoric came on the heels of the International Holocaust Remembrance Day controversy didn’t help matters.

    Today, at long last, Trump managed to answer the question the way he’s supposed to.

    Like

    • eliihass says:

      And he did it too standing in the National Museum of African American history and Culture too!

      What a great, great and compassionate man with a huge heart and color blind eyes…

      Somebody give the racist buffoon a lollipop..

      Liked by 1 person

    • Ametia says:

      Well that snake-in-the-grass son-in-law Kushner’s a Jew don’t you know!

      Liked by 2 people

      • eliihass says:

        The Jewish Son in law that was more coincidence than anything…

        Unlike the Nazi-inspired white supremacist Steve Bannon who the buffoon specifically courted and hand-picked and keeps at his side at all times, letting him guide him…whispering and reaffirming racist sweet nothing’s in his ear…

        And while he brazenly and unapologetically continues to cultivate and incite the racists and racism he rode in on, and entirely for his own aggrandizement …and even as he irreversibly damages long-existing institutions that have traditionally supported and regulated our democracy – and held-up our fragile union ….and while he’s handpicked and placed greedy, unabashed racists and oil-beholden treasonous individuals in key positions to decimate hard-won protections and institutions….

        While he’s brazenly and unapologetically going ahead with his and th evil agenda of those who own and instruct him, we are told to be heartened that his daughter-wife is so ‘nice’ and ‘tries’ to get him to do better…we are told to be nice to her and his 3rd wife because they’re ‘nice’ and ‘poor victims’…we are told to ignore the atrocities and devastation afoot, and get with the program normalizing him, it and the women in his life…focus instead on painfully superficial daughter-wife’s attempt at ‘humanizing’ him with glaringly contrived actions…including her social media posts of his mostly awkward interactions with his grandkids – so obviously and so ridiculously unoriginal and swiped choreographed mock-ups of ‘examples’ that’ve fooled and pleased their silly audience …and worse, the laugh out loud gimmicks like the plastic, communist-born low-rent ‘model’ 3rd wife’s attempt at *reading* and bungling the Lord’s Prayer… even reading with a straight face and no understanding evidently, the “as we forgive those who trespass against us” part – even as she’s currently pursuing 100s of millions in dollars in lawsuits she’s filed against those who supposedly ‘trespassed’ against her…And even as the historic black First Lady and historic President that the buffoon with assist from 3rd wife, very actively slandered and maligned and incited virulent hate against for several years, chose not to sue or seek damages…or even whine or complain ..

        But we live in these Orwellian times where the routinely volatile public and private actions of an impetuous, thin-skinned, ignorant, tantrum-throwing, narcissistic, sociopathic megalomaniac is spun as ‘genius’ …even as he’s declared a ‘maverick’ who’s ‘thinking’ and ‘implementing’ chaos just like the ‘successful businessman’ he is…never mind that he’s bankrupted almost every business he touched…and has gotten ahead only by conning, scamming, blowing smoke and hiding taxes he didn’t file or pay…

        Liked by 1 person

  20. rikyrah says:

    From the Republican fringe to the White House
    02/21/17 12:44 PM
    By Steve Benen
    A couple of weeks ago, a deputy assistant to the president in Donald Trump’s White House, made a curious argument during a radio interview. The official said Team Trump will continue to repeat its “fake news” talking point until news organizations stop “attacking” the president.

    The official added, “[U]ntil the media understands how wrong that attitude is, and how it hurts their credibility, we are going to continue to say, ‘fake news.’ … That’s the reality.”

    Even for Trump World, it was an odd thing to say. White House officials will keep saying “fake news,” not because the news is fake, but as part of a name-calling exercise responding to coverage Trump and his aides don’t like.

    The official was a man by the name of Sebastian Gorka – one of several Breitbart News alum who’ve been hired to work in the White House – and he’s maintained a very high media profile of late, becoming one of Trump’s most notable cheerleaders and anti-media attack dogs.

    The Wall Street Journal reported that Gorka, who’s focused his attention for years on what he calls the “global jihadist movement,” has even gained a seat at a powerful and influential table.

    Like

    • eliihass says:

      Finally, people are paying attention to this delusions of grandeur-suffering, bloviating white supremacist Hungarian Nazi crooked low-life fool Sebastian Gorka.

      These are the idiots that chew-up and spit into the buffoon’s mouth, their warped ideas and pseudo-intellectual rubbish that he walks around quoting as fact ..

      Liked by 1 person

  21. rikyrah says:

    TEAM PEREZ!!!!

    The 2017 DNC Chair Election: A Cheat Sheet
    by Josh Alvarez
    February 21, 2017

    November 9, 2016 revealed just how weak a Democratic Party without the White House is nationwide. Democrats are completely out of power in 24 states; the party fully controls only five states (Hawaii, Connecticut, California, Oregon, and Rhode Island). State legislatures not only pass impactful legislation—and make nationwide efforts like Obamacare possible or not—but also control redistricting (i.e. gerrymandering). The 2010 midterm “shellacking” gave the GOP control of state legislatures just in time to redraw district lines that have in turn provided a nearly indestructible (and totally unrepresentative) GOP majority in the House of Representatives. Congressional Democrats have barely enough seats to put up a fight against top-to-bottom GOP rule in the federal government.

    The DNC is itself fragile. The current DNC Chairperson is Donna Brazile. She took over from Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who resigned after emails stolen from the DNC showed evidence of favoritism towards then-presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. Brazile worked as an analyst for CNN until another batch of stolen emails showed she shared possible moderator questions with the Clinton campaign ahead of a CNN-sponsored primary debate. These revelations, and Clinton’s subsequent defeat against the most unpopular presidential candidate in American history, have made Bernie Sanders and his supporters eager to completely revamp the DNC.

    Amid this bleak political landscape, the Democratic National Committee will meet in Atlanta Saturday to elect a new Chairperson. The 447 members of the DNC, mostly party leaders and operatives, will elect the chairperson in a simple majority vote. As of right now, no candidate has secured 224 pledged votes, which means there will likely be more than one round of voting. The new DNC Chairperson will be tasked with rebuilding state-level party apparatuses, preparing for the 2020 presidential election, and will be the face (or at least a face) of Democratic opposition to the Trump administration.

    Yet, this DNC Chair election has taken on inflated significance. The Sanders wing of the party has rallied around Keith Ellison, the Minnesota congressman and progressive stalwart, who announced his candidacy within a week of Trump’s victory. He seemed on his way to a sure victory until Obama Labor Secretary Tom Perez announced his candidacy a month later. Perez himself has strong progressive credentials, but that hasn’t stopped some progressives from characterizing him as a status-quo establishment candidate, a charge that is probably unfair to Perez. Perez recently claimed to have 180 pledged votes, which Ellison and Pete Buttigieg, another DNC Char candidate, have publicly doubted. Nonetheless, it doesn’t appear Ellison and Perez are buying into a false dichotomy; the two were spotted talking over dinner in D.C. last week. Their respective campaigns told The Hill that the candidates “talked about cooperation no matter the outcome of the Feb. 25 vote in Atlanta.”

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  22. rikyrah says:

    Trump Meant It When He Said He’d Deport ’em All
    by Nancy LeTourneau
    February 21, 2017 1:58 PM

    During the presidential primaries, Donald Trump distinguished himself from his competitors when he took the position that he’d deport ’em all when it came to undocumented immigrants. Later he mitigated that by suggesting that he’d focus on deporting dangerous criminals.

    At this point, all the evidence suggests that he meant what he said initially. With two of his first executive orders, he opened up the possibility of deporting approximately 8 million of the 11 million undocumented immigrants. As Brian Bennett reported:

    Far from targeting only “bad hombres,” as Trump has said repeatedly, his new order allows immigration agents to detain nearly anyone they come in contact with who has crossed the border illegally. People could be booked into custody for using food stamps or if their child receives free school lunches…

    Deportations of this scale, which has not been publicly totaled before, could have widely felt consequences: Families would be separated. Businesses catering to immigrant customers may be shuttered. Crops could be left to rot, unpicked, as agricultural and other industries that rely on immigrant workforces face labor shortages. U.S. relations could be strained with countries that stand to receive an influx of deported people, particularly in Latin America. Even the Social Security system, which many immigrants working illegally pay into under fake identification numbers, would take a hit…

    The changes, some of which have already begun with more expected in the coming months, set the stage for sweeping deportations last seen in the final years of the George W. Bush administration. Factories and meatpacking plants were raided after talks with Congress over comprehensive immigration reform broke down in 2007.

    In case anyone has forgotten what he’s referring to during the final years of the Bush administration, he’s talking about the kinds of ICE raids that were carried out in the factories of towns like Postville, Iowa and Laurel, Mississippi. I remember watching in horror as those raids not only tore families apart, they decimated the small towns in which they took place. But perhaps even more horrifying if you happen to have brown skin or care about someone who does are the reports of what went on inside those factories. Workers were segregated by race or ethnicity and interrogated. In other words, if ICE officers thought you were white, you were allowed to go. Brown skin meant detainment and interrogation to prove your legal status.

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  23. Breaking: Shots fired at Ben Taub Hospital in Houston Texas

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  25. yahtzeebutterfly says:

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  26. Liked by 2 people

  27. Liked by 1 person

    • eliihass says:

      We’ll wait to see if there’s actual follow through after today…or if this is just another act of grand theatrics for the cameras after folks were alerted by some in the media like Rachel Maddow etc. Another attempt at bamboozling ‘optics’ to try to show that it’s not in fact all part of the dubious Putin-Trump entanglement..

      The guy has been roaming Austria free for several years after posting over a hundred million dollars in cash for ‘bail’ to the Austrian government…

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  29. Liked by 1 person

  30. Rachel talked about this case last night. We shall see IF we have rule of law or not.

    Liked by 1 person

  31. Like

  32. rikyrah says:

    Russian confirmations complicate dubious White House denials
    02/21/17 11:20 AM
    By Steve Benen

    The official White House line on pre-election contacts between Team Trump and Russia has been consistent for months: there were no communications. Any suggestions to the contrary, Donald Trump and his aides have insisted, are completely wrong.

    There are some problems with this posture. For one thing, many U.S. intelligence officials have suggested Team Trump’s claims aren’t true. For another, some Russian officials have confirmed that Team Trump’s claims aren’t true.

    The New York Times picks up today on a story I’ve been emphasizing for months: despite the White House’s denials, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov and Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak have both said, on the record, that Vladimir Putin’s government was in communications with the Trump campaign before Election Day in the U.S.

    As the Times’ report makes clear, the communications wouldn’t necessarily have to be seen as scandalous.

    It is not uncommon for a presidential campaign to speak to foreign officials, which makes the dispute particularly unusual. […]

    Under ordinary circumstances, few in Washington would blink at the statements by Mr. Ryabkov or Mr. Kislyak. It is common for foreign governments to reach out to American presidential candidates, and many foreign diplomats believe it is part of their job to get to know people who may soon be crucial to maintaining alliances or repairing broken relationships.

    That’s entirely correct. Team Trump could’ve said from the beginning, “Sure, during the campaign, we heard from foreign officials from all kinds of countries around the globe, but the communications were always routine and part of standard diplomacy.”

    But no. Instead, the president and his aides said the opposite, insisting that there were literally no talks until after Election Day. In other words, Team Trump would have us believe the Russian officials are lying – even though they have no incentive lie.

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  33. rikyrah says:

    found this at BJ:

    PaulW says:
    February 21, 2017 at 11:45 am
    Meanwhile, the destruction of our public schools begins: HR 610 is out and it’s gonna kill school funding just so the charters and private schools can gobble up more taxpayer monies.

    https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/610

    Start calling the sh-t out of your House Congresscritter’s local offices.

    Like

  34. Like

  35. rikyrah says:

    As his Trump rebukes intensify, what is John Kasich up to?
    02/21/17 10:40 AM
    By Steve Benen

    For all the chatter about Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) butting heads with Donald Trump, there’s another high-profile Republican who’s going much further to rebuke the president of his own party.

    Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R), who refused to endorse Trump or even attend his party’s nominating convention in Kasich’s home state, had some more choice words for the president over weekend. The governor, speaking to the media from Germany, where Kasich was attending the Munich Security Conference, raised concerns about Trump’s criticism of a free press, questionable support for U.S. allies in Europe, and even the scandal surrounding Russia’s role in helping put the president in office.

    Kasich added that he’d spoken directly with a variety of foreign officials, many of whom expressed concern about Trump and the direction of the United States.

    And while the remarks were notable, let’s not skip past the setting: what was the governor of Ohio doing at the Munich Security Conference, speaking with foreign officials?

    For a guy who’ll soon wrap up his second term – the governor cannot seek a third – Kasich seems awfully busy, weighing in on the health-care debate, attending a major international security conference, publicly taking issue with Trump’s bizarre antics, and according to a Cleveland Plain Dealer report, watching a new organization take shape around him.

    Top political advisers to John Kasich have formed a nonprofit organization that will promote themes the Ohio governor pushed during his unsuccessful run for last year’s Republican presidential nomination.

    Two Paths America is “inspired by the imagery and rhetoric of … Kasich’s description of the public policy choices facing us and the need to take the higher path,” according to a news release [issued two weeks ago]. “Two Paths America will take the same approach in supporting the best and highest policy ideas.” […]”Two Paths” also is the title of a book Kasich plans to release in April. The book will reflect on his campaign and explore issues important to the governor.

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  36. rikyrah says:

    GOP leader warns Trump critics ‘are putting Californians at risk’
    02/20/17 10:00 AM
    By Steve Benen

    At this point, there are only a handful of states in which Democrats dominate, but it’s safe to say California is one of them. Not only do Dem officials control much of the state government and statewide offices, but in 2016, Hillary Clinton defeated Donald Trump in the Golden State by 30 points.

    But California is nevertheless a massive and diverse place, and there are plenty of Republican-friendly areas in the state. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), for example, represents Bakersfield in the single “reddest” congressional district on the West Coast.

    And according to the New York Times, the GOP leader has a suggestion for his fellow Californians: it’s time to start being nicer to Donald Trump.

    One month into the Trump presidency, Mr. McCarthy is a man with a foot in two warring camps. He represents a 10,000-square-mile red rural stronghold in the farmland of central California, a state that Mr. Trump lost by four million votes. His seniority in the House leadership, and his ties to Mr. Trump, mean that he is indisputably the most powerful Californian in the nation’s capital.

    And in an interview here, Mr. McCarthy left no doubt that his loyalties in this fight were east of the Mississippi River. He assailed California’s Democratic leaders for provoking the president, and warned that it could prove damaging to the state, particularly as the Trump administration created an infrastructure program to pay for public works projects across the nation.

    McCarthy told the Times that he will, of course, represent his district and state, “but what they are doing, they are playing with fire. Donald Trump is not going out in any way or form to attack California. They are the ones who are attacking California right now. They are the ones who are putting Californians at risk in every shape and form. And they are doing it to make a political point, which is wrong.”

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  37. rikyrah says:

    As the budget takes shape, Team Trump pushes highly dubious math
    02/20/17 10:32 AM—UPDATED 02/20/17 10:46 AM
    By Steve Benen

    Donald Trump’s White House hasn’t yet released its first budget blueprint, but the New York Times reported over the weekend on a draft’s “hit list” of programs the president and his team intends to eliminate, including “longstanding conservative targets like the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the Legal Services Corporation, AmeriCorps and the National Endowments for the Arts and the Humanities.” More surprising is Team Trump also targeting the White House’s Office of National Drug Control Policy.

    For all of the president’s rhetoric about tackling the opioid crisis, eliminating the ONDCP would be a giant step backwards.

    But while we wait for the official document, and Congress’ reaction to it, the Wall Street Journal published a fascinating scoop on how Trump World is approaching budget math.

    The Trump administration has drafted preliminary economic growth forecasts in its federal budget planning that rely on assumptions that are far rosier than projections made by independent agencies and most private forecasters, according to several people familiar with the discussions. […]

    What’s unusual about the administration’s forecasts isn’t just their relative optimism but also the process by which they were derived. Normally, the executive branch starts with a baseline forecast prepared by career staff of the CEA…. Discussions for the Trump administration unfolded differently, with transition officials telling the CEA staff the growth targets that their budget would produce and asking them to backfill other estimates off those figures.

    Got that? Trump’s team has started with the growth forecast that it likes – which also happens to be consistent with what the Republican president said during the campaign – and wants to work backwards to justify the numbers chosen in advance.

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  38. rikyrah says:

    Betsy DeVos hasn’t changed her mind about education
    02/20/17 11:00 AM—UPDATED 02/20/17 03:58 PM
    By Steve Benen

    Betsy DeVos’ nomination to lead the Department of Education was one of the most contentious confirmation fights Americans have seen in a while, but despite bipartisan opposition, she was narrowly confirmed anyway – thanks to a tie-breaking vote from Vice President Mike Pence.

    Her brief tenure thus far hasn’t been much smoother. DeVos has faced a variety of protests since taking over as the nation’s Education Secretary, and like much of the Trump administration, the Michigan Republican believes it’s best to dismiss her critics as being part of a conspiracy against her. “I don’t think most of those are spontaneous, genuine protests,” DeVos told a conservative website last week. “I think they’re all being sponsored and very carefully planned.”

    She’s offered no evidence, only her assumptions.

    At the same time, DeVos is also sticking to her far-right views on education policy, despite her new job. Axios asked the megadonor/cabinet secretary last week if, in her ideal world, the federal government would have any role in education. She replied:

    “It would be fine with me to have myself worked out of a job, but I’m not sure that – I’m not sure that there will be a champion movement in Congress to do that.”

    ………………………….

    In the same interview, she conceded that federal policymakers have, in the past, played a constructive role in protecting students, but when Axios asked if there any remaining issues on which the federal government should intervene, DeVos had a fairly straightforward answer.

    “I can’t think of any now,” she replied.

    Like

  39. rikyrah says:

    White House forced to reverse course on Trump’s golfing
    02/20/17 04:43 PM
    By Steve Benen

    For the third consecutive weekend, Donald Trump has headed south, spending time at his private club in South Florida, where the president appears to enjoy golfing. And while that ordinarily wouldn’t be especially notable – just about every modern president has enjoyed hitting the links – with Trump, nothing is ever easy.

    Because Trump complained bitterly for years about President Obama’s golfing, the Republican’s aides are a little touchy about the subject, to the point that they’ve begun shading the truth a bit. Politico reported this afternoon:

    After initially saying Trump had only played a few holes, the White House reversed itself Monday after professional golfer Rory McIlroy posted on his website that he had played 18 holes with the president.

    “As stated yesterday the President played golf. He intended to play a few holes and decided to play longer,” White House spokesperson Sarah Sanders said Monday.

    I’ll gladly concede that this White House’s falsehoods are so numerous, giving deceptive information about the president’s golf game hardly registers. For that matter, the president’s own lies are often so serious, it’s hard to get too worked up about this latest misstep.

    Like

  40. rikyrah says:

    Disgusted by Donald Trump’s antics, CIA veteran resigns
    02/21/17 08:00 AM—UPDATED 02/21/17 09:53 AM
    By Steve Benen

    To hear Donald Trump tell it, he and the intelligence community get along swimmingly. The Republican president, who’s repeatedly questioned intelligence professionals’ integrity and professionalism, told the CIA on his first full day in office that the media “sort of made it sound like I had a feud with the intelligence community.” The truth, he added, is “exactly the opposite.”

    A few days later, reflecting on his reception at the agency, Trump added, “I got a standing ovation. In fact, they said it was the biggest standing ovation since Peyton Manning had won the Super Bowl and they said it was equal. I got a standing ovation. It lasted for a long period of time.”

    But while the president was clearly delighted with himself, some intelligence professionals had a very different reaction. The Washington Post published a piece overnight from Edward Price, a former CIA analyst and spokesperson for the National Security Council, who intended to spend the rest of his career at the CIA, where he’s worked for over a decade. But his plans changed last week after Price, who worked for presidents from both parties, “reluctantly concluded” that he simply couldn’t be part of Donald Trump’s team. [Update: Price is scheduled to talk to Rachel about his perspective and experiences on tonight’s show.]

    I watched in disbelief when, during the third presidential debate, Trump casually cast doubt on the high-confidence conclusion of our 17 intelligence agencies, released that month, that Russia was behind the hacking and release of election-related emails. On the campaign trail and even as president-elect, Trump routinely referred to the flawed 2002 assessment of Iraq’s weapons programs as proof that the CIA couldn’t be trusted – even though the intelligence community had long ago held itself to account for those mistakes and Trump himself supported the invasion of Iraq.

    Trump’s actions in office have been even more disturbing. His visit to CIA headquarters on his first full day in office, an overture designed to repair relations, was undone by his ego and bluster. Standing in front of a memorial to the CIA’s fallen officers, he seemed to be addressing the cameras and reporters in the room, rather than the agency personnel in front of them, bragging about his inauguration crowd the previous day. Whether delusional or deceitful, these were not the remarks many of my former colleagues and I wanted to hear from our new commander in chief. I couldn’t help but reflect on the stark contrast between the bombast of the new president and the quiet dedication of a mentor – a courageous, dedicated professional – who is memorialized on that wall. I know others at CIA felt similarly.

    Liked by 1 person

  41. rikyrah says:

    New Republican health care blueprint falls far short
    02/21/17 10:00 AM
    By Steve Benen

    Congressional Republicans have been working on a health care reform plan – behind closed doors, away from public scrutiny – for more than seven years. Periodically, GOP leaders assure everyone that their alternative to “Obamacare” is nearly complete, and its unveiling is imminent, only to quietly change the subject soon after.

    As lawmakers left Congress late last week for a week-long break, the Republican placement for the ACA still doesn’t exist, but House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) didn’t want to send his members home empty-handed – especially knowing that they’d face concerned constituents, fearing what GOP lawmakers might do to their families’ health security – so Republicans left DC armed with an outline of some vague ideas about where the majority party is headed.

    That’s the good news. We’re a long way from having a real, detailed GOP plan to consider, but we can at least take a closer look at what Ryan & Co. have come up with thus far, which is better than literally nothing.

    The bad news is, you’re really not going to like the Republican outline. A New York Times editorial yesterday summarized the key provisions nicely:

    In a half-baked policy paper released on Thursday, the House speaker, Paul Ryan, trotted out washed-up ideas for “improving” the country’s health care system that would do anything but. For example, the paper calls for reducing spending on Medicaid, which now provides insurance to more than 74 million poor, disabled and older people. Many millions of them would be cast out of the program.

    The Republican plan would also force most people who don’t get their health insurance through an employer to pay more by slashing subsidies that the A.C.A., or Obamacare, now provides. The proposal would allow families to sock away more money in health savings accounts, which may sound good at first but would primarily benefit affluent people who can afford to save more.

    Like

  42. rikyrah says:

    ICE raided a football practice for 7yr olds yesterday in LA. They took my friend’s undocumented cousin– leaving her 7yr old son at practice

    — Isaac Webster (@IsaacWebster) February 20, 2017

    Like

  43. rikyrah says:

    Malcolm X was killed on this day, 52 years ago, in New York City. pic.twitter.com/8jUOGNtr6V

    — Good Morning America (@GMA) February 21, 2017

    Like

  44. rikyrah says:

    Bookmark for up to four years: the 33 questions (so far) that need answering about Trump, his associates and Russia. https://t.co/8WYNRo0z1r

    — Joy Reid (@JoyAnnReid) February 21, 2017

    Like

  45. rikyrah says:

    Democratic Comeback Will Depend on Inclusion, Not Exclusion
    by Nancy LeTourneau
    February 21, 2017 8:13 AM

    As we near the election of the new DNC chair this weekend, it is important to think about how the party develops a successful path forward. While modeling a movement based on the Tea Party can sound attractive, that it is a short-term strategy based on exclusion rather than inclusion, and should therefore be rejected.

    As an example of the exclusionary forces at work in the Democratic Party, I would point to the “We Will Replace You” efforts launched by a group of mostly Sanders supporters. Their aim is to target Democrats who have not sufficiently resisted Donald Trump and mount primary challenges against them. Their message to Democrats is: “Do everything you can to Resist Trump, or we will replace you with someone who will.” High on the list of people to target are Senators like Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota.

    While both of these Senators leave much to be desired when it comes to progressive policies that go way beyond their lack of resistance to some Trump nominees, let’s be clear about something. Donald Trump won West Virginia by 42 percent (the largest margin in the country) and North Dakota by 36 percent. These are two deeply red states that just so happen to have Democratic Senators. Targeting them for a primary could very well result in having two additional Republican Senators who will vote with Trump 100 percent of the time rather than occasionally work with him.

    Like

  46. rikyrah says:

    Republicans Love Trump. Independents? Not So Much
    by Nancy LeTourneau
    February 20, 2017 9:20 AM

    Gallup looked at Trump’s one-month job approval ratings and found that he is 21 points below the average for recent presidents. As of mid to late February of the first year in office, the average job approval for the last 10 presidents has been 61 percent. Trump is currently at 40 percent.

    But what is actually more informative is to look at those numbers by party breakdown.

    When it comes to Republicans, 87 percent approve of the job Trump is doing. That is better than any of the other Republicans, except George W. Bush — who was at 91 percent with Republicans at this point in his first year. In other words, partisan Republicans love this president.

    On the other end of the spectrum, Democrats almost universally disapprove of Trump. Only 8 percent approve of the job he’s doing, whereas for previous Republican presidents, those numbers have been above 30 percent.

    But check out the Independents. Only 35 percent approve of the job Trump is doing. That is 23 percentage points lower than the average.

    Like

    • eliihass says:

      ‘Republicans’ don’t so much love him as much as white republicans are psyched that it’s one of their own again – and one who stresses white supremacy…no matter how buffoonish he is or how much damage he’ll potentially inflict on the country and on them as individuals…

      Like

  47. Ametia says:

    Reparations for Slavery in the United States?

    Although nearly seven in ten Americans oppose paying reparations to African Americans who are descendants of slaves for the harm and racial discrimination caused by slavery, opinion divides along racial lines according to an Exclusive Point Taken- Marist Poll. While white Americans overwhelmingly oppose restitution, a majority of African Americans favor redress. Latino Americans divide.

    Nearly six in ten Americans assert the current wealth of the United States is not significantly tied to work done in the past by slaves, although most consider the history of slavery and other forms of racial discrimination to be at least a minor factor in the gap in wealth between white and black Americans. Here too, opinions differ based on racial background.

    68% of residents nationally do not think the United States should pay reparations to descendants of slaves, and a similar proportion of American adults, 72%, argue that the United States should not compensate African Americans, in general, for the harm caused by slavery and other forms of racial discrimination.

    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/point-taken/blog/marist-reparations-slavery-united-states/

    Like

  48. rikyrah says:

    Trump’s SoHo Project, the Mob, and Russian Intelligence
    by Martin Longman
    February 20, 2017 2:34 PM

    Donald Trump keeps saying that he has nothing to do with the Russians. Most recently, he made this claim in his White House press conference last week: “I can tell you, speaking for myself, I own nothing in Russia. I have no loans in Russia. I don’t have any deals in Russia.” He said it at a press conference in early January, too.

    Russia has never tried to use leverage over me. I HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH RUSSIA – NO DEALS, NO LOANS, NO NOTHING!

    — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 11, 2017

    He also made the denial in one of the debates with Hillary Clinton.

    Given that Trump is pretty consistent in how he words these denials, it could be that he’s carefully parsing. After all, if he has business interests in Azerbaijan, which he does, that’s a former Soviet Socialist Republic that is no longer part of the same nation-state as “Russia.”

    Whether Trump is being too clever by half or simply lying is something that reporters, the Intelligence Community, Congress, and maybe the Treasury Department need to figure out. What’s clear for now, though, is that Trump has plenty of connections to Russia and other parts of the former Soviet Union.

    Hopefully, you’ve already seen the New York Times piece from this weekend detailing how Trump’s personal lawyer Michael Cohen took a dossier to Michael Flynn that had been provided to him by a pro-Russian Ukrainian politician named Andrii V. Artemenko and a Russian mob-connected former employee of the Trump Organization named Felix Sater.

    Like

  49. rikyrah says:

    Quick Takes: Mad Dog Mattis Attempts to Walk Back Another Potential War Crime
    by Nancy LeTourneau
    February 20, 2017 5:00 PM

    Apparently the guy Trump likes to refer to as “Mad Dog” Mattis (otherwise known as the Secretary of Defense) had to reassure our allies that the president wouldn’t commit a war crime.

    Before arriving in Baghdad, Mr. Mattis was asked by reporters about Mr. Trump’s remarks during a visit to C.I.A. headquarters last month that the United States should have “kept” Iraq’s oil after the American-led invasion, and might still have a chance to do so.

    “We’re not in Iraq to seize anybody’s oil,” Mr. Mattis said during a stop in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

    This is not the first time that Mattis has had to deal with a suggestion that the president is considering committing a war crime. He was successful in talking Trump out of using torture.

    Like

  50. Liza says:

    I’m off to Tampa, y’all. Leaving soon. Catch you later.

    Liked by 2 people

  51. rikyrah says:

    About this story:
    Uh huh
    Uh huh
    😕😕😕😕

    Liked by 2 people

  52. rikyrah says:

    Good Morning, Everyone 😐😐😐

    Like

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