Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by hushpuppy, Apr 12, 2011.
False viral claim about Donald Trump's Puerto Rico response originates from Russia-connected Facebook account
By Bill Palmer, Palmer Report, October 2, 2017
Over the weekend, a Facebook post went viral from an individual claiming to be in Puerto Rico, who insisted that Donald Trump’s relief effort was in fantastic shape. By midnight on Sunday, the post in question had received nearly half a million shares from Trump supporters. However, our research reveals that the post originated from a Facebook account with strange connections to Russia, calling its legitimacy into question.
The post was made by a Facebook user named “Jim Bates” who claims to live in San Juan, Puerto Rico. He posted “I live in Puerto Rico. We ARE getting help. From Army, Navy, FEMA, Volunteer Ministers and celebrities. Turn off CNN. They lie.”
In his post, he provided no evidence to support any of these claims. Some aspects of his Facebook account raise eyebrows. For instance, eight of the twenty-one public Facebook groups listed on Bates’ profile page are Russian groups complete with names in Cyrillic script.
When run through Google Translate, the names of these Russian groups translate to confusing phrases like “Employee as part of a team” and “SLIMMING COURSE P6N. REVIEWS” which do not give away anything about the nature of Mr. Bates’ connection to Russia. Bates claims to be representing the “Church of Scientology Puerto Rico” but he’s using what appears to be a personal PayPal account to raise money on behalf of his church’s Puerto Rico relief effort. This calls into question whether the Church of Scientology would allow its members to individually raise money in its name by using their personal PayPal accounts.
Regardless of the other curiosities and anomalies involved, here’s the bottom line. There was an overwhelmingly viral false claim about Donald Trump’s supposedly impressive Puerto Rico relief response this weekend, and it originated from a Facebook account which has clear connections to Russia. Considering Trump’s own vast connections to Russia, this is beyond bizarre.
More at http://www.palmerreport.com/politics/false-claim-russia-pr/5252/
Another Scientologist becomes instant star with Trump supporters, this time in Puerto Rico
By Tony Ortega, The Underground Bunker, October 2, 2017
First it was Joy Villa, a celebrity-wannabe who had been trying for years to use her involvement in Scientology to get somewhere in Hollywood. Then she put on a “Make America Great Again” dress at the Grammy Awards in February and instantly became a hit with Donald Trump supporters. The climber has used that overnight fame to get in with Fox News and the Trump campaign, despite the fact that during the election she actually supported Bernie Sanders.
Now, it’s happened again. Jim Bates, the Organization Executive Secretary at Scientology’s mission in Puerto Rico, who is married to Susan (Marino) Bates, the mission’s Executive Director, was posting photos to his Facebook page of a few Scientology “Volunteer Ministers” who had arrived on the island — and without supplies except for some chainsaws, as our Rod Keller pointed out yesterday.
Was the “Jim Bates” Facebook page actually a Russian bot or troll who had forgotten to cover up his groups along with his friends list, which is not public?
We don’t know why this Facebook user is involved in Russian groups, but at least one of them has a connection to Scientology’s work in Russia through its “WISE” business front. And in other ways his page is consistent with Jim Bates, the org executive secretary of the Puerto Rican Scientology mission.
He’s apparently been at the mission for numerous years, and had worked for Scientology in New York before that.
And his wife is the longtime executive director of the mission, which has little presence on the island.
At her own Facebook page, Susan Marino Bates lists just a few five-star reviews, one of which she gave to alt-right star Milo Yiannopoulos. Another she gave to her own Dianetics center.
If the Jim Bates account is not a Russian bot, it doesn’t look unlike what a Scientologist in a place like Puerto Rico might be posting, exaggerating the impact of Scientology Volunteer Ministers in a disaster zone.
The real mystery isn’t why Jim Bates would be making those claims, but why anyone would be taking them seriously.
More at https://tonyortega.org/2017/10/02/a...th-trump-supporters-this-time-in-puerto-rico/
Is CNN Lying About Relief Efforts Reaching Puerto Rico? | Snopes
We do not yet know exactly why Bates posted his message about CNN, but we can note the effects. Hundreds of thousands of people shared the post, which brought attention to the Church of Scientology’s relief efforts and provided an opportunity for fundraising.
Jim Bates - Scientology Service Completions | Truth About Scientology Statistics Project
Mark Zuckerberg begs for forgiveness amid Russian ad probe | Reuters
Facebook founder and chief executive Mark Zuckerberg asked for forgiveness for ways his work was used to divide people in a Facebook posting marking the end of Yom Kippur, the Jewish holiday of atonement on Saturday.
“For the ways my work was used to divide people rather than bring us together, I ask forgiveness and I will work to do better,” Zuckerberg said in the post.
He did not refer to specific issues in the message, which comes as Facebook and other technology companies are under increased scrutiny amid a US investigation into potential Russian involvement in the 2016 US presidential election campaign.
Facebook said Sept. 6 it had found that an operation likely based in Russia spent $100,000 on thousands of US ads promoting divisive social and political messages in a two-year-period through May.
Facebook, the dominant social media network, said 3,000 ads and 470 “inauthentic” accounts and pages spread polarizing views on topics including immigration, race and gay rights.
Facebook has launched an overhaul of how it handles paid political advertisements, after US lawmakers threatened to regulate the world’s largest social network over secretive ads that run during election campaigns.
Probes being conducted by several congressional committees along with the Department of Justice have clouded US President Donald Trump’s tenure since he took office in January and have threatened his agenda, which has yet to secure a major legislative victory.
No, this happens when socïety doesn't grow up to parent it's children properly, you dumbass
Russians took a page from corporate America by using Facebook tool to ID and influence voters
By Elizabeth Dwoskin, Craig Timberg and Adam Entous, The Washington Post
Russian operatives set up an array of misleading Web sites and social media pages to identify American voters susceptible to propaganda, then used a powerful Facebook tool to repeatedly send them messages designed to influence their political behavior, say people familiar with the investigation into foreign meddling in the U.S. election.
The tactic resembles what American businesses and political campaigns have been doing in recent years to deliver messages to potentially interested people online. The Russians exploited this system by creating English-language sites and Facebook pages that closely mimicked those created by U.S. political activists.
The Web sites and Facebook pages displayed ads or other messages focused on such hot-button issues as illegal immigration, African American political activism and the rising prominence of Muslims in the United States. The Russian operatives then used a Facebook “retargeting” tool, called Custom Audiences, to send specific ads and messages to voters who had visited those sites, say people familiar with the investigation who spoke on the condition of anonymity to share details from an ongoing investigation.
People caught up in this web of tracking and disinformation would have had no indication that they had been singled out or that the ads came from Russians.
Continued at https://www.washingtonpost.com/busi...1e40d8-a7c5-11e7-850e-2bdd1236be5d_story.html
Trump’s Day in Puerto Rico Did Not Go Over Well With the Locals
Residents didn’t appreciate being told that the devastation wasn’t a “real catastrophe.”
By AJ Vicens, Mother Jones
During President Donald Trump’s visit to Puerto Rico on Tuesday, he met with Gov. Ricardo Rosselló, tossed donated items to people at a church in Guaynabo, and boasted about his administration’s efforts that he said had “saved a lot of lives.”
It didn’t go over well with locals.
“There is no respect,” said Zorahya Díaz, 36, who was enjoying a Medalla beer at El Watusi, a neighborhood hangout in the Santurce district of San Juan. We were talking over the din of a 10,000-watt portable generator that was keeping the lights on and the drinks cool on an island where roughly 95 percent of people remain without electricity. “That’s the thing. We cannot expect anything good [from the Trump administration] in that respect.”
Earlier in the day, upon his arrival in Puerto Rico, Trump had said the devastation from Hurricane Maria didn’t constitute a “real catastrophe” like Hurricane Katrina. He also seemed to blame Puerto Ricans for the strain that relief efforts were placing on the federal budget. “Now, I hate to tell you, Puerto Rico, but you’ve thrown our budget a little out of whack because we’ve spent a lot of money on Puerto Rico,” he said. “And that’s fine. We’ve saved a lot of lives.”
Continued at http://www.motherjones.com/politics...to-rico-did-not-go-over-well-with-the-locals/
In bizarre visit, Donald Trump compares Puerto Rico to ‘a real catastrophe like Katrina’ — and congratulates himself: Analysis
The U.S. president’s Tuesday visit to storm-damaged Puerto Rico was vintage Trump — informal, freewheeling, self-centred and unlike any other modern president.
By Daniel Dale, Toronto Star
He accused Puerto Ricans of throwing the federal budget “out of whack.”
He suggested Puerto Rico had not experienced a “real catastrophe” like Hurricane Katrina, since a mere “16 people” had been confirmed dead.
He told a family of hurricane victims to “have a good time.”
He tossed paper towels to another group of victims, in a church, as if he was shooting basketball free throws.
He told a third group of victims that they don’t need flashlights any longer, though 90 per cent of the island was still without power.
He refused to speak to the mayor of San Juan.
And, as usual, Donald Trump congratulated himself.
Facing withering criticism for his delayed and then belligerent response to the Puerto Rican hurricane crisis, Trump’s Tuesday visit to San Juan was a chance to begin to repair the wounds he had caused over a week of tweeted insults.
Instead he casually tore them open, a smile on his face.
In a frequently abnormal afternoon on the island, Trump showed none of the scripted gravitas of his sombre Monday response to the massacre in Las Vegas. Speaking without notes, he behaved as if the ongoing crisis had long since been fixed by his own doing.
It was vintage Trump — informal, freewheeling, self-centred, detached from facts, wholly unlike the behaviour of any other modern president.
His supporters applauded again, pointing to his authenticity and moments of empathy. Puerto Ricans already upset with him before he landed were infuriated.
“He takes two weeks to visit a disaster zone where 3.5 million American citizens live. He arrives with a smile on his face, makes fun of the situation, shows no empathy, lies and lies on camera as he does 24-7. And then throws paper towel rolls to people in need as if he was playing Go Fetch with dogs,” said Joel Isaac, 27, a New York actor who moved from Puerto Rico three years ago.
Most of Isaac’s family is still on the island. He said he had never felt humiliated as a Puerto Rican until he watched Trump’s visit.
“It’s the whole scene where the privileged white man comes to save the brown peasants after they’ve been begging, thirsty and hungry. It’s super disgusting to see, honestly,” he said.
Continued at https://www.thestar.com/news/world/...trina-and-congratulates-himself-analysis.html
Trump Throws Paper Towels to Hurricane Victims in Puerto Rico
President Donald Trump got personally involved Tuesday in distributing aid to Puerto Rico, launching rolls of paper towels into the crowd at a relief center.
President Donald Trump throws rolls of paper towels into a crowd of local residents affected by Hurricane Maria as he visits Cavalry Chapel in San Juan, Puerto Rico on Oct. 3, 2017. Jonathan Ernst / Reuters
Trump paused momentarily to take a selfie with someone before starting up again.
Trump's Puerto Rico event was way worse than his tweets
Exclusive: Russian-linked Facebook ads targeted Michigan and Wisconsin
By Manu Raju, Dylan Byers and Dana Bash, CNN
A number of Russian-linked Facebook ads specifically targeted Michigan and Wisconsin, two states crucial to Donald Trump's victory last November, according to four sources with direct knowledge of the situation.
Some of the Russian ads appeared highly sophisticated in their targeting of key demographic groups in areas of the states that turned out to be pivotal, two of the sources said. The ads employed a series of divisive messages aimed at breaking through the clutter of campaign ads online, including promoting anti-Muslim messages, sources said.
It has been unclear until now exactly which regions of the country were targeted by the ads. And while one source said that a large number of ads appeared in areas of the country that were not heavily contested in the elections, some clearly were geared at swaying public opinion in the most heavily contested battlegrounds.
Michigan saw the closest presidential contest in the country -- Trump beat Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton by about 10,700 votes out of nearly 4.8 million ballots cast. Wisconsin was also one of the tightest states, and Trump won there by only about 22,700 votes. Both states, which Trump carried by less than 1%, were key to his victory in the Electoral College.
The sources did not specify when in 2016 the ads ran in Michigan and Wisconsin.
As part of their investigations, both special counsel Robert Mueller and congressional committees are seeking to determine whether the Russians received any help from Trump associates in where to target the ads.
White House officials could not be reached for comment on this story. The President and senior White House officials have long insisted there was never any collusion with Russia, with Trump contending the matter is a "hoax."
The focus on Michigan and Wisconsin also adds more evidence that the Russian group tied to the effort was employing a wide range of tactics potentially aimed at interfering in the election.
Continued at http://www.cnn.com/2017/10/03/politics/russian-facebook-ads-michigan-wisconsin/
Launching rolls of paper towels was Trumps way of saying get to work and mop up the water.
Donald J. Trump @realDonaldTrump 3 hours ago
Wow, so many Fake News stories today. No matter what I do or say, they will not write or speak truth. The Fake News Media is out of control!
If Trump were to do what's right for the country once in a while the press would be singing his praises.
He doesn't and they don't .
Repulsive piece of human garbage that he is.
Fullerton calls Trump a moron. He's not wrong .http://www.cnn.com/2017/10/04/politics/tillerson-trump-moron/index.html
Tillerson calls Trump 'moron,' and tensions escalate
Tillerson calls Trump 'moron,' and tensions escalate
https://goo.gl/search/Rex W. Tillerson
Rex W. Tillerson, United States Secretary of State
Rex Tillerson, Trump's Secretary of State, 'Never Considered Leaving' the Job
Rex Tillerson kind of admitted he called Trump a 'moron' - CNNPolitics
When asked if he called Trump a moron he didn't answer the question. He said he wouldn't answer questions like that. IMHO he doesn't want to be caught in a lie.
Trump suggested that PRs 73 billion in debt be wiped away and the bond market quakes.
PRs debt is a result of the US using Puerto Rico like a colony. They can't negotiate with other countries like States can. The are victims of predatory lending- for example if they need a new electrical grid they are never loaned enough to fix it totally. The debt mounts and there is no way for them to ask for a loan elsewhere or contract the work out to something other that an American company. Then PR gets blamed for the debt like they are shiftless moronic peasants.
Not like I'm opinionated about oligarchy that is the current US system.
Trump said . "We're going to work something out. We have to look at their whole debt structure. They owe a lot of money to your friends on Wall Street, and we're going to have to wipe that out," Trump said. "That's going to have to be — you can say goodbye to that. I don't know if it's Goldman Sachs, but whoever it is, you can wave goodbye to that."
The White House Budget Director said "I wouldn't take it word for word with that."
Ooh, now hes upset the money people. Not holding my breath, at all. Hes now limbering up for the quadruple back-flip with a half twist.
Rex Tillerson's Fury at Trump Required an Intervention From Pence
By Carol E. Lee, Kristen Welker, Stephanie Ruhle and Dafna Linzer, NBC News
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was on the verge of resigning this past summer amid mounting policy disputes and clashes with the White House, according to senior administration officials who were aware of the situation at the time.
The tensions came to a head around the time President Donald Trump delivered a politicized speech in late July to the Boy Scouts of America, an organization Tillerson once led, the officials said.
Just days earlier, Tillerson had openly disparaged the president, referring to him as a “moron,” after a July 20 meeting at the Pentagon with members of Trump’s national security team and Cabinet officials, according to three officials familiar with the incident.
In an unscheduled statement to reporters Wednesday morning, Tillerson directly addressed that version of events, saying, "I have never considered leaving this post."
He praised Trump's foreign policy agenda, saying he was part of a team to "make America great again." But he did not deny calling the president a "moron," declining to address that remark directly and saying, "I'm not going to deal with petty stuff like that."
In a briefing Wednesday afternoon, State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said Tillerson did not use the word "moron" to descibe the president. "The secretary did not use that type of language to speak about the president of the Unites States," Nauert said. "He did not say that."
The president was asked about Tillerson's remarks after touring the University Medical Center in Las Vegas Wednesday and said, "I am very honored by his comments, it was fake news, it was a totally phony story." Trump added that he has "total confidence in Rex."
Continued at https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/wh...ury-trump-required-intervention-pence-n806451
Donald J. Trump @realDonaldTrump 7 hours ago
The @NBCNews story has just been totally refuted by Sec. Tillerson and @VP Pence. It is #FakeNews. They should issue an apology to AMERICA!
Trump Is a World-Historic Genius: An Op-ed by Rex Tillerson
By Eric Levitz, New York Magazine
Earlier today, I addressed some erroneous news reports. In remarks from the Treaty Room of the State Department, I reaffirmed my faith in President Trump’s America-first agenda, my admiration of the president’s leadership, and my commitment to serving as secretary of State.
I neglected, however, to deny the basic thrust of those erroneous reports. Namely, that I once used an epithet to disparage the president’s intelligence. My thought was that such “petty nonsense” did not merit a response, and that what really mattered was to reiterate my support for the president’s policy goals. But that was a stupid thought. And that I thought it proves that it is I, in fact, who has the bad brain.
To address a few specifics that have been misreported this morning: I have not described — and would never describe — the president as a “moron,” nor “fucking moron.” Nor have I referred to him as a “true doofus,” “real dumb-dumb,” or “sub-simian chucklehead.” Nor have I ever asked a staffer, “How many President Trumps does it take to screw in a light bulb?” and, after giving said staffer adequate time to formulate an estimate (between three and seven seconds, depending on whether the staffer appeared distracted when I initiated my query), I have never then said, “Two: one to tell me to screw in the light bulb for him, and another to mindlessly tweet ‘Rex is wasting his time,’ like the drool-soaked dunderhead that Donald J. Trump truly is.”
If anyone ever overheard me using any of the aforementioned epithets, I was probably just shouting them into a mirror. That is how frustrated I sometimes get with my own BIG-LEAGUE stupidity. Could anyone really blame the president if he started referring to me in tweets as “Rocks for Brains Rex”? I certainly couldn’t.
And I won’t.
Let me tell you what I’ve learned about this president, whom I did not know before taking this office. He loves sudoku. He plays it on the hard setting and gets all the best numbers within seconds. His verbal skills break the mold of what people traditionally think is achievable in the game of Scrabble.
I, on the other hand, am a low-energy Scrabble player who once wasted a wild tile on the word dog. And I misspelled dog, too. Yeah, that’s it. Write that down. “Rocks for Brains Rex” spelled it with a silent L. For loser. Because that’s what he is.
At the Riyadh summit, President Trump beat King Salman in a game of Cranium. At the G7, the president challenged Emmanuel Macron to a speed-reading competition, and finished a French-language version of Swann’s Way in 25 minutes. The French president — whose wife is in such good physical shape (believe me) — still hasn’t gotten through section three.
I secretly don’t know how to read because my parents were Dust Bowl dirt people who gave me very bad genes — like a dog.
President Trump invented string theory. He ghost-wrote Infinite Jest, and secretly helped solve Fermat’s Last Theorem. He was the real-life inspiration for the Academy Award–winning film A Beautiful Mind, except he isn’t crazy, and they only made him crazy in the movie for the sake of the plot.
When I wake up in the morning, my first thoughts are, “Durrrr … how do I put my shoes on my feetses?!” and then, “How am I going to make it through another day pretending that I don’t know what everybody else does: that I fundamentally lack the cognitive capacity, intellectual curiosity, and attention span necessary to execute the role I’ve been given? Can I really keep projecting my own manifest inadequacies onto other people? Why can’t I be a world-historic genius like Donald Trump, who was a good student at Wharton, and comprehends very well?”
And as I struggle to put on my shoes and then trip and get my butt lodged in a bucket, and then start rolling sideways in the bucket toward a staircase, and then hit my head on every post of the banister of the staircase, like the cartoon idiot that I genuinely am, in real life, I accept that I will never be a smart person like President Trump.
I am Rocks for Brains Rex. The man who gave up being CEO of one of the world’s most powerful companies for this. L’idiot, c’est moi.
Bahhaha, say it aint so? Link generator plox
Found one, so much fun, so little time
Yes, I thought you would have seen it, earlier on this page.
Trump Blames Puerto Rico For Running Up His Budget | The Late Show with Stephen Colbert
President Trump's visit to Puerto Rico quickly shifted from providing relief for hurricane victims to practicing his jump shot.
A Primer On Puerto Rico | Full Frontal with Samantha Bee
A quick look at Puerto Rico's hundred-year history of getting screwed with their pantalones on by the United States. With Javier Muñoz.
Trump's Puerto Rico Visit and The Gun Debate: A Closer Look |Late Night with Seth Meyers
Seth takes a closer look at President Trump's disastrous visit to Puerto Rico and the renewed debate over gun laws.
Internet’s Most Popular Donald Trump Chat Room Destroyed in Anime-Related ‘Coup’
Will there be a lolsuit?
How the Mods dismantled the chat room
Court orders Trump administration reinstate Obama emissions rule | The Associated Press
Interior department had moved to delay to 2019 methane regulation governing oil and gas production on federal land
Rebuffing the Trump administration, a federal judge on Wednesday ordered the Interior Department to reinstate an Obama-era regulation aimed at restricting harmful methane emissions from oil and gas production on federal lands.
The order by a judge in San Francisco came as the Interior Department moved to delay the rule until 2019, saying it was too burdensome to industry. The action followed an earlier effort by the department to postpone part of the rule set to take effect next year.
US Magistrate Judge Elizabeth Laporte of the northern district of California said the department had failed to give a “reasoned explanation” for the changes and had not offered details why an earlier analysis by the Obama administration was faulty. She ordered the entire rule reinstated immediately.
The rule, finalized last November, forces energy companies to capture methane that’s burnt off or “flared” at drilling sites on public lands during production because it pollutes the environment. An estimated $330m a year in methane is wasted through leaks or intentional releases on federal lands, enough to power about 5m homes a year.
Methane, the primary component of natural gas, is a leading contributor to global warming. It is far more potent at trapping heat than carbon dioxide but does not stay in the air as long.
“It’s a good thing the courts are protecting Americans from oil and gas industry pollution, because the Trump administration has completely abdicated that responsibility,” said Michael Saul, a senior attorney with the Center for Biological Diversity, one of the groups that challenged the Trump rule along with California and New Mexico.
“The methane rule puts modest constraints on a dirty practice that endangers public health and wastes billions of taxpayer dollars,” Saul said. President Donald Trump and the interior secretrary, Ryan Zinke, “are not above the law and the court has made it clear they have to stop putting polluters above the people they were sworn to protect,” Saul said.
The court ruling follows a defeat in Congress, when the Senate unexpectedly turned back a bid to overturn the methane rule after three Republicans joined Democrats in voting to uphold it. The vote prompted Interior Department officials to promise to suspend, revise or rescind the regulation as part of a wider effort by the Trump administration to unravel what it considers burdensome regulations imposed by former president Barack Obama.
Continued at https://www.theguardian.com/us-news...administration-reinstate-obama-emissions-rule
Ivanka and Donald Trump Jr. Were Close to Being Charged With Felony Fraud
New York prosecutors were preparing a case. Then the D.A. overruled his staff after a visit from a top donor: Trump attorney Marc Kasowitz.
By Jesse Eisinger and Justin Elliott, ProPublica, and Andrea Bernstein and Ilya Marritz, WNYC
In the spring of 2012, Donald Trump’s two eldest children, Ivanka Trump and Donald Trump Jr., found themselves in a precarious legal position. For two years, prosecutors in the Manhattan District Attorney’s office had been building a criminal case against them for misleading prospective buyers of units in the Trump SoHo, a hotel and condo development that was failing to sell. Despite the best efforts of the siblings’ defense team, the case had not gone away. An indictment seemed like a real possibility. The evidence included emails from the Trumps making clear that they were aware they were using inflated figures about how well the condos were selling to lure buyers.
In one email, according to four people who have seen it, the Trumps discussed how to coordinate false information they had given to prospective buyers. In another, according to a person who read the emails, they worried that a reporter might be onto them. In yet another, Donald Jr. spoke reassuringly to a broker who was concerned about the false statements, saying that nobody would ever find out, because only people on the email chain or in the Trump Organization knew about the deception, according to a person who saw the email.
There was “no doubt” that the Trump children “approved, knew of, agreed to, and intentionally inflated the numbers to make more sales,” one person who saw the emails told us. “They knew it was wrong.”
In 2010, when the Major Economic Crimes Bureau of the D.A.’s office opened an investigation of the siblings, the Trump Organization had hired several top New York criminal defense lawyers to represent Donald Jr. and Ivanka. These attorneys had met with prosecutors in the bureau several times. They conceded that their clients had made exaggerated claims, but argued that the overstatements didn’t amount to criminal misconduct. Still, the case dragged on. In a meeting with the defense team, Donald Trump, Sr., expressed frustration that the investigation had not been closed. Soon after, his longtime personal lawyer, Marc Kasowitz entered the case.
Kasowitz, who by then had been the elder Donald Trump’s attorney for a decade, is primarily a civil litigator with little experience in criminal matters. But in 2012, Kasowitz donated $25,000 to the reelection campaign of Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr., making Kasowitz one of Vance’s largest donors. Kasowitz decided to bypass the lower level prosecutors and went directly to Vance to ask that the investigation be dropped.
On May 16, 2012, Kasowitz visited Vance’s office at One Hogan Place in downtown Manhattan — a faded edifice made famous by the television show, “Law & Order.” Dan Alonso, the chief assistant district attorney, and Adam Kaufmann, the chief of the investigative division, were also at the meeting, but no one from the Major Economic Crimes Bureau attended. Kasowitz did not introduce any new arguments or facts during his session. He simply repeated the arguments that the other defense lawyers had been making for months.
Ultimately, Vance overruled his own prosecutors. Three months after the meeting, he told them to drop the case. Kasowitz subsequently boasted to colleagues about representing the Trump children, according to two people. He said that the case was “really dangerous,” one person said, and that it was “amazing I got them off.” (Kasowitz denied making such a statement.)
Vance defended his decision. “I did not at the time believe beyond a reasonable doubt that a crime had been committed,” he told us. “I had to make a call and I made the call, and I think I made the right call.”
Just before the 2012 meeting, Vance’s campaign had returned Kasowitz’s $25,000 contribution, in keeping with what Vance describes as standard practice when a donor has a case before his office. Kasowitz “had no influence and his contributions had no influence whatsoever on my decision-making in the case,” Vance said.
But less than six months after the D.A.’s office dropped the case, Kasowitz made an even larger donation to Vance’s campaign, and helped raise more from others — eventually, a total of more than $50,000. After being asked about these donations as part of the reporting for this article — more than four years after the fact — Vance said he now plans to give back Kasowitz’s second contribution, too. “I don’t want the money to be a millstone around anybody’s neck, including the office’s,” he said.
Kasowitz told us his donations to Vance were unrelated to the case. “I donated to Cy Vance’s campaign because I was and remain extremely impressed by him as a person of impeccable integrity, as a brilliant lawyer and as a public servant with creative ideas and tremendous ability,” Kasowitz wrote in an emailed statement. “I have never made a contribution to anyone’s campaign, including Cy Vance’s, as a ‘quid-pro-quo’ for anything.”
Last year, The New York Times reported the existence of the criminal investigation into the Trump SoHo project. But the prosecutor’s focus on Ivanka and Donald Jr. and the email evidence against them, as well as Kasowitz’s involvement, and Vance’s decision to overrule his prosecutors, had not been previously made public. This account is based on interviews with 20 sources familiar with the investigation, court records, and other public documents. We were not able to review copies of the emails that were the focal point of the inquiry. We are relying on the accounts of multiple individuals who have seen them.
Continued at https://www.propublica.org/article/ivanka-donald-trump-jr-close-to-being-charged-felony-fraud
Did Rex Tillerson Call Trump A 'Moron' Or A 'Fucking Moron'? | The Late Show with Stephen Colbert
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson boldly refuted allegations that he called the President a 'moron' by refusing to explicitly refute that he called the President a 'moron.'
Stephen Colbert Warns Rex Tillerson: Nobody Calls Trump a Moron but Me | Vanity Fair
Meanwhile, says Jimmy Kimmel, “If Trump is upset Rex Tillerson called him a moron, wait until he finds out what the rest of the country has been calling him.”
Donald J. Trump @realDonaldTrump 5 hours ago
Why Isn't the Senate Intel Committee looking into the Fake News Networks in OUR country to see why so much of our news is just made up-FAKE!
Donald J. Trump @realDonaldTrump 4 hours ago
Rex Tillerson never threatened to resign. This is Fake News put out by @NBCNews. Low news and reporting standards. No verification from me.
Yeah, fuck those guys!
Was Kelly's phone hacked.
Trump and his dancing glitter-religious clown group is taking away birth control via employee health plans.
Robert Mueller's Team Interview Trump Dossier’s Christopher Steele | Newsweek
Investigators examining the alleged ties between President Donald Trump and Russia have interviewed the former British spy who compiled a notorious dossier that contained a number of salacious claims about the President's actions in the run-up to the 2016 election.
Investigators from special counsel Robert Mueller's team met with Christopher Steele in Europe recently, a source familiar with the investigation told the Associated Press Friday. Two sources originally told CNN about the meeting. A source close to the ex-spy also confirmed the meeting to NBC News.
On Wednesday Reuters reported Mueller has begun probing claims made in the dossier about the Trump campaign’s financial and personal ties to a number of Russians named in the document. American intelligence says many of these people are Russian spies or working for the Russian government.
Mueller has taken over the FBI’s inquiries into the document as he leads an independent investigation on behalf of the Department of Justice looking at whether the Trump campaign assisted Russia’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election.
Senior military and intelligence officials in the Trump administration say they agree with findings in a January report by key American intelligence agencies that Moscow directed a misinformation and hacking campaign to tilt the U.S. election.
Information from Steele could establish whether contacts between Trump campaign members and associates and those named in the document broke the law.
Among other things, the document alleges Trump’s former campaign chief Paul Manafort, political operative Carter Page, and Trump’s personal lawyer Michael Cohen played a role in procuring damaging information on Trump’s campaign rival Hillary Clinton with assistance from the Kremlin.
Trump has called the document “totally made-up facts by sleazebag political operatives.” The document was released in full by BuzzFeed News in January with a warning the publication had not corroborated the findings.
Steele, who was formerly stationed in Russia with MI-6, heads a business intelligence firm in London that was hired to compile the document by the political research firm Fusion GPS. Funding originally came from both Republican and Democrat backers during the election but, even after the money ran out, Steele is reported to have continued his research because of what he found.
One of the firm’s partner’s, Glenn Simpson, was interviewed privately by the Senate Judiciary Committee in late August. The committee is one of three congressional bodies conducting inquiries into Russian election meddling, including the Senate and House Intelligence Committees.
In a statement in July to the Senate Judiciary Committee, Fusion GPS said: “Let's be clear about what's really happening: the President's political allies are targeting Fusion GPS because the firm was reported to be the first to raise the alarm over [the] Trump campaign's links to Russia.”
Three Russians named in the document filed a libel lawsuit in the U.S. against Fusion GPS early this week claiming their reputations have been damaged by the firm.
The document’s most salacious claim focuses on Trump's visit to Moscow in 2013 for the Miss Universe pageant, and alleges that the future president ordered prostitutes to soil a bed that President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle slept in at a luxury Moscow hotel. The claim is unverified.
Trump-Russia ‘Golden Shower’ Dossier Is Now Being Investigated by Special Counsel Robert Mueller | Newsweek
Here's All You Need to Know About Trump's Decision to Decertify the Iran Nuke Deal
"If one seeks war, Trump's decision makes sense."
By Jake Johnson, Common Dreams
In what critics are slamming as a decision to embrace "war over peace," President Donald Trump is reportedly gearing up to officially "decertify" the Iran nuclear deal next week on the grounds that it is "not in the national interest of the United States."
Many in recent days have predicted that Trump would ultimately opt to decertify the deal he so often railed against on the campaign trail. While some within his administration have urged Trump to uphold U.S. commitment to the nuclear accord, the right-wing hawks calling for tougher sanctions and outlining potential "military options" appear to have won out.
"The move would mark the first step in a process that could eventually result in the resumption of U.S. sanctions against Iran, which would blow up a deal limiting Iran's nuclear activities," the Washington Post noted.
In a Twitter thread on Thursday, Trita Parsi, president of the National Iranian American Council, explained why Trump's move to undermine the nuclear deal is so dangerous—and why his justifications for doing so are blatantly false.
Continued at https://www.commondreams.org/news/2...bout-trumps-decision-decertify-iran-nuke-deal
Trump just officially made it easier for employers to stop covering birth control
The new rules let big companies end contraceptive coverage — and take effect immediately.
By Sarah Kliff and Dylan Scott, Vox
The Trump administration is relaxing an Obama-era requirement that nearly all employers offer health insurance that covers a wide array of contraceptive methods.
New regulations released Friday significantly broaden the types of companies and organizations that can request an exemption from that rule. This could lead to many American women who currently receive no-cost contraception having to pay out of pocket for their medication.
The new rules take effect immediately. And they allow large, publicly traded companies to seek an exemption from the birth control requirement if they have a religious or moral objection to providing such coverage. The Obama administration barred these large businesses from such exemptions.
“This provides an exemption, a limited one, for those with religious or moral convictions implicated by the contraceptive mandate,” an HHS official said in a Friday morning briefing with reporters previewing the rule.
HHS projects that “99.9 percent of women” will be unaffected by these changes but gave little explanation of how it came to that data point. Officials did note that only a few hundred small businesses have so far raised religious or moral objections against the requirement by filing lawsuits.
But it is possible that larger publicly traded companies could join their ranks as the exemption gets widened. And the rule itself is blunt about the possible effect, noting that “These final rules will result in some enrollees in plans of exempt entities not receiving coverage or payments for contraceptive services.”
Women’s health groups, including the National Women’s Law Center and the Center for Reproductive Rights, have been preparing to file lawsuits against the regulation, based on an earlier draft that Vox obtained in late May.
The new rules have been designed specifically to guard against those expected challenges, a source familiar with their drafting told Vox. The Trump administration technically released two separate rules: one broadening the religious exemption and one creating a new moral exemption from the mandate. The reason is that if a court were to strike down one rule in a lawsuit, the other would likely still stand.
“Bifurcating the rule into two separate parts is like a severability clause on steroids,” Nicholas Bagley, a health law professor at the University of Michigan, said. “It's signaling in the strongest possible terms that the agency independently wants both parts of the rule to remain in place, even if one, or part of one, is invalidated.”
That strategy should be effective, forcing opponents to chase two targets. “The courts,” Bagley said, “will almost certainly respect that policy choice.”
This rule would significantly overhaul the birth control mandate as it had been implemented by the Obama administration.
Continued at https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/10/6/16234238/trump-obamacare-birth-control
When describing Trump’s soul, Stephen Colbert has to resort to profanities
By Danette Chavez
One of the many, many down sides to having a degenerate blowhard in the White House, who threatens nuclear war in the same offhanded manner that he retweets anti-Semitic memes, is that there are only so many ways to relate what would be cartoon villainy if only Trump didn’t actually have the ability to order a nuclear strike. The president has been described as dangerously incompetent so many times that those words are losing their meaning, which is probably what this administration is after, now that the department of education is in the hands of someone who championed charter schools in Michigan despite below-average test scores.
We’re also running dangerously low on orange-colored produce (in various stages of decomposition) to allude to when describing his radioactive hue, though that’s not quite as big of a concern as the frequent use of “narcissistic” and “racist” when referring to his demeanor. But maybe all we need is to step away from our computers or phones, breathe in the fresh air, and then return to our mobile devices to read some inspired profanity from Stephen Colbert.
The Late Show host appeared on stage at Michael Moore’s Broadway show, The Terms Of My Surrender, on Wednesday, according to The New York Times. As the two talked about how to keep up with the surreal dramedy that is the current administration, Moore complimented his guest on his ability to spin comedy gold out of Trump’s hay-colored toupee: “Your ability to use satire and humor to say the emperor has no clothes is profound every single night.”
Colbert of course said his way of dealing with the Trump presidency is to laugh through it. “When you’re laughing, you’re not afraid, and if you’re not afraid you can think,” he said. As for the national disaster that is having a floundering businessman as chief executive, Colbert advised, “We felt our way into this thing, and we have to think our way out of it.” But after observing that “Trump keeps summoning monsters of abstraction—things that aren’t real—they’re extensions of the ordinary, fears that you have that he plays on,” the late-night host couldn’t help but fucking swear, telling the audience that Trump “wants to brush people into a corner where he can shine his feeble, fucking anemic firefly of a soul.” Now, profanity-laced jokes are a coping mechanism we can get behind.
Choose a color via Color picker or click the predefined style names!