Daily Check-In 11/13/2018

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

 

THE RUSSIAN INVESTIGATION

I’m still looking for more info on that last one, but two reasons why they might do this is if they’re no longer needed, or George is no longer their client.  Those might sound like the same thing, but there’s a difference.  If George was serving his sentence, then he might not need criminal attorneys.  If George did something stupid, wanted to do something stupid or illegal that they advised against, or he stopped paying them.  Knowing how stupid George is, I’ll bet on that option.

 

COHEN, NEW YORK, AND THE OTHER LAWSUITS

This was the purpose of the visit – if not Mueller, then Mueller’s staff – though he was already on his way home by the time the ABC piece ran. No one could say what, specifically, he was talking to Mueller about – however, he brought his own lawyer along for the meeting. Was this the signing of the immunity agreement that the American media have long speculated could help bring down his old boss? Cockburn can’t say, though he does know that even before Mr Cohen came to Washington, he had racked up 80 hours of discussions with various prosecutors (more than the 50 hours that has been widely reported). Clearly he has a lot to get off his chest.

So the whiff of panic comes from the President’s Android phone when he tweets about the man he once trusted (allegedly) to do his dirty work. ‘If anyone is looking for a good lawyer, I would strongly suggest that you don’t retain the services of Michael Cohen!’ But what – if any of these allegations are proven – did the ‘dirty work’ consist of? Cohen has already admitted to breaching campaign finance rules by paying hush money to a porn ‘actress’, Stormy Daniels, who claims she had an affair with Trump. He says he did this at the direction of the man who would shortly be elected to the Presidency.

Wall Street Journal report on how this was done landed like a mortar bomb in the Rose Garden on Friday. The details are devastating. ‘What can you do to help my campaign’ the story has Trump asking David Pecker, publisher of the National Enquirer. Pecker was – it’s claimed – brought on board to help Cohen silence Stormy Daniels, and another woman, a former Playboy model called Karen McDougal. Trump asks Cohen: ‘So, what are we gonna pay…150?’ Cohen replies, ‘Yes’ to the payment of $150,000 to McDougal. There is, allegedly, a recording of this conversation.

There are rumors, too, of Trump mistresses paid to have abortions and kept quiet with non-disclosure agreements. One source tells Cockburn that there could be as many as eight such women. (Cockburn should point out that Trump has been the subject of rumors about secret abortions for years, and has admitted no such thing.) But this is more than merely sad and sordid: if any such payments were made while Trump was running for President, there could be new campaign finance violations, all felony offenses. Cohen was said to have handled all this. Cohen was also a vice-president of the Trump Organization and knows about how the secretive family business was conducted. This matters because state prosecutors in New York are now said to be looking again at how condos in Trump buildings were sold – not by Trump, but by his older children, Don Junior, Eric and Ivanka.

8 abortions?!  I’m waiting for the evangelicals to pull a muscle doing mental gymnastics to justify this.

President Trump was involved in approving the hush-money payments made to women who claimed to have had an affair with him, and directed the deals with his “fixer” Michael Cohen, according to an 80-page indictment prepared by federal prosecutors and seen by the Wall Street Journal.

The indictment would have been introduced if Cohen had pleaded not guilty to charges of violating tax and campaign finance laws for making those payments. Instead, Cohen pleaded guilty, with prosecutors penning a 22-page document that detailed many of his actions but did not directly use Trump’s name.

In an interview with the Journal late last month, Trump wouldn’t say whether he discussed the payments, made to model Karen McDougal and porn star Story Daniels, with Cohen during the campaign. The attorney’s office said they found evidence that proves otherwise — that he was involved in every step, which was made at his direction.

Cohen, who once said he would take a bullet for the president, began distancing himself from the president over the summer before the guilty plea.

80 pages.  To put that in perspective, Bernie Madoff’s indictment was only 25 pages.

 

TRUMP THE RUSSIAN ASSET

 

TRAITOR TOTS

Remember Ed Whelan?  He was one of Brett Kavanaugh’s defenders that made the crazy theory that it wasn’t Brett that Dr. Ford remembered, but someone else at the party. (Daily Check-In 09/21/2018)

 

FIGHTING BACK

 

RIGHT WING TERRORISM & WHITE NATIONALISM

If you use a Nazi symbol, you should be aware of what it means: the depravity, the torture, the industrialized slaughter of innocents. The world is forgetting. This thread is to remind us all. /1

This is but a brief overview of the Nazi horrors, which began as the fever dream of a single man, grew to dominate a continent, & nearly engulfed the world. All quotes are sourced from Shirer’s The Rise & Fall of the Third Reich, which draws heavily from captured Nazi archives.

“Its inhabitants were kept for nearly half a year in dog kennels, urinals and in old baking houses. The dog kennels were three feet high, nine feet long, six feet wide.”

“Because of the corpses in the trainload of returning laborers a catastrophe might have occurred… Women gave birth to babies who were thrown out of the windows during the journey. Dying people lay in freight cars without straw, and one of the dead was thrown on the embankment.”

“It was particularly noted that when marching, for example, from railroad station to the camp, a rather large number of prisoners collapsed on the way from exhaustion, either dead or half dead… It cannot be prevented that the German people take notice of these occurrences.”

“At the bottom of the steps the guards loaded stones on the backs of these poor men and they had to carry them to the top. The first journey was made with stones weighing about sixty pounds and accompanied by blows… The second journey the stones were still heavier”…

“Whenever the poor wretches sank under their burden they were kicked and hit with a bludgeon… in the evening twenty-one bodies were strewn along the road. The twenty-six others died the following morning.”

“‘During the year you were chief of Einsatzgruppe D, how many men, women and children did your group kill?’ Ohlendorf, Harris later remembered, shrugged his shoulders and with only the slightest hesitation answered: ‘Ninety thousand.'”

“The Einsatz unit would enter a village or town and order the prominent Jewish citizens to call together all Jews for the purpose of ‘resettlement.’ They were requested to hand over their valuables and shortly before execution to surrender their outer clothing…”

“It was attempted to keep the span of time from the moment in which the victims knew what was about to happen to them until the time of their actual execution as short as possible.”

“…My foreman and I went directly to the pits. I heard rifle shots in quick succession from behind one of the earth mounds. The people who had got off the trucks—men, women and children of all ages—had to undress upon the order of an S.S. man, who carried a riding or dog whip.”

“They had to put down their clothes in fixed places, sorted according to shoes, top clothing and underclothing. I saw a heap of shoes of about 800 to 1,000 pairs, great piles of under-linen and clothing.”

“Without screaming or weeping these people undressed, stood around in family groups, kissed each other, said farewells and waited for a sign from another S.S. man, who stood near the pit, also with a whip in his hand… I heard no complaint or plea for mercy…”

“An old woman with snow-white hair was holding a one-year-old child in her arms and singing to it and tickling it. The child was cooing with delight. The parents were looking on with tears in their eyes.”

“The father was holding the hand of a boy about 10 years old & speaking to him softly; the boy was fighting his tears. The father pointed to the sky, stroked his head and seemed to explain something to him. At that moment the S.S. man at the pit shouted something to his comrade.”

“The latter counted off about twenty persons and instructed them to go behind the earth mound… I well remember a girl, slim and with black hair, who, as she passed close to me, pointed to herself and said: ‘twenty-three years old.'”

“I walked around the mound and found myself confronted by a tremendous grave. People were closely wedged together and lying on top of each other so that only their heads were visible. Nearly all had blood running over their shoulders from their heads.”

“Some of the people were still moving. Some were lifting their arms and turning their heads to show that they were still alive. The pit was already two-thirds full. I estimated that it contained about a thousand people.”

“The people, completely naked, went down some steps & clambered over the heads of people lying there to the place to which the S.S. man directed them. They lay down in front of the dead or wounded people; some caressed those who were still alive & spoke to them in a low voice.”

“The next batch was approaching already. They went down into the pit, lined themselves up against the previous victims and were shot.”

“‘If the international Jewish financier should again succeed in plunging the nations into world war the result will be the annihilation of the Jewish race throughout Europe.’ This was a prophecy, Hitler said, & he repeated it five times verbatim in subsequent public utterances.”

“We knew when the people were dead because their screaming stopped. We usually waited about a half hour before we opened the doors and removed the bodies. After the bodies were removed our special commandos took off the rings and extracted the gold from the teeth of the corpses.”

“The gas chambers themselves & adjoining crematoria, viewed from a short distance, were not sinister-looking places at all; it was impossible to make them out for what they were. Over them were well-kept lawns with flower borders; the signs at the entrances merely said BATHS.”

“The unsuspecting Jews thought they were simply being taken to the baths for the delousing which was customary at all camps. And taken to the accompaniment of sweet music!”

“For there was light music. An orchestra of ‘young and pretty girls all dressed in white blouses and navy-blue skirts,’ as one survivor remembered, had been formed from among the inmates.”

“Once they were inside the “shower-room”—and perhaps this was the first moment that they may have suspected something was amiss, for as many as two thousand of them were packed into the chamber like sardines, making it difficult to take a bath—the massive door was slid shut.”

“Up above where the well-groomed lawn and flower beds almost concealed the mushroom-shaped lids of vents that ran up from the hall of death, orderlies stood ready to drop into them the amethyst-blue crystals of hydrogen cyanide, or Zyklon B…”

“Surviving prisoners watching from blocks nearby remembered how for a time the signal for the orderlies to pour the crystals down the vents was given by a Sergeant Moll. ‘Na, gib ihnen schon zu fressen’ (‘All right, give ’em something to chew on’), he would laugh.”

“Through heavy-glass portholes the executioners could watch what happened. The naked prisoners below would be looking up at the showers from which no water spouted or perhaps at the floor wondering why there were no drains. It took some moments for the gas to have much effect.”

It was then that they usually panicked, crowding away from the pipes and finally stampeding toward the huge metal door where, as Reitlinger puts it, ‘they piled up in one blue clammy blood-spattered pyramid, clawing and mauling each other even in death.'”

“Twenty or thirty minutes later when the huge mass of naked flesh had ceased to writhe, pumps drew out the poisonous air, the large door was opened and the men of the Sonderkommando took over.”

“Their first task was to remove the blood and defecations before dragging the clawing dead apart with nooses and hooks, the prelude to the ghastly search for gold and the removal of teeth and hair which were regarded by the Germans as strategic materials.”

“‘We submit to you the following valuables with the request for the best possible utilization.’ The list is long and itemized and includes 154 gold watches, 1,601 gold earrings, 132 diamond rings, 784 silver pocket watches and ‘160 diverse dentures, partly of gold.'”

“Professor Hirt did not want the skulls… already dead. His instructions: ‘Following.. the subsequently induced death of the Jew, whose head should not be damaged, the physician will sever the head from the body and will forward it… in a hermetically sealed tin can.'”

“With the help of a few S.S. men [Kramer continued] I stripped the women completely and shoved them into the gas chamber when they were stark naked. When the door closed they began to scream. I introduced a certain amount of salt through a tube… and observed through a peephole.”

“When the door closed they began to scream. I introduced a certain amount of salt through a tube… The women breathed for about half a minute before they fell to the floor. After I had turned on the ventilation I opened the door. I found the women lying lifeless on the floor.”

“He was asked by his interrogator what his feelings were at the time: ‘I had no feelings in carrying out these things because I had received an order to kill the eighty inmates in the way I already told you. That, by the way, was the way I was trained.”

“Not only skeletons but human skins were collected by the masters of the New Order… The skins of concentration camp prisoners, especially executed for this ghoulish purpose, had merely decorative value. They made, it was found, excellent lamp shades.”

“All prisoners with tattooing on them were ordered to report to the dispensary… [T]he ones with the best and most artistic specimens were killed by injections…. The desired pieces of tattooed skin were detached from the bodies and treated further.”

“The finished products were turned over to Koch’s wife, who had them fashioned into lamp shades, and other ornamental household articles. One piece of skin which apparently struck Frau Koch’s fancy had the words ‘Haensel and Gretel’ tattooed on it.”

For all those who minimize, excuse, downplay, or normalize the newly resurgent Nazis, know that this is where your actions lead. This is not about gestures or flags. This is about an ideology that if unchecked will re-enact it’s horrors right here in the United States.

These photographs are from the United States in 2018. One of these groups was recently invited to the White House. Remember what these people want to do. Stand firm. Resist.

[Photos redacted by author.  We’ve all seen a swastika and burning cross, so I feel no need to keep that in here.]

Yes, that was painful to read.  It’s supposed to be.

 

KHASHOGGI & SAUDI ARABIA

 

SCOTUS 

 

IMMIGRATION

 

COLD WAR 2.0

 

#NEVERAGAIN

 

FIXING THE INTERNET

Yesterday, 50+ countries signed onto a cybersecurity agreement meant (in part) to lay the groundwork for a “Digital Geneva Convention” that would establish international cyberwarfare/crime laws. *The US joined Russia, NK, China, & Iran in NOT signing it*

What’s the need? Current international law protecting civilians is founded on notions of state sovereignty & conventional warfare, but the digital environment doesn’t respect or abide by borders, and the info battlespace doesn’t separate state actors & combatants from civilians.

Just as the Geneva Convention specified rules of combat to protect civilians during wartime, the cybersecurity pact will define what is unacceptable, & provide a legal basis for punishing those who breach international rules & norms in the digital world. But we didn’t sign it…

If we can’t even agree on what constitutes cyberwarfare & cybercrime, we can’t hold violators accountable. Russia has already exploited the hell out of this grey zone, and our retreat in this area will give them a green light to keep doing it.

 

THE PROPAGANDA MACHINE

 

WHITE HOUSE CHAOS

The amount of good will a First Lady is granted at the outset is immense. Even Melania despite her behavior from day one, had large numbers of Americans ready to defend her. But her behavior in recent months has used all that up. She’s being revealed for what she is.

She is another repulsive character from the Trump family of horrors. Hypocrite, birther, idiot, user, racist, degrader of her office, entitled symptom of everything worst about the oligarchy and her repugnant spouse, she is playing with fire.

The stories about her that have not been written but could be–about her past, about her personal life, about her legal dealings with her husband would not be the sympathetic interviews with her ladies who lunch friends in Manhattan. She is a symptom of Trumpism.

She is a manifestation of a pretty ugly side of American life. Hers is not the story of a hard-working immigrant made good. It is much darker than that and thanks to her behavior from the “I really don’t care” jacket to throwing her weight around in the White House…

…where it doesn’t belong, from her embrace of birtherism to her failure to actively reject the racism of her husband and his administration, from the stunning contrast between her own immigration story and that of her parents and child and the policies of this administration…

…she needs to know that the good will is now once and forever gone. She is just another member of the thug mob that has occupied our White House, as grotesque and offensive to anyone with decency as Bannon, Miller, Pence, Ivanka, Jared, Don Jr. or Trump himself.

We cannot be sure how she has earned her place in the White House. But we can certainly know to an absolute certainty how she earned our utter and unwavering contempt since she arrived. Her departure like that of her crime boss spouse cannot come soon enough.

 

TRADE WAR AND ECONOMY

 

STUDENT LOANS

 

GOP: THE PARTY OF LINCOLN IS DEAD

 

CRIME AND PUNISHMENT

 

ENVIRONMENT & SCIENCE

 

ELECTION 2018

 

THINKING AHEAD

 

PROGRESS IS PROGRESS

 

IN OTHER NEWS…

 

RUMOR MILL

Something I would like the Intelligence committees to start pushing social media on is efforts outside of the IRA to influence voters. Not only foreign efforts, but the efforts of every day US citizens to spread fake news or discourage voting or anything along those lines

This laser focus on the IRA alone leaves out the fact that all of these far-right circles on twitter and reddit and facebook do the same exact thing the Russians do without any consequence.

had /r/Hillaryforprison been ran by the IRA it would have been banned by now. had /r/the_donald been ran by the IRA it would have been banned b[y] now. had a lot of the far-right twitter trolls been ran by the IRA they would have been banned by now. Why a double standard?

 

That’s it for Tuesday.  It’s light on the editorializing because I am exhausted right now.  It’s not a great excuse, but it’s the one I’m running with.

The Rumor Mill is still abuzz with imminent activity, but nothing has launched yet.  I’ll keep everyone updated if and when something happens.  I don’t intend for that last sentence to sound like I doubt anything will happen.  I’m about 99% convinced that we’re on the edge of something historic.  What that something is, I’m not sure.  When it’s coming, I don’t know.  But, there’s a chance, a lingering doubt that always stays with me.  That’s what the “if” is for.

 

Thank you, and have a good one.

 

“Without Journalists, it’s just propaganda.”

– Katy Tur

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