Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Trick or Treat Tuesday

It's all tricks from the Boston Globe:

"3 ex-Trump aides face charges in Mueller probe" by Matt Zapotosky and Rosalind S. Helderman Washington Post  October 30, 2017

WASHINGTON — Special prosecutor Robert S. Mueller III on Monday revealed charges against three former Trump campaign officials, marking the first criminal allegations to come from inquiries into possible Russian influence in US political affairs.

The charges are striking for their breadth, touching all levels of the Trump campaign and exploring the possible personal, financial wrongdoing of those involved, as well as what appeared to be a dogged effort by one campaign official to arrange a meeting with Russian officials. The most damaging charges were leveled at alleged activities before the two joined the Trump campaign.

That's it? That's all he came up with?

The charges against former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and his longtime business partner Rick Gates did not make direct reference the Trump campaign.

Former Trump foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos pleaded guilty earlier this month to making a false statement to FBI investigators. Papadopoulos admitting to lying to the FBI, but in reality the meeting never happened. In the months that followed, Papadopoulos continued to correspond with the woman and the professor about a possible meeting between the Trump campaign, possibly including Trump himself, and Russian officials.


Ultimately did not take place, according to the plea.

I'm later told he was turned by the government. That's how they do things.

The Globe thinks it is hugely significant.

The indictment of Manafort and Gates focused on their work advising a Russia-friendly political party in Ukraine. The special counsel alleged that for nearly a decade Manafort and Gates laundered money through scores of US and foreign corporations, partnerships, and bank accounts and gave false statements to the Justice Department and others when asked about their work on behalf of a foreign entity.

That is going to open up a whole can of worms, the foreign influence over elections (including Congre$$ional campaign contributions)! 

Looks like the days of AIPAC anonymity are over!

All told, more than $75 million flowed through offshore accounts, the special counsel alleged. Manafort, the special counsel said, laundered more than $18 million, using his wealth acquired overseas to ‘‘enjoy a lavish lifestyle’’ in the United States, purchasing multimillion dollar properties, antiques, luxury cars, and expensive suits, and paying for home renovations.

It's $cummy, but let's face it, it is part of the political culture and perks of the elite ruling cla$$.

Manafort turned himself in at the FBI’s Washington field office on Monday morning.

Outside the courthouse, Manafort attorney Kevin Downing attacked the charges, saying ‘‘there is no evidence that Mr. Manafort or the Trump campaign colluded with the Russian government.’’ Gates did not respond to a request for comment.

According to the indictment, Manafort and Gates arranged to hire two Washington-based lobbying firms to work on behalf of their Ukrainian clients, arranging meetings with US officials and boosting their public image in the United States.

Yeah, WHO WHERE THEY, WaPo, and why is the ince$tual intermingling of lobbyists left unmentioned?

Prosecutors say, however, that Manafort and Gates arranged for a Brussels-based nonprofit to nominally hire the companies to hide the fact that their work was for Ukrainian government officials and would otherwise require registration under the Foreign Agents Registration Act.

Prosecutors allege that Manafort was communicating directly with then-Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych about the effort, promising in 2012 to provide him weekly updates about the effort.

To further obscure Ukrainian involvement in the lobbying effort, prosecutors say, payments to the Washington firms were routed through obscure offshore companies.....


Also see:

"The criminal investigation President Trump often dismisses as “fake news’’ went from disquieting tremors to a full-fledged political earthquake Monday, creating further cracks in the Trump administration’s credibility and its ability to pursue his agenda. Trump’s countless tweets about the Russia probe suddenly seem more hollow in the face of grand jury indictments....."

That's the crap media spin on all this!

"Mueller’s charges come as two of the three congressional investigations into Russian meddling have been foundering along political lines, with Republicans and Democrats pursuing separate and sometimes directly competing lines of inquiry. Earlier this month, the House Intelligence Committee and the Senate Judiciary Committee launched inquiries into a deal approved by the Obama administration that gave Russia a significant stake in the American uranium market. That revived a political cudgel Trump used against Clinton during the presidential campaign, despite scant evidence of her personal involvement....."

Also see:

Robert Mueller’s probe must continue unhindered

No Podesta there.

Can it get any worse?


More disinformation, conspiracy theories, and propaganda:

"A group of investors led by Arjuna Capital and the Illinois State Treasurer filed proposals with the three companies asking for “in-depth reports” about the controversies involving Russian interference on their platforms during the 2016 election and the dissemination of fake news. “As investors, we cannot allow Facebook, Google, and Twitter to become dumpster fires of disinformation and hate,” Arjuna managing partner Natasha Lamb said in a statement Monday. “Users will abandon the platforms as quickly as they joined them.” Officials from the three companies are expected to appear this week in front of three separate hearings on Russian interference in last year’s presidential elections, beginning with the Senate Judiciary subcommittee Tuesday....." 

I get a Globe every morning, what of it?

"President Trump is having more success getting judges confirmed than Democrat Barack Obama did at this early stage in their presidencies, and that disparity is expected to increase this week as the GOP-led Senate pushes through more of Trump’s choices....." 

Also see the Senate scum close ranks.

"The Supreme Court appears likely to rule for an inmate on Texas’ death row who was denied money to investigate his history of mental illness and other claims that could spare him from being executed. The case the justices heard Monday involves Carlos Manuel Ayestas, an immigrant from Honduras who was sentenced to death for strangling a woman in Houston. In separate action Monday, the Supreme Court turned away an appeal from a Louisiana dirt farmer who complained that a local flood control district took his soil without paying enough for it....."

Then there is the health care crisis no one is talking about (except for the Globe).

"Stocks retreated from their record highs on Monday, ahead of a frenetic week for markets. Investors are waiting to learn what several of the world’s biggest central banks will decide on interest rates and whether Apple and other big US companies can keep piling their profits higher. Reports continued to show that the economy is strengthening and negotiations continued in Washington to cut income tax rates. Investors expect President Trump to announce his choice for the next chair of the Federal Reserve by the end of the week. The central bank has played a pivotal role in the economy’s recovery from the Great Recession and the stock market’s leap to record after record. The choice could have far-ranging effects on the markets, particularly if the new chair advocates a more aggressive policy in raising interest rates than current Chair Janet Yellen has. Low interest rates have helped to push returns higher for bond funds, stocks, and all kinds of other investments around the world. But pressure may be rising for the Fed to increase rates more quickly. A report on Monday showed that US consumer spending growth accelerated last month, led by a pickup in auto sales. It’s the latest piece of evidence that the economy is picking up momentum."

RelatedHousing group withdraws support for GOP tax plan

They are consolidating their efforts!

"President Trump is expected to name Jerome H. Powell as the next chairman of the Federal Reserve, replacing Janet L. Yellen, the current chairwoman whose term expires in early 2018, according to two people familiar with the plans. An announcement could come as soon as Thursday, before the president’s 12-day trip to Asia. Powell, a lawyer by training, worked as an investment banker before joining the Treasury Department under President George H.W. Bush. He then made a fortune at the Carlyle Group, a private equity firm, before leaving to work at the Bipartisan Policy Center as an expert on fiscal policy. He was nominated to the Fed by President Barack Obama in 2012. A Washington state native, he has spent most of his life in the capital in both public and private roles. He lives in Maryland and has three children. One person familiar with the president’s thinking described Powell as the “safe” choice and the one who most closely fit Trump’s penchant for filling his government with characters from “central casting,” as he often puts it....."


Speaking of which:

"Kevin Spacey’s apology is a house of cards" by Ty Burr Globe staff  October 31, 2017

What an amazing time we’re in right now when the people accused of victimizing them take cover in their own “liberation” — and the news media fall for it.

Here’s the story: The aftershocks of the Harvey Weinstein revelations, with dozens of women now accusing the producer of behavior ranging from harassment to rape, have at least temporarily changed the cultural landscape to the point that long-silent victims are speaking out.

(Raise fist)

A widening field of alleged abusers are being identified, shamed, and seeing their careers totter. Journalist Mark Halperin, director James Toback, magazine editor Leon Wieseltier, and fashion photographer Terry Richardson are among the men who’ve recently been accused of past sexual misdeeds; whether the censure, the loss of work, and other forms of fallout stick remains to be seen.

Can the genie ever be put back in the bottle?

Actor Anthony Rapp’s account is a story of alleged molestation. What it’s not about, in any sense or fashion, is being gay. But that’s what Kevin Spacey, in his response, turned it into.

You know, when we project an actor’s roles and public persona onto his or her actuality as a person, we do so at our peril. But the disclosure, if you want to call it that, isn’t exactly breaking news: The actor’s sexuality has been a point of open speculation at least as far back as 1997, when an Esquire cover profile blared “Kevin Spacey Has a Secret” and coyly referenced his “coming out of the closet” to play a gay man in the film “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.”

For at least two weeks now.

While Rapp came out as gay at 20 in 1992 — when the professional dangers of such an admission were much greater than they are 25 years later — Spacey has insisted on personal privacy in interviews. And people went along with that because he’s right — a celebrity’s sex life should be as private as he or she wants it to be — and because people just like Kevin Spacey. His public persona is the fox in the pop culture henhouse, the slippery devil you hate to love and love to hate — or it was. By the end of Monday, Netflix had announced it was shutting down production of “House of Cards.”

His career collapsing just like them!

To be absolutely clear on this, what Spacey is alleged to have done to Rapp is not about being gay, and to cloak one’s response in an act of self-serving “truth-telling” only widens the scope of damage. It ensures that the clickbait-hungry news media will switch the spotlight from “Kevin Spacey accused of trying to have sex with a kid” to “Kevin Spacey comes out of the closet at last,” with the Associated Press, Reuters, the networks, and this newspaper, among others, subsequently headlining just that. (The Globe did tweet a follow-up clarification highlighting Rapp’s accusations two hours later.)

Aren't you ashamed of yourselves? 


It swings the water-cooler conversation back to Spacey rather than Rapp and to how much anyone “knew” all along. And, worst of all, the statement resurrects the hoary myths falsely equating homosexuality and pedophilia and gives ammunition to anyone who believes gay men are predators by nature. By coming out of the closet, the star actually managed to shove the cultural conversation further back in.

Memo to Kevin Spacey: It’s not about who you are, or who you “choose” to be. It’s about what you did, or chose to do, three decades ago to a 14-year-old kid who’s telling you he’s still freaked out about it in his mid-40s. Nothing else matters, and to pretend otherwise only makes you look worse. Right now, the only house of cards is the one you’re standing in....


It's an addiction, that's all.

So is this.


"French feminist groups on Monday staged a protest against a retrospective honoring director Roman Polanski at film institute La Cinematheque Francaise in Paris, booing as Polanski attended the opening. The institute maintained its program despite criticism in the wake of allegations against Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein. Polanski in the 1970s pleaded guilty to having sex in the U.S. with a 13-year-old girl, whom he plied with champagne and Quaaludes....."

Not only that, his movies suck, but that's how you get work in Hollywood!

"NBC News says it has terminated its contract with Mark Halperin, the political journalist who was accused of sexual harassment by several women when he worked at ABC News more than a decade ago. Since the charges came to light last week, publisher Penguin Press canceled a planned book by Halperin and John Heilemann about the 2016 election and HBO pulled the plug on a miniseries that would have been based on the book. Showtime also said Halperin would not be brought back with co-hosts Heilemann and Mark McKinnon should the political series ‘‘The Circus’’ be renewed. At NBC News, Halperin was a contributor who was most visible as a regular panelist on MSNBC’s ‘‘Morning Joe.’’ The network, which had initially suspended Halperin last week, confirmed the firing on Monday." 


"Hamilton Fish, president and publisher of The New Republic, is taking a leave of absence pending an investigation into complaints by female employees at the magazine, according to a letter sent to its staff Sunday night. In the letter, Win McCormack, the magazine’s owner, said he had asked Fish to “remain on a leave of absence,” effective immediately, pending an independent investigation into recent complaints from women concerning interactions with Fish. The complaints from female employees about Fish also come less than a week after Leon Wieseltier, a prominent longtime editor at The New Republic, issued an apology after a number of women accused him of sexual misconduct. Fish, who has also served as publisher of The Washington Spectator and The Nation, was named publisher of The New Republic in early 2016. In his letter on Sunday, McCormack said that J.J. Gould, the magazine’s editor, would take on the role of acting president and that Art Stupar, the magazine’s associate publisher, would serve as acting publisher."

One wonders when this reaches the Globe newsroom.

"Legislative leaders won’t blame Beacon Hill culture for alleged harassment" by Matt Murphy State House News Service  October 31, 2017

The leaders of the House and Senate acknowledged Monday that their offices have received complaints of sexual harassment at the State House, but neither man would go so far as to blame a unique culture on Beacon Hill for the recent stories of women being abused by men in power.

Not much was said after Saturday.

Both House Speaker Robert DeLeo and Senate President Stanley C. Rosenberg, who have decades of combined experience working at the State House, said they have dealt with sexual harassment complaints during their tenures in the top legislative posts.

Rosenberg, who became Senate president in 2015, said he has dealt with two complaints in three years. “Both of those reports were handled according to the policy and both worked out to the satisfaction of the person who had been accosted,” Rosenberg said.

DeLeo, who came to power in 2009, did not put a number on the complaints he has received, and would not say whether they were lodged against lawmakers, staff, or people from outside the building. “Any action or any complaint that has been brought to our attention, we’ve handled. We’ve handled as quickly as possible, obviously with the victim in mind and we got the result we were looking for,” he told reporters.

The House and Senate maintain their own human resources departments. DeLeo said the sexual harassment policy is spelled out in the House employee handbook, and indicated that mandatory training for House employees would be something House counsel Jim Kennedy would look into.

In addition to mandatory training, the cochairs of the Women’s Caucus Sexual Assault Working Group — Representatives Lori Ehrlich and Tricia Farley-Bouvier — called for an immediate five-step action plan that also included an anonymous survey to gauge the level of harassment within the State House.

One former State House aide who worked inside and outside the building for years in various capacities, including as executive director of the Massachusetts Caucus of Women Legislators, posted on Facebook last Friday that anyone surprised by the allegations raised in YvonneAbraham’s column are “part of the problem.”

Christina M. Knowles, who shared her Facebook post publicly on Twitter, said she had a “gold mine” of stories from her more than 10 years working on Beacon Hill as an aide and lobbyist that would “ruin many careers and lives.”


What are you waiting for?


At least they are not behaving like NYPD detectives.

Where is Maura Healey regarding all this anyway?

Husband, wife who survived Las Vegas shooting die in car crash 


Btw, did you know Pennsylvania is the nation’s second-largest commercial casino state (as opposed to Utah)?


"Saudi women to be allowed into sports stadiums next year" by Aya Batrawy Associated Press  October 30, 2017

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Saudi Arabia will allow women into sports stadiums as of next year, the kingdom’s latest step toward easing rules on gender segregation — but they will be seated in the so-called family section, an area separate from the male-only crowd.

Still, the decision, announced on Sunday, marks another incremental step toward greater women’s rights in the kingdom.


The decision comes after the public appeared to welcome a decision to allow women to drive for the first time next year. Many also responded enthusiastically when women were allowed into the Riyadh stadium for National Day celebrations last month.

It’s a stark reversal from years of allowing only men into the stadiums, many built with hundreds of millions of dollars when oil prices were nearly double what they are now.

The government spent lavishly on the stadiums in an effort to appease its young population and provide spaces for fans eager to cheer on local clubs, as well as hold national parades and ceremonies.

Most women in Saudi Arabia cover their hair and face with a veil and all women are required to wear an abaya, a loose black dress, in public.....

I'm done covering this.



"A deadly ambush in Niger that killed four US service members ignited a push among many lawmakers to update the legal parameters for combat. Several Republicans and Democrats were surprised by the depth of the US commitment in Niger and other parts of Africa. They have argued the dynamics of the battlefield have shifted over the past 16 years and it’s past time to replace the post-Sept. 11 authorization to fight Al Qaeda with a law that reflects current threats. Senator Chris Coons, Democrat of Delaware, said on CNN that most members of Congress weren’t even in office when the authorization for the use of military force was signed into law by President George W. Bush. Roughly 800 US service members are in Niger as part of a French-led mission to defeat the extremists in West Africa. There are hundreds more American forces in other African countries. US troops also are battling the Islamic State in Syria. Trump also has approved a troop increase in Afghanistan, the site of America’s longest war, and the United States is backing a Saudi Arabia-led coalition that’s carrying out airstrikes in Yemen. In a separate development Monday....."

Yes, the transgender troops are far more important than the corpses of America's wars based on lies.


Ship with 2 women rescued at sea reaches Japan

Inconsistencies cast doubt on tale of two women who survived five months at sea


Danish inventor admits dismembering journalist

Speaking of carving things up:

Catalan leaders may face rebellion charges after declaring independence

Iraqi leader calls for calm in Kurdish region after rioting

UN says aid convoy reaches besieged Damascus suburb in Syria

Hollering siege, they are!

"Global warming is hurting people’s health a bit more than previously thought, but there is hope if the planet kicks its coal habit, a group of doctors and other researchers said. The poor and elderly are most threatened by worsening climate change, but there remain ‘‘glimmers of progress’’ especially since the 2015 Paris agreement to limit heat-trapping carbon dioxide emissions, according to a big study published Monday in the British medical journal Lancet. In a separate development Monday...."


German crew tries to free ship grounded after storm

That is more important than the blackouts in hundreds of thousands of homes in the Czech Republic, Austria, and other countries, or the two people who died in Poland and the two others killed in the Czech Republic.

Who betrayed Anne Frank? Former FBI agent reopens a cold case

Is that even in their jurisdiction? 

Talk about a government being owned by a foreign power!

Storm blasts New England, leaving 1.5 million without power

Even washed away a home in New Hampshire.

South Korea and China make moves to improve relations


"The world’s hottest video game is set to be shut out of the biggest market. A Chinese gaming association said in an announcement posted online that PlayerUnknown’s “Battlegrounds” is too bloody and violent for sale in the country. The gladiator-style mentality of the computer game — in which competitors kill each other until only one remains — deviates from the values of socialism and is deemed harmful to young consumers, according to the China Audio-Video and Digital Publishing Association."

A small step in the cause of peace?

Maybe we can Reform the world.


I will be brief with the rest. 

Be careful crossing the railroad tracks tonights and watch out for dogs in Cambridge.

If you can, go out on a bike. Riding the bus would be even better; that way they can track you and keep you safe from the thugs in Bo$ton.

It's never a good idea to mix beer and marijuana, and please check your Halloween candy when you get home so it doesn't make you sick.

Have a Merry Christmas, readers.