The Weekend Watering Hole, December 10th/11th, 2016: Good-ish? News

To start this weekend off, here’s a few stories that I found a bit heartening. Or perhaps I should say ‘less disheartening than most news.’

First, a story by Jen Hayden from Thursday’s Daily Kos says that General Barry McCaffrey no longer supports Trump’s choice for national security advisor. Quite the opposite, in fact. An excerpt:

General Barry McCaffrey tells NBC News that he was initially supportive of Donald Trump’s decision to name Lt. General Michael Flynn as his national security advisor. But, a closer look at Flynn’s social media use shows that he sent out at least 16 different fake (propaganda) news stories via social media and General McCaffrey pulled no punches, bluntly calling the tweets and stories “demented.”

The Trump transition team is also rightly getting criticism for allowing Lt. General Flynn’s son, Michael G. Flynn, to not only take part in the transition team, but to seek out security clearance for him when his own social media has shown him to be prolifically disseminating utterly false and outrageous politically motivated news. (You can watch a smarmy Mike Pence evade Jake Tapper’s pointed questions about Flynn, Jr.’s security clearance six different times by clicking here.) One of those fake stories prompted a man to walk into a pizza place and fire his high-powered gun to personally “investigate” the child sex trafficking ring run by Hillary Clinton that Flynn was tweeting about to his followers. Which, of course, wasn’t happening.

General Barry McCaffrey went on to say that “we need to aggressively examine what was going on” with Lt. General Michael Flynn and his son.

Next, Trump’s “Ego Trip Tour” brings him to Maryland, and he’s attending today’s iconic Army-Navy football game in Annapolis,  He will also be visiting Baltimore, and the Baltimore City Council made it clear that they are not exactly laying out the “Welcome” mat for him.  According to the Baltimore Sun:

In its first official act Thursday, the new Baltimore City Council voted unanimously to condemn statements made by Donald J. Trump, days before the president-elect is expected to visit the city.

The resolution formally opposed Trump’s “divisive and scapegoating rhetoric, rooted in hate and prejudice,” a measure political scientists say flies in the face of new Mayor Catherine E. Pugh‘s goal of persuading the next president to funnel federal investment to the cash-strapped city.

Some Baltimore officials think that the City Council’s resolution will work against efforts by Mayor Pugh to wheedle funds out of Trump, and believe it was a stupid – one said “boneheaded” – thing to do. I strongly disagree: I want to see more cities like this stand up for character values like ethics, integrity, civil rights, and compassion. (According to the article, San Francisco is the only other city to put out a message like this against ‘Trumpland.’) I agree with this last part of the Sun article:

Veteran Councilwoman Mary Pat Clarke, of North Baltimore, said the action sets a tone for the new council and sends a signal to residents.
“I am very proud that we are one of the very first city councils in the United States of America to push back and say, ‘Time for respect, again, in America,'” Clarke said. The resolution is “a great way to start off this new term of office in that manner by pushing back, ‘Ain’t gonna do it that way. We’ll do it our way: respect, justice, fairness, balance.'”

And finally: FINALLY, President Obama is ordering an investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election. Of course, while the Washington Post “Breaking News Alert” that I received said “Obama Orders Review of Russian Hacking During Presidential Campaign”, obviously various investigations and studies had been going on for several months.  Just one brief excerpt (but you really should read the entire article, there’s lots more):

“The CIA shared its latest assessment with key senators in a closed-door briefing on Capitol Hill last week, in which agency officials cited a growing body of intelligence from multiple sources. Agency briefers told the senators it was now “quite clear” that electing Trump was Russia’s goal, according to the officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss intelligence matters.”

Although the Obama Administration and several Senators and Congressmen from both parties had some of these reports by “mid-September”, according to the Washington Post article, they had trepidations about announcing it publicly and/or officially ordering an investigation so close to the Election. IMHO, their concerns over the likelihood of being accused of using an investigation as a political ploy on behalf of the Clinton campaign should have been swept aside by the undeniable fact that ANY foreign country, and especially one with whom we have historically had a tenuous and cautious relationship, actively worked to influence the United States Presidential Election. In addition, if they thought that the Trumplanders would have been really pissed off if they brought this out BEFORE the election, didn’t any of them realize how much worse the “deplorables” would react AFTER their Fuhrer won the election? But at least now the Russian elephant in the room is getting official attention, and that’s a good thing, regardless of the timing. This Washington Post article discusses some of the GOP reaction, as well as reaction (more idiotic conspiracy-theory BS) from Trump and his ilk.  Trump can deny it all he wants, but all of the research so far shows that Russia put a ‘YUGE’ thumb on the election scale for Trump

I realize that these little “good news” tidbits are set in the context of the new, horror/sci-fi reality of an upcoming Trump presidency, at least they’re more positive than negative. And right now, that’s all that I find I can hope for.

This is our Open Thread – what’s on your minds?

22 thoughts on “The Weekend Watering Hole, December 10th/11th, 2016: Good-ish? News

  1. We could all see this coming . . .

    Trump’s pick for Interior Secretary wants to sell off public lands
    Rep. McMorris Rodgers’ nomination is more bad news in an administration that will be terrible on climate.

    McMorris Rodgers is strongly in favor of developing the United States’ fossil fuel resources. She has also opposed federal ownership of public lands and voted to make it more difficult for the president to create national monuments. McMorris Rodgers is the author of a bill that would have directed the Department of the Interior to sell off federal lands in Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, and Wyoming.

    Public lands — National Forests, Parks, Monuments, Grasslands, Wildlife Refuges, Wilderness — taken together, are one of America’s genuinely worthwhile and rewarding legacies that are still ‘out there’ and available to the most common of common people in the country. I, personally, have spent months and months and more months exploring and enjoying corners of the wild where there are no other humans, only wild critters. And of course, the Republicans want to hand it all over to the corporate world so they can pocket the money coming in from the land rape. Sickening. The ONLY thing that counts to that level of mental asshole is the most worthless commodity ever created by the human species: money. Nothing else even comes close.

    The one good thing that will ultimately result from land and resource rape is that human will finally extinct itself, a genuine blessing. Problem is, millions of other vibrant species will die off as well, through no fault of their own, and it’ll probably take several hundred-million years before the planet returns itself to its former glory. My only hope is that the NEXT time evolution devises an “intelligent” life form, it remembers the lesson learned and does NOT create any more stupid fucking Republicans!

    Rant over. For the moment, at least.

  2. From PoliticusUsa:

    “Former CIA Operative Robert Baer brought up the idea of holding a new election during an appearance on CNN…

    Baer said, “The Russians, it looks like to me did interfere in our elections. We’ll never be able to decide whether they changed the outcome, but I’ll tell you having worked in the CIA if we had been caught interfering in European elections, or Asian elections, or anywhere in the world, those countries would call for new elections. Any democracy would. I mean, I don’t see it any other way. The Electoral College before the nineteenth has got to know whether the Russians had an effect, Whether they went to Wikileaks, whether they hacked email, and whether they affected American opinion. They had a good reason to go after Hillary Clinton. Putin hates her for the Ukraine.

    Baer added, “When a foreign country interferes in your election and the outcome is in doubt and the legitimacy of the government. I don’t know how it works constitutionally. I’m not a lawyer, constitutional lawyer, but I’m deeply disturbed by the fact that the Russians interfered, and I would like to see the evidence, because if the evidence is there, I don’t see any other way than to vote again.”

    Think about how unprecedented Baer’s comments were. On American national television, a former CIA operative called for a new presidential election because a foreign government interfered in the last election to help one candidate win.”

    • With Trump being nothing more than an egomaniacal narcissist, in the mind of a crafty egomaniac like Putin, he becomes a useful tool. Putin’s obvious goal is to bring his version of Russia at least to the global power level of the Stalin-Khruschev USSR, and he clearly sees the need to diminish the USA and either get it out of the way or usurp her power. Or both. Short of war, he may well be thinking that a better way would be a merger of power via a merger of leadership — help install a narcissistic nitwit as America’s leader and convince him that the best way for him to obtain global praise would be a European Union-style merger, with him, Putin, being to Trump what Trump is to Pence, authority-wise.

      Then, in memory of the glory days of the USSR, a new name for the global-master nation. Maybe something like USAR? And no, that’s not the USA and Russia acronym. It would mean, instead, the Union of Soviet and American Republicans. Putin the President, Trump the VP of the new global and monstrous kick-ass movement on the way to ruling the entire world! The ultimate Fascist Republican Nation! Betcha even Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan could/would urge their colleagues to go along for the glory ride!

  3. OK. I’m watching video of Canadian bus drivers, cops, and snowplow drivers losing control of their vehicles on icy streets this morning. I’m no longer listening to Yankees telling me people here in the South can’t drive on icy roads. Nobody can drive on that stuff.

  4. So, how does all of this impact the voter who supported Trump based on his promises to bring his job back? The supporter who has been programmed to believe a Hillary presidency would destroy America?

    Such a person would likely see the CIA investigation into Russian interference as a political ploy to install Queen Hillary. Their beliefs are reinforced by the narrative that our intelligence agencies got it wrong about WMDs in Iraq; got it wrong about 9/11.

    Remember, it doesn’t matter whether something is true or not – – it matters that it is spoken by one of their/our own.

    Are we forgetting the released hacks showed Hillary &/or the Democratic Party breaking the rules to rig the primaries against Sanders? We should remember that. No matter how it plays out, this election was rigged by the ruling class. As a result, we have a president-elect who will be loading the administration with people who support their interests:

    The Department of Education will be headed by someone who favors private schools over public education;
    The Department of the Interior will be headed by someone who wants to sell off the nation’s parks and monuments;
    The Environmental Protection Agency will be in the hands of someone who wants to maximize our exploitation of fossil fuels;
    The list goes on – – people will be placed in high government offices who’s agenda is to destroy the very department of which they will be in charge.

    The media, or at least the portion of it followed by Trump supporters, will continue to spin and fabricate. But jobs won’t be coming back.

    How will it impact the average Trump supporter when jobs don’t come back; when there is no healthcare, no food stamps, no minimum wage, no union, no unemployment, no welfare, no social security, when his water supply has been poisoned by fracking and he’s told he has no right to clean water and safe food? How will he react when he’s told that Muslims, or Jews, or Mexicans, or Black People, or Liberals, or Unions, or China, or Catholics, or women, or Democrats, or anyone who is not like him are to blame for all of his problems?

    And how will he react when, ultimately, he realizes he’s been conned?

    • “And how will he react when, ultimately, he realizes he’s been conned?”

      IIRC, almost all post WWII Germans, when asked, would say they never liked Hitler, and they had no idea there were extermination camps, etc. My guess is that in just a few years, the number of people who love their Hair Fuhrer will dramatically shrink after they realize they got screwed.

      On the rigged Dem Primary, Kurt Eichenwald analyzes The Myths Democrats Swallowed That Cost Them the Presidential Election. It’s detailed, a bit lengthy, but well worth a read.

      • I experienced the rigged democratic primary first hand. The weekend after I made a donation to Sanders the Democratic National Party cut off his access to his own data base – – to MY information. That was uncalled for. Hillary started out with an insurmountable 500+ delegate lead via “superdelegates” before the first primary was held, before Sanders announced his candidacy. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz violated the Party rules to turn it into a surrogate campaign machine for Hillary – and I know the Party rules. I was a member of my county’s Democratic Central Committee and helped revise its bylaws to be in conformity with the National Party rules.

        Kurt’s article strikes me the same as the ‘slut-shaming’ engaged in by the Hillary camp to browbeat Sanders supporters into voting for her.

        Statistical analysis demonstrated BOTH sides capable of election fraud via the untraceable electronic voting machines. Therefore it is logical to conclude that we have the President-elect chosen by the oligarchy, for the oligarchy.

        If the Republicans in the Senate do away with the filibuster, it’s game over.

        • In re Sanders’ candidacy — I do agree with the notion that he wasn’t supported by the DNC and party leadership as a whole. But to me, at least, the fact that he wasn’t a Democrat to begin with (and still isn’t, afaik) might seem to suggest that he wouldn’t garner much if any support from Dem. Party officialdom in any strictly-partisan campaign. I think he did exceptionally well in the primaries, far better than I first imagined he’d do, but the fact that he came up short was no surprise.

          Eichenwald’s suggestion that the Republicans had not yet gone after him but that they had assembled piles of attack data just in case made perfect sense, and the fact that Republicans had been going after Hillary for years did, I’m sure, diminish some Dem. support for her and transfer it to Bernie. Plus there are plenty of other liberal Dems (moi, e.g.) who much prefer the more-leftist candidate and could care less what or how the Party machine feels on anything at all. My guess from the very start was that Bernie had no chance, but still I voted for him in the Colorado caucus (which he won, btw), and I supported him all the way to the end, including the efforts he and his campaign put in to up the Progressive ante on the Party’s official Platform.

          And I remain, to this day, a strong Bernie supporter. And I voted for Hillary in November, just like a 3 million voter majority did. And unlike oligarchs everywhere, I’m sorry she “lost” the election even though she won it.

  5. I haven’t been around much as I am just too sick at heart. I have nothing useful to contribute to the conversation, unless you need somebody who just says “Fuck” a lot. My husband works for one of the agencies that the ferret wearing shitgibbon has no faith in. He is the third generation in his family to do so, and has always believed he was working for the good of our country. Now he’s ready to quit, and tired. What will there be for him, or for my lovely brown high school senior who will need some community support to be self-supporting? What will there be for the grandchild due in March? What for any of us? Fuck!!

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