Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Last Call For Russian To Judgment

The Trump regime assumes power in less than 48 hours, and we have this bombshell from McClatchy's Peter Stone and Greg Gordon on the Kremlin possibly funding the Trump campaign.

The FBI and five other law enforcement and intelligence agencies have collaborated for months in an investigation into Russian attempts to influence the November election, including whether money from the Kremlin covertly aided President-elect Donald Trump, two people familiar with the matter said. 
The informal, inter-agency working group began to explore possible Russian interference last spring, long before the FBI received information from a former British spy hired to develop politically damaging and unverified research about Trump, according to the sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the inquiry. 
The agencies involved in the inquiry are the FBI, the CIA, the National Security Agency, the Justice Department, the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network and representatives of the director of national intelligence, the sources said. 
Investigators are examining how money may have moved from the Kremlin to covertly help Trump win, the two sources said. One of the allegations involves whether a system for routinely paying thousands of Russian-American pensioners may have been used to pay some email hackers in the United States or to supply money to intermediaries who would then pay the hackers, the two sources said.

That the Trump Organization as a front for Russian money laundering has long been a unifying theory in the story of Moscow's involvement with our elections, but this story intimates that multiple intelligence and law enforcement agencies took that possibility seriously for months.  Apparently this is a much, much bigger story than the January 6 report let on, and it definitely looks like FISA warrants were issued in conjunction with the investigation.

So again, we have serious evidence that our next president is a Russian asset.

What will anyone do about it?

Read more here:

The Big Orange Basement

It's only now that the prospect of "President Trump" is sinking in with his supporters and that he won't serve as any sort of check on unlimited GOP lunacy, with Americans only growing more and more horrified at him over the last two months.  As such, he'll be entering office Friday with the lowest starting approval rating of any president in recent history.

It has been 10 weeks since Donald Trump was elected president, and more Americans disapprove (48 percent) than approve (37 percent) of the way he has handled his presidential transition. They are split on his cabinet picks. Views divide heavily along party lines.

Just days before his inauguration, Donald Trump’s favorable rating (32 percent) is the lowest of any president-elect in CBS News polling going back to Ronald Reagan in 1981, when CBS News began taking this measure.

However, a majority of Americans are at least somewhat confident in how Mr. Trump will handle the economy, ISIS and U.S. trade policy. Fewer are confident in his decisions on foreign policy and illegal immigration.

President-elect Trump gets more negative than positive marks for the handling of his Presidential transition. Forty-eight percent disapprove of the job he is doing, while 37 percent approve.

Confirmation hearings for some of Donald Trump’s cabinet appointments are underway. Americans are divided over Mr. Trump’s choices for his Cabinet, similar to last month.

On both of these matters, views are highly partisan. More than seven in 10 Republicans approve of how Mr. Trump has handled his presidential transition and his cabinet choices. Most Democrats disapprove.

Evaluations of Mr. Trump’s cabinet appointees are more negative than those of his two immediate predecessors: seven in 10 Americans approved of the cabinet appointments of Barack Obama, and six in 10 approved of those appointed by George W. Bush. 
More broadly, Donald Trump will enter the White House with the lowest favorable rating of any president-elect in CBS News polling going back to Ronald Reagan in 1981. Thirty-two percent have a favorable view of Mr. Trump, while 42 percent view him unfavorably. In 2009, 60 percent held a favorable view of Mr. Obama, and just nine percent had an unfavorable view of him. George W. Bush had a 44 percent favorable rating in Jan. 2001, and Bill Clinton had a 45 percent approval rating. Ronald Reagan came into office with a 47 percent approval rating. Still, unfavorable views of Mr. Trump have declined since he was elected in November.

Trump is already in the low 30's and I think it's going to get worse for him from here.  Unfortunately, it also means things are going to get a lot worse for Americans too.

Still, expect Republicans to shout MANDATE while ripping the last 80 years of classic federal liberalism apart.  It's really too bad that the GOP will do unprecedented damage to the country and the wealthy will loot the treasury completely before voters will be able to do much of anything to stop them.

If we, you know, still have elections.

Heavens To Betsy, What A Mess

The Trump regime's pick for Minister of School Privitization Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, is a trainwreck of a choice whose only seeming qualification is that she donated millions to Republicans on the Senate committee overseeing her confirmation process.  Her hearing Tuesday was a disaster all around as she gave risible answers to questions from Democrats.

On Tuesday, Betsy DeVos, President-elect Donald Trump’s Education Secretary nominee, answered a question about the presence of guns in schools during her confirmation hearing by saying students need protection from grizzly bears.

Connecticut Sen. Chris Murphy (D) asked DeVos, “Do you think guns have any place in or around schools?”

DeVos said that is decision “best left to locales and states to decide.”

When Murphy asked her again, DeVos said, “I will refer back to Senator Enzi and the school he was talking about in Wyoming … I would imagine that there is probably a gun in the schools to protect from potential grizzlies.”

When Murphy was a member of the House of Representatives, he represented the district including Newtown, Connecticut, where 20 elementary school students and six school employees were gunned down in the 2012 Sandy Hook massacre. Murphy invited DeVos to come to Connecticut and “talk about the rule of guns in schools.”

When asked whether DeVos would support the president-elect’s plan to ban gun free zones, she said, “I will support with the president-elect does. If the question is around gun violence and the results of that, please know that my heart bleeds and is broken for those families that have lost any individual due to gun violence.”

Bears.  We have to have guns in schools because of bears.  Oh, but DeVos is far worse than just on guns in the classroom.

Since her nomination, DeVos hasn't said much publicly about her views on education—or whether she plans to defend the separation of church and state in public schools. (DeVos declined Mother Jones' request for an interview, but a Trump transition team spokeswoman replied in an email, "Mrs. DeVos believes in the legal doctrine of the separation of church and state.") However, in a 2001 interview for "The Gathering," a group focused on advancing Christian faith through philanthropy, she and her husband offered a rare public glimpse of their views. Asked whether Christian schools should continue to rely on philanthropic dollars—rather than pushing for taxpayer money through vouchers—Betsy DeVos replied, "There are not enough philanthropic dollars in America to fund what is currently the need in education…[versus] what is currently being spent every year on education in this country…Our desire is to confront the culture in ways that will continue to advance God's Kingdom."

Said Dick DeVos: "As we look at many communities in our country, the church has been displaced by the public school as the center for activity…[I]t is certainly our hope that more and more churches will get more and more active and engaged in education."

Although the DeVoses have rarely commented on how their religious views affect their philanthropy and political activism, their spending speaks volumes. Mother Jones has analyzed the Dick and Betsy DeVos Family Foundation's tax filings from 2000 to 2014, as well as the 2001 to 2014 filings from her parents' charitable organization, the Edgar and Elsa Prince Foundation. (Betsy DeVos was vice president of the Prince Foundation during those years.) During that period, the DeVoses spent nearly $100 million in philanthropic giving, and the Princes spent $70 million. While Dick and Betsy DeVos have donated large amounts to hospitals, health research, and arts organizations, these records show an overwhelming emphasis on funding Christian schools and evangelical missions and conservative, free-market think tanks, like the Acton Institute and the Mackinac Center, that want to shrink the public sector in every sphere, including education.

This woman will be our next Education Secretary with a lifelong mission to completely dismantle public schools and replace them with private education and religious education.

I actually miss Arne Duncan.  And I hate Arne Duncan.


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