Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Last Call For Trump's Syria's Business

The Trump Regime is staggering across the landscape right now facing the Flynn/Russian disaster and a growing movement to impeach.  What better way to get back in the game by throwing a rally in Florida?

Trump will appear at a rally in Melbourne, Fla., on Saturday. The event details were posted to his website, and Trump later tweeted the news.

Trump rallies were a constant presence during the 2016 presidential campaign. He often held multiple events per day, dominating the cable news airwaves. 
He held a series of campaign-style thank-you rallies after Election Day. Saturday’s event will be Trump’s first rally as president. 
It will also mark the third straight weekend Trump is spending in Florida. Last week, Trump hosted Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Fla.

Of course, Trump's going to need some "good" news to counter the endless stupidity coming out of the White House, and here's what I think will be formally announced this weekend at that rally: we're going to war, kids!

The Defense Department might propose that the US send conventional ground combat forces into northern Syria for the first time to speed up the fight against ISIS, CNN has learned. 
"It's possible that you may see conventional forces hit the ground in Syria for some period of time," one defense official told CNN. 
But the official emphasized that any decision is ultimately up to President Donald Trump, who has ordered his defense secretary to come up with a proposal to combat ISIS before the end of the month. 
The move would significantly alter US military operations in Syria if approved and could put troops on the ground within weeks. 
Until now, only small teams made up largely of Special Operations forces have operated in Syria, providing training and assistance to anti-ISIS opposition groups on the ground.
Conventional units operate in larger numbers and would require a more significant footprint of security protection both on the ground and in the air. 
US officials are characterizing the concept of deploying ground troops as a point of discussion, stopping short of saying it's a formal proposal. 
What their exact mission would be is not yet clear, but one goal of their their presence would be to help reassure Turkey that Kurdish forces are not posing a threat to Ankara's interests. It's possible some troops would deploy first to Kuwait and then move into Syria.

Forget the "might" part.  Trump needs a war to rally the country *now*.  If we don't get the announcement that we're sending in troops to Syria at this rally this weekend, he'll move it down a few days, but yeah, this was always going to be in the cards of a Trump regime military plan.

We've just moved the timetable up.

Stay tuned.

A Nowhere To Bridge

Meanwhile here in Cincy, the Brent Spence Bridge is running out of time and nobody has a plan to actually replace the damn thing yet.

A bridge that carries highway traffic across the Ohio River near Cincinnati has been serving tens of thousands more vehicles a day than it was designed to handle.

Time and traffic are wearing on the Brent Spence Bridge, which is frequently cited as a location where major infrastructure upgrades are needed, The Cincinnati Enquirer reported
It is increasingly showing rust and cracks, but maintenance officials maintain that it remains structurally sound. 
"And we are committed to keeping it that way," said Bob Yeager, chief engineer for the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet's District Six, which oversees maintenance of the 53-year old bridge. "But you've got two interstates converging and diverging at one end and that creates issues and traffic patterns we just can't fix overnight. 
The Brent Spence was made to handle 80,000 vehicles in 1963, and the addition of a fourth lane in 1985 brought that capacity to 120,000. But the most recent data indicate the bridge had daily traffic of over 185,000 vehicles in 2015, nearing a record amount.
That has meant more crashes there, too — usually at least two per week. 
Accidents reached an all-time high in 2015, when there were 121 collisions along the span. Crashes on the Brent Spence were up 52 percent between 2010 and 2015 in comparison with the previous six years.

And it'll be $2 billion to replace.  Ohio doesn't want to pay for it.  Kentucky doesn't want to pay for it. And lawmakers aren't about to make local residents pay for it, I guarantee you it'll cost them their jobs, particularly GOP Reps. Thomas Massie and Steve Chabot (the Senators involved wouldn't do much better.)

So, nobody has a plan yet and the Brent Spence is at 150% capacity on a near daily basis.  And the reason is because of the GOP.

Russian To Judgment, Con't

So the Flynn/Russia story has gone from "nobody talked to Russia, are you nuts" to "OK, so maybe Flynn had a conversation but he's only being fired because he lied about that" to today, where the story is now "OK, so several Trump camp officials besides Flynn had multiple conversations with Russian intelligence officers before the election".

Phone records and intercepted calls show that members of Donald J. Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and other Trump associates had repeated contacts with senior Russian intelligence officials in the year before the election, according to four current and former American officials.

American law enforcement and intelligence agencies intercepted the communications around the same time they were discovering evidence that Russia was trying to disrupt the presidential election by hacking into the Democratic National Committee, three of the officials said. The intelligence agencies then sought to learn whether the Trump campaign was colluding with the Russians on the hacking or other efforts to influence the election.

The officials interviewed in recent weeks said that, so far, they had seen no evidence of such cooperation.

But the intercepts alarmed American intelligence and law enforcement agencies, in part because of the amount of contact that was occurring while Mr. Trump was speaking glowingly about the Russian president, Vladimir V. Putin. At one point last summer, Mr. Trump said at a campaign event that he hoped Russian intelligence services had stolen Hillary Clinton’s emails and would make them public.

The officials said the intercepted communications were not limited to Trump campaign officials, and included other associates of Mr. Trump. On the Russian side, the contacts also included members of the government outside of the intelligence services, they said.
All of the current and former officials spoke on the condition of anonymity because the continuing investigation is classified.

The officials said that one of the advisers picked up on the calls was Paul Manafort, who was Mr. Trump’s campaign chairman for several months last year and had worked as a political consultant in Ukraine. The officials declined to identify the other Trump associates on the calls.

The call logs and intercepted communications are part of a larger trove of information that the F.B.I. is sifting through as it investigates the links between Mr. Trump’s associates and the Russian government, as well as the hacking of the D.N.C., according to federal law enforcement officials. As part of its inquiry, the F.B.I. has obtained banking and travel records and conducted interviews, the officials said.

The other folks besides Manafort?  Carter Page and Roger Stone. Oh, and Flynn.  Again.  Multiple times.  In other words the FBI has known about this investigation for months and yet FBI Director Comey still pulled his little October Surprise stunt with Clinton's "investigation" and assured America that there were no Trump/Russia links before the election.

We now know that's all a lie.  Oops.

The F.B.I. investigation is proceeding at the same time that separate investigations into Russian interference in the election are gaining momentum on Capitol Hill. Those investigations, by the House and Senate Intelligence Committees, are examining not only the Russian hacking but also any contacts that Mr. Trump’s team had with Russian officials during the campaign.

On Tuesday, top Republican lawmakers said that Mr. Flynn should be one focus of the investigation, and that he should be called to testify before Congress. Senator Mark Warner of Virginia, the top Democrat on the Intelligence Committee, said the news about Mr. Flynn underscored “how many questions still remain unanswered to the American people more than three months after Election Day, including who was aware of what, and when.”

Mr. Warner said Mr. Flynn’s resignation would not stop the committee “from continuing to investigate General Flynn, or any other campaign official who may have had inappropriate and improper contacts with Russian officials prior to the election.”

So now things are getting very interesting.  Meanwhile, House Republicans are scrambling to make this look like the real problem are the people who leaked the investigation, and not the fact our government is compromised by a foreign power.
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) says he won’t open an investigation into President Trump’s former national security adviser Michael Flynn, citing executive privilege.

But the committee will investigate who leaked the story that led to Flynn’s resignation and why Trump's national security adviser was being recorded, CNN reported Tuesday.

Good luck with that, kids.  This just turned into a real scandal that makes Watergate look like a middle school production of the Phantom Tollbooth, and these guys want to go after Woodward and Bernstein.

I've said for months the Russia story was important and wasn't going anywhere, and what do you know.


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