Sunday, May 27, 2018

Last Call For The Ministry Of Truth

It's a race to see what happens first, whether a news organization will use the word "lie" to describe Donald Trump's actions, or whether Trump starts putting reporters in jail.

President Trump falsely accused The New York Times on Saturday of making up a source in an article about North Korea, even though the source was in fact a senior White House official speaking to a large group of reporters in the White House briefing room.

The president was referring to an article about the on-again, off-again summit meeting between Mr. Trump and Kim Jong-un, the leader of North Korea, which Mr. Trump had canceled Thursday.

The article, headlined, “Trump Says North Korea Summit May Be Rescheduled,” said that the United States was “back in touch with North Korea” and that the meeting might yet happen.

Mr. Trump posted on Twitter to denounce part of the article, which reported in the 10th paragraph that “a senior White House official told reporters that even if the meeting were reinstated, holding it on June 12 would be impossible, given the lack of time and the amount of planning needed.”

In a tweet, the president took issue with that sentence, saying, “WRONG AGAIN! Use real people, not phony sources.”

Except all the journalists were on the same WH press conference call.  They all heard the same thing. Trump says it never happened. And our Village betters, terrified of losing access, continue to make excuses.

It is not clear whether the president was simply unaware of the actions of his own senior staff or if he knowingly ignored the truth. The source of that sentence was a White House official who held a briefing on Thursday afternoon in the White House briefing room that was attended by about 50 reporters, with about 200 or so more on a conference call.

Reporters often request such briefings to be on the record, which would allow the official to be named. But, in this case, the rules of the briefing imposed by the White House required that the official be referred to only as a “senior White House official.” The Times is continuing to abide by that agreement.

In the course of the briefing, the official was asked about the possibility that the summit meeting could be held on June 12, despite the president’s decision to cancel it a day earlier. The discussion was prompted by earlier statements from the president suggesting that the meeting might still happen.

The official noted that “there’s really not a lot of time — we’ve lost quite a bit of time that we would need” to prepare for the summit meeting.

“June 12 is in 10 minutes,” the official said.

The Village follows the rules, and they get attacked as enemies of the state anyway.  I guess it's going to take a reporter getting put either in prison, the hospital or the morgue before the WH press corps wakes up to their own complicity.

At least one of those is going to happen soon.

Russian To Judgment, Con't

Another puzzle piece in the Trump/Russia collusion story falls into place as the FBI has evidence that Donald Trump's son, Donald Trump Jr., met with Russian crooks during the 2016 NRA National Convention in Louisville.

The FBI has obtained secret wiretaps collected by Spanish police of conversations involving Alexander Torshin, a deputy governor of Russia’s Central Bank who has forged close ties with U.S. lawmakers and the National Rifle Association, that led to a meeting with Donald Trump Jr. during the gun lobby’s annual convention in Louisville, Ky., in May 2016, a top Spanish prosecutor said Friday.

José Grinda, who has spearheaded investigations into Spanish organized crime, said that bureau officials in recent months requested and were provided transcripts of wiretapped conversations between Torshin and Alexander Romanov, a convicted Russian money launderer. On the wiretaps, Romanov refers to Torshin as “El Padrino,” the godfather.

“Just a few months ago, the wiretaps of these telephone conversations were given to the FBI,” Grinda said in response to a question from Yahoo News during a talk he gave at the Hudson Institute, a conservative think tank in Washington. Asked if he was concerned about Torshin’s meetings with Donald Trump Jr. and other American political figures, Grinda replied: “Mr. Trump’s son should be concerned.

The comments by Grinda were the first clear sign that the FBI may be investigating Torshin, possibly as a part of special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Torshin — a close political ally of Vladimir Putin — had multiple contacts with conservative activists in the United States during the election, seeking to set up a summit between the Russian president and then candidate Trump. Although the summit never transpired, Torshin did meet briefly with the president’s son at a private dinner in Louisville during the May 2016 annual convention of the NRA. A member of the NRA since 2012, Torshin has been a regular attendee of the group’s conventions in recent years and hosted senior members of the group in Moscow.

Grinda said that the FBI, in its request for the evidence to the Guardia Civil, the Spanish National Police, provided no explanation as to why it was interested in the material and he didn’t ask for one. “I don’t have to ask them why they want this information,” he said. But Grinda added that if Mueller or any other U.S. prosecutor seeks to use the material as part of a court case, they would have to make a second, more formal request to do so to the Spanish government.

Spokesmen for the FBI and Mueller’s office did not respond to requests for comment. Alan Futerfas, a lawyer for Trump Jr., said he was in a meeting and was unable to comment when contacted by Yahoo News.

It's looking more and more like the NRA's contributions to Trump were part of a Russian money laundering scheme to put cash from Putin's circle of oligarchs directly into the Trumps' pockets.  The regime has been for sale to foreign powers since the campaign started, and Trump was taking dirty money for decades before.

These guys are so dirty that everything's pitch black, and they're hiding as long as they can.

The tell that this is getting serious, Mueller is getting close, and that Trump will move sooner rather than later to end the Russian investigation?

It's exactly what Putin wants.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Saturday that investigations swirling around President Trump are interfering with improved relations with Moscow, noting he has had little contact with the U.S. president.

“We are hostages to this internal strife in the United States,” Putin said at an economic forum in St. Petersburg. “I hope that it will end some day and the objective need for the development of Russian-American relationships will prevail.”

The sunlight is coming, but there's so much darkness out there that we still have to endure.

Sunday Long Read: One Hell Of A Racket

You might not think Minnesota would be the capital of high school badminton, but St. Paul Johnson High is home of the Governors, one of the most dominant sports dynasties in America today, and it's all about the Twin Cities' Hmong community and a 40-year reign of shuttlecock superiority.

Kevin Anderson, reporter, blogger, historian, and director of the Minnesota state badminton tournament, knows a lot about high school badminton in the state. Records about its start as a high school sport are scant, but apparently Minneapolis city schools first held a tournament in 1975, while St. Paul high schools held their own city tournament starting in 1978. According to those bare-bones records, Johnson High School has won 24 St. Paul city championships since 1978. (Neighboring Harding High has the second-most wins at 11.) The late-1970s timing indicates badminton was likely introduced to comply with Title IX; it’s a sport that can be played indoors in the spring when there’s less demand for gym space, and one that requires little investment in facilities or equipment.

“Since I’ve been around, badminton in St. Paul has been dominated by Hmong players. The St. Paul city conference generally has the best players and the best teams in the state,” Anderson said. “It’s serious business in St. Paul. Middle schoolers have hours of training before they even get to high school, and they probably play more in the off season. Their parents have either played or know of it, so it’s a more familiar sport than, say, basketball or track and field. For a lot of the girls on the C squad, badminton is the only sport they participate in.”

Hmong, an ethnic group that lived in the mountains of Laos and assisted the U.S. in fighting its “secret war” in the country during the 1960s and 70s, started arriving in Minnesota in 1975, the same year that badminton was introduced to high schools. Badminton enjoys great popularity in Asia, and Hmong refugees brought that enthusiasm with them. There are now more than 66,000 Hmong in Minnesota, the largest community in the U.S., concentrated in the Twin Cities metro area.

Many Hmong lived as farmers in Laos; some were illiterate in their native language. In 1990, only 19 percent of Hmong women in the U.S. had a high school diploma, and 44 percent of Hmong men. At that time, an estimated 65 percent of Hmong lived in poverty. Hmong women traditionally married young and had large families, limiting their educational and economic outlook. But as of 2010, more Hmong women than men earned bachelor’s degrees, and poverty in the Hmong community dropped to 31 percent (still staggering in real numbers). In 1991, Choua Lee was elected to the St. Paul School Board, the first Hmong elected to any public office in the United States.

Like their east St. Paul neighborhood, Johnson High School’s demographics do not speak to a gilded pathway: Thirty-one percent of students are English learners, and 82 percent are on free or reduced lunch. Fifty-four percent of students are Asian American, 24 percent African American, 10 percent Hispanic, 10 percent white. But 60 percent of this year’s 1,302 students took part in early college programs.

The top badminton players are also strong students—the varsity team includes three of Johnson’s top 10 academically. They’re involved in other sports and clubs, often holding down a part-time job on top of everything else. Unlike some other high-school sports stars, though, private coaches and expensive training camps are not part of these girls’ lives.

This is a pretty good story, and I remember hearing about badminton in the Twin Cities when I lived up there 15 years ago, but I had no idea it was at this level, and it's good to see.
Related Posts with Thumbnails