U.S. intercepts capture senior Russian officials celebrating Trump win (Washington Post link): Senior officials in the Russian government celebrated Donald Trump’s victory over Hillary Clinton as a geopolitical win for Moscow, according to U.S. officials who said that American intelligence agencies intercepted communications in the aftermath of the election in which Russian officials congratulated themselves on the outcome.
The ebullient reaction among high-ranking Russian officials — including some who U.S. officials believe had knowledge of the country’s cyber campaign to interfere in the U.S. election — contributed to the U.S. intelligence community’s assessment that Moscow’s efforts were aimed at least in part at helping Trump win the White House.
Other key pieces of information gathered by U.S. spy agencies include the identification of “actors” involved in delivering stolen Democratic emails to the WikiLeaks website, and disparities in the levels of effort Russian intelligence entities devoted to penetrating and exploiting sensitive information stored on Democratic and Republican campaign networks.
Mod: So what do you think? Does Trump belong in the White House or Leavenworth? The American Booboisie has now put into power someone who is likely the agent of a hostile foreign power. Showing that American democracy has practically gone senile.
"Russia's goals were to undermine public faith in the US democratic process, denigrate Secretary Clinton, and harm her electability and potential presidency," the public version of the report from the FBI, the CIA and the National Security Agency states. "We further assess Putin and the Russian Government developed a clear preference for President-elect Trump."
This is the first time the U.S. government has leveled these accusations directly at Putin, as NPR's Mary Louise Kelly reports. "It's obviously a big deal to level that kind of charge at the head of state of a foreign country," she says.
Mod: So why would Putin want to help Trump become president?
Kaine: Why is Trump Putin's 'defense lawyer'? (CNN link): Sen. Tim Kaine on Thursday criticized President-elect Donald Trump, alleging he is acting like Russian President Vladimir Putin's "defense lawyer" and calling Trump's conduct "suspicious."
"Why does President-elect Trump again and again and again take it upon himself to be Vladimir Putin's defense lawyer rather than listening to and respecting the intelligence professionals of the United States," Kaine told CNN's Alisyn Camerota on "New Day" in his first national interview since the 2016 presidential election.
"There is something very unusual -- indeed, even sort of suspicious -- about the degree to which he casually kicks aside the intelligence community when he won't even go to the briefings again and again and takes the Assange/Vladimir Putin line on this important question" about whether Russian was behind the election-related hacks, Kaine said.
Mod: Benedict Donald.
For years, Donald Trump was unrelenting in his insistence that Obama prove beyond existing proof that he was born in Hawaii and not in the African country of his biological father. That Obama said he is a Christian wasn’t enough to persuade Trump’s followers, who apparently know a Christian when they see one.
Noteworthy is that these same Obama doubters weren’t bestirred to suspicion when then-President George W. Bush visited a mosque immediately after 9/11. Nor, thus far, have they expressed any concern about Trump’s cavalier approach to Russia’s cyberattack on the United States.
Given this history and recent evidence, isn’t it about time Trump be declared a Russian spy?
No, I don’t really think he’s a spy because, unlike the man himself, I’m not given to crazy ideas. But what’s with this double standard? Under similar circumstances, how long do you think it would have taken for Obama to be called a traitor for defending a country that tried to thwart our democratic electoral process?
Mod: I don't think Trump knows he is a Russian spy. But that hardly means he isn't functioning like one.
Bill Gross Says Donald Trump Reminds Him Of Benito Mussolini (Vanity Fair link): Donald Trump reminds a lot of people of a lot of things: a petulant child who kicks and screams when he doesn’t get what he wants; a high-school bully who stuffs ”nerds” in lockers; the figure that’s not yet walking upright on one of those “evolution of man” t-shirts. According to legendary bond manager Bill Gross, the next president of the United States also calls to mind Italian fascist dictator Benito Mussolini.
”Some of these pre-term policies, where he’s cajoling companies to move production back into the United States—that’s fine—but it reminds me to some extent of policies in Italy long ago associated with Mussolini and government control of corporate interests,” Gross said in an interview Friday on Bloomberg Radio. ”I don’t want it to go too far.”
Mod: That is pretty much the textbook definition of fascism. "The marriage of corporation and state," as the original Mussolini put it.
In two famous interviews with Al Shapiro from NPR at Mitt Romney events in 2012, a Virginia voter Bobbie Lussier summed up how Republicans feel about Mrs. Obama’s image. She stated that, “I mean, can you imagine you know, Kennedys or the Bushes or anybody doing pushups on the floor? I mean you know. That’s just not a first lady.” Lussier further said, “They talk about more like her dresses and how she looks and stuff and her arms and whatever. […] You see her walking around in shorts, and you know, just real casual wear.”
So not only is it inappropriate for Michelle to wear sleeveless dresses to any functions or shorts when she’s on vacation in very hot locales, but she is criticized for doing push-ups and encouraging Americans to live a healthy lifestyle. Although Mrs. Obama is one of the smartest and most educated First Ladies of all time, she is constantly put down for her appearance by allegedly religious and conservative voters. Additionally, Jackie Kennedy herself, who was referenced by Lussier, also wore sleeveless dresses.
Melania Trump on the other hand, has received no criticism for not being a suitable future First Lady based on her appearance or history of racy photoshoots. This seems to indicate that the conservative voters were only criticizing Mrs. Obama not because it isn’t “First Lady-like” or because it goes against their conservative, religious views, but simply because she is a Democrat and maybe even because she’s African American and that in itself is not suitable.
Mod: No sleeves is one thing. Appearing in booty mags with no pants is quite another.
Only 1 in 5 Americans supports Republicans’ ‘repeal and delay’ Obamacare strategy (The Washington Post link): The Republican plan to immediately do away with the Affordable Care Act and come up with a replacement later is out of sync with what most Americans want, according to a new poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation. Only 1 in 5 people supports repealing President Obama's health-care law before the replacement is worked out.
Republicans officially began the work to unravel the law this week, but a Trump transition team member told The Washington Post they had six months to come up with a replacement. The poll suggests the likely “repeal and delay” agenda, in which a replacement plan is crafted months after a vote to repeal parts of the law, isn't supported by most voters. Slightly more than a quarter of Americans wanted lawmakers to wait to repeal the law until the specific details of the replacement plan were announced. Nearly half of Americans oppose repeal of the law, which expanded insurance to more than 20 million Americans and dropped the uninsured rate to its lowest level since before the Great Recession.
“For me, the really pertinent question, the big question, is: Is there a mandate for repealing the ACA without a replacement plan?” said Drew Altman, president of the Kaiser Family Foundation. “What we see in our poll and what we see in our focus groups is: If there is, it is a very weak one. It’s not obvious there’s a mandate for repealing the ACA without putting a replacement plan on the table.”
Mod: I am not sure how robbing 20 million people of their health care is somehow going to "Make America great again." Though people will die.
Trump asking Congress, not Mexico, to pay for border wall (CNN link): President-elect Donald Trump's transition team has signaled to congressional Republican leaders that his preference is to fund the border wall through the appropriations process as soon as April, according to House Republican officials.
The move would break a key campaign promise when Trump repeatedly said he would force Mexico to pay for the construction of the wall along the border, though in October, Trump suggested for the first time that Mexico would reimburse the US for the cost of the wall.
Trump defended that proposal Friday morning in a tweet, saying the move to use congressional appropriations was because of speed.
"The dishonest media does not report that any money spent on building the Great Wall (for sake of speed), will be paid back by Mexico later!" Trump tweeted Friday.
Mod: Sure Donald. Right after you "drain the swamp."
When Trump submitted a required financial disclosure form with the Federal Election Commission in May 2015, he listed 16 loans, collectively worth $315 million in debt, that his businesses had received from 10 companies, according to the newspaper.
The Journal's analysis goes beyond those loans and includes debt held by companies in which Trump is at least a 30 percent stakeholder, including, for example, the companies which control 1290 Avenue of the Americas. That building, owned by a partnership of companies that is 30 percent owned by Trump, received $950 million in loans in 2012 from UBS Group AG, Bank of China, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Deutsche Bank, according to the report.
Deutsche Bank, a German institution, is currently under investigation by the U.S. Justice Department for its equity trading with wealthy Russian clients.
Mod: And you thought Watergate was bad.
Last week followed the same formula, with Trump pretending not to know what he knows and to be an expert in everything he doesn’t know, all while waging petty wars using time that could be spent boning up on policy. He ended the week with an intelligence briefing (we’ve sunk so low, PEOTUS doing his job qualifies as news), but it did little to markedly shift the tone. And in that tone is the message, "We are so screwed."
So we don’t forget, here’s a look back at just 10 of Trump’s most recent lies and fails.
1. Calling for an investigation of NBC instead of the Russian hacks.
2. Making personal calls instead of doing his friggin’ job.
3. Accepting Julian Assange’s word over 17 intelligence agencies.
4. Admitting he duped his know-nothing voter base on the border wall, then lying again.
5. Lying about having a hand in every job-saving deal.
6. But refusing to take credit for job losses.
7. Calling Democratic senator Chuck Shumer a 'clown,' then saying we need to unite 9 minutes later.
8. Throwing Obama’s political ambassadors and their families out on short notice.
9. Scheduling a news conference to distract from his appointee hearings.
10. Still publicly smarting about being dissed by all the cool-kid pop stars for his little inauguration thing.
Mod: And to think we are now less than two weeks from this fool becoming the most powerful man in the world. We'll be lucky to get out of this alive.