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Here is the report everyone is talking about today. Rarely do I post an article before reading and fully digesting it myself, but this is different. Based on sources deep inside the Russian government, this report validates what we suspected knew all along: that Putin directed these initiatives and that the target, specifically, was Hillary Clinton. So, without having read more than a few paragraphs, I am posting it here to provide immediate circulation. It is long. It is important.

Hacking Democracy

Timeline

(Photo by Alexei Druzhinin/AFP/Getty Images; photo illustration by Nick Kirkpatrick/The Washington Post)

Early last August, an envelope with extraordinary handling restrictions arrived at the White House. Sent by courier from the CIA, it carried “eyes only” instructions that its contents be shown to just four people: President Barack Obama and three senior aides.

The White House debated various options to punish Russia, but facing obstacles and potential risks, it ultimately failed to exact a heavy toll on the Kremlin for its election interference.

Inside was an intelligence bombshell, a report drawn from sourcing deep inside the Russian government that detailed Russian President Vladi­mir Putin’s direct involvement in a cyber campaign to disrupt and discredit the U.S. presidential race.

But it went further. The intelligence captured Putin’s specific instructions on the operation’s audacious objectives — defeat or at least damage the Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton, and help elect her opponent, Donald Trump.

Read more >>>>

It is also important that we thank the Washington Post team for their dogged pursuit of the truth. We have seen in the past as we see today that persistent investigative reporting is essential to keeping the government on task.  The task is uncovering the truth.

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For the first OAS General Assembly of his tenure at the State Department, Rex Tillerson is sending a surrogate.

Deputy Secretary of State John J. Sullivan delivers remarks at the 47th General Assembly of the Organization of American States (OAS) in Cancun, Mexico, on June 20, 2017.

Today, Deputy Secretary of State John J. Sullivan led the U.S. delegation at the 47th Regular Session of the Organization of American States (OAS) General Assembly in Cancun, Mexico.

In his remarks to 33 heads of delegation from Latin America, the Caribbean, and Canada, Deputy Secretary Sullivan outlined U.S. goals for engagement in the Americas for mutual security and shared prosperity, the principles and values we share with fellow OAS member states, and our support for collective OAS action when these principles and values are threatened, such as in Venezuela.

Read more >>>>

It is not the first time that Tillerson has taken a back seat, and we can wager it will not be the last. Hillary Clinton, when she was secretary of state, often emphasized the importance of face-to-face meetings. It is no secret that the Trump administration plans to pare down the state department and de-emphasize diplomacy in general, but this kind of abdication of presence comes as a shock nevertheless.

Multinational summits and assemblies are prime ground for networking among peers. For Tillerson to turn his back on 33 counterparts from our backyard smacks of lunkheaded isolationism on our part as a nation and betrays a dangerous consolidation of power and authority at the top.

Foreign ministers and secretaries of state knew, when they met with Hillary Clinton and John Kerry, that major concerns voiced to them would be passed on to the president. Depriving these officials of the opportunity to meet with Tillerson eliminates an important conduit.

Hillary Clinton’s first appearance at an OAS GA coincided with a push on that body’s part to readmit Cuba which Hillary opposed without strict conditions on human rights reform. She also, everywhere she went, made a point of meeting not only with officials but also with civic leaders and organizations.

You can read about some of her Latin American diplomacy here.

venezuela-hugo-chavez-hillary-clinton-barack-obama-summit

US Secretary of State Clinton shakes hands with Mexican Foreign Secretary Espinosa after a news conference at the foreign ministry in Mexico City

MEXICO-US-CLINTON

elsalvadorflag

This was “smart power,” as Hillary dubbed it. At summits and assemblies, the presence of the top official is key. Seems now we are reverting to a counter-productive foreign policy.  All power is consolidated in the man at the top and excludes his official top diplomat. This is the Trump Doctrine: Stupid Power.

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When I found this article this morning about Venezuelans fleeing to the U.S., I was reminded of a warning I posted not long ago.  The post I was looking for was this one from almost a month ago with an embedded article in which Dr. Vanessa Neumann warned that the next refugee flood would be from Venezuela. Looks like she was right.

What I found in the process, however, was something that had not popped up in my previous searches for archival material documenting Putin’s animus toward Hillary Clinton.

Lo’ and behold this!

With an embedded article from VOA (Voice of America) reporting on the post-parliamentary election demonstrations of December, 2011, this post deserves another look.

Putin: Let Them Wear Tin-Foil Hats!

December 26, 2011

What is striking here is the nature of the demonstrations as described by VOA.

Traditionally, opposition movements march under one banner. They wave similar signs, chant the same slogans and follow a recognized leader. For a ruler, it is easy to negotiate with an organized adversary.

But the key to understanding what happened on Sakharov Avenue Saturday was the proliferation of handmade signs. A myriad of individuals across Moscow dreamed up their own messages, and then fashioned them on kitchen tables, on office computers, or in copy centers.

Putin is not facing an organized opposition movement. He faces something worse: an atomized, but spreading mood of disrespect and rejection.

SNIP

In another Kremlin blooper, the President’s twitter account erroneously released a tweet that described protesters as sheep that provide sex.

In an initial reaction, a large bearded man attended the Dec. 10 protest holding a homemade sign. A big red X was painted over a reasonable depiction of a woolly lamb. The caption: “I am Not a Sheep.”

By Saturday, this theme had evolved into a group of five young women and men holding an even bigger sign, reading: “We are Not Sheep.” They were dressed, head to toe, as rabbits.

SNIP

Other protesters took aim at Mr. Putin’s charge that the protesters were paid by foreign governments and activated by a secret signal from U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Signs demanded: “Hillary, Where is My Money?” “Hillary, I am waiting for my money,” “Let’s bankrupt the State Department.”

One man held a sign announcing: “I am Here For Free.”

Read more >>>>

Well, wow!  This raises a few questions.

Does any of this seem familiar?  Yes.

  1. The Kremlin was tweeting insults against Putin’s adversaries.
  2. The protestors were creative and made their own signs, some about the tweets and others about the alleged source of the protests.
  3. The protests allegedly originated from Hillary Clinton’s, and therefore U.S. government, interference.
  4. Putin accused her of paying the demonstrators who struck back by asking for their pay or stating they were there demonstrating for free.

This all happened five-and-a-half years ago. Where are we now?

  1. In spite of it all, Putin was elected amid accusations of vote-rigging and followed by opposition protests and counter-demonstrations of support which some reported they were forced by employers to attend. Others claimed they were paid.
  2. The entire Gestalt has the appearance of a playbook.
  3. Somebody gave the playbook to Donald Trump.

There are differences. It does seem that Trump is aware of how Putin played the game.

There are constitutional differences. Putin had previously served two presidential terms ending in 2008. The Russian constitution permitted another run after a hiatus of sorts. Medvedev had stepped in as president for four years while Putin retained leadership of the party. American presidents may not run again after serving two terms. The Russians knew very well whom they were getting in 2012.

While the Russian demonstrations were characterized as “atomized,” implying, to some extent, spontaneous on diverse issues, our marches have been organized around issues by groups with permits. We have, however, like the Russians, been accused of being paid for demonstrating. Some signs in our marches have stipulated that we do this for free in own own free time.

Our next march, the March for Truth, is scheduled for June 3. Again the main march will be in D.C. with large marches in other major cities. From the look of the map on this page, many sister-marches have been organized in every state and also in Europe.  If you cannot get to a major city, you can find one near you or even organize your own in your area.

We are left, finally, with one last question. Will we end up, as Russia did, under the thumb of the guy we protest?

Since the 2011 protests were against parliamentary elections the people perceived as rigged, Putin was working with a legislature sympathetic to him.  We, currently, are in the same boat. We do have the opportunity, with special elections and the mid-terms in 2018, of overturning the majority party in the Senate and the House.

If we do not do everything we can to flip the necessary seats, we can indeed end up with a Congress that will do little if anything to oppose draconian measures the Trump administration proposes.

One of the many issues the Russians protested in 2011 was this, also according to the VOA article.

Others protesters noted that the Kremlin sent condolences to Pyongyang after the death of Kim Jong Il, North Korea’s “Supreme Leader,” but neglected to send condolences to Prague after the death of Vaclav Havel, the anti-Soviet activist and elected President of the Czech Republic.
On Sakharov Avenue, named after the Soviet-era dissident, elderly protesters carried black and white photographss of the late Czech President, with the inscription: “Havel Would Be With us!”

Hillary Clinton, of course, attended Havel’s funeral with former President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. Hillary wore a headpiece Havel had an artist friend make for her.

As I said at the time of publication:

As far as we know, it does not transmit secret signals.  Neither does the State Department have a budget sufficient to pay off all of Russia.  It is not known whether Putin’s treasury is large enough to provide tin-foil hats for the populace, but given their mood, we doubt they would wear them.  More likely, if that guy with the Picasso display is any barometer,  they would find some artful way to use the tin foil to fire back at Putin.

Right, but they ended up with the dude anyway.

 

 

 

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Hillary Clinton and former NY Yankee, Bernie Williams, were honored by the Children’s Health Fund at their annual benefit last night at Cipriani. Hillary gave the keynote speech and Bernie provided music.

Hillary took the opportunity to speak out in a timely fashion against the GOP budget that threatens to slash Medicaid, CHIP, SNAP, disability, and other benefits.

Clinton: Trump budget shows ‘unimaginable’ cruelty

Posted: May 23, 2017 9:41 PM EST Updated: May 24, 2017 2:43 AM EST

By STEVE PEOPLES
Associated PressNEW YORK (AP) – Hillary Clinton proclaimed Tuesday that President Donald Trump’s budget shows an “unimaginable level of cruelty” for millions of Americans and children.The former Democratic presidential nominee, who recently declared herself part of the Trump resistance, lashed out at the Republican president’s spending plan in aggressive terms after being honored in New York City by the Children’s Health Fund, a nonprofit organization that helps provide health care to poor and homeless children.”This administration and Republicans in Congress are mounting an onslaught against the needs of children and people with disabilities, women and seniors,” Clinton charged.She said the budget, which was released earlier in the day, “shows an unimaginable level of cruelty and lack of imagination and disdain for the struggles of millions of Americans, including millions of children.”She added, “None of us can remain silent in the face of these attacks.”Read more >>>>

Donald Trump’s Budget Slammed By Hillary Clinton For Showing ‘Unimaginable Level of Cruelty’

Hillary is seen with former NYC mayor, the Honorable David Dinkins, Phillip Glass, Chuck Close (CHF Board of Directors), and Bernie Williams who also was honored.

Yesterday, I compared this budget to terrorism. It is a form of domestic terrorism – deplorable!

Unlike Hillary, I am hitching it to the whole GOP who are enabling Trump’s agenda and celebrating these unconscionable cuts.

 

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Here is Rex Tillerson’s address to the Arctic Council in Fairbanks. Bolded emphasis is mine.

Remarks

Rex W. Tillerson
Secretary of State
Fairbanks, Alaska
May 11, 2017

SECRETARY TILLERSON: Well, it’s my pleasure to welcome all of you, foreign ministers, permanent participant heads of delegation, Arctic Council observers, and honored guests. And I want to thank again the tribal leaders of the aboriginal groups for their greeting this morning and their very meaningful message to all of us, and we appreciate their opening this session for us.

I want to welcome all of you to the 10th Arctic Council Ministerial Meeting and this beautiful city of Fairbanks, and we thank them again for their great hospitality in hosting us.

I would now call your attention to the provisional agenda for this meeting and seek its adoption.

(No response.)

SECRETARY TILLERSON: As I see no delegates seeking the floor, I take it that the agenda can be adopted without change. It is so decided.

As the next agenda point, I would like to call for the adoption of the SAO Report to Ministers.

(No response.)

SECRETARY TILLERSON: As I see no delegations seeking the floor, I take it that the report can be adopted without change. It is so decided.

Let’s turn to the agenda item on the accomplishments of the Arctic Council during the U.S. chairmanship.

The United States had been privileged to lead the Arctic Council at a time when the Arctic Region has been facing unprecedented change and challenges.

I am grateful for the level of cooperation that the nations and the peoples of the Arctic have demonstrated as they continue to address these challenges.

The Arctic Council, which recently celebrated its 20th anniversary, has proven to be an indispensable forum in which we can pursue cooperation. I want to affirm that the United States will continue to be an active member in this council. The opportunity to chair the Council has only strengthened our commitment to continuing its work in the future.

We look forward to working with Finland as they assume the leadership role of this council. There are still issues of great concern to each of us that we can address, including advancing the welfare and living conditions of those who call the Arctic home; recognizing that each country has a strategic interest in being part of the Arctic’s future; and making sure that we continue to be vigilant in protecting the fragile environment.

In the United States, we are currently reviewing several important policies, including how the Trump administration will approach the issue of climate change. We are appreciative that each of you has an important point of view, and you should know that we are taking the time to understand your concerns. We’re not going to rush to make a decision. We’re going to work to make the right decision for the United States. The Arctic Council will continue to be an important platform as we deliberate on these issues.

I could not hope to mention all of the individual initiatives and programs that the Council has brought to fruition over the past two years under U.S. chairmanship. Each of the Council’s subsidiary bodies has done outstanding work in this respect, and I do wish to acknowledge and commend all of their efforts, even as I highlight but a few.

The signing of the Agreement on Enhancing International Arctic Scientific Cooperation will facilitate the movement of scientists, scientific equipment, and importantly, data sharing across the international boundaries of the Arctic.

The Council has produced the first-ever assessment of telecommunications infrastructure in the Arctic. During the Finnish chairmanship, the Arctic Council will build on this work in conjunction with the private sector to advance this ongoing effort to strengthen connectivity throughout the Arctic Region.

Arctic Council members have conducted multiple exercises to prepare for potential search-and-rescue events in the Arctic as well as to coordinate responses to environmental incidents. These exercises significantly advanced our capacity to address risks inherent in the increased human activity that is undergoing and will continue to expand in the Arctic Region.

At the community level, the council broke new ground in a number of ways. A compelling initiative known as RISING SUN has produced resources that will prove truly valuable to Arctic residents in addressing suicide prevention, particularly among indigenous youth. The council also built on work initiated by the State of Alaska to improve water and sanitation capacity in rural Arctic communities.

As Arctic shipping continues to increase, the Council took a number of measures designed to ensure that such shipping remains safe and reliable, including the Arctic Ship Traffic Database that will improve our understanding of the ship traffic in the Arctic, including the number and types of vessels in the Arctic, their exact routing, and other important information.

And finally, the Council has strengthened resilience at the national and local levels in the face of environmental and other change.

I could go on at length about our shared accomplishment, but I am certain other speakers today will mention the many other Arctic Council projects deserving of recognition.

Let me close my remarks by thanking again all of those involved in these initiatives – the many government officials, the permanent participants, the working group and task force chairs, the secretariats, the observers and invited experts. The last two years have witnessed remarkable growth in the reach and productivity of the Arctic Council, thanks to all of you. And I am confident that, under the leadership of Finland, the Council is poised to do even more.

With that, we’re ready to move to the next agenda item, which is the statements from the Arctic States and from the permanent participants. I now offer the floor to each of the other heads of delegation in turn for these statements, beginning with Canada.

Here is an update on the administration’s position on the Paris Agreement.  It remains no position.

The Paris Climate Agreement: Why is President Trump Still Waffling?

By Joel B. Stronberg

Predictably there’s been a lot written over the last few weeks about the Paris Climate Agreement and whether the Trump administration will continue to sit with other nations.

Driving the coverage is the on-again off-again meeting between Trump and a pace of senior advisors. The ultimate decision will be his to make—purportedly after the G-7 summit at the end of May. His advisors are divided. EPA Administrator Pruitt leads the leavers, while Secretary of State Tillerson, Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump are shepherding those advising to stay.

Read more >>>>

Looks like there might be a big battle there.

Here is Hillary Clinton’s statement on the Paris Agreement issued in December, 2015.

Hillary Clinton Statement on the Paris Climate Change Agreement

Hillary Clinton released the below statement following the conclusion of an international climate agreement at the 21st Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. The agreement solidifies greenhouse gas pollution reduction targets from more than 180 countries accounting for more than 90 percent of global emissions; establishes transparency provisions to measure global progress and hold countries accountable; and mobilizes financial support and private-sector investment to help developing countries adapt to the impacts of climate change and achieve sustainable economic growth.

“I applaud President Obama, Secretary Kerry and our negotiating team for helping deliver a new, ambitious international climate agreement in Paris. This is an historic step forward in meeting one of the greatest challenges of the 21st century—the global crisis of climate change.

“The Paris agreement is testament to America’s ability to lead the world in building a clean energy future where no one is left out or left behind. And it was made possible in part by every person, business owner, and community in the United States and around the world that stepped up to prove we don’t have to choose between growing our economy and protecting our kids’ health and future—we can do both.

“But we will only succeed if we redouble our efforts going forward to drive innovation, increase investment, and reap the benefits of the good-paying jobs that will come from transitioning to a clean energy economy. The next decade of action is critical—because if we do not press forward with driving clean energy growth and cutting carbon pollution across the economy, we will not be able to avoid catastrophic consequences.

“We cannot afford to be slowed by the climate skeptics or deterred by the defeatists who doubt America’s ability to meet this challenge. That’s why as President, I will make combating climate change a top priority from day one, and secure America’s future as the clean energy superpower of the 21st century.”

Read more >>>>

2016_campaign_pic

This is no longer about a political campaign and should not be a political football.  It is about the future, and it is urgent!

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Yesterday a FOX News story circulated saying that Hillary Clinton had “a mixed mind” about the firing of James Comey. It was based on anonymous sources, of course. Hillary Clinton has issued no public statement on the matter.

Then there is this from Hillary’s close confidante, Sarah Huckabee Sanders.

White House Spokeswoman Says Hillary Clinton Would Have Fired James Comey ‘Immediately’

Deputy White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Wednesday asserted without any corroboration that Hillary Clinton would have fired FBI Director James Comey “immediately” had she won the election last fall. She added, “thank God she didn’t [win].”

Huckabee Sanders, filling in for Sean Spicer at Wednesday’s press briefing, tried to defend President Trump’s decision to abruptly dismiss Comey late Tuesday — a move that caught much of Washington off guard and sparked outrage from Democrats and several key Republicans as well.

“Most of the people that are declaring war today are the very ones that were begging for Director Comey to be fired,” Huckabee Sanders said. “If Hillary Clinton had won the election, which thank God she didn’t, but if she had… she would have fired Comey immediately.”

Read more >>>>

Huckabee Sanders’s boss, Sean Spicer, was caught hiding in the bushes outside the White House Tuesday night.

This same White House barred American press from the Oval Office yesterday while letting the Russian cameras in the room believing that the photos would not be released.

Not only were they played, they admitted they were tricked … amazed that the Russians lied to them! Not so good at reading Russian minds, it seems.

Trump with Lester Holt today:

HOLT: Were you angry with James Comey when he went public and said he can’t support your unsubstantiated charges of wiretapping, that your predecessor wiretapped you?

TRUMP: I was surprised he said it but I wasn’t angry. There’s a big thing going on right now which is spying and it’s — you can call it anything you want — the unmasking and the spying and to me that’s the big story right now. That’s a very, very big story.

Hmmmmm… wonder what minute drones the Russians scattered around the West Wing.

идиот!

Trump Official: We ‘Let the Biggest Perpetrator of Fake News into the Oval Office’

Team Trump is “either in bed with the Russians or too stupid to understand the severity of this mistake,” an official fumed after Kremlin press got exclusive Oval Office access.

05.11.17

Two senior administration officials, one an Obama holdover and the other a Trump appointee, told The Daily Beast that the resulting reliance of U.S. media on a propaganda arm of a foreign government let Russia set the public tone of the meeting and embarrassed the administration amid already contentious discussions with Russian diplomats.

Both officials spoke on condition of anonymity in order to candidly express their views. The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Read more >>>>

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You probably saw some photos like this from yesterday kindly provided by the Russian Foreign Ministry since American photo journalists were barred from the Oval Office during this meeting.

My prediction was incorrect about a Lavrov/Tillerson meeting. They did indeed meet at the State Department although Tillerson was not included in the White House sit-down.

Then there is this. The bolded emphasis is mine.

The Arctic Council: Fostering Cooperation, Preservation, and Prosperity in the Far North

By: David A. Balton, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Oceans and Fisheries, Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs

Icebergs float off the port of Ilulissat, Greenland. June 17, 2016.

The Arctic is a special place.

Its awe-inspiring natural beauty suggests a land untouched by time. But it is not a park — people have been living in the Arctic for thousands of years. Today, the ways of life of Arctic peoples, along with the Arctic itself, is changing rapidly and profoundly. Many of these changes — environmental, social and economic — transcend national borders, making international cooperation critical for the Arctic’s future.

The Arctic Council serves as the forum where Arctic nations and peoples collaborate to protect the Arctic’s environment while also fostering development of its economic potential in responsible and sustainable ways. This week in Fairbanks, Alaska, the United States will proudly conclude a successful two-year Arctic Council Chairmanship with concrete achievements that will improve economic and living conditions in the Arctic region; enhance Arctic Ocean safety, security and stewardship; and strengthen the resilience and adaptation capabilities of Arctic communities in the face of climate change.

Several of our achievements during our Chairmanship deserve special attention. The Council completed an assessment that identifies gaps in telecommunications capabilities across the region which, when remedied, will improve the lives and boost the economies of the countries in the Arctic region. The Arctic Council has also created a groundbreaking new tool, the Arctic Ship Traffic Database, to track shipping routes and prepare for an anticipated increase in activity. This surge in shipping will stimulate investment in infrastructure and benefit the economies of Arctic nations.

To ensure continued responsible development in the Arctic, the Arctic Council focused on initiatives that enhance the safety and good stewardship of the region. As we see more human activity in the Arctic, we need to be better prepared to protect the people who live and work there. Under U.S. leadership, the Council worked together to enhanced search and rescue readiness through live exercises. The recent entry into force of an agreement to cooperate on oil spills in the Arctic and an updated guide on how to respond if one happens help prepare and protect us from potential challenges in the future.

We are especially proud to announce a landmark scientific cooperation agreement, through negotiations led by the United States and Russia, which will usher in a new era of Arctic science by breaking down the barriers to research and exploration in the region. Together, we will increase our knowledge about the challenges and opportunities in the Arctic.

Left: Alaskan Sunset in July near Anchorage — 12:10 am. Right: placid view in Tutka Bay with near mirror-like conditions reflecting grand mountain scenery off the waters. Alaska, Kenai Peninsula, Kachemak Bay. (NOAA National Ocean Service)

Alaska is America’s Arctic. It is tough, beautiful, and complex.

The United States looks forward to hosting the foreign ministers of the other Arctic nations and leaders of indigenous Arctic groups in Fairbanks this week to celebrate the conclusion of our successful chairmanship. We wish great success to Finland which will serve as the next chair. Thanks to the dedication of the many groups and individuals supporting it, we know the Arctic Council will continue to preserve and protect the economic opportunities and unique beauty of the Arctic for future generations.


Originally published on blogs.state.gov on May 10, 2017.

Oh those shipping routes! And about those “challenges and opportunities,” does oil figure in there in some sneaky way? Sigh!

Related:

Hillary Clinton to Canadians: Watch Putin in the Arctic as well as in Europe

#WatchThis Space: Arctic Activity

Arctic Activity…. #WatchThisSpace! Keep Watching!

 

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