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Folks at Grand Central Terminal in New York saw and heard Hillary at a Stamp Dedication for Oscar de la Renta, yesterday. It was a government event sponsored by the U.S. Postal Service.  But at least one person in the White House in Washington DC seemed haunted by her presence there.

This is from the New York Times morning brief.

Trump’s Words, By the Numbers

By CARL HULSE

President Trump is clearly obsessed with numbers — the size of his Electoral College win, the number of people at his inauguration, the tally of jobs he is helping keep in the United States. The list goes on.

Given his predilection for digits, here are a few interesting ones from his extremely unconventional news conference on Thursday.

2: The number of times he mentioned the name Acosta at an event that started with the announcement of R. Alexander Acosta as his new nominee for secretary of labor. The other time Mr. Trump mentioned the name was when he called on Jim Acosta of CNN and noted that in picking the other Acosta he had instructed his staff members to make sure the two were not related.

11: The number of times he mentioned Hillary Clinton, his vanquished opponent in last year’s election. Mr. Trump is either having a hard time getting past the election or simply likes to talk about it since he won and it is a fond memory. The repeated references were to Mrs. Clinton receiving hints of debate questions ahead of time — a continuing sore subject — and her dealings with Russia while secretary of state, including a proposed reset “with a stupid plastic button that made us all look like a bunch of jerks.”

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The press conference in which these references occurred was notable for its lack of focus and organization, belligerent, incoherent, rambling style, and its contradictions – a primary tool of gaslighting.

e.g. 1) As he ranted and raved:   “Tomorrow, they will say, ‘Donald Trump rants and raves at the press.’ I’m not ranting and raving.”

2) After declaring himself the least racist person, he confronted April Ryan (a 20-year White House press veteran who is African-American) who asked if he would meet with the CBC (Congressional Black Caucus – the initials of which he did not recognize) with “Do you want to arrange it? Are they friends of yours?”

The hour-and-a-quarter tirade was marked by a preoccupation with stats, polls, and vote counts, an obsession with perceived false reportage ( “The leaks are absolutely real. The news is fake because so much of the news is fake…The reporting is fake.”), and a marked inability to let go of his campaign or his adversary in that campaign whose name he invoked at odd intervals in the course of the event (in a few cases with bogus stories, i.e. “fake news”) and who was in New York minding her own business and honoring her late friend.

02-16-17-z-02

 

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Last Thursday, I mentioned the new administration’s tactic of choice, diversion.  This week, thanks to George Lakoff, we have a handy diagram for the analysis of tweets from Trump.

So it comes as no surprise that while Trump lobbed a grenade at Nordstrom’s and while we were all attending to the ninth circuit court of appeals which upheld the stay on the immigration ban and the endless confirmation hearings,  the explosions were happening elsewhere.

Last night and today, massive immigration raids were taking place in at least six states.

U.S. immigration authorities made a series of arrests in at least half a dozen states across the country on Thursday and Friday, sweeping up an unknown number of undocumented immigrants, immigration lawyers and advocates said.

The raids, which appeared to target scores of people, including those without criminal records, mark the first largescale episode of immigration enforcement inside the United States since President Trump’s Jan. 26 order to crack down on the estimated 11 million immigrants living here illegally. Immigration lawyers and advocates said some of the enforcement efforts included traffic stops and checkpoints, though Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials disputed those accounts, saying the agency does not use checkpoints while engaging in targeted enforcement operations.

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These followed the very high profile deportation of an Arizona woman who had reported as required of her to a local ICE office.

Typically, while we attend to all of this, we are supposed to be distracted from the Russia story, but that one grew extra legs just this evening. It appears that U.S. investigators have been able to corroborate portions of the dossier we referred to last week as the Christopher Steele Memos.

US investigators corroborate some aspects of the Russia dossier

Coupled with that one was this.

 National security adviser Flynn discussed sanctions with Russian ambassador, despite denials, officials say

National security adviser Michael Flynn privately discussed U.S. sanctions against Russia with that country’s ambassador to the United States during the month before President Trump took office, contrary to public assertions by Trump officials, current and former U.S. officials said.

Flynn’s communications with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak were interpreted by some senior U.S. officials as an inappropriate and potentially illegal signal to the Kremlin that it could expect a reprieve from sanctions that were being imposed by the Obama administration in late December to punish Russia for its alleged interference in the 2016 election.

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This story, of course, is the elephant in the room. The Russian connection to the Trump campaign and White House impugns the integrity of the election and the intentions of the administration with regard to Russian sanctions, not only for alleged election hanky-panky but also those imposed over Russian incursions in Ukraine. It lends credence to the idea that Putin’s antipathy to Hillary Clinton’s candidacy was based on a lot more than a personality conflict and his idée-fixe that she somehow orchestrated mass demonstrations following the Russian parliamentary elections in 2011.

Deep Throat told Bob Woodward to follow the money. It is not hard to imagine that transactions involving Donald Trump might revolve around money. Alex Mohajer, late of Bros4Hillary, has constructed bulletin board worthy of Carrie Mathison from a series of interlocking documents. It is not complete, but is the best job of connecting the dots so far.

THE ROSNEFT RECEIPTS

Alex Mohajer @alexmohajer This morning

In light of Wash Post’s explosive article revealing Trump’s NSA Flynn contacted Russian officials BEFORE inauguration to discuss lifting sanctions, it’s getting harder to ignore growing evidence that Trump was involved with Russian oil deal.

See the documents >>>>

From this, we can see what entities acquired those mysterious Rosneft shares even if principals behind it remain shrouded.  it’s great detective work!  We can be relatively sure Alex will not let this opus rest here, so we can be reasonably sure that he will elaborate as he finds additional evidence. We look forward to that.

As for Hillary, she has steered clear of the Russian story which she tried to expose at the October 19 presidential debate. She did, however, register a reaction to the court decision on Thursday. Touted as ultimate shade, her tweet was concise.

Feb 9

 3-0

Ha!

09-26-16-z-24

The thing never to ignore is that Trump and the Republicans are working as a team. Wherever the fireworks go off, look elsewhere.  And watch this space.

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We are bloody but unbowed. Yesterday, after massive efforts of letter writing, phone calling, emailing, and petition signing, Betsy DeVos was confirmed as Secretary of Education by an historic tie-breaking vote by VP and Senate President Mike Pence.

Not long afterward, the effort to confirm Jeff Sessions, noted bigot, as Attorney General ran into an effort by Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) to read a letter penned in 1986 by Coretta Scott King in opposition to Sessions being appointed a federal district judge in Alabama.

We see how this is going.

Here are the Twitter hashtags.

“Silencing Elizabeth Warren”

#LetLizSpeak

#ShePersists

#ShePersisted

Here is the exchange on the Senate floor.

The swamp gases in DC are toxic.

Stay battle-ready. This is just the beginning.

Thank you, Liz!

Here is the letter.

My Senator, Cory Booker.

From Hillary Clinton:

Happy Black History Month!

Cross-posted at The Department of Homegirl Security.

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This is from the New York Times morning briefing.

Two weeks in, miscues are worrying Mr. Trump’s aides.
The bungled rollout of his executive order barring immigrants from seven Muslim countries, a flurry of other miscues and embarrassments, and low approval ratings have led to Mr. Trump and his top staff rethinking an improvisational approach to governing that mirrors his chaotic presidential campaign.

Time and again Hillary Clinton warned that running a campaign is not the equivalent of governing and that running businesses is not like running a country. The way Trump ran his campaign gave every indication that his “governing” style was going to be fast, loose, and superficial.

10-09-16-z-43

Hillary tried to tell us, but you know: Tracy Flick, emails, private server, low energy, criminal, “lock her up,” and worse.

Meanwhile Trump, all along, had a private server just to communicate with Russian parties not yet completely identified, had surrogates talking to Russians with close ties to the Kremlin and to Putin, and even told Russia to hack Hillary’s email.

He has never bothered to inform himself, has eschewed reading and security briefings, and does not, to this day, read documents that are put in front of him for a signature, so he cannot ask questions about them, and concerns himself with whether the women on staff are wearing sufficiently feminine garb  – a twist darkly similar to the fashion police in Iran and other Islamic republics.

Improv is theatre and does entail skills, and there is no doubt that there are times when skilled statesmen and stateswomen must employ them. They are not, however, the go-to in the playbook. No matter how often we may refer to political kabuki, there is never an implication that preparation is not involved. To perform political kabuki, successful parties overprepare as do all good actors, students, teachers, and just about everyone else in a broad variety of responsible positions.

Of course there is theatre in politics. There have also been entertainers who have made the transition to politics relatively smoothly including George Murphy, Ronald Reagan, Fred Thompson, Hulk Hogan, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Al Franken for example.  But it is a transition involving different skills sets.

Trump team moving on from improv? That involves homework, and homework involves reading. We’ll see how this goes.


P.S. On another note, it is not lost on me that the Times chose the verb to bar rather than to ban. Just saying.

 

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We should know by now, two weeks in, what the new administration’s tactic is. Like a shell game con artist, they employ a certain sleight of hand. They throw a fireball out that dazzles, enrages, and engages attention. While we are attending to this distraction, even more serious shady doings are going on somewhere else that we somehow miss. An example.

Yesterday, Trump’s meandering, inept introduction of Black History Month so astonished (and, frankly, amused to the point of Twitter parodies) that while we were all attending to 199-year-0ld Frederick Douglass “who has done a terrific job that is being recognized by more and more people,” the Senate confirmed Rex Tillerson for secretary of state while Congress removed an anti-graft section of Dodd-Frank that will permit petroleum companies (among others) to conceal payments to foreign governments.  Actually, according to one source, all of these things happened.

Today, at the National Prayer Breakfast, there was this:

“And I want to just pray for Arnold if we can, for those ratings” Trump says after boasting Apprentice “went down the tubes” once he left”

The media and the social nets went nuts!  Meanwhile, back at the ranch:

The US Treasury just amended Obama’s sanctions order to ‘authorize certain transactions’ with Russia’s FSB

Who’s going to notice this after Trump prayed for Arnold’s pitiful ratings?

Of course back on September 24, Hillary Clinton’s campaign issued this statement.

Hillary for America Statement on Bombshell Report About Trump Aide’s Chilling Ties To Kremlin

Friday, HFA senior national spokesperson Glen Caplin released the following statement in response to the new bombshell report that Trump’s foreign policy adviser is being probed for suspected meetings with senior Russian officials:

“It’s chilling to learn that U.S. intelligence officials are conducting a probe into suspected meetings between Trump’s foreign policy adviser Carter Page and members of Putin’s inner circle while in Moscow. You have to ask why he would meet with Igor Diveykin, who is believed by U.S. officials ‘to have responsibility for intelligence collected by Russian agencies about the U.S. election.’ This comes as Russian hackers continue their attempts to influence the outcome of our elections, something Trump openly invited. This is serious business and voters deserve the facts before election day.

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During the October 19 presidential debate, this.

WALLACE: Secretary Clinton, I want to clear up your position on this issue, because in a speech you gave to a Brazilian bank, for which you were paid $225,000, we’ve learned from the WikiLeaks, that you said this, and I want to quote. “My dream is a hemispheric common market with open trade and open borders.” So that’s the question…

TRUMP: Thank you.

WALLACE: That’s the question. Please quiet, everybody. Is that your dream, open borders? CLINTON: Well, if you went on to read the rest of the sentence, I was talking about energy. You know, we trade more energy with our neighbors than we trade with the rest of the world combined. And I do want us to have an electric grid, an energy system that crosses borders. I think that would be a great benefit to us.

But you are very clearly quoting from WikiLeaks. And what’s really important about WikiLeaks is that the Russian government has engaged in espionage against Americans. They have hacked American websites, American accounts of private people, of institutions. Then they have given that information to WikiLeaks for the purpose of putting it on the Internet.

This has come from the highest levels of the Russian government, clearly, from Putin himself, in an effort, as 17 of our intelligence agencies have confirmed, to influence our election.

So I actually think the most important question of this evening, Chris, is, finally, will Donald Trump admit and condemn that the Russians are doing this and make it clear that he will not have the help of Putin in in this election, that he rejects Russian espionage against Americans, which he actually encouraged in the past? Those are the questions we need answered. We’ve never had anything like this happen in any of our elections before.

WALLACE: Well?

TRUMP: That was a great pivot off the fact that she wants open borders, OK? How did we get on to Putin?

WALLACE: Hold on — hold on, wait. Hold on, folks. Because we — this is going to end up getting out of control. Let’s try to keep it quiet so — for the candidates and for the American people.

TRUMP: So just to finish on the borders…

WALLACE: Yes?

TRUMP: She wants open borders. People are going to pour into our country. People are going to come in from Syria. She wants 550 percent more people than Barack Obama, and he has thousands and thousands of people. They have no idea where they come from.

And you see, we are going to stop radical Islamic terrorism in this country. She won’t even mention the words, and neither will President Obama. So I just want to tell you, she wants open borders.

Now we can talk about Putin. I don’t know Putin. He said nice things about me. If we got along well, that would be good. If Russia and the United States got along well and went after ISIS, that would be good.

He has no respect for her. He has no respect for our president. And I’ll tell you what: We’re in very serious trouble, because we have a country with tremendous numbers of nuclear warheads — 1,800, by the way — where they expanded and we didn’t, 1,800 nuclear warheads. And she’s playing chicken. Look, Putin…

WALLACE: Wait, but…

TRUMP: … from everything I see, has no respect for this person.

CLINTON: Well, that’s because he’d rather have a puppet as president of the United States.

TRUMP: No puppet. No puppet.

CLINTON: And it’s pretty clear…

TRUMP: You’re the puppet!

CLINTON: It’s pretty clear you won’t admit…

TRUMP: No, you’re the puppet.

CLINTON: … that the Russians have engaged in cyberattacks against the United States of America, that you encouraged espionage against our people, that you are willing to spout the Putin line, sign up for his wish list, break up NATO, do whatever he wants to do, and that you continue to get help from him, because he has a very clear favorite in this race.

So I think that this is such an unprecedented situation. We’ve never had a foreign government trying to interfere in our election. We have 17 — 17 intelligence agencies, civilian and military, who have all concluded that these espionage attacks, these cyberattacks, come from the highest levels of the Kremlin and they are designed to influence our election. I find that deeply disturbing.

WALLACE: Secretary Clinton…

CLINTON: And I think it’s time you take a stand…

TRUMP: She has no idea whether it’s Russia, China, or anybody else.

CLINTON: I am not quoting myself.

TRUMP: She has no idea.

CLINTON: I am quoting 17…

TRUMP: Hillary, you have no idea.

CLINTON: … 17 intelligence — do you doubt 17 military and civilian…

TRUMP: And our country has no idea.

CLINTON: … agencies.

TRUMP: Yeah, I doubt it. I doubt it.

CLINTON: Well, he’d rather believe Vladimir Putin than the military and civilian intelligence professionals who are sworn to protect us. I find that just absolutely…

We were warned by Hillary even though no government agency stepped up to clarify the situation.  Some of what we heard back then appears, more specifically, in what have come to be known as the Christopher Steele Memos.

There we learned, not only of Kremlin quid pro quos for the lifting of sanctions, as cited below, but also of potential ‘kompromat’ on Trump. (see p.9) Unfortunately, the media focused heavily on the ‘kompromat’ which involved some hanky-panky with prostitutes rather than on the bigger picture which included influencing U.S. voting blocs in order to get Trump elected so that sanctions could be lifted. The implication of that ‘kompromat’ is, of course, that Trump can be blackmailed to do anything the Kremlin wants.

Memos: CEO of Russia’s state oil company offered Trump associate, allies a stake if sanctions were lifted

While it remains true that these memos have not been verified, it is awfully spooky that these sanctions are being lifted.  Can we expect the Ukraine sanctions to fall next?

Oh, and by the way, subsequent to all of that there was this in October! No one knows who bought those shares.

The deal on the sale of a 19.5 percent stake in Russia’s largest oil producer Rosneft will bring Moscow some $11.1 billion in revenues, the company announced Saturday.

Hillary Clinton and her team tried to warn us. But, you know, emails, wikileaks, ‘flawed,’ ‘ill,’ and ‘shrill.’ Not the perfect (female) candidate – which is the enemy of not just the good, but of the best yet.

10-19-16-z-15

The next time the ‘central committee’ sends up a flare, look in the other direction. That is where the damage will be occurring – in the shadows.  Watch this space!

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The United States has four coasts subject to the perils presented by climate change: the Atlantic, the Pacific, the Gulf of Mexico, and the Arctic. As a nation with land above the Arctic Circle, we belong to the Arctic Council.

When she was secretary of state, Hillary Clinton participated regularly in Arctic Council summits hosted by a variety of the eight member nations. This was one. I have bolded the list of member states.

Lisa Murkowski  was nice enough to post this picture on her Facebook page along with this comment about an hour ago.

Lisa Murkowski

Heading home from the Arctic Council in Nuuk, Greenland. But wanted to share a picture: with the Ministers of the eight Arctic nations in attendance, as well as Secretary Clinton and Secretary Salazar.

Here is a fact sheet released by the State Department about the Arctic Council meeting results.

Secretary Clinton Signs the Arctic Search and Rescue Agreement with Other Arctic Nations

Fact Sheet

Office of the Spokesman
Washington, DC
May 12, 2011

On May 12, 2011, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton joined representatives of the other seven Member States of the Arctic Council (Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, the Russian Federation, and Sweden) in signing an Agreement on Cooperation on Aeronautical and Maritime Search and Rescue (SAR) in the Arctic (Agreement). The Agreement is the first legally-binding instrument negotiated under the auspices of the Arctic Council. It coordinates life-saving international maritime and aeronautical SAR coverage and response among the Arctic States across an area of about 13 million square miles in the Arctic.

As Arctic sea ice coverage decreases, ship-borne activities are increasing significantly in the Arctic. Flight traffic is also on the rise as new polar aviation routes cross the Arctic air space in several directions. As human presence and activities in the Arctic expand, the potential for accidents increases as well. Limited rescue resources, challenging weather conditions, and the remoteness of the area render SAR operations difficult in the Arctic, making coordination among the Arctic nations imperative. The SAR Agreement will improve search and rescue response in the Arctic by committing all Parties to coordinate appropriate assistance to those in distress and to cooperate with each other in undertaking SAR operations. For each Party, the Agreement defines an area of the Arctic in which it will have lead responsibility in organizing responses to SAR incidents, both large and small. Parties to the Agreement commit to provide SAR assistance regardless of the nationality or status of persons who may need it.

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(See more like this here>>>>)

It is immediately apparent why there is a need for this council. Russia is a player.

After Hillary left the State Department, she launched a series of  speaking engagements. One of these was in Canada.

Speaking to the Montreal Board of Trade last night, Hillary Clinton warned the audience of increased Russian activity in the Arctic and hung responsibility for another Cold War on Vladimir Putin’s doorknob.

As Secretary of State,  Hillary was an active participant in the Arctic Council and repeatedly echoed the message that we are an Arctic nation.  The concerns she voiced in Canada are as much an issue for the U.S. as they are for Canada.

Along with the disquiet she expressed regarding Russia’s activities in the north came further comments about recent activities in Europe.

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In light of the above, this is of some concern or should be to all the member nations including ours.

Russian servicemen of the Northern Fleet’s Arctic mechanised infantry brigade participate in a military drill on riding reindeer and dog sleds near the settlement of Lovozero outside Murmansk, Russia January 23, 2017. Picture taken January 23, 2017. Lev Fedoseyev/Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation/Handout via REUTERS
By Andrew Osborn | MURMANSK, Russia

The nuclear icebreaker Lenin, the pride and joy of the Soviet Union’s Arctic great game, lies at perpetual anchor in the frigid water here. A relic of the Cold War, it is now a museum.

But nearly three decades after the Lenin was taken out of service to be turned into a visitor attraction, Russia is again on the march in the Arctic and building new nuclear icebreakers.

It is part of a push to firm Moscow’s hand in the High North as it vies for dominance with traditional rivals Canada, the United States, and Norway as well as newcomer China.

SNIP

Grigory Stratiy, deputy governor of the Murmansk Region, told Reuters there was strong interest in sea route from Asian nations however and that new icebreakers would allow for year-round navigation in the 2020s.

“Whatever the weather, the Northern Sea Route will be needed. Its use will definitely grow,” said Stratiy, who said Russia was keen to attract foreign investment to the Arctic.

When asked about his country’s military build-up, he smiled.

“There’s no reason to be afraid I can reassure you,” he said, saying it was driven only by a need to modernize.

“Russia has never had any aggressive aims and won’t have them. We are very friendly people.”

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Anyone thinking that Putin is playing nice friendly reindeer games up there is, of course, deluded despite the “peaceful and cooperative nature of the Arctic Region” as stated on the State Department page.  We should never trust Putin, as Hillary warned, especially when his military is involved. So this military build up is one thing to watch.

It’s nice to have ice breakers available when you need them, and the Russians were very helpful the time the whales were trapped under the ice as portrayed in that Drew Barrymore movie. Those missile installations, though. No wonder we sent troops to Norway.

The North Sea Route concept, characterized in the article as a mini Suez Canal, is an obvious business venture, but of course the real target is oil. Drilling in the Arctic is an enterprise popular with Republicans.

Lastly, how the hell did “newcomer China” get into this competition? It has no land above the Arctic Circle. Or does it?  Is it building synthetic islands up there, too?

The new administration has a dangerously narrow view of China’s adversarial scope. It goes beyond trans-Pacific trade and artificial islands to expand its continental limit in the South China Sea and East China Sea. China has invested in significant “development” enterprises in Africa centered largely on resource extraction with tandem infrastructure upgrades benefiting their ability to move products for shipment and not benefiting local residents or their farms or businesses in any way. I don’t think I have ever heard Donald Trump say the word “Africa.”  At the very least, China’s presence in the Arctic deserves a question.

As for Russia, and its military push, we always do well to heed the warnings of Hillary Clinton.

 

 

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With hundreds of passengers stranded in custody and protests erupting at international airports across the United States, Hillary Clinton made her position clear with a tweet about Trump’s dangerous and unfair ban on immigrants from seven countries.  The ban extends to holders of green cards, who are legal residents of the U.S., and those who hold valid visas issued before the ban was in place.  A federal judge has struck down the ban, however the folks being held have not been released from custody since the ruling does not go that far.

I stand with the people gathered across the country tonight defending our values & our Constitution. This is not who we are.

 

 

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