Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Trump’s Nightmare: Women Opposing Him

By Rebecca Traister
Kamala Harris; Sally Yates; Kirsten Gillibrand. Photo: Getty Images
It must be galling for a man who has been so open about his disregard for women to find that the strongest pushback to his administration so far has come from a bunch of women who appear more than a little unimpressed by President Trump, his appointees, and his executive orders. On his first day in office, there was the Women’s March, the largest global political protest in America’s history, led by women of color. The march did many remarkable things, establishing a culture of protest and setting a determined, exuberant tone for the dozens of spontaneous demonstrations that have occurred since — many of which have also been populated and led by women.

But women’s leadership extends beyond the grass-roots revival. In Congress, where many Democrats began the new administration short a spine, New York senator Kirsten Gillibrand emerged as the only senator to so far vote no on all but one of Trump’s picks (she voted for Nikki Haley for U.N. ambassador). In the House, California congresswoman Barbara Lee was among the first to announce that she was boycotting Trump’s inauguration. New York congresswoman Nydia Velázquez was early to John F. Kennedy Airport on Saturday where she demanded the release of refugees being held at the airport after Trump signed an executive order that prevented travelers with valid visas and green cards from entering the U.S. Velázquez, along with Gillibrand, Women’s March leaders Linda Sarsour and Tamika Mallory, and New York City public advocate Tish James, was among those receiving the biggest cheers at Sunday’s anti-wall, anti-ban rally in Battery Park. And on Tuesday morning, California representative Maxine Waters is having a press conference about Trump’s ties to Russia.

As Dahlia Lithwick has pointed out, it was four women judges — Anne Donnelly in New York; Leonie Brinkema in Virginia; Allison Burroughs and Judith Dein in Boston — along with Thomas Zilly in Washington, who ordered the temporary stays of Trump’s ban. Many noted that among the lawyers who flocked to airports over the weekend to help detainees, the preponderance of them were female. The Atlantic’s Matt Ford tweeted on Sunday night after leaving Dulles, “Gender disparity was striking: probably 70 percent of lawyers volunteering there are young women.” He noted in his later story that many of the volunteer lawyers were also people of color.

On Monday afternoon, California’s Kamala Harris and Washington’s Patty Murray led a coalition of their fellow senators in opposition to Trump’s Muslim ban, writing a letter expressing “outrage” at Trump’s executive order, and noting that the order “and its haphazard implementation both run counter to our American values and the Constitution, as well as our national security and economic interests.” Executive action “that denies entry to refugees escaping violence and oppression with an explicit preference for people of one religion over another is unconscionable and unconstitutional.”

And of course on Monday night, interim Attorney General Sally Yates sent a letter to lawyers in the Justice Department noting that she was not “convinced that the executive order is lawful,” and that “consequently, for as long as I am the acting attorney general, the Department of Justice will not present arguments in defense of the executive order unless and until I become convinced that it is appropriate to do so.” Yates was not acting attorney general for long; Trump fired her by the end of the night, releasing a statement in which he claimed that she “has betrayed the Department of Justice” and called her “weak on borders and very weak on illegal immigration.”

But Yates’s reputation is unlikely to be tied to any sense of weakness; rather, she has, in the span of a few short hours, become the symbol of righteous defiance of a leader whose team spent Monday defending the detention of 5-year-olds at airports.

Yes, there are men who’ve been doing their part to oppose Trump: Congressman John Lewis made news by questioning his legitimacy as president and settled in at the Atlanta airport in support of detainees on Saturday; New Jersey senator Cory Booker broke precedent to testify against Trump’s attorney general pick Jeff Sessions; Oregon senator Jeff Merkley promised on Monday to filibuster any Trump candidate for the Supreme Court who is not Merrick Garland; congressman Jerrold Nadler was right next to Velázquez at JFK; and the anonymous park ranger insurrectionists on social media are surely women and men. Yet it’s striking how many women have put themselves, or found themselves, on the front lines of this burgeoning political fight. In part, this is the result of having more women in public and political spaces where they used to be such distinct minorities — thanks to the kinds of social progress that Trump’s team seems to want to roll back.

Despite the strides, women remain minorities in the institutions where they are leading the fight against Trump. They make up less than 20 percent of Congress and 33 percent of state and federal judges, though as journalist Lisa Belkin pointed out on Monday, more than 60 percent of public interest lawyers are women. To suggest that women’s leadership is inherently more righteous than men’s is both essentialist and wrong, but the female will to resist is pretty poetic: Trump may have vanquished one powerful female foe in the election, but now a million more women have sprouted in her place.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Mikhail Gorbachev warns: 'Looks as if the world is preparing for war'

January  27th 2017 
Former Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev has said that "it all looks as if the world is preparing for war."

The comment was made in a recent op-ed for TIME magazine.

He says, "...no problem is more urgent today than the militarization of politics and the new arms race. Stopping and reversing this ruinous race must be our top priority."

Gorbachev then adds, "The current situation is too dangerous."

And, after talking about a growing focus on military capabilities and an increase in verbal aggression among politicians and the media, he writes, "It all looks as if the world is preparing for war."

Gorbachev goes on to describe how the U.S. and Russia worked together in the late 80s to reduce their nuclear weapons arsenals because, in his words, "nuclear war is unacceptable."

He continues by saying, "Today, however, the nuclear threat once again seems real."

As the Washington Post reports, both President Trump and Russia's President Vladimir Putin have indicated an interest in potentially strengthening their respective nuclear capabilities.

As such, Gorbachev suggests that the U.N. Security Council convene a meeting with heads of states to "adopt a resolution stating that nuclear waris unacceptable and must never be fought."

The New York Times notes that Gorbachev "was named the 1990 winner of the Nobel Peace Prize...in recognition of his initiatives in promotion of international peace, including championing political change in Eastern Europe and helping to end the cold war."

Witchy sez :
 The world has been at war for decades and the enemy is sometimes harder than ever to recognize. A hot war between nuclear powers would only end in total world destruction! Let us all be vigilent and work to prevent such an occurance!

On the more positive side: 
I don't see Trump completing his first term. He has, and seems content to continue, to set people off. He is, in my opinion, setting himself up for extreme personal attacks.
Sigh; it's only been a week....it seems like a year.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Actress Mary Tyler Moore is dead at 80

JENNY DEPPER, AOL.COM        January 25th 2017 
Actress Mary Tyler Moore has died at the age of 80.

The longtime television star was reportedly in grave condition at a hospital in Connecticut prior to her death on Wednesday.

Her rep, Mara Buxbaum confirmed the devastating news on Wednesday.

"Today, beloved icon, Mary Tyler Moore, passed away at the age of 80 in the company of friends and her loving husband of over 33 years, Dr. S. Robert Levine. A groundbreaking actress, producer, and passionate advocate for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, Mary will be remembered as a fearless visionary who turned the world on with her smile."

Details remain short on the cause of death, but her family reportedly had arrived at the hospital to say their goodbyes earlier in the day. Moore has been battling diabetes for many years and in 2011 she underwent brain surgery.

Actress Mary Tyler Moore has died at the age of 80.

The longtime television star was reportedly in grave condition at a hospital in Connecticut prior to her death on Wednesday.

Details remain short on the cause of death, but her family reportedly had arrived at the hospital to say their goodbyes earlier in the day. Moore has been battling diabetes for many years and in 2011 she underwent brain surgery.

The upbeat and funny actress first broke onto the scene in the 1960s when she played Laura Petrie, the spunky housewife of Dick Van Dyke on "The Dick Van Dyke Show." Moore played the role from 1961-1966 and it earned her huge notoriety and a Golden Globe Award and Primetime Emmy Award two years in a row.

From 1974 to 1977, she played Mary Richards on "Rhoda," another one of her popular roles. She then went on to have her own show as Mary Richards on "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" from 1970-1977. She was a four-time Emmy Award winner for that role. She also earned multiple Golden Globe nominations and a Golden Globe win for the role.

Other beloved roles included her starring role in "Ordinary People," which earned her an Oscar nomination. Moore's last credited role was on "Hot in Cleveland" in 2013.

Outside of acting, Moore also had a production company, MTM Enterprises, which was at the forefront for creating comedy shows. Her company was behind "Hill Street Blues" and "St. Elsewhere."

Moore will go down in history as one of the most beloved comedic actresses of the time.

Condolence to the family and friends 
RIP  Mary , you will be missed                        The  PICs

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

A history of withdrawn Cabinet nominees, and which of Trump's picks could face rejection

With Tuesday's Senate committee approval of Ben Carson for secretary of Housing and Urban Development, President Trump's Cabinet picks are slowly transitioning out of "nominee" status.

While the confirmation hearing process today is considered less grueling than in recent years, some still question who of Trump's picks might face enough "no" votes to be rejected from their respective appointments.

Earlier this month, Trump's pick for senior director of strategic communications at the National Security .
 Council Monica Crowley came under fire when it was revealed she had plagiarized over 50 parts of her New York Times bestselling book. The former FOX News contributor then withdrew her name from the appointment nomination, joining a historic list of Cabinet nominees who have removed themselves from the approval process.

Cabinet appointment withdrawals months into a commander in chief's presidency are not uncommon, as Bush 43, Clinton and Obama each had multiple Cabinet appointees withdraw themselves from the process. However, the current GOP-led Congress holds 52 seats in the senate which gives them the manpower to vote through any nomination -- as long as the number of "no" votes from within the Republican party is limited to less than three.

Even with Sen. John Tower, the only Cabinet nominee to be formally rejected since 1980 over allegations of alcohol abuse and womanizing, his confirmation came within three votes.

While Scott Pruitt and Betsy DeVos -- Trump's respective picks to lead the Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Education -- are widely viewed as those most likely to be blocked by congressional committees -- Trump's Cabinet nominees are generally presumed to be voted in and assume their positions in the new administration.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Sgns from the creative ladies from around the world as they march for equality, solidarity and human rights

<p>Demonstrators gather to protest against US President Donald Trump in front of the US Embassy on January 21, 2017 in Lisbon, Portugal. Simultaneous protests have been staged, mainly by women, in many different countries against Trump’s behavior to women. (Horacio Villalobos – Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images) </p>
Nuff said ...it speaks volumes

<p>A woman holds a cartoon depicting Donald Trump during the Women’s March rally in Barcelona, Spain, Saturday, Jan. 21, 2017. The march was held in solidarity with the Women’s March on Washington, advocating women’s rights and opposing Donald Trump’s presidency. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez) </p>

<p>A woman holds a sign that reads in Spanish “Trump, respect migrants” during a march called by a local women’s movement against U.S. President Donald Trump in Mexico City, Friday, Jan. 20, 2017. Donald Trump became the 45th president of the United States Friday, Jan. 20 2017, amid apprehension in Mexico regarding his previous comments about Mexico and his promise to build a border wall to halt migration. (AP Photo/Eduardo Verdugo) </p>

<p>Madasun Coates, (cq) 12, MD., marched in support of women’s rights. Thousands of demonstrators gather in the Nation’s Capital for the Women’s March on Washington to protest the policies of President Donald Trump. January 21, 2017. (Photo: Mary F. Calvert for Yahoo News) </p>

<p>Protesters prepare to rally at the Women’s March Saturday Jan. 21, 2017 in Philadelphia. The march is being held in solidarity with similar events taking place in Washington and around the nation. (AP Photo/Jacqueline Larma) </p>

<p>Thousands of demonstrators gather in the Nation’s Capital for the Women’s March on Washington to protest the policies of President Donald Trump. January 21, 2017. (Photo: Mary F. Calvert for Yahoo News) </p>

<p>A woman holds a sign during the women’s march rally in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Saturday, Jan. 21, 2017. The march was held in solidarity with the Women’s March on Washington, advocating women’s rights and opposing Donald Trump’s presidency. (AP Photo/Agustin Marcarian) </p>

<p>Thousands of demonstrators gather in the Nation’s Capital for the Women’s March on Washington to protest the policies of President Donald Trump. January 21, 2017. (Photo: Mary F. Calvert for Yahoo News) </p>

<p>Some 200 activists of women’s organizations and women’s rights slogans walk from the office of Prime Minister to the U.S. Embassy in Warsaw, Poland, Saturday, Jan. 21, 2017, in support of the Women’s March in Washington and protests around the globe saying they were concerned about the rhetoric that was raised in President Donald Trump’s campaign. (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski) </p>

<p>Demonstrators gather to protest against US President Donald Trump in front of the US Embassy on January 21, 2017 in Lisbon, Portugal. Simultaneous protests have been staged, mainly by women, in many different countries against Trump’s behavior to women. (Photo by Horacio Villalobos – Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images) </p>

<p>People gather for the Women’s March in Washington U.S., January 21, 2017. (Shannon Stapleton/Reuters) </p>

<p>Demonstrators protest against U.S. President Donald Trump next to the U.S. embassy during the Women’s March in Lisbon, Portugal January 21, 2017. (Rafael Marchante/Reuters) </p>

<p>A woman holds a sign that reads, “Girls just wanna have fundamental human rights,” during a rally at the Women’s March on Washington, Jan. 21, 2017. (Jessica Rinaldi/The Boston Globe via Getty Images) </p>

<p>Thousands of people gathered for the Womens March on London to march in celebration of womens rights, diversity and equality in London, United Kingdom, on 21 January 2017. This was mirrored in cities around the world. Thousands of people across the globe marched in solidarity. The march was also in protest to the inaugeration of Donald Trump as president of the USA. (Barry Lewis / In Pictures via Getty Images) </p>

<p>Protesters take part in the Women’s March in Paris, France, January 21, 2017. The march formed part of a worldwide day of action following the inauguration of Donald Trump to U.S. President. (Jacky Naegelen/Reuters) </p>

<p>Protesters carrying banners take part in the Women’s March on London, as they stand in Trafalgar Square, in central London, Britain January 21, 2017. The march formed part of a worldwide day of action following the election of Donald Trump to U.S. President. (Neil Hall/Reuters) </p>

<p>A protest placard lays by a lion at the foot of Nelson’s Column in Trafalgar Square during the Women’s March on London, in central London, Britain January 21, 2017. The march formed part of a worldwide day of action following the election of Donald Trump to U.S. President. (Neil Hall/Reuters) </p>

LYRIC FROM 'FIVE MAN ELECTRICAL BAND' 1971 (slightly altered, in keeping with the situation)

Sign, sign, everywhere a sign
Blockin' out the scenery, breakin' my mind
Do this, don't do that, can't you read the sign?
And the sign said anybody caught trespassing would be shot on sight
So I jumped the fence  wall and yelled at the house, "Hey! What gives you the right?"
"To put up a fence wall to keep me out or to keep mother fuckers in"
"If God was here he'd tell you to your face, Man, you're some kinda sinner"


Friday, January 20, 2017

Anti-Trump protester screams in agony as he is sworn in

An anti-Trump protester screams in agony as the new US President is sworn in.
The woman, sitting cross-legged on the ground close to Capitol Hill, was filmed yelling "no" at the top of her voice as Donald Trump took his oath.

Riots in Washington precursor to Women's march on Washington tomorrow

 On the up-side, Trump supporters were very happy about the whole inauguration thing.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Donald Trump's Inauguration Committee: Kanye West Isn’t Performing Because...

 January 19, 2017            By  Megan French
A spokesperson for president-elect Donald Trump's inauguration committee told CNN that Friend of Donald Kanye West was not invited to perform at the real estate mogul's inaugural because 'Ye's music wasn't right for the "typically and traditionally American event." Tom Barrack, chairman of the Presidential Inauguration Committee, told CNN's Erin Burnett that the inauguration wasn't a "fitting" venue for West, who famously met with Trump in December and posed for a stiff photo at Trump Tower afterwards and whose music is about to be the subject of a course at Washington University in St. Louis called "Politics of Kanye West: Black Genius and Sonic Aesthetics."

"He's been great, he considers himself a friend of the president-elect, but it's not the venue." Kanye, who was born in Chicago and performs a style of music, hip-hop, that was invented in the United States on the streets of Trump's New York in the late 1970s, performed at MTV's Inaugural Youth Ball in honor of President Obama in 2009. "It's going to be typically and traditionally American, and Kanye is a great guy, we just haven't asked him to perform. And we move on with our agenda," Barrack added.

Among the latest bookings for the "traditionally American event" is Irish river-dancer Michael Flatley, who will reportedly hoof it at Friday night's Liberty Ball.

Here's some fan footage of Kanye's previous inaugural gig, where he performed a snippet of his collabo with Estelle, "American Boy":

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Rep. Lewis: I would not invite Trump to Selma

NBC News           SALLY BRONSTON             January  15th 2017 

Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), said he would not invite President-elect Donald Trump to visit Selma, Alabama, with him, though he also would not "do anything to prevent him from coming."

On Bloody Sunday in 1965, Lewis was badly beaten by Alabama state troopers on Selma's Edmund Pettus Bridge during a march for voting rights.

Politicians and leaders from both parties - including Vice President-elect Mike Pence - have visited Selma with Lewis over the years. In 2015, Presidents Obama and Bush, went to Selma with Lewis and others to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Bloody Sunday.

"By going to Selma," Lewis said of Trump, "maybe he would learn something." But, he added, "I would not invite him to come."

The civil rights leader's comments come in the same interview with NBC News' Chuck Todd where he also said Trump was not "a legitimate president."

Trump reacted to an early clip of that interview on Twitter, calling Lewis "all talk, talk, talk - no action or results," leading many leading Democrats - and a few Republicans - to publicly rush to Lewis' defense.

On the question of Trump's legitimacy, the Georgia congressman believes there was a "conspiracy" and that "the Russians participated in helping this man get elected, and they helped destroy the candidacy of Hillary Clinton."

Lewis, agreeing with Sen. John McCain, called for a "special commission to get to the bottom of what happened."

In the meantime, Lewis said it would be "almost impossible" for him to work with the incoming president.

However, asked if some of the responsibility for Hillary Clinton's loss falls on the Democrats, Lewis conceded "maybe we didn't do everything that we could've done."

On the eve of Martin Luther King Day, Lewis said of race relations in the country, "we made a lot of progress...but we're not there yet. The scars and stains of racism are still deeply embedded in American society."

Lewis added, "It is difficult to see our country come to where it is today."
The congressman also made headlines earlier in the week when he testified against Trump's attorney general nominee, Sen. Jeff Sessions.

When asked why he decided to testify, Lewis responded that Sessions doesn't "have a history of...being on the side of what is fair and what is just."

With Sessions is likely to be confirmed, however, Lewis said he will work with his Democratic colleagues "to try to get him to do the right thing."

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Rex Tillerson breaks with Trump, faces questions over Exxon-Russia dealings

Donald Trump's secretary of state nominee Rex Tillerson testified before Congress on Wednesday that Russia "poses a danger" and must be held accountable for its actions regarding the 2016 presidential election.

Tillerson -- who sat as CEO of ExxonMobil for 10 years -- faced questions from the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations regarding his views on foreign affairs, reportedly close relationship with Russia and whether his record of corporate management deems him fit to assume the role of secretary of state.

Sen. Marcio Rubio was quick to challenge Tillerson over the CEO's stance on Vladimir Putin, asking the nominee whether he believes the Russian leader is a "war criminal." Tillerson said he would not use that term -- to which the Florida senator responded with a laundry list of Russian offenses against Aleppo and Syria at large.

Tillerson stated he would need more information on Aleppo before naming Russian acts as war crimes, to which Rubio retorted, "None of this is classified Mr. Tillerson, these people are dead."
As the former CEO of the largest privately-owned oil company in the world, Tillerson's record of cutting global deals with authoritarian leaders also came into question on Wednesday, when he was asked whether he would take meetings with Exxon leadership as secretary of state. Tillerson was also pressed on whether his private-sector interests would carry over into his executive branch role.

When asked about imposed sanctions against Russia, Tillerson claimed he never lobbied against sanctions. His statement, however, contradicts lobby reports that show ExxonMobil lobbying against sanctions as recently as Q2 of 2016.

Sen. Rubio also pressed Tillerson on Russia's assumed hacking of the 2016 presidential election, asking whether Putin would have had to be aware of the nation's involvement in the election happenings. Tillerson responded to Rubio's question stating, "I think that's a fair assumption."

As was present at Tuesday's committee hearing on Trump's attorney general nominee Jeff Sessions, protestors were escorted out of the room multiple times throughout the hearing. Most could be heard rebuking Tillerson on climate change related issues, from Hurricane Sandy to outdated pipelines in Texas.

One woman could be heard as she was escorted out of the hearing room, saying, "Senators, reject this man, protect the vulnerable."

Born in Wichita Falls, Texas, Tillerson grew up between Oklahoma and Texas. After an Eagle Scout youth, Tillerson attended University of Texas Austin, where he graduated in 1975 with a degree in engineering. Tillerson was then immediately hired by ExxonMobil as a production engineer. The Texas native climbed the ranks of the multinational oil and gas corporation until he was named chairman and chief executive officer in 2006.

As President-elect Trump's chief foreign affairs adviser, it would be Tillerson's duty to carry out the President's foreign policies through the State Department and the Foreign Service of the United States.

In regard to foreign policy in the Middle East, Tillerson asserted in his testimony that defeating ISIS must be the "foremost priority" and that other issues in the region must not deter the nation from that central focus.

The secretary of state nominee spoke to a global state of instability in his testimony, calling out Russia's "disregard" for American interests and Radical Islam as a "hateful, deadly, and an illegitimate expression of the Islamic faith."

In answering his own question of how America should respond to these international realities, Tillerson stated, "To achieve the stability that is foundational to peace and security in the 21st century, American leadership must not only be renewed, it must be asserted."

The Exxon official responded to a question on America's role in combatting climate change, to which he responded that the United States should "maintain a seat" at the table, and described the issue as one that cannot be resolved by one country and requires a "global response."

He later went on to state is personal position on climate change, saying, "The risk of climate change does exist," and "The consequences could be large enough that actions should be taken."

When asked whether he believes "humans" are responsible for climate change, Tillerson pivoted and called out increases in greenhouse gas emissions as "having an effect." He then noted he believes the ability to predict said effect is "very limited."
Witchy sez : 

Hey Conservatives, you don't know anything about this guy so before you back him 100% check out the facts AND
Liberals, you don't know anything about this guy so before you knock him 100% check out the facts. Lets unite Americans to make our government reflect all of us and all of our needs.
Like Trump, he will say anything, and then deny he said it, or just ignore it.  All of this new administration are simply pathological liars, and have no respect for the truth.
I always found it suspicious that ever since Putin came into power, journalists have mysteriously died when it was revealed that they had something on him.
This guy is essentially an oil lobbyist, the exact kind of person Trump said wouldn't be in his administration.  All Trump does is lie, lie, lie, and his suppporters ignorantly eat it up.  Trump also asked the appropriations committee for money to build the wall, which means American taxpayers will foot the bill.   And whatever happened to "lock her up?"  What will it take for you people to see Trump for what he is?
Nuff said ,  but hey , that's just me and the way I roll .

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

US attorney general nominee, denies KKK sympathies - Jeff Sessions,

Image result for image of jeff sessions

President-elect Donald Trump's pick to be the new attorney general has denied sympathizing with the Ku Klux Klan, in a tough Senate confirmation hearing.
Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions, 69, also pledged to recuse himself from any investigation into former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.
A Democratic senator expressed "deep concern" about the Alabama Republican's nomination. But Democrats do not have the power in the chamber to block his confirmation.
The attorney general, America's top prosecutor, leads the US justice department and acts as the main adviser to the president on legal issues.
Beginning two days of hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Mr Sessions, 69, testified that allegations he had once supported the KKK were "damnably false".

Protesters from the Code Pink activist group sit in on the confirmation hearing for Senator Jeff Sessions.
Members of the women's rights activist group Code Pink sit in on Mr Sessions' hearing

"I abhor the Klan and what it represents and its hateful ideology," he added.
Mr Sessions also acknowledged "the horrendous impact that relentless and systemic discrimination and the denial of voting rights has had on our African-American brothers and sisters".
Protesters repeatedly disrupted Tuesday's hearing, including a couple dressed in KKK white robes who chanted: "No Trump, No KKK, No Racist USA."
"Stop this racist pig from getting into power," shouted an African-American demonstrator as she was led out of the hearing by police.
Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein voiced her concern over "fear in this country, particularly among the African-American community".
She noted Mr Sessions had voted against an amendment affirming that the US would not bar people entering the US on the basis of their religion.

A protester is escorted out of the Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing for Senator Jeff Sessions as attorney general.
Protesters dressed in Ku Klux Klan robes were escorted from the hearing

But Mr Sessions said he did not support the "idea that Muslims as a religious group should be denied admission to the United States. We have great Muslim citizens."
Republican Senator Chuck Grassley described the nominee as a "man of honour and integrity".
Mr Sessions also promised to remove himself from any investigation into Mrs Clinton, as well as her family's charitable foundation.
He said his past criticism of her private emails and the Clinton Foundation "could place my objectivity in question".
"We can never have a political dispute turn into a criminal dispute," Mr Sessions told the committee.
When asked whether he ever chanted the anti-Clinton slogan "lock her up", the senator said: "No I did not... I don't think."
Mr Trump had pledged on the campaign trail to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate Mrs Clinton, but he has since retracted that threat.
In other testimony:
  • Mr Sessions recognized that same-sex marriage and the legal right to abortion were the law of the land
  • He accepted the law "absolutely" prohibits waterboarding, but said Guantanamo Bay fits the purpose of keeping prisoners "marvellously well"
  • Mr Sessions reaffirmed his staunch opposition to amnesty, the granting of legal status to people who have entered the US illegally
  • He said he "has no reason to doubt" US intelligence findings that linked Vladimir Putin to the hacking of Democratic party emails
With 20 years under his belt in the Senate, Mr Sessions is known as one of the most conservative members of the upper chamber.
He was denied a federal judgeship in 1986 after the Senate Judiciary Committee heard testimony that he made racist remarks.
Mr Sessions was also accused of calling a black assistant US attorney "boy" and telling him to be careful about how he spoke to "white folks". He denied saying it.
But Republicans who have known him a long time deny Mr Sessions is a racist.
Some have pointed out he supported the award of a Congressional Gold Medal to civil rights heroine Rosa Parks.
Testimonies from  the many witnesses to his racist remarks are pretty hard to deny, but Geez Louise, he has denied them all. A pretty smooth liar like his boss.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Jared Kushner, Trump's son-in-law, named top adviser ... Nepotism??

Jared Kushner and wife Ivanka

President-elect Donald Trump has named his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, as one of his senior White House advisers. The 35-year-old played a key role in the presidential campaign and his new White House job will cover both domestic and foreign policy.
Mr Kushner, who is married to Ivanka Trump, is a property developer with a wide range of business interests. Democrats immediately called for a review of the appointment, citing nepotism laws and potential conflicts. Members of the House Judiciary Committee urged the Department of Justice and the Office of Government Ethics to step in.

Earlier, Mr Trump hailed his son-in-law as a "tremendous asset" and he was proud to give him a "key leadership role" in the administration. The New York businessman will be inaugurated as the 45th president on 20 January. Members of Mr Trump's team have argued that a law barring officials from giving government jobs to relatives does not apply to White House positions.  There are also federal ethics laws that mean government employees cannot profit from any businesses.

Mr Kushner's lawyer has said he would step down as boss of his family's real estate business if he took a White House job, and extricate himself from some of his assets.
Jamie Gorelick of law firm WilmerHale said Mr Kushner was committed to complying with federal ethics laws and had consulted with the Office of Government Ethics about what steps to take.
Mr Kushner was often seen by his father-in-law's side during the presidential campaign and was heavily involved in its digital strategy. Although Mr Kushner served as a close confidant to Mr Trump during his presidential campaign, an official position in the Trump administration was thought by many to run counter to anti-nepotism laws dating back to the 1960s.

According to media reports, however, Trump team lawyers believe they have found a way around those restrictions, which they say only covers government "agencies" and not the office of the White House.  There are also reports that Mr Kushner may work in the White House without drawing a government salary.
Mr Kushner, who like Mr Trump is involved heavily in New York area real estate, has begun divesting himself of some business considerations in preparations for a possible ethics review. That may be easier said than done, however, given his family's vast real-estate holdings, including ties to foreign nationals investing in the US.

He was said to have played a role in the ousting of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie from the transition team during the campaign. While US attorney for New Jersey, Mr Christie prosecuted Mr Kushner's father for tax evasion and witness tampering, and he served a jail sentence.

Mr Kushner has also been present at Cabinet interviews and in key meetings with foreign leaders. He owns 666 Fifth Avenue, a skyscraper a few blocks down from Trump Tower, at age 25, he bought the New York Observer newspaper. Several of Mr Trump's Cabinet picks have business interests that will be scrutinized at confirmation hearings taking place this week.

What is the nepotism law?
  • prevents public officials from promoting a relative "to a civilian position in the agency in which he is serving or over which he exercises jurisdiction or control"
  • was signed into law by President Lyndon Johnson in 1967
  • thought to have been prompted by JFK's appointment of brother Robert to attorney general post in 1960
  • the law would stop a president from giving a Cabinet job to a relative
  • but whether it applies to non-Cabinet posts like advisers is untested

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Russia cyber attacks are 'major threat,' Congress probe hears

Thomson Reuters         DUSTIN VOLZ       AND PATRICIA ZENGERLE          January  5th 2017 
WASHINGTON, Jan 5 (Reuters) - The top U.S. intelligence official told Congress on Thursday he was "even more resolute" in his belief that Russia staged cyber attacks on Democrats in the 2016 election campaign, despite skepticism from Republican President-elect Donald Trump about findings on Moscow's role.

James Clapper, the Director of National Intelligence, said he had a very high level of confidence that Russia hacked Democratic Party institutions and operatives, as well as disseminating propaganda and fake news aimed at the Nov. 8 election.

"Our assessment now is even more resolute than it was" on Oct. 7 when the government first publicly accused Russia, Clapper told a hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Although Trump called himself a "big fan" of intelligence agencies, he is heading for a conflict over the issue because he has cast doubt on their assessments that Russia targeted the election. Many lawmakers from both parties are wary of Moscow and distrust Trump's praise of Russian President Vladimir Putin and efforts to heal the rift between the United States and Russia.

Trump will be briefed by intelligence agency chiefs on Friday on hacks that targeted the Democratic Party in the run-up to the election surprisingly won by the New York businessman.
"I don't think we've ever encountered a more aggressive or direct campaign to interfere in our election process than we've seen in this case," said Clapper, who leaves when Trump becomes president on Jan. 20. Clapper stopped short of declaring Russia's actions "an act of war," saying that determination was beyond the scope of his office.

Clapper did not say what made him confident that Russia was behind the cyber attacks, but that conclusion is shared by U.S. intelligence agencies such as the CIA and several private cyber security firms.

Moscow denies the hacking allegations. President Barack Obama last week ordered the expulsion of 35 Russian suspected spies and imposed sanctions on two Russian intelligence agencies he said were involved in hacking U.S. political groups such as the Democratic National Committee (DNC).

In a tweet on Wednesday, Trump cast doubt on a Russian role in the affair, writing: "(WikiLeaks founder) Julian Assange said 'a 14 year old could have hacked Podesta' - why was DNC so careless? Also said the Russians did not give him the info!"

However, on Thursday, Trump said in another post on Twitter that he was not against intelligence agencies or in agreement with Assange, whose organization leaked Democrats' emails.

Documents stolen from the DNC and candidate Hillary Clinton's campaign chairman John Podesta were leaked to the media before the election, embarrassing the campaign.

U.S. intelligence officials have said Russian cyber attacks were specifically aimed at helping Trump beat Clinton. Several Republicans have acknowledged the Russian hacking but have not linked it to an effort to help Trump win.

Trump and top advisers believe Democrats are trying to delegitimize his election victory by accusing Russia of helping him.

Clapper said there were multiple motives for the hacking but pointed out that "they did not change any vote tallies or anything of that sort."

Clapper, National Security Agency Director Mike Rogers and Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence Marcel Lettre all testified at Thursday's hearing about cyber threats.

More than 30 nations are developing offensive cyber attack capabilities as of late 2016, Clapper said.

They described Moscow as a major threat to a wide range of U.S. interests because of its "highly-advanced offensive cyber program" and sophisticated capabilities.

Mr . Humble sitting in for Witchy 

Monday, January 2, 2017

 New Year's Party at Witchy's House.
Nobody knows the guy in the bowl
He wasn't invited