Tuesday, June 27, 2017

The Russians Had The Help Of The GOP In Stealing The Election

In an effort to cast doubt on someone other than himself in RussiaGate, _____ keeps asking the question ... if President Obama knew that Vladimir Putin interfered in the 2016 election, why didn’t he say something sooner? Good question, I guess ... so let’s see what the answer might be:

One, President Obama was trying to do the right thing and ...

Two, the Republicans stopped that from happening.

Former Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson testified last week that the Russian activity in the election went beyond just hacking emails, beyond distributing those emails through Wikileaks, and beyond creating a stream of fake-news stories for alt-right websites and wackjobs on social media.

Russia took unprecedented “active measures” to penetrate state databases and alter or delete voter rolls, and many, including Johnson, viewed that as a kind of declaration of war by Russia.

Last August, the hacking information was sent from the CIA to the White House with “eyes only” instructions that its contents be shown to four people—President Barack Obama and three senior aides—and be returned to the CIA once read.

In fact, the material was so sensitive that CIA Director John Brennan kept it out of the President’s Daily Brief, concerned that even the Brief’s restricted distribution was too broad; to further guard against leaks, subsequent meetings followed the same protocols as the planning sessions for the Osama bin Laden raid.

It was that sensitive. But, it was still early in the hacking story and the White House couldn’t tell the full extent of the Russian attack, and couldn’t tell who in this country might be cooperating with the Russians, but, the intelligence made one thing clear: Putin’s specific instructions on the objective of the operation were to defeat or at least damage Hillary Clinton, and help elect Donald ______.

The intelligence community went to work on the story and Obama kept quiet because if he had revealed the intelligence, and it turned out to be false, he might have been seen as guilty of interfering in the election himself.  So Obama proceeded with caution, working to confirm the CIA’s intelligence and searching for ways to respond to the hack. He had to build a case that would hold up in front of Republican leaders in Congress and the American people.

Only in his final weeks in office did Obama tell the public, in a declassified report, what officials had learned in August: that Putin was working to elect Trump. And today, ______ plays up that delay as “proof” that he is innocent. But then, think of what he might have done if the story was released in August; he’d have Tweeted it, again and again, because he has, before and since, Tweeted the most ridiculous of stories and downright lies without so much as a thought.

Obama didn’t do that; he followed the law, protecting the nation, and trying to ensure his actions didn’t make the situation worse. He did the right thing but then ... The GOP.

Obama instructed aides to seek bipartisan support from members of Congress on a statement condemning Moscow and urging states to accept federal help. But that never happened; some GOP leaders in Congress put off even meeting with intelligence officials, delaying the process by weeks perhaps because they saw this as their shot to take the White House, our elections be damned.

Jeh Johnson then attempted to designate election infrastructure as “critical” in order to give it the same protection provided defense contractors, but Brian Kemp, the GOP secretary of state of Georgia, used Johnson’s call to denounce the proposal as an assault on state’s rights:
“I think it was a politically calculated move by the previous administration.”
To this day Kemp remains unconvinced that Russia waged a campaign to disrupt the 2016 election.

In short: Republicans were—and are—more concerned with hurting Obama, and Hillary, and taking the White House, than they were in stopping Russia.

So, let’s be queer: it’s not just _____ who colluded with Russia to steal an election, it’s the entire Republican Party who sat their fat asses on their fat hands and did nothing while a foreign country stole an election out from under We The People; and  it wasn’t just random state level officials like Brian Kemp, it was also Congressional leaders.

After meeting with the intelligence community for a briefing the Democrats wanted to release the information to the public but the Republicans resisted, arguing that to warn the public that the election was under attack would further Russia’s aim of sapping confidence in the system. Or, you know, allow Hillary to win. Senate Majority Leader Mitch “Chinless Owl”McConnell actually voiced skepticism that the intelligence supported the White House’s claims because, you know, Obama.

So, there you have it: the information came out, and was investigated, but the GOP tried to block it from being revealed to the public because they put the party, and their own personal interests, over country.

Chew on that.

*Special thanks to The Prairie Home Companion show on Sunday for giving me another apt description of McConnell besides McTurtle.

Monday, June 26, 2017

This Is All Far From Over ...

... but, for now, five Michigan officials have just been charged with involuntary manslaughter for their roles in the Flint water crisis.

Good. Nick Lyon, Michigan’s health department director, Lyon is the highest-ranking member of Governor Rick Snyder’s administration to be charged, along with former Flint Emergency Manager Darnell Earley, former Michigan Department of Environmental Quality Drinking Water Chief Liane Shekter-Smith, Water Supervisor Stephen Busch and former Flint Water Department Manager Howard Croft.

The five were indicted for not telling the public about an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease, which has been linked to the Flint water crisis. Governor Snyder’s administration switched the water supply to the Flint River to save money, leading to 12 deaths and 79 people sickened with Legionnaires’ disease in 2014-15.

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette said further charges against Snyder and his administration could be forthcoming. Good; these white men, in an effort to save money, poisoned an entire community of low income people and minorities. Snyder and his administration—the whole lot—need to be held accountable for they did just to save a buck.

I Need A Democrat

I need a Democrat to stand up, to step up, to move this party forward. And I don’t want a Not _____; see, at some point in the not too distant future, when the current president is either impeached or flees from office in disgrace, everyone in the GOP will position themselves as a Not _____, so don’t stoop to that level.

We, the Democrats who voted last time—and, yeah, I’m still pissed at those of you who stayed home because Bernie wasn’t in it, or you thought Hillary had it made, and allowed this travesty to happen—want someone who will tell us what they are going to do, not how bad that ‘other guy’ is; I know how bad he is. I mean, scarcely a minute goes by that he does do or say something reprehensible, or do or say something illegal, or do or say something just plain stupid, so don’t campaign on not being _____.

We already know that.

Give us some ideas; give us some hope; make us some promises on how you’re going to make this country work, for all of us, and not just the wealthiest among us, and then get elected and do it. Give me something other than Not ____.

And now, according to The Hill, these are the top Democratic candidates for the presidency in 2020—along with my thought, or thoughts:

Senator Elizabeth Warren
I like her; smart, shrewd, stands up for herself, and because of her no-punches-pulled attacks on banks and the financial industry, but, yeah, she does engage in _____-like fashion on Twitter, though mostly to _____.

Don’t sink to that level; rise.

Warren has joined the Senate Armed Services Committee, a move seen by some as a way to bolster her foreign policy and national security credentials in advance of a presidential run, but, then again, she would be 71 in 2020, and I’m kinda looking for new, young blood, to continue moving the party forward beyond the next election cycle.

Senator Bernie Sanders
Yup, I know some of you are still Feeling The Bern, but, for me, this plays along the lines of those who thought Clinton should get the nomination last time because it was “her turn”; this may not be Bernie’s turn. He has a lot of great ideas, a lot, but so many means that sometimes you can’t get anything done.

And there is also Sanders’s age: he’ll be 79 on Election Day and, again, for me, I want new, fresh ideas that carry us onward.

Senator Cory Booker
Earlier this year, Booker joined the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and that is also seen—as with Warren—as an effort to build his credentials for a presidential run.

And for me, he has age on his side: he’s just 47. He’s also quite media savvy which could be an advantage, but one disadvantage, for some, is that he is not the most liberal Democrat in Congress; that, however, could be a good thing as he won’t be seen as too far to the left.

Plus, there is talk that he is a little too “corporate-friendly” for the tastes of Democratic primary voters.

Senator Amy Klobuchar
The New Yorker calls her, “popular, practical, appealing [and] progressive” and she comes from Minnesota, where the currents of labor and progressivism run strong; plus, her no-nonsense attitude could play well with the Rust Belt voters whom the Democrats sorely need. But who is she? She hasn’t quite stepped up yet, and it’s getting time to make a move.

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand
Gillibrand replaced Hillary Clinton as a New York senator in 2009, so is she The New Hillary? And does that mean she has what it takes, or does it mean she has an Achilles heel?

She does have a high-profile and, like Booker, is also media savvy; and being the Senator from New York gives her access to high-profile donors and we all know money talks in elections.

But, yeah, there’s the Hillary factor; is she so much like Clinton that the GOP will go after her as viciously, and falsely, as they did Secretary Clinton? And if that’s the thought, would the Democrats want to take that chance again?

First Lady Michelle Obama
Yeah, I know, she said ‘No,’ but maybe she’d rethink? I mean, other than her husband who else in the Democratic Party could, and can, move the voters as much?

Right, no one; but then, again, it becomes that sort of dynasty thing ... another Obama?
I’d vote Yes ... in a heartbeat, because she has strength of conviction, she’s been through the vileness of the GOP, and she does not, has not, will not, sink to that level.

She’ll go high.

Governor John Hickenlooper
Hickenlooper is governor of Colorado, a key battleground state, though it has become more solidly Democratic in recent years, having gone Blue in the past three presidential elections.
Hickenlooper is down-to-earth, which could appeal the Middle America, which may, or may not, have bought into the New York Liberal Elite rhetoric of the GOP, and has high approval ratings in his state. On the down side? Who is John Hickenlooper? He may be a name in his state, and he may be known to some in DC but the rest of us don’t know him.

Senator Chris Murphy 
Murphy, from Connecticut, where the Sandy Hook shooting took place, gets props from me on one of my core issues: gun control.

That means a lot to me. But he’s kind of that one issue, right now; he’d need to build up his political credentials if he were to run for the White House, but he is one to watch.

Vice President Joe Biden
I feel about him as I do Michelle Obama; Joe should have run the last time and I think, had he done it, we might have seen a different outcome in 2016.

He has made slight overtures that he would consider another run, but has also said he has “no intention” of running. 

Plus, if he won, he’d be 78 when he took office but, for me, that doesn’t matter as much with Joe as it does with Warren and Sanders, because he feels much more youthful and open and responsive to new ideas.

Governor Andrew Cuomo
On paper, Cuomo, governor of New York, looks strong. He comes from a liberal state and from a well-established political family—though there isn’t that ‘dynasty’ vibe with Cuomo.
His one issue, some say, is that he is more of a centrist, and with what we are dealing with now, there are some in our party who are leaning further to the left than Cuomo.

Senator Kamala Harris
Harris is a bright spot among Democrats but she is too new, too green, too unknown. I like her; I find that she has conviction and backbone and won’t sit quietly while the men talk, but I think she needs to build up her cache and then go for it.

Still, Barack Obama was seen by many as not having the experience to be president because he was too now, so ...

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
Could she run again? Should she?

I like Hillary, but ... no. I think she’s too much of a liability, and there’s too much, real and imagined, baggage, that comes with her. We’d once again focus on innuendo and suppositions and she’d not have the time to bring the issues to the forefront.

Former Governor Deval Patrick
Patrick was once considered a man of enormous political skill, and a contender after Obama left office, but Patrick also left office in 2015 and has been relatively silent since.

It’s not clear if he’d run, and would anyone know him if he did.

Senator Tim Kaine
Sure, he was Hillary Clinton’s 2016 running mate, but was he really exceptional?

I don’t find him presidential at all, and I’d hate to see him run just because he was in the race the last time.

Oprah Winfrey
Okay, those of you suggesting this, knock it the fuck off. The last thing we need is another celebrity president—think Reagan and _____. Sure, they were both Republicans but each had little experience with national politics and Winfrey falls into that category.

The good news is that she’s said she won’t run; the bad news is that means less bread for the rest of us.

Sorry. I don’t like her one bit, so stop suggesting she run.

So, there you have it, the leading [?] contenders for the Democratic Party in 2020. There are some I can see, and some I cannot, but, again, I ask, I beseech, I beg, that whomever takes on the challenge not run as the Anti-_____, or the Not _____; stop telling me how bad he is, because I already know, and tell me what, exactly, you’re gonna do to make this all seem like a bad dream.
Step up, Democrats. I need a Democrat.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

It's Snarkurday!

A few weeks back, I posted about Mariah Carey’s diva behavior during her cameo role in the new Will Ferrell-Amy Poehler film The House, and now Cedric Yarbrough is spilling the tea about Carey:
“Yeah, a real funny cameo was SUPPOSED to happen in the new film #TheHouse with the superstar Mariah Carey. But it was ruined by superstar Mariah Carey. The film takes place in a suburban home but is made into a ‘Casino’. Why not have Mariah be an act in the casino? Funny idea. It’s rumored that she eventually showed up to set [four hours late]. ... While we waited the director & team had the idea of doing a stunt that Mariah’s body double would do now & bring in Mariah to match it. They do the stunt. All goes well. When Mariah finally showed up she refused to match the stunt. ‘Darling, I would never do it that way…’. I heard her say those exact words. She then requested a large fan for her hair to be blown around and a camera that would be above her, basically a crane shot. This lady was unprofessional & borderline abusive to our director, who tried his best to appease her every wish. ... This kind of behavior just isn’t cool. For you young actors, be on time, know your homework, but be courteous and respectful. ... I miss ‘Vision of Love’ Mariah. Be a damn professional.”
Luckily, I’m guessing, Mariah’s cameo has been cut from the film.
Courteney Cox was so into cosmetic surgery and “treatments” that for quite a few years she’s looked like Cher doing an impression of Jack Nicholson as The Joker.

Now, in New Beauty magazine Cox says she regrets turning her face into a swamp for fillers and Botox. She says she has taken her face back to natural and so she looks much more like Courteney Cox ... circa 1984.

Just sayin’.
Blac Chyna and Rob Kardastrophe wanted to be famous so they made a baby and turned their love mess into a reality show. But that got old; so they Reality-Show-Broke-Up and that became the show. Then that fizzled so their turned it into a Reality-Show-Custody-Battle over their 7-month-old daughter Kream Dream. That fizzled, too, so now they’re, ahem :::cough, cough::: Reality-Show-Back-Together and they let everyone ... the media ... know by filming a staged family date, on Father’s Day no less, at Disneyland.

How a Kardastrophe doesn’t spontaneously combust at Disneyland should be a show.
Cameron Douglas, Michael Douglas’s son with ex-wife, Diandra, is a mess.

He spent time in federal prison for trafficking meth, and then stayed for a longer time in the Big House because he continually tested positive for drugs while in jail. And he was also jailed for trying to sell meth to an undercover agent.

Yeah, a mess. So I guess it’s no surprise to hear that Cameron failed another drug test while on probation—after he was caught trying to cheat on it. According to court documents Cameron had marijuana in his system during a random drug screening in April and at a May probation hearing, officers told the judge that a lab tech accused Cameron of “attempting to manipulate the results” of his drug test by submitting “something that was not his urine.”

Three tests were given and the third came back positive for marijuana.

But, here’s the rich white son of an actor privilege, probation officers asked the judge to be lenient toward Cameron because “relapse is part of the recovery process.”

Um, let’s see; sells meth, goes to jail; in jail he tests positive for drugs; out of jail he tries to sell meth to a cop; back in jail he’s still doing drugs; released from jail, he tests positive again.

Think about Cameron Douglas being a young Black man from somewhere, whose parents aren’t rich and famous. Would he get as many chances or would he be serving life by now.

Uh huh.
Remember Hanson? Me neither. But I read this week that they were little pop stars a few years back and then kinda vanished because, well, Hanson.

Now, they’ve resurfaced and are coming for Justin Bieber.

Hanson, who are touring—apparently performing in Cracker Barrels around the US of A—recently went Down Under to appear in the Aussie version of a Cracker Barrel—the ‘Roo Shack? I dunno—and took part in a radio show game of Whose Song Is It Anyway? And when the Despacito remix—with Bieber singing[?] on it—was played, Hanson had no idea who it was and when they were told it was Bieber, Little Zac Hanson said:
“I prefer not to get any venereal diseases, so whenever Justin Bieber gets sort of near me or near my ears… it’s just ear infections, they’re terrible.”
His brother Isaac then chimed in:
“Chlamydia of the ear, it sucks.”
Well, not really, because one gets Chlamydia from sex, which is fun ... until you learn you have Chlamydia ... and listening to Bieber is anything but fun.

Get it straight, Hanson.
Miles Teller is an actor who was in ... oh, I don’t really care ... but I do know he was arrested last weekend after literally falling down drunk and refusing to cooperate with police.

Law enforcement sources say Teller was partying with friends in San Diego when an officer noticed he was having trouble standing; the officer walked up to Teller and started questioning him, but he quickly became uncooperative.

Then Teller lost his balance and nearly fell into the street so the officer cuffed him, and was going to take him to a detox center—where police take someone who is drunk so they can sleep it off—but Teller refused to go. At that point Teller could have been arrested, but ... white actor privilege ... police still took him to the detox center, where he was still uncooperative and the staff kicked him out.

So, Miles Teller was arrested for being drunk in public and spent Lindsay Lohan Time—about four hours—in jail but he decided to spin it like this ... via Twitter, of course:
“Went down to SD to see my buddy before he deployed. I wasn't arrested I was detained bc there was no evidence to charge me with a crime.”
Um, you were arrested, honey; perhaps you were too drunk to remember.
“Don't believe everything you read, especially from a third party entertainment news source trying to get clicks. Appreciate the concern.”
No concern. You’re just an entitled little drunk-ass actor who was in that movie ... oh, who cares.
A few weeks back word broke that a movie about Madonna’s life would be made and she went Madonna-shit all over Instagram about how dare people think they can tell her story.

And then, as if by magic, Madonna has decided to make her own film about her life and posted a make-up free selfie—because she’s a hardworking single mom, you know—on social media to reveal the news:
“A Woman’s work is never done!! 6 kids and many jobs = ratchet hair … Prepping my film not just whistling dixie!”
Seriously? Is anyone putting money into this sure-to-be mess? Madonna cannot act ... was anyone not listening to Patti LuPone ... and the only way I’d see this craptastic movie would be if Patti F**king LuPone plays the Material Girl.

I mean, since Madge ruined Evita for years to come, Patti can destroy Madonna ... and do so singing brilliantly.
So the new movie, All Eyez on Me, about Tupac Shakur, is not getting great buzz, and is especially getting reviled by one Jada Pinkett Smith. While she thinks the actors—Kat Graham plays young Jada and Demetrius Shipp Jr. is Tupac—were fine, she was all over social media with her complaints about the rest of the film:
“Forgive me… my relationship to Pac is too precious to me for the scenes in All Eyez On Me to stand as truth.”
She’s furious that a scene depicts Tupac reading her a poem:
“Pac never read me that poem. I didn't know that poem existed until it was printed in his book.”
Oh, how horrible that they did that Jada! Though I imagine it’s called creative license?
“Pac never said goodbye to me before leaving for LA. He had to leave abruptly and it wasn't to pursue his career.”
Again, this is awful? This is bad filmmaking? Sit down.
“I've never been to any of Pac's shows by his request. We never had an argument backstage. ... The reimagining of my relationship to Pac has been deeply hurtful.”
But that’s what most biopics are, Jada ... reimaginings. Seriously, find me one film about a real person that doesn’t change a few details and switch things around for dramatic effect.


I think Jada’s just mad that she and Will didn’t get to play the leads. So, again, Jada, sit down.
And ... back to Madge, who used social media, once again, to prove what a bitch she is, once again.

Taking to Instagram last Sunday, she posted a photo of her family with “Happy Mother’s Day” written across the top, in addition to a caption that made clear she knew exactly what day it was:
“And Happy Father’s Day to Me too because lets face it …………,,..,,,,,… Im the Mommy and the Daddy. I don’t care what the papers say.”
Lovely mother, you know, because her children, who have fathers, will see that bitchiness, but what does she care; it’s all about her.
Just days after a mistrial was declared in his sexual assault trial, Bill Cosby is said to be planning a motivational speaking tour ...

About what? How to drug and rape sixty women and not get arrested?

Oh, no, it’s not that at all. It’s about warning young athletes and even “married men” about the dangers of sex crime allegations.

Like I was saying ...
This hurts ... seriously. My favorite actor, three-time Oscar winner, Daniel Day-Lewis is retiring from acting.

It hurts. I have been a fan of DDL’s from the very beginning and am always amazed by his portrayals—from a young bleached blonde gay punk to freaking Abe Lincoln, and everything in between.

My Beautiful Laundrette. My Left Foot. In The Name Of The Father. The Unbearable Lightness of Being. Sunday, Bloody Sunday. A Room With A View. Gangs of New York. Nine. The Last of the Mohicans. There Will Be Blood. The Age of Innocence.

DDL has one last film set for release this fall: an untitled drama set in the world of high fashion directed by Paul Thomas Anderson.

Day-Lewis did not give a reason for his retirement but his spokeswoman, Leslee Dart said:
“Daniel Day-Lewis will no longer be working as an actor. He is immensely grateful to all of his collaborators and audiences over the many years. This is a private decision and neither he nor his representatives will make any further comment on this subject. ”
Day-Lewis is the only performer to ever win three best actor Oscars.

I’ll miss his films because all of them are brilliant.