Tag Archives: Rand Paul

Why govern within your means nationally when there are children to terrorize over a few bucks?

New Tacos at Burger King– Just $0.99!!!

^^Parents will feast on this economic option to help keep kids from the State’s clutches. In its eternal mission to emulate the federal government by creating and solving novel problems at great public expense, Pennsylvania school district Wyoming Valley West is using delinquent lunch money balances to justify seizing children from their parents.

About 1,000 parents got a written reprimand recently that included the passage: You can be sent to dependency court for neglecting your child’s right to food. The result may be your child being taken from your home and placed in foster care.”

Apparently, the school was preparing the children for a lifetime of welfare dependency by feeding them for free when their parents sent them to government-mandated (also under threat of legal penalty) day camp without lunch money. The district is now out a cool $22,000–and planning to collect.

Amidst national backlash, school attorney Charles Coslett (above), who railed against the “nanny-state mentality” in the Philadelphia Enquirer, mused, “Hopefully, [this] gets their attention and it certainly did, didn’t it?”

School district officials say they plan to pursue other legal avenues to get the lunch money, such as filing a district court complaint or placing liens on properties.

La Colombe coffee CEO Todd Carmichael was unable to add to the “Philanthropic Endeavors” section on his Wikipedia page: the district rejected his check for the balance.

Upon speaking with the school board president Joseph Mazur, La Colombe’s “consultant” Aren Platt was also snubbed.

Mazur said that he believed most of the families who owed money could afford the debt, and that it was their responsibility to pay. “His counter was, ‘These are affluent families who just want to get something for free,’” said Platt. “This wasn’t ever about repayment of a debt. It was about shaming people.”

It was also quite the departure from the cushy offerings of Warwick, RI’s school district, which provided non-paying students a sunflower butter and jelly sandwich, a carton of milk, the vegetable of the day and a piece of fruit until their parents settled the balance.

That district’s $77,000 loss was ultimately covered by local citizens Cait Clement and Angelica Penta’s fundraising efforts, with a bump from yogurt manufacturer Chobani.

Enquirer:

Federal law mandates school districts offer children food even when they have unpaid bills for school lunches.

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Sonny Perdue’s Department of Agriculture is reportedly slow-walking politically unpalatable results of climate change studies by discouraging its Agricultural Research Service from promoting the papers. Politico reports USDA casually “sought to prevent dissemination of the findings” by University of Washington of a two-year effort–in collaboration with USDA’s own scientists, as well as those of Japan, China and Australia–that allegedly suggests increased atmospheric carbon dioxide decreases the nutritional content of rice.

This included pulling a planned ARS release of the headline, and warning UW to similarly sit on the results.

Apparently, there are relatively few climate-related articles publicized by ARS to begin with. But Politico notes the only two that warranted a press release under Trump played more to the interests of Big Meat than Average American Who Should Stop Eating Meat for Health Reasons Alone, But Also the Planet.

Of these two, [o]ne found that beef production makes a relatively small contribution to greenhouse gas emissions and another that removing animal products from the diet for environmental reasons would likely cause widespread nutritional problems.

In other agri-news, Vox reported Arkansas is trying to join Mississippi and Missouri in outlawing plant-based imitation meats from being labeled “veggie burger.”

Arkansas, which is being sued by the dream team of Tofurkey/ACLU, also endeavors to ban “soy milk” labels, ostensibly because ignorant consumers might be suddenly hoodwinked into thinking the product–available since 1916, according to soyinfocenter–is actually cow’s milk.


The legislator who introduced the [Arkansas] bill, David Hillman, said that his aim was to “protect the agricultural producers in this state”.

Of the Mississippi bill earlier this year, Vox noted: “This bill will protect our cattle farmers from having to compete with products not harvested from an animal,” said Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation president Mike McCormick in January when the bill passed in the Mississippi state House.

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Trump tweeted Monday evening that oily Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin colluded with Congressional “leadership” to shit out another deficit-expanding, government-growing list of liabilities for the younger generation (discretionary spending measure), just in time to avoid denying Congress their six-week recess that starts Friday.

Democratic leaders Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (NY) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (CA) gushed in a statement that the anticipated signing of their fiscal negligence will “invest in middle class priorities and well being of the American people.”

Reason notes the budget could add as much as $2 trillion to the national debt over the next decade, according to the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget (CRFB), a nonpartisan groups that favors balanced budgets.

Pending Trump’s signature, Congress will have “raised the roof” to suspend the debt ceiling until mid-2021. Despite the added trillions, The Hill is casting the monstrosity as “the $320 billion deal,” presumably because that will be this year’s hike in discretionary spending (which pales in comparison to the entitlement spending that consumes most federal confiscation).

Some buzz-worthy provisions of the latest “fuck you” to everyone under age 50 reportedly include over $20,000,000,000 for the VA Mission Act (the Feds’ latest bumbling attempt to provide veterans health care through non-VA alternatives, pushed by Pelosi herself as an extra non-Defense priority); more vague initiatives for the nation to spend its way out of the opioid epidemic; and $2,500,000,000 for the 2020 census (to more accurately round citizens up for confiscation when the creditors come knocking).

Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) last month got just 22 votes of the 60 required for cloture to hold a vote on his plan to balance the budget by cutting just 2% of spending. It reportedly would have protected Social Security (currently projected to slash benefits in 2035 due to insolvency, per CRFB), all while keeping the evil Trump tax cuts intact. Presidential aspirants Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Kamala Harris (D-CA), Corey Booker (D-NJ) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) were among nine who didn’t show up for the cloture vote.

Thanks to our sources:

https://www.yahoo.com/news/parents-told-could-lose-kids-173048837.html

https://www.inquirer.com/news/school-lunch-debt-foster-care-pennsylvania-todd-carmichael-la-colombe-20190723.html

https://www.politico.com/story/2019/06/23/agriculture-department-climate-change-1376413

https://www.vox.com/future-perfect/2019/7/22/20706073/arkansas-tofurky-veggie-burger-ban-aclu

http://www.soyinfocenter.com/HSS/soymilk1.php

https://www.vox.com/future-perfect/2019/7/3/20680731/mississippi-veggie-burgers-illegal-meatless-meat

https://thehill.com/policy/finance/454206-trump-backs-two-year-budget-deal?userid=115887

https://reason.com/2019/07/22/possible-budget-deal-will-add-2-trillion-to-the-national-debt/

http://www.rollcall.com/news/congress/pelosi-extra-veterans-health-care-funds-needed-in-debt-deal

https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/republicans-join-democrats-to-kill-rand-pauls-fiscally-responsible-pennies-plan-because-no-one-cares-about-the-debt-crisis

https://www.senate.gov/legislative/LIS/roll_call_lists/roll_call_vote_cfm.cfm?congress=116&session=1&vote=00130#position

http://www.crfb.org/papers/analysis-2019-social-security-trustees-report

https://thehill.com/homenews/morning-report/454245-the-hills-morning-report

Band-aids Don’t Fix Bullet Holes or Budgets

What a week in Washington and beyond.

Mohamed Noor was ultimately charged in his alleged slaying of Justine Damond last July. Besides third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter charges (and a maximum 35 years in prison), the 32-year-old finally earned a termination from the Minneapolis Police Department. Which is interesting, because police chief Janee Harteau was forced out within a month of the incident:

Summer Part 2: August Agony!!! Looking Back: July 18: Crime and Punishment

Neither Noor [alliteration or repetition coming up? you decide] nor his partner Matthew Harrity had their body cameras running when Noor allegedly shot Damond across Harrity from the patrol car’s passenger seat.

Harrity (with whom Noor is now court-ordered not to associate) testified to a grand jury last month.

Although the Minnesota police union reported 35 to 40 Minneapolis police officers were initially subpoenaed, apparently no one talked, prompting a grand jury. Noor’s own first conversation with the law was reportedly Tuesday night when he surrendered. The prosecution noticed:

Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman blamed stonewalling by the Minneapolis police for the eight-month delay in charging Noor.

“This would have been done a good deal quicker if we had gotten cooperation,” he said at a news conference Tuesday after Noor was charged.

Noor made $400,000 bail Wednesday after a night in jail.

[His attorney Thomas Plunkett is either the Mafia don on the left or the unkempt man on the right.]

Council for Minnesotans of African Heritage director Justin Terrell opined that the Somali-American Noor’s treatment for shooting a white Australian woman is disproportionately punitive and rooted in racism.

Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman described how Minneapolis Police officer Mohamed Noor reached across his partner's body and shot Justine Ruszczy

Freeman (above, accusatory pointing) was reportedly reluctant to resort to a grand jury because the public detests secret proceedings and, well, police in Minnesota lately racked up multiple high-profile casualties:

Christmas Special: Mohamed Noor and Justine Damond Updates

Speaking of which, somewhat lost in the highly-publicized “March for our Lives” this weekend was the Sacramento police slaughter of 22-year-old Stephon Alonzo Clark, who was reportedly breaking windows. The law cornered the father of two in his grandparents’ backyard and delivered 20 rounds of ammunition when they mistook Clark’s cellphone for a gun.

Stephon Clark was shot and killed by Sacramento Police on Sunday night.

Police released video from their heat-seeking tactical chopper:

We can see Clark enter the yard (the cursor on the screen immerses the pilot in a video game hunting experience)…

…then get dropped by the officers:

There was some disagreement as to whether the officers announced their identities. Because that’s the biggest problem here.

Sacramento police guidelines posted on the department’s website do not specify that officers must identify themselves when encountering suspects. Sacramento police spokeswoman Linda Matthew said she did not believe such a policy existed.

Jim Pasco, executive director of the National Fraternal Order of Police, said that policies for departments vary across the country, but it would be impractical under such circumstances to expect officers to identify themselves.

“If you’re in a chase and everybody’s running, there isn’t a lot of talking back and forth going on,” he said.

According to Capital Public Radio, who have the body cam footage:

The video also confirms that law enforcement and first responders waited more than 5 minutes to approach Clark after the shooting. When they did, they put him in handcuffs before performing medical treatment.

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After several months on the back burner, Trump’s decision to bar transgender Americans from serving in the military has been resurrected, this time with the approval of Defense secretary James “Jim” Mattis.

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Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg reluctantly provided his first public admission of wrongdoing since he attempted to drum up “empathy” for Hurricane Maria victims with a virtual reality tour of Puerto Rico’s utter destruction last October:

Screen Shot 2017-10-09 at 3.53.15 PM

The overpriced Q-tip (below) is prepared to testify to Congress on the evil workings of Cambridge Analytica.

The short version: a Facebook app offered users to sign away rights to their personal information (and that of online “friends”) to take a personality quiz. That data was used by Cambridge’s right-wing customers to assist in Trump’s election.

[reason notes the same privacy-usurping approach via third-party Facebook app–“Graph API“–successfully sealed Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign. Because Obama was a Democrat, the ploy was revolutionary, not fascist.]

However, the social media platform apparently pledged to pull the plug on Graph API and disallow further mass collection from millions of unwitting Americans in April 2015. Oops.

Facebook lost $50 billion over the past week.

Zucks admitted to selling out the ignorant masses–and finally offered an apology–via a medium long extinct to all but nostalgic elites and non-internet households: print journalism.

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TSA‘s competence was on full display Friday night when Costa Rican customs found 58 grams of marijuana, edibles, pipes and cannabis oil the crack security squad at Fort Lauderdale International Airport apparently missed in New England Patriots safety Duron Harmon‘s luggage.

[Most of the weed was in a can of Arizona Iced Tea–peach flavor! Given the TSA’s notorious beverage ban at security, Harmon must have checked the suitcase.]

Harmon was shipped back to the states. According to the C’Rican Fiscal Control Police, who were on alert for “spring break” travelers,  “[w]e want to prevent undesirable people from entering the country.”

USP NFL: SUPER BOWL LII-PHILADELPHIA EAGLES VS NEW S FBN USA MN

TSA will reclaim its investigative dominance with a new regulation: forcing passengers to remove electronic tablets from carry-on luggage in addition to laptops. A spokeswoman boasted the new harassment, which was [PUN ALERT] pilot tested in 10 airports last year (and apparently met with little resistance!) is part of “the first broad-scale changes to TSA screening procedures in the security checkpoint in more than 11 years.”

Clearly she forgot the revolutionary “which line do I get to stand in” randomizer app:

Swipe Left for Overfunded Incompetence–UPDATED

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And Congress plowed ahead with its latest spending blitz to meet an appropriations deadline. The damage: $1.3 trillion, which keeps the Feds afloat for six more months.

In the Senate, more Democrats than Republicans voted for Mitch McConnell‘s latest pork-stuffed financial condemnation of the country’s younger generations. Notably, McConnell’s fellow Kentuckian Rand Paul (a “no”) allowed the 65-32 vote without a procedural holdup similar to his protest just a few weeks prior (the last time a temporary, last-second spending patch was scraped together by the cancerous Federal installation that ran out of other people’s money over $21,000,000,000,000 ago).

FEMA Withdraws Aid Withdrawal Amid Backlash, Raises Stakes with Seedy Power Provider and Drops the Ball on Puerto Rican Food Delivery; Congress Shits on Taxpayers Again; Your Location and Face Broadcast to More Federal Agencies

Jim Risch (R-ID) (“no”) almost dinged McConnell’s dwindling pride by striking a provision renaming a wildlife refuge after a former political rival of Risch. Priorities.

Idaho GOP Sen. Jim Risch (Jesse Tinsley / The Spokesman-Review)

(The rival is reportedly the recently deceased former Democratic Beehive State governor Cecil Andrus.)

But the House had already passed the bill 256-157 (more “no” votes came from the majority party, just like the Senate), and an unnamed member objected to the modification.

(Of note, Congress had a two-week vacation starting Friday evening.)

On Thursday night Paul live-tweeted his attempt to read the 2,200-page bill, which was provided to both houses of Congress about 48 hours before the funding deadline. He reportedly got through 600 pages.

View image on Twitter

McConnell heralded the measure as “the end of disproportionate and harmful cuts to Department of Defense funding […] the largest year-on-year increase in defense spending in fifteen years.”

Other reactions included no-voters John Kennedy (R-LA) (“a great dane-sized whiz down the leg of every taxpayer”) and Bob Corker (R-TN) (“one of the most grotesque pieces of legislation I can remember”).

Buried in the bill was a $48.8 million increase in the Senate budget. The House upped their budget by $10.9 million.

 

Thanks to our sources:

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/ex-minneapolis-police-officer-charged-justine-damond-killing-makes-bail-n858876

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/feb/16/police-partner-of-justine-damonds-killer-testifies-at-grand-jury

http://www.startribune.com/minneapolis-police-officer-mohamed-noor-turns-himself-in-on-charges-in-justine-damond-killing/477405923/#1

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-california-police-policy/california-police-shooting-of-unarmed-black-man-forcing-look-at-policies-idUSKBN1H003T

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-california-police-policy/california-police-shooting-of-unarmed-black-man-forcing-look-at-policies-idUSKBN1H003T

https://www.recode.net/2018/3/21/17149964/facebook-ceo-mark-zuckerberg-congress-data-privacy-cambridge-analytica

Zuck apologizes for Cambridge Analytica scandal with full-page print ad

https://www.necn.com/news/sports/New-England-Patriots-Duron-Harmon-Marijuana-Costa-Rica-477819263.html

https://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/nfl/2018/03/24/duron-harmon-marijuana-costa-rica-arrest-detained/455944002/

https://news.co.cr/new-england-patriots-player-duron-harmon-attempts-to-enter-costa-rica-with-marijuana/71750/

https://www.govtrack.us/congress/votes/115-2018/s63

http://thehill.com/homenews/senate/379883-senate-approves-13-trillion-spending-bill-sending-to-trump?userid=115887&utm_source=&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=14308

House OKs Spending Bill to Fund Government, but 90 Republicans Vote No

http://freebeacon.com/politics/congress-gives-bonus-omnibus/

Defendant, Doors, Drew, Drama, Debt and Disgrace

After pleading not guilty to conspiracy and fraud charges in Virginia–necessitating a second ankle bracelet, as he is already on house arrest from Robert Mueller indictments in D.C.–disgraced ex-Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort requested charges for false statements and conspiracy money laundering. His attorneys note these two charges are covered in the ongoing federal case.

Manafort has sued the Justice Department for exceeding the scope of the Mueller investigation on collusion with Russia in 2016 by pursuing all possible criminal activity by Manafort under a “blank check” of prosecution.

CNN reports Manafort faces a combined maximum sentence of over 300 years, the majority stemming from the Virginia fraud charges.

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Interior secretary Ryan Zinke‘s office (not the secretary himself, the bumbling bureaucracy noted) ordered three (3) sets of double doors for $139,669.68. And that included reusing “existing door handles, locks and latches.”

A spokeswoman blamed  “regulations that require historic preservation and outdated government procurement rules.”

Duke Ellington School of the Arts of Mismanaging Renovation

The doors were last replaced about six years into U.S. nation-building in Afghanistan (2007).

PHOTO: Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke addresses criticism of his travel practices before delivering a speech billed as A Vision for American Energy Dominance, at the Heritage Foundation, Sept. 29, 2017, in Washington.

Zinke (above) rode to the rescue (probably not on a charter flight, which he exploits on taxpayer dollars somewhat less frequently than other Trump cabinet members, per ABC News), informing a House committee “we got it down to $75,000” by “manipulating” the contract terms. He did not elaborate.

Taxpayer-backed luxurious travel for multimillionaire “public servants” is back in the news, however. Head Treasury thug Steven Mnuchin put in some tough hours on military jets between spring and fall of 2017. His eight known trips–pried from redacted FOIA requests by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington–topped $995,000.

A source within Treasury who declined to be named told POLITICO that [Mnuchin predecessor Jack] Lew spent $3.25 million on travel expenses in 2016, which, according to the documents obtained by CREW, included 10 international trips using military aircraft, with stops in a combined 25 cities.

CREW notes that Mnuchin’s manifest is far stingier than previous secretary’s, however. He does not mix with commoners.

December Debacle: Stories from the Freezer!!! September 13 and 29: Mnuchin Continues Opulent Employment; Tom Price Priced Out of Trump Administration

Besides reportedly flying commercial not once during his tenure, one example of the former Goldman Sachs hack’s public exploitation is his self-designated Presidential Mission Trip to Miami last June. The original $27,000 FAA aircraft back from the Miami meeting with Mexico’s finance minister lacked a secure phone line, so Mnuchin upgraded to a $45,000 military plane. There were five people on the trip. His own travel office noted “for your awareness, the cost per person on commercial air is approx.: $688 roundtrip.” 

Treasury maintains Mnuchin has been off high-priced military aircraft since a $180,000 journey to the Middle East last October, but will require  jet next week for the G-20 summit in Argentina.

Mnuchin also told Sunday news host Chuck Todd that Trump’s characterization of Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA) as “a very low I.Q. individual” was just a “funny name”:

“You know [Trump] likes to put names on people. He did that through the entire presidential election, including all the Republicans that he beat. […] He’s using these vulgarities in the context of a campaign and obviously there were a lot of funny moments in that rally.”

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Conor Lamb

Democrat Conor Lamb‘s (above) upset win in a special election to serve the remainder of 2018 for Pennsylvania’s 18th congressional district (which is redrawn for the midterms), despite two Trump rallies (including the “Maxine Waters has a low I.Q.” performance), had House Republicans worried.

“If you’re getting outraised [financially], this is a wake up call. Prepare to bear down.”–Steve Stivers (R-OH) 

Trump Dump

[our emphasis]

“Winning is better than losing,” reported Jim Jordan (R-OH), noting failed GOP candidate Rick Saccone‘s loss in a district that overwhelmingly supported Trump in 2016 was “not good.”

The race flowed with evil “outside money.” Although Lamb was boosted by Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and End Citizens United, the bigger story seemed to be Saccone’s $10 million backing from national Republicans.

Libertarian candidate Drew Miller (above) scored about 0.6% of the vote, or double the margin between Lamb and Saccone, after raising $2,000.

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Ryan McAvoy, a White House staffer, left his personal email and password at a bus stop, but for Trump allies like Jared Kushner, House Intelligence Committee Democrats can’t rely on idiocy alone to seek out possible Russian collusion on non-official channels of communication. They’re floating subpoenas for the disgraced, temporary security clearance-stripped “Peace in the Middle East” adviser’s (below) transition team messages on “SMS, iMessage, Whatsapp, Facebook Messenger, Signal, Slack, Instagram, and Snapchat.”

Jared Kushner is pictured. | AP Photo

Hillary Updates

Trump ousted secretary of state Rex Tillerson (below, left) and appointed CIA director Mike Pompeo (below that) in his stead.

Image result

Tillerson’s deputy Steve Goldstein (below) was also fired.

Irwin Goldstein.jpg

Current CIA deputy director Gina Haspel is nominated to take Pompeo’s place.

Gina Haspel official CIA portrait.jpg

There were reports (now retracted) that Haspel directed the 2002 waterboarding of Abu Zubaydah (below) at a CIA black site in Thailand.

Abu Zubaydah.jpg

She did oversee Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri‘s (below) waterboarding later that year and order destruction of the tapes of Zubaydah’s torture.

Nashiri.jpg

Both men are currently held without charges at Guantanamo Bay.

Senator Rand Paul will filibuster both Haspel and Pompeo’s nominations.

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The president wasn’t done. FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe (below), who has been on “terminal leave” since January (using accrued days off to make it until a planned retirement in March), was fired by Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Friday, less than two days before he would have qualified for a pension, for allegedly not cooperating with an Inspector General.

Retiring FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe

Two days before Christmas, Trump tweeted, “FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe is racing the clock to retire with full benefits. 90 days to go?!!!”

Apparently, Trump is still sour at McCabe’s involvement in the Hillary Secret Server probe that ended without charges for the former secretary of state. That announcement came from recently-fired FBI chief James Comey.

Summer Part 2: August Agony!!! Looking Back: May 9: FBI Director Comey Fired

There were reports that current FBI head Christopher Wray refused Sessions’ request to fire McCabe back in January.

Trump tweeted early Saturday morning: “Andrew McCabe FIRED, a great day for the hard working men and women of the FBI – A great day for Democracy. Sanctimonious James Comey was his boss and made McCabe look like a choirboy. He knew all about the lies and corruption going on at the highest levels of the FBI!”

McCabe protested the move as Trump’s ongoing war on the FBI and the efforts of the [Mueller] special counsel investigation.”

Former CIA head John Brennan, who famously hacked Senator Dianne Feinstein‘s computer attempting to bury a report on American torture, tweeted to Trump:

“When the full extent of your venality, moral turpitude, and political corruption becomes known, you will take your rightful place as a disgraced demagogue in the dustbin of history. You may scapegoat Andy McCabe, but you will not destroy America…America will triumph over you.”

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The National Debt closed at over $21,000,000,000,000 on Thursday. Additionally, within the next decade, interest alone on the debt is projected to top $1 trillion annually–about triple the take of corporate tax in f.y. 2017 (or about 2/3 of the total confiscated in income tax).

Unconcerned Republicans now intend to make permanent some of their newly-enacted cuts to individual tax rates, which currently expire in 2025. The accompanying corporate tax cuts are already permanent, because priorities.

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In more local news, Seaside, California teacher, city council member and reserve police officer Dennis Alexander shot up the ceiling and injured three students while leading a firearms safety demonstration. He is now on leave from the police and school positions.

Teacher who accidentally fired gun at school apologizes and thanks community for support

A Glock 21, semi-automatic .45 caliber service pistol was used in the demonstration.

The Seaside High School website lists Anderson as an educator in the career and technical department responsible for introductory classes on fire and police, as well as public safety.

Class resumed after “no major injuries” were discovered. The children’s parents might not have found out, except one boy came home with a bloody shirt and later had part of a slug pulled out of his neck at the emergency room:

​Bullet fragments removed from student's neck

The boy’s father noted: “He’s shaken up, but he’s going to be OK. I’m just pretty upset that no one told us anything and we had to call the police ourselves to report it.”

Although Alexander had taught the class in the past, the weapon itself was apparently banned from school premises. Maybe police get special privileges.

 

Thanks to our sources:

https://www.cnn.com/2018/03/14/politics/paul-manafort-motion-to-dismiss/index.html

https://www.cnn.com/2018/03/13/politics/paul-manafort-faces-305-years/index.html

https://www.yahoo.com/gma/interior-spend-139-000-doors-zinkes-office-034103697–abc-news-topstories.html

http://www.dailyherald.com/article/20180315/news/303159870

https://www.politico.com/story/2018/03/15/steven-mnuchin-plane-travel-cost-421176

http://thehill.com/homenews/house/378390-house-gop-frets-over-pennsylvania-race?utm_source=&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=14145

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/mnuchin-trump-insult-maxine-waters-iq_us_5aa52df9e4b01b9b0a3c53df

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2018/03/13/us/elections/results-pennsylvania-house-special-election.html

https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/white-house/trump-replaces-secretary-state-tillerson-cia-director-n856091

https://www.propublica.org/article/cia-cables-detail-its-new-deputy-directors-role-in-torture

https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2018/03/18/rand-paul-gina-haspel-cia-217653

ProPublica’s Retraction Doesn’t Mean Gina Haspel Didn’t Oversee Torture, She Still Totally Did

https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2018/03/18/rand-paul-gina-haspel-cia-217653

https://www.cnn.com/2018/03/18/politics/rand-paul-mike-pompeo-gina-haspel-cnntv/index.html

https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2018/01/the-defenestration-of-andrew-mccabe/551771/

https://www.yahoo.com/news/former-fbi-deputy-director-mccabe-booted-agency-052802977–politics.html

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/john-brennan-donald-trump-andrew-mccabe_us_5aad0cf7e4b05b2217ff0e53

https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/news/national-debt-hits-21-trillion

https://www.cnn.com/2018/03/15/opinions/trillion-dollar-debt-interest-opinion-macguineas/index.html

A closer look at who does (and doesn’t) pay U.S. income tax

http://thehill.com/policy/finance/378861-gop-pushes-for-phase-two-of-tax-cuts

http://thehill.com/opinion/finance/366889-democrats-should-get-on-board-with-making-trump-tax-cuts-permanent

https://www.yahoo.com/news/california-teacher-injures-three-pupils-131503194.html

http://www.latimes.com/local/california/la-me-ln-seaside-high-school-gun-apology-20180316-story.html

http://www.ksbw.com/article/seaside-high-teacher-accidentally-fires-gun-in-class/19426017

FEMA Withdraws Aid Withdrawal Amid Backlash, Raises Stakes with Seedy Power Provider and Drops the Ball on Puerto Rican Food Delivery; Congress Shits on Taxpayers Again; Your Location and Face Broadcast to More Federal Agencies

FEMA threatened to cut Puerto Rico off their particular division of the federal teat at the end of January, congratulating themselves for distributing over 30 million gallons of potable water and nearly 60 million meals since the island was largely destroyed by last autumn’s Hurricane Maria.

Puerto Rico Updates

The agency estimated after pumping $500 million of “public assistance,” and $3.2 million of unemployment aid into the island, just 1% of its inhabitants still require emergency food.

Remaining supplies were transferred to the island’s own disaster agency, Puerto Rico Emergency Management Agency (PREMA)–not to be confused with the floundering state-run power supplier, PREPA.

Some far-flung areas of the island were slated to continue suffering. NPR cited Mayor Carmen Maldonado of Morovis, who was not contacted by PREMA regarding the 10,000 citizens of her municipality still dependent on soon-to-evaporate FEMA rations.

Days after that story broke, the Feds sought to save face:

As the New York Times reports, FEMA now claims that it never intended to end the aid and that it has no plans to at this time. Instead, the Jan. 31 cutoff date was “mistakenly publicized by the agency[.]”

If it really was a mistake, they might have just sacked an employee for pressing the wrong button and promptly reassigned him to continue soaking the taxpayers with his “public service.”

Rather, the hapless agency apparently folds on deadlines at the first hint of (justified) taxpayer discontent. And believe anything disreputable contractors say:

Those millions of FEMA meals may not have included 30 million promised by Tiffany Brown (below) of Tribute Contracting LLC in Atlanta in her October 3 bid. (At $5.10 per meal, Tribute was the lowest bidder.)

Brown bagged (pun alert) one of the biggest contracts for brown bag meals to send to the island (only they didn’t include the required heating pouches, which would have made them fancier than traditional brown bag lunches): $156 million for 30 million meals. At the mid-October deadline for the first 18.5 million, Brown’s one-woman operation had delivered…none. 

Apparently, she farmed the job out to a subcontractor: an eleven-person caterer down the road (who curiously managed anonymity across multiple media outlets). They did have the heating pouches, however:

PHOTO: A photo in Tribute Contracting, LLCs contract with a catering company show examples of self heating meals that include a meal in one pouch with a food heater, water pouch, cutlery, and seasonings.

The caterers weren’t too interested in working either, it appears. Tribute was fired.

“My biggest mistake was not asking for more help.”–Tiffany Brown

Congressman Elijah Cummings (D-MD) of the House Oversight Committee noted this is Brown’s sixth terminated Federal contract. Four were failures to deliver food to the Federal Prison System. The fifth fuck-up came in 2016 for the Government Printing Office, who issued a decision in 2016 that “no agency in the executive branch” would enter contracts with Tribute until 2019. But FEMA said […]that exclusion only applied to GPO.

The GPO angle is interesting: the feckless Feds only banned Tribute from contracts over $35,000, and only until January 2019. And all Tribune did to GPO was fail to put the Marine Corps logo on both sides of some tote bags. Wait. New York Times:

An investigation by [GPO]’s inspector general found that Tribute “altered and submitted a false shipping document and subcontracted the predominant production function on two contracts without proper authorization,” according to a 2015 report submitted to Congress.

Which doesn’t explain why GPO returned to Tribute for the tote bags a year later.

FEMA never gave Brown any money. She is now suing the government for $70 million in debt accrued for the 50,000 meals she managed to almost deliver.

Brown told FEMA officials in an email exchange on Oct. 19 that, because of issues with suppliers, all 30 million meals would instead be delivered by November 7 – two weeks after the deadline.

She told ABC News on Friday that the original schedule in the contract was flexible and that she had been communicating with FEMA officials about the changes.

You can check out her website, but we took some screenshots just in case she stumbles upon some shame and takes it down:

Brown, who reportedly lost family in FEMA’s other notable success story, Hurricane Katrina, spoke with ABC on Friday:

“I think there’s a lacking of seeing the human aspect of everyone, the human aspect of the citizens of Puerto Rico and how they feel, the human aspect of the business owners trying to support them just trying to help out maybe that doesn’t have the larger infrastructure but out of the kindness of their own heart they want to be able to help they’re not seeing the human aspect they’re only seeing a lowest possible bid or trying to meet a budget and not about the people.”

She also fingered “a lack of infrastructure, particularly payment infrastructure on FEMA’s part.”

It appears the 50,000 meals (which actually made it to Jacksonville, FL for shipment before FEMA pulled the plug) actually came from Brown’s other partner, the non-profit Breedlove. Not to drag them into this, but their website is here.

*

As we noted above, Cobra Acquisitions may be picking up the slack. Nasdaq reported the subsidiary of Oklahoma City-based energy giant Mammoth (which is reportedly flirting with serious self-enrichment if the new Puerto Rico power grid is built to run on fossil fuels)…more than doubled its contract to rebuild the Puerto Rican power grid on January 28, from the $200 million already invested in quarter four of 2017 to a cool $445 million.

PREPA requested FEMA clear the contract as “reasonable” and “in compliance with emergency procurement provisions of Puerto Rico;” the federal agency obliged in late December.

*

Everyone knows the only solution to government incompetence is to pour more confiscated taxpayer cash onto the fire. So last week, as the seventeen-day stopgap fizzled out and the Feds ran out of borrowing power for the second time this year, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) huddled to further destroy the livelihood of their subjects employers.

Wading through the details, the disgustingly unaffordable package funds the Federal government for at least another month.

It blows through the 2011 Budget Control Act‘s limit on domestic spending by $57,000,000,000$117 billion more than Trump requested.

Military spending will swell to $700 billion this year, a monstrous 13% increase from 2016, if our numbers are correct.

In Defense of Defense

It bumps up to $716 billion  for 2019.

$90 billion for hurricane and wildfire relief was shoved in there, which sounds generous if you don’t factor in that the victims of these disasters now have more debt to pay off when McConnell and Schumer are long dead.

Some choice goodies that were slipped in, according to New York Times, include: tax credits to prop up renewable energy (it’ll be cheaper and safer for everyone, just wait); extension of a tax break for racehorse owners; exemption from a new college investment income excise tax for the non-tution-charging Berea College (conveniently located in McConnell’s state of Kentucky); funding for abstinence-only sex ed (can’t trust condoms, guys); repeal of $1.35 billion for an Obamacare public health program; repeal of Obamacare’s Independent Payment Advisory Board, which ostensibly controls Medicare spending; faster implementation of shrinking the Medicare Part D “doughnut hole;” and extension of temporary subsidies to rural hospitals and underserved areas’ health provider tuition loans.

And also billions for the VA, billions for NIH, billions for community health centers, billions for “infrastructure”…all of which Vox suggests will yield major fiscal stimulus.

The deal did not address protections for DACA recipients, the catalyst for last month’s Federal shutdown (and a vote McConnell had promised Schumer to end the impasse). Like the rest of the country, these people appear to be utterly disregarded by McConnell’s rabid lust for accumulating debt. Schumer forgot his earlier advocacy as well:

“After months of legislative logjams, this budget deal is a genuine breakthrough,” Schumer said on the Senate floor. “After months of fiscal brinksmanship, this budget deal is the first real sprout of bipartisanship.”

He proclaimed the deal has consigned “the pointless and arbitrary sequester caps to the ash heaps of history.”

A speed bump emerged when Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) forced a procedural delay because the leadership would not allow any amendments to the fiscal depravity. While railing against idiotic government grants (including $700,000 studying whether Neil Armstrong inserted an extra “a” in his famous moon landing line, and coming up empty), Paul pointed out Republicans famously struck the Budget Control Act merely to slow down the rate of spending growth, and decried each and every deficit from the Obama administration.

The 2018 deficit, with this added $300 billion, is projected at $955 billion. Trillion-dollar deficits have become typical since George W. Bush in 2008. TheBalance.com shows how much we’ve added to our over $20,600,000,000,000 in national debt in each of recent years (which is slightly divorced from deficit).

“The reason I’m here tonight is to put people on the spot,” Paul said. “I want people to feel uncomfortable. I want them to have to answer people at home who said, ‘How come you were against President Obama’s deficits, and then how come you’re for Republican deficits?'”

Paul’s fellow Republicans were pissed, as several are up for re-election this year and all reportedly wanted to start the weekend early. The most bone-headed reaction to Paul’s pragmatism came from our favorite crony cow, Lindsey Graham:

“It appears ‘General’ @RandPaul is at it again. He just called for the immediate withdrawal of all forces from Afghanistan as a way to give the US military a pay raise,” Graham tweeted. “Fortunately, only ‘General’ Paul — and the Taliban – think that’s a good idea.”

[America has been in Afghanistan, killing and being killed, without declaring war, for over 16 years.]

CNBC noted:

The vast majority of the Republican lawmakers who are opposing the budget agreement, including Paul, voted for the GOP tax law. The massive tax cuts are estimated to add more than $1 trillion to budget deficits over 10 years, even after economic growth is taken into account, according to the CBO.

The bill eventually passed early Friday morning, 71-28, and technically shuttered the government for several hours before the House could ram it through and get it to Trump to sign. It’s unclear if anyone read all of the nearly 700 pages.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi gave a House-record eight-hour speech advocating for DACA protections, largely reading testimony from Dreamers (DACA recipients) threatened with deportation next month, as the program was not extended by the crooked Schumer-McConnell generational theft. Pelosi voted against the bill, but it passed the House 240-186.

*

As we boosted the defense budget with fake money we don’t have, it emerged as the Pentagon undergoes its first-ever audit that its own Defense Logistics Agency (annual budget: $40 billion) lost track of $800 million in construction projects.

Image result

The outside firm Ernst & Young who discovered the glaring errors (and warned more will be uncovered) are just one of the third party consultants who comprise $367 million of the nearly $1 billion audit. Politico reports the rest is to go back and fix broken accounting systems that are crucial to better financial management.

*

Customs and Border Protection continues to safeguard your liberties…by expanding locations at which it scans your face. To better patrol the U.S.-Mexican border, the McAllen, TX checkpoint will now catalog the face of every driver and passenger. About time:

The agency will use the results of the South Texas effort to set the stage for a wider rollout along the southern and northern borders, where the technology someday could be used to identify fugitives or wanted terror suspects. Customs and Border Protection already operates facial recognition exit programs at nearly a dozen international airports, including Houston’s, aimed at making sure travelers are who they say they are.

Traveler acceptance is really high, and we can thank the Apples and the Googles for that,” said Colleen Manaher, CBP executive director of planning, program analysis and evaluation, in an interview at the Border Security Expo in San Antonio, where she revealed the Anzalduas project. “It’s a game-changer.”

Summer Part 1: Stories We Shelved!!! March 10, 19 and 22–Genes, Tattoos and Faces

[our emphasis]

Colleen Manaher

Manaher (above) called the prospect of getting her grubby fingers on identification of just 50 percent of faces crossing the Port Anzalduas bridge “a home run.”

*

And in the wonderful state of Kansas,

Kansas: Helpful Public Servants and Meddlesome Neighbors

December Debacle: Stories from the Freezer!!! December 12: Kansas Lawsuit Settled

 

the two-party duopoly cracked down on attempts by the country’s debt-laden youth to gain representation.

After six teenage boys filed to run in this year’s gubernatorial election, the state House committee swiftly passed a bill from Rep. Blake Carpenter (R) requiring candidates to be “qualified electors”–that is, at least 18 years old, and able to vote.

The bill, which would not take effect until after the election, was reportedly co-drafted by Libertarian candidate Ethan Randleas (who happens to be 18). It is lauded as TRIGGER WARNINGcommon sense” by 17-year-old Tyler Ruzich (Republican candidate) and slammed as “reactionary” and “disenfranchis[ing]” by Jack Bergeson, 17 (Democratic candidate).

*

It’s turning into a rocky year even for Kansans who are eighteen or older: renewing a drivers license may require residents to obtain new social security cards if their middle initial, not their full middle name is currently displayed; new state-issued birth certificates if all they have is a hospital document; and a marriage license, if they’ve ever changed their name. This will transform one’s license into a Federal Real ID.

Secure driver’s licenses and identification documents are a vital component of a holistic national security strategy.

–DHS website, our emphasis

The Federal Real ID Act was passed over 12 years ago on recommendation from the 9/11 Commission, but, like Common Core, has faced massive public opposition. It mandatory compliance has therefore been extended for various states (yellow, below).

On October 10, residents of non-compliant states will no longer be granted access to airports or military bases with their state-issued drivers license.

The veil is sliding off DHS’s threat to states refusing to funneling all your passport, birth certificate, marriage license and other ID info into a single police state card with a literal TRIGGER WARNING gold star  (they’re calling it a yellow star, for obvious reasons) that can pool all surveillance of your life at the filthy fingertips of the Federal agent manning the bar code reader:

It has been 12 years since the REAL ID Act was passed and half of all the states have already met the REAL ID minimum standards. It is time that the remaining jurisdictions turn their commitments to secure identification into action.

[our emphasis]

Fortunately, according to Charlotte Observer in 2016:

By 2010, more than 25 state legislatures had passed laws criticizing or refusing to comply with the law.

Kansas is currently “in compliance” until 2020. The Feds are signaling that for other, less obedient states that later this year,

Thanks to our sources:

https://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2018/01/29/581511023/fema-to-end-food-and-water-aid-for-puerto-rico

https://www.theroot.com/fema-cutting-off-food-and-water-aid-to-puerto-rico-1822558738

https://www.theroot.com/tiffany-brown-head-of-the-one-woman-company-which-deli-1822897056

http://www.nasdaq.com/press-release/cobras-puerto-rico-contract-increased-to-approximately-445-million-update-on-puerto-rico-activities-20180129-01030

http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/fema-contractor-scapegoat-controversy-canceled-contract/story?id=52915221

http://thehill.com/homenews/senate/372748-senate-leaders-agree-to-two-year-budget-deal?userid=115887

https://www.wsj.com/articles/house-democrats-split-on-budget-deal-1518115903

https://www.cnn.com/2018/02/08/politics/budget-vote-congress-shutdown/index.html

https://www.cnn.com/2018/02/08/politics/rand-paul-analysis/index.html

http://money.cnn.com/2018/02/07/news/economy/rising-deficits/index.html

https://www.cnbc.com/2018/02/08/shutdown-news-rand-paul-holds-up-senate-budget-vote.html

https://www.politico.com/story/2018/02/05/pentagon-logistics-agency-review-funds-322860

https://www.mystatesman.com/news/facial-recognition-scanners-tested-soon-texas-mexico-border/K5zgnDYPlrvASb1k5c2vIP/

http://www.kansascity.com/news/politics-government/article198664404.html

http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2018/feb/11/new-drivers-license-requirements-causing-headaches/

https://www.dhs.gov/real-id

Martin Luther King Jr.’s Birthday, Observed

Jorge Garcia, 39, of Lincoln Park stands at the ticket counter at Detroit Metro Airport checking his bags on Jan. 15, 2018. He was to be deported to Mexico.

Jorge Garcia, 39 (above), a landscaper from Lincoln Park, MI, was removed by ICE to his native Mexico despite the Federal holiday. The undocumented immigrant, brought to America at age 10, leaves behind a wife and two children, all citizens. He has reportedly never committed a crime, and because he paid taxes, Washington will lose some revenue as President Trump encourages removal of law-abiding non-citizens.

Related:

Summer Part 2: August Agony!!! Looking Back: July 18: Crime and Punishment

A spokesman for ICE said he could not immediately comment Monday since it was a federal holiday, and their offices are closed.

Supporters of Jorge Garcia hold up signs that read "Stop Separating Families" at Detroit Metro Airport on Jan. 15, 2018. Garcia was being deported to Mexico after living in the U.S. for 30 years.

(But apparently he was still at the office?)

The day of rest and reflection for non-deporting government paper pushers shortened the time frame the Feds are entertaining to pass the next short term spending fix. The cancerous central government’s credit card runs out January 19, and Democrats are pushing to include protections for 800,000 beneficiaries of Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program in the last-minute meltdown to continue confiscating.

DACA is scheduled to expire March 5.

Congressman John Lewis (D-GA) told ABC the DACA provisions, which shield certain young immigrants from deportation, must be included to earn his vote on the spending bill.

Meanwhile, Trump is pushing for inclusion of $18 billion to construct a “Great Wall” on the Mexican border.

Yesterday the President tweeted, “DACA is probably dead because the Democrats don’t really want it, they just want to talk and take desperately needed money away from our Military.”

Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) reportedly pitched a plan to include border wall funding and extension of DACA at a meeting on January 11, where Trump made a holiday weekend news cycle-dominating remark characterizing African nations, Haiti and El Salvador as “all these shithole countries” that do not contribute useful immigrants to America. Negotiations apparently collapsed shortly thereafter.

While Durbin confirmed Trump’s words, Republican senators at the meeting obscured the story. Tom Cotton of Arkansas denied the remark on Sunday, and seems to currently maintain he does not recall. Lindsey Graham (SC) half-halfheartedly confirmed the president’s words.

Rand Paul (KY), who was not present, lamented the media for blasting Trump as a racist, because it “destroy[ed] the setting…for immigration compromise.”

“I don’t think the comments were constructive at all, but I also think that, to be fair, we shouldn’t draw conclusions that he didn’t intend,” Paul said.

Trump told Twitter today: “Senator Dicky Durbin totally misrepresented what was said at the DACA meeting. Deals can’t be made when there is no trust! Durbin blew DACA and is hurting our military.”

Thanks to our sources:

https://www.freep.com/story/news/local/michigan/wayne/2018/01/15/jorge-garcia-daca-deported-mexico-immigration/1033296001/

http://www.wzzm13.com/news/local/detroit/after-30-years-in-us-metro-detroit-immigrant-deported-to-mexico/508218873

https://nypost.com/2018/01/14/john-lewis-says-he-wont-vote-for-government-funding-without-daca-deal/

https://www.politico.com/story/2018/01/15/trump-dicky-durbin-shithole-dreamers-340621

https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/white-house/trump-referred-haiti-african-countries-shithole-nations-n836946

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/rand-paul-donald-trump-racist_us_5a5b839ee4b03c4189669449

http://abc7chicago.com/politics/trump-tweets-sen-dicky-durbin-totally-misrepresented-daca-comments/2948444/

December Debacle: Stories from the Freezer!!! October 27: Boente Bows Out

U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia Dana Boente is ready to cash out, announcing his resignation in October (pending confirmation of his replacement).

Image: Dana Boente, acting U.S. attorney general, listens during a county sheriff listening session

Politico reported the career “government servant” and 2015 Obama appointee to EDV, 63, who briefly took over for Sally Yates as acting Attorney General upon Yates’ firing for refusal to enforce Trump’s travel ban, is reportedly still in charge of Justice’s national security division.

Related:

Summer Part 2: August Agony!!! Looking Back: May 9: FBI Director Comey Fired

MSNBC suggests Boente’s resignation was solicited by Trump after the veteran Justice employee was retained at the beginning of 2017. Rachel Maddow emphasized Boente “was in a position to investigate the president when Trump decided unexpectedly to fire him.”

Justice bit back on November 29 via a letter to Senator Chris Coons (D-DE). Mr. Coons asked the Judiciary Committee for a hearing on Boente’s resignation, apparently sensing something nefarious.  The letter indicates Trump’s nominee to take over for Boente as AAG–national security division, John Demers (below) is merely the next expected link in the chain of succession.

Mr. Demers is a big man at Ex-Im Bank beneficiary Boeing, and will reportedly retain over $1 million of their stock in his new position.

If he gets confirmed. Demers reportedly helped author the 2008 Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act, a monstrous justification for the Feds to scoop up your phone records and emails.

According to AllGov:

At his confirmation hearing on October 31, 2017, Demers made it clear that the NSA should not be required to obtain a warrant from the FBI before searching the communications of American citizens. He also waffled on the subject of whether journalists should be jailed for refusing to reveal their sources.

[our emphasis]

Later on in December, Senator Rand Paul blocked Demers’ confirmation vote to the Justice position. It is unclear when the vote will proceed.

Section 702 is scheduled to expire next month, and neo-conservative thugs are eager to reauthorize the privacy-and-constitutional-rights-be-damned program.

Daily Beast:

If confirmed, Demers will be one of just three DOJ officials with the power to sign off on Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant applications. 

Thanks to our sources:

https://www.politico.com/story/2017/10/27/dana-boente-justice-departments-national-security-division-244268

http://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow-show/trumps-ouster-us-attorney-dana-boente-matters

https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/justice-department/dana-boente-senior-federal-prosecutor-obama-holdover-submits-resignation-n815331

http://www.allgov.com/news/appointments-and-resignations/assistant-attorney-general-national-security-division-who-is-john-demers-171107?news=860356

https://www.thedailybeast.com/republican-senator-rand-paul-freezes-trump-nomination-over-nsa

December Debacle: Stories from the Freezer!!! September 3: Dirtbag Mnunchin Demands Debt Limit Increase Tied to Harvey Funding; Democrats Happy to Collude

Trump’s Treasury thug Steven Mnuchin used the Sunday talk show circuit to demand any Federal relief of the destruction inflicted by Hurricane Harvey (the costliest American hurricane in history, according to Wikipedia) be held ransom in exchange for the annual can-kicking of the nation’s record $20,000,000,000,000 debt.

Related:

Summer Part 2: August Agony!!! Looking Back: August 3: Mick Mollifies Big Spenders

Mnuchin used the Mussolini-era term “state” not for the state of Texas (it appears) but for our cancerous Federal Government,  emphasizing the benevolent big wigs must have control at all times, or everyone will perish.

“The president and I believe that [raising the debt limit] should be tied to the Harvey funding, that our first priority is to make sure that the state gets money. It is critical and to do that we need to make sure we raise the debt limit.”

[our emphasis]

The $300 million-net worth Mnuchin also touched on his “comfort” with borrowing a few billion dollars in light of his boss’s two predecessors’ charging of $10 trillion apiece to the national credit card. (Read: threatened not to give Texas relief money if the nation didn’t step deeper into the debt pool.)

“[W]ithout raising the debt limit, I’m not comfortable that we would get the money that we need this month to Texas to rebuild.”

He insinuated the storm “moved up the situation” of that pesky debt limit. Any disaster can be used to bargain for an extension of your malicious fiscal practices.

That’s not all for the terrible toils of Texans in 2017. According to Texas Tribune, disaster relief funds from the Federal Government via Housing and Urban Development, will take between 7 and 32 months to disperse.

Before the government agencies can disperse the money, they must develop an action plan that HUD approves. The public must also have a chance to comment on the plan, a process that can take 30 to 60 days. Texas officials have asked that time period be reduced to seven days.

In all fairness, the layer cake of Federal job creation delaying the money is small potatoes compared to what Houston’s neighbor to the southeast, Puerto Rico, was in for after the next hurricane.

On September 7, the Senate sold out the younger generation as expected, 80-17. Ted Cruz and John Cornyn, both Republicans of Texas and ostensibly fiscal conservatives, voted to continue borrowing into unsustainable oblivion until December, while kicking $15.25 billion to FEMA for Harvey relief.

Of the 17 “no” votes (all Republicans, which is interesting given their majority in both the House and the Senate…see below), notable were Rand Paul of Kentucky, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and John McCain of Arizona. Marco Rubio, of oft-hurricane-battered Florida, did not vote.

The House initially wanted just $7.9 billion for the disaster, but approved the more lavish Senate bill September 8; Trump signed it the same day. When it comes to spending your money, the major parties are surprisingly cooperative.

New York Times noted Republican leaders had wanted a longer-term extension of the debt limit, but were left with little recourse when Mr. Trump sided with top Democrats in Congress, Senator Chuck Schumer of New York and Representative Nancy Pelosi of California, at a White House meeting on [September 6], blindsiding his own party.

According to Washington Examiner, [a]head of Friday morning’s vote in the House, GOP lawmakers attended a meeting with Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, and House Republicans were angered by his lack of information about how much money the government will spend between now and Dec. 8.

That anger translated to a still massively lopsided 316-90 vote for the measure. All 90 “nay” votes were from Republicans.

*

On December 7, with the above-imposed deadline looming, Congress again dug deep into the country’s financial future, throwing together a two-week “continuing resolution” to keep the cash flowing long enough to advance what would be their only major legislative accomplishment under Trump thus far: a large tax cut that will add nearly $1,500,000,000,000 more to the national debt in the next ten years.

Thanks to our sources:

http://thehill.com/homenews/sunday-talk-shows/349043-mnuchin-debt-limit-should-be-tied-to-the-harvey-funding

https://www.texastribune.org/2017/10/02/hurricane-harvey-relief-funds-might-take-years-officials-tell-legislat/

https://www.senate.gov/legislative/LIS/roll_call_lists/roll_call_vote_cfm.cfm?congress=115&session=1&vote=00192

http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/house-approves-harvey-relief-debt-ceiling-spending-bill-in-vote-that-splits-gop/article/2633813

http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/trump-signs-harvey-relief-debt-ceiling-spending-bill/article/2633868

https://www.politico.com/story/2017/12/07/government-shutdown-2017-house-republicans-285329

https://www.cnbc.com/2017/12/15/gop-tax-bill-would-raise-deficits-by-nearly-1-point-5-trillion-jct-report.html

Summer Part 2: August Agony!!! Looking Back: June 29: Michigan Congressman Bucks Party on Ex-Im Bank

Justin Amash (R-MI), a member of the House Freedom Caucus, introduced a resolution to abolish the crown jewel of crony capitalism in the United States: the Export-Import Bank.

Seal of the United States Export-Import Bank.svg

When President FDR shit out this thuggery in 1934, it was marketed on the premise of helping American small businesses thrive. Instead, big businesses and foreign companies get loans backed by the average taxpayer.

By 2013 data, the vast majority of loans went to ten large corporations who apparently need a little boost from the Federal Government to stay competitive; these include BoeingCaterpillar, and General Electric.

According to Veronique de Rugy at Mercatus Center, George Mason University, companies may be propped up by both Ex-Im and the Department of Energy.

U.S. tax dollars: for funding French electricity!

For example, Abengoa, a Spanish company, [PUN ALERT] “banked” $2.8 billion in assistance from the Department of Energy, $203.9 million in help from the Export-Import Bank, and significant money from the Department of Treasury for its project in Minnesota and another project in Arizona.

Abengoa and other “green energy, renewable energy and sustainability” companies got fed real nice during the Obama years, as de Rugy’s full article details.

Former New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson (who was forced to withdraw as Obama’s Secretary of Commerce nominee amidst a federal investigation of his shady financial rewards to campaign donors using New Mexico state contracts) recently sat on Abengoa’s International Advisory Board and the 2013 Advisory Committee for Ex-Im, which decides who gets the goodies. Conflict of interest?

Richardson was President Clinton‘s Secretary of Energy from 1998 to 2001. Everyone wins, as long as you’re in the club.

Former Vice President Al Gore, who continues to lecture us on the dangers of air conditioning, reportedly bought up 7% of Abengoa back in 2007.

Bill the taxpayers. When the Bank’s charter temporarily lapsed in 2015, GOP Senators Marco RubioRand Paul and others called for its immediate liquidation.

Guess what didn’t get liquidated, but instead reauthorized through 2019 as part of the $305,000,000,000Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act easily passed and signed by Obama in December 2015?

Related:

Ex-Im Bank Updates

[This was an interesting decision for a man who previously (rightfully) characterized the outfit as “little more than a fund for corporate welfare.”]

Rubio and Paul voted against the bill.

President Trump, a longtime populist critic of the Bank, nominated Scott Garrett as its next president. The confirmation is still before the Republican-majority Senate, who reportedly refused to confirm bank heads previously nominated by Obama, curtailing the Bank’s ability to make issue loans of $10 million or more (see our link above). Lawmakers were stressing out that certain favored small businesses in their districts wouldn’t get dribbles of pork without the massive government subsidies to Boeing and others.

Scott Garrett official congressional photo.jpg

Mr. Garrett was born in New Jersey.

It will be interesting to see how Rubio and Paul handle this vote.

Amash introduced H.R. 3114, the Export-Import Bank Termination Act of 2017, with support of several co-sponsors (mostly fellow members of the House Freedom Caucus).

He also broke with his party on June 29 to join most of the House Democrats against “Kate’s Law” (passed 257-167), which reportedly raises the sentences of multiple-occasion deportees who return and commit felonies. According to The Hill, the law is named after Kate Steinle, who was fatally shot in 2015 in San Francisco by a man who had had seven previous felony convictions and was deported to Mexico on five previous occasions.

Amash was one of seven GOP representatives to vote against pulling some federal grants from so-called “sanctuary cities” that refuse to hold suspected illegal immigrants for ICE officials when they are picked up for non-immigration crimes. The others were Carlos Curbelo (FL), Mario Diaz-Balart (FL), Dan Donovan (NY), Peter King (NY), Dave Reichert (WA) and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (FL).

[Ros-Lehtinen, the first Cuban-American member of Congress, recently announced her retirement for the end of 2018.]

The “sanctuary city” bill also passed, 228-195.

 

Thanks to our sources:

https://www.mercatus.org/publication/biggest-beneficiaries-ex-im-bank?429141155=

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2014/06/26/candidate-obama-echoing-tea-party-called-ex-im-bank-little-more-than-a-fund-for-corporate-welfare/?utm_term=.ade4a2f3ea29

http://in.reuters.com/article/usa-trump-eximbank-idINKBN17H02U

http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/378380/ex-im-big-double-dipping-opportunity-green-energy-firms-veronique-de-rugy

http://thehill.com/policy/finance/262049-senate-sends-highway-bill-to-obama

Rep. Justin Amash introduces a bill that would shut down the Export-Import Bank

http://thehill.com/blogs/floor-action/house/340137-house-passes-kates-law-and-crackdown-on-sanctuary-cities

http://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/community/miami-dade/article147718764.html

Summer Part 1: Stories We Shelved!!! Fighting Death with Destruction–April 6

This post has been updated 5/7/17 at 8:00 AM, including its title. The previous title, “Fighting Death with More Death,” was inaccurate because there were reportedly no casualties at the airfield from some sources; Syrian officials reported 15 dead.

Time to play war! U.S. President Donald Trump, after what had to be at least 15 minutes of careful consideration, reacted to Syrian president Bashar al-Assad reportedly gassing citizens in Khan Shaykhun with sarin (this is poisonous) on April 4 by hitting the al-Shayrat airfield in Khan Shaykhun that we think was used to launch the sarin gas. Well, sort of hitting it. ABC of Australia reported at the time:

[In] the first direct American assault on the Syrian Government, and Donald Trump’s most dramatic military order since becoming president […] [a]bout 60 US Tomahawk missiles, fired from warships in the Mediterranean Sea, targeted an air base in retaliation for a chemical weapons attack that American officials believe Syrian Government aircraft launched with a nerve agent, possibly sarin.

[…]

The base was where US officials say the Syrian military planes that dropped the chemicals had taken off.

The Russian Defence Ministry said the attack destroyed six planes in repair hangers, but said only 23 of the rockets hit the target and it was not clear where the other 36 landed, according to Russian news agencies.

Sometimes we have to get shown up by Russia on an international stage because they will call out American failures to score political points. See later in this article.

In a statement, the office of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad called the attack “reckless” and “irresponsible”, saying it showed Washington was “naively pulled behind a false propaganda campaign”.

According to CNN, Assad’s original sarin spray on a rebel-held town killed more than 80 people and injured more than 500, according to a Syrian Civil Defense report on the attacks.

[Of note, the August 2013 sarin gas attack on Ghouta, Syria civilians, believed to be perpetrated by Assad, killed 1,429 people […] including at least 426 children according to a preliminary U.S. intelligence report. That attack led to America and Russia removing Syria’s chemical weapons. Or did it? See later in this article.]

Regarding the U.S. actions this time around, Russia was pissed:

Russian President Vladimir Putin [said] the US strike broke international law and seriously hurt US-Russia relations.

News agencies citing Mr Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said he regarded the US action as “aggression against a sovereign nation” on a “made-up pretext” and as a cynical attempt to distract the world from civilian deaths in Iraq.

Mr Peskov was quoted as saying Russia did not believe that Syria possessed chemical weapons and the US move would inevitably create a serious obstacle to creating an international coalition to fight terrorism, an idea Mr Putin has repeatedly pushed.

Russia said it would now suspend a deal with the US to help prevent mid-air collisions over Syria.

The deal meant Russia and the US would exchange information about their flights to avoid incidents in the crowded skies over Syria.

[Next time, we should just blindfold all our pilots voluntarily. Same danger, but Russia–our ally???–won’t be unnecessarily antagonized.]

Trump supporters were pissed:

In France, National Front leader [and presidential candidate] Marine Le Pen […] appeared to distance herself from Trump, saying on Twitter that she “strongly condemned” the “horrible” strike on the Syrian airbase.

Right-wing commentator Ann Coulter, who campaigned for Trump, wrote on Twitter: “Those who wanted us meddling in the Middle East voted for other candidates.” […] “Trump campaigned on not getting involved in Mideast,” she wrote. “Said it always helps our enemies & creates more refugees. Then he saw a picture on TV.”

And Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) called on Trump to consult on Congress. “While we all condemn the atrocities in Syria, the United States was not attacked,” Paul said. “The President needs congressional authorization for military action as required by the Constitution, and I call on him to come to Congress for a proper debate.”

Fortunately, some of our allies with nukes appeared to take America’s side:

[Current] French President Francois Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel — with whom Trump has had particularly chilly relations — said that Syrian President Bashar al “Assad is entirely responsible for the development of the situation.”

Stateside, conservative leaders were split. Hugh Hewitt and Mark Levin, conservative radio hosts, applauded Trump’s decision, according to New York Times.

But Richard Spencer, a “far-right activist and white nationalist…who coined the term ‘alt-right'” condemned the attack.

In fact, the Times noted the most vocal in their outrage were leaders from the small but vocal white nationalist movement.

Brian Williams Babbles

Disgraced “journalist” Brian Williams, who endured a six-month suspension as lead anchor for NBC Nightly News in 2015 after making multiple on-air references to his daring jaunt in 2003 Iraq that turned out to be fabricated, called the American weapons launch “beautiful“:

Yahoo!:

“We see these beautiful pictures at night from the decks of these two U.S. Navy vessels in the eastern Mediterranean,” said Williams Thursday night. “I am tempted to quote the great Leonard Cohen: ‘I am guided by the beauty of our weapons.’”

Brian Williams

Hillary the Hawk’s Handle

CNN had some great excerpts of Hillary Clinton urging Trump from a New York City “Women in the World” summit  in the hours before the strike to pursue that particular violent option.

“Assad has an air force, and that air force is the cause of most of these civilian deaths as we have seen over the years and as we saw again in the last few days. And I really believe that we should have and still should take out his air fields and prevent him from being able to use them to bomb innocent people and drop sarin gas on them.”

 

“I wish, obviously I wish that the international community writ large had been able to rein this in.”

[our emphasis]

[“writ large” is a fancy term for “I’m more rich and powerful than you little people, so I will make up a phrase.”]

She then talked about “the Comey letter,” “Wikileaks,” and “misogyny.” The full transcript was not available, but we assume she was reflecting on her election loss to Donald Trump.

Hillary also mentioned the Republicans had talked about “repeal and replace[ment]” of Obamacare for seven years, but “I don’t know that any of them had ever read the bill!”

*

On Friday April 7, as the legal community began to examine Trump’s unilateral decision to assault Syria, Hillary doubled down on her support of the strikes, this time with a more “it’s the world’s responsibility” tone and less of a “that’s somewhere I could have bombed as Secretary of State but I had to resign and run for president” admission.

“Look, Syria’s been a wicked problem for a very long time. And the images of innocent people, of parents and especially of children suffering in the aftermath of that most recent deadly gas attack were more appalling than I certainly can put into words. As I said yesterday afternoon, it is essential that the world does more to deter Assad  from committing future murderous atrocities. But the action taken last night needs to be followed by a broader strategy to end Syria’s civil war and to eliminate ISIS strongholds on both sides of the border. So I hope this administration will move forward in a way that is both strategic and consistent with our values. And I also hope that they will recognize that we cannot in one breath speak of protecting Syrian babies and in the next close America’s doors to them.” 

[our emphasis]

We do not have the most stellar record for slaughtering Syrians.

America dropped thousands of bombs in seven countries last year. Our executive branch has operated behind a 2001 Authorization of Military Force instead of declaring war on any country for the past 16 years.

The vast majority of the 26,171 American bombs detonated in 2016 were dropped in Iraq and Syria. Syria received 12,192. It’s okay because the candidates pandered to taxpayers during the campaign about our responsibility to shelter the refugees we helped create.

On September 17, 2016, America led 37 airstrikes in Deir al-Zour, Syria. While they were reportedly trying to hit ISIS, about 100 friendly Syrian army troops were killed instead. Oops. New York Times got this intelligence from Russia because the American military likes to sweep its utterly unconstitutional destruction sessions under the rug whenever possible.

New York Times:

The United States acknowledged on Saturday that its warplanes had carried out an airstrike in Syria that resulted in the deaths of Syrian government troops. American military officials said the pilots in the attack, in the eastern province of Deir al-Zour, believed they were targeting the Islamic State.

[…]
A partial cease-fire that started on Monday continues to steadily unravel after it was declared with much fanfare by the United States and Russia.

A senior Obama administration official, speaking on the condition of anonymity because the strike was still being investigated, said the United States had relayed its regrets to the Syrian government through the Russians for the “unintentional loss of life of Syrian forces” fighting the Islamic State.

Syria’s government labeled the disaster a very serious and flagrant aggression” that aided the Islamic State and proved its long-held assertion that the United States supports the jihadist group as part of an effort to oust President Bashar al-Assad.

These attacks confirmed that the U.S. clearly supports the terrorism of Daesh,” SAMA television, a state-run news outlet, said, using an Arabic acronym for the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL. The channel quoted a statement issued by the Syrian military’s general command, which said the attack exposed “false claims of fighting terrorism” by the United States.

[U.S.] Central Command, known as Centcom, denied it would carry out such an airstrike on purpose.

New York Times spoke with “a Centcom [U.S. Central Command] official who requested anonymity because the episode was still being investigated”:

The attack went on for about 20 minutes, with the planes destroying the vehicles and gunning down dozens of people in the open desert, the official said. Shortly after this, an urgent call came into the American military command center in Qatar, the outpost in the Persian Gulf that coordinates the aerial campaign in Syria and Iraq.

The call was from a Russian official who said that the American planes were bombing Syrian troops and that the strike should immediately be called off. The Centcom official said the attack was halted within minutes, but not until dozens had been killed.

NYT confirmed with the perpetrators:

“Coalition forces believed they were striking a Daesh fighting position that they had been tracking for a significant amount of time before the strike,” the Centcom statement said. “The coalition airstrike was halted immediately when coalition officials were informed by Russian officials that it was possible the personnel and vehicles targeted were part of the Syrian military.”

Our bumbling UN ambassador at the time:

Samantha Power, the United States ambassador to the United Nations, accused Russia of pulling a “stunt” by calling for an emergency Security Council meeting over the episode.

But wait. So we killed some innocent people. The enemy [ISIS, we think] were not otherwise helped by hundreds of millions of dollars of unconstitutional American bombing accidentally hitting the wrong target. Were they?

The Syrian Army Command said that American warplanes had bombed an army base on Al-Tharda mountain at 5 p.m., allowing “a wide terrorist offensive” by the Islamic State that allowed it to seize the base.

*

Interestingly, hawk Hillary may have missed her chance to bomb Syria as she did Libya (total success, that operation) as she prepared to resign the Secretary position.

According to CNN:

The Obama administration asked Congress in August 2013 for authorization to launch a military strike on Syria [six months after Hillary resigned as Secretary of State]. That vote never happened after a preliminary agreement was struck to remove chemical weapons from Syria.

Of the chemical weapons removal America supervised at that time because we are the world’s security force, Hillary said,
“Who knows whether they hid some or they bought more. We don’t know. We just know the impact.”

 All emphasis is ours.

*

UPDATE:

It is unclear how many casualties resulted from Trump’s strike on the airfield. According to Wikipedia: zero. But just as only some of the missiles actually hit the airfield, the Syrian capabilities to launch sarin gas were reportedly only weakened. Guardian:

Observers had reported the base had been badly destroyed by the 1,000lb warheads and that several planes and a runway had been put out of service. However it is thought that an advance warning given by the US to Russia allowed Syria enough time to remove many of its aircraft before the raid. 

“Although the strike will further weaken the overall air defense and ground attack capabilities of the (Syrian air force), it will not significantly diminish the ability of the Assad regime to conduct further chemical weapons attacks,” wrote analyst Reed Foster of the defense and intelligence publication Jane’s.

In addition to Assad’s possession of 20 additional airbases,

Syrian government officials said the [al-Shayrat] base has played an instrumental role in the fight against the Islamic State group, which until recently controlled the historic town of Palmyra in Homs province.

“This very airport that was attacked by the United States has been fighting against terrorists for the last six years,” Buthaina Shaaban, an adviser to Mr Assad, said.

Also,

Dmitry Medvedev, the Russian prime minister, said the attacks had fatally undermined Moscow’s initial trust in the new US administration and brought the countries to the “the verge of a military clash.”

[all our emphasis]

Thanks to our sources:

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-04-07/us-launches-cruise-missile-strike-on-syria/8425132

https://obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/the-press-office/2013/08/30/government-assessment-syrian-government-s-use-chemical-weapons-august-21

http://www.cnn.com/2017/04/07/politics/donald-trump-syria-populist-support/

http://www.cnn.com/2016/09/17/middleeast/syria-claims-coalition-airstrike-hit-regime-forces/index.htm

http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/327728-us-launches-missile-strike-against-syria-in-response-to-gas-attack

Hillary Backs Syria Strike, But Says It ‘Needs to Be Followed By a Broader Strategy’

https://www.yahoo.com/news/trumps-media-critics-praise-syria-strikes-154025787.html

http://www.cnn.com/2017/04/06/politics/hillary-clinton-syria-assad/

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/04/08/syrian-warplanes-take-air-base-bombed-us-tomahawks/

http://www.latimes.com/world/middleeast/la-fg-syria-airstrike-20170406-story.html

Summer Part 1: Stories We Shelved!!! March 15 and 17: Secret Service Slips with Security; Separately, Another White House Intruder, Donna Brazile Pouts and Rand Ruffles Feathers

On March 15, John McCain announced that Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) is a Russian agent when Paul tried to block a vote that would reportedly have allowed Montenegro to join NATO, according to Politico:

“The senator from Kentucky is now working for Vladimir Putin […] [i]f there is objection, you are achieving the objectives of Vladimir Putin,” McCain said. “You are achieving the objectives of trying to dismember this small country, which has already been the subject of an attempted coup.”

[our emphasis]

NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) a 28-country international alliance that assembled against Russia [then Soviet Union] and other Communists in the beginnings of the Cold War in 1949, most recently used Article 4 to require “member state consultation” following Putin’s annexation of Crimea, Poland in 2014. Article 5, obliging member states to defend others when threatened, has apparently only been enacted once: to send the International Security Assistance Force into Afghanistan in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on America.

Paul’s introduction to his failed amendment to sink the Montenegro NATO invitation:

*

More domestically, on March 17 the Secret Service misplaced, according to New York Daily News, a Secret Service-issued laptop — containing floor plans for Trump Tower, information about the Hillary Clinton email investigation and other national security information — that was stolen from an agent’s car in Brooklyn.

In the “who can lose more national secrets on a laptop” contest, Hillary appears to maintain a slim lead:

Hillary Updates

 

*

Just seven days earlier (March 10), Jonathan T. Tran, of Milpitas, CA jumped the White House fence and roamed around the grounds for 17 minutes, according to Washington Post.

Court sketch of suspect

According to BBC, Tran, 26, shown above in a court sketch, breached multiple barriers of security:

[Tran] was carrying two cans of mace, a US passport, a computer and one of Mr Trump’s books, authorities said…[he] had managed to climb a 5ft (1.5m) fence near the US Treasury Department, which is next to the White House. He then scaled an 8ft vehicle gate, and a shorter fence near the east wing of the White House grounds.

Post reports the laptop contain[ed] a letter addressed to the president about Russian hackers, saying Tran had found “information of relevance,” according to a criminal complaint filed March 11. 

TIME TO RESET THE CLOCK:

The Secret Service (budget: $2,800,000,000 annually) has cultivated a comical public persona for the past several years. Multiple “White House fence jumpers” were caught during the Obama years, including one wielding a knife who made it through the front door of the mansion and near the actual living quarters in 2014:

Omar Gonzalez had passed an alarm box on the lawn, which Washington Post reported was muted at the request of an “usher.” Therefore, the front door guards had no warning to bolt the door, and Gonzalez made it up some stairs and into the East Room. The much-maligned Secret Service initially lied and said the intruder was stopped at the front door. Not so. Scientific diagrams from the Post illustrate his full [TRIGGER WARNING] penetration:

Eluding security in the White House

Post quoted three unnamed sources “familiar” with the breach, and noted at that time: Agency spokesman Edwin Donovan said the office is not commenting during the ongoing investigation of the incident.

We provide a list from Wikipedia of all the fence security breaches (just those that were stopped on the lawn) from the George W. Bush administration until now. Our emphases:

  • December 4, 2005 – Shawn A. Cox, of Mammoth Spring, Arkansas, was immediately captured by Secret Service agents after scaling the White House fence.[21][22] Cox believed that Chelsea Clinton still lived at the White House “and that he was destined to marry her.” Cox was sent to the St. Elizabeth’s psychiatric hospital; a court-ordered psychiatric report found that he was “grossly psychotic and manic.”[22]
  • February – April 2006 – Brian Lee Patterson, jumped the White House fence a total of four times.[23][24]
  • October 13, 2006 – Alexis Janicki, 24, of Independence, Missouri, an Iraq War veteran suffering from PTSD, was arrested after climbed over the fence while in possession of marijuana.[25]
  • March 16, 2007 – Catalino Lucas Diaz, scaled the fence with a package and threatened officers that he had a bomb. Catalino was arrested after determining that he had no dangerous weapon.[26][27]
  • June 9, 2009 – Pamela Morgan, jumped the fence onto the northeast corner of the grounds while carrying a backpack. Morgan was arrested immediately and her backpack later searched and found to contain nothing dangerous.[28]
  • March 30, 2014 – Unidentified male, caught and arrested after climbing over the fence.[29]
  • August 7, 2014 – An unknown toddler squeezed through the fence, and was returned to his parents.[30]
  • September 11, 2014 – Jeffrey Grossman, 26, of Rensselaer, New York, scaled the fence and entered the North Lawn while carrying Pikachu doll and wearing a Pikachu hat; he was apprehended by Secret Service agents.[31][32] Grossman did not intend to inflict harm; he suffered from schizophrenia.[33] After being atrrested [sic], he was taken to George Washington University Hospital for mental health observation.[31]
  • October 22, 2014 – Dominic Adesanya, formerly of Bel Air, Maryland, jumped the fence onto the north lawn and was quickly taken down by two security dogs while punching and kicking them before being arrested by the Secret Service. He was later ordered by a judge to a mental health facility.[34][35] Adesanya, who had twice jumped the White House fence in July 2014, pleaded guilty in April 2015 to entering or remaining in a restricted building or grounds and was sentenced in July 2015 to time served and one year of supervised release. Adesanya’s lawyer said that he suffered from schizophrenia.[36]
  • November 26, 2015 – Joseph Anthony Caputo, 22, of Stamford, Connecticut, was arrested by Secret Service agents almost immediately after jumping over a White House fence as the first family was inside celebrating Thanksgiving.[37][38] Caputo had left a suicide note and will and apparently had intended to die.[39] In a plea agreement with prosecutors, Caputo pleaded guilty to one federal misdemeanor count of illegal entry of restricted grounds in a deal with prosecutor and was sentenced to three years’ probation with various conditions.[40]
  • March 10, 2017 – A man carrying a backpack, later identified as Jonathan Tuan Tran, 26, of Milpitas, California, was arrested after jumping the White House fence, coming within steps of the mansion. Court papers charged Tran with “entering or remaining in restricted grounds while using or carrying a dangerous weapon” and stated that he had two cans of mace in his possession at the time of the incident.[41][42]

We are not making this up: Within 24 hours of writing this article (March 18), an still-unnamed individual jumped a bike rack/pedestrian barrier but did not actually clear the fence.

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer reportedly “tweeted”: “Individual jumped bike rack on Pennsylvania Ave, not White House fence. Great response by Secret Service.”

So great, in fact, the next intruder had to get creative. On March 18, the very next day, CNN reported Sean Patrick Keoughan drove into a White House checkpoint and announced he had a bomb.

Keoughan, 29, of Roanoke, Virginia, was charged with threatening and conveying false information about the use of an explosive, according to the US attorney’s office. He faces up to 10 years in prison.

[…]
 
[He] had pulled up to the White House an hour prior to his bomb threat, saying he had an appointment with President Donald Trump, the office said. He also said he could communicate telepathically with the President.

*

Joseph Clancy was appointed by Obama in February 2015 to help clean up the mess, against Washingtonian recommendations. USA Today:

In the fallout [from the scandals], then-Director Julia Pierson, the first woman to lead the agency, was forced to resign.

In selecting Clancy, Obama defied the recommendation of a bipartisan White House security panel, which recommended that a new director come from outside the agency.

Julia Pierson USSS.jpg

Pierson (above, flag) served 18 months. She was promoted by Obama to clean up Secret Service in the aftermath of agents getting caught with prostitutes at Summit of the Americas in Colombia, 2012.

EPA USA CRIME CLJ CRIME USA NJ

Clancy (above, bald) resigned as head of the Secret Service effective…March 4, 2017. Remember this date.

One of the first incidents of Clancy’s two-year tenure was a highly-publicized (and perhaps sensationalized…see sources) incident in March 2015. Agents  Mark Connolly and George Ogilvie made national news for allegedly leaving a fellow agent’s retirement party sloshed and plowing at low speed into a traffic barrel that sequestered a “suspicious package.” Huffington Post:

The area was locked down because [the Secret Service were] investigating a package thrown out of a car by a woman who had shouted, “It’s a bomb,” [Washington Post] said, citing a police report.

[A] law enforcement official familiar with some of the details described the vehicle as moving very slowly and deliberately at about 1 mile per hour.

The driver intentionally nudged a light-weight plastic orange construction barrel a couple of feet out of the way so the vehicle could reach a checkpoint, and did not drive through police tape, the official said.

[Marc Ambinder of The Week opined days later that he–as well as outlets like Washington Post, New York Post, and–real news!–The Daily Showmay have jumped to unwarranted conclusions regarding the agents’ alcohol use. Ambinder unofficially retracted the earlier statement he made in Politico: “This latest incident — where two high ranking Secret Service agents, while drunk, allegedly drove themselves into a crash barrier at the White House, disrupting a tense investigation into a suspicious package nearby, is heartbreaking.”]

WHAT WAS THE DATE IN 2015 OF THE “BOMB AND BASHED DRIVING” CONDUCT BY THE AGENTS???

March 4, 2015.

According to Wikipedia, Clancy was also head of security for Comcast from 2011 until his appointment by Obama.

UPDATES

April 20: The Secret Service announced it was closing the sidewalk in front of the White House permanently, according to multiple sources.

April 29: On April 25, Trump appointed Randolph “Tex” Alles, acting deputy commissioner of Customs and Border Protection, as new head of the Secret Service.

Randolph Alles, the new director of the Secret Service, is second from the right. Here, he is participating in a Senate Homeland Security hearing in April as an official with Customs and Border Protection.

Picture from Wall Street Journal.

Alles is a 35-year Marine Corps veteran who retired in 2011 as a major general to begin work at CBP.

*

On March 17, Donna Brazile lamented in Time that the Russians fixed the 2016 presidential election, called for an independent investigation of their interference of the DNC communications, portrayed herself as a damsel drubbing up Democratic diversity in the 2016 primaries, and oh by the way admitted she helped Hillary cheat in a nationalized presidential debate, contradicting her previous statement [our emphasis]:

Then in October, a subsequent release of emails revealed that among the many things I did in my role as a Democratic operative and D.N.C. Vice Chair prior to assuming the interim D.N.C. Chair position was to share potential town hall topics with the Clinton campaign. I had been working behind the scenes to add more town hall events and debates to the primary calendar, and I helped ensure those events included diverse moderators and addressed topics vital to minority communities. My job was to make all our Democratic candidates look good, and I worked closely with both campaigns to make that happen. But sending those emails was a mistake I will forever regret.

By stealing all the DNC’s emails and then selectively releasing those few, the Russians made it look like I was in the tank for Secretary Clinton. Despite the strong, public support I received from top Sanders campaign aides in the wake of those leaks, the media narrative played out just as the Russians had hoped, leaving Sanders supporters understandably angry and sowing division in our ranks. In reality, not only was I not playing favorites, the more competitive and heated the primary got, the harder D.N.C. staff worked to be scrupulously fair and beyond reproach. In all the months the Russians monitored the D.N.C.’s email, they found just a handful of inappropriate emails, with no sign of anyone taking action to disadvantage the Sanders campaign.

[our emphasis]

As we reported in October, Brazile’s misconduct was exposed not by the pro-Trump Russians, but by Wikileaks.

Related:

Hillary Updates

Brazile disparages the Republican reluctance to support “special prosecution” of Russian communication with Jeff Sessions and other Trump allies: Despite all the deeply troubling evidence, the White House continues to insist that “there’s no there there.” 

Her own nonsensical syntax seems to be plagiarized from her former boss Bill Clinton‘s go-to legal defense: “That depends on what your definition of ‘is’ is.”

Thanks to our sources:

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-39311901

http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/laptop-trump-tower-floor-plans-stolen-secret-service-article-1.3001078

https://history.state.gov/milestones/1945-1952/nato

http://www.nato.int/cps/en/natolive/news_107716.htm

http://www.politico.com/story/2017/03/mccain-rand-paul-is-now-working-for-vladimir-putin-236106

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/white-house-fence-jumper-made-it-far-deeper-into-building-than-previously-known/2014/09/29/02efd53e-47ea-11e4-a046-120a8a855cca_story.html?utm_term=.830625e5192d

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/2-secret-service-agents-investigated-for-dui-crash-near-white-house/

http://theweek.com/articles/544867/how-unfairly-maligned-two-secret-service-agents-politico-magazine

https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/public-safety/secret-service-laptop-with-sensitive-information-stolen-in-new-york-law-enforcement-officials-say/2017/03/17/b3861be0-0b35-11e7-b77c-0047d15a24e0_story.html?utm_term=.28eb826c7db1

http://www.upi.com/Top_News/US/2017/03/18/Pedestrian-apprehended-for-jumping-barrier-outside-White-House/3671489862358/?utm_source=sec&utm_campaign=sl&utm_medium=2

http://www.cnn.com/2017/03/19/politics/white-house-security-situation/index.html

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2017/02/14/secret-service-director-joseph-clancy-leaving-agency/97893974/

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/white-house-sidewalk-closed_us_58f884a4e4b0cb086d7e3c43

http://abcnews.go.com/US/us-secret-service-director-named/story?id=47004686

http://time.com/4705515/donna-brazile-russia-emails-clinton/?xid=homepage