Thursday, December 14, 2017

Blake "Ducky PJ's" Farenthold will not seek reelection amid accusations of sexual harassment.

Courtesy of the New York Times:

Representative Blake Farenthold, a Texas Republican who settled a lurid sexual harassment claim with his former communications director for $84,000 and faced accusations from other aides that he ran a hostile workplace, announced Thursday that he will not run for re-election, saying the allegations have become “a political distraction.” 

He is the fourth lawmaker in two weeks to announce his eventual departure from Congress amid the swirl of sexual allegations and the sixth this year. 

In a nearly five-minute long video posted on his campaign’s Facebook page, Mr. Farenthold denied the sexual harassment allegations from his former communications director, Lauren Greene. But he admitted, with unusual candor, that he had run an “unprofessional” workplace and that his own temper sometimes got out of hand, describing himself as “profoundly sorry” for his conduct. 

“I’d never served in public office before. I had no idea how to run a congressional office, and as a result I allowed a workplace culture to take root in my office that was too permissive and decidedly unprofessional,” Mr. Farenthold said. 

“It accommodated destructive gossip, offhand comments, off-color jokes,” he went on, adding, “and I allowed the personal stress of the job to manifest itself in angry outburst and too often a failure to treat people with the respect that they deserved. That was wrong.”

Gee ya think?

By the way that "I'd never served in public office before" excuse is extremely weak.

Farenthold was first elected in 2010, when he was about 49 years old.

He was a fucking adult! He was not some frat boy who suddenly got to play Congressman for a day.

By 49 years old you should know not to talk about your female employee's boobs, get shit faced on the job, and act like an out of control asshole to your staff.

As it turns out Farenthold may have been given a little shove by Speaker of the House, and Eddie Munster lookalike, Paul Ryan.

Courtesy of CNN: 

Rep. Blake Farenthold, who's under fire for accusations of sexual harassment, is not planning to run for re-election, a Republican source familiar with situation told CNN on Thursday. 

House Speaker Paul Ryan spoke with Farenthold, a Texas Republican, twice late Wednesday. Rep. Steve Stivers, who chairs the House campaign arm, also met with Farenthold. 

"Look, I had a couple of conversations with Blake Farenthold," Ryan said at his weekly news conference. "I think he's making the right decision to retire. There are new stories that are disconcerting. Unacceptable behavior has been alleged in those stories. And I think he's made the right decision that he's leaving Congress. And that reflects on the conversations we've had."

This is now becoming a thing with Ryan who also recently had to give the boot to Trent Franks, who was trying to get at least one of his female staff members to let him plant his demon seed in their womb.

This new role has Ryan talking about leaving Congress as well:  

House Speaker Paul Ryan has had soul searching conversations about his future with friends, some of his close friends tell CNN. 

Those people close to Ryan told CNN they believe it is possible that he could leave Congress after the 2018 midterm elections, if he can achieve his goal of passing GOP backed overhaul of the US tax system. Some say his departure could possibly happen even sooner. Some friends indicate that Ryan may be suffering from a bout of "Trump-haustion," but others believe there is serious contemplation of leaving Congress in 2018.

Ryan is now denying the accuracy of this reporting, but that is what they all say right before they resign.

So we will see.

The Washington Post dives deep to explore Donald Trump's overwhelming desire to be Vladimir Putin's buddy and his skepticism concerning American intelligence.

The following is courtesy of WaPo.

Trump angrily resisted having to admit that the Russians hacked the DNC:

But as aides persisted, Trump became agitated. He railed that the intelligence couldn’t be trusted and scoffed at the suggestion that his candidacy had been propelled by forces other than his own strategy, message and charisma.

Told that members of his incoming Cabinet had already publicly backed the intelligence report on Russia, Trump shot back, “So what?” Admitting that the Kremlin had hacked Democratic Party emails, he said, was a “trap.” 

As Trump addressed journalists on Jan. 11 in the lobby of Trump Tower, he came as close as he ever would to grudging acceptance. “As far as hacking, I think it was Russia,” he said, adding that “we also get hacked by other countries and other people.” 

As hedged as those words were, Trump regretted them almost immediately. “It’s not me,” he said to aides afterward. “It wasn’t right.”

This has left America essentially defenseless against further Russian cyber attacks:  

Nearly a year into his presidency, Trump continues to reject the evidence that Russia waged an assault on a pillar of American democracy and supported his run for the White House. 

The result is without obvious parallel in U.S. history, a situation in which the personal insecurities of the president — and his refusal to accept what even many in his administration regard as objective reality — have impaired the government’s response to a national security threat. The repercussions radiate across the government. 

Rather than search for ways to deter Kremlin attacks or safeguard U.S. elections, Trump has waged his own campaign to discredit the case that Russia poses any threat and he has resisted or attempted to roll back efforts to hold Moscow to account.

In fact rather than look for ways to protect America and punish Russia for their interference, the Trump Administration has worked to  roll back some of the sanctions put in place by the Obama Administration and to resist the implementation of newer ones.

Trump also seems almost desperate to form an alliance with Putin and the Kremlin:  

Trump’s stance on the election is part of a broader entanglement with Moscow that has defined the first year of his presidency. He continues to pursue an elusive bond with Putin, which he sees as critical to dealing with North Korea, Iran and other issues. “Having Russia in a friendly posture,” he said last month, “is an asset to the world and an asset to our country.” 

His position has alienated close American allies and often undercut members of his Cabinet — all against the backdrop of a criminal probe into possible ties between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin.

Overall the Kremlin is pleased with the results of their interference:   

Moscow has not achieved some its most narrow and immediate goals. The annexation of Crimea from Ukraine has not been recognized. Sanctions imposed for Russian intervention in Ukraine remain in place. Additional penalties have been mandated by Congress. And a wave of diplomatic retaliation has cost Russia access to additional diplomatic facilities, including its San Francisco consulate. 

But overall, U.S. officials said, the Kremlin believes it got a staggering return on an operation that by some estimates cost less than $500,000 to execute and was organized around two main objectives — destabilizing U.S. democracy and preventing Hillary Clinton, who is despised by Putin, from reaching the White House. 

The bottom line for Putin, said one U.S. official briefed on the stream of post-election intelligence, is that the operation was “more than worth the effort.”

“Putin has to believe this was the most successful intelligence operation in the history of Russian or Soviet intelligence,” said Andrew Weiss, a former adviser on Russia in the George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton administrations who is now at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. “It has driven the American political system into a crisis that will last years.”

Well gee, isn't that great?

When it came time to sign the new Russian sanctions bill that the Congress overwhelmingly approved, Trump almost could not bring himself to do it:

In the final days before passage, Trump watched MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” program and stewed as hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski declared that the bill would be a slap in the face to the president. “He was raging,” one adviser said. 

“He was raging mad.” 

After final passage, Trump was “apoplectic,” the adviser recalled. It took four days for aides to persuade him to sign the bill, arguing that if he vetoed it and Congress overturned that veto, his standing would be permanently weakened. 

“Hey, here are the votes,” aides told the president, according to a second Trump adviser. “If you veto it, they’ll override you and then you’re f---ed and you look like you’re weak.” 

Trump signed but made his displeasure known. His signing statement asserted that the measure included “clearly unconstitutional provisions.” Trump had routinely made a show of bill signings, but in this case no media was allowed to attend.

After the sanctions bill passed into law the Russian Prime Minister taunted Trump on Facebook, and called him "impotent," which of course only further angered Trump.

There is a lot more to the article, and I urge you to read it.

Once you finish I am sure you will agree with me that we desperately need to find a way to remove this asshole from office as soon as possible.

One of the guys behind "pizza-gate" tries to accuse Senator Chuck Schumer of sexual misconduct using a forged document.

Wait, what did they day I did?
Courtesy of he Daily Beast:  

A forged document accusing the top Democrat in the Senate of sexual harassment copied language verbatim from a real sexual-harassment complaint filed against Rep. John Conyers. 

On Tuesday afternoon, right-wing social media personalities Charles Johnson and Mike Cernovich boasted of obtaining a document that would put a senator out of a job. 

“Michael Cernovich & I are going to end the career of a U.S. Senator,” Johnson posted on Facebook on Monday. 

The senator was Minority Leader Charles Schumer of New York, Axios first reported. 

But the document was fake. A copy of the document, obtained by The Daily Beast, purports to be draft lawsuit complaint against Schumer by a former staffer. It accuses him of sexual harassment. Schumer’s office told The Daily Beast the document and her signature are forgeries. Schumer’s office said the senator was not in Washington, D.C. or the United States during several dates in the document when he is said to have harassed the staffer. 

“The document is a forged document and every allegation is false,” Schumer spokesperson Matt House told The Daily Beast. “We have turned it over to the Capitol Police and asked them to investigate and pursue criminal charges because it is clear the law has been broken. We believe the individual responsible for forging the document should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law to prevent other malicious actors from doing the same.” 

The former staffer, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, confirmed the document was a forgery.

This Mike Cernovich guy is the same asshole who claimed that coded messages in John Podesta's hacked emails showed that Hillary Clinton and other prominent Democrats were involved in a child sex ring in a DC pizza joint.

Currently Cernovich is trying to save face by claiming that he was duped by whoever was shopping this around, but the forgery should have been fairly obvious to anybody who was utilizing critical thinking skills.
Look we need to listen to women reporting on sexual harassment, even if the person being accused is one of our guys, or even a personal hero.

However we also have to maintain a certain amount of healthy skepticism because this #MeToo movement is a powerful tool, and clearly folks with a partisan agenda can use it to attack and even defeat those who they perceive as enemies of their cause.

And by the way this goes for both sides.

Even if we REALLY want to believe that somebody we dislike did something terrible, we still need to pay attention to the evidence and let THAT dictate their guilt or innocence.

Kentucky state representative commits suicide after denying allegations that he sexually molested a 17 year old girl.

Courtesy of WDRB: 

Kentucky State Rep. Dan Johnson, who was under investigation for alleged sexual molestation, died of a "probable suicide," the Bullitt County coroner said Wednesday night. 

Bullitt County Sheriff Donnie Tinnell said Johnson drove onto the bridge over the Salt River on Greenwell Ford Road in Mt. Washington, parked on the north side of it and shot himself in front of his car. His body was found on the bank of the river, just past the bridge. 

Just before 5 p.m. Wednesday, Johnson posted the following message on his Facebook page: 

"The accusations from NPR are false GOD and only GOD knows the truth, nothing is the way they make it out to be. AMERICA will not survive this type of judge and jury fake news . Conservatives take a stand. I LOVE GOD and I LOVE MY WIFE, who is the best WIFE in the world,My Love Forever ! My Mom and Dad my FAMILY and all five of my kids and Nine grandchildren two in tummies and many more to come each of you or a total gift from GOD stay strong, REBECCA needs YOU . 9-11-2001 NYC/WTC, PTSD 24/7 16 years is a sickness that will take my life, I cannot handle it any longer. IT Has Won This Life . BUT HEAVEN IS MY HOME. “PLEASE LISTEN CLOSELY, Only Three things I ask of you to do,if you love me is (1)blame no person,Satan is the accuser, so blame the Devil himself. (2) Forgive and Love everyone especially yourself .(3)most importantly LOVE GOD. P.S. I LOVE MY FRIENDS YOU ARE FAMILY ! GOD LOVES ALL PEOPLE NO MATTER WHAT !"

The coroner said police were alerted after someone saw that Facebook post by Johnson. Officers then pinged Johnson's phone and found his body.

Johnson was found dead of a bullet wound, and it appears that his Facebook post is a suicide note, so I do not think that the word "probable" is especially necessary in this case. 

Johnson, who called himself the "Pope," was known to post racist images of President Obama and his family on Facebook, and he originally addressed these allegations by denying them and then busting out a Christmas carol.

The Kremlin perceives Donald Trump's tweets as official statements.

Dmitry Peskov
Courtesy of Reuters:  

Tweets by U.S. President Donald Trump are viewed in Moscow as his official position and read by his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, the Kremlin said on Tuesday.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Tuesday it was not his place to comment on Trump’s actions, but added: ”In any case, everything which is published from his authorised Twitter account is perceived by Moscow as his official statement. 

“Naturally, it is reported to Putin along with other information about official statements by politicians,” Peskov said, adding that Putin was not a Twitter user himself.

I would bet big money that other foreign governments also perceive these tweets as official statements, because they KNOW that they are the actual words coming from the man currently occupying the Oval Office.

Which means that tweets like this are considered by many to be the official position of the president of the United States.
Just imagine how our adversaries will use that to target American media outlets or dismiss their reporting altogether. 

Anchorage broke another record. A really bad one.

Courtesy of the ADN: 

The death of a man whose body was found in Butte is now being investigated as a homicide in Anchorage, Alaska State Troopers said Monday. That would bring the city to a record number of homicides in a calendar year. 

The body of Anchorage man Weston Gladney, 36, was found in the Jim Creek recreation area of Butte, in the Matanuska-Susitna Borough, on Dec. 2. 

"Investigation by troopers has determined that the homicide occurred in Anchorage," Alaska State Troopers spokesman Tim DeSpain said. "At this time there is no additional information available for release in regards to this ongoing investigation."

Gladney's killing was the 35th homicide in Anchorage in 2017, police said – a new record. In 2016, there were a total of 34 homicides in the city, which also set a record.

Of course these statistics may seem minor when compared to big cities, but keep in mind that Anchorage has less than 300,000 people living there.

And yet Forbes Magazine once ranked us the tenth most dangerous city.

It should come as some comfort that most of those murdered knew their killers, or were involved in criminal activity.

In other words every day citizens of the city should feel relatively safe. (Or as safe as you can feel when every other asshole is probably carrying a gun.)

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Let's end our day with a spoonful of Joe Biden, just to make us all feel a little better.

I am by no means a big fan of Meghan McCain, but she is a human being, and she is suffering.

Joe Biden demonstrates such abundant humanity in how he interacts with her, and his ability to even make her laugh while she is falling apart on national televisions speaks highly of the kind of heart our former Vice President possesses.

When Joe and Barack ran our country we were in many ways the best we have ever been.

They embodied the type of decency that we are sorely lacking these days. 

I miss them both, and know that whenever I share a story about what either one of them is up to these days that it will be both uplifting and hopeful.

Trump lawyer claims that Robert Mueller has finished questioning White House witnesses, expects investigation to be over soon and the president to be exonerated.

Courtesy of Politico: 

Special counsel Robert Mueller on Tuesday completed interviews with the last in a slate of about two dozen current and former White House witnesses he’s initially requested as part of the investigation into Russia's actions in the presidential election, White House attorney Ty Cobb said. 

It’s unclear if Mueller will seek follow-up interviews or seek to question additional people beyond the initial batch of witnesses, but the completion of this round of questioning tracks with the goal Cobb has long stated publicly that President Donald Trump’s White House was cooperating with the Russia investigators in search of a speedy resolution to the probe. 

White House attorneys have declined to name specific staffers interviewed, but sources tracking the investigation said people questioned have included former White House chief of staff Reince Priebus, presidential spokesman Sean Spicer, White House communications director and former campaign spokeswoman Hope Hicks, and current White House counsel Don McGahn. 

Cobb had previously said he expected the interviews to wrap up by Thanksgiving but, as the holiday approached, he backed away from that timeline. Cobb has also said he was looking for Mueller to issue a statement by the end of the year exonerating the president. 

Mueller’s office declined to comment on Cobb’s characterization of the special counsel probe. 

But longtime observers of special counsel cases have cast doubt on Cobb’s timeline.

Cobb has to know that his rosy scenario is pure bullshit, and that most people know it, which indicates to me that his statements are for an audience of one.

I think Cobb is blowing smoke up Donald Trump's skirt just to keep him calm while Mueller finishes the investigation that will end his presidency.

He may know that once Trump realizes how much trouble he is in, that he will completely lose his shit. 

Donald Trump fires Omarosa. Update!

Courtesy of the New York Daily News:  

The White House said Wednesday that Omarosa Manigault Newman, a former “The Apprentice” contestant turned political neophyte, is leaving the administration next month. 

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told The Associated Press that Manigault Newman’s resignation is effective Jan. 20, one year since Trump’s inauguration. 

Manigault Newman’s departure was rumored back in September following a number of controversies. 

A month earlier, the 43-year-old endured a chaotic trip to the National Association of Black Journalists Convention in New Orleans. 

Her appearance at an event during the convention was described as confrontational and hectic as she aggressively insisted reporters “Ask me a question about me,” while sidestepping inquiries about the administration. 

The two-time “Apprentice” villain turned senior White House official also ruffled feathers when she reportedly brought members of her 39-person bridal party to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue for an extended wedding photo shoot. 

The unannounced April visit to the White House in her bridal attire caught fellow senior aides and some security officials by surprise.

"Ask me about me." That right there was probably enough to get a megalomaniac like Trump to fire her.

Omarosa is just one more of Trump's closest confidants who is now being ushered out the door.

That leaves this unhinged and volatile lunatic even more isolated and alone than before.

I certainly hope that somebody is keeping those nuclear codes well hidden.

Update: Well this is delicious.

H/T to Raw Story.

Roy Moore was trounced last night in Alabama, but that does not mean he is ready to concede.

Man after listening to that speech you would think that God was running on the ticket right along with this accused pedophile.

Courtesy of AL.Com: 

Roy Moore has frequently said, in social media posts, that he will never give up the fight. 

And after he lost the Alabama Senate election on Tuesday to Democrat Doug Jones, Moore is sticking with that mantra -- refusing to concede the race to Jones. 

He waited more than a hour after the race was called to address supporters in downtown Montgomery late Tuesday night, then told them to wait some more. 

"Realize when vote is this close, it's not over and we still have to go by the rules," Moore told the crowd, which cheered when he appeared on stage. 

Even as Moore refused to surrender, Alabama GOP Chair Terry Lathan issued a statement late Tuesday night acknowledging Jones' win -- concluding her statement with "now that this race has ended."

An automatic recount only comes into play if one candidate beats the other by less than 1 percent of the vote, but since Jones beat Moore by 1.5 percent that will not come into play here.

And if Moore thinks he will get any support from Donald Trump, well he has another think coming.
That Mr. Moore is known as being thrown under the bus. (Say hi to Reince Priebus, George Papadopolous, and Michael Flynn while you're down there.)

Now while we are all celebrating the people of Alabama (Actually the black people of Alabama.) for rejecting this teen girl assaulting asshole, keep in mind that over 650,000 Alabamans voted for his racist ass.

So perhaps we should keep the victory parade a little short, and then recognize that there is still much work to be done.

But as Julian Castro pointed out there are those who certainly need to be aware that something is coming.

Rep. Blake Farenthold is a naughty naughty boy.

The New York Times has done a rather extensive expose on the goings on in the office of Blake Farenthold and why this guy has not yet been forced out of office is a complete mystery to me.

Here are a few examples: 

As allegations of sexual misconduct rock Capitol Hill — three lawmakers announced their resignations last week alone — Mr. Farenthold, Republican of Texas, stands out as the survivor. He was sued over accusations of sexual harassment three years ago, paid out an $84,000 settlement, financed by taxpayers, and has an open Ethics Committee investigation into his behavior. Yet only a few Republicans have called for his resignation. 

A peek into the inner workings of his office reveals the kind of hostile work environment, rife with sexual innuendo, that prompted Representative Jackie Speier, Democrat of California, to call Congress “the worst” place for women to work.

He's a bully: Former employees also said that Mr. Farenthold had an explosive temper and often bullied his aides, prompting a high turnover.


Ms. Peace and another former aide to Mr. Farenthold, who spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of harming that aide’s reputation, described an atmosphere in his Washington office that was freewheeling, yet also filled with anxiety. 

The congressman, they said, was volatile. When he was angry, they added, Mr. Farenthold would berate them, sometimes sweeping his arm across his desk, knocking its contents to the floor, and threatening to fire people. Ms. Daniels, who has worked for Mr. Farenthold since March, said she had never witnessed such behavior, adding, “All the staff get along here very well.”

The work atmosphere was sexually charged and Farenthold was a drunk:  

The refrigerator in the “bullpen” — the open area where aides worked — was filled with beer, and sometimes happy hour would begin at 4:30 p.m., which his aides called “beer-thirty.” Ms. Peace said women would discuss which male lobbyists had texted them pictures of their genitals, and both men and women would talk about strip clubs and whether certain Fox News anchors had breast implants. 

“There were numerous lewd comments that were made either about female reporters’ breast size, or other reporters’ breast size as well as female lobbyists and their appearance that would go on,” the other former aide said. “On any given week you were prone to either ridicule, rude comments, acts of aggression or rage.”

 In the office, the congressman was known to like redheads. In her complaint, Ms. Greene said Mr. Farenthold “regularly drank to excess, and because of his tendency to flirt, the staffers who accompanied him to Capitol Hill functions would joke that they had to be on ‘redhead patrol’ to keep him out of trouble.”

There was a "redhead patrol?"

Okay if freaking Al Franken had to give up his job because of the relatively mild by comparison  misconduct he was accused of, it would seem that Farenthold should be run out of town on a rail for his various indiscretions.

I thought that Donald Trump was probably the biggest pervert in Washington, but I may have to reevaluate that assumption.

Men accused of plotting to blow up a mosque in Kansas want to make sure that there are trump voters on the jury.

Courtesy of TPM: 

Three men accused of plotting to bomb a mosque and apartment complex housing Somali refugees asked a federal judge Friday to include prospective jurors from rural western Kansas because they are twice as likely to have voted for President Donald Trump.

A defense motion argues that plans to only summon citizens in the more urban counties closest to the federal courthouse in Wichita is a discriminatory practice that excludes rural and conservative jurors. The trial begins March 19.

Gavin Wright, Patrick Stein and Curtis Allen are charged with conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction and conspiracy against civil rights for allegedly planning to detonate truck bombs in the meatpacking town of Garden City the day after the November 2016 election. Wright also faces a charge of lying to the FBI. 

The three men, who were indicted in October 2016, have pleaded not guilty.“This case is uniquely political because much of the anticipated evidence will center around, and was in reaction to, the 2016 Presidential election,” defense attorneys wrote. 

They also argued the case will require jurors to weigh whether the alleged conduct constitutes a crime or whether it is constitutionally protected speech and assembly and the right to bear arms.

So to be clear the argument here seems to be that they want Trump voters on the jury because they believe that they are more likely to see a plan to blow up a mosque full of innocent Muslims as not so much an act of terrorism, as a simple use of their 1st and 2nd Amendment rights.

And the truly troubling part is that they are probably not wrong about how those Trump voters will see this.

P.S. Yes you have read about this case before.

Best cover ever!

That is worthy of framing.