Monthly Archives: October 2017

Mueller has probably caught multiple small fish.

Many were surprised when the “first indictment” in Muller’s probe of Trump’s collusion with Russia to take over the United States was Trump’s actual campaign advisory, Paul Manafort. One expects prosecutors to go after the small fish first, then use their testimony to catch the bigger fish.

But that confusion is almost instantly settled on realizing that many weeks ago, Mueller and the FBI arrested and got a guilty plea from George Papadopoulos. You’ll remember him as an individual who was supposedly involved in opening up a Trump-Putin channel. The Trump campaign, under Manafort, pretty effectively discredited or diminished those claims, and threw Papadopoulos under the bus. We now know two things, however. One is that those claims were serious, even worse than they originally appeared, despite the Trump campaign’s efforts to tone them down. The other is that Papadopoulos was a small fish, and in this case, a small fish likely wearing a wire. Oh what would it be like to have an accounting of all the places he’s been, people he’s seen, since his guilty plea? Reporters? Got anything?

Once I heard all this I jumped to a provisional but I think correct conclusion. Mueller has multiple small fish. Papadopoulos is just the one we know about. He’s been collecting them, quietly, all along. And, moments ago a reader of this blog passed me some new information. Turns out that Sam Clovis, the current nominee to the Department of Agriculture’s chief science spot, is likely also a cooperative witness. It may be the case that Clovis was involved as well in setting up the Trump-Russia back-channel or related activities. That’s interesting. I wonder if his nomination is in jeopardy?

Anyway, I’m putting in on record now that I think Mueller has a whole kettle of fish. A virtual apiary of singing canary fish. Or at least, a few more. Any guesses as to who they might be?

Trump Isn’t the American Reality

Lately — since, oh, sometime in early November 2016 — I’ve been reading history, especially US history and especially centered on national history and presidents. Why? Because Donald Trump is not the American reality. Other things are the American Reality. They are not all good things, some are bad, but many are good. And with Trump, it is all bad, very very bad. Reading about Lincoln, Grant, JFK, Roosevelt, Johnson, and all those other famous white guys at this moment in time is one of several ways of coping with the hopefully temporary end of American civilization. This is only one thing I’m doing to cope, but it is one of the things.

Meanwhile, Chris Matthews has been doing something similar but different. Instead of reading about famous executive-level Americans who were good, he wrote a book about one. Last night, on the Rachel Maddow show, Matthews literally said that he wrote this book because “Trump isn’t the American reality.”

And so we have, coming out just now, “Bobby Kennedy: A Raging Spirit” by Chris Matthews.

I vaguely remember the assassination of JFK. And I remember the assassination of MLK. But Bobby was my Senator, and he was part of the political community in which I grew up. When he was killed, my father, who had been watching the TF, following the primaries, came and dragged me out of bed so I could watch that part of history. It was an event that helped determine who I am today. It was an event that helped me to become of the the millions of Americans who ultimately will not put up with Donald Trump, and who will spend the rest of our days fighting Republicans because of what they have done to this country.

I have not read the book, but I’m going to. Here is the blurb:

A revealing new portrait of Robert F. Kennedy that gets closer to the man than any book before, by bestselling author Chris Matthews, an esteemed Kennedy expert and anchor of MSNBC’s Hardball.

With his bestselling biography Jack Kennedy, Chris Matthews shared a new look of one of America’s most beloved Presidents and the patriotic spirit that defined him. Now, with Bobby Kennedy, Matthews returns with a gripping, in-depth, behind-the-scenes portrait of one of the great figures of the American twentieth century.

Overlooked by his father, and overshadowed by his war-hero brother, Bobby Kennedy was the perpetual underdog. When he had the chance to become a naval officer like Jack, Bobby turned it down, choosing instead to join the Navy as a common sailor. It was a life changing experience that led him to connect with voters from all walks of life: young or old, black or white, rich or poor. They were the people who turned out for him in his 1968 campaign. RFK would prove himself to be the rarest of politicians—both a pragmatist who knew how to get the job done and an unwavering idealist who could inspire millions.

Drawing on extensive research and interviews, Matthews pulls back the curtain on the public and private worlds of Robert Francis Kennedy. He shines a light on all the important moments of his life, from his early years and his start in politics to his crucial role as attorney general in his brother’s administration and his tragic run for president. This definitive book brings Bobby Kennedy to life like never before and is destined to become a political classic.

Sam Clovis hired both Carter Page and George Papadopoulos

Climate Hawks Votes has just released this very intereting statement pertaining to today’s revelations and arrests:

News reports indicate that Trump USDA chief scientist nominee Sam Clovis hired both Carter Page and George Papadopoulos for the Trump presidential campaign. Furthermore, Clovis acted as supervisor to George Papadopoulos and encouraged Papadopoulos to go to Moscow during the 2016 presidential campaign. Senate Agriculture Committee chair Pat Roberts of Kansas has set a nomination hearing date of November 9 for Clovis to be undersecretary of Agriculture for research, education and economics.

Climate Hawks Vote president RL Miller states: “Clovis was a supervisor of Russian outreach at the Trump campaign and is now about to be rewarded with a USDA chief scientist appointment. What’s Clovis going to science at USDA, Russian caviar?”

Clovis’ appointment hearing is November 9. He is not a scientist. He was, however, a co-chair of the Trump campaign, who hired Carter Page and who supervised Papadopoulos. Papadopoulos has pled guilty to lying to the FBI. Climate Hawks Vote was one of the first organizations to call for blocking Clovis’ confirmation, and is part of a coalition that has collected over 400,000 signatures in opposition to the nomination.

‘Twas the Night before Indictment …

‘Twas the night before serving, when all thro’ the house
Congresscritters were stirring, even the mouse;
The indictments were hung by the Grand Jury with care,
In hopes that Judge Emmet soon would be there;
The children were nestled all snug with their lawyers,
While visions of men named sugar plum danced in their heads.
And Mueller with his briefing and Paul with his passport,
Had just settled their brains for a long winter in court
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
He sprang form the bed to see the Federal Marshals
Away to the window he flew like a flash,
Tore up the papers, then into the shredder,
The moon on the breast of the new fallen snow,,
Gave lustre to the no knock warrents to find objects below;
When, what to wondering eyes should appear,
But a deposit slip from a Russian owned bank forgotten to burn.
With that ol’ driver as quick as a feather;
We knew in a moment it much be St. Mueller;
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled and shouted and called them by name:
Now, evidence collection crew, go right in here!
On blue collar crime expert, these documents I’ll share!
To the top of the pile of evidence so high,
Now dash away, dash away, put it all in plastic bags,
As dry leaves before the wild hurricane fly,
Each exhibit gets a number and a letter, oh my.
So up to the court house the coursers they flew,
With the sleigh full of evidence, and some indictees too.
And then in a twinkling, I heard in the foyer
The prancing and pawing of each little lawyer;
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St. Mueller came with a bound.
He was dressed all in a nice Italian suit,
His clothes were not tarnished or messed up with soot.
A bundle of evidence was flung on his back,
And he looked like a lion just opening a buck;
His eyes, how they twinkled, his dimples how merry,
His cheeks were like roses, he’d be liked by a jury.
His stern little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
But the kind with an arrow, just so you know;
He shook when he laughed like a bowl full of jelly;
With a wink and a twist he owned that grand jury;
He spoke not a word but went straight to work,
Filed all the briefings, then turned with a jerk,
And laying his finger aside of his nose
And giving a nod, up to chambers he rose,
He sprung to the sleigh to his team gave a whistle,
And to the judge they all rushed, like the smoke from a pistol;
I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight,
“Plea bargains for all, except, well, most of you actually, because I’ve got this sack of evidence here, see?

“basically anyone who’s black and politically active”

That’s who the FBI seems to want to consider as a domestic terrorist, and thus, investigate and repress.

We’ve seen this before. Happens every time there is a fascist in the White House. I’m sure there are plenty of wonderful, thoughtful, politically neutral FBI agents, the do a great service to the country, yada yada yada. (Everybody feeling good about the cops now? How nice.) But the fact is that whenever you get a fascist in charge, at the state or national level, the cops, pretty much all the cops, shift at least a little, and some shift a lot. They get repression boners. They go to town.

From a piece by Kate Irby in today’s Star Tribune,

The FBI counterterrorism division’s identification of a movement it calls “black identity extremists” is the latest addition to the list of protesters and dissidents the agency puts under the “domestic terrorism” umbrella.

But many national security experts say the designation doesn’t describe a movement at all, let alone a terrorism threat. It’s simply a label that allows the FBI to conduct additional surveillance on “basically anyone who’s black and politically active,” said Michael German, who left the FBI in 2004 and did undercover domestic terrorism work.

While the practice of labeling certain protest groups as domestic terrorists is not unique to President Donald Trump’s administration, Hina Shamsi, national security project director at the American Civil Liberties Union, said there’s concern that “abusive and unjustified investigations” by the FBI are rising.

“We are worried that protesters are increasingly being labeled as terrorism threats,” Shamsi said.

As observed, predicted, and expected. See this.

By Monday, Someone Will Be Arrested In Trump-Russia Probe

This is what CNN is reporting.

A federal grand jury in Washington, DC, on Friday approved the first charges in the investigation led by special counsel Robert Mueller, according to sources briefed on the matter.

The charges are still sealed under orders from a federal judge. Plans were prepared Friday for anyone charged to be taken into custody as soon as Monday, the sources said. It is unclear what the charges are.

A spokesman for the special counsel’s office declined to comment.

Who’s it going to be?

Most likely, by my guess, in order of liklihood:

1) Manefort
2) Kushner
3) Any one or more of Trump’s lawyers
4) Flynn
5) A random Russian oligarch bank related crook that Mueller was able to lay his hands on
6) Donald Trump Jr.
7) Kellyanne Conway (she is on this list because of how much I want to see her do the perp walk, not because I think she is actually on the list, this high up)

For the record, here is the record. A conversation on August 1st in which we were discussing how long the investigation would take. The first arrest is not the end, or midpoint of the end, so we can’t evaluate … this event that is about to happen may not happen, it may not be a big deal, it may be the whole shebang. Anyway, on facebook:


From Rachel Maddow tonight:

In possibly related news:

Trump Lawyer Michael Cohen Grilled on Russia Tower Deal
Trump Lawyer Michael Cohen Grilled on Russia Tower Deal
Ex-CIA Director Spoke to Mueller About Flynn’s Alleged Turkish Scheme
Former Trump Adviser Carter Page Questioned by Senate Panel

Rates of sexual assaults among college students, by gender orientation

This is just over a year old but just came across my desk. The study is: Sexual Assault Victimization Among Straight, Gay/Lesbian, and Bisexual College Students by Jessie Ford and Jose Soto-Marquez, Violence and Gender, June 2016.

From the abstract: Continue reading Rates of sexual assaults among college students, by gender orientation