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Archive for December, 2016

I was looking forward to The Graham Norton Christmas Show. I am a huge Helen Mirren fan, and she was a guest and made a statement on that show.  I had checked ahead several days ago. That show was scheduled for Christmas Eve on BBCA.  Dame Helen was listed as a guest along with Will Smith and Noemie Harris.  Now, suddenly, that show will not air. Why not?  Is it possibly because Dame Helen had this to say about 2016?

She was quite outspokenly anti-Brexit and anti-Trump. She appeared at a huge Broadway fundraiser for Hillary whom she supported heartily.

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Given Trump’s media connections, one has to wonder why that show, which normally airs on Saturday nights at 10 pm EDT has been replaced.  I checked my Verizon listings about five days ago, and it was listed.  Now, mysteriously it is not.  So WTF???

Is this the beginning of censorship of the media? We should wonder.

Tonight I watched the Royal Shakespeare Company’s 400th Anniversary of the Bard’s death on PBS. Dame Helen appeared with a host of others.  Most impressively, Sir Ian McKellen performed a monologue of Sir Thomas More from a play that was never published.  It was the most enlightening moment.  Here is some background.  There is a video of Sir Ian performing the monologue.

Shakespeare, Sir Thomas More, and the refugee migrants

The play The Book of Sir Thomas More contains a series of scenes covering the events of the May Day riots of 1517, within the period covered by this project. Immigrants from Lombardy in Northern Italy are being threatened by Londoners who accuse them of taking jobs and money from the locals, and want them to be deported back to where they came from. The same arguments were being put forward at the time the play was written, with respect to Huguenot migrants. The play was never completed and exists in manuscript form in the British Library. In a series of speeches written by Shakespeare, Thomas More makes the argument for the humane treatment of those forced to seek asylum by being expelled from their home land. It’s surely never been made more persuasively.

Read more  and see Sir Ian deliver the speech>>>>

The play was never completed. One can speculate as to why not.  Here is the script.  I would love to hear it read by many on Inauguration Day.  Loudly!

Grant them removed, and grant that this your noise
Hath chid down all the majesty of England;
Imagine that you see the wretched strangers,
Their babies at their backs and their poor luggage,
Plodding to the ports and coasts for transportation,
And that you sit as kings in your desires,
Authority quite silent by your brawl,
And you in ruff of your opinions clothed;
What had you got? I’ll tell you: you had taught
How insolence and strong hand should prevail,
How order should be quelled; and by this pattern
Not one of you should live an aged man,
For other ruffians, as their fancies wrought,
With self same hand, self reasons, and self right,
Would shark on you, and men like ravenous fishes
Would feed on one another….
Say now the king
Should so much come too short of your great trespass
As but to banish you, whether would you go?
What country, by the nature of your error,
Should give you harbour? go you to France or Flanders,
To any German province, to Spain or Portugal,
Nay, any where that not adheres to England,
Why, you must needs be strangers: would you be pleased
To find a nation of such barbarous temper,
That, breaking out in hideous violence,
Would not afford you an abode on earth,
Whet their detested knives against your throats,
Spurn you like dogs, and like as if that God
Owed not nor made not you, nor that the claimants
Were not all appropriate to your comforts,
But chartered unto them, what would you think
To be thus used? this is the strangers case;
And this your mountainish inhumanity.

Let’s read this on Inauguration Day! Let’s be loud!

Here is the link to the jolly and complete Graham Norton Christmas Show that was wiped off the air. Shame on you BBCA for deleting this show! Spines of jellyfish!

This is only the beginning.  Today, Trump promised that things will be different after January 20.

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Still4Hill

In case you were wondering exactly how this Electoral College vote rolls out, here is a helpful summary from Emmarie Huetteman at the New York Times.

The Electoral College Is Meeting on Monday. Here’s What to Expect.

On Monday, 538 people will meet to determine who will be the next president.These meetings of the Electoral College, convened in every state and in the District of Columbia just shy of six weeks after Election Day, have long been little more than a formality.

But the victory of Donald J. Trump, who lost the popular vote but is projected to win the most electoral votes, has thrust the Electoral College into the spotlight once more.

President Obama on Fridaydescribed the Electoral College — originally a compromise between those who wanted Congress to choose the president and those who favored a popular vote — as a “vestige.” Here is a rundown…

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This is two days old.  Predates yesterday’s press conference.

John Podesta: Something is deeply broken at the FBI

December 15

John Podesta was chairman of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.

The more we learn about the Russian plot to sabotage Hillary Clinton’s campaign and elect Donald Trump, and the failure of the FBI to adequately respond, the more shocking it gets. The former acting director of the CIA has called the Russian cyberattack “the political equivalent of 9/11.” Just as after the real 9/11, we need a robust, independent investigation into what went wrong inside the government and how to better protect our country in the future.

SNIP

The election is over and the damage is done, but the threat from Russia and other potential aggressors remains urgent and demands a serious and sustained response.

First, the Obama administration should quickly declassify as much as possible concerning what is known about the Russian hack, as requested by seven Democratic members of the Senate Intelligence Committee.

Second, the administration should brief members of the electoral college on the extent and manner of Russia’s interference in our election before they vote on Dec. 19, as requested by a bipartisan group of electors.

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We learned today that the second thing is not happening.  Obama said yesterday that the first thing is not happening either.

12/16/2016

President Obama gave his final press conference of 2016 from the White House Friday afternoon only hours after announcing that the United States will retaliate against Russian hacks meant to help Donald Trump win the presidential election, in some instances directed by Russian President Vladimir Putin himself.

Citing national security concerns, the president declined to state specifics on his promise and left much to be desired for distraught Americans hoping for a bold response to what many now view as an illegitimate election.

SNIP

The president declined to declassify information pertaining to the Russian hacking scandal, though he confirmed that the attacks were directed by the highest levels of the Russian government and implied Vladimir Putin was involved. He also made a point to express the information had been provided to high-level American government officials from both parties.

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Still4Hill

E. Randol Schoenberg’s effortto attain the warrant that the FBI director claims authorized a search of Anthony Weiner’s laptop for emails linked to Hillary Clinton has moved forward according to this from Newsweek.

Federal Judge May Unseal Controversial FBI Search Warrant for Clinton Emails

The controversy over FBI Director James Comey’s announcement of a new review into Hillary Clinton’s private email server just 11 days before the recent presidential election moved into federal court Tuesday with a hearing focused on the search warrant that gave FBI agents access to Clinton emails found on the computer of Anthony Weiner, the former congressman and husband of a top Clinton aide.

Los Angeles lawyer E. Randol Schoenberg, best known for recovering Jewish-owned art looted by the Nazis, hired lawyers to file a lawsuit last week in an attempt to unseal that search warrant and related affidavits….

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George Lakoff

My interview with WNYC’s On The Media:
“Hillary now has two and a half-million votes over Trump. The person who the majority of Americans wanted to be president isn’t president. If you’re in the media, why are you there? You’re there for the public good. You’re there to tell the truth. You’re there to make sure that the truth is always told and not hidden. That’s your job. It’s not being progressive or democratic or anything like that. It’s your job!” http://www.wnyc.org/story/george-lakoff/…

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Still4Hill

Last week, E. Randol Schoenberg filed suit to see the warrantto examine Anthony Weiner’s laptop for Hillary Clinton’s emails.  Now a federal judge has responded to that request and is requesting the warrant.

A federal judge directed the U.S. government Tuesday to show him any search warrant application used to gain access to a new batch of Hillary Clinton‘s emails just before the election.

Judge P. Kevin Castel asked a government lawyer to turn over any pertinent documents by late Thursday in case he decides any portion of the materials must be made public. He also recommended the government advise what redactions are necessary should he rule that portions…

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Still4Hill

Campaign chair, John Podesta, released this statement in support of the letter from electors requesting facts on Russian interference in the presidential election.

re-electors-letter

The open letter to James Clapper was penned by Christine Pelosi.

Christine Pelosi

Bipartisan Electors Ask James Clapper: Release Facts on Outside Interference in U.S. Election

Open Letter to Director of National Intelligence James Clapper:

We are Electors who were selected by the voters of our states to represent them in the Electoral College on December 19, 2016. We intend to discharge our duties as Electors by ensuring that we select a candidate for president who, as our Founding Fathers envisioned, would be “endowed with the requisite qualifications.” As Electors, we also believe that deliberation is at the heart of democracy itself…

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From the day Donald J. Trump entered the race, this past election cycle followed a path from the most bizarre to the most corrupted in our history.  If a website experienced the multilateral attacks this election suffered, it would have been taken down. Your bank would have notified you after one such intrusion into your account, cancelled your card and the unauthorized charges to it, and arranged for a new card to be issued. Our government knew these things and did nothing to head off what amounts to election theft.

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By now, you know about all of this, of course.  I am posting it for the record. Why was this information  not released prior to Election Day?  What can be done now?  Must we live with  a flawed election? How secure are we if a major adversary can influence our elections and install the candidate they prefer?  If this were not presidential election, I would be tempted to go full Laurel & Hardy mode and say, “Now you’ve done it!”  But it is not a movie. It is not TV. It is not reality TV. It is reality.

CIA assessment: Russia tried to help Trump win 2016 election

CIA briefers told senators in a closed-door briefing it was now “quite clear” that electing Trump was Russia’s goal, according to officials. (Victoria Walker/The Washington Post)
December 9 at 10:45 PM
The CIA has concluded in a secret assessment that Russia intervened in the 2016 election to help Donald Trump win the presidency, rather than just to undermine confidence in the U.S. electoral system, according to officials briefed on the matter.

Intelligence agencies have identified individuals with connections to the Russian government who provided WikiLeaks with thousands of hacked emails from the Democratic National Committee and others, including Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman, according to U.S. officials. Those officials described the individuals as actors known to the intelligence community and part of a wider Russian operation to boost Trump and hurt Clinton’s chances.

“It is the assessment of the intelligence community that Russia’s goal here was to favor one candidate over the other, to help Trump get elected,” said a senior U.S. official briefed on an intelligence presentation made to U.S. senators. “That’s the consensus view.”

Read more and see videos >>>>


U.S.

Russian Hackers Acted to Aid Trump in Election, U.S. Says

Photo

President Obama giving a speech in Tampa, Fla., on Tuesday. He has ordered a comprehensive report on the Russian efforts. Credit Doug Mills/The New York Times

WASHINGTON — American intelligence agencies have concluded with “high confidence” that Russia acted covertly in the latter stages of the presidential campaign to harm Hillary Clinton’s chances and promote Donald J. Trump, according to senior administration officials.

They based that conclusion, in part, on another finding — which they say was also reached with high confidence — that the Russians hacked the Republican National Committee’s computer systems in addition to their attacks on Democratic organizations, but did not release whatever information they gleaned from the Republican networks.

In the months before the election, it was largely documents from Democratic Party systems that were leaked to the public. Intelligence agencies have concluded that the Russians gave the Democrats’ documents to WikiLeaks.

Republicans have a different explanation for why no documents from their networks were ever released. Over the past several months, officials from the Republican committee have consistently said that their networks were not compromised, asserting that only the accounts of individual Republicans were attacked. On Friday, a senior committee official said he had no comment.

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Harry Reid: Comey Should Resign

In the wake of a “soul-crushing” report on Russia’s meddling in the presidential election, Sen. Harry Reid has called for FBI Director James Comey to resign for allegedly withholding information on President-elect Donald Trump’s ties to Russia. Reid, who was a fierce opponent of Comey’s handling of Hillary Clinton’s email scandal, which many believe cost her the election, told MSNBC on Saturday that he believes the FBI knew all along that Russia was helping Trump and deliberately did nothing about it. “This is not fake news. Intelligence officials are hiding connections to the Russian government. There is no question,” Reid said.

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DEFCON 1

World War III: Democrats and America vs. Trump and Russia

The CIA believes Moscow tried to destroy Hillary Clinton and tilt the election. Republicans stayed quiet. This is a fight for who controls America: you or Putin?

Michael Tomasky

Michael Tomasky

12.10.16

Make no mistake, yesterday’s Washington Post revelation that the CIA has concluded that Russia was actively trying to elect Donald Trump as opposed to just “meddling with” the election, is a nuclear bombshell. And if the Post piece is Hiroshima, then today’s New York Times story, which adds the detail that Russian actors also hacked email accounts at the Republican National Committee but did not release those publicly as they did Democratic National Committee and Clinton campaign emails, is Nagasaki.

Hyperbole? Think again. A foreign government may have determined the outcome of a presidential election. And not Canada or Costa Rica, but Russia: the United States’ chief historic adversary and an oligarchy ruled by a tyrant who has systematically taken away rights. Bombshells don’t come much bigger.

Oh, wait; yes they do. On top of all the above, leaders of one of our two political parties—I’ll let you hazard a guess as to which one—argued against letting the American public know about all this before the election, reportedly saying it would be too partisan. That’s not hardball politics. That’s a hair’s breath away from treason.

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Still4Hill

If you saw the movie “Woman in Gold,” and I strongly recommend that you do, you know that as a young lawyer and new dad, Randy Schoenberg argued before Chief Justice Rhenquist’s Supreme Court and prevailed. He did this having given up his job and devoting all of his time, energy, and resources to helping Maria Altmann recover paintings stolen from her family’s Vienna residence by the Nazis.

Here is his Facebook entry.

So, I filed a lawsuit today against the US Department of Justice seeking immediate disclosure of the FBI search warrant for the e-mails of Hillary Clinton and Huma Abedin on Anthony Weiner’s laptop. As I explained in my blog http://schoenblog.com/?p=1008, I think we need to see what “probable cause” was shown for obtaining the search warrant, because whoever thought there was going to be evidence…

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What were we thinking?

Yesterday’s news of TIME’s pick for “person of the year” pretty much dotted the [I]s and crossed the [T]s.  Readers voted overwhelmingly for Hillary Clinton mirroring the popular vote in the election.  Editors, who actually make the selection, opted for the runner-up.  The message could not be clearer.  No matter how popular she is, no matter how many people actually voted for her in any context, that glass ceiling was fortified with steel filament. Hillary Clinton was never going to be president.  How foolish of us to have entertained that frivolous dream.

Americans, and in fact the international community, have long questioned why the United States has not yet had a woman president when so many other countries have elected women to top leadership positions. It is a good question, however, news of the week brings echoes of how those women actually fared in those roles.

1. No one knows whether Park Guen-Hye’s presidency in South Korea will survive the pending impeachment bill or whether she will resign.  The future looks dim for her. So she could win the dubious distinction of being the first democratically elected woman president of her country as well as the first democratically elected president not to serve a full term.

South Korea parliament introduces bill to impeach Park; vote due Friday

Park is accused of colluding with a friend and a former aide to pressure big businesses to donate to two foundations set up to back her policy initiatives.

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2. Brazil’s first woman president, Dilma Rouseff,  was impeached and removed from office on August 31 of this year.  The charges were corruption.  Hillary Clinton attended Rouseff’s inauguration on January 1, 2011.

Dilma Rousseff: ‘A woman in authority is called hard, while a man is called strong’

She displays angry indignation, for instance, at any mention of the government that has replaced her, led by her former vice-president and political nemesis, President Michel Temer.

“It’s a government of rich old white men, or at least those who want to be rich,” she says, hinting at a long list of corruption allegations against those in Temer’s ruling coalition.

Read more >>>>

3. Yulia Tymoshenko served as Ukraine’s prime minister from 2007-2010 then bumped heads with Viktor Yanukovych (buddy of Trump advisor, Paul Manafort) who won the election and imprisoned her for overstepping her bounds as PM.

Yulia Tymoshenko: She’s No Angel

… in 2005 … Tymoshenko became prime minister. But she quickly fell out with her erstwhile ally, who dismissed her government after a few months. She came back as prime minister from 2007 to 2010, which was right when the global economic crisis hit Ukraine full force. In the 2010 presidential elections she ran against Yanukovych, she lost, and in 2011, he saw to it she was jailed.

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(Are we beginning to see a pattern here?)

4. Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, former First Lady of Argentina, succeeded her late husband to the presidency as a social justice candidate for the Peronista party.  She fulfilled her two four-year terms but was embattled by corruption charges and continues to be haunted by accusations of her implication in a murder case. (Sound familiar?)

Argentina judge looks to relaunch investigation into former president

The case against Fernández, a left-of-center politician who governed Argentina from 2007 to 2015, was compiled by the late prosecutor Alberto Nisman. He was found shot in the head 19 months ago in his apartment just hours before he was to present the case to Congress. His mysterious death remains unsolved.

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5. Benazir Bhutto, served as 11th and 13th prime minister of Pakistan, was convicted of corruption, and assassinated in 2007 at a campaign event. She was running as the opposition party candidate.

6. Indira Ghandi, daughter of India’s first prime minister and twice prime minister in her own right, assassinated in office October 31, 1984.

7. The first woman president ever, Isabel Perón, elected vice president on her husband’s ticket in 1973 succeeded him as president upon his death on July 1, 1974. She was overthrown in a military coup on March 23, 1976 and lives in exile in Spain which has refused her extradition on charges that Spain claims do not constitute crimes against humanity.

Women serving as Irish presidents have fared better, as did the super-conservative Reagan pal Maggie Thatcher in the UK.*  Germany’s Angela Merkel has flourished despite lots of opposition from time to time over everything from immigration to economic policy, and Theresa May in the UK appears to be doing well so far.

*Edited to ad this book suggestion from Friday’s Skimm:

SKIMM READS

“High Dive” by Jonathan Lee  

A bomb is planted at a hotel in the ’80s. The same hotel where British PM Margaret Thatcher’s about to check in. Based on a true story, this read about an attempted assassination is like “The Crown” meets “Jackie.”

So there was that.

The question that remains, though, in the face of the stories above is “What did we expect?” Did we really expect that the voice of the people would be respected? Even if Hillary had dominated the electoral vote, there were plans among Republicans long before Election Day to impeach her.  Empty charges of corruption tied to the Clinton Foundation (no Clinton has profited from that foundation as attested by decades of financial disclosures by her campaign), Benghazi investigations that morphed into the server  “scandal” which in turn begat the emails brouhaha filled the press and mainstream media reports alongside implications that Hillary Clinton just wasn’t healthy enough to be president – also untrue. Trump’s mainstream even now at his rallies (what elected leader continues to hold rallies? and why?) call for her to be locked up and the fringes, some of his supporters accuse her of treason and call for her execution.  Think about that for a minute.

Meanwhile, just in case those stories were not powerful enough to defeat her, fake news stories charging her with everything from child trafficking to murder continue uncontrolled on social media, the FBI director released a misleading letter less than two weeks before Election Day, and Russian interference in the election remains a “meh” story as far as the media is concerned.  So much more important to have a Trump-cam set up at his HQ on 5th Avenue to track the comings and goings of celebrity visitors.

We expected Hillary Clinton to bring in a mandate.  If the popular vote is an indication, she did that by 2% and nearly 3 million individual votes.  But if we were thinking that she would ever ride this tide into the Oval Office, the political establishment was in the background slapping us back and making certain that would never happen on the excuse that she was “the establishment” – an allegation popularized within her own party by her primary rival, Bernie Sanders. Even now, these toxic memes about Hillary Clinton, presidential candidate, continue to circulate.

So you can throw your money at a recount if you want. The issue of standing was bound to arise, and Jill Stein does not have standing.  Only Hillary does, and she and her team are not pushing for a recount or an audit – the latter will never materialize, and the reason is that under no circumstances was Hillary Clinton ever going to be allowed to take that oath. In a final layer of prevention, Jason Chaffetz has plans for further HRC investigations – of what remains to be seen.  Perhaps he thinks she is running guerilla training camps in the wild.

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We don’t know who made this macro, but we love it.

The establishment was never prepared for a Hillary Clinton presidency even though the majority of American voters were.  They were hell bent on preventing it, and will continue to do so even if that requires inventing more lies.  Should they embark on that path, we will continue to fight.

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