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Just to keep the record straight, here are the 17 intel agencies that we have been hearing about since Hillary Clinton brought them up during one of the debates.

 

latimes.com

There’s more than the CIA and FBI: The 17 agencies that make up the U.S. intelligence community

Nina Agrawal

The U.S. intelligence community recently reaffirmed its conclusion that senior officials in Russia were behind hacks during the 2016 presidential campaign into the Democratic National Committee and emails belonging to associates of Hillary Clinton.

But what exactly is the “intelligence community?” It’s not just an amorphous term for all U.S. intelligence officials. It’s a veritable alphabet soup of 17 agencies and offices. The group includes agencies strictly focused on intelligence as well as the intelligence arms of other government agencies and of the military. Its total budget in 2015 was $66.8 billion.

Here are the 17 offices:

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Matthew Rosenberg of the New York Times explains why Trump’s remarks yesterday implying that not all 17 agencies were in agreement were deceptive misleading.

 

President Trump speaking in Warsaw on Thursday. During his speech, Mr. Trump yet again raised doubt about Russian meddling in the presidential election.

President Trump speaking in Warsaw on Thursday. During his speech, Mr. Trump yet again raised doubt about Russian meddling in the presidential election. Stephen Crowley/The New York Times

Trump Misleads on Russian Meddling: Why 17 Intelligence Agencies Don’t Need to Agree

By MATTHEW ROSENBERG

President Trump said on Thursday that only “three or four” of the United States’ 17 intelligence agencies had concluded that Russia interfered in the presidential election — a statement that while technically accurate, is misleading and suggests widespread dissent among American intelligence agencies when none has emerged.

The “three or four” agencies referred to by Mr. Trump are the Central Intelligence Agency, the National Security Agency, the F.B.I. and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, all of which determined that Russia interfered in the election. Their work was compiled into a report, and a declassified version was released on Jan. 6 by the director of national intelligence. It said that all four agencies had “high confidence” that Russian spies had tried to interfere in the election on the orders of President Vladimir V. Putin.

The reason the views of only those four intelligence agencies, not all 17, were included in the assessment is simple: They were the ones tracking and analyzing the Russian campaign. The rest were doing other work.

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Cross-posted at http://Still4Hill.com.

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… another rotation of moms and dads arrived at work to discover that they should have blocked POTUS on their tween sons’ Twitter accounts. What an example for boys the age of his own son!

 

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Those watching “The Handmaid’s Tale” on Hulu cannot be faulted for thinking they might be living a cyncial version of the old 1940s “Road” pictures with Bing Crosby, Bob Hope, and Dorothy Lamour. (Who gave her that name?!) A movie called “The Road to Gilead.” Emily Peck has other ideas, but there are portents that cannot be denied.

Women In The U.S. Don’t Live In A Dystopian Hellscape. Yet.

“The Handmaid’s Tale” resonates, but there’s reason for hope.

Peck is pretty optimistic positing that the road to Gilead is fraught with lots of potholes and obstructions, but we do well not to focus too narrowly on the falling rock on one side of the highway thereby missing the sheer cliff on the other side.

I am not watching “The Handmaid’s Tale,” much as I would like to. I simply refuse to pay another dollar beyond my already expensive FiOS service, so Hulu and Netflix are out for me.  I have, however, read the book. The coincidence of the airing of the mini-series with the Democratic “Unity Tour” should set off some bells and whistles.

This is the axiom Peck offers that Bernie supporters continue to reject.

“Progress does not happen in a straight line. Setbacks are inevitable. What’s critical is what comes next.”

They rejected it during the 2016 primaries renouncing any and all incremental policies proposed by Hillary Clinton’s campaign and stubbornly continued their opposition during the general election.  They persist in their unwillingness to allow the Democratic Party to evolve naturally and have set out to take it over and overturn the common sense principles that have been its warp and woof since the groundbreaking days of FDR.  Rather than empowering women, the party is rolling back its liberating positions on women under the influence of a man who refuses to join the party.  No, this is not a relitigation or extension of the 2016 primaries.  It is a fight for the future.

The parallels between the dystopia Atwood projected and perceived potential effects of the new administration are not limited to Trump’s positions and those of his cronies. The BernieBros continue to have a hand in suppressing female issues, concerns, and voices within the only party likely to continue to highlight them.

Women have a stake in resisting efforts on either side to curtail our rights and freedoms. Resisters must do it for ourselves.  But we must be careful not to lose the party.  That is where the strength is.  The reason the BernieBots are fighting to usurp that power is because they know that a third party will have no muscle except to do what they have done in 2000 and 2016 – split the progressive vote.

We must remember that there was a reason why, at the end of her senior thesis, Hillary Clinton spurned Saul Alinsky’s methods (i.e. change from without the system rather than within) as well as the job he offered her and opted for the discipline of law school instead.  We have to be in it to win it.

Leaving the party  is no solution.  Think hard before you do that because it is not only the Trump crowd that would happily see us in shades of red, blue, green, and stripes according to their designations of how we serve.  We cannot determine our fate from the outside.  The Bernie crowd knows this, and that is why they fight to take over the party.  Let’s not just abandon it to them.

Crossposted at Still4Hill.

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Unlike Trump, Nixon actually won the popular vote, but the clumsy CREEP-sponsored break-in at the DNC HQ in the Watergate complex eventually caught up with him.

In case you missed it by dint of being born too late or if you memory is dusty, this Washington Post article gives a pretty thorough account of Nixon’s Saturday Might Massacre as compared to Trump’s legacy tribute last night now dubbed the Monday Night Massacre.

January 31

Revisiting the ‘Saturday Night Massacre’

In the dark days of the Watergate scandal, former president Richard Nixon pushed out two attorney generals and the special prosecutor of the Watergate investigation in what became known as the “Saturday Night Massacre.” (Jenny Starrs/The Washington Post)

On the night of Oct. 20, 1973, the United States was gripped by a constitutional crisis unlike any in its history.

President Richard Nixon, under investigation for his role in the Watergate scandal, ordered the firing of Archibald Cox, the special prosecutor handling the case, rather than cooperate with him. Attorney General Elliot Richardson and Deputy Attorney General William Ruckelshaus resigned in protest, after refusing to carry out the president’s orders. Nixon went on to abolish the special prosecutor’s office entirely.

The events became known as the “Saturday Night Massacre.” It marked one of the most sordid moments in White House history, with the president using his political power to thwart an investigation and retaliate against his opponents in government.

“Saturday Night Massacre” re-emerged in the popular lexicon again on Monday, when President Trump fired Acting Attorney General Sally Yates for instructing Justice Department lawyers not to defend his order shutting U.S. borders to refugees worldwide and travelers from seven mostly Muslim countries.

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Trump Fires Acting AG Who Defied Ban

REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

Just hours after Acting Attorney General Sally Yates ordered the Department of Justice not to defend President Donald Trump’s refugee ban, the Trump administration ousted her from office. Yates, an Obama appointee, was tasked with serving as attorney general from Trump’s Jan. 20 inauguration until his own AG nominee was approved. On Monday evening, Yates announced that the DOJ would not defend Trump’s ban on immigrants from seven Muslim-majority countries while she was in office. Hours later, the Trump administration issued a statement calling Yates “weak” and announcing Dana Boente as her replacement.

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Here is Sally Yates, American hero.

The acting director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, not named in the article, is Daniel Ragsdale. He remains at ICE as a deputy director, but the one-two punch stirred echoes of Nixon’s October 1973 purge.

Speaking of purges, what’s up at the State Department? There were these from last week.

Exodus Feared at State Department as Top Officials Resign

An entire senior-management team is leaving Foggy Bottom in the wake of Trump’s presidency.
Trump fires top State Department officials

Story highlights

  • The White House usually asks career officials in such positions to stay on for some time
  • The firings leave a huge management hole at the State Department

Washington (CNN)Two senior administration officials said Thursday that the Trump administration told four top State Department management officials that their services were no longer needed as part of an effort to “clean house” at Foggy Bottom.

Patrick Kennedy, who served for nine years as the undersecretary for management, Assistant Secretaries for Administration and Consular Affairs Joyce Anne Barr and Michele Bond, and Ambassador Gentry Smith, director of the Office for Foreign Missions, were sent letters by the White House that their service was no longer required, the sources told CNN.

There is this from today’s New York Times.

I know oust and purge are words we do not normally associate with our peaceful, bloodless transitions of power in this country, but it is probably unnecessary to remind you that nothing is normal – especially our new special relationship with Russia.

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What do we mean when we use the word “protection?” A simple Google search yields this.

pro·tec·tion

[prəˈtekSH(ə)n]

NOUN

  1. the action of protecting someone or something, or the state of being protected:

    “the B vitamins give protection against infection” ·

    [more]

    synonyms: defense · security · shielding · preservation ·

    [more]
    • a person or thing that prevents someone or something from suffering harm or injury:

      “the castle was built as protection against the Saxons” ·

      [more]

      synonyms: barrier · buffer · shield · screen · hedge · cushion ·

      [more]
    • (protections)
      a legal or other formal measure intended to preserve civil liberties and rights.
    • a document guaranteeing immunity from harm to the person specified in it.
    • the practice of paying money to criminals so as to prevent them from attacking oneself or one’s property:

      “a protection racket” ·

      [more]
    • money paid to criminals to prevent them from attacking, especially on a regular basis.
    • archaic
      used euphemistically to refer to the keeping of a mistress by her lover in a separate establishment:
      “she was living under his lordship’s protection at Gloucester Gate”
pro·tect

[prəˈtekt]

VERB

  1. keep safe from harm or injury:

    “he tried to protect Kelly from the attack” ·

    [more]

    synonyms: keep safe · keep from harm · save · safeguard · preserve ·

    [more]
    • (protected)
      aim to preserve (a threatened plant or animal species) by legislating against collecting or hunting.
    • (protected)
      restrict by law access to or development of (land) so as to preserve its natural state:
      “logging is continuing in protected areas in violation of an international agreement”

      synonyms: secured · sheltered · in safe hands · safe ·

      [more]
    • (of an insurance policy) promise to pay (someone) an agreed amount in the event of loss, injury, fire, theft, or other misfortune:
      “in the event of your death, your family will be protected against any financial problems that may arise”
    • economics
      shield (a domestic industry) from competition by imposing import duties on foreign goods.
    • computing
      restrict access to or use of (data or a memory location):
      “security products are designed to protect information from unauthorized access”

Origin and Etymology of protect

Middle English, from Latin protectus, past participle of protegere, from pro- in front + tegere to cover — more at pro-, thatch
First Known Use: 15th century

It is Donald Trump’s flavor of the week.

Trump releases statement on immigration

Amid protests nationwide over President Donald Trump’s controversial immigration order, the president did not back away from his plan, saying his “first priority will always be to protect and serve our country.”

Trump released the statement Sunday afternoon, two days after he signed an executive order that halts the Syrian refugee program and temporarily suspends immigration from seven predominantly Muslim countries.

“America is a proud nation of immigrants and we will continue to show compassion to those fleeing oppression, but we will do so while protecting our own citizens and border,” Trump said.

Read the full story here.
Read Trump’s full statement here.

After the stroke of Trump’s pen, a dramatic 34 hours

President Donald Trump paused as he removed the cap from his pen, an executive order severely limiting immigration from seven Muslim-majority nations waiting on the desk before him.

“That’s big stuff,” the president said, and scrawled his jagged signature.

In the 34 hours that followed, lawyers would mount a frantic effort to overturn the order; politicians and protesters would descend on Logan International Airport as detainees waited behind closed doors; and somehow, at a federal court hearing in the middle of the night, they would win.

Read the full special report.
34 hours of confusion: An interactive timeline.

George Lakoff, our canary in the language mine, has something to say about protection.

The Public’s Viewpoint: Regulations are Protections

 

The American Majority got 2.8 million more votes in the 2016 election than the Loser President. That puts the majority in a position to change American political discourse and how Americans understand and think about politics. As a start, what is needed is a change of viewpoint.

Here is a typical example. Minority President Trump has said that he intends to get rid of 75% of government regulations. What is a “regulation”?

The term “regulation” is framed from the viewpoint of corporations and other businesses. From their viewpoint, “regulations” are limitations on their freedom to do whatever they want no matter who it harms. But from the public’s viewpoint, a regulation is a protection against harm done by unscrupulous corporations seeking to maximize profit at the cost of harm to the public.

Imagine our minority President saying out loud that he intends to get rid of 75% of public protections. Imagine the press reporting that. Imagine the NY Times, or even the USA Today headline: Trump to Eliminate 75% of Public Protections. Imagine the media listing, day after day, the protections to be eliminated and the harms to be faced by the public.

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Parents and grandparents of teens hope that when romance prevails they are using “protection.”  Given this administration’s and the GOP’s plans for Planned Parenthood, that kind of protection is not among their priorities.

Trump’s use of this word is a protection in itself, covering ulterior motives. Words have meanings and Lakoff has been telling us for decades the the Republicans are very adept at co-opting words for their own purposes. He has long advised Democrats to own the framing.

Regulation is a form of protection. Immigration bans targeting specific populations are not protection. They are a form of discrimination for the purpose of abridging the rights of some.

Vigilance requires that we pay attention to words as well as actions. This new government will not protect us. We need to take our protection into our own hands.

cropped-dehos-11-2016signed3.jpg

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A biopic about J.D. Salinger debuted at Sundance and is likely and given the writer-director’s creds is a hit in the making and is likely to spur a revival of The Catcher in the Rye this year.

MAKE AMERICA PHONY AGAIN

J.D. Salinger in the Age of Donald Trump: ‘The Rebel in the Rye’ Debuts at Sundance

Writer-director Danny Strong (Empire, The Butler, Game Change) on why his J.D. Salinger biopic The Rebel in the Rye, which just premiered at Sundance, is so timely.

Kevin Fallon

Kevin Fallon

01.28.17

“What makes you think that you have anything to say to people?”

It’s a crushing line, delivered from father to son, in writer-director Danny Strong’s new J.D. Salinger biopic The Rebel in the Rye, which chronicles how Salinger’s time fighting in World War II and ensuing PTSD played backdrop to his writing one of the last century’s most popular and important novels, and eventually played a part in the writer spending the last decades of his life a recluse in New Hampshire.

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George Orwell’s 1984 is at the top of Amazon’s bestseller list, again. It is unlikely that this is because every English teacher in America is assigning it as required reading this semester. Many probably are, and if I were back in my English teaching days, I probably would. In fact I probably would add Animal Farm, which I did use with freshman English classes once upon a time.  Two articles published today cite both books as worthy of a second read.  It may be the year of the rooster, but the pigs are in control.

Photo Illustration by Sarah Rogers/The Daily Beast

Prescient

How George Orwell Predicted Donald Trump

The White House’s embrace of ‘alternative facts’ evokes the managed truth Orwell described in 1984 and Animal Farm—a perfect example of the Big Lie backed by Big Power.

John Sutherland

01.28.17

Oh Orwell, thou shouldst be living at this hour. In fact, every hour since that dark night in January 1950 when you died, alone, in a hospital. Perhaps, web paranoia speculates, your truth-telling got too dangerous for the powers that be and you were terminated with extreme prejudice. It makes a crazy kind of sense.

The recent furor about “alternative facts,” in a culture polluting its thought processes with post-truth license and fake news, suggests that George Orwell’s dire predictions about double-think and thought-crime are with us—albeit 33 years late.

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In our Orwellian reality, reach for ‘Animal Farm’ with your ‘1984’

After Trump took office, on Saturday he sent his press secretary out to berate and lie to the press. On Sunday, his senior adviser called the lies “alternative facts.” The Washington Post’s media columnist Margaret Sullivan declared we’ve gone “full Orwell.”

Sales of Orwell’s anti-totalitarian classic “1984” skyrocketed after Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway tried to justify the government’s over-exaggerated inaugural turnout claim as ” alternative facts.”

But Stanford University literature professor Alex Woloch, who penned ” Or Orwell: Writing and Democratic Socialism,” says another book by the late British author might provide better insight for what’s happening to America today: “Animal Farm.”

“In ‘1984,’ however we’ve gotten into that situation has already occurred,” Woloch says. “But in ‘Animal Farm,’ [Orwell is] really tracing that sense of a ‘slippery slope.’”

Woloch is referring to the “slippery slope” scholars on authoritarian regimes call the transition from democracy to totalitarianism.

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Meanwhile, the benevolent dictator wannabe’s executive order banning immigrants from seven countries has, today, left hundreds stranded in no man’s land. He sat with ABC’s David Muir, this week,  and in the kindliest of tones described how Christian immigrants would be given priority standing.

Your first reaction might be that this is unAmerican.  That is correct. But it also is untrue.

VIENNA (AP) — Austria has shut its door to about 300 non-Muslim Iranians hoping to use the country as a way station before establishing new homes in the United States, The Associated Press has learned. The action is an early ripple effect of U.S. President Donald Trump’s effort to clamp down on refugee admissions.

Under a 27-year-old program originally approved by Congress to help Jews in the former Soviet Union, Austria had been serving until recently as a conduit for Iranian Jews, Christians and Baha’i, who were at risk in their home country and eligible to resettle in the United States. Iran has banned the Baha’i religion, which was founded in 1844 by a Persian nobleman considered a prophet by followers.

U.S. officials had been interviewing the candidates in Austria because they cannot do so in Iran. But the United States suspended the so-called “Iranian Lautenberg Program” in recent days, according to Austrian officials, who in turn stopped Iranians from reaching their territory. It’s unclear when the program might restart.

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Not only are these folks marooned, green card holders are included in the ban.

People holding so-called green cards, making them legal permanent U.S. residents, are included in President Donald Trump’s executive action temporarily barring people from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States, a Department of Homeland security spokeswoman said on Saturday.

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So it is not English teachers and their students alone who likely are boning up on their Orwellian glossaries. Newspeak is with us. As for how this particular transition works, Animal Farm is a great source. You might even want to pair it up with William Golding’s Lord of the Flies. My long-ago ninth graders were adept at finding parallels in the politics of subjugation.

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Once again, BHL hits the nail on the head!

Richard Drew/AP/REX/Shutterstock

IN HIS OWN WORDS

Donald Trump’s Plot Against America: Watching the Inauguration with Philip Roth

The author of The Plot Against America, Philip Roth spends Inauguration Day dwelling on everything from the perplexing case of Melania Trump to America’s state of suspended insurrection.

Bernard-Henri Lévy

Bernard-Henri Lévy

01.27.17

On the day of Donald Trump’s inauguration, I met Philip Roth.

This was a surreal experience, given that, in his 2004 novel, The Plot Against America, Roth precisely described the sinister and chilling nightmare in which the United States now finds itself.

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