Saturday, November 26, 2016

The life of Fidel Castro....Passed away at 90

Images from the life of Fidel Castro, the revolutionary who seized power in Cuba and held it for nearly 50 years.

Cuban former President Fidel Castro gives a speech, on September 3, 2010, at Havana's University.

The caption describing Fidel Castro in his 1945 high school yearbook reads: "Distinguished student and a fine athlete. Very popular. Will study law and we have no doubt he will have a brilliant future."
Fidel Castro was born in 1926 to a wealthy sugar planter. He turned to revolutionary politics as a young man.

Cuban revolutionary leader Fidel Castro spekas to supporters Jan. 8, 1959 at the Batista military base Columbia, now known as Ciudad Libertad
After two years in jail for mounting a failed coup, he went into exile in Mexico. He returned in 1956 and his revolutionary movement took hold. Castro finally assumed power in Cuba on New Year's Day, 1959, after ousting Fulgencio Batista.

Fidel Castro jumps from a tank as he arrives at Giron, Cuba, near the Bay Of Pigs
In 1961, Castro led his troops against 1,500 Cuban exiles. The exiles were supported by the CIA, who landed in the Bay of Pigs in a bid to oust his government.

Cuban Prime Minister Fidel Castro (right) pictured in the 1960s during a meeting next to Argentine guerrilla leader Ernesto Che Guevara.
Ernesto "Che" Guevara, born in Argentina, became a key figure in Cuba's revolution alongside Castro - and a left-wing hero. The pair are pictured in the 1960s.

President John Kennedy in the dramatic showdown over missile bases in Cuba Nov. 1, 1962
Perhaps Castro's biggest test came in 1962, when US President Kennedy warned him to remove Soviet missiles from Cuba.

Fidel Castro shown in file photo dated May 1963 holding the hand of Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev during an offical visit to Moscow
In the end, Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev and Castro removed the missiles, and the threat of nuclear war was averted.

Fidel Castro takes his turn at bat during a baseball game held at a teachers school in the Sierra Maestra area of Cuba
Fidel Castro had a particular love of baseball. Here he is seen playing here at a teachers' college in the Sierra Maestra in 1962.

Cuban President Fidel Castro addresses the Confederation of Cuban Workers union (CTC) 28 January 1990 in Havana
Many liberal Cubans considered him an oppressive dictator.

Cuban rafters leave Havana's coast
Thousands fled their homeland for the US, often on dangerous makeshift rafts.

Castro in his office in Havana looking at photographs of the 1959 uprising.; Copyright Burt Glinn / Magnum Photos
But Fidel Castro retained enough public support to become one of the world's longest-serving leaders.

Born: August 13, 1926, Birán, Cuba

Died: November 25, 2016, aged 90 yrs, Santiago de Cuba Province, Cuba

Resigned: February 24, 2008

Children:  seven sons and one daughter ( who sought asylum in the United States)

Siblings: Raúl Castro, Juanita Castro, Ramón Castro Ruz,
He governed the Republic of Cuba as Prime Minister from 1959 to 1976 and then as President from 1976 to 2008.

Clinton campaign joins Wisconsin vote recount

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton pictured on 16 November, 2016 in Washington, DC. This was the first time Clinton had spoken in public since conceding the presidential race to Republican Donald Trump.

A lawyer for Hillary Clinton's campaign says it will participate in a recount of US election votes in Wisconsin.
The recount was initiated by Green Party presidential nominee Jill Stein, who is also seeking recounts in Michigan and Pennsylvania, citing "statistical anomalies".
Results would need to be overturned in all three states to alter the outcome of the election.
Donald Trump, who narrowly won Wisconsin, called the move a "scam".
The president-elect said it was a way for Dr Stein - who is funding the recount through public donations - to "fill her coffers with money".
"The results of this election should be respected instead of being challenged and abused," he said.  This is a far cry from what he said during the election, when he called the voting system rigged and said he would not believe the results unless he won.


The Clinton campaign's general counsel, Marc Elias, said the Clinton team and outside experts had been "conducting an extensive review of election results, searching for any signs that the voting process had been tampered with".
He said there was no evidence to conclude the election was sabotaged, but "we have an obligation to the more than 64 million Americans who cast ballots for Hillary Clinton to participate in ongoing proceedings to ensure that an accurate vote count will be reported".
Mr Elias noted that the number of votes separating Mr Trump and Mrs Clinton in the closest of the three states  - Michigan -  "well exceeds the largest margin ever overcome in a recount".
However, he said the campaign would join in "on principle" in the Midwestern states if Dr Stein follows through on her promise.
The Green Party nominee reportedly wants to be sure computer hackers did not skew the poll in favour of Mr Trump.
Concerns over possible Russian interference had been expressed in the run-up to the vote. It remains to be disproved that there was any hacking and will remain a sore point until it is settled.
The US government did declare  that Russian state actors were behind hacks on the Democratic National Committee.

Image result for image of Jill stein

In a statement on Friday, the Wisconsin Elections Commission said it had received two recount petitions from the Jill Stein campaign and from Rocky Roque De La Fuente, a businessman who ran unsuccessfully to be the 2016 Democratic presidential nominee.
Administrator Michael Haas said the count would begin in the week after Dr Stein's campaign paid the fee, which the commission was still calculating.
Dr Stein's campaign needs to raise millions of dollars to cover the fees for the vote recount in all three states.
Her website says over $5.8m has already been raised toward a $7m target. It says this is enough to fund the recounts in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania.  Dr Stein has defended her recount initiative, saying that "the point to drive home here is that having a secure elections process benefits us all".
She also suggested that she was open to looking at recounts in other states - not just Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania.
John Bonifaz and J Alex Halderman, voting rights lawyers who urged candidates to request recounts, have said the "physical evidence" that could signal a cyber-attack needs to be closely analyzed.
The deadline for the petition for the recount in Wisconsin was Friday, while Pennsylvania's deadline is Monday, and Michigan's is Wednesday. Michigan is yet to declare its final results.
Wisconsin provides only 10 votes in the crucial electoral college that gave Mr Trump victory in the 8 November election.  Wins there for Mrs Clinton, as well as in Michigan (16 electoral votes) and Pennsylvania (20 electoral votes), would have clinched the presidency for the Democrat.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Mysterious pyramids found in Antarctica

Google Earth images of Antarctica have revealed what look like pyramids - prompting conspiracy theorists to suggest they were created by anything from lost civilizations to aliens.
The 'snow pyramids' have the internet abuzz with the idea there was an ancient human civilization that once lived in Antarctica.
Three pyramids have been found, with two of them 10 miles inland and the third near the coastline. They have four sides, prompting comparisons to the Egyptian pyramids of Giza.
Some scientists suggest humans could once have lived in the frozen area as it may once have been a lot warmer, perhaps even up to 20C.
Speaking to The Sun, Dr Vanessa Bowman, of the British Antarctic Survey, once said: "Go back 100 million years ago and Antarctica was covered in lush rainforests similar to those that exist in New Zealand today."
Others suggestion are that the pyramids are the remnants of the lost civilization of Atlantis, or that they were built with the help of aliens.
The Daily Star suggests that if the structures are found to be man-made, it could change our understanding of human history.

However, the Inquisitr reports that a geological explanation of the pyramids has also been put forward, "suggesting pyramid-like formations could be extended rocky peaks known as "nunatak," which are protrusions through ice or glacial crust of the peaks of mountains or rocks that stand higher than the terrain around it."
Whatever they turn out to be,  they certainly are weird and unusual and give rise to dozens of theories. Personally, I 'm leaning toward the alien theory, which makes as much sense as the others.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Twitter sensation, seven year old Bana appeals to us from dying city of Aleppo

With the help of her mom, Bana Alabed has been tweeting from Aleppo to raise awareness about the plight of her people

Monday, November 21, 2016

The Viral Photo that Changed America in 1863

© Provided by Boston Globe Media Partners, LLC 

Story courtesy of the Boston Globe:
 On the Fourth of July in 1863 — an Independence Day that dawned with twisted, bloated bodies carpeting the fields and orchards of Gettysburg — tens of thousands of Americans who thought themselves numb to violence learned they were wrong. Leafing through the new issue of Harper’s Weekly, they encountered the graphic sight of a shirtless black slave in profile revealing a barbaric web of welts across the canvas of his bare back, testament to a ferocious whipping.

To many Northerners who had never set foot on a plantation, the image offered the first visual evidence of slavery’s inhumanity that they had ever seen. “It’s one of the first photographs to show a slave who clearly had been beaten badly,” says Frank Goodyear, codirector of the Bowdoin College Museum of Art, who has long studied the picture. “It suggests that the Southern idea that slavery was a benign institution was in fact a lie.”

A century-and-a-half later, the revolting visual still steals the breath. Now, new research by Bruce Laurie, an emeritus professor of history at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, reveals how the image came about: A pair of Union soldiers from Western Massachusetts who were shocked by the cruelty of slavery they confronted produced the iconic picture in the hopes of making virtual eyewitnesses of those back home.
 When the photograph went viral, it demonstrated the ability of the visual medium to expose racial injustice and foster social change — long before cellphone videos of fatal police shootings rose to the civil rights forefront.

In his new study, “‘Chaotic Freedom’ in Civil War Louisiana: The Origins of an Iconic Image,” Laurie identifies Hampshire Gazette publisher Henry S. Gere and Marshall Stearns as the soldiers responsible for the famous photograph. While Gere was a “firebrand abolitionist” from his teenage days, his fellow soldier in the 52nd Massachusetts Regiment had a more complicated relationship with race.
Laurie writes in his essay, which will be released as an e-book later this month by the Massachusetts Review, that Stearns was “an ignorant and naive racist” who had no contact with African-Americans before enlisting in the fall of 1862. “Like most men in the regiment,” Laurie says, “he went to war probably because he was a Unionist first. I don’t think he gave a second thought to slavery.”

That all changed once Stearns joined Gere in Baton Rouge, La., in December 1862 and was given charge of the so-called contrabands — slaves who had escaped to the Union camp. After witnessing the hardships and risks they experienced, Stearns refused to return slaves to planters and reprimanded officers who disparaged African-Americans. “Reading his letters very carefully, he’s becoming an abolitionist,” Laurie says. “Little by little, it’s clear that he’s appalled by what he sees in and around Baton Rouge, and he becomes more sympathetic. After about a month, he drops his racist language as a sign that he’s more enlightened.”

One day in the early spring of 1863, Stearns and Gere joined a crowd of soldiers and medics in the recruiting office as a recently escaped slave named Peter removed the shroud of rags that partially concealed his back to reveal a vast network of scars. The wounds from the whip of an irate overseer also lashed the sensibilities of Stearns and Gere, who called it “one of the most horrid and singular objects I have ever beheld.”

Gere wrote during his time in Louisiana that African-Americans “must be seen” in order “to be fully understood and their condition fully appreciated.” Although he revered the written word as a newspaper publisher, Gere joined many abolitionists in embracing the new wonder of photography as a way to change millions of minds.

Twice in April 1863, Gere and Stearns brought Peter to pose for portraits taken by Boston-born photographer William D. McPherson, who was visiting their camp with his assistant. Thanks to recent technological advancements, McPherson was able to cheaply mass-produce Peter’s image on wallet-sized cartes de visite that were printed on cardstock and easier to disseminate than expensive daguerreotypes, which required a fragile glass case for protection.

While the soldiers sent copies of the photograph to family and friends in Massachusetts, a third portrait of Peter — likely arranged by Massachusetts medics in the Baton Rouge camp, according to Laurie — circulated through abolitionist social networks before breaking into the mainstream media, including its reproduction in Harper’s Weekly (which misidentified Peter as “Gordon,” according to Laurie).

As painful and uncomfortable as Peter’s image was to view, it allowed a mass audience to experience the same transformation as Stearns did on the ground in Louisiana. The powerful image conveyed the evils of slavery in a way that even the most potent words of abolitionists William Lloyd Garrison or Harriet Beecher Stowe never could.
In an accusation that’s become all too familiar in the age of Photoshop, pro-slavery forces challenged the photograph as a fabrication. “Another response was that the slave probably deserved it,” Laurie says, “and this is what you have to do if slaves act up.”
These days, our hands clutch cellphones instead of cartes de visite. Goodyear says he can’t help but see the parallels between the circulation of Peter’s image and modern-day citizen videos of police shootings that can be disseminated with just a tap on the touchscreen.

“What began as a very local — even private — image ultimately achieved something much grander because it circulated so widely,” he says of Peter’s photograph. “When many wished to maintain the status quo, photography provided abolitionists — and more recently other reformers — with a new form of communication that proved very significant in winning support for a political cause.

“When you consider photography was a new visual technology in existence for less than 25 years, this picture would have been seen as a groundbreaking form of communication akin to the kind of digital image revolution we are in the midst of now,” Goodyear says. “People recognized photography’s power and suggested that it could do things the written word couldn’t.”

'CRAP!' There was no good news today ....So here's a cute picture

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Russians bomb last standing hospital in Aleppo

Related image

The russians have bombed the very last hopital standing in Aleppo leaving 250,000 people abandoned without medical care or medicines or even a bed to lay on. Thousands of whom are maimed, needing surgery or on life support. Well done Mr Putin -  barrel bombing unarmed, injured citizens, including hundreds of children.

“They have all been repeatedly attacked over the last few days,” said David Nott, a surgeon with decades of experience working in war zones, who has been supporting the Aleppo doctors.“I don’t think in all my years of doing this I’ve seen such dreadful pictures of injuries, of people lying on the floor in an emergency room, the dead mixed with the living,” said Nott. At least two doctors were among the dead, he said, and he feared hospitals that had kept operating under attack and with dwindling supplies might now have been shut down permanently.“The Aleppo hospitals have been re-opened so many times, underground or in new locations, but between the bombing and the siege I don’t know if it will be possible to resurrect them this time.”The destruction comes amid a blitz of opposition areas spearheaded by Russia over the past three days, which has whittled away what remains of the opposition-held east in preparation for a ground invasion, led by Iranian-backed militias allied to Syrian forces. Médecins Sans Frontières said east Aleppo’s hospitals had been hit by bombs in more than 30 separate attacks since the siege began in July and there was no possibility of sending help or more supplies.
Schools, roads and homes have also been bombed repeatedly as the Syrian leader’s allies attempt to drive opposition communities out of the city and, by doing so, change the face of the nearly six-year war. Doctors and residents inside Aleppo said there was no more than two weeks’ supplies of food and medicines left inside the city.

In the lead-up to the US election, Russia had pledged to obliterate what remained of anti-regime forces and the communities that support them, and as president-elect Donald Trump prepares to take over the White House, Moscow is acting on its threats.
Condemnation of the latest attacks was swift, with medical organizations and aid agencies that support the city’s healthcare system labelling them as “war crimes”. Governments were slower to react, with Turkey, the opposition’s most important backer, remaining silent as the attacks had intensified. Turkish forces continue to back a rebel push against the Isis stronghold of al-Bab, 25 miles to the northeast of Aleppo.

There was no immediate response from Washington, which has supplied light arms to some opposition groups for the past three years, but has refused requests to introduce battle-changing weaponry, such as anti-aircraft missiles. Trump has indicated he will withdraw US support from anti-Assad rebels soon after his inauguration in January.
Russia has said its latest campaign is directed at the terror group, along with Jabhat Fatah al-Sham, a prescribed terror organization with links to al-Qaida. It said it was focusing its efforts on Homs and Idlib, closer to the Mediterranean coast. Unfortunately that couldn't be further from the truth.

On Friday, Russia’s ambassador to the UK, Alexander Yakovenko, said Russia’s bombing aimed to ensure that Isis members did not enter the area from Mosul in Iraq, where the organization is besieged by the Iraqi military, militias fighting in support of it, and Kurds. In response, the UK’s special representative for Syria, Gareth Bayley, tweeted: “How is that geographically sensible … that’s 400km from border with Iraq?”

Farida, a doctor living in southeastern Aleppo, said: “It’s unnatural, we’ve seen so much bombardment but nothing like this ever. It is hell. We wanted to try to set up a maternity ward somewhere else because ours was damaged in the bombing of the hospitals but we couldn’t leave the house. They want all life to end in Aleppo.
“They cannot take it from the ground, so they’re trying to take it from the air. They bombed all the hospitals and schools, so there is no life and people  just give up. If it stays like this, people cannot wait it out.
“Medicines, vaccines, will finish. At this rate I cannot see us continuing for more than two weeks at the most.
“I cannot predict the scenario [in two weeks], that is if there is still anyone living in Aleppo by that time.
“Nobody cares about us. We’re just Arab Sunnis living in Aleppo. If we had one Frenchman in Aleppo the whole world would have risen up. There is no longer any humanity. The wounded are dying, a patient whose stomach is open in the operations room has to be abandoned, women are leaving delivery rooms still bleeding because the hospitals are getting attacked, babies are dying because oxygen tanks are empty and generators aren’t working.”

Russia is led by a egomaniac with no humanity, no mercy and no principles. Good luck with your new friend Donald.

Michelle Please save us

Desperate thousands on Twitter want another first lady to become the first female president of the United States. People in the hundreds of thousands sounded off on the social media platform about whom they’d like to see in the Oval Office in 2020: Michelle Obama was the almost unanimous pick. They begged and pleaded with her.
Mrs Obama is being urged to  throw her name in the hat in the next US election after Donald Trump stormed to victory in a seismic result that has shaken up the political system. He appealed to every racist, xenophobic, misogynistic, religiously intolerant, sexual predator in the country and apparently there were quite a few. Also a whole bunch who were just impressed by his money and the fact that he can say and do whatever he wants and gets away with it.

The tributes to the First Lady and her husband Barack Obama have been pouring in since the day Mr Trump was declared the 45th President of the United States.
Those dreaming of seeing a woman elected, or just a qualified Democratic candidate, had their hopes crushed after Hillary Clinton’s shocking defeat.
The pressure is now building on Mrs Obama to reignite hopes of having the first woman at the helm of the White House by standing in the 2020 election.

What Ms Obama plans to do in the next four years is unclear. She has campaigned for veterans and for access to education for girls as part of her Let Girls Learn initiative and has suggested she may continue this work after Mr Obama leaves office.
She made her mark as First Lady by using her speeches to address difficult issues head on and challenge prevailing attitudes in America at a time of heightened racial tensions and police brutality. Her address at the Democratic National Convention carried particular resonance when she described the significance of her husband being President: “I wake up every morning in a house that was built by slaves. And I watch my daughters, two beautiful, intelligent black young women, playing with their dogs on the White House lawn.”

She tackled Mr Trump’s obscene comments about women without hesitation, telling a campaign rally in New Hampshire that she was “shaken to the core” by his remarks. She then took a powerful stance in speeches from there on by refusing to refer to him by name.
Michelle graduated from Harvard Law School  and left a lucrative practice behind to follow her husband into politics. She was also a hospital executive before giving it up to become the First Lady, something she was reportedly “very upset” about having to do.
The initiatives she launched and engagements she carried out during this period were unpaid and with her husband losing his six-figure income both will need to seek out some form of work. President Obama also a Harvard grad and a lawyer could always fall back on that career or teaching same.

She laughs when people come up to her and beg her to run. But so far, she hasn't outright said 'no'. Redemption may be just four years away. What a victory that would be for all races and for women. However, her husband says she will never run for office and, "You can take that to the bank". I guess we'll wait and see.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Trump settles fraud charges for $25 million

In what New York's attorney general called a "stunning reversal," president-elect Donald Trump agreed Friday to settle fraud cases involving Trump University for $25 million.
The cases involved a lawsuit by New York state and two class actions suits in California against the university, which promised to reveal Trump's real estate investing "secrets" to people who enrolled in the courses.
New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who filed suit against Trump two years ago for what he called "his phony university," said the president-elect agreed to settle the lawsuits for $25 million and pay an additional $1 million in penalties to the state of New York for violating state education laws. The deal does not require Trump to acknowledge his wrongdoing.
"Today's $25 million settlement agreement is a stunning reversal by Donald Trump and a major victory for over 6,000 victims of his fraudulent university," Schneiderman said in a statement.
Trump's defense team said the decision was made to settle so that years of potential litigation could be avoided.
“This would have gone on for a long, long time and would have been a very significant distraction,” said Daniel M. Petrocelli, the lead attorney who represented Trump in the case.
Trump had publicly vowed not to settle the lawsuits and suggested at one point during his presidential campaign that he might reopen the school, which closed in 2010. He told supporters at a May rally that he would come to San Diego to testify after winning the presidency.
“I could have settled this case numerous times, but I don’t want to settle cases when we’re right. I don’t believe in it. And when you start settling cases, you know what happens? Everybody sues you because you get known as a settler. One thing about me, I am not known as a settler,” Trump said at the time.
However, an exclusive analysis by USA TODAY of more than 4,000 lawsuits involving Trump and his companies over the years shows that just isn't true.
USA TODAY tracked down the records in thousands of Trump's court battles dating back to the 1980s, in courts coast to coast, and found that the business mogul settled lawsuits at least 259 times. Almost 200 of those were cases where he and his companies were defendants, although the terms of the settlement agreements often are kept out of court records and plaintiffs are required to sign agreements pledging not to disclose details. In hundreds more cases, court records indicate legal disputes were resolved outside court with the details shielded from public view.
Also, the USA TODAY database of court records shows today's settlement is unique in its size. While there may be larger settlements in Trump's lawsuits that are shielded by non-disclosure agreements or sealed records -- notably his divorce from Ivana Trump, which remains under seal despite attempts by the media to obtain the records during the presidential campaign -- the $25 million payout is by far the largest Trump's empire has paid out to someone.

Dive into Donald Trump's thousands of lawsuits
Friday's settlement comes only days before trial was set to begin in California in one of the class action lawsuits. Trump's lawyers had sought a delay in the run-up to his inauguration, but the judge ruled that the trial go ahead as scheduled and that Trump would be required to testify, although likely by videotape.
Last week, at a pretrial hearing in San Diego, Trump's lawyers said they were open to settlement. U.S. District Court Judge Gonzalo Curiel, who is hearing the case in California, brought up the possibility in court of another federal judge, Jeffrey Miller, assisting the parties in trying to find a way to settle the case before trial.
"I can tell you right now I'm all ears," Trump lawyer Daniel Petrocelli told Curiel.
The New York attorney general's fraud lawsuit described the "university" as nothing but a scam designed to fleece would-be real estate developers. The scheme, he charged, lured students with false promises into paying up to $35,000 to learn Trump's real estate investing "secrets" from his "hand-picked" instructors.
"More than 5,000 people across the country who paid Donald Trump $40 million to teach them his hard-sell tactics got a hard lesson in bait-and-switch," Schneiderman said in a statement at the time. "Mr. Trump used his celebrity status and personally appeared in commercials making false promises to convince people to spend tens of thousands of dollars they couldn't afford for lessons they never got.”
Schneiderman alleged the teachers were not personally selected by Trump, despite claims in the university's ads, and that the students did not ever meet the real estate mogul. The state earlier forced Trump University to quit referring to itself as a university because it was not licensed as such in New York.
The political impact of the settlement is unclear, as are its legal implications to future Trump lawsuits.
"Settling these cases will surely help the President-elect as a political matter," Chris Peterson, a law professor at the University of Utah who spent the year studying the Trump University cases. He had opined that a civil court finding that Trump and his companies were financially liable for defrauding thousands of Trump University students could technically open the door to Congress pursuing impeachment proceedings against Trump.
"That being said, the settlement will likely help the country turn the page on the sordid details of President-elect Trump's alleged fraud and avoid the embarrassment of his testimony and potential loss at trial," Peterson said.
Trump, who dismissed Schneiderman as a "lightweight," vigorously denied the fraud charges and claimed 98% of the people who signed up for the courses expressed satisfaction with them. This was not true.
In 2013 tweet, Trump ridiculed the move by the New York attorney general, saying: "Why did failing A.G. Eric Schneiderman, after years of looking, file his pathetic lawsuit on a SATURDAY afternoon (unheard of)? No Case!"

Thanx to USA TODAY

I was hoping the victims of the fraud would hold out for a trial and publicly expose Trump for the crook he is. But Trump wanted it quashed immediately so there was no cause for impeachment. He paid an absolutely stunning amount to shut their mouths.
A dear friend told me once that everyone has their price. It must be true. He made them an offer they couldn't refuse.
Here's the kicker.  The thousands of people across the country who fell for this scam paid, in total, $40 million to Trump University ... so  by settling for $25 million, Trump still comes out ahead.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Hillary Clinton Reflects On Her Loss and Urges Her Supporters to Stay Engaged in Championing Children

 A very tired Hillary makes her first public appearance to support her favorite cause


Hillary Clinton was speaking on Wednesday at the annual gala of the Children's Defense Fund, where she started her legal career. In her first remarks since delivering her concession speech last week, Clinton,  urged Americans to continue fighting for values they believe in.

Clinton’s first job out of law school was for Children’s Defense Fund founder Marian Wright Edelman, who introduced her at the gala.
"Thank you, thank you. Oh, it is so wonderful to be here with all of you on behalf of the Children’s Defense Fund. I will admit, coming here tonight wasn’t the easiest thing for me,” Clinton said, reflecting on her loss in the presidential election. There have been a few times this past week when all I wanted to do was just to curl up with a good book or our dogs and never leave the house again. But, if there is anyone who knows how to pick yourself up and get back on your feet and get to work, it is Marian. I was listening backstage as Marian went through the 45 years that we have known each other and even reminded me of some things that I had not recalled, namely that this event was the very first event that my husband and I went to after he was elected president, and so it’s especially poignant and meaningful to me to be here again with all of you.

And I want to start by congratulating the terrific young people that we are celebrating tonight. You will hear more about each of them because each has faced painful challenges, violence and poverty, abandonment, but they never gave up. They never stopped reaching, never stopped dreaming and, yes, they have beaten the odds.

These fearless, generous, openhearted, determined young people represent a rising generation that should give us all much hope for the future. And they represent the continuing commitment of the Children’s Defense Fund and Marian Wright Edelman.
She has been committed to it all her life, and she has been helping the rest of us commit too. I am as inspired by Marian today as I was the first time I met her 45 years ago. And she told the story—I was a young law student, I had lots of hopes and expectations about what a law degree would enable me to do. I had the words of my Methodist faith ringing in my ears: “do all the good you can for all the people you can in all the ways you can as long as ever you can.”

She was the crusading legal activist, also a graduate of  Yale Law School, and she was translating her faith into a life devoted to children, service and social justice. Observing that, being part of that, is one of the greatest gifts anyone has ever given me.
I think of her taking the bar exam in Mississippi, the first black woman ever to do so, and then opening offices for the NAACP and a head start program for children who desperately needed it.
I think of her with Robert Kennedy in a tiny shack in the Delta, opening his eyes to the realities of poverty in America. I think of her with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., starting the Poor People’s Campaign and dreaming of an America of equality and opportunity.

For Marian it has always been about the children. That’s what matters, and that’s what has kept her going, helping to open public schools to children with disabilities in the 1970s, an effort I was honored to be part of. Working to expand Medicaid in the 1980s to cover more pregnant women and children in need. Standing with me and others in the 1990s to create the Children’s Health Insurance Program, improve foster care and create early head start, fighting in recent years to build a bipartisan movement to dismantle the school-to-prison pipeline and reform our criminal justice system, especially for juveniles, and spending countless hours mentoring and training the next generation of leaders and activists at Haley Farm.
The  Children’s Defense Fund works to give every child a healthy start, a head start, a fair start, a safe start and a moral start in life. And I cannot think of a more noble or necessary mission.  Marian has always believed in the words of Dr. King often repeated by President Obama, “The arc of the moral universe is long but it tends toward justice.”
Now sometimes it can feel awfully long, believe me I know, but I also know it does bend. It bends towards justice because people like Marian and so many of you, and there are people in this audience I’ve had the privilege of working with and admiring for so many decades. You refuse to stop pushing and when you get knocked down, you get back up.

I know many of you are deeply disappointed about the results of the election. I am too, more than I can ever express, but as I said last week, our campaign was never about one person or even one election. It was about the country we love and about building an America that is hopeful, inclusive and bighearted.
I didn’t get into public service to hold high office. Forty-five years ago, that would have seemed an absolute incredibly wrong-headed view, but I did decide to be an activist to use my law degree to help kids.

Every child deserves to have the opportunity to live up to his or her God-given potential, and I believe the measure of any society is how we treat our children. And as we move forward into a new—and in many ways, uncertain—future, I think that must be the test for America and for ourselves. Despite the progress—and we have made progress under President Obama—more than 31 million children still live at or near poverty in America. And I hoped to have had the opportunity to build on the progress that President Obama has made because I know that we are stronger together when we are lifting each other up.
Let’s be clear, when I talk about children in or near poverty, this isn’t someone else’s problem. These aren’t someone else’s children. This is America’s problem because they are America’s children. Child poverty isn’t just an urban challenge or a black or Latino challenge, although children of color continue to suffer disproportionately from high rates of poverty, but make no mistake, there are poor children of every race and ethnicity.
Three out of every 10 white children in America are at or near poverty. That is more than 11 million kids. When you add in 11 million Latino children, more than 6 million black children, a million and a half Asian and American-Indian children, nearly 2 million children of two or more races, the scope and scale of this challenge becomes clear. Poor children live in every state and every congressional district, so they deserve the attention and efforts of every one of our representatives and leaders. And the measure of success must be: how many children and families climb out of poverty and reach the middle class? We know what works to support kids and give them opportunities to succeed.
Parents need good-paying jobs, affordable quality health care and childcare, to have help balancing the demands of work and family. Communities need investments that lift families up, not neglect that lets them fall further behind. There are millions of children who will go to school tomorrow in classrooms with crumbling ceilings, empty bookshelves and walls covered with mold. There are children in places like Flint, Michigan, drinking water poisoned by lead. And children all over our country face the daily danger of gun violence. We have to ask ourselves, what are we doing to give them the safe and healthy lives they deserve?
There are also children who are afraid today, like the little girl I met in Nevada who started to cry when she told me how scared she was that her parents would be taken away from her and be deported. No child should have to live with fear like that. No child should be afraid to go to school because they are Latino or African-American or Muslim or because they have a disability. We should protect our children and help them love themselves and love others.

So there is a lot of work to do as long as any child in America lives in poverty, as long as any child in America lives in fear, as long as any child—not just here but in the world—faces these challenges, there is work to do. Girls as well as boys in every country on every continent deserve that chance to fulfill their own potential. And it is going to take all of us doing our part.
I wrote a book 20 years ago called It Takes a Village. And a lot of people asked, what the heck do you mean by that? I meant what CDF has represented and understood from the beginning: None of us can raise a family, build a business, heal a community or lift a country by ourselves. We have to do it together.

So I urge you—I urge you, please, don’t lose heart. Don’t give up on the values we share. Look at the young people we are honoring tonight. If they can persevere, so must all of us, and if Marian has taught us anything, it’s there are so many ways to make a difference. Organizations like CDF have never been more important. Businesses, philanthropists, foundations, congregations of every faith have to step up too because there is work to be done in every community.

A lot of governors and legislators and mayors are pioneering new ways to support parents and provide children with early learning in red states as well as blue states. Many of our most important accomplishments for the wellbeing of children and families have come from both parties working together like the Children’s Health Insurance Program. That could never have happened without Republican leaders. Now it covers eight million kids, and even in this presidential campaign, for the first time ever, a broad consensus emerged about the importance of affordable quality childcare and paid family leave.

So we have work to do, and for the sake of our children and our families and our country, I ask you to stay engaged, stay engaged on every level. We need you. America needs you. Your energy, your ambition, your talent. That’s how we get through this. That’s how we help to make our contributions to bend the arc of the moral universe toward justice. I know this isn’t easy, I know that over the past week, a lot of people have asked themselves whether America is the country we thought it was.
The divisions laid bare by this election run deep, but please listen to me when I say this. America is worth it. Our children are worth it.

Believe in our country, fight for our values and never, ever give up because over the past two years, I have met so many people who reaffirmed my faith in our country, all kinds of people—young people starting businesses, people working in every way they could to make the world a better place, police officers who put their lives on the line, members of communities who work with the police to try to keep everybody safe, immigrants who worked so hard to become citizens and so many people who work long hours caring for children and the elderly, even when the pay is not enough to support their own families.

I met and had the chance to work and travel with mothers who lost children and turned around and started a movement for peace and justice.  Way back when I was in college, and I gave the commencement speech, I said to my classmates then that our goal should be to make what appears to be impossible possible. I may be older now, a mother and a grandmother. I have seen my share of ups and downs, but I still believe that we can make the impossible possible.  The stories of the people we’re honoring tonight, Marian’s story, all that she’s achieved—the Children’s Defense Fund has often made the impossible possible.

And then finally, as some of you heard me say during the campaign, I draw hope and sustenance from another person who influenced my life and still does every day, my mother. I have talked about her difficult childhood. She was abandoned by her parents when she was just 8 years old. They put her on a train to California all by herself in charge of her little sister, who was three years younger. She ended up in California, where she was abused by her grandparents, ended up on her own, working as a housemaid at 14 years old. She beat the odds. She found a way to offer me the boundless love and support she never received herself.
I think about her every day and sometimes I think about her on that train. I wish I could walk down the aisle and find the little wooden seat where she sat, holding tight to her younger sister, all alone and terrified. She doesn’t yet know how much more she will have to face and even suffer. She doesn’t yet know she will find the strength to escape that suffering. That’s still years off.

Her whole future is unknown, as it is for all of us, as she stares out at the vast country moving past her. And I dream of going up to her and sitting next to her and taking her in my arms and saying, “Look, look at me and listen. You will survive, you will have a family of your own, three children, and as hard as it might be to imagine, your daughter will grow up to be a United States Senator, represent our country as Secretary of State and win more than 62 million votes for President of the United States.

Now, I can’t and you can’t go back in time and hug all those children that preceded us, but we can do that in the present. We can reach out to make sure every child has a champion because I am as sure of this as anything I have ever known. America is still the greatest country in the world. This is still the place where anyone can beat the odds. It’s up to each and every one of us to keep working to make America better and stronger and fairer. Thank you. God bless you and God bless the work of the Children’s Defense Fund.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Footprints of war...The dangers of decaying underwater munitions and nuclear weapons

Scuba diver Sean Smyrichinsky was only looking for some sea cucumbers, but in his search, he found something that gave him a little more bang for his buck.
Smyrichinsky found a decaying nuclear weapon when he went diving earlier this year off the coast of Pitt Island, a small island near Haida Gwaii, B.C. Officials suspect the device was from an American air bomber that crashed during the Cold War in 1950.
Though the weapon doesn’t appear to contain any active nuclear material, according to the BBC, it could still be a threat.
Terrence Long, founder and chair of the International Dialogue on Underwater Munitions (IDUM) says this finding is more dangerous than we might think.
Long has 14 years of non-profit work under his belt fighting for the cleanup of residual underwater weapons.  These decaying leftover munitions, he says, are emitting carcinogenic chemicals into international coastal shores.
“Nobody, and not one country, is adequately addressing this issue,” Long said in a phone interview from his hometown of Sydney, N.S.
The retired military engineer worked extensively on the landmine eradication treaty that Canada signed in 1997.  After returning to Nova Scotia to start managing offshore waste in the oil industry, he heard about the danger of underwater munitions while working with local First Nations communities who were campaigning for awareness around underwater munition dumpsites.
“In my own research, I started to find more connections with reproductive health and regional cancers in the areas where you can find these sites,” he said.
Studies that Long completed around Nova Scotia’s munition sites focused primarily on cod fish, the most locally-farmed and consumed fish in the maritime regions. Long says he found significant biological stress on their kidneys and livers, and that juvenile fish are failing to successfully spawn.
Off Nova Scotia’s coast, the dumping site known as the 4VN fishing zone has more than 80,000 tons of rotting, carcinogenic munitions.
“This is a site where local people rely on the fish not just as food, but subsidy,” Long said.

Decaying underwater munitions not just a Canadian issue, Long added.
“There are sites all over the world that are releasing harmful chemicals,” he said. “They are leftover from airplane wrecks, shipwrecks and post-war dumping projects.”
This biggest task for Long is getting his work on the international scale. With the IDUM, he is planning to establish an international treaty that will ensure the global eradication of underwater munitions.
Countries have to start taking ownership of the problem, Long said.
“These munitions will remain on the seafloor for thousands of years if we don’t do anything about them.”
Long is developing a presentation for the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons’ upcoming annual conference in the Hague, Netherlands. The conference will host the organization’s 193 countries to discuss the future around chemical weapon prevention and cleanup.

Putin withdraws Russia from International Criminal Court

MOSCOW — Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree Wednesday to withdraw Russia from the International Criminal Court, which rules on such grave charges as genocide and crimes against humanity.

Russia in 2000 signed the Rome treaty that established the Hague-based court but never ratified it. Putin's decree, published on the Kremlin's website , comes a day after the U.N. General Assembly's human rights committee approved a resolution condemning Russia's "temporary occupation of Crimea" and blamed Russia for rights abuses such as discrimination against some Crimean residents, such as Tatars.

Russia annexed Crimea in March 2014 from Ukraine following a hastily called referendum, a move that led to crippling Western sanctions. A separatist insurgency erupted in eastern Ukraine the following month, backed by Russia.
The ICC on Monday issued a preliminary report where it described what happened in Crimea as "an international armed conflict between Ukraine and the Russian Federation."

His spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, explained the withdrawal by "national interests" and argued that since Russia never ratified it Wednesday's decree was just a formality. Peskov also dismissed the ICC's accusations of an "armed conflict" in Crimea, arguing that Crimea joined Russia after a legitimate popular vote.
Russia's foreign ministry insisted in a statement that Russia wants everyone implicated in grave international crimes to face justice but expressed frustration over the court's work in recent years.

"The court has unfortunately failed to match the hopes one had and did not become a truly independent and respected body of international justice," the ministry said.
Just hours before Russia's announcement, the U.N. human rights chief made a spirited defense of the ICC, entreating countries not to leave it. Several African nations have recently announced plans to leave the treaty.

This serves Putin well since his actions in Syria have been coming to the attention of the war crimes court. His atrocities in that country have brought international anger and indignation down upon his head that could very well lead to more sanctions. But
as I have written before, Mr Putin is bound by no rules and keeps no agreements, even those signed by himself and stamped with the official Russian seal. He has no respect for any organizations he does not head up himself. And has never shown respect for countries' borders if he wished to encroach upon their territory. He is one dangerous dude. We know he has been building his stockpile of nuclear weapons and also know that last week he sent the biggest fleet of Russian warships to Syria than has been seen since the Cuban missile crisis. Give him an inch and he will take a mile. Be afraid.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Jump on the Trump band wagon to Russia and climate change

Top level Republicans like  House Speaker Paul Ryan, Senate Majority Leader  Mitch McConnell, and an impressive list of other representatives and senators denounced and distanced themselves from the racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, narcissistic, Islamiphobic – you name it, Trump.  And yet they are all jumping on his band wagon now ...boy are they jumping, now that it is politically safe for them to do so.
And guess what? The stock market recovered. So I guess all is well in the land of stars and stripes.
 No need to worry about anything outside of those borders. No matter that Trump is pissing on the rest of the world.

Allow me to elaborate:
 - Trump is going to withdraw from Syria and allow Russia the privilege of killing off all the rebels. It is no concern of America's that Putin is committing war atrocities and crimes against humanity, according to the United Nations War Crimes Commission. He has been targeting hospitals and temporary field hospitals and centers for humanitarian aid. He recently bombed a school  and a convoy of trucks carrying food, water, medicines and volunteers for humanitarian aid. Since the election Putin has ramped up his efforts in Syria and a few days ago deployed the largest fleet of Russian warships since the 'Cold War' to Syria. Furthermore he is aiding and abetting Assad who thinks nothing of torturing and chemically poisoning his own people and has committed genocide on a scale never witnessed before.

This is the guy Mr Trump wants to make friends with.  A guy who has had absolute power  for so long, he is ego-centric, unstable and is driven by contempt for anyone he sees as weak or anything such as international treaties or agreements, or any organizations outside of Russia.  He is not bound by rules of civility, or indeed any rules at all. This is not my observation, but that of a number of prominent psychologists and you can Google that.
 In many ways he is like Mr Trump and that promises to be a very deadly duo. It could lead to one-up-man-ship on a global scale. Don't forget that the president has absolute power over those nuclear codes. Mr trump does not realize he is being manipulated by a master manipulater. No one would dare trick the Donald. He would sue them and have them put in prison with Hillary.

 And what about the rest of the world? These two guys don't give a rat's ass about it. When we should be globalizing our concerns for the planet and the climate, these men are isolating and cutting their countries off from the rest of the world, with the exception of Russian encroachment in Ukraine and Syria, and it won't stop there.
In fact Trump is withdrawing America from the Paris climate agreement. As he put it, he did not want other countries telling him what to do about carbon emissions or anything else. 200 countries came to the table and ratified that agreement but if the US, one of the biggest polluters in the world, does not keep their word, it is almost impossible to slow down global warming.
But who cares if the world roasts in it's own juices and kills off the human race .... the stock market is looking good.
 I think I'm done here -  just too disillusioned for any more words.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Wait a minute ! This is so dangerous ... a crisis looming already.... Get your latest Trump disasters right here

Britain is facing a diplomatic crisis with the United States over Donald Trump's plans to forge an alliance with Vladimir Putin and bolster the Syrian regime.
In a significant foreign policy split, officials admitted that Britain will have some "very difficult" conversations with the president-elect in the coming months over his approach to Russia.
It comes after Trump used his first interviews since winning the election to indicate that he will withdraw support for rebels in Syria and thanked Vladimir Putin for sending him a "beautiful" letter.
Trump said he will instead join forces with Russia and focus on defeating Islamic State (IS). He has previously said it would be "nice" if the US and Russia could work together to "knock the hell out of" IS.

His views are in stark contrast to those of Theresa May, (a loyal American ally) who has accused President Bashar al-Assad's regime of perpetrating "atrocious violence" and said that the long-term future of Syria must be "without Assad".
Boris Johnson, the Foreign Secretary, has accused Russia of perpetrating war crimes over the deaths of hundreds of civilians.

The dramatic shift in US policy has prompted significant concern in the Foreign Office, and Britain will use the next two months before Mr Trump enters the White House to try to convince him of the importance of removing Assad from power. Mr Johnson is expected to fly to the US within weeks to meet senior figures in Mr Trump's incoming administration and make clear Britain believes Assad must go.
The diplomatic tensions emerged as a flotilla of Russian warships which had passed through the English Channel arrived off the coast of Syria.

Trump told the Wall Street Journal his administration will prioritize defeating IS in Syria rather than removing Assad. He said: "I've had an opposite view of many people regarding Syria. My attitude was you're fighting Syria, Syria is fighting [IS], and you have to get rid of [IS].
"Russia is now totally aligned with Syria, and now you have Iran, which is becoming powerful, because of us, is aligned with Syria. Now we're backing rebels against Syria, and we have no idea who these people are."
He said that if the US attacks Assad's regime "we end up fighting Russia".

The British government had hoped that Trump would be prepared to soften his stance on the issue after winning the election, as he has with several other flagship campaign plans including his pledge to repeal Obamacare. However, Trump is ignoring the importance of globalization to international security.
His interview signaled that he will pursue the alliance with Russia. Foreign Office officials emphasized that Britain will not change its position. "We have been very clear that Assad has no place in the future of Syria," the official said. "He has the blood of 400,000 people on his hands."

Another Foreign Office source said there is hope that Trump will be forced to change his position when he deals with Putin directly.
"There is no doubt that he looks upon Putin as a person who he thinks he can do business with," the source said. "When he discovers that Putin is not a rational or reasonable guy he might change his mind. This will take time to settle down."

It came as President Putin urged Trump to encourage NATO to withdraw its forces from Russia's borders as part of an attempt to improve relations. Dmitry Peskov, Putin's official spokesman, said Russia sees "NATO's muscles getting bigger and bigger and closer and closer to Russian borders".
As a "confidence-building measure" between the US and Russia, he said, Trump could help relations by "slowing down" or "withdrawing" NATO's military presence from its borders. Trump would be opening the door to Russian ambitions and encroachment.

There are mounting concerns over the future of NATO after Trump suggested that the US may withdraw from the organization because European members are failing to "pay their bills". During a visit to Norway, Sir Michael Fallon, the Defence Secretary, agreed that the level of expenditure by EU countries is "not good enough". Defence spending by European members has fallen from 1.7 per cent of national income to 1.4 per cent on average.

 Four Americans were killed yesterday in a suicide bombing inside the largest US military base in Afghanistan. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the bombing inside the heavily fortified Bagram Airfield, north of Kabul. The assault highlights rising insecurity in Afghanistan nearly two years after US-led NATO forces formally ended their combat operations.
NATO needs to be a peace keeping presence in all the hot spots on the globe that threaten any of it's 28 members or endanger any countries NATO is assisting or defending. It is essential and it would be so dangerous to world peace and freedom to break it up.  Mr Trump should not be allowed to tamper with an alliance that has worked so well for 67 years.

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is an alliance of 28 countries from North America and Europe committed to fulfilling the goals of the North Atlantic Treaty signed on 4 April 1949. In accordance with the Treaty, the fundamental role of NATO is to safeguard the freedom and security of its member countries by political and military means. NATO is playing an increasingly important role in crisis management and peacekeeping in a perilous and shifting global, political landscape.

So can the guy be impeached?? Maybe not

Thousands of protesters gather outside Trump Tower Saturday night in the largest demonstration to date. Huge marches occurred in other large cities simultaneously, Saturday evening. Organizers are planning further protests.

So, can Trump be impeached? Well, it would take an act of Congress, if my high school, American history course was accurate. Both the House and the Senate would have to be in accord. The House of Representatives would have to come up with reasons and evidence of violations and the Senate would deliberate, and if convinced there was just cause, they would hold a formal trial.
Trump's crimes would have to fall into one of the categories outlined in Article II of the Constitution, and interpreted as:
  • Exceeding the constitutional bounds of the powers of office
  • Behavior grossly incompatible with the proper function and purpose of the office
  • Employing the power of the office for an improper purpose or for personal gain.
Here's the problem .... The Republicans control both houses in this administration. They will not want their sunny eyed boy to be impeached unless he committed the worst kind of treason and utmost betrayal of his country. Even then, they would dither a little before making Pence president because he is far more experienced in politics and politicking and may not be so impressionable or pliable as the totally uninformed Trump. The Republicans have the perfect setup, a win-win, a trifecta .
It has only been two days since Donald Trump was elected the president elect of the United States but outraged voters have already started looking into ways to prevent him from assuming office or to cut his presidency short.
In the hours after the results were made public, Google searches for "impeachment" surged and at least one law professor believes there may be enough evidence to impeach Trump for alleged fraud and racketeering activities
Unlike previous presidents-elect, Trump finds himself facing a number of lawsuits, including one for alleged fraud involving Trump University. Trump has been sued a whopping 3500 times in his career ... by partners, contractors , employees, clients, students at Trump University and even banks. ( By the way, he still has not backed down from his oft-repeated campaign pledge to have a special prosecutor “lock up” Hillary Clinton.)
University of Utah law professor Christopher Lewis Peterson claimed before the election that there could be evidence for Trump to be impeached based on his alleged crimes with the now defunct Trump University. Trump wants to delay the class-action fraud suit from coming to trial on Nov. 28 until after his inauguration in January. His attorney gave that message to a judge on Thursday, two days after Trump was elected president.
When the judge asked why, Trump's attorney, Daniel Petrocelli, summed it up like this:
"In view of Mr. Trump’s election as President of the United States, your honor."
Petrocelli also questioned whether Trump actually would be available to testify in court as a sitting president. He said never has there been a case in the history of the United States in which a president had to come into court to testify in a trial as a defendant. ( Maybe those presidents weren't crooks)

Unlike his promised crimes yet to come, the illegal acts in Trump's high-pressure wealth seminars have already occurred. Indeed, a federal judge appointed under Article III of the US Constitution has already determined that Trump's alleged actions, if true, constitute fraud and racketeering, Peterson wrote in an essay. "[Prior to Trump's inauguration,] Congress would be well within its legal rights under the Constitution to insist upon a president who is not a fraudster, racketeer or tax evader as defined in its own law."

Only two presidents have been at the center of the impeachment process in the House, Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton. However, Johnson and Clinton were acquitted by the Senate and remained in office. Meanwhile, Richard Nixon resigned on 9 August 1974 ahead of an almost-certain impeachment in the wake of the Watergate scandal.

Peterson noted in his essay that the Constitution does not limit impeachment to crimes committed while in office. "The fact that Trump has attempted to publicly misrepresent the facts and circumstances surrounding his alleged fraud and racketeering should weigh in the calculus over whether impeachment for pre incumbency crimes is appropriate," Peterson said.

"Just as Trump appears to have lied about his role in Trump University to students, he has throughout the election continued to misrepresent the cases that focus on his misrepresentations," Peterson added.

However, with Republicans controlling both the House and the Senate, it is unlikely Trump will face a preemptive impeachment. University of California political science professor Eric Schickler told the New York Post that impeachment is "ultimately a political decision."

"There is discretion for Congress to define its range," he said. If Democrats were to pursue impeachment, and were successful, they would still have to contend with Trump's ultra-conservative and politically-savvy vice president, Mike Pence.

And here is the beautiful first lady. I seem to remember Republicans criticizing Michelle
for showing her bare arms too much. I believe it's possible that some people are hypocrites or have very short memories

Friday, November 11, 2016

It's Lonely at the top ....Trump team can't find people willing to work for him

President-elect Donald Trump is scrambling to line up senior officials to run the government’s sprawling intelligence and homeland security bureaucracy.
Team Trump is struggling to fill numerous key slots or even attract many candidates because hundreds have either sworn they’d never work in a Trump administration or have directly turned down requests to join, multiple current and former U.S. officials with direct knowledge of the transition efforts told The Daily Beast.
Team Trump didn’t expect to win until the campaign’s internal polling a month before the election signaled a possible victory. That’s when senior Trump officials went into overdrive, trying to build a bench of experienced national security candidates with top secret clearances willing to work for a Trump presidency—and they met resistance across the landscape of experienced GOP national security professionals.
One person who met last month with Trump’s national security and homeland security transition team leader said that she confessed that many candidates had flatly rejected attempts to recruit them, believing that Trump was unfit to hold the office of commander in chief.
“She said that it was going to be very difficult to fill positions in that space because everybody that had experience was a never-Trumper,” this person said, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss private conversations.
“She wasn’t even sure that she was going to be able to fill a transition team,” much less find people to serve in government positions, this person said.
“In theory, 20 people are supposed to parachute into the Department of Homeland Security [during the transition between administrations]. And I don’t think they have anybody to do it.”
A second individual, also speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed this person’s account that there are a large number of vacancies to fill without a clear plan of how that will happen. Since Trump’s improbable win, Team Trump has been aggressively reaching out to possible candidates with a flurry of meetings in New York and Washington, D.C.
Two career U.S. officials, currently serving in the government, also said they were unsure whether they would continue in their positions, which are slated to last into the next administration.
On Monday morning, a group of officials working on a range of national security issues including the resettlement of refugees and methods for countering terrorists’ violent rhetoric met to discuss their progress. But it wasn’t at all clear whether a President Trump would even continue those initiatives, one participant said. Trump has promised to ban Muslims from certain countries from entering the United States and has claimed he knows better how to combat terrorists than military generals and intelligence officials.
But before he can take the axe to Obama-era programs, Trump has to staff up his own administration. It won’t be easy.
It was clear the Trump team would have trouble staffing their national security bench nine months ago, when more than 100 Republican national security leaders signed an open letter vowing not to support him as the GOP nominee and “working energetically to prevent the election of someone so utterly unfitted to the office.”
“Everybody who has signed a never-Trump letter or indicated an anti-Trump attitude is not going to get a job. And that’s most of the Republican foreign policy, national security, intelligence, homeland security, and Department of Justice experience,” Paul Rosenzweig, who held a senior position at the Department of Homeland Security in the George W. Bush administration, told The Daily Beast. (Bush told reporters on Tuesday that neither he nor his wife, Laura, cast a vote for president.)
Rosenzweig predicted that Trump would be able to fill positions at the Cabinet level, the secretaries and administrators who lead agencies and departments. But the people below them, from the deputy level on down, are the ones who actually run the government day-to-day, and there are few takers for those jobs, he said.
“The problem is going to be finding the deputy secretary, and the head of customs, and the general counsel, which are the jobs that fundamentally matter,” Rosenzweig said.
Since the public letter in March, more people who served in key positions in Republican administrations have stepped forward to disavow Trump and take themselves out of the running for jobs in his administration.
Last week, former CIA and NSA Director Michael Hayden went so far as to accuse Trump of being a tool of the Russian government.
Trump had consistently refused to agree with the U.S. intelligence community's unanimous assessment that Russia was responsible for a campaign of cyber attacks and leaks against the Democratic Party, which officials said was intended to “interfere” with Tuesday’s election.
“Rejecting a fact-based intelligence assessment—not because of compelling contrarian data, but because it is inconsistent with a preexisting worldview—that’s the stuff of ideological authoritarianism, not pragmatic democracy. And it is frightening,” Hayden wrote.
The likely pool of Trump administration officials now will come from a second-tier of younger and less experienced people, Stewart Baker, the former general counsel of the National Security Agency, told The Daily Beast.
Baker, who also served in a senior position in the Department of Homeland Security during the Bush administration, said these less-experienced candidates weren’t necessarily without talent, but he acknowledged that more seasoned people like himself were not likely to be joining the new administration.
Trump will take over an intelligence community that is already in his cross-hairs, after he said in the third presidential debate that he doubted its assessment on the Russian hacks. Trump has also talked openly about information that was relayed to him in classified briefings given to him and Clinton, and current and former officials have said they worried that Trump wouldn’t be able to keep confidential information secret.
“The intelligence community has had presidents before who were deeply skeptical about their role, their product, and their value,” Baker said. “The intelligence community, I predict, will work very hard to demonstrate its value to the new president. Because if they don't have support from the White House, they don’t really have much influence in the interagency debate.”
As the dust settled on a historic election, the plans for a would-be Clinton administration also became clearer, and they appeared much farther along than Trump’s.
Clinton had planned to launch onto the world stage with a series of international summits in the Mideast, Europe and beyond, to reassure fretful allies weary of the global retrenchment of the Obama administration, according to senior advisors to the Clinton campaign interviewed in the run-up to the stunning election upset.
The muscular reassertion of American power was to include a stepped-up campaign against militants in Syria and Iraq, and a pushback against Russian expansionism and Iranian meddling in the Middle East.
Yet Clinton pulled her punches on that message during her campaign, so as not to alienate the Obamas and their supporters who were seen as key to clinching the election.
No roles had been assigned in a Clinton “war cabinet” nor specific policies chosen, the senior advisors said, but the Clinton transition team had been staffed since early this year with experienced policy wonks and former senior administration and military officials, like former National Counterterrorism Center Director Matt Olsen and former deputy director of the CIA Michael Morell.
Those officials chewed over many of the toughest foreign policy issues. And in least one case, an answer was emerging from those discussions that might be music to Trump’s ears.
Most involved in the early Clinton transition discussions agreed that few good options remained in Syria, because of Russia’s backing of President Bashar al-Assad. Establishing a no-fly zone would have inevitably meant shooting down a Russian jet, “because they would test us as soon as we established it,” one adviser said.
So negotiating via Russia was emerging still as one of the best options—and teaming up with Putin in the Middle East was something Trump repeatedly promised to do.