Showing posts with label WTF. Show all posts
Showing posts with label WTF. Show all posts

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Pond scum moonlighting as a human being

By Walter Einenkel

During President Obama’s administration, useless hedge fund managers cried big boy tears about how persecuted they were being. President Obama had to frequently attempt to remind them that they made way too much money to be crying over anything.

Sadly, President Obama did not have the will to send them all to jail where many of them deserve to be—to this day.

In 2010, after President Obama helped to navigate our country out of the largest economic disaster since the 1929 Wall Street crash, he held a televised Town Hall. During it, a younger and equally craven Anthony Scaramucci got to ask a question.

The question sounded something like “WAH WAH WAH WAH WAH, my feelings!”

To which President Obama replied.
I think it'd be useful to go back and look at the speeches that I've made, including a speech by the way I made back in 2007, on Wall Street, before Lehmans had gone under. In which I warned about a potential crisis if we didn't start reforming practices on Wall Street. At the time I said exactly what you said, which is Wall Street and Main Street are connected. We need a vibrant vital financial sector that is investing in businesses investing in jobs investing in our people providing consumers loans so they can buy products all that's very important and we want that to thrive but we've got to do so in a responsible way. 
I have been amused over the last couple of years this sense of somehow meet beating up on Wall Street. I think most folks on Main Street feel like they got beat up on; and I'll be honestly there's a big chunk of the country--hold on--I was like there's a big chunk of the country that thinks that I have been too soft yet on Wall Street and that's the majority—not the minority. 
Now, what I've tried to do is just try to be practical. You know I'm sure that at any given point over the last two years there have been times where I have been frustrated, and I'll give you some examples—I mean when I hear folks who say that somehow were being too tough on Wall Street, but after a huge crisis the top 25 hedge fund managers took home a billion dollars in income that year. A billion!
For what it’s worth, Scaramucci is exactly like the rest of this administration—pond scum moonlighting as human.
H/T Rawstory

Anthony Scaramucci’s business card seals the deal

By Paul Chandler

Anthony Scaramucci’s business card seals the deal

The moment Anthony Scaramucci presented his business card to President Trump, the deal was a good as done. Sean Spicer was on his way out, with Mr. Smooth installed as White House communications director.Scaramucci checks all the boxes for Trump: Goldman Sachs background, ties to Russia, Wall Street insider, enormous amounts of hair product, prepared to say anything and most importantly, in love with himself and the President. Truly a match made in heaven

Photo of Spicer immediately after he tendered his resignation

By DemocratSinceBirth

Meet Trump's Newest Scumbag Anthony Scaramucci

Anthony Scaramucci talks a tough game, until he doesn’t.

John Iadarola, Ben Mankiewicz, and Mark Thompson, hosts of The Young Turks, discuss.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Terrified Trump May Try To Pardon Himself And His Family Members Over Russia Scandal

The recent actions by Trump suggest that he is running scared as Robert Mueller's investigation zeroes in on the White House.


Donald Trump, clearly terrified over the direction of the Russia investigation, is considering to use his pardon powers on himself, his family members and his aides, according to a stunning new report in The Washington Post.

The Post reports that Trump has asked his advisers about his ability to pardon himself or others, and another source said that the president’s lawyers are also discussing the possibility of issuing pardons.

The president is also reportedly trying to build a case against Special Counsel Robert Mueller – the man running the wide-ranging investigation into Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election and Moscow’s connections to the Trump campaign.

More from the eye-popping report:
Some of President Trump’s lawyers are exploring ways to limit or undercut special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s Russia investigation, building a case against what they allege are his conflicts of interest and discussing the president’s authority to grant pardons, according to people familiar with the effort.

Trump has asked his advisers about his power to pardon aides, family members and even himself in connection with the probe, according to one of those people. A second person said Trump’s lawyers have been discussing the president’s pardoning powers among themselves.

Trump’s legal team declined to comment on the issue. But one adviser said the president has simply expressed a curiosity in understanding the reach of his pardoning authority, as well as the limits of Mueller’s investigation.

With the Russia investigation continuing to widen, Trump’s lawyers are working to corral the probe and question the propriety of the special counsel’s work. They are actively compiling a list of Mueller’s alleged potential conflicts of interest, which they say could serve as a way to stymie his work, according to several of Trump’s legal advisers.
It’s hard to be shocked by any news about this president or the increasingly explosive scandal surrounding his ties to Russia, but this is a rather incredible development.

The news also comes a day after Trump threatened Mueller in an interview with The New York Times, telling the paper that if Mueller decides to investigate his family’s finances, then he will be crossing a “red line.”

Ultimately, Trump’s efforts to intimidate Mueller in hopes that he will back off the Russia investigation, while now reportedly considering whether to pardon himself and those close to him, suggests this is a man running scared.

Bizarre Trump Interview Suggests Serious Mental Instability

Trump holds an audio interview with The New York Times and denigrates his own Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe, and the special prosecutor investigating the Trump-Russia connection Robert Mueller.

Atari is making a hat with speakers in it

Forget the new Atari console. The retro game developer has something far more novel up its sleeve (or on its head, rather): the Atari Speakerhat.

Conceived as a limited edition tie-in to Blade Runner 2049, the Speakerhat is a joint project between Atari, Audioware, and collectibles manufacturer NECA.

As pictured above, the Speakerhat is a baseball cap with high-fidelity stereo speakers and a microphone that can connect to Bluetooth devices, should you want to make calls or listen to music through your hat.

Read more…

Thursday, July 20, 2017

BREAKING: CBO: Premiums will increase by $11,500 for a 64 year old with middle income

Weary Trump supporters desperate to tune out bad news

By Brad Reed

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Sean Spicer Says It Is “Inappropriate” To Ask If Trump Will Make His Goods In The U.S.

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer returned to the podium on Monday – though off camera – to address reporters on the first day of “Made In America Week.”  One of the questions asked of Spicer was whether Donald Trump would begin to manufacture the goods for his brands in the US, which Spicer deemed an “inappropriate” question.  If you can’t ask that questions during Made In America Week, then when would it be appropriate? Ring of Fire’s Farron Cousins discusses this.

Trump Whines On Twitter About Healthcare Bill Failure, Vows “We Will Return!”

Donald Trump took to Twitter to blame Democrats and “a few Republicans” for the failure of the GOP healthcare bill in the Senate.  He then ended his infantile rant with an ominous threat that “we will return.”  Does he not understand that people don’t want the GOP’s healthcare “fix” and that the entire Republican Party needs to simply move on? Ring of Fire’s Farron Cousins discusses this.

Link –

Monday, July 17, 2017

The True Story

Trump using donors' campaign cash to pay for his idiot son's legal defense

By Hunter
Donald Trump, Jr., son of Donald Trump, speaks on the second day of the Republican National Convention at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland on July 19, 2016..The Republican Party formally nominated Donald Trump for president of the United States Tuesday, capping a roller-coaster campaign that saw the billionaire tycoon defeat 16 White House rivals. / AFP / JIM WATSON        (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
Donald Trump Jr., campaigning
In Trump's defense on this one, the meeting between Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, Paul Manafort and a Russian team sent to offer Russian government "support" for the Trump campaign was a campaign meeting, not a personal one. So this is fine.
President Donald Trump appears to have used more than half a million dollars in campaign funds to pay legal fees over the last three months, new campaign filings show. The spending included $50,000 in legal expenses to lawyer Alan Futerfas, who is now representing Donald Trump Jr., on June 27th.
That's why Trump quickly launched a "re-election" campaign immediately after entering office, of course. So he could collect a half-million dollars from his brigade of red-hat-wearing morons to pay for his legal defenses out of their own pockets.

As we said, it would be a real problem if Donald Trump were siphoning off cash from his own campaign for the personal benefit of his wealthy but incredibly stupid son. But Trump is fully acknowledging that the meeting with a Russian team set up under the explicit declaration that it was "part of" the Russian government's support for the campaign, a mere week before the Russian government began to leak thousands of files stolen from Trump's campaign opponent, was a campaign meeting involving his campaign staff to hear the provided information in their capacity as leaders of the Trump campaign.

So it's fine.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

The Intercept Discloses Top-Secret NSA Document On Russia Hacking Aimed At US Voting System

The report details an operation targeting voter registration in 2016.

By Ben Dreyfuss

On Monday, the Intercept published a classified internal NSA document noting that Russian military intelligence mounted an operation to hack at least one US voting software supplier—which provided software related to voter registration files—in the months prior to last year’s presidential contest. It has previously been reported that Russia attempted to hack into voter registration systems, but this NSA document provides details of how one such operation occurred.

According to the Intercept:
The top-secret National Security Agency document, which was provided anonymously to The Intercept and independently authenticated, analyzes intelligence very recently acquired by the agency about a months-long Russian intelligence cyber effort against elements of the US election and voting infrastructure. The report, dated May 5, 2017, is the most detailed US government account of Russian interference in the election that has yet come to light.
While the document provides a rare window into the NSA’s understanding of the mechanics of Russian hacking, it does not show the underlying “raw” intelligence on which the analysis is based. A US intelligence officer who declined to be identified cautioned against drawing too big a conclusion from the document because a single analysis is not necessarily definitive.
The report indicates that Russian hacking may have penetrated further into US voting systems than was previously understood. It states unequivocally in its summary statement that it was Russian military intelligence, specifically the Russian General Staff Main Intelligence Directorate, or GRU, that conducted the cyber attacks described in the document:
Russian General Staff Main Intelligence Directorate actors … executed cyber espionage operations against a named U.S. company in August 2016, evidently to obtain information on elections-related software and hardware solutions. … The actors likely used data obtained from that operation to … launch a voter registration-themed spear-phishing campaign targeting U.S. local government organizations.
Go read the whole thing.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Trump’s Son Met With Russian Lawyer After Being Promised Damaging Information On Clinton

A meeting arranged by Donald Trump Jr. was held at Trump Tower in June 2016 with a Russian lawyer who has connections to the Kremlin. Credit Sam Hodgson for The New York Times
President Trump’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., was promised damaging information about Hillary Clinton before agreeing to meet with a Kremlin-connected Russian lawyer during the 2016 campaign, according to three advisers to the White House briefed on the meeting and two others with knowledge of it.

The meeting was also attended by his campaign chairman at the time, Paul J. Manafort, and his son-in-law, Jared Kushner. Mr. Manafort and Mr. Kushner only recently disclosed the meeting, though not its content, in confidential government documents described to The New York Times.

The Times reported the existence of the meeting on Saturday. But in subsequent interviews, the advisers and others revealed the motivation behind it.

The meeting — at Trump Tower on June 9, 2016, two weeks after Donald J. Trump clinched the Republican nomination — points to the central question in federal investigations of the Kremlin’s meddling in the presidential election: whether the Trump campaign colluded with the Russians. The accounts of the meeting represent the first public indication that at least some in the campaign were willing to accept Russian help.

And while Trump has been dogged by revelations of undisclosed meetings between his associates and the Russians, the episode at Trump Tower is the first such confirmed private meeting involving members of his inner circle during the campaign — as well as the first one known to have included his eldest son. It came at an inflection point in the campaign, when Donald Trump Jr., who served as an adviser and a surrogate, was ascendant and Mr. Manafort was consolidating power.

It is unclear whether the Russian lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya, actually produced the promised compromising information about Mrs. Clinton. But the people interviewed by The Times about the meeting said the expectation was that she would do so.

In a statement on Sunday, Donald Trump Jr. said he had met with the Russian lawyer at the request of an acquaintance. “After pleasantries were exchanged,” he said, “the woman stated that she had information that individuals connected to Russia were funding the Democratic National Committee and supporting Ms. Clinton. Her statements were vague, ambiguous and made no sense. No details or supporting information was provided or even offered. It quickly became clear that she had no meaningful information.”

He said she then turned the conversation to adoption of Russian children and the Magnitsky Act, an American law that blacklists suspected Russian human rights abusers. The law so enraged President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia that he retaliated by halting American adoptions of Russian children.

“It became clear to me that this was the true agenda all along and that the claims of potentially helpful information were a pretext for the meeting,” Mr. Trump said.

When he was first asked about the meeting on Saturday, he said only that it was primarily about adoptions and mentioned nothing about Mrs. Clinton.
President Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, also attended the meeting last year at Trump Tower. Credit Ruth Fremson/The New York Times
Mark Corallo, a spokesman for the president’s lawyer, said on Sunday that “Trump was not aware of and did not attend the meeting.”

Lawyers and spokesmen for Mr. Kushner and Mr. Manafort did not immediately respond to requests for comment. In his statement, Donald Trump Jr. said he asked Mr. Manafort and Mr. Kushner to attend, but did not tell them what the meeting was about.

American intelligence agencies have concluded that Russian hackers and propagandists worked to tip the election toward Donald J. Trump, in part by stealing and then providing to WikiLeaks internal Democratic Party and Clinton campaign emails that were embarrassing to Mrs. Clinton. WikiLeaks began releasing the material on July 22.

A special prosecutor and congressional committees are now investigating the Trump campaign’s possible collusion with the Russians. Mr. Trump has disputed that, but the investigation has cast a shadow over his administration.

Mr. Trump has also equivocated on whether the Russians were solely responsible for the hacking. On Sunday, two days after his first meeting as president with Mr. Putin, Mr. Trump said in a Twitter post: “I strongly pressed President Putin twice about Russian meddling in our election. He vehemently denied it. I’ve already given my opinion.....” He also tweeted that they had “discussed forming an impenetrable Cyber Security unit so that election hacking, & many other negative things, will be guarded...””

On Sunday morning on Fox News, the White House chief of staff, Reince Priebus, described the Trump Tower meeting as a “big nothing burger.”

“Talking about issues of foreign policy, issues related to our place in the world, issues important to the American people is not unusual,” he said.

But Representative Adam B. Schiff of California, the leading Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, one of the panels investigating Russian election interference, said he wanted to question “everyone that was at that meeting.”

“There’s no reason for this Russian government advocate to be meeting with Paul Manafort or with Mr. Kushner or the president’s son if it wasn’t about the campaign and Russia policy,” Mr. Schiff said after the initial Times report.

Ms. Veselnitskaya, the Russian lawyer invited to the Trump Tower meeting, is best known for mounting a multipronged attack against the Magnitsky Act.

The adoption impasse is a frequently used talking point for opponents of the act. Ms. Veselnitskaya’s campaign against the law has also included attempts to discredit the man after whom it was named, Sergei L. Magnitsky, a lawyer and auditor who died in 2009 in mysterious circumstances in a Russian prison after exposing one of the biggest corruption scandals during Mr. Putin’s rule.
Mr. Trump’s former campaign chairman, Paul J. Manafort, at the Republican National Convention in July 2016 in Cleveland. Credit Sam Hodgson for The New York Times
Ms. Veselnitskaya’s clients include state-owned businesses and a senior government official’s son, whose company was under investigation in the United States at the time of the meeting. Her activities and associations had previously drawn the attention of the F.B.I., according to a former senior law enforcement official.

Ms. Veselnitskaya said in a statement on Saturday that “nothing at all about the presidential campaign” was discussed. She recalled that after about 10 minutes, either Mr. Kushner or Mr. Manafort walked out.

She said she had “never acted on behalf of the Russian government” and “never discussed any of these matters with any representative of the Russian government.”

The Trump Tower meeting was disclosed to government officials in recent days, when Mr. Kushner, who is also a senior White House aide, filed a revised version of a form required to obtain a security clearance.

The Times reported in April that he had failed to disclose any foreign contacts, including meetings with the Russian ambassador to the United States and the head of a Russian state bank. Failure to report such contacts can result in a loss of access to classified information and even, if information is knowingly falsified or concealed, in imprisonment.

Mr. Kushner’s advisers said at the time that the omissions were an error, and that he had immediately notified the F.B.I. that he would be revising the filing.

In a statement on Saturday, Mr. Kushner’s lawyer, Jamie Gorelick, said: “He has since submitted this information, including that during the campaign and transition, he had over 100 calls or meetings with representatives of more than 20 countries, most of which were during transition. Mr. Kushner has submitted additional updates and included, out of an abundance of caution, this meeting with a Russian person, which he briefly attended at the request of his brother-in-law Donald Trump Jr. As Mr. Kushner has consistently stated, he is eager to cooperate and share what he knows.”

Mr. Manafort, the former campaign chairman, also recently disclosed the meeting, and Donald Trump Jr.’s role in organizing it, to congressional investigators who had questions about his foreign contacts, according to people familiar with the events. Neither Mr. Manafort nor Mr. Kushner was required to disclose the content of the meeting.

A spokesman for Mr. Manafort declined to comment.

Since the president took office, Donald Trump Jr. and his brother Eric have assumed day-to-day control of their father’s real estate empire. Because he does not serve in the administration and does not have a security clearance, Donald Trump Jr. was not required to disclose his foreign contacts.

Federal and congressional investigators have not publicly asked for any records that would require his disclosure of Russian contacts.

Ms. Veselnitskaya is a formidable operator with a history of pushing the Kremlin’s agenda. Most notable is her campaign against the Magnitsky Act, which provoked a Cold War-style, tit-for-tat dispute with the Kremlin when President Barack Obama signed it into law in 2012.

Under the law, about 44 Russian citizens have been put on a list that allows the United States to seize their American assets and deny them visas. The United States asserts that many of them are connected to the fraud exposed by Mr. Magnitsky, who after being jailed for more than a year was found dead in his cell. A Russian human rights panel found that he had been assaulted. To critics of Mr. Putin, Mr. Magnitsky, in death, became a symbol of corruption and brutality in the Russian state.
An infuriated Mr. Putin has called the law an “outrageous act,” and, in addition to banning American adoptions, he compiled what became known as an “anti-Magnitsky” blacklist of United States citizens.

Among those blacklisted was Preet Bharara, then the United States attorney in Manhattan, who led notable convictions of Russian arms and drug dealers. Mr. Bharara was abruptly fired in March, after previously being asked to stay on by President Trump.

One of Ms. Veselnitskaya’s clients is Denis Katsyv, the Russian owner of Prevezon Holdings, an investment company based in Cyprus. He is the son of Petr Katsyv, the vice president of the state-owned Russian Railways and a former deputy governor of the Moscow region. In a civil forfeiture case prosecuted by Mr. Bharara’s office, the Justice Department alleged that Prevezon had helped launder money linked to the $230 million corruption scheme exposed by Mr. Magnitsky by putting it in New York real estate and bank accounts. Prevezon recently settled the case for $6 million without admitting wrongdoing.

Ms. Veselnitskaya and her client also hired a team of political and legal operatives to press the case for repeal. And they tried but failed to keep Mr. Magnitsky’s name off a new law that takes aim at human-rights abusers across the globe. The team included Rinat Akhmetshin, an √©migr√© to the United States who once served as a Soviet military officer and who has been called a Russian political gun for hire. Fusion GPS, a consulting firm that produced an intelligence dossier that contained unverified allegations about Mr. Trump, was also hired to do research for Prevezon.

Ms. Veselnitskaya was also deeply involved in the making of a film that disputes the widely accepted version of Mr. Magnitsky’s life and death. In the film and in her statement, she said the true culprit of the fraud was William F. Browder, an American-born financier who hired Mr. Magnitsky to investigate the fraud after three of his investment funds companies in Russia were seized.

Mr. Browder called the film a state-sponsored smear campaign.

“She’s not just some private lawyer,” Mr. Browder said of Ms. Veselnitskaya. “She is a tool of the Russian government.”

John O. Brennan, a former C.I.A. director, testified in May that he had been concerned last year by Russian government efforts to contact and manipulate members of Mr. Trump’s campaign. “Russian intelligence agencies do not hesitate at all to use private companies and Russian persons who are unaffiliated with the Russian government to support their objectives,” he said.

The F.B.I. began a counterintelligence investigation last year into Russian contacts with any Trump associates. Agents focused on Mr. Manafort and a pair of advisers, Carter Page and Roger J. Stone Jr.

Among those now under investigation is Michael T. Flynn, who was forced to resign as Mr. Trump’s national security adviser after it became known that he had falsely denied speaking to the Russian ambassador about sanctions imposed by the Obama administration over the election hacking.

Congress later discovered that Mr. Flynn had been paid more than $65,000 by companies linked to Russia, and that he had failed to disclose those payments when he renewed his security clearance and underwent an additional background check to join the White House staff.

In May, the president fired the F.B.I. director, James B. Comey, who days later provided information about a meeting with Mr. Trump at the White House. According to Mr. Comey, the president asked him to end the bureau’s investigation into Mr. Flynn; Mr. Trump has repeatedly denied making such a request. Robert S. Mueller III, a former F.B.I. director, was then appointed as special counsel.

The status of Mr. Mueller’s investigation is not clear, but he has assembled a veteran team of prosecutors and agents to dig into any possible collusion.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams pleads guilty in his federal corruption trial

Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams abruptly pleaded guilty Thursday, nearly two weeks into a federal bribery trial that dragged embarrassing details about his messy personal life and financial struggles out into open court.

Williams will resign as the city’s top prosecutor as part of a deal under which he pleaded guilty to one count related to accepting a bribe from Bucks County businessman Mohammad Ali.

Asked by U.S. District Judge Paul S. Diamond whether he intended to follow through with his resignation, Williams choked up and answered, “humbly, sincerely and effective immediately.”

Diamond said he wanted Williams’ resignation letter couriered to Mayor Kenny’s office as soon as the hearing was over.

Williams remained somber looking throughout the guilty plea hearing.

“I’m just very sorry for all of this, your honor,” he said.

At a followup hearing to determine whether Williams should be jailed immediately, defense attorney Thomas F. Burke argued the disgraced prosecutor was not a flight risk.

“He has no means as the court can see to go anywhere. He has no support. He’s deeply in debt and he doesn’t even have a car,” Burke said.

Taking the witness stand to plead with a judge not to send him directly to prison before sentencing, tears welled up in Williams’ eyes while discussing his daughters.

He acknowledged he was broke, saying he had “probably about $150 to $200” in his bank account.

In addition to accepting that he could face a maximum 5 year term when he is sentenced Oct. 24, Williams agreed to forfeit $64,878.22

While the 28 remaining counts against Williams were dismissed, he “admits that he committed all of the conduct in those 29 counts,”  Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert Zauzmer said.

“Williams took benefits repeatedly from Mr. Ali knowing that those benefits were offered – at least in part – to influence him to take official actions,”  said Zauzmer.

Williams notified prosecutors he wanted to take the plea deal at 1 a.m.Thursday, said Zauzmer.

Sources close to the case say the deal is similar to one Williams was offered – and turned down – one day before his indictment earlier this year on 29 corruption-related counts including bribery, extortion and honest services fraud.

Prior to his admission, prosecutors and Williams’ defense lawyers – Thomas F. Burke and Trevan Borum – spent more than an hour huddled in quiet conversation in the courtroom, while the district attorney was nowhere to be seen.

His decision came after weeks of damaging testimony in which government witnesses characterized him a shameless beggar who repeatedly turned to the money of others to fund a lifestyle he couldn’t afford.

Two wealthy businessmen testified that they had showered the district attorney with gifts of all-expenses-paid travel, luxury goods and even cash in anticipation of the legal favors they might need from him.

And prosecutors had alleged that Williams delivered for them – writing letters to throw his weight into their legal problems and promising in one instance to intervene in a drug case brought by his office.

Additionally, Williams was accused of misspending thousands of dollars from his campaign fund on memberships to exclusive Philadelphia social clubs, misusing city vehicles as if they were his own and misappropriating money intended to fund his mother’s nursing home care.

Read a recap of Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams’ trial with our day-by-day updates and learn more with our explainer on everything you need to know about the case.