Thursday, April 12, 2018

Back to the future

Remember the past:

I have to be asleep for the last eight years because I was chilling, watching some college basketball and all of the sudden I see this Bill Schuette ad blaming Governor Jennifer Granholm for the current problems Michigan is dealing with. Now I admit I stink at math but the last time Granholm was office was 2010 so that means she hasn't been in office for the last eight years. Seriously I believe this ad was made in either 2009 or early 2010 because how the bluest of blue fucks can anyone look at that ad and go yeah he's right it's all Granholm's fault? Even the dumbest of the dumb Michigan Republican knows which party controlled everything Lansing for the last eight years. Not only you had Republican governor Rick Snyder AKA The One Failed Nerd he had a united racist as hell Republican majorities in both chambers of the state house. They pretty much-passed anything they wanted and the failed nerd rarely objected to anything. I get it Both Schuette and Calley are awful candidates

You got Bill Schuette the dude has no personality, he's one of the few people left in Michigan that will admit with a smile on their face they still support Donald Trump and he's pandering to bigots and morons for support. Then there's Brian Calley the right-hand man to the One failed nerd and if Nerd's legacy will be tied to the Flint water fuck up then his name should be too.

Remembering Tony Trupiano:
Monday the liberal community in Michigan learned Tony Trupiano passed away, the man provided a voice and a platform for us.  While I never met Tony face to face we talked quite a bit either email or a write into his show. I remember talking to Tony about starting a blog around either summer 2005 or early 2006 because I posted a lot on his forums when he had his OG show on 1310 before it became our short-lived progressive station. He told me I should and I joked with him about being a spinoff of his message board. I think one of the biggest reason I'm going to put max effort back into updating this blog because despite his health issues Tony was still fighting for what he believed in and if a man like that could still do what he could do while dealing what he dealt with then I have no excuse.

Tony didn't care about the size of the audience all he cared about was making sure at least one person is better informed and that's what I'm going to do. I don't care I reached 10 million people as long 10 people can use the stories and opinions I post then I'm good.

Is Sean Hannity coordinating with the White House?

Every episode of Fox News’ Hannity follows a fairly basic formula these days: pugnacious cube-headed goon Sean Hannity serves up a monologue devoted almost entirely to the vituperative (and frequently incoherent) slander of President Donald Trump’s political adversaries, and then he lards out the hour with panel discussions featuring a small, rotating cast of like-minded Trump sycophants and the odd sacrificial liberal.
As Donald Trump’s many scandals have mushroomed, Hannity has been forced to get louder and crazier. Last night’s episode was an especially psychotic exercise in Hannity-brand demonization as he attempted to counterpunch former FBI Director James Comey, who is ramping up a book tour for his forthcoming memoir. You can watch Hannity’s monologue below, in which the host places Comey, the Clintons, and special counsel Robert Mueller as the heads of their respective “crime families.”
It’s insane. But being a crazy asshole is what Sean Hannity does. What was interesting about last night’s show, however, was the tweet that President Trump posted at 8:48 p.m. EST, 12 minutes before Hannitystarted:
Big show! How would Trump know that last night’s Hannity would be a big show? Why would he want everyone to watch this specific episode of Hannity, which featured some of his favorite pundits calling for the heads of top Justice Department officials alongside an elaborate, acid-burned harangue against James Comey and Robert Mueller? What possible explanation could there be?
Well, the obvious and extremely satisfying one is that Trump knew it was coming and this was all one big coordinated attack on the credibility of the Russia investigation. That, at least, was the explanation put forth by well-sourced Trumpworld reporters. We know that Trump is in regular contact with his favorite Fox News hosts/propagandists (some of whom are old friends) and even solicits their input on policy matters. And given that Fox News is absolutely critical to the White House’s PR war against the Russia investigation, it’s not crazy to assume some level of coordination.
Hannity, however, is aghast and insulted that anyone would ever accuse him of such corruption.
“No collusion,” as it were. One should take a moment to note the specificity of Hannity’s denial -- Trump had no advance knowledge of the monologue. What about the rest of the show? If Trump had no idea what was coming, then why was he boosting the program before it aired?
Also, Hannity’s angry denials are not worth the flung spittle that accompanies them. He is so thoroughly compromised by his feral Trump advocacy that nothing he says can be taken at face value. Hannity has admitted to giving Trump advice on strategy and messaging in 2016 and described himself as “a little bit of a liaison” between the Trump campaign and Fox News. He has dinner with Trump frequently. Hannity has no core, no animating philosophy, and nothing of substance to say -- he’s a Rottweiler whose job is to bark louder than his master’s critics.
But Hannity would have us believe that he comes by his maniacal Trump boosterism honestly, that he is beyond official influence in his straight-shooting mission to cover the president as an infallible sun god molested by foul heretics and despicable blasphemers. So, I guess denying or admitting coordination doesn’t really matter because his end product is already functionally indistinct from official propaganda. Hannity’s either giving us the official White House line or the line the White House just happens to agree with entirely.

Trump’s allies worry that federal investigators may have seized recordings made by his attorney

President Trump’s personal attorney Michael D. Cohen sometimes taped conversations with associates, according to three people familiar with his practice, and allies of the president are worried that the recordings were seized by federal investigators in a raid of Cohen’s office and residences this week.
Cohen, who served for a decade as a lawyer at the Trump Organization and is a close confidant of Trump, was known to store the conversations using digital files and then replay them for colleagues, according to people who have interacted with him.
“We heard he had some proclivity to make tapes,” said one Trump adviser, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the ongoing investigation. “Now we are wondering, who did he tape? Did he store those someplace where they were actually seized? . . . Did they find his recordings?” 
Cohen did not respond to requests for comment. Stephen Ryan, an attorney for Cohen, declined to comment. A White House spokeswoman referred a request for comment to Cohen and his attorney.
On Monday, FBI agents seized Cohen’s computers and phones as they executed a search warrant that sought, among other records, all communications between the lawyer and Trump and campaign aides about “potential sources of negative publicity” in the lead-up to the 2016 election, The Washington Post reported.
Investigators were also looking for any records related to adult-film star Stormy Daniels and ex-Playboy model Karen McDougal, who both received payments after alleged affairs with Trump.

It is unknown whether Cohen taped conversations between himself and Trump. But two people familiar with Cohen’s practices said he recorded both business and political conversations. One associate said Trump knew of Cohen’s practice because the attorney would often play him recordings Cohen had made of his conversations with other top Trump advisers.
“It was his standard practice to do it,” this person said. 
Legal experts said Cohen’s taped conversations would be viewed by prosecutors as highly valuable.
“If you are looking for evidence, you can’t do any better than people talking on tape,” said Nick Akerman, a former Watergate prosecutor.
Such recordings “would be considered a gold mine,” said Stephen Gillers, a law professor at New York University who specializes in legal ethics.
“The significance is 9.5 to 10 on a 10-point scale,” he added, noting that investigators know “that when people speak on the phone, they are not guarded. They don’t imagine that the conversation will surface.” 
Federal investigators would not automatically get access to any tapes that might have been seized in the raids. First, the recordings would be reviewed by a separate Justice Department team and possibly by a federal judge. The review is designed to protect lawyer-client privilege and to be sure that the conversations turned over are within the terms of the search warrant, legal experts said.
They noted that the privilege accorded to attorney-client communications does not apply if the conversation was conducted to further commission of a crime or fraud.
Cohen wanted his business calls on tape so he could use them later as leverage, one person said. Cohen frequently noted that under New York law, only one party had to consent to the taping of a conversation, this person added.
During the 2016 race, Cohen — who did not have a formal role on the campaign — had a reputation among campaign staff as someone to avoid, in part because he was believed to be secretly taping conversations.
In one instance, Cohen played a recording of a conversation he had with someone else to a Trump campaign official to demonstrate that he was in a position to challenge that person’s veracity if necessary, an associate recalled.
Cohen indicated that he had something to use against the person he had taped, the associate said.
One outside Trump adviser said Cohen may have begun recording his conversations in an attempt to emulate his boss, who has long boasted — often with no evidence — about secretly taping private conversations. 
In May, for instance, a report appeared in the New York Times detailing fired FBI director James B. Comey’s account of a one-on-one dinner he had with the president, during which he said Trump asked him to pledge his loyalty to the president and he declined. Shortly after, Trump took to Twitter to cast doubt on Comey’s version of events, seeming to imply that he had secretly recorded their encounter.
“James Comey better hope that there are no ‘tapes’ of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!” Trump wrote.
At the time, it was unclear whether Trump truly possessed tapes of his conversation with Comey or was simply trying to intimidate him. And ultimately, just over a month later, Trump cleared up the mystery by admitting in a duo of tweets that he had not, in fact, recorded Comey.
“With all of the recently reported electronic surveillance, intercepts, unmasking and illegal leaking of information, I have no idea whether there are ‘tapes’ or recordings of my conversations with James Comey, but I did not make, and do not have, any such recordings,” he wrote. 
Tim O’Brien, a Trump biographer and executive editor of Bloomberg View, wrote a column in the wake of Trump’s taping claim saying that Comey likely had little reason to worry. In the piece, O’Brien recounted that Trump frequently made a similar boast to him.
“Back in the early 2000s, Trump used to tell me all the time that he was recording me when I covered him as reporter for the New York Times,” O’Brien wrote. “He also said the same thing when I was writing a biography of him, ‘Trump Nation.’ I never thought he was, but who could be sure?
But after Trump sued him for libel shortly after his biography came out, O’Brien’s lawyers deposed Trump in December 2007 — during which Trump admitted he had not, in fact, clandestinely taped O’Brien. 
“I’m not equipped to tape-record,” Trump said in the deposition. “I may have said it once or twice to him just to — on the telephone, because everything I said to him he’d write incorrectly; so just to try and keep it honest.”

Paid-off Trump Tower doorman breaks his silence — says Donald ‘produced a child’ with a housekeeper

A former Trump Tower doorman has released a statement on reports that The National Enquirer paid him $30,000 to keep quiet about a love child that Donald Trump fathered with an employee.
Dino Sajudin took a polygraph test about his claims.
“Today I awoke to learn that a confidential agreement that I had with AMI (The National Enquirer) with regard to a story about President Trump was leaked to the press,” Sajudin said in a statement, CNN reported Thursday.
“I can confirm that while working at Trump World Tower I was instructed not to criticize President Trump’s former housekeeper due to a prior relationship she had with President Trump which produced a child.”

MSNBC reports Mueller to ‘move up timing’ of Trump obstruction report as interview negotiations break down

A team of NBC News reporters broke two major news scoops about special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation on MSNBC’s Deadline: White House on Thursday.
“Breaking news in the Mueller investigation into Trump/Russia collusion and potential Obstruction of Justice,” anchor Nicolle Wallace reported. “NBC News breaking the story this hour that talks over a presidential interview with Mueller’s investigators — which were much further along than had been previously reported — have now largely broken down, with both sides proceeding as though a presidential interview is no longer in the cards.”
“The other big headline and potentially more consequential one for this White House,” Wallace continued. “NBC News breaking the news that the timetable for delivering a report on Obstruction of Justice may now be sped up, absent a presidential interview by the Mueller team.”
“NBC News also reporting, ‘Mueller would then likely send a confidential report to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who is overseeing the Russia investigation. Rosenstein could decide whether to make the report public and send its findings to congress. From there, congress would then decide whether to begin impeachment proceedings against the president,’ that is according to two sources,” the host continued.


Trump Proposes Rejoining Trans-Pacific Partnership

By ANA SWANSON via The New York Times
WASHINGTON — President Trump, in a sharp reversal, told a gathering of farm state lawmakers and governors on Thursday morning that the United States was looking into rejoining a multicountry trade agreement known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a deal he pulled out of days after assuming the presidency.
Mr. Trump’s reconsideration of an agreement he once denounced as a “rape of our country” caught even his closest advisers by surprise and came as his administration faces stiff pushback from Republican lawmakers, farmers and other businesses concerned that the president’s threat of tariffs and other trade barriers will hurt them economically.
Larry Kudlow, Mr. Trump’s top economic adviser, said in an interview on Thursday with The New York Times that the request to revisit the deal was somewhat spontaneous. “This whole trade thing has exploded,” Mr. Kudlow said. “There’s no deadline. We’ll pull a team together, but we haven’t even done — I mean, it just happened a couple hours ago.”
Mr. Trump’s decision to throw out the Trans-Pacific Partnership and his pledge to tear up the North American Free Trade Agreement were bedrock promises of his populist campaign, which centered heavily on unfair trade practices that he said had robbed American manufacturers and workers.
But, as he often does, the president started to change gears after hearing complaints from important constituents — in this case, Republican lawmakers who said farmers and other businesses in their states would suffer from his trade approach since they send many of their products abroad.
Continue reading the main story
At the White House meeting on Thursday, Senator John Thune, Republican of South Dakota, questioned Mr. Trump about returning to the pact, arguing that the Trans-Pacific Partnership was the best way to put pressure on China.
Mr. Trump, who has put China’s “unfair” trade practices in his cross hairs, turned to Mr. Kudlow and Robert Lighthizer, his trade negotiator, and asked them to look into re-entering the agreement.
Rejoining the pact could be a significant change in fortune for many American industries that stood to benefit from the trade accord and for Republican lawmakers who supported it. The deal, which was negotiated by the Obama administration, was largely intended as a tool to prod China into making the type of economic changes that the United States and others have long wanted. Many economists say the best way to combat a rising China and pressure it to open its market is through multilateral trade deals like the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which create favorable trading terms for participants.
“The idea was to set a framework that eventually China would have to accommodate,” said David Autor, an economist at M.I.T.
Farmers would stand to benefit from new access to markets, especially Japan, if Mr. Trump rejoins the pact. For instance, ranchers in Australia can currently send beef to Japan more cheaply than ranchers in the United StatesP.
Michael Miller, the chairman of U.S. Wheat Associates and a farmer in Washington, said rejoining the deal would allow his industry to compete on a level playing field with competitors in Australia and Canada, which both remained in the accord.
But rejoining it could be a complex task. The remaining countries, like Japan, moved ahead without the United States, and spent months renegotiating a pact before finally agreeing to a sweeping multinational deal this year. Mr. Trump, who has demanded that any such deal benefit the United States, is unlikely to rejoin the Trans-Pacific Partnership without further concessions for what he has criticized as a terrible agreement. That could complicate talks, since Japan maintains that it has already given all the concessions it could, said William A. Reinsch, a trade expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
It is also unclear how serious Mr. Trump is about rejoining. In the past, the president has floated policies that appeared to run counter to his earlier positions, like cooperating with Democrats on legislation governing immigration and gun rights, then quickly abandoned them.
“What he tells people in a room to make them happy does not always translate into administration policy,” said Phil Levy, a senior fellow at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs.
In a statement, a deputy White House press secretary, Lindsay Walters, pushed back on the notion that Mr. Trump was reversing his promises.
The president had “kept his promise to end the TPP deal negotiated by the Obama administration because it was unfair to American workers and farmers,” she said. “The president has consistently said he would be open to a substantially better deal.”
But the White House is in somewhat of a box when it comes to prodding China to fall in line with global trade rules. The administration is trying to use tariffs to force Beijing to open its markets, but many of his supporters, including business groups and farmers, fear the fallout from an escalating trade war will be even more damaging. China has responded to Mr. Trump’s threat of tariffs on as much as $150 billion worth of its goods by placing its own tariffs on American pork, and threatening taxes on soybeans, sorghum, corn and beef.
Some advisers, including Mr. Kudlow, have indicated that those tariffs may never go into effect, and that they are mainly a prelude to negotiations with the Chinese, statements that have helped calm volatile stock markets. In a recent note to clients, the ratings agency Fitch said that the most likely outcome to the conflict remained a “negotiated solution” and that it was therefore not changing its primary economic forecast.
Mr. Kudlow, in the interview, said that farmers had “a legitimate concern” but added that it would be “at least two months before final decisions will be made.”
“I’m not here to say we won’t use tariffs — everything’s on the table in these negotiations — but I am here to say we don’t know yet,” he said.
Still, White House officials suggest that little to no progress has yet been made in bridging contentious gaps with the Chinese. Administration officials say that back-channel talks have occurred, but they would not characterize them as official negotiations. The Chinese appear impassable on some of the issues that the White House is most concerned about, including their subsidies to cutting-edge industries like robotics, aerospace and artificial intelligence.
The Trump administration says it has ordered the Agriculture Department to create a program to help farmers should the two nations find themselves in a trade war. Trade advisers say the department could draw on the financial resources of a program known as the Commodity Credit Corporation, which provides up to $30 billion to help shore up American farmers by buying their crops.
“Stay with us while we go through this difficult process,” Mr. Kudlow told farm state representatives during the meeting, according to a White House transcript. He added, “And at the end, if the worst case has come out as the president said, you will be helped. That’s a promise.”
But such a program would be time-consuming and costly and would come as the budget deficit continues to increase. Farmers say that Mr. Trump’s threats have already hurt them by causing the price of futures contracts to fall. They maintain that the easiest way to help them is to avoid a trade war with China in the first place.
Senator Joni Ernst, Republican of Iowa, described the meeting with the president as “productive” and said that she had urged him to re-engage in discussions with countries in the Trans-Pacific Partnership. “Iowa farmers aren’t looking for another subsidy program; rather they want new and improved market access,” she said.
“The best thing the United States can do to push back against Chinese cheating now is to lead the other 11 Pacific nations that believe in free trade and the rule of law,” Senator Ben Sasse, Republican of Nebraska, who attended the meeting, said in a statement. “It is good news that today the president directed Larry Kudlow and Ambassador Lighthizer to negotiate U.S. entry into TPP.”

Michael Cohen asks court to put Stormy Daniels case on ice, invokes 5th Amendment

UPDATE: Lawyers for Michael Cohen and Donald Trump have formally notified the court Thursday evening that they intend to ask for the case to be stayed, citing Cohen’s Fifth Amendment rights. Stormy Daniels attorney, Michael Avenatti, will oppose the motion.

Just one week after President Donald Trump told reporters to direct all questions about the Stormy Daniels allegations to his lawyer, Michael Cohen, Cohen will “plead the Fifth Amendment against self incrimination,” according to Michael Avenatti, Daniels’ lawyer.
“That’s what we have been informed by his counsel,” Avenatti said on MSNBC Thursday. “You may recall that one week ago today, the president stood on Air Force One and told the public and the press that if they had any questions about what happened relating to the agreement or the payment, that they could pose those questions to Michael Cohen.”
JUST IN: Stormy Daniels' attorney @MichaelAvenatti says Trump's lawyer Michael Cohen will "plead the 5th amendment against self incrimination" and he "will seek an emergency stay" against the defamation lawsuit.

Trump said, asked by a reporter en route to West Virginia, that he didn’t know about the alleged $130,000 payment Cohen made to Daniels right before the 2016 presidential election. Trump has also completely denied the affair. A reporter then asked, “Then why did Michael Cohen make it, if there was no truth to her allegations?”
“You’ll have to ask Michael Cohen. Michael’s my attorney, and you’ll have to ask Michael,” Trump responded.
But on Thursday, Avenatti said he learned Cohen won’t be answering any questions at all and that Cohen will be seeking an emergency stay against the defamation suit. Avenatti also said they will oppose that stay.
“Make no mistake about it. We’re talking about the attorney to the president of the United States,” Aventti said. “The man that knows where a lot of bodies are buried, and we have learned within the last hour or two that it is his intention to plead the Fifth Amendment.”
As ThinkProgress’ Judd Legum has noted, the Daniels story is so dangerous for Trump for three reasons, including the fact that it indicates Trump, who has been accused of sexual misconduct by more than a dozen women, is willing to lie about his sexual encounters with women, that the Daniels story has parallels to those stories, and because it suggests that Trump is vulnerable to extortion and blackmail.
When Trump finally addressed the Daniels allegations last week, he was asked whether he knew where Cohen got the money to pay Daniels, and Trump said he did not. Trump was also asked whether he ever set up a fund of money from which Cohen could pull, a question the president did not answer.