Code Blue :: Activism

How Russia gives up Assad, and gets sanctions relief in return - what Trump owes Russia. A Deal. Email Print

Here's a prediction. It's only logical, as an outgrowth of Rex Tillerson's agenda in Moscow. Everything we've learned of all the players over the last year, in the White House and in Moscow, leads to this.

1) Russia cares about Syria, for its warm water port and strategic value -- but Russia has no allegiance to Bashar Assad, who has become a pariah.

Russia will broker a deal to ferry Assad out of power, and install a replacement government. To great acclaim. Russia has enough control of key generals and armed factions there to continue its military role in Syria.

2) Russia's bigger goal is to get stifling financial sanctions lifted, in return for removal of Assad.

On this goal, Exhibit A -- delivery of a plan to former national security advisor Michael Flynn, in early February, to install a Russia-friendly government in the Ukraine, in exchange for Russia withdrawing its forces from eastern Ukraine.

As a bonus -- sanctions removed. The proposal uncovered by the NY Times was sent by Trump business associate Felix Sater, Trump Organization lawyer Michael Cohen and a Ukrainian lawmaker, the Times wrote.

Wait... There's more! (283 words in story)

TROJ.HORSE ( T*he *R*eal *O*bject and *J*ive of the *H*ealth *Or *R*use/*S*ham *E*xercise)- Tax Cuts Email Print

The mystery of the unyielding rush to steamroll this bill through the House, without any public hearings, is revealed in the ultimate purpose of the bill.  Not to give Americans better health coverage. Not to make the insurance market more rational. Goal #1, of the American Health Care Act (AHCA) is to pull in much lower revenue, and cut taxes for the richest Americans. It is a Trojan Horse for the enormous tax cut.

The multitude of taxes that the substitute plan will lop off amounts to about $ 1 Trillion over a 10-yr period, through 2026 -- or $890B to be more precise. That's according to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) scoring.

That huge revenue loss is why there's simply not enough funding to give adequate coverage to subscribers, though tax credits or subsidies.  The tax credit thresholds will fall far, far short of what's needed to purchase insurance for low- or moderate-income subscribers in the individual market. For people of modest means the tax credits are generally much lower than in the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare.

Wait... There's more! (642 words in story)

Reporter is too Hot for HeatStreet (newscorp) - gets sidelined for her Russiagate reporting Email Print

The way to stay way ahead of the Russiagate/Trump story is to follow what Newscorp reporter Louise Mensch has been posting. She was the first to report, on Election Eve, November 7, a FISA warrant obtained on Russian bank Alfa Bank and its communication to a server in the US.

Quoting directly from her post:

"the FBI's counter-intelligence arm, sources say, re-drew an earlier FISA court request around possible financial and banking offenses related to the server.

"The first request, which, sources say, named Trump, was denied back in June, but the second was drawn more narrowly and was granted in October after evidence was presented of a server, possibly related to the Trump campaign, and its alleged links to two banks ... "

"The fact that the alleged warrant was a FISA warrant is itself significant. The court exists to grant warrants to examine cases concerned with Foreign Intelligence."

Mensch's story ties directly to the article of Franklin Foer (Slate) who reported, on October 31, on communications between a server of Russia's Alfa Bank and a server operated on behalf of the Trump organization.

Who is Louise Mensch, and when did Newscorp push her out from reporting/editing for website

Wait... There's more! (689 words in story)

1-acre 1-vote president. This map shows wasted millions of votes, by state. Email Print

It's important to see – visually – how millions of votes got zero'ed out across each state in the election count from November. The maps below, some images subdivided by region, give the numbers of voters whose vote were negated by the electoral college.

First here is the image of Southern states, where 4,500,000 Democratic votes in Florida and 3,900,000 Democratic votes in Texas counted for naught, zilch, in awarding 29 electoral votes (EV) from FL and awarding 38 EV from Texas.


Wait... There's more! (608 words in story)

2 lists. What does Jeff Sessions say? GOP members need to know, before they vote Email Print

Before Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and the Senate Judiciary Committee votes today, to wave through their colleague Jeff Sessions to be the top law enforcement officer in the land, they should ascertain first what Sessions knows about these 2 lists. They were brought into the limelight by the words and actions of Pres. Donald Trump.

The first one is a list of labeled "potential double voters", distributed to more than 2 dozen states, including key swing states. See below a screenshot from the lists, sent within the last few years by Trump ally Kris Kobach to the Secretaries of State, from the Interstate Crosscheck list compiled by Kobach.

The fallacious voter list used for purges includes partially mismatched names, yet sends the names off to states to consider for a scrub list.

Wait... There's more! (450 words in story)

The election hack that may be as big as Russia's hack Email Print

This post is not to diminish in the least the serious allegations from European and US intelligence sources, that Russia (1) hacked and publicized internal documents of Donald Trump's election opponent, that (2) Trump's campaign associates may have been communicating with Russian operators throughout the election season, and that a FISA warrant may have been issued to track these communications --  as covered here (Election Eve. report), here, and more recently here. A British ex-MP (Member of Parliament), turned journalist, reported this early November.

In fact, a FOIA suit filed on the last business day of December seeks to unearth these communications, and the US intelligence investigation of them.  It looks like Trump is slamming (or threatening) our spy services, in the hopes that all of it stays under wraps.

We can acknowledge the threats to the legitimacy of the election, the 1-acre – 1-vote nature of the electoral college, along with the impact of what may have been coordinated foreign interference — but there are other factors too.

On commemorating MLK Day, it's important to see something else was at play also. A fallacious, scurrilous "crosscheck" list of voters' names across states, dubbed "Interstate Crosscheck", flagged "suspected double voters" across state lines, by sending participating states the names of voters that were only partial matches.  Screen shot of some of the matches is shown directly below.  A much larger, clearer image of the name matches can be seen here at the reporter's website ( Note Greg Palast uncovered Crosscheck in a research project published by Al Jazeera America, which is no longer operating.  The reporting is republished here [November 2014], and at his own website.  It's clear to see, especially in the larger image, that these "Case #s" of 2 names are generally not of the same person. These are persons with common last and first names.

Wait... There's more! (1159 words in story)

Putin's nominee in Cleveland Email Print

Tonight, as Donald Trump offers his acceptance speech at the Quicken Loans Arena, the delegates and fans celebrating will be blissfully unaware of who else, two continents away, is toasting Trump's rise.

That's Vladimir Putin, along with Russia's propaganda arm RT (Russia Today), a channel shown across cable-and-satellite networks in the US and worldwide, and funded directly from Moscow.

The fawning between Putin and the Donald is public, and mutual.  On Sunday's Meet the Press in December, Trump boasted to Chuck Todd, Putin "called me brilliant. He said very nice things about me. I mean, I accept it."  Then the Republican then-future nominee returned the compliment to President Putin: "He's a strong leader. And I'm not going to be politically correct. He's got an 80% of approval rating done by pollsters .... And it would be very nice if we got along with Russia, Chuck."

The Leningradian Candidate

It goes far beyond mutual admiration. Trump employs and consults with top advisors who hold mysterious ties to Moscow. And Donald and son Donald, Jr. have flown to Russia multiple times trying to launch  mega-hotel projects.

Wait... There's more! (969 words in story)

Clinton wearing Brunei Bling!! (says Trump) Email Print

Associated Press:  "Clinton is not sporting Brunei bling"

TRUMP: 'Hillary Clinton accepted $58,000 in jewelry from the government of Brunei when she was secretary of state -- plus millions more for her foundation. The sultan of Brunei has pushed oppressive Sharia law.'

"THE FACTS: Clinton is not sporting Brunei bling.

"In September 2012, she accepted a $58,000 jewelry set with gold, sapphire and diamond earrings, a necklace and bracelet, given by the queen of Brunei when Clinton visited for meetings and to inaugurate an English-language training program, according to the Federal Register. The gift was not to her, but to the United States.

"Federal law prohibits officials from keeping such gifts unless they pay the estimated value to the U.S. government. According to the State Department's protocol office, Clinton chose not to buy the jewelry, and instead turned it over to the General Services Administration -- the standard procedure for most gifts from foreign leaders.

"It's true that Brunei is an Islamic nation that observes Sharia law and has been widely criticized for its human rights record, particularly when it comes to gays and lesbians."

But gift exchanges are standard practice. As with almost all gifts to all officials, the Federal Register notice says "non-acceptance would cause embarrassment to donor and U.S. government."

More fact-checking of the accusations here.

Wait... There's more! (393 words in story)

Trump follows Hillary's lead: like her, says now we should consider No fly-No buy Email Print

3 days after the mass shooting in Orlando, now Trump tweets he will go meet with NRA leaders, to see if persons who are too risky to fly should not be allowed to purchase guns.

Reuters has the story.

Is it better late than never, for Donald Trump, Mr. Second Amendment?  So far, Republican members of Congress, including Speaker Paul Ryan, have blocked Democratic efforts to get anything like this done.  Speaker Ryan has literally gaveled the Democratic congressmen out-of-order this week for moving to put this out on the floor of the House.

Two days ago, on Monday, Hillary Clinton and President Obama spoke out on the recent massacre in Orlando, Florida, and pushed for common-sense restrictions to keep guns out of the hands of persons deemed too dangerous to fly.


Tips for voters and new voters - IA and CO have same-day Register-and-vote. Email Print

The reason every vote counts, even yours, is that several races are much tighter than some reporting tells you, so the Senate majority will be at stake. (Today, Chuck Todd said, "Republicans in Iowa are starting to worry". That's because the turnout #s and last week's early voting so far are not reassuring to GOP, as they cannibalized their Election Day voters, just to gin up the EV #s.)  Another state, Alaska also has had mixed polling signals, and has reported EV#s encouraging to Dems, a possible boost in a surprising state.

IOWA polls are open to 9:00.

If you're young or you're old, and not yet registered - note that any Iowa potential voter can register and vote even on Election Day. If you reside in Iowa and are a US citizen you need to select from one of these documents in order to Register:   - a photo ID that is current and contains an expiration date that is either:

  an out-of-state driver's license or non-driver card (for proof of identity),

or an Iowa driver's license,

or student ID from an Iowa high school or Iowa college,

or employer ID card,
US military card,
or US passport.

If the document above does not show your current Iowa address then you can use one of these documents to prove your address in Iowa: cell phone bill or utility bill, residential lease, bank statement, paycheck, government check or other government document.

If you don't have these documents to demonstrate your identity / residency, another registered voter from your precinct can attest for you.  You and the attester will both sign written oaths to accomplish this.

Polls stay open TIL  9 pm, in IOWA

Wait... There's more! (641 words in story)

Place your Early Vote (or Absentee): NC, GA Email Print

Here are tips to bank your rightful vote in your state.

For NORTH CAROLINA, Early Voting is available through Saturday 11/1, until 1 p.m. at many sites, each county. Check the link to list below [a couple of centers close at noon].

Bank your vote ahead at one of the vote centers in your county – so you don't get caught up in the "precinct shuffle" (disqualifying shenanigans) that can happen on Election Day.

Click to reach the interactive map, and List of early voting sites, with hours.


The printed list is organized by county, and the order is semi-alphabetical, not fully alphabetized. (Some Brunswick and Mecklenburg come lower than Yancy, at the bottom, for example).

During early voting, you can vote at ANY early vote center in your county. This is an advantage: it can be better than on Election Day, where if election officials switch or move your precinct assignment (sometimes there are different precincts at different tables in the same building for voting), they will disqualify your vote for voting in the "wrong precinct".

So I recommend early voting.

1 thing you need to know.

ID:  It's not needed in 2014 in No. Carolina. But poll worker in 2014 will ask about it anyway.

In 2014, the poll worker will ask you for ID, but this year you can say, I didn't bring ID, and you can vote anyway in 2014. This is important!  So know the rules, and the bureaucratic procedure you'll encounter!

= = = =
In Georgia -- Friday was the last day to request an absentee ballot -- at the County Registrar's office -- or to head to an Early vote center to cast an early in-person vote.  For in-person voting or early voting in Georgia, a strict voter photo ID rule applies. Some counties have Early voting open Friday, see list of early voting sites, and hours, here.

To return an absentee ballot to the County Registrar, if you already supplied identifying info when you registered, you generally don't need to supply ID documents again.
[List of County Registrars can be found here].

Wait... There's more! (695 words in story)

Info to Early vote - in GA, NC, COLO - Some locations have Sunday (10/26) voting Email Print

Here are some resources to find availability, and hours, of vote centers to use for early voting, and info about voter ID for:
  • -  North Carolina
  • -  Georgia
  • -  Colorado
N CAROLINA.  As shown in next post, a handy list with interactive map gives the locations by county. (A bunch have Sunday (10/26) early vote centers open.)
 ID in North Carolina will be asked for, but does not need to be shown until the 2016 election, except for some 1st-time voters whose identifying information wasn't verified with registration.

The early voting advantage is this -- you can vote at any center in your county during the early vote period to have your vote counted. Votes will not be disqualified for being "out of precinct."

GEORGIA.  In a few places you can find the locations for early voting. I've found a list here  
[ g-locations ] – with dates and hours for Bibb County, Chatham, Clayton, Cobb, DeKalb, Douglas, Dougherty, Fulton, Gwinnett, Hall, Henry, Muscogee, and Richmond.

The list shows some with Sunday (10/26) early voting, at some of the locations in >> Chatham County, Clayton, DeKalb, Fulton, and Richmond.

Wait... There's more! (987 words in story)

Early Vote (now!) in North Carolina. Here's handy county Location list, map and Hours. Email Print

Early voting started Thursday. Bank your vote ahead at one of the vote centers in your county – so you don't get caught up in the "precinct shuffle" (disqualifying shenanigans) that can happen on Election Day.

Click below to see link to interactive map, with hours.


Wait... There's more! (380 words in story)

Chris Christie. The Governor (of the National Pork Producers Council, Iowa) Email Print

Why did Chris Christie veto the agriculture bill to ban the farming practice that confines pregnant sows inside narrow, immobilizing "gestation crates"? Does it owe to Iowa being first-in-the-nation to hold its voting caucus for the Presidential nomination, in 2016? Iowa is the No. 1 hog producing state.

In May, the Des Moines based National Pork Producers Council (NPCC) contacted governor Christie and instructed him to not let the bill become law. The bill to ban the inhumane caging of pregnant sows passed the New Jersey legislature overwhelmingly in the spring, by votes of 60 - 5 in the Assembly and 29 - 4 in the state Senate.


  The 2' x 7' cages for breeding sows are too narrow to permit the animals to turn around freely.  They are widely regarded as inhumane confinement. Supporting the assembly and Senate vote, a survey of New Jerseyans (Mason-Dixie) has 91% in favor of ending the practice, 4% opposed.

Christie vetoed the bill in June. Two months later, he vetoed 3 gun-control measures, one he had first proposed himself — after the lobby group Pro-Gun New Hampshire sent warnings they were watching him on these bills. (More info on the gun vetoes here.)

Increasingly, Christie will govern with an eye to Iowa and New Hampshire, instead of his own state interests.

Wait... There's more! (1224 words in story)

House: a Majority in name only. Is John Boehner Speaker in name only (SPINO)? Email Print

Let's face facts. When the votes were counted in November 2012, Democrats running for the House collected 1.7 million more votes than Republicans. For Democratic members, the ballots totaled 60.2 million and for Republican members, 58.5 million. (see link, pdf pg 15)

So it's fair to ask: is John Boehner of Ohio a SPINO, a Speaker in Name only?

The House majority from 2012 was manufactured almost entirely from the gerrymanders rammed through statehouses in 2010 that sent more R's than D's to the Capitol to take seats in the House of Representatives, 234-201.

The House is supposed to be proportional representation. It's not.

Vote counts by party for House of Representatives, 2012

HR result  

Wait... There's more! (469 words in story)

Next 15 >>