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James Comes Declares Trump Told Him To Drop Russia Investigation: Comey Runs US Presidents

May 18, 2017

I often marvel at the rise of James Comes, a man who has determined the 2016 US Presidential Election and continues to control the current President Trump. (Gag, hate writing that “President” follow-on.) James Comes, even upon Trump’s firing of him for strange reasons, wields tremendous power. His knife knows no bounds: take out first female presidential candidate by goading public suspicions of e-mail hacking, making Putin’s bedding of Trump demigod look like child’s play, and now taking shots at the current President to ostensibly unseat the man who fired him. By all accounts, Comey put Trump in office and now seeks to remove him when Comes is fired.

I don’t know mourns Comey’s loss from the FBI in and of itself, aside from people who want to speak to the press with gushing innuendo of imagined lost personal relationships at the FBI. Comey, himself, wrongly used his office to interfere with the 2016 presidential election by flashing an e-mail red herring while ignoring the Putin storm of Trump collusion. Then, once Trump is in office, Comey begins investigating him. I am suspicious of James Comey and happy to see him gone. The question is: what does this man want?

Why get on national television and discredit a presidential candidate with allegations of wrongdoing that were found to be invalid and then attack the sitting president after election by saying his corruption had gone on long before the election but he had never thought to investigate until now?

Comey has allegedly released a memo stating that Trump asked Comey to drop the Russia investigation, and according to Comey’s exposition, the heroic Comey refused, which then led to his firing:

“I hope you can let this go,” Comey wrote, quoting Trump in the document, which CNN has not viewed but which was described by the sources.
The bombshell revelation Tuesday escalated the already raging political crises engulfing the White House triggered by the bureau’s probe into alleged cooperation between Trump aides and Russia and new reports that Trump divulged classified information to top Russian officials.
 Would that we could believe Comey. I don’t understand why he never let the memo out before his firing. Or, was Comey merely attempting to control the narrative again. Then the next question is: what could he hope to gain?
In what must be an “oh shit” moment for Trump, although it appears he tends to live in them, something stung Jason Chafftez, the biggest denier that ever lived, to request copies of the memos that Comey apparently kept, and without even testifying, Comey controls the narrative. You can review of Chafftez’s letter here, but in it, Chafftez demands copies of all memos and notes Comey had pertaining to conversations with Trump.
Mr. Rosenstein, who recommended Trump fire Comey, must now contend with a special prosecutor assigned to investigate the Russia contacts with the Trump campaign. Ostensibly Comey was fired for his handling of Hillary Clinton’s email debacle, in which charges were never filed, but James Comey acting as FBI Director, publicly defiled her name a few nights before the election, essentially trying her in the court of public opinion based on fear mongering when criminal charges were denied. Mr. Rosenstein said to Attorney General Jess Sessions that Comey should be removed for Comey’s “refusal to accept the nearly universal judgment that he was mistaken” in his handling of the Hillary Clinton email scandal.
 In a memo to Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Mr Rosenstein said he could not defend Mr Comey’s “refusal to accept the nearly universal judgment that he was mistaken” in the way he handled an investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server while she was Secretary of State.
The FBI should never have participated in fear mongering or destroying a person’s credibility by innuendo when the facts of the matter never held up to the scrutiny of the law. Comey should have been fired for that, and it was a good move to fire a man for using his office to influence presidential elections based on hearsay. However, now suddenly Comey is a hero, a maligned official who can’t escape Trump’s ego.
The NYTimes reports that Rosenstein was being forced to hire a special investigator for Russian ties because of Trump’s own commentary about why he fired Comey, ostensibly to prevent any more Russia investigation:

The Justice Department appointed Robert S. Mueller III, a former F.B.I. director, as special counsel on Wednesday to oversee the investigation into ties between President Trump’s campaign and Russian officials, dramatically raising the legal and political stakes in an affair that has threatened to engulf Mr. Trump’s four-month-old presidency.

The decision by the deputy attorney general, Rod J. Rosenstein, came after a cascade of damaging developments for Mr. Trump in recent days, including his abrupt dismissal of the F.B.I. director, James B. Comey, and the subsequent disclosure that Mr. Trump asked Mr. Comey to drop the investigation of his former national security adviser, Michael T. Flynn.

Mr. Rosenstein had been under escalating pressure from Democrats, and even some Republicans, to appoint a special counsel after he wrote a memo that the White House initially cited as the rationale for Mr. Comey’s dismissal.

By appointing Mr. Mueller, a former federal prosecutor with an unblemished reputation, Mr. Rosenstein could alleviate uncertainty about the government’s ability to investigate the questions surrounding the Trump campaign and the Russians.

Mr. Rosenstein said in a statement that he concluded that “it is in the public interest for me to exercise my authorities and appoint a special counsel to assume responsibility for this matter.”

Rosenstein’s only hope for credibility, or a job after a looming Trump implosion, is to show some measure of credibility, and so as rats jump from a sinking ship, Rosenstein brought in an “independent” investigator, wholly impartial I am sure, because is a former FBI director. Take the FBI out, put the FBI in. It’s like a plug and play game, only with much bigger pawns.

 You might wonder why Jeff Sessions, the Attorney General of the United States, didn’t appoint the special prosecutor, why he would let his assistant, Rosenstein do the appointing. I can lay your fears to rest: Jess Sessions didn’t appoint anyone because he has had ties to Russia that he lied about until he was pushed to disclose them.
Mr. Rosenstein, who until recently was United States attorney in Maryland, took control of the investigation because Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself after acknowledging he had failed to disclose meetings he had with the Russian ambassador to Washington, Sergey I. Kislyak, when Mr. Sessions was an adviser to the Trump campaign.
Trump declares his innocence. While the handlers can muzzle Trump in a meeting, they can’t muzzle his Twitter feed, and Trump declared the special investigation a “witch hunt,” according to The NY Times reports:

In a pair of early morning Twitter posts, Mr. Trump cited, without evidence, what he called the “illegal acts” committed by the administration of his predecessor, Barack Obama, and the campaign of his former opponent, Hillary Clinton — and said they never led to the appointment of a special counsel.

“With all of the illegal acts that took place in the Clinton campaign & Obama Administration, there was never a special councel appointed!” Mr. Trump wrote, misspelling counsel.

Moments later, Mr. Trump added, “This is the single greatest witch hunt of a politician in American history!”

Why Trump couldn’t have just declared his innocence and feigned a world-weary sigh at the push for investigations as though they were silly, instead of erroneously asserting no special investigations occurred with Clinton and Obama is a question regarding sanity best left unanswered. Clinton and Obama were the subject of special investigations for the result of Benghazi crises. It’s simply not true, as with many of Trump’s tweets, that special prosecutors were never assigned during the last presidential tenure.

What’s a president to do? Complain he is being treated unfairly while he is “running the country,” a nightmare few Americans can forget:

With the White House battling multiple scandals — including Trump’s decision to fire former FBI Director James Comey, his alleged leak of highly classified material to Russian officials, and reports he pressured Comey to drop an FBI investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn — Trump and his allies have adopted a mentality of unfairly being under siege.

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, appearing Thursday morning on CNBC, said that “we have to just get on with it, get this over. It’s a side show. But what the media forgets in the midst of this side show of media frenzy, the president is running the country.”
It’s as though Trump has forgotten he asked for this spotlight, and his aides act as though they never even knew a spotlight existed. To Trump, being President of the United States was something done behind closed doors, and he admitted as much when he said he could talk to Russia any way he wanted because he had “executive privilege.”
Comey may now turn out to be the biggest leaker yet, proving Trump should keep his friends close and should have kept his enemy closer. According to the Washington Post, Trump is worried that Comey may do to Trump what he did to Clinton, destroy a reputation through media innuendo. Trump warned Comey in a tweet, about how he better hope they don’t have “tapes” of conversations between himself and Comey, sounding exactly like Nixon did during the Watergate scandal, and suddenly from the Comey camp comes a leaked memo about how Trump asked Comey to stop investigating Russian ties to Trump’s campaign:

President Trump is clearly worried that former FBI director James B. Comey is going to come after him, through the media. That’s what Friday’s tweet about “tapes” was all about.

Four days later, a person described by the New York Times as “one of Mr. Comey’s associates” leaked a portion of Comey’s notes from a February meeting with the president. According to the notes, Trump expressed to Comey his desire for the FBI to drop an investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

It’s a war of words through the media. Hang legal process, let’s just let the public decide through the press. For Trump, used to controlling every element of his image, it’s blow. Trump is wringing his little hands. Even thought Trump vacillates between defending Michael Flynn and those close to him, and firing Flynn, investigations into Flynn have yet to abate:

Despite the conversation between Mr. Trump and Mr. Comey, the investigation of Mr. Flynn has proceeded. In Virginia, a federal grand jury has issued subpoenas in recent weeks for records related to Mr. Flynn. Part of the Flynn investigation is centered on his financial links to Russia and Turkey.

The Comey scandal, refusing to let Sally Yates testify, the Flynn scandal, and now the appointment of special prosecutor prove that Trump’s trademark phrase, “You’re fired” is no longer the last word.

Man Dragged Off United Airlines Flight Wins Settlement

April 28, 2017

United Airlines, in the middle of a media storm, agreed to pay a settlement to the 69 year old man who suffered a concussion, broken nose and two lost teeth at the hands of United employees. United employees dragged the man off the plan to make room for other flight crew members.

You can watch the video, but honestly, I couldn’t make it through it. Beating a 69 year old man until he is bloody is not something I could watch; however, here is the proof, if you wondered if the story was real.

Since United airlines has taken a financial beating in the wake of this scandal, along with a strange tale of a giant rabbit dying on a United flight (more animals die on United flights than any other), United reached a settlement and has instituted a new round of policies:

Earlier on Thursday, United announced several steps to prevent such episodes from recurring and said that passengers who had arrived on an aircraft shouldn’t have to give up their seats. The airline said it would create a new check-in process that would allow passengers to volunteer to give up their seats for compensation, and increased the limit of that compensation to $10,000 from $1,350.

United had previously announced that it would no longer ask law enforcement officers to remove passengers from its planes over booking issues, and that crew members would not replace boarded passengers.

“I hope other airlines will follow United’s lead,” Mr. Demetrio said in an interview on Thursday. “I have gotten an amazing number of emails from people with tales of woe, and it was not limited to United Airlines. So passenger service is an industrywide issue, and here United has laid the groundwork for the other airlines on what needs to be done.”

 

United Airlines Polices 10-Year Olds’ Pants’ Choices–Won’t Let Them On Flights

March 28, 2017

You would think that the airlines have a tough enough time managing their customers amid safety concerns, but it appears that 10-year old girls in leggings are the most dangerous airline foe around. Fearless girls in leggings attempting to board flights that their employee-parents purchased? Gate agents told the girls their leggings were too tight. While Reuters, quoted below, asserted the “girls were fine with the po0liy” the treatment, and it was only a passenger complained, but Reuters has no factual evidence from the girls to support this. Way to go, Reuters, “reporting” innuendo:

The girls, who were flying standby on Sunday from Denver to Minneapolis using free passes for employees or family members, were told by a gate attendant that they could not get on the plane while wearing the form-fitting pants. 

Passengers using the passes are considered airline representatives, United Air Lines Inc spokesman Jonathan Guerin said, subject to a dress code that prohibits sleep or swimwear, torn clothing and revealing attire.

The girls were fine with the policy, Guerin says, but a traveler named Shannon Watts who overheard the exchange took offense.

Watts was further incensed when another woman who was listening told her 10-year-old daughter to put a dress on over her leggings, apparently thinking United’s policy applied to all passengers, not just those flying free.

Her subsequent tweet storm, which accused the airline of “policing women’s clothing,” quickly went viral, with celebrities such as model Chrissy Teigen and actors Seth Rogen and Patricia Arquette decrying United’s stance.

After the incident, United’s mentions on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram exploded from its average 2,000 daily mentions to 174,000, nearly 70 percent of them negative, said Kellan Terry, a spokesman for the social media analysis firm Brandwatch.

121, 800 people didn’t think it was “fine” to tell young girls they had to change out of leggings because they were too tight. Many people, over a 100,000, in fact, are tired of the pressure put on women, and now on young girls to obsess over what they wear. Here is how to make girls even more paranoid about their appearance– don’t let them fly in leggings.

My own daughter was hassled the last time she flew. (You can read about it here.) She is refusing to fly now. She says that airports and airlines single out girls. It appears she is right.

Delta Airlines published an excellent burn on Twitter:

Flying Delta means comfort. (That means you can wear your leggings. 😉)

United, rather than stating a benign response to Twitter comments, began an ill-fated (and woefully unprepared) Twitter feud with commenters who were irate over United’s policing of young girls’ clothing, whether flying on a buddy pass (parent who works for the airline purchases ticket) or in general. And the response from Twitter commenters was much more adept than from those at United:

We here at @united are just trying to police the attire of the daughters of our employees! That’s all! Cool, right? https://twitter.com/united/status/846104385130160128 

United’s response on Twitter was such a huge botch that United’s Twitter failure was reported as a news story:

As for the fuss that’s erupted over United’s weekend incident, Harteveldt wonders if the airline could avoided much of that with a better social media response. The incident only seemed to gather steam after United responded to the first tweets about the situation not with a gentle explanation, but rather by citing the company’s “contract of carriage” and its “right to refuse transport for passengers” who don’t meet criteria spelled out there.

“United flew itself into a social media mountain on Twitter,” Harteveldt says. “They absolutely failed in every regard in their Twitter communications. United’s responses are partially responsible for this escalating into the controversy it has now become.”

Instead, Harteveldt suggests United would have been better served with a “benign” acknowledgement of the initial tweet and a pledge to look into it rather “than digging in their heels and handling it as they did. It did nothing to help the airline.”

Perhaps United Airlines missed the Fearless Girl statue in New York, but it appears a little girl has the power to terrorize even the most hallowed corporations, entire airlines included.

TSA Invasive New Pat Down To “Lessen Cognitive Burden” On TSA Agents-NSFW illustration

March 10, 2017

TSA admits that the “cognitive burdens” on staffers forced them to allow TSA screeners to use their fingertips to pat down women’s breasts and both genders’ genitalia. Basically TSA is saying their agents are too stupid to find guns or explosives using the backs of their hands, flyers will now be subject to “invasive” (according to web news source) pat downs.

The U.S. Transportation Security Administration has declined to say exactly where—and how—employees will be touching air travelers as part of the more invasive physical pat-down procedure it recently ordered.

But the agency does expect some passengers to consider the examination unusual. In fact, the TSA decided to inform local police in case anyone calls to report an “abnormal” federal frisking, according to a memo from an airport trade association obtained by Bloomberg News. The physical search, for those selected to have one, is what the agency described as a more “comprehensive” screening, replacing five separate kinds of pat-downs it previously used.

The decision to alert local and airport police raises a question of just how intimate the agency’s employees may get. On its website, the TSA says employees “use the back of the hands for pat-downs over sensitive areas of the body. In limited cases, additional screening involving a sensitive area pat-down with the front of the hand may be needed to determine that a threat does not exist.

You can always pay an extra $80 for the TSA-precheck, which might be well worth the money if TSA admits that the cognitive burden of pat downs is too great for its staff. Otherwise, TSA refuses to state how the pat downs will occur, what will be touched and how. Passengers are already subject to a virtual strips search, and now, pat downs akin to a police department arrest scenario. Great time to fly, people.

You gotta know that when airports have to inform local police that passengers will most likely report their “search” as a criminal activity that there is huge problem.

Personally, my daughter who had a TSA agent yell at her, tell her she would separate her from me to take her to a private screening room for a pat down alone, all because of sequins on her shirt, has decided she no longer wants to fly. This from a kid who started flying and traveling with me when she was one-year old. She is the age at which she will be making decisions about the course of her travels, and she is also at the age to be determining whether or not she will fly. She will not. I won’t force her.

I filed a complaint. I spoke with supervisor, who told me there was nothing he could do. My daughter said she didn’t mind her sparkle neckline being patted down, but she was almost in tears at the yelling by the TSA agent. She no longer will voluntarily go through an airport.

While standing in line at the airport, I was also subjected to shoving by the TSA agent, to the point that I received bruises on my shoulders and arms from other passengers’ bags hitting me as the TSA agent pushed them back to “maintain the line.” No one was out of line, really, but some people got confused about whether they were supposed to stand on the line or behind it when they were supposed to approach with their tickets and I.D.

The G– airport TSA agents had also been stealing passengers’ belongings as they went through security, and while an investigation was launched, the damage was done. TSA agents in Michigan really struggle. Apparently their “cognitive burden” was too great. Essentially TSA won’t say how many people are subjected to pat downs, but there are estimates, and while the agents may be too stupid to find guns on people, the real issue was not finding guns in bags. Pat downs don’t help with that.

The TSA screens about 2 million people daily at U.S. airports. The agency said it doesn’t track how many passengers are subject to pat-down searches. These searches typically occur when an imaging scanner detects one or more unknown objects on a person or if a traveler declines to walk through the machine and opts for the physical screening.

“Passengers who have not previously experienced the now standardized pat-down screening may not realize that they did in fact receive the correct procedure, and may ask our partners, including law enforcement at the airport, about the procedure,” TSA spokesman Bruce Anderson wrote March 3 in an email, describing why the agency notified police.

The pat-down change, first reported Friday by Bloomberg News, is “intended to reduce the cognitive burden on [employees] who previously had to choose from various pat-down procedures depending on the type of screening lane,” the ACI-NA wrote in its notice.

Physical screening has long been one of the public’s strongest dislikes about airport security protocols. The TSA has all pat-downs conducted by an employee of the same gender as the traveler and allows a passenger to request a private area for the screening, as well as to have a witness present. Likewise, the traveler can request that the pat-down occur in public view.

Because they TSA agents couldn’t decide how to screen,cognitive burden and all,  everyone gets their butt felt up.

Denver reports that there will be “more intimate contact,” but fails to specify how and where:

At Denver International Airport, employees were notified last week that the searches “may involve an officer making more intimate contact than before.”

The TSA isn’t saying how agents will be touching travelers, but the agency notified local police in case anyone reports an “abnormal” search. Typically, travelers only get a pat-down if something was triggered during screening or they opt out of going through the body scanners.The TSA used to have five types of pat-downs. Now, there will only be one way and they’ll still be performed by agents of the same gender.

Still, the pat-downs have long been disliked by travelers and a more rigorous, invasive search will not be liked by some.The change comes after agents found a record number of guns last month, according to the TSA blog.

In one day, 21 firearms were found at airport security checkpoints across the country. A loaded magazine, a variety of knives and a live smoke grenade were also found.

If you opt out of the digital strip search or “body scanner,” then you will be subjected to a pat down. CBS reports that TSA claims that passengers won’t spend more time in security because of this, but it’s impossible to see how TSA can justify that statement.

A 2015 study found that TSA agents missed 95 percent of planted dangerous and hazardous items planted at security checkpoints as part of an undercover test.

The TSA says the new pat-down policy will not extend the amount of time a passenger spends at a security checkpoint.TSA officers of the same gender as the passenger will use the back of their hand for pat-downs over sensitive areas of the body, including breasts, groin, and buttocks, the TSA website says.The TSA also says that passengers will be told by the officer exactly what they will do before doing it. Passengers may also request a private screening.

If you look at the TSA screening notice on the TSA website, it states that pretty much TSA agents are allowed to molest you, all in the name of safety, of course. Other people’s safety, actually, but obviously not your own, during the TSA molestation procedures:

A pat-down may include inspection of the head, neck, arms, torso, legs, and feet. This includes head coverings and sensitive areas such as breasts, groin, and the buttocks. You may be required to adjust clothing during the pat-down. The officer will advise you of the procedure to help you anticipate any actions before you feel them. Pat-downs require sufficient pressure to ensure detection.

TSA officers use the back of the hands for pat-downs over sensitive areas of the body. In limited cases, additional screening involving a sensitive area pat-down with the front of the hand may be needed to determine that a threat does not exist.

TSA appearing to be in an extreme state of public denial, stated that most flyers won’t notice the difference, but at the same time, had to warn stakeholders that there were more intimate procedures required. You don’t warn the money people of a change in procedure unless you expect a fall-out. When forecasted earnings are going to be hit that so hard that stakeholders have to be notified of impending doom, you know that the situation is bad. TSA blithely announced no one would even notice its new invasive pat downs, a.k.a. TSA molestations:

Invasive is not the word I would use,” said TSA spokesman Michael England, referring to the new pat-down. “We feel like this new procedure will be more effective in finding prohibited items. This is a simple change of procedure that 99.99 percent of people are not even going to notice.”

So, I didn’t come up with this, but this is the image created when I pulled up consumer responses to TSA screen measures:

 

boing boing.net take on TSA screenings

The person who created the post, above, states he was hit in the testicles by TSA agents as retaliation for asking about not crushing his laptop:\

If the TSA thinks that you’re suspicious — or if you opt out of the “optional” full-body scanner — you get a junk-touching “secondary screening” in which the screeners “pat you down” by rubbing the backs of their hands on your genitals and other “sensitive areas” (they can be pretty rough — a screener at ORD once punched me in the balls to retaliate for me asking him not to rest the tub containing my bags on top of my unprotected laptop).

But it’s about to get much worse. Under new TSA rules, screeners will be able to lovingly cup and fondle your genitals and “sensitive areas” during a secondary search. The new guidelines call for searches so invasive, local TSA outposts have been told to notify local cops to expect accusations of sexual assault from fliers.

I predicted this. The day the TSA started letting its best-connected, wealthiest fliers buy their way out of the normal screening procedure, it was an iron-clad certainty that the way everyone else gets treated would get worse, and worse, and worse. We have not hit bottom. I predict cavity searches for “very suspicious circumstances” by 2020, with no way to opt out and choose not to fly once the party gets started.

Generally, studies have shown  that men feel safer in TSA screenings and pat downs than women, and that influences buying decisions for women. As in my post yesterday, https://unaskedadvice.wordpress.com/2017/03/10/nursing-mother-arrested-and-held-until-she-dumped-milk-into-the-sink-marines-send-nude-photos-and-wall-street-ponders-lowest-birth-rate-since-great-depression/, feelings of safety impact women. Feelings of personal safety impact life choices, obviously.

TSA costs and spending have risen exponentially over the years, but at what cost to passengers? Canada kept some data about the “welfare loss” or lost revenue from security charges, not just procedures back in 2011 and posted losses of $2.2 billion:

Using 2011 data, Gillen and Morrison (2015), estimate the welfare loss in Canada due to the imposition of security fees for that year.16 According to these estimates, in 2011 there were 690,000 fewer passengers flying to/from and within Canada as a result of the air transport security charge. This translates into $227 Million in forgone revenue to the airlines and an economic welfare loss of $2.2 Billion.17

TSA screenings and long lines alone cost airlines money, as 2016 predicted record losses in profits:

The data indicates that millions of Americans will either skip planned spending on travel or will spend less (replacing plane trips with road and rail means those travelers will not journey as far, U.S. Travel economists note). All told, the lost travel spending will total $4.3 billion for the three-month summer peak season—a figure that would have directly supported 37,500 additional domestic jobs.

“To put these figures in perspective, the problems at TSA security lines are costing our economy almost a billion and a half dollars in spending and more than 12,000 jobs every month,” said U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow.

…We’re looking at convincing data that says hundreds of thousands of people are potentially reconsidering whether to get on an airplane every single day. Given the importance of travel to both our economy and our way of life, it is not an overstatement to call that a national crisis in need of a national solution.”

A Forbes economist has a view of the TSA that argues that for all the people the TSA pushes into the driving lane, which is more dangerous than flying, TSA isn’t really “saving” lives:

There is no free lunch (or free pat-down).  When you do one thing, you give up the opportunity to do another.  Even if the TSA has made us safer and saved lives (it hasn’t), these saved lives have come at a cost.  For every life saved in a TSA-prevented terrorist attack, more lives are lost on highways as people substitute away from air travel and toward driving.  Getting rid of the TSA would mean fewer dead people, on net.  That’s a win in my book.

People Respond to Incentives.  When you change the costs and benefits of something, people change their behavior.  By making flying more costly, the TSA encourages more people to drive.  Even when we take terrorism into account, flying is far safer than driving.  As a result of the TSA’s new “enhanced pat-downs” and nude imaging, people are going to die today, tomorrow, and indeed every day from now on who wouldn’t die if flying were more convenient.(emphasis added)

The inefficiency and questioned need for TSA regulations has reached such a fevered pitch that Trump is calling for TSA budgetary cuts, something that is definitely necessary considering the success of the TSA programs like “Behavioral Analysis,” which focus on how often people yawn and blink. (I don’t make this shit up–I can’t.)

For example, the TSA’s budget cuts would include a $65 million reduction for the agency’s totally useless behavioral detection officers.

A November 2012 audit by the Government Accountability Office found that, after 10 years of running its behavior detection program, the TSA could not demonstrate its effectiveness. The TSA even admitted that it did not have any way to measure whether the program worked, aside from counting “referrals to local law enforcement” (which turned out to be a list of people arrested for everything from unruly behavior to public drunkenness, the GOA found, but not a single instance of a legitimate national security threat).

“Until TSA can provide scientifically validated evidence demonstrating that behavioral indicators can be used to identify passengers who may pose a threat to aviation, the agency risks funding activities that have not been determined to be effective,” the GAO concluded, using auditor-speak for “this program should be defunded.”

Undeterred by the audit, the TSA is still using behavior detection officers (at an annual cost of around $200 million) and has expanded their use at some airports, seemingly in an attempt to prove their usefulness. Guidelines for the program, published in 2015 by The Intercept, show that the TSA’s crack team of behavior-monitoring agents are told to identify potential threats (like Reason’s Ron Bailey) who yawn too much, blink too little, breathe quickly, make eye contact with security personnel, or don’t make eye contact with security personnel. Truly stunning that they haven’t busted any terrorists with this pseudo-science, isn’t it?

In case you thought that sort of thing was fake, and it’s not, t Reason.com has a real list of behaviors the TSA monitors with its “behavioral analysis.” Be sure to watch closely. A problematic contact lens could get you arrested. Let’s “lessen the cognitive burden” on TSA agents and all fly naked.

Nursing Mother Arrested and Held Until She Dumped Milk Into The Sink, Marines Send Nude Photos And Wall Street Ponders Lowest Birth Rate Since Great Depression

March 10, 2017

“Make America Mate Again” was the title of an article published by Bloomberg, a well-known financial news service, and it caught my eye as news came up about one mother who was arrested during a civil protest in New York yesterday in the Day Without Women protest and held in jail so long that she was pumping and dumping her breastmilk in a jail cell sink. Economists have released reports about the US birthrate being the lowest since 1936, and mothers are being held from nursing their babies for blocking traffic.

Sarsour, the last of the three leaders to be freed, said the mood inside the jail cell was “empowering” and “inspiring.” Mallory, who was released about an hour earlier, said a dozen or so women were singing freedom songs to pass the time.

Sarsour was upset that authorities were still holding fellow Women’s March co-chair Bob Bland, who gave birth just a few months ago and needed to nurse her baby.

Mallory, Perez and Sarsour said they would wait outside of the precinct until the last woman is released. Members of the group tweeted earlier that they were arrested after blocking traffic.

“I got arrested with some of the strongest women that represent the best that New York City has to offer,” Sarsour said. “I feel empowered, I feel proud of what I did today and I’ve done this many times before. … I hope it sends a message to people that you’ve got to risk it, you’ve got to be bold in this moment.” 

In fact, the nursing mother who was so full of milk that she had to express it in a jail sink was the very last woman to be released. It’s not a coincidence that this story broke as another news story broke about male Marine Corp members creating a site of 30,000 users dedicated to sending out pictures of women naked to embarrass them or retaliate for a break-up.

Demonstrating that men still have a lot to learn, and that women are grossly underrepresented in Wall Street, one quoted factor in the decline in birth rate cited “more opportunities for women,” as if gender violence, economic insecurity and sexual aggression just have no bearing on bearing conversations.

In all likelihood, this decline [1936]was owed to the growing secularization of society at this time, and in particular, the growing opportunities for women outside of traditional gender roles-– not to the collective trauma of World War I. These new mores went hand in hand with sharp declines in the formation of new households, as younger people put off marriage and childbearing. This trend, or what Barber described as a “rapid and very large decline in the rate of growth of non-farm households,” led to a dramatic decline in residential construction starting around 1926.

Apparently we live to breed, unless something better comes along, of course…

On March 6, 2017, just this week, an editorial on economics demonstrates that women are choosing to have fewer children in the U.S. Of course, no mention is made of holding nursing mothers in jail cells until they are the last released and are leaking milk into the sinks.

To put the fertility rate in perspective, it is now at about 1.85 births per woman. To maintain a stable population requires at least 2.1 births per woman. The US has been at or below the replacement fertility rate since 1972, as the chart below shows.

Perhaps economists should consider that while women in leadership and working for a company lead to 34% higher profits, a large enough profit margin to warrant its own ticker [SHE], it seems society is slow to recognize that the gender disparity, sexual violence and discrimination have a direct cost for women and fertility. Realistically, it’s about value. If society values women having children, it had better put its money where its mouth is, literally.

A Day Without Women is “Anarchy,” But Women Shouldn’t Receive Equal Pay

March 8, 2017

I was looking for coverage today about the “Day Without Women” protests, and I was rewarded amply with Fox News coverage about women who need to take care of children not showing up for work being “too busy protesting President Trump.” Note, if you watch that sort of thing, that no men are commenting on the story, because Fox News isn’t suicidal, but blonde women with southern accents, and a minority anchorwoman, discuss how women not working will hurt childcare. You think? Pretty much, that’s the point. Women who work in that industry don’t serve some altruistic means of meeting their own baby needs by caring for other people’s children who make more money than they do–childcare workers and teachers work to get paid. It’s actually called work, not altruism. Apparently that twist of irony is lost on Fox News.

Case in point, some teachers are calling it a massive strike, as pay for teachers is routinely abysmal. Why should women be paid when taking care of other people’s children is supposed to meet their every womanly need?

The Philadelphia Federation of Teachers will be picketing schools on Wednesday to protest “five years without raises,” and the Chicago Teacher’s Union told NBC News its members would be rallying that evening.

American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten told NBC News that Wednesday isn’t an AFT strike “in the traditional sense,” but a teacher who wants to participate would be making an “individual decision.” Weingarten will be speaking at the Women Workers Rising rally in Washington, DC.

Events are also taking place at colleges. Ghazala Hashmi, a faculty engagement coordinator at Reynolds Community College in Richmond, VA, told NBC News the school granted teachers permission to hold a rally on campus.

“We rally for the rights of girls and women throughout the world,” said Hashmi, “To quality education, medical resources, and social and legal protections from sexual violence and gender oppression.”

On one hand, parents complain of being inconvenienced by school closures, and on the other hand, imply that they are deserving of these women serving them without proper pay. Irony appears to be lost on deserving parents, as well.

Even CNN complained about how women are angry that other women working in childcare and education aren’t serving them when they strike:

The national strike movement on Wednesday coincides with International Women’s Day. It aims to draw attention to inequities working women face compared to men, from wage disparity to harassment to job insecurity.
Several school districts across the country are closing to allow staff and teachers the chance to participate. While some people in those communities applauded district leadership for the show of solidarity, others criticized them for leaving working families scrambling to find childcare.
Damn those women for not serving “working families,” as if they don’t have “working families” of their own. Most families work, so this is a specious argument.
The news media seem to miss the point that the whole reason for a strike is to inconvenience someone who depends on low-paid work.
 Politico, with no trace of irony, published a piece saying that women not working could end civil society and cause anarchy.
 Do organizers truly want to encourage a movement that would lead to nothing less than the breakdown of civil society? This isn’t a feminist ploy, it’s one for anarchy.
Umm, aside from the broken argument that a strike is a “feminist ploy,” might as well say “toy,” in equal tones of derision, the whole point is to show people how much society depends on women, and if a society doesn’t value women, then anarchy is a pretty powerful term for devaluing women. What would happen if women didn’t work? Society, according to Politico author, Amanda Carpenter, would collapse. A “breakdown of civil society” is awesome stuff. Yes, when 50% of the population is missing, society would break down, but again, that’s the whole point.
Miss Carpenter’s incoherent rant about how women should babysit because it’s important to other people is pretty typical of the emotional vomit online:
The “Day Without A Women” organizers made a severe misstep by making children and working families, many of whom who can’t easily skip work or get babysitters, into collateral damage for their dead-end, self-soothing political agenda. School may not be in session in Alexandria, in Prince George’s County, in Chapel Hill, or in parts of Brooklyn, but there’s a lesson the nation can learn from these closures. The modern progressive movement doesn’t have any goals. Just feelings, which come before all else.
First of all, children can’t get babysitters. That would be a parent’s job, so including children in that effluvia is an emotional misdirect: “don’t hurt the kids, you womanly beasts.” Then again, aren’t women the ones supposedly enjoying serving as babysitters? Sounds like Miss Carpenter finally learned her lesson about how important childcare is, but she doesn’t realize it. Miss Carpenter accuses there is no “goal” in the progressive movement, so she seems to have misunderstood that point about her arguing about the importance of childcare and schools all while saying that highlighting that only focuses on “feelings.”
Miss Carpenter uses the guilt trop to try to shame women for asking for more, arguing that “feelings coming before all else” is unworthy of women. It’s a common trope today: women aren’t important, but their loss hurts kids. Mirror, here is your reflection.
Getting attention paid to the importance of women is what this movement is all about. Anarchy is appropriate for a world without women. We should be paying attention to this. Women are important, and the stakes are high.
As one commenter stated, gender violence, gender-based healthcare, all have life-threatening consequences for women, so of course we should be paying attention:
A reminder that while the status quo is unacceptable, the longer-term trend is pointed towards gender equality. And this trend is global, not simply confined to the western world. Just look at healthcare. Maternal mortality remains a mass killer in the developing world. It may not be as newsworthy as gender-based violence or as stark and immediate as disease or starvation, but it is the second biggest killer of women of reproductive age in the developing world.
Of course, that quote was taken from the UK, The Guardian, not a US based paper. The US news media really struggles with this concept of women not bowing to pressure from guilt, from shaming.
In Mexico, this movement can’t come too soon. Viral video footage of a teacher telling students in school about how he beats his wife if she won’t have sex and rapes her has garnered nothing more than an administrative reprimand and emphasized how life-threatening domestic violence and gender violence are for women:
This is an international movement, not a self-centered US movement based solely on Trump. Women in the international community have spoken out:

The European Parliament’s Greek vice president, Dimitris Papadimoulis, greeted International Women’s Day with a shocking forecast from the World Economic Forum.

The World Economic Forum predicts that the gender gap won’t close entirely until 2186,” Papadimoulis told the parliament in a speech replayed on Greek media. “Yes, you heard well, until 2186. Only in 169 years! It is more than obvious that we have to speed up this process. We have to act now.”

Greek women have suffered the country’s ongoing economic crisis disproportionately. Although seven years of economic meltdown have narrowed a gap in the employment rate between men and women – because of soaring unemployment rates among men, not an increase in the hiring of women – Greece’s employment gender gap remains well above the European Union average. In 2015, the gap was 18 percentage points in Greece, compared with 11 across the rest of the EU.

Women are desperate. Gender disparity ending in 169 years? They can’t afford it, literally.
I like the term anarchy. I like the power of the movement, but I also like the people are talking about how women not accepting abuse is “inconvenient” and “hard on working families,” because it highlights how frequently US society expects to get ahead by taking advantage of women, by shaming them. The shaming, shaming, shaming. Shame women over childbirth, bodies, reproductive choices, daycare or no daycare, babysitters, not babysitting, not serving as nurses, not serving as teachers… Notice that women aren’t supposed to ask for anything? They’re not supposed to have feelings. They aren’t supposed to be safe with medical care. They aren’t supposed to have equality for another 169 years because it’s inconvenient now, and that, Dear Readers, is the point. Anarchy sounds about right.

Michael Flynn Resigns Amid Russian Revelations: “Dishonest or Forgetful”

February 15, 2017

Let’s not tarnish Michael Flynn’s reputation or anything, thirty years in the armed forces service, serving under two Presidents (even for only a few days), and lying to the general public about calling Russia to discuss how he would lift sanctions when he became President. Whoops, Michael Flynn was never elected. Michael Flynn was acting under orders from then-President Elect Trump. Tellingly, Trump hasn’t admitted that Flynn misled him about calling Russia to discuss sanctions then-President Obama had imposed, because Flynn wouldn’t have been in the position of calling Russia were it not for his position with Trump.

Michael Flynn and Vladimir Putin at dinner honoring Russia

Michael Flynn and Vladimir Putin at dinner honoring Russia

Obama had fired Flynn back when Obama was President for “insubordination,” and the scuttle is that Michael Flynn used increasingly hostile rhetoric toward Muslims. The AP reports that Flynn has maintained a rocky history:

Fired by one American commander-in-chief for insubordination, Flynn delivered his resignation to another.

The White House said Tuesday that President Trump asked for the resignation of his national security adviser, a hard-charging, feather-ruffling retired lieutenant general who just three weeks into the new administration had put himself in the center of a controversy. Flynn resigned late Monday.

At issue was Flynn’s contact with Moscow’s ambassador to Washington. Flynn and the Russian appear to have discussed U.S. sanctions on Russia late last year, raising questions about whether he was freelancing on foreign policy while President Barack Obama was still in office and whether he misled Trump officials about the calls.

The uncertainty about his future had deepened Monday when the White House issued a statement saying that Trump is “evaluating the situation” surrounding Flynn. In his resignation letter, Flynn said he held numerous calls with the Russian ambassador to the U.S. during the transition and gave “incomplete information” about those discussions to Vice President Pence.

The center of a storm is a familiar place for Flynn. His military career ended when Obama dismissed him as head of the Defense Intelligence Agency in 2014. Flynn has said he was pushed out for holding tougher views than Obama about Islamic extremism. But a former senior U.S. official said the firing was for insubordination, after Flynn failed to follow guidance from superiors.

What a reputation. How could we tarnish Michael Flynn’s reputation when he has done such a smashing job of it himself? Indeed, it’s impossible to believe that a man who as in the military for about thirty years suddenly called Russia on tapped phones, unknowingly, of course, and discussed what would happen to Russian sanctions just as a concerned citizen. Why would Russia take calls from just any American citizen?

The Washington Post and other U.S. newspapers, citing current and former U.S. officials, reported last week that Flynn made explicit references to U.S. sanctions on Russia in conversations with Putin’s ambassador, Sergey Kislyak. One of the calls took place on Dec. 29, the day Obama announced new penalties against Russia’s top intelligence agencies over allegations they meddled in the election with the objective of helping Trump win.

While it’s not unusual for incoming administrations to have discussions with foreign governments before taking office, the repeated contacts just as the U.S. was pulling the trigger on sanctions suggests Trump’s team might have helped shape Russia’s response. They also contradicted denials about such sanctions discussions by several Trump administration officials, including the vice president. Some Democratic lawmakers want a congressional investigation.

Michael Flynn worked Intelligence. He made no mistakes. Either he felt he was immune to impropriety because Trump told him to call Russia, or he believed that Russia could protect him from fallout. The Japan Times had covered the story quoted above, and they also had a synthesized summary of Flynn’s military history, demonstrating that when a shake up this big happens in US intelligence circles, everyone notices.

Flynn’s sparkling military resume had included key assignments at home and abroad, and high praise from superiors.

The son of an Army veteran of World War II and the Korean War, Flynn was commissioned as a second lieutenant in May 1981. He started in intelligence and eventually rose to senior positions, including intelligence chief for U.S. Central Command.

Ian McCulloh, a Johns Hopkins data science specialist, became a Flynn admirer while working as an Army lieutenant colonel in Afghanistan in 2009. At the time, Flynn ran intelligence for the U.S.-led international coalition in Kabul and was pushing for more creative approaches to targeting Taliban networks, including use of data mining and social network analysis, according to McCulloh.

“He was pushing for us to think out of the box and try to leverage technology better and innovate,” McCulloh said, crediting Flynn for improving the effectiveness of U.S. targeting. “A lot of people didn’t like it because it was different.”

A man who started his career in intelligence and rose to Intelligence Chief for U.S. Central Command doesn’t “accidentally” “forget” his calls to foreign governments would have been monitored. Which leads us to the next question: What did Michael Flynn think would protect him from criminal charges when he began issuing deals for the US with Russia back in December 2016, before Trump was even President?

Flynn wasn’t the only Trump associate contacting the Russians during a time when it was confirmed that Russia interfered with the United States elections. News outlets seem to believe Trump’s motive for mentioning Electoral College numbers is merely hubris, but it’s also a way to distract any attention away from the fact that Trump would most likely have lost the election without Russia’s help. How can Trump’s win and Russia’s help ever be separated? When cornered, which is easy to accomplish with Trump, Trump responds by talking about the size of his win.

But there is more. Trump associates were also linked to stealthy calls to Russia, and those calls haven’t been openly discussed yet. The NY Times reports there are multiple calls from Trump’s team to Russia, with love, and they aren’t limited to the Michael Flynn scandal.

The intercepted calls are different from the wiretapped conversations last year between Michael T. Flynn, Mr. Trump’s former national security adviser, and Sergey I. Kislyak, Russia’s ambassador to the United States. In those calls, which led to Mr. Flynn’s resignation on Monday night, the two men discussed sanctions that the Obama administration imposed on Russia in December.

But the cases are part of American intelligence and law enforcement agencies’ routine electronic surveillance of the communications of foreign officials.

The F.B.I. declined to comment. The White House also declined to comment Tuesday night, but earlier in the day, the press secretary, Sean Spicer, stood by Mr. Trump’s previous comments that nobody from his campaign had contact with Russian officials before the election.

When Trump is questioned about his ties to Russia, Trump complains that “illegal leaks” were the only reason he essentially fired Flynn anyway. Trump never asserted that he didn’t support Flynn making side deals with Russia during Obama’s Presidency. Trump just complained that it was illegal for people to tell the public that Flynn had been talking with Russia.

President Trump lashed out at the nation’s intelligence agencies again on Wednesday, saying that his former national security adviser, Michael T. Flynn, was brought down by illegal leaks to the news media, on a day of new disclosures about the Trump camp’s dealings with Russia during and after the presidential campaign.

From intelligence, papers are being leaked, things are being leaked,” Mr. Trump said at a White House news conference with Benjamin Netanyahu, the prime minister of Israel. “It’s a criminal action, criminal act, and it’s been going on for a long time before me, but now it’s really going on. And people are trying to cover up for a terrible loss that the Democrats had under Hillary Clinton.”

Dodge and parry. That’s all Trump has left. “Dumpy Trumpy” as my father calls him, has no other options other than to keep evading questions he can’t answer without perjury at a later date.

 

CNN reports that the sheer volume of communication between Trump’s team, at a time when Russia was being sanctioned for interfering in the US elections, is enough to warrant investigation.

However, these communications stood out to investigators due to the frequency and the level of the Trump advisers involved. Investigators have not reached a judgment on the intent of those conversations.
Adding to US investigators’ concerns were intercepted communications between Russian officials before and after the election discussing their belief that they had special access to Trump, two law enforcement officials tell CNN. These officials cautioned the Russians could have been exaggerating their access

Republicans are no longer rank and file supporting Trump and Michael Flynn with emerging Russian connections.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday it’s “highly likely” the Senate intelligence committee will investigate former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn’s discussions with the Russian ambassador.

“I think the fundamental question for us is what is our involvement in it, and who ought to look at it,” the Kentucky Republican said. “And the intelligence committee is already looking at Russian involvement in our election. As Sen. (Roy) Blunt has already indicated, it is highly likely they will want to take look at this episode as well. They have the broad jurisdiction to do it.”
The Senate’s second-ranking Republican and other GOP senators have called for an investigation into the episode, building on a string of investigations underway on Russian interference in the US elections. Sen. John Cornyn told reporters Tuesday that the Senate standing committees with oversight of intelligence needs to investigate.
Asked by CNN if he wanted the Senate’s committees to investigate Flynn, Cornyn replied: “Yes.”
The UK reports on the Flynn controversy in a way that people here in the US haven’t pounced on yet: characterizing Flynn as EITHER “dishonest” or “forgetful.” Strange that a National Security Advisor with 30 years in the intelligence field suddenly became “forgetful” in the middle of his position. But either we have had a NSA with dementia or a case of lying to the feds. Neither is palatable.

Trump counselor Kellyanne Conway made it sound like a mutual decision on Good Morning America as she gently ushered Flynn out.

Flynn resigned because he realized he’d become a distraction for the administration, she said. ‘It became increasingly unsustainable for him.’

The president accepted the senior aide’s resignation because he ‘misled’ the vice president, Conway said. He was ‘dishonest or forgetful.’ 

Kelly Conway Calls Flynn

Kellyanne Conway Calls Flynn “Dishonest or Forgetful”

Careful, careful Trump, because now the Republicans have backed away, and Russia appears unhappy with Flynn’s resignation. Those love affairs can turn brutal fast. The Independent of the Uk  reports that Russian diplomats have even written Facebook posts about Flynn’s resignation.

Konstantin Kosachev, chairman of the foreign affairs committee in Russia’s upper parliamentary chamber, wrote on Facebook that Mr Flynn’s resignation was “not just paranoia but something even worse.

“Either Trump hasn’t found the necessary independence and he’s been driven into a corner… or Russophobia has permeated the new administration from top to bottom.”

Even the Russians see the writing on the wall, especially when Trump isn’t willing to face it.

“‘Flynn is out, but the Russian problem remains in the Trump White House,’  The expulsion of Flynn was the first act. Now the target is Trump himself,” Pushkov said in another tweet.

Perhaps the Valentine Trump sent to Russia with love is already fading.