Pressure Builds on Trump

Last week was supposed to be about Trump’s “infrastructure plan.”  But by the end of the week, after Special Counsel Bob Mueller indicted 13 Russian nationals for tampering with the 2016 election, and Trump’s own National Security Adviser, H.R. McMaster confirmed that it was “incontrovertible” that Russians interfered with the 2016 election, Trump went on a raging and out of control Twitter bender.  It seems the pressure is getting to the president:

In the meantime, President Trump keeps rage-tweeting. In the last 24 hours, he has issued bizarre rants against prominent Democrats involved in the Russia probe, patently false claims that he never denied Russian attacks on our election, put-downs of his own National Security Council boss, and, most insidiously, the claim that the FBI failed to prevent the recent terrible school shooting in Florida because the Bureau was spending too much time on the Russia investigation. That vile assertion has no basis in any fact or reality and betrays a highly stressed president under siege, without off-ramps, who knows that more indictments are coming his way.

 

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Florida School Shooting: The Victims

We are learning more about the horrific school massacre this week.  If you want more information about the killer, you can look elsewhere–there is some suggestion he was a white supremacist with an adopted name of “Cruz” (which obviously confuses).

As for the victims, we have learned their names and have gotten pictures of them.  Some of them acted as true heroes on that tragic day.  Below are photos of Peter Wang.  Peter helped students escape, but was gunned down in the process:

“He is so brave. He is the person who is genuinely kind to everyone. He doesn’t care about popularity. He always liked to cheer people up. He is like the big brother everyone wished they had,’’ added Chen, who flew in from Louisiana to be with the family.

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There was also Aaron Feis, a couch who died saving students:

“He was that kind of guy,” said Jack Fris, a former football player at the school.

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And here is a post from someone who claims to be a student at Stoneman Douglas.  He tells his story in devastating detail:

Hi everyone, my name is Sid, I’m a Junior at Stoneman Douglas and I’d like to share my story of what went on in room 1214, the third room that was shot into by the shooter, and where Nick Dworet (second to top right) and Helena Ramsey (second to bottom right) were killed.

2:20 PM – We are working on the laptops doing an online activity when we hear about 10-15 gunshots outside of our door. Everyone scatters and from about 25 kids, two groups were split in different corners. I was in the corner that is immediately to the right of the entrance, Nick was in the back right corner that could be immediately seen from the entrance. The group with Nick and Helena were trying to form a barricade with a cabinet and a computer cart (one that holds laptops and charges them) but without even 20 seconds to react, the shooter comes to our door and starts shooting through the window of the door. He was shooting at the corner that Nick and Helena were in as well as about 12 other students with them in that corner. Nick got caught in the fire and died immediately, Helena also got caught and was shot twice in her chest. I was in the opposite corner so I couldn’t see his body because a cabinet was in the way, and I’m thankful that I didn’t witness his body because it probably would have affected me much more. A girl told me she had to use Nick’s body as a shield once she saw he was dead immediately 😦

Here is an edited version of the map to show the corner where I was hiding (blue), where Nick and Helena were (orange) and where the shooter was shooting from (red). Thank you for the support you have been giving. And if any of you came out to the vigil yesterday, I have no words for how happy I am that you came to support.

Florida School Shooting: Reactions

President Trump was out today with his typical empty “thoughts and prayers” speech a day after 17 people, mostly children, were slaughtered in a Florida high school by a 19-year-old with a semi automatic rifle and a huge amount of ammunition.

Yesterday, Trump also suggested the other typical Republican talking point–that mental health, and not easy access to guns was the real reason behind the shooting.

Of course, it’s all empty words from Trump, a president who recently signed a law to make it easier for people with mental disorders to get guns.

President Donald Trump quietly signed a bill into law Tuesday rolling back an Obama-era regulation that made it harder for people with mental illnesses to purchase a gun.

The rule, which was finalized in December, added people receiving Social Security checks for mental illnesses and people deemed unfit to handle their own financial affairs to the national background check database.

At least some of the 150,000 victims of mass shooting and school violence, however, are getting sick of Trump’s empty, routine and disrespectful reaction to shootings that doesn’t seem to change much or lead to any resolution to what is clearly a problem in American society.  One victim named Sarah, took to Twitter (the twitter account is now protected because of the amount of attention it received):

More reactions from the victims can be found in this article.

On the political end, one former GOP suggested that Americans need to vote out Republicans if they want a solution to gun violence:

“And so if this is the issue that defines your ideology as a voter, there are two things I would suggest tonight. First, flip the House. Flip the House,” Jolly told “CNN Tonight.” “Republicans are not going to do a single thing after this shooting we saw today. But I would also offer to Democrats, work for incremental wins.”

Trump’s own treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin, also very vaguely referenced that it was time for the gun issue to be dealt with:

“I will say, personally, I think the gun violence — it’s a tragedy what we’ve seen yesterday, and I urge Congress to look at these issues,” Mnuchin said at a House Ways and Means Committee hearing.

The Russian propaganda network, aka Fox News, was also at it with their typical fact-free fantasies regarding the situation.  On Fox and Friends, the shooting was compared to Eagles fans who flipped cars during Super Bowl victory situation, and then moved on to the bizarre claim that video games are responsible for gun violence.

 

Ted Cruz (is he related to the shooter?), the resident asshole senator from Texas blamed the shootings on, of course, Obama.

 

Here’s the Fox and Friends transcript.  Where do these jokers come up with this trash?

KILMEADE: And what about virtual reality? Those glasses that put you in a battle, put you at war?

EARHARDT: The psychiatrist — during the break, we continued to ask him questions because we are fascinated by what’s going on in this guy’s mind? And he said, kids this day and age, they’re exposed to more violence. And he said the brain normalizes it. He said, back in World War I — was it World War I? — he said the soldiers would learn with a target. Then in World War I, they would learn with a silhouette of a human being. And now, kids are watching these video games that are horrific. And not all kids will actually do this kind of thing

EARHARDT: But they’ve normalized it where a kid — we saw the violence after the Super Bowl. These are fans that won and they’re vandalizing Philadelphia because it’s normal to do this now.

It is interesting to see how fast we learned so much about this shooting and why it happened, contrasted with the Vegas shooting where there are still many strange and unanswered questions.

Shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Florida: What We Know

Well, unsurprisingly (and quite tragically), we have another school shooting.   What we know so far is that there are 17 confirmed murder victims, and 15 wounded.  3 to 4 of the victims were teachers, and the rest appear to have been students.  12 people were killed inside the school building, three were shot dead in the street, and two died in the hospital.

The gunman has been identified as a 19-year-old former student of the school.  He had been expelled, and returned today with an AR-15 rifle to murder people.  A little less clear is the manner of the shooting.  Some reporting suggests he pulled a fire alarm to ambush students as they left their classrooms in response.  The killer then left the scene but was captured by law enforcement.

Student victims also uploaded numerous videos of the shooting, as it happened, to Twitter, and hoax and fake videos were also posted shortly thereafter.  Links to the videos are below, if you are interested.  Obviously avoid if it will be too upsetting for you.

More videos here. (loud)

Doctors held a press conference in the night hours, but did not answer many questions about the conditions of the students, other than to say this was the biggest mass casualty event for Broward Health North.  The doctors, however, do not anticipate more deaths from the hospital, and when asked by the press one doctor said the remaining victims at the hospital will undergo successful surgeries and then go home.

 

Trump Memo Just A Big Distraction

It was very strange to see the supposed very talented and brilliant and highly educated folks in the “mainstream media” fall for the Trump memo like a sack of potatoes.  Before they had even seen the memo or knew what it said, they called it “controversial” and suggested it was “explosive.”  Oh really how the hell do you know if you’ve never even seen it?  Well, after the memo was released it turned out to be a big flat flop, and in fact hurt the president’s argument more than it helped (see my prior post).

So why hype up, distract the idiotic US press over a worthless memo?  Is Trump really just a stupid fool, or is he someone who knows how to play the media like a bunch of idiots and get maximum attention or distraction?

While the memo saga played out, we learned that Trump refused to enforce a law that was passed by Congress and signed by him to impose sanctions on Russia for election interference.  That’s right, the president said he just didn’t feel like enforcing a law that he signed and promised to enforce against his Russian buddies.

In addition, we learned that three top Russian intelligence agents traveled to the US right before Trump made his decision not to enforce the sanctions law against Russia.  Could it be that one of Trump’s buddies had a few meetings with the Russians to coordinate how they were going to refuse to enforce US law to benefit the Russian government?  No, that would just be a conspiracy theory!

We also learned that Dutch Intelligence watched the Russian hacking of our 2016 election in real time while it was happening in 2016.  We therefore know for certain that there is direct evidence proving that the Russians attempted to illegally interfere with our presidential elections.

Meanwhile, a Russian hacker, Pyotr Levashov, who the US suspects was involved in 2016 US election hacking was extradited from Spain to the United States.  Strangely, most of the “mainstream media” reports simply claimed that the guy was just a “spammer” and just liked to put out computer viruses and made little mention of the fact that he is suspected of participating in US election attacks on behalf of the Russian government.

So you see, there really is a method to the Trump madness.  Too bad the press is too stupid to figure it out.

 

Trump Memo Flops

In case you missed it, Congressman Nunes, the retiring head of the House Permanent Select Committee on intelligence, decided he wanted to release a memo which he claimed showed the FBI favored Clinton over Trump during the 2016 election.  Intelligence Community professionals slammed the moved and claimed it was dangerous to release classified information.

Trump, announced in his typical boisterous fashion that he couldn’t wait to release the memo, and this morning tweeted in part, “The top Leadership and Investigators of the FBI and the Justice Department have politicized the sacred investigative process in favor of Democrats and against Republicans – something which would have been unthinkable just a short time ago.”

So this was set up by Trump and Nunes as a “devastating blow” to the “credibility of the FBI.”  Leaving aside the fact that a sitting president is taking the extraordinary step of directly attacking the highest profile federal law enforcement agency, the memo quite clearly does nothing to help Trump’s position.  Making the whole show over releasing it a rather odd performance by Nunes and Trump.

First, the memo is an attack against the FBI for investigating Carter Page, one of Trump’s flunkies.  Basically, it suggests the Page investigation was just a witch hunt initiated in the run up to the 2016 campaign, and was started based on the “Steele Dossier” that was released in 2016.  Steele has been attacked by Republicans as a Hillary Clinton political hit man.  Interesting news if that was true.  But it’s not.  The reality is the memo confirms that Page was under investigation for being an agent of the Russian government since 2014, and possibly as early as 2013.  This is long before Trump announced he was going to run for president and “build the wall.”

Second, the memo attacks Steele as an unreliable source because Steele talked to the media and not because Steele’s information was false.  In other words, attack the messenger.

Third, the Nunes memo claims that FBI agent Strzok, who has been the latest target of the Trump crowd as the “Hillary Clinton FBI mole,” had a clear bias to Clinton, and therefore had motivation to attack Trump.  This bias, the memo claims, led Strzok to initiate an FBI counterintelligence investigation against Page and another Trump flunky,

 Papadopoulos.  This again would be interesting if true.  The problem with this thinking is that it would be a bit strange for a supposed Hillary Clinton “FBI agent pro democrat spy” like Strzok to try to reopen the Clinton email investigation a week before the 2016 election–which if you recall caused significant political damage to Clinton just before an election.  Kind of strange for a Hillary Clinton suck up, no?

Fourth, Nunes and the Republicans claim the FBI was out to get Trump.  The memo, however, really only focuses on attacks against Carter Page as “unfair” and “biased.”  It’s a bit strange to say an attack on Page is an attack on Trump, especially since Trump and his flunkies have been in the media repeatedly saying that Page was only a low level volunteer nobody during the campaign.  So what would investigating a low level volunteer have to do with Trump?

Fifth, the memo’s secondary target, the Steele Dossier, was created by a company called Fusion GPS.  The memo claims that Fusion GPS and the Steele Dossier is essentially a democrat hit job against Trump.  Which would be strange because Fusion GPS was originally contracted by a republican group that wanted to find dirt on Trump, not democrats.

This whole memo saga has been quite strange.  The Trump crowd played it up like it was going to be a knock out blow, but it’s not.  Democrats were outraged, but it seems to have helped their case more than hurt it.  And the Intelligence Community didn’t want the memo released because they said it distorted facts, but the memo is a big nothingburger.  Seems like a lot of posturing and theatrics and drama over nothing.

12 Year Old Girl Held for School Shooting

Shooting erupted around 9:00 a.m., this morning at a Junior High School in Los Angeles.  The shooter is being identified as a 12-year-old girl who brought the gun into a classroom and then shot a 15-year-old boy in the head and a 15-year-old girl in the wrist.  Both are expected to survive.  Others were injured.

The school was placed on lock-down, and even though the shooting ended at 9:00 a.m., parents could not remove their children from the school until 1:30 p.m.  In addition, officials are questioning how the heck the young girl got her hands on the gun in the first place.  While there are many laws in California on firearm access for children, firearms are as plentiful there as in any other state.

“We do not know yet … how our young person on this campus ended up having the ability to have access to a firearm and bring it onto campus,” said Los Angeles School Police Chief Steve Zipperman. “Or for that matter, any young person having access to a weapon and bringing it anywhere. We have laws that mandate that parents who own guns, any adult who owns a gun, any gun owner, has an obligation to ensure that gun is locked inside a home.”