Showing posts with label Political Hacks. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Political Hacks. Show all posts

November 17, 2016

Time: "TransitionTeam Right out of the Swamp”






Americans who voted for Donald Trump were clearly fed up with inside-the-Beltway business as usual. They want the president-elect to deliver on his promise to replace “a failed and corrupt political establishment with a new government controlled by you the American people.”

Which raises a question: As Trump builds his administration, how long will it take for Trump voters to notice that what he is preparing to deliver is an agenda none of them asked for — more Washington insiders, more corporate lobbyists and more pollution?
Donald Trump named Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus his White House chief of staff, elevating one of his loyal GOP advisers with a deep expertise of the Washington establishment Trump has vowed to shake up.

Most of the media attention so far has gone to Trump’s appalling choice of Breitbart.com‘s Stephen Bannon as chief strategist, and he’s an anti-Washington outsider to be sure. And the voters who applauded or shrugged off Trump’s racially charged campaign rhetoric will applaud or shrug off Bannon. But he is the outlier — the head fake meant to mask the real play — because the people running Trump’s transition team and, soon, staffing his administration are precisely the sort of old-school insiders Trump railed against on the campaign trail. And their agenda, if left unchecked, will deliver dirtier air and water and more climate chaos.

This org chart of the President-elect’s transition team tells the tale: the oil lobbyist who has been trying to block sensible rules to reduce methane emissions from oil and gas production; the coal lobbyist who has been trying to kill the first-ever rules to reduce climate pollution from power plants; and the poster boy for Trump’s betrayal of his outsider promise, Myron Ebell, the former tobacco apologist and Big Oil PR man now running Trump’s environmental transition team.

Ebell spent his early career taking money from Big Tobacco to create doubt about the dangers of smoking. He parlayed that into a gig working for the oil industry to spread doubt and confusion about climate change. He’s an architect of the decades-long disinformation campaign designed to kill federal climate action.

The Environmental Protection Agency is no place for a climate denier like Ebell. It’s like putting an anti-vaxxer in charge of the Centers for Disease Control.

Public records show that Ebell’s group, the Competitive Enterprise Institute, took more than $1 million from ExxonMobil between 2000-2003 alone. In those days, Exxon staff scientists were briefing company executives about the dangers of climate change while the company was paying people like Ebell to claim that climate change was “nothing to worry about.” The world’s biggest oil company is now the subject of state and federal probes over these practices. And to its credit, it is supporting the international climate agreement Trump and Ebell oppose.

If we turn our back on the world by being the only country not involved in the major climate agreements, it will hobble us in a global race for clean energy jobs. Renouncing the Paris Climate Agreement, as Trump has vowed to do, will put the brakes on U.S. investment in renewables, and thus on jobs. And by the way, most utility-scale wind and solar generation plants are in Republican congressional districts, in states like North Carolina and Texas. Breaking our promises to other countries will diminish our standing in the world. And it could trigger a retaliatory trade war, which would do more damage to American workers.

The lobbyist-run transition team has also signaled plans to strip away air pollution limits. They’ll call it “reducing regulation” and claim they just want to return EPA to its core missions. But these same people have spent years lobbying against health protections that get in the way of their donors’ profits. They opposed rules on toxic mercury that damages children’s brains and a host of other protections.

Trump’s team will no doubt try to use the real economic pain in coal country as an excuse to lift clean air protections. The reality is that — as even coal executives have conceded — he can’t revive the jobs that have been lost due to market pressure. But he could hamper one of the fastest growing industries in America, clean energy. Solar jobs have grown more than 20% in each of the last three years.

At the moment, voters who supported Mr. Trump will, of course, give him a chance to prove his policies. But he’s quickly going to have to produce results — that’s what every president learns. If his energy policies bring more pollution, don’t expect parents in Michigan or Wisconsin to stay on board. If the plants that makes wind turbines or LED light bulbs lose orders, those workers there will not stay in his coalition for long.

As is often the case, it may not be Trump who pays the price. The next backlash will come in the midterm elections, when voters send the message that they really did want to retake Washington, not sell it to polluter lobbyists like Myron Ebell.


 Pooley, a former managing editor of Fortune, is a senior Vice President at Environmental Defense Fund. 

August 22, 2016

FBI Not Credible in that The Clinton Email Investigation was Not Political




FBI Director Comey, testified and handed over emails
 to partisan committee and also made decision not to prosecute Mrs. Clinton

The political dust-up over the FBI handing documents about the Hillary Clinton email investigation to Congress is intensifying, with Republicans complaining the materials were turned over in such a way that assessing them is difficult and Democrats contending they should not have been given to legislators.

On Tuesday, the FBI delivered to Congress an overview of the investigation along with summaries of more than a dozen interviews with senior Clinton staffers, other State Department officials, former secretary of state Colin Powell and at least one other person, according to an email from a senior aide to Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) that was sent to congressional offices.

The tussle centers over whether the FBI has the authority to impose sharp restrictions on the material, which comingled classified and non-classified documents. The FBI required Congress to maintain the materials in a secure area accessible only by those who have clearances. Also at issue is the aim of Grassley and other Republicans to publicly release the summaries, which include new, unclassified details about the FBI’s server investigation.

In announcing the agency’s findings last month, FBI Director James B. Comey said the investigation was untainted by political influence. Comey has said he wants to release more details than normal about the agents’ work to underscore the nonpartisan nature of the probe. But the unusual delivery of the records, and the restriction imposed by the FBI, have fueled the partisan squabble.

“I certainly don’t think it was done to feed the political fire; I think it was done, as the director said, in the interest of transparency,” said Rep. Adam B. Schiff (Calif.), the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee. “But while that might be a good thing in the short term for the bureau, I think it’s very problematic in the longer term for the entire Department of Justice.”
The FBI declined to comment for this story. Ron Hosko, a former assistant director at the FBI, said Comey has “spoken repeatedly on his respect and understanding” of congressional oversight, and that is probably why the director was so responsive to legislators’ inquiries.

“There is an oversight responsibility. There is an undeniable political piece of this thing,” Hosko said. “I don’t see Comey or the FBI trying to push back and say, ‘You’re not entitled to X’ if the law says they are.”

Comey announced last month that he was recommending that Clinton not be charged in connection with her use of a private email server while she was secretary of state, offering an unusual level of candor at a news conference in which he opined that she was “extremely careless” in her handling of classified information. He later promised to release some materials to Congress.

Matthew Miller, a former Justice Department spokesman who has worked for several Democratic campaigns, said that although Comey might have been seeking to burnish his reputation for honesty, he ultimately treated Clinton unfairly and set a potentially dangerous precedent for future high-profile cases. Witnesses, Miller said, might be less likely to come forward — and agents and prosecutors tempted to work differently — knowing Congress would one day have access to what they said and did.

“That’s obviously not how the FBI is supposed to work,” Miller said. 

And Comey’s release has not mollified Republicans who want more information. Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), the House Oversight Committee chairman, said he was concerned about what was not included in the binders full of documents, and he continued to question Comey’s conclusion that Clinton should not be charged.
FBI Director James Comey said on July 5 that Hillary Clinton should not be charged for her use of a private email server during her time as secretary of state. Here's what he said, in three minutes. (Peter Stevenson/The Washington Post)
“This whole case is upside down and backwards,” Chaffetz said. “There’s nothing normal about it.”

Grassley and his staffers have complained to the FBI that the unclassified material released to Congress was mixed with classified material, making its review and possible release burdensome.

The staffers and officials whose interview summaries are unclassified include longtime aide Huma Abedin; former chief of staff Cheryl Mills; former campaign staffer Heather Samuelson, who helped sort Clinton’s emails so they could be produced publicly; and former IT staffer Bryan Pagliano, who set up a server in Clinton’s home, according to the email from the Grassley staffer.

Summaries also include Powell, Under Secretary of State for Management Patrick Kennedy; former assistant secretary for diplomatic security Eric Boswell and former executive secretary Stephen Mull, according to the email. Powell, who also used a private email account while secretary of state but not a private server in his home, wrote in an email that he had “a pleasant interview with two agents.”

“It was less about the specifics of emails than the whole process of how they are handled and how to manage info flow in the future,” Powell wrote.

Fewer than “a dozen and a half paragraphs” of the FBI’s 32-page investigative summary also are marked as secret, according to the Grassley staffer’s email.

It remains unclear whether that summary will be released, even if Congress is able to separate classified portions from the unclassified material.

On Wednesday, Grassley, the Judiciary Committee chairman, wrote to Michael DiSilvestro, the director of the Office of Senate Security, asking him to separate the classified materials from the non-classified ones. Grassley had earlier told a Washington Post reporter he hoped the non-classified would be made public eventually. But DiSilvestro wrote back Thursday that the FBI had provided the material with a “handling restriction” that all of it be kept in his office, and the Judiciary Committee and the FBI would have to negotiate different terms.

On Friday, Grassley wrote back that his committee had not agreed to such restrictions on non-classified material, and it would be “inappropriate” for DiSilvestro to let the FBI dictate what could be done with it.

“Absent such prior agreement, there are serious Constitutional separation of powers issues raised by the Executive Branch purporting to instruct a Senate office how to handle unclassified, non-national security information,” Grassley wrote. “It’s unclear how the Executive Branch would have any authority to do so.”

DiSilvestro’s office referred a reporter to the Senate secretary. A representative there did not return a message seeking comment.

Brian Fallon, a spokesman for Clinton’s campaign, has said the handing over of documents was “an extraordinarily rare step that was sought solely by Republicans for the purposes of further second-guessing the career professionals at the FBI.” But, he added that “if these materials are going to be shared outside the Justice Department, they should be released widely so that the public can see them for themselves, rather than allow Republicans to mischaracterize them through selective, partisan leaks.”

There already seems to have been at least one, though it is not especially negative for Clinton. The New York Times reported that she told investigators that Powell had advised her to use a personal email account, and that was included in the materials turned over to Congress. The paper reported, though, that Clinton had made the decision to use private email before Powell gave her that advice. 

July 30, 2016

What Countries Are Using American hackers to Hack America




A computer network used by the Clinton campaign was hacked as a part of a large cyber attack on Democrats. Two other Democratic political organizations, the Democratic National Committee, and a Democratic Congressional fundraising committee were also hacked, and U.S. intelligence officials suspect Russian hackers to be responsible for the attacks.


May 8, 2016

Bern Supporters Come Out Blocking Clinton’s People with Berning Obscenities,Yells


Clinton had to shorten her speech and limit the people coming in for fear of violence
                                                                            


  
Just a little while ago as of this writing, Rachel Maddow aired a one-on-one she did with Bernie Sanders earlier in the day. Toward the end of the interview, she confronted him about the behavior of some of his supporters, specifically those who protested both outside of a Hillary Clinton rally in East L.A. on Thursday and inside the rally. The constant disruptions inside the hall where Clinton was appearing forced her to cut short her comments to her own supporters, those who had come to hear her and her alone speak. When pressed about this by Maddow, Sanders stated that he doesn't agree with protesters' trying to stop Clinton from speaking by interrupting her. What he said he doesn't have a problem with, however, is protesters gathering -- even by the "thousands" -- outside of a venue where Clinton is appearing and making their voices heard.

At first blush there's nothing wrong with a statement like this, given that Sanders is right when he says that it's the right of every American to peaceable assemble and protest. But here's the thing: today, report after report from witnesses on the scene of Thursday's Clinton rally are saying that the Sanders supporters who showed up there were anything but peaceful. No, no one actually engaged in physical violence like at a Trump rally, but there are now numerous stories circulating on social media about Sanders fanatics shouting obscenities at Clinton supporters as they left the rally, grabbing campaign posters out of the hands of Clinton supporters, and hurling insults even at small children who happened to be there with their parents. 

Through various accounts and actual photos and video of the scene, a picture is painted of enraged Sanders fans forming a kind of gauntlet around the rally attendees and forcing them to endure genuinely shocking verbal abuse, all for no other reason than the fact that they support Clinton and not Sanders. Read these tweets and watch these images and you'd honestly think the men, women and children being shouted down -- people from all walks of life, a couple of whom were even handicapped -- were common criminals and the Sanders supporters were angry townspeople who had gathered to shame them. But then, that's where we apparently are now with the Sanders zealots: they not only viciously attack anyone who dares to speak a kind word about Clinton online, they also arrogantly shut down her speeches and publicly, shamelessly thrash anyone who happens to be there. As one person who was at the rally wrote Friday at Medium, "They were cussing at people, calling women whores, and telling people to kill themselves. They were shouting in children’s faces, blowing sirens in their ears, and making them cry.” 

Supporters of independent Vermont Senator and upstart Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders came out in force to disrupt a Hillary Clinton speech in Los Angeles, forcing her to end the event early. Speaking to a largely Latino crowd in Monterey Park, Clinton weathered interruption after interruption, and as the local ABC affiliate reported, the protesters being led out all had Bernie Sanders’ name on their lips: 


Man offering free hugs comforts crying child being yelled at by Sander Supporters
 This development comes as Sanders faces increasing pressure to bow out of what is now a nearly mathematically futile quest for the nomination in order to give Hillary Clinton a clear shot at Donald Trump. Sanders supporters are also in direct conflict with Senator Sanders’ stated wishes, at least when it came to disrupting Donald Trump events: The fact that these Bernie Sanders supporters are ignoring his admonition is a sign that even if or when Bernie does decide to try and unite the Democrats, many of them may not go along.

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