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Sunday, February 18, 2018

The indictments handed down from the grand jury via the mueller investigation were interesting. In short, 13 Russian nationals and 3 Russian businesses, and one American were implicated in a plot to sow discord and influence the election.

Rosentsteins reading of the indictments was also interesting, because his words were measured and talked about *this* indictment, specifically.

A couple of quick thoughts:
* it was made clear that this was an effort to promote trump, and denigrate any opponent.
* in an effort to continually help trump, stein was promoted
* to further sow discord, there were rallies to both promote and oppose trump
* money changed hands to fund this effort

And that's where the one "common criminal" from the US comes in. This guy was facilitating the money transfers, setting up accounts, committing fraud against the banking industry. Was he a witting accomplice, or simply just making a buck? We don't know, and it kind of doesn't matter.

But he did help make this happen, and has already agreed to a plea deal...which also would lead one to believe there's more.

This, in and of itself, is not an indicator of collusion with the trump campaign. But it's weird how trump and his allies immediately seized on this to say they were vindicated. Which they were not.

There's a distinction between being exonerated or the evidence being exculpatory (meaning it favors the accused), and saying that this indictment in and of itself doesn't show collusion. It may sound the same, or at least similar, but words have a legal meaning.

Trump himself says that because this started in 2014, before he "decided to run," it means nothing. Except that there are tweets to and from trump that say he might run as early as 2012; and some from Russian nationals that are more specific in 2014. Oh, and by the way, trump trademarked "make America great again" in 2012. Seems that an astute lawyer could use that against him.

And then, I went down the rabbit hole. I decided to read more about all of this. I did discover that one thing most people can agree on is that mueller and team aren't done.

On the one hand, you have some liberal-leaning folks looking at the connections between trump and Russia which are essentially unrelated to this. Like Rybolovlev, one particular oligarch, who purchased property from trump way over market value, and who just happened to follow trump around during the campaign (and after) according to his flight logs. Or a host of others who invested in or were connected "as friends" to the trump family that seem to be more like business partners.

Naturally, most of them think trump will ultimately be swept up in this, and mueller is just building a case.

On the right-leaning side, the view is different. Vast conspiracy theories with "deep state" and a corrupt fbi component. They look back to Hillary and her ties to Russia as Secretary of State, and the uranium deal, along with donations to her charity....I read more than one post where they see it as Hillary having colluded with Russia, but it went awry because trump was just that awesome!

And for some, it will be Hillary who will be swept up in the probe because she was behind it all. And Obama too, because he was aware of it and complicit or did nothing....or....something.

As far as the election, the indictment points out that a part of the effort was to reach undecided voters and sway them to cast their vote for Jill Stein. And if you look at the vote totals in some of the "surprise" states that trump won, you see that he did win by around the same number of votes as the Stein voters. Coincidence? Could be. Or this could be an indicator of something.

As they say "if you want to get to the truth, follow the money" which seems to be exactly what mueller is doing.

Russian influence...

Friday, February 16, 2018

Trump supporters, the nra, and various politicians like to play semantics games. For example, the AR 15 has been called "safe" when it can shoot a large number of rounds with a fairly easy squeeze. They'll tell you it's not an assault rifle while AR literally stands for "assault rifle"....

But the one that gets me is "terrorism." The latest school shooter, and really anyone should be labeled as a domestic terrorist. Full stop.

But the word police have a problem with that because the definition of terrorism literally is "the unlawful use of violence and intimidation, especially against civilians, in the pursuit of political aims."

They ask what a persons political aim is if they are a white person, and a US citizen. Unlike some brown skinned foreigner boogeyman type who is set out to do harm.

Political aim is loosely defined as supporting ones ideology, and more specifically it relates to the state, government, the body politic, public administration, policy-making, etc.... involved in, or relating to government policy-making as distinguished from administration or law.

Isn't that what the "make America great again" Mantra all about? Then, isn't one who supports it trying to achieve a political aim?

Stop hiding behind words. Stop trying to downplay the shooter as a lone wolf, or a troubled youth. He was a terrorist bent on his own ideology. Who cares how he got there, where he came from, or what he looks like....he's a monster who murdered children.

Word soup, semantics, and terrorism

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Early yesterday, you sent out another absurd plea for money.  But in it, you did make one point - that we need to make this nation a better place for our children and grandchildren.  And why did that resonate so much?  Because, of course, later in the day OUR children were senselessly slaughtered by a kid who had an assault rifle.  We still don't know the full extent of this mass murder, but we do know that parents sent their kids off to school, and they will never see them again.

And why? Because politicians like you seem to think its okay for everyone to have an assault rifle.  Assault.  It says what it is, and what its used for right in the name.  How can there be any debate that these weapons are used for anything other than killing other humans?

Its absurd that you, and others like you, take money from the NRA and other groups to promote the gun culture.  And that you stand there and say we need more border security, or immigration reform because the boogey man might come and get us from across the seas.

No this is a problem of our own making.  We need to address the problem of home grown terrorism.  Of people who want to harm fellow Americans.  To harm our children. 

We need to make this country a safer place for our kids and grandkids.  We can't let these monsters win, and throw up our hands and say "nothing we can do, sorry second amendment."  And then offer up stupid talking points and thoughts and prayers for those who were massacred.  Stop using pejorative terms to describe these acts of violence.

It needs to stop. And it needs to stop now.  More mental services.  Some sensible legislation.  Don't tell me there's nothing you can do.  That's total garbage.  While this one may not have directly impacted you, it surely impacted someone you know - since Parkland is part of South Florida.

Don't stand on the sidelines.  Make this country better.  Sensible gun control now. 

An open letter to Marco Rubio on gun control

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

A good listen or read.

Further, we should never forget what the 2nd amendment actually says:

"A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

But politicians and Supreme Court Justice Scalia just read the part after the first comma, ie, "the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

Which clearly has a different meaning than all of the written words in context. Of course you can argue about the absolute meaning of the whole phrase.

But in the 1930s the public outcry against "machine guns" became great and congress acted. Enter the gun lobby to alter the name calling them "assault rifles" and they get around the law!

And assault.... what, exactly?

I think their name spells out exactly what they do - assault other humans.

Prohibition-Era Gang Violence Spurred Congress To Pass First Gun Law : NPR

Thursday, February 8, 2018

The ONLY thing that should matter to our democracy at this point is this: free and fair elections are the foundation of democracy. The 2016 election was hacked, and in addition to "influencing," the Russian government actually did manage to enter the voting databases - and the assertion is that it probably went further, though we have not heard that piece specifically from the intelligence community.

But even penetrating the voter rolls should be taken seriously. Our democracy was attacked by a foreign power, and those who can do something about it are either turning a ridiculous blind eye to it, or actively looking to discredit information.

Which means that - and we have supporting evidence that this is true in the form of donations coming from Russia - many of them are complicit in the attempt to dismantle our democracy. They are subverting the very constitution they have sworn to defend for personal gain. That is the very definition of treason.

And then there are the dunderheads among the public who seem to think this is all bullshit, and decide that "the snowflakes"simply can't accept that trump won.

If he won in a free and fair election, I may not like it, but I could accept that he was president. But he did not, and that's why I can not accept it.

Every day there is another piece of evidence that mounts that this is all built on treachery and hacking votes. Something must be done.

Russia penetrated voter databases before 2016 election Russia penetrated voter databases before 2016 election #NotOurPresident

With no specific tools and just a keen interest, IMAGE was found by a guy in Canada.

#MakeAmericaSmartAgain NASA IMAGE satellite found by amateur astronomer after 12 years 'dead' in space - The Washington Post

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

As a nation - and as a species - our continued growth and evolution depends on finding new ways to succeed. To not be afraid to fail. And to look past the bullshit we hear from talking heads, celebrities, athletes, and politicians.

Falcon Heavy took off today for the first time. And Elon Musk used a Tesla vehicle as the payload.

The launch itself was a resounding success and you should watch it; and then read about some of the cool "design flourishes" he put in.

Launch replay:


Short. Sweet. To the point. That's the beauty Dave's iPhone.

#MakeAmericaSmartAgain Tesla Roadster Starman live video feed from SpaceX Falcon Heavy launch

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