before elections

Dudes. Ladies. Friends.

The german parliament is going to vote on marriage equality THIS FRIDAY. The vote has been delayed 30 goddamn times already, the conservatives are having a collective aneurysm but everyone else seems to be on board. I want to cry, I can’t believe this is really happening 2 months before our general election, oh my god

i can’t believe the parliament might actually get to vote on marriage equality this friday after merkel and the christian democrats/socials have been obstructing it for the past it for twelve years holy fucking shit this might really happen

merkel ~hypothetically~ allowing her party a free vote on the topic and now thinking it’s “sad” that the other parties want to make the ballot happen so soon (as in before the elections probably) gives me grim satisfaction after having her say “marriage is a man and a woman living together” and “i’m unsure if gay adoption rights would be in childrens’ best interests” even quite recently ha suck it

on the downside, i also can’t believe i had to read an article stating that marriage equality would discriminate against different-gender couples and that “different things should be treated differently” in the newspaper this morning, in the year of our lord 2017, honestly suck it too

James Comey Firing Overview

So you’re confused about this whole James Comey thing but also care about America so want to be less confused? Come with me!

James Comey was (until today) the Director of the FBI. A Republican appointed by Barack Obama in 2013. He made a lot of enemies in the Democratic Party when, 11 days before the 2016 election, he re-opened investigation into Hillary’s emails.

Turned out nothing interesting was in those new emails, and also that this probably did result in Hillary losing the election. Kinda uncool. Also turns out, he did not announce that the FBI was looking into links between Trump’s campaign and the Russian Government.

It is clear (though some still argue) that Russia actively worked to influence the outcome of the US Presidential election. They did this by hacking and releasing information on Hillary Clinton, and by creating and promoting incendiary and false news stories online.

The Obama Administration knew about this and got real mad at Russia, basically kicking all of their diplomats out of the country and creating new sanctions.

There are two main concerns that the FBI (and other agencies, including congress) have been looking into.

1. Whether the Trump campaign was in communication with the Russians before or after the election to say that the Obama sanctions wouldn’t last.

(This would be bad. Basically actively working against the existing government of the United States, which is illegal.)

2. Whether the Trump campaign actively worked with the Russians to time the release of negative information on Hillary Clinton.

(This would be even worse. Both could be considered treason.)

A number of people in Trump’s campaign and also his current team had conversations with Russian diplomats and lied about it. This includes Mike Flynn, who definitely violated the law and who was fired for lying to VP Pence about it. It also includes Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who agreed that he would not be involved in the Russia investigations because he lied under oath about it.

The FBI has had an on-going investigation into this stuff the whole time, and James Comey has been leading that investigation.

Quick note, a Grand Jury is a citizen panel that decides whether there’s enough evidence to try a case. These are usually secret, in order to protect the people who might not be even brought to trial, much less found guilty. But sometimes they need to gather information, like documents or testimony. And they do this with court summonses called subpoenas.

Well, yesterday, CNN reported that a Federal Grand Jury investigating Mike Flynn and the Trump Campaigns ties to Russia exists. That Grand Jury has issued subpoenas for more information, indicating to experts a high level of seriousness to the investigation.

It’s pretty clear that Trump campaign knows about this, and as it’s a Federal case, it was likely overseen by the FBI director, James Comey.

Suddenly, just before that story came out, the Trump team decided that Comey’s treatment of Hillary’s emails was bad, and fired him. The recommendation to fire Comey came from AG Sessions, who, again, recused himself from the Russia investigation after lying under oath. To be clear, both Sessions and Trump have previously praised Comey at length for his treatment of that investigation.

The response from Dems and also many Reps has been shock. It is very concerning for a President to fire someone who is investigating him. This seems to have happened very quickly. Comey found out he was fired the same time as everyone else, the letter Trump wrote to him was delivered to DC, but Comey was in Los Angeles at the time. Of course, the Deputy Director of the FBI is now in charge, but Trump has the job of appointing a new director, and has not made any sign that he has a list of candidates.

This seems the sort of thing that most congressional lawmakers, who have a mandate to check the power of the President, should be very worried about. Many are calling for a Special Prosecutor, who would be free to work without congressional approval, to be appointed.

Others want broad, unanimous support for Comey’s replacement, which would ensure someone who is not under Trump’s thumb.

The power to grant these things lies with congress. A congress that is controlled by the President’s party, but not by the President.

And that is where we are. It is pretty convoluted, thank you for taking the time to read.

The controversial points in this are:
1 Whether the Russian government hacked Hillary’s emails (many Republicans say there is no proof while every intelligence agency in the US said that it was orchestrated by the Russian government.

2. Whether Jeff Sessions lied under oath or if he just misspoke or forgot that he had met with Russian officials. In any case, he agreed to remove himself from the congressional investigation.

3. Whether the Trump Campaign investigation was the cause of Comey’s firing. The stated reason is that Comey “lost credibility” and damaged the reputation of the FBI by mis-handling the Clinton email investigation.

That’s as good as I can do, it feels like it’s a good deal more comprehensive and concise than most of what I’ve been reading. If it helped you, please show it around.

2

In case you missed it. FBI director James Comey, when called to testify in a public hearing to the House Intelligence Committee revealed two key pieces of information today. 

 1), the most obvious and expected announcement being that there never was any evidence of Obama wiretapping Trump. Not that anyone *really* needed this confirmed, but he was the last line of defense for the White House to continue on with this entire farce. But I obviously don’t expect him to ever come clean about lying or apologize to President Obama. 

 2) More importantly, Comey also revealed that the FBI has an actual ongoing criminal investigation into Trump/Russia connections. 

Since July.
MONTHS BEFORE ELECTION DAY. 

While Comey was writing letters about Hilary’s emails, the FBI was also investigating possible links between the Trump campaign and the Russian hack of the DNC. 

So just to reiterate, because this is new information, there is an ongoing FBI criminal investigation looking into possible links between the Trump Campaign and Russian hacks of the US election and attacking our nations democratic process.

In case you missed it

gay-pufferfish  asked:

i havent been keeping up with canadian politics for the past year so im completely uneducated in this regard, but can i ask what's wrong with Trudeau? I want to be more knowledgeable of what's been going on

A lot.

Here’s a short list I made a little while ago:

-Trudeau is considering selling our ports & airports.

-Trudeau is pushing an infrastructure bank, which is going to privatize public infrastructure.

-Trudeau selling weapons to Saudi Arabia.

-Trudeau approving 2 huge oil pipelines and happy about Donald Trump’s approval of Keystone XL.

-Despite making it pretty clear before the election that communities and First Nations would need to give consent for projects, Trudeau has backtracked and now says that this is no longer true.

-Justin Trudeau bailing out Bombardier with millions, doesn’t care that their CEO’s are getting huge bonuses as they’re laying off thousands of workers.

-Their Marijuana legislation is filled with harsh penalties, and it is not true legalization. There will be limits on the amount you can grow and carry (and if you exceed these limits you can be arrested or charged), and new harsh penalties related to youth & driving under the influence.

-Justin Trudeau’s government is refusing to pay First Nations children equally, despite the Human Rights Commission sending him notices saying he has to (they have now sent 4 compliance orders for him to comply with the law).

-Justin Trudeau’s government is still underfunding First Nations education.

-Justin Trudeau supports Donald Trump’s bombing of Syria.

-Justin Trudeau is in favour of Regime Change in Syria, which many feel could escalate violence in that region.

-Justin Trudeau has not ruled out sending the military into Syria.

-Justin Trudeau is refusing to change the ‘Safe Third Country’ agreement to help refugees fleeing the USA.

-Justin Trudeau is refusing to fund a basic income pilot project on PEI.

-Justin Trudeau abandoned electoral reform (a big election promise) and has stuck with the First Past the Post system (a system the Conservative Party of Canada also supports).

-Justin Trudeau refuses to decriminalize marijuana in the meantime. Cops will arrest thousands more people for marijuana possession before 2018.

-Justin Trudeau is refusing to pardon anyone for marijuana possession despite knowing full well how harmful this can be for people job searching or crossing the border.

-Justin Trudeau is not in favour of a $15/hour minimum wage.

-Despite his feminist rhetoric, Status of Women Canada received no new funding in the 2017 budget.

-Justin Trudeau broke a campaign promise to close a tax loophole that largely benefits millionaire CEO’s.

-Justin Trudeau is breaking indigenous rights to consent with permits given on the Site C Dam and Kinder Morgan Oil Pipeline.

-Justin Trudeau’s tax cut for the middle cut, benefits the top 10% of income earners the most. Those making under $40,000 per year get nothing.

-Justin Trudeau still hasn’t changed or repealed the draconian anti-terrorism bill, Bill C-51.

-Despite a push from the NDP, Trudeau is refusing to expand our healthcare system to cover things like Pharmacare.

-Justin Trudeau is maintaining Stephen Harper’s cuts to healthcare transfers.

-Justin Trudeau is maintaining Stephen Harper’s weak climate change targets

.-Justin Trudeau wants to delay a promise to cut methane (a potent greenhouse gas) emissions for 3 years or more.

There’s plenty more than that. Yes, arguably Justin Trudeau is better than Stephen Harper, but that is a very low bar to pass.

If you need sources on any of these points I can provide them.

3

Trump accuses Obama of wiretapping Trump Tower phones before election in bizarre, unfounded rant

  • President Donald Trump has taken his early morning Twitter rants to a new, paranoid level.  
  • On Saturday morning, Trump sent out a series of tweets accusing Obama of wiretapping phones inside the Trump Tower, where Trump lived as a private citizen before the election. 
  • Trump cited no evidence for his accusations. Read more (¾/17 8:26 AM) 
2

The organiser of an armed march against the Jewish population in a small town in Montana has insisted the harassment campaign will go ahead.

The Daily Stormer, an American neo-Nazi website, is planning the march in Whitefish, where the mother of white supremacist Richard Spencer lives.

It will take place in the second week of January, days before president-elect Donald Trump is inaugurated. (source)

honestly this is so much worse than Watergate like a) Nixon annihilated his opponent. watergate was because of a paranoid anxiety ridden president who was committing illegal actions yes but the election result wouldn’t have even changed if it didn’t happen and was not b) colluding with Russia on a presidential election. Watergate at least was a domestic matter, with all the key actors being american.

let me put it this way: one is illegal and definitely grounds for impeachment, this is not to take away from that moment, but the other is fucking treason and according to US code is grounds for death.

Really, you go back into the cold war and tell really anyone of any party “hey the soviet union maybe interfered with an american presidential election and we have concrete proof both from our own government and from allies the winner was aware of this, what do you think” they would say that is treason

There is now a fully-realized fascist social movement in this country. It is not anchored in one party or organization, and it is still amorphous, diverse, and in formation. But it is fully here now.

In this last astonishing week alone we have seen a white supremacist murder in Maryland, and a double-murder in Portland. There was a racist knife attack in Northern California, and two members of the Quinault nation were run down by a truck in Washington, killing one. Professor Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor was just forced to cancel public talks because of over fifty death threats.

The targeting, threatening, and mobilized doxxing of organizerss, activists, professors, and others has been building steadily for over a year now - gaining momentum through various circuits: internet bulletin boards, public talks by white nationalists, right-wing and libertarian campus organizations, militia groups, the traditional resonance machine of cable television and talk radio, and the GOP itself.

This is - and has been since before the election - one of the most dangerous aspects to Trump’s rise.

We have to stop dismissing talk of neo-fascism as hysterical, overblown, or somehow more European than American. It is nourished by deep strains in US political culture, and made possible by the current arrangement of political, institutional, and economic forces. And we will now be forced to deal with it whether Trump stays or goes.

—  Joe Lowndes

Report: U.S. officials allege Trump campaign was in contact with Russian spies

  • 4 current and former U.S. officials have told the NY Times that intelligence agencies confirmed members of Trump’s campaign were in contact with Russian spies before the election.
  • Officials discovered the links while probing the circumstances behind what they believe was an operation directed personally by Russian President Vladimir Putin, according to the Times. 
  • The Times account noted the intercepted calls were not limited to those between Russian spies and Trump staffers and extended to other Trump contacts and other Russian officials. Read more (2/14/17 10:43 PM)

Trump loyalists deny reported charges of campaign contacts with Russian spies

  • Diehard Trump loyalists are passionately dismissing the New York Times story reporting that members of the president’s campaign were in touch with Russian intelligence agents in the year before the election.
  • “I think it’s a smear against his unprecedented victory,” the president’s personal attorney, Michael Cohen, said in a phone interview.
  • The New York Times singled out Paul Manafort, who oversaw Trump’s before Steve Bannon and Kellyanne Conway. Manafort told the paper the allegations were “absurd.” Read more (2/15/17 12:08 AM)
10

The connections between Russia and the Trump White House keep piling up– and it looks pretty bad

Most recently, the New York Times published a story containing allegations that there was regular contact between the Trump campaign and Russian intelligence operatives. Before the election. Which means the POTUS and the Russian government may have colluded.

Gifs: TODAY

First 100 Days: Trump and the Degradation of the Presidency

Trump’s failure to accomplish little or any of his agenda during his first 100 days shouldn’t blind us to the vast harm he has done in this comparatively short time to our system of government, especially his degradation of the presidency.

From early in the Republic, we have looked at the office of the president as a focal point for the nation’s values. Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, and the two Roosevelts exemplified for generations of Americans the moral authority of the highest office in the land. It is not merely what these men accomplished, but how they did it; not just their policies but their positive effects on the institutions of democratic governance.

True, many of our presidents have fallen short of those ideals. But our disappointments in those individuals reflected the high expectations we have had for those who hold that office.

Yet under Trump, the moral authority of the presidency has all but disappeared.

I’m old enough to recall when John F. Kennedy invited the world’s great artists, writers, and philosophers to dine at the White House. The nation felt ennobled. 

Donald Trump invites Sarah Palin and Ted Nugent, who once called President Obama a “mongrel,” and we feel sullied.

But it has not just been Trump’s vulgarity.

There have also been Trump’s lies – blatant, continuous, and unsubstantiated even after the lack of evidence has been pointed out repeatedly. 

They are not just any lies, but lies that deepen Americans’ suspicion of one another and undermine our confidence in our system of government – such as his repeated contention that “three to five million” people voted illegally in the last election, or that Obama spied on him during the campaign.

Prior presidents have embellished the truth and on occasion have lied about a particular important thing, such as the existence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. But never before Trump have we had a president who chronically lies, whose lies have become an integral part of his presidency even in the first 100 days.

There is also Trump’s vast family business, from which he continues to benefit even though the decisions he makes in office affect what he earns, and the almost certain decisions by foreign governments to curry favor with him by bestowing benefits on his business. 

Trump shrugs off such conflicts – even refusing to release his tax returns, even inviting his daughter and son-in-law, each with their own businesses and conflicts of interest, to join him at the highest reaches of the White House.

Some presidents have profited from their presidencies after they leave office through large speaking fees and book contracts. But never before Trump have we had a president for whom conflicts of financial interest during his presidency are so flagrant yet ignored.

The first 100 days has also been marked by Trump’s divisiveness – turning Americans against each other, legitimizing hatefulness toward Mexican-Americans and Muslim-Americans and African-Americans, fueling violence between his supporters and his opponents.

We have had divisive elections before. But after them, other presidents have sought to heal the wounds. Even after the horrors of the Civil War, Lincoln famously asked us to come together without malice. 

Trump, by contrast, has fomented the warring camps – calling his opponents “enemies,” suggesting they are plotting against his administration, and staging rallies to encourage and fuel his bedrock supporters.

We have also seen Trump’s cruelty – toward refugees, undocumented immigrants, and the poor among us. He has issued a budget that would deeply harm the least advantaged Americans, and supported a repeal of the Affordable Care Act that would also hurt those most in need.

He has refused asylum to refugees at a time when the world faces the largest refugee crisis since World War II, and unleashed immigration enforcers on 11 million residents of the United States, many of whom have been productive members of their communities for years. He has even deported people who have been here since childhood and know know no other nation.

Other presidents have on occasion been cruel. But Trump’s cruelty has defied reason. It is utterly unnecessary.

There has also been Trump’s affect on the rest of the world – legitimizing crude nationalism and hateful xenophobia. He has promoted France’s Marine Le Pen and encouraged authoritarians such as Turkey’s Tayyip Erdogan, while at the same time confusing our democratic allies and friends.  

Finally, there is Donald Trump himself – who in the first 100 days as president has shown himself to be narcissistic, xenophobic, paranoid, vindictive, and thin-skinned; who takes credit for the work of others and blames others for his own failings; who lashes out at the press and journalists when they criticize him, and who demonizes judges who disagree with him.  

We have before had presidents whose personality defects harmed their presidencies and tainted the office of the president, such as Richard Nixon. But Donald Trump is in a different league altogether. He exhibits the opposite of every civic virtue ever encouraged in our school rooms, town halls, and churches.

The first 100 days is an artificial landmark for presidents. But it does offer an opportunity to pause and assess what they have done. Too often, though, we think in the narrow gauge of policies and legislation.

With Trump, it’s important to think more broadly. Among the most significant legacies of his first 100 days is his degrading of the moral authority of the office of the president, and, thereby, of America.

I just need people to understand that Donald Trump does not actually give a fuck about Syrian civilians and children killed by Assad. As late as last week, his aides were telling the press that they “weren’t focusing on Assad” and that he wasn’t a priority for them, even though Assad has used chemical attacks before and has a long history of vile human rights abuses. Now suddenly he’s lobbing missiles into a humanitarian crisis without even consulting congress. Mark my words, this is just him taking an opportunity as a backdoor into something else that he wants to do, aka wholesale bombing of Syria in order to “stamp out ISIS”.

So this silly bitch Jim Comey starts investigating Hillary Clinton for her shitty handling of emails back in summer 2016. Just before the election rolls into town, he decides to send a letter to Congress saying, “Oh shit, son, we got a pantload of new emails to look at!” Then three days before the election, he shrugs that shit off with “Eh, we just found some cat GIFs and pics of Anthony Weiner’s dick, which is sad but not illegal.” But it doesn’t matter – everyone thinks Hillary Clinton is the Baba Yaga of emails at this point. Trump wins the election.

Word spreads pretty quick that Trump may have some ties to Russia, whom we now suspect meddled in the election worse than Scooby and the gang meddled in the day-to-day business affairs of your average haunted amusement park. And by “some ties,” I mean everyone Trump has appointed, worked with, met, or looked at is probably a sleeper Russian agent who, when given the signal, will together form Mecha-Putin. So Comey heads up an investigation into the Trump/Russia ties, and along the way Sally Yates gets fired, and so does Preet Bharara – both of whom are looking into Team Trump’s connections to Russia. Well ain’t that a bitch?

Then in comes Trump out of the blue with the firing of Comey, claiming it was because of how he dealt with the emails months previously – something which Trump publicly praised Comey for at the time.

What in the merciful fuck is going on?

Forget Fake, This News Is Certifiably Insane

Report: Russia Launched Cyberattack On Voting Vendor Ahead Of Election

Russia’s military intelligence agency launched an attack before Election Day 2016 on a U.S. company that provides voting services and systems, according to a top secret report posted Monday by The Intercept.

The news site published a report, with redactions, by the National Security Agency that described the Russian spear-phishing scheme, one it described as perpetrated by the same intelligence agency — the GRU — sanctioned by the Obama administration over the 2016 cyber-mischief.

According to the NSA report, Russian hackers sent emails to people who worked at a company that provides election software and hardware, trying to trick them into giving up their user credentials. The goal was to get custom software onto their computers so that Russian spies could find out more about the workings of the network. The Intercept reports, “At least one of the employee accounts was likely compromised, the agency concluded.”

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