wire tower

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A bipartisan Senate Intel Committee duo just shut down Trump’s wiretapping claim

  • Trump’s explosive accusation that Obama ordered the wiretapping of Trump Tower during the campaign was dealt a death blow on Thursday by the Senate Intelligence Committee, which said there is no evidence whatsoever to back up that claim.
  • “Based on the information available to us, we see no indication that Trump Tower was the subject of surveillance by any element of the United States government either before or after Election Day 2016,” Sens. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) and Mark Warner (D-Va.) said in a statement.
  • Their statement comes a day after the House Intelligence Committee said there was no evidence that Trump Tower was wiretapped. Read more (3/16/17 2:18 PM)

If President Trump announces that North Korea launched a missile that landed within 100 miles of Hawaii, would most Americans believe him? Would the rest of the world? We’re not sure, which speaks to the damage that Mr. Trump is doing to his Presidency with his seemingly endless stream of exaggerations, evidence-free accusations, implausible denials and other falsehoods.

The latest example is Mr. Trump’s refusal to back off his Saturday morning tweet of three weeks ago that he had “found out that [Barack] Obama had my ‘wires tapped’ in Trump Tower just before the victory” on Election Day. He has offered no evidence for his claim, and a parade of intelligence officials, senior Republicans and Democrats have since said they have seen no such evidence.

Yet the President clings to his assertion like a drunk to an empty gin bottle, rolling out his press spokesman to make more dubious claims. Sean Spicer—who doesn’t deserve this treatment—was dispatched last week to repeat an assertion by a Fox News commentator that perhaps the Obama Administration had subcontracted the wiretap to British intelligence.

That bungle led to a public denial from the British Government Communications Headquarters, and British news reports said the U.S. apologized. But then the White House claimed there was no apology. For the sake of grasping for any evidence to back up his original tweet, and the sin of pride in not admitting error, Mr. Trump had his spokesman repeat an unchecked TV claim that insulted an ally.

The wiretap tweet is also costing Mr. Trump politically as he hands his opponents a sword. Mr. Trump has a legitimate question about why the U.S. was listening to his former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, and who leaked news of his meeting with the Russian ambassador. But that question never gets a hearing because the near-daily repudiation of his false tweet is a bigger media story.

FBI director James Comey also took revenge on Monday by joining the queue of those saying the bureau has no evidence to back up the wiretap tweet. Mr. Comey even took the unusual step of confirming that the FBI is investigating ties between the Trump election campaign and Russia.

Mr. Comey said he could make such a public admission only in “unusual circumstances,” but why now? Could the wiretap tweet have made Mr. Comey angry because it implied the FBI was involved in illegal surveillance? Mr. Trump blundered in keeping Mr. Comey in the job after the election, but now the President can’t fire the man leading an investigation into his campaign even if he wants to.

All of this continues the pattern from the campaign that Mr. Trump is his own worst political enemy. He survived his many false claims as a candidate because his core supporters treated it as mere hyperbole and his opponent was “untrustworthy” Hillary Clinton. But now he’s President, and he needs support beyond the Breitbart cheering section that will excuse anything. As he is learning with the health-care bill, Mr. Trump needs partners in his own party to pass his agenda. He also needs friends abroad who are willing to trust him when he asks for support, not least in a crisis.

This week should be dominated by the smooth political sailing for Mr. Trump’s Supreme Court nominee and the progress of health-care reform on Capitol Hill. These are historic events, and success will show he can deliver on his promises. But instead the week has been dominated by the news that he was repudiated by his own FBI director.

Two months into his Presidency, Gallup has Mr. Trump’s approval rating at 39%. No doubt Mr. Trump considers that fake news, but if he doesn’t show more respect for the truth most Americans may conclude he’s a fake President.

— 

Wall Street Journal Editorial Board on “President” Trump’s (lack of) credibility and his repeated lies (03.21.2017)

Tonight’s The Wall Street Journal​ Editorial nails our serial lying “President” who is currently under FBI investigation very good for the untruths that he’s uttered over the course of his “Presidency” and beforehand.

“Elie Wiesel was one of the great moral voices of our time, and in many ways, the conscience of the world. Tonight, Michelle and I join people across the United States, Israel and around the globe in mourning the loss and celebrating the life of a truly remarkable human being. Like millions of admirers, I first came to know Elie through his account of the horror he endured during the Holocaust simply because he was Jewish. But I was also honored and deeply humbled to call him a dear friend. I’m especially grateful for all the moments we shared and our talks together, which ranged from the meaning of friendship to our shared commitment to the State of Israel.

Elie was not just the world’s most prominent Holocaust survivor, he was a living memorial. After we walked together among the barbed wire and guard towers of Buchenwald where he was held as a teenager and where his father perished, Elie spoke words I’ve never forgotten—"Memory has become a sacred duty of all people of goodwill.“ Upholding that sacred duty was the purpose of Elie’s life. Along with his beloved wife Marion and the foundation that bears his name, he raised his voice, not just against anti-Semitism, but against hatred, bigotry and intolerance in all its forms. He implored each of us, as nations and as human beings, to do the same, to see ourselves in each other and to make real that pledge of ‘never again.’

At the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum that he helped create, you can see his words—’for the dead and the living, we must bear witness.’ But Elie did more than just bear witness, he acted. As a writer, a speaker, an activist, and a thinker, he was one of those people who changed the world more as a citizen of the world than those who hold office or traditional positions of power. His life, and the power of his example, urges us to be better. In the face of evil, we must summon our capacity for good. In the face of hate, we must love. In the face of cruelty, we must live with empathy and compassion. We must never be bystanders to injustice or indifferent to suffering. Just imagine the peace and justice that would be possible in our world if we all lived a little more like Elie Wiesel.

At the end of our visit to Buchenwald, Elie said that after all that he and the other survivors had endured, ‘we had the right to give up on humanity.’ But he said, ‘we rejected that possibility…we said, no, we must continue believing in a future.’ Tonight, we give thanks that Elie never gave up on humanity and on the progress that is possible when we treat one another with dignity and respect. Our thoughts are with Marion, their son Shlomo Elisha, his stepdaughter Jennifer and his grandchildren whom we thank for sharing Elie with the world. May God bless the memory of Elie Wiesel, and may his soul be bound up in the bond of eternal life.” —President Obama on the passing of Elie Wiesel

latimes.com
Fox "News" pulls Judge Napolitano over his Trump wiretap claims
Fox News senior judicial analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano is being kept off the air indefinitely amid the controversy over his unverified claims that British intelligence wiretapped Trump.
By Stephen Battaglio

Stephen Battaglio at LA Times:

Fox “News” senior judicial analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano is being kept off the air indefinitely amid the controversy over his unverified claims that British intelligence wiretapped Trump Tower at the behest of former President Obama.

Fox News did not respond to inquiries about Napolitano’s status Monday. Napolitano was conspicuously missing from the network’s coverage of the confirmation hearings on Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch — an event in which he typically would have played a significant role. He has not been on the air since Thursday.

People familiar with the situation who could speak only on the condition of anonymity said Napolitano is not expected to be on Fox News Channel any time in the near future. Napolitano was not available for comment.

On March 4, President Trump first tweeted the accusation that Obama ordered his “‘wires tapped’ in Trump Tower just before the victory.”

huffingtonpost.com
Trump’s End Game In The Obama Wiretapping Lie
This all started because Trump can’t rid himself of the stink of Russian interference.

‘…Vermont Senator George Aiken is credited for a highly creative proposal to end the Vietnam war. Just “declare victory” and get out of Dodge.The Aiken, simply put, is declaring victory even when you have lost. …

…the preposterous accusation that Obama wire tapped Trump Tower will be thoroughly debunked. Trump’s lie will be fully exposed.

But the reports will find “something.”’

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Welcome to New York, anything to declare?

I am going to hang a high-wire between the two towers of the World Trade Center and walk on it! 

Ha! GOOD LUCK. 

The Walk (2015) Directed by Robert Zemeckis

The latest example is Mr. Trump’s refusal to back off his Saturday morning tweet of three weeks ago that he had “found out that [Barack] Obama had my ‘wires tapped’ in Trump Tower just before the victory” on Election Day. He has offered no evidence for his claim, and a parade of intelligence officials, senior Republicans and Democrats have since said they have seen no such evidence.

Yet the President clings to his assertion like a drunk to an empty gin bottle, rolling out his press spokesman to make more dubious claims.

— 

Wall Street Journal editorial, March 22, 2017

This is interesting given that the WSJ is a conservative paper owned by the conservative’s conservative, Rupert Murdoch

Prime Minister Mark Rutte's party heads for victory with 33 seats after 90% votes counted so far

Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte is celebrating victory in his country’s parliamentary elections after his centre-right VVD party beat Geert Wilders’ anti-immigration and anti-EU Freedom Party.

With more than 93.3% of the votes counted, the VVD had clinched 33 out of the 150 seats on offer. This is a loss of eight seats from the previous parliament.

Trending: Trump Tower wires not tapped confirms House Intelligence Committee

Wilders’s Freedom Party or PVV managed to get 20 seats, raising the number of seats held from the last parliament by five. The Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA) and the liberal Democrats 66 (D66) each managed to win 19 seats each.

The Green-Left party secured the most gains from the previous parliament, having secured 14 seats, from only 4 seats previously.

Don’t miss: Who will win the Dutch Election? We crunch the numbers to find out

The Labour Party (PvdA) the junior party in the governing coalition however suffered a massive loss, securing only 9 seats, having lost 29 constituencies.

A breakdown of seats secured so far:

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People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD): 33
Freedom Party (PVV): 20
Christian Democrat Appeal (CDA): 19
Democrats 66: 19
Groenlinks: 14
Socialist Party: 14
Labour Party (PvdA): 9
Christian Union: 5

The Dutch news agency ANP said that the final results will only be available either later Thursday or Friday. This is because large municipalities like Amsterdam, The Hague and Utrecht are not expected to finish their vote count until much later.

Rutte, who is now set for a third term as prime minister said: “The Netherlands said ‘Whoa! To the wrong kind of populism. We want to stick to the course we have - safe and stable and prosperous.”

Although Rudd’s party is now in “an exceptionally comfortable position as leader”, Dutch daily NRC noted that VVD had lost a quarter of its support.

“What is clear is that governing does not pay. The outgoing government presented a dream budget this year: what should have gone up went up, what should have come down came down … And still voters punished the outgoing coalition severely,” the newspaper said, adding that for voters, politics is not just about the economy.

It pointed out that The Netherlands is currently one of the best performing countries in the EU.

Reaction from Europe

French President Francois Hollande said Rutte had won a “clear victory against extremism.”

German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s chief of staff Peter Altmaier tweeted: “The Netherlands, oh the Netherlands you are a champion! Congratulations on this great result!

Martin Schulz, former president of the European Parliament expressed relief that Wilders’ party had lost the elections. "We must continue to fight for an open and free Europe,” he said on Twitter.

The elections in Netherlands has been closely watched globally as an indication on how populist parties may fare in upcoming elections in other EU countries.

In France, voters will get to choose a new president in April while Germany is due to hold a general election in September.

It is not over, warns Wilders

Despite losing out, Wilders has warned that it is not over. He said Rutte “has not seen the last of me.

"It’s not the 30 seats I hoped for but we gained seats. This patriotic spring will happen.”

The VVW party will have to seek coalition partners to form the next government as parliamentary seats are allocated in exact proportion to a party’s vote share.

You may be interested in:

Marines nude photo scandal: House Democrat to introduce bill banning 'revenge porn' in military

A California lawmaker will introduce a new bill on Thursday (16 March) that would make it illegal for service members to share nude photos of anyone without their consent. Congresswoman Jackie Speier announced the proposed legislation amid an ongoing investigation into allegations that Marines shared explicit images of female service members on a Facebook page called Marines United.

Speier, a ranking Democrat on the House Armed Services Committee, will introduce the Servicemembers Intimate Privacy Protection Act (SIPPA) in a press conference with women’s rights attorney Gloria Allred and Marine veteran Erika Butner, a victim of the Marines United group. In a statement announcing the bill, Speier said the legislation would “close a massive gap” in the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

Trending: Trump Tower wires not tapped confirms House Intelligence Committee

The proposed bill comes just days after General Robert Neller, commandant of the US Marine Corps, faced tough questions during a congressional hearing on the issue. Neller confirmed that the Naval Criminal Investigative Service is investigating the allegations and promised that any service member found guilty of participating will be held accountable.

During the hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee, lawmakers questioned Neller whether current statues within the Uniform Code of Military Justice were enough to deal with the alleged crimes, Military.com reported.

Don’t miss: Who will win the Dutch Election? We crunch the numbers to find out

“That’s something we’re going to get into with this task force, if there are provisions within UCMJ that may need to be more specific about this particular type of potential offense,” Neller responded to Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Connecticut). Neller was referring to a task force created by the Marine Corps to establish how to proceed following the scandal.

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Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts) then asked Neller if a provision specifically addressing “revenge porn” would be necessary, to which Neller responded it might be. “I think that would be helpful in the accountability process,” he said. “But again, some of these pictures of these women, they were fully clothed, and it’s the commentary.”

A 9 March report by Business Insider revealed that the issue is not isolated to just the Marine Corps, but instead extends to all branches of the military. The Marine Corps, Army and Air Force are coordinating in their ongoing investigations.

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Building the future tallest building in San Francisco requires a lot of concrete, nearly 49 millions pounds of it. Pouring it all took more than 18 hours on a cloudy San Francisco Sunday. An armada of trucks delivered the concrete and brontosaurine pumps vomited it into the hole while a small army of rubber-booted workers scurried about, directing the flow. It was one of the biggest, longest concrete pours in history.

Find out how this feat was accomplished.

Ranchers return to homes destroyed by wildfires that ripped across US Great Plains

Ranchers in Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas are returning homes to survey the damage from the wildfires that were fuelled by tinder-dry vegetation and ferocious winds.

One fire, in Lipscomb, Texas burned through nearly all 1,000 acres of the Schwerzenbach family’s remote ranch, killing some 40 cattle. A mile away, a young man in the rural community was killed. Speaking to Reuters photographer Lucas Jackson, who has closely documented the aftermath of the fires, Nancy Schwerzenbach spoke of how quickly the situation escalated “We had a minute or two and then it was over us,” she said “The fire was about two miles away before we knew what happened to us.”

Trending: Trump Tower wires not tapped confirms House Intelligence Committee

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The fire, moving up to 70 miles per hour (112 kph), was one of several across more than 2 million acres (810,000 hectares) that hit the Texas Panhandle, Oklahoma and Kansas last week, causing millions of dollars of damage and killing thousands of livestock. Numerous smaller fires burned in Colorado, Nebraska and the Florida Everglades, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

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In Oklahoma, the fires scorched a Smithfield Foods Inc hog farm in Laverne, killing some 4,300 sows. “When we drive down the road and look out on the pasture lands, there’s no grass. There’s dead deer, dead cows, dead wildlife, miles of fence gone away. It looks like a complete desert,” Ashland Veterinary Center co-owner Dr Randall Spare – who is helping in relief efforts in Clark County, Kansas – told Jackson.

Oklahoma Department of Agriculture State Veterinarian Rod Hall said bulldozers were being used to bury dead animals. In Texas, state government agencies estimate about 1,500 cattle were lost, according to Steve Amosson, an economist at Texas A&M AgriLife Extension. “When we value the deaths of cattle at market value, including disposal costs, we’re talking about $2.1m at this point, and I expect that to go up,” he told Jackson. “We’re still dealing with chaos, they’re still trying to find cattle.”

For Troy Bryant, 34, a rancher in Laverne, Oklahoma, the impact from the fires has been devastating. He explained to Jackson how he lost livestock worth roughly $35,000 and fencing worth about $40,000. “We saw 4,000 acres burned here. Some places further west of here lost much more,” he said.

Amosson estimates it could cost $6m to recover 480,000 acres burned in Texas fires along with $4.3m to replace and repair fences in the northern Texas Panhandle either destroyed by the fire or by cattle trampling them to escape the blaze. Texas is the top US cattle producing state with some 12.3 million head and Kansas is third at 6.4 million.

Local farmers from the Great Plains have helped those who have been affected by the wildfires by donating hay and fencing material.

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This is the story of Kate E Howrad, a young woman whose impossible dream is to become a tap dancer. Kate’s dream is a creative one and since hitRECord is a community of artists, it really came as no surprise that a lot of other people on the site could really relate to her dream in some way. I, along with everyone else on the site, really wanted to see her dream of becoming a tap dancer come true. And when other people came together to support her, something really special happened.

This “Impossible Dream" collaboration was inspired by a movie I’m in called “The Walk,” coming to theaters on September 30th. It’s a true story about Philippe Petit. His impossible dream was to hang a high wire between the two towers of the World Trade Center and walk across it. And, in 1974, with the help of his co-conspirators, he achieved this dream.

Philippe Petit couldn’t have fulfilled his dream all by himself, and as you’ll see in our three “Impossible Dream" short films, the support and encouragement of other people can help to make the impossible possible.

Thanks again <3

J