March 23rd, 2017

Rex Tillerson is clearly out of the loop and out of his depth in Trumpland

The former oil executive’s apparent reluctance to be Trump’s secretary of state could be a sign that he knew he’d be serving in a sham administration

There is a charitable reading of Rex Tillerson’s interview with the previously obscure Independent Journal Review. When the secretary of state told the IJR that “I didn’t want this job, I didn’t seek this job,” that he was “stunned” when Donald Trump offered it to him, and that he only did it because “my wife told me I’m supposed to do this,” it’s possible that he was displaying a charming modesty. Think of it as an elaborate version of the formulation favoured by celebrities on receiving an award: “I’m humbled.”

A more sceptical reading would suggest this was the former Exxon CEO’s way of signalling that he is not a politician, that he exists on a higher plane than the usual crowd of jockeying Washington careerists. (Recall that Tony Blair in his pomp was fond of telling reporters that “I don’t need to do this,” that there was more to his life than politics and that he was ready to walk away.)

Alternatively, Tillerson’s remarks could be read as an altogether less confident statement: a coded admission that he knows he is not qualified to be secretary of state, that he’s in way over his head – but we shouldn’t blame him, because it wasn’t his idea. On this reading, the secretary of state is, if anything, pointing an accusing finger at his boss: I know I’m rubbish at this, but it’s Trump’s fault for picking me.

It’s tempting to see it that way, especially for those who want to believe cracks are becoming visible in the hull of the Trump ship, even from the inside.

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Sanders: 'What do the Russians have on Mr. Trump?'

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) on Thursday piled onto ongoing questions about President Trump and his associates' ties to Russia.

Days after the FBI confirmed it is probing any possible cooperation between Trump's team and Moscow, Sanders implied Russian President Vladimir Putin might "have" something on the president.

Questions about Trump and his current and former aides' potential ties to Russia have roiled his administration in its first two months. The president's first national security adviser, Michael Flynn, resigned after it was revealed that he discussed sanctions with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak before Trump took office.

And Attorney General Jeff Sessions has also come under scrutiny for failing to disclose the fact that he twice met with Kislyak while he was acting as a surrogate for Trump's election campaign last year. He recused himself from any federal investigations into Russian election meddling and the Trump campaign last month.

Sanders's questions followed House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes's (R-Calif.) announcement Wednesday that he had seen evidence that the intelligence community incidentally gathered information on Trump transition team members during routine surveillance of foreign targets.

Nunes said, however, that the intelligence collections had "nothing to do with Russia and nothing to do with the Russian investigation."

The intelligence community has concluded that Putin was behind Russian efforts to interfere in the U.S. election in order to help Trump's campaign.

The FBI is currently investigating the Kremlin's election meddling, as well as potential links to Trump's team, Director James Comey confirmed at a House hearing on Monday.

Trump has repeatedly denied any relationship between himself or his campaign and the Russians, and has called media reports on the matter "fake news."

Trump has spoken fondly of Putin on multiple occasions, saying at one point that he is a stronger leader than former President Barack Obama and expressing a willingness to cooperate with Russia on certain issues, such as fighting the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

Source: TheHill

ETA: Additional Sources on the Trump-Russia Mess
The Guardian
Vanity Fair 1
Vanity Fair 1

I seem to recall some conversations here a few months ago wherein some posters stated that they did not believe the rumors about Russian involvement in our election,and/or even if the rumors were true, they [presumably] didn't change the outcome of the election and therefore didn't matter anyway. I don't remember who expressed those views, but I know I could find the posts if I really wanted to. I'm really curious as to whether anyone here still holds those views. I hope not, because I think it's gone well beyond the point where it can be waved away as a mere rumor (or an "excuse" for the Dems losing the election).

I personally believe that, whether or not the Russian hijinks actually swayed the election results (which we may never know for sure), this matters a whole hell of a lot, for reasons that should be self-evident (not the least of which is that this could be the thing - or at least one of the things - that ends up bringing down the mangled apricot hellbeast).

[MODS: LJ is still not letting me preview before posting. If there are any html or other errors in this post, I'll fix them as soon as I can.]
king rad

better clear your porn perusing...

U.S. Senate votes to overturn Obama broadband privacy rules

The U.S. Senate on Thursday voted narrowly to repeal regulations requiring internet service providers to do more to protect customers' privacy than websites like Alphabet Inc's Google (GOOGL.O) or Facebook Inc (FB.O).

The vote was along party lines, with 50 Republicans approving the measure and 48 Democrats rejecting it. The two remaining Republicans in the Senate were absent and did not cast a vote.

According to the rules approved by the Federal Communications Commission in October under then-President Barack Obama, internet providers would need to obtain consumer consent before using precise geolocation, financial information, health information, children's information and web browsing history for advertising and internal marketing.

The vote was a victory for internet providers such as AT&T Inc (T.N), Comcast Corp (CMCSA.O) and Verizon Communications Inc (VZ.N), which had strongly opposed the rules.

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source is roy tuhrs