Wednesday, May 31, 2017
Bombshell Poll Reveals Voters Want Trump Impeached, Not For Russia, Because He Is Mentally Unfit
Trump emboldens the Violent Right Supremacist Fringe Crazies. (Trump would do himself a favor if he stopped tweeting.)
For the second time in a week, a military man was killed by a white extremist. On Friday, 53-year-old Ricky Best, a retired Army veteran, and 23-year-old Taliesin Myrddin Namkai Meche were fatally stabbed, with a third man critically injured, as they tried to defend two teenage girls against an attack by a man going on an anti-Muslim rant. The two young women, one of whom wore a Muslim hijab, were riding a commuter train when, according to witnesses, Jeremy Joseph Christian started shouting ethnic and religious slurs. Police arrested Christian, a convicted felon, soon after the attack. "In many ways, I think his rhetoric has more to do with the campaign and the ideas unleashed in the campaign over the last 16, 18 months by the Trump folks than it does with hardcore neo-Nazism. Or at least it’s a mix of the two sets of ideas," says our guest Heidi Beirich, Intelligence Project director of the Southern Poverty Law Center.
This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: We begin the show on this day after Memorial Day in Portland, where for the second time in a week a military man was killed by a white extremist. On Friday, 53-year-old Ricky Best, a retired Army veteran, and 23-year-old Taliesin Myrddin Namkai Meche were fatally stabbed, with a third man critically injured, as they tried to defend two teenage girls against an attack by a man going on an anti-Muslim rant. The two young women, one of whom wore a Muslim hijab, were riding a commuter train when, according to witnesses, Jeremy Joseph Christian started shouting ethnic and religious slurs. Best and Meche, along with a third man who intervened, were stabbed. Best died at the scene. Meche died at a hospital. Portland Police Department spokesperson Pete Simpson described the scene.
SGT. PETE SIMPSON: Officers at the platform went down onto the train. They found one male victim suffering from traumatic injuries. They attempted lifesaving measures there on the train, but they were unsuccessful. That victim died here at the scene. Two additional stabbing victims were located and immediately transported by medical personnel. One of those victims, when they arrived at the hospital, also passed away. The third victim is at the hospital being treated. He is suffering from what are believed to be non-life-threatening injuries.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: In an emotional interview with CNN, 16-year-old Destinee Mangum, one of the targets of Christian’s hate speech, described what happened. Mangum, who is not Muslim, thanked the three strangers who saved their lives.
DESTINEE MANGUM: He told us to go back to Saudi Arabia, and he told us that we shouldn’t be here and to get out of his country. He was just telling us that we basically weren’t anything and that we should just kill ourselves. ... This white male, from the back of us, came, and he was like, "He’s talking to you guys." And he was like, "You guys—you can’t disrespect these young ladies like that." And then they just all started arguing. ... Me and my friend, we were going to get off the MAX. And then we turned around while they were fighting, and he just started stabbing people. And it was just blood everywhere, and we just started running for our lives. ... I just want to say thank you to the people who put their life on the line for me, because they didn’t even know me. And they lost their lives because of me and my friend and the way we looked. And I just want to say thank you to them and their family, and that I appreciate them, because without them, we probably would be dead right now.
AMY GOODMAN: The attack unfolded hours before the start of Ramadan, Islam’s holy month, when most of the world’s 1.6 billion Muslims observe a daily religious fast. Police arrested Christian, a convicted felon, soon after the attack. He was booked on two counts of aggravated murder and charges of attempted murder, intimidation and being a felon in possession of a restricted weapon. Christian was ordered held without bail, is scheduled to be arraigned today. Following the attack, the Portland mayor, Ted Wheeler, announced the city will not issue permits to alt-right groups for planned supremacist rallies in June.
The attack comes just six days after 23-year-old Richard Collins III, an African-American student at Bowie State University and Army second lieutenant in Maryland, was fatally stabbed by an alleged member of a white supremacist Facebook group called "Alt-Reich: Nation."
Well, for more, we’re joined by Heidi Beirich. She’s Intelligence Project director of the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Heidi, welcome to Democracy Now!, joining us from Montgomery, Alabama. Can you tell us what you know about this attack and about this man who will be arraigned today?
HEIDI BEIRICH: Yes, well, Jeremy Christian, based on extensive Facebook postings, was motivated by pro-Hitler ideas, a love of the Oklahoma City bomber, Timothy McVeigh, other extremist ideas, in particular related to the Islamic faith. And it looks like, for some reason, he decided to act out on those anti-Muslim ideas. He was also a Trump supporter who had shown up at Trump rallies, sieg-heiling at one of these events. So he’s a true radical in terms of his ideas.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Well, some people have suggested that the incident fits into the broader pattern or the history of neo-Nazi violence in the Northwest. Could you comment on that?
HEIDI BEIRICH: Yeah, I mean, look, the Northwest has been victimized by neo-Nazis and skinheads for a very, very long time. And this also has involved murders of people of color and antiracist activists. There’s no question. Neo-Nazis have tried to move into that region for years to create a homeland, thinking that because it has a white population, that would be a good place to be. But what I find interesting about Jeremy Christian is, although some of those ideas are there in his writings, in many ways, I think his rhetoric has more to do with the campaign and the ideas unleashed in the campaign over the last 16, 18 months by the Trump folks than it does with hardcore neo-Nazism. Or at least it’s a mix of the two, two sets of ideas.
AMY GOODMAN: Jeremy Christian’s Facebook page includes several posts in which he espouses extremist views. On April 19, the anniversary of the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, Christian praised Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh, writing, "May all the Gods Bless Timothy McVeigh a TRUE PATRIOT!!!" In a post dated May 9th, Christian wrote, "I just Challenged Ben Ferencz (Last Living Nuremberg Persecutor) to a Debate in the Hague with Putin as our judge. I will defend the Nazis and he will defend the AshkeNAZIs"—a reference to European Jews. Heidi, can you talk about this?
HEIDI BEIRICH: Yeah, well, look, the praise of McVeigh is particularly troubling. You know, people sometimes forget that McVeigh, who was directly inspired to commit that bombing in 1995 by reading a neo-Nazi novel called The Turner Diaries, that that was the largest domestic terrorist attack prior to 9/11. And there have been many, many people who have praised McVeigh over the years. We had an incident actually just in the past week in Tampa in which four neo-Nazis, one of whom converted to Islam and then killed two of his roommates, had bomb-making material—a very serious incident. There was a picture of McVeigh in their room. And so, when you’re praising McVeigh, what you’re talking about is killing people, and you’re talking about being inspired by white supremacy. And, you know, we also had the incident in Maryland where this black man was killed by someone who was involved in a neo-Nazi, you know, so-called alt-right group. So we’re seeing a lot of this right now. It’s actually quite scary.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: I want to turn to Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler. Speaking Monday, Wheeler urged white supremacist groups to cancel their plans for upcoming demonstrations in Portland.
MAYOR TED WHEELER: Our city is in mourning. Our community’s anger is very real. And the timing and subject of these events can only exacerbate what is already a very difficult situation. I’m appealing to the organizers of the alt-right events to cancel the events that they’ve scheduled on both June 4th and June 10th. I urge them to ask their supporters to stay away from Portland at this difficult time. There is never a place for bigotry or hatred in our community, and especially not right now.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: This comes as the top Republican in Portland said he’s considering using militia groups as security for public events. Meanwhile, Multnomah County GOP Chair James Buchal told The Guardian that Republicans could make their own security arrangements rather than relying on city or state police, including groups like the Oath Keepers and the Three Percenters. This comes as a video recently surfaced of Buchal lamenting what he called "open borders."
JAMES BUCHAL: His enemies are my enemies, and his enemies are all our enemies. Our enemies want a lot of things that are bad for us. Above all else, they want open borders, because they know if they keep—keep the borders open, bring in all sorts of people from Third World countries who have no conception of liberty, they have no experience with liberty, many of them may not even be interested in it—if they keep doing that, it will change this country forever, and it will destroy everything that is special about America. And this election was very important, because our enemies were on the verge of winning essentially permanently. Eight more years of this, and that may well have been the end. And then Trump got elected. So now our enemies are more dangerous than ever. They’re more ruthless than ever. They’re more determined than ever. We are really in a life-and-death battle for the future of our society.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: That was Multnomah County GOP Chair James Buchal. I wanted—Heidi Beirich, your response?
HEIDI BEIRICH: Yeah, well, I mean, those are outrageous claims related to bringing in militias and whatnot. You have to wonder if these folks don’t realize that it just wasn’t that long ago that militia groups took over a wildlife refugee in a very, very dangerous, you know, situation in eastern Oregon. And, you know, to hear, on the one hand, the mayor calling for calm and honoring the victims and so on, then have somebody else from the GOP side calling to have militias brought out is just, frankly, frightening.
AMY GOODMAN: I wanted to get your response to the ACLU of Oregon saying that Mayor Ted Wheeler’s efforts to keep far-right protesters from holding more rallies in Portland is an unconstitutional violation of the First Amendment, Heidi.
HEIDI BEIRICH: Yeah, I think the ACLU is actually right in that case. We have to protect people’s First Amendment rights regardless of how heinous they are. I can understand the mayor being upset, not wanting to see more hate in his town, but this is probably the wrong tactic to take. A better one would be to continue with the positive events, like the vigils that took place over this past weekend, which draw attention to the better parts of our nature, and allow these other folks to have their events. Unfortunately, their hate will be on parade during them.
AMY GOODMAN: Yeah, I wanted to ask you also about how long it took President Trump to respond to these attacks. It was only on Monday that he tweeted, quote, "The violent attacks in Portland on Friday are unacceptable. The victims were standing up to hate and intolerance. Our prayers are w/ them."
HEIDI BEIRICH: You know, President Trump, whose words in the campaign against immigrants, against Muslims, against others, unleashed a wave of hate crimes and bias incidents, especially right after the election. The SPLC had documented about 900 of them in the first 10 days. He has been incredibly reluctant to denounce the hate violence that in many cases has been perpetrated in his name. And this is another example where he waits several days, and then this tweet only went out on the official president of the United States account, not from the Twitter account that he usually fiddles with. You know, he didn’t mention the Jewish population during his Holocaust Remembrance Day speech. It’s outrageous that he won’t stand up and denounce these hate crimes, given the role that he’s played in stoking the anger out there.
AMY GOODMAN: What about the Trump administration’s proposal to cut all funding for the Department of Homeland Security program known as Countering Violent Extremism? Can you explain more what that program is and why the Trump administration is trying to get rid of it?
HEIDI BEIRICH: Sure. So, under the Obama years, the Countering Violent Extremism set of programs gave money basically to Muslim groups that were fighting extremism in their community and then, in the latter years of the Obama administration, to organizations battling against white supremacy. Of course, the understanding was extremism comes in both those forms, so both need to be fought.
Now, Trump kind of in the way that he doesn’t seem to realize that there’s a wave of hate crimes breaking out across this country based on racist and white supremacist ideas, it appears that he wants to cut the part of the Countering Violent Extremism program devoted to battling white supremacy. It’s as though domestic terrorism doesn’t come from white supremacist ideas, when in fact in the United States the bulk in recent years of domestic terrorist incidents have not been inspired by radical interpretations of Islam, but by white supremacy, which is, frankly, an indigenous thought process that goes back deep into our history. And like I said, we’ve just had three incidents—Maryland, Tampa and now Portland—that show how dangerous and violent these ideas can become.
AMY GOODMAN: Heidi Beirich, we want to thank you very much for being with us, Intelligence Project director of the Southern Poverty Law Center, speaking to us from Montgomery, Alabama.
Tuesday, May 30, 2017
Over the last several days, the Russia scandal has taken a darker turn. Friday night, the Washington Post reported that Jared Kushner tried during the presidential transition period to set up a secret communications channel with Moscow. Tuesday morning, CNN reported that, during the 2016 campaign, Russian officials discussed having leverage of a financial nature over Trump, which could be used to manipulate the Republican nominee. The exact nature of this relationship remains as yet unknown, but its parameters have shifted. The most innocent explanations of Donald Trump’s shadowy relationship with Russia have grown increasingly fanciful, while the most paranoid interpretations have grown increasingly more plausible.
Indeed, in another one of dramatic juxtapositions that would have seemed ham-handed in a spy thriller, the latest scandalous revelations came out just as Trump could be seen carrying out what looks for all the world like his end of a pact with Moscow. If the president did have an objective on his trip to Europe — a premise that, it goes without saying, cannot be assumed — it was to crack up the American alliance with Western Europe. That happens to have been Russia’s primary diplomatic objective since the end of World War II. In Brussels, Trump refused to publicly affirm the Article 5 guarantee of the NATO charter — the foundation of the anti-Russian alliance, and the basis for Europe’s defense against Russian aggression. He directed his trademark wild diatribes against Germany, accusing it repeatedly of abusive trade relations, despite the fact that the United States does not have bilateral trade relations with that country. Amazingly, he kept up the abuse on Twitter after returning Stateside, while simultaneously defending Russia over its intervention in the American election.
The White House’s account of Kushner’s back-channel talks with Russia, as Will Saletan shrewdly points out, does not square with what the administration has said in the past, or what Russia says now. The administration claims now, via a source speaking to Fox News, that Kushner’s outreach to Russia was a “only a one-off for a call about Syria.” But when The New Yorker poked at the relationship in February, it had a different explanation: “[T]he aim, according to the White House, was to establish ‘a more open line of communication in the future.’” So, not a “one-off” at all, but an attempt to open an ongoing dialogue.
Meanwhile, the Russian account of this discussion, from March, treats it as a simple business chat related to Kushner’s role as a real-estate baron, unrelated to Syria or any aspect of Kushner’s political duties at all. “In March, Mr. Gorkov said in a statement that his December meeting with Mr. Kushner was part of the bank’s strategy to discuss promising trends and sectors with influential financial institutions in Europe, Asia and the United States,” notes the New York Times. “That statement said he met with representatives of ‘business circles of the U.S., including with the head of Kushner Companies, Jared Kushner.’ At the time, Mr. Kushner was still running the company, which is his family’s real estate business.”
Needless to say, Kushner’s curious failure to disclose these contacts when he obtained his security clearance looks more than a bit suspicious in this light. Kushner’s lawyer told Reuters Friday, “Mr Kushner participated in thousands of calls in this time period. He has no recollection of the calls as described.” If establishing a secret back channel to Vladimir Putin using Russian diplomatic facilities is such a quotidian part of Kushner’s workaday routine that he simply forgot he had done it, then he is probably much guiltier than anybody suspects.
However laughable Kushner’s defense of his undisclosed outreach to Russia, it is more believable than the administration’s response to CNN’s explosive report that Moscow believed it had leverage over Trump himself. “The reality is, a review of the president’s income from the last ten years showed he had virtually no financial ties at all,” explains a White House spokesman, by way of assuring America that the Russians have no financial leverage over their president. This “review” is a “certified letter” sent by Trump’s own lawyers. It consists entirely of their own assertion. It does not include the disclosure of Trump’s tax returns, which every other presidential candidate for decades has released, and which would prove their claim.
And, most amazingly, the defense does not even deny the Russians have leverage over Trump. Trump’s lawyers had insisted he did not owe money to Russian lenders “with a few exceptions.” The administration’s defense rewords that claim to “virtually no financial ties at all.” How big a loophole is that “virtually”? That’s for him to know and you not to find out.
To be sure, more mundane accounts for all these facts can still be sustained. Evidence for those accounts could also be seen on Trump’s overseas trip. Trump is easily manipulated by flattery, and instinctively drawn toward autocrats. His obvious warmth and comfort with the Saudis, who feted him in their palaces in a pleasantly dissent-free atmosphere, dissent being a crime punishable by death, presented an obvious contrast to his discomfort with the democratic leadership of America’s allies. Perhaps his fondness for Putin, while at odds with what was once a consensus bipartisan opposition to Russian aggression, simply reflects Trump’s natural moral instincts rather than a secret deal.
Yet the sinister explanations remain plausible, too. And increasingly so. Here is one sentence from the Post’s Friday-night bombshell that is worth thinking over: “The Post was first alerted in mid-December to the meeting by an anonymous letter, which said, among other things, that Kushner had talked to Kislyak about setting up the communications channel.”
The Post got this tip, from a source purporting to be inside the Trump transition, in December. It took until Memorial Day weekend for the newspaper to authenticate it. The small aside — “among other things” — casually tells readers that this explosive story was just one allegation in the letter. There is more to come
Click the link and watch the video!!!
Click the link and watch the video!!!
No matter how Donald Trump, the Republican Party, and his supporters want to keep twisting the facts about the constantly evolving scandals swirling around his campaign’s possible collusion with Russia during last year’s election — something was going on.
It seems like every week someone linked to Trump has either some sort of sketchy connection to Russia exposed, had a secret meeting with people tied to Russia, or were having some sort of non-disclosed communications with Russian officials.
These are not just a bunch of random coincidences.
Perhaps one of the most alarming exposures came recently when reports surfaced that Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, tried to establish a secret line of communication with Russian officials through Russia’s embassy. The issue there being, if there’s nothing to hide, or they’re not trying to get away with something, why was Kushner trying to keep this completely “off the books,” so to speak?
While it’s still too early to say what happened, it’s clear that something was going on between Trump’s campaign and Russian officials. At this point it’s really just about determining what was said, who was involved, and whether or not anything that happened was illegal.
Naturally, Trump continues to deny any of this is true. It’s true that Trump hasn’t been directly linked to anything treasonous yet publicly, but I find it hard to believe that all of this was going on behind his back without him knowing anything about it.
That’s exactly what former CIA official Phil Mudd and CNN correspondent Chris Cillizza said during a panel discussion concerning the latest scandal surrounding Kushner.
“There’s a judgment by Jared Kushner and the president’s team that says, ‘I trust the Russians more than I trust the Americans. I’m going to go talk to the Russian embassy because I don’t trust American channels,’” Mudd said. “We don’t know what he said and whether anything he said was either inappropriate or illegal, and I’m going to presume he did this at the behest of the president-elect of the United States.”
Cillizza took things a step further stating that he didn’t believe there was any way Kushner took it upon himself to organize a secret line of communication with Russian officials.
“I find it hard to believe, no matter what you think of Jared Kushner, that he was lone wolfing it on this,” Cillizza stated. “That he developed a plan entirely independent of Donald Trump or Mike Flynn or anybody else. What we know about him is that, yes, he is a member of the family. He is a trusted adviser, but he’s not someone, I don’t think, who believes he should just go and run channels, particularly at that point, particularly in the transition period.”
That’s exactly how I’ve felt concerning all of this.
While it’s no secret I think, intellectually, Trump’s an absolute moron, he does have a certain level of “street smarts” that nearly all con artists have. I could absolutely believe that Trump was smart enough to keep some distance between himself and anything illegal people around him were doing, I don’t believe for a moment that individuals like Kushner, Michael Flynn, or any of these other people who’ve been caught having questionable contact with officials from Russia were acting independently.
Donald Trump is many things, but a hands-off, humble figurehead isn’t one of them. He’s an insecure, egotistical control freak who wants to be surrounded by “yes men” who are going to do what he wants, when he wants, and how he wants it. He’s not someone who wants to be surrounded by those who think and act independently beyond what he thinks should or shouldn’t be done.
In Trump’s world, he’s the only person in charge — period.
So you can’t tell me his son-in-law Kushner, the man married to his daughter, decided to act out on his own to set up some sort of secret communication channel with Russian officials. If there’s anyone around Trump who knows not to “cross the boss,” it’s the person married to his daughter.
Again, do we have proof that Trump was ordering any of this? At least not that we know of, yet. However, in my opinion, someone has to be naive to the point of insanity to think that all this was going on without Trump knowing anything about it.
Either Donald Trump was the person ordering it or he was too incompetent to realize all of this was going on. I know which one of those two I believe. However, no matter which it is, either option proves he has no business being this country’s “president.”
Watch the segment below via CNN:
French President Macron tells off Putin to his face about the Propaganda during the French electtion,
French President Emmanuel Macron criticized Russian state-owned media for meddling in democratic elections while standing next to Vladimir Putin, Politico reports.
Macron called state-owned outlets RT and Sputnik, “agents of influence” that lied about him during his campaign, while talking in a joint presser with Putin in Versailles.
Macron said the two outlets, “did not behave like press outlets, but behaved like agents of influence and propaganda” that pushed, “serious falsehoods,” Macron said. “I will never give in to that.”
In his first meeting with Putin, Macron tackled “all issues,” including Russian cyber hacking, aides said. Macron’s team blamed Russia for a hack before the second round of the French election.
“We spoke at length about the details of the situation” in Ukraine, said Macron, and that France and Russia wanted, “in the shortest timeframe a dialogue in the Normandy format, and that a full account of the situation can be shared.”
The Normandy format means discussions among Russia, Ukraine, Germany and France. Macron called for peace in the Ukraine, greater cooperation in Syria to restore peace and political order.
“I recalled the importance in France of the respect of all people, all minorities,” said Macron. He brought up the persecution of gays in Chechnya and Russia: “I will be constantly vigilant on these questions.”