Monday, December 31, 2018

Siebrecht Letter

In response to:

Link


I'm writing in response to John Siebrecht's letter, mostly out of curiosity why the Democratic Party would be quaking in its boots. After flipping 40 seats and the House in November most of us still have our dancing shoes on. Republicans seem to be the ones that remain frightened of the "caravan" that President Trump terrorized them with before the election, and hasn't mentioned since. Democrats know that immigrants commit far fewer crimes than the native-born because we believe in journalism. I see George Soros is responsible for sending asylum seekers here. There isn't anything that can't be blamed on him. He's amazingly energetic for an 88 year old man. 

But, Donald Trump isn't the first president to stoke the fears of the right. Richard Nixon ran on a promise to restore law and order. Pause to allow the irony to sink in. Ronald Reagan had a "plan" to build a space defense that would've taken more money than there was on Earth. George W. Bush threatened them with imaginary WMDs in Iraq because the "smoking gun could come in the form of a mushroom cloud." You'd think they would be relieved when we have the peace and prosperity of a Democratic president. 

I'd encourage Speaker Pelosi and Chuck Schumer to give the president money for a wall around his golf club. Apparently some undocumented workers have made their way in there and are making Mr. Trump's bed along with other jobs Americans won't do. The Bedminster personnel department must be unaware of what horrible criminals they are. The preceding sentence is sarcasm, the following one is not. You can probably get away with not paying them, though.

Monday, November 26, 2018

Quote of the Day

“I find that I have jurisdiction over Mr. Trump,” Scarpulla wrote.

Response to Carl Thomas

Link
If Mr. Thomas was taught it's against the law to desecrate or disrespect the flag or national anthem, I believe he was taught wrongly. The Nazis had a law against flag desecration. That's maybe not a good precedent. We could stick with the first amendment that protects acts of protest. It also defends his right to interpret the Bible any way he wants. With over 300 denominations of Christians there may be some who disagree with him on certain points.

I wish he'd expounded on the anarchy he sees. What we do have are racists in Charlottesville who were responsible for the death of a young woman. A bomber in Florida sent explosives to prominent folks on the left. A mass murderer in Pittsburgh killed Jews on their holiest day in their house of worship. None of these anarchists were influenced by Democrats. Should we call for martial law to round up Trump supporters? Insufficient loyalty to the president isn't justification for locking anyone up. That's still the opinion outside of fanatics who worship orange idols.

Kneeling to a Saudi prince to excuse a brutal murder and sell out the moral standing of the United States in return for a few dollars in arms sales may be lauded in some circles. Kneeling to protest unwarranted deaths of young black men may be treason in those same circles. It's not for me to judge, but Mr. Trump's path to glory may be very narrow. It's fortunate for him that Jerry Falwell Jr. and Franklin Graham are giving him such magnificent moral guidance.

Saturday, October 27, 2018

A Pen Pal for Cesar Sayoc

Good timing getting this letter printed on the same day that the MAGA terrorist bomber's arrest hits the papers.

Link

We are in the middle of a serious insurrection and it is growing daily. It must be stopped immediately. If the election goes to the Democratic (insurrection) Party next month, then there will be a very short period to declare martial law. This is the only way justice can be done and our way of life preserved.

Yes, that's how it starts, and no, it doesn't get better. 

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Letter Without a Title

This is in response to Sue Ward's letter accusing Tedra Cobb of "blanket statements" on affordable healthcare. Not sure if it qualifies as blanket or not, but Donald Trump said his replacement for ACA would be "terrific" and there would be "insurance for everybody." Progress seems as slow as that on the Great Wall of Mexico. There certainly was no improvement in AHCA that Rep. Stefanik voted to send to the Senate. It was estimated that would've cost over 64,000 of her constituents their health insurance. Not terrific, nor insurance for everyone. Since that Keystone Kops attempt at repeal and replace, Mr. Trump has just sought to continually undermine ACA. Rep. Stefanik has done nothing to stanch that.

Aside from the order killing the individual mandate, pushing short-term and association health plans is probably his most destructive actions. These are exempt from consumer protections required under ACA. There seems to be a theme under the Trump administration when it comes to protecting consumers. Anyone not familiar with caveat emptor likely should become so. Quoting a New York Times fact check on the recent Trump editorial in USA Today: "The Justice Department ... would no longer defend provisions in the Affordable Care Act that protect patients with pre-existing conditions."

Tedra Cobb has years of experience in the healthcare field and will work to ensure that folks in the North Country have access to insurance. Elise Stefanik spent two years voting ACA repeal bills to be sent to Barack Obama for veto. She has spent another two years as a bystander while it's been systematically crippled.  

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Letter to Maggie

In response to this: Link

I'm a naive follower of the Democratic Party responding to Maggie Alitz's letter accusing the Democrats of slandering Brett Kavanaugh. They didn't slander Neil Gorsuch, so there must be something different about Kavanaugh. We don't know if he's truthful about sexual abuse. He paints himself as a drinker, but never to excess. "In denying the possibility that he ever blacked out from drinking, and in downplaying the degree and frequency of his drinking, Brett has not told the truth." That's Chad Ludington who was present when Kavanaugh began a brawl that ended with Chris Dudley's arrest. He was aggressive when drinking as a youth and still seems belligerent today as evidenced by his attitude toward questioning by Senator Klobuchar. Further evidence of his lack of judicial temperament is his blaming questioning of him on "revenge on behalf of the Clintons."  Advice and consent by Congress isn't slander or conspiracy. Questioning his honesty and disposition is allowed.


Yes Ms. Alitz, Abraham Lincoln was a Republican and responsible for the emancipation of slaves. But Donald Trump is the sad culmination of the devolution of the party that began with the Southern Strategy put forth by Richard Nixon. That was a plan to win over southern Democrats who were angry about Lyndon Johnson's actions to advance civil rights. Lincoln would not have approved. You've left the Democratic Party and joined the Republicans, for whatever reason. Great! So did Strom Thurmond (in 1964 over civil rights) and Donald Trump. It was not a Democrat who found "fine people" among the neo-Nazis, Klansmen, white supremacists and other assorted racists in Charlottesville. It was Mr. Trump.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Letter For Leonardo


I'm writing in response to Ken Tingley's Sunday column referring to a spokesperson for Rep. Stefanik who said Tedra Cobb was a bad candidate because she hasn't raised much money. I assume this is Leonardo Alcivar since he has also called Ms. Cobb the "worst congressional candidate in America." This has to be exclusive of Republicans since where would Corey Stewart and Duncan Hunter rank? Web search these two fine examples of today's Republican Party.

Tedra Cobb has raised $452,127 with 69% from within the district. Elise Stefanik has raised $1,972,762 with 10% from the 21st. Looked at that way; Ms. Cobb has $312,000 from potential constituents to $197,000 for Ms. Stefanik. Who is more apt to represent upstate New York? The one campaigning on small donations from North Country folks? Or the one who has built a war chest on rewards from hedge fund billionaires, defense contractors and other special interest groups? Whose interests are Ms. Stefanik going to protect: her constituents or the people who are funding her campaign?

Is Mr. Alcivar an upstate New Yorker? No, he's a Washington insider from the swamp in D.C. Apparently from a part that President Trump has yet to drain. I realize Ms. Stefanik spent her childhood and teen years in the North Country, but she must be getting pretty comfortable in the marshy environment of lobbyists and other noxious critters.  Vote local, vote Tedra!

Friday, August 31, 2018

Idleman Praise

I'd like to send praise to Sara Idleman for standing against putting retired deputies in Washington County schools. The number of school shootings, I found, for New York State is 2 with 3 injuries and zero deaths since 1990. That was from ballotpedia. Maybe the supervisors have different stats, and 2 in 28 years is too many, though I'm not sure you can assess the odds of an officer stopping either of them. The article mentions unintended consequences. I found instances online of an accidental discharge of a weapon by an SRO and several others who had lost or misplaced weapons. None of these incidents led to injury. There have been cases of officers having sex with students, as well. Not to impugn the character of all officers, but apparently these are things that happen.

On the bright side for the schools, the sheriff is selecting the deputies. That should relieve them of legal liability in the case of "unintended consequences." The NRA and gun manufacturers use a tragedy like Parkland to convince people all schools are in mortal danger and need armed guards. Good job on their part, but a poor one on ours for not resisting their lobbying. Seattle has passed legislation requiring gun owners to safely store their guns. The NRA has brought suit against it. They also prevent, using their congressional lackeys, CDC funding to study gun deaths by keeping the Dickey Amendment in place. I wonder if the supervisors would support trigger locks, gun safes and the renewal of research, as well as armed guards in schools.


Thank you to Mr. Bauberger for his informative letter.

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Hiring Advice


If anyone is looking for a good lawyer, I would strongly suggest that you don’t retain the services of Michael Cohen! - Trump tweet

And if anyone is looking for a good National Security Adviser, I would strongly suggest you don't retain the services of Michael Flynn. Or H.R. McMaster.

And if anyone is looking for a good Press Secretary, I would strongly suggest you don't retain the services of Sean Spicer. Or Anthony Scaramucci.

And if anyone is looking for a good Secretary of State, I would strongly suggest you don't retain the services of Rex Tillerson.

And if anyone is looking for a good Whatever Omarosa Was, I would strongly suggest you don't retain the services of Omarosa.

And if anyone is looking for a good President, I would strongly suggest you don't retain the services of Donald Trump.

And firing advice from Lindsey Graham:

“You don’t even have to be convicted of a crime to lose your job (as president) in this constitutional republic if this body determines your conduct as a public official is clearly out of bounds in your role,” Graham says of Clinton in the nearly 20-year-old clip.

“Because impeachment is not about punishment,” he said. “Impeachment is about cleansing the office. Impeachment is about restoring honor and integrity to the office.”



Thursday, August 16, 2018

McRaven Letter


Former CIA director John Brennan, whose security clearance you revoked on Wednesday, is one of the finest public servants I have ever known. Few Americans have done more to protect this country than John. He is a man of unparalleled integrity, whose honesty and character have never been in question, except by those who don’t know him.

Therefore, I would consider it an honor if you would revoke my security clearance as well, so I can add my name to the list of men and women who have spoken up against your presidency.


If I thought I still had mine I'd offer it up. Probably wouldn't quite the same impact.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Happy Saturday: Chris Collins Edition

Collins is ending his re-election bid. His district is said to be very red and was out of play for flipping.

It is unclear whether Collins' name can be removed from the November ballot at this point and whether Republican Party officials will be able to nominate another candidate for the seat.

I'd say from reading that that it is clear his name can't be taken off the ballot and replaced. I don't think they even have time to get signatures to run anyone on another line. I believe that date has passed. So, the choices in NY's 27th are the soon to be felon, Chris Collins or Nate McMurray, the luckiest man in politics. 

Friday, August 10, 2018

LTTE in Praise of Reagan

 I'm writing to thank Frank Fronhofer  for alerting me to the letter signed by Ronald Reagan, Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford supporting the banning of assault rifles. Reagan's position was that of Democrats today. He stated, "I do not believe in taking away the right of the citizen for sporting, for hunting and so forth, or for home defense. But I do believe that an AK-47, a machine gun, is not a sporting weapon or needed for defense of a home." No, gunsplaining isn't necessary to tell me an AK-47 isn't a machine gun. If you don't mind the countless lies of Donald Trump, I'm sure you can grant Reagan a little literary license.

Of course, Reagan also treated immigrants humanely, didn't start a trade war with the world because he practiced free trade and he fashioned a cabinet that was competent and not filled with world-class swindlers. His philosophy towards Russia was expressed by "Trust, but verify" not just "Trust." He'd likely be a NeverTrumper and therefore blacklisted in today's GOP. He saw America as a shining city on a hill, not as carnage.  

Other folks deserving shoutouts for recent letters are Carol Simpson, Richard Hayes Phillips and Peggy Wiltberger who all wrote masterful explanations of the "raised taxes 20 times" nonsense. Search for their letters on the website for good nuance. Back to guns. I'm sure Rep. Stefanik will vote to keep assault rifles accessible and whatever else her NRA masters ask for. If that's your major concern then cast your ballot for her. I'm looking at who's going to protect my right, and that of friends, family and fellow citizens, to health insurance. Tedra Cobb is going to do that. I don't need Republican spies to tell me that. 

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

God, I Love This Clip


I love this letter a lot, too. Nice job, Matt!



Really, Nancy Pelosi?

In response to this: link

I'm responding to Hunter Sartwell's letter in which he claims, "Many are left wondering how Tedra Cobb feels about Nancy Pelosi and Andrew Cuomo." Really, Nancy Pelosi? I'm more interested in her views on healthcare, opioids, the environment, gun violence, immigration and so on. And looking at her website, she has well thought-out ideas on those subjects. One thing I do wonder about is why President Trump and his followers spend so much time and energy denigrating Democratic women. Among our allies, Angela Merkel and Theresa May receive extra abuse. The childish nickname for Sen. Warren is a two-fer. It manages to be offensive to Native Americans, as well. I'm also curious if Rep. Stefanik is running on "repeal and replace Obamacare" again. Or is the plan to just allow the president to continue sabotaging it?

Also from the letter, "Cobb's actions...would only continue this atrocity that we have to deal with in our daily lives." Things such as the Holocaust and killings by the Khmer Rouge are atrocities. Whatever is being referred to in upstate New York is not. Please consult a dictionary. Mr. Sartwell provides some advice for Ms. Cobb, presumably. "Being a member of Congress requires the ability to be forthright with constituents, even when the questions are difficult and there isn't a good answer." Since I'm assuming he's a supporter of our congresswoman, I'd encourage checking the entry for the word irony, too. There are many who might offer those words of counsel to Rep. Stefanik.  

Saturday, July 7, 2018

I Love Kismet

So, I was reading Ecclesiastes 9:17 this morning and gotta say thank you God for writing such a very, very great book and without ghostwriters.

The words of the wise heard in quietness are better than the shouting of a ruler among fools.

And then I went on to read Jack Holmes who also, I presume, does not use ghostwriters. 

If you're keeping score at home, the President of the United States just managed to combine disrespect for Native Americans with disrespect for women to form a crude sort of anti-joke story, which was of course met by customary sneers and jeers from the Real Americans in the audience.

And from Liz Warren who I'm also going to go out on a limb and say does not use ghostwriters. 

Hey, @realDonaldTrump: While you obsess over my genes, your Admin is conducting DNA tests on little kids because you ripped them from their mamas & you are too incompetent to reunite them in time to meet a court order. Maybe you should focus on fixing the lives you're destroying.

People who are not authoritarian cult followers of Donald Trump would see that as a burn. 

Also at the Montana rally of fools, hey blame Solomon he said it, the guy who does use ghostwriters declared that Putin is "fine" after trashing two men, McCain and HW Bush, who despite their flaws are better than Trump could ever dream of being. He is, however, a wonderful ruler of fools.

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Vile Attacks and Such


Response to John Sharkey letter:

I'm responding to John Sharkey's letter about the "verbal attacks on President Trump and his family." It seems like with Evangelical pastors surrounding Mr. Trump he'd have heard about reaping what you sow. Space prohibits listing all the people he's maligned. Let's just go with his years of pushing the idea Barack Obama wasn't born in the U.S. He may still believe that and, if he does, likely a majority of his Republican followers do also. Folks can decide for themselves the degree of racism inherent in birtherism.

What's undeniably racist is the e-mail, sent by Carl Paladino with African tribesmen dancing, entitled "Obama Inauguration Rehearsal." He sent many that can't be described here. The ones about Michelle Obama are truly disgusting. The Obamas were grace and dignity in the White House and didn't deserve this hatred. Of all the people Mr. Sharkey mentioned, Rep. Waters is the only elected Democrat. Who knows the affiliations of the others? Oh, and Mr. Paladino? He was the Republican candidate for governor in 2010 and ran the Trump campaign in 2016 in New York.

I don't understand why Tedra Cobb should randomly rebuke disparagers  of the Trumps. Should Rep. Stefanik rebuke Paladino, Roseanne and Ted Nugent? She did support the Trump candidacy. He has a National Security Adviser, foreign policy adviser and deputy campaign manager who've all pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI.  His campaign chairman is behind bars, with bail revoked, awaiting trial. His attorney in charge of mistress payouts (and go-between with Russians) is destined for turning state's evidence or prison. Since our congresswoman and the president are so close, maybe she should rebuke him. I'm missing the degrees of separation between Tedra Cobb and Peter Fonda, though. 


Saturday, June 30, 2018

Sleep More

Maybe we can sleep away the Trump years. Well, that's one advantage. The nice thing about being retired is being able to do things like trying to sleep more. I'm about halfway through Matthew Walker's very enjoyable book on "Why We Sleep." I've had a Fitbit for awhile that measures sleep and the time spent in various stages of it.

If you have time to spend watching it, here's a longish clip. If you were hoping to doze off you probably won't have much luck. He's very engaging.


Thursday, June 28, 2018

Comforting Words From Josh Marshall

I tend to be something of an eternal optimist myself. As a Democrat in upstate NY it's a helpful ethos since defeats are so common.

We can lie down. We can stand up. We can walk forward. For my part, I can’t think the future is on the side of the American right when the man who now embodies is it is so consistently unpopular. But I will walk forward regardless.

Link

Monday, June 25, 2018

Seriously Bookmarked

Great editorial post by Josh Marshall blowing up two Trumpian lies.

Sarah Sanders just again complained that Democrats support “open borders and rampant crime” that she claims comes with “open borders.” These are straight up lies, so blatant and frequently repeated that I thought it was important to provide links here which can allow anyone who is willing to state and repeat the actual facts again and again and again.

This is my form of bookmarking. Thanks Josh. Wonderful!

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Are You There Applauding, Elise?

Proud to be a Methodist

I didn't realize that Jeff Sessions was as well. That takes some of the luster off. Hillary is as well. In Sessions' case, his membership may be short-lived.

In an official statement issued and signed by hundreds of members of the United Methodist Church on Monday, June 18, the signatories filed a formal church complaint against Sessions that include, among others, child abuse.

Sessions was also charged with other violations of the United Methodist Book of Discipline for Immorality, Racial Discrimination, and for his use of Romans 13 in his recent statement, "Dissemination of doctrines contrary to the standards of doctrine of the United Methodist Church."

Monday, June 18, 2018

The Post Star and I Agree

Tedra Cobb endorsement:

It was very clear early in our meeting with Tedra Cobb that she is a force of nature.

She was enthusiastic, concise, engaging, passionate, and when she wanted to emphasize a point, she would lean far forward in her chair to be sure you understood.

She didn’t quite poke a finger in anyone’s chest, but she carried the room and showed she would not be ignored.

It's really a great field of candidates. I'm not a fan of Dylan Ratigan. Maybe I could grow to like him. Hoping that's not necessary. I could easily support Emily Martz, Patrick Nelson or Katie Wilson, though. 

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Ratigan Letter


In response to    

I have a number of friends who never vote because they believe democracy is dead. And, if it is, not voting is precisely the reason. If you think there is a problem with the system, remember you are the system. There is a democratic primary election Tuesday, June 26 to choose who will be a candidate to represent us in Congress. All candidates appear to be an improvement over what we now have. But, Dylan Ratigan clearly stands out. One issue in particular brings Ratigan to the front, his stand on seriously addressing how money has corrupted our democracy. Take a close look at the cast of characters and you will choose Ratigan.

This:

I'd like to respond to Frederick Sistarenick's endorsement of Dylan Ratigan. He says, "I have a number of friends who never vote because they believe democracy is dead." I admire his effort to engage people and urge them to be involved in the electoral process, particularly in favor of Democrats. It seems ironic that he is supporting a candidate who has purportedly never voted. I cast my first vote at 19 for Jimmy Carter in 1976. He kept us out of senseless wars while I served. See what voting can do for you.

There's a strong effort by Republicans to disenfranchise some folks now. It's especially aimed at those of a darker hue than Mr. Ratigan and I. It's incumbent upon him to tell us how concerned he is about protecting this right since he's not exercising his own. He and I may not have much to worry about. Some do.

Mr. Sistarenick says, "Take a close look at the cast of characters and you will choose Ratigan." I was at the Moreau Community Center forum. He wasn't. I chose Tedra Cobb. She's been elected to office and presumably exercises her right to vote. I'll take governing experience over television experience. The latter hasn't served us well in the White House, at least in the eyes of us who are not drinking Kool-Aid. Maybe there's a legislative job in the Saranac area that Mr. Ratigan could run for. He might get some valuable training.

A Happy Thought From Charles Pierce


And, through it all, Robert Mueller will reach across his desk and pick up another file folder.

Rich Tourist Go Home!

If it's an ad hom attack it might just be a Funiciello sighting. This is in the comment thread at an article on the five Dem candidates for Congress in the district.

Gillibrand was a rich tourist (Albany) who used money and a scandal to bring down a bad man BEFORE the redistricting that left the GOP with a solid majority here.

Scott Murphy was a nice rich tourist (Missouri) who was lucky to win but who only squeaked by BEFORE the redistricting.

Bill Owens was a rich white tourist (Long Island) and a Republican who disguised himself as a Democrat and won the seat BEFORE redistricting.

Aaron Woolf was a rich tourist (Brooklyn) who LOST TERRIBLY ... AFTER the redistricting.

Mike Derrick was a rich tourist (Colorado) and a Republican who LOST terribly AFTER the redistricting.

There's much more, but it doesn't get better.

Because they are hapless and unobservant, the Dems are most likely to anoint Dylan Ratigan or Tedra Cobb. They will lose terribly as a result of either of these choices because hating Elise/the GOP/Trump is not really a platform and it will not inspire those much-needed crossover votes.

Told ya! This is the guy that ran as a Green in 2014 and remarkably got 11% of the vote mostly because there was no incumbent, he's local and both the other candidates were portrayed as carpetbaggers. In 2016 it was back to reality as people got to know what a jerk he is and he scored a little over 4%. He has never said a discouraging word about a Republican. 

My comment. Some of that references our last tête-à-tête. Yes, I still want to know if Lynn Kahn is vegan. Now I want to know if she's rich, too.  

Matt, how long has Lynn Kahn lived in the district? I haven't been able to find that. I did find that she's originally from NYC and has written a number of books. And what's her net worth? I want to know if she's a rich tourist like all the Dems you're slamming.

And you told me in another thread that I shouldn't vote for any of the Dems in this race because they're not vegans which I'm not you even know to be true. In any case, you didn't tell me if Kahn was a vegan or not.

After you lost in 2014 you said the Dems needed to run a woman. There are 3 in the race and you're still not happy.

And just because I didn't notice it before:

Out of curiosity Matt, though I still want to know if Lynn Kahn is vegan and if she's rich, why is Owens identified as white. Everyone else you talked about is too. 

Bill Owens was a rich white tourist (Long Island) and a Republican who disguised himself as a Democrat and won the seat BEFORE redistricting. 

I'm wearing my faux liberal disguise tonight. Boo!



Saturday, June 2, 2018

Obit For a Fellow Letter Writer

I was very sad to see that Dr. Harvey had passed. I didn't know him, but have enjoyed his letters for some time. I was surprised to see that he was 98. A life well-lived.

A link (mostly) to his letters.

To pick one dear to my heart:


Despite the opposition of the gun industry and its ally the NRA who profit financially by opposing gun controls, there are obvious reasons for much more serious controls in the U.S.

And to those who argue that what we really need are more guns in the hands of all the people so that the legally armed can outshoot the illegal ones, I must disagree, that’s civil war. The fact that gun shooting deaths in the U.S. by psychos, grudge holders, emotionally disturbed, enemies, etc. far exceed that of any other modern democracy in the world means we’re doing something wrong. 

A second need  for more gun controls, and heretofore relatively unrecognized, appeared in a recent JAMA article entitled Getting Serious about Reducing Suicide, More “How” and Less “Why.” This point is well taken given the numerous and varied mental, emotional and physical factors involved, all of which are difficult to control and treat (i.e. the “Why”), whereas the use of a gun to actually commit suicide is much easier to control (i.e. the “How”).

The article calls the easy access to a firearm “The most important modifiable risk factor for suicide in the United States.” The case fatality rate for suicidal gun use is 84 percent, while the fatality for intentional self injury using other means is 4 percent. The next most lethal methods of suicide are hanging (69 percent) and falls (31 percent), but these account for fewer than half those by gun use.

This country should begin to treat firearm possession seriously as the rest of the world does.

Friday, May 25, 2018

Letter: There's Liars, Then There's Damned Liars


I'd like to thank Mr. Simpson for alerting me to Barack Obama's receiving Politifact's lie of the year in 2013. Since he didn't include it, "If you like your healthcare plan, you can keep it." Here are a few other winners. In 2015, they awarded it to the many campaign misstatements of Donald Trump. In 2016, they gave it to the folks helping to spread the fake news smear of the American news media. A prime purveyor, of course, being Trump. In 2017, Trump was given the "honor" for his claim that Russian interference in the election is a hoax.
    
Obama apologized for his error. His bad for thinking people wouldn't want worthless health insurance policies. I don't recall him spreading conspiracy theories, though. Our current president was (is?) a prominent birther. He believes climate change is a Chinese hoax, vaccines lead to autism, millions voted illegally in 2016 and that Ted Cruz's father had a role in assassinating JFK. His latest nonsense about Obama "embedding" a spy in his campaign has as close a relationship with reality as the previous delusion about his phones being tapped. Maybe it's just a guilty conscience from the fact that he and everyone on his campaign seem to have close relations with various Russians.

Our current representative, as a member of the House Intelligence Committee, could provide some oversight of the executive branch. They seem to have other priorities, though. I'll join Ms. Nadolski in urging support for Tedra Cobb in next month's primary and November's general election. The swamp isn't getting drained with Republican control and it would help wipe the smirk off of Vlad Putin.   

Monday, May 21, 2018

North Country Gunsplainers

Got my lesson in gun 101 this morning.

An Indian Lake man was jailed Thursday after he was found to illegally have numerous guns, including an assault rifle and illegal ammunition clips, police said.

He has at least one criminal conviction that barred him from owning weapons, and was found to have guns that included a semiautomatic rifle that was deemed an "assault" rifle as well as illegal high-capacity ammunition clips, the website showed. 

For those who are versed in gun, you'll immediately spot the error. They're magazines, not clips. I've had that pointed out to me before. Don't enjoy the refresher.

If the Post Star is going to jump the gun on an article with an extremely sensitive subject matter such as New York’s gun control, ( After all that was the main objective to this particular article ) then it really needs to pay closer attention to actually printing factual information.

It was reported that the suspect was in possession of numerous high capacity ammunition clips, ( Anything over ten rounds in NY is illegal keep that in mind )

Someone correct me if I’m wrong, but ammunition clips were never produced to hold more than ten rounds, ( the average size was between 8 to 10 rounds ) Ammunition clips are used to actually speed load a rifle with a fixed box magazine. On the other hand, an actual rifle magazine is a removable box magazine which is more commonly found on most modern weapon platforms today, and come in a wide array of sizes.

With that said, If the article actually stands true, then it’s quite obvious that the Post Star has stretched the truth yet once again, as ammunition clips in NY are 100% legal to own and use.

This entire article is just another classy attempt by the Post Star to keep yesterday’s tragic school shooting fresh on our minds and to keep pushing its Leftist agenda. - SeeksTheTruth

I have my doubts about how truthseeking he actually is. Anyway:

Thanks for all the gunsplaining on clips versus magazines. I'm sure that's a very important point.

He has at least one criminal conviction that barred him from owning weapons,

So, should this guy have possessed the guns and clips or magazines? Have his second amendment rights been trampled? He was jailed for illegal possession of guns. That makes it a news story with or without the occurrence of a school massacre. Or should this story only be reported if he had killed someone? Or not even then because it would prejudice people against innocent guns which we all know don't kill people. - KR

Friday, May 18, 2018

Leonardo Crows

Leonardo Alcivar in today's PS does a touchdown dance, or possibly the nihilist victory dance, over the bucks Elise is raking in from sources like John Bolton (10 grand) and another 10 grand from a Fraternity and Sorority PAC that they have no idea why they received it.

In Comments, I'll be sure to report back if he responds:

“The Democratic candidates’ embarrassing fundraising numbers speak for themselves,”

Leonardo, if you open up the Good Book to Judges you can read about a plucky shepherd boy who smote a Philistine giant. Since you may not be familiar with the story, tell Elise to keep her head down. Oops, she already does.

“The Stefanik campaign is proud to have earned such overwhelming financial and grassroots support across every county in our District, and beyond,”

I don't think "grassroots" means what you think it means. Being funded by Paul Ryan, Devin Nunes, John Bolton, Adelson, Singer and the Koch's is not the definition.

I'm sure Stefanik will still be better funded. After June 26th, there'll be one Democratic opponent and the donations from Dems will go to that candidate. You know, grassroots donations. The kind from within the 21st district.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Reminder to Ask Lynn Kahn if She's a Vegan

Since Matt wouldn't tell me.

I do not believe that any of these "environmentalists" is a vegan and that is pretty relevant given that livestock agriculture is either 38% or 51% responsible for climate change (depending on whether you believe the EPA or the UN). So, seems like some reading may be in order for all of these candidates. Was plant-based agriculture at least brought up as a topic at the forum? The story does not indicate that it was. Very sad.

As for "Kevin the baker" and his continuing attacks on Greens and Green candidates, the corporate Dems running his war party will take money from anyone who offers it. I am sure that Doctor Kahn, who is NOT from Kevin's corporate party, will take small individual donations from any voter of any party who wishes to support her. What an absurd thing to suggest that she should refuse Republican support ... how could anyone win our solidly GOP district without support from at least some Republicans??? It's patently ridiculous. It sure doesn't look like the Democrats are going to win by running Don Boyajian and hating on Donald Trump but I guess that's really all they've got. I would estimate that 25% of NY21 GOP voters would need to peel off and vote for someone other than Elise to see the district switch hands. So, Kevin, try to slow down your DNC rhetoric for just a minute and actually think about the mean-spirited things you say. You sound an awful lot like John Kerry in 2004 whining about how Ralph Nader had taken about $200,000 in inividual donations when Kerry, himself, had already taken $7,000,000 in individual GOP donations. It's called being a "hypocrite", Kevin. Try not to be one.

I like how he's doing the Trump very sad thing. 

I will vote for Kahn because I have spoken with her at length and believe her to be sincere and goodhearted. FAR more important to me, she is carrying the Green standard into battle with her and my vote always goes to support the building of our principled non-corporate political party. 

That still doesn't tell me if she's a vegan or not. He wouldn't tell me if Jill Stein was either. Should've asked if he'd vote for a Dem vegan over a Green meat eater. Next time. 

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Ronny Jackson Letter

Credit to Col. McNulty for his letter addressing a column he was in disagreement with. This was much superior to Mr. Nelson's which states, "The bulk of recent columns and commentary are divisive to the readers, not all, but many. The constant assault on the Constitution..." Specifics would be so much better, rhetorically speaking.

Col. McNulty (and Mr. Nelson) question Mr. Tingley's familiarity with "honor, courage and commitment." Our current president has said, "the Mueller investigation is an attack on our country." Mr. Mueller is a decorated Vietnam veteran who has also served his country nobly in other ways. Some of us feel the inquiry into Russian election interference is a great service. Another quote, "he's not a war hero. I like people who weren't captured." Mr. Trump also minimized the sacrifice of the Kahn's, a Gold Star family. Despite playing football, tennis and squash he received a deferment for bone spurs. In 1993, he told Howard Stern that dating was "the equivalent of a soldier going to Vietnam." This, because of STDs. I can see why a parent might be reluctant have their children serve under Mr. Trump's moral leadership.

What matters more is his choice of Ronny Jackson to head the VA. Because Jackson praised him and went along with the obvious fiction that Mr. Trump weighs 239 pounds, he was given the nod. It has come out that the doctor has engaged in a number of inappropriate behaviors. This seems of greater importance than whether Mr. Tingly wants his son serving in President Trump's military. And Rep. Stefanik: Whether the allegations are true or not, Dr. Jackson is clearly unqualified. 



Thursday, April 12, 2018

Great Letters That Are Not Mine

The first is from Nicole Clark who demonstrates that Elise Stefanik is well-versed in tautologies.

To the dismay of many, this week Elise Stefanik continued her practice of providing slick, non-answers to constituent questions. For example, at Thursday’s “coffee” in South Glens Falls, when Michele Davis asked her to clarify her position on universal background checks and gun violence, she emphasized that “these horrific crimes (in Parkland, Las Vegas, etc.) are by people who have broken the law.” Notably, she ignored the fact that both the Parkland and Las Vegas murderers legally purchased their military-style weapons before killing throngs of people. 

Sara Schaff pointing out that our congresswoman may not be up to the job.

No one is asking her to "disagree" with Trump. Our love of our families, neighbors and country is far bigger than that. It's the kind of love that demands our elected officials stand up for a democracy under threat from an incompetent, incurious, bigoted, easily-bored, lying, narcissistic bully.

If Ms. Stefanik is not willing to do that, she doesn't deserve the job we pay her to do.

Julie Wash reminding us that Elise's ethics are essentially the same as Trump's and the rest of the elected members of the Republican Party. 

I appreciate the congresswoman's honesty to tell me face-to-face that she has no personal standards of integrity when it comes to fundraising off a self-proclaimed sexual abuser. Basically, if it wins the GOP the White House, Stefanik's professional integrity takes a back seat to a party that nominates and confirms a known abuser who riles the basest instincts in voters.

Monday, April 9, 2018

Thank You, John Camm

You get the quote of the day.

"I'm a moderate Republican, and yet my party has run away from that," Camm said. "So give me a moderate Democrat."

I may steal that in the future.

John Camm has been a Republican since the Nixon Administration, but the 63-year-old Tucson accountant says he will likely support a Democrat for Congress in November. He is splitting with his party over access to health insurance as well as its recent overhaul of the nation's income tax system. He also supports gun control measures that the party has rejected.

It's a small world after all.

Saturday, March 31, 2018

The Idiocy Goes Forward

So, H-L school district is going to go ahead with signing on some geriatric Dirty Harry wannabees to patrol the halls.

Warren County supervisors on Thursday gave the go-ahead to county Sheriff Bud York’s plan to hire part-time sheriff’s officers to work in Hadley-Luzerne Central School, but some expressed concerns about costs for the program that won’t be picked up by school districts.

It's nice to see there are some supervisors looking at reality. They didn't seem to follow it as far along as I did, but it's a start. 

Some supervisors had concerns about costs that the Sheriff’s Office will have in outfitting the officers, with firearms, uniforms and other equipment to be purchased, and with the officers going on the county’s liability insurance policy. Handguns can cost up to $400 apiece.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Taxpayers of Hadley Luzerne Arise!

I'd be an unhappy Fort Edward taxpayer anyway.

Hadley-Luzerne School Superintendent Beecher Baker said the district’s Board of Education has authorized up to $60,000 a year to fund part-time officers to be present at each of the district’s two buildings, and at school functions such as sports games and night events in the school buildings.

Combined, those towns have a population of 5,318.  

Vegan Propaganda and Timing Meals

Despite the fact that I'll likely eat a bit of ham on Sunday and some turkey on Thanksgiving. That's why my diet is called AVAP, though. As Vegan As Possible. Let's feed everyone.


“Concurrently replacing all animal-based items in the US diet with plant-based alternatives will add enough food to feed, in full, 350 million additional people - well above the expected benefits of eliminating all supply chain food waste,” the study states.

On the subject of easy weight loss



A researcher at the Salk Institute in San Diego, Panda argues that eating within a certain time window each day can help people lose weight and may help prevent illnesses including diabetes , heart disease and cancer. In animal studies, he and others have shown that limiting food intake to a period of eight to 12 hours can boost cognitive and physical performance, and may even lengthen life span. Known as time-restricted feeding, or TRF, the approach is simple: Eat more or less what you want, but don't consume anything before or after the allotted time.

What could be easier than that? Actually I've been doing it a few days and my tummy gets a little grumbly before bedtime. I brush and floss early, though, because then I won't eat again. 

Wow, can't believe I didn't have a Vegan Propaganda label. 

Friday, March 23, 2018

York Letter Final Draft


     I'm responding to Sheriff York's talk to the superintendents about putting armed officers (SRO's) in the schools. He says, "It's not about guns for me. It's about protecting our kids." He's dismissive of state Democrats for not providing funding for this. On the goal of limiting access to guns, "That's just a political statement that the politicians use to get elected." So, Governor Cuomo and the Assembly don't care about protecting kids, just getting re-elected. Mr. York says it's safety, not politics though.
    The article mistakenly states the Maryland shooter was killed by an SRO. In any case, the shooter was armed with a handgun. That state has laws similar to ours. The sheriff might say SRO's worked. Alternatively, the situation may have been different if the shooter had access to assault weapons. Most would agree, I believe, there's an advantage to being armed with a rifle over a handgun. That's even without throwing a bump stock on it.

     There's a recent Sheriff's Association release that requests, "Sufficient funding to provide at least one armed SRO at every grade school and high school in the state." There are over 6,700. At $30,000 just for salary, that's over $200 million per year. Add in regular training, weapon maintenance, uniforms and so on. Possibly state Democrats see gun control as more cost effective. From statements I've seen of Sheriffs York and Murphy they seem opposed to gun control. Can someone ask if they have a problem with New York gun laws? It seems to me that sensible regulation makes their jobs easier and relieves the need for armed officers in our schools.     




Options to keep guns out of schools - which is kind of odd since that's not what they're doing.  

Saturday, March 10, 2018

My Letter Gun is Empty

So, I saw this letter in the PS this morning. I don't know if I would have responded to it, but it's terrible to see something like it and realize you've used up your quota of submissions for the month (two). Starting at the end.

We need to use logic, not emotions, when responding to problems.

Well yeah, I can't disagree with that. The only thing is that it was the most illogical letter I've read in some time. 

Some people want to ban all AR-15s because of this. Some want to ban all rifles. Some want to ban all guns. 

What percentage of people want to ban all guns? .0003? So, that's pretty much a straw man. 

Suppose a very troubled teen boy drove a big black Ford F-150 with a fast engine and big tires into a crowd of school kids on the sidewalk, killing some and injuring others. (Terrorists in Europe have done this.)

I'm going to call that a red herring leading into a second straw man. 

Would the same critics want to ban scary Ford F-150s? How about all Ford trucks? Would they ban any truck with a powerful engine and big tires? How about banning all vehicles?


I'd dare say there wasn't a spot of logic in the whole letter. How do you get that F-150 into a school, church, movie theater, concert, etc. Unfortunately, his thesis was tested by a sociopath in Charlottesville with the killing of Heather Heyer. 

When it becomes an issue of mass casualties due to homicide by auto then I believe we will discuss that. In the meantime, guns are the issue. 

Thursday, March 8, 2018

In Defense of Elise Stefanik

I did this once before. Don't remember what the situation was, but I believe the Stefanik may, at some point, ask me to stop defending her. Here's a link to the Dylan Ratigan piece.

     I'm writing to defend Elise Stefanik from the charges made by Dylan Ratigan.  He said, "My number one problem with Rep. Stefanik is that she's a career politician and she's part of the system." First, that’s just meaningless cliches. Second, I don't believe she is a career politician. Before coming back to the district, long enough to get elected to Congress, she was a gofer in the Bush Junior White House. She's been in Congress for only 3 years. Third, it presupposes that there's something wrong with being a politician with experience. I'm getting a hip replacement in a couple of months. I'm not looking at my doctor and saying, "I don't want him operating, he's a career surgeon!" Not being a career politician was supposed to be a selling point for Donald Trump's election. How's that working out? The White House running pretty smoothly? Like them or don't, politicians like Chuck Schumer and Mitch McConnell know how to get things done.

     I don't like hearing nonsense attacks from Republicans. I like them even less from Democrats. One of the reasons I'm supporting Tedra Cobb is because she has been involved in politics. She won an election to the St. Lawrence County Legislature. She has served in government. If elected, she has more maturity than Ms. Stefanik did going in. I like prepared people. Mr. Ratigan has run a business and has been on CNBC. Those qualifications are pretty similar to what Mr. Trump had going for him. He needs to explain how those prepare him for the US Congress. I have problems with our rep, as regular readers will attest. I can tell you what they are without making ad hominem attacks on her, though. Her opponent should be able to as well.

Monday, February 26, 2018

Elected Employees of the NRA

Letter:


     With the story of the shooting in Parkland, this NRA story has been getting short shrift. The FBI is investigating whether a Russian banker with ties to Vladimir Putin illegally funneled money to the gun lobbying group to help Donald Trump win the election. The NRA spent $30 million to help him. This money came from a wing of the group which doesn't have to reveal who their donors are. Don't know if Congress is looking into it. They did spend $40 million on electing other candidates so all signs point to no. It's odd that an organization that "defends America's freedoms" would take money from a Russian oligarch to help subvert democracy. If I was really cynical I might think it's another reason Congress is releasing memos to tar the FBI.

     Do want to say a word of condolence for the students and praise for them waking a lot of people up. They're showing moral leadership Congress can only dream of. David Hogg on the respect of the NRA for their members, "(Dana Loesch) wants them to think she's on their side, but she's not. She's working for the gun manufacturers."

     In discussions with gun fanciers online, I've come to the conclusion the justification for owning assault style rifles is to take on a tyrannical government. So, Congress is protecting the rights of would-be subversives against our government. Not to worry though because they're also increasing funding for the military. Nothing is more profitable than arming both sides in a war. Loesch isn't the only one working for the gun manufacturers. No wonder they spent $70 million to put them into office. March for our lives, March 24th.

Monday, February 19, 2018

Who What When Etc

Commenter Rick Camp left a link to a timeline at Bill Moyers that gives everything you wanted to know and more on the Trump/Russia scandal. Undying gratitude to him.

If for whatever reason that doesn't work because I seem to be too simple to embed a link today.

http://billmoyers.com/story/trump-russia-timeline/

Sunday, February 18, 2018

More Thoughts and Prayers from Elise

I'm still curious as to whether our congresswoman is actually praying or not. I can guarantee you I am praying very hard that she gets shown the door in November.

When asked about the high number of Facebook comments regarding the shooting on her page, Stefanik, through her spokesman Tom Flanagin, responded by email: “The news of this devastating shooting is heartbreaking and the thoughts and prayers of our nation are with the families impacted in Parkland, Florida. In the coming days, we will learn more about how this happened and hopefully how we can work to prevent something like this from happening again. Right now, we pray for those who lost their lives and those who were hurt by this tragedy, and we thank the first responders and law enforcement officers who worked heroically to save lives.”

Pat Tuz is not running, but I love her and lots of good people are anyway. We're up to 10 contenders now with the latest being someone named Dylan Ratigan from CNBC. Pat Tuz:

 “As long as Elise Stefanik, her boss Paul Ryan and many others in Congress are funded by the National Rifle Association, we will not have any necessary and meaningful federal legislation that works to keep guns out of the hands of the wrong people,” said Pat Tuz of New Yorkers’ Against Gun Violence, Saratoga Springs. “We’ve had how many school shootings this year, but, how many of them have been in NY? That’s because New York with the SAFE ACT has a ban on assault weapons, limited capacity magazines, a good pistol permit law and background checks.”

The amount Stefanik has taken from NRA ghouls is relatively small. And good for Dan Donovan for taking nothing. It's still a matter of how do you vote. Do you vote in lockstep to avoid a primary opponent?

According to the Center for Responsive Politics, U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan ranked No. 64 out of 532 in the 2016 campaign contributions from the National Rifle Association with $61,401; U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-Willsboro, ranked 225 with $7,179.

In that same campaign contribution cycle, 14 Democratic representatives from New York took no funding from the NRA, along with one New York Republican, Dan Donovan, NY-11.


Thursday, February 15, 2018

An Old Gun Grabber Letter

From June 20, 2014:

Candidates’ NRA ratings not needed
Editor:

Congrats to candidates Matt Doheny and Elise Stefanik on the AQ ratings from the NRA. Highest rating! The NRA recently affirmed support for a group called Open Carry Texas. OCT was in the news for showing up at restaurants with assault rifles slung across their backs. It would be interesting to know if there are any questions on the test pertaining to open carry laws.

All the candidates running for representative have expressed support for the rights of hunters. I don’t believe that is where the argument is joined, though. Anyone short of a PETA member is good with that. Me? I like living in a state where I can stop for a burger and not have to worry about the posse walking in. Gives me indigestion. Paradoxically, six with guns is better than one, though.

The NRA has become nothing more than a mouthpiece for the gun industry. I can’t see why anyone running for office still seeks their approval.

August 25, 2014:

Editor:
In reading some of the anti-President Barack Obama letters, I get the feeling democracy is not such a popular form of government in some circles. Mr. Syrell seems to favor skipping all that impeachment folderol and going straight to the military coup. The justification for the overthrow of the president being public opinion polls and the threat to this country of, what he himself refers to as, barbaric cave-dwellers. Not sure what his strategy toward ISIS is, but since he likes polls, 74 percent of the citizenry is against putting troops back into Iraq.

On the poll thing, there were periods during President George W. Bush’s and President Ronald Reagan’s administrations when their numbers were worse than Obama’s are now. I’m pretty sure he wouldn’t have been suggesting coups as a remedy then.

I survived eight years of their reigns, and I’m certain Mr. Syrell can survive two full terms of Clinton and Obama (barring a coup, naturally).

Also, in response to Mr. Farenell’s letter on Matt Funiciello — I like Mr. Funiciello and praise him for the many things he has done for the greater Glens Falls community. He made a statement that troubles me, though. He said, “If you don’t feel that we need to have guns to defend ourselves against tyranny, then you are not paying attention.” I’ve been paying attention for some time and prefer to put some faith in our system of government. We have enough Republicans in Congress making statements that sound a lot like that. I’d prefer we elect a moderate, sensible Democrat to replace the moderate, sensible Bill Owens.

Oct 17, 2015:

Editor:

I want to join The Post-Star in commending Congresswoman Stefanik for cosponsoring legislation to reform our mental health system. I'll mention Congressman Gibson for his efforts as well. I also wanted to comment on a story that ran in Monday's paper on funding for gun violence research. The article mentioned how the Republican-led Congress, at the behest of the NRA, killed this funding. What funding the CDC has received is only on account of the White House.

In a report they managed to put together for 2013, the statistics showed 33,636 firearm deaths in the U.S. Of these, 63 percent were suicides and 33 percent were homicides. Under 2 percent were from mass shooting events. So that's fewer than 700 from incidents like Roseburg and over 21,000 that are self-inflicted. The solution suggested by the NRA after every massacre is to arm more people. Looking at the stats above makes that sound like less than a good idea.

I'd also like to point out that there have been 3,380 deaths from terrorists since 2001, mostly on 9/11, of course. There have been 406,456 deaths from firearms. How much has been spent on the War on Terror? God knows, but we do know that Congress is spending as little on research into deaths from firearms as they can get away with. Zero.

I believe most NRA members are as concerned about this as any of us. Wayne LaPierre and its leadership are in the business of selling guns and ammunition though. My campaign advice is probably worth what I'm charging, but I'd urge Mike Derrick to reject Big Gun. Having rational ideas about overcoming this scourge will absolutely put him ahead of his two rivals in our district.

June 23, 2017:

Editor:

Hopefully enough time has passed so we can mention the shooting that wounded Rep. Scalise. As I write this, he is still hospitalized. We all wish him a speedy and full recovery. I also wish him and our representative a speedy change of heart.

Mr. Scalise has received $18,900 from the NRA and Ms. Stefanik, $4,000. Much has been said, in the wake of the shooting, about the lack of civility in our discourse. The NRA sells a T-shirt with an eagle clutching a rifle. The slogan is "Because you can't fist fight tyranny." Classy. We have a healthy enough system of government and a free press to prevent tyrants from taking root. It’s worked well so far and seems to still be.

Maybe it's time for Congress to make gun policy without the aid of these lobbyists for the gun industry. Would merchants of death have been uncivil? It's past time to get rid of the Dickey Amendment prohibiting funding of the CDC to reduce gun deaths. Jay Dickey himself, before he passed, called for its repeal. How about our reps doing the very least they can to address the problem? They can do it while they wait for the white puffs of smoke from the Senate chimney portending the "new and improved" AHCA.


Fortunately I got better at making sure I put these up on the blog at some point. 




Friday, February 9, 2018

The Navalny Tape

I'm not familiar with the Navalny Tape. It seems to be a recent piece of the whole Trump/Russia universe. This is a Twitter feed from Seth Abramson who has been following the story closer than anyone besides the Mueller team. I took this from Lena M's and have removed comments for easier digestion. Going to throw a few more bucks to Seth.

Link to tweet.

The just-released "Navalny Tape" gets us *much* closer to seeing the whole of the Trump-Russia coordination narrative. In this thread I explain how a dozen Trump aides fit into the narrative—with Manafort and Papadopoulos as the stars. Hope you'll pass this on.
1/ The Trump-Russia coordination narrative becomes much less confusing—particularly after today (more on that in a moment)—if you just (a) know all the key players in the narrative, and (b) understand the relatively limited role that nearly all of them except four or five played.
2/ Here are the names to know: Trump, Trump Jr., Kushner, Manafort, Gates, Sessions, Page, Papadopoulos, Clovis, Lewandowski, Hicks, Flynn, Prince, Cohen, Sater, Phares, Gordon, and Bannon. That's 18 names—but most played a relatively small role in the narrative. I'll show you.
3/ J.D. Gordon made some trips to Hungary—the HQ of Russian intelligence in Europe—that people find suspicious, and may have been present for some Sessions-Kislyak meetings, but mostly his role was being ordered by Trump to change the RNC platform to benefit Putin and doing it.
4/ Corey Lewandowski was, by his own admission, "functionally not in control" of the Trump campaign beginning April 7, though he was nominally campaign manager until May 19. His role was doing nothing to stop—and possibly encouraging—key Trump-Russia (Page/Papadopoulos) contacts.
5/ Sam Clovis, National Co-Chair of Trump's campaign, didn't—much like Lewandowski and Gordon—have consequential Russia meetings. But he hired Page and Papadopous and, like Lewandowski, did nothing to stop (and rather more to encourage) Trump-Russia (Page/Papadopolous) contacts.
6/ You may be noticing a pattern so far: major figures in the Trump-Russia coordination narrative whose primary role was to do one of three things: (1) bring more important players into the campaign; (2) follow the orders of more important players; or (3) encourage others to act.
7/ As far as we know, Rick Gates' role was primarily to plot with Manafort—as his deputy—and oversee key Trump-Russia operations like the RNC platform shift. It's not clear he had any major Russia meetings, though like Manafort he may have stood to gain financially from contacts.
8/ Bannon's utility to Mueller is he kept his eyes open and his hands fairly clean as he watched others do worse than anything he did.
9/ I'm going somewhere with all this.
10/ Hope Hicks is who you emailed if you wanted to get a message to Trump—so she saw and heard everything. She also participated in events initiated by others above her in the chain of command, like assisting Trump in fashioning a false statement for Don. She wasn't an initiator.
11/ Walid Phares seems to only be relevant at two points: he participates in the RNC platform-shift effort orchestrated by others and is encouraged by Clovis to travel to Moscow with Papadopoulos (a key player) in the late summer of 2016. So he saw a little and initiated nothing.
12/ Felix Sater is *enormously* relevant as the main Trump-Russia liaison from 2002 to 2015—he saves Trump from bankruptcy by creating a money pipeline between the businessman and Russian oligarchs—but his involvement during the campaign focuses on two major stunts I'll mention.
13/ First, Sater tries to help Trump profit off his presidential run by brokering a Trump Tower Moscow deal with Russian investors in late 2015. During the transition, he tries to be himself useful by ferrying a sanctions plan from a Putin pal to Trump—via Trump's attorney Cohen.
14/ But neither stunt is successful, and the former is focused on helping Trump enrich himself (and because the plan doesn't work, it can't *really* explain Trump-Russia coordination during the campaign). The 2017 stunt is mainly useful in helping us see sanctions as a big focus.
15/ At this point we're down to Trump, Don Jr., Kushner, Manafort, Sessions, Page, Papadopoulos, Flynn, Prince, Cohen—10 men. Keep in mind that while a successful criminal conspiracy may be a scheme many are aware of, the number of people carrying out the operation must be small.
16/ Jeff Sessions wasn't as useful as a key operator because of his high profile—but what he *could* do was use his position as a Senator and head of Trump's NatSec team to surreptitiously negotiate sanctions with the Russians on three occasions and then lie about it to Congress.
17/ Here's where we *begin* to approach today's news: the Navalny Tape, fundamentally a story about Manafort and Papadopoulos—one already indicted, one already convicted. During the campaign, Manafort made clear only a "low-level" Trump aide could make direct contact with Russia.
18/ That's why Sessions only met with Russia's ambassador—he had the right cover for such a meet, as a Senator, but wasn't low-profile enough to be in on meetings beyond that. Still, as the Trump-Russia conspiracy was a sanctions-for-aid deal, he *could* work the sanctions angle.
19/ To recap where we're at: the Trump-Russia coordination conspiracy was a straight-up sanctions relief-for-specified/unspecified Russian assistance deal. Russia was able to make contact with Sessions as needed to see where Trump was at—at various points—on the sanctions piece.
20/ The key thing to understand about Erik Prince and Michael Flynn is that, like Jeff Sessions, they were major players—but with far, far fewer scruples because they had no Senate position to lose. Trump made them operators by keeping them from the limelight during the campaign.
21/ Prince was a shadow NatSec advisor during and after the campaign; he was never acknowledged as such. Flynn was left off Trump's first three NatSec teams, despite being Trump's lead NatSec advisor. He only came out of the shadows after Jared made it possible in the transition.
22/ Frankly we don't *know* what the hell Prince was doing behind closed doors—though we do know that once Trump is elected he becomes comfortable enough letting Prince out of his box that he sends him to the Seychelles to negotiate with Russia (in the form of the RDIF) directly.
23/ For our purposes, Prince is relevant for two reasons: (1) how assiduously Trump kept him hidden, and (2) how quickly post-election he activated him as a negotiator with Russia. The interesting thing is, Michael Flynn is critical for the exact same reason and in the same ways.
24/ Flynn, like Prince, was, it seems, too powerful/self-interested to be willing to take a risk and meet with the Russians during the campaign—it only became safe for a major player like him to do so post-campaign. So Trump had Flynn negotiate with Russia during the transition.
25/ The exception to this came early in the campaign—when it wasn't yet clear Trump would be a major player in the primary. Flynn advised Trump throughout late 2015 and may well have reported back to Trump—or taken orders from Trump—regarding his December 2015 dinner with Putin.
26/ Don is an interesting case because (a) he's obviously a moron, but (b) his father trusts him. The result was (a) attempts to actually make contacts with Russia (because his dad trusted him for something that sensitive), and (b) those attempts failing (because Don is a moron).
27/ Don had contacts with WikiLeaks, but they may have had no more effect than Don passing on to his dad that WikiLeaks was going to be helpful to him—and Trump in response inserting *praise* of WikiLeaks into every one of his stump speeches for the last 45 days of the campaign.
28/ Just so, I think that everyone on Mueller's team believes Don told his father about his June 9, 2016 meeting with Kremlin agents at Trump Tower before and after it happened. It was a ham-fisted attempt to use the Agalarovs—Trump family friends—to get dirt on Hillary Clinton.
29/ The reason I call this end of things moronic and—in a sense—beside the point is that, again, the Trump-Russia coordination conspiracy was a sanctions relief-for-specified/unspecified Russian aid deal. For it to work, Russia just needed a) sanctions relief, b) to do its thing.
30/ While of *course* the Trumps *wanted* direct assistance from Russia in the form of opposition research—to put a finer point on it, stolen digital property—on Clinton, by mid-June, days after the Trump Tower meeting, it was clear that the Trumps would get *other* in-kind aid.
31/ This is what's *really* important about the Trump Tower meeting: going into it, the Trumps thought Russian aid would come in the form of valuable—stolen—Clinton property. Within a week, the Kremlin clarified: no, we just want sanctions relief, and we'll take care of the rest.
32/ Remember, Trump's Trump Tower agenda on June 9, 2016, was to huddle with Jared, Don and Manafort to discuss Clinton dirt. This has been reported. (Trump wanted material for a speech.) Then Don and Jared go downstairs one floor to discuss *that same topic* with Kremlin agents.
33/ So the chances Trump didn't know what Don and Jared—and, sorry, Manafort too—were doing are *zero*. But it also appears that—as of that date—Trump believed Russian assistance was going to be of the most literal and mundane kind: opposition research. He soon learned otherwise.
34/ Within a week, the scope of Russian hacking had become clear, and it had likewise become clear that—mirabile dictu!—he never had to handle any of the stolen material himself, as Russia would release it personally. (He must've felt very stupid to ever have thought otherwise.)
35/ And that's why, by July, he could publicly, almost as if in exaltation, say on national television, "Russia, if you're listening..." He knew by then that Russian assistance was *never* going to be traceable to him—all he had to do was (a) win, (b) immediately drop sanctions.
36/ In this view, Don—like many of these other witnesses—is primarily important because of what he knows (which still puts him well within the conspiracy) not what he actually *accomplished*. Which is why he's so smug: he thinks, ironically—like a moron—his failures protect him.
37/ Who's left? Trump, Kushner, Manafort, Page, Papadopoulos, Cohen. Cohen knows nearly *everything*—which we know because of his fanatical loyalty to Trump and the Trumps' belief (accidentally revealed by Don) that anything they said while Cohen was *in the room* was privileged.
38/ So yes, Cohen worked with childhood pal Sater on the 2015 Trump Tower Moscow stunt and the 2017 "Artemenko Peace Deal" stunt—and yes, the latter of these was an attempt to seal the sanctions-for-aid deal with Russia—but his biggest value lies in the *secrets* Trump told him.
39/ Jared goes in the Prince/Flynn bucket: powerful, self-interested, not entirely a fool, willing to show his cards only *after* Trump was elected. Did he call Kislyak in April 2016 and invite him to the Mayflower? It appears so. But his major activities came in the transition.
40/ During the transition, Jared—yes, with his wife Ivanka—fired Chris Christie so Flynn (remember, in Jared's bucket role-wise) could finally come aboard the team publicly. And he smuggled Kislyak into Trump Tower to chat, and he smuggled Putin's banker into Trump Tower to chat.
41/ The Gorkov meeting looks—based on what's been reported—like venality: Jared's trying to profit from his father-in-law's election. The Kislyak meeting is in *exactly* the same mold as the Prince-Seychelles and Flynn-Kislyak clandestine contacts: post-election sanctions chats.
42/ We're getting very close to the Navalny Tape now (which I will link to).
43/ What you can see so far is that we have people who really came out of the shadows as operators post-election (Flynn, Prince, Kushner); those who mainly took orders (Phares, Hicks, Gordon, Gates); and those who looked away, watched, or encouraged (Clovis, Lewandowski, Bannon).
44/ Then we have an inner circle of shady operators who tried to pull stunts and definitely know Trump's secrets: Don, Sater, Cohen. Obviously others—like Hicks—are secrets-magnets, but they weren't pulling high-risk stunts like Don, Sater, and Cohen were willing to do for Trump.
45/ What we're missing are persistent conduits: the men who, on occasion, worked their contacts to get messages to the Russians that Trump indeed was game for a sanctions aid-for-specified/unspecified assistance deal. Sessions could do a bit on this score, but only with Kislyak.
46/ And this is why I'm telling you that—besides Trump—the three figures to pay the most attention to as to the nuts-and-bolts of the Trump-Russia coordination conspiracy *during the campaign* (not post-election) are Manafort, Papadopoulos, and Page. They're the key players here.
47/ What do these three men have in common? They were expendable. Papadopoulos and Page were nobodies only too happy to do dirty work if it brought them close to power in U.S. politics (Papadopoulos) or money and Russian elites (Page). And Manafort was his own kind of expendable.
48/ Manafort was an old crook dragged from retirement from U.S. politics to be the bag man in a conspiracy—which he was known to be willing to do based on his reputation, past associations/actions, and the fact that he owed some dangerous people money and needed to make it right.
49/ Paul Manafort has spent decades one step ahead of the law, so we're kidding ourselves if we put him in a different bucket than Page and Papadopoulos just because he was Campaign Manager, Page was/is an imbecile, and Papadopoulos an over-ambitious nobody in Middle East policy.
50/ So to understand the Trump-Russia coordination (criminal) conspiracy, all you really need is a timeline of what three men were doing from early March 2016 through roughly September 2016—a six-month period during which the terms of coordination were set. That's the key period.
51/ Before March 2016, there's minimal activity: it's mostly the Sater-Cohen-Trump trio trying to parlay Trump's presidential run into riches via Russian oligarchs—with Flynn as a key late 2016 liaison, due to him dining with Putin. After September, the die had been cast already.
52/ (By the way, if you've been following the Trump-Russia story for the last year, as I have, you'll know that what I've summarized so far is contained in the major-media reporting of The Washington Post, The New York Times, POLITICO, Reuters, the BBC, The Guardian, and others.)
53/ So here's the relevant timeline of Manafort-Page-Papadopoulos events, culminating in what the Navalny Tape taught us today. As I said atop this thread, it's a sort of "missing link" that completes the circle. This preface contextualizes how and why the Tape is so significant.
54/ Early March 2016: Papadopoulos is brought aboard the campaign by Clovis. Papadopoulos—per The Guardian—volunteers to work on Russia issues, after Clovis says Russia is a top Trump priority. Almost immediately he is sent to Italy by the campaign—knowing he's on the Trump team.
55/ Carter Page has somehow become aware he's going to be a part of the national security team for Donald Trump by sometime in January—again, Clovis is the person who brings him on, presumably because he knows (from Trump) Russia is a top priority and Page has known Kremlin ties.
56/ March 21, 2016: Page and Papadopoulos are two of the first five men named to Trump's NatSec team, which will eventually number 13 men. Trump personally vouches for Papadopoulos—the only person on the team he personally vouches for. Papadopoulos says the two men met in person.
57/ By March 21, 2016, Papadopoulos has already successfully made contact with the Russians—which it's not hard to believe he was sent to Italy to do. Remember that Papadopoulos and his wife-to-be both say *all* his trips abroad were specifically sanctioned by the Trump campaign.
58/ Given that Papadopoulos says he met Trump in person on March 21—which Trump lied about—it's reasonable to think that he reported back to Trump on that date that he had successfully made contact with the Russians. It pleased Trump, so he personally vouched for him to the NYT.
59/ Manafort officially comes aboard Trump's campaign on March 29. But remember: Manafort and Trump began discussions about this happening within the 2 to 4 weeks prior to that. So Trump is speaking with Manafort about coming aboard as Papadopoulos is making contact with Russia.
60/ So by March 29 several things are clear:
(1) Russia is Trump's top national security priority.
(2) He's brought on one unqualified, suspect person (Page) due to his Kremlin ties, and another unqualified person (Papadopoulos) because he agreed to work on Russia and go abroad.
61/
(3) Trump has negotiated terms with Paul Manafort—a washed-up politico who lives in Trump Tower and is known to have shady ties to Putin allies—to come aboard. Manafort says he'll work for free—which if Trump didn't know it for *sure* is a clear sign Manafort's in the game.
62/ March 31, 2016: Papadopoulos reveals to the entire national security team that he has been in contact with Kremlin agents, and has been authorized by them to try to set up a meeting between Trump and Putin. Trump doesn't seem surprised by the news, and *doesn't* shut it down.
63/ It's possible—accounts vary—Sessions didn't know then what Papadopoulos had been up to, and was truly surprised. It seems certain that Trump *wasn't*. Further proof: he gets the news from Papadopoulos and immediately (at that meeting) orders Gordon to change the GOP platform.
64/ So Trump, who should've fired Papadopoulos on March 31 and reported him to the FBI, instead isn't surprised to learn Papadopoulos is a Kremlin agent and indeed rewards Putin for reaching out with his new marching orders for Gordon. And he promotes—yes, he *does*—Papadopoulos.
65/ Within 48 hours, Papadopoulos is sent to discuss Russia policy with the Israelis, and is soon after given the task of helping Trump edit his first foreign policy speech (at that point just a few weeks away).
So Papadopoulos is *rewarded* for making contact with the Kremlin.
66/ Page is mysteriously absent from the March 31 meeting at the Trump International Hotel, which is *crazy* because (a) it's the first meeting of Trump's NatSec team, and (b) getting named to that team is the best thing that's ever happened to Page. No one will say where he was.
67/ Many people think Manafort wasn't doing anything at the time—but they're wrong. Manafort was hired March 29, and by April 7—that's just 9 days—Lewandowski says Manafort is "functionally in control of the campaign." Even though he *wasn't* hired to be Trump's Campaign Manager.
68/ So Page is hired despite shady Russia ties and disappears; Papadopoulos agrees to work on Russia, goes to Italy, makes contact with Russia, gets promoted; Manafort—shady Russia ties—is hired to work behind the scenes, and Trump lets him take over the whole campaign in 9 days.
69/ When is Page put on the foreign policy speech editing team? Right when Manafort takes control of the campaign. Who tells Trump he's going to give a major pro-Russia foreign policy speech? Manafort—the speech is his baby. And Papadopoulos continues working his Russia contacts.
70/ Kushner calls Kislyak; Kislyak breaches diplomatic protocol to show up at the Mayflower for Trump's speech—not the original venue, but Manafort has switched it a day before the event to allow for a cocktail hour where he, Sessions, Kushner, Don Jr. and Trump can meet Kislyak.
71/ Trump delivers the Papadopoulos-edited speech, and that day Papadopoulos tells his Russian contacts—who Trump knows about, just as he knows Papadopoulos helped edit his speech—they should take Trump's promise of a "good deal [on sanctions]" (said in the speech) as a "sign."
72/ Within a week—May 4—Papadopoulos tells the NatSec team and Manafort that Putin's ready to meet. Trump has now ordered a platform-shift to benefit Putin, let Putin's liaison to his campaign edit his Russia policy, offered a "good deal" on sanctions, let it be called a "sign."
73/ All this is from public reporting. This isn't a "theory."
74/ Manafort responds to Papadopoulos' email—which he shares with Gates—by noting that only a "low-level" person can be allowed to make contact with the Kremlin, not Trump. Within days Papadopoulos has taken a secret campaign-sanctioned trip to Athens to "develop contacts" there.
75/ Key background on the trip: Papadopoulos' top Russia contact runs the RIAC, a sister organization of the RISS. The RISS is (and has been since late 2014) in a Memorandum of Understanding with The Institute of Geopolitical Studies, run by Greek Defense Minister Panos Kammenos.
76/ Papadopoulos meets with Kammenos on his first (of two) campaign-sanctioned trips to Greece in May '16, the first trip taken immediately after Manafort has told him that only a "low-level" Trump aide—and from *one* view Papadopoulos qualifies—can make contact with the Kremlin.
77/ But wait! you say. Even if Panos Kammenos is a Russia ally, Putin pal, has made multiple trips to Russia, is in an MoU with a Kremlin-linked think-tank, would be a perfect cut-out for the Kremlin—just as Papadopoulos is for Trump—that's not the same as meeting with Russians!
78/ And *that's* why I said Papadopoulos made *two* campaign-sanctioned trips to Greece in May 2016.
 79/ On May 29, 2016, Vladimir Putin makes his only trip to an EU country of the entire U.S. presidential campaign. He goes to Greece—Athens—to discuss (per Russian media) getting Russian sanctions dropped. He meets with Panos Kammenos. Guess who else meets with Kammenos that day?
80/ You know damn well who meets with Panos Kammenos that day: George Papadopoulos.
81/ Here's the number of *hours* after Papadopoulos meets with Kammenos in Athens, Greece—the same day Putin does—that Rob Goldstone emails Donald Trump Jr. to say that Emin Agalarov (whose father is Putin's real estate developer) has information he wants the Trumps to see: 120.
82/ It'd make sense for Putin to offer something to Trump. Trump had shown his interest in negotiations by promoting Papadopoulos, hiring Manafort, ordering Gordon to change the GOP platform, offering Russia a good deal on sanctions in a speech Papadopoulos edited... he was owed.
83/ And according to at least one witness to the Trump Tower meeting, a file was left behind for Don by Natalia Veselnitskaya. And guess who—just days before the inauguration in January 2017—was telling Trump (via an intermediary) to use what he had on Clinton: Paul Manafort.
84/ Never forget: Manafort lied about whether Trump ordered a GOP platform change; lied about whether he was listening at the Trump Tower meeting (he said he wasn't, but we've seen his notes); lied about his ties to Kremlin allies. He was at that meeting to oversee Don and Jared.
85/ Don and Jared did exactly what you'd expect: Jared wasn't ready to stick his neck out, because it was pre-election and he thought Trump would lose, so he left. Don overplayed his hand in a ham-fisted way. And Manafort calmly took notes apprising the opportunity being offered.
86/ But before Trump could do anything with the intel he'd been given—within a week of the Trump Tower meeting—the Kremlin had made clear that, in fact, Trump didn't have to do anything at all, because the Kremlin would push any/all leaked materials on their end. Great for Trump.
87/ I swear, I'm not trying to tease anyone: I'm getting to the Navalny Tape. But this is a d#mn complicated story, and you have to understand the context for today's news.
88/ What else happens after the Trump Tower meeting? Page is summoned to Moscow under the pretext of giving a talk—see his Congressional testimony for how evasive he was about how this invitation came about. Both sides have now given something—it's time for a more permanent link.
89/ Page, who's been completely out of the public eye, who's completely trustworthy because he's venal and odd and adores Russia, is to be tested as an ongoing Trump-Russia link—a courier to keep the dialogue open. This is exactly what the Steele Dossier claims he's meant to be.
90/ In keeping with that, in the first week of July Page goes to Moscow and meets Kremlin officials, meets Rosneft (Putin-linked) execs, reports back to Clovis and Gordon—presumably then on to Manafort, the now-Campaign Manager—and lies to *everyone else* about what his trip was.
91/ Intel experts have often said on cable news that Page *is*—in fact—*exactly* the sort of guy who's a perfect cut-out for both Trump and the Kremlin. And we now know he claimed to be a Kremlin advisor in 2013 even *after* the FBI caught him being recruited by Russian spies.
92/ You might be saying, OK, if Manafort, Papadopoulos, and Page are the big three pre-election operators in the Trump-Russia coordination conspiracy, how come only Manafort and Papadopoulos were charged? Answer: Page has met with the FBI more times than anyone else in this case.
93/ I'm going to try to put this delicately: there's something wrong with Page. And that something wrong makes it unnecessary to charge him. He's going to ultimately—in his weird way—give the FBI what it needs, just as he did when they cornered him back in '13. He's an info-pump.
94/ Look at it this way—I'll rank these men by sophistication and then how Mueller dealt with them.
1. Manafort (Genius)
2. Papadopoulos (Ambitious)
3. Page (Idiot)
95/ OK, but Seth, are you really saying that once it was time to establish a) permanent contact with the Kremlin, and b) a good "direct" courier for the most sensitive information, Manafort actually *trusted* Page to serve both roles? No—he absolutely did not. He did it himself.
96/ Within 48 hours of Page being in Moscow, Manafort wrote his old Putin-pal boss, Oleg Deripaska, to offer him "briefings." It was understood that that information would then get to the Kremlin. And it was understood that the "briefings" would be on Trump's Russia policy plans.
97/ Manafort knew Russia's assistance of Trump's campaign would only continue if the Kremlin was certain Trump wasn't wavering in his drop-all-sanctions Russia policy (and indeed, we learned in January 2017 that he remained true to Putin—that *was* his policy on entering office).
98/ Today we got audio and video of Deripaska secretly reporting to the Kremlin on Trump's activities. He claims Manafort never briefed him—we know he's a liar, however, as this video proves in general terms (he said he had nothing to do with any of this).
99/ The early-August video was taken a month after Manafort offered Deripaska briefings—enough time for one to occur. A week later, Trump got his first intel briefing confirming Russian crimes against America. Three weeks after, he had Sessions negotiate sanctions with Kislyak.
100/ By September's end, Manafort and Page were gone, and Papadopoulos was on ice—brought back in the last week of the campaign just to keep him close and (per Papadopoulos) offer him a job, likely to ensure he wouldn't snitch. It was OK letting them go—the deal was already done.
And today we got proof Manafort tried to seal the deal in Summer '16. This is what went down—and Mueller knows it.

CONCLUSION/ Manafort, Papadopoulos, Page—perfect patsies, and the key figures in the pre-election Trump-Russia coordination conspiracy. All charged or cooperating.