“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Internet Pirates Commandeer US Spy Agency Software and Hack The Planet

Russian-linked cyber gang blamed for NHS computer hack using bug stolen from US spy agency

Ransom message found on NHS computers

A cyber gang with possible links to Russia is being blamed for the extraordinary worldwide computer security breach - possibly in retaliation for US airstrikes on Syria.

The mysterious organisation - called Shadow Brokers - claimed in April it had stolen a ‘cyber weapon’ from an American spying agency that gives unprecedented access to all computers using Microsoft Windows, the world’s most popular computer operating system.

The hacking tool had been developed by the National Security Agency (NSA), America’s powerful military intelligence unit. The NSA had developed its ‘Eternal Blue’ hacking weapon to gain access to computers used by terrorists and enemy states.

But in an astonishing twist, the NSA’s tool was stolen by Shadow Brokers. 

How the computer hack spread
The gang in turn ‘dumped’ the computer bug on an obscure website on April 14, just a week after President Donald Trump ordered the US bombing of Syria.
Some experts believe that timing is significant and indicates that Shadow Brokers has links to the Russian government.

In an internet posting, six days earlier on April 8 - and a day after the first airstrikes - Shadow Brokers appeared to issue a warning to President Trump.
In a statement, the group said in broken English: “Respectfully, what the f*** are you doing? The Shadow Brokers voted for you. The Shadow Brokers supports you. The Shadow Brokers is losing faith in you. Mr Trump helping the Shadow Brokers, helping you. Is appearing you are abandoning ‘your base’, ‘the movement’, and the peoples who getting you elected.”

Shadow Brokers
It is believed ‘Eternal Blue’, having been dumped by Shadow Brokers, was then picked up by a separate crime gang which used it to gain remote access to computers, including systems that brought parts of the NHS to a standstill. 
The gang, having gained access to computers, then deployed a second software programme - using ransomware called WanaCrypt or WannaCry - which hijacks a computing system and encrypts all the files contained on it. 

The only way to unlock the files is to pay a ransom. 

In this case, the gang is demanding $300 for each computer it unlocks - paid in ‘bitcoins’, a virtual currency used on the internet.

One computer security expert said ‘Eternal Blue’ was used as the ‘crowbar’ that effectively opened the doors to computers, making them vulnerable to attack. The results have been devastating.

Sean Sullivan, security adviser to F-Secure, a cyber security company, said: “Shadow Brokers obtained the NSA tools that exposed a vulnerability in Microsoft’s operating systems. They dumped the instructions detailing how to get in. The exploit is the ‘crowbar’ to open the door and the ransomware is the ‘hand grenade’ you lob in once the door is open.”

It is thought the NSA warned Microsoft its hacking tool had been stolen earlier this year, prompting Microsoft to develop a ‘patch’ - or fix - in March allowing computer users to update their systems and protect them from cyber attack. But operating systems older than 2009 are not though to have been protected. This may have made the NHS more vulnerable because of outdated systems in some hospitals and GP surgeries due to lack of IT investment.

Graham Cluley, a computer security expert, said: “Microsoft developed the patch after an exploit was taken from US intelligence. The US intelligence agency found a security hole in Microsoft software and rather than doing the decent thing and contacting Microsoft they kept it to themselves and exploited it for the purposes of spying. Then they themselves got hacked. And it was at that point Microsoft thought, ‘Jesus we need to patch against this thing’” 

“It’s likely that regular online criminals simply used the information that the Shadow Brokers put on the internet and thought ‘how can we monetise this’.”
Nobody knows who is behind Shadow Brokers but in a statement issued to  a specialist technology website in December, the gang said: “The Shadow Brokers is not being irresponsible criminals. The Shadow Brokers is opportunists. The Shadow Brokers is giving ‘responsible parties’ opportunity to making things right.”

Edward Snowden, the NSA whistleblower now living in exile in Russia, claimed last year that Shadow Brokers was backed by the Kremlin following another leak. Snowden tweeted that “circumstantial evidence and conventional wisdom indicates Russian responsibility”.

Official advice from Spain’s emergency computer response service yesterday appeared to confirm that the ransomware attacks stemmed from the Eternal Blue tool, when it urged organisations to download a Microsoft update that protects against it.

Cyber security experts told The Telegraph the ransomware was being quickly spread by a wave of “phishing” emails carrying bogus attachments that infected computers when unsuspecting users clicked on them.

The scam emails lured victims into opening infected files posing as invoices, job offers, or even clinical test results.

By Friday night, the ruse appeared to be paying off handsomely. 
Adam Meyers, vice president of intelligence at the cyber firm CrowdStrike, said thousands of dollars had been tracked rolling into internet accounts set to up to receive the ransom payments.

However official government advice on both sides of the Atlantic is not to pay criminals behind such attacks.

Mr Meyers said: “We advise people not to pay, because if people do pay, it emboldens these criminal actors.”

He instead urged organisations to make sure they had backed up their data and installed the latest software updates and security. Employees in the NHS also had to be warned how to spot the suspect emails.



    The U.S. Air Force is running out of ordinary bombs, smart bombs, and in some cases missiles. No kidding. The air war over Syria and Iraq that began in August 2014 and is now two-and-a-half years old has eaten through America’s supply of bombs. The usual crew of weapons makers evidently can’t produce such munitions fast enough to keep up, so the U.S. military is, for instance, cutting into its stockpiles of smart bombs in Asia to send some to the Middle East and Africa simply to keep pace with demand -- and, according to recent reports, it may nonetheless be failing to do so. Consider this a longer term problem since, in the era of Donald Trump, the generals are increasingly running their own wars, which, if the daily drumbeat of news about them is accurate, are only ramping up further.



    ISIS armed up on US built weapons stolen from the Iraqis,

    The only Regional power that should up to ISIS was Syria.

    The US and Israel are bombing Iraq.

    Millions of refugees unleashed on the Middle East and Europe.

    Now because an out of control US so-called Intelligence agency has let US created malware fall into the hands of pirates.

    Trump, who ran to get us out of these wars, seems unfazed by the consequences of tis failed campaign promise.

    The purloined tools of the US military and US spy agencies are the new weapons of mass destruction and disruption.


  2. The American Health Care Act that narrowly passed out of the House earlier this month cuts $880 billion from Medicaid — but that won’t affect anyone’s coverage.

    It keeps the GOP’s promise to repeal the Affordable Care Act — but doesn’t really repeal the Affordable Care Act.

    It passed after conservatives demanded that it allow states to nix some mandated benefits — but states aren’t actually going to do that.

    Such pronouncements from Republicans in the days since they passed the AHCA and celebrated in the Rose Garden reflect a deep struggle to sell the bill at home. The bill falls short of the GOP’s long-standing promise to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. But most Americans now oppose the “full” repeal that so many Republicans have pledged to make happen year after year.

    That means these lawmakers face two potential backlashes: one if opponents of Obamacare perceive the bill does not go far enough, and another from Americans worried that the bill would eliminate their coverage.

    The result has been a confused sales effort — and a series of flat misstatements and contradictions about what’s actually in the bill.

    It’s a risky strategy — especially in front of the skeptical crowds and interviewers Republicans have been speaking to in recent days. On Wednesday, Rep. Tom MacArthur (R-N.J.) spent nearly five hours answering questions from a disgruntled audience of constituents, some of whom spoke at length about what Medicaid meant in their communities. MacArthur was blown back by laughter when he argued, as House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) has, that caps on per capita Medicaid funding would leave the system stronger.

    “I am trying to save a system so it continues to help you,” he said. “I am trying to make sure Medicaid is strong enough to continue.”

    Later, MacArthur argued that the tax cuts in the bill were “for everybody” — but when a constituent calculated that MacArthur’s own savings would amount to $37,000 if the bill was passed, the congressman agreed that the bill’s large investment tax cut was not going to benefit everyone equally.

    1. “This is truly an unforced error of the first order, politically and economically,” tax-cut advocate and frequent Republican candidate Steve Forbes wrote in his family’s namesake magazine this week. “If the Republican Senate doesn’t fix the RyanCare error. . .Nancy Pelosi will be Speaker of the House of Representatives in 2019.”

      In interviews with conservatives, Ryan has described the bill’s biggest win as the block granting and cutting of Medicaid. But Republicans have frequently downplayed its importance.

      “We believe the Medicaid population will be cared for in a better way under our program because it will be more responsive to them,” Price said on CNN last weekend.

      “If you’re currently getting your health insurance through Medicaid, nothing’s going to change,” said Rep. Rod Blum (R-Iowa) at a town hall meeting on Monday.

      The bill would substantially alter care for millions of people on Medicaid, both by ending the expansion of the program to people slightly over the poverty line, and by tying federal Medicaid spending to the consumer price index.

      Some messaging may assume that voters are less concerned with Medicaid spending, and overall coverage numbers, than Democrats are. In the WPA Intelligence study, Republicans in tough races were advised to frame the election as a choice between “Obamacare” and something that would keep the parts of the ACA that they liked while making coverage cheaper.

      1/6 of the US population is on Medicaid ...

      Steve Forbes is correct, Mr Trump's lack of experience and his reliance on Paul Ryan will provide US with ...
      Ms Pelosi - Speaker of the House

      Thanks, Donald.


    2. “Respectfully, (Donald Trump) what the f*** are you doing? The Shadow Brokers voted for you. The Shadow Brokers supports you. The Shadow Brokers is losing faith in you. Mr Trump helping the Shadow Brokers, helping you. Is appearing you are abandoning ‘your base’, ‘the movement’, and the peoples who getting you elected.”

      These "Shadow Warriors", they write in English a lot like "O"rdure -


    3. 17% of the US is on Medicaid
      17% are on Medicare

      34% of the population already have Single Payer, with the patient's deductible (when applicable) capable of being covered by "Private" insurance.

      Those citizens covered by employer paid insurance are already getting a major Federal tax subsidy.

      Time to end the madness and develop a Medicare type system for everyone, not a selected few.


  3. Now that Mr Trump has fully embraced the "Rat Doctrine" with the decision to "Arm the Kurds" despite NATO ally Turkey objecting to the expansion of the "Rat Doctrine" in the battle against Islamic radicalism.

    The Kurdish led LOCAL forces have, according to FOX News ...

    Kurdish-led forces advance on IS-held Raqqa

    The "Boots on the Ground" are Syrian, not US.
    The way it should be.
    The lessons taught to US by our own history should be embraced, not discarded in the ash heap of history

    We are not about to send American boys 9 or 10 thousand miles away from home to do what Asian boys ought to be doing for themselves.
    Lyndon B. Johnson

    50,000+ of US lost their lives for no good effect, because LBJ was not serious about letting our Asian allies do for themselves.

    1. Hey Jack,

      Still suffering from advanced narcissism disorder?


      What a JOKE you are.

    2. A supporter of the Islamic State and al-Qeada speaks up.

      Israel’s Ambassador to the United States Michael Oren told the Jerusalem Post that Israel so wanted Assad out and his Iranian backers weakened, that Israel would accept al-Qaeda operatives taking power in Syria.

      “We always wanted Bashar Assad to go, we always preferred the bad guys who weren’t backed by Iran to the bad guys who were backed by Iran.”
      Even if the other “bad guys” were affiliated with al-Qaeda.

  4. One looks at what Steve forbes has said, about Speaker of the House Pelosi ...

    Then read this ...

    At the Republican National Committee’s spring meeting, strategists expressed alarm about a pair of upcoming special House elections and what they might portend for the battle for the lower chamber next year. One high-profile potential candidate outlined how he would distinguish himself from the embattled president.

    And, as often happens with a party in peril, fingers were already being pointed over next year’s races.

    It seems there were basically three opinions opined.

    In one presentation on the GOP's challenges ahead, the National Republican Congressional Committee’s executive director, John Rogers, pointed out that far more vulnerable Republican incumbents represent districts that Hillary Clinton won than endangered Democratic incumbents in districts that Trump carried. Rogers reminded attendees that midterm elections are historically unkind to the party in the White House.

    That is the historical reality ...

    Then read what one of Newt's acolytes has to say.

    “I don’t think there is anything to compare it to. You have a non-politician who’s the president, so he doesn’t do things in a political way and that completely drives insiders of both parties bonkers because they don’t understand it,” said Randy Evans, a Republican National Committeeman from Georgia who was a top adviser to former House Speaker Newt Gingrich. “Right now, we’re just in a completely different and foreign political environment where pollsters and pundits and focus groups don’t matter.”

    “Anybody that tells you they have a feel for what’s going to happen next year is just delusional,” he added.

    No one knows what will happen, as Mr Trump is a "Wild Card", and the low approval ratings he now enjoys may be inconsequential in 2018.

    Then there is what the White House spokesman has to say ...

    Trump cut a five-minute, face-to-camera video that played during the closing session in which he briefly addressed the midterms.

    “Your commitment will help us keep the House in 2018 and gain more seats in the Senate. I’ll be going around to different states, I’ll be working hard for the people running for Congress and the people running for the Senate,” he said. “We can gain a lot of seats, especially if it all keeps going like it's going now.”

    Stay the Course ... it remains the Republican message.

  5. Dear Member,

    Missouri, the "Show Me State", showed the nation today what it means to stand up
    against ever-increasing federal overreach, by passing the Convention of States

    In the last day of the 2017 session, the House joined the Senate and passed the
    resolution by an overwhelming margin. Texas did the same last week, marking the 11th
    and 12th states to join the Constitutional Revolution.

    The momentum is growing, and the grassroots are on the march to the necessary 34
    states to call the first ever, Convention of States to rein in the scope, power and
    jurisdiction of the federal government.

    In the last two years, I’ve traveled to all of these states. I can personally tell
    you that the grassroots are organized, enthusiastic, and committed to the only
    solution as big as the problem.

    It's never easy to pass one of these resolutions, and the folks in Missouri have
    been fighting for three years to get it done.

    Each year, even when disappointed by running out of time in a legislative session,
    they came back the following year, more organized, more enthusiastic and in greater
    numbers than the year before. It's inspiring to watch, and even more inspiring to
    be part of the movement that will restore our founding principles, and bring America
    back to greatness.

    Being part of the movement means many things; signing the Convention of States
    , volunteering, calling your legislator, or going to the capitol to lobby in your
    state. It also means supporting the movement financially.

    With efforts ongoing in all fifty states, this a huge and historic project, and it
    can't be done without help from folks like you.

    Today, the need for your support is more important and urgent than ever. Just a few
    weeks ago, on Good Friday, 230 Soros-funded, leftist organizations signed a
    coalition letter vowing to stop this citizen-led movement.

    The elitist left is rising up against the citizens who want to return power to the
    people. With your help, we'll continue our momentum and fight back against the
    elitists who like power in DC, where they will continue to make the decisions that
    affect all of us.

    Will you stand with us today by contributing $25, $50, or $100 towards continuing
    our momentum
    , building the grassroots army, and fighting back against radical statists who do
    not want to see the country returned to self-governance?

    For America,

    Mark Meckler
    ​Convention of States Action

    P.S. If you haven’t already, will please be sure to sign our petition and send it to
    everyone on your email list?
    Just send them this link!

  6. The software fix had been out there since March, it was pure incompetency that IT departments failed to take security updates seriously.

  7. Jack HawkinsSat May 13, 01:15:00 AM EDT

    “Respectfully, (Donald Trump) what the f*** are you doing? The Shadow Brokers voted for you. The Shadow Brokers supports you. The Shadow Brokers is losing faith in you. Mr Trump helping the Shadow Brokers, helping you. Is appearing you are abandoning ‘your base’, ‘the movement’, and the peoples who getting you elected.”

    These "Shadow Warriors", they write in English a lot like "O"rdure -

    Jack, once again you try and fail.

    Do you ever tire of being nothing more than the stuff we scrap off our shoes when we step in something soft and gushy?

    Since I am typing in English and not Arabic I will translate for you..

    Ever tire of being shit?

  8. the best thing jack did was abandon his daughter she caught a break

    1. he proved his worth then

    2. A raped girl is bad for the family: it shows that they can’t protect their women;
      that they have little social standing; and that they’re not respectable.

      It’s worse for the victim because once a woman, or a girl—or a boy—is known as the target of a rape she becomes so despised, so shamed, so worthless that she turns into public property.

      No one is raped only once.

      ― Louise Brown,
      The Dancing Girls of Lahore:
      Selling Love and Saving Dreams in Pakistan's Pleasure District

  9. .

    In 1991, the wall had fallen and the US was considered by most to be the sole hyper power in the world. There were no challengers for the primacy. A decade later under GWB, the great unraveling began. By the end of the Bush presidency, the perception of the US among its enemies had gone from sole hyper power to simply the ‘first among equals’. The curtain was lifted and weaknesses exposed. Bad enough in itself; however, when your allies also start questioning your ability to lead it’s worse. When allies look to the US and are confused and question US strategy, or worse, ask whether there actually is a strategy, it’s a problem.

    Is the Sun Setting on the US Imperium?

    … In managing the potentially fraught relationship between an ascendant China and a declining America, one major problem for both is their lack of experience in dealing with a rival peer in a system of great powers. One major asset for the U.S. is its network of allies and friends. China’s two main allies are major diplomatic liabilities.

    That said, Beijing has pursued a three-pronged strategy to deepen commercial and institutional relations with neighboring countries to enmesh them in a dense web of engagement; to exploit China-U.S. economic interdependence to raise the costs of any U.S. assistance to Asian states under Chinese pressure; and to question the legitimacy of and confidence in the U.S. alliance system in the Asia-Pacific region.
    U.S. President Donald Trump risks playing into China’s hands with his “America First” policies that ignore the contribution of U.S.-created and enforced norms and institutions in sustaining global U.S. engagement without having to use hard power.

    To invert former U.S. House Speaker Tip O’Neill’s aphorism, for a superpower operating in a globalized world, all nationalist politics is global. Asian states nervous about China’s growing resort to muscular diplomacy will welcome the U.S. counterweight but not a propensity to reckless brinksmanship. A reputation for sober leadership and sustained commitment takes decades to build but is easy to squander.

    China’s growing ability to pursue anti-access and area denial strategies in Asia-Pacific can be countered by Washington working with Asian states to build their own capacity to limit Chinese access in geographical pockets around China’s periphery. Otherwise the U.S. could lose an empire in a fit of presidential absentmindedness. Depending on how skilful or ham-fisted China is, the best U.S. bets in slowing down China’s march to a dominant continental and a growing global military footprint are Australia, India and Japan…


    1. Why Quirk, this actually makes some sense:

      U.S. President Donald Trump risks playing into China’s hands with his “America First” policies that ignore the contribution of U.S.-created and enforced norms and institutions in sustaining global U.S. engagement without having to use hard power.

      Just out of the shower, I was watching The Donald giving the Commencement Address at Liberty University, not really my kind of school, but it was a really good speech.

      Wonderful looking students of all kinds and colors, all desire to burn anything down !

      'Never give up' was the theme.

      He pointed out George somebody in the audience -- where's George, there's George, please stand up George -- George had been in the Bataan Death March, starved, tortured, liberated home to USA he was told by the doctors he would NOT live past 40 years of age....

      There's George ! Stand up, George ! George is 98 years old now !!!

      Brought the house down....George was stable on his feet too....broke into a great wide smile

      Dang near brought a tear out of our eyes here....

      Whole house standing and clapping for George !! 98 years old, after all that !!!

      Now we have a sane and democratic Japan, same with Germany, Soviet Union all gone....

      Things are looking up.....thanks to the USA "Imperium"....which has kept peace between the majors in the world for so long....

      Cheers !

    2. For over a decade Robert "Draft Dodger" Peterson has told us that the US was not an Empire.

      Now on the 13th of May, 2017 he finally admits he has been wrong, all this time.

      Glad to see you have "grown" in your understanding of the modern world, Robert "Draft Dodger" Peterson.

      imperium n. - an empire

  10. .

    Chinese Chicken. Oh No.

    The Trump administration continues its assault on the health and safety of the American public.

    Trump's 10-Point Trade Plan for China

    Under the 10-point deal, China will lift its ban on U.S. beef imports (which was put in place following the outbreak of bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or mad cow disease, in 2003). American liquified natural gas exporters and foreign-owned financial service providers will also have increased access to the Chinese economy under the deal. In return, Washington has agreed to issue a proposed rule to allow Chinese cooked poultry exports into the country...

    The idea of allowing Chinese poultry exports to the US started under Obama but it appears Trump will take it over the goal line. It's one more example of his disregard for health and safety issues affecting Americans.

    I may not always check out the nutritional information on the food we buy but I always make sure that nothing we eat comes from China, either grown or processed there. I even spent an inordinate time searching the web looking for toothpaste for my dog that wasn't produced there.

    The reasons are many including the fact that I've spent a lot of time there eating in major hotels and better restaurants as well as in back country dives where you have to bring your own chopsticks to assure you are not getting silverware washed in filthy water or that they give you the same chopsticks used by the last person ordering a noodle dish. It's primitive. I can imagine what happens in some of the food processing plants there.

    Here's an article that describes some of the issues...

    Chicken From China? Why You Should Be Worried

    I'm of the opinion FDA stands for 'Fuck Da Americans'. We have examples of it in things like the 'pink slime' faux meat they tried to force on America's school children and now on this proposed imported Chinese chicken rule.

    I'm getting closer and closer to becoming a vegetarian.


    1. You should begin practicing ahimsa. Eat veggies and fruits. You seem to practice ahimsa with your mutt.

      No mutt needs his teeth brushed, though. That's crazy. Give him a good hard bone once in a while. That's all that's needed. God did not provide the dogs and wolves with tooth brushes any time during the last millions of years....and they've done fine....

      Stay away from Chinese jewelry. I read once they mix a little nuclear waste in with their metallic crap they export around the world....I got a hell of a rash, even had to go to the doc, from a Chinese made wrist watch once....never again....

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.


    3. The Trump Administration opens the borders to Chinese chicken, and Robert "Draft Dodger" Peterson writes gibberish in response.

      He is a Trumpster at heart, a real "Big Government" liberal.

      "Draft Dodger" probably donated money to Chuck Shumer, as did Mr Trump, in 2010.
      Back before Mr Trump was a Republican.

    4. It's funny. Trump shouts "America First" and claims the US is getting the shafts with things like NAFTA but when it comes down to negotiating he tries to open the markets further ie Dairy with Canada and Chicken with China.

  11. I'm beginning to like Liberty University.

    So what if their theology is a little nuts ?

    The final product looks good enough to me.

    They gave Bernie Sanders the same polite, though not as enthusiastic, welcome they gave The Donald.

    No bomb throwers there at Liberty U., no one in black masks, no interruptions of the other person's freedom of speech.....

    It was all good to this witness....

  12. .

    L'affaire Comey

    James Comey is willing to speak to Congress following his sudden dismissal as head of the FBI earlier this week, but he wants the testimony to be public, according to a new report.

    Comey declined an invitation to speak to the Senate Intelligence Committee in a closed door session next week.

    However, The New York Times reports that a source says Comey is willing to speak if it's a public hearing.


    1. He's just grandstanding, the fraud.

      He wants audience, air time.

      Like his girl friend Hillary.

      He doesn't want to be under oath....

    2. Public hearings are done under oath, Robert "Draft Dodger" Peterson.

      You libel a long time public servant, one who has done more for the US in the last year than you have done in your entire life.

      You do like to libel your betters, "Draft Dodger", don't you.

      That is why you continually libel Quirk.

    3. .

      Impeachment for any in the federal government is rare. The thought of Trump being impeached has always seemed far-fetched. That said, every day with every interview and every tweet in word and print Trump provides his enemies with hope there is a possibility of it.

      The latest with the Comey firing is a good example. All Trump had to do was say to Comey, 'You're fired' then have his staff announce to the appropriate people that Comey was fired because of the controversy surrounding some of his decisions. It would have been a one or two day story. But that's not Trump's style.

      Still suffering with paranoia on whether people believe in the legitimacy of his presidency, in his letter firing Comey he just had to add in a reference to the 'three times Comey had said Trump wasn't being investigated'.

      Then he or his people put out the story that Comey was fired as the result of a letter put out by his boss, Asst. AG Rosenstein, which referenced the handling of the Hillary affair last year as the key reason for suggesting Comey should be replaced, a claim that's stretches credulity. Trump worried about Hillary? Please. The explanation was immediately questioned for various reasons including the timing of the firing, the letter written by Rosenstein, etc.

      The next day Trump, as is his wont, pulled the rug out from under his spokespeople leaving them hanging as he held an interview with NBC and changed the rationale for the firing and in the process took some gratuitous shots at an FBI Director who most reports was popular within the Agency. In doing so, he raised more troubling questions, the timing of the dinner with Comey, who initiated the contacts between the two man, who set up the dinner, who made the calls, what was discussed, the claim Comey asked for the meeting because he wanted to keep his job, reports that Comey was asked to provide a loyalty guarantee and how Comey responded.

      As questions began to fly, Trump tweeted what many people consider a warning (threat?) to Comey when he suggested Comey better be careful about any tapes that might exist before he starts talking about all this.

      Given all that has happened this week, what could have been a simple administrative action with Comey applauded by many and accepted by most has now raised questions obstruction of justice, the same charge that got two other presidents impeached, all needless, all brought on by Trump himself giving way to his innate paranoia, arrogance, and inexperience.


  13. .

    Meet the Father and Daughter Who Used to Be Mother and Son

    I know it's goofy but after reading that headline, I had to check it out. I know what the people involved did but still haven't figured out the headline.


  14. I've had over a dozen mutts in my time. Never any dental problems.

    Did have one that attacked a porcupine once.

    This did not work out well for the mutt.

    I learned though what to do immediately.

    Cut the quills so as to let the pressure out.

    Then, to the vet. Or, if no bet within range, remove them yourself.

    This can be tough....this poor mutt had quills in his nose, tongue, inside the mouth....

    1. My Name is really Bob. I am not really a Farmer

      I Live on just over a 1/4 acre of land, well within the city limits of Moscow, Idaho. I do engage in many farm-like activities there, such as gardening, chicken-keeping, home-cooking, and DIY building and repairs, because of this my family and friends often call me "Farmer Bob" to tease me.

      I started this narrative mainly to amuse them

      All of my stories are retelling of things that I have witnessed at some point while pursuing the behaviors that define my "Farmer Bob" identity

  15. Many of the grads at Liberty wore MAGA hats today to honor their President. Awesome!

    1. .

      As anyone familiar with Trump would expect, he has a trademark on the phrase 'Make America Great Again' and is seeking others.


  16. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. .

      Trump World

      Trump merely follows the pattern established by past presidents over the decades albeit in an exceedingly crude and vulgar manner.

      What amazes though is how quickly this president has abandoned every political promise he made during the campaign. Well, at least those that actually affect the important interests of the American public in both the domestic and foreign policy spheres. Admittedly, he has tried to keep those that appeal to the racist and nativist impulses of his base.

      Trump has gone back on the very promises he made to his base and which got him elected. Yet, that same base (around 40% of Americans in most polls) are still hanging with Trump and willing to give him more time to come through. However, evidence (anecdotal only at this point) seems to indicate that the base’s support is not necessarily unconditional or permanent and depends on Trump coming through on key promises.

      In my opinion, there are few actions Trump has taken as president that are not detrimental to Americans. There has been little backlash other than from Congressional Dems since most of these actions have been taken by presidential resolutions or rule changes and many of them simply form study groups or commissions to investigate different issues.

      We have seen that Trump doesn’t take seriously his promises to ‘drain the swamp’ or to finally start to control Wall Street and the banks. The Trump administration is filled with the crème de la crème of the 1%, millionaires and billionaires, policy makers from the oil industry and Goldman Sachs. Many of the rules and regulations he has repealed are to the benefit of big business and adversely affect the health and safety of ordinary Americans. Other repealed regulations were initially put in place to minimize the abuse that led to the 2008 fiscal crisis.

      So far Trump’s base hasn’t felt the effects of these changes. At least one blames such criticism on the influence of the MSM. However, IMO, the effects will be felt long before the 2020 election. More importantly in the short run is what Trump has promised to do with key issues like healthcare and budget priorities. While he has been unsuccessful in getting any major legislation passed, his agenda is clear from the legislation he has in process and his proposals on the budget.

      This legislation once passed will affect people immediately and IMO at that point even Trump’s base (except those comfortably living off the government trough and seeking to indulge their nativist and racist tendencies) will begin to question their vote for Trump.


  17. In your opinion, in your opinion, in your opinion, etc.

    1. .

      You've got a problem with that?


    2. .

      I'd be interested in why you feel it's a problem?


    3. This legislation once passed will affect people immediately and IMO at that point even Trump’s base (except those comfortably living off the government trough and seeking to indulge their nativist and racist tendencies) will begin to question their vote for Trump.

      I'm still laughing at that one. Give me a minute.

    4. .

      I'll wait.

      If you find it hard to control the laughter for a while I'll check it out later.



    5. Ok, now.... I had to look and make sure that wasn't Rufus posting. Nativist and racist tendacies? That is such a typical alt-liberal, I still can't believe Trump won, comment. I can see you becoming unhinged if some one posted a comment here saying the only folks who are anti Trump are gays and minorities. You really should get a grip.

    6. .


      First, the claim would be disputed by the facts and the numbers. Second, it's someone 'opinion'. I might consider the person a fool for holding the opinion but I would hardly become unhinged. It's the trivial bullshit we see around here every day and easily scrolled by for what it is.

      The things I get upset about are those I consider important, the US' (IMO) declining position in the world, the decline in infrastructure and basic services in the country, healthcare, budget priorities, etc.

      As for Trump. I have an inordinate dislike for the man, the same type of animus I held for people like Palin or Hillary. Sometimes certain people just get to me. Trump is one of them.
      That's reflected in the things I write about him. That being said, when he does something positive I have no problem at all giving him credit for it. I have criticized both Obama and George Bush mercilessly but when they did something positive I had no problem giving them the credit for it they deserved.

      However, I notice you avoided my original question. Apparently, you are upset with my using IMO. I use it to indicate not what will happen but what I expect to happen. It reflects speculation, my opinion.

      If that bothers you I will try to minimize it. After all, I stopped calling Doug a Bobbsey Twin when he indicated it bothered him. I can do the same for you. However, the reason for Doug's objection was obvious. Yours is not. Thus the reason for my question.


    7. Nothing "bothers" me here, Q. None of this is real to me. Merely a bunch of folks hiding behind avatars (me included), stating there opinions and beliefs. I, on occasion, do have to stop and call BS on what I know to be BS, even if it is opinion, especially in this most recent case, where you stated, Rufus like, that soon, the only people who still support Trump are racists and the unwashed.

      Having stated that you and I are polar opposites on most issues. I have to remind myself you admittedly voted for Jill Stein, Jill fucking Stein?? Who won less than 1% of the vote and 0, ZERO!, electoral votes. Which in my mind means your rants and epistles are not anywhere close to main stream thoughts. So I often giggle when you hyperventilate when someone disagrees with you.

      Anyway, busy times for me, and I don't have much time to lurk here. Carry on, my boy, carry on.

    8. .

      And yet, all you do is sit there and giggle. How many times do you engage, offer a different opinion, better yet, offer opposing data to back up an argument?

      You are an observer, that's it.

      You say my thoughts are out of the main stream and that might be true. A lot of people are more interested in working and getting by than in sitting around talking politics with a bunch of old farts like me. However, if you think one vote especially given the alternatives in the last election encompasses my views you are being simplistic. It's an illogical conclusion. That's not an opinion. Any book listing logical fallacies can explain it to you.

      Likewise, you look to be implying that your views are mainstream. Well, you must admit that's rather hard to judge given you rarely express them. Likewise, if your views mirror the policies of the Trump regime, you can hardly claim to be mainstream. Look at the numbers.

      With regards to Trump, its time you learned that the Trump base isn't necessarily what would be called 'mainstream' in this country. Take a look at the polls. Better yet, take a look at some of the polling Pew Research has done. Trump's job approval and the direction of the country numbers have been dropping since his election. If you look deeper at the numbers, Trump's disapproval numbers amongst Dems have always been high; however, the real erosion happened among independents. And now, even though it is still strong among his base there are indications it is starting to shift there too.

      So anyways, I can see that you are really busy so I'll let you go back to your lurking and giggling.

      When you have something interesting to say, stop by some time.


  18. Here you go, opinionated news from Israel

    Ambush Alert Netanyahu Fears Trump's Cooking Something Big

    The U.S. president's envoy, Jason Greenblatt, is suddenly getting chummy with peacenik Tzipi Livni, Bibi's archrival

    Analysis U.S. Joint Chiefs chairman's Israel visit reflects heightened interest in Middle East
    U.S. ambassador advises Israeli officials: Trump's serious about peace, work with him
    Trump's policy on Israel turns U.S. Jewish groups topsy-turvy

    The anxiety seeping into the Israeli right wing ahead of Donald Trump’s visit is comparable only to the euphoria that gripped it when the ostensible master deal maker was elected U.S. president. What Habayit Hayehudi leader Naftali Bennett and his political cohorts saw as the realization of a dream of generations turned into a potential nightmare.

    A bevy of politicians from the right and left were in the United States this week, some in Washington, others in New York, for the Jerusalem Post Annual Conference. They schmoozed with legislators and administration officials, and their impressions were similar − something big is about to happen in our region. Grampa Donald is cooking up something, but nobody knows what’s in the pot.

    The prime minister’s aides were also lost in the fog this week. Benjamin Netanyahu is nervous, ministers say. He’s afraid Trump is laying an ambush for him, whose dimensions and impact will only be apparent when he’s here wandering between Jerusalem, Bethlehem and Masada. Netanyahu has no idea what the president is bringing. Last week he held three discussions on making significant economic gestures to the Palestinians, with which Netanyahu hopes to show Trump that his intentions are serious. It's doubtful whether Trump, not to mention our partners, will suffice with that.

    Netanyahu is also freaked out by the critical role played by his sometime friend, who like many others has turned into a foe, Ronald Lauder. The New York billionaire, who was thrown under the bus by Bibi and Sara after he didn’t prevent the airing of the “Bibi Tours” exposé on Channel 10, which he owns, is today a major player in the Middle East. He briefed Mahmoud Abbas before the Palestinian leader's successful meeting with the president, which made the prime minister and his aides lose their temper. He told people this week that the Palestinians were willing to compromise and concede, and that Netanyahu was the target. And he's pleased that the U.S. president listens to him and not an old Jew from Las Vegas, whose fortune is much larger but his influence in the White House is negligible.

    A senior right-wing official blames the prime minister for the change of atmosphere in Washington. Netanyahu’s inaction, underperformance and overdependence on our ambassador, Ron Dermer, who apparently isn’t delivering the goods even when he’s seemingly at home in the White House, are the reasons Trump changed his spots.

    read more:

    Another instance where what Mr Trump said, what folks thought he meant, turns out to be not quite in sync with what Mr Trump's Administration is doing.

  19. I fear The Quirk is really starting to lose it.

    The anger, the incoherence, the name calling, the blind Trump hatred, the search for allies anywhere he can find them, even in the human sewage system....

    ....and now the neurosis of beginning to brush his mutt's teeth....

    I am going to bow my head in prayer and ask help for him....

    It's all I can think of to do.


    1. Even his sense of humor is vanishing.

      When things get this bad all good men should bow their heads in prayer and ask help of The Lord for the sufferer.

    2. Quirk Fri May 05, 07:47:00 PM EDT

      Damn, Bob, you are the stupidest ass I know.

    3. the best thing rat ever did was abandon his daughter she caught a break

  20. Meanwhile, down in BernieLand, Venezuela, things are continuing 'on schedule' but the human costs are escalating badly and will soon be out of control, like the inflation -

    Venezuela is now sending protesters to military tribunals rather than civilian courts
    POSTED AT 1:01 PM ON MAY 13, 2017 BY JAZZ SHAW

    You may recall roughly a week ago when we discussed a group of protesters who had torn down a statue of former Venezuela dictator Hugo Chavez, smashing it and setting fire to it in the streets. It was a relatively small but symbolic measure which seemed to demonstrate how fed up some of the starving citizens are with the failure of socialism in their country. If you pulled off a stunt like that in the United States you might face some sort of misdemeanor charges in court and possibly a fine to pay for the damages. In Venezuela, however, it lands you in a military tribunal on your way to disappearing into one of President Nicolas Maduro’s dungeons. (New York Times)

    But when the authorities rounded up suspects for the vandalism, they were not taken to an ordinary court. Instead, they were hauled off to a military base, where they faced the judges of a military tribunal this past week.

    President Nicolás Maduro, beleaguered by a second month of protests against his rule, has prosecuted political rivals under terrorism laws and expanded his powers by emergency decrees. His backers on the Supreme Court have even tried to dissolve the national legislature, which is led by the political opposition.

    Now, the president is turning to military courts to tighten his grip further, prosecuting demonstrators and other civilians in tribunals that the government closely controls.

    Maduro is following the playbook of other tyrants facing the collapse of socialism page by page. The anger in the streets against his failed regime is so intense that protesters might not be convicted in a jury trial handled through the regular order of civilian law enforcement. So instead, the troublemakers are being rounded up and taken off to face a court martial in an environment which the government can closely control. This has already happened to protesters who also have nothing to do with the military, including students, farmers and shopkeepers. One leader of a legal group representing some of the protesters described it as civil jurisdiction being put in the hands of the military, “like we are in a war.”

    1. It’s an apt description because the citizens are effectively in a state of war with their own government. As we previously saw, opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez was seized and put before one of those military tribunals in 2014 and sent to a heavily fortified prison. After refusing to come out and pitch the government line this year, decrying the protests and calling for peace, Lopez was reportedly beaten badly and simply disappeared. His family hasn’t seen him in over a month and some reports claim that he’s dead.

      Meanwhile. the desperate citizens are gamely continuing the protests. In at least some cases this had included elderly pensioners facing down Maduro’s militias in confrontations which quickly turned violent. (Reuters)

      Elderly Venezuelan protesters on Friday threw punches and yelled curses at riot police blocking the latest in six weeks of demonstrations against President Nicolas Maduro’s socialist government.

      Riot police with helmets and shields used pepper gas several times to control the crowd as hundreds of pensioners jostled against security lines to attempt a march from a Caracas square.

      “Respect the elderly you sons of bitches!” shouted one bearded man, throwing a punch at an officer on the front line.

      The fact that these were gray haired retirees made no difference whatsoever. The militias hit them with tear gas and beat them down all the same. The chaos continues in Venezuela and it’s getting worse rather than better. We’re not yet at the point of calling this a full blown revolution and there may still be hope for elections and a somewhat peaceful resolution, but those hopes are growing fainter by the week. If it goes to a worst case scenario it still shouldn’t come as any great surprise. This is how socialism ends and everyone should continue to watch this closely if we’re to learn any lessons for the future.

      Lucky to live here I am heading to a meat sale at the local country fairgrounds.

      Cheers ! and God Bless the USofA !