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Why So Many Philadelphia Eagles Are Rejecting This White House

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Why So Many Philadelphia Eagles Are Rejecting This White House

The NFL’s time-honored tradition is that you and your team go to the White House after winning the Super Bowl. This goes back decades, but whether a visit happens in 2018 is officially an open question. Following a season where current White House occupant Donald Trump cursed NFL players in an Alabama speech and said they should be “fired” if they weren’t “forced” to stand for the anthem, it doesn’t look like the Philadelphia Eagles will be playing his game. Wide receiver Torrey Smith said that “plenty” of players would not accept this president’s invitation. Smith’s reasons for his own boycott, given to Don Lemon of CNN, may stand the test of time.

He said, ”For me, it’s not just about politics. If I told you that I was invited to a party by an individual I believe is sexist or has no respect for women or I told you that this individual has said offensive things towards many minority groups.… this individual also called my peers and my friends SOBs, you would understand why I wouldn’t want to go to that party. Why is it any different when the person has title of President of the United States?”

That answer is so lacerating because Smith is basically saying, “It’s not about politics. It’s about this president being a racist, sexist jerk.” This is a perfect articulation of a view shared by many people who see “politics” as what happens on Capitol Hill. But a collective antipathy towards this president runs a lot deeper than what comes out of the mouth of congressional Democrats.

Another Eagles player not playing the NFL and Trump’s game is defensive end Chris Long. The Charlottesville native was challenged by Trump lickspittle Boris Epshteyn on social media about why he wouldn’t go and try to dialogue with Trump about his concerns. Long spent this year donating his paychecks to fund social-justice scholarships in C-Ville following last August’s Nazi march. He listed off the questions he’d ask Trump:

“Who were the fine people on the side of the Nazis and KKK that gathered in my hometown the day a terrorist put 20 ppl in the hospital? Why reference the hatred and bigotry on ‘many sides that day’? Why didn’t you immediately denounce them?”

Then he said, “I already know the answer. None of that is political. I’m not interested in a dialogue with someone who I have to ask those questions of.”

Safety Malcolm Jenkins has said simply that he was “not interested in a photo op” but would meet with Trump if he wanted to talk about the actual reasons he and many others were staging protests during the anthem—racial injustice—saying that he would only “meet to talk about advancing our communities.” Jenkins might want to get a Snickers, because that meeting is not happening any time soon.

As these players have shown the world that being an activist is not something that will prevent you from winning a Super Bowl, it is worth remembering the player who sparked this off: the banished quarterback Colin Kaepernick. He animates all of this, even if the organization led by Malcolm Jenkins, the Players Coalition, which negotiated an $89 million payout to community organizations by NFL owners, has not taken up Kaepernick’s employment as a cause. As Torrey Smith said, “I have a lot of respect for him. You know, Colin Kaepernick is a person that history is going to look back on like he’s a legend. He’s a legend to me and I’ll have his back any day of the week.”

They have Colin Kaepernick’s back. But Donald Trump and his shock troops won’t respond well to this White House slight, so those of us supporting their vital dissent had best get their front.

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With his Tantric “No Collusion” chant, Trump may be lulling the GOP to sleep. (With a video)

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With his Tantric “No Collusion” chant, Trump may be lulling the GOP to sleep. (With a video)

TaylorHerring / Flickr trump putin actors...
TaylorHerring / Flickr

You know, just like with everything else that doesn’t concern money or gratuitous sex for him personally, Donald Trump is missing the main point of the Russian election interference of 2016. Several GOP incumbents with better than room temperature IQ’s raised the alarm, but since it didn’t deal with making Der Gropinfuror richer, or getting him laid, it went right over Trump’s head.

My allusion to Tantric chants in the title was not sarcastic, it was meant as a seriouos comparison. I became hooked on chants many years ago, when a series of Gregorian chant cassettes became all the rage as a way to reduce stress. The rhythm, tonality and repetition of chants is incredibly soothing, and even todayI regularly use them when I have stress that I feel is not of a kind that is useful or beneficial to me. I am including a video of a Tantric chant at the end of this article so you can hear the similarity for yourself.

Since day one of the Trump-Russia investigation, Trump has been, unintentionally I believe, using a personal version of a Tantric chant. “No collusion, no collusion, no collusion” has been his automatic response to all things Russia. Because Trump’s insecurity is as all inclusive as his stupidity, he is missing the main point of the whole issue.

The simple fact of the matter is that fucking collusion with the Trump campaign was never the main intent of Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election, if it exists, that was an accessory, not a standard feature. The Russians were as gobsmack stunned stunned as the rest of us on November 8th, 2016, Trump himself included. The Russian interference was set in motion to qccomplish two specific goals. One, to kneecap as much as possible the effectiveness of what they saw as the impending Hillary Clinton Presidency. The other, with carefully timed leaks of their machinations, and another chant of “rigged election, rigged election,” To sew as much discord and distrust for the electoral system in the public as possible. It is because of the complete inability of the Democrats to put forth a unifying, positive message, and the utter contempt of the voters for “politics as usual” that led to Trump, not the carpet bombing of Russian trolls and bots, although they certainly helped.

The Russians must have felt like an 8 year old with an X-Box One under the tree on Christmas morning. A minimum of four years with a finger puppet custom fit for Putin’s blood soaked digits. But it hasn’t worked out that way. Trump has been wonderfully compliant, denying any Russian effect on the election. While Trump may absolutely love the “Central Park five,” the thought of the “Moscow hotel room five” chills his blood. But Trump has failed miserably as a Russian marionette. The sanctions are not gone, in fact, if congress can find a way to hold a gun to Trump’s head to impose the new sanctions they passed by veto proof majorities, they’ve gotten worse. The Mueller investigation has brought unwanted attention on Russian intentions, and the recent indictments have given other western democracies a road map to Russian methods and sources. For Vladimir Putin, just like for Melania Trump, The Donald is rapidly becoming a bigger pain n the ass than he’s worth to them.

But keep your eye on the ball here. Again, what was the main Russian purpose? To sew discord and distrust in the American electoral system. They succeeded admirably there, but not in a way particularly helpful to them. While we may be struggling to keep the lights on, Russian interference has sharpened congressional focus on all things Russian, and focused other democracies on them as well. Thanks to Trump’s over the top buffoonery, existing sanctions are not going anywhere, since congress must vote to relieve them, and harsher sanctions may be imposed.

So, if Putin has already chewed all of the flavor out of the Trump stick of gum, what next? Elementary my dear Watson, interfere some more. Putin already knows that he can’t “collude” with Democrats, they have a compass that doesn’t automatically point due south. But they sure can fuck with Republicans to their hearts content.And give themselves a solid sense of vengeance in doing so, spanking them for their manifest incompetence.

You want to sew more discord, division, rancor and distrust in the American system of governance? How about a nice, big, fat impeachment to paralyze the government? But you’d need a Democratic majority in congress to do that, right? OK, how about a surprise August appearance of a video on Wikileaks, with a fishbowl clad Trump in a Moscow hotel shower? Or a spreadsheet, exquisitely detailing the mechanics of Russian oligarch money laundering through Trump real estate properties? Or, how about the Russians turn the hackers that hit the DNC and John Podesta loose on key GOP incumbents, and start splashing salacious sins and misdeeds all over local district and state newpapers and media outlets, through safe apparently domestic cutouts in, oh, I don’t know, say late September or October? Think the Russians could put a big rocket engine behind the building blue wave and turn it on, adding even more force to the upcoming tsunami?

And you know what the best part is from the Russian perspective? They’re bulletproof. Not only has Trump played the “no collusion” mantra 24/7, he has followed it up with an encore that Russian interference didn’t alter the outcome of the election. Even if GOP incumbents start righteously screaming about Russian interference, with proof, Trump has no choice but to dispute them and call them idiots and sore losers. For Trump to acknowledge the possibility of Russian interference in those races would be to admit that they could have effected his own electoral outcome, something he cannot do. And it becomes even worse, since Trump’s chant of “no collusion” has thoroughly soaked into his followers, any protests of non Trumpista candidates or incumbents or candidates will fall on deaf ears with them.

So, there you have it. If the Russians want to continue to meddle, thanks to Trump’s blind insistence in denying it even happened, they’re free to do so to their hearts content. Messing with Democrats won’t do anything, they’re already in the minority, and the GOP has already proven that they can’t help Russia in the current iteration. But messing with the Republicans sure as hell can muddy the waters some more. And the waiter has just brought the water glasses, the chips, and the salsa. All the Russians have to do now is to sit back, and choose their main entrees and side dishes from the menu. Here’s the Tantric chant I promised you.

https://youtu.be/xUo6GDq1u7U

 


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GOP Candidate Totes Assault-Style Weapon In Campaign Mailer Days After Parkland. Has No Regrets.

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GOP Candidate Totes Assault-Style Weapon In Campaign Mailer Days After Parkland. Has No Regrets.

If anyone thinks Republicans will do anything about assault style weapons, they’re living in fantasy land. Republicans will never give up their NRA blood money.

Kathaleen Wall has no regrets for her campaign mailer days after the Parkland Mass Shooting.

Proudly standing with Donald Trump in the mailer as well.

A leading contender for a Houston-area congressional seat is offering no regrets for putting out a campaign mailer and television ads showing her carrying an assault-style weapon just days after the horrific killings in Parkland, Florida.

In the mailers, there are two pictures of Wall holding weapons on the front and back, with a statement saying: “Kathaleen Wall stands with Donald Trump: We must be vigilant to protect gun rights.”

The mailer, which was produced days before the Parkland shooting, goes on to state: “Every day we are up against those who would take away our freedoms, restrict our liberties, and even those who want to abolish the Second Amendment.”

Others have supported her, and Wall’s campaign clearly is not backing down and only reiterating her support for gun rights.

“First we are incredibly saddened at the scenes in Parkland, Florida,” said Matt Langston, a spokesman for Wall’s campaign.

“What happened there on Wednesday is both a tragedy and a frustrating reminder that Americans must unite to improve mental health outcomes, recognize and act on warning signs for those in difficulty, and engage in productive debate on how to put heinous events like this to an end,” he said.

“For Kathaleen’s part, she’s been a responsible gun owner for many decades and will remain a strong advocate for Americans Second Amendment Rights under the Constitution.”

You see how this works? She’s incredibly saddened, but instead of recognizing there’s a problem with assault style weapons being legal, she has no regrets.

Republicans will never do anything about these weapons of mass killlng. Never.

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Congress Can Act Right Now to Prevent Interference in the 2018 Elections

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Congress Can Act Right Now to Prevent Interference in the 2018 Elections

Special counsel Robert Mueller’s indictments last week of 13 Russian nationals and three Russian entities for meddling in the 2016 US election campaign is big news. But it is even bigger news that Dan Coats, the Trump administration’s director of national intelligence, says, “There should be no doubt that Russia perceives that its past efforts have been successful and views the 2018 midterm US elections as a potential target for Russian influence operations.”

“Frankly,” Coats told the Senate Intelligence Committee several days before Mueller’s indictments were announced, “the United States is under attack.”

No one knows how far those efforts will go—whether they will continue to target voters via social media or whether meddling might focus on the actual machinery of elections. But, according to a highly classified intelligence report obtained last year by The Intercept, “Russian military intelligence executed a cyberattack on at least one US voting software supplier and sent spear-phishing emails to more than 100 local election officials just days before (the 2016 presidential election).”

It’s not just the Russians. Concerns about the potential for the hacking of US voting systems have been reported for years, and now the Los Angeles Times reports that “As hackers abroad plot increasingly brazen and sophisticated assaults, the United States’ creaky polling stations and outdated voter registration technology are not up to the task of fighting them off, according to elections officials and independent experts.”

With a mix of urgency about the threats and skepticism about whether Washington or officials in the states are prepared to respond, David Salvo, a resident fellow at the Alliance for Securing Democracy, asks: “Are we going to be prepared to prevent something more egregious from happening?”

Congressman Mark Pocan, the Wisconsin Democrat who co-chairs the Congressional Progressive Caucus, has an appropriate answer. “It is abundantly clear that we need to get ahead of anyone wanting to interfere with our elections,” Pocan explained in an interview following last week’s indictments and warnings. “We need better protections for our elections, including paper ballots for our voting machines.”

Pocan and several of his colleagues are doing more than just talk about what “needs” to be done. They have prepared a legislative response that would work—if congressional leaders would allow it to be debated and enacted.

While federal officials who should be all over the issue struggle to even begin the right conversations about election-integrity issues, Pocan and Congressmen Keith Ellison, D-Minnesota, and Hank Johnson, D-Georgia, have been working for the better part of a year to generate support for groundbreaking legislation that gets to the heart of the matter. Their Securing America’s Future Elections (SAFE) Act would safeguard US elections from cyber threats and interference by permanently classifying the integrity and security of elections as a component of the country’s critical infrastructure.

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