Episode 13: Show Notes and Sources

  1. History’s Greatest Monster
    1. Travis – Jeff Sessions – for trying to throw Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein under the bus over the Comey firing. (Technically was probably Trump, but Sessions is Rosenstein’s boss so…)  Also for violating two oaths of recusal in the Comey firing.  One to not interfere with the Russia investigation and another to not interfere with the Clinton investigation. For that double perjured in flavor…i guess.
    2. Bob – Jeff Sessions – for bringing back mandatory minimum sentences for drug offenders and recommending James Comey’s firing
    3. Dave – President Donald Trump – because the director of an agency who is investigating the president was fired by the president on the advice of the AG who had to recuse himself from said investigation
      1. And also – Rep. Raul Labrador (R-Idaho) drew intense jeers at a town hall Friday when he defended the GOP’s ObamaCare repeal plan by claiming nobody dies due to lack of access to health care. Labrador was similarly criticized at another town hall last month, when he said healthcare is not a “basic human right.”
    4. Curtis – Jeff Sessions
      1. What Bob and Travis said, but primarily for having recused himself, and then using his power to interfere (firing of Comey)
        1. Trump’s statement (that he was going to fire Comey himself anyway) is possibly intent on lifting heat off of Sessions, once it was apparent that if Sessions had officially recommended the firing (which he supposedly did), it means he went back on his recusal, which throws his ethics into legal question – not something either of them want – a current foothold for potential proceedings(hopefully).
  2. The Big List
    1. Bluegrass Broadside Action Report – We got to go to a Massie townhall-ish! (Super-secret hush-hush “townhall”)
    2. President Trump Fires FBI Director James Comey.
      1. http://i2.cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/170509181301-james-comey-fired-letter-trump-exlarge-169.png
      2. Ostensibly for mishandling the Clinton email investigation.
      3. Timing is suspicious in regards to the Russia investigation. Multiple sources are saying that Trump invited Comey to private dinner where Trump asked Comey for ‘absolute loyalty’ and to ‘stop the Russia investigation’ Both of which Comey denied.
      4. Letter was delivered by Trump’s personal body guard to FBI HQ in DC. Funny thing is that Comey was in LA giving a speech to new FBI recruits and learned of his firing from TV.
      5. Per Trump he alone made the decision to fire Comey: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/11/us/politics/trump-comey-showboat-fbi.html http://www.npr.org/2017/05/11/527950704/trump-says-he-called-comey-and-asked-if-he-was-under-investigation?sc=tw
        1. President Trump offered a new version of his decision to fire James B. Comey, saying on Thursday that he would have dismissed the F.B.I. director regardless of whether the attorney general and his deputy recommended it.
        2. Mr. Trump said Thursday he had not relied solely on the advice from the Justice Department’s top two leaders in deciding to dismiss Mr. Comey. Earlier, the White House had said that Mr. Trump had acted only after Attorney General Jeff Sessions and the deputy attorney general, Rod J. Rosenstein, came to him and recommended that Mr. Comey be dismissed because of his handling of last year’s investigation into Hillary Clinton’s email.
        3. Undermining the prior rationale laid out by the White House, President Trump said he decided to fire James Comey as FBI director without regard to the Justice Department’s recommendation.
        4. “It was set up a while ago,” Trump admitted to NBC’s Lester Holt in his widest-ranging remarks about his firing of Comey. “And frankly, I could have waited, but what difference does it make?”
        5. He added, “Regardless of recommendation, I was going to fire Comey.”
        6. White House and Justice Department officials “had been working on building a case against [Comey] since at least last week,” according to the Times, which cited administration officials. The report said Attorney General Jeff Sessions “had been charged with coming up with reasons to fire him.”
      6. Attorney General Jeff Sessions and the Deputy Attorney General recommended Comey’s dismissal.  Particularly bad optics since Sessions a) recused himself from the Russia investigation and b) lied under oath during his confirmation hearing.
      7. Comey had asked for more resources for the investigation on Monday
      8. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov holds WH meeting the next day
        1. No American press allowed in; only Russian press
        2. White House stages photo op with NIXON SEC STATE KISSINGER
        3. Ambassador Kislyak also attended the meeting
          1. Guy whose conversations with Flynn got him fired
          2. WH readout of the meeting the next day did not mention Kislyak being there – so how do we know?
          3. Russian state media tweeted out a picture of Trump/Kislyak/Lavrov in Oval
          4. NSA Director: We were not consulted about Russian state media photographing the Oval Office
      9. Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe testifies Thursday – calls Russian investigation “significant”
      10. Sen. Angus King floated a novel idea on CNN’s “New Day” Wednesday saying he’ll push for the Senate to hire former-FBI Director James Comey to lead its own probe.
      11. Trump says Thursday he had decided to fire Comey before DAG’ recommendation
      12. Per CNN, they have a source close to Comey who said he was fired for two reasons:
        1. Comey never provided the President with any assurance of personal loyalty.
        2. The fact that the FBI’s investigation into possible Trump team collusion with Russia in the 2016 election was accelerating.
        3. http://www.cnn.com/2017/05/10/politics/donald-trump-james-comey-russia/index.html
      13. More than 100 members of Congress—including a few Republicans—have responded to President Donald Trump’s firing of FBI Director James Comey by calling for an independent investigation or a special prosecutor to look into Russian meddling in the 2016 elections and possible collusion with Trump campaign associates.
        1. http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2017/05/comey-firing-special-prosecutor-russia-trump
        2. Senator McCain: “I have long called for a special congressional committee to investigate Russia’s interference in the 2016 election. The president’s decision to remove the FBI Director only confirms the need and the urgency of such a committee.”
        3. Rep Justin Amash (R-Mich) tweeted: “My staff and I are reviewing legislation to establish an independent commission on Russia. The second paragraph of this letter is bizarre.”
      14. Private dinner at the White House with Comey and Trump
        1. Only seven days after Donald J. Trump was sworn in as president, James B. Comey has told associates, the F.B.I. director was summoned to the White House for a one-on-one dinner with the new commander in chief.
        2. The conversation that night in January, Mr. Comey now believes, was a harbinger of his downfall this week as head of the F.B.I., according to two people who have heard his account of the dinner.
        3. As they ate, the president and Mr. Comey made small talk about the election and the crowd sizes at Mr. Trump’s rallies. The president then turned the conversation to whether Mr. Comey would pledge his loyalty to him.
        4. Mr. Comey declined to make that pledge. Instead, Mr. Comey has recounted to others, he told Mr. Trump that he would always be honest with him, but that he was not “reliable” in the conventional political sense.
        5. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/11/us/politics/trump-comey-firing.html?action=Click&contentCollection=BreakingNews&contentID=65284618&pgtype=article
      15. Trump Threatens Comey Via Tweet.
        1. @RealDonaldTrump – “James Comey better hope that there are no “tapes” of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!”
        2. Also implied during Lester Holt interview that he fired Comey because he was frustrated by the Russia investigation.
        3. Spicer asked three times today about a secret WH recording system – won’t comment
    3. Russia
      1. After Comey Firing, Mitch McConnell rejects call for special investigator.
      2. Obama warned Trump about hiring Flynn on November 10
        1. http://www.cnn.com/2017/05/08/politics/obama-trump-michael-flynn/index.html
      3. Sally Yates to testify in from of Senate Subcommittee about Michael Flynn’s Connections with Russia.
        1. http://www.cnn.com/2017/05/08/politics/sally-yates-russia/
        2. Confirmed that Flynn’s phone calls with
        3. Kislyak were monitored and that they spoke about lifting sanctions and that Flynn lied to the VP
        4. Yates told McGahn that Flynn lied and could ergo be compromised
        5. Republican senators again focused on how we knew that Flynn lied and leaked
      4. Comey WAS to testify but didn’t.
        1. Prior to his dismissal, Comey was scheduled to testify Thursday at the World Wide Threats Hearing with the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, but will now be replaced by Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe.
        2. http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/comey-invited-testify-senate-intelligence-committee/story?id=47327754
        3. Has been invited to testify in front of the Senate Intelligence Committee Tuesday
      5. Trumps meets with “low level” Russia government members
        1. No US press allowed
        2. Russia government controlled media press person allowed
        3. Former CIA director warns it is a bad idea to allow russia media personnel into the oval office
          1. Former CIA deputy director David Cohen said it was not a good idea at all to let a Russian news agency and its equipment inside the Oval Office.
      6. Federal prosecutors have issued grand jury subpoenas to associates of former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn seeking business records, as part of the ongoing probe of Russian meddling in last year’s election, according to people familiar with the matter. CNN learned of the subpoenas hours before President Donald Trump fired FBI director James Comey.
        1. http://www.cnn.com/2017/05/09/politics/grand-jury-fbi-russia/index.html
    4. Afghanistan – Pentagon presenting a plan asking for thousands more US soldiers
      1. A war in the Middle East with no exit strategy?  What could go wrong?!
      2. 10k US soldiers there now, plus 26k State Department contractors
      3. $50B/week spent on Afghanistan – $1T spent overall
        1. Afghanistan currently the 9th most likely government to collapse on the Fragile States Index
        2. 10% of the Afghani female population is literate
      4. Unwinnable war
        1. Fighting a committed populace that can fight cheaply
        2. Logistics nightmare – only way to move supplies is through Pakistan
          1. Gas for US army in Afghanistan costs $600/gallon
        3. 100,000 troops under Obama were unable to win the war
      5. Incentives
        1. Military officers want to win the war
        2. Defense corporations want lucrative government contracts
        3. Elected officials want the jobs that come with government contracts
        4. No one has an incentive to withdrawal from Afghanistan
      6. White House turning over more military control to the Pentagon
        1. Military meant to be controlled by civilians – we’d still be in Vietnam if the military ran things
  3. Lightning Round
    1. The Kush family business holds presentation in China
      1. Aim was to to invite wealthy chinese businessmen to invest $500,000 into Kushner family business to be eligible for EB-5 visa to immigrate to the U.S. legally and easily
      2. At the center of an ongoing controversy is the Kushner Cos.’ use of a federal visa program to raise $150 million from Chinese investors for two luxury towers in New Jersey. Under the EB-5 program, wealthy foreigners can get a fast-track visa if they invest at least $500,000 in an eligible project. Program critics have nicknamed it “visas for cash.”
      3. The changes Kelly is considering, which have already gone through extensive review and public comment, would make it much more difficult to attract foreign money to projects in relatively prosperous areas, such as the one in Jersey City, experts said.
      4. Kushner’s sister Nicole Kushner Meyer generated criticism for the Trump White House on Saturday when she pitched her company’s project to investors in China, mentioning her brother’s name and featuring a photograph of President Trump. Potential investors were urged to sign up before the rules change.
      5. Representatives for the Kushner family reportedly asked journalists to leave the room during a presentation they were making to wealthy Chinese investors in Beijing, The Washington Post reported on Saturday.
        1. The Post said that a PR representative for the family asked its reporter to leave, saying that the presence of “foreign reporters threatened the ‘stability’ of the event.”
      6. View from an attendee
        1. “Even though this is the project of the son-in-law’s family, of course it is still affiliated,” Wang Yun, who attended the event, told The Post.
        2. Wang expressed concerns that an investment in Kushner 1 could go downhill if Trump is unsuccessful.
        3. “We heard that there are rumors that he is the most likely to be impeached president in American history. That’s why I doubt this project,” Wang said.
        4. http://www.businessinsider.com/kushner-family-reporters-beijing-china-visa-2017-5?r=UK&IR=T
    2. Trump’s Approval Rating Falls to New Low: 36%
      1. Quinnipiac University poll
      2. Gallup was at 45% after first 100 days.
      3. Democrats also lead Republicans by 16% in generic House poll.
        1. 54% to 38% Democrats to Republicans.  3% margin of error.
        2. Largest gap in the history of the poll.  Largest before this was Republicans by 5% in 2013.
        3. Both polls almost entirely performed before Comey’s firing.
    3. EPA has removed half of its scientific board
      1. Seeking industry-aligned replacements
      2. Scott Pruitt, the EPA administrator, has chosen not to renew the terms of nine of the 18-member board of scientific counselors, which advises the EPA on the quality and accuracy of the science it produces. The group, largely made up of academics, is set to be replaced by representatives from industries that the EPA regulates.
      3. Deborah Swackhamer, chair of the board, said that with other planned departures, the panel was left with five members, including her, in the midst of an EPA hiring freeze.
      4. “The committee has been eviscerated,” she told the Guardian. “We assumed these people would be renewed and there was no reason or indication they wouldn’t be. These people aren’t Obama appointees, they are scientific appointees. To have a political decision to get rid of them was a shock.”
      5. A spokesman for the agency told the New York Times: “The administrator believes we should have people on this board who understand the impact of regulations on the regulated community.”
      6. https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/may/08/epa-board-scientific-scott-pruitt-climate-change
      7. Scott pruitt has TEN bodyguards!!!
    4. US Census Director quits, citing a lack of Congressional appropriations for 2020
      1. Census data determines House representation and is the basis for districting
      2. 2022 elections and on might be fucked
      3. Trump signs executive order for KS Gov Kris Kobach to head a commission on voter fraud
      4. The Nation ran a report this week saying Voter ID laws cost 200,000 votes in WI
        1. A state Trump won by 22,000
    5. France – Emmanuel Macron wins French election with 67% of the vote
      1. First election in the Fifth Republic without a candidate from the two major parties
      2. Macron is the youngest president France has ever had at 39.
      3. Center-left joined with center-right to defeat Fascism
        1. Unlike US, where center-right embraced fascism
    6. South Korea elects new president amidst scandal – Moon Jae-in
      1. Park Geun-hye impeached and removed in March for funnelling public money to a cult
      2. Moon is a liberal human rights lawyer, former student protester, and spec ops soldier
      3. Campaigned on adding public sector jobs, engaging Pyongyang diplomatically, and rethinking the US-South Korea alliance
        1. Remain friends with US but take the lead on the Korean peninsula
      4. Refused to pardon Park if elected
      5. Roman Catholic who said he was opposed to homosexuality but that homosexuals should not be discriminated against
  4. Kentucky
    1. Kentucky Derby Winner Always Dreaming bites Governor Matt Bevin (This horse is a champion in my book – Travis)
      1. Will be given the Bluegrass Broadside Medal of Friendship
    2. Massie “not a town hall town hall” that was not on his public schedule, not announced anywhere, and had no press coverage.
  5. General Quarters
    1. Call your representatives and senators
      1. Call your rep’s this week – they are in recess all week
        1. Raise hell for their Yes vote on ACHA – make them pay a price
        2. Senate will be watching to see if there is pushback on the House vote
          1. If there is, they will be more hesitant to vote Yes themselves
          2. If not, they’ll see there is no price to pay for stripping 24M Americans of healthcare
      2. Demand an independent investigation into Trump’s links with Russia.  Especially since the recent firing of James Comey.  Also, ask them to hold town halls.
      3. Call them to PROTECT net neutrality
        1. Comment on the FCC website on issue 17-108 (Restoring Internet Freedom) to preserve the Title II protections for net neutrality.
  6. Super Happy Fun Time
    1. Dave – Lawmakers approved legislation Wednesday that will expand the Tennessee Promise program that launched in 2014. It made tuition and fees free for recent high school graduates enrolled in a community college or technical school. Now, adults who don’t already have an associate’s or bachelor’s degree can go for free, too, starting in the 2018 fall semester.
      1. Governor Bill Haslam is expected to sign the bill into law. He proposed the legislation in his State of the State address earlier this year. It’s a cornerstone of his initiative to increase the number of residents with a college education to 55% by 2025. Last year, less than 39% of residents had gone to college.
      2. “If we want to have jobs ready for Tennesseans, we have to make sure that Tennesseans are ready for jobs, and there is no smarter investment than increasing access to high-quality education,” Haslam said in a statement.
      3. Eligible students must have resided in the state for more than one year with 2.0+ GPA
    2. Travis – France’s New President-Elect Marcon used “Honeypot” accounts to pull out Russian hacker Fancy Bear.  
      1. Honeypot accounts contains huge numbers of fake, useless documents designed to slow down and trip up the Russian hacker.
      2. Caused the hackers to rush their data dump before the French election.  Because they were rushed, they forgot to remove meta-data in the leaked documents that pointed back to themselves.  Showed that the Russian version of Microsoft Word was used to edit documents and at least 9 of the leaked documents were last editing by firm that works for Russian intelligence agencies.
    3. Curtis –
    4. Bob – Flintstones comics are so so dope right now