solarbird: (korra-on-the-air)
[personal profile] solarbird
I'm overbooked this week; Anna's nasal surgery on Monday went about as planned, but there is much more time-consuming aftercare than I understood, and while this needed to happen, it is a lot of time away from other things. Here's a partial catch-up, with emphasis on fascism and neo-fascist activities.

  • Republican Oversight Leader: Michael Flynn Apparently Broke the Law
  • EXCLUSIVE: Sebastian Gorka’s Ties To Nazi-Allied Group Stretch Back Decades
  • Senate Russia probe flounders amid partisan bickering
  • Senate Trump-Russia Probe Has No Full-Time Staff, No Key Witnesses
  • Macron Victim of Cyber Attack Similar to U.S. Democratic Party’s
  • Donald Trump, Jr., retweeting Nigel Farage endorsing Marine Le Pen. Global. White. Nationalist. Authoritarianism. Movement.

  • A GOP Lawmaker Has Been Revealed As The Creator Of Reddit’s Anti-Woman ‘Red Pill’ Forum
  • And here it is, the NH state rep and founder of The Red Pill talking about why he should get to sleep with underage girls
  • Donald Trump to strip all funding from State Department team promoting women's rights around the world
  • Inside The Online Community Of Men Who Preach Removing Condoms Without Consent

Corruption and farce:
  • House Oversight Committee calls on Trump’s business to prove he’s not violating the Constitution
  • Ivanka Trump adds a chief of staff
  • Report: Trump won't fire Spicer because 'the guy gets great ratings'

  • Gay men detained in Chechnya give accounts of abuse, electrocution
  • President of Chechnya Intends to Eliminate All Gay Men There by Ramadan

And three unsorted:
  • Trump’s Sanctuary Cities Order Blocked by Federal Judge
  • Resilience of the Resistance
  • May Benefits as Britain's Pro-Brexit Party Loses Supporters

----- 1 -----
Republican Oversight Leader: Michael Flynn Apparently Broke the Law
Tessa Berenson | TIME
12:52 PM ET | 25 August 2017

[See also: ]

Rep. Jason Chaffetz said former national security advisor Michael Flynn appears to have broken the law when he accepted payments from entities linked to Russia and Turkey.

“As a former military officer, you simply cannot take money from Russia, Turkey or anybody else,” said Chaffetz, a Utah Republican and chairman of the House oversight committee. “And it appears as if he did take that money. It was inappropriate, and there are repercussions for the violation of law.”

Chaffetz spoke Tuesday after a meeting in which the committee reviewed classified documents related to the investigation, CNN reports. "I see no data to support the notion that Gen. Flynn complied with the law," Chaffetz said of whether Flynn disclosed the money he was paid for a speech he gave to Russian television network RT.

Chaffetz and his Democratic counterpart Rep. Elijah Cummings also said in a joint statement that Flynn did not seek or receive the necessary permission from the military for his foreign business entanglements.

"Gen. Flynn had a duty and an obligation to seek and obtain permission to receive money from foreign governments prior to any engagement with them,” Chaffetz said, the Wall Street Journal reports. “It does not appear to us that that was ever sought, nor did he ever get that permission,” Mr. Chaffetz said.

----- 2 -----
EXCLUSIVE: Sebastian Gorka’s Ties To Nazi-Allied Group Stretch Back Decades
Larry Cohler-Esses | Forward | April 24, 2017

President Trump’s top counter-terrorism aide, Sebastian Gorka, has offered varied and sometimes contradictory accounts of his association with the Vitézi Rend, a far-right Hungarian group that is on a U.S. State Department “watch list.”

Now, new research by the Forward has revealed that Gorka’s use of a special lower-case “v.” insignia in his signature, which the Vitézi Rend allows only sworn members to use, goes back much further than previously known.

In articles he published in 1998, when he was 28 years old, and then in 1999, Gorka signed his name “Sebestyén L. v. Gorka,” using the Hungarian honorific abbreviation for “Vitez,” which is reserved exclusively for sworn members of the Vitézi Rend order.

The articles predated the death of Gorka’s father by several years, making his assertion that he simply inherited the title from his father, as he has claimed, seemingly impossible.

----- 3 -----
Senate Russia probe flounders amid partisan bickering
Michael Isikoff, Yahoo News April 24, 2017

More than three months after the Senate Intelligence Committee launched its investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election — including allegations of collusion by associates of President Trump — the panel has made little progress and is increasingly stymied by partisan divisions that are jeopardizing the future of the inquiry, according to multiple sources involved in the probe.

The committee has yet to issue a single subpoena for documents or interview any key witnesses who are central to the probe, the sources said. It also hasn’t requested potentially crucial evidence — such as the emails, memos and phone records of the Trump campaign — in part because the panel’s chairman, Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., has so far failed to respond to requests from the panel’s Democrats to sign letters doing so, the sources said.

“The wheels seem to be turning more slowly than the importance of the inquiry would indicate,” said Richard Ben-Veniste, a member of the 9/11 commission and former Watergate prosecutor, one of a number of veteran Washington investigators who have begun to question the lack of movement in the probe.

As Congress returns from its spring recess this week and Trump approaches his 100th day in office, the panel has no further public hearings scheduled, even as the House Intelligence Committee — torn by its own partisan wrangling and internal turmoil — shows some flickering new signs of life. The result has caused growing frustration among the Senate committee’s Democrats, who are privately complaining the probe is underfunded, understaffed and too timid in pushing to get to the bottom of one of the most explosive political stories in years.

----- 4 -----
House Oversight Committee calls on Trump’s business to prove he’s not violating the Constitution
Aaron Rupar | 21 April 2017 | Think Progress

Days after a lawsuit accusing President Trump of violating the Constitution’s “emoluments clause” added more plaintiffs, the House Oversight Committee is requesting the Trump Organization turn over documents detailing what processes Trump’s business has implemented, if any, to make sure the president isn’t profiting from foreign governments who want to curry favor with him.

On Friday, the Oversight Committee sent a letter to Sheri Dillon — the lawyer who detailed how Trump planned to avoid conflicts of interest during a January 11 news conference — asking her to detail how that plan is being implemented by no later than May 12.

The Constitution prohibits presidents from accepting “any present, emolument, office, or title, of any kind whatever, from any king, prince, or foreign state.” But the Trump International Hotel has taken money from foreign governments to rent out event spaces and rooms at the hotel. And since Trump has broken presidential precedent by refusing to divest from his business interests, he stands to personally profit.

The problem was captured succinctly in this recent tweet from the Georgian ambassador that effectively served as an advertisement for the Trump International.

----- 5 -----
Senate Trump-Russia Probe Has No Full-Time Staff, No Key Witnesses
There are just seven part-time staffers working on the Senate inquiry. Not one of them is a trained investigator. And they haven’t interviewed a single player in Trump’s orbit.
Tim Mak | The Daily Beast
04.24.17 1:00 AM ET

The Senate Intelligence Committee’s probe into Russia’s election interference is supposedly the best hope for getting the public credible answers about whether there was any coordination between the Kremlin and Trump Tower.

But there are serious reasons to doubt that it can accomplish this task, as currently configured.

More than three months after the committee announced that it had agreed on the scope of the investigation, the panel has not begun substantially investigating possible ties between the Trump campaign and Russia, three individuals with ties to the committee told The Daily Beast.

The investigation does not have a single staffer dedicated to it full-time, and those staff members working on it part-time do not have significant investigative experience. The probe currently appears to be moving at a pace slower than prior Senate Intelligence Committee investigations, such as the CIA torture inquiry, which took years to accomplish.

No interviews have been conducted with key individuals suspected of being in the Trump-Russia orbit: not Michael Flynn, not Roger Stone, not Carter Page, not Paul Manafort, and not Jared Kushner, according to two sources familiar with the committee’s procedures.

“It’s either a real investigation or not,” said one individual with knowledge of the committee’s activities. “You have to have an approved investigative guide. You have to make it formal. Can you have a credible investigation with only seven part-time staffers, doing everything in secret?”

----- 6 -----
Report: Trump won't fire Spicer because 'the guy gets great ratings'
The Hill
By Brandon Carter - 04/23/17 07:08 PM EDT

President Trump has no plans to fire White House press secretary Sean Spicer, comparing Spicer’s daily press briefings to a daytime soap opera.

“I’m not firing Sean Spicer,” Trump said, according to The Washington Post. “That guy gets great ratings. Everyone tunes in.”

Spicer’s job security has come into question after a series of gaffes, most recently when he said during a press briefing that Nazi leader Adolf Hitler did not use chemical weapons during World War II and then referred to concentration camps as “Holocaust centers” when he tried to clarify his remarks.

Spicer’s comments set off a firestorm of criticism, and both Republicans and Democrats demanded he lose his job.

----- 7 -----
Macron Victim of Cyber Attack Similar to U.S. Democratic Party’s
by Carol Matlack
Helene Fouquet | Bloomberg | 25 April 2017

French presidential front-runner Emmanuel Macron has been hit repeatedly in recent weeks by cyber attacks closely resembling those used to infiltrate Democratic Party organizations in the U.S. last year, according to a report by cyber-security consultant Trend Micro.

Trend Micro attributed the attacks to Pawn Storm, which it described as an "active cyber espionage actor group" that has carried out such hits in more than a dozen countries. The French government’s cyber-security agency ANSSI confirmed it has identified such attacks, saying it was “a classic modus operandi of Pawn Storm.” It, however, said the attacks could also be the work “other high-level” hackers trying to pin the operations on Pawn Storm.

Some cyber-security experts have linked Pawn Storm to Russian intelligence services, but Trend Micro has no proof of Russia’s involvement, said Loïc Guéza, a Paris-based cyber-security strategist for the company.

----- 8 -----
Trump’s Sanctuary Cities Order Blocked by Federal Judge
by Kartikay Mehrotra
Erik Larson | Bloomberg | 25 April 2017

The Trump administration vowed to keep fighting to cut funding to so-called sanctuary cities and accused the federal judge who blocked its plans of ignoring immigration law.

The ruling Tuesday bars President Donald Trump from withholding funds from jurisdictions that refuse to cooperate with federal agencies to deport undocumented immigrants, marking his second setback in court on immigration. As with its temporary travel ban on six mostly Muslim nations now on appeal, the White House said it expected to ultimately win its case against sanctuary cities in the U.S. Supreme Court.

“Once again, a single district judge -- this time in San Francisco -- has ignored federal immigration law to set a new immigration policy for the entire country,” the White House said in a statement. “San Francisco, and cities like it, are putting the well-being of criminal aliens before the safety of our citizens, and those city officials who authored these policies have the blood of dead Americans on their hands.”

----- 9 -----
Donald Trump to strip all funding from State Department team promoting women's rights around the world
Leaked plan comes as First Daughter Ivanka defends her father's record with women
Jon Sharman | The Independent | Wednesday 26 April 2017

Donald Trump plans to strip all funding from a State Department bureau that promotes the rights of women around the world, it has emerged.

Oxfam America led criticism of the move, saying said cutting funds for the Office of Global Women’s Issues would have “dire consequences for millions of people, as well as our global standing”.

Documents first leaked to Foreign Policy showed plans to reduce the office’s 2016 budget of $8.25 million (£6.43 million) to zero in 2018, though the President’s budget will still have to make it past Congress.

“It’s clear that women’s empowerment and gender equality are on the chopping block in this budget,” Oxfam vice president for policy, Paul O’Brien, said.

----- 10 -----
A GOP Lawmaker Has Been Revealed As The Creator Of Reddit’s Anti-Woman ‘Red Pill’ Forum
Dan Seitz | UPROXX | 04.25.17

The far right tends to use the term “red pill” as a catch-all to describe social attitudes and indoctrination. It’s an odd choice, considering it comes from a movie written and directed by two trans sisters, but it mostly comes from the notorious anti-woman Reddit forum r/redpill. Now, the founder of that forum has been tracked down, and he’s a GOP lawmaker.

Specifically, the Daily Beast has found that New Hampshire state representative Robert Fisher founded the subreddit Redpill under a few aliases. Fisher is a mostly unremarkable politician in the state, but has ties to more colorful and controversial state politicians like Joshua Youssef, who notoriously has a very public grudge against his ex-wife’s divorce attorney.

The forum he founded, however, is notorious for a cult-like atmosphere and is one of the more well-known misogynistic corners of the internet. It launched the career of Milo Yiannopoulous, who was a regular contributor to the forum and whose involvement in it became part of the backlash that ultimately cost Yiannopoulous his job at Breitbart. Just how involved Fisher is in the behavior of the forum in recent years is unclear, as Redditors can have multiple screen names and even assume different personalities to discuss their views without those views being traced back to their real names. However, after being contacted by the Daily Beast for the story, Fisher has attempted to wipe any connection he was involved with the forum.

----- 11 -----
Ivanka Trump adds a chief of staff
The first daughter is expanding her White House team, and is leaning heavily on veterans of the George W. Bush administration.
By Annie Karni
04/21/17 | Politico

Ivanka Trump is quietly staffing up, and she’s filling out her team in the West Wing with former officials from President George W. Bush’s administration.

In addition to her close adviser Dina Powell, who served as assistant to the president for personnel in the Bush White House, the first daughter — who now serves as a special assistant to the president — has hired a chief of staff who worked under Bush’s education secretary, Margaret Spellings.


Ivanka Trump’s husband, senior adviser Jared Kushner, has also been staffing up. Earlier this month, Kushner recruited Hollywood publicist Josh Raffel to work in his burgeoning, though still vaguely defined, Office of American Innovation.

----- 12 -----
Inside The Online Community Of Men Who Preach Removing Condoms Without Consent
Research on the practice of "stealthing" explores how victims can seek justice.
By Jenavieve Hatch | The Huffington Post | 21 April 2017

A new study explores the phenomenon of “stealthing” ― the purposefully nonconsensual removal of condoms during sex ― and how those who fall victim to the practice can move forward.

The study, written by Alexandra Brodsky for the Columbia Journal of Gender and Law, features interviews with victims of stealthing. Brodsky also does a deep dive into the online world of men who feel entitled to “bareback” sex without their partner’s consent, regardless of that partner’s gender.

Ultimately, Brodsky argues, stealthing is an act of gender-based violence that may violate a number of civil and criminal laws.

Brodsky told The Huffington Post that she wanted to study the phenomenon because, as she entered law school in the fall of 2013, she realized how many of her women friends were “struggling with forms of mistreatment by sexual partners that weren’t considered part of the recognized repertoire of gender based violence ― but that seemed rooted in the same misogyny and lack of respect.”

Brodsky, who now serves as a Legal Fellow for National Women’s Law Center (but wrote this article outside of her role for the organization), told HuffPost that what she found in her research was a group of victims who knew that something about being stealthed felt incredibly violating, but they “didn’t have the vocabulary” to process it.

She opens the study with the story of one woman, Rebecca, who had been stealthed herself, and who worked on a sexual violence crisis hotline. She found that many women were calling the hotline to try to suss out their experiences of having been stealthed.

“Their stories often start the same way,” Rebecca said. “’I’m not sure if this is rape, but...’”

----- 13 -----
Gay men detained in Chechnya give accounts of abuse, electrocution
Multiple men have shared their accounts of being held in Chechen prison camps for being gay.
Ross Semple | Attitude | 19 April 2017

Gay men detained in Chechen prison camps have spoken about the violence inflicted upon them, from beatings to electrocution.

CNN conducted interviews with various men who had been detained in these prison camps. The men spoke anonymously to protect their identity.

Horrifying accounts of brutality and killings have been emerging from the Russia republic over the last two weeks, after Russian opposition newspaper, Novaya Gazeta reported that over 100 gay and bisexual men aged 16-50 had been detained by authorities over the last few months.

At least three men are known to have been killed, though the paper estimates the real figure to be higher, with witnesses and survivors reporting that detainees have been imprisoned together in large groups or ‘camps’, where they have been beaten and tortured – sometimes to death – by officials.

----- 14 -----
Resilience of the Resistance
Charles M. Blow | The New York Times Opinion | APRIL 24, 2017

The resistance to the travesty of Donald Trump’s presidency is holding up just fine, thank you very much.

As we approach the 100th day of the Trump administration, a tremendous amount of attention and coverage will be devoted to analyzing its impact and efficacy. But I would also like to take time to celebrate the impact and efficacy of the resistance.

I must say that the issue of resilience was one that I worried and wondered about from the beginning: For far too many Americans in this digital age, stamina is rare, attention spans are short and the urge for instant gratification, or at least for expedient resolution, is enormous.

I worried that modern shortsightedness would prevent resisters from seeing the long game, that the exhaustion of constant outrage would numb them to unrelenting assault.

But, to my great delight, my worry was unfounded. Not only is the movement still strong, it appears to be getting stronger. People have found a salve for their sadness: exuberant agitation. Far from growing limp, the Trump resistance is stiffening and strengthening.

----- 15 -----
President of Chechnya Intends to Eliminate All Gay Men There by Ramadan
by Luis Damian Veron | Towleroad
23 April 2017

The British Foreign Office has confirmed threats by Chechen president Ramzan Kadyrov that he intends to eliminate all gay men in the republic by Ramadan, which begins May 26.

In a speech to parliament this past Wednesday, the deputy foreign secretary of the United Kingdom decried the ongoing reports of the rounding up, torture and persecution of gay men in the Muslim-majority Russian territory in the Caucasus, and made the alarming revelation of the threat:

"Sir Alan Duncan, Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, told parliament: “Human rights groups report that these anti-gay campaigns and killings are orchestrated by the head of the Chechen republic, Ramzan Kadyrov. He has carried out other violent campaigns in the past, and this time he is directing his efforts at the LGBT community.

"Sources [in local Russian media] have said that he wants the [LGBT] community eliminated by the start of Ramadan.”

Kadyrov has continued to deny accounts of any anti-gay campaign, including in a meeting with Russian president Vladimir Putin, who unsurprisingly has shown no inclination to address the situation. Human Rights Watch and other human rights organizations, however, have documented the disturbing developments on the ground since local newspaper Novaya Gazeta first called attention to them earlier this month, including dozens of detentions and several executions:

----- 16 -----
May Benefits as Britain's Pro-Brexit Party Loses Supporters
by Robert Hutton | Bloomberg
25 April 2017

The party that pushed the U.K. towards Brexit is collapsing, and the main beneficiary is Prime Minister Theresa May.

The U.K. Independence Party gained 13 percent of the vote in 2015, moving into third place. But since achieving its goal, a referendum vote for Britain to leave the European Union, it has struggled to find a purpose. It’s only member of parliament left the party, and even its leader -- the third in 12 months -- won’t say if he’s going to stand in the election.

Polls suggest voters are responding by abandoning UKIP. Over the weekend, they showed it on course to get between 5 and 11 percent in the June 8 election. Even the best of those polls found support for the party falling. It is May’s Conservative Party that’s benefiting.

“The UKIP vote is going to the Tories,” John Curtice, professor of politics at Strathclyde University, told reporters in London. “That’s the story of the first week of the campaign.”

----- 17 -----
And here it is, the NH state rep and founder of The Red Pill talking about why he should get to sleep with underage girls (vomit warning):
Catherynne Valente on Twitter @catvalente | 25 April 2017

"And here it is, the NH state rep and founder of The Red Pill talking about why he should get to sleep with underage girls (vomit warning):"
[screencap at link]

----- 18 -----
Donald Trump, Jr., retweeting Nigel Farage endorsing Marine Le Pen. Global. White. Nationalist. Authoritarianism. Movement.
Leah McElrath on Twitter | 25 April 2017

Donald Trump, Jr., retweeting Nigel Farage endorsing Marine Le Pen.

Global. White. Nationalist. Authoritarianism. Movement.
[screencap at link]

----- 19 ------
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