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Who The Fuck Has Left The Trump Administration

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(David Bythewood) #681

Michael Flynn Writes Column Confirming He Is Definitely Insane

For several years, the national-security community has been wondering what the hell happened to Michael Flynn. Once a well-regarded director of the Defense Intelligence Agency for the Obama administration, Flynn appeared, according to his critics, to snap. He grew paranoid and obsessed with expanding a war against radical Islam into a Manichaean civilizational conflict. The rest (his work for Donald Trump, a handful of federal crimes) is history.

Flynn has written an op-ed, headlined “Forces of Evil Want to Steal Our Freedom in the Dark of Night, But God Stands With Us,” that resolves the question.

If you haven’t heard of Western Journal, don’t feel bad. I haven’t either, and I work in opinion journalism professionally. Presumably, Flynn shopped his column to several outlets before WJ (as its readers call it, probably) agreed to run it.

How to judge this op-ed? It is difficult to evaluate without knowing whether Flynn’s objective was to advance a policy agenda or to help his legal team plant an insanity defense. On the plus side, his prose is — well, distinctive. And his argument is difficult to rebut.

On the negative side, his main contention regarding the forces of evil and their alleged goals of stealing freedom is lacking in concrete evidence. The column is easier to understand if you read it in the voice of Colonel Jack D. Ripper, the deranged right-wing general in Dr. Strangelove. If I had edited the column, I would have urged Flynn to periodically address the reader as “Mandrake.”

A few passages give the Ripper-esque flavor of his analysis:

Once again, tyranny and treachery are in our midst, and although we feel we’ve descended into a hellish state of existence, we must never forget, hell is conquerable.

And:

The idea or notion of a heaven on Earth is the very real sense of being free. Freedom is oxygen. Like the air we breathe that keeps our lungs full and our hearts beating, the celestial feeling of freedom brings a sense of peace to our souls.

And:

As long as we accept God in the lifeblood of our nation, we will be OK. If we don’t, we will face a hellish existence.

And:

God willing, we will prevail in peace and freedom from fear and in true health through the purity and essence of our natural fluids. God bless you all.

Wait, sorry; that last bit is from Dr. Strangelove. The rest are real Flynn quotes, though.

The Ripper character is defined by his superficially responsible and accomplished mien, which gradually reveals a military man who has been driven into dangerous monomaniacal aggression by right-wing paranoia. This is an almost eerily perfect description of Flynn. Except Flynn, unlike Ripper, is also a crook.


(David Bythewood) #682


https://twitter.com/ImagineWorldas1/status/1273039900720406529?s=20


#683

Bannon Ally in Charge of U.S. Media Agency Dismisses Heads of News Organizations

A conservative filmmaker who recently took over a United States global media agency removed the chiefs of four news organizations under its purview on Wednesday night, according to people with knowledge of the decision, in an action that raises questions about their editorial independence.

The filmmaker, Michael Pack, also dismissed the head of a technology group and disbanded the bipartisan board that helps oversee and advise those five organizations. He replaced its members largely with Trump administration political appointees, including himself as chairman. One board member works for a conservative advocacy organization, Liberty Counsel Action.

The moves were criticized by congressional officials, including a leading Democratic senator, and former diplomats as an effort to turn the news organizations under the United States Agency for Global Media into partisan outlets. The organizations receive funding from the American government but operate independently.

Mr. Pack is a close ally of Stephen K. Bannon, the former campaign strategist and White House adviser to President Trump who has urged Mr. Trump to take charge of the news organizations and reshape them to his purposes. Democrats in the Senate held up Mr. Pack’s nomination for years, but Mr. Trump urged Republicans in recent weeks to push through the confirmation.

[…]

The organizational heads dismissed Wednesday night were Bay Fang of Radio Free Asia; Jamie Fly of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty; Alberto M. Fernandez of Middle East Broadcasting Networks; Emilio Vazquez of the Office of Cuba Broadcasting; and Libby Liu of the Open Technology Fund.

Just cleaning house over here, gotta give everything a good white down.


#684

Those who control the Medium control the message…alt-right news all the time. :tired_face:

https://twitter.com/waltshaub/status/1273220104197754881?s=19


#685

Top State Department official resigns in protest of Trump’s response to racial tensions in the country

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/top-state-department-official-resigns-in-protest-of-trumps-response-to-racial-tensions-in-the-country/2020/06/18/e142e342-b181-11ea-a567-6172530208bd_story.html

Mary Elizabeth Taylor, assistant secretary of state for legislative affairs, submitted her resignation Thursday. Taylor’s five-paragraph resignation letter, obtained by The Washington Post, serves as an indictment of Trump’s stewardship at a time of national unrest from one of the administration’s highest-ranking African Americans and an aide who was viewed as loyal and effective in serving his presidency.

“Moments of upheaval can change you, shift the trajectory of your life, and mold your character. The President’s comments and actions surrounding racial injustice and Black Americans cut sharply against my core values and convictions,” Taylor wrote in her resignation letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. “I must follow the dictates of my conscience and resign as Assistant Secretary of State for Legislative Affairs.”


#686

Cross-posting :pray:


#687

The ship’s captain who tried to warn his crew of COVID aboard his ship is being fired, after his initial firing was stopped and investigated.

https://twitter.com/jimsciutto/status/1274047441449476096?s=20

The Navy has decided to uphold the firing of Capt. Brett Crozier, the former commanding officer of the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt who was relieved of duty after raising the alarm about a Covid-19 outbreak on his ship in March, according to two people familiar with the investigation.

“The results of the investigation justified the relief,” said one person who has seen the investigation. “He failed to take appropriate action, to do the things that the commanding officer of a ship is supposed to do, so he stays relieved.”


#688

https://twitter.com/zekejmiller/status/1274152799404797952?s=21


#689

Fall out from the clearing out of VOA and former Board members are protesting Pack’s actions
and write a letter to him.

Former Board members on Maddow tonight discussing the fallout
Karen Kornbluh
Ryan Crocker - Diplomat, former Ambassador

Video Maddow
https://twitter.com/MaddowBlog/status/1274159120090873856?s=20

Bipartisan lawmakers are calling for answers from the new Trump-appointed chief executive at the US Agency for Global Media after a firing spree on Wednesday.

The shakeups at the taxpayer-funded agency have raised concerns that CEO Michael Pack intends to turn the agency into a political arm of the administration, prompting both Democratic lawmakers and former USAGM board members to call on him to respect the independence of its news organizations and recognize its importance in promoting democracy abroad.

Jamie Fly, the ousted head of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFERL), on Friday warned against the US falling behind authoritarian countries in the information space and called for “clear and consistent leadership, funding, and support” at the news organization.

In what a former official described as a “Wednesday night massacre,” the heads of Middle East Broadcasting, Radio Free Asia, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, and the Open Technology Fund were all ousted, multiple sources told CNN, and their respective boards were dismissed.

In a press release Thursday, USAGM described it as “Pack (effecting) a series of significant and long-overdue actions to keep assurances to restructure the agency, fully in accordance with the law.”

“Every action I carried out was – and every action I will carry out will be – geared toward rebuilding the USAGM’s reputation, boosting morale, and improving content,” Pack said in the release, which included positive anonymous quotes and was described by one staffer as akin to “North Korean” propaganda.

Bipartisan concern

The Democratic chairs of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and House Appropriations Committee wrote in a letter to Pack Friday that they were “outraged” at Wednesday’s actions.

“Now, more than ever, it is critical that the USAGM staff are enabled and empowered to do this critical work and to continue the longstanding practice of not getting entangled in politics – and especially that they are not expected to shift their practice to propagandize or mislead audiences at the Trump Administration’s whim,” wrote Reps. Eliot Engel and Nita Lowey of New York.

They called on Pack to turn over by June 29 “any and all documents relating to, referring to or regarding the performance, views, and/or potential termination or replacement of Alberto Fernandez, Jamie Fly, Bay Fang, and Libby Liu” – the individuals who were ousted on Wednesday – stretching back to the beginning of Trump’s presidency.

Rep. Michael McCaul, the top Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said Friday that he was concerned by the removals and Pack’s failure to consult with Congress.

While every new leader has a right to bring in his or her own team, these mass terminations beyond just the USAGM executive leadership seem potentially damaging to both the operations & morale of the agency," he wrote on Twitter. “Unfortunately, I and others were not consulted before these major decisions were made. Further troubling is that in his letter to USAGM employees, he stressed the importance of consulting with Congress.”

“I hope CEO Pack will find time very soon to explain to me and my colleagues on the House Foreign Affairs Committee his reasons for making these decisions,” the Texas Republican said. He and GOP Sen. Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee also said they were “troubled” by the removal of another top official at the Open Technology Fund “and are concerned about the future of the organization.”

“We have been impressed with the efforts of President Laura Cunningham and her team, and we look forward to hearing from CEO Pack on how he plans to continue the vital mission of OTF during this time of transition,” the Republican lawmakers wrote in a statement Friday.

From Elizabeth Warren pointing to the inherent corruption in Michael Pack’s moves.

https://twitter.com/SenWarren/status/1273713800349388802?s=20


Congressional Oversight 2020 - election edition
#690

Shady stuff…SDNY - the fiercely independent part of the Judiciary, and a T appointee Berman is let go. What is up with this…???

FRIDAY nite missile.

There will be an overseeing DA from NJ for 5 months.

The SDNY has received pressure from Wm Barr in the past.

Does not pass smell test.

https://twitter.com/AP/status/1274157212404011009?s=20

https://twitter.com/PreetBharara/status/1274156071062581248?s=20


More Questionable Behavior from Trump, T Admin, DOJ, and R's vs Dems, Press, Justice
#691

NYT too


More Questionable Behavior from Trump, T Admin, DOJ, and R's vs Dems, Press, Justice
#692

A new pattern is forming, I’d have to check the dates but this comment feels true.

https://twitter.com/mkraju/status/1274172112614363141?s=21


#693

Cross-posting :pray:


#694

NPR reporter tells us the follow-up on T firing Berman…and the coercion/lies that AG Barr was involved with.

https://twitter.com/johnson_carrie/status/1274427173416448006?s=19

https://twitter.com/johnson_carrie/status/1274427495509626880?s=19


#695

Excerpt from NYT above

Unprecedented

Trump Fires Berman After Tensions Rose Over Inquiries - The New York Times

While there have always been turf battles between the Southern District and the Justice Department in Washington, and occasionally sharp elbows, to take someone out suddenly while they’re investigating the president’s lawyer, it is just unprecedented in modern times,” said David Massey, a defense attorney, who served as a Southern District prosecutor for nearly a decade.

A spokesman for the office said Mr. Berman would not immediately comment.

The struggle over Mr. Berman came amid a broader purge of administration officials, one that has intensified in the months since the Republican-led Senate acquitted Mr. Trump at an impeachment trial. Since the beginning of the year, the president has fired or forced out inspectors general with independent oversight over executive branch agencies and other key figures from the trial.


#696

Kevin Hassett to leave White House [Again] this summer

White House adviser Kevin Hassett will leave the administration this summer, after returning in March to help the president respond to the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic, according to two administration officials.


(David Bythewood) #697

Mike Griffin, the Pentagon’s first undersecretary of research and engineering, and his deputy, Lisa Porter, will leave July 10.


#698

Well I totally missed this!

Over Memorial Day weekend, Attorney General William Barr removed a low-profile US attorney in Texas following the public airing of a dispute over an investigation into Walmart – a move that didn’t draw the same attention as the firing of the high-profile US attorney in Manhattan, but is now raising new questions about political interference inside the Justice Department.

Joseph Brown, the US attorney for the Eastern District of Texas and a Trump appointee, was pushed out after ProPublica published a nearly 7,000-word storyheadlined “Walmart was almost charged criminally over opioids. Trump appointees killed the indictment,” which described an internal battle over a Texas prosecutor’s efforts to bring criminal charges against Walmart, according to people familiar with the matter. Walmart has not been accused of any wrongdoing.

Late last month, Brown was contacted by a Justice Department official in Washington and given an ultimatum, he could resign or it would go “differently,” according to a person familiar with the exchange.

The official didn’t explain why Washington officials wanted Brown to leave, according to the person, "but it was clear it was related to ProPublica. That’s the only explanation.”

And a twofer!

Joshua Russ, the assistant US attorney in Texas overseeing the civil investigation and the co-head of a Justice Department working group, resigned in October after the civil investigation stalled.

In his resignation letter, which was published by ProPublica, Russ wrote, “I appreciate that there are rational disagreements about how best to proceed, and I respect those divergent views. However, I deeply regret that Department leadership prevented EDTX from filing its lawsuit in 2018.”

Brown was replaced by Stephen J Cox, a Barr pick who ran the civil division in Washington. According to ProPublica, when Texas prosecutors wanted to file a civil lawsuit against Walmart Cox was among the Washington officials who said it wasn’t ready.


#699

The Federal Election Commission is losing its short-lived quorum after Caroline Hunter, a longtime Republican commissioner of the FEC and former chair of the agency, is resigning, according to a resignation letter obtained by POLITICO.

Her departure from the agency means that the FEC will be unable to make major enforcement actions.


#700

White House Economist Tested Positive for Covid-19

Tomas Philipson said this week he would depart as acting chairman of Council of Economic Advisers