Haven't heard from Joe Conason in a while. There is little doubt that Trump has been laundering Russian mob money for years. Will he get away with it?
The End Is Coming, Mob Style
by Joe Conason
"Lock her up!"
Roared at the Republican National Convention and every Donald Trump rally up to the present day, that ferocious chant now has a distinctly ironic ring. Several presidential henchmen who encouraged that ugly smear of Hillary Clinton — still innocent and still free — are on their way to prison. And there is reason to believe that they will not be the last of the president's associates, possibly including his kin, to end up behind bars.
According to a jury of former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort's peers, Manafort is guilty on eight felony counts. Former Trump deputy campaign manager Rick Gates copped a plea and testified against Manafort, but he's going to jail, too. Michael Flynn, who advised the Trump campaign and then served very briefly as national security adviser in the White House, likewise pled guilty and will do time. (He led that nasty chant at the convention, a moment that will be replayed forever as his most memorable act.) And now Michael Cohen, Trump's former personal attorney and consigliere, has entered a plea agreement on eight violations of banking, tax and campaign finance laws.
Nobody who has followed Donald Trump's career, dating back many years before he entered politics, should be surprised by these events. Nor should anyone be surprised that Trump would express "regret" over the fall of Manafort for his many crimes against the United States. As Craig Unger explains in his new book, "House of Trump, House of Putin: The Untold Story of Donald Trump and the Russian Mafia," the developer/casino magnate/reality TV star has cultivated connections with the underworld for decades. He built Trump Tower with illegal immigrant labor and concrete supplied by the Mafia — and gave an apartment there to the girlfriend of a mobbed-up Teamster boss. Millions of dollars have been poured into Trump properties from gangsters around the world in massive money-laundering operations.
He has always felt most comfortable with unsavory figures like Manafort, who should have been indicted and sent to prison for blatant influence peddling during the Housing and Urban Development scandal back in the Ronald Reagan era, and Cohen, who has long done business with crooks in the taxi and real estate sectors in New York City. His infamous attorney Roy Cohn was a mob lawyer indicted three times, who was lucky to escape imprisonment for tax evasion and many other alleged crimes.
The Trump outfit is going down in the time-honored style that marked the decline of La Cosa Nostra. A tough guy like Michael Cohen folds up and squeals exactly the same as Sammy the Bull. And a smart guy like Manafort, who has gotten away with everything and thought he always would, is put away exactly the same as Al Capone, convicted of tax evasion on the testimony of an accountant.
No doubt Trump and his choir will remind us that none of these charges touch on campaign collusion with the Russians, but that is a feeble rejoinder. Special counsel Robert Mueller has already filed preliminary indictments on that aspect of his investigation, of which there will be more to come. Meanwhile, the special counsel will present evidence concerning Trump's Nixonian attempts to obstruct his investigation.
But regardless of what Mueller eventually reveals about the president, the Cohen deal has placed Trump in grave jeopardy. In pleading guilty to felony violations of federal campaign finance statutes, Cohen has said that he paid off Stormy Daniels and another woman in a criminal conspiracy with Trump.
Remember, that plea deal was reached not with Mueller but with the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York, headed by Trump appointee Geoffrey Berman, and the Department of Justice, headed by Trump appointee Jefferson Beauregard Sessions. While his aides whisper to Fox News that "the president cannot be indicted," Americans will soon realize that the man in the Oval Office is an unindicted co-conspirator — just like Nixon.
The question that faces every member of Congress, and for that matter, every voter, is what to do about it.
Ad FeedbacBut regardless of what Mueller eventually reveals about the president, the Cohen deal has placed Trump in grave jeopardy. In pleading guilty to felony violations of federal campaign finance statutes, Cohen has said that he paid off Stormy Daniels and another woman in a criminal conspiracy with Trump.
I feel a little sorry for people like Linda Harvey who are so stunted and deformed by "the good book" that they can't help but lash out. Pity her poor husband, too.
Christian right leader: Straight people who have oral sex have adopted 'homosexual sex practices'
found on Deadstate
There’s a segment of the religious right that says things so nutty, you literally have to do a double take and make sure what you’re reading isn’t satire. Linda Harvey is one such person, and she’s for real.
As the founder of the American right-wing Christian organization Mission America, Harvey has racked up a greatest hits list of truly bizarre commentary on social issues, mostly having to do with her bigoted perception of gay people. Writing in the far-right conspiracist outlet World Net Daily last year, Harvey argued that the rainbow has been “stolen” by the LGBT community.
“The sweet rainbow image has been violated, raped by the deluded and fraudulent, and it now serves too often as a garish signpost for slavery to grave homosexual sin,” Harvey wrote. “From shameful pride parades to hats, T-shirts, wristbands and buttons sold at Target or Walmart, sexual deviance is being colorfully and arrogantly proclaimed from America’s rooftops.”
“Can we trademark the rainbow?” she asked.
Now in her latest op-ed, this time for the right-wing Christian outlet Barbwire.com, Harvey takes on the subject of sexually transmitted diseases, arguing that they’re being driven by “progressive, x-rated sex ed classes.”
poor, frustrated Linda Harvey
According to Harvey, universities and organizations like Planned Parenthood are now “promoting sexual pleasure for children ages four to seven.” Of course, she doesn’t provide much evidence for this other than links to other op-eds written for far-right websites and science journals that she wildly takes out of context.
And then there’s this:
And let’s not forget the deadly contribution of “LGBTQ” advocates who demand “inclusive” sex ed —i.e., lessons that outline in detail how kids can engage in anal and oral sex, the sex practices of homosexuals. These lessons often encourage masturbation and pornography use.
So just to clarify what she’s implying here: oral and anal sex are the sex practices of homosexuals that have been passed on to straight people. Okay, Linda.
Writing for the Friendly Atheist, Hemant Mehta points out that Harvey’s claims are based on the fact that she’s either willfully or ignorantly getting the goal of comprehensive sex ed for kids completely wrong.
“…contrary to what she implies, sex education in schools isn’t about teaching kids how to position themselves during the act,” Mehta writes. “And there’s nothing wrong with saying getting pleasure out of sex is worthwhile. It is. And if you’re not getting pleasure out of it, you shouldn’t feel obligated to have it. The alternative — that you’re not getting joy out of it but feel compelled to participate for someone else — is an awful (if not criminal) thing.”
“You shouldn’t take sex advice from a virgin, and you shouldn’t learn about sex education from someone whose understanding of it is warped and ignorant.”
Playing For Change is a movement created to inspire and connect the world through music, born from the shared belief that music has the power to break down boundaries and overcome distances between people.
Our primary focus is to record and film musicians performing in their natural environments and combine their talents and cultural power in innovative videos we call Songs Around The World.
Creating these videos motivated us to form the Playing For Change Band—a tangible, traveling representation of our mission, featuring musicians met along our journey, and establish the Playing For Change Foundation—a separate 501(c)3 nonprofit organization dedicated to building music and art schools for children around the world.
Through these efforts we aim to create hope and inspiration for the future of our planet.
It's getting even harder to be able to trust what you see and hear. Why? Computers!
The computer science used to create the programs behind these videos can be extremely complex, much more intense than what is used for simple deepfakes. Intricate algorithms and computer science terms like general adversarial networks (GAN) and deep neural networks pepper the academic papers of the more advanced video-editing techniques.
Generally, what these programs do is examine the video of a subject frame by frame and "learn" the subject's size and shape and movements so that they can be transferred to another subject on video. Whereas deepfakes have been limited mainly to swapping out the subjects' faces, the more advanced programs can transfer full 3D head positions, including things like a head tilt or a raised eyebrow or a set of pursed lips. Some work has been done on entire body movements.
The more these programs detect, the more variables that these networks are fed and "learn," the more efficient, effective and realistic the videos become.
President Obama's decision to campaign for Democrats up until the midterms is welcome news for the Dems. I don't know how he was able to stay on the sidelines as long as he did, considering all the shit coming out of D.C. The contrast with Trump is stark. I only hope Obama really mixes it up with Trump. Trump pull so much garbage that Obama could have fresh speeches every week. Every day.
Send a text message from a computer to a mobile phone
As of 2018, we have switched our mobile phone carrier from Verizon to T-Mobile. Hello, unlimited data! And less expensive to boot! To send a text from a computer to a mobile phone on T-Mobile, use the following format.