Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Archive for February 12th, 2017

Trump Criticized Obama for Golfing. Now He Spends Weekends on the Links.

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Trump is such a dickhead and is totally lacking in shame, just like a sociopath. Erin McCann has the report in the NY Times:

As a private citizen, Donald J. Trump was repeatedly critical of President Obama’s fondness for relaxing with a round of golf.

“Can you believe that, with all of the problems and difficulties facing the U.S., President Obama spent the day playing golf.” Mr. Trump tweeted on Oct. 13, 2014. “Worse than Carter.”

“We pay for Obama’s travel so he can fundraise millions so Democrats can run on lies,” he said a day later. “Then we pay for his golf.”

Then for a third time that month, Mr. Trump tweeted about Mr. Obama’s golf habit on Oct. 23, 2014.

“President Obama has a major meeting on the N.Y.C. Ebola outbreak, with people flying in from all over the country, but decided to play golf!”

As a president, though, Mr. Trump seems to have had a change of heart about the appropriateness of a president hitting the links.

On Saturday, Mr. Trump played golf with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan at two of his courses in South Florida: 18 holes at the Trump National Golf Club in Jupiter, and nine more at the Trump International Golf Club in nearby West Palm Beach. On Sunday, he returned, without Mr. Abe, to the club in West Palm Beach for five hours.

It was the president’s second visit this month to South Florida, where he owns the Mar-a-Lago resort in West Palm Beach along with the golf courses.

Last weekend, he spent four and a half hours at one of his golf clubs, a day before hosting a Super Bowl Party at Mar-a-Lago, which its original owner, the heiress Marjorie Merriweather Post, named the “winter White House.”

Little was known about Mr. Trump’s time at either golf club this month — the White House last week declined to confirm whether he even played, or who accompanied him. On Saturday, Mr. Trump and his aides covered doors and windows at the Trump National Golf Club in Jupiter to keep the journalists inside from snapping photos of the president and Mr. Abe on the course. . .

Continue reading.

Trump clearly believes that playing golf is somehow wrong or inappropriate somehow—why else would he pen up reporters and cover the windows?

Written by LeisureGuy

12 February 2017 at 11:04 pm

Animated guide to Vivaldi’s “Four Season”

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Via Open Culture:

Written by LeisureGuy

12 February 2017 at 7:40 pm

Posted in Music

The first ‘jass’ record: Livery Stable Blues

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From the notes on YouTube:

“Livery Stable Blues” is a jazz composition copyrighted by Ray Lopez (Raymond Edward Lopez; 1889–1979) and Alcide Nunez in 1917. It was recorded by the Original Dixieland Jass Band on February 26, 1917 and, with the A side “Dixieland Jass Band One-Step” or “Dixie Jass Band One-Step” (a tune later better known as “Original Dixieland One-Step”), became widely acknowledged as the first jazz recording commercially released.It was recorded by the Victor Talking Machine Company in New York City at its studio at 46 West 38th Street on the 12th floor – the top floor.The Original Dixieland Jass Band (ODJB) were a New Orleans, Dixieland jazz band that made the first jazz recordings in early 1917. Their “Livery Stable Blues” became the first jazz single ever issued.In late 1917 the spelling of the band’s name was changed to Original Dixieland Jazz Band.

Via Josh Jones on OpenCulture, who has more.

Written by LeisureGuy

12 February 2017 at 7:04 pm

Posted in Jazz, Video

Apparently it would be terrible if retirement consultants had to offer advice in the best interests of their clients

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Sarah N. Lynch reports for Reuters:

The U.S. Labor Department is preparing to delay its controversial Obama-era fiduciary rule on financial advice for 180 days and seek public comment on the rule.

The agency has sent two separate documents to the Office of Management and Budget for approval, according to sources familiar with the agency’s actions. One document is a proposed rulemaking that simply delays the regulation’s effective date – now April 10 – for 180 days. That proposal has a comment period as short as 15 days.

The second document would start another round of public comment on the rule, which requires brokers and other financial advisers to put their clients’ best interests first when advising them about individual retirement accounts or 401(k) retirement plans.

The Labor Department proposed the rule in September 2010 under President Barack Obama but withdrew the proposal in September 2011 after receiving criticism from the financial services industry. The department re-proposed the rule in April 2015 and made it final on April 6, 2016.

Industry critics claim the rule limits their ability to service clients who cannot afford to pay for financial advice and must use products that carry commissions or other indirect costs.

On Feb. 3, President Donald Trump ordered the Labor Department to review the fiduciary rule – a move widely interpreted as an effort to delay or kill the regulation.

On Wednesday, a U.S. District Court judge upheld the legality of the rule. . .

 Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

12 February 2017 at 5:06 pm

Another informative article on Trump and Russia, doubtless from intelligence sources

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It’s heating up quickly. Natasha Bertrand reports at Business Insider:

  • President Donald Trump and several associates continue to draw intense scrutiny for their ties to the Russian government.
  • A dossier of unverified claims alleges serious conspiracy and misconduct in the final months of the 2016 presidential campaign.  The White House has dismissed the dossier as fiction, and most of the claims remain unverified. The timeline of major events, however, lines up.
  • The document includes one particularly explosive allegation — that the Trump campaign agreed to minimize US opposition to Russia’s incursions into Ukraine in exchange for the Kremlin releasing negative information about Trump’s opponent, Hillary Clinton. The timing of events supporting this allegation also lines up.

The timeline of claims made in an unsubstantiated dossier presented by top US intelligence officials to President Donald Trump and senior lawmakers last month has increased scrutiny of events that unfolded in the final months of the Trump campaign.

The dossier alleges serious misconduct and conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russia’s government. The White House has dismissed the dossier as fiction, and some of the facts and assertions it includes have indeed been proven wrong.

Other allegations in the dossier, however, are still being investigated. According to a recent CNN report, moreover, US intelligence officials have now corroborated some of the dossier’s material. And this corroboration has reportedly led US intelligence officials to regard other information in the dossier as more credible.

Importantly, the timeline of known events fits with some of the more serious alleged Trump-Russia misconduct described in the dossier. And questions about these events have not been fully answered, including the sudden distancing of Trump associates from the campaign and administration as the events and Russia ties became public.

The dossier’s allegations of Trump-Russia ties and conspiracy

The dossier was compiled by veteran British spy Christopher Steele, who was hired to investigate Trump’s ties to Russia by the Washington, DC-based opposition research firm Fusion GPS. Steele developed a network of sources while working on the Moscow desk of UK intelligence agency MI6.

Steele, citing these sources heavily, wrote a series of memos detailing alleged coordination between the Kremlin and Trump’s campaign team. Fusion then compiled the information into a 35-page dossier that has been circulated among lawmakers, journalists, and the US intelligence community since last year. The dossier was published in January by BuzzFeed.

Fusion was initially hired by anti-Trump Republicans to conduct opposition research on Trump in late 2015, and Democrats took over funding for the project after the Republicans pulled out. Fusion’s cofounder, Glenn Simpson, a former investigative reporter for the Wall Street Journal, continued the project with Steele even after Democrats pulled funding when Trump won the election.

Trump and his inner circle have condemned the dossier as “fake and fictitious.”

But US investigators, who have opened investigations into several members of Trump’s inner circle and their ties to Russia over the past year, say they have been able to corroborate some of the details in the dossier by intercepting some of the conversations between some senior Russian officials and other Russians, CNN reported on Friday. . .

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

12 February 2017 at 3:43 pm

Echoes of the American Revolution: The Spy Revolt Against Trump Begins

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I think there comes a time when going along is a dereliction of duty, and some still do believe in duty and in their solemn oath to protect the Constitution from all enemies, foreign and domestic. We have learned that Flynn has been in contact with Russians from before the election, talking about sanctions, and that he lied repeatedly about that until it was surfaced as a fact. We still have no idea of the financial hold Russia has on Trump, but we do know about Deutche Bank, and it’s a lot. So I can readily understand why certain secrets affecting national security would not be wisely shared with this administration.

And that seems to be what we have here. John Schindler reports in the Observer:

In a recent column, I explained how the still-forming Trump administration is already doing serious harm to America’s longstanding global intelligence partnerships. In particular, fears that the White House is too friendly to Moscow are causing close allies to curtail some of their espionage relationships with Washington—a development with grave implications for international security, particularly in the all-important realm of counterterrorism.

Now those concerns are causing problems much closer to home—in fact, inside the Beltway itself. Our Intelligence Community is so worried by the unprecedented problems of the Trump administration—not only do senior officials possess troubling ties to the Kremlin, there are nagging questions about basic competence regarding Team Trump—that it is beginning to withhold intelligence from a White House which our spies do not trust.

That the IC has ample grounds for concern is demonstrated by almost daily revelations of major problems inside the White House, a mere three weeks after the inauguration. The president has repeatedly gone out of his way to antagonize our spies, mocking them and demeaning their work, and Trump’s personal national security guru can’t seem to keep his story straight on vital issues.

That’s Mike Flynn, the retired Army three-star general who now heads the National Security Council. Widely disliked in Washington for his brash personality and preference for conspiracy-theorizing over intelligence facts, Flynn was fired as head of the Defense Intelligence Agency for managerial incompetence and poor judgment—flaws he has brought to the far more powerful and political NSC.

Flynn’s problems with the truth have been laid bare by the growing scandal about his dealings with Moscow. Strange ties to the Kremlin, including Vladimir Putin himself, have dogged Flynn since he left DIA, and concerns about his judgment have risen considerably since it was revealed that after the November 8 election, Flynn repeatedly called the Russian embassy in Washington to discuss the transition. The White House has denied that anything substantive came up in conversations between Flynn and Sergei Kislyak, the Russian ambassador.

That was a lie, as confirmed by an extensively sourced bombshell report in TheWashington Post, which makes clear that Flynn grossly misrepresented his numerous conversations with Kislyak—which turn out to have happened before the election too, part of a regular dialogue with the Russian embassy. To call such an arrangement highly unusual in American politics would be very charitable.

In particular, Flynn and Kislyak discussed the possible lifting of the sanctions President Obama placed on Russia and its intelligence services late last year in retaliation for the Kremlin’s meddling in our 2016 election. In public, Flynn repeatedly denied that any talk of sanctions occurred during his conversations with Russia’s ambassador. Worse, he apparently lied in private too, including to Vice President Mike Pence, who when this scandal broke last month publicly denied that Flynn conducted any sanctions talk with Kislyak. Pence and his staff are reported to be very upset with the national security adviser, who played the vice president for a fool.

It’s debatable whether Flynn broke any laws by conducting unofficial diplomacy with Moscow, then lying about it, and he has now adopted the customary Beltway dodge about the affair, ditching his previous denials in favor of professing he has “no recollection of discussing sanctions,” adding that he “couldn’t be certain that the topic never came up.” That’s not good enough anymore, since the IC knows exactly what Flynn and Kislyak discussed.

In pretty much every capital worldwide, embassies that provide sanctuary to hostile intelligence services are subject to counterintelligence surveillance, including monitoring phone calls. . .

Continue reading.

With Trump as President, can governing happen? Start with Trump’s capabilities and limitations. You need go no further.

Written by LeisureGuy

12 February 2017 at 2:52 pm

Building walls all around—and walls that lock others out also lock us in

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As many in the Iron Curtain countries learned, walls are a two-edged sword, as it were. Once the walls were up to keep outsiders from coming in, insiders began to have trouble getting out.

This post at braythwayt.com is ominous:

Recently, officers staffing the US border have been asking Canadian citizens to turn over their email and social media passwords before entering the US.

Not all citizens. So far, just those who have Muslim roots. But they could ask anyone, and if we are to take the current administration seriously, they will soon ask everyone.

If you cross into the US, you may be asked to hand over your own social media passwords and email password, not to mention unlock your devices and give them complete access. They may go into another room. In that other room, they may use hardware and software to vacuum up everything while you wait.

At this moment, you have a legal right to decline. If you decline, you may be turned away, ruining your business trip, vacation, or reunion with loved ones. But at this time, they will not legally compel you.

Will you give your consent to this?

Good question. If you haven’t already thought this through, perhaps you should consider what, exactly, you are complying with. After all, . . .

Continue reading.

Take a look down the road. Take a look at history. Pay attention to what’s happening. Develop a political situational awareness.

On the other hand, everything may work out fine.

Notice, BTW, that when the authorities want a very complete dossier on you, they can just clone your smartphone. That includes your networks of contacts, and a friend of a friend can be pretty remote—yet right there, so far our intelligence services are concerned.

Written by LeisureGuy

12 February 2017 at 2:41 pm

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