by baldilocks

After previously denying it, James Clapper admitted that the FBI “might have been” spying on the Trump campaign.

Real Clear Politics:

Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told CNN’s Don Lemon Thursday night that the president’s claim that the Obama administration spied on his campaign is “hyperbole” but if it is true, it is a “good thing.”

“They [the Obama admin’s FBI] may have had someone who was talking to them in the campaign, but, you know, the focus here… is not on the campaign, per se, but what the Russians were doing,” Clapper said.

But if there was an intelligence agent “observing” the Trump campaign’s interactions with Russia, “that’s a good thing because the Russians posed a threat to the very basis of our political system.”

If true? He doesn’t know? Yeah, okay. Clapper was Obama’s DNI.

Yesterday, Sharyl Attkisson pointed out that the corruption in our intelligence agencies long precedes the existence of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign.

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These intelligence shenanigans aren’t new to anyone who has read Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA.

It has been a number of years since I read it, and, at 702 pages, the hardback version definitely qualifies as a tome. However, I read it, courtesy of the Los Angeles Public Library, very rapidly due to great and building amazement. And by amazement, I mean horror.  This entity of the government, allegedly dedicated to our security, is and has always been a failure. Or at least that’s what I thought at the time.

Now that I have become more cynical and more paranoid, it seems to me that the agency, the OSS(the CIA’s World War II incarnation) and all the other investigative arms of the government — including the longer-standing FBI — have been very successful at doing what they were created to do.

The CIA and all of the other intelligence agencies exist to Keep the Gates. Gathering them all under the DNI banner made that easier, or so it seemed.

But their gates aren’t the same gates as our gates. That is certain.

What a waste.

RELATED: The CIA’s Long List of Failures

UPDATE: Confirmed: John Brennan Colluded With Foreign Spies to Defeat Trump

An article in the Guardian last week provides more confirmation that [President Obama’s Director of Central Intelligence] John Brennan was the American progenitor of political espionage aimed at defeating Donald Trump. One side did collude with foreign powers to tip the election — Hillary’s.

Seeking to retain his position as CIA director under Hillary, Brennan teamed up with British spies and Estonian spies to cripple Trump’s candidacy. He used their phony intelligence as a pretext for a multi-agency investigation into Trump, which led the FBI to probe a computer server connected to Trump Tower and gave cover to Susan Rice, among other Hillary supporters, to spy on Trump and his people.(…)

The Guardian story is written in a style designed to flatter its sources (they are cast as high-minded whistleblowers), but the upshot of it is devastating for them, nonetheless, and explains why all the criminal leaks against Trump first originated in the British press. According to the story, Brennan got his anti-Trump tips primarily from British spies but also Estonian spies and others. The story confirms that the seed of the espionage into Trump was planted by Estonia. The BBC’s Paul Wood reported last year that the intelligence agency of an unnamed Baltic State had tipped Brennan off in April 2016 to a conversation purporting to show that the Kremlin was funneling cash into the Trump campaign.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng has been blogging since 2003 as baldilocks. Her older blog is here.  She published her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game in 2012.

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by baldilocks

Or her.

Some entertainment to look forward to; and when I say entertainment, I mean war.

The White House anticipates a Democratic House will vote to impeach President Trump – but that his opponents won’t be able to muster the 67 Senate votes needed to throw him out of office.

Trump advisors in and outside the White House have begun speculating about scenarios months before voters even go to the polls for November elections that will be critical to what comes next for the Trump presidency.

If Democrats do take control of the chamber – which would fit traditional off-year patterns even as their edge in generic polls has narrowed in recent weeks – a far greater level of oversight and scrutiny is a certainty.

Impeachment also could follow, even as House leaders urge caution in speaking about it.

‘If we lose the House, it’s a given that they’ll try to get a vote to impeach,’ an outside Trump advisor told the Washington Examiner.

White House advisors expect impeachment to prevail in the House, according to the report.

Although a Democratic House could use its majority to vote to impeach Trump, essentially charging him with a high crime or misdemeanor, his fate would be determined by the Senate, where essentially a trial would occur.

House minority leader Nancy Pelosi warned fellow lawmakers against their push for impeachment now, saying it could hurt the party’s chances of taking over.

I don’t think we should be talking about impeachment. I’ve been very clear right from the start,’ Pelosi told reporters last month.

Ms. Pelosi demonstrates a dim vestige of cunning, but we call all figure out what will happen if the Democrats regain the House, the Senate or both.

I thought about asking the rhetorical question: which high crime and/or misdemeanor? But then I remembered what Donald Trump’s true crime is in the eyes of the Organized Left: keeping Hillary R. Clinton from becoming President of the United States.

Certain quarters will never forgive DJT for that and that alone. They will continue to look for reasons — reasonable or not — to make him pay. Sad.

And dangerous.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng has been blogging since 2003 as baldilocks. Her older blog is here.  She published her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game in 2012.

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by baldilocks

One might say that Starbucks is defecating on its own market share, but I hate going for the easy poop joke. Yes, I’m lying.

Seriously, it’s sad to watch as a thriving business dies, even when it Deserves to Die.TM Even when it is committing suicide.

Monica Showalter:

The ever well meaning Starbucks chairman, Howie Schultz, more terrified of bad publicity and claims of racism than anything in the world, has just announced a rather customer-unfriendly policy of opening Starbucks bathrooms (as well as table space) to all comers, including people who won’t spring for a $4 cup of coffee.  Speaking to the Atlantic Council, according to the Washington Post, Schultz said:

“We don’t want to become a public bathroom, but we’re going to make the right decision a hundred percent of the time and give people the key,” Schultz said, “because we don’t want anyone at Starbucks to feel as if we are not giving access to you to the bathroom because you are less than.” (…)

For those of us who do buy Starbucks coffee, we know what this policy change means: an open invitation to the homeless to bring in hepatitis, trash, used syringes, solicitations for spare change, and all the other detritus of their uncured condition to Starbucks bathrooms.  The fact that Starbucks will be the only business with such a policy means that all of the homeless will concentrate in these outlets.  Rival store-owners and social service agencies will actually direct the homeless to Starbucks outlets for the free services.  Large groups will congregate, and tents will go up.

I have been guilty of using Starbucks’ free WiFi to check my email, but one usually doesn’t have to enter the business for that. Now I suspect that it will be difficult and unappealing to even get that close to any Starbucks.

But Monica thinks Schultz has a plan.

“One wonders if what Howie is really saying is that he intends to close outlets – in places where the homeless are concentrated.  Is it that? It’s already well known that a Starbucks outlet’s presence correlates with rising real estate values.  Perhaps Schultz means to concentrate that trend and will now keep his establishments in only rich areas with no social service outlets that draw the homeless.  Maybe he knows something about a coming housing bust and its effect on real estate values.

If he’s going to do that, I bet wasn’t the original plan, but the fix after the disaster. And it’s a good plan, though I doubt that Schultz conjured it.

There’s a Starbucks within walking distance in my blue/white-collar multi-ethnic LA neighborhood . But Dunkin Donuts is closer, has WiFi, coffee, tastier doughnuts than Starbucks (duh), no homeless hanging out and seems to have a smarter CEO — or at least a less white- and rich-guilt plagued one.

And, before I walk to DDs, I use the bathroom facilities in my apartment. I know the janitorial crew for that one.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng has been blogging since 2003 as baldilocks. Her older blog is here.  She published her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game in 2012.

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by baldilocks

I can’t be the only one who noticed this.

This is Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg when he testified in front of Congress about user data privacy some weeks back.

And this is former New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.

Schneiderman recently resigned from his office because:

 [Four women with whom he has had romantic relationships or encounters] accuse Schneiderman of having subjected them to nonconsensual physical violence. All have been reluctant to speak out, fearing reprisal. But two of the women, Michelle Manning Barish and Tanya Selvaratnam, have talked to The New Yorker on the record, because they feel that doing so could protect other women. They allege that he repeatedly hit them, often after drinking, frequently in bed and never with their consent. Manning Barish and Selvaratnam categorize the abuse he inflicted on them as “assault.” They did not report their allegations to the police at the time, but both say that they eventually sought medical attention after having been slapped hard across the ear and face, and also choked.

Look at their eyes.

Now, I’m not up on the latest in high-end drugs, so, maybe someone who is can help me figure out what these guys are on, if anything.

Or maybe those trillion-yard stares are evidence a different kind of pharmakeia (definition 3).

There are lots of conspiracy theorists out there who believe that the financial, political and entertainment “elite” subscribe to a spirituality other than that of the Holy Spirit in exchange for money, power and/or fame, and that could be so. After all, God gives His children gifts and the Devil lives ever to parody God. (I’m one of those far-out conspiracy theorists who suspects that 99.9% of politicians above your local dog-catcher is bought by some entity. And maybe only half the dog-catchers are clean.)

I don’t know. But I do know that I would not want to see eyes like that looking back at me – especially not from my pillow or my mirror.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng has been blogging since 2003 as baldilocks. Her older blog is here.  She published her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game in 2012.

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by baldilocks

This is a cropped version of a July 14, 2004 post from my old blog. I general feel like I’m repeating myself all the time so I figured that one more time won’t hurt. Edited. And, apparently, a lot of people didn’t get this memo.

What have Republicans/conservatives done for black Americans? I hear that question constantly when I disclose that I am a conservative Republican. Often I will provide the usual facts that seem to be missing from the historical lexicon these days: freed the slaves, were 90%+ in the majority in the votes for the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. However, something about the question sets steel to my nerves and I’ve been meaning to articulate the reasons for it here for some time now.

Implied in the question is that a political party must “do something” for blacks. Not merely the usual “something” that a government entity does for all of its constituents, e.g. provide utilities, regulate commerce, etc., but something special.

That word ‘special’ has taken on a new meaning in recent years and I think that it applies to the special items that liberals/leftists believe that the government should provide for the ‘special’ people, the “congenitally retarded” folk.

Yes, we ‘special’ people — with ‘special’ needs — require special handling: special education and special employment. You can’t expect black people to live up to the standards of ‘normal’ people. Like paraplegics or the blind or the deaf or those afflicted with Down’s syndrome, singular accommodations must be made for the great handicap of being born with black skin. To liberals/leftists, black people are a crippled class that can never be made whole just as long as they can never be made not-black. What’s this notion called?

And if anyone tries to treat us as full, competent adults, the liberals/leftists will scream in righteous anger and protest about the unfairness of it all. And if some of us ‘handicapped’ verbally express the desire to be treated like full, competent adults and act in a manner that demonstrates that desire, we are deemed as traitors by those who share the same racial makeup, but buy into the ‘handicap’ philosophy. Yes, we are “traitors,” because if some of us refuse to take advantage of the special needs offered and succeed anyway, the majority of Americans will begin to think that we don’t really require the “handicap slot.”

The majority of Americans will begin to think that we’re not really inferior after all. (Optimistically speaking, I believe that the majority thinks this anyway.)

“You do not own, and you are not the arbiters of, African-American authenticity,” said [Rod] Paige [to NAACP leaders], who rose from segregated Mississippi to become President Bush’s education chief.

This idea of our race-wide ‘handicap’ is so ingrained in the mindsets of some, however, that it has morphed into the very existence of black identity: a black person who believes that black Americans need extra help to succeed is “authentically black.” Conversely, one who doesn’t buy it “isn’t really black” and is, therefore, a traitor to black identity.

In short, blacks who believe in their own inferiority are the real deal and those who don’t, aren’t. How’s that for twisted dogma?

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng has been blogging since 2003 as baldilocks. Her older blog is here.  She published her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game in 2012.

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by baldilocks

Back in 2003, when I started blogging, conservatives who are black were very popular. They (we) are now also, because we still are so few in relative numbers.

And, for the most part, we were and are regular citizens. Even the very popular Candace Owens, Diamond and Silk, and Terrance Williams – persons with eloquence and/or humor – began as everyday persons who used technology and their gifts to make their points and express their support for Donald Trump and for conservative ideas.

And this is what makes long-time Trump supporter Kanye West different from the rest of us who refuse to toe the Democrat line. His hip-hop composed platform was already built. All he had to do is climb up and begin to speak. In his case, mere agreement with Owens began an avalanche.

West is no conservative but doesn’t refute the ideology. Refreshingly, he says that he doesn’t know enough about being a conservative to call himself one. I’ve seen that he is getting an introduction to the mighty works of one Thomas F. Sowell. I’m going to suggest this as his starting point.

Many conservative observers have predicted that West will be pushed back into line, and, indeed, the attempts have already been made. A member of the Crips – that long-time terrorizer of law-abiding black and other Southern Californians — has warned West to stay out of Los Angeles and Long Beach. Or else. (West and his wife, Kim Kardashian West, live in Calabasas, CA.)

And, Maxine Waters … well, read this:

Maxine Waters: “This one. Get him!”

Politico asked Waters, an outspoken critic of President Trump who advocates for his impeachment, to comment on the president’s recent “bromance with Kanye West.”:

“Kanye West is a very creative young man who has presented some of the most revolutionary material in the African-American community,” she replied. “But we also think that sometimes Kanye West talks out of turn and perhaps sometimes he needs some assistance in helping him to formulate some of his thoughts.”

She said West should think about the impact of his words and “maybe not have so much to say.”

“We don’t think that he actually means to do harm,” she added, “but we’re not sure he really understands the impact of what he’s saying, at the time that he’s saying it and how that weighs on, particularly the African American community — and for young people in general. … And I think maybe he should think twice about politics, and maybe not have so much to say.”

Waters represents the Organized Left; the Crips street and prison gang is one of its organic enforcement arms. And both are indicating something very important: Kanye West is dangerous to the Left. And, it seems that he’s just getting started.

I have been critical of – and cutting about — West and Kardashian West before and I probably will be again, but I have to thank him for having a brain in his head, for learning to use his platform wisely, and for his fearlessness. And whatever one thinks of Kardashian West, she has been doing what any good wife does: ferociously standing by her man.

Someone – Andrew Klavan, I think — once said that culture was a very important aspect of societal change. Well, the West family has certainly been a significant portion of popular culture; yes, most of it bad.

Funny thing about change, though. Sometimes it will happen in the least expected place, to the least expected person.

And, sometimes, it will make things better.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng has been blogging since 2003 as baldilocks. Her older blog is here.  She published her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game in 2012.

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Finally might I suggest my book Hail Mary the Perfect Protestant (and Catholic) Prayer makes an excellent Gift.

Don’t ask me, Bill. These are your people.

by baldilocks

Shakespeare wept

And in other news regarding the downfall of the UK

Schools are removing analogue clocks from examination halls because teenagers are unable to tell the time, a head teachers’ union has said.

Teachers are now installing digital devices after pupils sitting their GCSE and A-level exams complained that they were struggling to read the correct time on an analogue clock.

Malcolm Trobe, deputy general secretary at the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL), said youngsters have become accustomed to using digital devices.

“They are used to seeing a digital representation of time on their phone, on their computer. Nearly everything they’ve got is digital so youngsters are just exposed to time being given digitally everywhere.”

Mr Trobe, a former headmaster, said that teachers want their students to feel as relaxed as possible during exams. Having a traditional clock in the room could be a cause of unnecessary stress, he added.

He said that schools are trying to make everything as “as easy and straightforward as possible” for pupils during their exams.

“You don’t want them to put their hand up to ask how much time is left,” he said.

“Schools will inevitably be doing their best to make young children feel as relaxed as the can be. There is actually a big advantage in using digital clocks in exam rooms because it is much less easy to mistake a time on a digital clock when you are working against time.”

Emphasis mine.

Additionally, British schoolchildren are having trouble holding writing implements, aka pens and pencils – a result of over dependence on iPads and whatnot.

In fairness, I can bet that many Americans younger than 40 are also unable to read a face clock. Both here and in the UK, there’s a singular reason for this: the previous generation of parents failed to teach this formerly mundane skill.

One envisions a dismal future headline if digital toilet paper is in the invention hopper.

Besides, the murder of Alfie Evans at hands of the UK government has already indicated what time it is. But it’s certain that many can’t determine that either, which is just how that government wants it.

Hunters like their prey to be relaxed. And the US is far from immune from this sport.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng has been blogging since 2003 as baldilocks. Her older blog is here.  She published her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game in 2012.

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by baldilocks

Today I was interviewed by Chris Levels, who host a BlogTalkRadio show four days a week called Politics and Prophecy.   It was the second time that Chris invited me to his show, the second time that one of us had equipment failure, and the second time that I was one longer that scheduled. It’s as if the invisible supernatural war springs to the surface a little every time I’m on. I like that.

Whenever I do these things I feel as though I’m babbling, however. I used to try to prepare for them, but it makes things worse because I end up reading, and, therefore, sounding stilted. I’ve done a couple of them for Fausta back when she had a show but I refuse to listen to them. I’ve calmed done a lot since then.

Chris brought up several interesting topics and one made me crack up laughing, though it is far from funny. My laughter was in response to this story about the Southern Poverty Law Center. Because irony is funny.

If its balance sheet is any indication, Donald Trump’s presidency has been very good for the Southern Poverty Law Center. The SPLC’s already impressive endowment grew a staggering 35 percent in fiscal year 2017 to more than $432 million. Including operating funds, total assets topped $477 million as of October 31, 2017. Total revenues and gains in fiscal 2017 exceeded $180 million, more than triple the organization’s expenses for the year, of just under $60 million.

The SPLC has long been considered a fundraising powerhouse, but 2017’s take was mind boggling by any standard. Donations were up 164 percent over 2016: The group took in $132 million between November 2016 and October 2017, compared with $50 million in the preceding 12 months.

While direct contributions produced the lion’s share of the 2017 increase, a booming stock market led to astounding growth in the SPLC’s investment portfolio. In fiscal 2016, unrealized gains came to less than $1 million; a year later they totaled nearly $45 million.

The SPLC, whose website touts its mission as “seeking justice for the most vulnerable members of our society,” drew fire last year because it keeps nearly $70 million in foreign investments in the Cayman Islands, the British Virgin Islands, and Bermuda, as reported by THE WEEKLY STANDARD. Non-U.S. investments this year are closing in on $100 million, totaling a little more than $92.5 million as of October 31, 2017.

And peep these salaries!

Despite the 2017 windfall, salaries of top SPLC officials and executives were roughly the same or in some cases even lower than the year before. Richard Cohen, the group’s president and CEO, and Morris Dees, co-founder and chief trial counsel, each earned around $400,000 both years. Compensation for other top officials ranged from about $150,000 to $260,000.

Down, covetous streak! Down!

I wondered aloud to Chris about having a tenth of that. But, aside from the off-shore investments, who can blame the SPLC if like-minded entities want to keep it afloat? (Afloat might be understating the matter, yes.)

And I bet they don’t even see the hypocrisy in keeping the word poverty in the organization’s name. After all, it takes money to remain Down for the Struggle!TM

However, if ideologues put their money where their ideology is, what does that say about the Right?

What does that say about you, loyal readers?

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Juliette Akinyi Ochieng has been blogging since 2003 as baldilocks. Her older blog is here.  She published her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game in 2012.

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by baldilocks

I’m a little confused by this development.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued an updated statement on Friday urging consumers not to buy or consume romaine lettuce “unless you can confirm it is not from the Yuma, Ariz., growing region.”

“Based on new information, CDC is expanding its warning to consumers to cover all types of romaine lettuce from the Yuma, Ariz., growing region. This warning now includes whole heads and hearts of romaine lettuce, in addition to chopped romaine and salads and salad mixes containing romaine.”

The new warning comes after investigators discovered that inmates from a correctional facility in Alaska became ill after reportedly eating lettuce “from whole heads of romaine lettuce” from the affected region, the CDC said.(…)

There have been 53 reported cases in 16 states. Of those infected with the E. coli strain, 31 people have been hospitalized. Although there are not reported deaths, five people have developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, a kind of kidney failure.

I consider myself a bit of a green salad aficionado, since one of my Mom-mandated chores was to make the salad. The basic ingredients were tomatoes, green bell peppers, scallions and mushrooms. Optional ingredients: marinated artichoke hearts. (In my adulthood, I tend to improvise. Example: I prefer red onions.)

Oh yes, and there was always lettuce: red leaf, butter leaf and/or romaine. We turned up our noses up at iceberg.

My mom was and is a stickler for the preparation. Wash each leaf individually and thoroughly; tear the leaves into fork sized piece; absolutely no freaking spine.

See that first item? Wash the lettuce and every other fresh produce.

I can see pulling pre-prepared romaine salads off the shelf and foregoing the same from restaurants, but wouldn’t simply thoroughly washing the lettuce you buy yourself – perhaps using some produce washer — fix the problem or reduce the chance of there being one?

Help me out here.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng has been blogging since 2003 as baldilocks. Her older blog is here.  She published her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game in 2012.

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by baldilocks

When depredation after depredation mandated promote and allowed by California’s government, this should barely register in the Sweepstakes of Surprise.

Trains along the popular Capitol Corridor are running later than before, and homeless camps are partly to blame.

Rail officials say more people have trespassed on train tracks in the last year, forcing engineers at times to hit the brakes to avoid a possible crash – and at times tragically unable to. That’s left trains loaded with commuters or freight grinding to a halt in the middle of nowhere.

Capitol Corridor board chair Lucas Frerichs said the issue is foremost about human safety. But, it’s also a business problem.

You think?

“Frankly, we have a business to run, a service to the public. If people can’t depend on the train being on time, they will choose other options,” he said. (…)

The problem has become significant enough that Kutrosky sent an email last week to passengers asking them to report any encampments or large piles of trash they notice along the tracks while on their train ride.

He said he and his crews have seen camps in secluded and wooded areas recently in Sacramento, West Sacramento and Davis in the capital region, and Suisun City, Hercules, Berkeley, Oakland and Fremont in the Bay Area.

Capitol Corridor officials did not provide crash numbers requested by The Bee, as of Friday. But a spokesman for the Union Pacific said three people were hit by trains between Sacramento and the Bay Area.

If a person is killed by a train, it may be held in place for two to three hours as coroners, police and track inspectors do post-mortem work, officials said. That creates a domino effect, slowing passenger and freight trains from Sacramento to San Jose.

The writer points out that hobos and trains have a long history. However, I wonder if California’s elected officials plan to give CA to the homeless and the illegal aliens. Actually, I don’t wonder.

On more nail in the coffin.

(Thanks to Breitbart California)

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng has been blogging since 2003 as baldilocks. Her older blog is here.  She published her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game in 2012.

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