FBI: We have evidence Trump team and Russia communicated mid-campaign, maybe to coordinate Clinton info dump

This seems like a big escalation in the Trump/Russia investigation story. Late Wednesday, the FBI said it has evidence that associates of Donald Trump communicated with Russia during the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign, possibly to coordinate the release of Hillary Clinton campaign info via Wikileaks.

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Schiff: I have 'grave concerns' over Nunes' Russia investigation leak to Trump

The Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee today leaked information to President Donald Trump about the ongoing investigation into whether Trump's campaign collaborated with Russia to swing the election to his favor.

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FBI investigating Trump campaign's Russia links, says no info supports Trump's wiretapping claims

At a hearing of the House Intelligence Committee, FBI Director James Comey confirmed Monday that the FBI had launched an investigation into Russian efforts to influence 2016's presidential election and into links and coordination between Donald Trump's presidential campaign and the Russian government.

"Because it is classified, I cannot say more about what we are doing and whose conduct we are investigating," he told the committee, admitting that this would only make the disclosure frustrating. "... we will follow the facts wherever they lead."

He also rebutted the suggestion, presented by Trump on Twitter and elsewhere, that former president Barack Obama wiretapped Trump tower during the election campaign.

"I have no information that supports those tweets, and we have looked carefully inside the FBI," said Comey.

"No individual in the United States can direct surveillance of another individual," he said in response to a question about whether the President had the statutory power to do so. "...No president could."

Asked whether he'd seen any evidence of British involvement in the alleged wiretapping, NSA director Michael Rogers, also attending the hearing, denied it unequivocally.

"That would be expressly against the construct of the Five Eyes agreement," he said, referring to the intelligence-sharing agreement between major western powers in which the US and UK are partners.

Prompted, he agreed with the British that that it was a "ridiculous" suggestion, adding that "it frustrates a key ally of ours."

The hearing is currently underway.

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Trump approval rating "in the toilet"

After a few weeks of Donald Trump's presidency, only 37 percent of Americans are happy with it. It's the worst in 72 years of polling for a fresh president, reports Mary Papenfuss.

Barack Obama’s rating at this point in his presidency was 60 percent.

HuffPost Pollster’s aggregate, which combines publicly available polling data, currently puts Trump’s approval rating slightly higher at 44 percent, with 53 percent disapproving.

It’s not clear which of several issues may have torpedoed the president’s numbers.

With so much to work with, how can any one thing be given credit? The appearance of being a loser ties it all together, though, like a nice rug in room furnished with junk. CNN reports that FBI director James Comey is today expected to publicly rebut Trump's claim that Barack Obama, in cahoots with British intelligence, "wire tapped" him during the election campaign.

It's a moment of political theater that could end in humiliation for Trump, with Comey expected to say that there was no wiretapping, debunking allegations that Trump has repeatedly refused to withdraw.

The hearing could also shed light on the state of FBI investigations into the extent of Russian meddling in the election campaign. Republicans hope Comey will state that there is no evidence of collusion between Trump aides and officials from Moscow, a move that could begin to break up a cloud of Russian intrigue that has stifled the early weeks of the administration.

It is Comey, though! Since everyone's happy to cast him as kingmaker whenever he asks them to, who knows where whim will take him today? Read the rest

How to resist: lessons on "movement learning" from the Albert Einstein Institution

Jamila Raqib is a research affiliate at the MIT Media Lab and is Executive Director of the Albert Einstein Institution, founded by Gene Sharp, who literally wrote the book on successful nonviolent resistance. Read the rest

Trump's travel and security estimated to cost half a billion dollars for 1 term

The obvious cruelty throughout Trump's smash-the-state budget shocked and awed America this week, but right after the thief-in-chief proposed to destroy an array of relatively low-cost federal programs that feed poor rural school children and keep grandmothers from freezing to death, he did something really extraordinary.

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Trump humiliated: administration apologizes to Britain for saying it wiretapped him for Obama

Another day, another Trumpwreck.

The BBC:

The US has agreed not to repeat claims the UK's communications intelligence agency wiretapped Donald Trump during the presidential election campaign.

GCHQ rejected allegations made by White House press secretary Sean Spicer, that it spied on Mr Trump, as "nonsense".

No 10 has now been assured by Mr Spicer he would not repeat the accusation.

CNN on the apology:

The White House has apologized to the British government after alleging that a UK intelligence agency spied on President Donald Trump at the behest of former President Barack Obama.

National security adviser H.R. McMaster spoke with his British counterpart on Thursday about press secretary Sean Spicer's comment from the White House podium about a Fox News report that said British intelligence helped wiretap Trump Tower during the 2016 campaign, a White House official said Friday.

The official described the conversation as "cordial" where McMaster described Spicer's comment as "unintentional."

I have to admit, I didn't expect it to be Theresa May to be the first international leader to publicly humiliate the dumb orange bastard like this, but it's not like she had to do any work. He gave it to her on a silver platter—or rather a gold-painted plastic one that plays the James Bond tune with a little beeper.

UPDATE: According to Buzzfeed, Trump admin insiders insist they did not apologize, but won't go on the record.

But US officials have been disputed whether the Trump administration had gone as far as an apology.

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'Utterly ridiculous': GCHQ shreds Spicer's claim that UK spy agency wiretapped Trump

Officials with the British government complained to the White House today after Donald Trump's spokesliar Sean Spicer cited a bogus Fox News report claiming that former President Barack Obama got help from U.K. intelligence agency GCHQ to spy on Donald Trump.

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Sassy Trump: Mitchigan

Sassy Trump is back, this time giving a beautiful, very beautiful speech at a spectacular auto-mo-bile business factory in Mitchigan, as he pronounces it.

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U.S. plans to indict Yahoo hack suspects, report says they're tied to Russia

Bloomberg was first to report tonight that U.S. officials plan to indict various suspects in the hacking attacks against Yahoo, perhaps as soon as Wednesday.

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South Korea's Constitutional Court upholds President Park Geun-hye’s impeachment

The Constitutional Court in South Korea upheld the impeachment of President Park Geun-hye on Friday. She has now been formally removed from office over a bribery and big business corruption scandal that dragged on for months. Park is the first democratically elected leader in South Korea to be kicked out of office. The nation's constitution states that presidential election shall be held in 60 days.

And now the question is, will they “lock her up”?

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Political theater: swapping gender roles in recreations of the Trump/Clinton debates

NYU poli sci/econ professor Maria Guadalupe and educational theater prof Joe Salvatore collaborated to stage a recreation of the Trump/Clinton debates with the gender roles reversed, starring actors who played Brenda King, "a female version of Trump" and Jonathan Gordon, "a male version of Hillary Clinton." Read the rest

13 shots fired into Tulsa gay center

Thirteen shots were fired into Tulsa's Dennis R. Neill Equality Center Monday from a passing truck or SUV. The Gayly reports that no-one was hurt.

Around 12:30 am last night a white, four door pickup pulled up in front of the Dennis R. Neill Equality Center and fired 13 shots at the windows and front door. Office Administrator Olivia Cotter discovered the damage to the protective glass on our windows and front door around 8:15 am Monday morning, March 6. ...

"We are working closely with Tulsa Police," said Oklahomans For Equality officials. "Captain Cathy Reynolds, the LGBTQ liaison with the Tulsa Police Department, has made our safety and security a top priority."

"I am sickened, yet not surprised, by the bullet holes that now riddle the front of the Dennis R. Neill Equality Center," said Geoffrey Brewster, Board President, Oklahomans for Equality. "They are the latest reminder of the deep-seated hatred some individuals have towards the LGBTQ community. Oklahomans for Equality condemns every act of hatred and violence perpetrated against any individual or group based upon difference.

"We are keenly aware after an event such as this, or the Pulse Night Club shooting in Orlando, FL, that sexual orientation and gender identity are not protected classes in current hate crime legislation. Even though hatred of difference is the motivation for such acts, our community is not equally protected under the law. This must change, and we call on our community and our allies to demand it."

Oklahoma legislators are planning to pass a bill that reportedly strips LGBTQ people of housing and employment protections. Read the rest

Russian dissident warns that the anti-Trump movement's Russian conspiracy theories are a distraction

Masha Gessen has impeccable credentials as a Putin critic -- you may remember her from her instant classic Autocracy: Rules for Survival, but you may not know that the Jewish lesbian mother of three fled Russia in 2013 to escape the country's Putin-fueled, ultra-violent anti-LGBT movement -- and so when she tells us that the conspiracy theories about Trump and Putin are problematic, it's worth listening. Read the rest

Animated graph shows how USA has become more polarized in last 20 years

Pretty astonishing to see how close together median Democrats and Republicans were in 1997.

From Sociological Images:

A recent Pew Report reported that in 1994, 64% of Republicans were more conservative than the median Democrat on a political values scale. By 2014, 92% of Republicans were more conservative than the median Democrat. Democrats have become more consistently liberal in their political values and Republicans have become more consistently conservative. And this has led to increasing political polarization.

You might think ideological commitments naturally come in groupings. But there are lots of illogical pairings without natural connections. Why, for instance, should how you feel about school vouchers be related to how you feel about global warming, whether police officers use excessive force against Black Americans, or whether displays of military strength are the best method of ensuring peace? The four issues are completely separate. But, if your Facebook feed looks anything like mine, knowing someone’s opinion about any one of these issues gives you enough information to feel reasonably confident predicting their opinions about the other three. That’s what ideological consistency looks like.

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Advanced de-faking: using public sources to trace the true age of a suspected propaganda video

Henk van Ess teaches workshops in online investigative techniques; he worked with colleagues and a team of students from Axel Springer Academie to analyze a viral news video that purported to show a discarded missile launcher that had been discovered near Cairo's international airport in 2011, but only published last month. Read the rest

After Trump, boys at her daughter's school Nazi-salute in the hall. Here's how a mom responded.

Editor's note: Boing Boing publisher Jason Weisberger recently wrote of threats he and others have received online from literal Nazis, post-Trump. Jason's sister Tammy Weisberger shares a story below, at our request, about the normalization of Nazi iconography and yes, even the Hitler salute, at her child's middle school in the U.S. Has this really become normal? And if so, how should she, and other parents, and America, respond? Read on. — XJ.

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