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Vladimir Vigdorovich
Science FTW
Science FTW

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Another amazing podcast with +Sam Harris

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Option 1: This will be a thoughtful look at a maligned world leader.
Option 2: This will be a case study of a filmmaker being flipped by a KGB agent.

My money is on #2. Describing Julian Assange as a beacon of honesty is as dead giveaway as anything can be.

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A truly phenomenal, must read article by @marynmck in the @nytimes: Why the Menace of Mosquitoes Will Only Get Worse

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From the article:
That means Nunes — the lawmaker charged with leading an investigation into the administration’s unfounded wiretapping allegations — used information he received from the Trump White House itself to publicly try to deflect blame from Trump. It also means Nunes was misleading the American public when he said his sources were whistleblowers, and that he went to the White House compound because it was the only secure place to review classified information. (This is not true: Capitol Hill has secure facilities for just this reason.)
So, to recap.

A young White House official who owes his job to Trump personally begins sifting through wiretaps right after the president claims he was wiretapped. What he finds makes it into the hands of an attorney who used to work for the chair of the House panel investigating the Trump White House’s wiretapping allegations.

This attorney briefs his former boss on what he learned, but leaves him with such a garbled understanding of it that it seems like the wiretaps might vindicate Trump’s claim that Obama spied on him — even though they clearly didn’t. When the congressman goes public with the information, he omits the fact that he got the information from the White House.

And that’s only what’s come to light so far.

Meanwhile, Spicer refused to deny the New York Time's allegations during today's presser - which raises even more questions...

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"They also target health and science programs across other government agencies, including plans to:

Take $350 million from the National Science Foundation's $6.9 billion budget
Cut $37 million from the Department of Energy's $5.3 billion worth of science programs
Excise $48 million from the Environmental Protection Agency's research and development budget of $483 million
Cut in half the $101 million Teen Pregnancy Prevention program
Reduce Food and Drug Administration staff spending by $40 million
Cut domestic and global HIV/AIDS programs by $100 million plus cut the Presidential Emergency Program for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) $4.3 billion budget by $242 million
Completely delete the $72 million Global Health Security fund at the State Department and cut other global health programs by $90 million and $62 million for global family planning"

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From the article: You sold yourself as the businessman who could shake things up and make Washington work again. Instead, you got worked over by the Republican leadership and the business community, who set you up to do their bidding.

That’s why they’re putting up with all your craziness about Russia and wiretapping and unending lies and rattling our allies.

They’re counting on you being a delusional dupe who didn’t even know what was in the bill because you’re sitting around in a bathrobe getting your information from wackadoodles on Fox News and then, as The Post reported, peppering aides with the query, “Is this really a good bill?”

You got played.

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In the continuing saga of "News stories that I would never have believed if you told me they were going to happen when I was a kid," there are multiple reports at this point that the FBI has gotten (former National Security Adviser) Michael Flynn to flip and turn state's evidence. (Flynn, through a spokesperson, has declined to comment)

If so, this is a very big deal – Flynn was reportedly in the room for quite a few of the more interesting meetings which Abramson was providing details about yesterday.

Even more crazily, there was this story from the WSJ yesterday, in which it appears that while serving as an advisor to Trump's campaign, Flynn was in a meeting with top Turkish government ministers, where the subject was a plot to kidnap Turkish cleric Fetullah Gülen, who now lives in Pennsylvania, and spirit him out of the country to hand him over to Turkish president Erdogan, who views him as his chief political foe. (Erdogan has blamed Gülen for the attempted coup against him last year, although the evidence for this is scanty to say the least; tens of thousands have been arrested there on claims they are linked to him)

This was admitted by the former director of the CIA, who was also at the meeting and says he thought the entire idea was batshit crazy. Flynn has denied this through a spokesman, but he has recently admitted that he was working for the Turkish government at the time (!) and has retroactively filed his status as a foreign agent, indicating a salary of over $500k for his work. He is also under separate investigation by the Army as to whether he received illegal payments from the Russian government in 2015. (

So just to make this news story clear: a retired three-star general, while simultaneously working on a Presidential campaign and as a well-paid agent of the Turkish government, was in meetings with senior Turkish officials about (completely illegally) kidnapping Turkish-Americans seen as enemies of the regime. He was also meeting with the Russian ambassador and (very possibly illegally) negotiating to lift sanctions on Russia if Trump was elected, and is currently under investigation as to whether he was a paid (but illegally undeclared) Russian agent at the time as well. (The payments are not in question; the question is whether, as they were made via RT, which is not officially a government agency, they make him a Russian agent or not.) He definitely lied to investigators about said meetings, which was caught on wiretaps (presumably of the Russian ambassador), and the revelation of that led to his resignation as National Security Advisor after only 24 days.

On top of all this, he may have been present at the "Mayflower Meetings" between Trump and senior Russian figures, with several senior Trump aides (including Sessions, Kushner, and Manafort) present as well, at which deals involving large sums of money (e.g. 0.5% of Rosneft), illegal campaign assistance (e.g. leaking DNC documents hacked by the FSB, SVR, and GRU), and changing US policy around Russian oil interests were all being discussed.

Absolutely confirmed out of this is Flynn's work as a Turkish agent (he's admitted this and filed the forms), his covert meetings with the Russian ambassador (wiretap evidence, his resignation), and his receipt of payments from the Russian government. Highly likely is the Turkish kidnapping meeting (testimony of Woolsey). Arguable in court is that the Russian payments make him an unregistered Russian agent as well as a Turkish one. Reported but not yet confirmed are the contents of the Mayflower Meetings and that Flynn has turned state's evidence. If the latter is true, then the former may soon be explained in great detail to investigators.

Just let this sink in for a moment. We already know for sure that a retired three-star Army general, who served for three weeks as National Security Advisor before being forced to resign, was a paid agent of at least one, and probably two, other governments, engaging in negotiations which range from the "somewhat illegal" (hacking, campaign collusion) to the "holy shit illegal" (kidnapping). And the fact that it's even a possibility that he flip can only mean that the investigators have even bigger fish in their sights.

There aren't many bigger fish than the National Security Advisor.

This is just getting surreal.

(ETA: I just posted a long thread on Twitter with more of this, including lots of links to the underlying news stories and sources. )
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