Friday, April 3, 2020

Maeve McKean and son lost, presumed drowned.

From a Facebook post:

David McKean is with Maeve McKean.
I am writing here to address the countless people who have loved my wife Maeve and my son Gideon. As many of you have seen, they went missing in the Chesapeake Bay yesterday afternoon. I tried to reach out personally to as many people as possible before the news became public. However, I know that I was only able to scratch the surface. For those of you learning of this news here, I am sorry. I know Maeve would have loved for you to have gotten a personal call.
Despite heroic efforts by the Coast Guard and many state and local authorities, the decision has now been made to suspend the active rescue effort. The search that began yesterday afternoon went on throughout the night and continued all day today. It is now dark again. It has been more than 24 hours, and the chances they have survived are impossibly small. It is clear that Maeve and Gideon have passed away.
The search for their recovery will continue, and I hope that that will be successful.
I know that people have many questions about what happened as we grapple with this tragedy. Here is what I have come to understand. We were self-quarantining in an empty house owned by Maeve’s mother Kathleen on the Chesapeake Bay, hoping to give our kids more space than we have at home in DC to run around. Gideon and Maeve were playing kickball by the small, shallow cove behind the house, and one of them kicked the ball into the water. The cove is protected, with much calmer wind and water than in the greater Chesapeake. They got into a canoe, intending simply to retrieve the ball, and somehow got pushed by wind or tide into the open bay. About 30 minutes later they were spotted by an onlooker from land, who saw them far out from shore, and called the police. After that last sighting, they were not seen again. The Coast Guard recovered their canoe, which was capsized and miles away, at approximately 6:30 yesterday evening.
Gideon was 8, but he may as well have been 38. He was deeply compassionate, declining to sing children’s songs if they contained a hint of animals or people being treated cruelly. He hated if I accidently let a bad word slip. He spent hours upstairs reading, learning everything he could about sports, and trying to decipher the mysteries of the stock market. But he was also incredibly social, athletic, and courageous. For his school picture, he gathered a couple of his many friends to be in the shot with him. He played every sport he could, complaining to me that even though he was often playing six days a week, there was still that seventh day, and why hadn’t I signed him up for something else. And he was brave, leading his friends in games, standing up to people who he thought were wrong (including his parents), and relishing opportunities to go on adventures with friends, even those he’d just met. It is impossible to sum up Gideon here. I am heartbroken to even have to try. I used to marvel at him as a toddler and worry that he was too perfect to exist in this world. It seems to me now that he was.
Maeve turned 40 in November, and she was my everything. She was my best friend and my soulmate. I have already thought many times over today that I need to remember to tell Maeve about something that’s happening. I am terrified by the idea that this will fade over time. You could hear Maeve’s laugh a block away—and she laughed a lot. She was magical—with endless energy that she would put toward inventing games for our children, taking on another project at work or in our community, and spending time with our friends. There were weeks when we had people over to our house so often that our kids would be confused when we were just having dinner as a family. Maeve once spent the hours before New Year’s Eve organizing a 40-person party at our house, complete with a face painter, during a cross country flight home, while also reading to one of our kids in her lap. She once landed in DC after a 30-hour trip home from Asia, and then took a cab straight to the pool to play with our kids. She did the Peace Corps, she ran the Boston Marathon, she knew how rub Gabriella’s legs when they cramped, and being in her presence somehow allowed you to be a better version of yourself. She was the brightest light I have ever known.
At seven, Gabriella is heartbroken, but she amazes me with her maturity and grace. Toby is two-and-a-half, so he’s still his usual magical and goofy self. I know soon he will start to ask for Maeve and Gideon. It breaks my heart that he will not get to have them as a mother and brother.
There has been an overwhelming outpouring of love and support from so many people. Given who Maeve and Gideon were, I am not the least surprised. I am trying my best to respond. Many have asked what they can do. I don’t have any answers for that right now. If people have photos of Maeve or Gideon, those would be great for us to have, especially for me to share with Gabriella and Toby. And feel free to tell stories here. As Gabriella and Toby lay sleeping next to me last night, I promised them that I would do my best to be the parent that Maeve was, and to be the person that Gideon clearly would have grown up to be. Part of that is keeping their memories alive. Any help with that would be welcome.

Confusion on RFK granddaughter's fate

Maeve Kennedy Townsend and her family

Maeve Kennedy Townsend McKean attends an event for the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights organization in December 2019.

They're gone

Update: Governor Larry Hogan has confirmed that Bobby Kennedy's granddaughter Maeve Kennedy Townsend McKean and her son Gideon Joseph Kennedy McKean drowned following a boating accident on the South River earlier this week.


From Twitter

Husband David McKean confirmed the pair were lost Thursday after about 4 p.m. during a family gathering at a house owned by his wife’s mother, Kathleen Kennedy Townsend. The pair went in a canoe to retrieve a ball children had kicked into the water.

Perhaps Another Kennedy tragedy

BREAKING Robert F. Kennedy grand-daughter Mauve Kennedy McKean, 40, of DC, and her son, Gideon, 9 - RFK and Ethel Kennedy's eldest great-grandchild - are missing in Chesapeake Bay boating tragedy.


Saturday, March 7, 2020

Liberal groups under attack by Eric Prince, Project Veritas, and former spies

By Mark Mazzetti and Adam Goldman
March 7, 2020
WASHINGTON — Erik Prince, the security contractor with close ties to the Trump administration, has in recent years helped recruit former American and British spies for secretive intelligence-gathering operations that included infiltrating Democratic congressional campaigns, labor organizations and other groups considered hostile to the Trump agenda, according to interviews and documents.
One of the former spies, an ex-MI6 officer named Richard Seddon, helped run a 2017 operation to copy files and record conversations in a Michigan office of the American Federation of Teachers, one of the largest teachers’ unions in the nation. Mr. Seddon directed an undercover operative to secretly tape the union’s local leaders and try to gather information that could be made public to damage the organization, documents show.
Using a different alias the next year, the same undercover operative infiltrated the congressional campaign of Abigail Spanberger, then a former C.I.A. officer who went on to win an important House seat in Virginia as a Democrat. The campaign discovered the operative and fired her.
Both operations were run by Project Veritas, a conservative group that has gained attention using hidden cameras and microphones for sting operations on news organizations, Democratic politicians and liberal advocacy groups. Mr. Seddon’s role in the teachers’ union operation — detailed in internal Project Veritas emails that have emerged from the discovery process of a court battle between the group and the union — has not previously been reported, nor has Mr. Prince’s role in recruiting Mr. Seddon for the group’s activities.
Both Project Veritas and Mr. Prince have ties to President Trump’s aides and family. Whether any Trump administration officials or advisers to the president were involved in the operations, even tacitly, is unclear. But the effort is a glimpse of a vigorous private campaign to try to undermine political groups or individuals perceived to be in opposition to Mr. Trump’s agenda.
Mr. Prince, the former head of Blackwater Worldwide and the brother of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, has at times served as an informal adviser to Trump administration officials. He worked with the former national security adviser Michael T. Flynn during the presidential transition. In 2017, he met with White House and Pentagon officials to pitch a plan to privatize the Afghan war using contractors in lieu of American troops. Jim Mattis, then the defense secretary, rejected the idea.
Mr. Prince appears to have become interested in using former spies to train Project Veritas operatives in espionage tactics sometime during the 2016 presidential campaign. Reaching out to several intelligence veterans — and occasionally using Mr. Seddon to make the pitch — Mr. Prince said he wanted the Project Veritas employees to learn skills like how to recruit sources and how to conduct clandestine recordings, among other surveillance techniques.
James O’Keefe, the head of Project Veritas, declined to answer detailed questions about Mr. Prince, Mr. Seddon and other topics, but he called his group a “proud independent news organization” that is involved in dozens of investigations. He said that numerous sources were coming to the group “providing confidential documents, insights into internal processes and wearing hidden cameras to expose corruption and misconduct.”
“No one tells Project Veritas who or what to investigate,” he said.

James O’Keefe, the head of Project Veritas, last year at a White House social media summit.
Carlos Barria/Reuters
A spokesman for Mr. Prince declined to comment. Emails sent to Mr. Seddon went unanswered.
Mr. Prince is under investigation by the Justice Department over whether he lied to a congressional committee examining Russian interference in the 2016 election, and for possible violations of American export laws. Last year, the House Intelligence Committee made a criminal referral to the Justice Department about Mr. Prince, saying he lied about the circumstances of his meeting with a Russian banker in the Seychelles in January 2017.
Once a small operation running on a shoestring budget, Project Veritas in recent years has had a surge in donations from both private donors and conservative foundations. According to its latest publicly available tax filing, Project Veritas received $8.6 million in contributions and grants in 2018. Mr. O’Keefe earned about $387,000.
Last year, the group received a $1 million contribution made through the law firm Alston & Bird, a financial document obtained by The New York Times showed. A spokesman for the firm said that Alston & Bird “has never contributed to Project Veritas on its own behalf, nor is it a client of ours.” The spokesman declined to say on whose behalf the contribution was made.
The financial document also listed the names of others who gave much smaller amounts to Project Veritas last year. Several of them confirmed their donations.
The group has also become intertwined with the political activities of Mr. Trump and his family. The Trump Foundation gave $20,000 to Project Veritas in 2015, the year that Mr. Trump began his bid for the presidency. The next year, during a presidential debate with Hillary Clinton, Mr. Trump claimed without substantiation that videos released by Mr. O’Keefe showed that Mrs. Clinton and President Barack Obama had paid people to incite violence at rallies for Mr. Trump.
In a book published in 2018, Mr. O’Keefe wrote that Mr. Trump years earlier had encouraged him to infiltrate Columbia University and obtain Mr. Obama’s records.
Last month, Project Veritas made public secretly recorded video of a longtime ABC News correspondent who was critical of the network’s political coverage and its emphasis on business considerations over journalism. Many conservatives have gleefully pounded on Project Veritas’s disclosures, including one particularly influential voice: Donald Trump Jr., the president’s eldest son.
The website for Mr. O’Keefe’s coming wedding listed Donald Trump Jr. as an invited guest.
Mr. Prince invited Project Veritas operatives — including Mr. O’Keefe — to his family’s Wyoming ranch for training in 2017, The Intercept reported last year. Mr. O’Keefe and others shared social media photos of taking target practice with guns at the ranch, including one post from Mr. O’Keefe saying that with the training, Project Veritas will be “the next great intelligence agency.” Mr. Prince had hired a former MI6 officer to help train the Project Veritas operatives, The Intercept wrote, but it did not identify the officer.
Mr. Seddon regularly updated Mr. O’Keefe about the operation against the Michigan teachers’ union, according to internal Project Veritas emails, where the language of the group’s leaders is marbled with spy jargon.
They used a code name — LibertyU — for their operative inside the organization, Marisa Jorge, who graduated from Liberty University in Virginia, one of the nation’s largest Christian colleges. Mr. Seddon wrote that Ms. Jorge “copied a great many documents from the file room,” and Mr. O’Keefe bragged that the group would be able to get “a ton more access agents inside the educational establishment.”
The emails refer to other operations, including weekly case updates, along with training activities that involved “operational targeting.” Project Veritas redacted specifics about those operations from the messages.
In August 2017, Ms. Jorge wrote to Mr. Seddon that she had managed to record a local union leader talking about Ms. DeVos and other topics.
“Good stuff,” Mr. Seddon wrote back. “Did you receive the spare camera yet?”
As education secretary, Ms. DeVos has been a vocal critic of teachers’ unions, saying in 2018 that they have a “stranglehold” over politicians at the federal and state levels. She and Mr. Prince grew up in Michigan, where their father made a fortune in the auto parts business.
AFT Michigan sued Project Veritas in federal court, alleging trespassing, eavesdropping and other offenses. The teachers’ union is asking for more than $3 million in damages, accusing the group of being a “vigilante organization which claims to be dedicated to exposing corruption. It is, instead, an entity dedicated to a specific political agenda.”
Project Veritas has said its activities are legal and protected by the First Amendment, and the case is scheduled to go to trial in the fall.
Other Project Veritas employees on the emails include Joe Halderman, an award-winning former television producer who in 2010 pleaded guilty to trying to extort $2 million from the comedian David Letterman. Mr. Halderman was copied on several messages providing updates about the Michigan operation, and in one message, he gave instructions to Ms. Jorge. Project Veritas tax filings list Mr. Halderman as a “project manager.”
Two other employees, Gaz Thomas and Samuel Chamberlain, were also identified in emails and appeared to play important roles in the Michigan operation. Efforts to locate Mr. Thomas were unsuccessful. A man named Samuel Chamberlain who matched the description of the one employed by Mr. O’Keefe denied he worked for Project Veritas. He did not respond to follow-up phone messages or an email.
Last year, Project Veritas submitted a proposed list of witnesses for the trial over the lawsuit. Mr. Chamberlain and Mr. Thomas were on the list. Mr. Seddon was not.
Ms. Jorge, 23, did not respond to email addresses associated with her Liberty University account. In an archived version of her LinkedIn page, Ms. Jorge wrote she had a deep interest in the conservative movement and hoped one day to serve on the Supreme Court after attending law school.
In a YouTube video, Mr. O’Keefe described the lawsuit as “frivolous” and pointed to a portion of the deposition in which David Hecker, the president of AFT Michigan, said that one of the goals of the lawsuit was to “stop Project Veritas from doing the kind of work that it does.”
Randi Weingarten, the president of the American Federation of Teachers, said in a statement: “Let’s be clear who the wrongdoer is here: Project Veritas used a fake intern to lie her way into our Michigan office, to steal documents and to spy — and they got caught. We’re just trying to hold them accountable for this industrial espionage.”
In 2018, an operative working for Project Veritas infiltrated the campaign of Abigail Spanberger, who went on to win a congressional seat.
Anna Moneymaker/The New York Times
In 2018, Ms. Jorge infiltrated the congressional campaign of Ms. Spanberger, posing as a campaign volunteer. At the time, Ms. Spanberger was running to unseat a sitting Republican congressman in a race both parties considered important for control of the House. Ms. Jorge was eventually exposed and kicked out of the campaign office.
It was unclear whether Mr. Seddon was involved in planning that operation.
Mr. Seddon was a longtime British intelligence officer who served around the world, including in Washington in the years after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. He is married to an American diplomat, Alice Seddon, who is serving in the American consulate in Lagos, Nigeria.
Mr. O’Keefe and his group have taken aim at targets over the years including Planned Parenthood, The New York Times, The Washington Post and Democracy Partners, a group that consults with liberal and progressive electoral causes. In 2016, a Project Veritas operative infiltrated Democracy Partners using a fake name and fabricated résumé and made secret recordings of the staff. The year after the sting, Democracy Partners sued Project Veritas, and its lawyers have since deposed Mr. O’Keefe.
In that deposition, Mr. O’Keefe defended the group’s undercover tactics, saying they were part of a long tradition of investigative journalism going back to muckraking reporters like Upton Sinclair. “I’m not ashamed of the methods that we use or the recordings that we use,” he said.
He was asked whether he had provided any of the group’s secret recordings of Democracy Partners to the Republican National Committee or any member of the Trump family. He said that he did not think so.
In 2010, Mr. O’ Keefe and three others pleaded guilty to a federal misdemeanor after admitting they entered a government building in New Orleans under false pretenses as part of a sting.

Kitty Bennett contributed research.

Saturday, February 22, 2020

And worse

And worse and worse

So, Trump has put in this internet troll dickhead Nazi Richard Grenell in charge of the entire US intelligence community.  And this schmuck is going to also stay on as our ambassador to Germany.

So, what does CNN do when reporting on the immediate impact Grenell is having? Who could they turn to to describe the obvious horrific implications of this? Yes, that right, let's get Donald Trump Jr.'s opinion.

"He looks forward to having an 'honest dealer' leading the intelligence community." 

What the fuck does Donald Trump Jr. know about honesty or intelligence?

So, who could CNN turn to to get an idea of how well Grenel has performed as an ambassador?  Yes, they again turn to Donald Trump Jr., "He's the most effective person we've seen in an ambassadorial spot decades."

Grenell's tenure may be short, some say as little as 90 days, because there's talk Trump is shopping around for someone else to hold the job.  There are reports Trump wants Rep. Doug Collins to take the job.  Trump liked what he saw on TV with Collins during the impeachment trial.  But, Collins is screaming he doesn't want it.

Imagine if Trump gives the job to Rep. Deven Nunes.

Friday, February 21, 2020

It just gets worse and worse

So far all of our institutions of government have failed to stop the madness that is Donald Trump's presidency.  The reality that he is a pawn of Russis's Vladimir Putin is just denied.  This is a prerequisite for all Republicans, Conservatives, Christians, Evangeicals, Independents, Libertarians, Fascists, and White Nationalists who see an Emperor with no clothes and decide to worship him like a God so that they can freely express their vile hatreds towards everyone and everything that is not like them.

It is expressed openly as raw racism.

It is expressed as misogyny.

It is expressed in anti-Semitism.  And in many other ways

Giving America to the Russians is ignored.  Having three Russian intelligence chiefs in the Oval Office as Trump ordered everyone else out is not a concern to them.

Separating immigrant children from their parents and putting them in cages in repurposed Wal-Marts run by for-profit prison companies is met with cheers.  Children have died.  Cruelty is the point, they cheer.  And they're making money doing this!

Politico reports that one of the reasons why federal investigations, plural, into Russian interference in our elections failed was because Republican ideologues who refused to believe it are at every level of American society including the investigations leadership and staff.  This includes the National Security Council. One member of the NSC who denied the realty and worked hard to prevent anyone from believing it, Kash Patel, a former disciple of Rep. Devin Nunes ( who we now know was massively involved with key personnel in the whole Ukraine scheme) is now a top advisor to Trump's new Acting Director of National intelligence.  Trump has now given our entire intelligence community over to our Ambassador to Germany, a former internet troll, Richard Grenell.  Grenell is beloved by Germany's new Neo Nazi Party, the AfD ( Alternative for Deutschland ) and Grenell expects to retain his ambassadorship to Germany while serving as acting DNI.

This is akin to giving the intelligence community to Ralph Cinque.

Trump is openly replacing every agency and institution of American government with ass kissing morons who cannot see Vladimir Putin.  Every executive agency head is an "acting" head.  This circumvents the "advise and consent" clause of the Constitution and senate confirmation.  Congress has been stripped of this power.  And no one and nothing stopped this.

America is on its death bed in a Russian hospital this election.  Putin has total control of America.  There is nothing he doesn't know about America now.  And it was freely and openly given to him by this moron Trump. And nothing and no one stopped it.

And Russia is doing it again.  Acting head of the DNI Joseph McGuire and his staff held a briefing on Feb 13th for the House Intelligence Committee that Russia was actively interfering in our election again to re-elect Trump.  But even worse than that they are involved in undermining the Democratic party and their primaries.  And when told about this meeting by, guess who, yes, it's Rep. Devin Nunes, Trump went into a rage and fired the people giving the briefing to Congress.  Joseph McGuire, you're fired! The person who gave the briefing, Ms. Shelby Pierson, I believe was also fired. The acting deputy DNI Andrew Hallman is stepping down on Friday, 2/21/2020.  If you want to keep your job in the federal government or if you're a Republican congressperson or senator you had better deny seeing Vladimir Putin and you had better kiss Trump's ass.

And another travesty is the Roger Stone case.

It is a travesty that there were no cameras in the federal court as Roger Stone was sentenced.  It was a travesty that he got a mere 40 months in prison. It is a travesty that Barr and Trump interfered in the DOJ sentence recommendations.

Trump has attacked the sentence, the judge, and individual members of the jury in this case.  And nothing and no one stops this. 

People call for Attorney General Barr to resign.  But they are farting into the wind.  An association of federal judges we are told held an "emergency meeting." It means nothing.  

Barr is interfering in other cases to make things go the way Trumps wants.  Trump has usurped the AG describing himself, falsely, as "the top law enforcement officer in the country." 

The crimes Stone committed were designed to make Trump president, and once president to protect him.  And soon Trump will pardon Stone or commute his sentence, thus, he thinks, invalidating the whole prosecution of Stone.

And the invisible Russian can be heard laughing. 

And yet, the judge DID reduce the sentence she could have given, of 7 to 9 years, to a mere 3 years and 4 months! She did EXACTLY what Barr and Trump cried out for in their unprecedented interference in the case.  

The four DOJ prosecutors presenting the case all quit in protest, one quit the DOJ all together.  

The new DOJ prosecutor surprisingly rejected the POTUS and AG interference.  He apologized for it.  So, you might be thinking we've found a man of integrity in the DOJ, hooray!  Well, no, not really.

And then he says something he wishes he didn't say.

So, about the second sentencing recommendation, the one advocating for a minimal sentence ...

And now suddenly the guy trying to be Mr. Integrity wants to hide under a desk. 

It's really hard to believe how bad things are in America.