Michael Avenatti ties Michael Cohen to shady LLC & payments from Russian oligarchs

On May 8, Michael Avenatti, Stormy Daniels’ lawyer, dropped a link to documents that showed that Michael Cohen, Trump’s lawyer who arranged hush money payments to Daniels, had been funneling money from a Russian oligarch and various companies through his LLC. Avenatti claims this is how Cohen was paid back for paying off Daniels.

Avenatti’s documents appear to be SARs from a bank, and seem to outline a pay-to-play scandal between the Trump administration and various companies, as well.

Resources from May 8

Resources from May 9

Resources from May 10

Featured Photo: Michael Cohen, by IowaPolitics.com. (Source & licensing.)

SSL certificates are the actual Devil

A couple of years ago Google started downranking websites that weren’t using https protocol. So, if you wanted your website to show up well in Google Search, you needed to buy an SSL certificate and install it on your website.

This is, in my opinion, when building websites stopped being fun.

I have never not had this process be a giant BS hassle. I’m currently fighting with one right now and honestly. It’s enough to make me Amish.

5 Things to Read Today

Fake news, Google News, Michael Cohen, Donald Trump, Rudy Giuliani, & Scott Pruitt

Today’s articles talk about who’s most likely to believe fake news reports, Google News’ upcoming redesign, and the ongoing shenanigans of a whole pile of Trumpsters, including Michael Cohen, Donald Trump, Rudy Giuliani, and Scott Pruitt.

5 Things to Read Today

NiemanLab: People who are delusional, dogmatic, or religious fundamentalists are more likely to believe fake news
NiemanLab has a quick rundown on a new paper from a bunch of Yale researchers. The paper indicates that people who are prone to delusional ideas, religious fundies, and the dogmatically inclined are more likely to believe fake news reports, which is not at all surprising if you’ve been paying any attention at all. There’s also some other interesting tidbits in there.

Ars Technica: Google News to be revamped, incorporate YouTube videos and magazines
It’s redesign time at Google, and they’re planning to dress up Google News a bit, and have it pull in YouTube videos and magazine articles. Which is fine, I guess. As long as they’re careful which YouTube videos they use. A lot of hoaxes, fake news, and hateful trash spreads virally on YouTube.

NBC News: Feds monitored Trump Lawyer Michael Cohen’s phones
Well this story went to hell in a hand basket. It was originally reported that the feds had Cohen’s phones wiretapped, but since yesterday the story has been amended, revised and updated to death, and now it’s a non-story. Now instead of a wiretap, Cohen’s phones were monitored with what’s called a “pen register,” which is just a list of who he called and when. Which, importantly, is a perfectly normal and non-explosive thing to be doing during an investigation. Dammit, NBC.

New York Times: Trump Undercuts Giuliani About Payments to Stormy Daniels 
Trump’s newest lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, had a field day on the news the last day or so, spouting off all sorts of ridiculousness and copping to all sorts of federal crimes on Trump’s behalf. It was pretty crazy. Now Trump’s trying to walk it back. I assume because a real lawyer got a hold of him and was all like, “Dude.”

CNN: Pruitt reimbursed himself $65,000 from Oklahoma attorney general campaign
Everyone’s favorite weirdo, Scott Pruitt, is back in the news. Turns out he payed himself back a crap-ton of money, out of two of his election runs. And that might be a serious violation of federal campaign finance laws. Or it might not. It’s hard to tell, because his record keeping was so very vaguely worded. I’d say that in and of itself is a bad sign. Also, that guy is up to almost a dozen ethics inquiries into his actions, and he still isn’t resigning.

North Korea, gas prices, Twitter & Cambridge Analytica, conservative Facebook pages, & Donald Trump & Don Blankenship

Today’s articles cover North Korea’s sudden desire for peace and the state of their nuclear testing site, Twitter’s brush with Cambridge Analytica, rising gas prices, the fact that conservative Facebook meme pages are affiliated with extremists, and how Donald Trump’s assault on the justice system is helping Don Blankenship’s run in the West Virginia GOP senate primary.

5 Things to Read Today

The Guardian: North Korea nuclear test site has collapsed and may be out of action – China study
Everyone’s been a bit confused about Kim Jong-un’s sudden willingness to come to the peace table, but the fact that their nuclear testing site seems to have collapsed might have something to do with it.

AP: Get ready for the most expensive driving season in years
This article is from back on April 30 and I have to say, I’m thinking they undersold it a smidge. I stopped to gas up the car a couple of days ago and it was already over $3 at our pumps. I put in my usual $10 and didn’t get a half a tank out of the deal. And I drive a roller skate, guys.

Los Angeles Times: Twitter sold public-data access to Cambridge Analytica-linked researcher
Aleksandr Kogan, the guy who got all the Facebook data for Cambridge Analytica, also got data from Twitter. Twitter says that as far as they can tell CA didn’t get any private data on any Twitterers, but, y’know. That’s what Facebook said at first, too.

Media Matters: Popular conservative meme pages on Facebook affiliate themselves with an extremist militia movement
The Three Percenters are a nasty, racist extremist group – they’ve been implicated in lots of race-based acts of violence. Turns out, many of the right’s favorite meme-churning conservative Facebook pages are affiliated with these guys. Which, I gotta say, is not at all surprising to hear.

Mother Jones: Donald Trump’s Attacks on the Justice System Are Helping This Ex-Con Coal Baron’s Campaign
Don Blankenship is a coal baron convicted of violating mandatory federal mine safety and health standards, which led to the deaths of 29 miners in the Upper Big Branch Mine disaster, and is running in the primary for a West Virginia senate seat. And he might win it.

The Saga of the Birds

Awhile back I happened to notice that some sort of small, dark bird with a fairly annoying squawk had made a nest in the eaves over our bedroom window. I’d been hearing some noise in the mornings and I happened to glance out the window one morning and spotted the bird sitting up in the eaves. I figured, “Eh, whatever,” and ignored it.

Some time passed. One morning, I realized that the noises I’d been hearing weren’t, in fact, outside our window. They were, in fact, above our heads. And those bird noises had now been joined by baby bird noises.

Uh-oh, I thought

A brief investigation led me to discover that a small piece of board above our bedroom window, back up under the eaves, had been knocked out. Well, blown in or knocked in, more likely, since we never discovered a board on our porch. At any rate, the bird I thought had been nesting up in the eaves was actually nesting in the roof space directly above our bedroom.

Now, I live in an apartment, so this isn’t my problem. This problem belongs to the maintenance dudes. The fact that problems like this belong to the maintenance dudes and not me is one of many reasons why I am an apartment dweller and not a homeowner. Here’s the situation, though: Our maintenance dudes? Not exactly the cream of the crop, historically speaking.

I mean, they weren’t terrible. They weren’t accidentally wiring apartments up to explode or flood or anything like that. But my limited experience with these particular maintenance dudes had not impressed me. They took forever, and they often took two or three visits to actually fix something right. For example, we’d been trying to get the screen on our sliding door fixed right for, oh, eight years or so.

It had got to the point where if it was a repair I could make, I just made the repair rather than fuss with the maintenance dudes. I had basically given up on the maintenance dudes.

So, I stared up at the hole above my window, watching a bird hop in and out of it, and wondered exactly how likely it was that if I called maintenance, they’d just show up and board up the hole without evicting Mama Bird and her babies. What was the over-under on my boyfriend and I spending the next week or so listening to baby birds slowly, miserably starving to death in our ceiling?

I thought to myself, How long does it take birds to fledge and bugger off? A month? Six weeks? Maybe we’ll just ignore this little problem for a bit. It’s not like our maintenance dudes act with any sort of alacrity, after all. Figuring for that, if I gave Mama and her babies a month’s head start, then called maintenance, by the time they got around to anything, the babies would be safely gone.

Some time passed. Ignoring the bird problem was not working. The birds were making an ungodly mess of the porch. They were obnoxiously loud in the morning. Also, they were driving our cat, Earl, out of his damn mind. One afternoon I came home and discovered Earl stuck to the screen on our bedroom window. He was pretty happy to see me, so I suspect he was stuck there for awhile. Another morning Earl dove at the window and slammed into the screen, and I had visions of Earl knocking the screen completely out and plummeting to his death. Or at least plummeting to his expensive injuries.

Meanwhile, changes were afoot in the apartment complex. The apartment manager was fired and a new one hired. And the new one was promptly fired and another new apartment manager was hired. We were suddenly informed that there were going to be apartment inspections, but not what the inspections were for.

Did we have a new apartment manager with some ginger in their step who intended to set all things aright? The inspectors showed up, and it turned out that they were inspecting for repairs that needed to be made, that had never been made. Apparently, the last two apartment managers hadn’t been doing a great job there. It turned out that there were quite a lot of repairs around the complex that needed made.

No one said, but I rather suspect this is why two apartment managers were fired in rapid succession. This may also explain why I started seeing new maintenance guys wandering around, of late.

So, last week, maintenance showed up to check out the bird situation and I guess it takes quite a while for birds to fledge and bugger off, because they haven’t done it yet, despite it being like two months or something like that. Exterminator/remover people are in the process of being arranged, then repairs will be made.

I guess all’s well that ends well and whatnot, except I’m going to have an awful lot of bird crap to hose off the porch when it’s all said and done.

PS: Yes, we finally got our screen door fixed.

Featured Photo: This is a grackle, and I think this is the type of bird nesting in our roof. This, or something very similar. (Source & Licensing.)