Monday, April 30, 2018

It's All About The Benjamins (duh)

In a recent conversation with Esquire magazine, author (and former trader/risk analyst) Nassim Nicholas Taleb shares some insight on money and one's dependency on key aspects related to it, such as debt.
"I have never, ever borrowed a penny. So I have zero credit record. No loans, no mortgage, nothing. Ever. When I had no money, I rented. I have an allergy to borrowing and a scorn for people who are in debt, and I don’t hide it. I follow the Romans’ attitude that debtors are not free people."
Of course, Taleb fails to take into account that a lack of a credit history is detrimental to renting but, overall, one can get the gist of where's coming from. But of more interest and value is his opinion on the lack of consequence visited upon those whose decisions affect the vast majority of us.
"There is less 'skin in the game' today than there was fifty years ago, or even twenty years ago. More people determine the fates of others without having to pay the consequences. Skin in the game means you own your own risk. It means people who make decisions in any walk of life should never be insulated from the consequences of those decisions, period. If you’re a helicopter repairman, you should be a helicopter rider. If you decide to invade Iraq, the people who vote for it should have children in the military. And if you’re making economic decisions, you should bear the cost if you’re wrong. 
Ninety-eight percent of Americans—plumbers, dentists, bus drivers—have skin in the game. We have to worry about the 2 percent—the intellectuals and politicians making the big decisions who don’t have skin in the game and are messing the whole thing up for everybody else."
Taleb says he's been financially independent since 1987 but warns about equating reaching such a plateau with financial invulnerability.
"Money can’t buy happiness, but the absence of money can cause unhappiness. Money buys freedom: intellectual freedom, freedom to choose who you vote for, to choose what you want to do professionally. But having what I call 'fuck you' money requires a huge amount of discipline. The minute you go a penny over, then you lose your freedom again. If money is the cause of your worry, then you have to restructure your life."
Ain't that the truth.

[Esquire: Nassim Nicholas Taleb Has Never Borrowed a Cent in His Life]

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Questions Arise in Firing of House Chaplain

Rumored to have been fired by House Speaker Paul Ryan because he questioned the spirit of the Republican tax cut in a prayer on the floor of the House in November, right before it came to a vote, the House chaplain, Rev. Patrick Conroy, a Jesuit priest, has had his dismissal questioned even by Republicans, including Rep. Peter King of New York. (A House chaplain has never been removed by Congress in the midst of their term.)

Meanwhile, novelist Jay Parini, whose most recent book is The Way of Jesus: Living a Spiritual and Ethical Life, had his own theory.
"There is talk of getting a protestant chaplain to take over from Conroy, who doesn't—being a Catholic—know much about 'family issues'. This seems like a smokescreen to me. Perhaps Paul Ryan wants a prosperity-style preacher who will not be 'political' and challenge the celebration of wealth (and dismissal of those in need)? There are plenty of preachers out there who will cheer him, and Trump, on. This worries me greatly. It should worry you, too." 
[CNN: Paul Ryan's Firing of Father Conroy Should Worry Us All]

Roomful of Rich, White NYC Parents Get Big Mad at Plan to Diversify Neighborhood’s Schools

"Anyone laboring under the delusion that New York City is a progressive bastion need look no further than the city’s school system, which remains among the most segregated in the country.
In an effort to fight that trend, which has only gotten worse thanks to gentrification, rising income and wealth inequality throughout the city’s five boroughs, schools on the Upper West Side—one of the wealthiest and whitest sections of Manhattan—are looking to adopt a plan that would require all local middle schools to reserve a quarter of their seats for students who score below grade level on state English and math tests.

The plan is designed to make Upper West Side schools more reflective of New York City’s diverse demographics, and make sure underprivileged students have access to the sorts of advantages and resources that the neighborhood’s well-funded schools can provide.

Well, that plan didn’t go over so well in a room full of wealthy white parents.

Local TV station Spectrum News NY1 captured footage of a contentious meeting during which rich, white Manhattanites shouted, ranted and complained about the perceived disadvantages their children would face.

The parents couldn’t fathom their children not getting into the middle school of their choice because they might have to hand their seat over to a black or [Hispanic] child."
[The Root]

Friday, April 27, 2018

The Right's Hollywood Hypocrisy (Kanye West edition)

Despite their supposed disdain for Hollywood and its celebrity culture, conservatives are so starved for contemporary star power on their side, they will openly adopt a maddeningly rambling jackass like Kanye West as their own. Which, come to think of it, is not all that different from their superficial embracing of any and all likeminded people of color, particularly African-Americans, who overwhelmingly rejected Donald Trump at the polls in 2016. Hey, can't have enough useful idiots, right?

Their giddiness and joy over West's support of Trump has provoked a sort of KanyeFest that has even inspired some quite delusional outbursts like this one from the UK conservative fave The Spectator
"[West's] decision to embrace the right could reinvigorate his career and then you can bet he won’t be the last fame hungry celebrity to cross the left/right Rubicon in 2018. In fact, there’s a good chance there will be a stampede.
Of course there will be a stampede of notoriously liberal Hollywood types flocking to support a greatly unpopular president who has the earned the ire of gays, Jews, people of color and pro-choice women. Yes, of course. I can see it now.

Btw, can't wait for The Daily Stormer endorsement of Kanye West. That's gonna be awesome, yo!

West's Side Story

In his must-read Op-Ed over at CNN.com, author and radio host Clay Cane sheds light on Kanye West's embracing of Donald Trump and it's every bit as pathetic as one would expect from an entitled, out-of-touch celebrity, regardless of political persuasion.
"Mr. West's latest rants prove how deeply far gone he is. After co-signing a black Trump supporter last Friday who idiotically claimed in March that the National Rifle Association was a civil rights organization to fight the Ku Klux Klan, he spoke to Ebro Darden from Hot 97, saying, 'I love Donald Trump'. Where did this love come from? A clue might be President Barack Obama not stroking Kanye's celebrity ego. The rapper whined to Darden, 'Well, I reached out to Obama for years and I couldn't get anything done, but Trump gave me a meeting'. Yep, Kanye believes he was entitled to a meeting with a sitting president just because he is rich and famous. How very Trump-like of him. Mr. West is a prime example of a person who achieves wealth and adopts the conservative values that will help him keep it."
Not to mention that President Obama publicly called West "a jackass".
Aww, poor baby.

Cane further points out the many instances that would generate ample reason for any self-aware and self-respecting person, especially one of color, to stay clear of a lifetime vulgar bigot like Trump but...
"Kanye has the space to dismiss racism. His life will arguably never be threatened by the police. He is not suffering wage discrimination. He will not be racially profiled at Starbucks or LA Fitness. He will never worry about getting laid off from a job because of a despicable tax bill. Kanye lives a privileged life, therefore, Trumpism benefits his materialistic and narcissistic world."
Were it not for the fact that he's a popular artist who has the power to influence a great many, this would simply be the ramblings of yet another rambling kook with access to the spotlight [see Voight, Jon, et al.] but West is toxic on so many levels. Just like his bromance partner at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

[CNN: Kanye Only Cares About Himself...Just Like Trump]

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Watergate for Morons

"Someone as unmotivated and unskilled as Trump ought to have chosen top people for his administration, but he did not. By and large, the working staff of Trump’s campaign-turned-White House consists of fourth-raters deemed too unskilled or simply too dumb to get a job in any administration but Trump’s. Therefore, we have shady political hacks considered untouchably unsavory and crooked by Washington’s shady political class. There are sub-shop managers masquerading as consiglieri. There are soi-disant academics turned Fox News blowhards. There are deviants in league with foreign intelligence. There are of course wife-beaters and related criminals. While it was once fashionable to deride Nixon’s staff as inept bunglers lacking basic ethics, they loom as moral paragons and MacArthur Fellows compared to the doomed crew of room-temperature-IQ wannabes that Trump has collected around himself in Washington."

Every time I remember that a plurality of voters decided this vulgar bigot and narcissistic ignoramus was fit to serve as POTUS, my contempt for his supporters expands exponentially, for in many aspects they are a mirror reflection of this pox on the presidency, the country and, by virtue of his office's reach and power, the world. And so...

[Observer: Kremlingate Is Really Just Watergate for Morons—With Russians]

Meme of the Day: W Bashes KW

No Worse Blind Man: Trump Supporters Hopeful Despite Evidence to Contrary

CNN's Poppy Harlow returned, a year after her previous visit, to Beattyville, Kentucky, an Appalachian town with more than 50% of its residents living in poverty and one in which Trump won 81% of the vote. Despite admittedly grim prospects, they continue to support him in large numbers, mostly for reasons that have little to do with competence or even a solid plan. At the 5:43 mark a Trump supporter reiterates his support for him by emphasizing how Trump "is a normal person like myself, not a politician." A quip pregnant with the kind of ignorant narcissism that should've been meet with, oh I dunno, "And do you think you're qualified to run the country?" But that would require the kind of guts CNN so terribly lacks. See for yourself:

 

Trump So Unhinged Even Fox & Friends Pushes Back

"They didn't just try to drag the old man who called into their show out of the deep recesses of his own paranoid fantasies—they also pushed him on the facts. Doocy, for instance, also reminded Trump that the Justice Department he's continually railing against is run entirely by Republicans he appointed. In a nice display of his particular abilities, the president made Fox & Friends look like something approaching a journalistic endeavor. He also settled the question of who in the Trump-Fox symbiosis is really calling the shots. Only one side has all the arrows in their quiver, and it ain't the leader of the free world." 
[Esquire: Even Fox & Friends Anchors Couldn't Make Sense of Trump's Madness This Morning]

It's The End of The World As We Know It (and I don't know how I feel)


Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Paul Begala: "Sean Hannity is a Welfare Queen"

"Hannity owns millions of dollars of real estate through more than 20 shell corporations, which shield his identity. The federal Department of Housing and Urban Development, The Guardian notes, insured the mortgage loans with which Hannity purchased the properties. Let's be clear: This is a subsidy. This is a benefit. This is big government aiding a very wealthy man. This is welfare.
[CNN]

Monday, April 23, 2018

Christian TV: State TV for Religious Chumpbots

"A generation ago—even a few years ago—this would have been unthinkable. Christian TV was largely the province of preachers, musicians, faith healers and a series of televangelism scandals. Politicians were leery of getting too close. To establishment evangelicals, not to mention the rest of America, Christian TV was hokey at best, and disreputable at worst. But in the past two years, largely out of view of the coastal media and the Washington establishment, a transformation has taken place. As Christian networks have become more comfortable with politics, the Trump administration has turned them into a new pipeline for its message." 
[Politico: Church of the Donald]

Sean Hannity Conflict of Interest Involved HUD As Well

"[R]ecords link Hannity to a group of shell companies that spent at least $90m on more than 870 homes in seven states over the past decade. The properties range from luxurious mansions to rentals for low-income families. Hannity is the hidden owner behind some of the shell companies and his attorney did not dispute that he owns all of them.
Dozens of the properties were bought at a discount in 2013, after banks foreclosed on their previous owners for defaulting on mortgages. Before and after then, Hannity sharply criticised Barack Obama for the US foreclosure rate. In January 2016, Hannity said there were 'millions more Americans suffering under this president' partly because of foreclosures.
Hannity, 56, also amassed part of his property collection with support from the US Department for Housing and Urban Development (HUD), a fact he did not disclose when praising Ben Carson, the HUD secretary, on his television show last year."

[The Guardian: Michael Cohen Case Shines Light on Sean Hannity's Property Empire]

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Happy Earth Day!


So, What Are The Democrats Doing?

With the exception of the recent lawsuit filed against Russia, the Trump campaign, and WikiLeaks, for conspiring to interfere in the 2016 election, Tom Perez and the Democrats have been awfully quiet of late. I'd like to think their concocting a killer game plan but deep down I fear they're cowering in a corner, overwhelmed by the magnitude of what they're up against.

Meanwhile...

- Remember that surprise Rudy Giuliani gleefully advertised on every talk show that would have him, days before the 2016 election? James Comey opened an investigation into the possibility of elements within the FBI alerting Giuliani to Comey's then-upcoming discovery and announcement regarding another batch of "new" Hillary Clinton-related emails. Too bad Comey got fired by Trump before the investigation reached its conclusion. Does the GOP-led Congress want to look into this? Of course not. And now Giuliani, Trump's old lap attack dog, has joined his master's side.

- Leaning on the DoJ to release the Comey memos was nothing more than an excuse to get Deputy Director Rosenstein in a position to be fired if he failed to comply. It backfired, but what's even more telling is that the GOP has NO PROBLEM with Comey's account of Trump demanding loyalty to him and trying to influence him to drop the Michael Flynn probe. No Republican cares about this for, as Rep. Jim Himes [D-CT] said recently, the GOP Congress has abdicated its role of oversight and become Trump's defense lawyer.

- The NRA, which owns a truckload of Republican politicians, has confirmed ties with Russia it refuses to discuss. The NRA also donated $30m to Trump's 2016 presidential campaign. With that wave of gun control-minded, newly minted youth voters looking to vote in the midterms, the NRA will act even more desperate in the months to come.

- Trump and the RNC, in a similar act of desperation will ramp up the racist, anti-immigrant rhetoric, which will likely reach cacophonous levels.

- Fearing the possibility of losing both houses of Congress in November, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is looking to confirm as many judges as possible before then. There are currently 149 vacancies.

Put on your big boy pants Democrats, it's gonna get even uglier.

Think Progress: Large number of Amazon Workers On Food Stamps

"According to the New Food Economy, Amazon ranks high on the list of employers with massive numbers of employees enrolled in SNAP (the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, otherwise known as food stamps). In Ohio, around one in 10 Amazon employees uses SNAP; in Pennsylvania, about one in nine. In Arizona, nearly one in three Amazon employees is enrolled in the food stamp program."
[Think Progress]

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Forget "Party over Country"—For GOPers Party Is Thicker Than Blood

This week, Senator Ted Cruz [R-TX], a man who during the most recent Republican presidential primaries was the recipient of such pleasantries as accusations of his father being involved in the Kennedy assassination; the slander of his wife; and publicly and repeatedly called a liar; wrote a glowing and slobbering bit of praise for the man who said all those things and more.
The most recent edition of Time magazine's "100 Most Influential People" includes the current POTUS, and while many were likely more than willing to lay sycophantic petals at his feet, who better to put on the kneepads than the servile punching bag without honor?

Meanwhile, Senator John McCain [R-AZ], a man who Trump has insulted and mocked numerous times, had his eldest offspring, Meghan McCain of The View, covertly defend Trump by lashing into former FBI director James Comey during his recent appearance on the daytime talk show. McCain proffered a series of baseless, ridiculous and ultimately laughable accusations and assertions (namely, that the paragon of justice that was J. Edgar Hoover "is rolling in his grave" over Comey's depictions of Trump as an unfit commander-in-chief) that seemed taken right out of a Hannity or Fox and Friends playbook.

Basically, Republicans will be served shit for dinner and ask for seconds if it means advancing their agenda. No amount of insults or humiliation is enough to push back, stand tall and preserve their dignity—not when there's a dirty chalice of power to drink from.

Friday, April 20, 2018

Avenatti's Stormy Forecast for Cohen et al

"But [Michael Avenatti] believes the true smoking gun is a so-called Suspicious Activities Report (S.A.R.) reportedly created by the Treasury Department earlier this year after a bank is reported to have flagged Cohen’s account for dubious transactions. (The Treasury Department and First Republic Bank did not provide a comment to The Wall Street Journal, which broke the story, while Cohen called it 'fake news'.) 'That is a critical document at this juncture of the case', said Avenatti. If such a report existed it could very well describe a narrative of events in which monies were moved from bank account to bank account in an effort to cover up campaign payments to Trump’s alleged mistresses. 'The importance of that document cannot be overstated', he said.

While his request for the document has been met with radio silence by the Treasury Department, the F.B.I. may well have it—Avenatti speculates that it could be the blueprint for the entire investigation The way Avenatti talks about the report brings to mind Woodward and Bernstein’s discovery, in 1972, of the $25,000 bank deposit from a Nixon campaign-finance chairman into the account of one of the Watergate burglars." 
[Vanity Fair: “Michael Cohen Is Going to be Indicted”: Stormy Daniels' Attorney is Now Cooperating with the Feds]

Flake Supports NASA Nomination of Enemy of Science (or Never Trust a Republican)

Some eight months after the nomination of Trump's choice for head of NASA, Jim Bridenstine, a Republican congressman from Oklahoma with no science background and a history of climate change denial, was dead in the water, Bridenstine was confirmed by one vote switched from 'no' to 'yes'. And whose vote was it? Oh, none other than the junior GOP senator from Arizona, Jeff Flake.

And Flake is "one of the good guys", one of those willing to criticize the POTUS. Yeah, right. In the end the always show their true colors. Don't ever forget it.

DNC Sues Russia, WikiLeaks and Trump Campaign Over 2016 Election

"The Democratic National Committee filed a lawsuit today asking for millions of dollars from the Russian government, WikiLeaks, and the Trump campaign for Russia's 'all-out assault on our democracy... hurting the Democratic Party and electing Donald Trump'...The lawsuit also targets Paul Manafort, Donald Trump Jr., Rick Gates, Roger Stone, Jared Kushner and George Papadopoulos — all believed to be affiliated with Russia.
[Axios]

Trump Allies Afraid Michael Cohen Will Go Canary On Him

Which begs the question, if Trump is innocent why is anyone worried about what Cohen has to say?

Yeah, that's what I thought.

Wouldn't it be awesome if the self-proclaimed deal maker got brought down by one?

[CNBC: Trump Allies Reportedly Fear Lawyer Michael Cohen will Flip and Cooperate with Prosecutors in Probe]

Twitter Has a Field Day with Giuliani Joining Trump Legal Team

My favorite is, “Let’s bring back an unpopular character from Season One!”

Sidebar: the video below is major cringe-worthy


[Huff Po: Twitter Users Taunt Rudy Giuliani Over New Role On Trump Legal Team]

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

GOP: None More Hypocritical

At the risk of being labeled an über partisan—a risk I assume whole-heartedly and without reservation of any kind—I have lost all respect for Republicans of all stripes and their followers and, until, proven the contrary I will not see them as little more than hypocrites of the worst caliber.

Why?

The reasons are both numerous and evident to anyone who has been paying attention to American politics over the last decade. Here are but a few:
- The same people who publicly decided their main goal, from the moment Barack Obama was elected, was not to get the country to work and boost the economy but to make the newly-elected Obama a one-term POTUS, had the nerve to ask us all to stand behind support the current president and his nefarious policies.

- States Rights is a Republican mantra that only applies to states that want to enact or maintain retrograde conservative policies, like preserving the statues of traitors Confederates, but is seemingly non-existent when it comes to California's right to make marijuana legal, for instance.

- While they pay lip service to curbing federal spending when Democrats are in power, Republicans remain currently mum about their own exploding of the deficit or even about chastising cabinet members blowing cash like drunken sailors on shore leave.

- Obama was a symbol of tyranny but Trump acting like a Third World dictator (putting family members in key positions of power, making loyalty to him and not competence the determining factor is naming ministers, meddling in the DoJ, etc. etc. etc.) is no big deal.

- That Trump clearly has an underlying issue that prevents him from acting in any credible manner against Russia, a country the GOP has built a legacy of opposing in order to show their true American colors, and that very few of them have even raised an eyebrow in this regard, is troubling at best; grounds for suspicion of treason at worst.

But that's today's conservatives for ya. And a third of the country is behind 'em no matter what. Just as long as liberals get screwed over, of course.

No Amber Alert for Navajo Girl

"After an 11-year-old Navajo girl was kidnapped, her family and friends sprang into action to find her. Why did it take so long for law enforcement to join them?"
[Esquire: How the Kidnapping and Murder of Ashlynn Mike Changed Our Country's Amber Alert Protocols]

Thoughts on Cynthia Nixon for Governor

Numerous political analysts and pundits, not to mention New Yorkers from all walks of life, have already weighed in on the former Sex and the City actress running for governor of New York, so I’ll keep my comments brief.

Cynthia Nixon is a passionate individual with a strong activist background who seems to have the best interests of the city and the state at heart. But does anyone really believe that a complete neophyte, in terms of holding elected office, can run a vast and complex state like ours? Or corral the notoriously ornery political machine of NY state? Have we not already learned the lesson of the inexperienced, unqualified celebrity from NYC?

If Nixon can find a way to exert pressure on Gov. Cuomo to do a better job and stick to his liberal principles, we should all support her efforts. However, these should not extend to electing her Governor. She’d be out of her depth, out of her league and it would be of disastrous consequences in the long run.

Gov. Cuomo needs to be kept honest, not replaced by a celebrity neophyte. Let’s not make in NY the same mistake voters across the country made in November of 2016.

Hate in the Heartland: Trump the Radicalizer

"For years, immigrant workers — from Vietnam, Mexico and eventually Somalia — have moved to this flat stretch of prairie and farmland on the Oklahoma border to work at the meatpacking plants. 

For the most part, people got along, [Kay] Burtzloff said, but something changed when Trump entered the political scene. 'I will be the first to tell you I do not fear getting killed by a Muslim,' Burtzloff said. 'I fear getting killed by an angry white guy. That is much more likely to happen.'

It’s here in a trailer in this town of 20,000 people that three white men — fueled by a steady diet of anti-Muslim online memes and conspiracy theories, and captivated by presidential candidate Trump, who proposed a Muslim ban and proclaimed that 'Islam hates us' — appeared to discuss a plot to massacre Somali Muslim immigrants who lived and worked nearby...

Patrick Stein, 49, Curtis Allen, 50, and Gavin Wright, 52, are accused of plotting to bomb an apartment complex that housed many Somalis and its on-site mosque. The three are believed to have gathered fertilizer to make a bomb while they added to their arsenal of weapons and ammunition. But the FBI says it foiled their plans with arrests four weeks before the 2016 election. The men have been in jail ever since."

[Huffington Post]

Gorsuch Sides with Liberals in SCOTUS Immigrant Deportation Case Decision

WASHINGTON – The Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that a law subjecting non-citizens to deportation for crimes of violence is unconstitutionally vague, handing the Trump administration an early defeat — thanks to the vote of Justice Neil Gorsuch. President Trump's nominee to the high court joined most of the ruling by the court's liberal minority, agreeing that the law failed to define what would qualify as a violent crime. He based his conclusion on a similar decision written in 2015 by his predecessor, Justice Antonin Scalia
[USA Today]

Handful of House Republicans Mobilize to Protect Mueller

"A small band of House Republicans has suddenly backed a bill to prevent President Donald Trump from unilaterally firing special counsel Robert Mueller — giving some bipartisan life to a measure that has largely been shunned by GOP leaders. At least six House Republicans have endorsed the legislation in the past week, including three on Tuesday, despite a new round of assurances from Speaker Paul Ryan that the effort is unnecessary."
[Politico]

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Discovery of Enzyme That Can Eat Through Plastic Could Help Curb Pollution

CNN:
"Scientists have accidentally developed a plastic-eating enzyme that may be used to combat one of the world's worst pollution problems.

Researchers from Britain's University of Portsmouth and the US Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) made the discovery while examining the structure of a natural enzyme found in a waste recycling center a few years ago in Japan. They say the enzyme, Ideonella sakaiensis 201-F6, is able to 'eat' polyethylene terephthalate, PET, which was patented as a plastic in the 1940s and is used in millions of tons of plastic bottles."

[CNN: Scientists Hope New Enzyme Will 'Eat' Plastic Pollution]

Trump Request to Review Cohen Docs Before Prosecutors Denied

The Guardian:
"A request for Donald Trump and his legal fixer Michael Cohen to be allowed to vet the documents seized from Cohen by the FBI before prosecutors can examine them was rejected by a federal judge on Monday.

But Judge Kimba Wood said she might appoint an independent lawyer to review the trove of records to find those protected by attorney-client privilege – possibly with a specific remit of checking documents related to the president.


'In terms of the perception of fairness, a special master might have a role here', Wood said at Manhattan federal court, without immediately issuing an official ruling.

Wood also denied a request from Trump for a temporary restraining order against his own justice department, which would have explicitly ordered prosecutors to not begin going through the files from Cohen’s home, office and hotel
."

Trump is so guilty he doesn't want his own DoJ to look at the docs. Un-fucking-believable.

This is the PoS you elected, 'Murica. Enjoy.

[The Guardian: Judge Rejects Trump and Cohen's Bid to View Seized Papers Before Prosecutors]

Hannity the Hypocrite Strikes Again!

Railing about Mueller's team being corrupt and then...


Monday, April 16, 2018

Some Thoughts on the Upcoming Mueller Firing

Not being in the majority and lacking anything that even remotely resembles a spine, Democrats have resorted to collecting signatures as if they were trying to get a grassroots candidate on the ballot and not establishing a frontline of defense for Special Counsel Robert Mueller, in anticipation of Donald Trump’s (indirect) firing of the former FBI director who’s investigating his (alleged) treason and other malfeasance.

But here’s the thing: I’m not worried anymore. Trump can have Mueller fired tomorrow—the case against him isn’t going anywhere. Mueller is way too smart to be outfoxed by the idiot-in-chief; that’s what the Michael Cohen raid was about: establishing jurisdiction outside the scope of his investigation to make sure related inquiries don’t die on the vine. In addition, Mueller is said to have assembled a small army of very talented attorneys and investigators that won’t let go of this without a fight. Plus, there must be dozens if not hundreds or even thousands of flash drives tasked with safekeeping all that evidence/paperwork.

So, yeah, let him fire Mueller. It won’t be a smooth transition afterwards, but let Trump lull his dumbass into a false sense of security while his goose is cooked.

[New York Magazine: Robert Mueller May or May Not Go, But His Work Won’t Go Anywhere]

Philly Starbucks Has Black Men Arrested For Questionable Motive

First of all, thank God no one was hurt. Sadly, in any interaction between the police and PoC this is the first thing that comes to mind.

Second, I’m not completely absolving the cops on this one since, to an extent, they came in and did their job under the circumstances. But I don’t think it had to get to a point where people were handcuffed and detained, unless they refused to leave even after the cops told them to do so. They were simply waiting for a friend to show up—who arrived as they were being handcuffed—but were told to leave because one of them asked to use the restroom and they hadn’t ordered anything. As if lounging about is a rare occurrence at Starbucks.

Finally, this is on Starbucks. Whoever made the call to involve the police fucked up royally. Racial profiling on display in all its infamy. Ugh.

[CNN: A video of black men being arrested at Starbucks. Three very different reactions.]

Never Trumpers: Like A Fish Needs a Bicycle

New York magazine's Jonathan Chait takes center right Republican and NY Times Op-Ed columnist David Brooks to task for a recent piece in which Brooks overlooks the obvious in so far as Donald Trump's continued GOP support in the midst of a multi-layered failed presidency.

"What implications might be drawn from the implacable support of the party base for the manifestly incompetent, scandal-ridden party leader? One might entertain the conclusion that no combination of facts and logic can dislodge the Republican base from its tribal loyalties. This interpretation could be supported by such evidence as the fondness of Republicans for birtherism, their distrust of climate science, and so on. Perhaps the Republican base as currently constituted is hopelessly immune to reason and a reasonable person such as Brooks should instead refocus his political energies on curtailing its political power.

But Brooks’s column did not come to that conclusion. Indeed, amazingly enough, he did not even consider the option. Instead, he suggested that critics of Trump must try harder and somehow do a better job of persuading Republicans to stop loving Trump so much. The idea of abandoning the Republican Party because it is authoritarian and toxically anti-intellectual was apparently as unfathomable to him as a fish in a polluted river deciding to live on land
."

Chait goes on to underline his point with an interesting example which is virtually unfathomable within the fractured, polarized world of American politics by citing how in last year's French elections, "François Fillon called for his center-right party, the Republicans, to support Emmanuel Macron in the runoff rather than Marine Le Pen." Yeah, that'd never happen here.

[New York Magazine: The GOP's Never-Trumpers Are Really Just Never-Democrats]

Friday, April 13, 2018

AP: Trump Doorman Paid To Hush Mistress/Love Child Affair

NEW YORK (AP) — Eight months before the company that owns the National Enquirer paid $150,000 to a former Playboy Playmate who claimed she’d had an affair with Donald Trump, the tabloid’s parent made a $30,000 payment to a less famous individual: a former doorman at one of the real estate mogul’s New York City buildings. As it did with the ex-Playmate, the Enquirer signed the ex-doorman to a contract that effectively prevented him from going public with a juicy tale that might hurt Trump’s campaign for president.

The hits just keep on coming.

[Associated Press: $30,000 Rumor? Tabloid paid for, spiked, salacious Trump tip]

Quote of the Day

"The piss from Trump's Russian prostitutes could be splattering on the side of Sean Hannity's face and he'd still defend Trump."

- From a YouTube comments section.

An(other) Inconvenient Truth

An impulsive egomaniac who has flaunted his glaring disrespect for rules, procedure and tradition; yeah, that's the guy who's not going to fire the special prosecutor whose investigation threatens his presidency. Yup.

Republicans couldn't be more disingenuous if they tried.

Like That Tina Turner Song

As the sordid saga of this poor excuse of a human being, let alone POTUS, keeps unraveling, many liberals have found a measure of solace and have even sought to champion Republicans of the "Never Trump" persuasion who have dared to openly criticize Donald Trump in public, in this particular case, ex-FBI director James Comey who, in his upcoming memoirs, A Higher Loyalty, paints an acutely disparaging picture of the president. But Esquire's Charles P. Pierce, a fierce critic of Trump and his administration, isn't ready to send love letters to folks who may cringe at Trump's bigotry and vulgarity but are pretty much on board, otherwise. And he's not making an exception for Comey who he considers "a self-reverential careerist who should be marked lousy by history."

I hold no brief for James Comey. He seems to me as he always has: an ambitious careerist with an unseemly affection for his own rectitude. His clumsy, unforgivable meddling in the last week of the 2016 presidential campaign should mark him lousy in American political history for all time. And now he’s pitching a book about how he is the primary martyr of the Never Trump movement, getting fired for us all...No, I don’t trust anybody in this tangled catastrophe. I distrust some people less than I distrust others but, before everyone chooses sides on straight-arrow James Comey, I thought I ought to make that as clear as possible.

Tell us how you really feel, man. Ha!

[Esquire: James Comey Is No Hero]

The Pardon of Scooter Libby

As pundits and reporters publicly wonder why Trump would pardon former Chief of Staff for then-VP Dick Cheney, Scooter Libby, why don't the rest of us acknowledge the red 800lb. elephant in the room?

This pardon sends a clear signal to all compromised members of the Trump Cartel that they will be pardoned if they take the fall for him. Plus, it opens the door for VP Mike Pence to do the same for Trump if he were found guilty of a crime, a precedent set by Gerald Ford when he pardoned Richard Nixon. I mean, what do I know? I'm just a lowly, news-watching citizen...

Of course, while disingenuously accusing the FBI of treason for his own self-interest, Trump is pardoning a man who, lest we forget, committed actual treason, by revealing the name of a CIA agent, ending her career and, more importantly, jeopardizing the lives of untold others. (Maybe Cheney has even more dirt on Trump?) But it wouldn't be Trump if contradiction and hypocrisy aren't part of the mix.

Oh, and, btw, from what I understand, those indicted and convicted under NY state can't receive a presidential pardon. You hear that Ivanka? You might have to visit both your dad and hubby at Rikers. Ah, if only...

Thursday, April 12, 2018

RNC = SHT

[My apologies to the great music critic J. D. Considine for biting off his infamous review of the 1987 self-titled album by the band GTR for the above headline.]

With House Speaker Paul Ryan [R-WI] announcing he will not seek re-election there has been hand wringing by the likes of The View's Meghan McCain, warning those rejoicing over this news that the nice GOPers are being ousted and it's the Trump Army that will be rolling into town. Now, only a full-on Republican partisan could see a granny-starving, Ayn Rand-loving scoundrel like Ryan as one of the good guys but she does have a partial point: the Republican Party is now joining such respected media entities as Breitbart and Fox um, News, as purveyors of propaganda (and supporters of potential treason) with a new website, paid by the Republican National Committee, aimed at discrediting former FBI head James Comey.


It is both disingenuous (citing Dems who disagreed with Comey's handling of HRC's emails, not the Russia investigation but not making the clear distinction) and a disgrace but that's American politics in the Year of Our Lord 2018. The Democrats will clutch their pearls and mock faint but they better recover soon enough to fight back, because this is the opening salvo in a non-stop campaign season by a party that sees themselves drowning in a voter-instigated blue tsunami in November.

If the Russians don't provide lifeboats, of course.

[Esquire: The Republican Party Has Drowned Itself in Trumpism. LyinComey.com Proves It.]

Michael Cohen: Gangster

The folks at Vox break down the infamous origin story of President Trump's decades-long fixer and it ain't pretty.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

5 Questions For Trump Supporters

Politically speaking, we live in very fractured times to say the least. What once were differences of opinion have become ideological lines in the sand that have strained families and severed friendships. As someone who has strongly partaken of this stance, I'm not pointing fingers but I'm willing to acknowledge that sometimes bringing things out into the open can help clarify things even with those who have become intransigent in their defense of the indefensible. With that in mind, if you have an otherwise reasonable person in your midst who continues to support the current POTUS, these 5 questions might help you shed light on why the remain in his corner. Or, who knows? A change of mind would not be the craziest thing they did, right?

1- Do you actually believe a rich businessman who instead of “draining the swamp” filled it with other rich businessmen is NOT part of the establishment? That establishment Republicans are against a man who is making them all rich(er) with his tax cuts? And that exploding the deficit—which was the Tea Party’s biggest and most vocal concern—is now OK because your guy is doing it?

2- Do you actually believe that 19 indictments; 5 guilty pleas; legal warrants to search Paul Manafort and Michael Cohen, respectively; and the cooperation of Michael Flynn, Rick Gates and George Papadopolous are all some made up witch hunt?

3- Do you actually believe that in a free country a government agency should be making a list of journalists who criticize the current administration?

4- Do you actually believe improved relationships with the despicable likes of Rodrigo Duterte and Vladimir Putin, while weakening our bonds with Emmanuel Macron, Angela Merkel and even Theresa May (after the recent poison attack) is a good thing?

5- Do you actually believe that people who have appointed themselves the family/moral values arbiters of our country and yet support a man who is a confirmed and proven bigot, liar, sexual predator and thief, aren’t hypocrites?

Good luck!

I Want A New Drug

Over the last few decades, western society, if not the world at large, has been moving in a more inclusive, open-minded, tolerant direction....