Thursday, March 23, 2017

Twittered Down!

Monday, March 20, 2017

Good Words

I have been authorized by the Department of Justice to confirm that the FBI, as part of our counterintelligence mission, is investigating the Russian government’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election.

That includes investigating the nature of any links between individuals associated with the Trump campaign and the Russian government, and whether there was any coordination between the campaign and Russia’s efforts.

---FBI Director James Comey, testifying today before the House Intelligence Committee.

The question now is how long Trump will be in office.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Tin Foil Hat or Playing the Part?

The last couple of weeks has seen President Trump accuse the former president of wiretapping his office, the British of wiretapping his office, and President Obama of wiretapping both himself and German Chancellor Angela Merkel. The icing on the cake was this.

“What I can say is there are many ways to surveil each other,” Conway said as the Trump presidency marked its 50th day in office during the weekend. “You can surveil someone through their phones, certainly through their television sets — any number of ways.” 

Conway went on to say that the monitoring could be done with “microwaves that turn into cameras,” adding: “We know this is a fact of modern life.”


We've officially entered the Tin Foil Hat Brigade territory. Microwaves? Really??

Perhaps not, though, because I've been wondering of late if Trump and his team are merely pretending to be batshit nuts in order to appeal to their batshit nuts constituents. After all, his supporters are the short wave radio turned email forwarders turned bloggers turned social media fake news voracious consumers crowd. They really do think that the government is spying on them via microwave ovens.

Trump is a reality TV star so it wouldn't surprise me if there is some sort of directive out there to play up all of this nutty shit.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Another One Bites the Dust

Another Law & Order anti-immigrant, Kenyan-socialist-hating, abortion-hating Republican bites the dust in the Conservative Paradise of Oklahoma:
Acting on a tip, the police in an Oklahoma City suburb swarmed a Super 8 motel shortly after midnight March 9 and found [Republican State Senator Ralph] Shortey and a 17-year-old boy together in Room 120, according to the authorities.
The teenager told officers he and the senator had met a year ago through a Craigslist ad and had exchanged sexually explicit texts over the messaging app Kik. He said they had been smoking marijuana before the police arrived, and officers reported finding condoms in a backpack belonging to Mr. Shortey. 
The more they rail against forbidden fruit, the more it seems they've tasted it...

Nope. No Racism Here...

Completely Tanking

President Trump's approval ratings are officially tanking. Every major polling outfit, including Fox News, show him underwater. His first weeks in office have been an absolute train wreck. It's one paranoid disaster after another.

But that's what you get when you elect a right wing blogger who is essentially a Russian asset.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

The Legacy of the Affordable Care Act

Here's a great piece about how the legacy of the Affordable Care Act will endure forever. People don't like to have things taken away from them and that's why the American Health Care Act is essentially Obamacare lite.

They can’t erase the fact that millions of Americans have now received subsidized insurance coverage via the federal government, however. That’s changed many voters’ expectations for health policy in the United States, and moved the Republican debate over health-care legislation from whether it should be to what it should be.


Ou Est The Donald?

Is it just me or has the Donald been out of the news of late? The media seems very focused on the new health care bill proposed by the House Republicans. Things seem...weird...when they aren't hyper obsessing about the latest thing that Trump did. Perhaps it has something to do with this.

Trump's poll numbers have been on the decline...even more so than usual. Rasmussen has him seven points under water. This was the poll that favored Trump and relies on robotic data collecting. So, if there are any "shy" Trump voters, they can say they favor him without any social recriminations. Gallup has him sixteen points down which is really fucking bad. Perhaps he's just not getting the ratings anymore.

He's likely in the low 40s right now and if the health care plan fails (which it will) then he's going to drop below 40.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

What The President (and all of us) Could Learn About The Economy

Great piece in today's Times about the economy, especially if you want to know the basics about economics. Here was my favorite part.

Oh, and about the dollar. Finally, the president’s economists will need to answer his question about the dollar. Here’s the simple version: The value of the dollar in foreign-exchange markets is just a price. Like other prices, whenever it changes, some people gain, and others lose. It is not useful to think of a stronger or a weaker dollar as either good or bad. One has to look at the situation at hand and the underlying drivers of the change.

Yep. I've heard so many arguments over the years for both strong and weak dollars that it gets frustrating after a while. This sums one simple paragraph sums up why it should be analyzed as such.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

News Flash: A Non-Idiot Discovered in Florida!

A retired police captain who shot and killed a man in a movie theater will stand trial for second-degree murder after a judge ruled that Florida's "stand your ground" law is not applicable in this case.

Following two weeks of pre-trial testimony, Judge Susan Barthle ruled against Curtis Reeves' claims that he used his gun in self-defense when he fired his weapon, CNN reports.
Of course, the story started with a typical Florida idiot: the moron who shot a man who was texting in a theater.

The non-idiot in this case is the judge, who rejected the notion that you can shoot anyone who pisses you off:
"Because the defendant's testimony was significantly at odds with the physical evidence and other witness testimony, this court has considerable doubts about his credibility, and is not willing to come to the conclusion that these circumstances are those envisioned by the Legislature when the 'stand your ground' law was enacted," Barthle said, according to CNN.
But this shows why the stand your ground defense is indefensible: the judge rejected the defense because there were witnesses.

If you shoot someone in cold blood without any witnesses, you can claim the stand your ground defense and no one can gainsay you. You just need to perform a few forensic countermeasures, say, banging your head on the pavement after you commit murder, like George Zimmerman did when he killed Trayvon Martin after stalking the boy in his car.

Any law that lends more weight to the lies and excuses of a murderer than the life of his victim is inherently evil.

But the trial isn't over yet. The killer is a geezer, while his victim was a big, tough Navy man. The jury may still swallow the story that Reeves' feared for his life.

If they do find Reeves not guilty, it'll be open season on anyone who seems the slightest bit scary: big guys, veterans and bikers. As we saw with Martin, black teenagers were already fair game.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Basket of Incompetents

When Hillary Clinton made her famous comment regarding Trump supporters as a "Basket of Deplorables," she should have said "Basket of Incompetents." Yesterday's revelation that former NSA adviser Michael Flynn acted as a foreign agent for Turkey during the campaign last year is yet another sign that Trump and his team are completely clueless.

That's assuming, of course, that they didn't know. If they did know, then that pretty much negates all their bitching and hysteria about Hillary Clinton and the pay for play shit with the Clinton Global Initiative. Regardless, I find it hilarious, in a tragic and sad way, that, once again, we see conservatives accusing liberals of doing the very thing they are doing. All of this brings up a larger issue that has crystallized for me recently.

Conservatives are putzes.

A putz is defined as a stupid or worthless person that engages in inconsequential or unproductive behavior That's really their biggest problem. While they hyper obsess over the Clinton Global Initiative and whether or not Hillary got the debate questions ahead of time, they ignore the larger problem of Russian involvement in the election and serious issues like climate change. They take offense and whine about smug liberals who call them names (basket of deplorables) while bemoaning PC culture and safe spaces. I guess they appreciate all that straight talk but only if it's denigrating ideological opponents.

Digging deeper, I think they know they are putzes and that's why we see the poor behavior, including their current leader. They lash out, throw tantrums, spout nonsense, and then whine that we don't understand them. Why? Because they feel inferior, inadequate and insecure (the dreaded three I's!) in the face of intelligent and accomplished people.

I guess we are going to have to pay for this as a nation for a while.

Wednesday, March 08, 2017

Life in the Conservative Paradise

Conservatives have had control of the nation's breadbasket -- Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma -- for quite a few years now. And it's a paradise.

In Kansas, Gov. Brownback's massive tax cuts have not brought more jobs or prosperity. But they have destroyed the schools and left a gigantic hole in the state budget. Kansas Republicans are now in open revolt against Brownback.

In Omaha, Nebraska, the city's finances are in such a mess that they've stopped fixing pot holes. Instead, they grind the asphalt into gravel. Upper-class neighborhoods have dirt roads. Kids can't ride their bikes on them and people can't leave their windows open because dirt blows in.

Oklahoma has been inundated by earthquakes caused by injection of fracking wastewater deep into the earth. Magnitude 2, 3 and 4 earthquakes occur constantly, two, three, four times a day -- just today there have been four .

In the past few days 2300 square miles of Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas and Missouri have been scorched by wildfires. This time of year it should be cool and wet -- maybe even still snow on the ground. But instead they're having wildfires because it's so hot and dry.

It's no surprise. It was almost 100 degrees in Magnum, Oklahoma, on February 11th.

This year has been ridiculously warm across much of the country. It was 71 in Boston and Buffalo in February. Massachusetts had a tornado the same month.

In Minnesota, where I live, it was in the 50s and 60s in February and people were outdoors playing volleyball outdoors in the sand. We had a thunderstorm the other day and there were two tornadoes. Spring is coming a month or two early.

Last year set tons of high temperature records, but it was an El Nino year so climate denialists brushed it off. Now El Nino is over, but high temperatures continue to crush previous records by 10, 20 and 30 degrees.

Conservatives from breadbasket states, like Jim Inhofe, continue to insist that climate change is a hoax, even as literally thousands of new record highs are being set:
February marked the 27th month in a row where daily record highs outpaced record lows in a record-setting fashion. Data through Feb. 26 — the last date for which data is available — show there were 6,045 record highs to only 112 record lows. That puts the ratio at 53-to-1, making it the most lopsided month on record. November 2016 previously held the record.
Clearly, the earth is getting hotter faster. And yet Donald Trump just put a climate denialist from Oklahoma in charge of the EPA.  He still pretends global warming is a hoax and that fracking doesn't cause any problems, even though his own state is ground zero for the rolling catastrophe caused by our excessive consumption of fossil fuels.

The lies people will tell for money...

Tuesday, March 07, 2017

Wikileaks (Russia) Outs the CIA

Wikileaks has released a treasure trove of documents that detail CIA hacking operations. These documents essentially state that our intelligence agencies can hack any phone or computer whenever they want. Is anyone out there shocked?

What's really not shocking is the timing of the release. Wikileaks is essentially Russian intelligence and this act is clearly a message for those intelligence gathering agencies within our government: don't fuck with our guy. That guy being Trump.

The Russian thing is really sinking in now for the president and he's not making matters any better for himself by continuing to insist that Barack Obama has been hacking his offices. Loving the chaos in our government, the Russians have now thrown this monkey into the wrench to make things even worse.

I feel like I'm reading a spy novel in the 1980s...sheesh...

Monday, March 06, 2017

Your Unreality Is Not Going To Hijack This Country

The media needs to start covering President Trump differently. When the right wing blogger/commenter in chief makes his usual assertion to deflect and redirect attention away from the real issues at hand, the media needs to call him on it. Simply stating that there is no evidence isn't enough.

They need to call him a coward. And that's just what I am doing today.

In fact, I'm asserting that Mr. Trump, like nearly every conservative I've ever had an online conversation with regarding politics, is a coward. They refuse to face the responsibility of what they or the people they support have done. Instead, it's invariably "Look! Squirrel!! The Democrats do it too!!" This is a common tactic that is deeply rooted in flawed logic.

The latest example of this is Trump's accusation that President Obama had him wiretapped. There is zero evidence of this (other than Mark Levin's ravings) but who cares? About 20 percent of eligible voters will believe it. Both the media and the left have to get to the heart of why these folks are so easily taken in. Or they need to merely get more people to the ballot box every year so these people lose. Perhaps the latter might be the best route to go because I doubt the Trump voter can be saved. When you are that filled with spite and hatred, change is most difficult.

President Trump is going to continue to behave this way until he loses. Why not? He's won so far with this tactic so why change. It's up to all of us to make him lose and send the alt right a message.

Your unreality is not going to hijack this country.

Sunday, March 05, 2017

Creating Their Own Safe Space

Today's Strib had a piece in it about pro Trump supporters and their protest at the state capital today in St. Paul. Two parts jumped out at me.

The rally was one of several held around the nation Saturday by a loosely organized group called March4Trump. Word about it was spread largely via social media. Many at the Capitol expressed deep mistrust of the mainstream news media, with some livestreaming the event on social media.

Most on the right think the media is liberal, liars, fake news etc. Doesn't this mean that they are just like liberals in creating their own safe spaces?

Yes. Yes it does.

They refuse to accept any information that isn't to their liking. They summarily reject critical thinking and, well, FACTS. Worse, they think liberals do the same thing. Hint: we don't. We read and see all the same news they do but recognize nonsense when we see it.

Here was the other part that interested me.

Steven LaMont, a 30-year-old plumber from Rush City in Chisago County, came to St. Paul with a group of friends. He, too, blasted negative characterizations of Trump supporters, saying voters like him backed Trump because the middle class has been squeezed by policymakers in Washington. "I'm sick of the hard left always putting a label on individuals, like you're a racist, you're homophobic, you're this or that, and they don't even know who we are," LaMont said. "People voted for Trump not just because of who he is. We voted for him because we're the squished middle class."

This is why Trump won. The same people that voted for Obama twice voted for Trump. Democrats need to figure out exactly why and use that going forward. It's going to be easy because Trump isn't going to deliver.

Oh, and btw, why are Trump supporters just normal folk when they protest but liberals are "paid" protesters?

Saturday, March 04, 2017

Tied Up Phone Lines

Friday, March 03, 2017

Lock Him Up!

During the presidential campaign Trump supporters chanted "Lock her up!" because Republicans thought Hillary Clinton had committed some horrible crime by having her own email server. There was no evidence of nefarious deeds or serious security breaches after years of FBI investigations and congressional witch hunts.

It turns out that Vice President Mike Pence has an email problem of his own. At the very same time he and the Republicans were blasting Clinton for her private email server, Pence did this:
Vice President Mike Pence routinely used a private email account to conduct public business as governor of Indiana, at times discussing sensitive matters and homeland security issues.

Emails released to IndyStar in response to a public records request show Pence communicated via his personal AOL account with top advisers on topics ranging from security gates at the governor’s residence to the state’s response to terror attacks across the globe. In one email, Pence’s top state homeland security adviser relayed an update from the FBI regarding the arrests of several men on federal terror-related charges.
This violated Indiana law on government record keeping, the exact thing Republicans accused Clinton of.

Worse, Pence was hacked:
Cybersecurity experts say Pence’s emails were likely just as insecure as Clinton’s. While there has been speculation about whether Clinton's emails were hacked, Pence’s account was actually compromised last summer by a scammer who sent an email to his contacts claiming Pence and his wife were stranded in the Philippines and in urgent need of money.
Like a total noob Pence fell for a phishing attack.

Pence claims he didn't conduct any significant state business with the private email account. But then there's this:
Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb's office released 29 pages of emails from Pence's AOL account, but declined to release an unspecified number of others because the state considers them confidential and too sensitive to release to the public. 
If they're so sensitive they should never have been sent via an AOL account!

Furthermore, since hackers had access to his account, Pence's security breach has exposed him (or others) to extortion and blackmail at best, and possibly divulged intelligence on terrorist suspects at worst.

Now, why did Pence use a private account to conduct some state business? Technological ineptitude? Laziness? Or was he hiding something, keeping correspondence off the record?

Because Pence's email account was on AOL it means that pretty much any AOL employee with the right privileges had access to his emails. Clinton's server was on the premises and was handled by her own people, limiting exposure. There's been no evidence that Clinton was hacked, but we know Pence was, through his own stupidity.

Clinton never tried to hide what she was doing: she had a single server and email address that she handled all her correspondence through. Everyone who sent her email knew it. You can complain about her record keeping, but she made utterly no attempt to hide what she was doing. It might have broken some rule, but it was totally open and transparent.

Pence used a private AOL account to send sensitive emails and got hacked in a very open and embarrassing way:

At least when people got an email from Hillary Clinton saying she was in the Philippines, she was really there on State Department business.

Thursday, March 02, 2017

Busing That Works

In Hartford, Conn., voluntary desegregation is diversifying classrooms...

Sessions Under Fire

Another day, another Trump administration official under fire for his links with Russia. Attorney General Jeff Sessions had two contacts with the Russian Ambassador, Sergey Kislyak, last fall.

What was the subject of these conversations? Sessions has issued several contradictory statements. He testified in his confirmation hearing he had no contact with the Russians. Now, he's saying he had contact but it was in a Senatorial capacity. Several Republican leaders have called for Sessions to recuse himself from the ongoing investigations into Trump's Russian ties. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has called for Sessions to resign.

I think he should definitely recuse himself. Resign? Eh, not yet anyway. I'd rather have him hold out as long as possible so if he is really guilty of lying and the Russian connections, he'll get taken down while AG.

That would leave a mark!

Wednesday, March 01, 2017

Rally 'Round The President, Boys and Girls!

Last night was the first time in nearly two years that Donald Trump acted presidential. Or, at least that's the narrative for today. I think Trump and his people came to the realization that they couldn't get anything done if they kept on the way that they were. They had to at least put up an appearance of normal, hence the "new" Trump complete with a different take on immigration, asking for compromise with the Democrats and even sporting a new tie!

Well before the speech, Politico put a piece up about the president and how he is a great performance artist pretending to be a manager. I think there is a great deal of true to this. Last night, he turned up the volume to 11 with this tack and is now REALLY looking presidential (emphasis on the word "looking")

Every single American needs hold him accountable to act on what he said last night. His actions, not his words, will tell us how serious he is. If he passes a law on immigration reform and signs a bill for a trillion dollar infrastructure plan, he's going to have my support.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Totalitarians All Along

For years, conservatives warned of liberal totalitarianism. It turns out it was really them all along that want a state similar to the Soviet Union.

By using the phrase and placing himself in such infamous company, at least in his choice of vocabulary to attack his critics, Mr. Trump has demonstrated, Ms. Khrushcheva said, that the language of “autocracy, of state nationalism is always the same regardless of the country, and no nation is exempt.” She added that, in all likelihood, Mr. Trump had not read Lenin, Stalin or Mao Zedong, but the “formulas of insult, humiliation, domination, branding, enemy-forming and name calling are always the same.”


I've said this for years. Whenever conservatives bitch liberals being ____________, it's invariably them that are being ____________.

The Befuddling Line of Whine

With all the political talk at last night's Oscar ceremony, there are sure to be howls of derision from the right over how Hollywood just doesn't get it and they better be careful about who they criticize if they want to win more elections. I guess the right assumes that everyone in California votes for Democrats even the big studio execs.

This line of whine has always befuddled me. Isn't this the same group of folks that bitch about people being two faced and wishing they would be more honest? Being too PC and not allowing the country to speak their mind?

I guess the right has exclusivity when it comes to being abrasive and honest. And they clearly can't take what they dish out every single fucking day.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

The Flippers

Take a look at these charts from NPR. They show the people that voted for Barack Obama in 2012 and then flipped to vote for Donald Trump in 2016. The contrast is staggering. How could this happen? At first glance, it appears confusing and beyond explanation. Obama and Trump are two vastly different people. I'd go as far to state that one is good and one is bad.

Yet they do have a common thread that they also share with Bush, Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan. The losers in past elections (Hillary Clinton, Mitt Romney, John McCain, John Kerry, Al Gore, Bob Dole and George HW Bush) also have something in common. It's pretty simple when you think about it. The winners all have a populist appeal and seem to care more about common folk. The losers come off as elitist and unsympathetic to your average Joe.

All either party has to do in each presidential election cycle is nominate someone that is populist and is down with regular people. That's it. It really has nothing to do with Ds or Rs.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Boehner Speaks The Truth

I've always liked this guy.

Which Town Hall Is This?

Friday, February 24, 2017

Smelling More Like Nixon

The Trump Administration must be pretty nervous about its Russian ties these days. Apparently, they asked the FBI to "knock down" stories about Trump ties to Russia. Appalling in many ways and a gross breach of ethics. Further, it tightens the comparison to Richard Nixon in the final months of his presidency. Considering we are barely out of the first month of the Trump administration, the future does not look good for this president.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Which View?

Phoning It In

I was shocked, I tell you, shocked, that many GOP Congressmen were holding "phone in" town halls (whatever the fuck that means...sounds made up to me) with their constituents over this mini break for Congress. Ah, the party of bravery and strength....

Even worse for them is the belief that is being perpetuated within the right wing bubble that these angry constituents are actually paid protesters. Didn't the Democrats say the same thing in 2009?

How did that turn out? :)

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Keep Baby Happy

How do new mommies keep baby happy? Well, we fill baby's world with happy things so they don't get sad and fussy. We don't want them to look like this.

We want them to look like this

It's the same thing for our president. His staff has learned that if they only show him praise from the media, he won't have a tantrum on Twitter. In fact, they go out of their way to steer him clear of all that bad, poopy headed stuff and only let him see the happy things.

I for one am so comforted that our president, like most right wing bloggers and commenters, fills his world with light and not darkness:)

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Three Separate Probes

Reuters has a piece up regarding the THREE separate probes that the FBI is currently conducting regarding the connections between Russia and the Trump Administration. Before I highlight each one, I find it highly amusing and outright LMAO that the same people who were chanting "lock her up" last year are now excusing everything that has to do with Trump and Russia. They call it everything from fake news to an Obama shadow government operation running by the Ladies Optimists Club of Hibbing, Minnesota. The cognitive dissonance runs deep with these folks...

The three probes are:

-The FBI's Pittsburgh field office, which runs many cyber security investigations, is trying to identify the people behind breaches of the Democratic National Committee's computer systems, the officials said. Those breaches, in 2015 and the first half of 2016, exposed the internal communications of party officials as the Democratic nominating convention got underway and helped undermine support for Hillary Clinton.

- The bureau’s San Francisco office is trying to identify the people who called themselves “Guccifer 2” and posted emails stolen from Clinton campaign manager John Podesta’s account, the sources said. Those emails contained details about fundraising by the Clinton Foundation and other topics.

-Beyond the two FBI field offices, FBI counterintelligence agents based in Washington are pursuing leads from informants and foreign communications intercepts, two of the people said. This counterintelligence inquiry includes but is not limited to examination of financial transactions by Russian individuals and companies who are believed to have links to Trump associates. The transactions under scrutiny involve investments by Russians in overseas entities that appear to have been undertaken through middlemen and front companies, two people briefed on the probe said.

Based on this information, as well as other reports of secret deals regarding Ukraine and the Flynn resignation, it's only a matter of time before Trump is toast. GOP leaders in Congress will begin to weigh how expendable Trump is compared to what they could accomplish with a President Pence. Let's recognize that Pence is a fairly stable conservative who would work much more easily with Republicans in both the House and the Senate.

The only thing really holding them back at this point is the voters. They know that around 40% of this country love and blindly follow Trump...for now. If that number dips below 35 percent, I suspect we will start hearing impeachment talk.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Emboldened by Trump?

When I was just out of college I volunteered to teach recent Russian emigres English at the Jewish Community Center in St. Paul. It put my otherwise useless Russian degree to good use (my sister-in-law, who also majored in Russian, went to work for the CIA, but that was not my cup of tea).

At that time Jews were the only Russians who could leave the Soviet Union, ostensibly to emigrate to Israel (the USSR practiced Germany's pre-Holocaust version of Zionism), but many of them came to the United States instead.

Now, in the age of Donald Trump, that same Jewish Community Center has been the target of two bomb threats in as many months. Last month 17 Jewish centers were hit with bomb threats.

During Donald Trump's fake news conference, which consisted mostly of lying and bragging, took place the day after Bibi Netanyahu visited the White House. Trump had fielded a lot of questions that he perceived as "tough" because the reporters wanted real answers instead of more bragging and lying.

So he asked the assembled reporters for an easy question from a friendly reporter. Trump picked Jake Turx, an orthodox Jew, easily identifiable by his attire and hairstyle. Trump apparently assumed Turx would ask him an easy question because of his buttering up of Bibi the day before.

And, in fact, the reporter did give Trump a softball:
“... [W]hat we are concerned about and what we haven’t really heard being addressed is an uptick in anti-Semitism and how the government is planning to take care of it. There’s been a report out that 48 bomb threats have been made against Jewish centers all across the country in the last couple of weeks. There are people committing anti-Semitic acts or threatening to——”
All Trump had to to was disavow the scum that threaten Jews. It's a no-brainer. But Trump couldn't do it. He took the question as a personal affront:
At that, Mr. Trump interrupted, saying it was “not a fair question.”

“Sit down,” the president commanded. “I understand the rest of your question.”

As Mr. Turx took his seat, Mr. Trump said, “So here’s the story, folks. No. 1, I am the least anti-Semitic person that you’ve ever seen in your entire life. No. 2, racism, the least racist person.”
Look. It's really simple. When someone has to tell you that they're not a bigot, they're almost certainly a bigot.

It doesn't matter how many Jewish friends, relatives, wives, or grandchildren you have. When you say and do things that demean and hurt Jews, or don't consider them to be equals, or imply that all Jews are money-grubbing misers, you are an anti-Semite and a bigot. Even if you think you're just joking.

It's like Rush Limbaugh claiming, "I can't be sexist! I only marry women!" For sixty years my dad has told the same, tired old sexist jokes. I'm sure he loves my mom, but he treats her as a servant and not an equal.

For centuries western society demeaned and demonized Jews, yet Jews were an integral and essential part of that same society, acting as bankers and money-lenders because the Church prohibited Christians from charging interest (usury was a sin). This same attitude persists today in people like Trump.

Trump has frequently tried to pass off his obnoxious stereotyping of Jews in his speeches as humor, but Jews have long since grown tired of hearing how good they are at counting Donald Trump's money.

Since Trump started running for president he has, in the parlance of George W. Bush, emboldened racists, anti-Semites and bigots. Indeed, Trump's fake news conference brought great praise from neo-Nazis (via Haaretz):
At the website The Daily Stormer – named after the Nazi-era newspaper Der Stürmer – editor Andrew Anglin wrote that the press conference “was one of the greatest things I’ve ever witnessed in my life. From start to finish, it was simply beautiful. He blasted the media, the Jews, Mexicans, Obama – all of his/our enemies.”
You see that? The "his/our enemies"? The racists and anti-Semite have adopted Trump as one of their own, because -- despite his protestations -- Trump's words and actions are identical to those of the racists and anti-Semites.

One of the first acts as president Trump took was to discontinue monitoring of right-wing hate groups in the United States and instead focus solely on Muslim extremists. This is very short-sighted, as there are more terrorist attacks in the United States by right-wingers than by Muslims. (Only with the Orlando attack did the body count from Muslim terrorists exceed that of right-wingers.)

Inspired by Dylann Roof, emboldened by Trump?
Fortunately, not everyone in the FBI got the message: just four days ago Benjamin McDowell was arrested for illegally buying a gun in order to copy Dylann Roof's massacre. The FBI was looking into McDowell because he had threatened a synagogue on Facebook.

If McDowell had been a Muslim Donald Trump would have gone ballistic: he would have castigated the judges for stymieing his Muslim ban and demanded their resignations.

But Trump -- and the "fake news" media -- have been almost completely silent about McDowell and all the other right-wing terrorists who have been emboldened by Trump's rise.

It's really simple, Donald. If you want to prove you're not a bigot and an anti-Semite, stop telling us that you're not an anti-Semite or a racist, and instead start condemning people like Benjamin McDowell in no uncertain terms. Disavow The Daily Stormer. Tell David Duke to go to hell.

And reinstate monitoring of hate groups of all stripes.

#22 and #24

Grover Cleveland, our nation's 22nd and 24th president, was the only president to be elected, to lose his reelection bid, and then win again 4 years after he lost. Why?

He wanted to get rid of tariffs.

Berkeley and CPAC's Common Cause

Last month Milo Yiannopoulos, the gay, racist, woman-hating, alt-right Breitbart editor, troll and Trump supporter was disinvited from speaking at Berkeley after demonstrators rioted, demanding his speech be canceled.

Donald Trump immediately tweeted his outrage, threatening to take away the university's federal funding, ostensibly for suppressing free speech.

I'm not sure why Trump thinks this. Which clause of the Constitution grants everyone the right to speak at Berkeley?

Now Yiannopoulos has been barred from speaking at the CPAC (Conservative Political Action Committee), after Yiannopoulos made comments that appeared to promote pedophilia. He now claims to have been joking.

Is Trump to going to issue a similar condemnation of CPAC and threaten to revoke their non-profit status? And will Breitbart man up and fire Yiannopoulos?

Yiannopoulos' disqualifying comments, however distasteful, were illuminating: as a kid he appears to have been molested by a priest and forced to perform oral sex. It's sad that he had to go through that. But the abuse molded his opinions, such as his claim that “People are only gay to be transgressive. They choose to be gay to be naughty.”

That's the guilt talking. It's the conservative party line spread by the Church to excuse the crimes committed by priests who were probably victims when they were children. I grant, possibly, that Yiannopoulos is gay simply because he's a contrarian dick (or perhaps because he drives women nuts).

But most gays are not like that. And they don't want Yiannopoulos to screw up another generation of gay kids the way his Father Michael screwed him up, by feeding them a line of bull equating homosexuality and pedophilia. They don't think that Yiannopoulos has the right to publicly inflict his hatred on innocent bystanders, such as the transgender student he attacked during a speech in Milwaukee.

By coincidence, a report came out in the same edition of the paper that found that suicides among gay teens declined by 14% when states legalized gay marriage. Shutting down trolls like Yiannopoulos saves lives!

The problem with Yiannopoulos is not that he's conservative. Or that he's gay. The problem is that he's a selfish, hate-mongering troll who takes delight in hurting people.

In other words, he's just like Trump and all the rest of the gang at Breitbart.

President #11

James K Polk, our nation's 11th president, served from 1845-1849. Known as the "dark horse" president, he presided over the Mexican-American war which lasted from 1846 to 1848.

This resulted in our acquisition of California and New Mexico which, in turn, stoked the powder keg between the North and the South over slavery.

President #8

Martin Van Buren, our nation's 8th president, came after seven gentlemen who were titans (Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Madison, Monroe, Quincy Adams, Jackson) in the office and in our history. Referred to as the "little magician," he looked more like a Harry Potter character, standing at only 5 foot six inches.

He served from 1837-1841 and blocked the annexation of Texas because it assuredly would add to slave territory--and it might bring war with Mexico. Defeated by the Whigs in 1840 for reelection, he was an unsuccessful candidate for President on the Free Soil ticket in 1848. He died in 1862.

President #21

Happy President's Day! As most of you know, I take this day to put up quotes and fun facts from the presidents we have had over the years. This year, I thought I would highlight some of the forgotten presidents.

First up, Chester A Arthur, our nation's 21st president. He took over after James Garfield was shot very early in 1881. Aside from having the best facial hair of any president, Arthur signed an immigration bill which barred "paupers, criminals and lunatics" from entering the country.

How could they tell?

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Trump's Russian Owners

Donald Trump likes to claim that he doesn't own any property in Russia. At the carnage he called a press conference last week he said: “I can tell you, speaking for myself, I own nothing in Russia. I have no loans in Russia. I don't have any deals in Russia.”

This isn't through a lack of trying: Trump has tried numerous times, but has failed to close any deals in Russia.

While Trump doesn't own anything in Russia, a lot of Russians own pieces of Trump:
Dolly Lenz, a real estate broker in New York, said she sold about 65 units in Trump World Tower, a condominium tower at 845 U.N. Plaza in Manhattan, to Russian buyers looking for real estate investments in the late 1990s. “I had contacts in Moscow looking to invest in the United States,” Lenz said. “’What do you have to recommend?’ They all wanted to meet Donald. They became very friendly.”
And this:
In 2008, Trump sold a mansion in Palm Beach, Florida, to Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev for $95 million. On the campaign trail, Trump at one point claimed it was his only dealing with Russia, but that’s not accurate.
The Russian paid far more than market value, for some strange reason...
The same year he sold the mansion, his son, Donald Trump Jr., told the global trade publication eTurboNews that Russians were key investors in the Trump Organization’s assets. "And in terms of high-end product influx into the US, Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets; say in Dubai, and certainly with our project in SoHo and anywhere in New York,” Trump Jr. said in the interview. “We see a lot of money pouring in from Russia. There's indeed a lot of money coming for new-builds and resale reflecting a trend in the Russian economy and, of course, the weak dollar versus the ruble." 
Just before the election the Trump Toronto hotel went bankrupt. It's managed by Trump's company and was financed by Russians.

When American banks stopped lending money to Trump after his numerous bankruptcies, he turned to Russians for financial backing for his new projects 
The most notable — and most notorious — of Trump’s Russian investors came through the Bayrock Group, which according to CNN, was “a company run by Soviet immigrants, and according to a lawsuit filed, financed by Russian and Kazakhstan money.” Bayrock, whose operations were headed by a man accused in a lawsuit of using “mob-like tactics to achieve his goals,” helped develop huge Trump projects in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Phoenix, Arizona, and New York.
Yes, Trump doesn't any property in Russia. But the situation is actually far worse: he is in bed with a lot of questionable Russians and he owes a lot of Russians a lot of money.

We don't really know the extent of Trump's indebtedness to the Russians, but it's a huge conflict of interest. It's only one of the many reasons why Congress should release his tax returns so that the people of the United States can see just how much Trump owes his foreign masters.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Trump's Security Incompetence

Donald Trump shows an alarming incompetence when it comes to matters of security.

His national security advisor, Michael Flynn, was just fired for lying about discussing sanctions with the Russian ambassador. The reason we know this is that the NSA recorded the exchange. Which means Flynn is an idiot for not realizing that this is what the NSA does for a living.

US intelligence agencies report that at least four close Trump associates have been in contact with Russian spies. Paul Manafort, one of Trump's many campaign managers, whined that spies don't wear badges. But that's not the point: why aren't these guys vetting their contacts with Russia? If they're not colluding with the Russians, why are they even talking to them?

Trump himself discussed North Korea's missile launch with the Japanese prime minister in front of a yuuuge crowd of diners at his Mar-a-Lago resort. People posted pictures on Facebook of Trump and Abe looking at secret briefing documents. Trump himself is the biggest security breach in Washington.

The Wall Street Journal reports that intelligence agencies are withholding certain information from Trump because he can't be trusted with it. Why? Trump can't process the information himself: he doesn't know anything, so he has to rely on his aides to tell him what's relevant in the security briefings. Aides like Steve Bannon and Stephen Miller cannot be trusted.

Trump is now looking at a replacement for Flynn. His first choice, Robert Harward, has turned him down, ostensibly for financial and family reasons. But the real reasons appear to be the state of total chaos in the White House, and the fact that Trump won't let him choose his own staff. Only Trump loyalists are allowed.

Trump's no. 1 pick now? David Petraeus, who was fired from the CIA when it was revealed that he was having an affair with a writer and had given her hundreds of classified documents.

Donald Trump's judgment is terrible when it comes to matters of security. Which is kind of weird: he goes nuts about leaks to the press, but he's totally careless when it comes keeping the nation's secrets. His record of putting equally careless people in charge of security puts our country's safety in jeopardy.

The Magic R

When you are a Republican, a different set of rules applies to you. You get away with shit that Democrats would be destroyed for. Worse, the very thing that you spend years ripping Dems for, you get to do with zero repercussions.

Last night on Real Time, Bill Maher most eloquently expressed something that has frustrated me for years. Democrats are held to a different standard because they are the adults while Republicans (the adolescents) are given a very wide degree of latitude of words and behavior.

It must stop. Yesterday.

Friday, February 17, 2017

The Fake President

Yesterday Donald Trump had a solo press conference (who's a big boy?). It was a disaster: packed full of bragging and lying, it was a command performance of dickish adolescent behavior combined with the senescent forgetfulness of an Alzheimer's patient.

For example:
I put it out before the American people, got 306 Electoral College votes. I wasn’t supposed to get 222. They said there’s no way to get 222, 230’s impossible.

270 which you need, that was laughable. We got 306 because people came out and voted like they’ve never seen before so that’s the way it goes. I guess it was the biggest Electoral College win since Ronald Reagan. In other words, the media’s trying to attack our administration because they know we are following through on pledges that we made and they’re not happy about it for whatever reason.
Trump has been repeating the lie that he got the biggest electoral college majority for more than two months now. He has been corrected dozens of times, yet he keeps saying it. When the reporter pointed this out to him yet again this is how he responded (The Daily Show has video):
Question: You said today that you had the biggest electoral margin since Ronald Reagan with 304 ... 306 electoral votes. In fact, President Obama about 365 and--

Trump: Well, I'm talking about Republicans. Question: ... President Obama 332, and George H.W. Bush 426 when he won as president.
Trump: Yeah.

Question: So why should Americans trust...

Trump: What, no, I was told... I was given that information. I don't know, I was just given, we had a very, very big margin.

Question: I guess my question why should Americans trust you when you accuse the information they receive as being fake when you're proving information that's --

Trump: Well, I don’t know, I was given that information. I was given — I actually, I’ve seen that information around. But it was a very substantial victory, do you agree with that? OK thank you, that’s...
His response to being caught lying again is to say, "I was just talking about Republicans," and when he's caught lying yet again, he says, "I was given that information."

Is he the president or a kid who didn't do his homework and is claiming the dog ate it?

Or is Trump a duffer who keeps bragging about that one time he shot two under par, when in reality his caddy was dropping balls back on the fairway after Trump sliced into the rough?

These antics mean one of three things:

1) His aides are (repeatedly) feeding him the same lie that he just mouths in front of the press, in which case he's a puppet of Bannon and Miller.

2) He really can't remember the numerous times he's been corrected on this point, in which case he's already suffering from senile dementia.

3) He knows he's lying and doesn't care, thinking that if he repeats the lie often enough people will be duped by it.

All of these behaviors are disqualifying in a president. If this was just a one-off, we could ignore it. But since he repeats these behaviors over and over, he cannot be trusted to lead the country.

Listening to Trump speak, it's clear that he's just a jerk and doesn't really know anything that a president needs to know. He's totally at the mercy of aides who are much smarter than he is, with agendas that run counter to American democracy.

Given his many bankruptcies and failed ventures like Trump "University," Trump doesn't seem to be good at anything, except self promotion and golf -- by some reports he's a decent amateur (but he cheats all the time).

Speaking of golf, during the campaign Trump complained about how frequently Obama played golf. It's only been a month now, and Trump is flying down to Florida most every weekend to play golf, at great taxpayer expense and huge inconvenience to users of the airport in Palm Beach, which is shut down every time Trump is around.

Congress should let Trump spend all his time on the links -- they should impeach this clown before he does something really stupid.

Everything is Awesome!

Here is the entire, unedited press conference yesterday with President Trump.

Nikto has a post going up later with his own thoughts but here are mine.

The entire thing reminded me of every right wing blogger and right wing blog commenter that I've ever had a discussion with in my life. Filled with lies...arrogance...a profound sense of self importance where there really shouldn't be any...imperial decrees...unfocused...rambling...all of the above. In Trump's world, everything is awesome! Honestly, if we can make it through this presidency (however long it lasts), our country is the strongest in human history.

Of course, his supporters (around 40% of voters) think that it was AWESOME! They are cheering the smug liberal elite communist media and libtards freaking out over yesterday. Yay, us!! Watch them all squirm. Never mind that our president is nuts. We just love us some liberals being tortured!!!
Perhaps they might want to be a little nicer to all of us considering we are going to be the ones cleaning up this mess. Like many adolescents, I don't expect them to see this. To be totally fair, though, there are some Trump supporters (and I think this number is growing as more of this insanity happens) that are calling him to the mat. If he loses a significant portion of them, Congress would be more amenable to a President Pence.

The best thing the sane people can do in this country is focus on winning back one or both houses in 2018. Donald Trump is going to continue to be himself until he loses. He truly believes that he has the majority of the country behind him. He won't change until he is forced to change as we saw with the judicial block on his immigration ban.

Get everyone registered to vote and get them out THIS year so they know what they are doing and be ready for 2018.

Who Benefits Most From The Nanny State? White People.

Take look at this chart

This is the real story of the 2016 election. The people that benefit the most from the "nanny state" also voted for Donald Trump. Why? My only guess is that perhaps it's some sort of self loathing.

Of course, the facts won't really matter because that's the age we live in. I'm sure these same folks believe that illegal non whites are taxing the system.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Reach Out And Feel Their Pain

Bill gets pretty serious in the video above as he discussed the relation between drug addiction and states that voted for Trump. While mildly funny at first, it's really not a joking matter. People that have lost hope reach out for charlatans like Donald Trump because they convince themselves that he can save them.

If Democrats want to start taking back the state houses and ultimately Congress and the White House, they need to reach out to these folks and feel their pain.

A New Level of Moronic

CNN has a nice summary up of what we know regarding Donald Trump, his advisers, and Russia. It's good information to have but there are few things that have been left out.

Perhaps the most important item is the fact that the president has now declared war on the intelligence community. It makes sense after this tantrum that we now know they are keeping sensitive information from him. Further, Trump's open disdain is likely going to cost him in a big way. Check this out.

US intelligence is not the problem here.

The President's collusion with Russian intelligence is.

Many details, but the essence is simple.

Now we go nuclear. IC war going to new levels. Just got an EM fm senior IC friend, it began: "He will die in jail." 

John Schindler is a former NSA intelligence analyst. I've always thought that Donald Trump was idiotic but this is far worse than I could have possibly imagined. Pissing off the people who likely have compromising information on you is a new level of moronic.

Worse, these are the people that protect us on a daily basis from extremist attacks. The alt right (aka Russian intelligence useful idiots) is now accusing them of being some sort of Obama shadow government perfectly illustrating the epic fail of responsibility and ownership of their actions. They are in charge and they are STILL blaming Barack Obama!


Wednesday, February 15, 2017

How Long?

With members of both parties in Congress calling for a deeper investigation into Trump administration ties to Russian intelligence, we've now moved into a place where it's easier to imagine the president not lasting very long.

High-level advisers close to then-presidential nominee Donald Trump were in constant communication during the campaign with Russians known to US intelligence, multiple current and former intelligence, law enforcement and administration officials tell CNN. Michael Flynn, the recently fired National Security Adviser who barely lasted three weeks, shared information with the Russian Ambassador to the United States and the White House knew about this three weeks ago.

How much more synergy is there between Russia and Trump and his administration? Based on the president's past comments and actions (see here, here and here), it's obvious that he is beholden to Russia in a detrimental way. The Flynn revelations make it necessary for there to be a more complete and intensive investigation.

So, how long is Trump going to last as president? He's barely started and this investigation is going to severely impede his ability to get anything done. That and the fact that his staff of right wing bloggers and commenters are so incredibly incompetent and allergic to reality that they can't seem to function as a team and get anything done.

I wouldn't be surprised if he didn't make it to the end of the year...

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Arrogant, Self Important, and Ideologically Blind

Jordan Greenhall's piece entitled "Situational Assessment 2017: Trump Edition – Deep Code" is the current "darling post" making the rounds in alt right circles. I've decided to offer my own "deep code" of it because it's quite possibly the most arrogant, self important, and ideologically blind piece I have ever read. There are several profound flaws in it and I will detail each one as they appear throughout his piece.

Greenhall mentions the “Trump insurgency” and how it will affect change in our country against what he perceives as the status quo. The problem with this line of thought is that it’s no longer an insurgency. Donald Trump is president. Steve Bannon is a senior adviser. Trump’s staff is filled with insurgents with alt right bloggers and pundits now regular staples of the White House. All of this means they are no longer insurgent but in charge. They are now responsible for leading this country. To continue to claim that they are some sort of rebels is not reflective of reality and makes me wonder if they know any other way to behave. Certainly, they are going to find out because the American voter will hold them responsible.
His lack of comparison to the 2000 election and his attempt at synergy with the American revolution are both in error. As with the 2000 election, the 2016 winning candidate lost the popular vote and this time by nearly 3 million votes. Some “revolution.” Further, the margins in the states that put Trump over the top in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan were so small that they clearly betrayed a lack of enthusiasm for either candidate. In fact, the voters that won it for Trump are the same ones that voted for Obama twice. Again, what revolution? That’s merely people perpetually voting for change.
The comparison of the alt right to the American revolutionaries has become rather tiresome. Honestly, it’s overly self important and arrogant. The Tea Party did it 8 years ago and it wasn’t really applicable then. The federal government is not a monarchy with a mandate from heaven. The media is not some ogre like entity bent on destroying the US Constitution. No king is stopping people from getting involved in the political process. People are represented by the people they elect who are mostly Republican these days.
Greenhall’s analysis of the communications infrastructure makes no sense whatsoever. Donald Trump has been a part of the legacy sensemaking system. He has been a huge drive of multiple elements within the Deep State network for three decades. He is still an executive producer for a show on NBC! How is that insurgent? New media is dominated by political viewpoints all across the political spectrum. The “insurgency” isn’t merely limited to the alt right. Does Greenhall think that Benie Sanders grew out of a vacuum?
No one in the mainstream media is preventing people from posting on blogs, social media, or their own web sites. There is a veritable multitude of information outlets out there, so much so, that the real challenge is to sift through it all and find accurate information and critical thinking. Clearly, Greenhall is not embracing the such thinking as he openly derides the criticism of “fake news.”
What he perceives as a threat to their way of life, critical thinkers in outfits like the New York Times and CNN see fake news for what it is: lying. When you have a group of people leading our country who regularly engage in ignorance of facts, people are going to lose their lives. It’s just that simple. Now, either they are doing this because they are ideologically stubborn (bad) or they are doing it because they are delusional (worse). Either way, we have to have an acceptance of fundamental reality.
If someone posts something that is factually incorrect just because they feel like it, this same person should not be excused simply for the sake of insurgency.
Donald Trump is not a leader of a “nomadic war machine.” He’s an authoritarian fronting a group of like minded individuals who only want to follow the laws they like and hate being told what to do. These are folks that are proud nationalists who embrace xenophobia and are openly antagonistic against anyone who is different from them. There is no plurality here which makes me wonder just how large this “insurgency” actually is.
Greenhall’s prediction of old media’s downfall is ludicrous. They still have a ton of money and are more popular than ever. Check out the recent ratings of Saturday Night Live. Moreover, the money behind new media is from folks like Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg, both “smug, liberal elites.”
I’m not sure why the Russians hacking our political system is put in quotations. Does he truly believe that this was a hoax? If so, this betrays an even deeper problem. It’s one thing to look critically at information that comes from our national intelligence agencies. It’s yet another to dismiss ALL information about this as “deep state propaganda.” Does Greenhall not want to admit to being used as a Russian dupe?
His analysis of globalists smacks of mercantilism and protectionism, two ideologies that have been shown, time and again, to be deeply flawed. Free trade and economic liberalism has raised both income and life expectancy in the world. Given Greenhall’s success in the business world from these policies, I wonder how truly genuine he is about this aspect of his analysis.
The whole “Blue Church is killing us” is basically code for, once again, not wanting to follow rules that help society but might be a little inconvenient. And that’s where the rest of his piece descends into Alex Jones territory and I found little merit in what he was saying.
As mentioned in the other answers, Greenhall seems like he’s trying to disseminate propaganda for the alt right to lap up and, in return, heap glorious adulation upon him. It’s as arrogant, self important, and ideologically blind as the people he is trying to impress.

Check out some of the other reactions to it on Quora.