Sunday, December 31, 2017
It's A Man's World
Assorted views of Year End
A 'professional swatter', WTF ?
Described in the Washington Post as a 'professional swatter' the nasty little fuck, Tyler Barriss, who called the police to the home of Andrew Finch who was then murdered by the police, has been arrested.
A professional “swatter” — someone who pranks armed police into raiding the homes of innocent people — has claimed responsibility for placing a fake 911 call that led an officer to kill a man in Wichita.For some reason this piece of shit and others of his ilk lay claim to the title of autistic in their activities. Sociopathic is more like it and hopefully he will soon be someone's prison bitch.
Police were lured to the home of Andrew Finch, 28, on Thursday evening by a caller who falsely claimed to be inside with hostages and a gun.
Knowing nothing of the report, Finch went to the door as officers surrounded his home and was fatally shot on his porch.
In tweets and interviews, a man known online as “Swautistic” said he had placed the 911 call — which in his view was a routine hoax gone badly wrong.
“Bomb threats are more fun and cooler than swats in my opinion and I should have just stuck to that,” Swautistic told reporter Brian Krebs on Friday. “But I began making $ doing some swat requests.”
Several hours later, Los Angeles police arrested a 25-year-old named Tyler Barriss in connection with Finch’s death. According to KABC, he had been arrested two years earlier for making hoax bomb threats to their TV station.
Police have not said whether Barriss and Swautistic are the same person, or said who called them to the house, or why. But local reports suggest that Finch — a father of two — may have been randomly caught up in a feud between two videogamers who obtained his address.
The two unnamed gamers got into an argument over a match of Call of Duty on Thursday, according to the Wichita Eagle. Screenshots of the spat show that one of them dared the other to swat him — and for some reason gave out Finch’s address.
Swatting usually makes the news when police are tricked into raiding the home of a celebrity — like Justin Bieber in 2012 or Lil Wayne in 2015. But it’s lately become a way for people to escalate online disputes into the real world — punishing a rival with a surprise visit from a SWAT team.
Let Us Forget
Those who are lost to Cheeto Mussolini
Core American value
Saturday, December 30, 2017
Bonnie Bishop & Band
In Dire Need of Anger Management
R.I.P. Sue Taylor Grafton
Creator of a badass female P.I., Kinsey Milhone, and a new alphabet of mystery that only goes to Y.
The guy that whined about the Sandy response
Got three chances to prove he could do better. So far Donald Trump has gotten mixed reviews from Texas and Florida and has been a proven failure in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.
For the first time in the 100 days since Hurricane Maria slammed Puerto Rico, the government finally knows how many people still don’t have power: about half.An immense task that was met by a piddling effort in response. If only those people had been white.
The figure released Friday by the island’s governor and power utility company indicates that more than 1.5 million people on the island are still in the dark. Experts say some parts of the island are not expected to get power back until next spring.
“We understand how difficult it has been for the people for Puerto Rico who have been without power for so long,” said Ricardo Rosselló, the governor of Puerto Rico, as he announced a request for up to 1,500 more restoration workers from the mainland’s electric industry.
In its statement on Friday, the authorities said power restoration has been slow because of the sheer scale and complexity of the damage. Much of the island’s 2,400 miles off transmission lines, 30,000 miles of distribution lines and 342 substations were damaged in the storm, they said. Carlos D. Torres, the system’s restoration coordinator, said workers were finding “unexpected damage” in some areas even as they make repairs in others.
José E. Sánchez, who heads the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers task force to restore power in Puerto Rico, said some homes were so damaged they are unable to receive electricity, though he did not know how many homes were in that situation.
The island’s governor and power utility said that of the homes that could receive electricity, roughly 55 percent have had their service restored. He noted that the government’s new estimate includes five towns that recently received temporary fixes from Corps generators.
Mr. Sánchez acknowledged that the 55 percent restoration was hardly a success.
“55 percent? No, oh my gosh, I want it quicker, faster, better,” he said.
He said the Corps has increased its number of crews working on the island, and many of the materials ordered in October are beginning to arrive. Some private companies that had committed to help Puerto Rico will begin to arrive in January.
Several investor-owned electric companies that are members of the Edison Electric Institute will deploy nearly 1,500 additional restoration workers and support personnel to Puerto Rico in early January to accelerate ongoing power restoration efforts across the island, the agency announced Thursday.
Mr. Sánchez said the companies faced the same kind of logistical challenges that kept them from arriving sooner.
“A lot of people are angry,” said Cannabis Nebot, 43, who lives in Arecibo, where power was largely restored. “They don’t believe what the government says about the power outage. You can see on Facebook a lot of people saying that they got no light. A lot of people in the countryside have no light. Or some towns have it, but it comes and goes.”
Brash, boastful and underqualified
So the New York Times descibes George Papadopoulos, the Trump campaign aide whose loose lips began the Russia investigation. Some may dismiss him as a "coffee boy" but he knew enough to kickstart an FBI investigation that will ultimately put much of the Trump campaign and administration in jail.
During a night of heavy drinking at an upscale London bar in May 2016, George Papadopoulos, a young foreign policy adviser to the Trump campaign, made a startling revelation to Australia’s top diplomat in Britain: Russia had political dirt on Hillary Clinton.During World War II a patriotic slogan was "Loose Lips Sink Ships" to warn people about who they talked to and what they might say. Perhaps the Trumpoons might want to update that to " Loose Lips Dump Trump". It could make an interesting poster.
About three weeks earlier, Mr. Papadopoulos had been told that Moscow had thousands of emails that would embarrass Mrs. Clinton, apparently stolen in an effort to try to damage her campaign.
Exactly how much Mr. Papadopoulos said that night at the Kensington Wine Rooms with the Australian, Alexander Downer, is unclear. But two months later, when leaked Democratic emails began appearing online, Australian officials passed the information about Mr. Papadopoulos to their American counterparts, according to four current and former American and foreign officials with direct knowledge of the Australians’ role.
The hacking and the revelation that a member of the Trump campaign may have had inside information about it were driving factors that led the F.B.I. to open an investigation in July 2016 into Russia’s attempts to disrupt the election and whether any of President Trump’s associates conspired.
If Mr. Papadopoulos, who pleaded guilty to lying to the F.B.I. and is now a cooperating witness, was the improbable match that set off a blaze that has consumed the first year of the Trump administration, his saga is also a tale of the Trump campaign in miniature. He was brash, boastful and underqualified, yet he exceeded expectations. And, like the campaign itself, he proved to be a tantalizing target for a Russian influence operation.
While some of Mr. Trump’s advisers have derided him an insignificant campaign volunteer or a “coffee boy,” interviews and new documents show that he stayed influential throughout the campaign. Two months before the election, for instance, he helped arrange a New York meeting between Mr. Trump and President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi of Egypt.
The information that Mr. Papadopoulos gave to the Australians answers one of the lingering mysteries of the past year: What so alarmed American officials to provoke the F.B.I. to open a counterintelligence investigation into the Trump campaign months before the presidential election?
It was not, as Mr. Trump and other politicians have alleged, a dossier compiled by a former British spy hired by a rival campaign. Instead, it was firsthand information from one of America’s closest intelligence allies.
Interviews and previously undisclosed documents show that Mr. Papadopoulos played a critical role in this drama and reveal a Russian operation that was more aggressive and widespread than previously known. They add to an emerging portrait, gradually filled in over the past year in revelations by federal investigators, journalists and lawmakers, of Russians with government contacts trying to establish secret channels at various levels of the Trump campaign.
The F.B.I. investigation, which was taken over seven months ago by the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, has cast a shadow over Mr. Trump’s first year in office — even as he and his aides repeatedly played down the Russian efforts and falsely denied campaign contacts with Russians.
They have also insisted that Mr. Papadopoulos was a low-level figure. But spies frequently target peripheral players as a way to gain insight and leverage.
Some Republicans can read
Friday, December 29, 2017
A Legend In His Own Mind
R.I.P. Rose Marie Mazzetta
From getting work at the age of 3 as Baby Rose Marie to working into your 90's you were showbiz all the way and a favorite Hollywood Square.
He should have thought about that sooner
Poor old Donald Trump thinks that Robert Mueller's investigation into his illegal collusion with Russia to overthrow the legitimate election result is making the country look bad.
President Trump said Thursday that he believes Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel in the Russia investigation, will treat him fairly, contradicting some members of his party who have waged a weekslong campaign to try to discredit Mr. Mueller and the continuing inquiry.Actually having an ignorant buffoon with delusions of grandeur makes the country look bad. We hope that someday soon he will learn that he is not above the law.
During an impromptu 30-minute interview with The New York Times at his golf club in West Palm Beach, the president did not demand an end to the Russia investigations swirling around his administration, but insisted 16 times that there has been “no collusion” discovered by the inquiry.
“It makes the country look very bad, and it puts the country in a very bad position,” Mr. Trump said of the investigation. “So the sooner it’s worked out, the better it is for the country.”
Asked whether he would order the Justice Department to reopen the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails, Mr. Trump appeared to remain focused on the Russia investigation.
“I have absolute right to do what I want to do with the Justice Department,” he said, echoing claims by his supporters that as president he has the power to open or end an investigation. “But for purposes of hopefully thinking I’m going to be treated fairly, I’ve stayed uninvolved with this particular matter.”
The original recipe Cheeto
From Dallas TX
Thursday, December 28, 2017
Joan of Arc
Jennifer Warnes & Leonard Cohen
Not as easy as we hoped
You can drive a truck through some of them
Loopholes, those fabulous exceptions in the latest tax bill, both intentional and otherwise, that make preparing taxes such big business are going to be studied closely this coming year. Given the sloppiness with which this bill was prepared and the haste of its passage insure that there will be more loopholes than apples in an orchard.
The latest overhaul could play out the same way. Already, lawyers and accountants are eyeing several provisions that investors and companies could potentially exploit.And that is just a start
The bill, for example, lowers the taxes on so-called pass-through income, which is earned by partnerships and other types of businesses. Congress sold the provision as a way to help smaller companies. But lawmakers added language that allowed big real estate developers to benefit. The result could be a tax break for any company that buys and operates a building for its business.
The new law is also supposed to encourage companies to make investments in the United States. But the rules were written in such a way that they could give businesses an incentive to keep their money in foreign countries and build factories abroad.
Whiny Ass Titty Baby Roy Moore files a lawsuit
Apprently erstwhile stalker/molester Roy Moore believed those promises that there was no way a Democrat could be elected in Alabama. When the much vaunted Alabama Republican vote suppression system failed to deliver for him it knocked that poor old sparrowfart senseless, not difficult for one with so little sense to begin with. In his latest desperate attempt to gain what he thinks he deserves, he has filed a lawsuit.
Roy keeps flogging that dead horse thinking he has a real Derby winner there.
Just hours before Doug Jones was set to be confirmed Thursday as the first Democratic winner of an Alabama United States Seat in 25 years, Roy Moore, the Republican nominee, filed a legal complaint urging officials to delay certification because of "systematic election fraud."
Attorneys for Moore and his campaign filed an election complaint late Wednesday night in the Circuit Court of Montgomery to postpone Jones' certification until officials had conducted a "thorough investigation of potential election fraud" that "improperly altered the outcome of this election."
Alabama's election board is scheduled to certify Jones's victory at 1 p.m. (C.S.T.) Thursday, and the Secretary of State's office said Thursday morning there were no plans to delay.
"There have not been any issues at this time that have been reported and determined to be verified as fraud," said John Bennett, communications director for Alabama Secretary of State, John Merrill.
Moore, 70, the defiant former Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, has refused to concede ever since Jones defeated him by more than 20,000 votes in the Dec. 12 special election.
"This is not a Republican or Democrat issue as election integrity should matter to everyone," Moore said in a statement released Wednesday night. "We call on Secretary of State Merrill to delay certification until there is a thorough investigation of what three independent election experts agree took place: election fraud sufficient to overturn the outcome of the election."
In an 80-page complaint filed in state court, Moore's attorneys urged the court to issue a temporary restraining order blocking the certification, as well as an order directing state officials to set a new special election.
Moore's attorneys state that Moore will "suffer irreparable harm" if the election results are certified "without preserving and investigating all the evidence of potential fraud." He would be denied "his full right as a candidate to a fair election," they argue.
Merrill, a Republican, maintains his office has found no evidence of voter fraud. Last week, he issued a statement noting that his office had discounted one widely-publicized report of potential voter fraud – a viral video in which a male voter claimed in a Fox 10 news broadcast that he and others had come "all the way from different parts of the country" to vote and canvass for Jones/
"The Alabama Secretary of State's Office was able to identify the young man who was anonymously featured on the news broadcast," Merrill said in a statement. "After additional research was conducted, it was determined that this young man has lived and worked in Alabama for more than one year and is currently a registered voter in this state."
The Value of SNAP
Wednesday, December 27, 2017
Pence takes a day off
Where Sarah Huckabee-Sanders learned to lie
At her father's knee, of course. And Mikey showed his skill once again after viewing "Darkest Hour". For some reason it compelled Mikey to compare a statesman like Churchill to our own sniveling treasonous bastard Donald Trump.
Mr. Huckabee had just watched “Darkest Hour,” a film about Churchill. It was, he wrote on Twitter, a reminder of “what real leadership looks like.”Ridiculous and thoroughly in keeping with the drivel that usually spews from Mikey, after all he was a religious hustler before he went into politics. And by his example, taught his daughter to lie well.
“Churchill was hated by his own party, opposition party, and press,” he tweeted. “Feared by King as reckless, and despised for his bluntness. But unlike Neville Chamberlain, he didn’t retreat. We had a Chamberlain for 8 yrs; in @realDonaldTrump we have a Churchill.”
Likening modern leaders to Chamberlain and Churchill — something Mr. Huckabee has done before — is always a loaded proposition. Chamberlain, who preceded Churchill as prime minister of Britain, tried to appease Hitler by conceding Czechoslovakia’s Sudetenland region to Nazi Germany in the 1938 Munich Agreement, and his name has come to be synonymous with weakness in the face of evil.
Churchill, by contrast, was an officer in the British Army during World War I; led Britain through World War II as prime minister from 1940 to 1945; and handled several foreign policy crises in a second term as prime minister from 1951 to 1955. He was known for his skill as an orator and writer, and won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1953.
So it was unsurprising that the comments by Mr. Huckabee, whose daughter, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, is the White House press secretary, stirred up Twitter.
“Sure. Churchill served his country 55 years in parliament, 31 years as a minister and 9 as pm,” Kristian Tonning Riise, a member of Norway’s Parliament, wrote in a tweet liked more than 19,000 times. “He was present in 15 battles and received 14 medals of bravery. He was one of history’s most gifted orators and won the Nobel Literature Prize for his writing. Totally same thing.”
It is true that Churchill made many political enemies before World War II, said Susan Pedersen, a professor of British history at Columbia University. He was also “more self-regarding and less inclined to compromise than most successful British politicians,” she said, and “had a hard-right view of British national and imperial interest.”
“He was basically in the wilderness in 1939, and had world history and circumstance not found him, that would have been the end of the story,” Dr. Pedersen wrote in an email. “Luckily for him, and for many of us, his peculiar attributes and the needs of the time came together. But that happened partly because, for all his idiosyncrasy, he had real intellectual and political strengths: He was intelligent, literate, well-versed in history, had long experience in government, and knew what he stood for.”
The comparison to Mr. Trump, she wrote, is “ridiculous”
In classic Republican fashion
Mitch McConnell, despite having control of the Senate with like minded friends in the house and Congress, had an "anno horribilis" in his job. People may say Trump did not get any significant legislation passed, but it was Mitch's job to get things through the Senate. So naturally when he failed it was Trump's fault
Everything was in place for this to be Mitch McConnell’s year. He had a Republican Congress and White House for the first time in a decade, and a simple majority of votes was all that was needed to not only confirm major nominees but pass major legislation too.True the only real achievements Mitch had were the result of changing, distorting or ignoring Senate rules, but really it was all Donald's fault. If he had been a real President Mitch's job would have been 'easy-peasy'.
And certainly, he scored some big wins — first with a Supreme Court confirmation and then by delivering to the White House the first tax reform package in three decades.
But the Kentucky Republican, who entered Congress in 1985, is looking ahead to 2018 with fewer accomplishments to tout than he might have hoped, and a long list of leftover legislative agenda items from 2017 to confront.
McConnell was able to help avert a government shutdown before Christmas, but he couldn’t at any other point in the year advance individual spending bills. Doing so would have averted the current scenario: Come January, party leaders will have to convince members of Congress to agree to a longer-term deal to fund government agencies, and no one has any good idea how it will all come together.
When Congress reconvenes in the new year, McConnell will be looking for how to reauthorize children’s health insurance funding, reform a government surveillance program, provide money for storm-ravaged states and territories and protect more than 800,000 young immigrants from deportation before a March 8 deadline. And in an election year, he will have to straddle a desire to appease the party base while acknowledging the reality that few things might be accomplished without reaching across the aisle — he will, after all, by Jan. 3, have only 51 Republican votes to work with.
In a recent interview with McClatchy from his Capitol Hill office, McConnell said punting on “this potpourri of issues” was not unusual, and he blamed Democrats for using procedural maneuvers to slow down the legislative process across the board.
“Democrats have concluded it’s not in their best interest to pass individual (spending) bills,” McConnell explained. “They like slow-walking everything, rolling it up into one big ball and having a crammed negotiation.”
One major legislative defeat was Congress’ failure to deliver on the Republican promise to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, resulting in months of ultimately wasted time and effort that could have been used elsewhere. McConnell did see comprehensive tax overhaul legislation over the finish line — but even the tax bill that cuts rates for most Americans is proving to be a hard sell.
When asked why Republicans were finding themselves having to defend massive tax cuts to the American people, McConnell attributed the bill’s 29 percent approval rating to the media’s “unrelentingly negative” coverage. He then pulled out a typed list of talking points to provide examples of how the GOP would overcome bad press and make its case to voters ahead of the midterm elections.
“We’re having a fun time selling this,” said McConnell. “We believe in this, we think it’s the right thing to do for the country, we’re anxious to have this debate.”
McConnell’s friends, colleagues, former associates and political observers agree McConnell had a tough year.
They also share belief that it wasn’t all McConnell’s fault.
“He got a bum rap,” said Rep. Hal Rogers, a fellow Kentucky Republican and a senior appropriator. “He got a lot of undue criticism. After all, he had a two-vote margin in the Senate, which makes things almost impossible. And these are really, really, tough, complicated issues. Plus, we had an unusual president to work with.”
Indeed, many political experts pointed at President Donald Trump when asked about McConnell’s hard year.
Al Cross, director of the Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues at the University of Kentucky, said the GOP leader “had to deal with a president who is unlike any president in American history, who was openly critical of him and didn’t follow norms. And McConnell is a creature of norms.”
“With a different Republican president, he might have achieved more,” added Ross Baker, a political scientist at Rutgers University who used to work for Democrats in Congress. “The president was constantly interfering, making comments that basically put people in Congress, particularly in the Senate, off message. Whenever the president asserted himself in legislative matters, it had negative consequences for McConnell.”
Not to mention the poor and elderly
Tuesday, December 26, 2017
The Wailin' Jennys
Deficits can be good for some
Just too damn big
And because they are so big and pretend they are so necessary, the Pentagon has consistently failed to provide information from the military justice system to the federal background-check database. Now several cities, in an effort to protect their citizens are suing the Pentagon to change that sorry situation.
The Pentagon has for years defied federal laws intended to keep guns out of the hands of felons and domestic abusers by failing to report many criminal convictions in the military justice system to the Federal Bureau of Investigation and to the national gun background-check database.Perfectly reasonable requests for information that within the military structure would prevent anyone from acquiring or using weapons. And we now know how dangerous failing to pass on that information can be. Hopefully the courts will find a way to enforce comoliance with the laws in place.
This is what allowed Devin P. Kelley, who was convicted of domestic assault in the Air Force, to buy at a store the rifle he used to kill 25 people, including a pregnant woman whose fetus also died, at a Texas church in November.
Now, after two decades of serious lapses — and one of the worst mass shootings in American history — officials from New York, Philadelphia and San Francisco are trying to force a change.
The cities have joined together to file a lawsuit in Federal District Court in Virginia that would require the Pentagon to submit to federal court monitoring of its compliance with the reporting laws it has broken time and again.
“This failure on behalf of the Department of Defense has led to the loss of innocent lives by putting guns in the hands of criminals and those who wish to cause immeasurable harm,” Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York said.
The cities say they are suing because their police departments regularly access the federal background-check database and rely on it to provide accurate information about who should be prevented from buying guns.
The Pentagon has repeatedly been chided since the 1990s by its own inspector general for woefully failing to comply with the law. In a 2015 report — and another one issued just a few weeks ago — investigators said that nearly one in three court-martial convictions that should have barred defendants from gun purchases had gone unreported by the military.
Having a federal court oversee compliance, the cities in the lawsuit say, would reduce the chance that a tragedy like the massacre in Sutherland Springs, Tex., happens again.
If the lawsuit is successful and the military fails to adhere to a court order to demonstrate compliance with the law, a federal judge could hold the defendants in contempt, lawyers for the plaintiffs say. The lawsuit names as defendants the Defense Department and its secretary, James N. Mattis; the Departments of the Air Force, Army and Navy and their respective secretaries; the directors of the military’s criminal investigative organizations; and the commander of the Navy’s personnel command.
Generally, the military is required to report felony-equivalent court-martial convictions for crimes that are punishable by more than one year in prison, and any convictions for domestic violence. As with those of similar convictions in civilian courts, the records are supposed to block defendants from buying guns.
The military must also report anyone who receives a dishonorable discharge, which precludes gun ownership. Federal law also bans ownership by drug abusers, people subject to certain restraining orders, and mentally ill people.
Bob Mueller's alter ego
That would be Eric Schneiderman, Attorney General of New York and long time nemesis of Don the Con. As Special Counsel Robert Mueller investigates the various federal crimes committed by the Tangerine Shitgibbon, AG Schneiderman watches and keeps his own counsel, ready to step in if the GOP and Fux Nooz manage to generate the necessary poutrage in Congress to shut Mueller down.
By moving to sue the Federal Communications Commission over net neutrality this month, his office took its 100th legal or administrative action against the Trump administration and congressional Republicans. His lawyers have challenged Mr. Trump’s first, second and third travel bans and sued over such diverse matters as a rollback in birth control coverage and a weakening of pollution standards. They have also unleashed a flurry of amicus briefs and formal letters, often with other Democratic attorneys general, assailing legislation they see as gutting consumer finance protections or civil rights.Newe York's position as an economic center and New York law allow Mr Schneiderman more leeway than is available to other AG's and his temeperment and skill should put Cheeto Mussolini on notice that firing Mueller will gain him notheing.
“We try and protect New Yorkers from those who would do them harm,” Mr. Schneiderman said during a recent interview in his Manhattan office. “The biggest threat to New Yorkers right now is the federal government, so we’re responding to it.”
In Mr. Schneiderman’s seventh year as attorney general, the office has been transformed into a bulwark of resistance amid an unusually expansive level of confrontation with the federal government. Other Democratic state attorneys general are undertaking similar efforts, often in concert, like Xavier Becerra in California, where extra money was set aside in the budget for the attorney general to battle the Trump administration.
How far Mr. Schneiderman is willing to go in taking on Mr. Trump could define his political career, particularly in a blue state where disapproval of the president is high. The attorney general’s office potential for troublemaking and generating national headlines was redefined in the early 2000s by Eliot Spitzer. Mr. Schneiderman is a less combative man who was often the target of Mr. Trump’s Twitter wrath amid a three-year civil investigation into Trump University. In the end, Mr. Schneiderman’s office extracted a $25 million settlement in the case.
Nonetheless, Mr. Schneiderman is seen by some as a possible backstop should the president exercise his pardon power to help those who might become ensnared in the investigation of possible Russian involvement in the 2016 presidential election being led by Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel. Federal pardons do not apply to violations of state law.
In the interview, Mr. Schneiderman would say little about his potential role as a criminal prosecutor in relation to the Trump administration, except that he hoped it would not come to that. Earlier this year, Mr. Schneiderman began a criminal inquiry focused on allegations of money laundering by Paul Manafort, Mr. Trump’s former campaign chairman. But his office stood down, at least temporarily, out of deference to the special counsel’s inquiry; the offices did not work together, his staff said.
“I have a lot of respect for the work the special counsel’s doing,” he said. “They’ve put together a terrific team.”
“Just watching it from the outside, like everybody else, it seems like they’re doing a very thorough and serious job,” he added. “I hope there’s not going to be any effort to derail them or shut them down.”
“If that happens, we’ll do — as I think would be a genuine sentiment around the country — we’ll do whatever we can do to see that justice is done,” he said. “But I hope we don’t have to face a problem like that.”
Mr. Trump said recently he was not planning to fire Mr. Mueller, though many of his allies have stepped up their attacks on the special counsel’s investigation.
Regarding Mr. Schneiderman’s myriad legal filings, the White House referred questions to the Justice Department.
“The federal court system is not a substitute for the legislative process,” said Devin M. O’Malley, a spokesman there. “The Department of Justice will continue to defend the president’s constitutional and statutory authority to issue executive orders aimed at securing our borders, protecting U.S. workers, promoting free speech and religious liberty, among many other lawful actions.”
Republican attorneys general targeted President Obama’s policies while he was in office. Scott Pruitt, the head of Mr. Trump’s E.P.A., sued the E.P.A. 14 times as Oklahoma attorney general. But if Mr. Schneiderman were to take on a criminal prosecution, it would likely be met with disdain by conservatives. One columnist at the National Review already called for Mr. Schneiderman to recuse himself from any criminal investigation of Mr. Trump because his comments and civil actions made it “impossible for the public to have confidence that he could be impartial.”
Certainly, Mr. Schneiderman and Mr. Trump have little in common. Mr. Trump watches a lot of TV and craves his McDonalds. Mr. Schneiderman does yoga. “Other than sports, I really don’t watch TV much anymore,” Mr. Schneiderman said, and paused to think about the last time he had eaten a fast food burger. “That’s a long time ago.”
About that wall
When Donald Trump spews about one of his pet ideas, he is like an uncontrolled gusher, covering everything with his filthy idea. One of his biggest spews has, after one year of Yuge promises, still not amounted to a hill of Trump promises.
Almost a year into Donald Trump’s presidency, the border wall he passionately promoted throughout his election campaign amounts to eight prototypes, no more than 30 feet long each, sitting in a desert outside San Diego.Making the Tangerine Shitgibbon unhappy is a worthwhile project in comparison to the Great Wall of Trump.
No funding has been appropriated by Congress to advance the project beyond the testing phase. There’s no final design. And despite Trump’s rallying cry that Mexico would pay for the barrier, that country hasn’t contributed a peso.
The wall, an emotional centerpiece of Trump’s populist candidacy, is resurfacing as Washington turns from tax legislation to a fight over government spending for the rest of the fiscal year. A spending package Congress plans to debate in January will test whether his promise can ever be fulfilled.
Tensions over immigration are returning to center stage as Democrats seek to use the January spending measure to restore legal protections against deportation to hundreds of thousands of people brought to the U.S. illegally as children. Trump has said he would like an agreement to fund the wall in return, and he resumed pressing for the wall even as he celebrated Republicans’ tax overhaul.
“We’re calling on Congress to fund the border wall, which we’re getting very close to,” Trump said Dec. 20 during a Cabinet meeting at the White House. “We have some wonderful prototypes that have been put up. And I may be going there, very shortly, to look at them in their final form.”
Despite being a central component of Trump’s winning presidential campaign, the border wall has run into opposition from both Democrats and Republicans. As the White House seeks to recap its accomplishments--senior administration officials gathered reporters last Thursday to tout Trump’s first year--significant progress on a border wall is not one of them.
“I’m not surprised, that a year into his presidency, we say ‘Gee, why hasn’t that wall been built?”’ said Barbara Perry, a presidential historian at the University of Virginia. “Well that was one of those things that was so outrageous that it was never going to happen.”
The White House didn’t respond to requests for comment.
Trump has occasionally vented frustration with the pace of progress on the wall, but has nonetheless projected confidence that it will eventually be built.
“We’re going to get the wall,” Trump said Dec. 8 at the White House. “If we don’t get the wall, then I got a lot of very unhappy people, starting with me.”
Accuracy in reporting
Your god or mine?
Monday, December 25, 2017
The Good Lovelies
Start the new year with bedsores
Now that the Tangerine Shitgibbon's zealous removal of every positive regulation has reached the nursing home industry, it will soon be more profitable to abuse their elderly inmates that to care for them.
The Trump administration is scaling back the use of fines against nursing homes that harm residents or place them in grave risk of injury, part of a broader relaxation of regulations under the president.Now that Tangerine has made it cost effective to reduce the level of care for the inmates it will fall upon the families to visit their loved ones more often and look carefully at the kind of treatment they are getting.
The shift in the Medicare program’s penalty protocols was requested by the nursing home industry. The American Health Care Association, the industry’s main trade group, has complained that under President Barack Obama, federal inspectors focused excessively on catching wrongdoing rather than helping nursing homes improve.
“It is critical that we have relief,” Mark Parkinson, the group’s president, wrote in a letter to Mr. Trump in December 2016.
Since 2013, nearly 6,500 nursing homes — four of every 10 — have been cited at least once for a serious violation, federal records show. Medicare has fined two-thirds of those homes. Common citations include failing to protect residents from avoidable accidents, neglect, mistreatment and bedsores.
The new guidelines discourage regulators from levying fines in some situations, even when they have resulted in a resident’s death. The guidelines will also probably result in lower fines for many facilities.
The change in policy aligns with Mr. Trump’s promise to reduce bureaucracy, regulation and government intervention in business.
Dr. Kate Goodrich, director of clinical standards and quality at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, said in a statement that unnecessary regulation was the main concern that health care providers raised with officials.
“Rather than spending quality time with their patients, the providers are spending time complying with regulations that get in the way of caring for their patients and doesn’t increase the quality of care they provide,” Dr. Goodrich said.
But advocates for nursing-home residents say the revised penalties are weakening a valuable patient-safety tool.
“They’ve pretty much emasculated enforcement, which was already weak,” said Toby Edelman, a senior attorney at the Center for Medicare Advocacy.
Medicare has different ways of applying penalties. It can impose a specific fine for a particular violation. It can assess a fine for each day that a nursing home was in violation. Or it can deny payments for new admissions.
The average fine in recent years has been $33,453, but 531 nursing homes amassed combined federal fines above $100,000, records show. In 2016, Congress increased the fines to factor in several years of inflation that had not been accounted for previously.
The new rules have been instituted gradually throughout the year.
In October, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services discouraged its regional offices from levying fines, even in the most serious health violations, if the error was a “one-time mistake.” The centers said that intentional disregard for residents’ health and safety or systemic errors should still merit fines.
A July memo from the centers discouraged the directors of state agencies that survey nursing homes from issuing daily fines for violations that began before an inspection, favoring one-time fines instead. Daily fines remain the recommended approach for major violations discovered during an inspection.
I hope everybody got what they wanted
Steve Mnuchin's Secret Santa Revealed
The giver of the most deserved Christmas gift this year, and our favorite, has been revealed. Thanks to exhaustive work by the Secret Service in finding his Facebook confession, the Secret Santa has been revealed as Robby Strong of Los Angeles.
It was one of those gag cards you can buy in a drugstore. “Merry Catsmess!” read the caption. And in a personal touch, as if for emphasis, Robby Strong had enclosed a box of horse manure.“To Stevie,” he wrote on the envelope, meaning Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, for whose doorstep the manure was bound.Following his visits from the SEcret Service we do hope that Los Angeles county joins in the spirit of the occasion and continues the employment of Mr. Strong.
“We’re returning the ‘gift’ of the Christmas tax bill. It’s bulls‑‑‑.” Strong wrote on the card. “Warmest Wishes, The American People.”
And then, he says, he went through with it. On Saturday, Strong hand-delivered the manure to two Los Angeles homes he believed belong to Mnuchin — one in Beverly Hills, and one a mansion in Bel Air that consequently got a visit from Secret Service agents and a bomb squad.
“I wanted to ring the door and hand it to him myself,” Strong told AL.com the next day, after his early Christmas package had locked down one of the richest neighborhoods in the world.
Strong works as a psychologist for Los Angeles County, he told 89.3 KPCC, and expects that delivering animal feces to the man in charge of the U.S. Treasury Department could jeopardize his job. But Strong doesn’t sound as if he regrets it.
“I need someone to ride along and document my Secret Santa project. I’m going to hand deliver boxes of horse s‑‑‑ to Steve Mnuchin,” he wrote on Facebook on Saturday afternoon, a couple of hours before police were called to Bel Air. “No disguises, no fake names. Totally owning this one. You’re only powerless if you do nothing!!!”
Sunday, December 24, 2017
Merry Christmas to all
One Trump Cabinet Member got what he deserved
Christmas time is that time of the year when we discover how difficult it can be to find a gift that is appropriate for the recipient. One person, Steve Mnuchin Secretary of the Treasury, got what he deserved from an unknown giver.
A suspicious package that appeared Saturday night in the swanky Los Angeles neighborhood of Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin prompted lengthy street closures and a sizable response by local and federal authorities, including members of the Los Angeles Police Department’s bomb squad.All this raises the question, Do Cheeto Mussolini and his other minions deserve their fair share? And will they get it?
But the bomb scare was a false alarm, police told local media, after the package was discovered to contain only horse manure.
A large box, covered in holiday wrapping paper and addressed to Mnuchin, was left outside the home of one of his Bel Air neighbors Saturday evening, ABC 7 News reported.
The package was labeled as being from “the American people,” according to the news station.
Secret Service agents and Los Angeles police, including bomb-squad officers, soon swarmed the area to investigate the package.
In video of the scene taken by an NBC Los Angeles helicopter, an officer can be seen opening the box, dumping out its contents and spreading a dark, unevenly clumped substance across the ground.
The substance ended up being horse manure, police said. And, according to aerial footage, there was a lot of it.
Afterward, at least three officers could be seen standing around the pile, shining flashlights on the manure and moving it around with their feet, presumably to check whether anything else might be hidden in it.
The war that never was is over
Even Mitch said it was so
From the pen of Adam Zyglis
You can't correct a fool
Saturday, December 23, 2017
Some Christmas Novelty Tunes
tip of the hat to Wonkette
The 12 Cans of Trickle Down
Merry Christmas from the GOP
You are poor
Dave Chapelle explains it to poor white people
Friday, December 22, 2017
Adeste Fideles and Silent Night
A Two-fer from Deanna Durbin, 3 if you include the Latin portion.
Beyond his wildest dreams
Merry Christmas, if you have the seniority
Otherwise please clean out your locker and make sure we have the correct address for your last paycheck. Another industry that Cheeto Mussolini promised to be good for is experiencing another round of layoffs because of increased foreign imports and lack of demand.
At this sprawling steel mill on the outskirts of Philadelphia, the workers have one number in mind. Not how many tons of steel roll off the line, or how many hours they work, but where they fall on the plant’s seniority list.If the much ballyhooed infrastructure improvements had been implemented, the would be demand for steel all around. But having failed to create demand, our Potemkin President also failed to control supply flooding in from overseas. And so another US industry falls by the wayside despite all his Yuge promises. What is most troubling is the plant's specialty, something we can not rely on getting from overseas. But Putin is probably very happy about it.
In September, ArcelorMittal, which owns the mill, announced that it would lay off 150 of the plant’s 207 workers next year. While the cuts will start with the most junior employees, they will go so deep that even workers with decades of experience will be cast out.
“I told my son, ‘Christmas is going to be kind of scarce, because mommy’s going to lose her job soon,’” said Kimberly Allen, a steelworker and single parent who has worked at the plant for more than 22 years. On the seniority list, she’s 72nd.
Foreign steel makers have rushed to get their product into the United States before tariffs start. According to the American Iron and Steel Institute, which tracks shipments, steel imports were 19.4 percent higher in the first 10 months of 2017 than in the same period last year.
That surge of imports has hurt American steel makers, which were already struggling against a glut of cheap Chinese steel. When ArcelorMittal announced the layoffs in Conshohocken, it blamed those imports, as well as low demand for steel for bridges and military equipment.
James Rockas, a spokesman for the Commerce Department, said the administration was “aware of the plight of American steel workers and will continue working to halt unfair trade practices that harm our economy and kill American jobs.”
In 2008, before the financial crisis struck, the plant ran around the clock. Now, the mill coughs to life just five days a week, for eight hours at a time. The machines shovel 10-ton steel slabs into a furnace, where they are heated to 2,000 degrees, then funnel them through giant rollers and cooling jets of water, like a massive, fiery carwash.
The plant’s specialty is ultrastrong, military-grade steel
Trump gets slapped down
After making his outrageously worthless threat against the sovereign states of the United Nations. Embracing the alien notion that other nations do not threaten them for doing their own thing, more than 120 nations voted to condemn the Tangerine Shitgibbon's plan to recognize Jerusalem as the capitol of Israel.
President Donald Trump vowed to cut aid to countries that voted Thursday at the United Nations against the U.S. decision to move its Israeli embassy to Jerusalem. U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley echoed that sentiment, claiming the United States would remember this vote.So one of his Republican stooges jumps to the fore with insupportable legislation for Der Trumpenfuehrer. And all for a political position in support of a group of raving loonies seeking the end of the world.
The rhetoric didn’t stop more than 120 countries from voting against the United States, including allies like the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and South Korea. Thirty-five nations abstained including Australia, Canada and Mexico. Just seven other nations voted with the U.S. and Israel.
Now a North Carolina Republican representative is promising legislation to stop foreign aid to countries that consistently vote against the United States.
“Once again, many of our ‘friends’ at the U.N. are voting against the United States and Israel. We should look closely at holding these countries accountable with respect to the significant U.S. foreign aid they receive,” said Rep. Robert Pittenger of Charlotte. “Jerusalem has been Israel’s capital since the time of King David. Israel’s legislature and courts are in Jerusalem. Why should we continue to pretend otherwise?”
Asked what the criteria for denying aid would be, Pittenger said: “We are looking for a pattern. This vote should be a factor of consideration.”
Let Us Praise him
Seth Meyers taks a Closer Look
Jesus wants you naked
Samantha Bee looks at the dangerous losers who lust for the Rapture.
Best Christmas Present Ever ?
Thursday, December 21, 2017
He Called Me Baby
Lee Ann Womack
Better than two front teeth
Memphis 'rejoins' the Union
Despite the Tennessee legislation designed to prevent cities and towns from determining what they will memorialize, Memphis found a way to remove two sore spots in its public space.
The City Council here voted Wednesday to sell two city parks with Confederate monuments, clearing the way for two statues to be removed before the city commemorates the 50th anniversary of the assassination of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.Three cheers for local control and God Bless the Union!
Mayor Jim Strickland first announced the sales of Health Sciences Park and Memphis Park on Twitter.
“History is being made in Memphis tonight,” he said at a news conference later in the evening.
Health Sciences Park had a statue of Nathan Bedford Forrest, a Confederate general and an early member of the Ku Klux Klan, which was removed around 9 p.m. local time.
By 10:30 p.m., cranes had maneuvered into Memphis Park and around a statue of Jefferson Davis, the president of the Confederacy during the Civil War. About 15 minutes later, a crane hoisted the statue onto a truck as a crowd cheered and struck up songs, including “Hit the road Jack.”
The removal of the statues came not only as Memphis prepares for the 50th anniversary of the death of Dr. King, who was assassinated on April 4, 1968, while visiting the city, but also amid a sweeping national debate about the significance of Confederate monuments and whether their removal would be an erasure of history or a righting of past wrongs.
Around the country, cities have removed symbols ranging from the Confederate flag, to memorials of rank-and-file Confederate soldiers, to statues of prominent generals including Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson.
Within an hour of the Memphis City Council’s vote, police officers and cranes were deployed to Health Sciences Park.
Just after 9 p.m., the crane began to lift the statue into the air, the horse and rider dangling above the pedestal. Onlookers cheered. Someone yelled, “Now drop it!” Others chanted: “Hey hey! Ho ho! That racist statue has got to go!”
Kyle Veazey, a spokesman for Mr. Strickland, wrote on Twitter that the statue was lifted at 9:01 p.m., an apparent nod to the city’s 901 area code. One of the groups that led the movement to remove the statues was called Take ’Em Down 901.
“Just to finally get to this moment is overwhelming,” Tami Sawyer, a leader of the group, said.
“I looked Nathan Bedford in the eyes and shed a tear for my ancestors,” she said, recalling the history of African-Americans from slavery to modern incarceration.
Bruce McMullen, the chief legal officer for the city, said in an interview on Wednesday night that the parks had been sold to Memphis Greenspace, a nonprofit led by Van D. Turner Jr., a Shelby County commissioner.
The nonprofit seems to have been created expressly for the purpose of buying the parks: It filed its incorporation papers in October, Mr. Strickland said. Mr. Turner did not immediately return a request for comment.
The city sold Health Sciences Park in its entirety, Mr. McMullen said, and it sold its interest in an easement in Memphis Park. Each was sold for $1,000, he said.
The transfer of the parks to private ownership effectively allowed the city to skirt the Tennessee Heritage Protection Act, a state law that prohibits the removal, relocation or renaming of memorials on public property.
With absolute dominance in Congress
The Republicans needed brute force attacks on Congressional rules and norms and open and notorious bribery of hesitant members, cf. Corker Kickback. They now face a more serious and more difficult job with less time than they gave the tax scam, if that's possible.
In their latest bid to avoid a government shutdown, House Republican leaders are trying to move forward with a new plan that would keep the government funded into January while kicking fights over issues like immigration and surveillance into the new year.The Republicans need to pass the bill or they will have another shutdown on their hands. And this time they need to work with Democrats to get it done. CAn they remember how it is done and overcome their own lunatic fringe?
The latest plan from Republican leaders would extend government funding until Jan. 19 while also providing a short-term funding fix for the Children’s Health Insurance Program, or CHIP, whose financing lapsed in October.
After the House and Senate succeeded in passing a $1.5 trillion tax overhaul this week, the stopgap bill includes language to prevent automatic spending cuts that would be required to offset the tax bill’s effect on the deficit.
Republicans also want to approve $81 billion in additional disaster aid in response to this year’s hurricanes and wildfires, funding that could be approved as a separate bill before lawmakers leave for the holidays.
Government funding currently runs through Friday, and with less than 48 hours to go, it remained up in the air on Thursday whether Republican leaders would be able to find the votes they need to avert a crisis. The short-term punt has angered members of both parties. Many Republicans are frustrated with the current level of funding for the military, and many Democrats were eager for a fight over protections for young immigrants brought illegally to the country as children.
The House package also provides minimal funding, $2.85 billion, for the children’s health program, leaving state administrators and health advocates anxious.
“I do not think this is anywhere close to enough money,” said Bruce Lesley, the president of First Focus, a child advocacy group. “For a $12 billion to $14 billion program, this provides less than $3 billion for what is effectively six months” — the first half of the 2018 fiscal year, which began in October.
An earlier iteration of the measure would have provided long-term funding for the Defense Department, and some Republicans in the House have grown impatient as they seek to raise military spending. Defense hawks worry that a military buildup this fiscal year would be difficult if a real spending plan is not approved until at least a third of the way through fiscal 2018.
House Democrats have shown no willingness to support a stopgap measure as they push for other priorities, including securing a deal to shield young undocumented immigrants known as Dreamers from deportation. They will have to wait until at least January for action on that issue.
As Republicans try to overcome their internal divisions, Democrats complained that Congress was lurching from one crisis to the next, with a stack of big issues still unresolved, including a long-term spending deal.
“Hanukkah just came to a close, we are four days from Christmas, and we are nine days from the end of the year, and much of the work that this Congress needs to do is undone,” said Representative Steny H. Hoyer of Maryland, the Democratic whip.
If the House can succeed in passing the stopgap bill on Thursday, the Senate would need to approve it to avert a shutdown this weekend. And that would almost certainly take Democrats to reach the 60-vote threshold needed to cut off debate.
On Lyin' Paul Ryan's Christmas disaster.
A Closer Look at the Tax Scam
Stranger than fiction
Wednesday, December 20, 2017
The Celebration and The Result
B.I.H. Bernard Francis Law
As a Cardinal of the Catholic Church you displayed all the evils the church opposes. You and your coterie of pedo-priests can spend eternity together.
GOP finally wins one
And even as that win has set the foundation for a Republican disaster in 2018 they are all dancing their happy dances to celebrate a massive shift in national wealth from those who create it to those who are wealthy enough to buy a pet Republican. And now everybody wonders what will happen next.
By coupling a substantial corporate tax cut with an assortment of naked appeals to undecided lawmakers, Republican leaders pushed their tax bill through the House on Tuesday and the Senate on Wednesday, touching off a self-congratulatory tidal wave by a party that had struggled mightily through nearly all of 2017.Though many voters may not have known it at election time, many Republicans have shown their true purpose with this bill. At long last they get to destroy the federal government and divert out tax dollars into the accounts of their wealthy owners with enough crumbs falling from the table to keep them happy.
After an embarrassing inability to repeal the Affordable Care Act — a core promise by congressional Republicans since 2010 — Republicans knew they had no choice but to deliver a tax package or face brutal repudiation by their voters and campaign donors.
“Our attitude from the beginning was failure was not an option,” said Representative Steve Scalise of Louisiana, the No. 3 House Republican and the party’s chief vote counter.
But even as they closed in on what they celebrated as a historic triumph, Republicans found another creative way to stumble. A challenge to the House-passed measure by Senate Democrats discovered three provisions — including the very title of the bill, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act — that violated special Senate rules being used to skirt a filibuster. The flub necessitated the formality of a second House vote on Wednesday after Speaker Paul D. Ryan and his membership had already spiked the ball after initial approval of the bill on Tuesday.
The final legislative outcome was not in doubt, but the ramifications of the legislation were. Republicans said the bill would prompt an economic boom sufficient to offset a projected explosion in the federal deficit, create jobs, raise wages and even contribute to national unity.
“This is a new beginning, if you will, and a time for America to really forge a path of leadership in this new century that provides a better quality of life and a higher standard of living for American families,” said Senator John Thune of South Dakota, the No. 3 Senate Republican.
Congressional Democrats — who all rejected the measure — predicted a severe political backlash. They are itching to pound Republicans for what Democrats consider to be an ill-timed and ill-conceived giveaway to the rich by a party and a president who promised to intercede for the working class.
Representative Nancy Pelosi of California, the Democratic leader, labeled the bill “simply theft — monumental, brazen theft from the American middle class and from every person who aspires to reach it.”
Republicans dismissed the denunciation as sour grapes. They didn’t seem overly worried about the political consequences of tying their future to legislation that was polling badly. For many, this was precisely what they had come to Washington to do, and they had finally done it with the help of President Trump — a man who might sometimes make their lives more difficult but was eager to sign their tax bill and claim his share of the credit.
Big Streaming Service is watching you
Then Eric stood up so fast
Seth Meyers monologue on the days news
The cost of Conservatism
Tuesday, December 19, 2017
Good Bye Yellow Brick Road
Passed just in time for Christmas
R.I.P. Dorothy Jacqueline Keely
Singing hot, singing cool, Keely Smith you always had that old magic to spare.
Faster than Montezuma's Revenge
And now with 100% more shit than ever before the Republican controlled House voted to pass the Great Repblican Tax Scam of 2017 as amended in conference where all kinds of secret shit was added. Now it will go on to the Senate where Mitch the Turtle and Slippery John Cornyn have openly bought all the necessary Senate votes to pass the Piece of Shit in the Senate.
The House on Tuesday approved the most sweeping tax overhaul in decades, voting along party lines to enact deep and permanent tax cuts for corporations and temporary cuts for individuals. The vote puts Republicans one Senate vote and one presidential signature away from their first significant legislative achievement.While this bill will have little effect on the Senate as few Republicans are up for renewal, it should effectively decimate the Republican majority as it is as popular as a shit sandwich in a diarrhea ward. Unfortunately it will not be until 2021 that we will have any realistic opportunity to throw out this piece of shit along with more of the shits who voted for it.
The Senate is expected to approve the $1.5 trillion tax bill on Tuesday night or Wednesday, clearing the way for President Trump to sign it into law by Christmas.
House Speaker Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin, speaking on the House floor, called the vote “a turning point” saying “this is our chance, this is our moment.” When the bill passed the House, a giddy Mr. Ryan smiled broadly and banged the gavel with force as he declared victory.
Passage of the bill came over the strenuous objections of Democrats in both the House and the Senate, who have accused Republicans of giving a gift to corporations and the wealthy and driving up the federal debt in the process. The final vote tally can be found here.
Twelve House Republicans also voted no on the bill, including lawmakers from high-tax states like New York, New Jersey and California.
The Worst of the Worst
A Closer Look at Trump, the Tax Scam and a real Corker of a Kickback.
Red Bernie vs Lyin' Paul Ryan
Monday, December 18, 2017
Beth Hart & Joe Bonamassa
Tom Tomorrow explains why this years review won't be like the previous ones due to time and space restrictions.
The History of Trickle Down
R.I.P. Martin Ransohoff
Any man that could produce The Beverly Hillbillies and Catch-22 with The Addams Family show in between will be sorely missed.
National Security Kabuki
Donald Trump says he is on wonderful terms of friendship with the rulers of China and Russia. He is also deeply in debt to Russia and economically dependent on China. That being said Donny will be presenting a National Security Plan this afternoon that looks to reinstate the Cold War.
The strategy, which Mr. Trump plans to present in a speech on Monday afternoon, is the first comprehensive effort by his administration to describe an all-encompassing strategic worldview. Administration officials said it was drawn from speeches Mr. Trump had delivered during the presidential campaign, in Europe and Asia and at the United Nations.The Tangerine Shitgibbon will be walking a tight rope with this policy because he personally can not afford to piss of either Putin or Xi. It is hard to imagine an unrestrained Tangerine following the highly stylized kabuki steps needed for this policy but then again Putin and Xi do know how to keep him on a short leash when necessary.
It describes a world that was on a three-decade holiday from superpower rivalry, and suggests that holiday is over.
“After being dismissed as a phenomenon of an earlier century, great power competition returned,” the document says. It then tries to lend intellectual coherence to a foreign policy that is often defined by Mr. Trump’s tweets or his gut instincts about which world leaders are strong, which are weak and which are prepared to cut a deal.
The president, his aides said, enthusiastically approved the strategy and wanted to present it himself, something that his two immediate predecessors, Barack Obama and George W. Bush, did not do when their congressionally mandated strategies were published.
While the document’s description of pushing back against China on trade is familiar from the campaign, its description of the challenge posed by Russia seems at odds with Mr. Trump’s own refusal to criticize President Vladimir V. Putin for his seizure of Crimea, efforts to destabilize Ukraine and his violations of a key nuclear treaty with the United States. In fact, the document describes Russia’s behavior in far more critical terms than Mr. Trump himself often does.
China and Russia, the document says, “are determined to make economies less free and less fair, to grow their militaries, and to control information and data to repress their societies and expand their influence.”
“These competitions require the United States to rethink the policies of the past two decades — policies based on the assumption that engagement with rivals and their inclusion in international institutions and global commerce would turn them into benign actors and trustworthy partners,” the document continues. “For the most part, this premise turned out to be false.”
While President Obama’s two national security strategies emphasized cooperation with allies and economic partners, Mr. Trump’s attempts to walk the line between his campaign slogan of “America First” and an insistence that he is not rejecting working with American partners — as long as they do so on terms advantageous to the United States.
Moreover, Mr. Trump’s strategy contains more than a few hints of a return to a Cold War view of the world. While Mr. Obama used his strategies to de-emphasize nuclear weapons as a key to American defense, Mr. Trump calls those weapons “the foundation of our strategy to preserve peace and stability by deterring aggression against the United States, our allies and our partners.”
The national security strategies of past administrations were sometimes strong predictors of future action: It was Mr. Bush’s strategy, in 2002, that revived a national debate about the justifications for pre-emptive military action. That document helped form the rationale for the invasion of Iraq six months later, arguing that the risks of inaction in the face of a major threat made “a compelling case for taking anticipatory actions to defend ourselves.”
The new strategy never uses the word “pre-emption,” including in its discussion of North Korea. This omission comes despite the fact that Mr. Trump’s national security adviser, Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, has said that if diplomacy and sanctions fail, “preventive war,” or a pre-emptive strike, might be needed to keep the North from attacking the United States.
Subscribe to Posts [Atom]