Monday, December 31, 2018
Rainy Days And Mondays
Tom Tomorrow outlines how the modern debate of serious existential questions proceeds in these modern times.
The Mean Girl
While you were looking elsewhere
When he's wrong, he's wrong all the way
Not that Mango Mussolini will ever admit to being wrong, that's for losers. Nope, Mango, like a losing gambler will double down on a bad hand looking for one big payoff. In the case of the Trump Shutdown, the payoff is keeping his base intact.
The television is on. The phone is never far away. And President Trump is repeatedly calling allies such as members of Congress and conservative radio hosts, telling them privately that he will not give in on his demand for funding for a border wall.One thing The Orange Humperdoo can't afford is to be 'gutless'. His gut is the only advisor he trusts.
What the president who campaigned on his ability to cut deals has not done, nine days into a partial government shutdown over his signature campaign issue, is reach out to Democratic congressional leaders to strike one.
Virtually alone in the West Wing since the shutdown began, Mr. Trump has instead taken to Twitter to excoriate Democrats, and highlight that he canceled his own vacation to his private club in Florida while lawmakers left the city. He has lamented the negativity of the news media coverage, which has included repeated airings of Mr. Trump’s declaration in the Oval Office a few weeks ago that he would not blame Democrats for a shutdown, according to people familiar with his thinking.
Even as some lawmakers floated compromises on Sunday, Democrats prepared to pass a bill to fund the government as soon as they take control of the House on Thursday. Like the Democrats, Mr. Trump appears to have dug in. And the uncertainty over what he might sign threatens to indefinitely drag out a shutdown that has affected 800,000 federal workers and shuttered parts of nine cabinet-level departments.
After Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina, met with Mr. Trump over lunch on Sunday, he said the president would not accept any deal without funding for the wall. But he remained optimistic that a compromise could be reached and encouraged both sides to come together.
“At the end of the day, there’s a deal to be had,” he said on Sunday. “We need to start talking again.”
Still, Mr. Graham said after the meeting that the president had not signed on to his potential compromise, which would provide wall funding in return for work permits for the young undocumented immigrants known as Dreamers. Democrats also have no interest in such a plan right now.
And there were other signs of a lengthy shutdown fight from the White House: The president has a new acting chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, who is not averse to government shutdowns, and some advisers see the timing of the fight as preferable to a year from now, when Democrats will be preparing for the first votes in the 2020 presidential primaries.
The president is also concerned that if he makes a deal, his core political support will falter, and his voters will see him as inauthentic after he talked about a wall in rally after rally for three years. As Mr. Trump was poised to sign a compromise bill ushered through the Republican-controlled Congress that would have funded the government through February, conservative commentators berated him as “gutless,” and some hard-line House Republicans urged him to reconsider. He backed away from the bill soon after.
One thing he's good at
No skillz at all
Sunday, December 30, 2018
It's A Crying Shame
A True Christian President
Trump's Favorite Advisor
Better than farming for some
His economic forecast
He will even fuck up 'The National Pastime'
Baseball is a business and Cuba has shown itself to be a fruitful source of talent. For more than 50 years the failed Cuban Embargo has required that ball players defect before any business deal can be done. And then a sensible man named Obama came along and worked out an agreement that allows MLB to do business with Cuban ball players in the same manner as every other Latin American Player. Trump wants to fuck that up becuz....Obama. And he is getting help from Little Marco Rubio representing all the old Moustache Petes in Miami who still hate Fidel.
The Trump administration is expected to take steps to block a historic agreement that would allow Cuban baseball players from joining Major League Baseball in the United States without having to defect, according to an official familiar with the discussions.The Orange Bulk gets to smash another Obama achievement and Little Marco pleases his base. However, it does raise thequestion of whether Little Marco has any financial interest in the smuggling operations.
The administration wants to reverse an Obama-era ruling that says the Cuban government doesn’t run the island’s professional baseball league. Such a position gave MLB space to negotiate and reach the deal with Cuban baseball and circumvent the U.S. embargo against Cuba.
Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Florida, who vowed to fight the deal between Major League Baseball and the Cuban Baseball federation, has been pressing the State Department to review the 2016 ruling and asked Secretary of State Mike Pompeo personally to rule that the Cuban government controls the island baseball league and therefore nullify the deal.
“The deal between MLB and the Cuban Baseball Federation is both illegal and immoral,” Rubio told McClatchy. “This terrible one-sided agreement will only enrich the regime and further exploit the Cuban people.”
The crux of the agreement rests on the Obama administration ruling that the Cuban Baseball Federation is an independent entity from the government. In 2016, MLB obtained a license from the Office of Foreign Assets Control of the Treasury Department to reach an agreement with the Cuban Baseball Federation.
It is up to Treasury to revoke the license, but it first needs guidance from the State Department. State is currently reviewing the foreign policy guidance from 2016. Once that process is complete, State will provide guidance to Treasury and then OFAC can provide a response to MLB. Without guidance from State, Treasury can’t revoke or grant a license.
The administration did not respond to specific questions about plans to scuttle the deal, but officials have been clear they feel the agreement would “institutionalize a system by which a Cuban body garnishes the wages of hard-working athletes who simply seek to live and compete in a free society.”
“Parties seeking to benefit from business opportunities in Cuba are on notice that the administration will continue to take actions to support human rights and restrict the Cuban regime’s ability to profit from U.S. business,” a senior administration official said.
MLB officials said they had been in regular contact with the Trump administration during the months of negotiations, including in the last several days with top officials at the White House and State Department who were supportive of the arrangement.
“Until the 11th hour, the messaging to MLB was that the administration would not have an issue with the agreement,” said Dan Halem, MLB’s deputy commissioner and chief legal officer.
The agreement is intended to give Cuban baseball players a chance to play baseball in the United States without having to make the perilous ocean journey or sign up with dangerous smuggling operations.
Not an IQ test
Saturday, December 29, 2018
Trumpy New Year
Not looking good
Screwing the workers for fun and profit
The pillaging of American pensions began in corporate America with the 401K. This allowed corporations to take most of the monies already set aside for pensions and replace it with the chimera of self investment accounts. Since then private equity firms have picked up the torch as part of their campaign to suck all the worker created value out of American companies.
Once the Marsh Supermarkets chain began to falter a few years ago, its owner, a private-equity firm, began selling off the vast retail empire, piece by piece. The company sold more than 100 convenience stores. It sold the pharmacies. It closed some of the 115 grocery stores, having previously auctioned off their real estate. Then, in May 2017, the company announced the closure of the remaining 44 stores.A very profitable swindle and the only way to stop it is to re-write the laws that these big swinging dicks had re-written so they could do this.
Marsh Supermarkets, founded in 1931, had at last filed for bankruptcy.
“It was a long, slow decline,” said Amy Gerken, formerly an assistant office manager at one of the stores. Sun Capital Partners, the private-equity firm that owned Marsh, “didn’t really know how grocery stores work. We’d joke about them being on a yacht without even knowing what a UPC code is. But they didn’t treat employees right, and since the bankruptcy, everyone is out for their blood.”
The anger arises because although the sell-off allowed Sun Capital and its investors to recover their money and then some, the company entered bankruptcy leaving unpaid more than $80 million in debts to workers’ severance and pensions.
For Sun Capital, this process of buying companies, seeking profits and leaving pensions unpaid is a familiar one. Over the past 10 years, it has taken five companies into bankruptcy while leaving behind debts of about $280 million owed to employee pensions.
The unpaid pension debts mean that some retirees will get smaller checks. Much of the tab will be picked up by the government’s pension insurer, a federal agency facing its own budget shortfalls.
“They did everyone dirty,” said Kilby Baker, 70, a retired warehouse worker whose pension check was cut by about 25 percent after Marsh Supermarkets withdrew from the pension. “We all gave up wage increases so we could have a better pension. Then they just took it away from us.”
When a company fails, it is sometimes impossible to pay everyone who is owed money. The trouble, according to some critics, is that financial firms often extract money from losing bets to reward themselves and then, through bankruptcy, leave obligations to workers unpaid. Companies owned by private-equity firms have used bankruptcy to leave behind hundreds of millions of dollars in pension debts, according to a government estimate.
“These private-equity firms buy a company, plunder it of any assets, and then send it into bankruptcy without paying employees,” said Eileen Appelbaum, an economist at the Center for Economic and Policy Research who studies private-equity transactions. “To anyone but a bankruptcy court, this looks like a swindle.”
Friday, December 28, 2018
The Great Builder Creates His Great Wall
The lights are on....
Poor, Poor, Pitiful Him
The state of North Carolina election fraud
Time has run out for the current state elections board per a judicial order with the results of its investigation into the GOP election fraud in the Ninth Congressional District yet to be reported. There is a new board constituted under a new law set to be formed on January 31 of next year.
The North Carolina state elections board dissolved on Friday under a court order, two weeks before its much-anticipated hearing to consider evidence of possible absentee ballot fraud in the disputed November election for the Ninth District’s seat in Congress.With a Democratic majority in the House Harris has no chance of being reseated unless the investigation and any subsequent actions are squeaky clean in the judgement of the Speaker-to-Be. Needless to say this must leave the NC GOP furious at their efforts being thwarted.
The unwinding of the State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement is a consequence of a long-running battle over partisan power in North Carolina and separate from the election fraud investigation. Yet the dissolution heightened the possibility that the Ninth District seat would remain empty for weeks or even months, and it plunged the chaotic fight for the House seat into deeper turmoil.
Mark Harris, the Republican nominee in the district, appeared to defeat Dan McCready, the Democratic candidate, by 905 votes in last month’s general election. But state officials have been investigating whether a contractor for Mr. Harris engaged in illegal activity to compromise the election on the Republican’s behalf. According to witnesses and affidavits, the contractor, L. McCrae Dowless Jr., and people working for him collected absentee ballots in violation of state law.
The allegations of misconduct prompted the elections board to refuse to certify Mr. Harris as the winner. An ongoing state investigation has involved more than 100 interviews and at least 182,000 pages of records so far, officials said.
No one has been charged in connection with the allegations, including Mr. Dowless, who has a history of convictions for fraud and perjury and was previously scrutinized by the authorities for possible election tampering. Mr. Dowless, who has declined to comment, refused a request to meet with state investigators.
Those investigators were to present their findings at an elections board hearing on Jan. 11. After reviewing any evidence, the state board was expected to determine whether to order a new election under a North Carolina law that allows a new vote if “irregularities or improprieties occurred to such an extent that they taint the results of the entire election and cast doubt on its fairness.”
But plans for the January hearing, and the fate of the nine-member board, eventually ran headlong into a case that dealt with the constitutionality of the elections board’s design. On Thursday night, in a decision that stunned North Carolina Democrats and Republicans alike, a three-judge panel angrily rejected a bipartisan request to extend the life of the board temporarily.
The ruling left the board with less than 24 hours to exist, and plans for the Jan. 11 hearing uncertain. Some state officials said on Friday that the structure of legislation setting up the future elections board meant it could not begin operations until Jan. 31.
But Gov. Roy Cooper, a Democrat, said Friday that he intended to name an interim board until the new law took effect. Republicans said that they would challenge such a move.
Mr. Harris, who previously acknowledged that he directed Mr. Dowless’s hiring but said he knew of no wrongdoing, argued Friday that the board should certify him as the winner, but the panel took no action before its dissolution at noon.
Even if the board had declared Mr. Harris the victor, there was no guarantee that the House would have seated him on Thursday, when the new Congress was scheduled to convene. Congressional Democrats, who will control the House starting next week, had signaled that they would not permit Mr. Harris’s inauguration while the allegations of fraud were unsettled.
The House has the constitutional authority to be “the judge of the elections, returns and qualifications of its own members.”
He never could tell the truth
Thursday, December 27, 2018
What Makes A Man
The New Year
The Perils of Air Travel
Clueless in California
It takes a total rejection of reality to think that the Republican Party in California was anything but trashed in the November mid-term election. And now, almost two months later, the party still has no clue what to do about it.
The California GOP got walloped in 2018, losing all seven closely contested congressional seats and all statewide elections. It also got pummeled in State Assembly and local elections.Dumping Trump would be a start but the heart of the matter is the Republican Party embrace of its lunatic fringe. As more people becaome aware of how far from reality the GOP has moved, the harder it will be to sell their pure bullshit as prime rib. It will require a major existential shift that none of them seem ready for at this time.
State Republican officials readily concede the party faces huge problems. Some — though not all — say state party Chairman Jim Brulte’s warnings long ago about the need to appeal to minority groups should have been heeded.
While Brulte and others have long warned of danger, such as the difficulty appealing to minority groups like Asian Americans and Latino Americans, few Republicans in recent years would not or could not offer solutions.
Seventy percent of Asian Americans in California voted for Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton in 2016 and 71 percent of Latinos did the same. Latinos made up 31 percent of the 2016 state electorate while Asian Americans were 12 percent, according to network exit polls.
The 2018 election proved the losses are a party problem, not a candidate problem, Brulte said.
It’d be hard to find better Republican hopefuls than Republican Reps. Jeff Denham and Mimi Walters or candidate Young Kim, according to Brulte. They all lost in the “unmistakeable” blue wave.
Republicans feel that wave was exacerbated by voter laws that they say helped Democrats. Also aiding Democrats: They were unified on a health care message that proved hugely effective in 2018. Democrats campaigned as the party that wanted to protect pre-existing condition coverage and make health care more affordable.
Democrats plan to stay with that message in 2020, while both outgoing and remaining Republicans have often concentrated on criticizing the media and new state voter laws.
But, Brulte said, Republicans need to put emphasis on how to appeal to minority groups, groups that widely disapprove of the leader of the party, President Donald Trump.
“Until the issue of immigration is completely dealt with, California Republicans are going to have trouble,” Brulte said, not specifying exactly what that would entail. Trump continues to push for a U.S-Mexico border wall and more restrictive immigration laws.
Year End Show Time
Trevor Noah & Co.
On the 3rd Day of Christmas
Wednesday, December 26, 2018
What America got for Christmas
What Donny got for Xmas
Where would they be without us?
For three years now the Saudis and their allies have been waging a war against the Houthi in Yemen. Some say it is because the Houthis practice a progressive form of Shia Islam. Some say it is because the Houthis don't support the Saudi plan for worldwide terrorism. Whatever, the Saudis have been bombing the shit out of Yemen, using American weaponry.
When a Saudi F-15 warplane takes off from King Khalid air base in southern Saudi Arabia for a bombing run over Yemen, it is not just the plane and the bombs that are American.Let Allah be precise, the Saudis and their friends are just in it for the killing. And we helped.
American mechanics service the jet and carry out repairs on the ground. American technicians upgrade the targeting software and other classified technology, which Saudis are not allowed to touch. The pilot has likely been trained by the United States Air Force.
And at a flight operations room in the capital, Riyadh, Saudi commanders sit near American military officials who provide intelligence and tactical advice, mainly aimed at stopping the Saudis from killing Yemeni civilians.
American fingerprints are all over the air war in Yemen, where errant strikes by the Saudi-led coalition have killed more than 4,600 civilians, according to a monitoring group. In Washington, that toll has stoked impassioned debate about the pitfalls of America’s alliance with Saudi Arabia under Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who relies on American support to keep his warplanes in the air.
Saudi Arabia entered the war in 2015, allying with the United Arab Emirates and a smattering of Yemeni factions with the goal of ousting the Iran-allied Houthi rebels from northern Yemen. Three years on, they have made little progress. At least 60,000 Yemenis have died in the war, and the country stands on the brink of a calamitous famine.
The Pentagon and State Department have denied knowing whether American bombs were used in the war’s most notorious airstrikes, which have struck weddings, mosques and funerals. However, a former senior State Department official said that the United States had access to records of every airstrike over Yemen since the early days of the war, including the warplane and munitions used.
At the same time, American efforts to advise the Saudis on how to protect civilians often came to naught. The Saudis whitewashed an American-sponsored initiative to investigate errant airstrikes and often ignored a voluminous no-strike list.
“In the end, we concluded that they were just not willing to listen,” said Tom Malinowski, a former assistant secretary of state and an incoming member of Congress from New Jersey. “They were given specific coordinates of targets that should not be struck and they continued to strike them. That struck me as a willful disregard of advice they were getting.”
Yet American military support for the airstrikes continued.
While American officials often protested civilian deaths in public, two presidents ultimately stood by the Saudis. President Obama gave the war his qualified approval to assuage Saudi anger over his Iran nuclear deal. President Trump embraced Prince Mohammed and bragged of multibillion-dollar arms deals with the Saudis.
As bombs fell on Yemen, the United States continued to train the Royal Saudi Air Force. In 2017, the United States military announced a $750 million program focused on how to carry out airstrikes, including avoiding civilian casualties. The same year, Congress authorized the sale of more than $510 million in precision-guided munitions to Saudi Arabia, which had been suspended by the Obama administration in protest of civilian casualties.
He obeys orders well
To help you keep track of it all
Tuesday, December 25, 2018
Someone to watch over me
Monday, December 24, 2018
Tom Tomorrow reveals his audience by the responses they send to him/
Who's Next ?
Good King Wenceslas
What we should be about
No longer welcome here
Sunday, December 23, 2018
O Come All Ye Faithful
God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen #2
The Good Lovelies
Actions have consequences
About your Christmas tree
A Full Frontal report
Last Toddler Standing
Saturday, December 22, 2018
I Yust Go Nuts At Christmas
He really wants it
Melania's Christmas Joy
The Late Show
Slick Mick to let the Trump fall where it may
Presiding Over His Christmas Shutdown
Friday, December 21, 2018
A Five Pound Box Of Money
Would you believe her?
Just declare victory, reality is irrelevant
He would never land on a carrier
If you deal with Trump in any way
You will be betrayed by Trump. The how and when of it will be determined by when it is convenient to his boss Vlad Putin, but it will happen. Just ask the folks in Afghanistan.
Last year, when President Trump announced a new strategy 16 years into the Afghan war, many in Afghanistan saw it as a much-needed refocusing of the American commitment.The Donald is consistent about one thing, he will screw everybody he can, sometimes just because he can.
“Conditions on the ground — not arbitrary timetables — will guide our strategy from now on,” Mr. Trump said at the time. “America’s enemies must never know our plans or believe they can wait us out.”
In the year since then, as the architects of that strategy have exited the administration one by one, many in Afghanistan came to believe that Mr. Trump — who never met with his former top commander in the country — had never really been persuaded, and that his impatience with the war was winning out.
On Friday, that suspicion seemed to be confirmed, as Afghan officials and Western diplomats woke to the unexpected news that Mr. Trump had ordered half of the 14,000 American troops in Afghanistan home, even as the war continues to rage and the Taliban threaten much of the country.
For many in the Afghan leadership, shock quickly turned to a sense of betrayal.
Most officials and diplomats said they would only speak on condition of anonymity because they were still assessing the situation. But many were less concerned about the reduction in troop numbers — though struggling Afghan forces still need hands-on help — than by the way news of it emerged, which they said appeared to undermine not only the Afghan government, but also some of the most senior American officials working for a peace deal.
Afghan officials said they had not been consulted or even warned about the drawdown. And the timing was likely to complicate the American push for peace talks with the Taliban, which requires maintaining pressure, or at least holding the line, on the battlefield.
Just this week, senior American diplomats had conducted two days of extensive talks with representatives of the insurgency, with the future of the United States military presence among the topics discussed. And hours before the troop pulldown became public knowledge, Zalmay Khalilzad, the most senior American diplomat involved in the talks, said he had made it clear to the Taliban that the American commitment was firm.
A Closer Look at the Trump Shutdown
The simplest of tools
Stephen Colbert discusses the Orange Yule Log in the punch bowl
In case you forgot
Thursday, December 20, 2018
The New American Dream
Lyin' Ryan's Legacy
He DOES want his wall
Trump's boss thanks Donny for the Xmas present
A gift that only a Russian could love, if that Russian is Vladimir Putin, ruler of Russia and very effective manager of Donald Trump. The gift of Syria from The Donald is more pleasing to Vlad than anything the 3 Kings might have brought him. And he told his boy how much he appreciated it.
President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia on Thursday hailed the decision by President Trump to withdraw United States forces from Syria, calling it “correct” because the American troops were not needed.Does anyone need more proof that Cheeto Mussolini and his minion Pompeo are in way over their heads internationally?
Mr. Putin’s praise came a day after Mr. Trump said he was ordering the withdrawal because the United States military had achieved its goal of defeating the Islamic State militant group in Syria. Given the unfinished business on the ground in Syria, however, the move was a surprise to many, including some senior presidential military and diplomatic advisers in Washington.
The decision has been criticized, even among Republicans, as abandoning Kurdish allies in the face of a hostile Turkey and a still dangerous Islamic State, as well as leaving Syria open territory for the geopolitical ambitions of Russia and Iran.
Mr. Putin’s response came during his annual news conference, a marathon, four-hour affair during which he suggested several times that Mr. Trump was being thwarted by those who did not accept his victory as president.
He suggested that his problems in arranging a second meeting with Mr. Trump after their July summit in Helsinki stemmed from domestic American opposition, and he predicted the interference was only going to get worse.
“Now, the majority in Congress will change and one can project with 100 percent certainty that there will be new attacks launched against the incumbent president, and whether he will be able to launch a direct dialogue with Russia, I don’t know,” Mr. Putin said.
Mr. Putin said he broadly agreed that the Islamic State, sometimes known by the acronyms ISIL or ISIS, had been defeated in Syria, although analysts estimate it still commands a force of 15,000 fighters. “With regards to the victory over ISIL, on the whole I agree with the president of the United States.”
The Russian leader expressed skepticism, however, that the United States would follow through on Mr. Trump’s pronouncement, noting that the government had similarly pledged to pull out of Afghanistan by 2014 but still stations forces there.
“We don’t see any signs yet of the withdrawal of U.S. troops,” he said. “How long has the United States been in Afghanistan? Seventeen years? And almost every year they say they’re pulling out their troops.”
Mr. Putin reiterated the Kremlin position that American forces have no legal right to be in Syria, in that they were neither invited by Damascus, as the Russian forces were, nor authorized by the United Nations Security Council.
Fat and Nasty
The Trump administration, consisting mainly of overfed people of little moral or ethical character, still wants to slash and burn the SNAP program because some rich person might have to pay for it.
A lot more people could have to meet work requirements for food aid under a Trump administration plan unveiled early Thursday, even as the president later in the day is expected to sign legislation that’s supposed to keep the current food aid eligibility system largely in place.A classic Republican move to afflict the afflicted so they can comfort the comfortable. And it is suck a nice tough that an overstuffed fat ass like Sonny Perdue gets to propose this shit.
The proposed administration limits will have a significant impact in California, where in the application period lasting from September to August 2019 55 of 58 counties qualified for federal exemptions from work rules. That allowed officials to give the food assistance to more people.
People granted the exemptions could receive food aid for more than three months in a three-year period even if they didn’t meet the 20-hour work requirement. Under the new administration proposal, far fewer people would be granted that exemption.
Thursday, President Donald Trump plans to sign the farm bill, passed by Congress last week after months of painstaking negotiations. Earlier in the day, thanks to loose language in the law, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue proposed new requirements that would severely limit which parts of the country qualified for those exemptions.
He estimated his plan would cut the amount of able-bodied people who receive food assistance without meeting work requirements by 75 percent nationwide and save $15 billion over 10 years.
There are typically 90-day comment periods on proposed rules before they can be finalized.
“President Trump ordered me to propose regulatory reforms to ensure those able to work do so in exchange for their benefit,” Perdue said, citing a booming economy and low unemployment as reasons for the change.
Able-bodied adults under age 50 without young dependent children are currently required to work or go through work training for at least 20 hours per week to receive help from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as food stamps, for more than three months over a three-year period.
There are certain exceptions to that rule. If a county or state has an unemployment rate of at least 10 percent or 20 percent above the national rate for a two-year period, officials can exempt recipients from meeting the work requirements in order to receive their benefits for more than three months.
Have you done the math on that
Seth Meyers takes a Closer Look
That's what Eric is for
Wednesday, December 19, 2018
The Hot Sardines
If all else fails
R.I.P. Galt MacDermot
You wrote the music for 'Hair' and proved that you can't judge a book by its cover.
Baking the Empire State
It's Not About Him
He has run up a Yuge balance lately
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