A Basketful of Snippets (The Snarky Kind)

Something caught my eye this morning, blatant racist behaviour by cops – the people we are told to respect and look up to.  But first … there was this by Fox News’ own Tucker Carlson …

tucker-carlson

“Duh … who me?”

“If you were to assemble a list, a hierarchy of concerns, problems this country has, where would white supremacy be on the list? Right up there with Russia probably. It’s actually not a real problem in America. This is a hoax. Just like the Russia hoax, it’s a conspiracy theory used to divide the country and keep a hold on power.”

Now, keeping in mind Mr. Carlson’s claim that white supremacy is naught but a ‘hoax’, a ‘conspiracy theory’, consider the following …

I was incredulous, couldn’t believe what I was reading.  Surely this was a joke, albeit a sick one?  But no … this was no joke.  It happened in Galveston, Texas, last Saturday when police arrested Donald Neely on suspicion of criminal trespassing, though there is no indication that Mr. Neely did anything wrong … seems like he was just the wrong colour, in the wrong place, at the wrong time.  Two white officers, identified only as P. Brosch and A. Smith, were on horseback when they saw Mr. Neely, who is African-American, and decided to arrest him.

The officers both had radios and could have called for a squad car to pick up Mr. Neely.  But they did not do that.  Instead, they put him in handcuffs, behind his back, then attached a rope to the cuffs, re-mounted their horses, and pulled Mr. Neely down the street by the rope.Donald-Neely-arrestA couple of passersby saw this abomination and took pictures and videos.  Needless to say, the community, or at least part of it, was incensed.  Galveston police chief Vernon Hale offered a tepid apology …

“First and foremost, I must apologize to Mr. Neely for this unnecessary embarrassment … I believe our officers showed poor judgment in this instance and could have waited for a transport unit at the location of arrest … my officers did not have any malicious intent at the time of the arrest.”

Poor judgment???  No malicious intent???  If you buy into that one, come see me, for I’ve got a great bridge I’ll sell you cheap.  The officers, as of this writing, have not been disciplined nor terminated.  Anybody else thinking “Jim Crow”?


In other news …

  • You guys remember a few weeks ago when I got banned from Twitter for a day for calling Ann Coulter a ‘bimbo’? Well, guess who’s been banned now?  No, no … not me.  @TeamMitch, Mitch McConnell’s campaign account.  Remember that picture I showed you of the faux tombstones, one with McConnell’s opponent, Amy McGrath’s name on it?  Well, since he posted that picture to his campaign account on Twitter, that account is banned until they agree to take the photo down!  So, perhaps Twitter does have some standards after all.  Now, if they would just ban Trump for all his bluster, ranting and lies …

  • Remember back in July, when Sarah Huckabee Sanders announced her resignation as White House Press Secretary? Trump then replaced her with Stephanie Grisham, who until that time had been Melania Trump’s personal slave spokeswoman, but we have seen nothing of her since then!  Nary a press briefing has she held, not even an impromptu gathering on the White House lawn.  Hmmmm … suspicious?

  • But, speaking of press secretaries, Deputy Press Secretary Hogan Gidley, Grisham’s second-in-command, criticized President Obama, saying that while Trump is trying to “move the country forward”, Obama is taking it “to a dark place that we never want to be and we never want to visit again”. Say WHAT???  Presumably he was referring to Obama’s speech earlier this week where he urged us to reject leaders who stoke fear and hatred and normalize racism, but I have no idea how that is taking us to a dark place.  Seems to me it is Trump who’s taking us to a dark place.

  • BrockwaySpeaking of a dark place … here’s a sample of some ‘great’ behaviour. Curt James Brockway took umbrage, I guess, with a child age 13 who failed to remove his hat at an event at the Mineral County (Montana) Fair on Saturday when the national anthem was played.  The kid wasn’t being obnoxious, he just didn’t remove his hat, which is certainly his prerogative.  But ol’ Curt decided to slam the kid into the ground and the child suffered a concussion and temporal skull fractures.  Oh, and by the way, much of the fair is sponsored by the NRA.  Tell you anything?curt-brockway-assault

  • One last snippet, and this one will have you rolling your eyes and shaking your heads. It involves Trump’s buddy Steve Bannon, so don’t look for logic.  Bannon claims that the El Paso shooting was actually a sign of how ‘great’ Trump’s economy is!  That’s right, folks … if the economy were not so great, all those people wouldn’t have been in Wal-Mart (never mind that people only shop at Wal-Mart when they cannot afford to go elsewhere) and that the shooter wouldn’t have had anybody to shoot.  And as for the democrats, according to Bannon … “What the Democratic candidates are attacking is the Trump miracle.”  Stop shaking your heads now, else you’ll develop a rattle up there … trust me, I’ve had one for a while now.

And on that note, I will leave you to go find a more peaceful blog to read.  Something fun and uplifting.  Might I suggest this one by Gottfried over at Banter Republic … he’s always good for a bit of humour!

We’re Not Laughing Anymore …

George Monbiot is a columnist for the British newspaper The Guardian, known for his political and environmental activism. I’ve often found his column insightful, and in today’s column he makes some very astute observations about what we’ve been calling the “populist” movement, how and why the world seems to have suddenly turned upside down on its axis.


From Trump to Johnson, nationalists are on the rise – backed by billionaire oligarchs

The ultra-rich are benefitting from disaster capitalism as institutions, rules and democratic oversight implode

George-Monbiot @GeorgeMonbiot

Fri 26 Jul 2019 06.00 BST

 

Seven years ago the impressionist Rory Bremner complained that politicians had become so boring that few of them were worth mimicking: “They’re quite homogenous and dull these days … It’s as if character is seen as a liability.” Today his profession has the opposite problem: however extreme satire becomes, it struggles to keep pace with reality. The political sphere, so dull and grey a few years ago, is now populated by preposterous exhibitionists.

bolsinaro-trump

Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro at the White House with Donald Trump. ‘A host of ludicrous strongmen dominate nations that would once have laughed them off stage.’ Photograph: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

This trend is not confined to the UK – everywhere the killer clowns are taking over. Boris Johnson, Nigel Farage, Donald Trump, Narendra Modi, Jair Bolsonaro, Scott Morrison, Rodrigo Duterte, Matteo Salvini, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Viktor Orbán and a host of other ludicrous strongmen – or weakmen, as they so often turn out to be – dominate nations that would once have laughed them off stage. The question is why? Why are the technocrats who held sway almost everywhere a few years ago giving way to extravagant buffoons?

Social media, an incubator of absurdity, is certainly part of the story. But while there has been plenty of good work investigating the means, there has been surprisingly little thinking about the ends. Why are the ultra-rich, who until recently used their money and newspapers to promote charisma-free politicians, now funding this circus? Why would capital wish to be represented by middle managers one moment and jesters the next?

The reason, I believe, is that the nature of capitalism has changed. The dominant force of the 1990s and early 2000s – corporate power – demanded technocratic government. It wanted people who could simultaneously run a competent, secure state and protect profits from democratic change. In 2012, when Bremner made his complaint, power was already shifting to a different place, but politics had not caught up.

The policies that were supposed to promote enterprise – slashing taxes for the rich, ripping down public protections, destroying trade unions – instead stimulated a powerful spiral of patrimonial wealth accumulation. The largest fortunes are now made not through entrepreneurial brilliance but through inheritance, monopoly and rent-seeking: securing exclusive control of crucial assets such as land and buildings privatised utilities and intellectual property, and assembling service monopolies such as trading hubs, software and social media platforms, then charging user fees far higher than the costs of production and delivery. In Russia, people who enrich themselves this way are called oligarchs. But this is a global phenomenon. Today corporate power is overlain by – and mutating into – oligarchic power.

What the oligarchs want is not the same as what the old corporations wanted. In the words of their favoured theorist, Steve Bannon, they seek the “deconstruction of the administrative state”. Chaos is the profit multiplier for the disaster capitalism on which the new billionaires thrive. Every rupture is used to seize more of the assets on which our lives depend. The chaos of an undeliverable Brexit, the repeated meltdowns and shutdowns of government under Trump: these are the kind of deconstructions Bannon foresaw. As institutions, rules and democratic oversight implode, the oligarchs extend their wealth and power at our expense.

The killer clowns offer the oligarchs something else too: distraction and deflection. While the kleptocrats fleece us, we are urged to look elsewhere. We are mesmerised by buffoons who encourage us to channel the anger that should be reserved for billionaires towards immigrants, women, Jews, Muslims, people of colour and other imaginary enemies and customary scapegoats. Just as it was in the 1930s, the new demagoguery is a con, a revolt against the impacts of capital, financed by capitalists.

The oligarch’s interests always lie offshore: in tax havens and secrecy regimes. Paradoxically, these interests are best promoted by nationalists and nativists. The politicians who most loudly proclaim their patriotism and defence of sovereignty are always the first to sell their nations down the river. It is no coincidence that most of the newspapers promoting the nativist agenda, whipping up hatred against immigrants and thundering about sovereignty, are owned by billionaire tax exiles, living offshore.

As economic life has been offshored, so has political life. The political rules that are supposed to prevent foreign money from funding domestic politics have collapsed. The main beneficiaries are the self-proclaimed defenders of sovereignty who rise to power with the help of social media ads bought by persons unknown, and thinktanks and lobbyists that refuse to reveal their funders. A recent essay by the academics Reijer Hendrikse and Rodrigo Fernandez argues that offshore finance involves “the rampant unbundling and commercialisation of state sovereignty” and the shifting of power into a secretive, extraterritorial legal space, beyond the control of any state. In this offshore world, they contend, “financialised and hypermobile global capital effectively is the state”.

Today’s billionaires are the real citizens of nowhere. They fantasise, like the plutocrats in Ayn Rand’s terrible novel Atlas Shrugged, about further escape. Look at the “seasteading” venture funded by PayPal’s founder, Peter Thiel, that sought to build artificial islands in the middle of the ocean, whose citizens could enact a libertarian fantasy of escape from the state, its laws, regulations and taxes, and from organised labour. Scarcely a month goes by without a billionaire raising the prospect of leaving the Earth altogether, and colonising space pods or other planets.

Those whose identity is offshore seek only to travel farther offshore. To them, the nation state is both facilitator and encumbrance, source of wealth and imposer of tax, pool of cheap labour and seething mass of ungrateful plebs, from whom they must flee, leaving the wretched earthlings to their well-deserved fate.

Defending ourselves from oligarchy means taxing it to oblivion. It’s easy to get hooked up on discussions about what tax level maximises the generation of revenue. There are endless arguments about the Laffer curve, which purports to show where this level lies. But these discussions overlook something crucial: raising revenue is only one of the purposes of tax. Another is breaking the spiral of patrimonial wealth accumulation.

Breaking this spiral is a democratic necessity: otherwise the oligarchs, as we have seen, come to dominate national and international life. The spiral does not stop by itself: only government action can do it. This is one of the reasons why, during the 1940s, the top rate of income tax in the US rose to 94%, and in the UK to 98%. A fair society requires periodic corrections on this scale. But these days the steepest taxes would be better aimed at accumulated unearned wealth.

Of course, the offshore world the billionaires have created makes such bold policies extremely difficult: this, after all, is one of its purposes. But at least we know what the aim should be, and can begin to see the scale of the challenge. To fight something, first we need to understand it.

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Be Prepared …

I have long thought, and likely said it here once or twice, that Trump is a loose cannon, his behaviours seeming to become increasingly strange and uncontrolled when he senses he is threatened.  His tweets, never exactly intellectual, become erratic when a new indictment is handed down by Robert Mueller’s team, or when he is called out on one of his many daily lies, or when his boot-lickers don’t behave quite as he wants them to.  This is one of the reasons that, while I would love to see him thrown off his royal perch, evicted from the Oval Office, I cannot support a move toward impeachment at this time, for I suspect he would become even more deranged and call for his base to take to the streets with their AR-15s in hand.  Now, I am a nobody and have no basis for my opinion other than observation, but I’ve run across somebody who shares my opinion, somebody who is certainly qualified to make this statement.  That somebody is Robert Reich, whose words I have shared here before, and today I do so again.

From The Guardian, 16 March 2019 …

Trump is cornered, with violence on his mind. We must be on red alert

Robert Reich

What does a megalomaniacal president of the United States do when he’s cornered? We’ll soon find out.

House Democrats are beginning a series of investigations and hearings about Donald Trump. Senate Republicans have begun to desert him. Twelve defected on the wall. Seven refused to back Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen.

Almost all have gone on record that they want Robert Mueller’s report made public. That report, not incidentally, appears imminent.

Trump cannot abide losing. His ego can’t contain humiliation. He is incapable of shame.

So what does a cornered Trump do? For starters, he raises the specter of violence against his political opponents.

In an interview with Breitbart News published on Wednesday, Trump noted: “I have the support of the police, the support of the military, the support of the Bikers for Trump – I have the tough people, but they don’t play it tough – until they go to a certain point, and then it would be very bad, very bad.”

In case you missed it, “they” are Trump’s political opponents, including House Democrats and the mainstream media. And the “certain point” could be impeachment but is more likely to be reached if the House investigations reveal crimes Trump committed both before and after he became president.

“I actually think that the people on the right are tougher,” Trump warned in the same interview. “But the left plays it cuter and tougher. Like with all the nonsense that they do in Congress … with all this investigations – that’s all they want to do is – you know, they do things that are nasty.”

Here we have it, in a nutshell. In Trump’s mind, congressional investigations that could cause him shame and humiliation, and quite possibly result in a prison sentence, will be countered by forces loyal to him: the police, the military, and vigilante groups like Bikers for Trump.

To put it another way, the work of a democratically elected Congress will be met by Trump loyalists who, he asserts, are “tougher” because they have brute force on their side.

It is impossible to know what bizarre scenario is playing out in Trump’s head. But another hint came on Friday, when, in the wake of the horrific shootings at two mosques in New Zealand, Trump told reporters he didn’t believe white nationalism was on the rise.

“I don’t really,” he said. “I think it’s a small group of people.”

As usual, the facts are otherwise. The number of hate groups in the US increased 7% last year, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. Hate crime reports increased 17%, according to the FBI.

Recall that 11 people were murdered at Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life synagogue on 27 October, at the hands of a white supremacist. A few days earlier, a white supremacist murdered two black people at a grocery store in Jeffersontown, Kentucky.

It is hardly the first time Trump has played down white nationalism, or signaled his support for those who might use violence on his behalf.

At a Las Vegas rally during the 2016 campaign he said he’d like to punch a protester in the face; at another event encouraged his supporters to “knock the crap” out of any protester making trouble.

“I promise you, I will pay for the legal fees,” he said.

But as Trump becomes ever more entrapped in the web of his own misdeeds, his threats are becoming more ominous.

At a rally for Missouri Senate candidate Josh Hawley in September, Trump said his opponents “were lucky that we’re peaceful”. He continued: “Law enforcement, military, construction workers, Bikers for Trump … They travel all over the country … They’ve been great.” But, he warned, “these are tough people … they’re peaceful people, and antifa and all, they’d better hope they stay that way.”

In February, the White House Correspondents’ Association called on Trump to make it “absolutely clear to his supporters that violence against reporters is unacceptable”. To date, he has not.

Meanwhile, Steve Bannon, another of Trump’s bottom feeders, predicted that “2019 is going to be the most vitriolic year in American politics since the civil war”.

Throughout his campaign and presidency, Trump has given cover to some of the most vile bigots in America. As he grows more desperate, he is giving them encouragement.

It is our job – and the job of all senators and representatives in Congress, regardless of party, and of military leaders – to condemn hatred and violence in all its forms, even when the president of the United States makes excuses for it.

And it is up to all of us to reaffirm our commitment to democracy, even when the president of the United States threatens to unleash the military and vigilantes against it.

Robert B. Reich is Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley and Senior Fellow at the Blum Center for Developing Economies. He served as Secretary of Labor in the Clinton administration, for which Time Magazine named him one of the ten most effective cabinet secretaries of the twentieth century.

A Good Deal!!!

I don’t know about you guys, but I could use a little humour at Trump’s expense today.  Andy Borowitz is always good for a few laughs.  This column of his is from 24 January, six days ago, but it’s still funny.


borowitz-andyWASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)—In a bold initiative aimed at ending the shutdown, congressional Democrats on Thursday agreed to fund a border wall and reopen the government if Donald Trump leaves the country forever.

Calling the deal “a huge win for America,” the Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, said that Trump would get the wall he wanted plus the opportunity to do something “incredibly patriotic” for his country.

Pelosi brushed aside criticism of the offer’s 5.7-billion-dollar price tag, telling reporters, “When you consider what we are getting in return, nine trillion dollars would be a bargain.”

But, even as Pelosi touted the offer, some details remained unresolved, such as finding a country willing to accept Trump.

Although Russia has a practice of providing country houses to former leaders such as Nikita Khrushchev and Boris Yeltsin, it is unclear whether Trump’s two years of service to the Kremlin qualify him for such accommodations.

The White House offered no official response to the Democrats’ offer, but Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani gave it a full-throated endorsement during an appearance on CNN.

“He should absolutely take this deal,” Giuliani said. “I mean, if he stays in the country, he’s probably going to prison.”


And in case that didn’t quite bring a smile to your face … try this!  I call it “My Dream”

Mind Bounce & Snarky Snippets

Good Monday Tuesday morning!  Somehow it feels like Monday … I suppose because yesterday was a holiday and other than 4 loads of laundry and mopping up pineapple juice from the kitchen floor, I didn’t do so much as a smidge of housework!  Anyway, I had mind bounce yesterday that carried over into last night, so I started multiple posts, then couldn’t figure out how to wrap them up … in one case, couldn’t even figure out where I was going with it, what my point was.  So, instead I am opting for some bits ‘n pieces, this ‘n that, with just a bit of my usual snarkiness added in for fun.


Bannon Gets Bounced …bannon-2Last week it was announced that white supremacist and former Trump chief strategist Steve Bannon would be featured during The New Yorker Festival that is scheduled to run from October 5th thru 7th. He was to be interviewed by the magazine’s editor, David Remnick, who is a frequent critic of the Trump administration.  The response to the announcement was rapid and served as a potential death knell for the festival, with prominent participants saying they would not attend if Bannon were there.

Sometimes, voices truly are heard.  In a note to his staff yesterday evening, Mr. Remnick said, “I’ve thought this through and talked to colleagues—and I’ve re-considered. I’ve changed my mind.”  Jim Carrey, Judd Apatow and Patton Oswald were among the celebrities who said they would not participate in the event if Bannon were to attend.

Bannon was miffed: “In what I would call a defining moment, David Remnick showed he was gutless when confronted by the howling online mob.”  Oh well, Stevie … sorry ‘bout your luck!  Score one for good sense, eh?


Thumbs Up For Nike …

Having written a rather lengthy post about the latest regarding Colin Kaepernick, I had no plans for writing about him again so soon.  But, in the comments section of yesterday’s post, two readers, Ellen & Larry, gave me the heads up about Nike’s announcement to feature Colin in a new ad campaign for the 30th anniversary of its “Just Do It” motto. Colin KaepernickNow, you may not think this is a huge deal … Colin Kaepernick is a big football star, Nike sells athletic clothing & shoes … this is what they do, right?  But, given the controversy over the past two years, given that some 53% of the nation, including the ‘man’ in the Oval Office think what Mr. Kaepernick is doing is terrible, Nike is taking a huge risk.  It could go either way … people might, like myself and some of my readers, plan to start buying more Nike products, or Donald Trump and others such as conservative news sites may call on their fans & followers to boycott Nike.  My instinct says the latter is the more likely scenario.

Nonetheless, I give Nike a 👍 👍 for having the courage to stand by their convictions.  According to Nike executive Gino Fisanotti, “We believe Colin is one of the most inspirational athletes of this generation, who has leveraged the power of sport to help move the world forward. We wanted to energize its meaning and introduce ‘Just Do It’ to a new generation of athletes.”


What … Again??? 💤

baby-trumpIf your favourite brand of coffee changes the taste just a bit, you may grumble and grouse for a bit, but after a few days you are used to it and you don’t even notice anymore.  This is how we are becoming in certain areas … complacent, immune.  One such area is the threat of a government {yawn} shutdown.  How many times now since Trump took office have we been threatened with it?  Three, I think?  💤 Who knows … I’ve lost count.  The one constant here is … the bloomin’ wall!  Wah, wah, wah … da baby isn’t gonna play nice if he cannot have his multi-billion-dollar toy.  It’s old, folks … it’s well beyond old and tiresome.

One might think that with a republican president, a republican majority in both chambers of Congress, and an administration that is filled to the rafters with boot-lickers and sycophants, they could likely agree on a compromise early on so that we wouldn’t have to be threatened.  Oh, but wait … he likes to threaten … it’s how he feeds his mighty ego.

This time, the threat of a shutdown has another layer of intrigue, for the deadline to pass a budget comes a short 36 days before the all-important mid-term elections.  It must be tough on the republicans tasked with soothing and cajoling Trump.  I understand that Pence, McConnell, Ryan and McCarthy have all been handling him with kid gloves, trying to talk him into postponing the border wall issue until next time, for they fear the additional damage a shutdown will cause at the polls.

On the other side, however, are the hardliners who are encouraging Trump to stand firm.  My, oh my … what’s a man to do? trump-golf


Stay tuned, folks … never a dull moment these days!

Guess Who’s Baaaaaack?

Some things just keep coming back, over and over again, for no discernible reason.  They are not usually good things, but more like things that once you think you’ve gotten rid of it, you hope never to see it again.  Bathtub mold, stink bugs, a 6-month old potato, that ugly sweater from your Aunt Hester, etc.  Today, we have the displeasure of the return of Steve Bannon into our lives.  I thought we had gotten rid of him and he was over in France, helping Marine LePen, or some such thing.  The headline in The Washington Post read …

Bannon Pitches White House on Plan to Cripple Mueller Probe and Protect Trump

Why, oh WHY???  Whatever have we done to deserve yet another round of Bannon?

His plan, in a nutshell, isn’t really anything that we haven’t all discussed over the past 2-3 days anyway:

  1. Fire Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein, who oversees the work of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III and in recent days signed off on a search warrant of Trump’s longtime personal lawyer, Michael D. Cohen.
  2. White House cease its cooperation with Mueller, reversing the policy of Trump’s legal team to provide information to the special counsel’s team and to allow staff members to sit for interviews.
  3. Create a new ‘legal battleground’ to protect himself from the investigation by asserting executive privilege — and arguing that Mueller’s interviews with White House officials over the past year should now be null and void.
  4. Fire lawyer Ty Cobb, who has encouraged White House cooperation with Mueller’s team.

The first and second on the list are predictable and Trump has, no doubt, thought of those all by himself.  The third is unique, and legal analysts say they doubt it would be possible to render past testimony as null and void, since those who testified did so willingly and of their own volition.  His rationale for firing Ty Cobb is that then Trump can say he was given bad advice by his lawyers.  John Dowd already resigned, and Don McGahn has said he would leave if Mueller were fired, so if Cobb were also out of the picture, then Trump would be free and clear to say they all gave him bad advice.

Now, those close to Trump say that Bannon is still persona non grata because of the revelations critical of Trump and his family that were included in Michael Wolff’s book, Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House, published in January.  If so, there is some doubt whether Trump would welcome Bannon back into the inner circle, but … in my view, Trump would welcome a wild boar hog if he thought said hog could help him out of this mess.  Consider that Trump has recently told friends and aides that he is willing to engage in political warfare in the coming months to stop his presidency from being consumed by the investigation.  I believe there is no low to which he would not stoop in order to save his own arse.

Bannon, meanwhile, has reportedly been meeting ‘through back channels’ with Trump confidants, proposing the above ideas, and knowing Bannon, a few more that we don’t know about.  Most agree, however, that almost anything Trump does at this juncture will serve only to make him appear even more incredibly guilty than he already is.  Almost any move he makes in any direction is likely to set off a domino effect, possibly causing a mass exodus from the Department of Justice and even more divisiveness within Congress.  None of which, of course, is good for a nation already divided and nearly a tinderbox, to say the least.

As I noted, after his ouster from both the White House and Breitbart, Bannon took his show on the road, spreading his populist ideas in Europe.  In March, according to the New York Times, he was in France, supporting Marine LePen, and then in Hungary, working with Prime Minister Viktor Orban. In Zurich, Switzerland, he met with leaders of Germany’s far-right Alternative for Germany party, and then he settled in Italy.  He claims to be working on a project to create a think tank to “weaponize” populist economic and social ideas in the U.S.  And as for his ‘work’ in Europe, he is doing nothing more, he says, than building a vast network of European populists to demolish the Continent’s political establishment. “All I’m trying to be is the infrastructure, globally, for the global populist movement.” Just that.

Go back to Europe, Mr. Bannon.  Go to a desert island in the Pacific.  Go to Russia.  Go anywhere, but just get the heck out of the U.S.  We have enough troubles without you adding to them.

Cambridge Analytica And John Bolton Are Major News Items With A Connection/ Legal Awareness

Just when you thought you had heard it all, when you thought the tangled web of the 2016 presidential election couldn’t possibly have any new strands, along comes a whole new set of strands with more knots than a sailor’s rope. I have had neither the time nor the energy to delve into all the dirty dealings of Cambridge Analytica, but our friend Gronda has done an excellent job of it, so I am sharing her very informative post with you. We all need to be aware of the many ways in which we were manipulated two years ago, for the results are proving disastrous. Thank you, Gronda, for this excellent and very informative post!

Gronda Morin

Image result for photos of chris wylie CHRISTOPHER WYLIE

It is now a fact that the Cambridge Analytica executives which included the likes of Steve Bannon, Rebekah Mercer and Alexander Nix were warned in 2014 that if they continued to get involved with US politics while maintaining their current practices, that they would be acting against US elections’ laws. The irony is that it was the republican President Donald Trump’s friend and ally, Rudy Giuliani who provided them with this information via his law firm.

Guess what else happened in 2014? The newly hired president’s National Security Adviser John Bolton used CA’s services in 2014 to effectively target potential voters in a marketing campaign for the elections of Tom Cotton of Arkansas and Tom Tillis of North Carolina in their bids to become US Senator. Both were victorious.

GOP WHO HAVE HIRED CA FOR ELECTION CAMPAIGNS

Here’s the rest of the story…

On March 23, 2018, Elizabeth Preza…

View original post 1,409 more words

(Sour) Cream of the Crop — Part II

Those of us who do not live in Wisconsin have likely never heard of Paul Nehlen.  He ran in the 2016 Republican primary against House Speaker Paul Ryan, and lost … bigly … by about 70%. When Steve Bannon and Breitbart come out in support of a candidate, that should tell you all you need to know.  Paul Nehlen will be once again running in the GOP primary in Wisconsin against Paul Ryan, and it is important we know just what he stands for.

Nehlen is a white supremacist in extremis who blasted House Speaker Paul Ryan for criticizing white supremacists in the days after the rally/march in Charlottesville, Virginia in August.

Paul-Ryan-tweetAt the same time, Nehlen tweeted that the rally was an “incredible moment for white people.”

Breitbart on NehlenA few things we all need to know about Nehlen …

Nehlen was also a major proponent of Mike Cernovich’s imaginary “Pizzagate”  conspiracy theory and told the Associated Press in August that he still believed it to be true.

In 2016, when Ryan   was vacillating about whether to endorse then-candidate Trump, Trump connected with Nehlen and praised him for supporting him in his war of words with Khizr and Ghazala Khan, the parents of a Muslim Army captain. Nehlen called Paul Ryan a “double agent” who is working for Hillary Clinton because he disagreed with Trump on Khan.

In an interview with a Chicago radio host in 2016, he was asked if he supported deporting all Muslims from the U.S.  He responded, “I’m suggesting that we have a discussion about it. That’s for sure. I am absolutely suggesting we figure out how do we, we, here’s what we should be doing. We should be monitoring every mosque. We should be monitoring all social media.”

dump-truckHis invective against Paul Ryan is jaw-dropping. “A  soulless globalist from the Democrat wing of the Uni-Party.” An “open borders politician” who was “grown in a petri dish in D.C.” and added, “He is all in for the cheapest possible labor for Wall Street. That’s what Paul Ryan’s in for. Paul Ryan’s in for Paul Ryan. He is not an American Patriot – he is a Globalist.”  

Nehlen campaigned for Roy Moore, the Senate candidate from Alabama who was twice removed from the judicial bench and also accused multiple times of pedophilia and other sexual misconduct, claiming to have raised more than $1 million for Moore’s campaign.

After a back-and-forth debate on Twitter regarding gun rights, Nehlen tweeted to New York Post columnist John Podhoretz, “Do us all a favor, Podhoretz. Eat a bullet.” He also told Podhoretz, “self-deport you steaming dung heap.”

Nehlen-4On social media, Nehlen shares memes — like Pepe the frog — associated with the “alt-right,” and has appeared on the podcast Fash the Nation, a project of white nationalist Mike Peinovich. Nehlen has also praised Identity Evropa, a self-styled “identitarian” group that holds to the basic white nationalist belief that whites are doomed to extinction amid a “rising tide” of brown and black people controlled or manipulated by Jews.

Though Steve Bannon and Breitbart have supported Nehlen, that support appeared to come to an end late last month.  Amid rumours that Speaker Paul Ryan is considering stepping down this year, Nehlen upped his ante and espoused his white nationalist, white supremacist position more strongly than ever.

nehlin-bannonOn December 18, Nehlen was a guest on a Breitbart radio show, Whatever It Takes with Curt Schilling. During the interview, Nehlen explained that he has adopted increasingly radical positions to “move the Overton Window”  to the right. The Overton Window refers to what the public considers acceptable political discourse and policy at any given moment and how conservative or liberal politicians can be and still win elections. The Overton Window is frequently discussed by white supremacist groups, who believe their current mission, rather than directly impacting national policy, is to push the Overton Window further to the extreme right in order to legitimize white nationalist ideologies. ie., bigotry and racism. The interview was posted on Breitbart’s site, but shortly thereafter was removed, and now Breitbart claims that they cut all ties with Nehlen months before.

Breitbart deletedEleven days later, on 29 December, Schilling tweeted an invitation to Nehlen:  “@pnehlen let’s have you on the show Wednesday, some things I think people want to hear and some questions I think you need to answer. 1:19 PM – Dec 29, 2017”  Nehlen replied: “Sounds great, Curt. Looking forward to it.  …3:57 PM – Dec 29, 2017”

I think it becomes obvious that Breitbart has not, in fact, cut all ties with Nehlen, however after ThinkProgress reported on the scheduled interview, it was abruptly cancelled.   At least twice since December 2016, Nehlen has appeared on “Fash The Nation,” a white supremacist podcast. Nehlen is also promoting his candidacy on Gab, a social media network that caters to white nationalists. Its app was banned by Google and Apple for hate speech.

I could cite endless tweets and comments from Nehlen that would turn your stomach, but I think you get the picture.  He is indisputably a nasty character, an arrogant and bigoted person. Just as I said about Jan Morgan a few days ago, this person would have been run out of town on a rail two years ago, but suddenly, I have no confidence that the people of his state will not support him. Times have changed with the election of the ‘man’ in the Oval Office. While I am not a big fan of Paul Ryan, as he has been licking Trump’s boots for a year now, he looks nearly like a saint when held up in comparison to Nehlen.

Why, you may ask, am I highlighting these unlikely and unsavory candidates?  I think they bear watching.  I think their ability to garner any significant support, even if they do not win the election in November, speaks of the national temperament.  Frankly, I spent more than six hours reading and researching Mr. Paul Nehlen, and now that I am finished, I feel dirty … I need a long, hot shower, for I feel that I have delved far too deep into the rabbit hole and am infested with the filth I encountered there.

I Can’t Stop Watching the Circus!!!

I know, I know … I need to move on to other, more serious topics, like Jeff Sessions’ decision to prosecute growers/sellers/users of marijuana in states where it is legal.  And Trump’s truly terrible decision to open all U.S. waters to offshore oil & gas drilling.  And Paul Manafort’s lawsuit against Robert Mueller.  And … well, the list goes on, for in the Era of Trump, there is never a shortage of jaw-dropping moments about which to write.  And I should be writing about those more serious topics, but I simply cannot seem to leave this ongoing saga of Michael Wolff’s new book, on shelves today, titled Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House.

A brief recap up to yesterday (Thursday), in case any of you just returned from Borneo and hadn’t heard …

Journalist Michael Wolff wrote the aforementioned book, which is basically an exposé of the past 18 months with Donald Trump, his family, minions and others.  One small section in the book had Steve Bannon, former White House Strategist and campaign manager, saying some things about Trump, his son-in-law Jared Kushner, and son Don Jr., regarding the June 2016 meeting between these players and Russian agents.   Bannon called the meeting ‘treasonous’ and ‘unpatriotic’.  Trump immediately fired back and said that when Bannon got fired, he “not only lost his job, he lost his mind”.  That was on Wednesday.

And on Thursday, I awakened to this Washington Post headline:

Trump Lawyer Seeks to Block Insider Book on White House

Beverly Hills-based attorney Charles J. Harder, acting on behalf of Trump, sent both Steve Bannon and the book’s publisher Henry Holt & Co., ‘cease and desist’ letters, trying to halt publication of the book, which was scheduled for next Tuesday, January 9th. But it quickly became obvious that the letter did not constitute any legal obligation on the part of Henry Holt & Co. to halt or delay publication. In fact, it had the opposite effect, and yesterday afternoon, the publisher announced that Harder’s demand for Holt to “immediately cease and desist from any further publication, release or dissemination of the book,” would not only be ignored, but the publication date was being moved forward to Friday (today), January 5th! Harder’s letter also demanded an apology from the publisher to Trump … what do you think the odds are there?  And, they demanded a full copy of the book.  Well, I guess they can go stand in line at Barnes & Noble and buy a copy like everyone else!  Miss Goose informs me that based on pre-orders, the book has already become a best seller on both Barnes & Noble and Amazon.

Now, whose side did the right-wing, conservative media take?  Trump’s, of course.  Bannon may well end up regretting his words to Wolff.  From Politico …

“From Fox News to the Drudge Report, all the way down the spectrum to far-right conspiracy sites like The Gateway Pundit and InfoWars, headlines Wednesday afternoon painted former presidential adviser Steve Bannon as unstable and self-interested, and President Donald Trump as a forceful defender of his family and administration.”

The Daily Caller declared, “Trump Puts Bannon In A Body Bag.” Even some of Bannon’s own cohorts seemed poised to desert a sinking ship.  Breitbart commenters weighed in on the side of Trump, leading to a gleeful InfoWars story declaring, “Breitbart.com readers have overwhelmingly sided with Donald Trump over his war of words with former White House senior counselor Steve Bannon.”

But that isn’t the only price Bannon is paying. Rebekah Mercer, daughter of billionaire Robert Mercer of the notorious Cambridge Analytica, pulled her funding on Wednesday. It is, as yet, unclear what the response will be from other financial backers such as: Sheldon G. Adelson, Las Vegas casino magnate; Todd Ricketts, a Chicago Cubs owner; and Bernard Marcus, a Home Depot founder.

For the moment, it seems that Bannon is the biggest loser in the saga of Wolff’s book, but I do not think we have seen the end, for the book has much, much more than Bannon’s comments to give Trump grief.

For example, it is reported that Kellyanne Conway maligns Trump in private, though she is among his staunchest defenders in public.   “She seemed to regard Trump as a figure of exhausting exaggeration or even absurdity…. She illustrated her opinion of her boss with a whole series of facial expressions: eyes rolling, mouth agape, head snapping back.”

Numerous other players in the game are named as having mocked Trump, including his own daughter, Ivanka, who described how he does whatever it is he does with that ‘thing’ on his head.  And there are enough ‘leaks’ about meetings and strategies to keep Trump speculating and seeking revenge for months to com.  Will he even seek revenge against his own daughter?  It wouldn’t surprise me.

Since I said I should be writing something meaningful and serious, but I keep being drawn back to this story, partly for its humour value, I will present two serious questions, in light of the Wolff book:

  1. We all recognize that the revelations in this book are likely to drive Trump on a tear of vengeance and rhetoric spewing for weeks to come. Can he effectively be president if his time is being spent chasing perceived enemies?  He will be leaving no stone unturned to find those who may have spoken against him.  Can he do anything useful, anything that is expected of him for the salary we pay him?  I doubt it, but then I would also say that if his attention is directed elsewhere, perhaps the government can actually run more smoothly, for he is hardly doing a stellar job.
  2. What does this mean for the November mid-term elections? My initial, out-of-the-gate reaction was that it would be bad for the GOP, good for the Democrats, as the Trump-Bannon feud is likely to splinter the party to some extent.  I still lean in that direction, but I think it would be a huge mistake to operate under the assumption, for as we have seen in the past two-and-a-half years, much can go awry.
  3. I know I said two questions, but I had to add this one: How are people, the 37%-38% that are still saying Trump is great and wonderful and doing such a fine job … how are they seeing all this and still thinking there is anything of value in the White House???

I now return you to your regularly scheduled programming, while I go try to sink my teeth into something more … relevant and substantial.

Hell Hath No Fury Like A Scorned Trump

Next Tuesday, January 9th, a new book hits the shelves.  Its title is: Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House, and it was written by Michael Wolff, a veteran journalist who has written for Vanity Fair, the Guardian, the Hollywood Reporter and other publications.  While it is not the first book to be written about Trump, it is the first that is not written by a Trump sycophant. If you wish a preview, NY Magazine published an excerpt that is well worth the read.

Fire and FuryOne segment stands out above the rest in terms of drawing Trump’s immediate ire. It is a comment made by Steve Bannon in response to the meeting between Donald Trump, Jr., Jared Kushner and several Russians in June 2016:

“The chance that Don Jr. did not walk these jumos up to his father’s office on the twenty-sixth floor is zero,” said an astonished and derisive [Stephen K.] Bannon, not long after the meeting was revealed. “The three senior guys in the campaign,” an incredulous Bannon went on, “thought it was a good idea to meet with a foreign government inside Trump Tower in the conference room on the twenty-fifth floor — with no lawyers. They didn’t have any lawyers. Even if you thought that this was not treasonous, or unpatriotic, or bad s–t, and I happen to think it’s all of that, you should have called the FBI immediately.”

It took Trump very little time to hit back … his written statement, read by Sarah Huckabee Sanders, was as follows:

“Steve Bannon has nothing to do with me or my Presidency. When he was fired, he not only lost his job, he lost his mind. Steve was a staffer who worked for me after I had already won the nomination by defeating seventeen candidates, often described as the most talented field ever assembled in the Republican party.

Now that he is on his own, Steve is learning that winning isn’t as easy as I make it look. Steve had very little to do with our historic victory, which was delivered by the forgotten men and women of this country. Yet Steve had everything to do with the loss of a Senate seat in Alabama held for more than thirty years by Republicans. Steve doesn’t represent my base—he’s only in it for himself.

Steve pretends to be at war with the media, which he calls the opposition party, yet he spent his time at the White House leaking false information to the media to make himself seem far more important than he was. It is the only thing he does well. Steve was rarely in a one-on-one meeting with me and only pretends to have had influence to fool a few people with no access and no clue, whom he helped write phony books.

We have many great Republican members of Congress and candidates who are very supportive of the Make America Great Again agenda. Like me, they love the United States of America and are helping to finally take our country back and build it up, rather than simply seeking to burn it all down.”

Since none of the book seems to paint Trump in a favourable light, I am guessing we’ll hear more of these ‘statements’ in the coming week.  There are so many falsehoods in the above statement, so many incidents of him patting himself on the back, that I won’t even pick it apart, but you don’t need me to anyway, for you are all savvy enough to know the dung when you see it.  And now, the ball is back in Bannon’s court … I am going to guess he’ll lob it back before long.  Stay tuned …