B12 Solipsism

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Archive for the ‘trump’ tag

With nearly half its food imported, who will feed Britain after Brexit?

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Organic Tomatoes Produced in Kent
Organic Tomatoes Produced in Kent, UK.

Trump called himself “Mr. Brexit” yesterday. Funny, almost, in light of the reality of how removing E.U. immigrants is going to drastically change how Britain feeds itself. America too if the anti-immigrant brigade ever gets a modicum of power. Have you ever picked vegetables in the hot sun? It’s not work I’d do voluntarily, even if it paid above minimum wage. Trump’s anti-immigrant army will be spluttering in impotent rage if tomatoes were $50/lb, if lettuce was something you only could afford to eat over the holidays, if a hamburger cost $35 even to make it at home with store-bought ingredients. 

But then Trump’s cult has never had the ability to comprehend facts.

Courgetts (or Courgettes)
Courgetts (or Courgettes) (a/k/a Zucchini)

Anyway, back to Britain, where Carla Power writes, in part:

“Brexit” has sown deep uncertainty in Britain’s food system, which for the last 43 years has been entwined with the rest of Europe’s, relying heavily on the EU for everything from pork to peaches to farm subsidies to the labor that picks its tomatoes. Now, the country is going to have to rethink how it feeds itself, from farm to fork.

“Food is the biggest sector of engagement with Europe,” said Timothy Lang, a professor at City University London’s Center for Food Policy. “It’s hundreds of thousands of contracts, all woven into long supply chains.”

Currently, European laws regulate nearly everything that ends up on British plates: how clean a chicken should be before slaughter, how cold to keep frozen cod, who gets to call their biscuits “gluten free.”

Now, Britain will have to decide all that for itself. Some groups already have begun lobbying Prime Minister Theresa May’s new government for regulations to improve animal welfare and protect soils.

But what Britain can’t do is feed itself. The country imports more than $50 billion a year in food, or nearly half of what it eats. That’s more than double what it exports. Most wine and beef come from mainland Europe, as do about 40% of fruit and vegetables.

The future of food in Britain will depend largely on what sort of trade deals the government can strike with the European alliance it is preparing to abandon.

Germany and other European powers have made it clear that they will not grant Britain the benefits of EU membership if it leaves and that the country probably will face tariffs on many of its imports.

New tariffs on food would drive up prices and potentially change the nation’s diet.

EU membership has brought them a flexible, energetic and mobile labor force of Romanians, Bulgarians and other Eastern Europeans. While EU-born workers from outside Britain make up 6% of the country’s workforce, they account for more than a quarter of employees in the food manufacturing industry — and 95% of crop pickers.

“Every strawberry eaten at Wimbledon was picked by an Eastern European,” said John Hardman of Hops Labour Solutions, an agricultural recruitment firm in Kenilworth. “Every Brussels sprout eaten at Christmas dinner was picked by an Eastern European.”
If Britain stops free movement of EU workers, farmers may struggle to find replacements. Britons themselves don’t seem keen on the low wages and long hours in the orchards and fields.

(click here to continue reading With nearly half its food imported, who will feed Britain after ‘Brexit’? – LA Times.)

Written by Seth Anderson

August 19th, 2016 at 1:15 pm

Is Trump Complicit in Attacks?

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Donald Trump Is A Swine
Donald Trump Is A Swine.

Look, I hope this is not true, and just a figment of my febrile, over-caffeinated mind, but think about this: how many times has a politician or public figure made a huge deal about something that later it turned out they themselves were doing? How many televangelists railing against homosexuality have later been outed as gay? How many times has a teabagger made a claim that really was about themselves? How many times did Bill Cosby criticize fornicators?

After reading Jane Mayer’s piece on Trump and his machinations and duplicitous personality, is it really so far fetched of an idea that Donald Trump and some of his mobster friends are hiring or manipulating hitmen to target police? I would not be shocked to find evidence of this in 2020 or even sooner. 

Last month, as the nation was grieving the mass murder of 49 people at a nightclub in Orlando, Donald Trump, the Republican nominee for president, offered his own analysis of what had led the gunman, Omar Mateen, to open fire. “We’re led by a man who is very—look, we’re led by a man that either is not tough, not smart, or he’s got something else in mind,” Trump said , theorizing as to the real reason President __Barack Obama has not used the words “radical Islamic terrorism.” “There’s something going on.” Those four words returned again this week in the wake of another tragedy—this time, the killing of three police officers by a black shooter in Baton Rouge over the weekend—when the billionaire recycled the same phrase to hint yet again that the Democratic president of the United States might have somehow been involved.

“YOU JUST LOOK AT THE BODY LANGUAGE AND THERE IS SOMETHING GOING ON, THERE IS SOMETHING GOING ON.”

“I watch the president and sometimes the words are okay but you just look at the body language and there is something going on, there is something going on,” Trump said Monday in an interview with “Fox and Friends,” when asked to comment on the assertion made by Steve Loomis, the head of the Cleveland Police Patrolmen’s Association, that Obama has “blood on his hands” in the aftermath of the Baton Rouge shooting and another attack by a black gunman on police in Dallas earlier this month. Pressed to explain what he meant, Trump continued, “There is just a bad feeling, a lot of bad feeling about him.”

While the real-estate mogul has long played into right-wing conspiracy theories about the nation’s first black president, Trump’s racial dog whistle has in recent weeks grown louder and more explicit. In June, after Trump came under fire for suggesting that Obama didn’t use the term “radical Islamic terror” because he sympathizes with America’s enemies, the G.O.P. nominee revoked The Washington Post’s press credentials for what he called a “dishonest” headline about his comments. Shortly thereafter, however, he doubled down on his insinuation by tweeting a Breitbart story in support of his outlandish claims.

(click here to continue reading Trump Again Suggests that Obama Is Complicit in Attacks | Vanity Fair.)

Just saying I hope it isn’t true because police shouldn’t be pawns in Donald Trump’s vanity campaign for emperor. 

Written by Seth Anderson

July 18th, 2016 at 10:58 am

Posted in politics

Tagged with ,

Trump’s Boswell Tony Schwartz Would Rename Book to The Sociapath

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Spy Magazine - Donald Trump - Trumps final days
Spy Magazine – Donald Trump – Trump’s final days.

Tony Schwartz, the actual author of Trump’s opus, The Art of the Deal, has a few regrets about writing the book, and feels strongly that Donald Trump is a sociopathic bully who should not be anywhere near the nuclear codes of the United States. I’ve never read the book, but apparently it was a sensation that put Trump on the national stage for the first time.

Jane Mayer of The New Yorker interviews him:

Starting in late 1985, Schwartz spent eighteen months with Trump—camping out in his office, joining him on his helicopter, tagging along at meetings, and spending weekends with him at his Manhattan apartment and his Florida estate. During that period, Schwartz felt, he had got to know him better than almost anyone else outside the Trump family. Until Schwartz posted the tweet, though, he had not spoken publicly about Trump for decades. It had never been his ambition to be a ghostwriter, and he had been glad to move on. But, as he watched a replay of the new candidate holding forth for forty-five minutes, he noticed something strange: over the decades, Trump appeared to have convinced himself that he had written the book. Schwartz recalls thinking, “If he could lie about that on Day One—when it was so easily refuted—he is likely to lie about anything.”

It seemed improbable that Trump’s campaign would succeed, so Schwartz told himself that he needn’t worry much. But, as Trump denounced Mexican immigrants as “rapists,” near the end of the speech, Schwartz felt anxious. He had spent hundreds of hours observing Trump firsthand, and felt that he had an unusually deep understanding of what he regarded as Trump’s beguiling strengths and disqualifying weaknesses. Many Americans, however, saw Trump as a charmingly brash entrepreneur with an unfailing knack for business—a mythical image that Schwartz had helped create. “It pays to trust your instincts,” Trump says in the book, adding that he was set to make hundreds of millions of dollars after buying a hotel that he hadn’t even walked through.

In the subsequent months, as Trump defied predictions by establishing himself as the front-runner for the Republican nomination, Schwartz’s desire to set the record straight grew. He had long since left journalism to launch the Energy Project, a consulting firm that promises to improve employees’ productivity by helping them boost their “physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual” morale. It was a successful company, with clients such as Facebook, and Schwartz’s colleagues urged him to avoid the political fray. But the prospect of President Trump terrified him. It wasn’t because of Trump’s ideology—Schwartz doubted that he had one. The problem was Trump’s personality, which he considered pathologically impulsive and self-centered.

“I put lipstick on a pig,” he said. “I feel a deep sense of remorse that I contributed to presenting Trump in a way that brought him wider attention and made him more appealing than he is.” He went on, “I genuinely believe that if Trump wins and gets the nuclear codes there is an excellent possibility it will lead to the end of civilization.”

If he were writing “The Art of the Deal” today, Schwartz said, it would be a very different book with a very different title. Asked what he would call it, he answered, “The Sociopath.”

At the same time, he knew that if he took Trump’s money and adopted Trump’s voice his journalism career would be badly damaged. His heroes were such literary nonfiction writers as Tom Wolfe, John McPhee, and David Halberstam. Being a ghostwriter was hackwork. In the end, though, Schwartz had his price. He told Trump that if he would give him half the advance and half the book’s royalties he’d take the job.

Such terms are unusually generous for a ghostwriter. Trump, despite having a reputation as a tough negotiator, agreed on the spot. “It was a huge windfall,” Schwartz recalls. “But I knew I was selling out. Literally, the term was invented to describe what I did.” Soon Spy was calling him “former journalist Tony Schwartz.”

(click here to continue reading Trump’s Boswell Speaks – The New Yorker.)

Chairman Trump
Chairman Trump

Trump sounds even more petulant and without inner life than former president George W Bush, if that’s possible. Trump’s only concern is himself, and lies, manipulations, exaggerations, bullying, whining are all part of plastering over the empty hole in the middle of Trump.

“Trump has been written about a thousand ways from Sunday, but this fundamental aspect of who he is doesn’t seem to be fully understood,” Schwartz told me. “It’s implicit in a lot of what people write, but it’s never explicit—or, at least, I haven’t seen it. And that is that it’s impossible to keep him focussed on any topic, other than his own self-aggrandizement, for more than a few minutes, and even then . . . ” Schwartz trailed off, shaking his head in amazement. He regards Trump’s inability to concentrate as alarming in a Presidential candidate. “If he had to be briefed on a crisis in the Situation Room, it’s impossible to imagine him paying attention over a long period of time,” he said.

But Schwartz believes that Trump’s short attention span has left him with “a stunning level of superficial knowledge and plain ignorance.” He said, “That’s why he so prefers TV as his first news source—information comes in easily digestible sound bites.” He added, “I seriously doubt that Trump has ever read a book straight through in his adult life.” During the eighteen months that he observed Trump, Schwartz said, he never saw a book on Trump’s desk, or elsewhere in his office, or in his apartment.

Other journalists have noticed Trump’s apparent lack of interest in reading. In May, Megyn Kelly, of Fox News, asked him to name his favorite book, other than the Bible or “The Art of the Deal.” Trump picked the 1929 novel “All Quiet on the Western Front.” Evidently suspecting that many years had elapsed since he’d read it, Kelly asked Trump to talk about the most recent book he’d read. “I read passages, I read areas, I’ll read chapters—I don’t have the time,” Trump said. As The New Republic noted recently, this attitude is not shared by most U.S. Presidents, including Barack Obama, a habitual consumer of current books, and George W. Bush, who reportedly engaged in a fiercely competitive book-reading contest with his political adviser Karl Rove.

Trump’s first wife, Ivana, famously claimed that Trump kept a copy of Adolf Hitler’s collected speeches, “My New Order,” in a cabinet beside his bed. In 1990, Trump’s friend Marty Davis, who was then an executive at Paramount, added credence to this story, telling Marie Brenner, of Vanity Fair, that he had given Trump the book. “I thought he would find it interesting,” Davis told her. When Brenner asked Trump about it, however, he mistakenly identified the volume as a different work by Hitler: “Mein Kampf.” Apparently, he had not so much as read the title. “If I had these speeches, and I am not saying that I do, I would never read them,” Trump told Brenner.

I shudder to think of a Trump occupied Oval Office. Read the entire piece if you can spare a few moments, or if you know anyone who is considering voting for Donald Trump because he’s such a great business success…

Written by Seth Anderson

July 18th, 2016 at 10:36 am

Posted in Books,politics

Tagged with ,

GOP Platform Hypocrisies 2016 Edition

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Peepshow
Peepshow

Another entry into the This Would Be Funny If It Wasn’t So Sad file, and also another entry into Aren’t The Culture Wars Already Over? curtesy of your local un-friendly GOP party platform writers. 

Via Amanda Marcotte:

While the final draft of the 2016 Republican platform won’t be finalized until next week, the drafting committee’s meeting is public and reporters have been sending out a steady stream of reports on platform items approved by the committee and therefore likely to be made the official party positions next week.

The list so far is a grab bag of right-wing obsessions, urban legends, and bigotries, one that would be comical if not for the depressing realization that a lot of people believe this nonsense. Marijuana, national parks, the IRS, and mythical electromagnetic pulses are all condemned in dramatic terms appropriate for signs of the apocalypse.

And, even though their presidential nominee is a thrice-married playboy who bragged on Howard Stern that avoiding STIs was his “personal Vietnam” — because of all the sleeping around, ha ha — the platform committee is extremely interested in policing what everyone else in the country is doing with their genitals. Cohabitation, homosexuality, abortion, even using the bathroom while trans: If it’s not hetero married sex performed in the dark no more than once a month for the reasons of procreation, they are probably against it.

And sorry, fellas, but as much as Republicans love male privilege, when it comes to the sex police, even your private habits are going on the Thou Shalt Not list. Porn, according to what will likely be the official GOP platform, has been declared a “public health crisis” and a “public menace.”

(click here to continue reading GOP war on porn: The same party that nominated a libertine for president is now calling your porn a “public health crisis” – Salon.com.)

Seems like Ted Cruz and his sour band of Christian Taliban won the primary after all. Sad!

The Devil and Pope
The Devil and Pope

Jack Holmes has a (partial) list of some of the horrors:

The Republican Party has always been against things. In Lincoln’s day, it was slavery; for the last seven years, it’s been a functioning federal government. But the Republican Party Platform, rewritten every four years before the party convention, is where things really run wild. That’s especially true this year, as presumptive nominee Donald J. Trump has stepped back to let the Ted Cruz-esque purists have their fun with the party’s official statement of principles. What follows is a list, likely non-comprehensive, of the things the GOP has declared itself against so far.

(Keep in mind, these are initiatives that have passed the platform subcommittees and are awaiting approval as a collective.)

(click here to continue reading Republican Platform – Things the Republican Party Is Against in 2016.)

Reefer songs
Reefer songs

like that oldie but goodie: reefer madness…

Even the medical kind. Among other reasons, ganja was linked to mass shootings (!):

RNC delegate: “All of the mass killings that have taken place, they’re young boys from divorced families and they’re all smoking pot.” — Molly Ball (@mollyesque) July 11, 2016

(click here to continue reading Republican Platform – Things the Republican Party Is Against in 2016.)

You know, that evil weed, Cannabis:

Just days after the Democratic Party endorsed the rescheduling of cannabis and a “reasoned pathway to future legalization” of marijuana, delegates with the Republican Party voted against a more conservative platform that would have endorsed medical marijuana.

At a GOP Platform Committee meeting in Cleveland, Republican delegates on Monday just said no to endorsing medical marijuana.

But a number of delegates rose in opposition to the measure. A member from Utah claimed scientists have a “long way to go with research” on marijuana and argued that studies, which she did not provide, showed a link between it and mental health issues.

Another delegate absurdly claimed that people who commit mass murders are “young boys from divorced families, and they’re all smoking pot.” Yet another delegate claimed marijuana triggered schizophrenia, and is funded nationally by Democrat and New York financier George Soros. “Let’s think a little bit what happens with Percocet, with OxyContin,” claimed a third delegate, who drew a connection between the ongoing heroin epidemic and teenagers smoking marijuana.

(click here to continue reading After Dems back rescheduling, GOP votes against medical marijuana.)

Homosexuals at Biograph
Homosexuals at Biograph

Gays, of course, and anything having to with civil rights, adoptions, etc.

Delegates added to the pile of hot-button topics by unanimously adopting an amendment that called pornography “a public health crisis” and “public menace” that is destroying lives. The measure went further than the 2012 GOP platform, which mainly focused on problems with child pornography.

FRC’s Perkins also succeeded in introducing an amendment to the platform affirming “the right of parents to determine the proper treatment or therapy, for their minor children,” a reference to gay conversion therapy, which has been banned in a number of states.

(click here to continue reading GOP Platform Committee Bucks 21st Century, Reaffirms Anti-LGBT Stance.)

Even people like me, living in sin (i.e., unmarried) are targeted:

Meanwhile, on cultural issues, the committee showed no inclination to temper its traditional views. Multiple references to the horrors of abortion and the sanctity of human life were inserted; a reference to “aborted fetuses” was changed to “aborted children”; opposition to “policies and laws that create a financial incentive or encourage cohabitation” was adopted. “A traditional two-parent household” was deemed best for children, and women’s “exemption from direct ground combat units and infantry battalions” was urged. (In a departure from 2012, however, the platform did not call for amending the constitution to ban same-sex marriage; it urged instead that an amendment allow states to determine their marriage laws.) The platform condemned the Obama administration’s “edict to the States concerning restrooms, locker rooms and other facilities” for transgender people.

Tony Perkins, the head of the socially conservative Family Research Council and a delegate from Louisiana, pronounced himself exceedingly pleased with the result. “This is one of the most conservative platforms the party has ever had, and I didn’t think we could get more conservative than 2012, which was probably one of the most conservative platforms in our history,” he told me.

(click here to continue reading The Party of Donald Trump? – The Atlantic.)

6000 years ago
6000 years ago

Can’t forget the 6,000 Year Old Earthers, gotta give them a tickle:

Teach the Bible as literature: The committee labored for a long time on Monday over whether to encourage public schools to teach the Bible as a literature elective. Ultimately, they decided that yes, public schools should do that. And on the subject of education, the committee decided to take a stand against early childhood education because, as one delegate put it, it “inserts the state in the family relationship in the very early stages of a child’s life.” 

(click here to continue reading The Porn Crisis, Gay Conversion Therapy, and Other Notable Elements of the GOP Platform | Mother Jones.)

and:

On the subject of religion, the delegates have reportedly included an amendment calling for the Bible to be taught in schools as part of “American history.” Maybe the Garden of Eden really is in Missouri, after all?

GOP Platform amendment calls for teaching the Bible as part of “American history”

— Zeke Miller (@ZekeJMiller) July 11, 2016

(click here to continue reading GOP 2016 platform full of crazy ideas | Fusion.)

Everyone Is Looking For Someone To Blame
Everyone Is Looking For Someone To Blame

and the Christian Taliban basically are in control of the GOP:

And while Republicans continue to warn about the non-existent threat of Sharia Law, their platform insists that religious law isn’t an option—it’s required.

The platform demands that lawmakers use religion as a guide when legislating, stipulating “that man-made law must be consistent with God-given, natural rights.”

It also encourages the teaching of the Bible in public schools because, the amendment said, a good understanding of its contents is “indispensable for the development of an educated citizenry.” Who interprets God-given, natural rights? Conservatives, of course, and their interpretation presents an incredibly strict, incredibly narrow, and quite detailed picture of what it takes to be a Real American.

The Republicans: Preventing Sharia Law, by imposing Sharia Law.

(click here to continue reading The Republican platform hates gays, puts women back in the kitchen, and insists on religious law.)

You get the idea. Sheesh, what a bunch of twats. The head twat is Kris Kobach, who you’ve probably never heard of, but he has some plans for you and me:

For years, Kris Kobach has led an effort to pull the Republican Party to the conservative extreme. But in this election cycle — as evidenced by the platform pulled together by him and his fellow convention delegates in Cleveland this week — he doesn’t have a presidential candidate who is going to stand in the way.

The Kansas secretary of state was on the convention committee responsible for finalizing the proposed planks of the Republican party platform, which the full convention delegation will vote on next week. Normally, the process doesn’t get wide public attention because the platform is seen as little more than aspirational, something for party activists to rally around as they ramp up for the general election.

Enter Kobach, a Trump supporter with some experience pushing the Republican Party to the far right. With a nominee who has isn’t steeped in movement conservatism and doesn’t much seem to care, Kobach and conservatives on the committee appear to have had a long leash.

(click here to continue reading Forget Trump! The GOP’s Convention Platform Makes It The Party Of Kris Kobach.)

How any free-thinking person who believes in civil liberties could support the GOP in any form baffles my mind.

Written by Seth Anderson

July 14th, 2016 at 8:43 am

Posted in politics

Tagged with , , ,

Thursday Leftovers – Plate 7

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If I wasn’t such a lazy blogger, these would be full-blown posts, interspersed with actual thoughts of mine, but I am, so belly up to the blog bar…

https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7310/28082730795_2210a259c3_z.jpg

Shortly after Snyder became owner, the Skins lobbied the Prince George’s County authorities to authorize a ban on all pedestrians from entering the grounds of Jack Kent Cooke Stadium (renamed FedExField after the delivery firm offered Snyder $205 million), even on public sidewalks. No public hearings were held before the ban went into effect. There was essentially no public transportation to the games, so the ban meant fans had no choice but to drive and park in the Snyder-owned lots.

Pedestrian ban/parking monopoly in hand, Snyder jacked the parking rate up from $10 to $25.

Szymkowicz found out about the ban after a friend had given him a pass to sit in the owner’s suite for a Washington/Dallas game at FedEx in 2001, but didn’t have a parking pass. Not wanting to pay $25 for a free ticket, Szymkowicz parked for free at Landover Mall, located about a half-mile from FedEx Field’s front entrance, and walked over, only to be told by police that walking into the stadium was against the law.

The county’s ban was repealed in October 2004. Szymkowicz not only had beaten Snyder, he’d also exposed the owner, who’d positioned himself as an everyfan when he bought the team, as the anti-fan phony he was.

Snyder got up to his old parking tricks again soon, however. Only the venue had changed.

(click here to continue reading The Atlanta Braves Borrowed Their Parking Scam From Dan Snyder.)

Bowers & Wilkins
Bowers & Wilkins headphones, one of many audio devices using a 3.5mm jack in my home or office

Damn, I hope Apple doesn’t remove the 3.5mm headphone jack. I have too many third-party headphones, speakers, musical instruments, etc. that wouldn’t connect anymore. Dongles are irritating to keep track of, and as Jason Snell writes, there doesn’t seem to be any real benefit to removing the headphone jack, not that anyone has come up with anyway.

Is Apple removing the headphone jack from the iPhone? Nobody really knows, though rumors have swirled for quite a while now. A recent exchange between Nilay Patel and John Gruber returned this debate to the foreground last week.

Of course, the truth is that it’s very hard to talk about this rumor in the absence of actual information. Any move like this by Apple would be accompanied with a raft of other information, including Apple’s rationale, any new features enabled by the removal, and of course adapters for existing hardware. In the absence of all that, people are able to fill in the blanks with bogeymen or rainbows depending on their point of view.

Before digging into the possible reasons for the move, it’s worth mentioning why this is such a hot-button issue in the first place. It’s all about inconvenience. As a standard that’s been around for more than a hundred years, there are a massive number of devices that support the 3.5mm headphone jack. Not just phones and tablets, but computers and amplified speakers and mixers and pretty much any other device in existence that can play audio.

There’s no doubt that if Apple were to remove the headphone jack, there would be some sort of adapter to allow headphones and speakers with headphone plugs to get audio out of an iPhone. But of course, adapters cost money and are easily lost or forgotten and can be bulky and annoying.

(click here to continue reading Searching for a good reason to remove the headphone jack – Six Colors.)

Debt is a finger laying on the scale of the economy. If a college education, for instance, didn’t cost so much, perhaps more small businesses could be launched… 

Young people very well may lead the country in entrepreneurship, as a mentality. But when it comes to the more falsifiable measure of entrepreneurship as an activity, older generations are doing most of the work. The average age for a successful startup-founder is about 40 years old, according to the Kauffman Foundation, a think tank focused on education and entrepreneurship. (In their words, one’s 40s are the “peak age for business formation.”)  The reality is that the typical American entrepreneur isn’t that hover-boarding kid in a hoodie; it’s his mom or dad. In fact, the only age group with rising entrepreneurial activity in the last two decades is people between 55 and 65.

So, why hasn’t Millennial entrepreneurship kept pace with either media expectations or past generations?

The answer begins with more debt and less risk-taking. The number of student borrowers rose 89 percent between 2004 and 2014, as Lettieri said in his testimony. During that time, the average debt held by student borrowers grew by 77 percent. Even when student debt is bearable, it can still shape a life, nudging young people toward jobs that guarantee a steady salary. Entrepreneurship, however, is a perilous undertaking that doesn’t offer such stability. There is also some evidence that young people’s appetite for risk-taking has declined at the same time that their student debt has grown. More than 40 percent of 25-to-34-year old Americans said a fear of failure kept them from starting a company in 2014; it 2001, just 24 percent said so.

The rarity of Millennial entrepreneurs doesn’t just deflate a common media myth—it could have lasting consequences for the competitiveness of the American economy. Although venture-capital investment has grown in the last decade, the majority of “startups” are really what most people consider “small businesses.” A new bodega, coffee shop, or small construction firm doesn’t seem like a radical act of innovation. But the government considers such companies to be startups, and they’re getting rarer as a handful of large firms dominate each sector of the U.S. economy. Three drug stores—CVS, Walgreen’s, and Rite Aid—own 99 percent of the national market. Two companies—Amazon and Barnes & Noble—sell half of the country’s books. If it is not quite a new Gilded Age for America’s monopolies, it is certainly a new dawn for its oligopolies.

(click here to continue reading The Myth of the Millennial Entrepreneur – The Atlantic.)

Go Teach All Nations
Go Teach All Nations

If you call yourself a Christian, and you enthusiastically support Donald Trump, you are a hypocrite. Plain and simple.

Those who believe this is merely reductionism should consider the words of Jesus: Do you have eyes but fail to see and ears but fail to hear? Mr. Trump’s entire approach to politics rests on dehumanization. If you disagree with him or oppose him, you are not merely wrong. You are worthless, stripped of dignity, the object of derision. This attitude is central to who Mr. Trump is and explains why it pervades and guides his campaign. If he is elected president, that might-makes-right perspective would infect his entire administration.

All of this is important because of what it says about Mr. Trump as a prospective president. But it is also revealing for what it says about Christians who now testify on his behalf (there are plenty who don’t). The calling of Christians is to be “salt and light” to the world, to model a philosophy that defends human dignity, and to welcome the stranger in our midst. It is to stand for justice, dispense grace and be agents of reconciliation in a broken world. And it is to take seriously the words of the prophet Micah, “And what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, and to love kindness and mercy, and to humble yourself and walk humbly with your God?”

Evangelical Christians who are enthusiastically supporting Donald Trump are signaling, even if unintentionally, that this calling has no place in politics and that Christians bring nothing distinctive to it — that their past moral proclamations were all for show and that power is the name of the game.

The French philosopher and theologian Jacques Ellul wrote: “Politics is the church’s worst problem. It is her constant temptation, the occasion of her greatest disasters, the trap continually set for her by the prince of this world.” In rallying round Mr. Trump, evangelicals have walked into the trap. The rest of the world sees it. Why don’t they?

(click here to continue reading The Theology of Donald Trump – The New York Times.)

Cell phone-iphile
Cell phone-iphile

Speaking of carelessness:

New Jersey governor Chris Christie, is yet again facing scrutiny for his involvement in the 2013 George Washington Bridge scandal. In the latest “Bridgegate” twist, the New Jersey governor can’t account for the phone he used to send text messages when the bridge was partially shut down—allegedly as political retribution—and during the subsequent legislative hearings, which could harm the failed presidential candidate’s chances of getting tapped for the No. 2 job.

Two of Christie’s former allies, Bridget Anne Kelly and Bill Baroni, are pushing prosecutors to introduce more evidence ahead of their criminal trial in September. Facing charges related to the lane closures, which created a days-long traffic jam roughly two and a half years ago, the duo is seeking the cell phone used by Christie during the scandal, but both the governor and federal prosecutors say they don’t know where it is. Gibson Dunn, the law firm Christie hired for the case, said it returned the phone after clearing the politician in the case, but did not specify to whom it was returned, Bloomberg reports.

News of Christie’s missing cell phone comes less than a day after F.B.I. director James Comey labeled Hillary Clinton “extremely careless” in her use of her private e-mail server while secretary of state, though he stopped short of recommending that criminal charges be brought against her. During his bid for president, Christie—who has allegedly filled the position of The Donald’s “manservant”, among other campaign roles—was quick to condemn Clinton for her e-mail practices. Now, it seems the governor’s national aspirations could be derailed by his own scandal. With a Bridgegate-saddled Christie on the ticket, Trump’s attacks on the former secretary of state would be weakened and introduce further ethical issues to the presumptive G.O.P. nominee’s campaign.

(click here to continue reading “Manservant” Chris Christie Can’t Find His Bridgegate Cell Phone | Vanity Fair.)

Your Confidence Might Be Shattered
Your Confidence Might Be Shattered

and speaking of idiots:

Trump currently dismisses climate change as a hoax invented by China, though he has quietly sought to shield real estate investments in Ireland from its effects.

But at the Republican presidential contender’s Palm Beach estate and the other properties that bear his name in south Florida, the water is already creeping up bridges and advancing on access roads, lawns and beaches because of sea-level rise, according to a risk analysis prepared for the Guardian.

In 30 years, the grounds of Mar-a-Lago could be under at least a foot of water for 210 days a year because of tidal flooding along the intracoastal water way, with the water rising past some of the cottages and bungalows, the analysis by Coastal Risk Consulting found.

Trump’s insouciance in the face of overwhelming scientific evidence of climate change – even lapping up on his own doorstep – makes him something of an outlier in south Florida, where mayors are actively preparing for a future under climate change.

Trump, who backed climate action in 2009 but now describes climate change as “bullshit”, is also out of step with the US and other governments’ efforts to turn emissions-cutting pledges into concrete actions in the wake of the Paris climate agreement. Trump has threatened to pull the US out of the agreement.

And the presidential contender’s posturing about climate denial may further alienate the Republican candidate from younger voters and minority voters in this election who see climate change as a gathering danger.

(click here to continue reading Water world: rising tides close in on Trump, the climate change denier | US news | The Guardian.)

Until next time…

Written by Seth Anderson

July 7th, 2016 at 8:48 am

Trump Running For President Like He Ran DJT – Into the Ground

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Pope Doesn't Want to Wear Her Make Donald Drumpf Again Hat for some reason

 

Poorly, in other words, for everyone except Trump.

Reading between the lines, sounds as if Donald Trump is flailing. The GOP could call his bluff, and let Trump twist in the wind a bit. Trump may be rich, but he’s no billionaire, hence he needs the GOP to make it rain.

Frustrated by flagging donations and criticism from GOP leaders on Capitol Hill, Donald Trump said on Tuesday that he “may go a different route” in funding his general election campaign if need be.

“I need support from the Republicans,” Trump said on “Fox and Friends,” noting that some in the party, including Republican National Committee officials, have “been terrific.”

“But it would be nice to have full support from people that are in office, I mean full verbal support,” he said. “Now with all that being said I may go a different route if those things don’t happen.”

“I can just spend my own money,” he said, likening the strategy to the one he used in the primaries. “I have a lot of cash. So I can do like I did with the others, just spend money on myself and go happily along and I think I’d win that way. There are many people who think I’d do better that way by being a little bit of the insurgent, the outsider and you know not working along. But I want to work along because the RNC has been terrific, Reince Priebus has been terrific and it’s all coming together.”

(click here to continue reading Trump: If GOP Doesn’t Support Me, Fine, ‘I Have A Lot Of Cash’.)

Will the RNC fund him? I wonder. One the one hand, if Trump gets beaten badly by Clinton, the GOP might lose the Senate and even the House, but on the other hand, Trump…

The reasons are many, Trump is horrible with money; a crappy businessman, and stingy with his own money, but the bottom line is that either he needs to sell a building or two, if possible, or set up a Kickstarter…

I Heard You Trying Not To Cry
I Heard You Trying Not To Cry

Donald Trump loves to talk about how rich he is. But according to the latest campaign-finance report, his presidential bid is very, very poor. In the month after clinching his party’s nomination, the “billionaire” businessman raised just $3.1 million and has loaned his campaign $2.2 million, according to Federal Election Commission filings. The campaign has also spent hundreds of thousands of dollars at Trump’s own businesses, on products branded with his name and in direct payments to members of his family. His cash on hand is a paltry $1.3 million. That stands in stark contrast to the Clinton campaign, which announced a haul of nearly $26.4 million. Her cash on hand rang in at $42 million. Even Bernie Sanders, whose campaign is all but over, ended the month with $9.2 million cash on hand—seven times more than Trump—after raising $15.6 million in May. In fact, former candidates Ted Cruz and Ben Carson still have more cash on hand, as do House members running for re-election, including Peter King, Joe Kennedy, and Lee Zeldin.

(click here to continue reading Trump’s Campaign Is So Broke It Couldn’t Afford a Condo in Trump Tower – The Daily Beast.)

Just Around The Turn
Just Around The Turn

Trump’s one publicly traded company, i.e., the only company of his with financials that outsiders can examine, did horribly, and lost money for everyone except the Trump clan.

Drew Harwell reports:

It was promoted as the chance of a lifetime: Mom-and-pop investors could buy shares in celebrity businessman Donald Trump’s first public company, Trump Hotels and Casino Resorts.

Their investments were quickly depleted. The company known by Trump’s initials, DJT, crumbled into a penny stock and filed for bankruptcy after less than a decade, costing shareholders millions of dollars, even as other casino companies soared.

In its short life, Trump the company greatly enriched Trump the businessman, paying to have his personal jet piloted and buying heaps of Trump-brand merchandise. Despite losing money every year under Trump’s leadership, the company paid Trump handsomely, including a $5 million bonus in the year the company’s stock plummeted 70 percent.

Many of those who lost money were Main Street shareholders who believed in the Trump brand, such as Sebastian Pignatello, a retired private investor in Queens. By the time of the 2004 bankruptcy, Pignatello’s 150,000 shares were worth pennies on the dollar.

“He had been pillaging the company all along,” said Pignatello, who joined shareholders in a lawsuit against Trump that has since been settled. “Even his business allies, they were all fair game. He has no qualms about screwing anybody. That’s what he does.”

(click here to continue reading As its stock collapsed, Trump’s firm gave him huge bonuses and paid for his jet – The Washington Post.)

Trump is used to running his business deals like a tin-pot dictator, siphoning funds off the top and letting everyone else pick up the expenses. So there is no surprise his presidential campaign is exactly the same model. 

Trump campaign expenses in May, per @FEC report:

Hats: $208k

Online advertising: $115k

Data management: $48k

Communications consulting: $38k

(click here to continue reading Kenneth P. Vogel on Twitter: “Trump campaign expenses in May, per @FEC report: Hats: $208k Online advertising: $115k Data management: $48k Communications consulting: $38k”.)

and:

Recipients of payments from Trump campaign with “Trump” in name, through May 31. Doesn’t include Mar-a-Lago/planes.

Trump expenses
Trump expenses.jpg

(click here to continue reading Derek Willis on Twitter: “Recipients of payments from Trump campaign with “Trump” in name, through May 31. Doesn’t include Mar-a-Lago/planes. https://t.co/JF6skaWYGF”.)

Written by Seth Anderson

June 21st, 2016 at 10:14 am

Posted in politics

Tagged with , ,

Donald Trump Is Too Lazy to Be a Successful Fascist

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That Horse Is Long Gone
That Horse Is Long Gone

Fun line from a Frank Rich column about how far the GOP elite is out of touch with its voters, hence Trump’s sweep of the primaries, and how Ronald Reagan was no hero of the GOP elite either, up until he won: Donald Trump is too easily distracted to be successful fascist.

But there’s little evidence that many grassroots Republicans now give a damn what any Bush has to say about Trump or much else.

The only conservative columnist who seems to recognize this reality remains Peggy Noonan, who worked in the Reagan White House. As she pointed out in Wall Street Journal columns this spring, conservatism as “defined the past 15 years by Washington writers and thinkers” (i.e., since George W. Bush’s first inauguration) — “a neoconservative, functionally open borders, slash-the-entitlements party” — appears no longer to have any market in the Republican base. A telling poll by Public Policy Polling published in mid-May confirmed that the current GOP Washington leadership is not much more popular than the departed John Boehner and Eric Cantor: Only 40 percent of Republicans approve of the job performance of Paul Ryan, the Establishment wonder boy whose conservative catechism Noonan summarized, while 44 percent disapprove. Only 14 percent of Republicans approve of Mitch McConnell. This is Trump’s party now, and it was so well before he got there. It’s the populist-white-conservative party that Goldwater and Reagan built, with a hefty intervening assist from Nixon’s southern strategy, not the atavistic country-club Republicanism whose few surviving vestiges had their last hurrahs in the administrations of Bush père and fils. The third wave of the Reagan Revolution is here to stay.

Were Trump to gain entry to the White House, it’s impossible to say whether he would or could follow Reagan’s example and function within the political norms of Washington. His burlesque efforts to appear “presidential” are intended to make that case: His constant promise to practice “the art of the deal” echoes Reagan’s campaign boast of having forged compromises with California’s Democratic legislature while governor. More likely a Trump presidency would be the train wreck largely predicted, an amalgam of the blunderbuss shoot-from-the-hip recklessness of George W. Bush and the randy corruption of Warren Harding, both of whom were easily manipulated by their own top brass. The love child of Hitler and Mussolini Trump is not. He lacks the discipline and zeal to be a successful fascist.

The good news for those who look with understandable horror on the prospect of a Trump victory is that the national demographic math is different now from Reagan’s day. The nonwhite electorate, only 12 percent in 1980, was 28 percent in 2012 and could hit 30 percent this year. Few number crunchers buy the Trump camp’s spin that the GOP can reclaim solidly Democratic territory like Pennsylvania and Michigan — states where many white working-class voters, soon to be christened “Reagan Democrats,” crossed over to vote Republican in Reagan’s 1984 landslide. Many of those voters are dead; their epicenter, Macomb County, Michigan, was won by Barack Obama in 2008. Nor is there now the ’70s level of discontent that gave oxygen to Reagan’s insurgency. President Obama’s approval numbers are lapping above 50 percent. Both unemployment and gas prices are low, hardly the dire straits of Carter’s America. Trump’s gift for repelling women would also seem to be an asset for Democrats, creating a gender gap far exceeding the one that confronted Reagan, who was hostile to the Equal Rights Amendment.

(click here to continue reading Ronald Reagan Was Once Donald Trump — NYMag.)

Written by Seth Anderson

June 18th, 2016 at 2:04 pm

Posted in politics

Tagged with ,

The Paul Ryan Delusion

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Bedtime Story - drawing by Barry Blitt
Paul Ryan reads a Bedtime Story – drawing by Barry Blitt

Paul Ryan and other believers in Republican orthodoxy, ie, faith in the Laffer Curve, Supply Side economics, tax cuts for rich, expansion of military, ad nauseam, seem to be deluded about many things1 but the most amusing is their belief that they will be able to tame Donald Trump. Good luck with that buddy. 

Ryan Lizza writes, in part:

There are essentially two Republican parties right now: the Party of Donald J. Trump and the Party of House Speaker Paul Ryan—who has, nonetheless, endorsed Trump for President. One of the ways in which members of the Ryan faction delude themselves is by believing that Ryan’s policies would dominate if Trump were President and Ryan remained Speaker of the House.

As with Ryan’s optimistic predictions about House Republican unity, there is no reason to believe that a future Republican President would share the House G.O.P.’s view of Congress’s role. But it’s an especially absurd assumption when it comes to Trump, who has displayed authoritarian instincts and has argued that he will exceed Obama in using the powers of the executive branch.

More important, Trump’s agenda is not Ryan’s. The Speaker has been regularly unveiling policy reports on the Republican House agenda, and Trump, who seems oblivious to the Ryan project, has been shredding the ideas with his public comments. Two weeks ago, Trump argued that Gonzalo Curiel, a federal judge, couldn’t do his job because his parents were born in Mexico. A few days later, Ryan was scheduled to speak in a predominantly black neighborhood in Washington, D.C., about his new and much-touted policy proposals to address poverty. He ended up using the event to describe Trump’s claims about Curiel as “the textbook definition of a racist comment.” He immediately added, though, that he was still supporting him for President, in part because he thought that Hillary Clinton was worse.

(click here to continue reading The Paul Ryan Delusion – The New Yorker.)

Hillary worse? Really? Really? That’s the reason you support the regurgitated Cheeto false-god? Talk about choosing party over country.

Footnotes:
  1. that the country shares their corporate tax-cut fetishes, for one []

Written by Seth Anderson

June 17th, 2016 at 2:07 pm

Posted in politics

Tagged with , , ,

Trump Likes To Keep A Fat Guy Around

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Fat Blak n Happy
Fat Blak n Happy

Donald Trump likes to keep one fat guy around. Seems legit

There was a fat contestant who was a buffoon and a fuckup,” recalls the midlevel producer. “And he would fuck up week after week, and the producers would figure that he’d screwed up so badly that Trump would have to fire him. But Trump kept deciding to fire someone else. The producers had to scramble because of course Trump can never be seen to make a bad call on the show, so we had to re-engineer the footage to make a different contestant look bad. Later, I heard a producer talk to him, and Trump said, ‘Everybody loves a fat guy. People will watch if you have a funny fat guy around. Trust me, it’s good for ratings.’ I look at Chris Christie now and I swear that’s what’s happening.”

(click here to continue reading Apprentice crew members on their old boss, Donald Trump..)

Written by Seth Anderson

June 16th, 2016 at 8:52 pm

Posted in News-esque

Tagged with , ,

Chris Christie Fetches Donald Trump’s Burger and Fries

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Watch it Rot - from October 2006
Watch it Rot – a McDonald’s hamburger from October 2006, a metaphor of course.

OMG, I would love to see this clip. I wonder what the good citizens of New Jersey think about it? Are they happy that Governor Christie is busying himself with other, important matters like waiting for Donald Trump to pat him on the head? Or do they wish he was still doing the job he is currently being paid to do?

Governor Chris Christie, of New Jersey, another of Trump’s opponents early in the campaign, has transformed himself into a sort of manservant, who is constantly with Trump at events. (One Republican told me that a friend of his on the Trump campaign used Snapchat to send him a video of Christie fetching Trump’s McDonald’s order1 .)

(click here to continue reading Occupied Territory – The New Yorker.)

Did Governor Christie sneak some fries? Good lord, how the self-righteous have fallen…

Footnotes:
  1. *Christie’s office denies this account. []

Written by Seth Anderson

June 15th, 2016 at 8:18 pm

Posted in humor,politics

Tagged with ,

Donald Trump Is The GOP’s Standard Bearer

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Washing the Trump
Washing the Trump

Paul Krugman asks a question I’ve been asking for a while: why did the “Deep Bench” of 2016 Republican presidential candidates do such a collectively horrible job vetting Donald Trump? Did none of the Deep Bench staffs include an opposition research team?

This is not a column about Donald Trump.

It’s not about the fraudulent scheme that was Trump University. It’s not about his history of failing to pay contractors, leading to hundreds of legal actions. It’s not about how he personally profited while running his casinos into the ground. It’s not even concerned with persistent questions about whether he is nearly as rich as he claims to be, and whether he’s ever done more than live off capital gains on his inheritance.

No, my question, as Democrats gleefully tear into the Trump business record, is why rival Republicans never did the same. How did someone who looks so much like a cheap con man bulldoze right through the G.O.P. nomination process?

I mean, it’s not as if any of this dirt was deeply hidden. The Trump U. story was out there long before it became the big deal it is today. It took some real reporting to flesh out the details of Mr. Trump’s other business practices, but we’re talking about ordinary if skillful journalistic legwork, not revelations from Deep Throat.

So why didn’t any of Mr. Trump’s primary opponents manage to make an issue of his sleazy business career? Were they just incompetent, or is there something structural about the modern Republican Party that makes it unable to confront grifters?

(click here to continue reading A Party Agrift – The New York Times.)

Sarah Palin, and her crew, Glenn Beck selling gold shares and end-of-times survival gear, Ron Paul selling his “curriculum”, Paul Ryan’s mission

to repeal the so-called “fiduciary rule” for retirement advisers, a new rule requiring that they serve the interests of their clients, and not receive kickbacks for steering them into bad investments.

You get the idea, Donald Trump is just another GOP snake-oil salesman, one of many. I guess the Republican party does have a deep bench of grifters and con artists.

Medicine is sometimes Not Enough
Medicine is sometimes Not Enough

Really, the main premise of the modern conservative party is that Supply Side Economics is valid – cutting taxes for the wealthy is going to start trickling down krugerands for the rest of us, any day now! Just look to Governor Brownback’s Kansas. So if your political party insists the Laffer Curve is science, and simultaneously claims the earth is but 6,000 years old, is it any wonder that Donald Trump will win primary voters?

Or as Krugman puts it:

Then there’s the issue of ideology. If your fundamental premise is that the profit motive is always good and government is the root of all evil, if you treat any suggestion that, say, some bankers misbehaved in the run-up to the financial crisis as proof that the speaker is anti-business if not a full-blown socialist, how can you condemn anyone’s business practices?

In the months ahead Republicans will claim that there are equivalent scandals on the Democratic side, but nothing they’ve managed to come up with rises remotely to the level of even one of the many Trump scams in the news. They’ll also claim that Mr. Trump doesn’t reflect their party’s values. But the truth is that in a very deep sense he does. And that’s why they couldn’t stop him.

(click here to continue reading A Party Agrift – The New York Times.)

Written by Seth Anderson

June 14th, 2016 at 9:39 am

Posted in politics

Tagged with , ,

Trump panic on the right

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Face in a Crowd
Face in a Crowd…

Expanding on the point I made yesterday, Digby writes:1

It seems odd that after an overwhelming litany of crude, demagogic insults over the course of the last year, Republican leaders have suddenly recognized that Donald Trump is a racist whose reckless rhetoric is likely to destroy the Republican Party. Evidently, the “Mexicans are rapists” comments in his announcement speech a year ago didn’t ring any alarm bells. But better late than never. Party leaders Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan both decided they needed to denounce his blatant bigotry although they made clear it wasn’t a deal breaker. Better an unfit, racist, authoritarian megalomaniac than a Democrat in the White House. You go to Hades with the devil you have not the devil you wished you have.

There have been a few prominent Republicans who have publicly withdrawn their endorsements.  Senator Mark Kirk said he could no longer support Trump because he doesn’t have the temperament to be commander in chief. This has also been obvious for the last 12 months but again, it’s to his credit that he’s belatedly decided that it’s a disqualifying characteristic. He’s decided to write-in the name of General David Petraeus which he may want to re-think considering the news this week that Petraeus was not only found guilty of “mishandling” classified information by sharing it with his mistress, he also shared Top Secret information with reporters. It’s really tough finding a decent Republican to vote for these days.

(click here to continue reading Trump panic on the right: They’ve created this monster — and some are getting more desperate to find a way out – Salon.com.)

No Alien is Illegal
No Alien is Illegal

The GOP were fine with Trump up until very recently, and if you examine their various statements, very few are going as far as saying Trump shouldn’t be the GOP standard-bearer, they just want him to tone down his language a bit so as to not rile up the rubes and television bloviators. Not his ideas, not his actions, just his language describing GOP shibboleths like we must be very, very afraid of undocumented Mexicans pouring over the border by the millions, and other fact-free positions.

Or else what?

The problem with this scenario is that these elite Republicans are failing to take something very important into consideration: their voters. It’s certainly possible that they are in danger of losing some faction of the party over Trump’s repugnant behavior. But there is little reason to believe it’s a majority. This week, millions of them went to the polls and voted for him even though he had already won the nomination. Granted, he’s not the electoral juggernaut he pretends to be, but he is the legitimate winner of the Republican nomination and his voters will not take kindly to having their wishes ignored.

Moreover, the Republican rank and file doesn’t agree with the premise that Trump is out of bounds in the first place. This YouGov survey done after Trump made his bigoted comments about the judge show 81% of Democrats and 44% of independents believe they were racist. But only only 22% of Republicans agree. In other words, 78% of GOP voters are just fine with Trump and seem to agree with his statement that  “people are tired of this political correctness when things are said that are totally fine.”

(click here to continue reading Trump panic on the right: They’ve created this monster — and some are getting more desperate to find a way out – Salon.com.)

Footnotes:
  1. and I’m in no way claiming she reads this blog, because why would she? Simply that we had the same reaction to recent political news []

Written by Seth Anderson

June 9th, 2016 at 9:01 am

Posted in politics

Tagged with ,

Trump Is The GOP

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https://farm8.static.flickr.com/7374/26796617234_e4a55d0b94.jpg

Amusing, in an odd way, how many Republican leaders decry Trump’s blatant racism, sexism, nativism, whatever-ism, yet make sure to mention that Hillary is somehow worse, without explaining why. Profiles in courage, 2016 edition. I may be unenthusiastic about Ms. Clinton, but she isn’t a racist bully with tiny hands and a tiny brain. The truth is Donald Trump is only saying what the rest of the GOP says and thinks, only louder, and with less big words. The Combover Caligula is the GOP.1

Some Republicans, including Ryan, employed the “Trump is still better than Hillary Clinton” defense. Several asserted that Trump “isn’t racist in his heart” line or variations on that theme. Still others refused to comment or grew angry when pressed to comment on the GOP presidential hopeful.

McConnell was asked every which way about Trump’s comments at his weekly Q&A with reporters, as his leadership team tried in vain to talk about national security and a defense bill pending on the Senate floor. The Kentucky Republican faced not a single question about his plans to pass annual spending bills or to overhaul the Senate and make it a better-functioning body.

Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-N.Y.) went on CNN to discuss Trump and ended up calling President Barack Obama a racist. “You can easily argue the president of the United States is a racist with his policies and rhetoric,” Zeldin claimed. Zeldin later added that “my purpose here isn’t to just go through the list and call everyone a racist.”

When asked later for details on Obama’s allegedy racist policies or rhetoric, Zeldin apologized to Obama.

“I abhor racism in any form and it has no place in our country,” Zeldin said in a statement. “I was disappointed and disagree with Donald Trump’s statement.”

Zeldin added: “With that being said, I apologize to anyone who interpreted my comments as calling the president a racist. I am not calling the president a racist.”

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), an unabashed Trump critic, said the issue isn’t so much Trump as the future of the GOP. Backing Trump just because he’s the Republican nominee doesn’t cut it, Graham said.

“There are a lot of people who want to be loyal to the Republican Party, including me,” Graham told MSNBC. “But there’ll come a point in time where we’re gonna have to understand that it’s not just about the 2016 race, it’s about the future of the party. And I would like to support our nominee; I just can’t.”

(click here to continue reading Trump ‘racism’ frenzy engulfs Hill Republicans – POLITICO.)

The one-term Senator from Illinois, Mark Kirk couldn’t quite square the circle, at the moment anyway. Come November, I’m sure he’ll be sure to support the GOP’s nominee:

Republican Sen. Mark Kirk said Tuesday that Donald Trump “does not have the temperament” to hold the job of president, saying he “cannot and will not support” the presumptive GOP presidential nominee.

It was sharp criticism from an incumbent who had previously insisted he would support the GOP nominee. The Illinois Republican, who faces a tough challenge this November from Illinois Democratic Rep. Tammy Duckworth, tweeted Tuesday that based on his background in the military, he does not have faith in Trump to lead. “Given my military experience, Donald Trump does not have the temperament to command our military or our nuclear arsenal,” Kirk wrote. Given my military experience, Donald Trump does not have the temperament to command our military or our nuclear arsenal.

— Mark Kirk (@MarkKirk) June 7, 2016 Kirk, who told CNN that he would write in former CIA director David Petraeus this fall, followed up with a statement saying he objects to Trump’s recent comments about a federal judge’s Mexican heritage.

(click here to continue reading GOP Sen. Mark Kirk: I cannot support Donald Trump – CNNPolitics.com.)

Yeah, David Petraeus, the narcissist who couldn’t keep from telling his mistress national secrets, that guy is apparently the sort of GOP leader Senator Kirk endorses. Slightly better than Trump, sure, but not by much.

https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7005/27010093932_b84ee2a0ba_z.jpg
 Frank Rich writes:

I doubt we’ll see much more than tiny pockets of Clinton support among the powers that be in the GOP. It has been astonishing to watch one Republican leader after another call out Trump’s racism this week and yet say they still support him because they hate Hillary more. Keep in mind that these are some of the same so-called leaders — typified by Paul Ryan — who were in a tizzy months ago when Trump didn’t immediately disavow David Duke and the Ku Klux Klan. They are the same leaders who had to wait several days to see which way the political winds were blowing before they called for the Confederate flag to come down in the aftermath of the Charleston church massacre. You have to wonder: Do Ryan, Mitch McConnell, Reince Priebus, et al, have even a single testicle among them? It doesn’t seem that way. McConnell’s cowardly strategy for criticizing Trump, for instance, was to demand that he “get on message.” What the hell does that mean? Trump is on message: It’s the nativist, birther message that the GOP has embraced throughout the Obama era, and that John McCain (who also continues to endorse Trump) legitimized by putting Sarah Palin on his ticket eight years ago. Trump’s misogyny is also consistent with a party whose favored Establishment candidate this year, Rubio, opposed abortions for victims of rape and incest. It may be only a matter of days before Trump declares that his idea of an impartial judge is Aaron Persky, who presided over the Brock Turner rape case.

But we are beginning to see a few signs of panic, if not courage, among GOP elites this week. They are starting to remember history. The Republican Party lost African-American voters in seeming perpetuity from the moment it nominated an opponent of the Civil Rights Act, Barry Goldwater, for the presidency in 1964. In the 1990s, the GOP lost California — once Ronald Reagan’s secure domain — after the Republican governor Pete Wilson unleashed the forces of bigotry on Hispanics by campaigning for Proposition 187, a punitive strike against undocumented immigrants. It’s finally beginning to dawn on the party elites that, yes, Trump could drive away America’s fastest-growing demographic group for as many decades as Goldwater drove away black people. Trump could turn red states blue just as Wilson did in California.

(click here to continue reading Hillary’s Anti-Trump Strategy Comes Into View — NYMag.)

The Sooner You Can Leave
The Sooner You Can Leave

and Charles Pierces adds:

The gang over at Tiger Beat On The Potomac has put together a helpful list of the most perfect political cowards in the United States Senate—that is, those Distinguished Gentlemen From Wherever who deplore what He, Trump has been saying about the nation’s judges in general, and Judge Gonzalo Curiel in particular, but who likely will support the presumptive Republican nominee anyway

It is here where we point out that Republicans have been holding up Zika funding in the Congress because the Republicans in the House of Representatives are completely insane, and beyond anyone’s control, and perfectly representative of the forces that produced the presidential nominee who makes Burr and Cornyn and the rest of them so uncomfortable.

For their part, of course, these same jamokes in the upper chamber are keeping the Supreme Court playing shorthanded because they don’t like the twice-elected president of the United States and are content to hold one seat on the bench open to be filled by the guy about whom they’d rather not talk.

Incoherence as a strategy does not seem like a plan.

(click here to continue reading Republicans in Congress Outraged by Trump, Will Vote for Him.)

Footnotes:
  1. BTW, I didn’t come up with that term, but forget where I first read it []

Written by Seth Anderson

June 8th, 2016 at 1:33 pm

Posted in politics

Tagged with , ,

Shady accounting underpins Donald Trump’s wealth

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Make Sidewalks Great Again
Make Sidewalks Great Again

The forensic accountants digging into Trump’s alleged wealth is an intriguing 2016 story-line, I’m assuming Hillary Clinton’s people are working full time on the project.

Donald Trump claims a net worth of more than $10 billion and an income of $557 million. But he appears to get there only by overvaluing properties and ignoring his expenses.

POLITICO spoke with more than a dozen financial experts and Trump’s fellow multimillionaires about the presumptive Republican nominee’s latest financial statement. Their conclusion: The real estate magnate’s bottom line — what he actually puts in his own pocket — could be much lower than he suggests. Some financial analysts said this, and a very low tax rate, is why Trump won’t release his tax returns.

 

(click here to continue reading Shady accounting underpins Donald Trump’s wealth – POLITICO.)

Cash For Gold
Cash For Gold

An interesting subtext is how often anonymous quotes are used because even these Masters of the Universe types realize Trump has a thin skin, and a need to sue everyone who ever blinks at Trump wrong. Such as these courageous high-net worth individuals…

“I know Donald; I’ve known him a long time, and it gets under his skin if you start writing about the reasons he won’t disclose his returns,” said one prominent hedge fund manager who declined to be identified by name so as not to draw Trump’s ire. “You would see that he doesn’t have the money that he claims to have and he’s not paying much of anything in taxes.”

“If he is swimming in so much cash for all his holdings, why is he selling this stuff to raise cash?” asked another ultra-high-net-worth individual who also reviewed the filings and declined to be identified by name to avoid Trump’s wrath.

Written by Seth Anderson

June 4th, 2016 at 12:14 pm

Posted in politics

Tagged with ,

Thursday Leftovers – Plate 6

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Browser scraps your humble blogger was too damn lazy to make an entire blog post out of. Refund checks are in the mail, promise…

 

Drink Beer Like An Egyptian
Drink Beer Like An Egyptian

I saw the traveling King Tut exhibit in Toronto as a kid, still remember how awed I was. 

King Tut was buried with a dagger made of an iron that literally came from space, says a new study into the composition of the iron blade from the sarcophagus of the boy king.

Using non-invasive, portable X-ray fluorescence spectrometry, a team of Italian and Egyptian researchers confirmed that the iron of the dagger placed on the right thigh of King Tut’s mummified body a has meteoric origin.

The team, which include researchers from Milan Polytechnic, Pisa University and the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, detailed their results in the journal Meteoritics and Planetary Science.

(click here to continue reading King Tut’s Blade Made of Meteorite.)

Your Confidence Might Be Shattered
Your Confidence Might Be Shattered

Not at all surprised to find municipalities hiding their hands in the wet sand:

At least 33 cities across 17 US states have used water testing “cheats” that potentially conceal dangerous levels of lead, a Guardian investigation launched in the wake of the toxic water crisis in Flint, Michigan, has found.

Chicago residents take action to be rid of lead pipes as fear of toxic water grows Read more Of these cities, 21 used the same water testing methods that prompted criminal charges against three government employees in Flint over their role in one of the worst public health disasters in US history.

The crisis that gripped Flint is an extreme case where a cost-cutting decision to divert the city’s water supply to a polluted river was compounded by a poor testing regime and delays by environmental officials to respond to the health emergency.

The Guardian’s investigation demonstrates that similar testing regimes were in place in cities including Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia, Detroit and Milwaukee.

(click here to continue reading At least 33 US cities used water testing ‘cheats’ over lead concerns | Environment | The Guardian.)

Clown Runs For Prez (Trump)
Clown Runs For Prez (Trump)

Some Donald Trump supporters on 4chan–that time-honored bastion of gentility, courtesy, and sensibility– hatched a plan on the forum to use sockpuppet Twitter accounts to pit Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton supporters against one other. The plan had a slogan: “Let’s troll Bernie and Hillary supporters systematically.”

Their scheme didn’t really work, and has been removed from 4chan. But something like this could be effective in the future–and who knows, another instance of this same political game may be working elsewhere, undetected, right now.

(click here to continue reading “Let’s troll Bernie and Hillary supporters systematically,” said Trump fans on 4chan / Boing Boing.)

The Twelfth Player in Every Football Game
The Twelfth Player in Every Football Game

If there was a hell, Ken Starr should be burning in it soon

Today it was Ken Starr—yes, that Ken Starr—taking his turn with his version of the truth. On Thursday, the regents said they were keeping him on as chancellor and as a tenured professor at the law school. That news, like so much else of what Baylor has said, got the Baptist university bad press. Today, Starr told ESPN’s Joe Schad that he has decided to step down as chancellor but stay on at the law school. Starr said the move was “a matter of conscience.” (He didn’t point out that June 1 also has in the past been a key date for his contract.)

 …

At this point, Starr has decided he doesn’t even agree with the findings of fact released by the regents, which he can do because the finding of fact contained no facts.

Starr also has insisted that he had no idea there was a problem at Baylor until 2015, even though former Baylor football player Tevin Elliot was convicted of two counts of sexual assault in 2014. Several of his victims have spoken openly about how they reported their rapes to Baylor only to be met with indifference.

(click here to continue reading Baylor’s Ken Starr Is Full Of Shit.)

The Troubled Harpo Studios
The Troubled Harpo Studios

Oh, boy…

One of the world’s largest fast food chains, McDonald’s, is making plans to move to the former Harpo Studios campus in the West Loop, according to a report. 

According to Crain’s Chicago, McDonald’s is in advanced negotiations with West Loop-based developer Sterling Bay to move its headquarters to a more-than 300,000-square-foot building the developer plans to build on Randolph Street at the former Harpo Studios in Fulton Market.

McDonald’s corporate employees are now located at a campus in suburban Oak Brook. The company was poised to take over 350,000-square-feet at One Prudential Plaza downtown last year before backing out of the deal, according to Crain’s Chicago, and also has office space in River North.

 

(click here to continue reading McDonald’s Plans To Move Headquarters To Old Harpo Studios Lot: Report – West Loop – DNAinfo Chicago.)

Oh Narcissism - Up Yours
Oh Narcissism – Up Yours

Trump As Joker
Trump As Joker

Suckers are born every moment, and anyone who votes for Trump is one. The world hopes there aren’t enough suckers to put Trump in the White House.

Before Donald Trump was the Republican nomination for president, he charged thousands of dollars for an education at “Trump University,” promising to share the secrets of his real estate investing success.

The only problem: Trump University wasn’t anything close to a university. It was a multilevel marketing scheme.

Students were lured in with a free 90-minute seminar. Trump University promised that the real insider knowledge, and even access to Trump himself, could be theirs if they could just commit to the next level of classes.

Representatives urged prospective students to charge the fees to their credit cards if they needed to, according to court documents — and promised that a few more thousand dollars would change their lives.

Instead, those students sued, saying Trump and his eponymous university defrauded them. The case has its final pretrial conference in May. When it goes to trial, Trump will almost certainly have to testify.

(click here to continue reading Trump University, explained – Vox.)

Starbucks Elevators
Starbucks Elevators

Not only are bookings at Trump Hotels way down, but there are also petitions for businesses to break ties with Trump. Like Starbucks:

Starbucks has suddenly found itself on the unfamiliar side of social activism: A petition is circulating online that demands the coffee chain, arguably among America’s most overtly political corporations, terminate any and all leases it holds on properties owned by Donald Trump. It’s racked up 7,000 supporters in less than a day and, at last glance, had already stretched that goal to 8,000.

On the page for the petition, posted to activist-networking site Care2, creator Kyle Brooks tries to clue CEO Howard Schultz and the rest of the company in to the paradox he sees:

Starbucks is a bold company that values belonging, inclusion, and diversity. They have continuously stood beside the LGBT community, African-Americans, and other minority communities. Unfortunately, Starbucks still has a business partner with a man who has called Mexicans rapists, stereotyped the Muslim community as terrorists, and disgraces women.

(click here to continue reading Petition Demands Starbucks Leave Trump Buildings — Grub Street.)

More Trumpyness:

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has taken out 16 loans from 11 different lenders, totaling at least $335 million, according to a Mother Jones analysis of Trump’s financial disclosure form.

His favorite lender, according to the forms, was Deutsche Bank, a major German institution with American subsidiaries that attempted to dodge new regulations instituted by the Dodd-Frank Act.

Deutsche Bank lent Trump at least $295 million between two major projects of his, Trump National Doral golf course and Trump’s hotel on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, DC. Trump also has two outstanding loans worth at least $50 million from the German bank.

While this country has had wealthy presidents, none have been so deeply in debt as Trump. How much pressure could an institution like Deutsche Bank, upon which a sizable portion of Trump’s wealth is dependent, pile on the Republican nominee should he become president?

“They weren’t in a situation where someone could put pressure on them to do what they want,” said Richard Painter, who was the chief ethics lawyer for President George W. Bush from 2005 to 2007, to Mother Jones. “Whereas having a president who owes a lot of money to banks, particularly when it’s on negotiable terms—it puts them at the mercy of the banks and the banks are at the mercy of regulators.”

(click here to continue reading Trump Owes At Least $100 Million To Bank That Tried To Skirt Dodd-Frank.)

Written by Seth Anderson

June 2nd, 2016 at 12:57 pm

Posted in Links

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