Friday, December 30, 2016

Mystery Science Theater Revival League T-Shirt


[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="2335.0"] Back of shirt, just below the collar Back of shirt, just below the collar [/caption]

My Mystery Science Theater 3000 Revival League T-shirt arrived today, and I am very pleased with the results. This is not an overly fancy, better keep it in a drawer kind of a t-shirt. No, this is the perfect shirt to wear everywhere. I think I have a dozen or more other things from the Backerkit folks on the way, not the least of which are my Blu-Rays of the new episodes. 


Thursday, December 29, 2016

Scenes From the Failure of the American Media Complex

There is nothing to see here, so just move along:

Many Americans believe a lot of dumb, crazy, destructive, provably wrong stuff. Lately this is especially (though not exclusively) true of Donald Trump voters, according to a new survey.

The survey, from the Economist/YouGov, was conducted in mid-December, and it finds that willingness to believe a given conspiracy theory is (surprise!) strongly related to whether that conspiracy theory supports one’s political preferences.

Remember Pizzagate? That’s the bizarre theory that Hillary Clinton was helping run a child sex slave ring out of a D.C. pizza joint, as allegedly proven by code words in hacked Democratic emails.

Lest you think this theory was espoused by only a handful of Internet nutjobs, observe that nearly half of Trump voters believe it’s true. This result is based on a poll conducted after a North Carolina man burst into the restaurant with an assault-style rifle, leaving only when he was satisfied that no child sex-slaves were harbored there.

What is the dumb, crazy thing that liberals believe? That tax cuts for the wealthy will create jobs and lower the deficit? That a man who owes $500 million dollars to a foreign bank has no conflict of interest? That grabbing her by the pussy is probably illegal?

When we get to the other side of all of this, in five to ten years, perhaps more, you will see a collective denial of being complicit in what's happened. You will see the same talking heads, the same media personalities, the same pundits, and all of them will forget why they were so completely and utterly wrong about everything. It will be "impolite" to point out that they failed to stop Trumpism, that they failed to notice the creeping authoritarianism now evident in our politics, and it will be "shrill" to note that they were a witness to crimes against humanity. Our failure to stop what's happened is going to haunt the American people for the rest of this century. 

The fact that people believe nutty bullshit is only mostly the fault of the media. Behind the scenes, a handful of people have made money spreading lies. We'll forget them, too.

The Watergate scandal would never play out today. Both sides have issues, you see, and basic facts mean nothing. You can catch someone red-handed doing something criminal and there will be an active disinformation campaign carried out that will tell you that what you see with your own two eyes is a lie and a distortion created by liberal bias. This is the age of stealing what isn't nailed down, so get yours before they start paying attention to facts again.

Absolute, verifiable facts that can be proven matter. To catch criminals, you need evidence that will play well on television. You need a healthy, skeptical media for those criminals to work against, and you need people with the skills and the hustle needed to fight criminal activity. Where did those people go and why don't we have anyone doing this anymore? Someone on the left should give Josh Marshall a half of a billion dollars to build a new media outlet and the infrastructure necessary to expose the criminal activities that will commence on January 20. Even that might not be enough.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Republicans Love it When Children Starve

In the next few months, there will be serious threats to the SNAP program. Consider this one of many stories that will mislead people into thinking there's a "huge" problem:

Food stamp fraud is at an all-time high, with cases this year including a state lawmaker and even a millionaire.

According to the USDA, $70 million of taxpayer money was wasted in 2016 due to food stamp fraud.

The US Department of Agriculture works very hard at reducing fraud and actively uses investigators to weed out bad actors. This is exactly what you will never see when someone goes on television and starts talking out of their ass about how "awful" things are:

USDA is working on behalf of American taxpayers to protect the Federal investment in SNAP and make sure the program is targeted towards those families who need it the most. To further this effort, USDA focuses on three key areas of oversight:

Reducing Improper Payments and Errors

USDA works to make sure that only those families who are actually eligible for the program participate, and that the correct amount of benefits is provided to them. Over the past decade, USDA has made major strides to improve the accuracy of SNAP's eligibility determination and benefit payment systems.

SNAP's Quality Control (QC) system earns a solid "A" grade. Over 99 percent of those receiving SNAP benefits are eligible and payment accuracy was 96.20 percent in 2011 --a historic high.

Reducing errors saves valuable resources. Payment errors are less than half what they were 10 years ago, which has reduced improper payments by $3.67 billion in 2011.

Stronger Rules. USDA publishing a final rule in August 2012 that requires States to cross check against the Social Security Master Death File, Social Security’s Prisoner Verification System, and FNS’s Electronic Disqualified Recipient System, prior to certifying individuals for the program, to ensure that no ineligible people receive benefits.

Pursuing Recipient Fraud

While it occurs relatively infrequently, USDA recognizes that program fraud undermines public confidence in government and the program. This jeopardizes the ability of SNAP to serve over 20 million struggling families who currently need it the most. USDA works through our state partners to investigate recipient fraud and hold bad actors accountable. Recipients who purposely commit fraud to get benefits are subject to disqualification.

Fraud investigations yield results for taxpayers. In fiscal year 2011, States completed nearly 798,000 fraud investigations, resulting in over 46,000 disqualified individuals and collection of over $72 million in fraud claims.

The Federal government has collected nearly than $1.6 billion in delinquent SNAP recipient claims since 1992 through the Treasury Offset Program.

USDA Aggressively Combats New Fraud Schemes. In February 2013, USDA published a final rule to update the definition of trafficking, which previously was limited only to the exchange of SNAP benefits for cash, to include new schemes, such as the purchase of containers with benefits in order to discard the contents and obtain the cash return deposit. Furthermore, USDA is working towards finalizing a rule, published as proposed in May 2012, to provide States with the option to require contact from households with unexplained multiple SNAP EBT card replacement requests.

USDA Does Not Tolerate Attempts to Use Social Media to Facilitate Fraud. USDA is working towards finalizing a rule to clarify existing policy that the intent to buy or sell SNAP benefits, in public or online through the use of social media websites, is a program violation. USDA has provided States with technical assistance on how to monitor social media websites, such as Craig’s List, for attempts to buy or sell benefits. Furthermore, USDA has reached out to web sites for their assistance in helping to prevent program fraud.

Combating Abuse and Misuse of Benefits

The sale/purchase of SNAP benefits for cash is called trafficking, an illegal activity punishable by criminal prosecution. Over the last 15 years, USDA has aggressively implemented a number of measures to reduce the prevalence of trafficking in SNAP from 4 percent down to its current level of 1 percent. USDA also continues to work closely with its state, federal, and retailer partners to investigate and prosecute trafficking.

Trafficking is not tolerated. In FY 2012, over 100 FNS analysts and investigators around the country reviewed over 15,000 stores and conducted nearly 4,500 undercover investigations.

Bad actors are removed from the program. Over the last 10 years, over 8,300 retail stores were permanently disqualified due to trafficking.

Stronger Penalties. USDA has issued preparing proposed rules strengthening sanctions and penalties for retailers, and providing for the suspension of redemption payments for particularly egregious traffickers.

Further Investigation of Suspicious Transactions. USDA provides information to States partners about program recipients with suspicious transactions at firms known to be trafficking for further investigation.

Expectations and Support for States. USDA has distributed policy guidance and notices to State leadership regarding expectations that States take action against recipient trafficking and has encouraged them to use tools provided by USDA to combat this kind of fraud.

Pursuing Retailer Fraud

There are rare instances in which retailers submit fraudulent applications to redeem SNAP benefits at a location where their authorization was previously revoked. Such behavior is not tolerated.

Strengthening the Authorization Review Process. USDA is increasing documentation requirements to verify identity and assure business integrity as well as researching high-risk stores using tax and business databases. High-risk stores are those located at the site of a previous disqualification.

Criminal Penalties for Falsification. Stores that falsify information will be charged, disqualified and may be liable for a $10,000 fine or imprisonment for as long as 5 years or both. 

Established New Reauthorization Timeframes. USDA changed the timeframes for reauthorization of stores at locations where a prior owner was previously disqualified from once every 5 years to annual reauthorization. 

Did you see the part where, in one year, $72 million dollars was recovered? Are you ever going to see that in the context of a discussion about how the program loses tens of millions of dollars each year? Of course not. It costs the Federal Government around $71 billion dollars a year to provide SNAP benefits for millions of Americans, most of whom are children. And there's less than one percent of that being lost to "fraud" which, if I'm interpreting all of this correctly, the government works hard at recovering anyway.

So, you'll see on Fox News the line that SNAP fraud is at an all-time high--$70 million is lost! Oh no! But then you'll see that the USDA takes fraud very seriously and has rooted out a lot of it already and actively recovers millions each year. And then you see the full context of the program--out of over $70 billion spent, less than one percent of that money has been lost to fraud and that's just temporary until the investigators catch up to the crooks and put them out of business.

Meanwhile, tens of millions of Americans are fed each year. Grocery stores in urban areas are kept in business. Compared to the money wasted by the Pentagon, what are we even talking about?

Oh, that's right. Sticking it to poor people. That's what all of this is about. All of those poor kids being fed means nothing to the conservative media, which is overwhelmingly anti-abortion but pro starvation.

UPDATE: The USDA says that the $70 million dollar figure from Fox News is wrong, and is asking for a correction. 

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Elkhart, Indiana is Full of Ungrateful People

I realize that I am violating two firmly held convictions. One, don't call an entire American city a haven for assholery. Two, stop talking about politics.

Despite the verifiable fact that Democratic policies helped the city of Elkhart, Indiana recover from economic catastrophe, the vast majority of the people who live there would rather vote directly against their own economic self-interests:

As people become increasingly loyal to their parties, they are unlikely to give leaders from the other party credit for much of anything positive. Both sides are instead more likely to believe narratives that suggest that the other party has only made things worse.

“People’s predispositions affect their factual beliefs about the world,” said Brendan Nyhan, a professor of government at Dartmouth College who has researched why people believe what they do about politics. “What we want to be true influences what we believe to be true.”

Indeed, as the economy began improving, Elkhart voters grew less likely to support  Democratic candidates for president. Obama won 44 percent of the vote in Elkhart County in 2008, 36 percent in 2012, and Clinton received just 31 percent in 2016.

Of course, there are many reasons why people in Elkhart might dislike Obama that have nothing to do with his role in the economy. Ed Neufeldt, whose daughter and two son-in-laws now work in the RV industry after losing their jobs in it during the recession, told me he thought Obama was responsible for improving the economy in Elkhart, but that he still didn’t like the president because of his stance on abortion.

And it could be, as my colleague Derek Thompson has argued, that a president doesn’t have that big of a role in growing the economy anyways. But I interviewed more than a dozen people in Elkhart about the economy and their political beliefs, and I was surprised to find a strong conviction among locals that the Obama administration played absolutely no role in Elkhart’s economic revival. Though people largely admitted that the city’s economy has vastly improved since 2009, only Neufeldt believed Obama had anything to do with that. Instead, the majority of people said they were waiting for Republicans to take over to see any meaningful change. They told me that the city has been revived not because of Obama’s bailout of the auto industry, which helped some RV suppliers, or his stimulus bill, which poured money into Indiana and other states across the Midwest. The economy might have improved, they said, but it did so despite who was in office nationally, not because of him.

Of course, race has nothing to do with this. And, of course, misinformation from the media has nothing to do with it as well. Tell me again why any Democrat should lift a finger to help any of these people ever again.

Monday, December 26, 2016

A New Version of Normal

It will soon be normal not to talk about inequality.

It will soon be hard to find stories like this because, well, that might make you think and vote.

It will soon be normal to see your kids do far less well than you did.

Enjoy the last vestiges of prosperity and peace because none of these problems are going to be solved anytime soon:

The gap between the "haves" and "have nots" is widening, according to the latest data out this week. 

The rich are money-making machines. Today, the top mega wealthy -- the top 1% -- earn an average of $1.3 million a year. It's more than three times as much as the 1980s, when the rich "only" made $428,000, on average, according to economists Thomas Piketty, Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman. 

Meanwhile, the bottom 50% of the American population earned an average of $16,000 in pre-tax income in 1980. That hasn't changed in over three decades. 

As if that's not depressing enough, living the American Dream is also getting harder to do. 

Millennials, born in the 1980s, only have a 50% likelihood -- a coin toss chance -- of earning more money than their parents did, according to new research released this month from the Equality of Opportunity Project

It wasn't always this way. In the 1940s, almost everyone in America grew up to be better off financially than their parents. While money isn't the only definition of success, more wealth typically leads to bigger houses, grander vacations, fancier cars and more opportunities to advance. 

"Children's prospects of achieving the 'American Dream' of earning more than their parents have fallen from 90% to 50% over the past half century," the researchers wrote in their report.

Nothing to see here. We just had an election where the potential for reversing these trends was a possibility. That possibility just disappeared.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

This is What America is All About Right Now

Update - this is why we can't have nice things.

You cannot write about anything anymore--everything is "fake" news. Clearly, the story outlined below has problems, and clearly the whole media complex in America is seriously broken right now.

I mean, you see these horrible stories, and you want to say something, but there is nothing out there worth commenting on anymore because it's all lies, all shit, all vacuous garbage.


The unmistakable ugliness of this story will not shock anyone who has been paying attention to the direction in which this country is headed:

A Jewish family was forced to flee their Pennsylvania home after Fox News and Breitbart ran stories wrongly blaming them for being responsible for the cancellation of a Christmas play. A Christmas Carol was set to be performed by local fifth graders, as is tradition at Centerville Elementary School; and the Jewish parents asked for their child to be exempt from the play, and were granted the exemption. The school district ended up canceling the program, however, and said it was due to time constraints, not objections to the line, “God bless us, every one.” Sites like and Breitbart, nevertheless, ran stories implying that the family was responsible for the play being axed. Their children were being harrassed at school, and after suspecting that their address would be leaked online, the family fled. “There’s no way we’re going to take a chance after the pizza incident,” they told Lancaster Online, referring to a fake news story which prompted an individual to show up armed at a D.C. pizza restaurant to “investigate” the false conspiracy theory of a Clinton-run child-sex slave ring.

To say that these poor people are terrified fails to take into account the fact that they are being terrorized in the worst sense of the word; this will not stop just because they "fled" their home. It will continue until decent people stand up and resist the demonization of people through online means. To say that we're in need of Federal protections, comprehensive online stalking laws, and the implementation of protections for people is an understatement. Hate flourishes in the absence of the law, which is the only remedy available in a decent society. Laws protecting the rights of people from online harassment and terrorization are inadequate right now. Will they be gutted in the months and years ahead?

The next four years will test the rule of law like no other period in American history. What a shameful thing to have to write about and talk about. What in the living hell is wrong with this country?

How could anyone remain silent in the face of this?



Tuesday, December 20, 2016


Apple intends for many of the products currently in use to become fossils:

To die-hard fans, Apple Inc.'s Macintosh sometimes seems like an afterthought these days.

Mac upgrades, once a frequent ritual, are few and far between. The Mac Pro, Apple's marquee computer, hasn't been refreshed since 2013. The affordable and flexible Mac mini was last upgraded in 2014. And when a new machine does roll out, the results are sometimes underwhelming, if not infuriating, to devotees.

In October, after more than 500 days without an update, Apple unveiled the new MacBook Pro with a slimmer design and louder speakers. The laptop garnered mostly favorable reviews from the technology press but grumbles from creative types, a key constituency, who said the device under-performed rival products.

Interviews with people familiar with Apple's inner workings reveal that the Mac is getting far less attention than it once did. They say the Mac team has lost clout with the famed industrial design group led by Jony Ive and the company's software team. They also describe a lack of clear direction from senior management, departures of key people working on Mac hardware and technical challenges that have delayed the roll-out of new computers.

I'm very happy with my Apple computers; I have quite a bit invested in them and they work so well, I don't know what all of the fuss is about. I don't feel alienated by anything because I'm not exactly in a rush to upgrade every nine months. I think it is actually a good thing that, over four years later, one of my Mac Minis is still a kick-ass computer.

Being relieved that I don't have to run out and buy something probably puts me in the minority. But, let's be practical. Processors are not expanding their abilities by leaps and bounds anymore; those days are long over. I do think this is not so much a hardware issue as it is an issue of making software more affordable. 

Why isn't Office free to use? Why not Adobe's creative suite products? Why do they still cost so much? I suppose the subscription fees are the way to go, but I would much rather own software than "rent" it.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Just Barely Hanging On

Nothing else seems appropriate right now.

I do get the sense that people have lost hope, and there are any number of good reasons for that. In the context of American history, I think the closest parallel is 1968. We lost Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert Kennedy in the span of a few months; we saw violence and rioting all throughout the country. We elected Richard Nixon and we were losing over 500 Americans killed in Vietnam each month. Race, economics, social pressures, crime, and tremendous upheavals in American society were evident everywhere. 

Clearly, things are vastly different, but here's something to remember--surrendering to despotism and lies is not an answer to anything. Normalizing lies is not a way to work through differences. Anything we can do to maintain a connection to the truth in anything, whether we're talking economics or climate change or how we take care of people means we're on the right side of history.

Accepting lies as being normal is no way to go through life.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

You Are Poor and it is Your Fault

Thanks again, media. This is too little, too late:

Tai Boxley needs a hysterectomy. The 34-year-old single mother has uterine prolapse, a condition that occurs when the muscles and ligaments supporting the uterus weaken, causing severe pain, bleeding and urine leakage.

Boxley and her 13-year-old son have health insurance through her job as an administrative assistant in Tulsa, Oklahoma. But the plan has a deductible of $5,000 apiece, and Boxley's doctor said he won't do the surgery until she prepays her share of the cost. His office estimates that will be as much as $2,500. Boxley is worried that the hospital may demand its cut as well before the surgery can be performed.

"I'm so angry," Boxley said. "If I need medical care, I should be able to get it without having to afford it up front."

Approximately three-quarters of health care and hospital systems now ask for payment at the time services are provided, a practice known as "point-of-service collections," estimated Richard Gundling, a senior vice president at the Healthcare Financial Management Association, an industry group. He could not say how many were doing so for more highly priced services or for patients with high-deductible plans -- situations that would likely result in out-of-pocket outlays of hundreds or thousands of dollars.

The next logical step from not being able to afford life-saving surgery is to throw people in debtor's prison when they can't pay for it. We tried socialism and it gave us quality of life, basic access to health care, and it kept people from going bankrupt when they couldn't pay for their surgery. Clearly, it ruined the whole country.

Perhaps we should have had an election where we were able to discuss the stark policy choices that come from being told you need an operation or you're going to die, but first, we need to run your credit card through this machine. Perhaps we should have talked about the ramifications of living in a country where you can end up hospitalized because you can't afford simple medical procedures, but first, here's the Secretary of Kicking People in the Nuts and he has plans for you.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Gore Vidal

I had forgotten this passage, but it is extremely relevant right now:

The events that befell poor President Clinton were all done because he wanted healthcare for everyone in the country, so you get him on dalliance with Monica in the White House. A matter of no importance at all—and no one’s business at all, except his. And that was interesting because that was the impeachment of a president for something that he had done, which was fibbing about—did he know her in the biblical sense. So they say, “That’s perjury, we don’t want a liar for president.” Look what we’ve got now [George W. Bush]; we don’t get the truth—ever. This was all cooked up to destroy the most intelligent politician in the history of the United States. And like a fool, he agreed to answer the questions. If I were he I would have ordered Starr out of the White House, and said, “If you come back I’ll have you arrested.” It’s as simple as that. And he would have won anyway, as it was proved. There are times that you must stand up and your private life is private and public life is public.

He wanted "healthcare for everyone in the country." That's the absolute worse thing you can do in America--provide for the care of all. It is a venal sin.

First of all, we need the mind of Gore Vidal more than ever. His absence is intolerable. There is no one else who could articulate what the American people are going through right now. Vidal was a lot of things, but he understood the context of American society and culture and he spoke to things that made people go nuts with rage in public. He had the added advantage of being right most of the time.

Second, we are paying the price for decades of foolishness. Our inability to get serious about things has led us to the end of 2016. If this wasn't the worst year since 1968, then what was? We are not looking out for the people who need it and we are going to see the wholesale destruction of the safety net put in place by Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Without that safety net, I wouldn't be here, literally and figuratively, because it saved my grandfather and his family from destitution and destruction. The modest and very basic extension of government assistance to all Americans is about to come under assault from a man who, as an adult, actually read Ayn Rand for pleasure and advice. Vidal would drop a pantload over that.

Third, if you cannot see why the ridiculous impeachment of Bill Clinton matters, you're not paying attention to the vast array of impeachable offenses ahead. The fire sale already happened, and the high bidders are here to walk off with everything. The outrages to come are going to have far-reaching ramifications that will demonstrate serious breaches of the public trust are normal, everyday occurences. These are the things that are going to go flying by the windshield--probably too many of them to count. At no point in American History will you ever be able to say "I miss George W. Bush" more than you will on January 20. The vandals are inside the walls and it's too late to bury your coins in the atrium.

The wholesale looting of America after the safety net is destroyed is going to make us pine for the days when a blowjob mattered more than anything in the world.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Guess What's Coming Next Year

Gas prices are probably going to go up next year:

The huge surplus of oil that's been sloshing through global markets is set to evaporate.

The International Energy Agency said Tuesday that it expects the global crude oil glut to start disappearing in the first half of next year, much earlier than it previously predicted.

There is one major condition: OPEC and its partners must stick to their agreement to slash production.

The cartel has agreed to cut its overall production by 1.2 million barrels a day starting in January. A group of non-OPEC nations -- including Russia, Mexico, Kazakhstan and Oman -- have also committed to slash output.

Higher gas prices will help Russia, Iran and Saudi Arabia (and, perhaps Venezuela, which is probably too far gone for it to make much of a difference)  but they will hurt the American consumer. Working class Americans have had what amounts to a multi-year tax cut in the form of lower gas prices. This, in turn, has driven sales of larger vehicles and hurt manufacturers of vehicles that are smaller and burn less gas. Paying less than $2.00 for a gallon of gas is an economic stimulus that is about to evaporate, if you follow the logic cited above. 

Once people start paying more for gas, do you think they'll connect the dots? Do you think they'll wonder why they didn't vote for a candidate who was committed to alternative energy policies and stabilization of the Middle East? No, of course not.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Palaces in the Mind

Do you ever get the impression that the country has lost whatever is left of its mind?

I find myself avoiding the news because there's little else but horrifying revelations and fanciful talk. Is there a revolution at hand? Will everything become embroiled in a Constitutional crisis? I have no idea and no insight, but betting on the status quo usually works.

I see the idea of "palaces" as a metaphor for what people expect as opposed to what they're actually going to get. They construct palaces in their minds as a dodge from reality. There's the way things are, the way things ought to be, and then there's the inner fantasy life that people live out every day.

Fantasy sure took over in 2016, didn't it? Empathy didn't win a single thing on election day. People expect that great palaces will be built for them without a clue as to how that's supposed to work out, but they're okay with the idea that sending little kids back to Guatemala is how they'll get their palace. It will be built on the backs of The Other. They voted a particular way and now they expect everything to work the way they have always wanted it to, and everyone they don't like is slated for removal. Never mind the fact that reality is based on facts and the facts of our basic existence tell us everything they believe in is a fantasy.

Where's my palace? Where's your palace?

A better question might be, why do you need one in the first place?

Has the American experience ever been this ugly? I suppose it has but, wow. Not in my lifetime. The collective hate for anyone who is different has overwhelmed basic decency.

I can tell you this--unplugging from it all does wonders for your ability to organize your closet, your sock drawer, and in figuring out which pants still fit. I'm getting really, really good at that. And the bag I carry every day is about as organized as it has ever been. I have an ancient Plano fishing lure box that I am desperate to revolutionize. Everyone should have one.

All that other stuff?

Forget about it.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Hey Man, It's Not That Bad

No, it's actually worse than you could imagine.

After the election, and after deciding that being apolitical was the way to go, one thing kept nagging at me.

In the near future, there will be cuts made to government programs that feed people. Now, if you automatically believe that this is a good thing, consider the fanciful notion that a country full of starving people resulted in a generation of men who were unfit for military service before the outset of World War II. The Great Depression helped to create a population cohort of undersized, skinny, unhealthy young men that couldn't serve in the military because they couldn't get adequate food on a daily basis. Is that what we want as a nation? To arbitrarily starve human beings to the point where their health is at risk?

I certainly don't want to feed people just to turn them into killing machines, but the idea of starving them so that they are not healthy is just unacceptable. And, consider this--many people won't steal unless they are starving. Do you want to fill America's jails with people who steal bread to give to their kids? What dystopian, Randian nightmare is this?

There is a real difference between government handouts and actual benefits. I'm talking about SNAP, or the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. If there's a government program out there that will probably be cut soon, it's SNAP.  It costs the government about $75 billion a year to feed millions of Americans. It is that rare government program that actually stimulates the economy. Every time someone uses their SNAP benefits, it's not a dollar that goes off and does nothing. It generates economic activity--it keeps grocery stores afloat in countless communities. If we were to add another $25 billion to the program, it is safe to say that it would further stimulate the economy and probably create more jobs.

It there's one thing that bothers me about the results of the last election, it is this--people are going to see an already meager program cut to levels that will continue to let people go hungry. And, let's be specific--kids are going to go hungry.

To many, this is perfectly acceptable because those kids are going to be "black" or "Hispanic" and probably "illegal aliens." In point of fact, this is going to hurt kids regardless of their race or color because poverty is pervasive and hunger is universal. This is the real tragedy of it all and the thing that makes it worse than it is--we have no empathy for anyone anymore. There was no empathy shown in this election, and no importance placed on behavioral norms or looking for real solutions. There was a dog whistle, and when it got blown, people understood that programs like SNAP were going to be cut and that would take food out of the mouths of poor black and Hispanic kids and people voted for that. People want that. Our ability to show empathy died on November 8th. This country chose a path that directly leads to human suffering on purpose in order to transfer wealth to billionaires.

That is sociopath behavior expressed through the will of the electorate. Whoever voted for kids going hungry has a conscience that probably does not bother them.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Trump Supporter Kicked Out For Being Half Indian

Today, the White Nationalism Party, which has the initials GOP, held a rally in Nuremberg and things went south from there:

A man who identified himself as half-Indian was escorted out of a Donald Trump rally on Thursday out of concern that he was a protester, but the man insisted he was a Trump supporter and said he feels that he was racially profiled.

Jake Anantha, an 18-year-old from Charlotte, was approached by a member of Trump's security team and then ushered out by police. He was told that he resembled another man who had previously disrupted Trump rallies.

    "I told him I've never been to another rally in my life," Anantha said. "I'm a huge Trump supporter. I would never protest against Trump."

    Anantha is a registered Republican, according to state voter records, who registered to vote in March. Anantha, who said he's a student at Central Piedmont Community College, was wearing a pro-Trump shirt with another pro-Trump shirt underneath.

    I have no idea why the Trump campaign continues to hold rallies in Nuremberg, but I have seen reports that they have confused it with Charlotte, North Carolina, which is not the same thing, obviously. The addition of Stephen K. "Race" Bannon to the campaign has meant that Trump is going to double down on white nationalism and white pride, and, for that, we have to wonder who, exactly, turned Trump down before he got to the guy who runs

    You would think that Mr. Anantha would begin to show some self-awareness and see that he is a vocal supporter of a political movement that throws people who look like him out of arenas before they actually say or do anything wrong. You'd be wrong.

    I thought it was a great touch when they landed the Zeppelin on the field and Trump waved at everyone with his riding crop. These little touches help people feel like they're part of a movement. God, I'm fucking sick of writing about politics.

    Ryan Lochte Named Trump Campaign Manager

    You guys, I'm serious. You can't start this rumor right now.

    Ryan Lochte is "swim shady," a young man--no, scratch that. He's in his thirties.

    Ryan Lochte is an asshole, but he's the kind of fun-loving asshole that the Trump campaign needs right now. He's in rest mode right now until we enter months of speculation from the US Olympic Committee as to whether or not they're going to ban him or let him compete in four years at the next Olympics.

    Ryan Lochte is the Johnny Manziel of US Swimming, except for the fact that Lochte is old enough to know better.

    Hope Solo is just glad that people stopped talking about her.

    Ryan Lochte was Trump's first choice for a running mate this year. Trump-Lochte 2020!

    Ryan Lochte just screwed himself out of several million dollars in endorsement money. Since there really isn't much money to be made in the PMSL, or the "Professional Men's Swimming League," which is a thing I just made up, endorsement deals are rare and hard to come by for Olympians who lose their shit and kick down doors on the bad side of town.

    Ryan Lochte? Fuck that guy.

    Shut Up, Peasants

    Bernie Sanders and his wife Jane are wealthy, so shut up, peasants:

    Sen. Bernie Sanders has pushed hard for transparency on U.S. trade and campaign finance, but has been far less aggressive in disclosing his own personal finances.

    Now his wife and campaign confidante, Jane O’Meara Sanders, is defending the senator’s decision not to file a candidate personal finance disclosure and talking about the purchase of a new vacation home.

    Sanders and his campaign asked the Federal Election Commission for two 45-day extensions, in mid-May and late June, on filing the personal finance disclosures candidates are usually required to produce, and then decided not to file at all once he dropped out of the race and endorsed Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, Jane Sanders confirmed Thursday.

    “I guess our campaign just said ‘why bother’,” said the wife of the Vermont independent senator who challenged Clinton for the Democratic nomination.

    Bernie Sanders and his wife have done serious damage to the Democratic Party. They were part of a movement that drained a quarter of a billion dollars in donations out of the economy and into the coffers of some really shady ad agencies. Every day, during the primary season, Sanders was inflicting pain on people who believed in Hillary Clinton. He relentlessly attacked her ties to Wall Street and decried her ability to raise money from wealthy donors. His speeches, his ads, and his surrogates were self-righteous to the point of hilarity in the face of his inability to release his tax returns or file financial disclosure forms. The only hypocrite bigger than Bernie is Trump, and that's saying something.

    If you don't have the decency to file paperwork to demonstrate that you are an ethical person, you don't have a right to question anyone else's ethics, period. That's exactly how Sanders gamed the system through the primary season, cynically funneling money to others while exhorting people with little or no money to give him $27 a pop.

    But, none of that matters, because he and Jane have a third house, so shut up.

    The House Judiciary Committee is Pathetic and Sad

    [caption id="" align="alignnone" width="640.0"] Bob Goodlatte (R - Benghazi), House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R - Benghazi), House Judiciary Committee Chairman [/caption]

    Guess how desperate they are in the U.S. House of Representatives?

    House Republicans are doubling down in their effort to bring perjury charges against Hillary Clinton over her testimony last year to the House Select Committee on Benghazi.

    GOP lawmakers have claimed that the Democratic presidential nominee broke the law by lying under oath about her private email setup during her marathon appearance in October.

    Next month, Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee plan to make the issue a central part of a hearing with senior officials from the FBI, a committee aide said on Thursday. 

    Legally, the GOP faces a tough case. Politically, however, raising the perjury allegations would be a way to keep the issue of Clinton’s truthfulness in the public eye throughout the fall as she battles Republican nominee Donald Trump for the White House.

    Proving that someone committed perjury means overcoming a high hurdle: that the person knowingly told a falsehood under oath.

    Convincing lawyers at the Department of Justice to take the case would also be difficult because prosecutors would have to prove that what the former secretary of State said during the 11-hour hearing was directly at odds with the truth.

    “There is no case,” said Stephen Ryan, a former federal prosecutor and general counsel for the Democratic-run Senate Government Affairs Committee, bluntly.

    “Even if you tried to step back from the politically-laden nature that this was the Democratic presidential nominee and you look at it, there’s no way the Department of Justice would touch a case like that.”

    I don't know what's worse--the fact that these are ginned-up charges being brought in the middle of a presidential election or the fact that many of these same House members are going to have to spend a lot of time back home trying to hold onto their seats because Donald Trump is sinking their chances. The only thing missing will be someone dressed in a Benghazi costume (what the hell?) who follows Hillary around, screaming "Benghazi!" at every rally while someone films it for the Benghazi channel. Sheesh.

    This is where someone has to stand up and ask them if they have any decency, at long last. There is no fake scandal in American history that has been more discussed or litigated and investigated and reviewed than Benghazi. It's what? Eighty days to the election? And the House wants to talk about Benghazi. Nothing about Trump's ties to Russia. Nothing about how he called for espionage against a political opponent and against a political party. Nothing about how his former campaign manager was walking around with cash stuffed in his pants that was given to him by the former ruling party of Ukraine and was intended to help him sway American popular opinion about something they don't care about. Nothing about Trump's taxes, which would be a welcome sight right about now.

    If this isn't an incentive for Democrats to take back the house and strip the oversight and compliance authority right out of their hands, then what the hell is? When and if a bombshell drops from the House Judiciary Committee, remember one thing--these people can't touch Hillary and they know it. They're just flinging poo at the walls.

    Wednesday, August 17, 2016

    Steve Bannon is a Turd Tornado

    This is how little Ben Shaprio describes Steve Bannon, the dude from Breitbart who is now in charge of making Donald Trump lose the presidency to a girl:

    Ben Shapiro, the former editor for Breitbart News, told CNN on Wednesday that Donald Trump’s campaign had become a “turd tornado” after hiring Breitbart Chairman Steve Bannon.

    After the Trump campaign confirmed on Wednesday that Bannon would become the organization’s CEO, Shapiro penned a blistering assessment of the Breitbart chairman on his Daily Wire website.

    Bannon is the third campaign manager designated to run the Trump campaign. Here's to little Ben--he really knows how to stick it to the people he used to work for.

    The Trump Campaign is a Fiasco

    You already knew that this was going to happen:

    Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has diminished the role of campaign chairman Paul Manafort and brought on Breitbart News executive Stephen Bannon and Republican pollster Kellyanne Conway. Bannon has been named the campaign’s new chief executive, and Conway will become campaign manager. According to TheWashington Post, the decision is intended to curtail Manafort’s efforts to temper Trump’s campaign style. Trump had reportedly begun to feel “boxed in” and “controlled.” Manafort will remain part of the team, but his role will be internally diminished. The decisions, essentially, are a way for Trump to return to former aide Corey Lewandowski’s style, which was “let Trump be Trump.”

    Before Trump faces the voters, Manafort might end up facing criminal charges:

    Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, is reported to have helped a pro-Russian governing party in Ukraine transfer more than $2 million to Washington lobbying firms without disclosing the effort. According to the AP, Manafort helped route the payments in 2012 and kept from being disclosed the attempt to influence U.S. governing and policy. U.S. lobbyists are required to publicly note the representation of foreign interests, political parties, or leaders under federal law. Failing to do so is a felony and can lead to prison time and a hefty fine, the AP reports. Trump and Manafort have both received recent criticism for their potential ties and friendly relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Manafort’s position on the Trump team was diminished late Tuesday as Trump brought in new top aides to run the campaign.

    Here's how big Manafort's balls are--he probably thought that if he helped Trump get elected President, he'd have someone who could pardon him for all of the shady deals he was arranging between Russia, the old pro-Russian Ukrainian regime, and his buddies in Washington D.C. For about five minutes this summer, right after the GOP convention, it looked like there was going to be a moment where Manafort would get away with it if it wasn't with all of you meddling kids pointing out that Trump was a crazy bastard.

    Not only are we in the midst of seeing the GOP nominee for president flame out like a MiG-15 over Korea, but we are also witnessing one of the greatest political fiascos in our lifetime. The outsider, Donald Trump, has now handed his campaign over to the kind of Republican insiders who couldn't beat him in the primaries. With less than 90 days to go before the general election in November, the GOP nominee is on his third campaign manager--the first two having faced assault charges and accusations of laundering money for the Russian government. You couldn't make this up if you wanted to.

    Of course, all we're going to see from Mark Halperin are stories about how "Dems are in disarray" and Hillary's mean streak is the reason why Trump's campaign is run by crooks.

    Everything is on fire. Everyone is running for the exits. Next thing you know, Trump will grab his chest and fall over like Redd Foxx in a Sanford and Son re-run, and it'll all be fake, of course.. It's the big one, Elizabeth, and he's coming to see ya.

    Tuesday, August 16, 2016

    President Obama Did Not Bribe Anyone to Go After Trump University

    Pathetic and sad:

    President Barack Obama arranged for New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman to receive a $15,000 donation in exchange for investigating Trump University, Donald Trump alleged in February in comments that were overlooked, likely due to the even more ridiculous and offensive remarks that he was making at the time.

    Trump didn’t quite accuse Obama of handing Schneiderman an envelope with $15,000 stuffed in it. Instead, Trump said, Obama appears to have arranged a campaign contribution to Schneiderman from a law firm representing victims of Trump’s scam. (Like Trump’s usual claims, there’s no evidence to support this one.)

    “The attorney general of New York meets with Barack Obama in Syracuse,” Trump said at a rally in Bentonville, Arkansas. “The following day he sues me. What they don’t say is, I believe, fifteen thousand or a lot of money was paid to the attorney general by the law firm in California that is suing me.”

    While relaying his theory about Schneiderman and Obama, Trump told the crowd the judge in the case had “tremendous hostility, beyond belief ― I believe he happens to be Spanish, which is fine, he’s Hispanic, which is fine,” adding that he was considering asking the judge to recuse himself. (The media largely missed his comments, but Trump helpfully went to war with Judge Gonzalo Curiel again in June, and it made national news.)

    Trump repeated his charge against Obama just moments later. “All of a sudden the attorney general ― his name is Eric Schneiderman, not respected in New York, doing a terrible job, probably is not electable in New York, but who knows ― and he meets with Obama, gets a campaign contribution, I think, I think it’s fifteen thousand dollars, and all of a sudden, he meets with Obama in, I believe, Syracuse, and the following day or two he brings a lawsuit against me.”

    These are definitely not serious charges because they have been made by an unhinged lunatic (although I suppose Trey Gowdy already has plans to hold a hearing).  Right off the bat, Trump once gave $12,000 to Schneiderman as a campaign contribution. He doesn't even know who he's tried to pay off himself and he damned sure can't be bothered to remember anything that doesn't start with something that praises him to the rafters.

    The very idea that the President of the United States has to "bribe" someone to file a lawsuit is ridiculous to say the least. The first lawsuits against Trump University were filed by people who had been ripped off almost six years ago. The President of the United States had nothing to do with what amounts to another garbage claim.

    What's depressing about this is that there are Republicans who will ignore this attack and fail to see how it further degrades our political discourse. This is going to be all over Facebook in twenty different ways, none of them good. This is not an isolated incident, nor will it be the last time someone crazy comes up with flagrant bullshit to throw at the sitting president. 

    All you can do is laugh at the distance between respectability and the Trump campaign. They ain't meeting any time soon.


    Why is Donald Trump sitting on $82 million dollars that could be spent on television ads in places like Iowa, Florida, and Ohio? That's a very good question:

    Exactly two months ago, Hillary Clinton's campaign went up with its first general election TV ads in battleground states, and in that time it has spent $61 million over the airwaves, while pro-Clinton outside groups have chipped in an additional $43 million. That's a combined $104 million in total ad spending for Team Clinton.

    But in that same time frame, Donald Trump's campaign still hasn't spent a single cent on a general-election ad, with two pro-Trump outside groups coming to the rescue with $12.4 million over the airwaves. That's a nearly 9-to-1 advantage in ad spending. And it raises some important questions for the Trump campaign. When will it FINALLY start airing advertisements (with him trailing in key states and nationally 84 days to go until Election Day)? What is Trump doing with his campaign money (after the New York Times reported two weeks ago that Trump and the GOP had raised a combined $82 million last month)? And will any other outside groups come to Trump's defense? Political scientists, you now have an amazing case study on your hands: What happens in a presidential race when one side owns the airwaves for two-straight months?

    Oh, and get this: The Green Party's Jill Stein ($189,000) and Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson ($15,000) have spent more on ads than the Trump campaign ($0) in this general election.

    Total Clinton ad spending so far:

    Clinton campaign: $61 million

    Clinton outside groups: $43 million

    Total Team Clinton: $104 million

    Total Trump ad spending so far:

    Trump campaign: $0

    Trump outside groups: $12.4 million

    Total Team Trump: $12.4 million

    It's political malpractice on a grand scale. Trump is running against the media, not Hillary. He's blown both feet completely off and he's wondering when they'll grow back. This is the strangest general election campaign in a hundred years, if not more. When was the last time he sat down with reasonable adults and had a conversation? You'd think that he'd be trying to define himself, trying to earn more endorsements and reaching out to people in rural areas to energize them and get them behind his candidacy.

    You would be wrong if you thought that. He's sleeping in his bed every night, and he's trying to get people in Wisconsin and Michigan to vote for him. Good luck with that.

    If the Trump campaign keeps spending a grand total of nothing on ads, then it means that Trump can launder more money by paying himself to run for president. Pretty good gig if you can get it.

    A Tale of Two Schedules

    I've done some schedule analysis of the 2016 race, and it's pretty clear that the Trump campaign is delusional. They have two Trump events scheduled, one for Wisconsin and one for Michigan. 

    There is no way Trump will win both states. There is no way he will be competitive there. Those are solidly blue states and every moment he spends there campaigning is a waste of time and effort.

    In contrast, Hillary and her team are running the table. She is out front, looking to fight for every vote in all of the battleground states. She's even asking Jennifer Garner to raise money for her in Montana, of all places.

    If you're worried about this campaign, then you have to take heart from the fact that Hillary is going to be in Ohio and Pennsylvania. She's fighting for votes in states that should be comfortably in the hands of the Republicans. If we were running against Marco Rubio or Ted Cruz right now, we'd see her focused on the right states. Instead, she's running against a delusional buffoon who has no idea how the Electoral College works.

    That's a good thing.


    Louisiana Needs Your Attention

    There is a real tragedy unfolding in Louisiana and no one seems to be paying any attention to it because it is a safely Republican state with a (temporary) Democratic governor:

    Louisiana officials said nine people now have been confirmed dead and forecasters are warning the state’s worst flooding in decades may be about to get worse, with more rain expected throughout the week. Thirty parishes have been declared major disaster areas and U.S. Coast Guard patrols are using helicopters to rescue trapped residents. In Baton Rouge, authorities said 118 people had been picked up by helicopters and an additional 766 were assisted. Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards said he plans to declare nearly half of the state’s 64 parishes as major disaster zones. Fears of the Zika virus have also compounded worries about the flooding. “We’re going to have standing water all over south Louisiana,” Edwards was cited as saying by CNN. “We’re going to have more than our share of mosquitoes. And with the Zika threat, we need assistance to spray for mosquitoes and for mosquito control and abatement.”

    I'm waiting for someone to blame Obamacare for the flooding and call for more tax cuts. Thank God we have a president who actually appoints competent people and holds them accountable. 


    Monday, August 15, 2016


    The Trump campaign is now, officially, a complete and utter fiasco. A good word for it would be Donaldshambles:

    In what was billed as a major foreign policy address in Ohio, Donald Trump suggested—as he has in the past—that Hillary Clinton is somehow secretly ill. This time though, Clinton lacks the "mental and physical stamina" to take on ISIS, which comes just a week after conspiracy theories bubbled to the surface once again saying that the Democratic nominee has some terminal ailment. 

    Hillary Clinton is the most extensively investigated, examined, and vetted candidate in American history. There isn't anything we don't know about her. She's released her tax returns, she's given everyone access to her E-mails, and all of her medical history is practically in the public domain. She is the proverbial open book in American public life. She has traveled the world and has been all over America, campaigning and meeting with people.

    Trump, on the other hand, eats like a pig in shit and sleeps in his own bed as often as he can.

    Tell me again why writing about politics is supposed to be fun, please.

    The Trump Campaign Looks Like Lord of the Flies

    This tweet appears to be perfectly timed to help Donald Trump make up his mind whether or not to throw Paul Manafort to the wolves. If Trump fires Manafort, that means several things. One, everything that goes wrong from here on out can be blamed on Manafort. Two, if Trump loses, it means that the blame will be placed on the infighting of a dysfunctional and unprofessional campaign team. Three, it means Corey Lewandowski has had his revenge upon the Trump spawn.

    Somewhere, Paul Manafort reported $12 million dollars in income from the Ukraine, right?


    Well, alrighty then.


    Paul Manafort is probably the crookedest campaign manager in a hundred years. Why isn't he scheduled to appear before a House subcommittee? Well, as the saying goes, he's a Republican, so his ties to criminal regimes overseas are just another Democratic plot to steal the election from Donald Trump:

    Ukrainian anti-corruption investigators in Kiev say they have found the name of Donald Trump’s campaign chairman in a secret ledger left behind by ousted President Viktor Yanukovych. The ledger reportedly shows $12.7 million in undisclosed cash payments meant for Paul Manafort from Yanukovych’s political party from 2007 to 2012. Investigators say the document detailing cash payments is proof of an illegal scheme of kickbacks and bribes that includes election officials in addition to Manafort. Although it’s no secret that Manafort worked for Yanukovych, the alleged cash payments designated for him have not previously been reported. It was unclear whether he ever actually received the payments. But Vitaliy Kasko, a former top official with the general prosecutor’s office, told The New York Times that Manafort must have understood he was involved with a corrupt leader. “It would have to be clear to any reasonable person that the Yanukovych clan, when it came to power, was engaged in corruption,” Kasko said.

    In a statement early Monday, Manafort accused the newspaper of “purposefully” ignoring the facts of the case. “I have never received a single ‘off-the-books cash payment’ as falsely ‘reported’ by The New York Times, nor have I ever done work for the governments of Ukraine or Russia,” he said, adding that his Ukraine work ended following the country’s parliamentary elections in 2014.

    Manafort's ties to the kleptocratic regime that ran Ukraine are a huge deal in terms of assessing who Trump will owe favors if he gets elected (let's not forget that Trump could probably win a Senate seat in Mississippi right now or a House seat in Florida--unlikely, but white supremacy has a certain constituency). He may or may not have skirted the laws requiring him to register with the State Department as a foreign lobbyist. He may or may not owe a Russian billionaire more favors than the party store has on hand. He may or may not be bought and paid for with $12 million dollars in money stolen from the Ukrainian people.

    Who the hell knows? If he were a Democrat, his ass would be sitting in front of Trey Gowdy right about now. And doesn't this all sound like an Ivanka Trump plot to get rid of another campaign lackey so that blame will not fall on Daddy's orange shoulder blades?

    Saturday, August 13, 2016

    Diamond Joe Biden Will be Missed

    I'm going to miss Vice President Joe Biden. I suppose he'll get around to writing a sequel to this book, but, until he does, we can get into the way-back machine and remember what it was like in 2013 when this dropped and made people freak out.

    The Onion is proud to present The President of Vice: The Autobiography of Joe Biden. In this scandalous memoir, America's favorite politician discusses his early years, before he became ultimate wingman to the leader of the free world. For the first time ever “Diamond” Joe discusses the formative experiences of his life, including his childhood selling hooch in Scranton, his years cruising college campuses picking up co-eds in a Del Rio, the grade-A tang he plowed in the summer of '87, and his "sweet ass gig" as Senator of Delaware.  

    Speaking of his own work, Vice President Biden says, "Amigo, you're just one click away from buying Uncle Joe's tell all autobiography. My sweetest guitar riffs, bustiest lays, wildest benders, and sexiest appropriation bills, it's all in there. You'll not only hear about me and my buddy Barack, but I guarantee you'll pick up some tricks that'll serve you well in the sack. Plus, I'm deep in the hole right now and really need the scratch."

    I don't know anything about the Onion, but that's probably the only publishing house that would handle Biden's memoir. The real market for his book will appear when he has been out of office for a year or so, like most political memoirs. Biden will probably be more cutting than the President, but his time spent as Vice President will be no less important to remember. These last eight years have really transformed America, and Biden was there. Biden was there.

    In the age of Trump, everything true looks like satire on purpose.

    Illinois State Senator Obama Invaded Afghanistan in 2001

    I'm going to put my hands up and step back away from this one:

    Donald Trump spokeswoman Katrina Pierson has once again blamed President Obamafor something that happened years before he took office.

    Remember how Pierson blamed Obama for Captain Humayun Khan‘s death in 2004? Well, on CNN this morning, as she was arguing with anchor Victor Blackwell about Trump’s “founder of ISIS” remark, Pierson actually said, “Remember, we weren’t even in Afghanistan by this time. Barack Obama went into Afghanistan, creating another problem.”

    President Obama was busy representing the 13th District in the Illinois State Senate when America invaded Afghanistan. Man, that guy had some serious pull, didn't he?

    Pierson keeps some great company, of course.

    Deep thinkers, all. Anyone who puts Pierson on their show is guilty of journalistic malpractice.

    Trump Doesn't Know How Voting Works

    The Trump Campaign is a bad sitcom--a fiasco and a con game being played out in an artificial media bubble. There's nothing real or viable about it anymore. A decent media organization would simply decline to report on whatever bullshit is being dropped out on the sidewalk for all to see, but that would hurt revenue and the bottom line for these companies. In the old days, CBS News would assign a third string entertainment reporter to this and focus on how Hillary Clinton will move legislation through a Congress that is now in play.

    Come on. The Trump thing is done. It's over. There's no ground game, no professional political organization, no one is in charge and nothing good is going to come out of pretending that Trump has a chance in hell to win anything. The plot has been lost. The only thing missing is for someone to say out loud, "this is just so crazy, it might work."

    Donald Trump declared Friday that there's only one way he could lose the state of Pennsylvania: if he's cheated out of it. 

    "We're going to watch Pennsylvania. Go down to certain areas and watch and study and make sure other people don't come in and vote five times," he said at a rally in Altoona, Pennsylvania. "If you do that, we're not going to lose. The only way we can lose, in my opinion -- I really mean this, Pennsylvania -- is if cheating goes on."

      Trump said that Republican leaders in the state "are very concerned" about the possibility of cheating -- adding that "we have to call up law enforcement, and we have to have the sheriffs and the police chiefs and everybody watching."

      Hillary Clinton's lead in the polls in Pennsylvania is solid -- a Quinnipiac survey of likely voters released Tuesday found Clinton leading Trump 52% to 42%. But both candidates are devoting significant resources to the state, which has a base of working class voters that Trump's campaign hopes could work in his favor.

      Is there an adult in the room who can tell him that voter fraud is a myth? Is there someone who can explain to him that Pennsylvania is not going to go his way in November?

      Nobody is going to cheat him out of a state he has no chance of winning. No one is even thinking of such a thing, except for whoever put this nutty idea in Trump's head a minute before he said it out loud and got the response he wanted.

      Trump's looking for an alibi, a scapegoat, someone on whom he can pin the blame when everything flames out. He has Reince Priebus, he has the waffling presence of over fifty semi-decent Republicans, and he has a system whereby the American voter actually chooses who wins the Electoral College votes in each state. There's plenty of blame that he can assign to whichever of those ends up being the "reason" why he is losing this race.

      And, really, in the days and weeks ahead, that's the game he's going to play. This thing is lost. There is no horse race anymore. Democrats are going to come out and vote for Hillary and Republicans are going to stay home. This campaign has been marred by the presence of an outlier who couldn't even bother to find someone to help him win Ohio. The Trump campaign has conducted a series of vanity appearances in places Trump has no chance of winning but are geographically convenient so that he can sleep in his own bed at night and not have to deal with the rigors of a real campaign. This is not a real campaign anymore. This is a joke.

      Ain't nobody laughing, but it's a joke nonetheless.

      Friday, August 12, 2016

      Donald Trump is Campaigning in Connecticut Tomorrow

      Honestly, why the hell not? He's going to lose anyway?

      Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump is scheduled to attend a rally on Saturday in Fairfield, Connecticut. His campaign is also reportedlyin contact with city officials in Hartford and Bridgeport ― two Democratic enclaves ― about holding rallies there.

      After a particularly rough few weeks for his campaign, which were marked by brutal polls in a number of battleground states, Trump’s foray into traditionally Democratic territory has left some GOP operatives scratching their heads.

      “Trump is operating from his usual position of wishcasting, personal fantasies, and political ignorance in a wasted effort pursing a victory in a state where he has no money to compete, no chance of a political breakthrough and no message relevant to the majority of its voters,” said Rick Wilson, a GOP presidential consultant and active member of the Never Trump movement. 

      Connecticut is next to New York. This allows him to sleep in his own bed tomorrow night, which is the only thing that matters to him. Do you think he's going to try to go save Arizona or South Carolina? Hell no. 

      Trump is phoning it in. He is in the process of giving up so that he can withdraw from the race, blame the lack of support given to him by the GOP, and take the rest of the year off. The suckers who have been sending him money will have their cash laundered through the Trump companies being paid by the Trump campaign to pound sand.

      Our Revolution Looks Like Another Scam

      Every penny that goes to the new "social welfare organization" created by Bernie Sanders is money that won't help elect Democrats this fall. Every penny they take in becomes part of their social welfare charity and, as a 501(c)(4) non-profit organization, they can't spend money on politics. Every penny you give them goes to whatever they end up doing with it, whatever that is.

      The next step for Bernie's movement is a new group called Our Revolution, which will fight to transform America and advance the progressive agenda that we believe in.

      Wait, whose progressive agenda? Not mine, buddy. I want to see Democrats elected everywhere. Why not join that fight since that will bring you closer to a progressive agenda having a realistic chance of being passed in Congress?

      At this stage of the process, creating a charity that sucks money away from the Democratic Party looks like ratfuckery to me, and that's what Sanders is up to. He's going to siphon money away from the process and use it for social welfare. That whole thing about working to keep Donald Trump out of office rings hollow since this is money the Democratic Party could use to take back the House and Senate and put Hillary Clinton in the White House. Apparently, the Sanders people have other plans and they don't include joining with the Democratic National Committee to fight the good fight. 

      In other words, thanks for nothing.

      Thursday, August 11, 2016

      Six Feet and Still Rising

      How often does Zillow remind you that real estate values in coastal areas are about to go underwater and by that I mean actually under the surface of the water.

      Nearly 1.9 million homes in the United States would be flooded if the seas rose six feet.

      Despite record-warm years and some crops already reacting to unusual shifts in the weather, climate change for many people remains an issue for the future. That future came a little closer this year, when scientists studying Antarctic ice loss reported that if carbon emissions continue unabated, sea levels could rise six feet this century — significantly higher than previous predictions of a two-foot rise by the year 2100.


      If the oceans rose six feet today, 1.87 million homes in the United States valued at $882 billion would be flooded by sea water, according to a Zillow Research analysis using data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

      Roughly half of them — 934,411 homes, worth $413 million — are in Florida.

      Doug Aschenbach, a retiree from Ohio who lives in a Fort Lauderdale high-rise, figures it would take fewer than six feet of water to have a significant impact in his area. Indeed, Zillow’s analysis shows Fort Lauderdale is the U.S. city that would have the most homes under water — more than 38,000 — if the ocean rose six feet.

      Don't worry--Trump's got everything sorted out. He's going to have walls built around his properties so you can just go suck eggs:

      Donald Trump has mixed feelings about climate change.

      In January 2014, he publicly wondered how the United States could be spending money to combat what, in his words, was a “GLOBAL WARMING HOAX.” In October, when Trump was bitten by the autumnal chill, the Republican presidential candidate snarked on Twitter that he could use “a big fat dose of global warming.” He told The Washington Post editorial board in March that he is “not a great believer in man-made climate change.”

      But when it came to protecting his own investments from global warming’s effects, Trump canned the screaming capital letters and jokes. Instead, Trump wants to curtail climate change with a wall.

      The Trump International Golf Links Ireland, a golf course by the sea in Ireland’s County Clare, faces the Atlantic’s pounding waves and coastal erosion. As Politico reported Monday, the Trump Organization has submitted a permit to build a sea wall, which cites rising sea levels from climate change as a threat. Not just any wall will do — one plan called for a limestone barricade 20 meters wide, what Friends of the Irish Environment’s Tony Lowes described to CNBC as a “monster sea wall” in March.

      As part of the approval process to build the sea wall, Trump International Golf Links filed an environmental-impact statement. It includes specific concern for erosion, beyond one governmental study that did not take into account sea-level rise from climate change, according to Politico.

      But, of course, this is all Hillary's fault, who created global warming to distract from her founding of ISIS and all of those murders, so what are you going to do?

      Trump Says Obama and Hillary Are ISIS VIPs

      This is what your wingnut uncle and your crazy aunt are going to put on their Facebook feeds before you can block them:

      In an appearance on CNBC, Donald Trump reiterated his claim at a campaign rally in Florida on Wednesday that Barack Obama is the “founder of ISIS,” as was Hillary Clinton. “What?” Trump asked on Thursday morning. “Are people complaining that I said he was the founder of ISIS?”

      "In sports they have awards—he gets the Most Valuable Player award,” Trump said. “Him and Hillary. She gets it too.”

      The Republican nominee also went on a brief tangent complaining about how Obama refers to ISIS as “ISIL.” “He calls it ‘ISIL’ even though nobody else does,” Trump grumbled. “Probably he wants to bother people by using a different term.”

      Ever aggrieved, the New York City real estate developer claimed not to care whether his comments alienate voters in swing states. (Or, presumably, anywhere.) “All I do is tell the truth,” he said. “I’m a truth teller.”

      In case you missed all of the projection here, Donald Trump basically told a bunch of lies, used the most incendiary language he could come up with, and then padded it with the biggest whopper of all, "I'm a truth teller."

      This is how someone sells you a used car. It's not how you run for President. It is far outside of the norms of acceptable discourse to say that the sitting president and the woman running to replace him "founded" a cult in the Middle East that cuts off heads and runs amok gunning people down. These norms are now dead and buried--Trump can say anything he wants and then reassure his followers with his beautifully executed sales technique.

      Each and every single Republican who continues to endorse this man should be reminded of that fact until they leave public life. Fuckers.

      I'm telling you the truth! He actually has to say that! Trump is such a nasty, vile liar that he has to throw that in there because he has no acquaintance with the truth. What a disgusting time to write about politics. There are no ideas coming from the Republicans, just vicious attacks and laughably incompetent statements, over and over again. 

      And the thing that really pisses me off--as if there were only a few that did--is that Trump gets to phone it in. He gets unfettered access to the airways and gets to make these accusations and tell these lies without having to sit there in person and be filmed saying them. It's outrageous.