Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Glenn Greenwald Blew It Again

One of the people who had fun dunking on people who follow the news and think for themselves was Glenn Greenwald. When Attorney General William Barr released his summary-not-a-summary of the Mueller Report, Glenn and his ilk had a fantastic time mocking people.

Uh, what happened, dude?

Special counsel Robert Mueller expressed concerns in a letter to Attorney General William Barr that Barr's four-page letter to Congress summarizing the "principal conclusions" of Mueller's findings didn't fully capture his 448-page report, according to a source with knowledge of Mueller's letter.

Later, Barr and Mueller spoke by phone and while Mueller didn't think Barr's letter was inaccurate, the special counsel believed his report was more nuanced on the obstruction of justice issue, according to Justice Department officials. Mueller was frustrated by media coverage, and wanted more of the report to come out, those officials told CNN.

So, the whole thing was fixed. Barr has no credibility now, none whatsoever. What we need to see now are hearings, unredacted elements of the Mueller Report, and a full scale inquiry into what the Attorney General was thinking when he obstructed justice when he failed to acknowledge that Trump obstructed justice.

Really, the whole thing is just one big obstruction, stretching from sea to shining sea. There’s so much obstruction of justice happening right now, it will take a decade to sort it all out.

Oh, and Greenwald has no credibility, either. If there was any justice, you’d never hear from him again.

Monday, April 29, 2019

Incompetent Stooge Resigns

You can say whatever you want about Rod Rosenstein, but history is going to judge him harshly for all of his poor decisions:

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who appointed special counsel Robert Mueller to investigate Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, submitted his resignation letter to the White House Monday.

It is effective May 11. 

"We enforce the law without fear or favor because credible evidence is not partisan, and truth is not determined by opinion polls," Rosenstein wrote. "We ignore fleeting distractions and focus our attention on the things that matter, because a republic that endures is not governed by the news cycle."

Let’s go all the way back to his decision to appoint Robert Mueller. It was not based on any precedent that I recall. In fact, it used to be, that if the Republicans were in charge and if they needed a someone to conduct an independent investigation, they were obligated to choose a Democrat. Instead, a Republican appointed a Republican to investigate some Republicans, and we got a very GOP-friendly spin on things before the whole rotten, sordid mess came out.

Rosenstein was a witness to the obstruction of justice that he was charged with investigating. Not only should he have picked a Democrat, he should have insisted on an investigation without limits or boundaries, one that would be seen as fair and legitimate. He should have done more to stop Trump from criticizing Mueller, of course, but he failed at that, too. And then, come to find out, he was a toady all along.

Republicans are so bad at governing, I have no idea how that isn’t the first question out of every reporter’s mouth these days. Why is the GOP failing to protect the rule of law? Why are they terrible at running government institutions and agencies? Why are they so unpopular and why do they tolerate so much graft and incompetence?

If the fucking media would get off their asses and do their jobs, this would be a constant refrain. Why can’t Republicans maintain some semblance of dignity and honor while running the Executive Branch of the government of the United States of America?

You’ll never hear that question. Republican Daddy is in charge, shhh. You’re just being shrill when you notice how goddamned bad they are at their jobs.

Shhh! Or you’ll wake Republican Daddy and he’ll beat everyone with a belt again.

Friday, April 26, 2019

Mayor Catherine Pugh Needs to Resign

The mayor of Baltimore, Maryland is the subject of several criminal investigations and should resign.

Where is Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh? It’s the question buzzing around the city as the FBI and IRS raid Pugh’s home, City Hall and several other locations tied to her Thursday. But, no one has seen the mayor even though she’s supposed to be recovering from pneumonia.

WJZ has learned Pugh is at one of her Baltimore homes after meeting with her legal team Thursday afternoon.

An earlier report said she may have been trying to get out of town, but attorney Steve Silverman spoke to the WJZ outside her home Thursday and said the mayor is physically ill and emotionally saddened. He said she apologized for letting down the people of Baltimore with any appearance of wrongdoing.

Pugh is not mentally or physically able to make any decisions Thursday, according to Silverman.

This is how Democrats handle corruption, incompetence, and lawlessness. We look at what’s happened, and we make a decision based on solving the problem at hand. Mayor Pugh is incapable of dealing with what’s happened to her. There is definitely the chance that she is innocent of everything that she is accused of, and that’s how our system works. But, at the end of the day, you have to be able to lead people and do your job.

Mayor Pugh can’t do that.

So, Mayor Pugh needs to put the needs of the City of Baltimore ahead of her own personal issues and resign.

How hard is that to understand? Democrats get a bad reputation for turning on their own. I get that. But, in this case, Mayor Pugh is a shambling, incompetent wreck of a city leader. That may not have been how she came into office, but that’s where she is right now and she has to go.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Delusions of Competence

I think that Trump and everyone trying to protect him have no idea what they’re up against and why they’re in tremendous danger going forward:

Donald F. McGahn II arrived in a windowless conference room in southwest Washington in November 2017 to meet for the first time with the special counsel’s investigators. He was the White House counsel at the time, and he was reluctant to answer their questions for fear that President Trump would one day blame him for any damaging revelations.

A year and a half later, the scapegoating has begun. Mr. Trump and his surrogates began attacking Mr. McGahn shortly after the report by the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, revealed he was the chief witness to the president’s attempts to undermine the inquiry. In an interview on Monday, a member of Mr. Trump’s legal team challenged Mr. McGahn’s motives and memory and accused investigators of ignoring inconsistencies in his assertions.

“This is a cross-examination a law student could perform — by the time he’s finished, you would come to the conclusion he’s hopelessly confused” and would be “shaking,” Rudolph W. Giuliani, the president’s personal lawyer, said of Mr. McGahn’s interviews with investigators.

We’ve moved beyond the Special Counsel and into the world where you start to have hearings that result in people going to prison for either lying to Congress or admitting they committed heinous crimes. We really need televised hearings to start in May and run all through the rest of this year. We need hearings on obstruction of justice, corruption, the shady deals that Trump has been cutting with everyone willing to throw money at his properties, working with the Russians, and everything else.

We damned sure need to know why his children received security clearances and we’d better get to the bottom of why they’re putting babies in cages. We need as many hearings as you can handle, and we need them now.

I don’t think impeachment advances the country in the right direction but I do think it is being compelled upon us in the right way. It has to be demanded by the people, and that seems to be the shift right now. It will not lead to Trump being removed; what I am afraid it will do is lead to a decision not to convict Trump of high crimes and misdemeanors in the Senate and that will give him the chance to claim vindication and innocence.

Trump is not innocent of anything. There are no sane people who believe he has not committed high crimes and misdemeanors on a regular basis since being sworn in as president (which is vastly different than directing that felonies be committed on his behalf before Inauguration Day). There is no one left who can be lied to. This man is an enormous fraud. There are people who support him out of spite, and that is all he is left with. None of them will ever vote for a Democrat, so please don’t tell me we have to “appeal” to them.

They are lost for good.

Sunday, April 21, 2019

There's Nothing Wrong With Taking Information From Russians

We have now come full circle. We have entered a phase of American politics where this sort of thing doesn’t even shock people anymore:

President Donald Trump's attorney Rudy Giuliani said while he would have advised the Trump campaign to avoid Russian help, he thought there was nothing wrong with a campaign taking information from Russia.

"There's nothing wrong with taking information from Russians," Giuliani said Sunday on CNN's "State of the Union."

Asked by CNN's Jake Tapper if he would have taken information from a foreign source, Giuliani said, "I probably wouldn't." 

"I wasn't asked," Giuliani said. "I would have advised, just out of excess of caution, don't do it." 

Can’t wait to see that on a bumper sticker. Can’t wait to see the Republican Party fully embrace cheating at the ballot box in order to hold onto power. Can’t wait for the sequel to this horror movie.

The depressing realization is that Trump will never lose more than 20% of the Republican Party. He has them firmly in his hip pocket, and they have gone all in on this ride through hell. That’s more than enough to hold onto going into 2020 and that’s what will make the race close for any Democrat who wins the nomination. They’re now embracing treason as a strategy to maintain power, and they’ll take help from the Chinese and the Saudis, too, so fuck it.

This is why the Democratic Party has to stop Bernie Sanders in his tracks, find a nominee who can beat Trump, or we’ll be living through another four years of this. And, by the time we come out the other end of this, we won’t have a country anymore unless we push back hard on what America’s Greatest Lawyer said today.

Jesus, Rudy. Go ahead and buy that apartment in Moscow for you and whatever mistress you’re seeing.

Friday, April 19, 2019

Think of All the Evidence Trump Destroyed

Trump and his minions must have destroyed a lot of evidence before Robert Mueller got around to writing his report. That’s something I didn’t see mentioned yesterday (apologies to anyone who brought it up) but, really, after several years of being beaten down, I feel like we’ve turned a very important corner.

Like many of you, I haven’t felt like engaging with, or writing about, or even thinking about anything to do with current American politics. What a mess, what a fiasco, what a shit show, right? And I think we can all wake up today and realize, oh, we’d better get involved in this thing again. We’d better start paying attention to what’s being done in our name. It’s not about the outrage. It’s about doing something.

The media narrative is really being summed up here:

President Donald Trump has evaded criminal charges — but special counsel Robert Mueller’s report is a brutal indictment of his campaign and his presidency.

The first volume of the two-part, 448-page report details how Trump and his allies solicited, encouraged, accepted and benefited from the assistance provided by America's most storied foreign adversary as part of a multi-front assault on American democracy.

The other lays out comprehensive evidence that the president may have obstructed justice through what Mueller described as a "pattern of conduct" that included firing FBI Director Jim Comey, trying to remove Mueller, publicly praising and condemning witnesses, and seeking to limit the scope of the probe.

Taken in sum, Mueller's findings reveal three years of actions by Trump and his subordinates that critics say rattle the very foundations of the American system of governance, from the sacrosanct nature of democratic elections to the idea that no man, not even the president, is above the law.

The GOP has decided that their president is above all the laws they used to care about. And this story really doesn’t get to the heart of the counterintelligence narrative (which matters above all else) that emerges from Mueller’s report.

Not only should Trump not be president, he and everyone working for him shouldn’t be allowed into any building where any U.S. government business is being conducted. They do not constitute an administration or a government—they are a vast criminal enterprise that has been penetrated and compromised by numerous foreign governments. Hey, Republicans—remember when you used to have an ounce of shame and a dedication to the constitution and ensuring our democracy was being protected? Yeah, I can’t remember, either.

But think of all the evidence that they destroyed. Think of what they got rid of or hid away or just plain lied about to get us to the point where the actual Mueller Report tells us they ended up. Think of what they had to do to only make it as bad as it is. Had someone truly cooperated (and I don’t think anyone really did), I don’t want to imagine how bad it would be right now.

As for impeachment, why bail them out? Why give Republicans the chance, however slim, of regaining their credibility and casting Trump as a victim? They won’t remove him from office, they won’t do the right thing, and you can only “impeach” the entire GOP by showing how criminally corrupt they are and hoping the voters agree?

I mean, there is no shame anymore. They don’t care about the law. They know they’re hypocrites. They have no credibility. And they certainly can’t govern. I don’t know why you wouldn’t want to run against them in 2020. Let the dumpster fire burn itself out by election day.

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Go West, Representative

The policies and the ideas of the Democratic Party are actually very popular. Were it not for the propaganda, the racism, and the bullshit, they would be even more popular than they are now. Our country, structurally, cannot handle the power and the presence of smart women speaking truth to power.

When you read this story, remember the fact that one member of Congress has very little actual power, but if they have great ideas and if they work hard, they’ll have an outsized impact everywhere they go:

Last month, a clip of New York representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez went predictably viral after she forcefully responded to one of her colleagues on the House Financial Services Committee when he called climate change an "elitist" concern. "Wanting clean air and water is not elitist," she said.

In response, Kentucky Republican congressman Andy Barr invited Ocasio-Cortez to come meet coal miners in his state "who will tell you what the Green New Deal would mean for their families, their paychecks." His concern, he said, is that the Green New Deal would phase out U.S. reliance on coal and fossil fuel, which would wreak havoc on the lives of people who work in those industries. Ocasio-Cortez accepted, saying she'd be "happy" to go, adding that the Green New Deal was written to fund coal-miner pensions. "We want a just transition to make sure we are investing in jobs across those swaths of the country," she said.

All in all, it seemed like an uncharacteristically cordial exchange for two members of Congress. And not even a month later, that cordiality is out the window: Barr attached a rather inhospitable and obnoxious demand to his invitation, writing in a letter posted to Twitter that she should "apologize to [Texas representative Dan Crenshaw] prior to coming to visit Kentucky," for a completely unrelated event before meeting with miners. The public scolding over purported incivility, along with the random call for an apology to a colleague from a completely different state, leaves the impression that the Barr might not want her to come to Kentucky after all.

By all means, go to Kentucky. Go out to all fifty states. One of the best things that ever came out of Howard Dean’s failed run for the presidency was his Fifty State Strategy, which was bashed by the consultants but laid the groundwork for a few victories before it was abandoned in the Obama era. We need Ocasio-Cortez out there, doing her thing because she has a powerful voice and the moral authority to carry a populist message to everyone who is ready to hear it.

Ocasio-Cortez absolutely owns the GOP right now. They go crazy talking about her because they don’t understand her substantive take on things. The Republican Party is an anti-intellectual circle jerk right now, and they cannot handle anyone who is good at social media who actually has real ideas and convictions.

She should go everywhere and talk to everyone. Really, this is a battle of ideas we’re fighting, and why shouldn’t we expose the GOP for the bankrupt, screaming fiasco that it truly is?

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Why Are They So Afraid of Robert Mueller?

Have you ever wondered why they’re so afraid of Robert Mueller?

Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation may not have turned up courtroom-ready evidence that Trumpworld cooperated with the Kremlin during the 2016 campaign. But Mueller’s forthcoming report on that probe still has one of the president’s top outside allies vexed and worried. 

John Dowd, who represented Trump for nearly a year of the 21-month investigation, told The Daily Beast he believes the report may cause trouble for Trump. 

“I haven’t read it, but it’s just wholly unnecessary,” he said. “You just don’t need it. It’s pure mischief.”

The report, expected to run nearly 400 pages, will detail Mueller’s findings, but likely with heavy redactions. It’s one of the most anticipated documents in recent memory, and it already has its critics. Dowd, who called for Mueller’s probe to be ended long before that became Trumpian orthodoxy, is first among them. He said the report doesn’t need to be more than “five pages,” just a description of what Mueller did and whom he formally declined to prosecute.

Everything seems fixed to me. When the Mueller Report’s redacted version is released, I suppose it will excite people a bit and then let them down. It will likely provide a revelation that Trump is exactly who we think he is—an awful, corrupted fool who has no business being president. But then it won’t conclude we should impeach and remove him. That’s probably asking too much of a narrowly defined Special Counsel. But, to be fair, in a normal era, there would be a half dozen Special Counsels investigating this president, all of them would be Democrats, and all of them would be racking up indictments.

The Trump regime is one vast criminal conspiracy, perfectly lawyered up to survive one presidential term, but not two.

The only reason to fear Mueller is if your campaign broke the law and then your president went on an obstruction of justice spree so obvious that it couldn’t be contained. Really, if any of them were innocent, we wouldn’t be sitting here right now.

The whole process is frustrating because American democracy should be simpler.

Are you a crook? Well, then you don’t get to be president.

Are you opposed to the rule of law? Same result—you can’t be POTUS.

What is your moral character? Let’s vote on whether you should be in charge.

Won’t someone or something light the way through all of this darkness?

Saturday, April 13, 2019

It's Time to Punch Someone in the Nuts

Sternly worded tweets are not getting us anywhere.

I have never seen such lawlessness in my life. I’m sure there was a fair amount of lawlessness in Washington D.C. during the time of Warren G. Harding. I’m sure that they were rocking and rolling with the corruption and the bribery in the days of Ulysses S. Grant. Hell, they were whoring it up in the days of the Founding Fathers. And by whoring it up, I mean making it up.

The Democratic Party has a great slate of candidates. Then they have Bernie Sanders. Bernie will sink us all, and give us four more years of Trump. That’s the business model he has adopted—become a millionaire by collecting donations from people who are too fucking stupid to know better by appealing to their vanity. Do you want free everything? Bernie will give it to you, so send him some of your petty cash. He has no experience actually giving anything away except speeches, so enjoy your trip through oblivion.

I want Democrats to start punching everyone in the nuts. If you’re in the way of the rule of law, guess what? You get a punch in the nuts. If you are holding documents that belong to the American people, you get a punch in the nuts until you give them up. Did you put those babies in cages? You get a kick in the groin. We’re not limiting this to people who actually have nuts. But a post titled “It’s Time to Start Applying Major Force to the Crotch Area of Everyone Doing Evil Shit Regardless of Their Gender” just didn’t sing to me. Did you just steal some money? You get a nut punch, asshole.

I got a lot of problems with you people. The great Jerry Stiller said that once, and he transcended Seinfeld because he was old school showbiz. Jerry’s not around anymore, and a lot of great people have left us. We need to imagine what David Bowie or Paul Newman or Sam Kinison would be doing right now.

They’d be punching jerks in the nuts right now.

The entire Trump regime is in contempt of Congress, a co-equal branch of the government of the United States of America.

Don’t furrow your brow. Don’t tell me about how we have to go high because they have gone low. Punch them in the motherfucking nuts and keep punching because Western Civilization is on the line here.

Punch them in the nuts.

Friday, April 12, 2019

Irwin Jacobs

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="800.0"] Alexandra & Irwin Jacobs Alexandra & Irwin Jacobs [/caption]

This is very sad:

Prominent Twin Cities businessman Irwin Jacobs shot and killed his wife, Alexandra, before turning the gun on himself in a murder-suicide Wednesday at the couple’s Lake Minnetonka home, the Hennepin County medical examiner confirmed Friday.

The cause of death for each was listed as “multiple gunshot wounds,” according to the examiner’s report.

The pair were found dead Wednesday morning in their hilltop mansion overlooking Lake Minnetonka in Orono. The bodies were found in a bed, along with a gun. Both were 77.

Orono Police Chief Correy Farniok confirmed the manner of death but said investigators are still waiting on some forensic evidence before completing the investigation.

Family friends said in the first hours after learning of the deaths that they believed them to be a murder-suicide, but Friday’s confirmation ended speculation about the fate of the colorful, well-known businessman and his socially and philanthropically active wife.

Dennis Mathisen, a longtime family friend, said earlier this week that Alexandra Jacobs “had been in a wheelchair for the last year or so and had signs of dementia. Irwin was just distraught over her condition.”

It seems like ten lifetimes ago, but I was once a reporter for a radio station in Southern Minnesota. This lasted maybe a year, year and a half, and I left the radio business because, well, it left me.

One of the events I had to cover in those days was a speech by Irwin Jacobs. In the early 1990s, he was a very prominent Minnesotan, and had a national stature because of his involvement with the Special Olympics. Jacobs was a major donor and was part of the group that was instrumental in getting the Special Olympics to be held in Minneapolis (Prince and Arnold Schwarzenegger put in appearances at the Hubert H. Humprhrey Metrodome).

Jacobs gave a speech to an assemblage of businessmen and women, one of whom was my own boss. His speech centered around treating employees like they mattered and investing in the people who make up an organization. This sort of thing went over my boss’ head, of course, and that was my main takeaway from the speech. Jacobs was not the first to adopt the thinking that you had to go beyond treating your employees well; he embraced the thinking behind it, and, I would imagine, tried to implement it more fully in his own companies. I do not know how successful that made him, but that is what I remember about him and his speech.

Of course, you can read this entire article and come away questioning some of his business decisions. The New York Times archives (you may have to pay to read this) are rich with this kind of thing. One aspect of this article that floored me was his disparagement of profligate spending on the part of management of a company that he was taking over (Jacobs was sort of a Carl Icahn/T. Boone Pickens sort of fellow). In 1985! If I’m remembering my broadcast history correctly, that sort of penny pinching would arrive at the three major TV networks not soon after.

Jacobs, for whatever his flaws, deserved a better fate than this, as did his wife, Alexandra.

Monday, April 8, 2019

Susan Collins is Low Hanging Fruit

Senator Susan Collins is toast:

Maine Sen. Susan Collins, one of the most vulnerable Republican senators in 2020, raised more than $1.1 million in itemized contributions during the first three months of the year. But less than 1 percent of that money came from her home state.

Collins raised $9,200 from 17 itemized donations ($200 or more) from Maine during the first three months of 2019. Those came from 15 Pine Tree State residents.

By contrast, Collins raised $52,000 from 46 itemized Maine donations in the first three months of 2013, the last time she was running for re-election. Those donations represented 41 percent of her itemized donations.

People in Maine got tired of their crazy governor and threw him out of office. Now they have a chance to throw Susan Collins on the ash heap of history.

Don’t you just love how there’s a photo of virtually every GOP senator and Trump? Please do your part to ensure that the Senators up for re-election in 2020 are always pictured standing next to Trump with a sour look on their face.

Kirstjen Nielsen Is Out

I am of the opinion that a number of Trump’s cabinet secretaries are going to be prosecuted for crimes they committed while in office. This won’t happen until there is a Democrat in the White House, and the media will look at this as unfair. But, screw them, they have helped normalize these people. The list of cabinet secretaries who should already be in prison for outright corruption is as long as your arm, and I have to believe that it is far more important to hold these people accountable than it is to let bygones be bygones.

Certainly, Kirstjen Nielsen will be at the top of that list, given how she implemented the family separation policy. Her resignation tonight opens the door to a lucrative future, telling people how brave she was:

Kirstjen Nielsen, the secretary of Homeland Security who has become a face of President Donald Trump's hardline immigration push, is leaving the administration, President Donald Trump announced on Twitter Sunday afternoon. 

"Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen will be leaving her position, and I would like to thank her for her service," Trump said on Twitter.

"I am pleased to announce that Kevin McAleenan, the current U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner, will become Acting Secretary for @DHSgov. I have confidence that Kevin will do a great job!" Trump continued.

The media should not accept this as normal, nor should they rush to offer her a chance to tell her story. She should be shunned. If you implement inhumane policies, how can you not be held accountable for that? And why wouldn’t you want someone to be held accountable?

There should be no “club” for these people. Nielsen will be allowed to write her self-serving memoir, of course, and a confused nation will wonder what the hell just happened. How did we get to this point? Where a person like Nielsen could do such a horrible job and end up wealthy and respected?

The media needs to get wise and start focusing on how awful Trump and his people truly are. Giving them cushy media jobs is the definition of failing upwards, and it has to stop.

Thursday, April 4, 2019

Heartland Economics

“It’s kind of looking back in time, when the Midwest was driving the economic engine of the country, which it does in certain segments still. It was the Midwest that stood up for people,” she said. “So ‘heart’ is about, you know, the heart of America, the middle of America, but it is also about economics with heart, which means you’re looking out not just for the people at the top and the titans, you’re looking out for people who are … working the economy. And what the Midwest did, when you go way back to the early 1900s, it was the Midwest that stood up on the antitrust issue, and it wasn’t just the farmers and the grangers with their pitchforks, it was also the Chicago strikers with the Haymarket strike and the Pullman strike, and it was really a Midwest issue when you look at it.”

She accepted that, of course, Teddy Roosevelt was busting trusts too, but “this is a political movement that started here, and it was a movement that said small farms matter, small businesses matter, entrepreneurship matters, that’s the engine, this is why our Founding Fathers moved from England, because they didn’t want to be controlled by monopolies and the East India Company, and when they did they got really mad and threw the tea into the water.”
She added, “Heartland economics is a focus on rural economics, which is very different in terms of critical access to hospitals, broadband, and making sure that [rural Americans] can have a piece of the action.” Just over a week later, she added to this by releasing what she called a “trillion dollar” agenda to modernize infrastructure, which included these issues, as well as improving and replacing roads, expanding public transportation, and ensuring clean drinking water. She then set off on a tour of the rural areas in the western part of the state, which included flood-damaged communities and a stop at the Heartland Forum, an event focused on rural America, which also featured Elizabeth Warren, Julian Castro, John Delaney, and Tim Ryan.
At the heart of “heartland economics” is a core political belief that has a grip on the American psyche. The Midwest is the heartland, never questioned, though it’s not where most of America lives, and stopped being representative of the economics or demographics of the country decades ago—if it ever was. Geographically it will always be the middle, but it’s not the middle or average in most other ways—nor does the reality for most midwesterners in 2019 look like scenes out of The Music Man. The Midwest has millions of acres of farmland, but so do California and Virginia and Mississippi and Oregon. The region is full of farmers desperate about corporate-agriculture takeovers and now trade wars, thanks to the Trump tariffs, but the pain and feelings of being left behind often have more to do with industries being hollowed out by automation and globalization, and little to do with crops.

I’m sorry, but I want better answers than that, and someone with a real command of what’s wrong with our economy. I don’t want platitudes or nostalgia. We need to put people to work in real industries with sustainable wages.

Rural economics is misleading here. In Minnesota, the family farm is something that is becoming rare:

Today, there are thousands of acres of farmland across Minnesota, but there is little room for young people who want to make a living on the farm.
Family farms, not to mention the main streets and churches that grew up around them, continue to fade away, like the old red barns that once dotted the Minnesota countryside. Agriculture experts predict that what’s left of the small farm lifestyle is going to take another hit this spring, when a combination of  low commodity prices and high debt will lead to another round of foreclosures.

“We’re going to lose a lot of good people,” said Gary Wertish, president of the Minnesota Farmers Union. “This is potentially as bad as the 1980s. The numbers just don’t work.”
Indeed, no matter how hard they work, most small farmers can’t outwork the numbers. The cost of land, equipment and seed coupled with low crop prices is a formula that equals debt. And that leads to the harshest trend in terms of what rural Minnesota is going to look like in the years and decades to come. The state’s farmers are getting older (the average age is now around 55) even while it continues to get harder and harder for young people to get into farming.

So if you want to reverse this trend, Elizabeth Warren seems to have a better message. People are being left behind or cheated—what are you going to do about that? The system is rigged, and Warren is more adept than anyone at explaining why it is rigged.

What Klobuchar needs to do is abandon the thinking that says that the Midwest has some magical hold on America’s economy. It has tremendous potential to help move us further towards energy independence and renewables, but small towns are being left behind. If she can’t do economics, her record as a prosecutor is a great one, and her record of getting things done in a pragmatic way is probably her strongest suit.

Yes, economic issues and public safety seem to be cornered by Warren and by Kamala Harris—I get that. But Klobuchar has a lot of strengths that she has to start bringing to the table. I like her approach to infrastructure, but if we want to see anything happen there, we have to take back the U.S. Senate. I’m really leery about losing any of the current senators we have—Klobuchar, Harris and Warren are all incredibly talented. Don’t get me wrong—any of them could be the nominee and win the presidency. But to advance a truly progressive agenda, we need to take the Senate.
And, for God’s sake, don’t talk about the East India Company. Who cares?

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

The National Security Party

The Trump Regime is a walking, talking security violation of epic proportions.

A Chinese citizen who tried to enter President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago club Saturday carrying a thumb drive containing malicious software is being charged federally with lying to a Secret Service officer and having knowingly entered a restricted building.

When Yujing Zhang attempted to enter the club in Palm Beach, Florida, she was stopped by Secret Service agents at a security checkpoint, according to court documents.

She showed two Chinese passports with her name and photograph to the agents, who then took her to Mar-a-Lago security to see if she was a member of the club.

Mar-a-Lago allowed Zhang to enter, according to the documents, because part of her name matched that of a member of the club. Zhang gave a nondefinitive answer when asked if that member was her father, according to the court documents, and was admitted by the club "due to a potential language barrier issue."

Zhang had said she intended to go swimming at the club, according to court documents. When she appeared unsure of where to go, according to the arrest affidavit, she told a club receptionist she was at Mar-a-Lago for a United Nations Chinese American Association event later that evening — a nonexistent event. The receptionist alerted a Secret Service agent, who detained Zhang for questioning.

Given the fact that Trump uses an outdated phone that can be intercepted and monitored by numerous intelligence agencies throughout the world, why are we surprised at this? Why should we trust any Republican anywhere when they talk about national security and being serious about protecting this country?

You have no idea how unsafe you really are with this group in charge of things. How much do you want to bet this disappears quietly, and, in a few months, this woman vanishes back into Chinese government custody. You know that the the security apparatus in China is figuring out how many Americans they can pick up and detain as we speak.

This is just the woman they caught. Think of all the others that they didn’t catch. Think of how brazen it is for a Chinese agent to stumble her way through Mar-a-Lago, knowing full well she’ll be able to get away with whatever they told her to do.

Thank God there isn’t a Democrat in the White House. The GOP would burn down the capitol, screaming about who knows what.

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Kamala Harris Would Make a Great President

I haven’t settled on a candidate yet, but you all know that I was a huge supporter of Beto O’Rourke’s run for the Senate here in Texas last year. He ran a great campaign—a landmark Senatorial campaign in Texas that fell short because, well, people here just don’t vote.

Kamala Harris could be president. So could Beto, Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker, or Amy Klobuchar. I’m not convinced about the other candidates, but, really, on the Democratic side, we have an embarrassment of riches.

They have Orange shitgibbon on the other side.

Come on, it’s not even close.

This kind of thing reminds me of the real fight ahead—a fight with the media and a fight with the alt-right in this country. I think Republicans are going to stick with Trump until the end and virtually 90% of the moderates/undecideds will move towards the Democrats. It will be a second blue wave and we’ll take the Senate and the White House and increase our hold in the House to over 55 seats.
But it’s early! Too early! We need to see debates, we need to see these candidates. We need to work hard. Ignore the media when they downgrade the chances of a woman candidate. For a critical segment of voters, it could come down to having a woman on the ticket or they stay home and don't vote. We can’t let that happen.

Oh, and fuck Chris Cillizza, as usual.