Just to Remind You…

“I’ll tell you what, I am proud to shut down the government for border security, Chuck,” Trump said. “I will be the one to shut it down. I’m not going to blame you for it.”

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How Russian Money Bailed Out Trump

How Russian Money Helped Save Trump’s Business

A great investigative piece by Foreign Policy that shows just how much Donald Trump owes to Russian oligarchs and banks.

As the early 90s, American banks were finished with Trump and his money-losing ways. He was a terrible businessman. As late as 2003 he was in desperate financial trouble and pressed his siblings to sell off his late father’s estate which Fred Trump had warned them not to do when he was alive. Then he declared bankruptcy again in 2004.

But Trump made a comeback largely due to an influx of foreign capital in particular from Russia.

But remember, he has no business dealing with Russia. The Donald told us so himself…

Faces of a new capitalism: How Millennials are embracing socialist values

I’m not sure why socialism is a “new capitalism,” but this is still a good piece from the Christian Science Monitor and spot on. As a longtime socialist myself (and a strong supporter of the NDP in Canada) I have seen much of this change in my own children and their friends. It’s been seven years since the Occupy Wall Street movement. While it didn’t make big inroads at the time, its ideas spread, particularly among young people.

On the one hand, you see the growth of corporations like Amazon, which has been tagged as being anti-worker for many of its practices. Yet even Amazon is paying its workers more money these days, attuned to the change in public perception about the way businesses treat workers.

There is something happening in the American economy. It’s not gonna happen all at once. But ten years from now the American economy will be a much socialist (in the Canadian or European model) as capitalist. Can’t happen fast enough for me.

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A 14 member and two chamber Supreme Court?

(My apologies for not posting recently. Battling a wicked cold.)

Trust in the justices of the Supreme Court is waning. Here are three w ays to fortify the court

An interesting article from the Los Angeles Times written by Bruce Ackerman, professor of law and political science at Yale. He argues that the current Supreme Court which heard 250 cases in 1970 and only about 65 last year is being overwhelmed by the number of petitions for review. He advocates a court structure similar to the one used in Germany – two chambers consisting of seven justices each, one to hear constitutional matters and one to address questions of statutory interpretation. On truly monumental issues the 14 justices would rule together.

He also thinks the Senate should return to a 60 vote minimum to confirm a Supreme Court justice and that while justices should be appointed for life, they should only serve on the highest court for 14 years. After 14 years they would move to the appeals court.

Whatever the solution, there is no doubt that the Supreme Court needs to be reformed. I find some of these ideas intriguing.

The most popular fact-checks of 2018

A Christmas bonus from the Washington Post! A cornucopia of four Pinocchios from Donald Trump, of course. But also Bill Clinton’s stammering performance trying to defend his past behaviors with women and two posts from Congresswoman-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who apparently needs to learn that people pay attention to hyperbole when you come to Washington. Oh yes, and Beto O’Rourke’s claim that he did not flee the scene when he was involved in a drunk-driving accident many years ago.

Church knew for years L.A. bishop had been accused of abuse

Another good piece from the Los Angeles Times about how the Catholic Church protected an LA bishop accused of abuse as far back as 2002. He was actually made a bishop by Pope John Paul II in 2004. Somehow when the Vatican released a list of bishops who have been accused of sexual crimes, Bishop Alexander Salazar’s name was left off the list. The first time the abuse became public was when he passed in his resignation to Pope Francis on Wednesday.

Needless to say just another case of the church covering up a nightmare of sexual abuse. Pope Francis more or less came out today, Friday, December 21, and said that priests guilty of sexual abuse were on their own and that their fate would be left to secular authorities.

Well, I’ll wait and see how that goes. I won’t hold my breath.

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What Really Happened to the Global Order

The Death of Global Order Was Caused by Clinton, Bush, and Obama

I’ve been a big Stephen Walt for a long time. Certainly, since he and John Mearsheimer wrote their brilliant exposé on the far-right Israeli lobby that wields so much power in official Washington. So I’m always happy to read what he writes even if I’m not sure I totally agree with it.

This piece on the death of the global order, however, is brilliant and contradictory. Progressives and liberals (like myself) are quick to blame the death of the way things were on Donald Trump. And they’re just as quick to blame him for the demise of America’s standing in the world.

Now Mr. Trump certainly deserves a lot of blame for this but as Walt points out in this article he actually may be the least responsible for where we are now. Basically, he argues that America had a moment after the end of the Cold War with Russia when we could’ve pushed our allies to take more responsibility on the world stage that would’ve freed the United States to focus more on problems at home. Instead, we went merrily around the globe trying to push our liberal values on anyone who would listen (and often those who wouldn’t) and the result has been disastrous. Donald Trump may have provided the “tipping point” but Clinton, Obama, and Bush had already set the wheels in motion.

Walt really does excoriate the United States for its stupidity and its responsibility for much of the chaos we see in the world. As I said above you may not agree with his point but it always makes for a really good read.

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He’s Just a Small-Time Grifter.

Trump Foundation Agrees to Dissolve After ‘Shocking Pattern of Illegality’

Trump stinks of illegality in everything he does.

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Climate Change and Ostriches…Better Known as Republicans


Most Americans want action on climate change. Republicans are the exception: Poll

Recently my wife and I had a discussion about Republicans. Basically, I don’t like them very much. She said that we needed to be able to do more to work together than just branding people as one thing or another. I know that’s true but it’s so hard to do when you have results on such important issues like this one, where once again Republicans just bury their heads in the sand about an issue so important to humanity.

Most of the rest of the world knows about the reality of climate change. For a long time, too many Americans were just plain stupid about it. An issue that should reside outside of politics – you know, basically saving the world – became enmeshed in nothing but politics. So now if you’re a Republican and you support the president, throw common sense out the window and ignore the fact that the world is burning despite all the evidence that this is what is happening.

I do know it’s not all Republicans. There are many who know the dangers of climate change. But as long as greasy politicians like Sen. Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma, Sen. Mitch McConnell from Kentucky and Sen. Ted Cruz from Texas encourage the fossil fuel industries to pour money into their pockets, they will refuse to admit the reality of climate change and not change anything. And the Trumplodytes will go right along with them.

I have reached the point where I no longer believe that political compromise is possible. The only answer is what happened in the 2018 midterms. We have to take power away from these people otherwise they will condemn us all to a future that none of us want.

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Musings 12/17/19: Trump is losing it.

Trump: ‘Unfair’ coverage should be tested in courts

Oh, if you think it’s bad now Donald, just wait until you see the headlines after the Democrats take control of the House. Or after the Mueller report comes out.

It’s easy to make fun of Donald Trump and his anger that every media outlet in the world doesn’t follow the Fox News rules about covering Trump: only softball questions, only positive coverage, only ever telling him he’s the greatest. But what is most worrisome about these infantile twitter tirades is that it shows how little Donald Trump cares about the U.S. Constitution, you know the one he swore to uphold when he took the oath of office a couple o years ago. His contempt for freedom of the press, for the rule of law, for our allies and friends, for all the things that have made America the great country that it is, show why more than anything else he should be impeached and convicted.

I know that will never happen because of Republican control of the Senate. That doesn’t mean though it’s a bad idea. Donald Trump will go down in history as the most corrupt, biggest liar, most anti-democratic and the worst president of the United States ever.

New report on Russian disinformation, prepared for the Senate, shows the operation’s scale and sweep

This new report, prepared for the US Republican-controlled Senate, shows that Russia used every media outlet possible – social and otherwise – to get Donald Trump elected. No wonder he likes Vladimir Putin so much. Basically, Putin was his most effective campaign manager. Sorry KellyAnne.

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Musings, 12/12/18: Try Googling ‘Idiot’ to see a Trump montage

Trump - Photo by Gage Skidmore, Creative Commons
Photo by Gage Skidmore, Creative Commons

Congresswoman to Google CEO: Why when I search ‘idiot’ do I get pictures of Trump?

Do you have to ask?

Apparently, GOP reps are angry that when you Google the word idiot, you get picture after picture of Donald Trump. (How could you not?)

To quote from the Washington Post,”Google chief executive Sundar Pichai, who was testifying Tuesday morning before the House Judiciary Committee, tried to explain to the roomful of mostly tech novices how the algorithms take into account some 200 factors — such as relevance, popularity, how others are using the search term — to determine how to best match a query with results.”

The GOP lawmakers didn’t believe it sticking to their long disproved and ridiculous assumption that ONE person was directing Google to do it, and it was not the result of thousands of Google users posting pictures of Trump with the word idiot attached.

Democratic Rep. Ted Lieu (Cali.) had the best response to the GOP whining.

“If you want positive search results, do positive things. If you don’t want negative search results, don’t do negative things. And to some of my colleagues across the aisle, if you’re getting bad press articles and bad search results, don’t blame Google or Facebook or Twitter, consider blaming yourself.”

Sarah Huckabee Sanders Wants To Be Remembered For Being ‘Transparent And Honest’

Oh Sarah, we all wish for the impossible from time to time.

You have as much hope of being remembered for being “honest and transparent” as I do of being remembered as the greatest right-handed batter in slo-pitch softball history. Just ain’t gonna happen.

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A new category, just for Donald Trump


Meet the Bottomless Pinocchio, a new rating for a false claim repeated over and over again

Well, to be completely truthful it’s not just for Donald Trump. The bottomless Pinocchio is for any politician or individual who makes a false claim more than 20 times. He is, however, the inspiration for the new rating awarded by the Washington Post. And so far he’s the sole winner, dozens of times in fact. Trump lies so frequently, so consistently and so boldly that no other politician in recent memory comes as close to being such a fabulist as our current president.

And give him credit, he just doesn’t lie about big things. He lies about many things of different shapes and sizes and importance. Donald Trump lies the way some people breath – it’s automatic and he doesn’t even think about it. It’s a true mark of the huckster and the grifter that he is. No matter how wrong he is, no matter how off-base, no matter how made up, no matter how many times he’s been told he’s wrong, Trump continues to lie with the ferocity of an Atlantic category five hurricane.

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Musings, 12/10/18: “Don’t Insult My Country, Dotard”

French Government Slams Trump: Stop Interfering And ‘Leave Our Nation Be’

Having grown up Canadian, I remember very well the last time a French politician tried to interfere in the affairs of another country. I refer to, of course. the late French president Charles de Gaulle and his “Vive la Québec libre” comment made while visiting Québec in 1967. Lester Pearson’s Canadian government sort of told dear Charles to shut up and get out and he left the country.

More or less the same thing happened this past weekend, only it was France who was on the end of obnoxious comments, in this case tweets, by another world leader. That obnoxious world leader, of course, was Donald Trump. Trump, who hates not being the focus of every story no matter where it is happening in the world, decided to toss in his two cents worth about the protests by the yellow vests in France. Trump made the protests all about the Paris Accord on climate change and deluded himself into thinking that the crowds were chanting “We want Trump.” (This is only because this is what Donald Trump chants when he is alone by himself in the bathroom.)

And while some members of the French government politely told der Trump to back off, some people did not use diplomatic language at all. Joachim Son-Forget, a member of the French National Assembly, responded to Trump’s comments, by tweeting himself the unforgettable phrase that Trump was suffering from “cerebral incontinence.” (Ah, the French do have a way with words.) He followed this up by borrowing Kim Jong Un’s insult about Trump, “Don’t insult my country Dotard.”

The yellow vest protests have been extremely violent and widespread in a way that only protests in France can be. America had a similar protest over the way our government is being run. It was called the 2018 midterms.

Ontarians, we’re all living in a Dukes of Hazzard show now

I don’t think my American friends can truly appreciate what a brainless nincompoop Doug Ford is and what a mystery it is that he was elected premier of Ontario. The true reason was, of course, that the former Liberal government was so hated and despised by the average voter in Ontario they would’ve elected a blowup sex toy as the next premier. Doug Ford is not a blowup sex toy although he probably has the intelligence of one.

This is a great column by my friend and fellow Canadian Nieman Stephen Mayer that paints Ford with just the right brush. He not only acts like Boss Hogg and runs the government of Ontario like Boss Hogg ran Hazzard County, he looks like Boss Hogg. As Stephen points out in this column, it appears he’s installed his own version of Sheriff Roscoe P. Coltrane as the head of the Ontario Provincial Police.

I think the voters of Ontario must feel like they were on this wild bender, are slowly starting to sober up and asked themselves “Oh my God, what did we do?”.

Tumblr’s New ‘No Sex’ Rules Show The Problems Of FOSTA And EU Copyright Directive In One Easy Move

While the Boomer Generation and those over the age of 40 have been fascinated by the recent court filings by special counsel Robert Mueller concerning our dear president, younger people have only one topic on their mind – the decision by the popular social media network Tumblr to ban pornography from its site in the very near future. Tumblr, which is owned by Verizon through its purchase of Yahoo, made this decision because of a report of child pornography on Tumblr, which led to their app being pulled off of the Apple App Store. Tumblr reacted to these reports by immediately taking down these deeply offending images.

But Verizon, which has decided to surrender rather than fight for free speech, has decided to ban all “pornographic” images on Tumblr. They are using bots to hunt down these images. Which of course has led to complete chaos and the banning of anything that has a flesh tone (or in some cases is nothing at all to do with sex). Tumblr has been a safe space for many members of the LGBT community and some sex workers who used Tumblr to alert each other to the potential dangers of particular customers. But it’s the average user who is infuriated by Verizon’s move. In my own home, my children who are of the ages between 23 and 18 can talk of little else and how angry they are. They plan to leave Tumblr and I predict millions more will as well.

What lies behind this is a new law known as FOSTA (or SESTA) which was put into effect in April of this year. Before they became law, the Internet was ruled by the “safe harbor” provision of the 1996 Communications and Decency Act which basically protected Internet sites from third-party postings. FOSTA, which creates a runaround to the CDA, was enacted as a way to curb sex trafficking on sites like Backdoor (which has since gone out of business) but has done little to stop sex trafficking and only endangered free speech on the Internet. In fact recent statistics show that there are more sex trafficking posts available on the Internet only now they are located on sites which have no interest in cooperating with the police, which Backdoor did do.

This is yet another case of moralistic do-gooders using a sledgehammer to solve a problem that needed a thumbtack. Politicians who want to connect to the millennial generation need to pay attention to this issue. They need to study it and talk intelligently about it if they want to harvest the votes of young people.

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