Thursday, August 31, 2017

Herbicide Connected with Genetically Modified Plants is Escaping and Killing Non- Genetically Modified Plants

A Failure of Obama Agricultural Regulation and Congress

The opponents of genetically modified crops and treatments for crops argue, among other things, that the stuff cannot be confined to where it is applied. If Farmer A uses a specific herbicide to work with genetically modified soybeans and that herbicide escapes it will raise holy hell with the non-genetically modified soybeans.

This is what has happened with a Monsanto product that the USDA and Congress apparently approved in near total ignorance.

But as dicamba use has increased, so too have reports that it “volatilizes,” or re-vaporizes and travels to other fields. That harms nearby trees, such as the dogwood outside of Blytheville, as well as nonresistant soybeans, fruits and vegetables, and plants used as habitats by bees and other pollinators.
According to one 2004 assessment, dicamba is 75 to 400 times more dangerous to off-target plants than the common weed killer glyphosate, even at very low doses. It is particularly toxic to soybeans — the very crop it was designed to protect — that haven’t been modified for resistance.

Yes, the stuff is drifting away from where it is being used properly and creating financial ruin.

At the Smiths’ farm, several thousand acres of soybeans are growing too slowly because of dicamba, representing losses on a $2 million investment.
This is a fact,” the elder Smith said. “If the yield goes down, we’ll be out of business.”
So how did this happen? Green and stupidity of course.

But during a July 29 call with EPA officials, a dozen state weed scientists expressed unanimous concern that dicamba is more volatile than manufacturers have indicated, according to several scientists on the call. Field tests by researchers at the Universities of Missouri, Tennessee and Arkansas have since found that the new dicamba herbicides can volatilize and float to other fields as long as 72 hours after application.
Regulators did not have access to much of this data. Although Monsanto and BASF submitted hundreds of studies to the EPA, only a handful of reports considered volatility in a real-world field setting, as opposed to a greenhouse or a lab, according to regulatory filings. Under EPA rules, manufacturers are responsible for funding and conducting the safety tests the agency uses to evaluate products.
Pigweed, a highly competitive plant that grows in cotton and soybean fields and has developed resistance to some pesticides, grows tall over soybean fields weakened by nearby dicamba use. (Andrea Morales/For The Washington Post)
Yes, you are reading that correctly.  The industry conducts the research on safety.  Gosh, what could go wrong there?

Controversial Cartoon - You Decide

Washington Post Columnist Does Not Like It - But It Does Hit Home

Conservatives are two faced when it comes to, well when it comes to about everything.  They think they get to toss out the most vile comments (see any major conservative AM radio host) but quake and complain and cry when someone throws it back at them.

Case in point, the cartoon here.  The WaPo has a writer being severely critical. but wait a minute.  It is not insensitive to the victims, it is derisive to the Texans who hate government until they need it and then want it and then don't expect to pay for it.

But there is another viewpoint.

"The first problem with the cartoon is its crassness. People are still being saved, and it's making fun of those same people.
The second problem is the stereotypes. It's almost a caricature of what you'd expect a liberal cartoonist to draw in response to conservative Texans relying upon the government in their time of crisis. The Confederate flag T-shirt. The Gadsden Flag. The reference to being saved by God (which seems extremely dismissive of Christianity). The Texas secession banner. It's all kind of ... predictable?"

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Texans Are About to Find Out Its Business Friendly, Consumer Enemy Republicans Have Dealt Them a Serious Blow

Siding with Insurance Companies Just When Texans Need Them

There is no doubt that conservatives think government is there to protect big business from consumers. In Texas the state has a new law about to go into effect that severely benefits the insurance industry and severely harms policy holders. Timing could not be better for insurers who are quick to take the premium, slow to pay out benefits.

The new Texas insurance law includes changes that affect what happens to a claim that ends up being litigated in court. Among the changes are a sharp reduction in compensation for plaintiffs’ lawyers in cases where their clients are awarded significantly less than initially sought.
Plaintiffs’ lawyers and other critics of the law are concerned it will hurt policyholders’ ability to find lawyers to sue insurers if they are unsatisfied with the outcome of their claim. Backers of the law say it is aimed at weeding out trumped-up claims, after years of allegedly spurious lawsuits claiming hailstorm damage brought by plaintiffs’ lawyers against home insurers.
Guess what fellers, what is happening in Texas ain't hailstorms. And there is this.

Meanwhile, Texans are likely to have another issue with the law going into effect Friday. Some businesses are angry that the provisions apply to commercial insurance, not just the hailstorm claims on homeowner policies that helped inspire the new law.
If you want to restrict hail claims, you should write it to restrict hail claims,” said Bob Ryan, deputy general counsel of Stallion Oilfield Services in Houston.
James Cooper of Reed Smith LLP, an outside lawyer for Stallion, said his objections include the law’s reducing a longstanding penalty aimed at deterring bad behavior by carriers. Under that change, Texas courts will levy as little as 10% interest on insurers for wrongly delayed payments, down from 18%.

But that's okay Texans, you just keep voting them conservatives in, see what it does for you.

Trump has a Monopoly on One Group of Voters - The Stupid Ones

This One Wants to Repeal ACA to Cut Premium Costs

It is considered bad form to criticize Trump voters for being stupid. But there comments just make not doing so very difficult. Consider this from a WSJ interview with a fellow from Kentucky.

I’m sick of them,” said Matthew Walters, a 58-year-old construction worker who lives in Shelbyville, Ky., and has been eager for the GOP to repeal the Affordable Care Act as his wife’s insurance premiums jump. “They’ve said for six years if we get a Republican in the White House we’re going to get this repealed. What is the problem? What are the excuses? I’m sick of it. We elected Donald Trump for change.”

What on God's green earth would ever make this man think that repealing ACA would make premiums go down? All of the analysis says they go up, just a matter of how much. And without knowing what this gentleman does it is safe to assume that it is likely he is getting some subsidies, which of couorse go away with repeal.

There is no way a non-Trump politician would get this person's vote, nor would any decent pol want it.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Florida has to Pay Over $1 million in Legal Fees to Lawyers Who Won Docs vs. Glocks

No Conservatives, Government Cannot Proscribe Speech – We Thought You Knew That

The ‘small government, pro Constitution” conservatives in Florida wanted the state to keep doctors from asking about guns in a house.  The doctors wanted to make sure children were safe from firearms that were left around the house, because, well, because a lot of children are killed each year.  But conservatives felt government should control speech.  In court, they lost.

Lawmakers pursued the legislation after hearing from some patients who complained that their doctors had asked unwelcome questions about guns. The National Rifle Association, which supported the law, said pediatricians were interrogating parents about firearms to try to ban guns.
Under the law, doctors could lose their licenses and face fines up to $10,000 per offense if they inquired about gun ownership and firearm habits. A group of doctors sued the state in 2011, saying that medical providers must be allowed to discuss guns with patients in the same way they discuss other safety risks and dangers, particularly for children.
In February, a full panel of the United States Circuit Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit decided in a 10-to-1 ruling that the state could not punish doctors for discussing gun safety with patients.

And now to place the cherry on top of the sundae, Florida will have to pay big bucks to the lawyers who won the case.

Florida has agreed to pay $1.1 million in legal fees to lawyers who sued the state over a 2011 law that barred doctors from talking to patients about gun ownership, according to a gun control organization involved in the case.
The organization, the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, said Gov. Rick Scott of Florida had approved the reimbursement to lawyers who represented doctors and medical organizations in the case, which came to be known as “Docs v. Glocks.”

One reason this is so great is that the Brady Center now has big bucks to go after other laws which try to prevent gun safety.  They will save many lives.

Obama Care is Failing? Not So Fast

From the Washington Post, here's the headline.

Every county’s Obamacare marketplace will have an insurer in 2018

Oh, that's not right, Trumpie and the Republicans have been saying ACA is in a death spiral downward. Were they lying?

And what about this from the NYT?

Trump’s Threats on Health Law Hide an Upside: Gains Made by Some Insurers

...  Yet the continuing churn among insurers and the anxiety pervading the industry — stirred largely by President Trump’s predictions of collapse and threats to withhold critical government payments to insurers — have obscured an encouraging fact: Many of the remaining companies have sharply narrowed their losses, analysts say, and some are even beginning to prosper.

Oh, that's not right, Trumpie and the Republicans have been saying ACA is in a death spiral downward. Were they lying?

Monday, August 28, 2017

$15 million Dorm for the Basketball Team at NC State

Exhibit A on Why Higher Education in America is Dropping in Quality and Rising in Costs

American universities are still the elite institutions of higher learning in the world.  How much longer they will be is questionable.  And rising costs are limiting a good college education to the wealthy and to those willing to become indentured servants to pay for the costs.

One problem, not THE PROBLEM (which is inefficient operations) is the emphasis on college sports.  The football and basketball teams at large American schools are professional in all but their names.  And they consume a lot of money that could go to promoting the things colleges are supposed to do, you know like educating the students.

NC State is a pretty good school that aspires, with no real success, to match UNC and Duke in basketball prowess.  No not in education, in B Ball.  So of course they need luxury housing for their teams.

The dorm will house 15 men’s basketball players, 15 women’s basketball players and 35 other students, including a resident director and resident assistants. The dorm could help the school with basketball recruiting.

 Why the other 35 students?  Because the NCAA wants to maintain the myth that these facilities are for the college, not for the elite hoopsters.  Besides the people who take classes for the players, the people who write term papers for the players, the people who try and make the players have at least a C average need a place to stay.

So what does $15 million get you at NC State?

The dorm will be between Reynolds Coliseum and the coliseum’s parking deck. It is expected to have a theater room, a lounge and an outdoor courtyard with a basketball goal.

But it probably won’t work to get recruits, as other schools have upped their game (no pun intended).

Other universities have put up similar high-end facilities geared toward athletes. The University of Kansas built a 38-student apartment complex for men’s basketball scholarship players and other students in 2014. The building includes media rooms, a half-court basketball court, a lounge and a barbershop.
The University of Kentucky built an $8 million dorm, Wildcat Coal Lodge, in 2012. It houses 32 male students, including the men’s basketball team, and has personal chefs, a game room and a dining hall.

 Yes, the dorm is being built with private money, but operating costs will surely be coming out of the NC State budget, a budget that has seen dramatic decreases in state funding over the years.  But not to worry, no one wants scholarship basketball players to have to live in the same facilities as the other students,  you know, the future teachers, engineers, health care workers, and the rest of the lesser careers.

One of the Nastiest Political Operatives You Never Heard of Has Died

The Ugly Campaigns of Today are His Legacy

Arthur Finkelstein, left, and his husband, Donald Curiale, in 2013 at an event in which Mr. Finkelstein was given an award by the American Association of Political Consultants. CreditGary Maloney

Arthur Finkelstein who passed away was a pioneer of negative, vicious campaigning.  He left us with the political discourse we have today.  No that is not something to be proud of.  For example here is a list of his successes.

Mr. Finkelstein’s combative campaigns helped elect or re-elect the Republican Senators James L. Buckley and Alfonse M. D’Amato of New York, Lauch Faircloth of North Carolina, Orrin Hatch of Utah, Jesse Helms of North Carolina, Connie Mack III of Florida, Don Nickles of Oklahoma and Strom Thurmond of South Carolina.

And how did he reach success with some of the most abominable candidates in modern history?

As a gay, Jewish libertarian, Mr. Finkelstein helped elect homophobic candidates, once polled South Carolinians on whether they would support a rival candidate identified as a Jewish immigrant, and supported gay rights and abortion rights as what the political consultant Roger Stone, another of his protégés, called, in a phone interview, “a situational conservative.”

One reason for his success was that he stayed behind the lines, never seeking publicity, just wanting to win, any way and with whatever it took.

His family and friends will miss him, the rest of us, not so much.  Late in life in Prague he saidt he following.

“I said I wanted to change the world, I said I did, I made it worse,” he added, without amplifying and, perhaps, with a dollop of self-deprecation. 

No argument here.

David Ignatius, Trump Administration is Getting Taken By Saudi's and Others

No Israel, These People are not Your Friends

The usually reliable David Ignatius of the WaPo writes about what might be a breakthrough in the Middle East.

"Jared Kushner, the White House senior adviser and presidential son-in-law, visited the leaders of all four countries during his Middle East trip this week. He was accompanied by special envoy Jason D. Greenblatt and deputy national security adviser Dina Powell. The group came away hopeful that the new generation of Arab leaders is a potential “game-changer,” said a senior administration official.”
So what's the problem? The problem is these so-called Arab moderates are using the naive Kushner and pals to play Trump for a fool. They hate and despise Jews and Israelis. They continually support and foment hatred. They see a group of fools now in charge of U. S. policy though and so they pretend to be the moderate side. They want to keep the U. S. supporting them and opposing Iran while they continue to fight Israel.

No good can come of this.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Profile in Cowardice - Trumpie Pardons Joe Arpaio Late Friday

What a Pussy

It is standard practice for politicians and office holders who want to do an unpopular thing is to do it late on a Friday.  News reporting is lax on the weekend and the hope is that by Monday another topic has replaced the ugly news.

So the Coward-in-Chief has pardoned a sheriff in Arizona who blatantly broke the law.

"President Donald Trump on Friday pardoned former Sheriff Joe Arpaio, a controversial anti-immigration figure, who had been convicted of federal contempt of court.

The White House cited a lifetime of public service in announcing the pardon for Arpaio, who served for over two decades as a sheriff of Maricopa County, Arizona prior losing his reelection bid last November. The defeat at the time was considered a significant victory for immigration rights advocates."

Trump could have done this during his Tuesday rally in Phoenix.  But that would have meant facing the critics, so Donnie ran and hid.  And notice the conveniently the hurricane in Texas is around to overwhelm the news that Trump thinks a law enforcement officer who refused to obey court orders should be pardoned.  Trumpie, not the kinda guy you want next to you in the foxhole.

UPDATE:  Late Friday Trumpster also issued his ban on Transgender individual joining the armed services.  Wanting to hide it in the hurricane news, and he was successful.  Even more cowardly, he left the decision to someone else to determine if existing Trans could stay in the armed services.

Friday, August 25, 2017

A Small Town in Virginia Has a Robert E. Lee High School Because of Bigotry and Prejudice

No History or Heritage Involved – Just Plain Racism

As the debate goes forth on honoring the men who fought the destroy the United States and retain slavery it is always helpful to look at the facts.  In the Shenandoah Valley the town of Staunton, Virginia has a high school that in 1914 was renamed from Staunton High to Robert E. Lee High.  Here’s how that came about.

A post card depicting the original Robert E. Lee High School and Lewis and Baldwin streets in Staunton. Although the school, which previously had been known as Staunton High School, was renamed with the Lee name in 1914, the new name wasn't commonly used until it had been in place about a decade.(Photo: Courtesy Charles Culbertson)

T]he all-white and all-male Staunton City School Board discussed correspondence they received from the local branch of the United Daughters of the Confederacy. According to the minutes, the J.E.B. Stuart chapter, asked “that the school buildings be named after our great Southern Heroes - Jackson and Lee.” The Board acted quickly. After a short discussion, they authorized that the high school be named Robert E. Lee and the Main Street (now West Beverley) school to be called Stonewall Jackson School.”

As for the UDC, here is what they believed.

Mildred “Miss Millie” Rutherford, the longtime historian of the UDC, perhaps best articulated these beliefs [of the Lost Cause]. She argued adamantly that slavery was not the cause of the Civil War, but rather it was states’ rights as well as the North’s envy of the idyllic and prosperous South. She protested that “Jealousy was the real cause that led to the war.” In her view, the misunderstood and benevolent system of slavery had been maligned, and the South, in fact, had not rebelled against the United States. Rather, she insisted that “the South never violated the Constitution...The Constitution was violated by the North.”

So yes, that is what the naming of the high school celebrates, a belief that slavery was ‘benevolent’ and that the North was the aggressor in the Civil War.  That is what Nazis and the KKK and the White Supremacists are marching for, to preserve that version of history.

The Most Discriminated Group in America – White Christians

Who Says That?  White Christians

Prejudice is a terrible thing, it destroys people’s lives.  It is well documented that African Americans suffer from discrimination.  It is well documented that women are discriminated against.  It is well documented that the LGBT is discriminated against, in fact there are very few federal laws that even offer minimal protection to that group.

Image result for images of family having dinner
the most discriminated group in America

So when PPP did a poll, here is their results.

Asked what racial group they think faces the most discrimination in America, 45% of Trump voters say it's white people followed by 17% for Native Americans with 16% picking African Americans, and 5% picking Latinos. Asked what religious group they think faces the most discrimination in America, 54% of Trump voters says it's Christians followed by 22% for Muslims and 12% for Jews. There is a mindset among many Trump voters that it's whites and Christians getting trampled on in America that makes it unlikely they would abandon Trump over his 'both sides' rhetoric.

Wow, the majority is being trampled by, well by we don’t know.  Anyone who thinks the white community or the Christian community is suffering discrimination leads to live a day in the life of an Hispanic of African American or Jewish American or Muslim.    Do that folks, and let us know how it turns out.

Image result for images of family having dinner
the most privileged group in America

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Jerry Falwell Jr., the Only Person Trumpie Can Get to Go on TV and Defend Him

Over the pastweekend not a single administration official would go on TV to support the way Trump dealt with the demonstrations in Virginia.  So as Think Progress reported the only person ABC could get was the so-called morality czar and head of Liberty University Jerry Falwell Jr.  Jerry is following in his father’s footsteps in preaching family values without displaying any of them.  Here is what he said.

“One of the reasons I supported him is because he doesn’t say what’s politically correct, he says what’s in his heart, what he believes and sometimes that gets him in trouble,” Falwell Jr. said. “But he does not have a racist bone in his body.”

That part about no having a ‘racist bone in his body’ may be true. At this point it looks like all of his bones are racists and so it would be wrong to single out a single bone.

The Falwell name is associated with the Moral Majority.  For Jerry Junior he is neither a part of a  majority nor moral.

ESPN to Remove Broadcaster from UVA Game Because of His Name

Today in Stupid

The network announced late Tuesday that the announcer, Robert Lee, a part-time employee who calls about a dozen college football and basketball games a year for ESPN, would no longer participate in the broadcast of the Sept. 2 game in Charlottesville, Va., which became the center of violent clashes this month during a white supremacist gathering.

Really, ESPN thinks America cannot distinguish between a football announcer and a general who led troops against America and died among 150 years ago?  Who are these idiots at ESPN?

Robert Lee, right, an ESPN announcer. The network said that for his safety he would not be in the broadcast booth as planned for the University of Virginia’s Sept. 2 game at Charlottesville. CreditESPN, via YouTube

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

The Only Commentary You Need to See on Trumpet and Afghanistan

From Taegan Goddard, Pass It On

Political Wire

Do not allow our very stupid leaders to sign a deal that keeps us in Afghanistan through 2024 — with all costs by U.S.A. Make America Great!”
— Donald Trump, on Twitter, November 21, 2013.

Tobacco Industry Targets the Low Income Rural Americans

Just Making a Bad Situation Worse

The Washington Post has a fantastic story about smoking and who is doing it.  The story confirms what we have all observed and suspected, that smoking is far more prevalent among lower income non urban individuals than it is with higher income urban/suburban individuals.

Among the nation’s less-educated people — those with a high-school-equivalency diploma — the smoking rate remains more than 40percent, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Today, rural residents are diagnosed with lung cancer at rates 18 to 20 percent above those of city dwellers. By nearly every statistical measure, researchers say, America’s lower class now smokes more and dies more from cigarettes than other Americans.

 This graphic says it all.

But what about the cigarette companies?  What are they doing?  Exploiting the situation, what did you expect?

Tobacco companies have also invested considerable resources in recent years lobbying against smoking restrictions and taxes, especially in poorer, rural and often Southern states, where smoking remains highest.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

The President Who Looked at the Sun - What a Dumb Ass (Red Foreman)

 Despite warnings, Trump gazed directly at the eclipse.

As reported by The Atlantic and Others

President Trump points at the sun as he views the solar eclipse at the White House.
The finger measures his IQ

Further Evidence that Beauregard Sessions Had His Spine Removed When His Memory of Russian Contacts Was Erased

From the great Taegan Goddard Forum

Political Wire

Quote of the Day

“I believe in the president’s agenda. I believe in his leadership. He has a right to scold his cabinet members if he’s not happy with them.”
— Attorney General Jeff Sessions, in an interview with NBC News, on President Trump’s public criticisms of him.

Another Day, Another Failure of Trump and Pence

This Time in Latin America

Presidents always say that improving trade and relations with the rest of the nations of the America’s is a high priority.  Most don’t follow up.  Trump does not even try, sending a clueless Mike Pence to the region.  As reported by the Economist,

The single most striking impression of this tour is its smallness. Mr Pence, a man so disciplined and loyal to his boss that his favourite phrase is “As President Trump has said”, has asked each government in turn for modest, and in some cases puzzling, things. . .  .

Mr Pence has focused on policies that matter immediately to Mr Trump back home: sanctions on North Korea, more pressure on the autocratic left-wing regime in Venezuela, or better local access for specific American products and services (as agreed through the bilateral trade deals Mr Trump prefers, believing that one-on-one negotiations give him the winning hand). To a remarkable extent, his hosts have not feared ignoring Mr Pence in places where those American requests make no sense or do not match local priorities.

Of course, at some time in the future the administration is likely to need some of these governments for some strategic reason important to the United States.  The countries will remember that Trump did not even try and Pence, well the U. S. cared enough to send its very ignorant.

Pence with a South American leader, he just doesn't know which one.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Memo to President: If David Duke of the KKK Praises Your Statements

You Have Said the Wrong Things 

Yes, The Test is That Simple - And By the Way, Your Grade F-

Image result for images of david duke
David Duke - Praiser of Trumpie; Purveyor of Hate

Headline in the WSJ: Regulators’ Penalties Against Wall Street Are Down Sharply in 2017

Gosh No One Saw That Coming!

The reporting side of the WSJ, the good guys, have studied enforcement in Wall Street matters and have concluded that fines are way down.

Wall Street regulators have imposed far lower penalties in the first six months of Donald Trump’s presidency than they did during the first six months of 2016, a comparable period in the Obama administration, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis.

Lawyers who defend financial cases said a shift to a business-friendly stance at regulatory agencies in the Trump administration is one of several reasons for the decrease. 

To be fair there are reasons other than Donnie handing out goodies to his rich pals,

Other factors include delays resulting from the change in administrations and the winding down of cases from the financial crisis.

But the drop is dramatic.

Penalties levied against firms and individuals by the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority in the first half of 2017 were down nearly two-thirds compared with the first half of 2016—putting regulators on track for the lowest annual level of fines since at least 2010, the Journal found. Fines of $489 million in the first half of 2017 compared with $1.4 billion in the 2016 period.

And of course the law enforcement is more than equally applied in this area.  Low income families have no fines levied against them for violating financial laws and regulations.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Leave It to the WSJ Editors to Apologize for Trump and the Racists

 And Throw in a Little False History as an Aside

It is painful to read the WSJ editorials as they try and twist their way out of not condemning Trump on hatred and racism.  They do not oppose the bigotry of Donald Trump because of the bigotry of Donald Trump.  They oppose it because it interferes with such things as tax cuts for the rich, privatizing the public schools and cutting federal spending on helping people. 

It won’t educate an inner-city child trapped in a rotten school, it won’t create more economic opportunity, and it won’t lead to more racial tolerance.

Actually it will lead to more racial tolerance and create better schools for inner city children and more economic opportunity for those other than the WSJ folks who live in a world where they are privileged.    Exposing the hate mongers for what they are will be a big help.  These people thrive only in shadows;  in sunlight their ideas wither and die.

But it wouldn’t be a WSJ editorial with lies, distortions and half truths.  For example there is this.

That is a long and difficult history of progress, one that deserves to be known in its complexity, rather than not known or forgotten. Robert E. Lee spent the rest of his life after the Civil War, notably as president of what became Washington and Lee University, trying to heal the wounds between north and south.

That’s at least one legacy of Lee we can all celebrate because we can’t see much purpose beyond political symbolism in reopening the Civil War 152 years later.

Yeah, the rest his life as a college prez.  The time before that, figuring out ways to kill tens of thousands of Americans to preserve slavery.  Let's let that part of the story die.

Good old W & L.  Let’s see some truth.  This is from a Politico post explaining the real reasons why statues of men like Lee were erected, to celebrate white nationalism and the subjugation of African Americans.

At the Charlottesville statue’s dedication, one of the two keynote speakers extolled Lee as “the idol of every Southern heart—aye, of every human heart, North and South, East and West.” Gazing up at a Confederate flag that flew nearby, he hailed it as “that starry flag of the world’s heart and hope, that shall yet float in universal triumph over land and sea.” The other keynoter called Lee “an ideal of a whole land” who “symbolized the future.”

Those two speakers weren’t Grand Dragons of the KKK: They were the presidents of Washington and Lee University and the University of Virginia. Both institutions barred African-Americans. And not only were Charlottesville’s public schools segregated in 1924, the town didn’t even have a high school for black citizens: Authorities considered a ninth-grade education sufficient.

As for Washington and Lee, well their history is a little suspect. It was not until the 1960’s that the school admitted African Americans.  As for women,  that came later.

Once an all-male institution, Washington and Lee first admitted women to its law school in 1972. The first undergraduate women matriculated in 1985. Since then, Washington and Lee has flourished.

So Lee’s legacy was a school that until it was forced to do otherwise was an all male all white college.  We are not sure we join the WSJ in celebrating that legacy.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Outside the Beltway Nobody Gives a Damn About Steve Bannon and Breitbart

Stevie is In For a Big Shock

The media is making a big deal about Steve Bannon being fired from his White House job, although nobody knew what his White House job was.  Bannon is going back to the anti-everything that's not white America Breitbart News, and will enjoy the backing of a right wing nutjob couple, the Mercers.

But what these people and the Republican party don’t realize is that the loyalty of the Trump supporters is to Trump.  The Republicans thought they would just get a useful idiot in the White House who would blindly sign whatever legislation they would produce.  Well they got the idiot part, except the useful idiot came with his own loyal entourage. 

The cowardice of the House and Senate Republicans over Trump’s blatant racism is that they now realize the tail is wagging the dog.  The put in place a force they cannot control and their only choice is to bow down in subservience or be voted off the party boat.  They are choosing to stay on the boat.

Bannon is going to discover that while he is loud he will not be heard.  He will have the same choice as the Republicans like Speaker Paul Ryan.  Go along or be tossed aside, or in the case of Bannon, ignored.  But then ignorance covers Bannon like a fine jacket.  Oh for a while he will get some public and media attention.  But he has just about had his 15 minutes, and the curtain is coming down on Bannonism.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Trump To Propose Statue to Saddam Hussein – And Other Fake News

Editor’s Note:  Trumpie pines for fake news, but since the major networks (except Fox) all report real news this Forum is setting out some fake news to make him happy.

  1. Donald Trump today said he will build a statue to the late Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein. Trump commented that it is a long tradition in the United States to build statues to those who fought against the U. S. and killed U. S. soldiers and he felt it was wrong to deny the honor to Saddam just because he was a murderous dictator.  “There are many fine people, many fine who want to honor Saddam, and there were people on both sides, both sides who fought” and he added ‘if I didn’t have a sore thumb I would have fought in that war too, not sure which side, but I would have fought”.

  1. When questioned about the fact that she has converted to Judaism despite her father’s infatuation with anti-Semitic groups Ivanka Trump explained that she didn’t really mean it.  “After all” she said, “if I was really serious about that Jew stuff would I have stayed on vacation while Daddy identified with the Klan?”

  1. House Speaker Paul Ryan explained that while he thought he was against the American Nazi groups that if they supported tax reform that would reduces taxes for billionaires he would have to rethink that position.

  1. Jewish members of the Trump administration said that of course they wouldn’t quit working for Trumpet because if they did so he might send out a tweet placing them in a bad light. 

  1. Mitt Romney said he was ready to condemn Trump on his association with racists bigots and Nazis but stopped when he was informed he could still be Secretary of State is the current incumbent quits and no one else is willing to take the job.  Oops, Romney has been now been told Trump would appoint Hillary Clinton as Sec. of State before he considered Romney, so Mitt has now decided it is okay to condemn Trump.  But he could change his mind if the job becomes open.

  1. President Trump has suggested that the response to terrorism is to round up suspected Islamic terrorists and murder them with bullets dipped in pig blood. Oh, wait, that’s not fake news, that’s real. 

The New Yorker Says It All

The Economist Says It All

After Charlottesville

Texas Declines to Pass North Carolina Style Bathroom Bill

How Bad is That Policy When Even Texas Will Not Adopt It

When North Carolina enacted a bathroom bill that was extremely mean and discriminatory and vicious against the Trans community the backlash was huge.  Ultimately the state backed down under pressure from the business community and the people who had at least minimal moral standards. But conservatives hate anyone associated with LBGT and so Texas took up the challenge.

Surprisingly Texas has backed down.

A bill that would have regulated bathroom use for transgender people died in the Texas legislature Tuesday, as a 29-day special session came to a close without addressing many of Republican Gov. Greg Abbott’s legislative priorities.

The bill’s demise capped months of heated debate over the issue and exposed deep divisions between the socially conservative wing of the state Republican party and more centrist, business-minded members of the GOP concerned with potential economic blow-back.

It was the second time conservative lawmakers attempted and failed to pass a bill requiring people to use some public bathrooms based on their birth sex. An array of major corporations in Texas had lined up against such legislation.
In May, Texas lawmakers did not pass a previous version of the bill, which mirrored a controversial North Carolina law targeting transgender people.

The fact that Texas will not go down this path shows just how radical the North Carolina law was.  About the only person still in denial is former NC Gov. Pat McCrory who still thinks a bill is necessary.  And even worse for McCrory he can no longer hope to be the bathroom czar in Texas.

Saudi Arabia Treats Women Like Third Class Citizens –

Trump's Favorite Mideast Country Behaves Like Pigs

It is no secret that Trumpie is a big fan of the Saudi’s.  The Saudi’s impose strict government controls on the lives of its female citizens. 

Woman in Short Skirt Sparks Debate, and Arrest, in Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia’s police detained a woman for appearing in public wearing a short skirt and a cropped top, a violation of the country’s strict dress code, state media said on Tuesday.

One wonders of course if the coarse U. S. President likes the Saudi’s in spite of their treatment of women or because of it.  We are betting on the latter.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Trump on World War II: Both Sides, Nazis and Americans, Were Responsible for the Violence

Donnie:  There Were a Lot of  Bad People on the American Side Too

From Real Fake News:  The following is a statement by Donnie Trump on the blame for people for violence in World War II.

Look, nobody knows more about the history of World War II than I do.  And let me tell you what the historians and left wingers won’t tell you, that there were bad people, really bad people on both sides.  And a lot of those who were called Nazis were just patriots trying to preserve their culture and they were mightily provoked. 

Yes I know six million Jews were murdered and a lot of other people like gypsies, gays and eastern Europeans were also killed.  But no one focuses on the people the Nazis didn’t kill.  Millions, I mean millions of civilians were not killed by the Nazis and believe me, they could have been.  Those Nazis showed great restraint and nobody in the fake news is reporting that.

I saw the movie The Dirty Dozen.  Those people were criminals, murderers and rapists and they were fighting for America.  But nobody says that they were bad people, you won’t hear anybody but Donald Trump saying that the Dirty Dozen were just as bad as the Nazis.  And those Dirty Dozen killed a lot more people. Rent the movie.

The Nazis weren’t the aggressors all the time.  In World War II the Americans and their allies first invaded North Africa, then Sicily.  Not content the left wingers lead by Franklin Rosenfeld marched into Italy.  And finally with no provocation at all a bunch of Americans, many of them from immigrant families boated across the English Channel and attacked France.  But nobody but Donald Trump will talk about that.  

Now I know WWII was a great victory.  And let me point out, because no one else will because they are afraid to, that the victory in WWII was done with a segregated army and navy.  And that after Truman, a Democrat you know, ended segregation in the army and we stopped winning. We didn’t win in Korea, we didn’t win in Vietnam even though I served, we didn’t win in Iraq and we aren’t winning in Afghanistan.  We let blacks, and women and Hispanics and gays, and now if you believe this, trans, in the armed forces and we are no longer winning.  Just saying.

Mike Pence’s Private Indiana Interstate is Failing – Like Pence Himself

Conservatives Just Will Not Learn

The idea of privatizing America’s roads has strong support among conservatives. It gets government and taxes out of the road business, promotes private companies who can make big campaign contributions and still allows them to boast of improving infrastructure.  But the idea that a private company can do for less cost what government can do has many failures to discredit it.  And now the WSJ showcases one such disaster, an interstate between Bloomington and Martinsville in Indiana which was championed by then Gov. Mike Pence.

Construction delays on I-69 have frustrated residents and businesses near the still-incomplete road, who are tired of traffic congestion.
Construction delays on I-69 have frustrated residents and businesses near the still-incomplete road, who are tired of traffic congestion. PHOTO: AJ MAST FOR THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

The project, a partnership between the state and private investors, was signed by Vice President Mike Pence in 2014 when he was the state’s governor. It is two years behind schedule and only 60% built. The state is in the process of taking it over and will have to issue debt to finish it.

“It became clear that the only way to ensure completion in a reasonable time frame would be to put it back under the state’s control,” said Stephanie Wilson, spokeswoman for current Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb.

And no, the project is not to complete an interstate link.  Even after it is built Interstate 69  will not be a full link from southern Indiana through Bloomington to Indianapolis.

Now major projects fail all the time.  The problem is that failure doesn’t lead to anyone learning that maybe, just maybe, involving a private company which not only has to bear the construction costs but also make a profit can do a better job than a well run government.  Sure there have been successes, nothing is all bad but

There have been some notable public-private failures. Toll-road partnerships in Alabama, Texas and California declared bankruptcy in recent years after revenue from tolls used to finance these projects fell short of projections. Indiana’s first major public-private partnership, a deal with Ferrovial S.A.’s subsidiary Cintra to operate the Indiana Toll Road, fell into bankruptcy after revenue missed targets. It has since been bought by new owners.

And in case anyone still has doubts about the concept, there is this.

President Donald Trump is calling for $1 trillion in infrastructure investments over the next decade—funded mostly from the private sector—to upgrade America’s roads, bridges, ports, airports and railroads.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Breaking News: Hillary Was Right in Her Comment on 'The Deplorables'

She just forgot to include Trump in that group.

Ross Douthat’s Vile and Vicious Column on JFK and Trump Marks Him Forever as Unfit to Publish in the NYT

How Can Any Publication Print His Lies and Distortions?

In a column in the Sunday NYT the headlines of Ross Douthat’s commentary is “The Missiles of August”.  This leads one to think it will be about the dreadful Trump rhetoric on North Korea, but instead its about John Kennedy and how he dealt with the Cuban missile crisis, which incidentally happened in October, not August.

Mr. Douthat says so many things that are either not true or distorted that it is difficult to know where to begin.  For instance, there is this.

In reality, the Cuban missile crisis was the kind of scenario many of us feared could follow the election of Donald Trump: An inexperienced president gets elected on promises of toughness and flagrant lies, makes a series of bad decisions that provoke escalation from our foes, at which point political considerations make him feel he can’t back down, and suddenly we’re staring at nuclear war.

Let’s start with inexperienced President.  Kennedy had been in Congress for six years, and was then elected to the Senate where he served for eight years.  Not exactly in-experienced was he?  Trump of course ducked out of serving in the military and had no prior experience at any level of government before become President.

Ok, what about this?

. . . he went ahead with a plan to place Jupiter missiles in Turkey, a provocative gesture that made the Soviets suspect that we were looking for opportunities for a nuclear first strike.

No, the missiles were obsolete and Kennedy planned to remove them.  Don’t you just hate it when facts get in the way of a good argument.

Well there is this.

Kennedy decided that while the missiles did not place the United States in greater military danger (a nuke is a nuke whether fired from Havana, Russia or a submarine off the U.S. coast), they created an unacceptable political problem for his presidential credibility. Thus the escalation that followed — the quarantine, the invasion threat, the nuclear brinksmanship.

Oh, so the Cuban missile crisis was just a political event.  No one worried that the missiles were 90 miles away?  No one believes this drivel except Douthat.

Wait, there’s more.

There are ways in which Donald Trump is a kind of Dorian Gray’s portrait of J.F.K. — with the same appetitiveness and clannishness (swap Ivanka for R.F.K.) and personal secrets (tax returns for Trump, medical records for Kennedy), but without the youthful looks and eloquence and a patina of intellectualism and idealism to clean those failings up.

Gosh, where to start?  Kennedy’s medical history did not affect his Presidency and not releasing info was consistent with practices at the time.  Trump’s tax return reflect his business dealings which affect his Presidency, and releasing them is consistent with long held practices.

And really, Ivanka is equivalent to Robert Kennedy?  An empty headed spoiled rich girl vs one of the towering figures of his time.  C’mon man!

Incredibly, Peggy Noonan the sycophantic opinion writer for the WSJ has it right on JFK and the Cuban crisis.

What is happening with North Korea is not analogous to what happened in 1962, except for the word crisis.  . . .

President Kennedy gave great and grave attention to reassuring a nation and world understandably alarmed by nuclear brinkmanship. Does Mr. Trump? Not in the least. . . . .

In that area, at least, there are useful lessons to be drawn from ’62. In that crisis, Kennedy was verbally careful. He never popped off, because he knew words had power and how they will be received is not always perfectly calculable. He knew he could not use language—fire and fury—that invited thoughts of nuclear war. . . .

JFK himself called the publisher of the New York Times , the president of the Washington Post and the owner of Time magazine to request pledges of cooperation and discretion. All agreed. He filled in his Republican predecessor, Dwight Eisenhower, on the plan to blockade Cuba. “Whatever you do,” said Eisenhower, “you will have my support.”

Before his Oval Office speech announcing the blockade, JFK briefed congressional leaders of both parties with complete confidence. Military aircraft were sent for some of them.

And this garbage that somehow Ivanka is RFK?  Here’s what Noonan, the hard right Republican says.

Ten days into the crisis, the president asked his brother, Attorney General Robert Kennedy, to meet privately with the Russian ambassador to the U.S., Anatoly Dobrynin. The purpose was to make sure the Russians understood the gravity with which the Americans were approaching their decisions; they didn’t want the U.S. position misunderstood. Both men were tired, and Dobrynin at one point thought RFK was near tears. The U.S. military, he told the ambassador, was pressing hard to invade Cuba. The president would have to agree if Khrushchev didn’t take the missiles out now. Dobrynin said he didn’t know if the Politburo, deeply committed to its position, would back down. They were both telling the truth and lying. RFK was putting it all on the military, Dobrynin on the Politburo, but both were under pressure.

It was a private, high-stakes meeting held, successfully, in secret. Notes were not leaked.

Could any of this happen now?

Seriously, can anyone, anyone at all imagine Ivanka in such a meeting.  About all she could contribute is how her new fall line might be endangered if nuclear war broke out.