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.

Exclusive: How Trumpie Made His Difficult and Agonizing Decision to Come Out Against Racism, Nazism, White Supremacy and the KKK

Fake (But Believable) News at Its Finest

Editor’s Note:  After waiting several days Donald Trump decided that he should be against hate groups.  This is not how he made his decision, but could have been.

Washington (XPI)  August 14.  This news service has learned the process by which Trump decided to go public and denounce hate.  The President spent several days wondering if it was appropriate to condemn hate groups according to a close aide, and after weighing the pros and cons for and against hatred in America he finally determined that while it was a close call, hate and prejudice and bigotry in the nation should not exist.

“Look, I shouldn’t have this problem” Trump told Ivanka late Saturday.  “Obama even though he is a Kenyan born Muslim should have taken care of this.  Everything gets left to me as though I should have to do something about the surge or racists groups in the country.  Why me”  Ivanka apparently tried to soothe her daddy by telling him her fall line would be sold to people of all color.

The key problem Trump was having was that he agreed with his base that was virulently pro white rights, felt that they were being discriminated against and did not believe that Blacks, Jews, Hispanics, Asians, Gays  and people whose forebearers came from another country should not be allowed to say in America.  But that people around him felt he had to hide that fact.  “These are good people, I know them, I agree with them and how can I go against them just because a bunch of liberal pinko weak kneed politicians like Ted Cruz and Orrin Hatch want me to” Trump was reported as telling his friends between golf rounds.  Trump was also annoyed that his golf game had been interrupted by the events in Charlottesville.

In the end Trump decided to publicly announce Monday that maybe, just maybe racist and anti-Semitism  wrong, claim credit for being the President who did more for, as he put it, ‘black folks’ than any other person to hold the office.  There are reports he sent aides Bannon and Stephen Miller to visit white militias and tell them he didn’t mean any of his remarks, but those reports are unconfirmed.  Several leaders of the white supremacists groups when asked about that said it wasn’t necessary for Trump to tell them that, they knew it already.

But Trump could not stomach the fact that people didn't think he supported the bigors, so on Tuesay he corrected the record.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Federal Judge Bears Some Responsibility of Violence in Charlottesville

But That Does Not Exonerate the Bigots and Whose Hatred Caused the Violence

There is a lot of blame to go around for the violence and deaths in Charlottesville.  Almost all of the blame goes to the individual who drove a car into a crowd, killing one person and injuring others.  And that individual shares all of that blame with the KKK, Nazi’s and other bigoted haters who wanted to spew their hatred onto the American scene.  They showed up armed and dressed as militia.  They did not come in peace, they came to fight.

A small part of the blame goes to the people responsible for public safety.  No not the men and women on the front lines, they bravely did their duty.  But their superiors did not adequately train them in how to control a situation like the one that happened in Charlottesville.

And totally unreported by the news media is the role Federal Judge Glen Conrad played in bringing about a situation that was conducive to violence.  See, the city of Charlottesville recognized that the protests and counter protests could clash. So they wisely decided to move the protest of the removal of the statue of Robert E. Lee away from a restricted, crowded park near downtown Charlottesville to a much larger part about a mile away.  This would allow police and others to control the protesters and keep them from attacking those who wanted to peacefully counter protest.

Incredibly though, a federal judge denied the city that request.  He was of the opinion that moving the protest would violate the free speech rights of the protesters, that the city’s decision to move the protest was not to protect the public but to somehow punish the content of the protester’s speech.

“Based on the current record, the court concludes that Kessler has shown that he will likely prove that the decision to revoke his permit was based on the content of his speech. Kessler's assertion in this regard is supported by the fact that the City solely revoked his permit. . . but left in place the permits issued to counter-protestors.

The disparity in treatment between the two groups with opposing views suggests that the defendants' decision to revoke Kessler's permit was based on the content of his speech rather than other neutral factors that would be equally applicable to Kessler and those protesting against him. This conclusion is bolstered by other evidence, including communications on social media indicating that members of City Council oppose Kessler's political viewpoint. At this stage of the proceedings,· the evidence cited by Kessler supports the conclusion that the City's decision constitutes a content-based restriction of speech.”

The was absurd to the nth degree.  The city did not actually revoke the permit; they modified it to move the protest to a safer place.  The city did not deny Kessler and his merry band of bigots the right to speak.  They did not attempt to control what they would say.  They simply wanted to preserve the right of free speech by moving to a better place.  The fact that they let the counter protests remain where the original speech was planned supported the idea that the city was interest in keeping the peace.

Events tragically proved the city right and the judge wrong.  The deaths and injuries should forever be on his conscience.

Opioid Drug Companies Paid Doctors $46 Million Between 2013 and 2015

And Opioid Use Increased

It’s no secret that pharmaceutical companies pay out huge sums to doctors.  And now a study has determined that they have made payments in connection with prescriptions for opioids.

One in 12 doctors has received money from drug companies marketing prescription opioid medications, according to a study released Wednesday afternoon.

Researchers at Boston Medical Center found that from 2013 to 2015, 68,177 doctors received more than $46 million in payments from drug companies pushing powerful painkillers. Researchers believe it is the first study to look at the practice of pharmaceutical companies marketing opioids to physicians.

Now there are or can be legitimate reasons for drug companies to support doctors who prescribe addiction prone drugs, primarily to educate those doctors to prescribe safely.  That does not seem to be the situation here.

According to Hadland’s study, which was published in the American Journal of Public Health, about two-thirds of the payments came from speaking fees. About 700 doctors raked in nearly 83 percent of the total money spent marketing to physicians.

But really, is anyone comfortable with these numbers? 

Monday, August 14, 2017

Pres. George H. W. Bush Called Out the NRA on it Hatred – Trump Won’t Even Call Out Nazi’s and White Supremacists

First President Bushes Just Continues to Rise; Trump Continues to Head to the Gutter

There is a lot of condemnation of the refusal of Trump to criticize by name the ugly, evil bigoted racists whose actions in Charlottesville led to violence and death.  This moral failure on the part of an immoral President recalls the time when the President of the United States was a moral leader.

In 1995 the NRA attacked federal agents as being ‘jack-booted thugs’.  In response President George H. W. Bush resigned from the group.  But in resigning he also sent the group a letter that will stand forever as the paragon of justified moral outrage, and the clear signal of how an honorable person responds to promoters of hate.

HOUSTON, May 10— Following is the letter of resignation sent last week by former President George Bush to the National Rifle Association: May 3, 1995
Dear Mr. Washington,
I was outraged when, even in the wake of the Oklahoma City tragedy, Mr. Wayne LaPierre, executive vice president of N.R.A., defended his attack on federal agents as "jack-booted thugs." To attack Secret Service agents or A.T.F. people or any government law enforcement people as "wearing Nazi bucket helmets and black storm trooper uniforms" wanting to "attack law abiding citizens" is a vicious slander on good people.

The former President went on the say this.

I am a gun owner and an avid hunter. Over the years I have agreed with most of N.R.A.'s objectives, particularly your educational and training efforts, and your fundamental stance in favor of owning guns.
However, your broadside against Federal agents deeply offends my own sense of decency and honor; and it offends my concept of service to country. It indirectly slanders a wide array of government law enforcement officials, who are out there, day and night, laying their lives on the line for all of us.

After Charlottesville everyone should read the entire letter.  And then think of what we have lost by putting Trump in office.

An Explanation of Why U. S. – China Relations Are Having Difficulty

And It’s An Obvious One

The NYT is reporting on the troublesome relationship between America and China over trade and North Korea.  For some odd reason the Trumpies believe that they can get China to help with containment of North Korea while at the same time attacking China on its trade policies.

While past presidents have tried at least ostensibly to keep security and economic issues on separate tracks in their dealings with China, Mr. Trump has explicitly linked the two, suggesting he would back off from a trade war against Beijing if it does more to pressure North Korea. “If China helps us, I feel a lot differently toward trade, a lot differently toward trade,” he told reporters on Thursday.

This is insulting to China, particularly when it is done in public.  And things are not going all that well.  China has apparently put forth a reasonable proposal.

Still, the leadership has been vexed that the Trump administration has paid scant attention to China’s proposal for a “freeze for freeze” solution to North Korea. Described many times by China’s foreign minister, Wang Yi, the notion calls for North Korea to freeze its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile program at current levels in exchange for the United States drawing down military exercises off the Korean Peninsula.

Really, does the U. S. need military exercise near Korea to prepare to attack or defend against the poorest military nation in the world?  Looks like a reasonable tradeoff.

So why aren’t things going better?  Oh there is this.

Much of the diplomacy between China and the United States has been conducted between Mr. Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and the Chinese ambassador in Washington, Cui Tiankai. 

Ah yes, the Boy Wonder coming straight from his appearance on the Original Amateur Hour.

God has given Trump authority to take out Kim Jong Un,’ evangelical adviser says

Today in Crazy

Yes, that is a real headline from the Washington Post.  It is almost as if the United States has left the current planet and is now orbiting in an alternate universe.

It is not clear what religion would support an action that could result in the deaths of millions, maybe tens of millions.  Freedom of religion exists in this nation but any claim that mass killing is religious, well let’s just say that could only exist in the fantasy land of Donnie Trump and his minions.

President Trump greets Pastor Robert Jeffress on July 1, 2017, during the Celebrate Freedom Rally at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington. Pool photo by Oliver Douliery/European Pressphoto Agency)

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Racial Tension and Issues Are Not Solely in Charlottesville

Deteriorating Race Relations in the Age of Trump

The horrific news from Charlottesville, the death and injuries that the idea that white supremacists are still active in the nation might lead one to believe that the problem is limited to that college town in Virginia.  It is not.

First of all though what in the world were the police doing in Cville to allow the protests and counter protests to become uncontrollable.  The clashes were predictable and expected.  If Charlottesville law enforcement were unable, unwilling or too weak to handle the job they should have called for help.  What is wrong with them?  As for Trumpie, well he blamed everyone with nary a single word condemning white racists.  But then he wouldn't want to attack his most loyal supporters, would he?

And the NYT has stories of other racial issues tearing at the fabric of society.  New York Democrats are becoming divided, in part over charter schools and the racial prejudices that infect education policy in New York state.  The latest outrage came from Jeffrey Loeb, a wealthy hedge fund manager (does that profession just create assholes as a side effect?) and charter school advocate.  Mr. Loeb decided it was good strategy to invoke the KKK with respect to an African American politician.

Mr. Loeb wrote this week that “hypocrites who pay fealty to powerful union thugs and bosses do more damage to people of color than anyone who has ever donned a hood,” singling out the minority leader of the State Senate, who is African-American. Mr. Loeb, a hedge fund giant and political megadonor, quickly deleted and disavowed the incendiary comment after it became public, but the damage was done.

Good grief!  And aspiring Democratic presidential candidate Gov. Andrew Cuomo is right in the middle, and rapidly losing his opportunity to be considered a serious contender for the nomination.  His handling of this issue along with neglect of the city’s transportation system should doom his presidential decisions.

Going south the Times is reporting on how Ole Miss is dealing with racial issues and it virulent racial past.  For example there is good old Lucius Lamar.

A professor at Ole Miss before and after the Civil War, he served in both chambers of Congress and as a Supreme Court justice.
Oxford’s main thoroughfare, lined with stately homes and towering oaks, is named Lamar Avenue. His home, restored as a museum, is on the National Register of Historic Places. In 1977, Ole Miss dedicated a major building as Lamar Hall.
That building will soon get a plaque more fully describing Lamar’s legacy.
Lamar drafted the state’s orders of secession, funded his own Confederate regiment and held 31 slaves. After the war, he remained a divisive figure, delivering speeches that riled up whites in a violent 1875 election that he said “involved the supremacy of the unconquered and unconquerable Saxon race,” according to one newspaper account of the day.
Somehow the concept that this racist should not be honored is alien to the good mothers and fathers in Mississippi.  How much thought does it take to condemn such a man?  Apparently more than the powers that be in Mississippi have.

At a meeting black journalists an African American Trump White House staffer got out of control.

Ms. Manigault-Newman is the director of communications for the White House Office of Public Liaison. She also noted that in her role, she is often the “only African-American representative” in the White House and frequently tries to be an advocate on behalf of black people.
But the discussion quickly worsened from there. It became a 25-minute argument during which Ms. Manigault-Newman called Mr. Gordon “aggressive,” with Mr. Gordon pointedly asking what effect Ms. Manigault-Newman had made on the president.
In one heated exchange, Mr. Gordon recounted Mr. Trump’s comments last month on Long Island that suggested police officers should rough up suspects while taking them into custody. Ms. Manigault-Newman interjected, “Are you suggesting that I just walk away?”
Gosh, the sole African American in the White House.  And how did she get the job, how is it that Trump even knew and African American woman?

Heading into the forum, many of the conference attendees said they were steeling themselves for the appearance of Ms. Manigault-Newman, who became famous on “The Apprentice” and has had several fiery exchanges with journalists.

Oh right. 

And of course they must have been some killing of unarmed African American by policy recently.  But that is now too common to be considered news.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

The Opiod Crisis is Real – Trump’s Response is From Outer Space

Clueless  On Vacation

It is impossible to deny that addiction to opiods is serious.  A task force has recommended it be termed a national emergency.  Here’s Trumpie’s response to that. 

He said the “best way to prevent drug addiction and overdose is to prevent people from abusing drugs in the first place.”
“If they don’t start, they won’t have a problem. If they do start, it’s awfully tough to get off,” Trump told reporters at the clubhouse at his private golf club. “So if we can keep them from going on — and maybe by talking to youth and telling them: ‘No good, really bad for you in every way.’ But if they don’t start, it will never be a problem.”

 Yes, this is the man whose finger is on the nuclear trigger. OMG

XXX AP_8609110237.JPG A USA WV
How did that work out?

Friday, August 11, 2017

Lindsey Graham is Betting the Farm on Nuclear War

Lindsey Needs to Do the Same Thing Donnie Needs to Do - Shut Up

Here from Taegan Goddard's wonder political forum is some really scary reporting.

Graham Says Trump Is Willing to Strike North Korea

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) told radio host Hugh Hewitt that while President Trump said he would try to negotiate with North Korea, he is very “willing to abandon strategic patience and use preemption. I think he’s there mentally. He has told me this.”
Said Graham: “I wish a Democrat would take their hatred of Donald Trump and park it…because of everyone else’s failure, he’s run out of the ability to kick the can down the road.”

Now the problem of this is that if this is strategy to make North Korea reconsider its threatening talk, this could backfire badly.  One assumes that Graham with the connivance of the White House went to a Trump friendly media midget to say things that they expect would make the North Koreans back down on their threats. And that might work.
But it might not.  If North Korea interprets this and other incendiary talk as meaning the U. S. will conduct a pre-emptive strike against the North Koreans then they may well react by making their own unprovoked attack.  This would lead to an all out assault on the NK's as well it should, but the result would be casualties in the hundreds of thousand, or more likely in the millions.  It's a high stakes bet, and maybe, just maybe too high stakes for Graham and Trump to play the game.  The loss of life will not be their's but if there is a holocaust they will be condemned by history and morality for all eternity.

On Trump vs McConnell This Forum Sides with Trump

Because Even Donnie Cannot be Wrong All the Time

The Prez is highly critical of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R, Ky) over his failure to pass any repeal of ACA. 

WASHINGTON — President Trump on Thursday sharply escalated his criticism of the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, raising the possibility that Mr. McConnell should perhaps relinquish his position if he cannot deliver on signature legislative priorities.
For days, Mr. Trump has trained his fire on Mr. McConnell, venting on Twitter about the Senate’s inability to pass a health care repeal bill before lawmakers left for the August recess.
Speaking to reporters on Thursday afternoon outside his golf club in Bedminster, N.J., Mr. Trump was asked if Mr. McConnell should consider stepping down.
“I’ll tell you what,” Mr. Trump began, “if he doesn’t get repeal and replace done and if he doesn’t get taxes done, meaning cuts and reform, and if he doesn’t get a very easy one to get done, infrastructure, if he doesn’t get them done, then you can ask me that question.”

McConnell took ownership of the ACA repeal and replace.  He decided the strategy and he was the leader of the process.  He is at the place where the buck stops.

Of course McConnell cannot take any blame, like Trumpie nothing that fails is his fault.  But regardless of what he thinks about not being the culprit here, this whiny little man is the one Trump should blame.  And good for him for doing it.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Why the Stock Market Ignores Trumpie and Other Observations

Insight Into the Rational World

Here’s the scoop.

1.      The stock market should have plummeted when Trump gave out his threat of nuclear war against North Korea.  It didn’t.  Why not?  No one takes Trump seriously, no one believes what he says, and other than news organizations which have to fill space no one seems to care.

2.      A pre-dawn FBI raid on Paul Manafort, ex Trump campaign head should make some people named Trump very nervous. 

3.      After saying the Senate would stay in session for at least the first two weeks of August Senate Leader Mitch McConnell sent them crawling  home after a week.  Mitch himself slunk out of D. C. with his prehensile tail between his legs.  Then like a true stalwart he blamed everyone else for his problems, like Trump.

4.      House Speaker Paul Ryan is a quick learner and hence that is the reason he is keeping his mouth closed. 

5.      Another entry in the “How Low Can You Go” contest the Republicans appear to have Sen. Ron Johnson (R, Wi) blamed John McCain’s no vote on health care on McCain’s brain cancer.  Good Grief!

6.      Democrats are leading in the polls and will continue to do so until they have to nominate actual candidates and run races.

7.      In Alabama’s special senate race Trump has endorsed Sen. Strange (no we are not making up that name) in the Republican primary.  If Strange finishes third and out of the money expect Trump to argue that without his endorsement Strange would have finished fourth in a three person race.

8.      Rachel Maddow came back from vacation and the layoff did not hinder her ability to take an interesting story and make it boring.

How Uneconomic and Polluting Is Coal? W.Va. Gov Wants Feds to Pay Utilities to Use It

So Much for Market Based Solutions

It was no surprise when the West Virginia Governor changed from Democratic to Republican.  The individual had been a Republican in his policy and changing parties only confirmed what everyone knew.  And of course he is a champion of coal.

But one thing that unites Republicans is their belief in the market, that free markets rather than government intervention is the right policy.  But beliefs for conservatives are kinda fluid, they change when their interests call upon them to change.  So it should not shock anyone when the policy proposed is for government to bribe utilities to use coal.

“The federal government would pay our power plants for every ton of coal that they buy that’s a Central (Appalachian) ton or Northern (Appalachian) ton of coal in order to preserve our eastern coalfields,” Justice said.
According to Justice, West Virginia and surrounding states with their three-foot high coal seams are having problems competing with higher seam coal mined in Illinois and western states that’s produced at a lower price. He said the more eastern utilities depend on western coal and natural gas the more the eastern power grid is vulnerable in case of a national security issue in the western part of the country.
See, it’s not about politics and regional interests, it’s about national security.  And a state wants the feds to pay up, not the state.  Yeah, right.