Rick Perry Has Stalinist Moves Too

A govt. photographer was fired for releasing a picture of Rick Perry hugging coal baron Robert Murray.  The photographer has filed a complaint with the Inspector General.

This seems like another stupid story, of which there are truly no end for the Trump gang of termites – David Cay Johnston’s term for how Trumpers are infesting our boards, bureaus and agencies in order to eat at the foundations of our government.  But this is actually a pretty important story.  They all are, but first amendment stories are preeminent.

Despite Trump’s crazy embrace of coal, which isn’t coming back (eye roll), the Trumpers did not want it known publicly that coal companies were shaping energy policy.  It’s odd because they generally don’t mind sounding stupid and corrupt, so why do they mind looking stupid and corrupt?

Photographer Simon Edelman published “public domain” photos of Perry meeting with Robert Murray of Murray Energy on In These Times — a left-leaning magazine. The leaked photos are from a March 2017 meeting and show Perry hugging Murray. They also reveal action items on a memo Murray presented to Perry that proposed policy and energy regulation changes that would favor the coal industry.

The pictures do not belong to the government, no less the Trump administration.  They cannot forbid the photos from being released to the public.  So to try to do so is just another one of those anti-democratic tendencies that they’re so known for.

Releasing the photos should be deemed the act of  a whistleblower and protected.  Perry and Murray should be the persons to worry about their jobs here.  And, as usual, if they hadn’t tried to squelch the photo, we’d likely not know about any of this and we would have just assumed that coal companies were making our energy policy.

Star of “Good Will Humping” and “The Perfect Stormy” Going Public With Trump Affair Story – She is So Brave, So Brave

Obviously someone who has been through the terrible crucible of being naked with Donald Trump also naked (I’ll give you a moment)… deserves our pity and respect.

But first, respect.  Daniels is a legit porn star.  That term gets bandied about a lot and applied to many an adult performer who has done nothing more than appear as the 5th girl in one orgy scene.  To the greater world if you appeared in one video you are a “porn star” like every run of the mill model is hyperbolized up to “supermodel”.  Daniels has been the lead in hundreds of videos!  She’s a true porn star!! Porn superstar, one could say without fear of contradiction!  Her studio, Wicked, has released compilation videos of her greatest hits like:  “Stormy’s Favorites” and “Bikini Kitchen, Best of Stormy”, they only do that for the 100 or so top women in the industry and by industry I mean the business.  People say that a lifetime achievement award from the industry is almost a given for her after her retirement – the highest honor from the AVN who blessed her with their Best New Starlet award in 2004 and Contract Star of the Year in 2007.  She’s a perennial Best Breasts nominee.  That’s who she is – legit!

So Trump met Stormy around the time Melania was pregnant with Barron and in the next year, while his fifth child was being raised by his third wife, he had his umpteenth affair with the accomplished Ms. Daniels.  Last year during that election thingy that Trump ran in and won the Presidency of the United States of America (Electoral College), Trump’s legal protector, Michael Cohen, paid Ms. Daniels $130,000 for her to keep their story private – as any great love story should be given who it might hurt.

“Ugh, here we go,” thought Daniels. She described the sex as “textbook generic.”

In the print version of the magazine, Daniels expanded further, describing the sex as “nothing crazy. It was one position, what you would expect someone his age to do.” She also said that they did not use protection, which, the magazine reported, “is unlike her.”

A source tells The Daily Beast that the full, unedited interview that will run later this week is 5,500 words of “cray.”

One would think that there was honor among people who fuck other people for a living, but Ms. Daniels has decided to splay all of her goods wide open for the viewing public to see.  One must feel awful for Melania, of course, who will learn the details of what Donald said about her during that awful year she was too motherly to have sex with.  Barron too, is a victim here as he is fated to discover that his father is flawed.

And then there are the people who voted for Trump, who put their faith, many quite literally, in his goodness.  They won’t actually give a shit.  But they will have to answer some embarrassing questions about how a blow job by President Clinton was impeachable, but serial infidelity is now okay.  Morality is relative they’ll no doubt answer over the howls of the irrational moralists of the left, center and not so far right as to be quite insane.

In truth, all of the attendant sound and fury about this tell-all will be about jealousy.  How does one man get to marry a beautiful supermodel like Melania and yet also have a wild affair with porn legend Stormy Daniels and also achieve the Presidency of the United States (Electoral College)?  Even Vladimir Putin, one of the richest men in the world and incredibly popular strongman of Russia, cannot claim to have slept with two such beautiful women.  All the shirtless horse rides in the world can’t make up for that deficiency.  Advantage Trump!!

The details of their sex together will be exactly what the people who put their faith in him deserve.

In the reality show that Trump imagines this presidency to be, I wonder who Melania will have revenge sex with?  Paul Ryan?  Chuck Schumer?  Joe Giudice?  Maybe Wicked will buy the rights.

Another Blue Win in a Red Stronghold

 

The 34th such special election flip since the 2016 debacle.  And this wasn’t a close district.  It’s a gerrymandered GOP-friendly district that voted for Romney and Trump.  The incumbent Republican held it since 2000 and got 63.2% in  2016.  She gave up the seat to go work with wholly owned Koch Brothers subsidiary Scott Walker.

Democrat Patty Schachtner, a medical examiner by trade, won it by 9 points!  Conservatives spent money on the race too.  Americans for Prosperity Wisconsin spent $50k on this seat.

Is Paul Ryan next?  Walker is afraid, very afraid.

Yeah wake up and gerrymander harder Republicans.  Maybe there were voters there that could have been more suppressed?  Stop letting Mr. Charles and Mr. David down or they’ll hurt Scottie.  Piss them off and they’ll frack Lambeau Field, people!! They’ll do it!!

 

Weekend Read – Millennials are Screwed

I had missed this in December, but I’m glad I caught up to this longer piece in HuffPost Highline that has honest to God historical analysis that explains, as well as personal stories that illustrate, the enfuckening Millennials find themselves in since the 2008 meltdown (on top of an economy that’s systematically screwed and sloughed off workers for 30 years). The generation born between 1982 and 2004 is the least hopeful generation in… generations.

Millennials are Screwed – Why millennials are facing the scariest financial future of any generation since the Great Depression. by Michael Hobbes

“It’s tempting to look at the recession as the cause of all this, the Great Fuckening from which we are still waiting to recover. But what we are living through now, and what the recession merely accelerated, is a historic convergence of economic maladies, many of them decades in the making. Decision by decision, the economy has turned into a young people-screwing machine. And unless something changes, our calamity is going to become America’s.”

The 2008 meltdown caused a statistical “divot” in our workforce specific to this generation.

 “A lot of workers were just 18 at the wrong time,” says William Spriggs, an economics professor at Howard University and an assistant secretary for policy at the Department of Labor in the Obama administration. “Employers didn’t say, ‘Oops, we missed a generation. In 2008 we weren’t hiring graduates, let’s hire all the people we passed over.’ No, they hired the class of 2012.”

You can even see this in the statistics, a divot from 2008 to 2012 where millions of jobs and billions in earnings should be. In 2007, more than 50 percent of college graduates had a job offer lined up. For the class of 2009, fewer than 20 percent of them did.

So millions didn’t get the jobs they were promised because they hit 18 at the wrong time and that will undoubtedly lower their paychecks over their entire lifetimes. For many others the job meltdown happened at the same time as the costs of a higher education continued a stratospheric rise, causing a student loan explosion.  So millions more Millennials didn’t go to college when a college degree has never been more essential to employment prospects.

Since 2010, the economy has added 11.6 million jobs—and 11.5 million of them have gone to workers with at least some college education. In 2016, young workers with a high school diploma had roughly triple the unemployment rate and three and a half times the poverty rate of college grads.

But all that is specific to this generation, the worker’s economy (the real economy for the average person excluding the Wall Street casino) has been raising the bars and costs of  employment for 40 years.

Thirty years ago, she says, you could walk into any hotel in America and everyone in the building, from the cleaners to the security guards to the bartenders, was a direct hire, each worker on the same pay scale and enjoying the same benefits as everyone else. Today, they’re almost all indirect hires, employees of random, anonymous contracting companies: Laundry Inc., Rent-A-Guard Inc., Watery Margarita Inc. In 2015, the Government Accountability Office estimated that 40 percent of American workers were employed under some sort of “contingent” arrangement like this—from barbers to midwives to nuclear waste inspectors to symphony cellists. Since the downturn, the industry that has added the most jobs is not tech or retail or nursing. It is “temporary help services”—all the small, no-brand contractors who recruit workers and rent them out to bigger companies.

We have a growing contingent of 1099 workers without benefits or a 401k.  They don’t get bonuses or annual raises.  Add this to the extreme insecurity that workers have in the 21st century because corporate stock prices guide personnel decisions, the destruction of unions (1 in 3 were in a union 50 years ago, now 1 in 10) and the natural explosion of state licensing requirements that add more costs and mystification to jobs that people used to do without special training and vetting (5% of jobs required state licensing in 1950, now its 33%) and it’s never been harder to achieve the American dream, no matter how hard you work.

All of these trends—the cost of education, the rise of contracting, the barriers to skilled occupations—add up to an economy that has deliberately shifted the risk of economic recession and industry disruption away from companies and onto individuals. For our parents, a job was a guarantee of a secure adulthood. For us, it is a gamble. And if we suffer a setback along the way, there’s so little to keep us from sliding into disaster.

It’s a clever piece with smart graphics emphasizing some very disturbing, but essential data points about our economy (including housing policy) that do not get talked about in the media.  Please read and enjoy (to the extent you can enjoy the systematic destruction of our children’s futures).  But no, at the end Hobbes lays out some of the policy changes we can make as a society that can fix this.  There is hope! We CAN fix this!  It’ll take an investment in the political process by the people that are affected by all of this to bring to power public servants that would enact the 21st century ideas we all need for a fairer, more equitable, sustainable economy.

 

The Shit Storm Over “Shitholes” – Why We Can’t Have a President Trump (Oh, Too Late, Edition)

So many thoughts.  But they’re not new thoughts, they’re things most of us have known all along.  He’s a racist.  We have a racist president who has no respect for many people and peoples of the world (among his many disqualifying faults).  And we can’t have that in the presidency.  It shits, no pun intended, on the idea and ideals of America, it’s that simple.  And people like that can’t be president, can’t be in power.  Must be marginalized and ridiculed.

For decades the political parties, the dreaded establishment, as it were, had a compact that our government, the responsible people charged with daily operating duties for the good ship of state would not give quarter to two types of abhorrent behavior that course through the undercurrents of American society:  racism and authoritarianism.

Now Republicans have had slips here and there over the last couple decades,* no argument there, but as a party they held to the pact until Trump.  That’s why this is not normal and why we are in danger of losing our most cherished norms.  The Republican Party “went with it” when a non-establishment-type like Trump courted that deplorable faction of Americans that are either racist or authoritarian (and yeah, there’s a good amount of overlap there.)

So there’s been this dance since Trump announced his heinous candidacy that he wasn’t really a racist and authoritarian, he actually does comport with norms, just in an unconventional style.  But after awhile that argument was hard to continue.  So it devolved right to “he’s speaking to a forgotten part of America.”  Yes, he is.  And it was forgotten by pact, between both parties, because they are in fact citizens with an anti-democratic, racist, authoritarian bent.

Because this is America, we can’t throw them in re-education camps.  We have to respect their right to believe what they believe.  But all right thinking people who understand and respect and cherish the Constitution of our democratic republic looked to squelch those people’s opinions and keep them to a small marginalized faction – the crazy uncle faction.

The White House’s first instinct was to say that his comments were not problem because his base would likely be fine with it.  They’re right, and what does that say about what they think of their base?  It means that they acknowledge the shredding of the pact and that they are indeed playing to the ignorant and deplorable part of the country.  Talk about the bigotry of low expectations.  There’s a segment of the country that will undoubtedly defend calling other countries “shitholes”, that’s to be expected.  “He’s just telling it like it is,” they’ll say.  And again, that’s fine for your crazy uncle.  It’s not okay for the president.  This alone should be grounds for impeachment because his unfitness for office is so obvious and profound to be a disadvantage for American in the world.

But here’s where it could get even worse for Trump.  All day yesterday the WH staff went on and did not deny that he said the comment.  If today he now claims he did not say it, then it’s not a he said she said, as they’ll undoubtedly try to color it.  It’s the word of a man who has lied over 2,000 times since his inauguration, who has long ago ceased to get the benefit of the doubt from people who still revere truth, versus the people in that room who do indeed still enjoy that benefit of the doubt.

Then the extent argument goes from the president is a racist to he’s a racist and a liar.

That’s another thing that the president cannot be.  And the more the media and people talk about that the closer we get to a moment where the pact is recognize and the tattered remnants of that pact get re-sewn.  They must be.

*No, the southern strategy, gerrymandering by race, voter suppression, the drug war and everything we know about institutional racism is not a “slip”.  Those evil, racist strategies have always done been under the radar with the goal to advantage Republicans by disadvantaging people of color and Democrats – sometimes with the help of idiot Democrats.  I’m talking about the overt racism that until now even Republicans eschewed in public.

A Timeline of 1968

Such a consequential year. There are the touchstones we all remember – assassinations of MLK and Kennedy, the Democratic Convention, urban and college campus unrest.

It’s also the year the 747, 60 Minutes and Intel debuted. Arthur Ashe was first black U.S. Open winner and Shirley Chisholm first black female elected to Congress in 1968.

Nixon appeared on Laugh-In.

Every year has significant occurrences, but 1968 was arguably a watershed year in a watershed period. I assert that no ten years in all of human history changed society as much as the period from 1960 to 1970. Watch any movie from 1960 and juxtapose it with any movie from 1970. No other decade changed the way everything looked, felt and sounded like in the way the 60s did.

And that’s without any truly significant consumer technology changes, like telephones, cars, computers, cell phones – inventions that in and of themselves impacted life. NASA put a man on the moon in that decade, sure, but the complete and total roiling of society was not based on any tech breakthrough not available in 1960.

NYC Divesting From Big Oil and Suing Over Climate Change

Part of the process in transitioning to renewable energy and moving forward has been divestment by large pension funds in oil, coal and nuclear energy companies (much as they earlier divested in cigarettes, or South Africa).  It’s not the biggest part, of course, that’s actually USING renewables instead of the more polluting or dangerous carbon based or nuclear fuels.  Or at least transitioning from dirtier to cleaner wherever feasible.

This specific law suit it aimed at recovering the costs of climate change, based on the knowledge that these oil companies have known about the dangers of climate change caused by their products for decades, and not only took no action, they squelched the research.  They acted like the tobacco companies, funding the public relations creation of doubt in the actual science.  For that alone they should pay.

“In this litigation, the City seeks to shift the costs of protecting the City from climate change impacts back onto the companies that have done nearly all they could to create this existential threat,” reads the lawsuit, brought by New York corporation counsel Zachary Carter and filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.

New York joins a few California municipalities in attempting these law suits.

“We’re using this moment to send a message to the world,” said New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer. “We believe a green economy is a thriving economy.”

Bill McKibben, an author and co-founder of the climate advocacy group 350.org, praised the city’s actions Wednesday.

“I’ve been watching the climate fight for the last 30 years,” McKibben told reporters. “This is one of the handful of most important moments in that 30-year fight.”

These lawsuits may not amount to anything, but they’re long awaited gestures in the right direction.  In countries that aren’t as in the thrall of those large companies, the threats to our future and the obvious economic benefits of renewables were embraced earlier and have moved forward encouragingly.  The movement towards renewable energy technologies in the U.S. has been remarkable, but would have been more comprehensive with the dedication of federal and state governments to a clean future, like those other countries did.

The costs of a fascist, corporatist country are dear.

It would also help if the media didn’t mimic the values of the government.