Another Consequence of Trump – Foreign Students Stay Away

A recent survey of colleges and universities saw applications from countries like China, India and from the Middle East down  40%! So it’s not just tourist money choosing other destinations, it’s those wealthy foreign students too.

Those Saudi kids pay full mortgage-like tuition. If you don’t have them, tuition up for everyone else.

Not as many brown kids, big win for Bannon and fellow white triumphalists (so long as they’re not middle class with kids in school, but how many of those could there be, right?)


It’s Sunday ya Bastids


Bagel*, cream cheese, lox, tomato and my new love Muffaletta Olive Salad.  It’s good on everything.  Olives, capers, red peppers, cauliflower, carrots, pepperoncini… it’s just wonderful.  Go to Costco and pick up a gross today!!

Plus a cup of Starbucks Italian Roast in the stylish Polislice mug.

* I eat about 6 bagels a year these days when I used to have one a day, so understand that this is special (and a failure).  The price you pay to be a 56 year old underwear model (aspirational).  It’s back and bicep day at the gym!!!

If you can’t enjoy GOP humiliation over Trumpcare then at least enjoy their Circular Firing Squad

So nice to see a Republican Circular Firing Squad for a change. The niceties of Friday were just fronting for a massive sharpening of knives. Can you say “schism”? Although with Trump and Bannon, two of the most egocentric and vengeful  people alive, “schism” hardly covers the open warfare against Paul Ryan and other GOP traitors who didn’t see, as Bannon said:

Guys look, this is not a discussion. This is not a debate. You have no choice but to vote for this bill.

1. Yeah, the more moderate (sane) GOPers saw a choice when they weighed an awful bill that would throw their constituents to the wolves.

2. And no the GOP Taliban Freedom Caucus (less sane) doesn’t take orders. Telling them they have no choice is like reasoning with pit bulls over whether your leg is tasty.

So Breitbart, Bannon’s media outlet, and Fox News, Trump’s media outlet are going after the speakership of the zombie eyed granny starver from Wisconsin, Paul Ryan. Trump and Bannon trusted Ryan with repealing Obamacare, he wrote a tax cut bill, and they all look stupid. But Ryan’s going to take the blame?


Do they remember that Ryan had to be cajoled to take the speakership when Boehner retired to smoke cigarettes on the golf course? There is nobody that wants to be speaker, and more importantly, nobody but NOBODY in the bloated GOP caucus of Republican beneficiaries of affirmative action has the gravitas or chops to be speaker.  It’s a group of 246 intellectual dwarves that couldn’t run a 7-11 no less the People’s House.

This is hilarious.

And Trump is denying that he spoke to Judge Jeanine Pirro when he tweeted to watch her show last night, and her show was about how Ryan betrayed Trump.

White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus said Sunday that it was purely coincidental that a Fox News personality President Donald Trump had urged social media followers to watch Saturday had called for House Speaker Paul Ryan’s resignation.

The Russia stuff and Putin’s attempt to destroy the EU and NATO through manipulation of democratic elections is he first priority and most likely means of getting rid of the Trump/Bannon menace.  But this shit is fucking funny.





Vox – Donald Trump and the rise of tribal epistemology (aka the great sorting of America)

It’s a long read but David Roberts is always a good read.  The bottom line is that we’ve been sorting ourselves as a nation between left and right for a while now, while the middle that created the norms we all recognized, the glue that held us together, has eroded.  Robert’s issues this warning similar to that of Masha Gessen and Timothy Snyder for journalism:

“Journalism cannot be neutral toward a threat to the conditions that make it possible.”

With the expansion of the chasm of interests and personalities between right and left, it’s no longer a matter of party or any simple bridgeable differences, it’s how we see the world, how we experience it and where we see ourselves in it that separates us.  If people didn’t see this phenomonen before the 2016 election cycle, the baffling elevation of Trump by a seemingly alien portion of the population certainly made it as clear as going to bed with a sore thumb and waking up with a flesh eating pathogen having taken your hand.

A few years ago, Will Wilkinson looked into some research showing that the country is sorting itself by personality as well. He summarizes what he found: “liberals (low conscientiousness, high openness to experience) and conservatives (high conscientiousness, low openness) have distinctive personalities, and there’s reason to believe we’ve been sorting ourselves into communities of psychologically/ideologically similar people.”…

Democrats, like economic activity, are increasingly concentrated in cities. In a paper last year, Mark Muro and Sifan Liu at the Brookings Institution found that the fewer than 500 US counties that went for Hillary Clinton in 2016 represent “a massive 64 percent of America’s economic activity as measured by total output in 2015.”

That’s both the frustrating part of this equation for Democrats and the part that keeps them hopeful for the future:  the country is getting browner, younger and more urban. It’s only by an anachronism (the electoral college) and the concerted effort of Republicans to fight the tide against them with gerrymandering and voter suppression that they aren’t the minority rump party their numbers suggest.  More people voted for Democrats at every level of federal government: President, Senate and House.  And the 500 counties that Democrats dominate represent 64% of the country’s GNP vs. the 2500 counties that Trump won that represent the other third.  The minority tail is wagging the majority dog in America.

How are the minority motiating themselves to such rabid extents to push their way into power by any means necessary?

From Reagan forward, the US has become much more politically polarized, but the polarization has not been symmetrical — the right has become far more extreme than the left. (That story is exhaustively told in Asymmetric Politics, by political scientists David Hopkins and Matt Grossmann.)

But it doesn’t help much to think of polarization as working purely along a single left-right axis, as though the right has simply moved further right. Instead, there has been a break, a divergence of political worldviews.

On one side is what we might call the classic liberal democratic (small-l, small-d) theory of politics. In this view, politics is a kind of structured contest. Factions and parties battle over interests and policies, but the field of play on which they battle is ring-fenced by a set of common institutions and norms. Inside that fence is “normal politics” — the subject of legitimate political dispute. Outside that fence is out of bounds, in violation of shared standards.

The “game” of politics is defined by explicit rules (e.g., the Constitution), enforced by various legally empowered referees (e.g., courts and the executive branch). But it is also defined by implicit norms, unwritten rules more informally enforced by the press, academia, and civil society… That’s how democracy — indeed, any framework of cooperation among large numbers of diverse people — works. Institutions and norms provide structure and limits, the shared scaffolding of cooperation….

But there has always been a powerful strain in conservatism (think the John Birch Society) that resists seeing itself as a participant in the game at all. It sees the game itself, its rules and referees, as captured by the other side, operating for the other side’s benefit. Any claim of transpartisan authority is viewed with skepticism, as a kind of ruse or tool through which one tribe seeks to dominate another.

That’s the view Limbaugh and others in right-wing media have consistently articulated. And it has found an increasingly receptive audience. Over time, the right’s base — unlike the left’s fractious and heterogeneous coalition of interest groups — has become increasingly homogeneous (mostly white, non-urban, and Christian) and like-minded (traditionalist, zero-sum values).

They are temperamentally prone to fear change, but a great deal of demographic and economic change has found them anyway. Their anxiety leaves them wanting clear answers and strong leaders. And under a steady diet of radicalizing media and tribal epistemology, their traditionalism has hardened into tribalism. (If you haven’t already, you must read Amanda Taub’s “The rise of American authoritarianism.”)

Like I said, it’s along read, but well worth it.

Stupid of the Day – Kim Il Trump

Treasury Sec. Steven Mnuchin: Trump Has ‘Perfect Genes’

During a sit-down interview with Axios co-founder Mike Allen, the treasury secretary marveled at how his boss has “more stamina than anyone I’ve ever met… it’s unbelievable… he’s constantly doing things.” Referencing Trump’s known affinity for fast food, Allen asked how that’s possible given his poor eating habits. Mnuchin replied: “He’s got perfect genes.” Asked to elaborate, Mnuchin said, “He’s got perfect genes. He’s got incredible energy, okay? And he’s unbelievably healthy.” The audience nervously laughed after a brief pause on both replies.

We are just weeks away from North Korea style press releases like: Trump golfed 18 holes today.  18 HOLES IN 1!  Our President once again exhibits how perfect his genes are!!  Later on he fixed crime and terrorism over dinner (steak well done with ketchup).


Ladies, you want affordable maternity care?  GET MARRIED!  To a man with a job!!  That’s just good common sense!  Your mothers knew that.  Then you went off and voted for Hillary Clinton, joined a coven, experimented with lesbianism and here we are with a trillion dollar deficit.

“Is the president concerned that without having those essential benefits you will have a situation where women are de facto paying higher insurance? Obviously they would be paying for maternity leave,” the reporter asked as a follow up.

“No, you could have a family plan,” Spicer replied.

Mrs. Spicer is a very lucky woman.  I’m sure she didn’t have to get liquored up to have procreative sex with her hubby.  Just the valium, and lots of crying afterward, I’m sure.


Same topic, a different idiot:  Mick Mulvaney the budget troll had a similar answer when questioned about maternity care.

“If you live in a state that wants to mandate maternity coverage for everybody, including 60-year-old women, that’s fine,” he said.

Co-host Alex Wagner asked Mulvaney about people who do not live in a state that requires maternity coverage.

“Then you can figure out a way to change the state that you live in,” Mulvaney replied.

Wagner asked if Mulvaney meant that people should move.

“No, they can try to change their own state legislatures and their state laws,” he responded. “Why do we look to the federal government to try and fix our local problems?”

That’s state’s rights, right there.  Same as abortions, gay marriage, etc.  If your state doesn’t offer those things, move.  Or win elections to push your librul agenda against gerrymandered odds while your neighbors kill your dog.  Have the strength of your convictions red staters, or move.   I’d move.

By the way I loooove Alex Wagner, MSNBC made a big mistake letting her go.

Miscellaneous Stupid of the Day

Florida man burns books at Fahrenheit 451 also burns 10 houses and 400 acres.  Oops!


Sen. Roberts (R – Kansas) says usual insensitive and oblivious man thing about women’s healthcare, has to apologize in case Kansas women notice or care (they don’t).


The U.S. senate voted to overturn Obama era internet privacy rules.  ‘Cause who wants privacy?  Really what are you trying to hide there?  Can Net Neutrality be long for this particular stinkin’ world?

According to the rules approved by the Federal Communications Commission in October under then-President Barack Obama, internet providers would need to obtain consumer consent before using precise geolocation, financial information, health information, children’s information and web browsing history for advertising and internal marketing.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the Senate was overturning a regulation that “makes the internet an uneven playing field, increases complexity, discourages competition, innovation, and infrastructure investment.”

But Democratic Senator Ed Markey said, “Republicans have just made it easier for American’s sensitive information about their health, finances and families to be used, shared, and sold to the highest bidder without their permission.”

McConnell by the way is an exception to my GOP/Soviet theory of loyalty being more important than competency. McConnell is very competent at evil.


The State Dept. of Evil will sign the permit to allow building of the northern part of the Keystone XL Pipeline (largely with Canadian steel manufactured by a Russian company and some American steel manufactured by an Indian company) that had been delayed and delayed and then finally kyboshed (is that a verb?) by Obama so they get that toxic bitumen oozing southward in no time.  Countdown to the first rupture and contamination of the Ogallala  Aquifer starts tomorrow.  Or does it???

Bold Alliance, a group that has protested the pipeline, is now seeking local residents to file as “intervenors” in the NPSC process in an effort to block route approval, said Jane Kleeb, the group’s president and Nebraska Democrat Party chair.

In addition, the pipeline is likely to encounter delays from landowners in the state unhappy with the company’s use of eminent domain along the route, Kleeb said. TransCanada says 90 percent of landowners along the proposed route have signed voluntary easement approvals, but there are still holdouts.

Better Late Than Never – But Really It Took You This Long To Figure the GOP Out?

33 year old Hawaii lawmaker Beth Fokumoto (who is of half Irish and half Japanese heritage) resigned from the Republican Party and is applying to the Democratic Party (I think she’ll be fast tracked) because of all the divisive and racist rhetoric coming from her fellow Repubs. She had been a leader in the Republican conference there until she criticized Trump after the January woman’s march.  Since then she’s been in a sort of limbo of conscience.

“This election, I saw members of my party marginalizing and condemning minorities, ethnic or otherwise, and making demeaning comments towards women,” she said in an open letter of resignation to the Republican Party.

This election?  Just this election?  Where ya been?  Hawaii gets all the mainland papers, right?

Well, welcome anyway Beth.  Aloha!

Devin Nunes – Why the GOP is Like the Soviet Union and Doomed

Devin Nunes is a mediocrity who has been passed through the system and moved up to a top job in the GOP House hierarchy because he’s a loyal Republican lap dog.

He apologized today for his inexplicably weird and stupid behavior yesterday, running right to the White House to give Trump information that he would pat Nunes on the head for.  Of course only a man as dumb and narcissistic as Trump would thank Nunes, because Nunes’ actions made an independent commission not only more likely but more essential. Nunes isn’t just compromised.  He’s Lennie from “Of Mice and Men” too dumb to know that Ryan played him by sending him to the White House to  destroy his own credibility.

Which was nil to begin with because Nunes was an early supporter of Trump and on the transition team.  So he should have had to recuse to begin with.  But that wasn’t going to happen and an independent commission wasn’t going to happen because the GOP has taken partisanship to Mafia levels (although even organized crime families denounce their own if they become a liability).

For an independent commission to be created, legislation must be approved by both houses of Congress and signed by the president.

Congress can override a presidential veto. But, so far, Republicans who control the House and Senate have said they see no reason for such a body to be created when an investigation can be handled by the intelligence committees. Democrats have privately said that to pressure Republicans into creating such a commission likely would take some type of significant disclosure — like publicly released evidence of direct collusion between the Russians and the Trump campaign.

And then, like deus ex machina, CNN has a report that ties Trump associates directly to Russia.  Significant disclosure?  At the very least Trump and his people are like the frog in boiling water.  It’s got to be getting uncomfortable.  If the GOP doesn’t want to get boiled too…

The FBI has information that indicates associates of President Donald Trump communicated with suspected Russian operatives to possibly coordinate the release of information damaging to Hillary Clinton’s campaign, US officials told CNN.

This is partly what FBI Director James Comey was referring to when he made a bombshell announcement Monday before Congress that the FBI is investigating the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia, according to one source.

As I alluded to before I think Paul Ryan set Nunes up when Nunes went to him with the information about the intelligence collection and Ryan said that he should take it to Trump.  Ryan isn’t nearly as smart as he thinks he is, he’s a complete phony as a budget wonk whose numbers never add up, but he’s a political operative of weaselly cunning. Sending Nunes to the WH like that will work to Ryan’s advantage.  Remember, if the Trump administration is deemed illegitimate and Trump has to resign there will also be calls for Pence to resign as well.  He benefited from the collusion of the campaign as well as Trump.  Why should that supremely smug, silver helmeted, Christianist hypocrite end up in the cat bird seat?  Talk about GOP failing upwards.

That would leave Ryan as the next President if it happens before the next elections and the GOP is still in charge.

Say it with me, President Eddie Munster.