BIG STORY: A Piece of the Collusion Puzzle Revealed in NYT

George Papadopoulos was having drinks, too many drinks, with an Australian diplomat in May 2016. What he told the diplomat was that the Russians had damaging material on Hillary Clinton. Papadopoulos had been told 3 weeks before that Moscow had e-mails. This is all months before the first Wikileaks drop of e-mails. When Wikileaks did release those damaging e-mails the diplomat called the FBI.

How did the Trump campaign’s “coffee boy” and of course the campaign itself, know about Wikileaks e-mails that far ahead of their release? Duh! The Russians told them. They used them as leverage to get quid pro quos on sanctions and on changing the RNC platform regarding arming Ukrainians. And that’s just what we know of. Could Putin have other uses for Trump?


Also, keep in mind that Mueller has had this allllllll along.

With that in mind, we now know that the entire investigation started with this incident, not with any dossier, as Trump’s flunkies have been saying. As if that excused any of the obvious Russian interference and growing evidence of collusion.

We Know About “Suicide by Cop” Now There’s “Murder by Cop”

A gamer with a grudge calls in an active shooter situation against someone as a “prank” and the police oblige and kill someone. It’s that easy because cops are so trigger happy. The idiot who called in a false report will go to jail, the cop who actually pulled the trigger on an unarmed man in a completely normal situation most likely will not. Whatever the person said on the phone isn’t it your responsibility to actually use your eyes, ears and such and determine that there ISN’T a situation calling for violence occurring?

It’s murder by Cop! A deadly situation was manipulated by phone and police will likely not take this opportunity to reflect on their part in it. Ridiculous.

New Yorker Trump Screws New York (actually the entire Northeast)

Do you think Trump would have gotten even 25% in NYC (or 42% in NJ) if they knew he was going to pull a Christie and once again kill the absolutely essential Hudson Tunnel project? This is crazy!  If Christie hadn’t killed the ARC project in 2010 in order to steal that money to spread around as political gifts, we’d have a brand new tunnel by now.  Now Trump comes along promising infrastructure and, of course, not delivering. Or maybe he’s playing games with it to bend Schumer, Booker, Gillibrand and Menendez to his will. (Eye roll!)

More likely he’s just looking at how he can screw blue states, even his own, to curry increasingly shrinking favor with dysfunctional red states, like he did with the tax fiasco.  Here’s a guy who talks about loyalty, but it only goes one way.

He’d nuke Queens if it helped him get re-elected.



Trump’s Best Friend is Mueller-he can Help Him Flame out in Glory, Rather than just Bore America into Indifference

Jon Meacham’s NYT piece Donald Trump and the Limits of  the Reality TV Presidency reminds us of what every really savvy entertainer knows: pacing, moderation of tone, when to go high, when to go low and when to get the fuck off the stage. Trump thinks he’s a great showman but he’s a reality star, that new category of infamousness borne of outrageousness, bullshit, lack of self-awareness and bloody minded egocentrism. He will most likely just wear even his supporters down until they tune him out.  Every prostitution whore Real Housewife eventually loses their mojo as the audience tires of their table flipping.

Already we hear talk about 2020 and who will be the Dem. nominee to take on Trump. Well, 1. its too soon I tells ya!; 2. Trump may not make it to 2020 by way of Mueller (and that would be the best outcome for Trump’s relevance); 3. At this rate Trump, even if he’s still president in 2020, may not be his party’s nominee, if 2018 turns out the way it promises to with a major Dem. victory and Republicans tire of the side show carnival barker they had desperately adopted.  Meacham and other smarter talking heads realize that America is a pendulum always swinging away from the latest thing that is dominating the zeitgeist. Almost certainly the next president will be an anti-Trump, not an Oprah or The Rock.

I’ll go one step further and posit that the choice in 2020 could be someone way off the radar now. Rather than another charismatic bombthrower, it may be a time for the quiet academic. If there’s an Adlei Stevenson out there, this could be their time, when our tolerance, nay desire, for someone a little boring could hit an anti-fever pitch.

Martin O’Malley, anyone?

Or maybe it’s some college professor we’ve never heard of now, who wins a seat in 2018 and just strikes a chord of decency, honor and intelligence.




The Healthcare Problem Caused by the Ongoing Puerto Rico Disaster is Right Here, not There

They manufacture a lot of pharmaceuticals and medical supplies in Puerto Rico.  But not lately because stuff happened and hasn’t been remedied.  52,000 power poles need replacing and such and only 10% have been addressed.  The estimate on when the island will have full power restored is now May!  That’s May, a full 8 months after the storm.

The FDA announced in November that they expected a shortage of  IV fluid bags.

Most significantly to date, hospitals across the country are reporting shortages of IV fluids, particularly sodium chloride 0.9% injection bags – a type of saline bag. Saline IV fluids, which are used to inject drugs intravenously in hospital and outpatient settings, have been intermittently in shortage dating back to 2014. However, despite our best efforts, the situation in Puerto Rico has greatly exacerbated this supply issue.

But the problem is not going away just because the FDA is aware of it, because Puerto Rico is not getting back up on its feet anytime soon.  Local hospitals are starting to really notice the shortages.  And so are patients.

In this hyper connected world, it’s Trump level delusional to believe that disasters to one part of the coduntry (or world) can’t have wider impact.  In other words “it’s just those poor people” syndrome is not a thing.


End of 2017 Pet Peeves Reviewed

It’s a good time at the end of the year to review what’s pissing me off.

I’m still annoyed by people who say “I could care less.” This is wrong and my fury at it will never abate.

When people say “uh huh” instead of “you’re welcome.”  It’s lazy and insincere.  I say “thank you” it’s commensurate to actually enunciate “you’re welcome”.  “Uh huh” is not commensurate.

Related – every TV interview ends with the host saying “thank you” to the guest.  But 99.999% of the time the response by the guest is “thank you!”  I get that they’re super stoked to have been on TV and so they’re thanking the host and the network for inviting them, but are you so self-effacing that you completely negate whatever expertise or analysis that you just dropped on said host?  Say “you’re welcome,” take credit for your hot take that got you on the TV.

The slew of car commercials that involve characters so into their new car that they apparently don’t mind driving it all over creation and have no actual obligations.  The one where the guy keeps bringing home the wrong groceries because he’s happy to drive his super boss car back to the store again.  He’s actually missing a party because he’s driving back and forth.  Even if it’s his wife’s friends whom he doesn’t really like, it’s annoying to drive to stores over and over again.  I don’t give a damn how wonderful your car is.  I mean it could have the driver blow job option installed, I still do not want to drive back and forth to stores all day for another fucking sweet potato.  These ads are bullshit.

But at least they’re car ads that include those sexy shots of cars driving down picturesque roads and show people who are passionate about their car.  There’s a new trend in car ads that are like beer ads in that they’re not really about the car (or the beer), they’re heartwarming stories about people (who presumably have cars) presented to show that the car company cares about people, about YOU!  I mean. what’s the value of a turning radius or heated seats, or gas mileage if the company that built the car just cynically wants your money and doesn’t really care about YOU!  Sorry Suburu, good on you for helping the people in the ads in whatever way you help them but I’m not spending tens of thousands of dollars on a car because you have feelings for people.  1. that’s a really stupid way to judge the relative benefits of owning one car over another car, and 2. your protestations to the contrary, I know you don’t actually give a shit and the entire ad campaign was absolutely cynically created by Don Draper in a conference room overlooking New York or Los Angeles while eating sandwiches they got delivered by Seamless.  Now that’s a good ad for Seamless, it’s a shitty ad for a car.

Back to TV.   TV host language is just annoying the crap out of me.  Can’t hosts find something other to say at the beginning of a segment than some variation of “I want to start with you” and at the end of the segment “we’re going to have to leave it there.”  99.99999% of TV cable news segments have these phrases in them and I’m weary of it.

I don’t know who CardiB is.  I just really figured out who Rihanna is in 2016 after I’d heard songs she recorded for years in commercials or on Glee (remember Glee?).  There are too many “pop stars” who are completely interchangeable and forgettable, a mix and match game of names, faces, skimpy outfits and very bad songs.  Is CardiB Nicki Minaj?  is Nicki Minaj Rihanna?  Would it matter if they merged corporeal bodies and ceased to be two individual persons (if they are in fact two individual persons)?  I know that Taylor Swift sings songs and dates lot of boys although I’ve never seen her actually do those things and have no interest in seeing either.  Why do I even know that?  And let’s not leave men out of this.  I don’t know who Drake is either.

[I guess this is just an old man rant against things that really only matter to 14 year old girls, but again, I have no 14 year old girls in my life, so how how do I know anything about any of these people? And why?  Next year I’ll be ranting about some new “pop star” whose name is already ubiquitous in the 14yearoldiverse, but has yet to reach me.]

My country is already way too much a fascist corporate state since Citizen’s United and all of the many  baby steps our leaders in legislature and jurisprudence have taken to empower corporations and the super wealthy to have a disproportionate say in our supposed democracy.  This is not so much a pet peeve but a primal scream, I guess.

What does CardiB think about this?




Hope You had a Better Christmas Than Orrin Hatch

But he’s oblivious anyway.  It’s dementia, you know.  Hatch, 84 has been saying the damnedest things lately in praise of Donald Trump.  Yes, that Donald Trump, the one who deserves no praise at all and gets none from anybody with a functioning cerebral cortex.  Trump could be Lincoln great! according to Hatch.  Ugh!!  That’s what people who play with their pudding might say.

Hatch’s home state paper did pull a sort of a switcheroo on Christmas Day in an editorial that named him Utahn of the Year; however, the text of the editorial was scathing – you know, how you should speak of Donald Trump, if you have to speak of him at all.

The newspaper called Hatch, who is the longest-serving Republican senator in U.S. history, a politician with an “utter lack of integrity” who has an “unquenchable thirst for power.”

He’s been in this seat for 42 years and says the craziest shit.  Last month he said this:

“I have a rough time wanting to spend billions and billions and trillions of dollars to help people who won’t help themselves, won’t lift a finger, and expect the federal government to do everything.”

So yes for tax cuts for the wealthy, no to health insurance for children.  Greed knows no age of course, and Hatch has never been less than a conservative stalwart, but he actually was instrumental in creating CHIP back in the 90s when he often partnered with Ted Kennedy on legislation.  Now he just screams for Ted’s ghost to get off his lawn.

So his home state paper called on him to pack it in and let someone who is even remotely connected to reality in the 21st century have a chance to keep screwing the people of Utah.

And do I get ice cream??


So We’ll Repatriate Foreign Cash and Then Send it Right Back Out in Dividends to Foreign Stock Holders

This tax bill is bad for many reasons and we will suffer its unforeseen (by Republicans) consequences for a long time.  It does the exact opposite of all of the populist promises that Trump made.  The overall problem with it is, besides the fact that we don’t need it at all right now, is that it was cobbled together stupidly so that even provisions that would get bipartisan support are poorly written or poorly thought out. The people who choose simple false dogmas rather than study history, apply math or respect economics, wrote this and rushed it out as a big Christmas gift to their donors, and themselves, while lying to the public that it’ll do anything positive for anybody not in the 1% or for the economy overall.

Another point that makes this horrible tax bill so bloodymindedly bad is that a good portion of that corporate money that has been kept on foreign books just waiting for a tax holiday (Notaxmas) and will be repatriated and taxed at the ultra low rate of 8%, will be turned right back around and sent out to foreign shareholders in dividends.  Foreigners own about $17 trillion of long term securities outstanding in U.S. financial markets.  Republicans have claimed that the windfall of repatriated money will be used by corporations to hire, expand and bring back American jobs.  No actual living CEOs think that’ll happen.

What will happen is that money is put effectively in a revolving door that sends it right back out to shareholders, a massive chunk of which are in Europe, Asia, the Middle East, etc.

Even worse.  Vox notes that the bill actually will incentivize expansion overseas, rather than here.  Firstly, these repatriation holidays tell corporations that it pays to store their cash overseas and wait for a low tax repatriation.  We did it 2004 (and remember how that helped the economy?  I don’t) and now again.  They’ll just start over again building a new hoard.

The US currently has a stupid version of a worldwide system, in which global profits are taxed but not until they’re brought back and spent or invested in the US. That creates a big incentive to misclassify earnings as being earned overseas, and then to not bring them back to the US, since it’d then face a 35 percent tax. Congress’s Joint Committee on Taxation has estimated that US companies have about $2.6 trillion in untaxed earnings overseas.

The Republican tax plan shifts to a territorial system, largely exempting foreign earnings from tax, though it includes a number of complex provisions meant to prevent the kind of evasion that territorial systems encourage.

The tax bill… taxes profits invested in liquid assets like stocks and bonds at 15.5 percent, and profits invested in harder-to-sell assets like real estate and equipment at 8 percent. Both of those rates are far, far below the statutory rate, meaning companies with overseas profits are effectively being rewarded for keeping them abroad.


But Where are the Flying Cars?

Someday, in the comfort of your home, you will wear white jumpsuits, have all white books (with white pages?) and we’ll all be white.  It will be the end of the red wine industry.

“Compuserve’s basic service only costs $5.00 per hour, billed in minute increments to your charge card.”  That’s right youngsters, the internet at first was connected by phone, thorough a dial-up modem.  So you didn’t stay online all day because you were being charged by the minute!!!  You just connected when you needed to do something and signed the fuck off as fast as possible.


Thank God things changed and got affordable.  Otherwise only the Koch Brothers would be playing Call of Duty online with the Queen of England (in her white game play jumpsuit).