Happenings

#BelieveWomen

This is a tough one, because Al Franken has been a pro-feminism and well-read Senator who worked hard and brought attention to issues others weren’t highlighting. (He was a Net Neutrality advocate long before it was cool, and remember how he grilled Betsy DeVos to highlight her lack of knowledge? And he was likely the person who caused Jeff Sessions to essentially perjure himself in his confirmation hearing.) I believe he realizes his actions were wrong, but that’s no matter at this important time.

He needs to resign. Another women came forward today accusing him of inappropriate behavior.

I know, I know, denying and lack of shame worked to get Trump elected and will likely work for Moore in Alabama, but I refuse to get in the gutter with their shamelessness and hypocrisy. Ds and progressives ARE better and must act accordingly.

I said after the first accuser, and I’ll say it again. Al Franken must resign. And evidently the D women of the Senate agree.

And I’m trusting he’ll do the right thing and resign. At which, your move, Republicans. Blake Farenthold should resign. Roy Moore shouldn’t be elected to the Senate. There should be repercussions for Trump as well.

#BelieveWomen

Posted in Happenings, Up to Speed

Wildfires

Out of control forest fires are right next to major freeways.

Stay safe, California friends!

Posted in Happenings, Up to Speed

Time Person of the Year

Bravo, Time. Well done.

Read more about the announcement here.

Posted in Happenings, Pop Goes the Culture, Up to Speed

Dangerous Distraction

Today, Trump is going to announce a plan to move the Israeli embassy to Jerusalem, igniting an already-tense situation in the Middle East.

This “announcement” is pure Trump – an inflammatory yet public announcement which serves his personal purposes but creates a potential shit-storm for others. But ultimately, the announcement is more symbolic than action — note he’s making this announcement in public but will then sign a waiver (as all Presidents for decades have done) to delay the movement of the embassy for at least 6 months.

Here’s how the world see the decision, courtesy of an opinion column in the UK-based publication, The Guardian.

See, Jerusalem is currently split in to two, as both Israel and Palestine claim it as their capital. Every potential peace plan allows for both countries to claim their side of Jerusalem (Israel has West Jerusalem, Palestine has East Jerusalem). The international community recognizes this division of the city at this time. Trump wishes to provide the entire city of Jerusalem to Israel.

And why would he jeopardize Jared’s potential peacemaking in the Middle East? (I’m not sure that’s a thing, but Trump says Jared is working on bringing Middle East peace, so we’ll go with that idea for now…) Why would he put Jared’s “plan” in peril?

Because Don, Jr. is testifying today (behind closed doors) in front of the House Intelligence Committee. This, a day after the Russian lawyer at the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting about “adoptions” said Don Jr asked if Russia had information on Hillary Clinton and the Clinton Foundation. Newsweek provides the background. I suspect Rep. Adam Schiff may have some questions about that meeting.

Inflammatory tweets as a distraction are concerning. Using the tense situation in the Middle East as a distraction is frightening.

Posted in Happenings, Up to Speed

Bad Decision

I’ve used this analogy before, but I’m going to use it again. If you’ve ever watched Law & Order, you know the police don’t stop keeping an eye on the bad dudes after they charge them with a crime.

So here we have Paul Manafort, indicted by Special Counsel Mueller, on HOUSE ARREST WITH AN ANKLE BRACELET, now screwing up his out-on-bail arrangement by working with A RUSSIAN CONNECTED TO RUSSIAN INTELLIGENCE (allegedly) via ghost writing an OpEd presumably to “soften” his image?

Time has the details.

So I ask, what genius thinks working with the types of people which got him in to trouble in the first place will A) repair his image (it likely won’t); and B) go under the radar with Mueller (it didn’t)? The answer, it appears, is Paul Manafort.

And Special Counsel Mueller was not impressed as indicated by this court document filed on Monday.

At some point you’d think he’d figure out he’s in a whole heap of trouble and would stop making it worse…but he may not have that realization until his house arrest is revoked, which may happen sooner than he realizes.

This Law & Order episode is swelling to the dramatic climax in the plot. Let’s see how it ends. But keep in mind, sometimes truth is stranger than fiction.

Posted in Happenings, Up to Speed

DRIP DRIP DRIP

A wise friend told me “follow the money”, and it appears Special Counsel Mueller is following that adage.

Reuters and other outlets including this link to a Guardian story is reporting Mueller has subpoened the bank records of Trump.

The reports state Deutsche Bank (known as the bank used by Russian oligarchs, conveniently) was expecting the subpoena and is fully cooperating.

Maybe this will answer the question why no bank in the US wanted to loan money to Trump in the past few decades, but Deutsche Bank stepped in to provide financing. Also, was there anything unusual with a loan Jared Kushner received a month before the election (and why was his personal guarantee of this loan not on his security clearance form)?

These are questions, as Trump often says, “many people are asking”.

So we will follow the money and see where it leads. (Spoiler: Mueller served the subpoenas weeks ago and likely already knows the answers.)

Posted in Happenings, Up to Speed

Nothing Good Occurs After 1AM

I’ve believed for a long time that nothing good occurs after 1AM. LITERALLY NOTHING. Except maybe if you’re winning at the tables in Vegas, but there’s no such thing as time there, so I guess that doesn’t count.

In college and grad school, I often tempted the idea that something good could happen after 1am and was proved incorrect time and again.

And now we have additional proof I was correct all along…

When the R Tax Plan was passed at around 2am in DC late last week, that seemed like confirmation it was something bad. But now we are finding out even more, and this is making me laugh.

In their self-imposed rush to pass the bill, the Rs (or more likely the lobbyists) were scribbling new sections in to the bill by writing hurriedly in the margins. And obviously somebody forgot to go back and check their work:

The WSJ is reporting the corporate tax attorneys have already found an unintended error which could cause corporate taxes for many companies to significantly increase.

Yep, you read that correctly, it could cause the corporate tax bill to IGO UP. And corporate overlords ARE. NOT. PLEASED.

You should read the WSJ article for the details, but in essence, while scribbling the bill at the last minute, they lowered the rate to 20% but kept the Alternative Minimum Tax at 20% without stating the exemption for research and development costs, which is a huge tax write-off for many corporations.

I’m not even going to apologize to say I literally laughed out loud when I read this.

Of course this is all easily fixed, but it will require another set of votes in the House and Senate, and that presents more time for people to realize what’s in the bill as well as another set of votes for vulnerable Representatives and reluctant Senators.

All the better for democracy, I say.

Posted in Happenings, Up to Speed

DRIP DRIP DRIP DRIP

What would you do when someone sends you an email with the subject line “Kremlin Connection”?  What if you are a candidate for President and you receive an email with that subject line that says (paraphrasing), “Yo, I can hook you up with a person who can organize a direct meeting with Putin”?

I’m thinking you have three options:  one legal, one iffy, and one sketchy-gonna-get-you-indicted.

  • Legal option – call the damn FBI
  • Iffy option – delete it, and tell that person to never send anything like that ever again or you’re calling the FBI
  • Sketchy AF option – forward it up the chain to Jared, which leads to Don, Jr. having a meeting with said Kremlin connection over dinner at the NRA convention

Care to guess what option Team Trump took?

The New York Times breaks a story about YET ANOTHER Russian outreach in to the Trump campaign

Interestingly, this brings in the NRA, which was the site of the outreach, and today’s report syncs with previous reporting of Donald, Jr’s dinner meeting with a Putin-ally during the NRA convention. Here’s another fun-fact – David Clarke (former Sheriff of Milwaukee and Trump convention speaker) was sent to Moscow on an NRA-sponsored trip at the same time Flynn and Jill Stein were in Moscow for a dinner where they sat with Putin.

Coincidences like these take lots of planning. I’m wondering what the average gun-owner has to say about their organization being potentially involved in these activities?

The fact that there were all these different outreaches by the Russian government to the Trump campaign, and not a single time did they contact the FBI or law enforcement likely speaks volumes as well.

Posted in Happenings, Up to Speed

Economic Theory

Once they called it “voodoo economics” – saying tax cuts for the rich pay for themselves. It didn’t work in the 1980s.

Then Governor Sam Brownback tried it in his state, calling it the “Great Kansas Experiment”, and it didn’t work. Ask any Kansan how they economy fared compared to other states which didn’t cut taxes during the recession. Kansas’ recovery was slower than their neighbors.

Now they call it “trickle down economics”, and thanks to Congress, the country is about to try it again.

I’ve constantly said about this type of tax policy “don’t piss on my head and tell me it’s raining”, but here is a visual representation of the ‘trickle down economics’ policy:

Courtesy: Twitter user Lance Ulanoff

Posted in An Opinion on Everything, Happenings, Up to Speed

More Liquid Paper Needed

Do you remember Liquid Paper?  That weird smelling concoction people used when they made an error when writing with pen?  It was like paint – you slopped it on the paper, blew on it to help it dry, and then rewrote to fix the error.

It’s not needed in the age of computers, but I hope Jared and Ivanka got a good deal on a case of liquid paper while it was still available, because it’s time for Jared to amend his security clearance for again.

Newsweek has the details on yet another omission by Jared on his security clearance form

Dude – group your poop, get it together, do some memory tricks, whatever it takes, and perhaps, just perhaps, tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth on your forms, would ya? Because these “accidental omissions” are starting to seem like they aren’t so accidental.

Because if you can’t come clean, I suspect you’ll be hearing the phrase “the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth…so help you God” in another venue — like perhaps a Grand Jury or a visit with Special Counsel Mueller.

Posted in Happenings, Up to Speed