Friday Open Thread

“One is never so dangerous when one has no shame, than when one has grown too old to blush.”

–Marquis de Sade

33 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. mamajama55mamajama55 says:

    Easy anti-racist activism today:

    If you are an Amazon Prime member ( I love the service) , but hate that Amazon advertises on Breitbart.com, write a quick email to the ceo of Amazon, Jeff Bezos :

     jeff@amazon.com 

    Tell Mr. Bezos that you like Amazon or Amazon Prime, but wish that they would quit advertising on a racist, anti-semitic site.

    The reason you have to write the CEO instead of "customer care" or another amazon department is that their "live chat" feature was programmed to disconnect when a customer mentions "Breitbart". Apparently, being flooded with hundreds of thousands of calls from around the world was not their idea of how to serve customers.

    Perhaps when Mr. Trump is impeached, his right-shoulder devil, Steve Bannon, won't have Breitbart News as a place to land.

  2. RepealAndReplace says:

    Sad Day for Homophobic Bigots Everywhere…..

    Dr. Joseph Nicolosi, one of the biggest proponents of conversion therapy – which has probably led to many, if not most, of the teenage suicides in this country and elsewhere – died of the flu at the age of 70.

    Nicolosi was denounced and repudiated (or is it "refudiated" per Sarah Palin) by most of his colleagues in the A.P.A.

    The Colorado legislature should use the occasion to pass the bill banning conversion therapy. Bury the quackery along with the quack who promoted it. 

     

  3. bullshit!bullshit! says:

    "…Or too orange." –DJT

  4. VoyageurVoyageur says:

    Trump stinks!

  5. JohnInDenver says:

    Meanwhile, in a neighboring state, one of the state senators who supported anti-gay legislation has been found… in a motel room … with a young man … who had a tablet containing

    a series of sexually explicit exchanges in which [Sen.] Shortey referred to the teen as “baby boy” and offered him cash in exchange for “sexual stuff,”

    Oklahoma lawmaker arrested…

  6. mamajama55mamajama55 says:

    R&R, there was no reference in the Wapo article to "Colorado Retail marijuana". Nor was there in the earlier Oklahoman story, about which I commented last Wednesday . There was prostitution, and underage sex, and smoking weed, and rampant family values hypocrisy. But no Colorado connection.

    Correction: I see that there was an earlier WAPO article mentioning that the police confiscated a container marked “colorado retail marijuana”. But this was taken out of the later story, so it may have been corrected. Earlier story: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-nation/wp/2017/03/16/okla-senator-caught-in-motel-room-with-teen-boy-faces-3-prostitution-counts-officials-say/?utm_term=.5773f0239125

  7. ZappateroZappatero says:

    Some Obamacare history for the hard of hearing:

    It was the Senate prima donnas who really put on a show, from the old-school conserva-Dem Ben Nelson of Nebraska, who demanded special dispensation for his state and got tarred as a low-rent operator for doing so, to the lugubrious Joe Lieberman of Connecticut, who danced around the bill for months, using his vote as a way to punish liberals for having beaten him in a 2006 primary, forcing him to win re-election as a third-party candidate.

    (Let's not forget the hideous Blanche Lincoln and the disgusting Evan Bayh.-ed.)

    Lieberman’s most famous double-cross in that negotiation came to mind this week when the Congressional Budget Office figures came in and showed that Ryan’s Trumpcare plan would hit older middle-class and working-class people like a Mack truck, with premiums in some cases rising to more than 50 percent of their incomes. That group of people, aged 55 to 65, has always been a major focus of concern in these health care battles.

    That group is at greater risk for developing a major illness as they get older, and is also highly vulnerable to job loss in a major economic downturn like the one that began in 2007. Their health insurance premiums tend to be quite high, and before Obamacare people in that group often had difficulty obtaining insurance at all. Even if they had insurance but became seriously ill, they were at risk of maxing out their lifetime limits, which could lead to financial ruin for their entire family.

    During the health care debates in 2009, an idea that had been around for ages was floated again by a number of health care experts and endorsed by the White House. That was the proposal to allow people in that 55-to-65 bracket to buy into Medicare. It would simultaneously boost the Medicare program by adding younger and healthier younger people into the mix and make the general population covered by the ACA less burdened by folks over 55. Its most vociferous proponent for years had been none other than Sen. Joe Lieberman.

    As the negotiations wore on and the diva Lieberman became one of the sticking points, former Vermont governor and Democratic Party head Howard Dean — who is also a physician — stepped up to propose the Medicare buy-in as a perfect way to break the logjam. As many of you will remember (but might like to forget), Lieberman said no. He even admitted to the New York Times that he balked at this proposal because liberals were a little too excited about it. On every level — tactical, strategic and humanitarian — it was a grievous failure. The ACA would have been a much stronger program today had Lieberman not been such a petulant SOB.

    I only bring this up now because it seems obvious that Democrats shouldn’t fall into the same trap the Republicans did over the last seven years. Obamacare has suddenly turned popular again, but it won’t be enough for Democrats to simply shout about how great it is and have everyone cheer. They need to have a proactive plan in place besides just saying “everything’s terrific” — and Paul Ryan has handed one to them on a silver platter: the 55-to-65 Medicare buy-in plan. It’s a simple and specific solution to a problem that the Republicans created and that’s something the Democrats can run on, in 2018 and perhaps beyond. Even Trump voters like Medicare.

    Someday, if the country survives, Democrats are going to have to clean up this mess. Joe Lieberman is long gone, thank goodness. It would be a fitting tribute to his tormented legacy to pass the plan he once backed and then threw away to punish liberals.

    • DavieDavie says:

      A 55 to 65 buy-in to Medicare amendment would be a great way to boomerang Trumpcare back at the GOP, but getting it through the wingnut House would probably require an earthquake creating a gaping hole on the GOP side of the capital building sad

  8. Pseudonymous says:

    Day late, dollar short, but…

    Brazile: Leaking town hall topics to Clinton campaign 'mistake I will forever regret'

    Oh, and Russia is the real problem, of course.  Definitely not her continual lying about doing this.  Or, really, doing it.  Or, claiming that the documents released by Wikileaks were forged to avoid responsibility.  Or, not resigning from the DNC after she got caught out.  But, Russia, there's a problem.

    • mamajama55mamajama55 says:

      The DNC management screwed Bernie and his supporters, was dishonest about that, and now is finally acknowledging the dishonesty. I'm really not sure, as a Bernista, what to do with this. Did Brazille mean well? Undoubtedly. Was there a culture of ethical sloppiness fostered by Wasserman-Schultz, or by the candidate herself and her top people? I think that there was.

      Should Bernistas come trooping back, chirping, "All is forgiven, because Trump is so toxic, and let's get out there and organize them Dems!" I imagine that is part of Brazille's intent in releasing these statements. My own feeling is that the impact of the wikileaks revelations are only magnified by the Dems choosing to keep in place Wasserman-Schultz' corporate preferential policies (lobbyists are superdelegates, too; no limit on corporate contributions to the DNC).

      By choosing not to reinstate Obama's reforms, the DNC has essentially said that corporations are not only people, my friend, but that they are better Dems than "the people" will ever be. And they will correspondingly have more power to shape policy than "the people" will ever have.

      So I'm not eager to go trooping back to the Dems. I skipped my party re-org meeting, although I could probably have been "elected" to something just by volunteering. Yet,Dems are the only game in town, electorally. Until someone chooses to run as an Independent (staring hard at you, Michael Bowman) , or makes the "Green" platform more relevant, there simply is no alternative. As some gambler said, "I know it 's crooked, but it's the only game in town."

      All that aside, political machinations are just not in the same grade of evil as a foreign power taking over a branch of our Federal government, which is what the Russians have done and are doing. The first is a crooked game, the second is treachery with millions of lives at stake.

      I promoted this argument in an essay on another blog I occasionally write on – cited the same source I did here, "Bernie Sanders Faced a Fake News Tsunami" I got 135 mostly negative comments on just that one post. Who knew I was a sell-out moderate and a troll? You learn something new every day. I learned that a "troll" is just someone whose opinions do not fit the prevailing opinions on a given site.

      I'm meandering, but the point is, the Dems done fucked up. We may still have to work with the untrustworthy bastids, though. The Russians are a clear and present danger. And the difference between a "troll" and a "maverick" is completely in the eye of the beholder.

      • Andrew Carnegie says:

        MJ

        You live in a fantasy world.

        Even after the breaking news on Trump's taxes made you look foolish, you have taken it to a new level. "taking over a branch of our Federal government, which is what the Russians have done"?

        Which branch?  The judiciary?  You have a scoop on the 9th circuit?  I always suspected they were commies, but I didn't know they were Russian.

        You calling Bennet a commie?

        Oh, I get it.  You mean the executive branch has been taken over by the Russians?

        Drugs are not good for you.  They don't help you think straight.

        • mamajama55mamajama55 says:

          I wish I lived in a fantasy world, as you do, AC, in which Russian takeover of the executive branch of the Federal government is not well under way, and in which our executive is not one of the most corrupt oligarchs in the world. To prove me wrong, all you would have to do is encourage your GOP reps to force Trump to reveal his tax returns, like every other President in history.

          Trump – Russian Business Relationships

          Unlike all of his predecessors, he has declined to release his tax returns. One partial return from 2005 was sent to a reporter.  That was a year in which Trump paid 36% rate on his taxes.  For the years after that, Trump has bragged about paying zero in taxes, saying that makes him “smart”.

          What would these tax returns show? They would show the extent of Trump’s indebtedness to people who have bailed out his businesses by floating loans. Trump is actually a pretty crappy businessman, notwithstanding his hype. He has been bankrupt, 6 times, he has failed to pay his subcontractors at least 60 times, he has had at least 17  businesses, including hotels, fail, and investors never got their investments back. He paid off the poor suckers who invested in Trump University, to the tune of $25 million – and got a tax writeoff for it.

          But will the public – or even Congress, which has the duty of oversight – ever see the full extent of Trump’s tax returns, which would show all of these business failures, all of the money loaned to bail him out, all of the tax writeoffs used to evade paying taxes? Congress shirked its duty, and GOP MoCs blocked a bill that would have forcied Trump to show his taxes. So that one measly 2005 partial return may be all we ever see. 

          So who has bailed this lousy business man out? Deutsche bank, through Russian investors. Chinese banks. Private loans. Trump himself, as well as his son, have admitted to great inflows of cash from Russia. And now, the American taxpayer will be on the hook to bail out the swindler.

          For a very well-sourced and exhaustive reference on all of the Russian business dealings, see this Compilation of Trump's Russian Connections, by wnemirow.

          There’s been plenty of other mainstream reporting, as well:

          USA Today

          Reuters

          Washington Post

          The graphic below is from Bump’s 3/3/2017 Washington Post article:

           

          What do these businessmen hope to gain from Trump’s business relationships?

          1. Easing of Russian sanctions, which Trump has said that he will “look into”.
          2. Allowing Russian interests to take over the Ukraine. This has already been changed in the Republican party platform – the only interest Trump showed in the platform.
          3. Future oil billions to be made from Rosneft’s drilling in the Arctic – a venture in which Rex Tillerson, trump’s Secretary of state still owns stock, although he is no longer the CEO of EXXON.  Tillerson owned two million shares of EXXON during Trump’s Presidential campaign, and was awarded a Russian medal of friendship by Putin himself.

           

          So the Trump Russian business ties are of long duration, deep, and powerful. Again, I recommend wnemirow’s reporting for more sources and explanation.

          Political appointees with Russian ties:

          But it is the cabinet posts I’m writing of when I write about how the Russians are taking over the executive branch of our government.

          • Trump himself
          • His children, Ivanka and Donald have extensive Russian business ties of their own.
          • VP Pence “ignored” the intelligence report that Mike Flynn was a foreign agent for Turkey, as well as a known intelligence asset for Russia, through his work for Russia Today propaganda network.
          • Secretary Tillerson, an oil executive with no diplomatic experience and a billion dollar oil deal with the Russian oil company pending lifting sanctions.
          • AG Sessions, who lied under oath about whether he knew of Russian contacts, and had to recuse himself from the investigation as a result.
          • Mike Flynn, Director of National Security, forced out because of foreign entangements and lying.
          • Wilbur Ross, Trump’s Secretary of Commerce, has extensive  and questionable business ties with both China and Russia
          • Mike Cohen, Trump’s lawyer, met Russians repeatedly and secretly., according to the dossier obtained by Buzzfeed.

          Trump Campaign wonks rooted in Russia

          • Then there is Trump’s campaign “Kremlin kabal”, headed by Mannafort, himself with extensive dealings in the Ukraine looking after Russian interests, Wilson, Kislyak, Stone, and Ross, all of whom reputedly negotiated for the Russian hacking of the DNC and subsequent coordinated leaking to Wikileaks of fake news stories, such as  that HRC ran a child sex ring out of a pizza parlor, was dying of Parkinson’s disease, had body doubles, etc,etc.  This has all been extensively reported on elsewhere. The article Compilation of Trump's Russian Connections, by wnemirow, sources this material well.

          Russian President Putin is reputedly the richest man in the world, and most of his wealth has come from exploiting his countrymen. There are few boundaries between government and industry in Russia, a holdover from the old Communist days. The USA seems well positioned to repeat this pattern of blurred business and government under an authoritarian regime, a.k.a. , fascism.

          I happen to be a patriot who happily recites the Pledge of Allegiance every day in school (and today, at a track meet I’m volunteering at). I barely drink, and rarely use marijuana medicinally. I would ask you, AC, to channel your old inner patriot and Cold Warrior . Do not let a foreign power dictate American policy. Don’t collude in the erosion of our sacred Constitutional freedoms. Let your conservative conscience be your guide.

           

        • VoyageurVoyageur says:

          So, how is your proof that Obama wiretapped Trump coming along, AC/DC.?  Remember, when you drink the kool-aid you have to drink it all.

  9. DavieDavie says:

    Ok, it's not political news, but just ran across this news.  Trump's new $1.5 million presidential limo is almost ready (there are actually several of them).

    Just needs the gold lame' paint job he requested wink

    The existing presidential limousine, known colloquially as the Beast, was used for Donald J. Trump’s inauguration earlier this year; it debuted for the inauguration of Barack Obama in 2009. Or, rather, “they” debuted. We know for sure that there’s more than one because they can appear at both ends of a presidential field trip aboard Air Force One, and we’re pretty sure it can’t outrun an airplane. The feds admit to having “about a dozen” of the limos in service. We can also assume it has an engine—a big, powerful one that can move several tons of armored fortress at high velocity. Does it burn gasoline? Diesel? Jet fuel? Is it supercharged? All classified information, sorry.

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