Tag Archives: Republicans

Don’t cripe on Pelosi for her impeachment stance: She is correct

Before you spend any more energy criping about Pelosi and impeachment, find out what impeachment is and how it would go.

What people need to understand is that the Senate, i.e., the Republicans, i.e. Mitch McConnell himself, runs the show in the impeachment hearings. It is done by the Senate. They do it. It is them. Not the house.

It is a trial is run by the Senate with the Chief Justice presiding, and the President present the whole time in the front of the room. Trump will be able to call witnesses. Repeat. Trump will be able to call witnesses. McConnell will be able to call witnesses. Repeat. McConnell will be able to call witnesses.

This means that not only will the impeachment fail, but the Republicans in the Senate, led by Mitch McConnell, will basically be putting on Celebrity Apprentice 2.0 staring Donald Trump.

It won’t just be a fail. It will be a multi day show put on and arranged entirely by Trump’s people.

Unless we get to a point where there is the necessary number of Republicans in the Senate to convict, we do not want this to happen. Pelosi is right.

Election matters

Measuring the feeble heartbeat of the electorate

From a current NBC/Wall Street Journal Poll, regarding likely voters:

(Source)

It looks to me that more mobilization is needed. Groups you would think have the highest stakes in this year’s election have low numbers.

Related to potential Kavanaugh effects, from the same poll:

Women are smarter than men, people with college degrees are smarter than those without, younger is smarter than older. Oddly, Independents dislike Kavanaugh to a greater degree than one would expect given the previously graph. (I’m suspicious of the category “Independent,” however.)

Regarding who should control congress, this:

The Republican Party is the party of whites, men, and to some degree older folks, while the Democratic Party is the party of people of color, women, younger folks, and the better educated.

Most critical may be the fact that 50% of likely voters prefer Democrats nation wide, while only 41% of likely voters prefer Republicans.

This will not, however, translate into more Republican members of congress. Local tradition, local campaigning, election rigging, and gerrymandering, determine who wins a given Congressional seat. Sadly. As I’ve suggested before, it is highly unlikely that a Democratic leaning American electorate will actually elect a Democratic majority Congress, in either house.

Expect Mud

This happened. I was sitting on the couch watching a football game (go Vikings!) and a political ad for our local Democratic candidate for Congress, Dean Phillips, came on. It was a positive, informative, up beat ad. Nice. Then, a political ad for the Republican incumbent, the Trump Lapdog Erik Paulsen, came up. It was negative, disgusting, and full of lies.

So the person watching the game with me, asked about why that ad was so horrible and why do the Democrats have such different ads. I said, “The Democrats used to use negative ads too, both parties did. ”

“Why?”

“Because experts told all the campaigns that they worked, and they did seem to work, so everybody did them. But this year, Democrats, at least here, decided to do no negative ads. So you see Republican negative ads, no Democratic negative ads.”

“I think,” he said, “If you have negative ads, some people learn to hate the other candidate so you win, but more people hate the whole idea and just stay home and don’t vote, and that matters more.”‘

“Hmm,” I replied. “Pretty smart for an eight year old, since that is exactly how we lost this race two years ago!”

Here’s the thing. Right now, Republicans are going to double down on negative ads, and they are going to work. Or, just ads that lie. For example, Representative Sarah Anderson, of the Minnesota house, is famous for a) reducing funding for education and b) opposing heath care reform. Her opponent, Ginny Klevorn, is famous for a) being very pro education and also, knowing a lot about how the school systems in her district are run, and b) wanting to link the health care plans state legislators have to the average cost and availability of health plans for all the citizens of the state, so they know exactly what everyone is experiencing (currently, Sarah Anderson and her Republican buddies in the MN Legislature have really great heath care plans!)

The people who live in this district have made it clear that they want more attention paid to, and more money spent on, education, and they want health care reform. So, naturally, anti-education and anti-health care reform Republican Sarah Anderson has put out lies in all her lit and other ads, painting herself as the savior of the education system and the savior of health care. Erik Paulsen is putting out negative, lie-filled, hate ads against Dean Phillips, in the US Congressional race here. The Republican dweeb running for Governor, Jeff Johnson, has been putting out hateful, dishonest ads, in his effort to catch up with Democratic Gubernatorial candidate Time Walz. And so on.

That’s all expected. What concerns me right now is the fact, just reported by the New York Times, that while Democrats have been out raising Republicans in recent weeks, Republicans have way more money to spend on elections, starting now.

Republicans entered the final month of the campaign with more money in the bank than the Democrats, providing them with vital ammunition as they wage a furious effort to hold on to control of Congress.

The most recent round of campaign finance disclosures, filed Saturday, showed that Republican national party committees, candidates in key House and Senate races and their top unlimited-money outside groups, or “super PACs,” had $337 million on hand as of Sept. 30. Their Democratic counterparts had $285 million in the bank on the same date.

What I don’t know is if this is simply more false balance reporting by the New York Times, or good analysis. Democratic superpacs have raised piles of money, a few million more than Republicans, and the superpacs represent more than half of the total campaign budget. But, it could be that Republicans are going to play their usual trick, swamping media markets where they are about to lose with lies, negative campaigning, and fear, and so in the end pull out and win. I would like to hope, but I dare not think, the post 2016 American electorate is not quite so easily manipulated.

Here’s the data from that report:

Send money to a Democrat!

Cory Booker May Be Thrown Out of the US Senate For Standing Up to Republicans.

Holy moly. Every day you can make a list of which is the most important news story of the day, but if you do, put it on 3×5 Index Cards so you can keep re-arranging it.

Booker released a chunk of the secreted Kavanaugh documents, possibly breaking a Senate rule. Breaking that rule, if he did break it, can result in his expulsion from the Senate.

When confronted with that prospect by Republican leaders, with Kavanaugh looking on and making funny faces, Booker said, “Bring it!”

Does this qualify as a constitutional crisis? It probably would if Booker is thrown out of the Senate and a few thousand citizen show up to put him back in the Senate.

The United States Space Force

Finally, we are getting a Space Force!

Now is our chance to chime in on how the Space Force should be organized and what it should do.

I have the following suggestions.

First, make no mistake, the Space Force is to fight off new alien invasions, and to find, root out, and kill any and all aliens from previous alien invasions. I know, I know, most people believe there are no aliens, or if they are out there somewhere in the Universe, they are not going to invade us. But those unbelievers tend to be Democrats, and the Space Force is a Republican idea. So, my first suggestion is to put aside any equivocation. USSF is our first line of defense against aliens. Own it.

Second, do incorporate a scientist high up in the chain of command. Time and time again, we have seen either aliens or home-grown monsters (usually as a result of nuclear radiation in the sea or someplace) get way ahead of the US Military because military commanders are bad at listening to scientists.

The senior scientist, and his attractive 20-something daughters, and the other more junior scientist or perhaps journalist on whom the daughter is sweet, should not be ignored! We should know this by now!

Third, the USSF should be in the business of separating children from their parents. None of this liberal namby pamby nice guy shit. When you get an alien child away from its parents, you do NOT reunite them. That is just asking for trouble.

Fifth, even though the USSF will diligently search for, find, and kill all existing aliens from previous invasions, it is ESSENTIAL that their technology be preserved and studies. As sure as The Doctor’s favorite expression is “Sorry” and his second favorite expression is “Run!!!” we will need that technology to fight future aliens.

Fourth, do not eschew or fail to respect the space forces that exist already in other countries. Just as American intelligence services have a “special relationship” with British intelligence, the USSF should develop and nurture a special relationship with Torchwood.

And speaking of special relationships, the USSF should have liaison with the secret service. It is not uncommon for aliens to masquerade as high level politicians, or to seduce them in other ways.

The creation of the United States Space Force is a great idea, an idea whose time is come. But I think it is very important to not pretend it is something other than it is. It is an idea to win the hearts and minds of the 21% of the United States population who believe in aliens, and were abducted by them one or more times. I worry a little about the 2% of Americans who believe they are aliens. But in any law enforcement or military operation, there are always a few who just won’t go along with the rest.

The Marines have “Semper Fidelis.” The Army has “This We’ll Defend. The US Air Force says “Aim high, Fly-Fight-Win.” And the Navy’s motto, and they just got this motto last year, is “Forged by the Sea.” (I’ll bet you thought it was “not just a job, but an adventure,” but no, you were wrong if you thought that.)

The motto of the United States Space Force? I’ll go ahead and suggest “Klaatu barada nikto,” but you should feel free to suggest your ideas below.

And finally, this shall be the United States Space Force uniform:

Donald Trump is bad. How bad is he?

Donald Trump is so bad that the Koch Brothers are turning their backs on him.

From the Washington Post:

Top officials with the donor network affiliated with billionaire industrialist Charles Koch this weekend sought to distance the network from the Republican Party and President Trump, citing tariff and immigration policies and “divisive” rhetoric out of Washington.

At a gathering of hundreds of donors at the Broadmoor resort here, officials reiterated their plans to spend as much as $400 million on policy issues and political campaigns during the 2018 cycle. Earlier this year, they announced heavy spending aimed at helping Republicans to hold the Senate. But in a warning shot at Trump and the GOP, network co-chair Brian Hooks lamented “tremendous lack of leadership” in Trump’s Washington and the “deterioration of the core institutions of society.”

Note the number: 400 million bucks right now on campaigns and policy rhetoric.

What is a Republican?

This guy. The one in the blue jacket. Watch every minute of this. Especially the last phase, where we see Representative Jason Spencer attacking a terrorist with his ass.

Trigger warning: Racism, hate, and Trumpisn. In other words, watching this video is like turning on CNN or FOX. Not work safe, not for children, keep the sound down.

From now on, after seeing this, you can never, ever, see the yahoos changing “USA USA USA” again without thinking of State Representative Jason’s Spencer’s ugly ass.

And of course it does not end there. Here are some Republicans advocating the arming of pre-schoolers.

According to recent polls, one of the men advocating for arming tiny children, Dana Rohrabacher, has a real chance of being defeated in this year’s election.

When investigating Trump, Look Both Ways

My advice to students I’ve had the chance to supervise is extensive, but includes the phrase “look both ways.” In that case, I refer specifically to library research. This worked better when most of our research was done using dead tree fragments. Here’s how it works. You find out about a book of interest. You go find it on the shelf in the library. Instead of just pulling it off the shelf and checking it into your carrel, you stop for a moment and look both ways. There is a good chance that the books right next to the one you found are by the same author, or about the same topic, or in some other way related. Indeed, you may have located a useful source, the one you sought, but didn’t know that the same author also did research in exactly the area you are working, wrote the classic tome on it, and in fact, that classic tome is what you thought your thesis was going to be on based on this great idea you had at the bar last night! Continue reading When investigating Trump, Look Both Ways

Coates: Donald Trump and his Supporters Are White Supremacists

A lot of people will object to the title of this post. I will be told to take the post down. I will be told to modify the title or to change what I say in the post.

Nope.

Ta-Nehisi Coates is correct, and his presentation is brilliant. Watch the following interview (in two parts) and read his book We Were Eight Years in Power: An American Tragedy.

Chris Hayes is correct to point out that the historical source of Coates title is critically important and deeply disturbing (this is something we’ve talked about here in the recent past). He is incorrect, as Coates points out near the end of the second segment, that there will be a future in which we debate the relative merits of the Trump vs the Obama presidency. I have no idea what possessed him to day that (I see Hayes slip into the false balance mode now and then when he’s tired, maybe that’s what he did there for just a moment).

On the book:

“We were eight years in power” was the lament of Reconstruction-era black politicians as the American experiment in multiracial democracy ended with the return of white supremacist rule in the South. In this sweeping collection of new and selected essays, Ta-Nehisi Coates explores the tragic echoes of that history in our own time: the unprecedented election of a black president followed by a vicious backlash that fueled the election of the man Coates argues is America’s “first white president.”

But the story of these present-day eight years is not just about presidential politics. This book also examines the new voices, ideas, and movements for justice that emerged over this period—and the effects of the persistent, haunting shadow of our nation’s old and unreconciled history. Coates powerfully examines the events of the Obama era from his intimate and revealing perspective—the point of view of a young writer who begins the journey in an unemployment office in Harlem and ends it in the Oval Office, interviewing a president.

We Were Eight Years in Power features Coates’s iconic essays first published in The Atlantic, including “Fear of a Black President,” “The Case for Reparations,” and “The Black Family in the Age of Mass Incarceration,” along with eight fresh essays that revisit each year of the Obama administration through Coates’s own experiences, observations, and intellectual development, capped by a bracingly original assessment of the election that fully illuminated the tragedy of the Obama era. We Were Eight Years in Power is a vital account of modern America, from one of the definitive voices of this historic moment.

The Kelly Fallacy

General John F. Kelly is retired from the US Marine Corps, where he commanded the Southern Command. He replaced political operative Reince Priebus as President Trump’s Chief of Staff.

The White House Chief of Staff is the highest ranking staff member in the White House, and was formalized as such in 1961. This is not a Senate confirmable position. What the Chief of Staff does varies from administration to administration but it is almost always about the same. This person can be the puppeteer, in the case of a President who is weak and in need of a guiding hand. This person is always a gatekeeper. Communication with the president is actually communication with the POTUS/COS and if the actual president is present is the decision of the Chief of Staff. If a president is not present or unable to make an important decision, it is not the Vice President who steps in, but the Chief of Staff, short term. Or, at least, this is what we have come to understand from the combination of glimpses into real life and realistic fiction about the workings of the Executive.

The Trump administration has never been in control. Trump has blundered from tweet to tweet, changing and randomizing American policy, bringing the US to what feels like the brink of a war with North Korea, destroying all of our relationships with other nations, frightening and angering most of the citizens with bone-headed domestic policy blunders, and generally being annoying. Much of this confusion and clownish governing happened prior to about two weeks ago, peaking with the rolling out of a particularly awful communications director, a character from a first draft of a Carl Hiaasen novel. And when the insanity reached that crescendo, they called in the Cavalry. Or, actually, the Marines. In the form of General John Kelly.

At the time, everyone said the same thing. The General, being a general and a Marine and all, would impose order, control Trump, bring some sense of normalcy to the White House.

But that didn’t happen. Of all the bad things that have happened in the train wreck known as the Trump administration, some of the worst things have happened since Kelly landed on that particular beach. It was after Kelly arrived that we moved to the brink of a new Korean War. It was after Kelly arrived that Trump lost the confidence even of many of his supporters with his blatant nod to the white supremacist movement. Most recently (though I’ve not checked my twitter feed in 45 seconds so who knows) we have top advisor Steven Bannon declaring his own war on All The Staff, reversing Trump’s North Korea policy, and doing an end run around the State Department to advance an entirely new policy with China. Who knows where that will go?

So, there are two facts that tell me that there is a fallacy lurking here, for which I think I have a simple explanation.

Fact 1: Everybody knows that a disciplined Marine General like John Kelly means the restoration of order. This fact is so clear and certain that after two weeks of unmitigated chaos exponentially worse than any prior two week period in the Trump Circus, it is still held on to by everyone.

Fact 2: Fact 1 is clearly untrue.

The fallacy is that being of a military background (in this case a Marine General) fully qualifies a person to know how to generate and impose, restore or maintain, and manage, order.

It could be that John Kelly was actually a lousy general, or that he is purposefully trying to Ruin America, or perhaps some other explanation pertains. But none of that seems to apply.

Rather, I think this: Order exists in the military when you get there. Ask around. You probably know people with this story. A person who is wandering, directionless, unable to maintain order in their own life, joins the military and there finds order not because the military inspires it in them, but because the military imposes it on them. This changes their life, for the better, and thereafter they can thank the already in place inherent fundamental order of the military.

Marine generals do not create order and discipline, nor do they bring it with them to unordered chaotic climes where they can put it. The military has evolved over centuries of time, and is older than most existing nations. It has the order and discipline built in, it is a hierarchical structure based on chains of command and the concept of order itself. It is not a coincidence that the essential communication, utterance, linguistic event, in the military is called an “order” an that order is obeyed on pain of punishment anywhere from doing 100 pushups up to execution by firing squad.

Marine General John Kelly moved from an environment where order is the order of the day, often in the form of orders inevitably obeyed, to a place of deprived chaos. He moved from a milieu in which his wish was someone else’s command to the job of baby sitting a psychotic megalomaniac with zero impulse control who is, in fact, his commander in chief. Having a retired Marine General put in charge of a Trump in this manner, at this time, is actually the worst possible idea. Marine Generals give orders and they are followed. A Chief of Staff for Trump can not order Trump to do anything, and is likely unequipped with the laser pointers, shiny objects, yummy cookies, and psychological tasers needed to control the stupendously horrific combination of the world’s biggest baby who happens to also be the word’s most powerful person.

I suspect Reince Priebus had more of the skills to manage Trump than Kelly will have in ten lifetimes. Controlling the staff and the communications is Kelly’s only option, and that is clearly far less than what is needed. There may be no controlling Trump in any event, but this commander will never be controlled by any general.

General John Kelly can not serve as an effective Chief of Staff on the basis of his experience in an environment of order, precisely because the remnant of that environment is the Commander in Chief that he needs to, but can not, boss around. He might have been a good Chief of Staff for other reasons, or on the basis of other experiences, but that apparently is not the case.

I believe this is the fallacy. I believe this is a deep fallacy, because it is unnoticed even though it is right in front of everyone’s face. I expect that someday we will know of a thing called the “Kelly Effect,” when someone moves from a place of great order to a place of chaos, and the chaos wins.

Trump touts racial segregation, antisemitism, lewd behavior, at Boy Scout rally

If you give your children over to the Boy Scouts for a day or two, they may do something to them akin to abuse. This happened.

The Boy Scouts knew what they were getting into when they invited Donald Trump to speak at their national event. They even posted warnings for the troop leaders and scouts, on their blog.

As a unit leader or staff member, you can help make the president’s visit a success by ensuring that any reactions to the president’s address are, as we state in our Scout Law, friendly, courteous, and kind. This includes understanding that chants of certain phrases heard during the campaign (e.g. “build the wall,” “lock her up”) are considered divisive by many members of our audience, and may cause unnecessary friction between individuals and units. Please help us ensure that all Scouts can enjoy this historical address by making sure that your troop members are respectful not only of the president, but of the wide variety of viewpoints held by Scouts and Scouters in the audience tonight.

The speech was a travesty. It was rambling and foggy, the sort of thing that might make one worry about drug abuse or a brain problem. It was insulting to many people. It was inappropriate, including profanity and reference to sexual exploits of famous people (see below). It was dishonest, unfair, un-American, and stupid.

Many felt right away that the Boy Scouts should be asked to formally and publicly disavow the speech or make some sort of comment on what happened. For my part, I called the Northern Star Boy Scout office (that’s our regional Boy Scout thing) and complained. My friend Dave wrote this public letter:

Dear Boy Scouts of America,

During the Kennedy administration, I was a cub scout in Vienna, Austria, a city on the front line of the Cold War. Parts of that city, and nearly every other city in Europe, were still in ruins after the war ignited by an out-of-control demagogue placed in power by a minority of the voters. Part of my mother’s family had to flee their homes to America, while others were murdered by agents of that government.

That is why I forced myself to watch the current president’s speech to the Boy Scouts Jamboree in its entirety. It was a disgrace. It began with outright lies and accusations. (“The fake press will say there were 200 people here.”) It trashed his opponent, who was favored by more voters, though not by electoral tampering with the majority, and whom many Boy Scout parents must have voted for. It favored one religion over another. It used what at least used to be a swear word. It sowed divisiveness amongst Americans. It urged disrespect against a former President. It denigrated the nation’s government itself. It promoted its political campaign rhetoric and co-opted the audience into shouting its slogan.

According to the speaker, he is an honorary president of the Boy Scouts of America. I urge you to rescind that title.

I expect that as honorable officials of the Boy Scouts of America, you will issue a statement to all troops identifying the remarks that were inappropriate and did not conform to the Boy Scout regulations about politics.

Sincerely,
David J. Formanek

All the media, being fake and all, have gone after Trump (though I’m not sure about FOX news), and generally speaking, the reaction is strong and widespread. Even as this is happening, of course, Trump-trolls are scanning social media for anti-Trump comments, and complaining about how we are taking away Donald’s “free speech.” Which, of course, no one has done. We have the First Amendment right to complain about what the president says, and forces that intend to curtail that right are truly nefarious.

(Note: One item on a local FOX news page decries the comparison liberals are making between Hitler, the Hitler Youth, and Trump’s Boy Scout Speech. That comparison certainly has been made by many! I just watched the famous Hitler to the Youth speech (not the Hitler Youth, just German youth). The comparison is apt, but Hitler was a much more focused orator than Trump.)

Many parents of scouts, and many former scouts, reacted negatively to Trump’s speech and in many cases to the Scouts’ lack of good decision making and failure to take responsibility for the fiasco they knowingly created. See twitter examples below. The BSA, for its part, has as of this writing said nothing other than that they do these events and invite the presidents, so what?

Clearly, the Scouts, as an organization, are clueless, even if many of their members are still prying their jaws off the floor. They should know something about the Constitution by now, and recognize that Donald Trump is the greatest threat to it since Major General Sir George Prevost. After all, the Boy Scouts of America have been in a Constitutional fight or two.

In a five to four decision, the Supreme Court ruled that opposition to homosexuality is part of BSA’s “expressive message” and that allowing homosexuals as adult leaders would interfere with that message.

It is inappropriate to subject youth, especially in the context of an organization that desired to have no undesirables near their boys just in case, to the sort of Drek spewed by Donald Trump at this Jamboree. It is Orwellian, at best, to pretend nothing bad happened, that the Boy Scouts of America didn’t do something horribly wrong by inviting the profane and obnoxious pussy-grabber-in-chief to speak to their kids. The Boys Scouts of America have committed the unforgivable sin of pretending that nothing is wrong, that all is normal, of standing by while our Democracy burns, and perhaps, adding fuel to the fire.

My son will not be joining the Boy Scouts. What about yours?

Example Tweets About The Trump Youth Rally

The William Levitt Digression

I put this as an appendix because to get the full force of it all, you have to read a lot of rambling and offensive text and look stuff up in Wikipedia.

I remember growing up in New York State learning that William Levitt was famous for creating white suburbs developing land on Long Island and elsewhere in order to facilitate a white flight from increasingly non-white Manhattan. He may or may not have been involved in the conspiracy to keep public transit busses off Long Island because they were used by black folk to get to places like Coney Island. Anyway, from Wikipiedia:

Levitt refused to integrate his developments. The Jewish Levitt barred Jews from Strathmore, his first pre-Levittown development on Long Island in New York, and he refused to sell his homes to blacks. His sales contracts also forbade the resale of properties to blacks through restrictive covenants, although in 1957 a white couple resold their house to the first black family to live in a Levitt home. Levitt’s all-white policies also led to civil rights protests in Bowie, Maryland in 1963. The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and the American Civil Liberties Union opposed Levitt’s racist policies, and the Federal Housing Administration prepared to refuse mortgages on his next Levittown. Nevertheless, Levitt would not back down and continued planning another whites-only Levittown in Willingboro Township, New Jersey. He fought legal challenges in New Jersey courts until the United States Supreme Court refused to hear his case.

Trump, also associated with promoting and renting segregated housing in New YOrk, went on a long tirade about how great Levitt was, and how the Scouts should aspire to be him.,

… When I was young there was a man named William Levitt. You have some here. You have some in different states. Anybody ever hear of Levittown?

And he was a very successful man, became unbelievable – he was a home builder, became an unbelievable success, and got more and more successful. [Note: Levitt was like Trump, went bankrupt and otherwise failed quite often at business.] And he’d build homes, and at night he’d go to these major sites with teams of people, and he’d scour the sites for nails, and sawdust and small pieces of wood, and they cleaned the site, so when the workers came in the next morning, the sites would be spotless and clean, and he did it properly. And he did this for 20 years, and then he was offered a lot of money for his company, and he sold his company, for a tremendous amount of money, at the time especially. This is a long time ago. Sold his company for a tremendous amount of money.

And he went out and bought a big yacht, and he had a very interesting life. I won’t go any more than that, because you’re Boy Scouts so I’m not going to tell you what he did.

[This may be a reference to Levitt’s divorse, affair with his secretary whom he later married, and his later affair and marriage with a french art dealer, but who knows. Maybe Trump knows more than just that. Anyway, Levitt might have been a fellow pussygrabber.]

Should I tell you? Should I tell you?

You’re Boy Scouts, but you know life. You know life.

So look at you. Who would think this is the Boy Scouts, right? So he had a very, very interesting life, and the company that bought his company was a big conglomerate, and they didn’t know anything about building homes, and they didn’t know anything about picking up the nails and the sawdust and selling it, and the scraps of wood. This was a big conglomerate based in New York City.

And after about a 10-year period, there were losing a lot with it. It didn’t mean anything to them. And they couldn’t sell it. So they called William Levitt up, and they said, would you like to buy back your company, and he said, yes, I would. He so badly wanted it. He got bored with this life of yachts, and sailing, and all of the things he did in the south of France and other places. You won’t get bored, right? You know, truthfully, you’re workers. You’ll get bored too, believe me. Of course having a few good years like that isn’t so bad.

[None of that is true. Levitt became the titular head of the company after he sold it, and it was even named after him, but he never re-owned it. Not that this matters; Just letting you know the alt-facts are flowing. Most of this story is incorrect, muddled, or made up.]

But what happened is he bought back his company, and he bought back a lot of empty land, and he worked hard at getting zoning, and he worked hard on starting to develop, and in the end he failed, and he failed badly, lost all of his money. He went personally bankrupt, and he was now much older. And I saw him at a cocktail party. And it was very sad because the hottest people in New York were at this party.

[Reminder: this is a speech to the Boy Scouts of America.]

It was the party of Steve Ross – Steve Ross, who was one of the great people. He came up and discovered, really founded Time Warner, and he was a great guy. He had a lot of successful people at the party.

And I was doing well, so I got invited to the party. I was very young. And I go in, but I’m in the real estate business, and I see a hundred people, some of whom I recognize, and they’re big in the entertainment business.

And I see sitting in the corner was a little old man who was all by himself. Nobody was talking to him. I immediately recognized that that man was the once great William Levitt, of Levittown, and I immediately went over. I wanted to talk to him more than the Hollywood, show business, communications people.

So I went over and talked to him, and I said, “Mr. Levitt, I’m Donald Trump.” He said, “I know.” I said, “Mr. Levitt, how are you doing?” He goes, “Not well, not well at all.” And I knew that. But he said, “Not well at all.” And he explained what was happening and how bad it’s been and how hard it’s been. And I said, “What exactly happened? Why did this happen to you? You’re one of the greats ever in our industry. Why did this happen to you?”

And he said, “Donald, I lost my momentum. I lost my momentum.” A word you never hear when you’re talking about success when some of these guys that never made 10 cents, they’re on television giving you things about how you’re going to be successful, and the only thing they ever did was a book and a tape. But I tell you – I’ll tell you, it was very sad, and I never forgot that moment.

And I thought about it, and it’s exactly true. He lost his momentum, meaning he took this period of time off, long, years, and then when he got back, he didn’t have that same momentum.

I’m so glad the Boy Scouts got to hear that inane and inaccurate story.

A loved one just died, and today is her birthday. #Sad

I speak, of course, of America.

America became very ill early last year when one of the two main political parties seriously embraced a fake candidate for the most important job in the land.

America was given a very poor prognosis in August when that party endorsed this clown for president. Then, in November, the fatal blow happened, but as is the case with many fatal things — being sentenced to death, being told you have incurable cancer, etc. — it took a while before the death throes.

From some point in time, around January, though the late winter and spring, we gained the full realization that the country’s election had been hacked (already suspected), but that the people who voted for the clown didn’t care. Then the leaders of the world singly or in small groups wrote off America and its leader, and so on. The last moments of life consisted of this or that horrific tweet or tweet storm, perhaps yesterday morning’s short video of the clown pretending to beat the crap of the press at a boxing match was the moment.

Unlike in the movies, it is sometimes hard to tell exactly when death happens. We understand it as a range of time.

Now, there is still life in this country. But it is not the essential life. It is the life we find in a dead carp washed up on a stinking muddy bank. The maggots, the bacteria, the bits of still greenish water plant stuck to the gills. Life, yes, but not the life. There are those who had wished the clown would be elected so that he could destroy America and we can start over. They got the first part of their wish. The second part is unlikely to be realized in their benighted lifespans. Today the stinking carp-clown is putting together a list and we all know what he is going to use that list for.

Do you, America, have the understanding you need, the bravery you need, and the commitment you need to renew the revolution? I think not. You’ve shown no evidence that you do.

There are advantages to living in a third world country. But those advantages come only after the fall has completed, and that will take some decade or two worth of misery, and those advantages will only pertain to the richest of the rich. They, the richest of the rich, have taken, finally, what they want.

The bad news is this: The hyper-privileged have won. The good news: They won a stinking dead carp. Enjoy, suckers.

A fish rots from the head.

This pertains:

Republican Fast Food Pusher Andrew The Putz Puzder Not In Labor

As the Republican led US Senate has voted to confirm (or deny) the party leader’s cabinet picks, they’ve done a poor job, approving, for example, people who have acted in direct opposition to the areas of government they are expected to serve, or in some cases, being abjectly incompetent. The Republicans in the Senate were not vetting the nominees. Some of the Democrats were, but even there, we saw failures of conscious.

The Senators need to be reminded that the critical choices made by the Trump administration tend to be poor ones. Look, for example, at the first NSA choice. General Flynn was caught engaged in acts that were at least unethical and annoying, if not downright illegal and, worst case scenario, treasonous. Why would we expect the Trump administration to had better choices to the Senate for their approval?

"This would have been really bad." Former fictional Secretary of Labor, Leo McGarry.
“This would have been really bad.” Former fictional Secretary of Lbor, Leo McGarry.
I’m pretty sure the Republicans in Congress have no clue what “advice and consent” means or what the Constitution says, or history says, about this.

The total number of Senators voting for each of Republican President Trump’s nominees is less than usual, with many, sometimes most, Democrats voting against the various and often very unqualified nominees. The Democrats who did vote for these individuals will be held to account over coming years, especially those who voted for Tillerson, and others who may ultimately be linked to currently developing scandals.

But now we have an interesting development. One of the most awful choices ever put forth for a high cabinet post ever, in any government by any president — equal to in level of insult and injury to the Betsy DeVos nomination which Congress narrowly approved — was Andrew Puzder as labor secretary.

The public outcry about putting this particular fox in charge of that particular hen house should not have exceeded the outcry against Tillerson or the others, but the general public and, certainly, Trump’s Republican Congress, appear not to understand too much about what happens in government and why it is important. But an attack by Oprah, armed with withering truth, seems to have mattered. Outrage over Puzder’s misconduct in business and personal life, some of which could be an embarrassment even to the Trump administration and to Republicans generally, was too much.

Moments ago, Puzder made a move we wish so heartily that Republican Donald Trump’s father had done years ago: he withdrew just in the nick of time.


By the way, have you read Saving Capitalism: For the Many, Not the Few by former actual good Secretary of Labor Robert Reich?

America was once celebrated for and defined by its large and prosperous middle class. Now, this middle class is shrinking, a new oligarchy is rising, and the country faces its greatest wealth disparity in eighty years. Why is the economic system that made America strong suddenly failing us, and how can it be fixed?

Screen Shot 2017-02-15 at 4.05.55 PMLeading political economist and bestselling author Robert B. Reich presents a paradigm-shifting, clear-eyed examination of a political and economic status quo that no longer serves the people, exposing one of the most pernicious obstructions to progress today: the enduring myth of the “free market” when, behind the curtain, it is the powerful alliances between Washington and Wall Street that control the invisible hand. Laying to rest the specious dichotomy between a free market and “big government,” Reich shows that the truly critical choice ahead is between a market organized for broad-based prosperity and one designed to deliver ever more gains to the top. Visionary and acute, Saving Capitalism illuminates the path toward restoring America’s fundamental promise of opportunity and advancement.