Danny Cardwell's picture

    What Unplugging Did For Me!

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    On September 21st, I celebrated two months free from politics. I didn’t avoid the news, but I didn’t talk or write about the the controversies emanating from Richmond or Washington.

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    (11) UKE-GATE IMPEACH GRAB BAG - CRITICAL THREADS

    Place holder for Uke-Gate stories that shouldn't roll off the blogroll. Will update number as it climbs. Not sure yet which stories qualify, but probably ones that best support the limited area of Uke-Gate & similar acts being impeachable behavior, and not just a one-off but repeated violation and/or dereliction of duty.

    1) Trumps's private hush hush hit team - Rudy, DiGenova, Toensing - https://www.thedailybeast.com/joe-digenova-and-victoria-toensing-worked-...

    2) Ur-Report of Uke-gate - where this reporting started (James Risen - from which it got twisted) -  https://theintercept.com/2019/09/25/i-wrote-about-the-bidens-and-ukraine...

    Updated in May by Robert Mackey to correct NYTimes reporting that left way too much innuendo: https://theintercept.com/2019/05/10/rumors-joe-biden-scandal-ukraine-abs...

    3) Did Trump withhold a memo from Mueller summarizing key Russia meeting? https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2019/09/white-house-hide-memo-trump-...

    4) When Jared got a blockade put on Qatar after Qatar wouldn't help out on his property - earlier Trump Shakedown Street example - https://www.newsweek.com/jared-kushner-backed-qatar-blockade-after-qatar...

    5) How Memorializing Conversations works/should work in the White House, including reaching consensus & distributing that info to affected persons/departments - https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2019/09/29/trump-white-house-ukr...

    6) Special Ukraine Envoy Volker's odd conflicts of interest - https://www.politico.com/story/2019/09/28/trump-ukraine-kurt-volker-1517874

    Doctor Cleveland's picture

    Impeaching the Black Swan

    I have no idea how the impeachment proceedings against Donald Trump will play out. Neither does anyone else. The most important thing to remember when reading media coverage of the impeachment process is that the writer has no idea how the impeachment process is likely to go. This goes for everybody.

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    ABC Debate Ad Links Cambodian Genocide w Democrats

    Slate:

    On the debate stage in Houston, Bernie Sanders frustratedly batted away any comparisons between his brand of “democratic socialism” and that of Venezuela’s Nicolás Maduro. But that was mild stuff compared with the red-baiting going on during the commercial breaks, when viewers were treated to a commercial in which Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s face goes up in flames, replaced by images of skulls from the Khmer Rouge genocide in Cambodia.

    Trump Has the Power, Case is Closed

    In the International Emergency Economic Powers Act of 1977 the Congress gave the President the power to declare "national emergencies" based on what the "President believes" (section 1703 of the Act). Trump is claiming that Act gives him the power to force all American companies to leave their manufacturing and assembly operations, and their commerce with, China. He is right.

    The 1977 law, which was meant to limit presidential power, did no such thing. The law says emergencies can be declared, and almost unlimited presidential power on foreign commerce can be exercised, based on only presidential "beliefs".

    Only the weak and frankly vacuous instruction in the 1977 Act to "report to Congress when the President believes" (section 1703), to "consult with Congress", and to "At least once during each succeeding six-month period after transmitting a report" send another report, are the extent of Congressional involvement once a president uses this Act.

    Have a deplorable to dinner.

    Who remembers “National Brotherhood week?" When Lena Horne and Sheriff Clark were dancing Cheek to Cheek. Or amusing invitations posted to "have a cripple to dinner." And similar laugh riots at the expense of Blacks. Ah the good old days. We won’t see their like again. But I digress.

    If only perfect people got to vote the electorate would be reduced to…well…let’s say American Legion Hall wouldn’t be crowded. All those currant buns I bought for the poll workers, wasted! (Actually it was the Republican poll watcher who clued me in the first time that I--like him-- should make myself less unacceptable by showing up at 6am with currant buns.) Groan. Here comes the hoary Flavius serm…thought through position (thank you mother) on having a Republican to dinner. Metaphorically.

    If You Needed Further Proof

    President Trump and his wife Melania and their personal White House staff are empty self absorbed shells of human beings. Robots could provide more empathy. How to describe the first family? No self awareness, no compassion, no recognition of others emotions or loss,  unable to offer sincere condolences,  no feelings for the loss suffered by the infant they hold.  Who but a Trump would grin widely and give a thumbs up, while his also grinning wife holds an injured recently orphaned infant in a hospital? And then publish the photo on the First Ladies twitter? What kind of person does that? Did Trump see this as a personal "win", as all 8 other wounded victims still in the hospital declined to see him?

    Trump Wants Execution During a Reelection Rally

    The Trump administration has decided to restart federal executions. White House sources indicate this action by Attorney General Barr was taken after unconfirmed reports that President Trump had inquired as to why there had been no executions of federal inmates during his tenure in the Oval Office, while he heard George W. Bush had three, including Timothy McVeigh.

    Orion's picture

    Mad Magazine Is Over

    Dude, Mad Magazine is over. Maybe Pete Buttigieg made a good move in saying Donald Trump's nickname for him ("Alfred E. Neuman") was outdated.

    Trump Threatens Withdrawal from 1848 Treaty

    After attacking Japan today and "lamenting what he views as an unequal military alliance" Wednesday, claiming that if the US is attacked, Japan "doesn't have to help us at all" and "can watch it on the Sony television."

    He then lit into Mexico and connected an 1848 Treaty to the crisis at the border.

     Trump also asked why Mexico got paid millions for losing a war against the US in "the Treaty of Guadalupe"... "Mexico attacked us and we responded, then to settle the war they gave us Utah, Colorado and California which were already American anyway, and then they got paid a huge sum of blackmail money." He went on "Who names a Treaty after the woman who used to clean my resort residence in New Jersey?"

    Orion's picture

    Trump's Cynical Build Up Of Tension

    There's a whole lot of jubilation out there that Donald Trump cut short a military operation that could have started a catastrophic war with Iran. Iran is a massive country with a population of 81.16 million. It is at the nexus of America's tension in the Middle East, from the implementation of the Shah to the revolution during Carter's administration to the Iran-Iraq war and then the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq. It is no mistake that so much blood and treasure was spent occupying two countries directly bordering Iran. Iran has ties with most of the world, located as it is at the heart of the nexus between Central and South Asia, the Middle East and Africa. It's an ancient and impressive civilization. Everyone seems to get this ... now.

    Michael Wolraich's picture

    Time is Not on Biden's Side

    Joe Biden looks great on paper. Polling at over thirty percent, he dominates his Democratic rivals by fifteen points or more, and he crushes Donald Trump in head-to-head polls. He has half-a-century of political experience, and his middle-class Scranton roots will appeal in Pennsylvania and other rust-belt swing states. Firmly in control of the centrist vote, he can sit back while his opponents squabble over the left wing.

    But he’s unlikely to become the Democratic nominee for President.

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    Orion's picture

    Everyone's Podcasting! But Who Is Still Reading?

    In Berkeley, there are many copies on display of Slavoj Zizek's "In Defense of Lost Causes." After his debate with Jordan Peterson, it was the book put up in Berkeley to promote him. The book is fantastic and Zizek's analysis is incredible - his writing on Mao, on artificial intelligence, even on Mary Shelley's Frankenstein novel, is all stellar. All of it was clearly written in the 2000s, however, as there are a bunch of references to George W. Bush or Hugo Chavez.

    Since then, he has mostly become known online in videos on YouTube. His persona is being built through various interviews on Russia Today, at college seminars, Vice documentaries, etc. Unlike a lot of people today, he doesn't seem to produce the videos himself, which I guess makes him kind of an outlier.

    Doctor Cleveland's picture

    Hoarding, Archiving, and the Public Domain: Universal Vault Edition

    The New York Times Magazine just dropped a piece on the complete destruction of every master recording in Universal's West Coast vault. I haven't even finished reading it, because it's so terrible I have to digest it in installments and take breaks. Hundreds of thousands of irreplaceable master tapes were destroyed.
     

    Proposition Joe

    Proposition Joe was one of the characters of the HBO series “The Wire”. Proposition Joe would always try to appease  the opposition. Proposition Joe predictably took a dirt nap when he was no longer useful to his rivals.

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proposition_Joe

    Proposition Joe came to mind when I heard Joe Biden tell us how Republicans would come to their senses and work across the aisle once Trump was out of office. Did Biden not take notice of what Republicans did before Trump was in office?

    Michael Wolraich's picture

    A Warning from 1992

    Lately, I've been thinking about where things went wrong. Donald Trump is the culmination, not the genesis, of America's nationalistic trend. I suspect that the turn came, ironically, at the moment of the West's greatest triumph, when Gorbachev embraced western values of democracy and capitalism, and the Soviet Union disintegrated.

    Exploring the era, I came across this insanely prescient essay from 1992. I've never been a fan of David Gergen, but damn, he nailed this one. The article is firewalled, so I'll share a few of his predictions.

    Staggered by an economic downturn that has taken a deeper psychological toll than expected and frustrated by a paralysis in its politics, the United States toward the end of 1991 turned increasingly pessimistic, inward and nationalistic...Insistent cries came along that the nation should embrace a new philosophy of putting America first: turn a hard, flinty eye toward economic competitors, said its advocates, and curtail the long tradition of generous idealism in foreign policy.

    Doctor Cleveland's picture

    Shakespeare Wasn't Perfect

    So The Atlantic has seen fit to publish more "Shakespeare authorship" conspiracy-mongering, this time masquerading as feminism by proposing a female candidate. But the piece doesn't quote even a single line of the real poetry that woman wrote. It can't, of course, because that would give the game away.

    Danny Cardwell's picture

    Ben Shapiro Met A Journalist: Meltdown Ensued

    “This whole thing is a waste of time. Frankly, I don’t care — I don’t frankly give a damn what you think of me since I’ve never heard of you... I think we’re done here.”

     

    When I saw Ben Shapiro trending on Twitter my imagination started running wild. Did he have another college visit canceled? Did someone expose plagiarism in his latest book? Was he subpoenaed to testify by the House Judiciary Committee?

     

    My mind raced from one morbid conclusion to another. What happened that set social media on fire?

     

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    Bill de Blasio Would Make a Great President

    Rumor has it that Bill de Blasio will be announcing a run for president some time next week and the response I’ve seen has been all snark and chortles, even from the left.  I get it — in such a crowded field, another candidate almost seems absurd on its face at this point.  Another issue is that de Blasio is not a particularly popular mayor here in New York City, which invites jokes that we residents are trying to export him to the rest of the country.

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    Michael Wolraich's picture

    How Far Will Trump Go?

    During the 2016 presidential campaign, Donald Trump famously invited Russia to hack his opponent’s email. He later claimed that it was just a joke. But when Donald Trump Jr. was told that Russia’s “crowd prosecutor” had dirt on Hillary Clinton, the younger Trump replied, “I love it,” and set up a meeting between the campaign leadership and Russian emissaries. Though nothing apparently came of this meeting, many have wondered why no one from the campaign reported Russia’s operations to Homeland Security.

    Well, President Trump now runs Homeland Security. We should be wondering what he’ll do when Russia tries to get him reelected in 2020.

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