Monday Monday

The World

US warns German firms of possible sanctions over Russia pipeline
The pipeline, which would carry gas straight to Germany under the Baltic Sea, is driving a wedge between Germany and its allies as it would deprive Ukraine of the lucrative gas transit fees it currently enjoys.
We really need to stop fucking with other countries economies. What right do we have to tell Germany they can't buy gas from Russia if the pipeline doesn't go through the Ukraine?
Also,  Trump's Ambassador Finds Few Friends in Germany

Tens of thousands take to streets in Act 9 of ‘Yellow Vest’ protests - Wow and according to US media, the French protests don't exist.


It looks to me like "Iranian" has replaced "terrorist" as the get-out-of-jail-free card for bombing the shit out of people you don't like.

White House Asked Pentagon for Military Options Against Iran, Report Says
U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton requested the Pentagon to provide Washington with military options to strike Iran after three mortars launched by Iran-affiliated militants fell near the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, The Wall Street Journal reported on Sunday.
Netanyahu Reveals Israel Struck Iranian Arms in Damascus Over the Weekend

also, Yemen

Things We May Not Speak Of

What ever happen to this story?  Secret case in Washington involves mystery corporation owned by ‘Country A’. Is it linked to Robert Mueller’s probe?

Taxes and Propaganda

Memo to conservatives: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez understands taxes better than you do - It ain't just conservatives, Americans in general have no idea how taxes work. Though most in conservative media do understand, they're just trying to keep the rubes confused.

The Propaganda Network

Fox is on it today (1/14/2019). The D's are slackers, the FBI is corrupt, and the youngsters are ignorant. News journalism at it's finest......


Lost and Found

One from earlier this week that I forgot to post.


I'd love to use some home automation devices, HVAC, lights, security, etc but I refuse to sign up for websites, install apps, or pay for access. All smart house stuff should function on your network, be accessible with any browser, and not require internet access. Here's a start.

20$ Pocket router as Domoticz Home Automation Gateway
Wifi based home automation products are cheaper compared to zigbee or z-wave products, but the downside is, wifi devices need internet connection to perform their function. Letting your home devices controlled by a bunch of cloud servers on the internet may not be the best idea. 
Internet connectivity for home devices should be optional - user should be incharge of deciding whether he/she wants to expose the home-devices to internet


Uggg..... Just what we need, a D presidential candidate backed by Wall Street. - Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand gauges Wall Street executives' interest in backing a potential 2020 presidential run


Pulling Out of Syria, well, not really
Some American troops could stay in southern Syria despite a U.S. military withdrawal from the war-torn country, NBC News quoted a senior Trump administration official as saying on Friday. 
The official was traveling to Israel alongside U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton, who has been sent on a mission to allay Jerusalem's concerns about U.S. President Donald Trump's shock decision to exit Syria. 


The Wall

Not Pink Floyd's but Orange Donald's - What Happened When A Trump Supporter Challenged Me About the Wall


Oral Roberts

Tax rates

Did the Rich Really Pay Much Higher Taxes in the 1950s? The Answer Is a Little Complicated. - I think it's wrong to just focus on the tax rate. We should instead be focusing on inequality. Tax until the gini coefficient is back to more reasonable levels. Like we use the interest rate to tweak unemployment and inflation.


The NYT: Israeli Teenagers Are Suspected in Deadly Stoning of a Palestinian Woman - They are not "suspected" they have been "arrested".

"Several hours after President Donald Trump announced his intention to deliver a primetime address to the nation this Tuesday night regarding what he called the “Humanitarian and National Security crisis on our Southern Border,” the three big broadcast networks—ABC, CBS, and NBC—each agreed to air his remarks live at 9 p.m. ET. Cable networks CNN, Fox News, and Fox Business all confirmed they would carry the speech, which comes amidst the ongoing partial government shutdown, earlier in the day. Four years ago, all the broadcast networks declined to air a primetime address on immigration from President Barack Obama because its content was considered too “overtly political.” CBS News reported that the White House has assured the network Trump’s speech will run no longer than eight minutes."


The World

Mike Pompeo Lied About the U.S. and the Middle East. Here’s the Truth. - Rs will read this and scream 'Benghazi". D's will read it and scream "Bush and Iraq".  The people across the middle east have lived it and it is why "They Hate Us". We can do better.

Israel vs Palestine

Nope. No apartheid here. Israel opens 'apartheid road' in occupied West Bank
Route 4370 has a high wall in the middle, topped with fencing that segregates the road into two separate two-way lanes. 
The western side is for Palestinians in the West Bank to use to go around Jerusalem, which they cannot enter without an Israeli military-issued permit, while the eastern side serves Israeli settlers going to and from Jerusalem. 
It's hard to believe something like this can exist in a modern state, especially in the "only democracy in the middle east"


Duh...Bias in cable news - Fox News #1

An example of Fox power ?  - Brought to Jesus’: the evangelical grip on the Trump administration
Eighty per cent of white evangelicals voted for him in 2016, and his popularity among them is remains in the 70s. While other white voters have flaked away in the first two years of his presidency, white evangelicals have become his last solid bastion.
People older than 65 share the most fake news, a new study finds - and old people watch Fox.

Health Care

Modern Monetary Theory Doesn’t Make Single-Payer Health Care Any Easier  - A bad headline here. This, a line from the article, would have been better, .. " None of those countries that have single-payer health care needed MMT to make it work."

And stop calling it single payer.... "Medicare For All" is the easy way to go.

The Left’s Choice
The left and progressive groups have been largely missing in action. The left’s relative weakness partly reflects the decline of unions and organized labor groups, which have historically formed the backbone of leftist and socialist movements. But ideological abdication has also played an important role. As parties of the left became more dependent on educated elites instead of the working class, their policy ideas aligned more closely with financial and corporate interests.
One issue in the US is a lot of traditional union favoring, and leftish-voting workers, especially small, town white, working class types have become rabid gun rights loyalists taking right-wing political talking points from the NRA and other gun rights groups. The left is going to have a hard time gaining support from these people until they have a non-threatening gun policy.


Early Saturday



Raise Taxes? I'd like to see a more complete tax plan focused on income/wealth inequality but it's a start.  Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) is floating an income tax rate as high as 60 to 70 percent on the highest-earning Americans to combat carbon emissions

The Ds and David Brock want the progressive, anti-establishment left to get out of the way so the D party leaders can run their chosen D party insider in the next anti-establishment presidential election. Because that worked so well the last time. Clinton Crony Says Bernie Supporters Must Be Silenced For 2020 Primaries. Here's a good paragraph from the link.
"Hillary Clinton is to blame for Hillary Clinton’s loss, actually, as well as the strategists like David Brock who were behind her spectacular failure to defeat a historically unpopular reality TV star Republican. Establishment Democrats are trying to sell the narrative that “You progressives disobeyed us in 2016 and what happened was your fault; you will obey us this time,” while progressives are saying “No, you ignored us in 2016 and what happened was your fault; you will listen to us this time.” The early 2020 presidential race is repeating the same battle of official narrative manufactured by corporate elites versus the organic zeitgeist–the way ordinary people are feeling inside as a result of the conditions their government has put them in."

War or "Why They Hate Us" or "We're not really pulling out of Syria"

Trump announced the withdrawal of 2,000 troops from Syria last month, the U.S. military ramped up its bombing campaign against the Islamic State’s remaining territory in the eastern part of the country
On Sunday, the U.S. military admitted that it’s killed 1,139 civilians in Iraq and Syria since the start of its campaign against ISIS in 2014. That number is significantly smaller than the estimates of civilian casualties put out by monitoring groups, like Airwars, which says that between 7,308 and 11,629 civilians have been killed.

Bolton warns Syria against use of chemical weapons - or... Bolton setting up chemical weapons story to keep US in Syria.

Crime and Punishment

Do longer sentences reduce crime? [Source here by Ashna Arora].
 I find that Republican prosecutorial offices sentence defendants to longer incarceration spells as compared to their Democratic and Independent counterparts. This increase in incarceration length is driven by longer sentences for both violent and prop- erty offenses, and translates into a persistent increase in incarceration. These sentencing and incarceration enhancements do not lower crime at the county level, indicating that, in terms of public safety, the marginal return to the tough-on-crime stance may be close to zero.
I'd have to agree with one of the comments that longer sentences are really just Pols signaling they are tough on crime. 
A related study would be, do larger fines reduce corporate crime. Being tough on corporate crime is one signal we really do need to send. 


In life and the market. Lots of good advice here: 51 Ideas from 2018. I like # 15 for building wealth.
15. Know what you (don’t) control

Consider the formula of compounding, where –

Future Value = Present Value x (1 + Rate of Return) ^ Time

What excites most of us in this formula and where we wish to exert the maximum control and expect the greatest certainty is the ‘rate of return’. This is despite that it is the only variable in this formula that is tentative and most uncertain, and beyond our control.

The two variables that are under our maximum control are ‘present value’, or the initial investment and ‘time’, or the amount of time the money is allowed to compound. And these are the two variables, especially ‘time’, most of us choose to ignore in our race to earn the maximum return.



Cool Science-y Stuff


Death ain't cheap I Dug a Green Grave and Learned the Truth About the Dirty Death Industry


This is about E. Warren's presidential bid but has a great paragraph on the on D's continually bringing a knife to the gun fight. But Her DNA!
 I love Michelle Obama, but her strategy of “When they go low, we go high,” isn’t going to win any elections against modern Republicans.  It didn’t work for then-Senator John Kerry.  He was a decorated war hero running against a guy whose rich daddy got him out of the war.  The Republicans decided to “Swift Boat” him.  He made a calculated decision to ignore the insults.  He lost to George W. Bush, one of America’s worst presidents.  It didn’t work for Obama, who tried to ignore the “birtherism” claims that he wasn’t a “real” American and, then, looked cowed when he finally had to release his birth certificate.   It didn’t work for ANY of the over a dozen candidates who tried to defeat Trump, including “Low Energy Jeb,” and “Lying Ted Cruz.”  So I don’t think Warren could just let it lie. What she did won’t matter to Trump’s racist/sexist base, but, then, nothing would. She’s playing to the rest of the country.
On Warren, She has some good progressive ideas but she doesn't seem to be a great speaker/politician, often comes across as an awkward, east-coast academic which is going to be a hard sell. Still, she may help pull the establishment D's to the left.

Andrew Tobias: All I Know
 Another testified behind closed doors to the Senate Intelligence Committee and told me — based on years’ involvement in all this — that the Intelligence Community has the goods on both Trump and Pence, and will somehow make a deal where Trump resigns . . . Pence is briefly president naming some moderate as his VP (Romney?) . . . then Pence goes and (Romney?) names a Democrat as his VP (Biden?) . . . and the world sees stable, experienced, honorable grown-ups back in charge.
The establishment try to take back what they see as theirs?


Electricity Use Was Up Last Year, But Why?

The country that can not be named?

A Holiday Mystery: Why Did John Roberts Intervene in the Mueller Probe?
Somewhere, a corporation (a bank? a communications firm? an energy company?) owned by a foreign state (Russia? Turkey? Ukraine? United Arab Emirates? Saudi Arabia?) had engaged in transactions that had an impact in the United States and on matters involved in the special counsel’s investigation.
Again, it ain't Russia or the Saudis or it would have already leaked. I suppose it could be Turkey, the Ukraine, or the UAE but they just don't have that much to lose and have enough enemies in the US that it would have been leaked. There is only one country that cannot be named...

Could this be the first crack in the story? Haaretz on 1/3/2019


Fox is so Full of shit. Scaring the shit out of the old people when one of the first things Pelosi did was bring up Paygo to help hold back Gov spending to hurt the progressive cause.

Bible Thumpers

The Rude Pundit is on it. Shocker: Jerry Falwell, Jr, May Not Be a Good Christian, According to His Own Definition of "Christian"

The US vs Canada

Medicare for all edition - Ralph Nader: 25 Ways Canadian Health Care System Is Better Than Obamacare – OpEd
Number 18:  In Canada, costs are controlled. Canada pays 10 percent of its GDP for its health care system, covering everyone.
In the United States, under Obamacare, costs continue to skyrocket. The U.S. currently pays 17.9 percent of its GDP and still doesn’t cover tens of millions of people.
Number 17:  In Canada, it is unheard of for anyone to go bankrupt due to health care costs. In the United States, health-care-driven bankruptcy will continue to plague Americans


New Year's Eve


52 things I learned in 2018

Bible Thumper or Propagandist?

Christians at risk of extinction in land where Christmas began - An article about Christians disappearing from the "land where Christmas began" that doesn't mention Israel?

The author Toufic Baaklini is the president and chairman of the Board of Directors of In Defense of Christians who's goal is preserving the historic Christian communities of the Middle East.

If the stated goal is legit, which I question, he should be a little more focused on the plight of Christians in Israel. A few links for balance.

5 facts about Israeli Christians
"Christians currently make up just 2% of Israel’s adult population. Indeed, as of 2010, Christians made up a small share (4%) of the population in the Middle East-North Africa region as a whole."
Holy Land Christians feel abandoned by U.S. evangelicals
"In and around Bethlehem, Christians have gone from being 80 percent of the population when Israel was founded in 1950, to around 12 percent today."
Christians no longer welcome in Israel, says Palestinian group
Bethlehem was 85 percent Christian in 1947, the year before Israel became a state. Today, it is less than 20 percent.  In Jerusalem, the Christian population in 1947 was 19 percent. Now it is just 2 percent.

I'd rather he pay for my health care.


Energy from water flows. Not a game changer but every little bit helps.

Health Care

Medicare for All: Q and A 


From a Fox Opinion piece on Trump and Impeachment
Understand, many Republicans already believe that while Donald Trump may not be the world’s most ethical person, he represents their best chance to have a government that reflects their conservative world view.
That's one fucked up world view

Syria conflict: Trump 'slowing troop withdrawal', says Lindsey Graham - Walking back Trump's "We're leaving Syria" BS.

McAuliffe says Democrats shouldn’t ‘give an inch’ - Why the fuck does anyone care what Terry McAuliffe has to say about anything. He's the prototype big-donor sucking, Clinton, establishment D.

Speaking of "Why the fuck do we care what they say"  - Newt needs to disappeared from US media.

Digby wonders why the rural folks love the city-boy Trump when he basically doesn't like them.
Answer.... Because they both hate the same Fox News designed enemies.

Israel and American Politics

TOP 10 HEADLINES OF 2018: AMERICAN POLITICS, - Blind support of Israel, about the only thing the US political parties agree on.
4 - Bipartisanship on Israel holds in Congress 
Much attention has been paid to a handful of freshman Democratic lawmakers planning to disrupt Washington's status quo on Israel policy. But on Capitol Hill, among the Democratic and Republican Party leadership, there is little doubt that Israel legislation will remain friendly and bipartisan.

A 2016 memorandum of understanding on defense aid between the US and Israel was one of previous president Barack Obama's few accomplishments that Trump has actually embraced. All major Israel-related bills featured prominent authors from both parties, including the controversial Israel Anti-Boycott Act, which is opposed by several Democrats over free-speech concerns. And Nancy Pelosi, the Democrats' returning speaker of the House, assured a largely Republican audience this fall alongside Democratic minority leader Chuck Schumer that congressional support for Israel would remain steadfast.


It looks like someone high in the right wing propaganda chain has decided that "Obama has a wall around his house" will be the rallying cry for the wingnuts. no links here but its on Fox, Drudge, Facebook, Twitter, etc...Of course government budgets should be run like household budgets.

Crime and Punishment or "How much justice can you afford?" 

Wells Fargo agrees to $575 million settlement affecting all 50 states in wake of fake accounts - Corporate crime of this scale is not going to go away until we start putting those responsible in jail.

..and I'll believe this when I see it. Prosecutors say California utility company PG&E could face murder charges for wildfires


I never see a close up of Trump without thinking that he started life as Chunk and is turning into Sloth as he ages


Sunday Morning Comin' Down

Being a Dick

California Town OKs Destruction Of Police Shooting Records Days Before They Could Be Obtained By The Public - We need to get a handle on law enforcement in this country.

Maine governor deems congressional election 'stolen' while certifying result - He should be impeached for this.


Ohio Minimum Wage will Increase to $8.55 on January 1 - It would be interesting to see how this affects employment in minimum wage jobs in eastern Indiana.


Fear Not
“Fear sells. Fear makes money. The countless companies and consultants in the business of protecting the fearful from whatever they may fear know it only too well. The more fear, the better the sales.” That short summary from The Science of Fear, by Dan Gardner, is perfect."
Add, "fear can get you candidate elected" and you have the Fox News Mission statement.

He doesn't follow the rules because he's smart - The Cult.
"He employs undocumented workers and foreign workers on visas at all of his properties. I suspect if anyone ever really =grilled him on that he'd says it's because he's a very stable genius who hires the cheapest labor he can --- and that his followers would all nod their heads and agree that makes good sense.

And then they'd all chant "build that wall" and cheer the horror of little children being held in cages as a good "deterrent." "

Robber Barons

As a grocery chain is dismantled, investors recover their money. Worker pensions are short millions - The private equity guys made millions and left the pension for the workers short by millions.


This..  Report: Scientists in China Are Losing Track of Gene-Edited CRISPR Patients seems to just be a summary of this..  Chinese Gene-Editing Experiment Loses Track of Patients, Alarming Technology’s Inventors

also this.. Chinese Scientist Who Claimed to Make Genetically Edited Babies Is Kept Under Guard

A couple of articles on China's Gene-editing in US media is the last couple of days? Someone wants something.


McCaskill's comment on Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, "I'm a little confused why she's the thing" explains a lot about the decline of the Ds.  She's a thing because

  1. She's saying things that put people over the donors.
  2. She's taking on the R's in a way the D's have never done. 

The D's have been using knives in a political gun-fight for the last 30-40 years, it's time for a change. We need about 200 more like her.

Israel vs Palestine

Israel 295 - Palestinians 14 - Israeli occupation forces and settlers have killed 295 Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza in 2018 while 14 Israelis were killed by Palestinians during the same period.

Update: Debka reports 16 Israelis killed in 2018.
"The IDF annual report notes that 16 Israelis died in terrorist attacks – 9 civilians and 7 members of the security services, and 199 were injured. Debka"

"An alleged Jewish terror cell was arrested by the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) and police in the West Bank Sunday.

Further details of the allegations are under gag order pending developments in the ongoing questioning of the suspects, but there were disparate reports about whether two or three suspects had been apprehended and what exactly the allegations were"
I'm sure there will be a gag-order the next time a Palestinian terror cell is arrested.


Christmas Eve

Ho.  Ho.

The Middle East

On Syria - Trump gets it (half) right  and  TIME TO GET OUT OF SYRIA.  I have to agree, as Atrios said...
Whatever the brain worms are telling him, I'm pretty sure that I'd generally prefer Donald Trump be running Not War instead of War, almost no matter what.

NETANYAHU REVEALS WHO TRUMP MAKES DEALS WITH - What will US Evangelicals think? They supported Trump because of Israel, now they may have to choose one. Really though, I expect trump to welsh on the Syrian pullout so it may be a non-issue.

Ruling by Media

Hugh Hewitt: Trump Should Channel Rush Limbaugh Because Of His Audience Size  - Nothing really new here, Republican outreach and policy development has been through right-wing radio and Fox News since the early Clinton years. Trump is just one converted believer who looked presidential enough on TV to get elected. Bill O'Reilly could have beat HRC too. The R's are supported by the Right-wing media cult.

Sports and Life

On being great - A paper on great swimmers that applies to all sports and life in general. Worth the read.


Like a cancer:’ Rio militias grow, control swaths of city
"Part of the challenge of combating militias is their deep connections in law enforcement ranks"
This will be a problem in the US someday. For the last twenty years, we've been training people in military tactics in the middle east, glorifying guns and the military here at home, then allowing a slow but steady flow of equipment, tactics, and people back into US police forces. Militarized police and militias will be a problem someday if we don't get control soon.


John Bolton Says He Wants to Protect Africa from ‘Predatory’ Chinese Behavior. What About Washington’s? - Africa may be capitalism's last supply of cheap labor.



Cool Stuff

Amazing high resolution picture of Shanghai - zoom in on this amazing picture. It would be interesting to see a similar picture of New York for a comparison.  Damn, I remember when all pictures of China looked like this [link].

The World

Noah Smith on China:  Get Used to It, America: We’re No Longer No. 1


People just don't understand. Found here [The Big Picture]


Mystery company involved in Mueller investigation appeals to Supreme Court
"An unnamed, foreign government-owned company in a mystery court case is asking the Supreme Court to pause a grand jury subpoena it received related to special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation."
Would any like to bet on who the "foreign government" is? Rumors in comments here [Zero Hedge
It ain't Russia or it would have already been leaked. There is only one "foreign government" immune from leaks by American media.  


Two Populisms, Not One - In the US, the left populists could pull a lot of people from the right with just a few moves.

  • Embrace gun rights.
  • Push anti-corporate and pro-people policies hard, medicare for all, stabilize and sell Social Security, encourage unions, enable small-town-rural broadband, lower middle class taxes, higher rich people taxes, etc.
  • Fight hard against the BS of the right-wing propaganda machine. 
  • Get rid of the god-damned Clintons and the their establishment big-business Ds. 



Trump to pull US troops from Syria?
".. Israel’s leaders – government, military and intelligence – were dumbfounded by US President Donald Trump’s decision to pull US troops out of Syria as part of its withdrawal from the Mid-East at large. Senior ministers received no answers to their urgent calls to the prime minister’s office and Military Intelligence (AMAN) officers for confirmation of the news. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, himself, only received word of the decision just five minutes before it hit Twitter, DEBKAfile sources have learned, although he talked to the president and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo some days ago. In recent conversations with US National Security Adviser John Bolton, as well as Pompeo, about the IDF operation against Hizballah tunnels, both US officials assured Netanyahu that he had nothing to worry about. US troops were present in eastern and northern Syria, they said, and they would not let pro-Iranian Iraqi militias come through from western Iraq to the aid of Hizballah.
Israeli officials were further dismayed early Thursday, Dec. 20, when they understood that the only leaders to receive prior notice of Trump’s decision were Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan. This was inferred from intelligence of a secret deal, which the president’s adviser on Syrian affairs James Jeffrey had reached with Erdogan and which opened the way for Turkish military movements in Syria in the wake of the US pullout." 
from [debka]
Trump has gone rogue. This could get him fired.

The entire US war machine, the brown-people hating/Muslim-hating/Fox News base, his cabinet (at least Bolton and Pompeo), Netanyahu, and most importantly, Sheldon Adelson, the man paying the bills for Trump and the Rs, are not going to be happy.

It will also give the yackers plenty to talk about over the xmas weekend and show/create some strange alliances. Fox News, CNN, MSNBC, NYT, WP, WSJ, will all be in agreement against the move. The MAGA crowd, Evangelicals and the folks who love killing brown people will be against it. Anti-war, Trump-hating progressives will be for it. The D establishment will have to show their war-fangs. It'll be the news story of the weekend.

Why now and why would he tell Putin and Erdogan before Netanyahu and Sheldon? Maybe MBS has something on Trump and told him to shut up Erdogan about the Saudi murder? Is there another big Trump corruption story about to hit and this was just to win the news cycle? Something for Putin?

Still, I'd have to bet against it really happening. I'll guess it plays out in typical Trump fashion,... A big announcement. Lots of uproar. Then over the next few weeks it just won't happen and everyone will forget about it.

If it really does happen, I predict Trump will be gone soon after the first of the year.
Trump to pull US troops from Syria #2 - from Moon of Alabama - lots of speculation in the comments.
"It seems that Erdogan made a deal with Trump, which is now turned into practical moves. Yesterday Turkey was suddenly offered to buy advanced Patriot missile defense systems. It had earlier decided to buy the Russian S-400 system. Now we learn the U.S. troops move out. What other surprises are in this deal? What does Trump get out of it? How does this change Turkey's relation with Russia?"
A false-flag event to keep us there seems possible? My money is on a "Chemical attack by the Syrian Government" 
Also, maybe Israel gets something too? He'd have to offer Netanyahu something for compensation?
Trump to pull US troops from Syria #3  -  The Trump Base may never hear about it. Drudge has nothing on it at all and Fox has only one small story on the front page. Eventually, if troops really are pulled, they will spin it as a trump military victory that Obama couldn't pull off"


Something to remember.
"Tucker Carlson is a product Fox is selling, not an important part of our democracy or our sainted press."
From They Already Claim To Have Standards



Why do we allow this obviously corrupt BS.
1. Insider trading by congress-folks
2. Bogus Foundations and Charities
Trump tweet about the Trumps Foundation (Tweet Jun 2018)
"The sleazy New York Democrats, and their now disgraced (and run out of town) A.G. Eric Schneiderman, are doing everything they can to sue me on a foundation that took in $18,800,000 and gave out to charity more money than it took in, $19,200,000. I won’t settle this case!..."
How the law sees it. The Trump Foundation Gets Put to Sleep
“Our petition detailed a shocking pattern of illegality involving the Trump Foundation — including unlawful coordination with the Trump presidential campaign, repeated and willful self-dealing, and much more,” Underwood noted. “This amounted to the Trump Foundation functioning as little more than a checkbook to serve Mr. Trump’s business and political interests.” 
3. Civil Asset Forfeiture
Cops stealing houses 
4. The rich and powerful buying justice.
Harvey Weinstein Criminal Case May Be Crumbling, Experts Say
"..Weinstein lawyer Ben Brafman undermined the credibility of the New York police department, the grand jury process, and the three women who accused the disgraced producer of rape and sexual assault."
Imagine that. A high priced lawyer may get a rich powerful guy off by destroying the credibility of the system.
Also, How a future Trump Cabinet member gave a serial sex abuser the deal of a lifetime
How much justice can you afford? 

While working class folks have to worry about losing everything to the health care system.

How much health care can you afford? - A federal judge’s ruling against Obamacare shows yet again that the only solution is Medicare for All.


Since Sunday


A good shot on right-wing propaganda outlets Fox and The Weekly Standard.
".. the magazine was born just one year before Murdoch created Fox News. Both outlets were extremely effective at achieving the same goals via different tactics. Fox was chum for the rubes; the Weekly Standard was chum for Ivy League rubes. Fox pushed mindless belligerence, conspiracism and a deep hatred for reality; the Weekly Standard did the same thing, but with less cleavage and more quotes from Cicero. (In 2009 Murdoch sold it to Philip Anschutz, a fellow billionaire who if anything is more conservative than Murdoch.) 
Put another way, Fox was the conservative movement’s amygdala, while the Weekly Standard was its cerebrum, both driving it forward until Trump’s election proved it no longer needed any higher brain functions." 

Interesting line from How Britain grapples with nationalist dark web
"The loss of media control is having a real effect on the government’s ability to act, officials said."
And I thought the US and Britain always had a free media that was outside of government control? 

Just Wrong

A Texas Elementary School Speech Pathologist Refused to Sign a Pro-Israel Oath, Now Mandatory in Many States — So She Lost Her Job
".. she can no longer work with the public school district after she refused to sign an oath vowing that she “does not” and “will not” engage in a boycott of Israel or “otherwise tak[e] any action that is intended to inflict economic harm” on that foreign nation. "
This is just wrong. Surely a freedom of speech violation but may be a freedom of religion also. I'm guessing evangelicals drove this law since their bible speaks of Israel. 


 JOE BIDEN ON DONALD TRUMP: “I THINK ANYBODY CAN BEAT HIM” - Yeah,... try running Hillary again. Biden needs to follow her out the door of the American political scene.

Health Care

What you lose if Obamacare goes away. Really though, I'd like to replace it with a no-insurance-needed, Medicare-for-All. 


Sunday Stuff


PornHub Stats for 2018

The Saudis

UN calls for 'credible' probe into Khashoggi murder - I'm guessing this will never happen. It will be interesting to see who kills it.

More on The Murder and why it will eventually just be a non-story in the US. - Washington and Riyadh Have Had Worse Crises and Will Survive Khashoggi Murder

Speaking of killing it. -  It is outrageous that the House Speaker continues to block action to end US support for Saudi atrocities against Yemen.


The People, No
"What does it tell us when liberals, faced with epic political corruption, spectacular bank misbehavior, and towering inequality, take that opportunity to declare war on populism? It tells us that they’ve lost any sense of their own movement as an expression of the vast majority. It tells us they have no idea why they believe they should be entrusted with power in the first place. And it reminds us that their particular brand of class-based self-delusion is a luxury that the rest of us can ill afford."
This sounds a lot like something the radical, Tea-Party types might have said about the establishment R's just a few years ago. 

The Global Economy

How the New Silk Roads are merging into Greater Eurasia - The geographic isolation that protected the US in the world wars may be it's undoing in the future global economy.

Of course we're not really helping ourselves.  US broadband sucks.... Still, I can't help but think the cell carriers and 5g are the future of home broadband.


DOES BETO 2020 EQUAL MORE VOTES FOR JILL STEIN? - I'm sure there would be some green backlash against Beto but he would do better in the general than HRC. She was just a terrible corporate, establishment candidate for a party that likes to present itself as for the people. Also, the right-wing noise machine had been beating HRC down for 25 years they won't have that much time with Beto. 

So yeah, I think Beto (or almost any D) would do better than HRC. Still, I'm voting for Bernie in the primaries.

Speaking of "almost any D".  Biden is one who could follow the HRC path. Biden team discussed 2020 run with O'Rourke as VP: report. The D's just don't get it. Beto.... be very, very careful.

Israel vs Palestine

A new pole shows Americans warming to a one state solution.
  • 36 percent support Israeli and Palestinian states side by side;
  • 35 percent support a single democratic state in which both Jews and Arabs are full and equal citizens;
  • Among 18-and-34-year-olds support for one state climbs to 42 percent.
"The poll also reveals support for stronger U.S. sanctions against Israeli colonization of the West Bank, and rising criticism of the Israeli role in American politics. 
When asked “How do you believe the U.S. should react to new settlements?” 40 percent of poll respondents support economic sanctions against Israel, and this number rises to 46 percent among registered Democrats. 
And finally, when asked “How much influence do you believe the Israeli government has on American politics and policies?” 38 percent of Americans say “too much influence” and this number goes up to 55 percent among Democrats."
Americans are raised on the idea that democracy is a good thing, all people are equal, and that we should be nice to others and just get along. In this internet-age, it's just hard to hide the fact that Israel isn't really a democracy, isn't really very nice to the Palestinians, and has destroyed any hope of a two-state solution with the military occupation.
The times they are a-changin'. 

Peak Capitalism

Well, American Crapitalism anyway.  KFC introduces a firelog that smells like greasy fried chicken - I wan't one that smells like a great Italian restaurant.

Decline and Fall

The Rule of Alienation and Stability
"When a huge number of people, a plurality, feel that they have little hope for a better future, and a realistic expectation for a worse future, they are willing to roll the dice, even if the odds are bad. After all, they already know that the current world is shitty and the future is worse."
And unfortunately, after rolling the dice a few times and sill seeing little hope for the future, they quite often start voting with bullets. 



World Order

China’s vision of world order is a more radical departure—and more realistic alternative—than the West understands. - For the world as a whole, this seem like a better plan than Trump's MAGA.


How Plutocratic Media Keeps Staff Aligned With Establishment Agendas - Being part of the US media is like being in the cool kids group in high school.  You have to play by their rules or you are banished to the lower classes.


Dollar Stores Are Targeting Struggling Urban Neighborhoods and Small Towns. One Community Is Showing How to Fight Back. - If you live near a dollar store, you might be a redneck..... or at least poor.


The people don't get what they want. Found at The Big Picture

Fake News

One of these headlines is not like the others. Google News 2018.12.08

Saudis vs Turks

Haaretz playing for the Saudi side? (Haaretz.com 2018.12.11)




4 Deceptive Mobile Ad Tricks and What Marketers Can Learn From Them
Placing a brown pixel on a bright pink background to look like a piece of dust.

Scammers are everywhere

Money Laundering Via Author Impersonation on Amazon?


Barry Ritholz on Behavioral Finance and Asset management: part 1part 2, and part 3


Your Phone is listening

Medicare for All

Medicare for All Is Even Better Than You Thought
"Medicare for All advocates just received an early holiday present: a new study from the Political Economy Research Institute (PERI) at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst finds that single-payer health care will save the US $5.1 trillion over a decade while drastically cutting working-class Americans’ health spending." 
Medicare for All saves 5.1 trillion over 10 years and cuts working-class health care spending...so fuck all you right-wing hacks who keep saying "we can't afford 33 trillion" or "taxes would have to double" etc.... Medicare for all would be cheaper than what we're paying now.

"Sure we could start posting prices and discussing our costs, but then it turns into a public debate about transparency, and people get all huffy and self-righteous about $15 pills of Tylenol, $93 to turn on a single goddamned light, or $5,000 worth of sanitary gloves. We’d rather just mail you a bill later for $97,000, full of obscure medical codes you can’t understand."


How much Democracy can You afford? The American Conservative
 "In fact, of the 37 senators who voted against the measure, 30 have received campaign contributions from lobbying firms working for the Saudis. In total, an analysis of Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) records reveals at least $226,182 in campaign contributions reported by firms registered to represent Saudi Arabia that went to these 30 senators over the past two years."

Once Again, Fox News Wants To 'Dial Down Rhetoric' After Threats
Up until the hour CNN received a credible bomb threat, Fox News was happy to portray their competition as lacking deference to Donald Trump at the very least. Now it's all about "turning down the temperature."
The progressive left is fighting back against the right-wing propaganda outfits. I'm not sure the D's ever will.

Nailed It