Friday, December 2, 2016

Chris Christie in Line to Be Doorman at Trump Tower

“Very Big Position” says Trump as He Announces This is Consideration Only

News That Didn’t Happen, But Will

Maro Largo Fl (API)  Dec. 3, 2106.  Donald Trump today announced that he is considering appointing New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie as Assistant to the Head Doorman at Trump Tower.  The so-called President Elect said Christie has the perfect temperament to be a NYC doorman, and although he cannot be considered for the top doorman position Trump feels that with enough experience in opening the door, calling a cab and groveling in general Christie could go far.

“I can see him at the White House serving tea” Trump tweeted.

Christie said he is honored to be considered for the “position, and said his only condition was not to serve in Jersey where, as he put it, “Sewer rats have a higher positive rating than I do, although to be fair most have lead better public service lives than I have.”  A spokesman for the Sewer Rats Coalition of New York and New Jersey declined comment other than to note that sewer rats are offended at being in the same category as Christie.

Mitt Romney is said to be disappointed, commenting to friends that he sucked up twice to Trump and thought he had the  inside track here.

The Pricess Bride Sicilian is Back

Is It Just Us

Or is this new cabinet member Wallace Shawn?


Trump to preside over the richest Cabinet in U.S. history

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Trump Goes Wacko on Defense Secretary

Interrupting a string of installing right wing hacks and wall street billionaires

The current Secretary of Defense is a highly educated, well respected thougtful policy maker.

The new one,

Mattis occasionally has come under scrutiny for impolitic remarks. Most notably, he said in 2005 during a panel discussion in San Diego that "it's fun to shoot some people"

Read more here:

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

How to Turn a Modest Victory into A Huge Loss for Democrats

How Can We Miss Her When She Won't Leave

In a strategic move to appeal to young white working men and women Democrats today re-elected a rich, wealthy out of touch Californian to lead their irrelevant minority in the House


Forget the Ides of March – December 4th Is the Risky Date

Will Europe Take Another Step Towards Being Ungovernable?

This Sunday there are two critical elections in Europe.  In Austria a far right party has at least a 50-50 chance of winning the Presidency.

Austria home to, well you know, is likely to elect a neo Nazi

In Austria, the Freedom Party regularly leads opinion polls, with about one-third of the vote, easily surpassing the mainstream center-left and center-right parties and raising the once unthinkable possibility that the party will not only win the presidency, but soon head the government as well.

Its candidate for the Presidency espouses this.

Mr. Hofer, who has picked up on a previously little-noticed provision that could allow the president to dismiss a government or individual ministers, clearly aims to mold policy. He has visited neighboring Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia, Hungary and the Czech Republic, and speaks of forging an alliance of Central and Eastern European nations under Austrian guidance.
In the interview, he repeatedly expressed hope that Mr. Trump’s victory will lead to relations’ being mended between the United States and Russia.
Sanctions against Moscow over its seizure of Crimea and meddling in Ukraine should be lifted, he said, “because they have not moved anything politically,” yet “have affected the economy and destroyed jobs.”
Vienna, a neutral meeting place for the Cold War superpowers, should once again host peace-seeking summits and foster economic cooperation with Russia, he said.
Yes, an Austria ultra right winger leading eastern Europe and having common calling with Russia.  Uh, been there, done that, didn’t turn out well.

In Italy a vote will be taken an amending the Constitution to make the country a little more governable.  Failure will likely cause the fall of the government, and a major banking crisis looms that could easily doom the EU to another financial disastere.

Fun times are here again.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Today’s Winner of the Mitt Romney Craven Coward Award

IBM – a Tech Giant Aspires to Grovel Like Mitt

In American for most citizens love of money trumps patriotism, idealism or principle.  And now that Donald Trump is about to be President all those citizens are flocking to embrace him.  Of course none will have the magic hypocrisy of Mitt Romney, a man willing to sell his very soul to be Secretary of State.  But many will try.

So today we  have the IBM Corporation looking to cement its greedy carcass into the bowel of the Trump Presidency.  IBM Head Ginni Rommety wrote Trump

In Rometty's letter to Trump, she had offered ways for IBM to work with the new administration, saying "I know that you are committed to help America’s economy grow in ways that are good for all its people." She spoke about scaling up vocational "new collar" IT jobs, working on infrastructure projects that incorporate technology and artificial intelligence, as well as healthcare, tax reform, and the use of IBM technology to improve care for veterans. "As you prepare to take office as our new president, I hope the ideas I have offered in this letter represent ways that we can work together to achieve prosperity that is broadly shared in our society,"

But there is a silver lining in this story.  One principled IBM employee quit because of this, and told her boss in no uncertain terms why.

Elizabeth Wood, until recently a senior content strategist at IBM, published an “open letter to my boss, IBM CEO Ms. Ginni Rometty” last week in which she said she resigned because she felt the letter, dated Nov. 14, "offered the backing of IBM’s global workforce in support of his agenda." Wood, 31, wrote that the tech giant's recruitment materials suggest "the future of the company hinges on realizing an inclusive and welcoming culture, though you do not communicate this vision" within the letter Rometty wrote to Trump. Wood wrote to Rometty that "the president-elect has demonstrated contempt for immigrants, veterans, people with disabilities, Black, Latinx, Jewish,
Muslim and LGBTQ communities. These groups comprise a growing portion of the company you lead."

Ms. Wood,  you are an American hero.  And Ms. Ginni Rommetty, you are the epitomy of a Mitt Romney craven coward.  Enjoy Ginni!

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Tragically, He's Right

Quote of the Day

“My knowledge of foreign policy is as good, or better, than anybody they’re talking to.”
— Rudy Giuliani, quoted by the Wall Street Journal, making the case for why he should be Secretary of State.

Florida’s controversial “stand your ground” law was associated with a sharp increase in killings in the state, according to a new study

Gosh, who could have seen that coming?

Friday, November 25, 2016

Donald Trump to Take Presidency Public with IPO

Amazing Just How Much Money Can Be Made From Public Office He Says

News That Hasn’t Happened, But Could

Nov. 25, 2016 Maro Largo (Rewters)   President elect Donald Trump said today that he would be engaging several investment firms to make a public offering of the Presidency so that, in his words “High net work people that love me can make the same millions I am going to make from being President”.  Although open to the public, the initial cost for shares in the Presidency would probably be about $10 million, making them accessible to only billionaires.  And would be investors would have to submit a signed affidavit stating that they thought Mr. Trump was a really good guy.

Trump said he got the idea after he realized that there were no ethics laws governing the Presidency and that there were tremendous opportunities.  Trump plans to refit his private aircraft to Air Force One standards and rent it to the government for $5 million a day.  He also said he would set up a reservations service in the White House so that foreign dignitaries could reserve rooms at a Trump hotel by paying a $1 million reservation fee, which he said was much cheaper for them.  By having the funds go to his foundation Mr. Trump will avoid income taxes on the fees.

Another inspiration for Trump was that he noticed how much money ex-Presidents (except for Harry Truman) made and mocked them on Twitter for waiting until after they left office to capitalize on their positions.  “Don’t they know the real value is when you are President” he told his son-in-law and soon to be Chief Bagman.  Trump referenced the empty rooms at the White House and noted that they could easily fetch $500,000 a night for insurance company lobbyists who would soon have a lot of money when Medicare became the property of the health insurance industry.

The Republican Party issued a statement saying this is just the sort of thing Democrats condemn because they are anti-business.   

We're Laughing At You Mitt

Not With You

Romney Must Apologize If He Wants Appointment

Donald Trump’s transition team wants Mitt Romney to publicly apologize for railing against the president-elect during the campaign if he hopes to become the next Secretary of State, Fox News reports.

We Are Back

Because we can't make things any worse than they already are!

Sunday, February 23, 2014

We Are Taking a Break

The more this Forum publishes, the worse the world gets, so we're going to stop for a while and see if that won't make things better.

No, we're not optimistic either.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Massive Economic Damage From California Draught Will Spread Across the Country

Republican Plan – Do Nothing or Make it Worse, Your Choice

Those who do not farm in California’s Central Valley probably think they are ok, that their economic well being will not be affected if that area continues to suffer from the devastating draught in that area.  They are wrong.

California Farming

Yes the residents will be among the hardest hit.

Less than a month ago, Mr. Sumner and other experts estimated that 300,000 acres of rich farmland in the region would go unplanted. Now, he has nearly doubled that estimate.
“I haven’t learned anything yet that tells me it is less severe than we might have hoped,” he said.
The drought could translate into an $11 billion loss in annual state revenue from agriculture, according to the California Farm Water Coalition, an industry advocacy group. And in the Central Valley, where farming and food processing provide nearly 40 percent of all jobs, the most acute pain is most likely to be felt among low-level employees, who scrape by with seasonal work.

But unless you are someone who does not purchase food, well, you will also see economic harm.

As for relief, the options are limited and of course Republicans are not helping, as usual.

But with Republicans in the House pushing instead for an overhaul of environmental protections of the delta, there are few immediate solutions in sight for the Central Valley, a massive stretch of land in the middle of the state that provides nearly half of the nation’s produce. State officials have already said that they will not be able to offer any water to the farmers through California’s vast network of canals. And federal officials are expected to announce that their web of reservoirs will not provide any water this year either, leaving thousands of farmers to rely exclusively on private wells.

And no, no one can say that this is the result of global warming, of excessive dumping of carbon into the atmosphere, of mismanagement of the environment.  But gosh, doesn’t it sort of lean that way?  And doesn’t it mean that maybe, just maybe doing something about climate change other than calling it a liberal plot for government to take over the world just might help?  This is critical, do any of us want to see the effects of Rush Limbaugh not getting enough to eat?

Friday, February 21, 2014

Arkansas Republicans Show Their Dislike of Health Care Act by Denying Health Care to 87,000 Low Income Citizens

While Maintaining State Paid for Health Care for Republican Legislators

Arkansas is a conservative state and it is also a state with a lot of relatively low income individuals.  So the fact that the federal government would pay for expansion of Medicaid and provide health care/insurance for thousands should have been welcome news.  But Republicans blocked that so the state sought and won approval to use the expansion funds to pay for insurance for those individuals in the private health care insurance market.

Not so fast. 

The Arkansas House failed Tuesday to renew the state’s compromise Medicaid expansion plan, leaving in limbo a program heralded as a model for Republican-leaning states to implement the federal health overhaul. The 100-member chamber fell five votes short of the 75 needed to reauthorize the “private option,” in which the state is using federal Medicaid funds to buy private insurance for 87,000 low-income residents. The program was approved last year as an alternative to expanding Medicaid enrollment under the federal health law. 

Here is the rationale of Republicans who are stopping this.

Majority Leader Bruce Westerman, however, said the vote would allow the state to show its opposition to the Affordable Care Act.

Bruce could not be reached for further comment because he was busy utilizing his state supported health care.

Proof Positive Conservative Republicans Are Not the Only Crazies in Kansas – Democratic Legislator Wants to Make It Legal to Beat Kids

Is It Something in the Water Out There?

Kansas, which used to be the home of good old fashioned decent, help-your-neighbor family values men and women has lately become the bastion of all that is wrong in America politics.  The state has put ultra radical conservatives in charge and they are systematically wrecking state finances, education and the like.

But Republicans are not the only irrational home wreckers in the state.  A Democratic legislator wants to allow beating children.

This week, a Democratic lawmaker from Wichita introduced a measure that would amend Kansas law to allow parents, teachers and other adults to avoid child abuse investigations or prosecutions after they wallop children hard enough to leave bruises or red marks.

According to the Wichita Eagle, Rep. Gail Finney, a 54-year-old mother of three grown sons, is hoping to “restore parental rights” and “protect parents who spank their children from being charged with child abuse.”

If Finney’s amendment to current law is accepted — a dubious proposition — acceptable corporal punishment would be defined as “up to ten forceful applications in succession of a bare, open-hand palm against the clothed buttocks of a child and any such reasonable physical force on the child as may be necessary to hold, restrain or control the child in the course of maintaining authority over the child, acknowledging that redness or bruising may occur on the tender skin of a child as a result.”

Yes, just reading this bring a gag reflex to every decent person.  And the wonderment of just what kind of person would propose such a thing.  Kansas, you can do better, you can do a lot better, and we are pretty sure you couldn’t do worse than Rep. Finney.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Of Course the Right Wing Koch Brothers Use Actors to Pretend They Are Real People in Their Anti-Health Care Reform Act Ads

Why Show the Truth When Lying is Easier

The unrelenting attack against Sen. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana in her re-election campaign by unlimited funding from folks like the Koch Brothers features ads of Louisiana citizens complaining of their health insurance costs and cancellation as a result of the ACA. 

The ad shows a number of people, who appear to be Louisianans, opening their mail to find a letter stating that their health care policy has been cancelled because of the Affordable Care Act.

“Due to the Affordable Care Act, your monthly premium has increased,” a voice-over says in the ad as a man in a rural neighborhood opens a cancellation letter and looks at his young daughter standing next to him. “No longer covered, due to the Affordable Care Act.”

Or maybe these are not citizens.

But the people in the emotion-evoking ad are not Louisianans at all; they are paid actors.

Landrieu’s support for the Affordable Care Act is a major sticking point in what promises to be a tough reelection campaign for the three-term senator. And her campaign is taking issue with the ad, characterizing its use of actors as “misleading” and “low.”

“Hiring professional actors to impersonate Louisiana families is low even for the billionaire Koch brothers,” Friends of Mary Landrieu Campaign Manager Adam Sullivan told ABC News. “If the Koch brothers had even a shred of credibility before launching their latest misleading ad campaign against Sen. Landrieu, they’ve surely lost it now.”

So are the infamous Koch Brothers and their stooges embarrassed by all this, of course not.

Americans for Prosperity is not backing down from the ad, with spokesman Levi Russell telling ABC News that it’s no secret that the people in the ad are actors.

“I think the viewing public is savvy enough to distinguish between someone giving a personal story and something that is emblematic,” Russell said when reached on the phone. “And we make it very clear when someone is giving a personal testimonial.”

Russell said the ad, in contrast to a “personal testimonial ad” that would use the story of a real voter, is “cinematic” and meant to be a “representative of Americans from all walks of life.”

After all, when one is using the wealth of billionaires to work to deny basic health care to millions of low income people, using paid actors to pretend they are real people is just chump change.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Purchasing Power and Consumption of Goods and Service by the Middle Class Is Not Increasing

Lack of Growth in Middle America is the Major Deterrent to a Strong Recovery

Data Confirms What Was Largely Suspected

Whenever reasonable people argue that the government must adopt policy to improve economic opportunity for middle income Americans and to develop policies that will direct the increases in economic incomes towards middle income Americans conservatives of all stripe cry “socialism” or “communism” or “income redistribution” or “class warfare”.  But the truth of the matter is that income growth in middle income families is a critical component of creating economic growth for everyone.

Now new data is confirming that the Great Recession was largely a great recession only for lower and middle income families.  The wealthy did quite well.

More at the Top

The top 5 percent of earners accounted for almost 40 percent of personal consumption expenditures in 2012, up from 27 percent in 1992. Largely driven by this increase, consumption among the top 20 percent grew to more than 60 percent over the same period. 

As politicians and pundits in Washington continue to spar over whether economic inequality is in fact deepening, in corporate America there really is no debate at all. The post-recession reality is that the customer base for businesses that appeal to the middle class is shrinking as the top tier pulls even further away.

The result of course is that businesses which cater to the wealthy are doing great and that businesses that did not cater to the wealth that can change their practices are doing so.

In response to the upward shift in spending, PricewaterhouseCoopers clients like big stores and restaurants are chasing richer customers with a wider offering of high-end goods and services, or focusing on rock-bottom prices to attract the expanding ranks of penny-pinching consumers.

“As a retailer or restaurant chain, if you’re not at the really high level or the low level, that’s a tough place to be,” Mr. Maxwell said. “You don’t want to be stuck in the middle.”

Does this matter?  Well yes, if one is employed by the large retailers like Sears, J. C. Penney or even Target and Wal-Mart that are not in the luxury goods businesses.  Here’s what is happening with their customer base.

In 2012, the top 5 percent of earners were responsible for 38 percent of domestic consumption, up from 28 percent in 1995, the researchers found.

Even more striking, the current recovery has been driven almost entirely by the upper crust, according to Mr. Fazzari and Mr. Cynamon. Since 2009, the year the recession ended, inflation-adjusted spending by this top echelon has risen 17 percent, compared with just 1 percent among the bottom 95 percent.

More broadly, about 90 percent of the overall increase in inflation-adjusted consumption between 2009 and 2012 was generated by the top 20 percent of households in terms of income, according to the study, which was sponsored by the Institute for New Economic Thinking, a research group in New York.

And as the retail giants slowly sink (Sears is already on a death watch, they just don’t know it) so does the potential growth in the economy.

But the wealthy don’t really care, do they?  They got theirs, they are getting more and if they can just get a few more tax cuts then to hell with everyone else.  And if the economy tanks again, well no problem.  It didnt' tank for them last time and given current governmental policies, both Democrat and Republican it won't tank for them in the future.  So who cares?

Republicans Set Out Their Nominating Rules for 2016 –

So Here is How The Election Plays Out

Even though the 2014 midterm elections are nine months away, after Republicans set rules for the 2016 contest it is now pretty clear how it is going to proceed.

The package, which cleared the 168-member committee with just nine dissenting votes, left Iowa and New Hampshire in the traditional roles of first caucus and first primary, followed by South Carolina and Nevada nominating contests, all in February. Other states are allowed to hold their primaries and caucuses starting on March 1.

After the first two weeks in March, states can hold winner-take-all elections, which will deliver large troves of delegates and are intended to yield a prospective nominee early in the process. States that violate the new rules would forfeit most of their delegates and alternates to the national convention.

So here is what is going to happen.

Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul will win the Iowa caucuses by a huge margin. This is because of the legacy of his father’s organization and the outright craziness of Iowa Republicans. In New Hampshire the establishment forces will rally around NJ Gov. Christie or former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush or Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker wo is the default establishment candidate if they run, and Mr. Paul will finish a respectable second.  In South Carolina Mr. Paul will have another big win, setting up the Florida primary for the deciding factor.

In Florida the race will be between Mr. Paul, favorite son Sen. Marco Rubio, favorite son Jeb Bush and if he runs,  the favorite of the northeast transplants Mr. Christie.  The betting here, Mr. Paul ekes out a victory, the race is over and Rand Paul becomes the de facto Republican nominee.

Sorry to spoil the suspense, we just though you would want to know.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

A Few Comments on Arenda Wright Allen, The Judge Who Struck Down Virginia’s Ban on Marriage Equality

She Get’s OuR Vote for Supreme Court Justice (No, Don’t Write In, Yes We Know We Don’t Have One)

The federal judge who ruled that Virginia’s ban on same sex marriage, much like its previous ban on inter-racial marriage violated the equal protection clause of the 14th amendment because there is no rational basis for the ban is quite a person.

Her background is that of an individual who is deeply religious and one with a long career as a legal officer in the navy, experience as a prosecutor and as a public defender.  And no, no Harvard or Yale education here.

Two aspects of a Washington Post story about her stand out.  The first one involved an individual convicted of exploiting a child for sexual purposes who claimed he needed religion not jail. 

Wright Allen seemed to show little empathy for a man convicted in a child-pornography case. The man, who had been accused of luring underage girls into making lurid videos, told the judge that he didn’t need jail. “All I need is the Lord, some good Christian fellowship and my family,” he said.

Given her background one might have expected leniency here.  One would be wrong.

Wright Allen gave him 30 years.

“You mentioned wanting Christian fellowship. You can have that while you’re in BOP [the Federal Bureau of Prisons],” Wright Allen said, according to the Daily Press newspaper in Virginia.

The other interesting thing is the reaction of a radical conservative legislator in Virginia.

The ruling prompted Del. Robert G. Marshall (R-Prince William), co-author of the ban, to call for the judge’s impeachment.

“Legislating through the courts against the will of the people is lawless disregard for our representative form of government,” Marshall said in a speech on the House of Delegates floor.

As noted in the article and elsewhere like Slate, 32 judges in 18 decisions have all reached the same conclusion as Judge Wright Allen.  No one has reached the opposite conclusion.  Does Del. Marshall wish to impeach the entire federal and state judiciary?

And of course the ignorance of Del. Marshall here shines brightly, mainly that the Virginia Assembly cannot impeach a federal judge.  But this man is probably too ignorant to care about his ignorance.

Despite cries of victory the marriage equality battle is not yet won.  There are at least four Supreme Court Justices who would vote to not only bar marriage equality but who would also vote to deny any rights to gay and lesbian couples, to prohibit their actions, to put them in jail for being gay and lesbians and probably to allow the states to torture them should they wish to do so (although to be fair Justices Thomas and Scalia would probably say they were personally opposed to torturing gay and lesbians but that the people of a state had the right to vote to do so should they so choose and that the Court should not let the personal view of individual Justices who opposed such torture over-rule the law.) 

Monday, February 17, 2014

Observations While Waiting for the Winter Olympics and the Winter Weather to End – Both Are Intolerable

But At Least the Olympics Could Have Been Prevented

While at one time there may have been  a justification for the Olympic Games, today they are just another excess, another source of entertainment, another diversion of resources from productive to unproductive uses.  So here are other things.

  1. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell reported earned $44 million last year from making the NFL extremely profitable.  Did we mention the NFL is a tax exempt organization?

  1. In Minnesota the Democratic Governor is enjoying very high approval ratings.  This is in spite (or maybe because ) of a tax increase on wealthy citizens and approval of gay marriage. 

  1. With Jeb Bush dithering on whether or not to run for President the establishment types in the Republican Party are turning to Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker.  Thanks public employee unions for raising his profile by your disastrous recall campaign.

  1. Will the U. S. allow Comcast and Time Warner Cable to merge and create a huge cable/entertainment company.  Of course, what’s the problem.  Those who accuse the Obama Administration of being anti-business don’t know the facts.  Those who accuse the Obama Administration of being anti-consumer do know the facts.

  1. Paul Krugman points everyone to economist Greg Mankiw who defends the compensation of the 1%.  According to Mankiw they deserve it for the great job they do in allocating capital resources to productive uses.  Yeah, those financial geniuses who were the major cause of the Great Recession. 

  1. The most hated Republican in Washington is Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, that is most hated by other Republicans. 

  1. John McCain can’t understand why sending aid to anti-American zealots in the Syrian civil war would be harmful.  He points the U. S. role in Iraq as an example.  Really, we are not making this up.

  1. Sen. Mike Lee (R, Ut) has blasted the President for delaying implementation of parts of health care reform.  Sen. Lee is an ardent opponent of the reform and fought to delay implementation.
    So exactly why he is opposed to the President delaying implementation is a mystery only Sen. Lee can solve, or not.  And apparently the news media which reports this sort of thing has forgotten that delaying implementation of health care reform was a major Republican policy initiative, at least until the President actually did it.

  1. On gay marriage Mitt Romney has said "It's going to take a long, long time to determine whether having gay marriage will make it less likely for kids to be raised in settings where there's a mom and a dad,".  Exactly how and why that would come about is not clear, not evident and not even logical.  Just another example of why even the harshest critics of Pres. Obama are not saying the country would have been better off with Mitt.

  1. In Georgia the gun nuts want to make it okay for persons to bring their guns to the airport.  Gosh, what could go wrong there, nothing bad has ever happened with guns and air travel before.