Thursday Reads: Trump’s Inferno

trumps-infernoWell, the year 2016 continues to be a challenging one.  I seriously can’t look at any type of media without wanting a script for a happy pill along with a huge bottle of Jamison. It’s just really like living through the Divine Comedy. We’re getting closer and closer to the lower levels as we’re approaching the first season of the Mad King of Hell.

Today’s circle is the one where the Greedy push boulders against the boulders of the Wasteful.  It’s a sin against sin extravaganza.  Maybe the WWE executive Linda McMahon can arrange for something compelling?  I’m sure it’s more up her alley than her pending appointment to lead the SBA into oblivion.

The WSJ has a great article behind it’s awesome paywall illustrating exactly how much of a spider’s web Trump Enterprises are with the news that it would take an army of forensic scientists and hackers to figure out all the combinations of potential conflicts the Mad King of Hell has with enemy states and other states and his portfolio.  Here’s a brief description from WAPO’s Plum Line.  The oligarchy of kleptocrats is nearing perfect completion.  This continues to be the perfect storm for the End Days of OUR Republic.

If you want to understand why the conflicts-of-interest involving Donald Trump’s business holdings and presidency could matter enormously in the months and years to come, read this single sentence buried in today’s big Wall Street Journal piece about those holdings:

It’s not clear how much Mr. Trump’s businesses would benefit from his proposal to cut business tax rates.

The key part of that sentence is the phrase, “it’s not clear.” The Journal piece reports that Trump has employed a “web” of limited liability companies to house assets accounting for over $300 million of the revenues he reported in disclosure forms last year. The crucial revelation in the piece is that these entities are a key reason why many of the specific details of Trump’s holdings remain shrouded in “opacity.”

Meanwhile, the New York Times reports this morning: “Trump is considering formally turning over the operational responsibility for his real estate company to his two adult sons, but he intends to keep a stake in the business and resist calls to divest, according to several people briefed on the discussions.”

As I’ve reported, if Trump merely turns his businesses over to family members (never mind whether he keeps a stake), it will not remove the potential for conflicts or even corruption. His family could stand to benefit from his policy decisions, or alternatively, other entities could seek to curry favor with the new president through deals that benefit his businesses, and by extension, his family (or himself, if he keeps a stake). Ethics experts believe only putting his interests into a genuine blind trust, via the liquidation of his assets, would truly remove the possibility of conflicts.

But, now that this looks unlikely to happen, what needs to be emphasized is not simply that such conflicts are very real possibilities, though that’s important. It also matters greatly that our lack of knowledge of the full range and scope of his interests makes it hard to evaluate whether these conflicts are taking place in any given situation, and if so, what they truly mean. And that’s where the new Journal story comes in. Here is the rub of the matter:

None of the 96 LLCs examined by the Journal appear to regularly release audited financial statements. That opacity — compounded by Mr. Trump’s decision to break with decades of precedent by declining to release his tax returns — makes it impossible to gauge the full extent of potential conflicts between his business interests and presidential role.

The scope and complexity of Mr. Trump’s private business holdings is unprecedented for incoming presidents, said Norman Eisen, President Barack Obama’s former White House ethics lawyer. “We’ve never seen anything like this,” he said.

It’s not clear how much Mr. Trump’s businesses would benefit from his proposal to cut business tax rates.

Mr. Trump’s wealth is impossible to measure with precision. His financial disclosure form isn’t externally audited and — following government rules — often uses bands, such as more than $50 million, rather than exact amounts to report assets and revenue or income. Only a handful of the hundreds of entities listed in Mr. Trump’s financial disclosure publish audited financial statements — and those figures don’t necessarily illuminate Mr. Trump’s financial situation.

Trump has called for huge tax cuts, including for top earners and businesses, and Congressional Republicans are all but certain to go forward with the same. But, as the Journal points out, we cannot know what impact these policies will have on Trump’s own businesses — or his family’s.

greedy-vs-wastefulTrump has no intention of giving up his stake in the family kleptocracy.  Hey, why should he?  No one can even get him to release his taxes.  It’s going to take a full on court battle to get him do do anything remotely constitutional or legal.  It’s his MO.

Meanwhile, the appointments to the Cabinets continue to be Orwellian.  The meetings will likely revile those infamous scenes from the “Wolf Of Wall Street”.   Trump is naming a fast food CEO to be Labor Secretary that will make you ill.

President-elect Donald Trump will name Andy Puzder, CEO of a major fast-food chain, to serve as Labor secretary, according to Bloomberg.

This is an exceptional choice only if you want labor laws to return to the basics of do what you want to people, they’re expendable any way.  This dude loves him some slave wages.

And now, if President-elect Donald Trump has his way, an enemy of the Fight for $15 movement will lead the U.S. Labor Department.

On Thursday, Trump revealed that he had nominated Andrew Puzder, CEO of CKE Restaurants, to be Labor Secretary. CKE Restaurants is the parent company of Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr., two fast food companies that have been targeted by Fight for 15. Puzder himself is on record as an opponent of raising the minimum wage, and has said that he would like to try automating service more service jobs in response to wage hikes.

18121534652_2b791ae54a_bThen, there is further evidence that Trump has no idea what he’s doing in terms of US diplomacy.  To make matters worse, his latest possible appointment as Secretary of State is so bad that he makes Rudy G look tame by comparison. Remember disgraced shill Rep. Dana Rohrabacher?  He’s out there defending Russia’s Human Rights Record.  Again, Trump’s new mantra for the American people is let them all rot and die while we get rich.  As long as Trump et al become rich as Russian Oligarchs, we can just suffer.

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.), who has emerged as a dark-horse pick for Donald Trump’s secretary of state, tangled with a Yahoo News host Wednesday over whether Russia is a major human rights abuser. Rohrabacher’s verdict: It’s “baloney.”

The exchange is pretty remarkable — in part because he was debating a Yahoo host who just happens to be from the former Soviet Union, but mostly because Rohrabacher seemed to dismiss long-standing and documented evidence of abuses in Russia. Rohrabacher seemed to take exception to Russia being mentioned in the same breath as China when it comes to human rights abuses.

I doubt seriously the Republic will withstand all of this. In his farewell to the Senate,  outgoing Senate Majority Leader and future retiree Harry Reid believes the filibuster will soon be dead.

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To hear Reid tell it, the party’s electoral collapse wasn’t a result of poor messaging or even a bad candidate. It stemmed from looser campaign finance rules, FBI Director James Comey and the influence of a few powerful individuals — namely the Koch brothers, his long-running nemeses. The outgoing Senate minority leader is unapologetic on behalf of his party, and remains resolute that Democrats don’t need to chart a new political course after their 2016 debacle.

“They have Trump, I understand that. But I don’t think the Democratic Party is in that big of trouble,” Reid said in a half-hour interview with Politico on Wednesday, one day before he’ll deliver his farewell address. “I mean, if Comey kept his mouth shut, we would have picked up a couple more Senate seats and we probably would have elected Hillary.”

And Reid not only refused to admit any misgivings about invoking the “nuclear option” for most nominations — a move that’s backfiring now by empowering Republicans — he predicted it’s just a matter of time before the filibuster is done away with altogether.

Though the filibuster is Democrats’ best weapon against Trump, Reid said it would be a “mistake” for his party to reflexively oppose whatever Trump proposes. But the outgoing minority leader also wants Democrats to stand firm for their core principles, urging lawmakers to do “everything in their power” to block “wacky” Supreme Court nominees and to not be “complicit” in supporting GOP priorities like tax cuts for the rich and repealing Obamacare.

6a00d8341c464853ef017d4182d778970c-500wiFrankly, any Democrat should OPPOSE everything the Republicans try to do at this point.  It’s our only hope.

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?

 

 

 


Wednesday Hump Day Cartoons: Kiss Asssssssss

I saw a post on Facebook yesterday, it said that Media Matters is changing their focus from primarily Fox News to fake news websites and Facebook. The post was from a Politco page on FB.  So I take it to be true….right?

Media Matters to pivot away from focus on Fox News, as it names new president – POLITICO

Then you have political editorial cartoons, which are beautiful things.

That’s about as close to the truth as you can get…meaning there is absolutely no false news reports in that imagery.

Romney Kisses Trump Butt | DarylCagle.com
That is a Cagle cartoon, and they are very obsessive about their cartoons. Now that article also includes a discussion on how he came up with the idea.

I will give you links to the Cagle Cartoons below and hope that you visit the site and check them out.

Many of these are from foreign cartoonist. So you can get the feel of how #tRump is being received around the world.

Flag burning and Trump

World Powers and Europe

democracy crisis

Mr. Fish: Red Menace – Mr. Fish – Truthdig

Mike Luckovich: Blind – Mike Luckovich – Truthdig

12/07 Mike Luckovich: Twit-elect. | Mike Luckovich

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12/02 Mike Luckovich: Shorthanded. | Mike Luckovich

lk120216_color

12/01 Mike Luckovich: Grand opening. | Mike Luckovich

120116_color

 

And from Politico Cartoonist Matt Wuerker:

12/05/2016 Cartoon by Matt Wuerker

Cartoon by Matt Wuerker -

12/01/2016 Cartoon by Matt Wuerker

Cartoon by Matt Wuerker -

12/05/2016 Cartoon by Chan Lowe

Cartoon by Chan Lowe -

12/05/2016 Cartoon by David Horsey

Cartoon by David Horsey -

Ain’t that the truth.

12/01/2016 Cartoon by David Horsey

Cartoon by David Horsey -

I think Dak may have used that Horsey one on her post this past week…

12/06/2016 Cartoon by Joel Pett

Cartoon by Joel Pett -

12/06/2016 Cartoon by Phil Hands

Cartoon by Phil Hands -

12/01/2016 Cartoon by Phil Hands

Cartoon by Phil Hands -

Anti-Semitism roaches: 12/06/2016 Cartoon by Steve Greenberg

Cartoon by Steve Greenberg - Anti-Semitism roaches

Trump Transition Team: 12/01/2016 Cartoon by Steve Greenberg

Cartoon by Steve Greenberg - Trump Transition Team

Swamp Tower: 12/06/2016 Cartoon by Rob Rogers

Cartoon by Rob Rogers - Swamp Tower

Recount: 12/05/2016 Cartoon by Rob Rogers

Cartoon by Rob Rogers - Recount

 

The Elites: 12/05/2016 Cartoon by Adam Zyglis

Cartoon by Adam Zyglis - The Elites

12/06/2016 Cartoon by Nick Anderson

Cartoon by Nick Anderson -

12/02/2016 Cartoon by Nick Anderson

Cartoon by Nick Anderson -

Pearl Harbor: 12/06/2016 Cartoon by Deb Milbrath

Cartoon by Deb Milbrath - Pearl Harbor

THE U.S. PRESIDENCY: 12/02/2016 Cartoon by Deb Milbrath

Cartoon by Deb Milbrath - THE U.S. PRESIDENCY

Burner: 12/01/2016 Cartoon by Rob Rogers

Cartoon by Rob Rogers - Burner

 

NEW TEXAS LAW: 12/01/2016 Cartoon by Deb Milbrath

Cartoon by Deb Milbrath - NEW TEXAS LAW

 

This is an open thread.

My mom has her specialist appointment today, this morning. We are driving down to Gainesville for that…so I’ve scheduled the post. I hope there are no formatting issues. If so, maybe Dak or BB can clean it up. I will try to pop in later on…if I can. Have a good day.


Tuesday Reads

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Good Afternoon!!

#tRump continues to sow chaos on a daily basis. This morning he apparently read an article about Boeing’s concerns about his trade policies and then tweeted that Boeing’s contract to build the new Air Force One should be cancelled. NBC News: Trump Threatens to Cancel Air Force One Order, Boeing Stock Slips.

President-elect Donald Trump threatened to cancel Boeing’s order for the new Air Force One in a Tuesday morning tweet, citing high costs.

In a surprise appearance in front of reporters at Trump Tower after sending the social media message, Trump expanded on his latest target for negotiation.

“Well, the plane is totally out of control. It’s gonna be over 4 billion dollars … and, I think it’s ridiculous. I think Boeing is doing a little bit of a number,” Trump said. “We want Boeing to make a lot of money but not that much money.”

When asked about Trump’s tweet, a spokesman for Boeing told the AP, “We are going to have to get back to you after we figure out what’s going on.”

According to Josh Marshall, the tweet came 22 minutes after The Chicago Tribune published the article on line.

TPM:

…why did this have Trump’s attention this morning? This seems like a relatively obscure issue given the range of things Trump is now working on. TPM Reader TC notes that The Chicago Tribune published this article about 20 minutes before Trump tweeted. That is, at least according to the 7:30 AM central time timestamp; Trump tweeted at 8:52 AM eastern.

The Tribune articles by Robert Reed starts like this …

The brain trust at Boeing, among the city’s largest companies and a global aerospace and defense powerhouse, must cringe every time President-elect Donald Trump riffs on foreign policy, especially when it comes to dealing with China.

Boeing has a high percentage of its manufacturing in the US. But it is highly dependent on exports, especially to China.

The article recounts a speech Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg gave before the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association on Friday in which he was mildly critical of Trump’s plans both for the Export-Import Bank and more protectionist trade policies. The Tribunestory wasn’t the first time the speech was reported on. The Puget Sound Business Journalwrote up the speech on Friday. But a google search (which is obviously an imperfect measure) suggests that the Tribune story was the only published mention of the speech in the last 24 hours prior to Trump’s tweet. It seems at least plausible that the Tribune story was the first or one of the first reports of the speech Trump or his team saw.

There’s no proof #tRump saw the article, but Marshall’s inference certainly makes sense. #tRump is an insane person who goes off on anyone who dares to criticize him in any way. This is the nightmare we’ll be living for the next four years.

NBC says #tRump sold his Boeing stock last year, be how can we know if that’s true? Maybe he wanted the stock to drop so he could buy some at a lower price.

Click the twitter link to see the details.

And then there’s #tRump’s China/Taiwan antics.  The Atlantic: ‘Trump Has Already Created Lots of Chaos.’ A Chinese scholar argues that the U.S. shouldn’t touch Taiwan—just like China wouldn’t back separatists in Texas or Hawaii.

Shortly after news broke of Donald Trump’s phone call with the head of Taiwan—the first direct communication between American and Taiwanese leaders in 37 years—one of the leading Chinese scholars of U.S.-China relations offered a stunning proposal: If the U.S. president-elect took similar actions as president, the Chinese government should suspend the world’s most important (and precarious) partnership. “I would close our embassy in Washington and withdraw our diplomats,” said Shen Dingli, a professor at Fudan University in Shanghai. “I would be perfectly happy to end the relationship.”

What made the recommendation especially notable was that, just days earlier, Shen had been arguing that Trump’s victory was good for China—much better than the election of Hillary Clinton would have been. So what was it about the Taiwan call that had so quickly soured Shen on Trump? Where did he now think the U.S.-China relationship was headed, and what might that mean for the wider world?

I asked Shen these questions during a moment of profound uncertainty for the two global powers. The Chinese government initially reacted to the call with restraint, suggesting that Taiwan’s leaders had “tricked” Trump into challenging a U.S. policy—adopted in 1979 as a consequence of Richard Nixon’s opening to China—that the island of Taiwan be considered part of China rather than an independent country. But reports have since indicated that the call was a deliberate effort by Trump and his advisers to express solidarity with Taiwan and stake out a tough stance on China, which the U.S. president-elect accused throughout the campaign of exploiting the United States economically. On Sunday, Trump noted indignantly on Twitter that China had never asked U.S. permission to devalue its currency, tax U.S. imports, and construct military installations in the South China Sea. In other words, it’s getting harder for Chinese leaders to minimize Trump’s provocations as inadvertent breaches of etiquette.

Shen’s anger and ambivalence about Trump’s call speak to broader anxiety in China right now about what to make of the U.S. president-elect and the trajectory of relations between the two countries. When I asked Shen whether he was concerned about a Trump presidency destabilizing international affairs, he told me disorder was already upon us. When I asked him whether he thought America, under Trump, would remain the most powerful nation on the planet, he answered without hesitation: “No.”

Read the interview at the link.

As we know, #tRump has not consulted with the State Department before talking with foreign leaders and as far as we know, he’s making these calls on nonsecure lines–maybe even his cell phone. And what the hell are his kids up to? Politico: Trump kids’ diplomatic forays rattle State Dept.

State Department officials are increasingly fearful that President-elect Donald Trump’s adult children will assume the role of freelance ambassadors, further blurring the line between their business affairs and America’s foreign affairs.

The warning signs are already there, current and former diplomats say. Trump’s daughter Ivanka sat in on his meeting with the Japanese prime minister. One of Trump’s sons is reported to have discussed how to resolve the Syrian war with pro-Russia figures. And the incoming president even suggested that his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, could mediate between Israel and the Palestinians.

Diplomats are nervous that if Trump uses his children and other relatives as informal ambassadors, they could, intentionally or not, upend the carefully structured efforts of the Foreign Service. They worry other nations could take advantage of Trump relatives to circumvent trained U.S. diplomats. They also suspect that even if Trump steps away from his business, his children’s extensive corporate dealings could still confuse U.S. foreign policy abroad.

Perhaps more than anything at this early stage, State Department employees are seriously annoyed by the optics.

“It makes us look like we’re some sort of banana republic,” one official told POLITICO. “This is not the way that grown-up nations do things.”

The concerns are just part of bigger frustrations at Foggy Bottom, where some are starting to wonder if Trump even realizes the U.S. has a thousands-strong, paid diplomatic corps.

This is beyond crazy, and he hasn’t even been sworn in yet. And here’s more crazy at #tRump Tower in NYC: Secret Service advertised as hot ‘new amenity’ at Trump Tower.

Less than a week after Trump was elected, prominent New York real estate agency Douglas Elliman blasted out an e-mail with the subject: “Fifth Avenue Buyers Interested in Secret Service Protection?” to advertise a $2.1 million, 1,052-square-foot condo in the tower on 721 Fifth Avenue.

“The New Aminity [sic] – The United States Secret Service,” screamed the flier sent in an e-mail on Nov. 13 for a one-bedroom apartment on the 31stfloor, represented by brokers Ariel Sassoon and Devin Leahy.

“The Best Value in the Most Secure Building in Manhattan,” it stated.

While there’s been a great deal of attention to how Trump plans to divest himself from his conflicts of interest, less attention has been applied to how business associates — including owners and marketers of his properties — may seek to profit from his new job in the White House.

As hard as Trump works to distance himself from his businesses, there may be no way of getting around other business associates using his brand for their own opportunity.

And let’s face it, #tRump isn’t doing a damn thing to “distance himself from his businesses.”

Sorry this isn’t much of a post. I’m dealing with some serious personal issues and I’m completely stressed out. Please add your thoughts and links in the comment thread below.


Monday Reads: Chaos Happens

3aae89b8e3e08277223ea6329101b764It’s Monday!  It’s cold, gloomy, drizzly, thundering, and gray here in Swampland.  I’m trying to decide when exactly we get to start the America Held Hostage Day count.  At the moment, I’m holding out hope on a few bits of good news so I’m going to start on that note.

A judge has ordered a Presidential Election recount in Michigan so Trump and the Michigan AG can stew in their evil soup with their evil hearts.

A federal judge has ordered Michigan election officials to begin a massive hand recount of 4.8 million ballots cast in the presidential election at noon Monday.

U.S. District Judge Mark Goldsmith issued a ruling just after midnight Monday in favor of Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein, who sought to let election officials bypass a two-business-day waiting period that would have delayed start of the recount until Wednesday morning.

Goldsmith’s order said the recount “shall commence and must continue until further order of this court.” Goldsmith wrote.

The deadline to finalize the vote total for the Electoral College is Dec. 13 and federal election law requires a period of “safe harbor” for presidential electors before the presidency is finalized on Dec. 19.

The manual recount process was scheduled to begin Wednesday as specified by state law, and in a rare Sunday hearing in federal court, Goldsmith had questioned the harm posed by waiting.

“Defendants shall instruct all governmental units participating in the recount to assemble necessary staff to work sufficient hours to assure that the recount is completed in time to comply with the ‘safe harbor’ provision,” of federal election law.

Senate Democrats may actually be steeling themselves for a fight over nominations if you believe what’s being reported on Tiger Beat on the Potomac. Will enough of them stall the Republican menace headed our way?  There’s an old church down the street dedicated to St. Jude built during the yellow fever days.  Maybe I should adopt that altar for awhile.

Senate Democrats are preparing to put Donald Trump’s Cabinet picks through a grinding confirmation process, weighing delay tactics that could eat up weeks of the Senate calendar and hamper his first 100 days in office.

Multiple Democratic senators told POLITICO in interviews last week that after watching Republicans sit on Merrick Garland’s nomination to the Supreme Court for nearly a year, they’re in no mood to fast-track Trump’s selections.

But it’s not just about exacting revenge.

Democrats argue that some of the president-elect’s more controversial Cabinet picks — such as Jeff Sessions for attorney general and Steven Mnuchin for treasury secretary — demand a thorough public airing.

“They’ve been rewarded for stealing a Supreme Court justice. We’re going to help them confirm their nominees, many of whom are disqualified?” fumed Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio). “It’s not obstruction, it’s not partisan, it’s just a duty to find out what they’d do in these jobs.”

Senate Democrats can’t block Trump’s appointments, which in all but one case need only 51 votes for confirmation. But they can turn the confirmation process into a slog.

47ae1ac10d555c70e95739b40c2e9c7aThe latest abomination of appointing a political lackey with absolutely no credentials for the job is Ben Carson to HUD.  It appears that Trump is just going to fill the cabinet with one Heckuva Job Brownie after another.  I don’t see much point in excerpting the bad news which you can go read at the NPR link if you so choose.

First Americans have won a concession from the Army Corps of Engineers. The agency will find a way to avoid the land of a sovereign nation of Lakota.  The Feds have denied the permit to build the Dakota Access Pipeline.

Federal officials have denied the final permits required for the Dakota Access Pipeline project in North Dakota.

The Army Corps of Engineers on Sunday announced it would instead conduct an environmental impact review of the 1,170-mile pipeline project and determine if there are other ways to route it to avoid a crossing on the Missouri River.

“Although we have had continuing discussion and exchanges of new information with the Standing Rock Sioux and Dakota Access, it’s clear that there’s more work to do,” Army Assistant Secretary for Civil Works Jo-Ellen Darcy said in a statement.

“The best way to complete that work responsibly and expeditiously is to explore alternate routes for the pipeline crossing.”

The announcement comes one day before the Army Corps of Engineers’ deadline for demonstrators to leave the protest site. The governor of North Dakota had also issued an emergency evacuation order.

Protestors have clashed with police, and Attorney General Loretta Lynch said in a Sunday statement that the Department of Justice “will continue to monitor the situation in North Dakota in the days ahead” and stands “ready to provide resources to help all those who can play a constructive role in easing tensions.”

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One of the weirdest things to come out of the trend of right wingers to completely fall for fake news happened in the District this weekend. A whack from NC with a very large gun showed up at a restaurant to investigate a supposed child sex ring Hillary Clinton was running at the location.  How dumb exactly are these Trump-Billies and how dangerous are they?

A North Carolina man was arrested Sunday after he walked into a popular pizza restaurant in Northwest Washington carrying an assault rifle and fired one or more shots, D.C. police said. The man told police he had come to the restaurant to “self-investigate” a false election-related conspiracy theory involving Hillary Clinton that spread online during her presidential campaign.

The incident caused panic, with several businesses going into lockdown as police swarmed the neighborhood after receiving the call shortly before 3 p.m.

Police said 28-year-old Edgar Maddison Welch, of Salisbury, N.C., walked in the front door of Comet Ping Pong and pointed a firearm in the direction of a restaurant employee. The employee was able to flee and notify police. Police said Welch proceeded to discharge the rifle inside the restaurant; they think that all other occupants had fled when Welch began shooting.

Welch has been charged with assault with a dangerous weapon. Police said there were no reported injuries.

Interim D.C. Police Chief Peter Newsham said police arrived on the scene minutes after the first call, set up a perimeter and safely arrested Welch about 45 minutes after he entered the restaurant.

This shooter lives in a conspiracy theory hell realm.

One of the key pieces of “evidence,” for example, comes from the emails WikiLeaks says came from Clinton campaign manager John Podesta. The emails include references to pizza. The conspiracy theory holds that based on how frequently pizza comes up, “pizza” must be code for pedophilia.

Comet Ping Pong owner James Alefantis told NPR that the entire theory is “an insanely complicated, made-up, fictional lie-based story” that people in the “reality-based” community quickly dismissed as an “insane sort of joke.”

But on the fringes of the Internet, some people have been taking it seriously. The restaurant has received hundreds of death threats. Now it has had an actual armed assault.

You can wonder no further when I saw that I avoid going to Jefferson Parish whenever possible.  This is 473ca62dfcc84e68ddbc5f29fed112cda white flight community of some of the worst looking strip malls and houses you could ever imagine. It’s also home to the folks that think Steve Scalise and David Duke are election material.
 A former Jets Player was gunned down in a road rage incident and the Sheriff has basically let the man go because he may be “standing his ground”.  New photo imagines of the scene show that to be highly unlikely.  What isn’t likely but well documented is that we still need the Black Lives Matter movement more than ever.  The white dude that shot the former player and black man has been cited for road rage incidents before.’

New details are emerging about 54-year-old Ronald Gasser, the man who confessed that he shot and killed former NFL player Joe McKnight in New Orleans last Thursday, an apparent road rage incident. According to the Jefferson Parish sheriff, Gasser was arrested at the same intersection a decade ago for another road rage incident in which he allegedly followed a victim and punched him several times. NBC’s Blake McCoy reports for TODAY.

16190d6928ef03df75b1207a48e9c7f8The man who was attacked by Gasser was spit on but not shot.  Try guessing the key variable in this scenario that saved his life.
As of Saturday night, no charges had been brought against Gasser, who was released Thursday night by the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office after questioning. The decision to release Gasser without pressing charges has prompted outrage on social media and led to questions about Louisiana’s stand-your-ground law.

In recent days, McKnight’s family members, friends, teammates and supporters have expressed grief and outrage over the killing. At a candlelight vigil held Saturday night at the Lincoln Manner Gym in Kenner where McKnight first made a name for himself as a high school football standout, around a dozen speakers expressed anguish over the road-rage-prompted fatal shooting.

“It was senseless,” U.S. Rep. Cedric Richmond, D-New Orleans, told NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune at the vigil. “You’re in a car with the ability to drive away, with the ability to roll your windows up, and you feel the only choice you have is to shoot three times? I can’t comprehend that.”

I can only imagine how bad it’s going to get for all of us that don’t fall into the neat little category of “safe” that only the mind of a Trump-Billy can conjure.  We can only look forward to more incidents of white male violence against minorities and women.  I’d be willing to be the kathouse on it.

That’s it for me today!  Please share what you’re reading!  I hate to just keep raining bad news on your head like the weather down here rains the cold.   So, what’s on your reading and blogging list today?


Sunday Reads: Drawn a Blank 

Sorry for today’s lack of effort.

Things are not well around here.

Let’s just call it an open thread and leave it at that.

Please put links to things below.


Lazy Saturday Reads: #tRump – Bull in a China Shop

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Good Afternoon!!

Yesterday I spent the afternoon and evening with my brother’s family–they invited me for a birthday dinner and family movie. Unsurprisingly, while I wasn’t paying attention for a few hours the president-elect did massive damage to U.S. foreign policy, overturning decades-long policies on China. And it appears this wasn’t about policy but about enriching the #tRump family business.

Ann Gearan at The Washington Post: Trump speaks with Taiwanese president, a major break with decades of U.S. policy on China

President-elect Donald Trump spoke Friday with Taiwan’s president, a major departure from decades of U.S. policy in Asia and a breach of diplomatic protocol with ramifications for the incoming president’s relations with China.

The call is the first known contact between a U.S. president or president-elect with a Taiwanese leader since before the United States broke diplomatic relations with the island in 1979. China considers Taiwan a province, and news of the official outreach by Trump is likely to infuriate the regional military and economic power.

The exchange is one of a string of unorthodox conversations with foreign leaders that Trump has held since his election. It comes at a particularly tense time between China and Taiwan, which earlier this year elected a president, ­­­Tsai Ing-wen, who has not endorsed the notion of a unified China. Her election angered Beijing to the point of cutting off all official communication with the island government.

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It is not clear whether Trump intends a more formal shift in U.S. relations with Taiwan or China. On the call, Trump and Tsai congratulated each other on winning their elections, a statement from Trump’s transition office said….

A statement from the Taiwanese president’s office said the call lasted more than 10 minutes and included discussion of economic development and national security, and about “strengthening bilateral relations.”

Trump claimed the call was initiated by Taiwan’s president, but that was a lie, NBC News reports:

BEIJING — A phone call between Donald Trump and Taiwan’s leader that risks damaging relations between the U.S. and China was pre-arranged, a top Taiwanese official told NBC News on Saturday.

Trump — who lambasted China throughout the election campaign and promised to slap 45 percent tariffs on Chinese goods — tweeted that Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen had called him.

“Maintaining good relations with the United States is as important as maintaining good relations across the Taiwan Strait,” Taiwanese presidential spokesman Alex Huang told NBC News. “Both are in line with Taiwan’s national interest.”

He added that the call had not been a surprise.

Apparently the call was carefully planned and scheduled by Trump staffers. It was also reported that bomb-thrower John Bolton was seen at Trump tower yesterday. Could he have helped instigate this?

After the media reported foreign policy experts’ heads exploding, Trump defensively tweeted again.

China was apparently on the phone with the White House right after the news broke, and they have now filed a complaint with the U.S. about this breach of diplomacy. The Guardian:

China has lodged “solemn representations” with the US over a call between the president-elect, Donald Trump, and Taiwan’s leader, Tsai Ing-wen.

Trump looked to have sparked a potentially damaging diplomatic row with Beijing on Friday after speaking to the Taiwanese president on the telephone….

The US closed its embassy in Taiwan – a democratically ruled island which Beijing regards as a breakaway province – in the late 1970s after the historic rapprochement between Beijing and Washington that stemmed from Richard Nixon’s 1972 trip to China.

Since then the US has adhered to the “One China” principle, which officially considers the independently governed island to be part of the same single Chinese nation as the mainland.

Geng Shuang, a spokesman for China’s foreign ministry, said in a statement on Saturday: “It must be pointed out that there is only one China in the world and Taiwan is an inseparable part of Chinese territory. The government of the People’s Republic of China is the sole legitimate government representing China.”

Geng added: “This is a fact that is generally recognised by the international community.”

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#tRrump is a real bull in a china shop, so to speak. But what was his real goal in talking to Taiwan? Think Progress: Trump’s unusual phone call is great for his business, dangerous for America.

Trump is mixing his business with the presidency. Today was a stark illustration that the combination is extremely dangerous — to Americans and the world.

The Financial Times, citing three sources, reports that Trump called Tsai Ying-wen, the president of Taiwan, on Friday. The call is a symbolic breach of the United States’ “One China” policy, which recognizes Beijing as the only government and which has been in place since 1972.

The call will antagonize China and risks “opening up a major diplomatic dispute with China before he has even been inaugurated.”

The incident is raising eyebrows because the Trump Organization, in which Trump plans to maintain ownership as president, is actively seeking new business opportunities in Taiwan. The Shanghaiist reported on the Trump Organization’s interest last month:

A representative from the Trump Organization paid a visit to Taoyuan in September, expressing interest in the city’s Aerotropolis, a large-scale urban development project aimed at capitalizing on Taoyuan’s status as a transport hub for East Asia, Taiwan News reports.With the review process for the Aerotropolis still underway, Taoyuan’s mayor referred to the subject of the meeting as mere investment speculation. Other reports indicate that Eric Trump, the president-elect’s second son and executive vice president of the Trump Organization, will be coming to Taoyuan later this year to discuss the potential business opportunity.

#tRump is trying to turn our country into a wholly owned subsidiary of the #tRump organization.

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In just the past couple of days, Trump has bumbled through bizarre phone calls with Pakistan’s prime minister Nawaz Sharif and Philippine strongman Rodrigo Duterte. Do you supposed #tRump even knows that China, Pakistan and sworn enemy India have nukes?

The Atlantic: Lessons From Trump’s ‘Fantastic’ Phone Call to Pakistan.

This week, the U.S. president-elect spoke with the Pakistani prime minister and, according to the Pakistani government’s account of the conversation, delivered the following message: Everything is awesome. It was, arguably, the most surprising presidential phone call since George H.W. Bush got pranked by that pretend Iranian president.

Pakistan, Donald Trump reportedly told Nawaz Sharif, is a “fantastic” country full of “fantastic” people that he “would love” to visit as president. Sharif was described as “terrific.” Pakistanis “are one of the most intelligent people,” Trump allegedly added. “I am ready and willing to play any role that you want me to play to address and find solutions to the outstanding problems.” ….

Like their problems with India?

It’s unclear how accurate the Pakistani government’s record of the discussion is, though the language does have a Trumpian ring to it (Trump’s transition team released a much more subdued summary of the call). But what’s surprising about the account is how disconnected it is from the current state of affairs. Everything is not awesome in U.S.-Pakistan relations. The two countries are the bitterest of friends. They have long clashed over the haven that terrorist groups have found in Pakistan and over U.S. efforts, including drone strikes and the raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound, to kill those terrorists. Pakistan, a nation with a growing arsenal of nuclear weapons, is the archenemy of India, another nuclear-armed state and a critical U.S. ally. U.S. officials see Pakistan—with its weak political institutions and suspected government support for militant groups in Afghanistan and the contested territory of Kashmir—as an alarming source of regional instability. The suspicion is mutual: Just a fifth of Pakistanis have a favorable view of the United States. Trump himself has argued that Pakistan “is probably the most dangerous” country in the world, and that India needs to serve as “the check” to it.

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The reports also provoked a caustic response from the Indian government, which opposes U.S. mediation in its border dispute with Pakistan. “We look forward to the president-elect helping Pakistan address the most outstanding of its outstanding issues: terrorism,” a spokesman for the Ministry of External Affairs said. And, ultimately, they forced Pakistani officials to backpedal after initially publicizing the conversation. “Our relationship with the United States is not about personalities—it is about institutions,” a spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs clarified. In other words, a brief, breezy conversation had real reverberations on the subcontinent.One lesson of the phone call is that words matter, especially in international relations where information is patchy, things get lost in translation, rhetoric is often interpreted as policy, and a government’s credibility is only as good as its word. (Think of all the people in the United States puzzling over what policies Trump will pursue as president; now imagine trying to do that from Islamabad or New Delhi.)

 

And now Pakistan is sending an envoy to meet with the #tRump bumblers. The Indian Express reports:

Pakistan has decided to send an envoy to the US to hold meetings with Donald Trump’s transition team, two days after a “productive” telephonic conversation between Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and the President-elect. Pakistani Prime Minister’s special assistant for foreign affairs Tariq Fatemi will visit the US this weekend to meet officials of the Trump transition team.

Fatemi’s meeting with officials of Trump transition team was confirmed by Jalil Abbas Jilani, Pakistan’s Ambassador to the US. “Besides meeting members of the transition team, Fatemi will meet officials of the outgoing Obama administration,” said Jilani.

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Huffington Post: Donald Trump Praises Philippines Deadly Drug War And Invites Leader To White House.

U.S. President-elect Donald Trump praised Philippines leader Rodrigo Duterte for his war on drugs that has left thousands dead, Duterte said on Saturday after the two held a phone conversation in which Trump also invited Duterte the White House.

“He was quite sensitive also to our worry about drugs. And he wishes me well … in my campaign and he said that … we are doing it as a sovereign nation, the right way,” Duterte said in a statement. Duterte has conducted a severe crackdown on drugs in the country, where police and vigilante groups have killed thousands.

Trump’s brief chat with the firebrand Philippine president follows a period of uncertainty about one of Washington’s most important Asian alliances, stoked by Duterte’s hostility towards President Barack Obama and repeated threats to sever decades-old defense ties.

The call lasted just over seven minutes, Duterte’s special advisor, Christopher Go, said in a text message to media, which gave few details. Trump’s transition team had no immediate comment.

So #tRump is on the record supporting mass murder now. Awesome.

Two more links to check out:

The New York Times: How Trump’s Calls to World Leaders Are Upsetting Decades of Diplomacy.

The Washington Post: Donald Trump keeps confirming fears about his diplomatic skills.

Isn’t there anyone who can do something about this monster before he destroys our country and/or blows up the world? We are so screwed.

What stories are you following today?


Friday Reads: The NAZI Kleptocracy Pogrom brought to you by the Oligarchs and Trump-Billies

squidbilly-confed-flagIs that header clickbaity enough?

Good!  Welcome to my basic economics history lesson on the relationship between privatization and the NAZI economics strategy of the 1930s as jetstreamed to the US in this century.  The lesson will be punctuated by the examples of absolute stupid Trump-Billy idiots that are about to find out that all markets do not necessary run better with billionaire corporate lackies in charge.  They are also finding out that extremely wealthy people are about to take over the White House and what ever economic security they ever had is headed for the pockets of the already obscenely wealthy.

Trump is not draining the swamp.  He’s making it radioactive.  One Trump-Billy woke up to that reality the day she found out that the new Treasury Secretary is the same dude that foreclosed on home sweet home.  Good decision making is not the hallmark of a Trump-Billy.

When Donald Trump named his Treasury secretary, Teena Colebrook felt her heart sink.

She had voted for the president-elect on the belief that he would knock the moneyed elites from their perch in Washington, D.C. And she knew Trump’s pick for Treasury Steven Mnuchin all too well.

OneWest, a bank formerly owned by a group of investors headed by Mnuchin, had foreclosed on her Los Angeles-area home in the aftermath of the Great Recession, stripping her of the two units she rented as a primary source of income.

“I just wish that I had not voted,” said Colebrook, 59. “I have no faith in our government anymore at all. They all promise you the world at the end of a stick and take it away once they get in.”

Less than a month after his presidential win, Trump’s populist appeal has started to clash with a Cabinet of billionaires and millionaires that he believes can energize economic growth.

The prospect of Mnuchin leading the Treasury Department drew plaudits from many in the financial sector. A former Goldman Sachs executive who pivoted in the early 2000s to hedge fund management and movie production, he seemed an ideal emissary to Wall Street.

When asked on Wednesday about his credentials to be Treasury secretary, Mnuchin emphasized his time running OneWest which not only foreclosed on Colebrook but also on thousands of others in the aftermath of the housing crisis caused by subprime mortgages.

“What I’ve really been focused on is being a regional banker for the last eight years,” Mnuchin said. “I know what it takes to make sure that we can make loans to small and midmarket companies and that’s going to be our big focus, making sure we scale back regulation so that we make sure the banks are lending.”

Yeah. We already know how well that went.  Too bad history is gonna repeat itself.squidbilly-vote

Let’s just stop for a moment of silence and think about what Hamilton really wanted the Electors of the Electoral college to do because stopping the ascent of a crazy person to the White House is exactly what needs to be done.  It’s also what Hamilton charged the Electors to do.  Electors should trump the Trumpbillies.  There are a few Electors that have this in mind.  This folks are from Washington state so it’s a very limited group.

The electors championing the Electoral College revolt say their effort is “in the spirit of” founding father Alexander Hamilton.

Hamilton, the first Secretary of the Treasury, once wrote the Electoral College is necessary to ensure “the office of the President will never fall to the lot of any man who is not in an eminent degree endowed with the requisite qualifications.”

One of Washington state’s most prominent Trump supporters, state Sen. Doug Ericksen, rebuked the Electoral College dissenters, calling the effort “irrelevant” and its supporters within the electoral system “a very small fringe element.”

“I think that those people should get together with Jill Stein and go hand-count ballots in Michigan,” said the Republican from Ferndale, referring to the Green Party candidate’s ongoing recount efforts.

Ericksen was Trump’s deputy campaign director in the state.

“The election is over — Mr. Trump won,” Ericksen said. “So they can be crazy like Jill Stein and drag this out or they can do their job and follow the will of the people.”

The “Hamilton Electors” face an uphill battle.

squidbilly-jibber-jabberSo, what we’re beginning to see is more and more unwinding of a democratic America in both the big D and little D sense of the word.  I’m about to get to what should be the canary in the coal mine which is the translation of an economic strategy used by the NAZIs to transfer public assets to their enablers and supporters,  This always upsets your libertarian friends and all those rewriters of history that say that NAZIs hated capitalism.  Au contraire, they are the very founders of kleptocracy and crony capitalism.  The Trump-Billies need to realize that they put fascists in the White House.

… the first use of the word “privatization” (or “reprivatization”) in English occurred in the 1930s, in the context of explaining economic policy in the Third Reich. Indeed, the English word was formulated as a translation of the German word “Reprivatisierung,” which had itself been newly minted under the Third Reich.

So, we can discuss how totally awful voucher systems have been for schools and how expensive and inefficient private prisons, and private guards for embassies, and private food providers for the military have been. There is research out the wazoo on all of that.  

But privatization practice is often a disaster. An inefficient government monopoly is replaced by an even more inefficient private monopoly that is more expensive, wasteful and lacking in accountability or responsibility for serving the public good.

The selection of private contractors is often rife with the corruption of political sweetheart deals. The profit motive consistently trumps public interest And shareholders and executives benefit at public expense, while public services deteriorate.

We can also discussion how Bobby Jindal bankrupted Louisiana doing exactly what Trump and Pence rallied around last night.  A program of giving huge amounts of money to private industry that held a few jobs hostage and still wants its $7 billion defense contracts left alone.  The Indiana Carrier deal is a wonderful example of how to waste public funds and transfer the hard earned cashed of working and middle people into corporate profits.  Here’s a back of the envelop analysis from Paul Krugman via twitter.

Another metric: Trump would have to do one Carrier-sized deal a week for 30 years to save as many jobs as Obama’s auto bailout

But, before I go full throttle medieval on that, let me just point out that Voter Suppression laws in this country give Trump a very very very skinny electoral college win.  We’re on our way to getting more of them.  Here’s a back of the envelop analysis from my friend Lamar White, Jr.squidbilly-gays

Hillary Clinton now has a popular vote lead of 2.5 million.

Donald Trump won the electoral college, however, by less than 80,000 votes.

To put this into perspective, if Toledo were in Michigan and not Ohio, Clinton would be the next President, elected with the same popular vote margin as Obama in 2012.

A new study shows that Voter ID laws suppress minority and Democratic voters.  So, it’s working just as it was planned.  Here’s your 2016 reduction in turnout explanation.

Researchers from the University of California San Diego have created a new statistical model indicating that voter identification laws do what detractors claim — reduce turnout for minorities and those on the political left.

Overall, the researchers found, strict ID laws cause a reduction in Democratic turnout by 8.8 percentage points, compared to a reduction of 3.6 percentage points for Republicans.

The study focused on the 11 states with the strictest voter ID laws, generally requiring photo identification to cast a ballot. Researchers used a large voter survey database to compare turnout in those states to those in states with lesser or no ID requirements.

Several states have passed less strict ID laws. But in 17 states including California, New York and Illinois, a more traditional honor system still applies at the ballot box.

We also have some righteous calls to the White House asking the President to declassify the evidence that Russian influenced and hacked our election.  squidbilly-guns

Seven members of the Senate Intelligence Committee wrote to President Obamathis week asking him to declassify and make public “additional information concerning the Russian government and the U.S. election” that committee members apparently have learned about in confidential briefings. The president should take their advice.

Cynics might be tempted to view their letter — which was signed only by Democrats and an independent senator who caucuses with them — as a partisan ploy designed to buttress the argument that Donald Trump’s victory was rendered illegitimate by Russian meddling on his behalf.

But seeking information about possible Russian meddling in the election shouldn’t be a partisan issue. If the Russian government indeed attempted to influence, disrupt or subvert the outcome by stealing and publicizing the emails of senior Democratic officials or promoting the dissemination on social media of “fake news” damaging to Hillary Clinton, that should outrage Americans regardless of whom they supported on Nov. 8. The public has a right to know as much about any such operation as can be made public without compromising intelligence sources and methods.

squidbilliy-fineThen, there’s the Michigan AG who is trying to stop the recount there.

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette wants the Michigan Supreme Court to halt a presidential recount in Michigan before it begins.

In a court action filed today, Schuette echoes arguments made for President-elect Donald Trump, arguing Green Party candidate Jill Stein, who received just over 1% of the vote in Michigan, is not an “aggrieved” candidate entitled to a recount, and there isn’t time to complete a recount, even if Stein was entitled to one.

“If allowed to proceed, the statewide hand recount could cost Michigan taxpayers millions of dollars and would put Michigan voters at risk of being disenfranchised in the electoral college,” Schuette, in a filing signed by Chief Legal Counsel Matthew Schneider, said in asking the Michigan Supreme Court for immediate consideration of his petition barring a recount.

Schuette, a Republican who is expected to run for governor in 2018, chaired the presidential campaign of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush before supporting Trump as the party nominee.

 So, all of this so we can have our public assets looted by the kleptocracy. The Carrier deal is probably the first sign that it’s about to get worse.  Especially given we were treated to a Trumpapalooza trying to convince folks in Indiana that $7 million dollars for less than 1000 jobs when more are still leaving the country is a damned fine deal.  It’s corporate welfare and its far more expensive than creating jobs for teachers, firefighters, and police.

Carrier’s announcement that it would indeed keep 1,000 jobs at its Indianapolis furnace factory (which Trump identified in a tweet as an air-conditioner factory) cited “very productive conversations” with Trump and Vice President-elect Mike Pence, but also mentioned Trump’s supposed “commitment to support the business community.”

That “support,” we later learned, came in the form of “incentives offered by the state (Indiana),” where Pence is still governor, by the way.

And here’s the man behind the curtain that the Wizard of Oz doesn’t want you paying attention to: Carrier isn’t staying because of its supposed secret negotiations with Trump and Pence, but because Indiana pols gave the company a tax break — a taxpayer-backed incentive that has a long and, at best, mixed history of success. (State officials have not revealed which tax incentive Carrier will get, though the Wall Street Journal reported that the deal will hand Carrier $7 million over 10 years; my email to the Indiana Economic Development Corp. has still not been answered.)

Indiana’s own economic development people put out a report last year that reveals that since 2009, job growth among all private sector firms in the state is much stronger than job growth in firms that got what Indiana calls the Economic Development for a Growing Economy subsidy. In 2014 (the last year studied), firms getting the subsidy actually lost jobs and firms not getting the subsidy added jobs.

Plus, the benefits do not trickle down to the communities.  tumblr_lrx5njwnjn1qg4f0do6_r1_400

Economists who testified in Indiana last year offered state officials an analysisof how various tax incentive programs are doing in other states:

“The MEGA tax credit (that’s what Michigan calls its program) failed to have a discernible impact on employment in the manufacturing or wholesale sectors even though the credits are targeted to businesses in these sectors,” the report said.

“These grants (now referring to EDGE in Indiana) fail to have a discernible impact on manufacturing employment and that the Hoosier Business Investment credit fails to impact either employment measure.”

“The estimation results suggest that the tax incentives (speaking about Ohio now) failed to have a positive impact on employment by incentive recipients. In fact, the estimates suggest that the incentives may have dampened the employment growth of firms receiving the incentives in the first two years of an expansion.”

I find facts like this really interesting because they reveal the bottom line about corporate welfare: sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. States give away millions of dollars a year on “corporate retention” deals. The loss to taxpayers is also millions of dollars a year.

Unlike giving money to corporations where money can roll off to out of state salaries, sources of materials, and stock and management dividends and bonuses,  spending money directly on things like state roads and state employees goes directly into the economy of the communities.  There’s a difference in the percentage of tax subsidies that basically does not benefit local communities at all.  Tax money spent directly in local economies building roads, schools, and hiring employees goes in much bigger magnitude into the pockets of the local businesses.  In other words, you can subsidize Hollywood a lot, but if it’s the salary of Tom Cruise, then it’s going to not stay in New Orleans.  It leaks back to where Tom Cruise spends his money.

More than a month after Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal “parked” his widely-panned proposal to repeal the state’s income tax, state policymakers now are returning to what should be a more straightforward tax reform issue. A new report (PDF) from the Louisiana Legislative Auditor critically evaluates the workings of the state’s film tax credit, which gives Louisiana-based film productions a tax credit to offset part of their expenses when they hire Louisiana workers or spend money on production expenses locally.

From a cost perspective alone, it makes sense to take a hard look at this provision: the state has spent over $1 billion on these Hollywood handouts in the past decade.

But the Auditor’s report is also a good reminder of just how little the state is getting in return for this massive outlay. The report estimates that after doling out almost $200 million in film tax breaks in 2010, the state enjoyed just $27 million in increased tax revenue from the film-related economic activity supposedly encouraged by this tax break.

This means a net loss to the state of about $170 million in just one year.

da03a79de8d1683f4690acd420a00939So, let me go back to the purpose of the NAZI economic strategy of “Reprivatisierung”.  You can read the journal article because it’s fascinating and it’s economic history so it’s not the wonkiest of economic analysis.

Privatization of large parts of the public sector was one of the defining policies of the last quarter of the twentieth century. Most scholars have understood privatization as the transfer of government-owned firms and assets to the private sector,2 as well as the delegation to the private sector of the delivery of services previously delivered by the public sector.3 Other scholars have adopted a much broader meaning of privatization, including (besides transfer of public assets and delegation of public services) deregulation, as well as the private funding of services previously delivered without charging the users.4 In any case, modern privatization has been usually accompanied by the removal of state direction and a reliance on the free market. Thus, privatization and market liberalization have usually gone together.

Privatizations in Chile and the UK, which began to be implemented in the 1970s and 1980s, are usually considered the first privatization policies in modern history.5 A few researchers have found earlier instances. Some economic analyses of privatization identify partial sales of state-owned firms implemented in Adenauer’s Germany in the late 1950s and early 1960s as the first large-scale priva-tization programme,6 and others argue that, although confined to just one sector, the denationalization of steel in the UK in the early 1950s should be considered the first privatization.7

None of the contemporary economic analyses of privatization takes into account an important, earlier case: the privatization policy implemented by the National Socialist (Nazi) Party in Germany. Nonetheless, there were a number of studies on German privatization in the mid- and late 1930s and in the early 1940s, when many academic analyses of Nazi economic policy discussed privatization policies in Germany.8 International interest was reflected in a change in the English language: in 1936 the German term ‘reprivatisierung’, and the associated concept, were brought into English in the term ‘reprivatization’, and soon the term ‘privatization’ began to be used in the literature.9 Surprisingly, modern literature on privatization, and recent literature on the twentieth-century German economy10 and the history of Germany’s publicly owned enterprises, all ignore this early privatization experience.11 Some authors occasionally mention the privatization of banks, but offer no further comment or analysis.12 Other works mention the sale of state ownership in Nazi Germany, but only to support the idea that the Nazi government opposed widespread state ownership of firms, and no analysis of these privatizations is undertaken.13

It is a fact that the Nazi government sold off public ownership in several state-owned firms in the mid-1930s. These firms belonged to a wide range of sectors; for example, steel, mining, banking, shipyard, ship-lines, and railways.

I think you’ll find these points most interesting.donald-trump-hat

But Germany was alone in developing a policy of privatization in the mid-1930s.Therefore a central question remains: why did the Nazi regime depart from mainstream policies regarding stateownership of firms? Why did Germany’s government transfer firms to the private sector while the other western countries did not?

Answering these questions requires an analysis of the objectives of Nazi privatization. While some of the analyses carried out in the 1930s and 1940s are valuable, their authors lacked the theories, concepts, and tools that are available to us today. Recent economic literature has shown the multiplicity of objectives usually targeted by privatization policies.28 In addition, modern theoretical developments have provided valuable insights into the motives of politicians in choosing between public ownership and privatization29 and the consequences of each option on political rent seeking, through either excess employment or corruption and financial support.30 The theoretical literature has provided interesting results concerning the use of privatization to obtain political support.31

In addition, international evidence shows that financial motivations have been important in recent privatization, although the relevance of sales receipts in motivating privatization has varied over time and between countries. By providing an analysis of privatization in Nazi Germany, this article seeks to fill a gap in the economic literature. The article extensively documents the course of privatization in the period from the Nazi takeover of government until 1937.32 These limits are sensible because all of the relevant reprivatization operations had been concluded before the end of 1937. Some of the privatization operations explained in this paper have not been previously noted in the literature (the sale of state-owned shares inVereinigte Oberschleschische Hüttenwerke AG and in Hansa Dampf, both in 1937).33 Analysing Nazi privatization using modern tools and concepts allows us to conclude that the objectives pursued by the Nazi government were multiple, with their aim of increasing political support being especially noteworthy. Besides this, an additional motivation can be seen in obtaining increased revenue for the German Treasury within a context of growing financial restrictions since 1934/5, mainly because of the armament programme.

So, you can read the finer details in the article which was published in a very prestigious journal.thumbnail_3393737515206910167

I’ve given you a lot to read and think on and I know you may not be able to wade through all of it.  But, I think you’ll see that I’m beginning to document exactly what the march to Fascism in America will look like.   We’re here.

Stay vigilant and defiant.

Don’t feed the Trump-Billies.

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?