Thursday Reads: Trump is a Complete Idiot, Plus Brexit Chaos

Grace Kelly with kitten

Grace Kelly with kitten

Good Afternoon!!

Where I live it already feels like the long weekend has begun. Even yesterday, there was very little traffic in my town. I welcome the peace and quiet. I had a very lazy day yesterday, and today is feeling pretty lazy too. I started another mystery and I’m thinking about doing some TV binge watching over the weekend. I hope there won’t be a whole lot of horrible news for the next four-and-a-half days.

Today, I’m seeing tons of negative stories about Donald Trump. I can’t figure out if the man is just plain stupid or cognitively impaired. It’s obvious he’s a malignant narcissist, as Dakinikat has repeatedly pointed out. But we’ve also discussed the possibility that Trump could be suffering from some kind of dementia–after all, his father had Alzheimer’s disease. Anyway here are a few interesting links on Trump’s latest fiascos.

MSNBC: After Saying He Forgave Loans to Campaign, Trump Won’t Release Proof.

When Donald Trump said last Thursday he was forgiving over $45 million in personal loans he made to his campaign, the announcement drew plenty of coverage. Many even reported Trump’s statement as if the deal was done.

But it’s not.

A week later, NBC News has learned the FEC has posted no record of Trump converting his loans to donations. The Trump Campaign has also declined requests to share the legal paperwork required to execute the transaction, though they suggest it has been submitted.

Last week, campaign spokesperson Hope Hicks said Trump was submitting formal paperwork forgiving the loan on Thursday, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Reached by NBC this week, she said the paperwork “will be filed with the next regularly scheduled FEC report,” and declined to provide any documentation.

The delay could matter, because until Trump formally forgives the loans, he maintains the legal option to use new donations to reimburse himself. (He can do so until August, under federal law.)

Henri Matisse working in bed, with cat

Henri Matisse working in bed, with cat

Trump is either a real cheapskate or he can’t spare that money. This is reminiscent of the time he lied about having given $1 million to veterans groups and only coughed up the money when the Washington Post called him out.

From Buzzfeed: Sources: Donald Trump Listened In On Phone Lines At Mar-A-Lago.

At Mar-a-Lago, the Palm Beach resort he runs as a club for paying guests and celebrities, Donald Trump had a telephone console installed in his bedroom that acted like a switchboard, connecting to every phone extension on the estate, according to six former workers. Several of them said he used that console to eavesdrop on calls involving staff.

Trump’s spokeswoman Hope Hicks responded to written questions with one sentence: “This is totally and completely untrue.”

The managing director of Mar-a-Lago, Bernd Lembcke, did not respond to emails. Reached by phone, he said he referred the email query to Trump’s headquarters and said, “I have no knowledge of what you wrote.” ….

BuzzFeed News spoke with six former employees familiar with the phone system at the estate.

Four of them — speaking on condition of anonymity because they signed nondisclosure agreements — said that Trump listened in on phone calls at the club during the mid-2000s. They did not know if he eavesdropped more recently.

They said he listened in on calls between club employees or, in some cases, between staff and guests. None of them knew of Trump eavesdropping on guests or members talking on private calls with people who were not employees of Mar-a-Lago. They also said that Trump could eavesdrop only on calls made on the club’s landlines and not on calls made from guests’ cell phones.

Each of these four sources said they personally saw the telephone console, which some referred to as a switchboard, in Trump’s bedroom.

More at the link. Maybe Trump could have spent his time more fruitfully by reading a book or two.

Steve Martin with cat

Steve Martin with cat

Chris Cillizza has done a public service by reprinting an interview with Donald Trump on the Bill O’Reilly Show: Donald Trump’s Bill O’Reilly interview is an instant classic. I hope you’ll read the whole thing, because it clearly demonstrates that Trump is a complete idiot. This is my favorite part (emphasis added):

HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESUMPTIVE DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: I am determined to say look, you may not vote for me, Trump supporters, I get that because you really are upset about immigration or you are upset about trade or you are upset about, you know, the feeling that the jobs that you had that gave you a good living are gone. So, I’m very sympathetic to that. I am not sympathetic to the xenophobia, the misogyny, the homophobia, the Islamophobia and all of the other.

(APPLAUSE)

Sort of dog whistles that Trump uses to create that fervor among a lot of his supporters.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O’REILLY: Okay. That was about 45 seconds to be fair. We will give Mr. Trump the same amount of time to reply. Go.

TRUMP: All of the phobias that nobody even knows what she is talking about to be honest with you. Why doesn’t she say it like it is? I mean, it’s just ridiculous. And frankly, you know, she knows exactly what’s happening. She sees what’s happening. People are tired. They are losing their jobs. Their jobs are being taken away. Companies are moving to Mexico. I mean, just moving. They just pick up and move. You look at what went on with carrier. You look at Ford. You look at so many different. They are a mile long and we are losing our jobs.

We are losing everything in this country. We are losing our spirit. I was in Ohio. I was in Pennsylvania. Yesterday I was in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia. And I want to tell you, the lines of people that we have, they are so sick and tired of hearing things like what she is just saying. Nobody even knows what she is talking about. And you tell me, that’s presidential? She is presidential? Sitting there. I don’t think so.

Poor Donald. He just doesn’t understand all those multi-syllable words, and he assumes no one else does either.

David Bowie with cat

 Billy Idol with cat

The New York Times commissioned a short story about the Trumps by novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche: The Arrangements: A Work of Fiction. Here are the first few paragraphs:

Melania decided she would order the flowers herself. Donald was too busy now anyway to call Alessandra’s as usual and ask for “something amazing.” Once, in the early years, before she fully understood him, she had asked what his favorite flowers were.

“I use the best florists in the city, they’re terrific,” he replied, and she realized that taste, for him, was something to be determined by somebody else, and then flaunted.

At first, she wished he would not keep asking their guests, “How do you like these great flowers?” and that he would not be so nakedly in need of their praise, but now she felt a small tug of annoyance if a guest did not gush as Donald expected. The florists were indeed good, their peonies delicate as tissue, even if a little boring, and the interior decorators Donald had brought in — all the top guys used them, he said — were good, too, even if all that gold yellowness bordered on staleness, and so she did not disagree because Donald disliked dissent, and he only wanted the best for them, and she had what she really needed, this luxurious peace. But today, she would order herself. It was her dinner party to celebrate her parents’ anniversary. Unusual orchids, maybe. Her mother loved uncommon things.

Her Pilates instructor, Janelle, would arrive in half an hour. She had just enough time to order the flowers and complete her morning skin routine. She would use a different florist, she decided, where Donald did not have an account, and pay by herself. Donald might like that; he always liked the small efforts she made. Do the little things, don’t ask for big things and he will give them to you, her mother advised her, after she first met Donald. She gently patted three different serums on her face and then, with her fingertips, applied an eye cream and ­sunscreen.

Truman Capote with cat

Truman Capote with cat

What a bright morning. Summer sunlight raised her spirits. And Tiffany was leaving today. It felt good. The girl had been staying for the past week, and came and went, mostly staying out of her way. Still, it felt good. Yesterday she had taken Tiffany to lunch, so that she could tell Donald that she had taken Tiffany to lunch.

“She adores all my kids, it’s amazing,” Donald once told a reporter — he was happily blind to the strangeness in the air whenever she was with his children.

Read the rest at the link. The Times plans to publish another short story about the 2016 campaign by a different author. I supposed that one will be a very vicious piece about the Clinton family. Maybe they can get Maureen Dowd to write it.

At The Atlantic, TA Frank asks if anyone will be willing to be Trump’s running mate: Assessing the Trump V.P. Career-Suicide Pact: There are very few real contenders, the risks are considerable, and the rewards potentially terrifying. So who will be the lucky, er, winner?

Frank discusses the pros and cons for the following possible choices: Newt Gingrich, Chris Christie, Bob Corker, Mary Fallon, John Kasich.

Chaos continues in Great Britain

From Reuters: Ex-London mayor halts bid to be UK prime minister, upends race

Former London mayor Boris Johnson, favorite to become Britain’s prime minister, abruptly pulled out of the race on Thursday, upending the contest less than a week after leading the campaign to take the country out of the EU.

Johnson’s announcement, to audible gasps from a roomful of journalists and supporters, was the biggest political surprise since Prime Minister David Cameron quit on Friday, the morning after losing the referendum on British membership in the bloc.

Drew Barrymore with cat

Drew Barrymore with cat

It makes Theresa May, the interior minister who backed remaining in the European Union, the new favorite to succeed Cameron.

May, a party stalwart seen as a steady hand, announced her own candidacy earlier on Thursday, promising to deliver the withdrawal from the EU voters had demanded, despite having campaigned for the other side.

“Brexit means Brexit,” she told a news conference.

“The campaign was fought, the vote was held, turnout was high and the public gave their verdict. There must be no attempts to remain inside the EU, no attempts to rejoin it through the back door and no second referendum.”

The decision to quit the EU has cost Britain its top credit rating, pushed the pound to its lowest level since the mid-1980s and wiped a record $3 trillion off global shares. EU leaders are scrambling to prevent further unraveling of a bloc that helped guarantee peace in post-war Europe.

More on the Tory situation:

BBC News: Michael Gove and Theresa May head five-way Conservative race.

The Washington Post: Meet Michael Gove, the man who just turned British politics into an episode of ‘House of Cards.’

The Independent: Boris Johnson has left the Tory leadership race – but he’ll become Prime Minister anyway.

 


Wednesday Reads: Appearance is everything

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Abortion Ruling: 06/28/2016 Cartoon by Paul Fell

Ah, good afternoon!

It has been a while since we took a look at the offerings of political cartoonist, so I thought today would be a good day for that…and in all honesty, there is another reason, things have been moving quickly with my parent’s closing (it is now pushed to the 6th) so there is plenty to do. (But it is a good plenty…)

First I will start with this video from UNICEF, posted on Huffington Post Facebook page,

 

Some of you may have seen this…if you haven’t please take the few minutes to watch it in full.

If you cannot see the embedded video, here is a link to the page:  The Huffington Post

Those fuckers made that little girl cry.

Many of the cartoons today mention the ruling regarding SCOTUS smackdown of Texas Anti-abortion law HB-2. In relation to this, Vox has an article: It could take years for Texas abortion clinics to reopen, even after a Supreme Court victory – Vox

Pro-choice advocates won a huge victory on Monday when the Supreme Court struck down two major anti-abortion laws in Texas inWhole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt. Those laws, part of an omnibus anti-abortion bill called HB 2, were responsible for closing about half of all abortion clinics in Texas.

Before HB 2 passed in 2013, Texas had 41 open clinics. Today there are 19. If the Court had ruled to uphold the restrictions, that number would have shrunk to nine. So it’s no surprise that lead plaintiff Amy Hagstrom Miller, CEO and founder of Whole Woman’s Health, said she was “beyond elated” by the ruling.

But, Hagstrom Miller said in a recent interview with Vox, a victory at the Supreme Court is really just the beginning for abortion providers in Texas. Not only are other restrictions, like a 20-week abortion ban and limits on medication abortion, still in place in Texas but HB 2 has also done lasting damage to abortion access that could take years to repair, if it can be repaired at all.

It turns out, according to the Vox report…

The closed clinics can’t just reopen overnight, and some might never reopen

Well, I realized that they would not reopen with a snap of the fingers, but that some may never reopen, that just is salt in wounds.

Then there was this, from the NY Times: Abortion Ruling Could Create Waves of Legal Challenges – The New York Times

From Texas to Alabama to Wisconsin, more than a dozen Republican-run states in recent years have passed laws requiring that abortion clinics have hospital-grade facilities or use doctors with admitting privileges at nearby hospitals.

Now, Monday’s Supreme Court ruling — that those provisions in a Texas law do not protect women’s health and place an undue burden on a woman’s constitutional right to an abortion — will quickly reverberate across the country.

It will prevent the threatened shutdown of clinics in some states, especially in the Deep South, that have been operating in a legal limbo, with Texas-style laws on temporary hold. But legal experts said the effect over time was likely to be wider, potentially giving momentum to dozens of legal challenges, including to laws that restrict abortions with medication or ban certain surgical methods.

“The ruling deals a crushing blow to this most recent wave of state efforts to shut off access to abortion through hyper-regulation,” said Suzanne B. Goldberg, the director of the Center for Gender and Sexuality Law at Columbia Law School.

Adopting stringent regulations on abortion clinics and doctors that are said to be about protecting women’s health has been one of the anti-abortion movement’s most successful efforts, imposing large expenses on some clinics, forcing others to close and making it harder for women in some regions to obtain abortions. Republicans like Senator John Cornyn of Texas, who deplored Monday’s ruling, argued that they were requiring clinics to “be held to the same standards as other medical facilities.”

Now, the court has ruled that any such requirements must be based on convincing medical evidence that the rules are solving a real health issue to be weighed by a court, not by ideologically driven legislators — and that the benefits must outweigh the burdens imposed on women’s constitutional right to an abortion.

Take a look at that article, because it highlights a few states that currently have abortion laws going into effect on July 1st…which could now be seen in a different light since the Monday ruling.

One more link before the cartoons…I just think this is funny: Why Do Monkeys Become More Selective With Friends As They Age, Just Like Humans? : SCIENCE : Tech Times

Scientists from the German Primate Center wanted to know how age affected the behavior of more than 100 Barbary macaques kept in an enclosure in a park in France.

They investigated how the monkeys – whose ages ranged from 4 to 29 years (equivalent to 105 human years) – reacted to physical objects such as novel toys and tubes with food, social interactions such as fighting and grooming “friends” and new social information, such as calls and photos of “friends” and “strangers.”

Researchers discovered that the interest of Barbary macaques in toys wane when they become adults. At around 20 or the retirement age of monkeys, these animals approached fewer monkeys and had less social contact.

What surprised scientists is that this obvious withdrawal was not prompted by a social affinity to avoid old monkeys. Younger ones still groomed and approached their elders.

It also wasn’t because older monkeys were not interested in anything at all. Scientists found that older monkeys still hissed to others during fights and still responded to photos of others.

These older monkeys are still attuned to what is going on around them, but they do not want to participate, says Julia Fischer, one of the researchers of the study.

They hissed? Could this be a monkey’s way of saying, get off my lawn?

The dominant psychological theory that could explain why this behavior happens in humans is that they want to maximize the time they have left with death on the horizon.

Fischer says although monkeys have excellent memories, there is no evidence that they are self-aware about their impending deaths. So if both monkeys and humans act this way as they age, the theory may be rationalizing a natural behavior with biological roots, she says.

Alexandra Freund, Fischer’s co-researcher, says the findings of the study clearly tell us that we are not distinctive in how we grow into old age.

“There might be an evolutionary ‘deep’ root in this pattern,” says Freund.

There is a bit more at the link, along with some other sources and connections to the published study.

And now the funnies…

Starting with Luckovich…06/17 Mike Luckovich: Losing letters. | Mike Luckovich

lk061716_color

 

From June, published around the 17th.

From June, published around the 17th.

 

06/22 Mike Luckovich:Hair today… | Mike Luckovich

lk062216_color

 

Signe Wilkinson: Abortion Clinic – Truthdig

Clay Bennett: Brexit Lifeboat – Clay Bennett – Truthdig

Jeff Danziger: Another Benefit of Brexit – Jeff Danziger – Truthdig

Jeff Danziger: Brexit Racism – Jeff Danziger – Truthdig

From Cagle Cartoons, click to see the toon:

Supreme Court Abortion Ruling

This is a good one: Brexit

Brexit ….a different one, but the same name.

Brexit Washup

Brexit …another one with the same name, but different, and damn good.

Brexit regret

And the rest from the AAEC:

George Will splits from GOP: 06/28/2016 Cartoon by J.D. Crowe

Cartoon by J.D. Crowe - George Will splits from GOP

06/28/2016 Cartoon by MStreeter

Cartoon by MStreeter -

Brexit and Trump: 06/28/2016 Cartoon by Steve Greenberg

Cartoon by Steve Greenberg - Brexit and Trump

Undue Burden: 06/28/2016 Cartoon by Rob Rogers

Cartoon by Rob Rogers - Undue Burden

GOP Sit-In: 06/24/2016 Cartoon by Rob Rogers

Cartoon by Rob Rogers - GOP Sit-In

Great Britain Great Again: 06/28/2016 Cartoon by A.F.Branco

Cartoon by A.F.Branco - Great Britain Great Again

The above cartoon is from a right wing cartoonist btw….so that is not a sarcastic cartoon. It is in fact a glorification. To see more from this cartoonist…cough, cough: AAEC — Political Cartoons by A.F.Branco Because I will not put up a sample of his other shit. (Now, I bet that gives ya the creeps. As it gave me…at least check this one out: Eye To Eye: 06/26/2016 Cartoon by A.F.Branco)

The Bowtie Rebellion: 06/28/2016 Cartoon by Jen Sorensen

Cartoon by Jen Sorensen - The Bowtie Rebellion

SUPREME COURT v TEXAS ABORTION LAWS: 06/28/2016 Cartoon by Deb Milbrath

Cartoon by Deb Milbrath - SUPREME COURT v TEXAS ABORTION LAWS

John Lewis sit-in: 06/29/2016 Cartoon by Deb Milbrath

Cartoon by Deb Milbrath - John Lewis sit-in

Brexit: 06/28/2016 Cartoon by Adam Zyglis

Cartoon by Adam Zyglis - Brexit

Smoking gun: 06/29/2016 Cartoon by Adam Zyglis

Cartoon by Adam Zyglis - Smoking gun

Pulse shooting: 06/15/2016 Cartoon by Adam Zyglis

Cartoon by Adam Zyglis - Pulse shooting

That is an older cartoon, but I thought it was a good one and should be included.

06/28/2016 Cartoon by Matt Wuerker

Cartoon by Matt Wuerker -

06/23/2016 Cartoon by Matt Wuerker

Cartoon by Matt Wuerker -

06/13/2016 Cartoon by Matt Wuerker

Cartoon by Matt Wuerker -

American Community: 06/29/2016 Cartoon by Angelo Lopez

Cartoon by Angelo Lopez - American Community

06/29/2016 Cartoon by Joe Heller

Cartoon by Joe Heller -

06/27/2016 Cartoon by Joe Heller

Cartoon by Joe Heller -

06/29/2016 Cartoon by Jimmy Margulies

Cartoon by Jimmy Margulies -

06/29/2016 Cartoon by Joel Pett

Cartoon by Joel Pett -

Pat Summitt Tribute: 06/29/2016 Cartoon by J.D. Crowe

Cartoon by J.D. Crowe - Pat Summitt Tribute

This is an open thread…


Tuesday Reads

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Good Morning!!

My mom just called me to find out why MSNBC is hyping the Republicans’ Benghazi! report. I’m not watching; but I guess we can just assume that the so-called “liberal” cable channel is going to continue rooting against Hillary even if it means electing a completely unqualified, ignorant racist who hates the media and wants to take away press freedoms. Ugh.

Even The New York Times admits the report contains nothing new, even though they fail to note until way down in the story that the “committee report” released today comes only from the Republican members. They didn’t even let their Democratic colleagues read it. The Democrats on the committee released their report yesterday. Here’s a quick read on what’s in the report.

Vice News: Two years and $7 million later, the Benghazi report is finally out.

After two years and $7 million, Republicans on the House Benghazi Committee have released their long-awaited report on the 2012 terrorist attacks in Benghazi — a report that concludes then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was not directly at fault for the events that led to the death of four American citizens.

The report did slam the Obama administration for its handling of the aftermath of the attacks, citing a combination of bureaucratic inefficiency, personal error and willful ignorance of intelligence for the bungled response. But the committee’s findings do not directly indict Clinton for the death of Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans, or found that she willfully ignored calls for security, charges that Republicans have continuously leveled at her.

In fact, the report barely focuses on Clinton at all, but rather reveals a more comprehensive timeline of events based on interviews with eyewitnesses and senior intelligence officials.

Among the revelations in the Committee’s 800-page report is that the CIA missed real-time intelligence about the situation on the ground that led the agency to bungle its response to the violent protests that led to the deaths of Americans at the US diplomatic compound in Benghazi. The government then misled the public about what had happened in the immediate aftermath of the attacks.

“It is not clear what additional intelligence would have satisfied either [State Department aide Patrick] Kennedy or the Secretary in understanding the Benghazi mission compound was at risk — short of an attack,” the report says.

There’s not much new in that article either, but you can check it out for yourself.

 

Protesters wave Mexican flags and signs on the road leading into Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump's Trump International Golf Links in Aberdeen, Scotland, June 25, 2016. (Reuters Photo)

Protesters wave Mexican flags and signs on the road leading into Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s Trump International Golf Links in Aberdeen, Scotland, June 25, 2016. (Reuters Photo)

Some pundits have assumed that terrorist attacks would help Donald Trump in his sad run for the presidency. It doesn’t look that way so far. The Washington Post reports: Donald Trump’s big, bold response to terrorism is a big bust with Americans.

Hillary Clinton has reestablished her advantage over Donald Trump on dealing with terrorism following the candidates’ very different reactions to the nation’s largest-ever mass shooting in Orlando, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.

By a 50-to-39 percent margin, more say they trust Clinton than Trump to handle terrorism — similar to her 54-40 edge in March but wider than her narrow three-point edge in May after Trump became the Republican Party’s presumptive nominee….

The latest shift stands in stark contrast to political impact of the last major terrorist attacks that colored U.S. politics. After the Paris and San Bernardino attacks in late 2015, Trump’s proposal to ban Muslims entering the U.S. received wide support among fellow Republicans, and it helped bolster his support heading into the GOP nomination contest.

The latest poll numbers, of course, show how the larger electorate feels about Trump’s handling of foreign policy and terrorism — not just GOP voters. And it’s yet another bad sign for Trump’s presidential aspirations come November.

Clinton isn’t the only Democrat to get a boost. President Obama’s approval for handling terrorism went from 45 percent in June to 50 percent this month, ending a stretch of underwater ratings (more disapproval than approval) since early 2015. After the Paris attacks, Obama’s approval mark on the issue dropped to a record-low 40 percent.

Read the details and check out the charts at the WaPo.

Trump has finally started sending out fundraising emails, and apparently he isn’t aware that he can’t accept donations from foreign nationals. He sent emails to Scottish MP’s last week asking them to donate. One recipient wrote a response.

The Scotsman: Natalie McGarry publicly rebuffs Donald Trump fundraising plea.

Independent Scottish MP Natalie McGarry

Independent Scottish MP Natalie McGarry

McGarry, who is the MP for Glasgow East, wrote a sharp reply to the Presidential hopeful’s son, and shared her response with her 15,000 Twitter followers.

In her letter she wrote: “Quite why you think it appropriate to write emails to UK parliamentarians with a begging bowl for your father’s repugnant campaign is completely beyond me.

“Given his rhetoric on migrants, refugees and immigration, it seems quite extraordinary that he would be asking foreign nationals for money; especially people who view his dangerous divisiveness with horror.

“The US elections are a matter for the American people, but I do send my warm hope that they reject your father fundamentally at the ballot box.”

She added: “The thought of his reactionary type of politics and apparent ignorance of world affairs having access to a seat at the world table is both surreal, and terrifying.

“The above is a long way to say No, and do not contact me again.”

ROFLOL!

Josh Marshall on the way things are going for Trump: “How Does It Feel To Be Losing So Badly?”

In the Trumpian world of pure alpha dominance no failure or state of existence is more total, hopeless, unmanning or unbearable. He is now living there, in public, each day, for all to see, even helpfully enumerated on most days in new poll numbers. A brittle narcissistic ego, coddled for decades by armies of yes men and a generally fawning business and tabloid press, won’t hold up well under that kind of strain.

Losing is always hard. Few of us have ever been candidates for public office. But we all know this from our own lives. But it is uniquely hard for Trump’s campaign because the campaign’s entire premise is “winning” and on a slightly less literal level on what I’ve called dominance politics. Losing is hard for any campaign both emotionally for all involved but also because losing is demoralizing and can trigger a self-perpetuating cycle. But most campaign’s have issue agendas, goals that provide an emotional and aspirational ballast to the effort. You may be losing but that doesn’t invalidate what you believe or the substance of your proposed policies. That’s not true for Trump because “winning” isn’t just the goal it’s the raison d’etre and premise of the whole effort. A candidacy based on “winning” which is in fact losing and perhaps losing badly isn’t just on the ropes; it begins to look ridiculous.

Read the rest at the link.

BernieSanders_c0-256-4896-3110_s885x516

From New York Magazine, a sad story about another sad sack: The Sanders Campaign Tried to Rig Caucus Tiebreakers With Double-Sided Coins.

The Democratic primary wasn’t rigged — despite the best efforts of Bernie Sanders’s staffers in Nevada. On Monday, CBS News published a postmortem on the Vermont senator’s campaign, which includes this anecdote about how Sanders’s Silver State director Joan Kato prepared her team for caucus day:

At one point shortly before the caucuses, she instructed staff to buy double-sided coins — in case coin-flips were needed to decide any of the caucuses in the event of a tie, according to staffers.

All that yelling about Hillary being “corrupt” was just projection.

And how are things going for Hillary? Great! Here’s Ruby Cramer on Clinton’s joint appearance with Elizabeth Warren in Cincinnati yesterday: Elizabeth Warren Finally Opens Her Arms To Hillary Clinton. Cramer notes that two years ago when these two famous women campaigned on the same stage in Massachusetts for then candidate for Governor Martha Coakley, Warren “barely mentioned Clinton.” But now it’s different between them.

Two years later, the 2016 election has forged a vastly different Clinton–Warren alliance.

Here on Monday, beneath the painted dome of the Cincinnati Museum Center at Union Terminal, they emerged for their first joint appearance, unveiling a powerful new partnership aimed at Donald Trump, with none of the old distance and unease.

The pair arrived together, Clinton leading the way onto a circular platform in the middle of the hall. Around the stage, 2,600 crowded into the historic atrium. Warren threw out both hands, palms to the ceiling, as if in awe of the scene around her.

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Clinton motioned Warren toward the podium, then stood near the back of the stage and took a breath. “Woo!” she mouthed. Over the sound of the crowd, Warren leaned into the microphone with the same surprised look: “Whoa!” she said. Thank you!”

“I’m here today because I’m with her. Yes, her!”

Later, as Clinton spoke, Warren stood to the side and listened intently, reacting to each line along with the voters below. To a mention of infrastructure investment, Warren nodded fiercely and let out a “yes!” To a promise of student loan relief, she jumped up and down on her toes. To a dig at corporations, she pumped her fist in the air. And when the candidate led the crowd into one of her favorite lines — about playing the “woman’s card” — Warren chanted along on cue: “Deal me in!”

More than most of the campaign’s surrogates on the trail, Warren took the stage for Clinton with a distinct mission, taking a high-energy and unapologetic approach to the job of attack dog, with a speech that complemented Clinton’s, not simply introduced it.

Well you probably saw the speech–if you didn’t please be sure to watch it. And read much more about it at the Buzzfeed link.

Bernie Sanders could have done what Warren has done. He probably could have been another good attack dog against Trump. But he chose a different path, and now it’s too late. I really hope he doesn’t campaign for Hillary, and I couldn’t care less if he endorses her. His followers have mostly jumped on her bandwagon, and those who are still wallowing in self-pity won’t be needed. I dread the thought of Bernie campaigning at this point, because I’m convinced he would only find underhanded ways to damage her. I just hope he continues to fade from public view.

What stories are you following today? Please share your thoughts and links in the comment thread and have a terrific Tuesday!


Monday Reads: It’s a New Day and a New Dawn

BN-OR109_0627wa_P_20160627110845Good Afternoon!

Hope you’re not going to get tired of me posting Nina Simone songs because I just had to do it again.  I woke up and feel optimistic for a nice change.  I would like to say that my life is on the up  and up but this is much less specific than that.  I feel better about being a woman in the USA and that’s a big deal.

Two really great SCOTUS decisions  came down today that protect women’s right to choose and the victims of domestic abuse who are overwhelmingly women and children. The Supremes have thrown out the Texas Trap Law and refused to water down  gun bans for domestic abusers. Then, there was some campaign excitement! Senator Elizabeth Warren tore up the stage with a Donald Burning and an enthusiastic Hillary support speech in Cincinnati.  Women on the Supreme Court made a huge difference!  Can you imagine the difference a woman President may make?

Dahlia Lithwick–writing for Slate—argued that the women took over and the voices of the three women resound through out the important decisions.  Here’s the Lithwick lede: “In oral arguments for the Texas abortion case, the three female justices upend the Supreme Court’s balance of power.”  The Texas restrictions were stuck down vehemently.

It felt as if, for the first time in history, the gender playing field at the high court was finally leveled, and as a consequence the court’s female justices were emboldened to just ignore the rules. Time limits were flouted to such a degree that Chief Justice John Roberts pretty much gave up enforcing them. I counted two instances in which Roberts tried to get advocates to wrap up as Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor simply blew past him with more questions. There was something wonderful and symbolic about Roberts losing almost complete control over the court’s indignant women, who are just not inclined to play nice anymore.

The case involves a crucial constitutional challenge to two provisions in Texas’ HB 2, the state’s omnibus abortion bill from 2013. The first requires doctors to obtain admitting privileges from a hospital 30 miles from the clinic where they perform abortions; the second requires abortion clinics to be elaborately retrofitted to comply with building regulations that would make them “ambulatory surgical centers.” If these provisions go into full effect, Texas would see a 75 percent reduction in the number of clinics serving 5.4 million women of childbearing age. The constitutional question is whether having 10 clinics to serve all these women, including many who would live 200 miles away from the nearest facility, represents an “undue burden” on the right to abortion deemed impermissible after the Casey decision. Each of the female justices takes a whacking stick to the very notion that abortion—one of the safest procedures on record—requires rural women to haul ass across land masses larger than the whole state of California in order to take a pill, in the presence of a doctor, in a surgical theater.

The morning starts with an arcane and technical debate that eats up most of Stephanie Toti’s time. Toti, arguing on behalf on the Texas clinics, first has to answer an argument—raised by Ginsburg—that the clinics were precluded from even bringing some of their claims. Between this and factual challenges from Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito as to whether there was any evidence on the record to show that the law itself triggered the closings of Texas clinics, she doesn’t have much time to get to the merits. So frustrated is Justice Elena Kagan by the conservatives’ repeated insistence that perhaps the clinics just coincidentally all closed within days of HB 2’s passage that she finally has to intervene. “Is it right,” she asks Toti, “that in the two­-week period that the ASC requirement was in effect, that over a dozen facilities shut their doors, and then when that was stayed, when that was lifted, they reopened again immediately?” Toti agrees. “It’s almost like the perfect controlled experiment,” continues Kagan, “as to the effect of the law, isn’t it? It’s like you put the law into effect, 12 clinics closed. You take the law out of effect, they reopen?”

rbgI am so relieved that the Trap Law creep has been put down.  Signing such a bill in Louisiana was one of the last things the dread pirate 2016-06-27T125240Z_01_WAS203_RTRIDSP_3_USA-COURT-ABORTIONBobby Jindal did to us.  There are women celebrating all over the south.  Wendy Davis won in the long run.

The Supreme Court on Monday struck down Texas abortion restrictions that have been widely duplicated in other states, a resounding win for abortion rights advocates in the court’s most important consideration of the controversial issue in 25 years.

Justice Anthony M. Kennedy joined the court’s liberals in the 5 to 3 decision, which said Texas’s arguments that the clinic restrictions were to protect women’s health were cover for making it more difficult to obtain an abortion.

The challenged Texas provisions required doctors who perform abortions at clinics to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital and said that clinics must meet hospital-like standards of surgical centers.

Similar restrictions have been passed in other states, and officials say they protect patients. But the court’s majority sided with abortion providers and medical associations who said the rules are unnecessary and so expensive or hard to satisfy that they force clinics to close.

As I wrote last week, it was a clear cut case of undue burden and that principle was upheld.  The other clear victory was for sensible gun access control.  They ruled that Domestic Abusers cannot have guns refusing to open the window to all infractions.

 In a 6-2 decision, the Supreme Court on Monday ruled that reckless domestic assaults can be considered misdemeanor crimes to restrict gun ownership. The decision comes as a major victory for women’s rights and domestic violence advocacy groups.

This was an interesting case involving a man in Maine.19

The Supreme Court ruled Monday against a Maine resident who argued he should not have been stripped of his ability to possess a firearm despite a prior domestic violence charge in state court.

Stephen Voisine pled guilty to a misdemeanor assault charge in 2004 against a girlfriend. Five years later, he was investigated for shooting a bald eagle and as part of the investigation he turned over a firearm to authorities.

After reviewing his criminal record, Voisine was then charged with unlawful possession of a firearm pursuant to a federal law which makes it unlawful for a person who has been convicted of a “misdemeanor crime of domestic violence” to possess a firearm or ammunition.

Lawyers for Voisine argued that his misdemeanor offense did not rise to the level to trigger the federal law.

The justices agreed to take the case to interpret the reach of a federal statute. But Justice Clarence Thomas during oral arguments was also interested in the 2nd Amendment implications, breaking in to ask a series of questions for the first time in 10 years during oral arguments.

The three-judge panel of the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against Voisine and another defendant, holding that the “question before us is a narrow one.”

Congress recognized that “guns and domestic violence are a lethal combination,” the panel said.

Is it really possible that we may see a woman President and Vice President next year?  The rally in Cincinnati this morning with Hillary Clinton and Elizabeth Warren held out that tantalizing option.

BB caught me in bed with a cup of coffee this morning. Turn on the TV! There they were and there it was. No more Texas Trap Laws! Two Powerful women thrashing a Republican Bully while the world and Cincinnati cheered them on! It’s a new day! It’s a new dawn! Warren definitely put the B in the Trump Burn. She was amazing and you could see that Hillary loved every minute of it.

Donald Trump is “a small, insecure money-grubber who fights for no one but himself,” Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts said Monday morning at the Cincinnati’s Union Terminal, as the possible vice presidential candidate lit up the crowd in her first appearance with Hillary Clinton.

“What kind of a man?” Warren said of the presumptive GOP nominee, with whom she has had drawn out Twitter battles. “A nasty man who will never become president of the United States, because Hillary Clinton will be the next president of the United States.”

Warren, who is popular with many progressives who backed Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont in the primary, lobbed attacks at Trump as she stood below the terminal lobby’s large mosaic of of iron-workers, railroad men and farmers. Clinton stood beside her, grinning and clapping.

The joint appearance, and Warren’s enthusiasm for attacking Trump, added to speculation about her likelihood of receiving the nod to join Clinton as the vice presidential candidate on the Democratic ticket. Clinton and her supporters have touted Warren’s endorsement as the former first lady seeks to unite Democrats after a long primary battle with Sanders.

At Union Terminal, Warren punctuated her criticisms of Trump and praise of Clinton by raising her fist and shouting “Yes!” Drawing applause and supportive laughter, Warren turned and clapped wildly for Clinton, then joined the crowd in shouts of “Hillary! Hillary!” and a “Woo!”

“Donald Trump thinks poor, sad little Wall Street brokers need to be free to defraud everyone they want,” said Warren, known for her anti-Wall Street stances. “Hillary fights for us.”

“You know I could do this all day. I really could,” Warren said of attacking Trump. “But I won’t. OK, one more.”

“You just saw why she is considered so terrific, so formidable, because she tells it like it is,” Clinton said of Warren. “I just love how she gets under Donald Trump’s skin.”

These two are a great tag team.  I can’t wait to watch the thin, orange-skinned one’s twitter feed.  He hates it when women put him in his place.

Hillary Clinton after being introduced by Senator Elizabeth Warren at a campaign rally in Cincinnati, Ohio. REUTERS/Aaron Josefczyk

Hillary Clinton after being introduced by Senator Elizabeth Warren at a campaign rally in Cincinnati, Ohio. REUTERS/Aaron Josefczyk

Warren and Clinton both share a desire to do everything they can to “stop Donald Trump” from becoming president, and, according to a campaign aide, they will both warn of the risks Trump would have on the economy during their event today, according to HASKELL and KREUTZ. “The Republicans underestimated and underestimated and underestimated Donald Trump. Look where that got them. They kept saying, no, no, no, that’s not going to happen, we don’t have to worry about that,” Warren said when she endorsed Clinton. “Donald Trump is a genuine threat to this country. He is a threat economically to this country. But he is a threat to who we are as a people. There is an ugly side to Donald Trump that we all have to stop and think about what’s going on here.” As Clinton and Warren’s relationship continues to evolve and Warren’s stock grows as a possible choice for vice president, it appears the senator is diving head first into helping elect Clinton. She even stopped by Clinton’s Brooklyn presidential campaign headquarters 10 days ago to give staffers a pep talk telling them “Don’t screw this up.”

They didn’t screw it up. It was marvelous, darlin’!

So, there’s some good news!

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?


Sunday Reads: Distorted Shapes Frame a Disillusioned Thought

2ebf6bfab13ce76b6759523762959c5cThere is the sound of thunder in the distance, I can tell because my bedroom is dark   Much darker than it usually is this time of day.    I lay here under the covers like I do every day disillusioned and thoughts fill my head.
Unlike that thunderstorm which I cannot see, I have a visual facsimile of one on my wall…an image of a summer thunderstorm building in the center of a beautiful blue sky. It is the large puzzle that I did quite a while ago of the street scene in Cuba, with a woman selling flowers and a little band playing in the background… serenading her as she crosses the street. It is hanging on my wall in my bedroom and if you will bear with me a moment, it will not take much longer for me to finish this thought.
I look at that puzzle every day. I lay on my bed daily and stare at it. When the light is off the shapes of the puzzle pieces disappear and become still. 015b4189c6f4de00d5a002a53bc33e05967fb2b672There is just a hint of texture which makes the puzzle come alive, almost becoming a full representation of the street, so as I could reach out and touch it. The lady’s dress moves as she walks and you can almost see the clouds building with the heat.
But when the ceiling light is shining bright against it, each puzzle piece is accentuated in the puzzle and it becomes fully distorted…yet you can still see the image behind the distortion. The face of the woman is no longer beautiful, she is twisted. When reflections of the light shine on her dress, her body is in shapes that although unnatural I still feel drawn to look at. I can see the clouds of the thunderstorm behind the capital building of Havana. They are even more threatening with their menacing darkness combined with the haphazardness of the shapes of the puzzle pieces, it’s as if the clouds are building up a storm but did not know which way to go…yet it was forced into its direction by the puzzle pieces.0157fa4da58be40f708e583b8d07905df8d070de39 It is not fluid, it is unnatural. It is a force that has been predetermined not something that was allowed to develop and grow on it’s own accord.
Wait there it is much lower and softer than it was minutes before…I hear a low thunder. It is a slight sound barely audible, as if it is crying out the last gasping. The storm must be fading, it hadn’t even had a chance to develop big and strong.
I must write the post for today so I look one last time lady crosses the street and I go downstairs and turn the computer.
So, here are your links today.

Like Boston Boomer, I am easily distracted…but since abstract puzzle pieces get my attention…and not mystery books…the links are in a lean dump fashion.

a237a9b404d2db239800c3ea1bd267e4Turkey uses tear gas to break up gay pride gathering – LA Times

Hillary Clinton marches in NYC Pride Parade – NY Daily News

Survivors of Boston bombing meet with Orlando victims still in hospital | PBS NewsHour

Take a look at the photograph on the PBS NewsHour link.

Dan Rather slams media for acting like a ‘business partner of Donald Trump’ to boost their ratings

Sanders: Hillary Can Win Over More of My Supporters ‘If She Does the Right Thing’ | Mediaite

First vessel passes through expanded Panama Canal – News from Al Jazeera

01f62baac362b869cc100c056bb715c2f3aa6beef9Top ‘ndrangheta mob boss Ernesto Fazzalari caught after 20 years on the lam in Italy – CBS News

Italy’s second most sought-after fugitive, a convicted ‘ndrangheta crime syndicate boss feared as a “merciless killer,” was captured Sunday as he slept in his bed in a hideout in the rugged Calabrian mountains, police and prosecutors said.

Ernesto Fazzalari “went from his sleep to the handcuffs of the Carabinieri” paramilitary police after 20 years on the run, Col. Lorenzo Falferi told reporters in the city of Reggio Calabria.

Reggio Calabria Prosecutor Federico Cafiero De Raho described Fazzalari as “a merciless killer” and a protagonist of the 1991-1992 turf feud between ‘ndrangheta clans that bloodied the Taurianova town area of Calabria in the “toe” of the Italian boot-shaped peninsula. In one macabre episode in the feud, a victim’s head was tossed in the air and shot as a target.

0180544731cbf5556347106c7c11831c2e9709db68This is a bit of news: Pentagon to Lift Ban on Transgender Service Members | Alternet

A new Broadway play is starting to tour…‘Beautiful’ makes a fetching Los Angeles debut at the Pantages – LA Times

Beautiful – The Carole King Musical” is that rare Broadway offering – a jukebox musical with a soul.

The touring production, which opened Friday at the Hollywood Pantages Theatre, reveals the reason this show has become the “Jersey Boys” for the XX chromosome set.

Borrowing the tried-and-true biographical formula of scrappy artists working their way to fame, the musical extracts all the nostalgic glory out of a catalog of hits few Baby Boomers will be able to resist.

At the same time, the center of storytelling gravity is decidedly female, making this show as rich in poignant emotion as it is in Broadway pizzazz. There’s psychology for those who want it and era-defining tunes for those who’d rather escape into the memory of a simpler, if not necessarily more enlightened, American era.

0148e9cff227ce858dea29da759f91b6b1c2635b93“Beautiful” sketches Carole King’s rise from precocious Brooklyn songwriter in the late 1950s through her powerhouse collaborations with husband Gerry Goffin in the 1960s to the liberated solo career catapulted by “Tapestry” in 1971 after her marriage failed.

Douglas McGrath’s book capitalizes on those introspective qualities King’s later music gave unforgettable voice to – tenderness, self-doubt, and wisdom hard won from disappointment. But this is as much about a generation of artists as it is about one extraordinarily gifted woman.

Last link for this Sunday:

013e48a0cead31588e4a17f385cee06705609b389bSaturday Night at the Movies: Lazy hazy crazy: Top 10 summer idyll movies By Dennis Hartley

Since this is the first official weekend of summer, I thought it would be a good excuse to cull a list of my 10 seasonal favorites for your consideration. These would be films that I feel capture the essence of those “lazy, hazy, crazy” days; stories infused with the sights, the sounds…the smells, of summer. So, here you go…as per usual, in alphabetical order:

The reason I include this link is for the first movie on the list…

Claire’s Knee- This 1970 offering is “part five” of a six-film cycle by the late French director Eric Rohmer known collectively as “ Six Moral Tales ” (each individual entry works  fine as a stand-alone film), and my favorite of the cycle. Jerome (Jean-Claude Brialy) is a thirty something diplomat enjoying his final “bachelor holiday” on Lake Annecy, where he runs into old friend Aurora (Aurora Cornu). She is a writer, currently blocked for ideas. Playfully informing Jerome that he will be her Muse, she offers him a guest room, and introduces him to her neighbor, a woman with two teenage daughters, a precocious 15 year-old named Laura (Beatrice Romand) and her aloof 16-year old sister Claire (Laurence de Monaghan). 014e1dc269bcc553f0c25bc34897161c929fa6041aIt doesn’t take Jerome long to start giving Aurora story ideas.  While mindfully keeping Laura’s platonic crush at bay, he finds himself drawn to her sister, developing an inexplicable desire to touch her knee. Despite how that sounds, there’s nothing leering about the way Rohmer handles it. To Jerome, this is an abstract and romanticized form of adulation (like Alan Ladd’s obsession with the painting in Laura), as opposed to a sexual urge. He keeps the voyeuristic Aurora apprised, as she eggs him on (she needs the material). Ultimately as enigmatic as love itself, topped off with gorgeous cinematography by Nestor Almendros.

That is all I have for you …what are you thinking about today?

01df05a59379a5135c56373a1c7710938059b7003d

 


Lazy Saturday Reads

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Good Afternoon!!

I’m having a little difficulty focusing on serious stuff like “the news” today. I’d love to just keep escaping into mystery/crime novels. So if this post is disjointed and basically a link dum, that’s the reason. Here are some of the stories that have caught my eye so far.

Ed Kilgore at New York Magazine: Tim Kaine and the Evolution of Pro-Choice Politics.

The Great Mentioner of the collective news media is beginning to dwell on Hillary Clinton’s options for a running mate. And a name we are all hearing more and more is that of Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia. Indeed,Politico is now placing him at the top of Clinton’s list, even suggesting he “towers” above all others. So of course he’s going to get extra public scrutiny.

When that happens, people are going to realize there’s more to Kaine than his Beltway persona of a “safe” centrist Democrat who was vetted by Obama eight years ago and is from a key swing state.  He’s fluent in Spanish, having spent a year as a Jesuit missionary in Honduras before he decamped to Harvard Law School. He was a career civil-rights lawyer specializing in housing discrimination before entering politics. He’s been mayor of a reasonably large city, Richmond, in addition to being lieutenant governor under Mark Warner and then Warner’s successor as governor. And as a former DNC chair, he knows all about the party’s factions and allies and how to deal with them.

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All well and good, but . . .

An article this week in The Hill calls abortion policy Kaine’s one big “weakness.” Like many observant Catholic Democrats over the years, Kaine’s mantra on reproductive rights is that while he’s “personally opposed” to abortion, he’s largely inclined to keep the law out of women’s reproductive decisions. Yes, he’s favored parental-notification laws, but has carefully insisted on ensuring young women in danger of parental pressure to carry a pregnancy to term will have a judicial workaround. Yes, he’s favored bans on so-called “partial-birth abortions,” but only with exceptions where the health of the mother is at risk, which separates him from the entire anti-abortion movement, which uniformly hates health exceptions. He has a 100 percent rating of his votes in the Senate from Planned Parenthood. His policy positions on abortion may not be ideal to reproductive-rights advocates, but they are acceptable, particularly if the top spot on the ticket is occupied by an old friend like Hillary Clinton….

Does his personal moral assessment of abortion matter so long as he’s sound on abortion policy? And even if reproductive-rights advocates don’t approve of Kaine’s formulation, is he a representative of a whole lot of otherwise pro-choice voters who don’t or won’t approve of abortion “personally” no matter how logical that might be? Could Kaine’s stance actually become a strength if the ticket spans those adopting the traditional formula along with those embracing the rapidly emerging positive attitude toward abortion itself?

Read more at the link.

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The Economist on Brexit: A tragic split: How to minimise the damage of Britain’s senseless, self-inflicted blow.

HOW quickly the unthinkable became the irreversible. A year ago few people imagined that the legions of Britons who love to whinge about the European Union—silly regulations, bloated budgets and pompous bureaucrats—would actually vote to leave the club of countries that buy nearly half of Britain’s exports. Yet, by the early hours of June 24th, it was clear that voters had ignored the warnings of economists, allies and their own government and, after more than four decades in the EU, were about to step boldly into the unknown.

The tumbling of the pound to 30-year lows offered a taste of what is to come. As confidence plunges, Britain may well dip into recession. A permanently less vibrant economy means fewer jobs, lower tax receipts and, eventually, extra austerity. The result will also shake a fragile world economy. Scots, most of whom voted to Remain, may now be keener to break free of the United Kingdom, as they nearly did in 2014. Across the Channel, Eurosceptics such as the French National Front will see Britain’s flounce-out as encouragement. The EU, an institution that has helped keep the peace in Europe for half a century, has suffered a grievous blow.

Managing the aftermath, which saw the country split by age, class and geography, will need political dexterity in the short run; in the long run it may require a redrawing of traditional political battle-lines and even subnational boundaries. There will be a long period of harmful uncertainty. Nobody knows when Britain will leave the EU or on what terms. But amid Brexiteers’ jubilation and Remain’s recriminations, two questions stand out: what does the vote mean for Britain and Europe? And what comes next?

Read about The Economist’s editorial viewpoint in detail at the link.

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The Washington Post: Top E.U. diplomats hold crisis talks on British exit.

Meeting in Berlin, the top diplomats of Germany, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg collectively called for fast follow-through on the stunning British decision, putting pressure on Prime Minister David Cameron, who has sought a slower pace of extraction.

On Friday, Cameron said he would step down after several months but has not immediately sought to trigger the European Union’s Article 50, which would set up a two-year negotiating period ending with withdrawal. Cameron indicated that he would leave the exit decisions to his successor.

But the top diplomats meeting Saturday suggested the European Union was not prepared to wait for domestic politics to play out in Britain, suggesting that Cameron would face intense pressure on Tuesday during a summit in Brussels of 28 national leaders and European officials.

“We start now,” French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault told reporters. “We must be clear. The British people have decided after an initiative that was taken by Mr. Cameron. That was, is his responsibly.”

That makes sense. If the Brits want to take their ball and go home, why should they wait around to watch the game instead?

Apparently the referendum isn’t binding and could be reversed by Parliament. At least, I saw this on Twitter this morning:

PennLive: Most DNC money for Philly convention going to businesses owned by women and minorities.

The Democratic National Committee has already awarded contracts for merchandising, construction, transportation and event production for the four-day event on July 25-28.

Of the $150 million already spent by the committee, most of the money has gone to local businesses owned by women and minorities.

For example, an African-American-owned transportation company will provide buses and shuttles during the convention, according to The Atlantic.

Another African-American-owned business was hired to print business cards for the event, the magazine reported.

Leap Starr, owned by Liz Jenkins Santana, won the contract to plan PoliticalFest.

Jenkins Santana, who identifies as Native-American, African-American and Caucasian, said the contract is a big win for a small business and the largest Leap Starr has received for a one-time event, The Atlantic reported….

Census data shows nearly half – 47 percent – of Philadelphia businesses are owned by ethnic minorities, and it’s important the 50,000 DNC visitors see that reflected at the convention, according to Tiffany Newmuis, director of diversity and community engagement for the Philadelphia DNC 2016 Host Committee.

“We want people to leave here having seen what Philadelphia is really like,” she told The Atlantic.

She was hired specifically for diversity outreach and to make sure local businesses knew how to cash in on the convention…

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I don’t suppose that will impress Bernie and the bros since it doesn’t involve helping white middle-class young people. Bernie is still complaining about the platform even though his ideas have mostly been included.

Business Insider: Democrats just approved a draft of their party platform, and Bernie Sanders’ influence is clear.

ST. LOUIS (AP) – Democrats approved a draft of the party platform early Saturday that includes steps to break up large Wall Street banks, advocates for a $15 an hour wage and urges the abolition of the death penalty, reflecting the influence of Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign.

Supporters of presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton defeated measures pushed by Sanders’ allies that would have promoted a Medicare-for-all single-payer health care system, a carbon tax to address climate change and impose a moratorium on hydraulic fracking.

Deliberating late into the evening, the group considered the document’s language on the Israel-Palestinian conflict, an issue that has divided Democrats. The committee defeated an amendment led by Zogby that would have called for providing Palestinians with “an end to occupation and illegal settlements” and urged an international effort to rebuild Gaza.

Zogby said Sanders had helped craft the language. The draft reflects Clinton’s views and advocates working toward a “two-state solution of the Israel-Palestinian conflict” that guarantees Israel’s security with recognized borders “and provides the Palestinians with independence, sovereignty, and dignity.”

The committee also adopted language that said it supports a variety of ways to prevent banks from gambling with taxpayers’ bank deposits, “including an updated and modernized version of Glass-Steagall.” ….

And it approved language calling for the abolition of the death penalty. Clinton said during a debate earlier this year that it should only be used in limited cases involving “heinous crimes,” while Sanders said the government should not use capital punishment.

Here’s Bernie’s reaction:

Nothing is ever good enough for this man. He simply doesn’t believe in compromise, and I’m convinced that he thinks a woman can never be his equal.

cats-on-dog

Page Six on CNN’s shocking decision to pay Donald Trump’s “former” campaign manager $500,000 to appear on air as a political commentator: CNN Staff revolts over Corey Lewandowski hire.

Sources told Page Six on Friday that CNN’s “facing a near internal revolt” over Jeff Zucker’s hiring of Lewandowski as an exclusive commentator for the news network days after he was fired as Donald Trump’s campaign manager.

“CNN is facing a near internal revolt over the Corey hiring,” said a TV insider, who described many in the newsroom as “livid.” “Female reporters and producers especially . . . They are organizing and considering publicly demanding” that Lewandowski be let go.

The Post reported on Monday that the Donald’s daughter Ivanka gave her dad an ultimatum to cut Corey loose after she was distressed by news he’d grabbed reporter Michelle Fields by the arm at a Florida event, and by a Page Six report that he recently got into a shouting match on a Midtown street with campaign spokeswoman Hope Hicks.

A different source said, “Everyone at CNN — and even people who used to work there — are pissed about Trump’s former campaign manager being hired on salary.”At CNN, the hiring of the former Trump campaign manager on Thursday didn’t only alienate women on staff. A source further said that “Latinos and others in the newsroom feel betrayed by an homage to Trump,” so “they may do a public letter” objecting to the move.

I hope there’s enough interesting stuff here to get you going. Have a terrific weekend!


Friday Reads: Return of the Dark Night

Good Afternoon!

featuredCountries-unitedkingdom.jpg_650675724I’ve spent the better part of last evening and this morning trying to figure out where the bottom might  be on this petit mal of a  global financial crisis caused by British Politicians opening up a public referendum to something that never should have been put to a public vote. I’m rather hoping the Queen nixes the entire thing but even though it’s possible, it’s unlikely.

A few things from my gut.  I do believe we’re going to see the UK break up over the BREXIT vote.  Scotland and Northern Ireland will go for independence and unification with Ireland, respectively. They both overwhelmingly voted “remain”.

I’ve been watching the market for the Sterling try to find a bottom.  Even U.S. equities have not been spared which means a lot of Americans woke up appreciably poorer today and farther from retirement.  Be prepared for a lot less spending on items deemed luxuries like vacations, meals out, and all forms of entertainment. This basically means prepare for a downturn.  It may or may not become a recession.  It is causing a financial crisis so we’ll get to see how resilient the financial markets and banks have become since 8 years ago.

I could write a book on this and–indeed –I need to hit the World Bank up for some currency data shortly to update my work on parity as prices, wages, and exchange rates bounce around for awhile.  I will be out there in the vast reaches of 2nd and 3rd derivatives looking for some sign of inflection points.  Suffice it to say, I’m happy to not be invested any where but bank accounts and U.S. real estate. This is not going to be pretty for any of us.

Let me get started on a few stylistic details. The UK kept the pound sterling instead of joining the currency union so some of the issues surrounding Greece are not in this situation.  The UK also has a fairly solid base of assets including businesses and real estate so it’s had a AAA rating on bonds. It’s likely to lose that but it’s not without real wealth.  The deal is that by disturbing set trade arrangements we will see wages, prices, and interest rates adjust to find some level of market comfort. (This is the parity concept I just mentioned above.)  

Market disorientation is likely to create some really bad effects for some time on all major trade partners of the UK. This means the EU, US and the commonwealth as all the details start being sorted out by industry, country, and market. We’re likely to head to a recession along with Europe but it’s not a certainty at this point.  Business confusion usually means putting ends to the easy things to get rid of which means labor and inventory orders go along side with households that won’t be buying anything but essentials. The economy will slow down.  The question is by how much and how long?  This will be compounded by the Scots and Northern Irish looking to bail and stay in the EU.  I’m not sure about Gibraltar or Wales to be honest.  I don’t know about their specific arrangements in terms of how they are legally bound to the UK arrangement.

Needless to say, London would like to go back to City State status because this will hurt them most of all.  London–after New York and along with Tokyo–is a global financial center.  I doubt the pound sterling will regain its status.

My strongest sentiment is that this should’ve never gone to public vote. NEVER.  In a parliamentary system you get crazy stuff like this.  It’s this kind of thing that makes me very glad we’re a Republic with stodgy checks and balances.   I’d definitely put this under the heading of tyranny by a slight majority. It seems many of them were making protest votes and are now shocked to see what happened.

This should be a lesson to our voters.This was crude nationalism, populism, xenophobia, and the kind of provincialism that one finds in backwaters in our country.

Older Brits may hate the Germans still and dealing with their remains of the empire, but the same folks that voted for it are likely the ones that will be hit hardest. They will be the first on unemployment lines and the first with pension cuts. This also eliminates opportunity for young people.

So, let me get some links for you to read. I’ll try to break this up into several posts because it’s a huge deal.images (16)

First, let me say that the happiest about this are right wing nationalists. They are likely partying like it’s 1939.

Europe’s far-right parties have rejoiced at the UK’s vote to leave the European Union, hailing it as a victory for their own anti-immigration and anti-EU stances and vowing to push for similar referendums in countries such as France, the Netherlands and Denmark.

France’s Front National (FN) hailed Brexit as a clear boost for Marine Le Pen’s presidential bid next spring, as well as a move that gave momentum to the party’s anti-Europe and anti-immigration line.

“Victory for Freedom! As I have been asking for years, we must now have the same referendum in France and EU countries,” Le Pen wrote on Twitter.

The markets reacted immediately with the first blow felt in Tokyo. I’ve been doing stuff in finance and banking since 1980 and I’ve never seen anything like this.

It’s certainly possible that markets will calm down overnight and throughout the weekend — no one can promise to offer an accurate forecast — but immediate signs from across the world were alarming.

Here are five glaring alarm signs:

1. The Bloomberg terminal screen perhaps offers the world’s first broadest reaction to the news, and it was flashing red all over with headlines early Friday morning. The screen noted heavy losses across Asian stock markets, while also noting that foreign currencies were strengthening against the British pound. Yields on U.S. Treasuries were falling, a sign of a flight to safety among investors.

2. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index, which has held up in the face of worries about Brexit in recent weeks, appeared primed for deep declines Friday. At half past midnight, S&P futures, which are traded throughout the night, were down 5 percent.

You can follow the link to WAPO to view the rest.  It’s very unsettling to see that red screen on the Bloomberg terminal. That’s the alerts of severe market moves.  Those things replaced ticker tapes back in my day and this is nothing you ever want to see. The Asian markets melted down immediately and trade was halted on all things UK and many things after that.

This morning, PM David Cameron resigned.  He’s been a bit of a trainwreck so that’s mixed news.  The problem is that the reins of government may go to the folks most avid about Brexit.

The prime minister’s team were left shocked and distraught by the narrow win for leave, with 52% of the vote, after polls had suggested a move towards a comfortable margin for remain in the final few days of campaigning.

In the statement announcing his intention to step down, Cameron highlighted the key achievements of his premiership, including rebuilding the economy after the financial crisis and legislating to allow gay marriage.

The process of choosing his successor will now begin, with Tory MPs selecting a two-person shortlist, which will then be presented to the party’s members in the country to make a final decision.

Cameron called the referendum as a calculated gamble, aimed at silencing the Eurosceptics in his own party for a generation.

Yet he had underestimated the backing Vote Leave would receive on his own backbenches; and reckoned without the charismatic and popular former mayor of London, Boris Johnson, becoming its figurehead.

Johnson, whose support among the Tory membership shot up after he declared himself for out, is now widely seen as the most likely successor to the prime minister.

The former mayor of London insisted on Friday there was “no need for haste” in negotiating Britain’s exit. Speaking at Vote Leave’s headquarters, Johnson struck a statesmanlike tone, paying tribute to Cameron’s leadership. “This does not mean that the UK will be in any way less united; nor indeed does it mean that it will be any less European,” he said.

united-kingdom-queen.jpg.adapt.945.1A lot of the vote had to do with the mass migration of folks into the UK which is why tanking the EU has always been favored by nationalists through out Europe.  It helped the economy a lot but as usual, nervous provincial white folks panic at the sight of diversity and populist politicians use their angst.  But this is a double edge sword because younger Brits will not have the opportunities they used to which could take them outside the island itself.

The force that turned Britain away from the European Union was the greatest mass migration since perhaps the Anglo-Saxon invasion. 630,000 foreign nationals settled in Britain in the single year 2015. Britain’s population has grown from 57 million in 1990 to 65 million in 2015, despite a native birth rate that’s now below replacement. On Britain’s present course, the population would top 70 million within another decade, half of that growth immigration-driven.

British population growth is not generally perceived to benefit British-born people. Migration stresses schools, hospitals, and above all, housing. The median house price in London already amounts to 12 times the median local salary. Rich migrants outbid British buyers for the best properties; poor migrants are willing to crowd more densely into a dwelling than British-born people are accustomed to tolerating.

This migration has been driven both by British membership in the European Union and by Britain’s own policy: The flow of immigration to the U.K. is almost exactly evenly divided between EU and non-EU immigration. And more is to come, from both sources: Much of the huge surge of Middle Eastern and North African migrants to continental Europe since 2013 seems certain to arrive in Britain; as Prime Minister David Cameron likes to point out, Britain has created more jobs since 2010 than all the rest of the EU combined.

The June 23 vote represents a huge popular rebellion against a future in which British people feel increasingly crowded within—and even crowded out of—their own country: More than 200,000 British-born people leave the U.K. every year for brighter futures abroad, in Australia above all, the United States in second place.

The weird thing is that one of the biggest pushers of BREXIT–the head of the Independent Party–now announces his regrets for images (17)mentioning a few things in his fervor to get the vote.  WTF?

 As Britain awoke on Friday to the news that it had voted in favor of withdrawing from the European Union, voters were introduced to their new reality with a stunning admission from Nigel Farage, the pro-Brexit advocate who leads the U.K. Independence Party. Farage said that the Vote Leave campaign’s signature pledge—that leaving the European Union would allow for £350 million to be spent on the U.K.’s National Health Service—was a “mistake.”
Farage’s mea culpa was made during an appearance on Good Morning Britain, where he was asked if he could continue supporting that promise after the campaign to extract the United Kingdom from the European Union had succeeded.
“No I can’t, and I would have never made that claim,” Farage said. “It was one of the mistakes I think the ‘leave’ campaign made”
These guys are backing off promises faster than anything leaving only completely happy folk in the nation’s right wing.  (Trigger Warning: Nile Gardiner, Randian twit of the year.)

Northern Ireland voted to remain in the EU; Scotland voted overwhelmingly to remain. England drove this result, andspecifically Little England—the older, whiter areas outside the big cities. The Leave campaign might have paid superficial lip service to the idea of a global Britain with more room for Bangladeshi immigrants, but make no mistake: this was a racist campaign that ended up causing both death and disaster.

The world’s bond markets (and, even more, its foreign-exchange markets) tell you everything you need to know about the financial implications of this vote: recession in the UK, quite possibly recession in Europe, and extremely nasty spillover effects in the rest of the world, including the U.S. The small-minded burghers of rural England have managed to destroy trillions of dollars of value globally, including to their own investments, pension plans, and housing values. And things will get worse before they get worse: it’s going to take a while for all the subsequent shoes to drop.

Make no mistake, the forces set in motion by this vote will not end here. France and Spain will want their own referendums; so will Scotland. Northern Ireland—the only part of the UK which has a land border with another EU country—will request and probably receive a referendum on whether it should just rejoin the Republic of Ireland, and Europe.

Britain has been in many ways the most unambiguous winner of the European project: it received all the advantages of free trade with an enormous economic bloc, while also having a floating currency instead of one which was pegged mercilessly to how things were going in Germany. The British vote will embolden demands across Europe for similar votes, many of which will have the same result. This is, in other words, the beginning of the end of Europe as we know it.

This vote is also the grimmest of reminders of the power still held by the older generation, not only in the UK but around the world. Young Britons—the multicultural generation which grew up in and of Europe, the people who have only ever known European passports—voted overwhelmingly to remain. They’re the generation that just lost its future. Meanwhile, Britons over the age of 65, fed a diet of lies by a sensationalist UK press, voted by a large margin to leave. Most of them did so out of a misplaced belief that doing so might reduce immigration, or make them better off, or save them from meddling bureaucrats. In a couple of decades, most of those voters will be dead. But the consequences of their actions will resonate far beyond the grave.

In calling this vote, David Cameron has opened up a true Pandora’s Box. The forces of narrow-minded nationalism have tasted a major victory; they will want more, much more. The economic malaise that has beset all of Europe for the past decade will work in their favor, as will the growing inequality that can be seen in almost every country worldwide. International institutions like the European Union, born of an idealistic belief in peace and prosperity, have become avatars of unaccountable power, and are much loathed by the suffering European middle classes.

The result is that we are now entering a world in retreat from progress, a world of atavistic nationalisms and mutual distrust, a world in which we demonize foreigners and prefer walls to bridges.

This also means–despite the polls–we should still take Donald Trump seriously.  There are similar vibes afoot here.

On both sides of the Atlantic, political establishments and the elites have found themselves on the defensive. Rising resentment over the fallout from globalization and the effects of the financial collapse of 2008, which has widened the gap between the rich and everyone else, has divided voters in Britain and the United States.

Added to that are emotional issues of national and cultural identity at a time of growing demographic diversity, highlighted in both countries by often-angry debates over immigration. Both Trump and those pushing for Britain to leave the European Union have found the immigration issue to be their most potent political weapon.

Trump’s slogan, “Make America Great Again,” could easily have been adapted to the messaging of those in the “leave” campaign across the pond. Here, that desire for a return to an earlier time — to make Britain great again — is expressed through the issue of control.

I intend to follow Paul Krugman as closely as possible on this.  The other person you should listen to is Andrew K Rose if he speaks out at images (18)all.  Krugman’s column today is  good read.

Well, that was pretty awesome – and I mean that in the worst way. A number of people deserve vast condemnation here, from David Cameron, who may go down in history as the man who risked wrecking Europe and his own nation for the sake of a momentary political advantage, to the seriously evil editors of Britain’s tabloids, who fed the public a steady diet of lies.

That said, I’m finding myself less horrified by Brexit than one might have expected – in fact, less than I myself expected. The economic consequences will be bad, but not, I’d argue, as bad as many are claiming. The political consequences might be much more dire; but many of the bad things I fear would probably have happened even if Remain had won.

Start with the economics.

Yes, Brexit will make Britain poorer. It’s hard to put a number on the trade effects of leaving the EU, but it will be substantial. True, normal WTO tariffs (the tariffs members of the World Trade Organization, like Britain, the US, and the EU levy on each others’ exports) are low and other traditional restraints on trade relatively mild. But everything we’ve seen in both Europe and North America suggests that the assurance of market access has a big effect in encouraging long-term investments aimed at selling across borders; revoking that assurance will, over time, erode trade even if there isn’t any kind of trade war. And Britain will become less productive as a result.

But right now all the talk is about financial repercussions – plunging markets, recession in Britain and maybe around the world, and so on. I still don’t see it.

He’s done some pretty horrifying back of the envelop number krunching that you may meditate on for awhile.  Just be very glad you don’t have to buy anything in pounds sterling.  Europe looks pretty bad, has for some time, and will have ongoing issues. This just kind’ve hastens the problems and yes, Angel Merkel needs to do some penitence. England, however, they just dove into the abyss.  For the first time in my life, I am glad I don’t live there.

So, we can discuss this and I can try to answer questions. Frankly, this is all new even to those of of us that study currency unions and trade arrangements.  Generally speaking, shutting oneself off from one’s neighbors tends to lead to nasty things.  That’s why I can’t decide if I should party likes it’s 1929 or 1939.  Let’s watch to see what the Central Banks and the World Bank do. That should give us some clues.

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?