Lazy Saturday Reads: Families Belong Together

Good Morning!!

Today, while Trump plays golf and plots his takeover of the Supreme Court, tens of thousands of Americans will be marching against his evil fascist policy of separating children from their parents and locking them in cages. If you’re going to a march, I’ll be there with you in spirit.

They are even having a rally in Antler, North Dakota, population 28.

The largest one is expected to be in Washington D.C.

The Washington Post: Tens of thousands expected to protest Trump’s immigration policy during Washington rally.

It took 13 days to organize Saturday’s demonstration against the Trump administration’s “zero-tolerance” immigration policy and the detention of children and families. It was the fastest that organizers could patch something together.

They guessed about 5,000 people would attend.

The National Park Service is now prepared for 10 times that — 50,000 people — to rally outside the White House and march on the Department of Justice, according to a permit issued this week. Demonstrators will demand an end to family detentions and the reunification for at least 2,500 children separated from their parents at the country’s southern border.

Several speakers, including Lin-Manuel Miranda, the creator of “Hamilton,” and actors America Ferrera and Diane Guerrero, will take the stage at Lafayette Square to kick off the protest, which begins at 11 a.m. People who have lived through the Holocaust, Japanese internment camps and Trump’s family separation policy are expected to speak.

About 750 similar protests have been planned throughout the country in every state, from big cities such as New York and Los Angeles to tiny ones such as Antler, N.D., population 28.

“This moment is an inspiring reminder that the majority of this country is appalled at what’s being done in our name,” said Anna Galland, executive director of MoveOn.org, which is co-sponsoring the event. “This is absolutely bigger than politics. This is about right and wrong.”

The Trump administration is now claiming they can hold families in detention centers for as long as they want to. NBC News: Trump administration says it will detain migrant families for as long as it takes to prosecute them.

The Justice Department urged a federal judge Thursday to let the government detain migrant families for long periods, a critical part of President Donald Trump’s plan for ending the practice of separating children from their parents at the border.

“The emergency currently existing on the Southwest border requires immediate action,” said the government’s filing, asking the court “to help address this urgent problem.”

Since 1997, an order from a federal district judge in California has set limits on how long children can be detained by immigration authorities. Originally intended to protect only unaccompanied minors, it was amended in 2015 to cover children held with their parents. Under the order, children must generally be moved to an approved facility for minors within 20 days.

As long as that limit remains in force, Justice Department lawyers said, the government must either separate the child from the parents or release the family members while they wait for their immigration hearing. But release is not a desirable option, the government said, because many families fail to show up for their hearings and simply remain in the country illegally.

I don’t think that’s going to go over too well with the judge or the attorneys defending Flores decision. I’m surprised more Justice Department lawyers haven’t resigned rather than defend Trump’s evil policy.

Meanwhile, women are facing a fight to save our rights to control our own bodies. Rebecca Traister at The Cut: Summer of Rage. White men are the minority in the United States — no wonder they get uncomfortable when their power is challenged.

It shouldn’t have been such a shock. After all, many of those most painfully poleaxed by the news of Anthony Kennedy’s retirement on Wednesday were the same ones who’d always understood the stakes; we knew that this was the risk, we’ve been scared for a long time. We knew that if it hadn’t been Kennedy it would have been Ginsburg or Thomas, and that it may still be. Yet there we were. Panicking. Nauseated. Heads and hearts pounding. Reminded, once again, that this country, our purported representative democracy, is ruled by a powerful minority population.

This too has been clear for a long time: that protecting the influence of that ruling minority — white men — has been the national priority from the country’s very founding. But these days, it’s easy to feel it in a way that underlines why we say that power is in someone’s grip: because the sensation on Wednesday was of just that, a grip so tight and unyielding that all the breath was being squeezed out.

Democrats have won the popular vote in four of five of the elections held since 2000, yet have only occupied the White House for two terms. Meanwhile, Republicans, as Jonathan Chait wrote Wednesday, are “increasingly comfortable with, and reliant on, countermajoritarian power.” Of course, as Chait outlines in his column, the Electoral College was intentionally designed to empower a minority: those in less populous areas of the country who wanted to protect the institution of slavery. The documents that encoded the participatory democracy of which Americans tend to be so proud expressly barred the electoral, civic, and economic participation of the nonwhite and the non-male.

White men are at the center, our normative citizen, despite being only around a third of the nation’s population. Their outsize power is measurable by the fact that they still — nearly 140 years after the passage of the 15th Amendment, not quite 100 years after the passage of the 19th Amendment, and more than 50 years after the passage of the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts — hold roughly two-thirds of elected offices in federal, state, and local legislatures. We have had 92 presidents and vice-presidents. One-hundred percent of them have been men, and more than 99 percent white men.

But it’s not just in the numbers; it’s also in the quotidian realities of living in this country. The suffocating power of our minority rule is evidenced by the fact that we’re always busy worrying about the humanity — the comfort and the dignity — of white men, at the same time discouraging disruptive challenge to their authority.

Read the rest at the link above. It’s powerful–especially her defense of Maxine Waters and her condemnation of Chuck Shumer, Nancy Pelosi, and Bernie Sanders for trying to silence her.

This piece at Slate expresses what many of us are feeling right now: The America We Thought We Knew Is Gone, by Lili Loofbourow

Because countries are not people, it’s tricky to translate whatever “loving one’s country” means—it’s quite abstract—into the language of heartbreak. It sounds melodramatic. What can heartbreak mean as a civic matter? And yet it is what I feel.

A corrupt but weak president—this has been my comfort, his weakness—has been given a gift that will make him strong. After upholding the travel ban, weakening labor unions, and allowing crisis pregnancy centers to misrepresent themselves to women seeking help, Justice Anthony Kennedy announced he was retiring before the midterm elections. That decision empowers a reality-television star who lost the popular vote by millions to reform the Supreme Court for at least a generation—a court that rather than rebut his claim to power has affirmed it. In his own branch, he asked James Comey for a loyalty oath and lamented not getting one from Jeff Sessions, whom he has repeatedly condemned for recusing himself in the Russia investigation, saying he never would have hired him as attorney general had he known. There is every reason to think he will do the same for a Supreme Court nominee. When Neil Gorsuch—who took the seat Mitch McConnell withheld from Merrick Garland—seemed to distance himself from the man who offered him the robes, Donald Trump reportedly considered pulling the nomination. Trump has said he will pardon himself if he needs to, a controversial stance that would likely need approval from the high court. Now he has been given a way to assure it. He holds the power over the person who can rubber-stamp him into invulnerability.

The capitulation of two branches of government to a terrifying third, elected by a minority, is not how our government was envisioned. That is frightening. It is also, depending on the America you want to live in, painful.

The problem isn’t simply that Trump—who styles himself a “law and order” president—values neither: He objected to the Central Park Five’s going free, despite the DNA evidence proving their innocence. He wanted their false imprisonment. It isn’t just that he advocates against due process, tars asylum applicants as criminals, and characterizes even their children as an “infestation.” It isn’t simply that he sees black men as intrinsically guilty, the same as brown refugees. It’s that he shouts about law and order while upholding the immunity of the rich and the cruel: He pardoned Joe Arpaio, who tortured undocumented immigrants in unlivable tent cities he openly called concentration camps, and, in pardoning Dinesh D’Souza, has signaled he will pardon his cronies if they are convicted for illegally helping him.

This is open corruption, and it has been openly embraced.

That fills me with grief, but my grief can’t make it untrue. And if this benthic sadness has any value, it’s that clarity. There is no more equivocating to do. You don’t have to equivocate about Trump’s corruption—or Wilbur Ross’, or Scott Pruitt’s. You don’t have to parse whether a “falsehood” is really a “lie.” It is simply true that the president is corrupt and that his supporters celebrate his corruption. That twisted power has enfeebled the institutions that depend on the very things the president would call weak—honesty and honor and service. As those institutions collapse, so does a polity capable of reasoning without them.

Head over to Slate to read the rest.

That’s all I have. Whatever you do today, may the Goddess be with you. Take care of yourselves.

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Friday Reads: Kompromat AmeriKKKan style

Good Afternoon Sky Dancers!

I seriously do not know how much more of this bulldozing our way of life and our Constitutional Democracy that I can take. I watched Rachel Maddow unfurl the parade of Russian Oligarchs that attended the inauguration. I listened to how bad it’s going with North Korea after that summit which basically was a big splash by a fat orange ass cannonballing into a pool too deep for his bad swimming skills.  It was such a big show of nothingness but propaganda coups for the NK state and its worst human rights record on the planet. They didn’t take KKKremlin Caligula seriously at all.   From CNN: “Satellite images show North Korea upgrading nuclear facility”.  Yeah. Stopped him alright with the talk of a Trump Hotel on NK beaches.

I also watched Malcom Nance refer to him as a Spy Master’s wet dream while outlining all the things he could give away and blow up in Helsinki in a Putin tete a tete. Nance think he’s a willing Russian asset because all of his foreign policy statements or twitters or blurts at rallies are basically kremlin worded and sanctified.  I’ve pretty much accepted that Trump probably wants to dump NATO and start a Dictators club to replace it.

And, I now am of full belief that Trump and the Republican Party used Russian campaign donations and as much dirty tricks as the Russians could muster to stage a coup. Nance believes he’s stoking a civil war now.

This man is stoking civil war, he’s stoking violence

The retirement of Justice Kennedy is just too perfect.  Kennedy just wrote some bizarre narrative on the Muslim ban extolling executive power which was as odd and rambling as his statements the last few days.  He was fully staffed up to go in October.  It was weird even by Republican appointees to SCOTUS weird.

Then, I read this on the NYT: “Inside the White House’s Quiet Campaign to Create a Supreme Court Opening”.  Yeah, yeah, some of it is how things usually work. BUT, anything handled by this White House is always way outsides most boundaries of constitutionality, law, protocol, humanity, etc.  So, I got to this part and gulped.

One person who knows both men says there is an affinity between Mr Trump and Mr Kennedy. This is not obvious at first glance. Mr Kennedy is bookish and abstract, whereas Mr Trump is abrasively direct.

But they had a connection – one Mr Trump was quick to note in the moments after his first address to Congress in February 2017. As he made his way out of the chamber, Mr Trump paused to chat with the justice.

“Say hello to your boy,” Mr Trump said. “Special guy.”

Mr Trump was apparently referring to Mr Kennedy’s son, Justin. The younger Mr Kennedy spent more than a decade at Deutsche Bank, eventually rising to become the bank’s global head of real estate capital markets.

During Mr Kennedy’s tenure, Deutsche Bank became Mr Trump’s most important lender, dispensing well over $1bn (£761m) in loans to him for the renovation and construction of skyscrapers in New York and Chicago at a time when other mainstream banks were wary of doing business with him because of his troubled business history.

About a week before the presidential address, Ivanka Trump had paid a visit to the Supreme Court as a guest of the elder Mr Kennedy. The two had met at a lunch after the inauguration, and Ms Trump brought along her daughter, Arabella Kushner.

Deustche Bank was the only real bank outside Russian mobsters that would touch Trump and his toxic business deals associated with his proclivities to take the money and run via bankruptcies.  It’s also awash with the darkest of dark money.  This 2017 investigative report gives you the idea of the kinds of laundering services they offer. It’s a 2017 BuzzFeed article.

The German giant processed hundreds of millions of dollars of suspicious transactions into the US for a Cyprus bank awash with dirty money linked to the Kremlin, Syrian chemical weapons, organised crime, and ISIS.

You cannot find something Trump does without uncovering about a gazillion Kremlin connections at the same time.    A Josh Marshall writes “As many of you will remember, Deutsche Bank isn’t just any bank.”

As I noted in the first post I wrote about Trump’s ties to Russia and Vladimir Putin back on July 23rd, 2016, by the mid-90s, every major US bank had blackballed Donald Trump. as the Times put it in 2016, “Several bankers on Wall Street say they are simply not willing to take on what they almost uniformly referred to as ‘Donald risk.’” None would do business with him. With one big exception: Deutsche Bank.

Deutsche Bank of course is not actually an American bank. But it has a major business in the US. And it was the bank’s effort to gain a bigger foothold in the US that seems to have been behind the special relationship with Trump.

As The Financial Times put it last year, in the middle 1990s, Deutsche was looking for a foothold in the US and “the bank saw a niche in serving rich developers who had hit a few bumps along the way, such as Harry Macklowe and Ian Bruce Eichner, both celebrated owners and losers of New York real estate.” Donald Trump fit the bill to a tee.

Deutsche also had its own problems with money laundering, particularly money laundering tied to Russia. Days after Trump became President, New York State announced a $425 million fine Deutsche Bank had agreed to pay over a $10 billion Russian money laundering scheme, one of many investigations the bank is still embroiled in.

So, it gets more elucidating after the background.

When I first read the Times story I wasn’t sure whether the younger Kennedy, whose title was Managing Director and Global Head of Real Estate Capital Markets, would have been someone to actually make loans to someone like Trump as opposed to overseeing more complex or synthetic efforts like mortgage backed securities and such. But it turns out he definitely was. The FT says Kennedy was “one of Mr Trump’s most trusted associates over a 12-year spell at Deutsche.” A review of Kennedy’s bio suggests those twelve years were 1997 through 2009 – key years for Trump.

Kennedy was one of the few bankers to accurately predict the 2007/08 mortgage backed securities meltdown and made an astonishing amount of money for Deutsche Bank by shorting mortgages starting in 2006. As Crain’s New York put in 2010, “in just the first half of 2007, [Kennedy’s group’s] bet generated as much as $540 million in revenue for Deutsche Bank as subprime mortgages fell apart, according to Bloomberg News, and the wager proved even more lucrative as the rot spread.”

Kennedy left Deutsche Bank at the end of 2009, apparently because post-financial crisis regs on over-risky bets by banks were making it difficult for him to operate. He left to found LNR Property LLC with partner Toby Cobb, which would become a big player in the distressed-commercial-property space.

Alex Shephard writing for TNR believes “Trump’s relationship with Justice Kennedy sounds shady in this new report”.  I’ll say.

Last year, the Financial Times reported that Kennedy’s son was “one of Mr Trump’s most trusted associates over a 12-year spell at Deutsche.”

Oh, really.

Then, there’s this about a Trump-Kennedy “back channel” from Shane Goldmacher at Politico from a few months back.  Where ever Trump is there are Russians, shady, deals and likely Kompromat.  There’s another son.  Now read this knowing we had a spontaneous outburst the other day about a “Space Force” and reanimating NASA.

One back channel is the fact that Kennedy’s son, Justin, knows Donald Trump Jr. through New York real estate circles. Another is through Kennedy’s other son, Gregory, and Trump’s Silicon Valley adviser Peter Thiel. They went to Stanford Law School together and served as president of the Federalist Society in back-to-back years, according to school records. More recently, Kennedy’s firm, Disruptive Technology Advisers, has worked with Thiel’s company Palantir Technologies.

In fact, during the early months of the Trump administration, Gregory Kennedy has worked at NASA as a senior financial adviser as part of the so-called “beachhead” team. Both Kennedy boys were spotted at the White House last month for the administration’s St. Patrick’s Day celebration (Justice Kennedy is Irish Catholic). In February, Ivanka Trump attended oral arguments of the Supreme Court with her daughter. She was a guest of Justice Kennedy.

The White House has also closely monitored retirement chatter by tapping into the network of former Kennedy clerks, a group that includes Gorsuch himself. Some in the legal world viewed Gorsuch’s selection — he would be the first Supreme Court clerk to serve alongside a former boss — as an olive branch to Kennedy that, should he retire next, his seat would be in reliable presidential hands.

Those close to Trump’s judicial-selection process stress that they’re not pressuring Kennedy to hang up his robe, only seeking to put him at ease.

But as they wait for a decision they cannot control, White House officials have already set in motion plans to fill the more than 100 lower court vacancies, including more than 10 percent of the crucial seats on various U.S. Courts of Appeals, in a bid to tug America’s courts in a more conservative direction for decades to come.

Also, there’s my personal observation that Kennedy–during his announcement–didn’t look like he was all that excited. He looked resigned to it more than into the idea of spending time with the wife and fly fishing or what ever. Don’t forget that hearing yesterday when House Republicans appeared ready to tank Mueller and dump Rosenstein.

A battle has raged for weeks between President Donald Trump’s conservative allies in the House of Representatives and the Department of Justice over documents related to the Russia investigation — egged on by tweets from the president himself.

Now, on Thursday, that battle escalated with a vote by the full House of Representatives on a resolution to insist the DOJ comply with the House subpoenas and other document requests by July 6. The resolution passed along party lines, 226 to 183 votes.

Lawmakers put on hold a contentious House Judiciary hearing with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and FBI Director Christopher Wray — where GOP lawmakers were grilling them about those subpoenas — to take the vote.

The resolution is nonbinding, but it will effectively put every House member on record on where they stand in this feud — with the Justice Department, or with the president and his congressional allies who have tried to discredit special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe.

It could also set up a showdown over the fate of deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein, who oversees Mueller’s investigation, and who Trump has reportedly considered firing.

Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC), the House Freedom Caucus chair leading the charge against the DOJ, said Wednesday that “contempt and impeachment” of Rosenstein “will be in order” if he continues to refuse to hand over documents congressional Republicans want. Republican committee chairs like Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) are also on board, and so far, they’ve been backed by Speaker Paul Ryan too.

The DOJ maintains it is complying with subpoenas, but that it also has an obligation to protectthe ongoing investigation and its confidential sources. That response hasn’t satisfied House leaders — and it plays into the main gist of their allegation, which is that the DOJ and FBI are trying to protect themselves and prevent oversight into potential misconduct.

It was ugly all over.  Democrats have a lot of fronts that have been opened in the war to stop this nasty blend of theocracy and fascism.  HuffPo outlines the current strategy in the Senate to stop Trump’s vile SCOTUS plans.  While the religious nutter base wants to outlaw abortion and stop any more rights headed towards any one but white straight christians, Trump wants a justice that will block any attempts to oust him or jail him. Remember what Roy Cohn taught Trump:  “I don’t want to know what the law is, I want to know who the judge is”.

During a judiciary committee hearing Thursday, Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) noted that a challenge to the investigation could very well end up before the Supreme Court at some point ― potentially creating a conflict of interest for a president who has asked nonpartisan officials for their loyalty.

“If we’re not going to thoroughly discuss what it means to have a president with this ongoing investigation happening, who is now going to interview Supreme Court justices, and potentially continue with his tradition of doing litmus tests, loyalty tests, for that person, we could be participating in a process that could undermine that criminal investigation,” Booker said. “I do not believe this committee should or can in good conscience consider a nominee put forward by this president until that investigation is concluded.”

Trump is moving us closer to his ideas and Putin’s goals of a US Tinpot dictatorship including rewriting the mission statement at the Pentagon.  It’s not so much “to deter” as  “to employ lethal force”.  Trump’s limp dick sure needs  some help thinking it’s strong.

Life in Trump’s American continues to be disheartening.  We know no that they actually started grabbing kids at the border earlier but it was not fully ramped up until recently.

The government was separating migrant parents from their kids for months prior to the official introduction of zero tolerance, running what a U.S. official called a “pilot program” for widespread prosecutions in Texas, but apparently did not create a clear system for parents to track or reunite with their kids.

Officials have said that at least 2,342 children were separated from their parents after being apprehended crossing the border unlawfully since May 5, when the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” policy towards migrants went into effect.

But numbers provided to NBC News by the Department of Homeland Security show that another 1,768 were separated from their parents between October 2016 and February 2018, bringing the total number of separated kids to more than 4,100.

More than 1,000 children were separated between October 2016 and September 2017, and 703 were separated between October 2017 and February 2018, according to DHS.

It’s unclear how many of those 1,768 children were separated after President Donald Trump’s inauguration in January 2017. NBC repeatedly asked DHS for comprehensive data, but the agency declined to provide month-by-month figures, did not provide data prior to October 2016 and did not supply any numbers for March and April 2018.

This is truly outrageous!

You can add crimes against humanity to that list too.  The more you crack the eggs open, the more Russians, dark money, and crimes you find.  I want my country out of this now.

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?

 


Thursday Reads: Dark Days Ahead for America

Moneta Sleet Jr. (American, 1926–1996). Rosa Parks, Dr. and Mrs. Abernathy, Dr. Ralph Bunche, and Dr. and Mrs. Martin Luther King, Jr. leading marchers into Montgomery, 1965, printed circa 1970. Gelatin silver print, 13 3/8 x 10 3/4 in. (34 x 27.3 cm). Saint Louis Art Museum, Gift of the Johnson Publishing Company, 426:1991. © Johnson Publishing Company, LLC

Good Morning!!

As of today, we still live in a constitutional democracy. We cannot know how much longer that will be the case. We can pretty much assume that one of our institutions, the Supreme Court will no longer protect democracy. In fact, Mitch McConnell and Anthony Kennedy may have destroyed the Court as a protector of our democracy forever, or at least for the foreseeable future. We’ll know soon.

Where can non-white, non-male, non-heterosexual Americans turn now for relief? I don’t know, but I do think we must look to the human rights heroes who fought for our rights, especially the women who did so much and yet have been ignored by history: women who worked within a male-dominated system to promote change.

USA Today, February 16, 2018: The unsung heroes of the civil rights movement are black women you’ve never heard of.

On that historic August day in 1963, Martin Luther King Jr. told us his dream. We didn’t get to hear what the women of the civil rights movement dreamed of, because none spoke at length during the official program of the March on Washington.

Daisy Bates

Daisy Bates, a leader in the movement to end segregation in Arkansas and guide for the nine students who integrated Little Rock’s Central High in 1958, gave a brief pledge on Aug. 28, 1963, before the “Tribute to Negro Women Fighters for Freedom,” an addition to the program meant to assuage black women who felt their voices were being marginalized and their contributions overlooked.

The civil rights movement could not have happened without women. They were grassroots organizers, educators, strategists and writers. They built organizational infrastructure, developed legal arguments and mentored young activists. They fought ardently against the forces of racism, but they also battled another form of oppression: sexism.

“There were hundreds of unnamed women who participated in the movement,” said Barbara Reynolds, a journalist and minister whose recordings of King’s wife, Coretta Scott King, are the basis of the activist’s posthumous memoir, My Life, My Love, My Legacy. “It was not just a few leaders — it was women … who really put their mark on history.”

“Dr. King was a chauvinist,” Reynolds said. Men like him “could not assert their manhood in the general society, because they would be killed if they stood up for anything,” so they asserted their masculinity in other ways within their own community.

It was the same uphill battle we are still fighting. Women and minorities are the ones who will be most hurt by what is happening.

We can also look to the suffragettes, the women’s rights activists of the 1960s and 70s, and the women who fought for gay rights even though their efforts were ignored by the men who got the credit.

White male journalists who don’t stand to lose as much are already minimizing the horrors to come. I wonder how they’ll feel when Trump succeeds in cracking down on the press?

Example: Brian Stelter’s response to this tweet by Amy Siskind:

I wonder how he’ll feel when Trump cracks down on the press with help from SCOTUS?

Check this out from Stelter:

Stelter doesn’t even bother to keep up with what’s happening in congressional races. Journalists do nothing but report on DC gossip and White House press releases. For the most part, they simply defenders of the status quo.

Another example: the WaPo’s Aaron Blake working to undermine Democratic arguments for postponing consideration of Kennedy’s replacement.

Blake tries to argue that somehow a presidential election is different from the election of Senators who will advise and consent Trump’s nominee.

The death of the Supreme Court isn’t going to affect people like Stelter and Blake right away, but it’s going to hit women and minorities hard. These journalists simply don’t care about us. What will they do when Trump comes for them? Will they expect us to support them? Of course. And the women who do that work will be ignored by history.

To be honest, we’ve seen in his recent opinions that Kennedy was joining the Court’s “Team Trump” anyway. Dahlia Lithwick writes: Why Anthony Kennedy Gave Up.

Barbara Gittings, mother of the gay rights movment

It was always more fan fiction than reality that Justice Anthony Kennedy was a moderate centrist. Democrats liked to soothe themselves with the story that Kennedy was a moderate because he’d provided the fifth vote to support continued affirmative action, reproductive rights, and gay rights and had strung the left along with the tantalizing promise of someday finding an unconstitutional political gerrymander. But we always knew that Kennedy was a conservative, indeed a very conservative conservative. Recall that in the famous study done in 2008 by Richard Posner and William Landes, “Four of the five most conservative justices to serve on the Supreme Court since the time of Franklin Roosevelt, including [John] Roberts and [Samuel] Alito, are currently sitting on the bench today.” And Kennedy? He was ranked in that study as the 10th most conservative justice in the past century.

To the extent we wrote paeans to Kennedy, it was for his occasional defections in areas that materially affect the lives of millions of people—women, minorities, LGBTQ couples, voters, Guantanamo detainees. And to be sure, each of those votes was well worth it. But we knew that for each such vote, there was a Bush v. Gore, a Citizens United, a Shelby County. And this term ended, perhaps fittingly, with Kennedy voting with the conservatives to hobble public-sector unions, to support mandatory arbitration clauses and voter purges, and to increase the unchecked power of an already imperial presidency. As Richard Hasen noted on Tuesday, Kennedy’s work here was clearly done. His concurrence in the Muslim ban case essentially signaled that Kennedy had all but given up on the notion of the judiciary as a meaningful check on the other two branches. As Hasen correctly called it, that concurrence landed as “a general statement of judicial powerlessness to solve social problems and an abdication of responsibility on the part of the courts to enforce key parts of the Constitution, in favor of a plea for self-restraint on the part of elected officials.” From a man who devoted a career to the proposition that the courts alone could fix things, it sounded in the key of “I’m out.”

British suffragettes Emmeline Pankhurst celebrating with Christabel Pankhurst and others after being released from prison. Photograph: Hulton Getty

There will be myriad theories and hypotheses about why Kennedy all but gave up on his project of centrism, civility, norm preservation, and institutional self-preservation this year. I’ve never heard him speak so eloquently as when he was defending those values and celebrating the extraordinary role American courts and judges have played to foster such values in democracies around the world. One senses in his cri de coeur in NIFLA, Tuesday’s abortion-speech case, that he is viscerally bothered by progressive states like California attempting to be “forward thinking” (read: authoritarian) when it comes to truth in advertising around reproductive options. One senses in his vision of uncivil discourse in the Masterpiece Cakeshop case a growing frustration with what he sees as impolite discussions about religious liberty issues he wanted us to discuss civilly. One senses in his concurrence in the travel ban case a sort of stutter-step apology to “an anxious world” that watches the norms and institutions of constitutional democracy crumble.

Read the rest at Slate.

Also from Slate: So Much for the Institutions, by Yascha Mounk

When Donald Trump was elected, “serious” social scientists argued that the institutions of the American Republic would constrain his power. The more historically literate among them even trotted out a quip Harry S. Truman reportedly made about Dwight D. Eisenhower: “He’ll sit here, and he’ll say, ‘Do this! Do that!’ And nothing will happen. Poor Ike—it won’t be a bit like the Army. He’ll find it very frustrating.”

1960s feminists march for abortion rights

As we now know, it hasn’t quite turned out like that. Though Trump’s White House certainly faced a steep learning curve in its first months—and remains deeply dysfunctional even now—the administration has gradually grown to be surprisingly effective at turning the president’s instincts into public policy. From immigration to trade, and from foreign policy to health care, the past months have brought big and worrying changes.

It is not just that the administration that is proving to be more effective than we might have hoped; it is also that the institutions meant to constrain it are proving far more pliant than we might have feared.

This is obviously true of the Republican Party. At the time of Trump’s election, smart observers debated whether party elites would continue to disdain and regularly oppose the president (as the optimists claimed) or whether Trump would prove capable of building a slate of his own candidates and gradually changing the nature of the party (as pessimists like me feared). The truth turned out to be much more radical than either the optimists or the pessimists predicted: Members of the conservative movement who had spent decades professing their commitment to balanced budgets and constitutional values proved willing to sell out their principles with astounding rapidity.

Read more at the link.

I have to be honest. I’m feeling really destroyed at the moment. Weeks of seeing the government kidnap children and mistreat asylum-seekers have been exhausting. I haven’t cried this much in many years. It has been a struggle just to write this much this morning, and I know it’s not very coherent.

I guess my only message is that women are the ones who are going to have to fight for our rights; what support we get from men is fine, but we are the ones on the firing line. I plan to look to the brave women who came before us–who fought hard for the rights we still have for the moment. For now, I plan to approach this problem the way I have always dealt with problems: read and educate myself.

Here’s a tweet that inspired me a bit this morning:

Let’s support each other Sky Dancers. We are facing dark days, but we are not alone.


Wednesday Reads: Shut up Pelosi and Schumer. I stand with Maxine!

Just going to jump into it today….

That is great, but notice the image that WaPo chose to highlight in the tweet? I don’t know about y’all but I agree with this chick below:

It stinks!

You know what else stinks?

The decisions that came down from SCOTUS yesterday:

We all know that she is right…that dice was rolled when the Republicans refused to allow Obama his choice of Supreme Court Justice.

An update on tRump’s crimes against humanity:

Keep in mind:

One thing I wanted to bring to attention, this clip from last night’s Maddow:

Trump tweet blurt ruins legal defense of his own border policy 

Rachel Maddow points out that Donald Trump’s tweeted criticism of due process for migrants will surely come back to haunt any legal defense of his administration’s defense of his immigration policy.

Yeah, it may be grasping at straws at this point…considering the SCOTUS ruling from yesterday, but she does have a point.

This was another good segment from last night: SCOTUS conservatives repudiate yet echo Korematsu on Muslim ban 

 

One more thing, I am really pissed off about Pelosi and Schumer, their comments regarding “civility” …

It stems from a speech Maxine Waters made last week:

Trump slams Democratic Congresswoman Maxine Waters

Waters, a California Democrat and one of Trump’s fiercest critics, urged supporters in a speech in Los Angeles and during an MSNBC interview on Saturday to call out administration officials as they go about their daily lives.

“If you see anybody from that Cabinet in a restaurant, in a department store, at a gasoline station, you get out and you create a crowd and you push back on them and you tell them they’re not welcome anymore, anywhere,” Waters said at the rally.

She had particular scorn for the White House’s now potentially reversed family-separation policy at the border.

“The people are going to turn on them. They’re going to protest,”​ Waters said on MSNBC. “They’re going to absolutely harass them until they decide that they’re going to tell the president, ‘No I can’t hang with you — this is wrong, this is unconscionable, and we can’t keep doing this to children.​’ ”

​Pelosi, the House Democratic leader, appeared to rebuke Waters on Monday by calling for unity before the midterm elections in November.

“In the crucial months ahead, we must strive to make America beautiful again,” ​Pelosi wrote. “Trump’s daily lack of civility has provoked responses that are predictable but unacceptable. As we go forward, we must conduct elections in a way that achieves unity from sea to shining sea.”

People have a right to call out the tRump administration, for the crimes they are committing. Crimes against humanity…

Here are some thoughts on that:

That opinion piece should be read in full. In response to the recent flurry of public outcries and shaming of tRump admin in restaurants and movie theaters Goldberg writes:

Naturally, all this has led to lots of pained disapproval from self-appointed guardians of civility. A Washington Post editorial urged the protesters to think about the precedent they are setting. “How hard is it to imagine, for example, people who strongly believe that abortion is murder deciding that judges or other officials who protect abortion rights should not be able to live peaceably with their families?” it asked.

Of course, this is not hard to imagine at all, since abortion opponents have assassinated abortion providers in their homes and churches, firebombed their clinics and protested at their children’s schools. The Roman Catholic Church has shamed politicians who support abortion rights by denying them communion. The failure to acknowledge this history is a sign of the reflexive false balance that makes it hard for the mainstream media to grapple with the asymmetric extremism of the Republican Party.

[…]

there’s a moral and psychic cost to participating in the fiction that people who work for Trump are in any sense public servants. I don’t blame staff members at the Virginia restaurant, the Red Hen, for not wanting to help Sanders unwind after a hard week of lying to the public about mass child abuse. Particularly when Sanders’s own administration is fighting to let private businesses discriminate against gay people, who, unlike mendacious press secretaries, are a protected class under many civil rights laws.

Whether or not you think public shaming should be happening, it’s important to understand why it’s happening. It’s less a result of a breakdown in civility than a breakdown of democracy. Though it’s tiresome to repeat it, Donald Trump eked out his minority victory with help from a hostile foreign power. He has ruled exclusively for his vengeful supporters, who love the way he terrifies, outrages and humiliates their fellow citizens. Trump installed the right-wing Neil Gorsuch in the Supreme Court seat that Republicans stole from Barack Obama. Gorsuch, in turn, has been the fifth vote in decisions on voter roll purges and, on Monday, racial gerrymandering that will further entrench minority rule.

All over the country, Republican members of Congress have consistently refused to so much as meet with many of the scared, furious citizens they ostensibly represent. A great many of these citizens are working tirelessly to take at least one house of Congress in the midterms — which will require substantially more than 50 percent of total votes, given structural Republican advantages — so that the country’s anti-Trump majority will have some voice in the federal government.

But unless and until that happens, millions and millions of Americans watch helplessly as the president cages children, dehumanizes immigrants, spurns other democracies, guts health care protections, uses his office to enrich himself and turns public life into a deranged phantasmagoria with his incontinent flood of lies. The civility police might point out that many conservatives hated Obama just as much, but that only demonstrates the limits of content-neutral analysis. The right’s revulsion against a black president targeted by birther conspiracy theories is not the same as the left’s revulsion against a racist president who spread birther conspiracy theories.

Faced with the unceasing cruelty and degradation of the Trump presidency, liberals have not taken to marching around in public with assault weapons and threatening civil war. I know of no left-wing publication that has followed the example of the right-wing Federalist and run quasi-pornographic fantasies about murdering political enemies. (“Close your eyes and imagine holding someone’s scalp in your hands,” began a recent Federalist article.) Unlike Trump, no Democratic politician I’m aware of has urged his or her followers to beat up opposing demonstrators.

Yeah, just go read the whole thing at the link.

More thoughts on this below:

 

Take a look at that thread, it is a long one but worth it.

There was a discussion on this last night on Chris Hays, with Michelle Goldberg, the author of the Op/Ed above. I think what she says and what Jess Mcintosh is on point: ‘Dr. King warned us about people like Chuck Schumer’

Give that video a run through.

And if you don’t think all this crap from Schumer and Pelosi doesn’t matter, think again. Their stance has given power to assholes like this:

 

The only information I could find on any of this Loomer shit was on extreme right wing sites that I refuse to link to…I believe this Loomer woman is connected to James O-Keefe and one of the top crazies among the far “alt-right”neo-nazis.

If you want to see the footage https://  http://www.youtube  .com/watch?v=0tXWfZywXnY

My point is, Schumer and Pelosi are giving Maxine to the right on a silver platter with their bullshit remarks. I say fuck em…

Now the cartoons:

ISIS TOOLS: 06/27/2018 Cartoon by Deb Milbrath

Cartoon by Deb Milbrath - ISIS TOOLS

SHOE PROCESS: 06/25/2018 Cartoon by Deb Milbrath

Cartoon by Deb Milbrath - SHOE PROCESS

lock THEM up: 06/22/2018 Cartoon by Deb Milbrath

Cartoon by Deb Milbrath - lock THEM up

Child “Care”: 06/20/2018 Cartoon by Deb Milbrath

Cartoon by Deb Milbrath - Child "Care"

Clay Bennett editorial cartoon: 06/26/2018 Cartoon by Clay Bennett

Cartoon by Clay Bennett - Clay Bennett editorial cartoon

06/27/2018 Cartoon by Jimmy Margulies

Cartoon by Jimmy Margulies -

Bruce Plante Cartoon: POTUS and SCOTUS: 06/27/2018 Cartoon by Bruce Plante

Cartoon by Bruce Plante - Bruce Plante Cartoon: POTUS and SCOTUS

06/26/2018 Cartoon by Joe Heller

Cartoon by Joe Heller -

Un-American Invasion: 06/27/2018 Cartoon by Jen Sorensen

Cartoon by Jen Sorensen - Un-American Invasion

Americans Separated From Their Decency: 06/20/2018 Cartoon by Jen Sorensen

Cartoon by Jen Sorensen - Americans Separated From Their Decency

06/27/2018 Cartoon by Gustavo Rodriguez

Cartoon by Gustavo Rodriguez -

06/26/2018 Cartoon by Gustavo Rodriguez

Cartoon by Gustavo Rodriguez -

Due Process: 06/26/2018 Cartoon by Adam Zyglis

Cartoon by Adam Zyglis - Due Process

06/26/2018 Cartoon by Jimmy Margulies

Cartoon by Jimmy Margulies -

Far From the Border: 06/22/2018 Cartoon by Rob Rogers

Cartoon by Rob Rogers - Far From the Border

06/20 Mike Luckovich. Caged.

 

0622 Mike Luckovich. She’ll turn up.

0624 Mike Luckovich: Kitten savior

06/27 Mike Luckovich: Wake me up.

06/26 Mike Luckovich: How cruel.

 

I will end it with that…this is an open thread.


Tuesday Reads

Good Afternoon!!

Depressing news . . . the Supreme Court has upheld Trump’s anti-Muslim travel ban. Talking Points Memo:

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 Tuesday morning to uphold the most recent iteration of President Donald Trump’s ban on immigrants and refugees from Libya, Iran, Somalia, Syria, Yemen, North Korea, Venezuela and Chad, rebuffing challengers’ arguments that the President’s policy was motivated by the racial animus toward Muslims that he repeatedly expressed in campaign speeches and on social media.

Writing for the court’s conservative majority, Chief Justice John Roberts says Trump acted well his authority as president to deny a “class of aliens” the right to travel and immigrate to the United States.

The Constitution’s section on the executive branch’s national security powers, he writes, “exudes deference to the President in every clause. It entrusts to the President the decisions whether and when to suspend entry, whose entry to suspend, for how long, and on what conditions.

The majority decided that Trump’s bigoted attacks on Muslims were irrelevant.

Ginsburg, Kagan, Sotomayor, and Breyer dissented. So it’s looking like Anthony Kennedy will be siding with the right wingers from now on. Sotomayor wrote a powerful dissent, which you can read in full on Twitter. Click to read the rest of the thread.

Another depressing decision reported by NBC News: Supreme Court says California abortion notice law likely unconstitutional.

In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court on Tuesday declared probably unconstitutional a California law that required religiously affiliated pregnancy centers to inform clients about the availability of state-funded services for terminating a pregnancy.

The decision was a victory for a religious group representing church-run crisis pregnancy centers that claimed the requirement violated the First Amendment’s guarantee of free expression by forcing them to convey a message they strongly oppose.

California’s Reproductive FACT Act required licensed medical centers to post a notice advising women about the availability of state-funded programs that provide family planning services including contraceptives and abortion. Non-medical facilities are required to display notices explaining that they are not licensed and cannot provide medical services.

The religiously affiliated centers — around 300 in the state — support childbirth by encouraging women to opt for parenting or adoption. They provide vitamins, diapers, and baby clothes. Some offer ultrasound images. Forcing them to post the notices, they argued, amounted to government-compelled speech.

Yet, Republicans have passed laws that actually force doctors to lie to their patients about the safety risk and psychological impacts of abortions!

The Red Hen restaurant in Lexington, VA

Also depressing . . . over the past couple of days since Sarah Huckabee Sanders was politely asked to leave a Virginia restaurant, Trumpists–with the wholehearted support of the mainstream media and even some Democrats–have managed to change the immigration narrative from desperate parents being separated from their traumatized children to concern trolling about “civility” in public discourse.

The entire argument is complete bullshit, but the media eagerly goes along with it–Trump and the Republicans may make blatantly racist statements as much as they like, and Democrats must always err on the side of being “polite” and subservient. I’ll just quote the one I liked best.

Hamilton Nolan at Splinter: This Is Just the Beginning.

Do you think that being asked to leave a restaurant, or having your meal interrupted, or being called by the public is bad? My fascism-enabling friends, this is only the beginning.

One thing that people who wield great power often fail to viscerally understand is what it feels like to have power wielded against you. This imbalance is the source of many of the most monstrous decisions that get made by powerful people and institutions. The people who start the wars do not have bombs dropped on their houses. The people who pass the laws that incarcerate others never have to face the full force of the prison system themselves. The people who design the economic system that inflicts poverty on millions are themselves rich. This sort of insulation from the real world consequences of political and economic decisions makes it very easy for powerful people to approve of things happening to the rest of us that they would never, ever tolerate themselves. No health insurance CEO would watch his child die due to their inability to afford quality health care. No chickenhawk Congressman will be commanding a tank battle in Iran. No opportunistic race-baiting politician will be shunned because of their skin color. Zealots condemn gay people—except for their own gay children. The weed-smoking of young immigrants should get them deported—but our own weed-smoking was a youthful indiscretion. Environmentalist celebrities fly on carbon-spouting private jets. Banks make ostentatious charity donations while raking in billions from investments in defense contractors and gun manufacturers and oil companies. This is human nature. It is very, very easy to do things that hurt others as long as those same things benefit, rather than hurt, you. Self-justification is a specialty of mankind….

“With great power comes great responsibility.” That is the basic idea underlying noblesse oblige, and though noblesse oblige itself is not as good as equality, it looks fantastic compared to what we have today. Today, we have an ignorant billionaire narcissist leading our government, a man surrounded by a pack of enablers who by now have clearly demonstrated that no amount of racism or xenophobia or lies or warmongering or outright corruption will dissuade them from helping the boss do what the boss wants to do. Rather than detail a laundry list of all the Trump outrages, I ask you simply to consider all of the very real human costs that those outrages have already inflicted on human beings in America and abroad. Some of those outrages, like ripping families apart at the border, show their costs immediately; others, like eschewing the fight against climate change and neutering the EPA and mainstreaming white nationalist ideas, will be manifesting their costs for many decades to come. But the costs are real. We are the ones who are suffering and will suffer them. By and large, the people responsible for these decisions will be wealthy and famous and powerful enough to insulate themselves from those costs. Unless we decide to see to it that they must face them.

Please go read the rest. It’s powerful. A few more to check out:

Charles Pierce at Esquire: The Civility Debate Has Reached Peak Stupidity.

Michelle Goldberg at The New York Times: We Have a Crisis of Democracy, Not Manners.

Vox: Sarah Sanders and the failure of “civility.”

Brian Beutler at Crooked: Shame the Trumpers.

Some good news on the Sarah Sanders front though–it appears Trump is tiring of her. The New York Times notes that Trump waited a long time before defending Sanders on Twitter and that he is beginning to question her job performance.

Even as her vigorous defenses of the president’s misstatements and her own obfuscations during White House briefings have eroded her public credibility, her stock with Mr. Trump has begun to sink.

In recent days, Mr. Trump has asked people privately what they think of Ms. Sanders — an indication, they say, that the press-obsessed president has begun souring on her. He has also told her, before she heads out to the lectern in the briefing room, that he is “going to grade” her televised performances. (People who have heard Mr. Trump make the threat say it is in jest.)

Ms. Sanders has been under a more watchful eye from her boss since the White House Correspondents’ Dinner on April 27, when she remained in her seat during a scathing roasting from a comedian who called her a liar. Mr. Trump has told people in the West Wing that he thought Ms. Sanders should have walked out, as another White House official, Mercedes Schlapp, chose to do in a showy display.

Read more at the NYT.

Bloomberg has an update on the Russia investigation: Mueller Poised to Zero In on Trump-Russia Collusion Allegations.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller is preparing to accelerate his probe into possible collusion between Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and Russians who sought to interfere in the 2016 election, according to a person familiar with the investigation.

Mueller and his team of prosecutors and investigators have an eye toward producing conclusions — and possible indictments — related to collusion by fall, said the person, who asked not to be identified. He’ll be able to turn his full attention to the issue as he resolves other questions, including deciding soon whether to find that Trump sought to obstruct justice.

The rest of the article is just a list of all the Trump associates who have been shown to have Russia ties, but it’s a pretty impressive summary–worth reading.

If you watched Rachel Maddow’s show last night, you know that MNBC now has video from inside a New York City shelter for immigrant children, many of who have been taken away from their parents. The footage was given to Michael Avenatti by a whistleblower, and he says he has more.

Watch the video at MSNBC if you missed it. Also, Reveal (from the Center for Investigative Reporting) has a follow up to their story on immigrant children being given anti-psychotic drugs: Doctor giving migrant kids psychotropic drugs lost certification years ago.

The psychiatrist who has been prescribing powerful psychotropic medications to immigrant children at a federally funded residential treatment center in Texas has practiced without board certification to treat children and adolescents for nearly a decade, records show.

On the Texas Medical Board’s website, though, Dr. Javier Ruíz-Nazario reported he had that specialized certification for treating children and adolescents. However, according to the website, he has not yet updated the board on the status of this board certification as required by its rules.

Ruíz-Nazario’s name appears on various court documents that allege troubling practices at the Shiloh Treatment Center south of Houston, including affidavits in class-action settlement motions in which children claim they were tackled and injected and forced to take pills identified as vitamins that made them dizzy and drowsy.

Many of the records specifically name Ruíz-Nazario as the doctor who prescribed the medication.

So . . . what else is happening? What stories are you following today?


Monday Reads: Bonfire of the Insanities

One of the “The Eight Omens” of the fall Aztec Emipire

Good Morning Skydancers!

I’m going to do my economist thing today because, my family, I think you need to know that the last year has been about taking actions that will blow things up. It’s true for the economy too. There have been so many bad economic policies coming out of this regime that it’s truly hard to figure out the extent things will be blowing up but it’s already starting. I feel like I’m continually delivering dismal news but forewarned is forarmed. Praemonitus praemunitus–the original Latin form–is actually the motto of the United States Army Security Agency. That seems oddly prescient.

Here’s the list of omens that I’ve been keeping track of the coming economic crash. I live in ground zero. We haven’t recovered from Jindal’s terrible policies yet. The Port of New Orleans and other port cities are going to lose a lot of business.

‘China is slamming $34 billion worth of US goods with tariffs. Here are the states that will be hurt the most.’

The states that exported more than $1 billion worth of tariff-eligible goods to China in 2017 were Texas, Louisiana, Washington, California, Alabama, South Carolina, Illinois, and Kentucky.

Another one of the “The Eight Omens” of the fall Aztec Emipire

Southeast Missouri nail company gets hammered by Trump’s tariffs

President Trump’s tariff on steel imports that took effect June 1 has caused a southeast Missouri nail manufacturer to lose abo9ut 50% of its business in two weeks. Mid Continent Nail Corporation in Poplar Bluff – the remaining major nail producer in the country – has had to take drastic measures to make ends meet. The company employing 500 people earlier this month has laid off 60 temporary workers. It could slash 200 more jobs by the end of July and be out of business around Labor Day.

Arkansas Farm Bureau president “concerned” with soybean prices because of Chinese tariffs’

Since China proposed tariffs on soybeans following president trump’s announced tariffs on Chinese goods, the price of soybean bushels have dropped 20 percent.

For farmers in Arkansas, that’s something that could mean the end of their business.

Arkansas Farm Bureau President Randy Veach says it’s something he’s keeping an eye on. “We’re concerned, of course,” Veach said.

Being a soybean farmer himself, when he saw China was placing a tariff on United States soybeans, the market dropped the value of that crop to around nine dollars a bushel, putting Arkansas farmers in a difficult spot.

“They actually buy 60 percent of all the soybeans that’s traded around the globe,” Veach said. “We can’t make a profit at that low of a price.”

Bernhard Rode 1768-69 An augur explains Numa Pompilius after the oracle of bird flight to the king .

‘Double whammy: U.S. pork, fruit producers brace for second wave of Chinese tariffs’

U.S. producers of pork, already saddled with duties enacted in an earlier round of the escalating trade dispute with China, are bracing for further pain after Beijing hit the products with additional tariffs due to come into effect next month.

China implemented a 25 percent duty on most U.S. pork items on April 2, and a 15 percent tariff on a range of fruits and nuts, in response to U.S. tariffs on Chinese steel and aluminum products.

Last week it included both categories in a second round of tariffs to be imposed on July 6. No other products have been listed twice.

Pork now faces cumulative import duties of 71 percent, not including value added tax, according to a formula published on the website of China’s finance ministry last week. Cumulative duties on fruit amount to 50 percent.

“The additional tariff will put us out of business,” said Zhong Zheng, founder of China-based Heartland Brothers, which sells U.S.-produced Berkshire pork to Chinese supermarkets and restaurants”

Manuscript of the mid-nineteenth century, possibly of Sgaw Karen origin, shows various appearances in the sun, the moon, clouds, etc., and indicates the primarily bad omens these appearances foretell. Explanations in English were added to this manuscript by a nineteenth-century American missionary

You beginning to see pattern here? And oh, look! We’re exporting jobs to the EU now! You know them! Land of livable wages and benefits?

President Donald Trump’s trade war with the European Union is going to cost Harley-Davidson Inc. as much as $100 million a year and spur a shift of production outside the U.S. at the manufacturer he embraced early in his term.

Each motorcycle shipped to Europe will mean a $2,200 expense because of the EU’s retaliatory tariffs for Trump’s steel and aluminum duties, according to a Monday filing. Passing that on to dealers or customers would cause an “immediate and lasting detrimental impact” on the company’s business in its second-largest market, so it will absorb most of those levies.

While Trump has repeatedly claimed that the U.S. can easily win trade wars, victims are starting to pile up at home and abroad. Daimler AG warned last week that escalating tension between the U.S. and China will impair earnings its Alabama SUV plant and lower profit this year. Harley tied its higher costs to a sequence started by Trump, who praised the company as a model American manufacturer during a February 2017 meeting at the White House.

Examples of omens from the Nuremberg Chronicle (1493): natural phenomena and unnatural births.

So, I wrote about the yield curve looking pretty bad awhile back. It’s really looking bad now. It’s a total harbinger of really nasty recessions.

Some economists on Wall Street think the economy could be growing at around a nearly 5 percent annual clip this quarter. But if the current economic vigor is only reflecting a short-term stimulus coming from the Trump administration’s tax cut, then some kind of slowdown is to be expected.

“It’s very hard to see what’s going to goose the economy further from these levels,” Ms. Gibbs said.

And the financial markets can sometimes sniff out problems with the economy before they show up in the official economic snapshots published on G.D.P. and unemployment. Another notable yield curve inversion occurred in February 2000, just before the stock market’s dot-com bubble burst.

In that sense, the government bond market isn’t alone. Stocks have been in a sideways struggle since the Standard & Poor’s 500 last peaked on Jan. 26. Returns on corporate bonds are negative, as are some key commodities tied to industrial activity.

An important caveat to the predictive power of the yield curve is that it can’t predict precisely when a recession will begin. In the past the recession has come in as little as six months, or as long as two years after the inversion, the San Francisco Fed’s researchers note.

Bayeux Tapestry of Haley’s Comet dates to some time after the Norman Invasion in the 11th century

Oh, and the weird artwork is all stuff related to comprehending ancient omens from the Greeks to the Aztecs to the old Europe. Just in case you wanted to know.

I put up the link to a crazy Washington Examiner bit in the tweet below. Trump and his team of NOT.ONE.REAL.ECONOMISTS. create more fairy tales from Dust. Here’s bull shit from a man that can’t even do high school statistics.

“The U.S. economy is the fastest-growing economy virtually in the whole world,” said Moore, the distinguished visiting fellow with the Project for Economic Growth at the Heritage Foundation. He predicted that when everything is factored in, second-quarter growth will come in just shy of that. He said, “4.5 percent is very plausible for the second quarter, which is a gigantic number.”

He also predicted that the stock market will continue its bullish ways, ignoring naysayers who say that the shallow but long U.S. recovery is about to fade.

“We really haven’t had a recovery,” said Moore, who added, “The economy isn’t running out of gas, it is just starting to rev up.”

That’s a pretty good example of being self-serving and delusional at the same time.

Trump’s policies are basically huge booby traps.

The escalating trade battle between the U.S. and the rest of the world is raising the risk of a meaningful slowing in an otherwise vibrant American economy.

While the tariffs already in place and set to be implemented will barely dent U.S. growth, economists say the panoply of additional measures being considered would take a perceptible bite out of gross domestic product if they go ahead.

“It’s going to be more noticeably painful,” said Peter Hooper, chief economist at Deutsche Bank AG in New York.

Hooper, who expects the economy to expand 3 percent this year, said the steps already taken or in the works would clip just 0.1 percentage point off GDP growth.

Throw in President Donald Trump’s threat to slap a 10 percent tariff on an additional $200 billion of Chinese imports and a 20 percent levy on car shipments from the European Union and the impact grows to 0.3 point to 0.4 point, he said. And the fallout could even be greater if heightened tensions begin to infect consumer, business and investor confidence,

Here are more impacts from bad policy: “Here’s how Trump’s tax law is raising health insurance premiums

Approximately six months ago, Congress passed a tax law designed to benefit corporations and the wealthy while repealing the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate penalty.

Today, we’re already seeing the consequences: Premiums in the individual market are rising, often by double digits. As more and more states hit their deadlines for insurers to file preliminary premium rates, the headlines tell the same story, with average premiums going up by 30 percent in Maryland, 19 percent in Washington, and 24 percent in New York.

This is no surprise — and no accident. The repeal of the mandate penalty was the latest in a long line of actions that the Trump administration has taken to deliberately undermine the ACA marketplaces.
President Trump himself has not exactly been subtle about this, remarking last year that “the best thing we can do politically speaking is let ObamaCare explode.” Similarly, former White House advisor Steve Bannon exclaimed, “That’s going to blow that thing up — gonna blow those exchanges up, right?” when describing Trump’s decision to cancel ACA cost-sharing payments last year.

Congress knew in advance that the individual mandate played an important role in stabilizing the market, and that repealing the mandate penalty would cause premiums to go up. The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office estimated that repealing the mandate penalty would increase individual market premiums by 10 percent on average in 2019.

In fact, Trump’s own former Secretary of Health and Human Services, Tom Price, recently admitted that the repeal “actually will harm the pool in the exchange market because you’ll likely have individuals who are younger and healthier not participating in that market, and consequently that drives up the cost for other folks in that market.”

Lunar eclipse in ancient Rome

From the American Prospect: “Raises and Bonuses: The PR Fraud”

The only problem with the positive new perspective on the GOP tax law created by the flurry of bonus announcements is that it’s wrong. Pelosi was right. While anyone less wealthy than Trump and his cabinet would find an unexpected bonus of $1,000 a welcome surprise, the bonuses were—relatively speaking and in the proper context—crumbs. And they’re crumbs that few workers are actually receiving.

The only way to have figured this out was to cut through the hype and look at the numbers. Americans for Tax Fairness (ATF) did just that, creating a master database documenting bonuses, wage hikes, tax savings, stock buybacks, layoffs, and a half-dozen other indicators of the impact of the Tax Act on business fortunes and behavior. Unlike the simple lists of cheery corporate news collected by Americans for Tax Reform and several other tax-cut boosters, ATF’s presentation is an entire searchable website that makes it easy to compare who—among corporations, their shareholders, and their workers—is actually getting how much.

This is a really long read about both the politics and the sham but it’s worth your time.

Beyond this initial audience of one lay the harder-to-convince American people. And despite the vigor of the corporate public relations campaign meant to woo them, it wasn’t difficult to see it was all an act.

One tip-off was the timing. The rush to distribute bonuses at the end of the year was timed so corporations could write them off at the old, higher tax rate: Employee expenses incurred in 2017 and even into early 2018 could still be deducted against a 35 percent tax rate, more valuable than the 21 percent deduction available under the new law. (Fiscal-year filers could exploit this same tax arbitrage even later in the year, but the advantage wanes the deeper you get into 2018.)

That diminishing tax advantage is one reason the seeming flood of announcements over the winter slowed to a trickle by the spring.

Another signal that we had not in fact reached a new era of broadly shared prosperity was that the vast majority of payouts were one-time bonuses, not permanent wage hikes. More than twice as many workers are getting bonuses as are getting raises. It’s far easier for corporations to withhold future bonuses than to cut their workers’ wages.

The Bean Nighee

So, these one shot blow your wad kind of things just lead to what we’re seeing now. The economy is getting a short term blast of amphetamine. It’s something the Fed won’t allow because these things turn into inflation. The tariffs are essentially tax increases too. The overproduction of agricultural goods that can’t find a market right now will turn into shortages, higher final prices, and failed businesses next season.

The bizarre thing is that the staff of real economists for the CEA are contradicting the Administration’s public narrative. They can do math. But they still spin crap.

A White House economic analysis of President Trump’s trade agenda has concluded that Mr. Trump’s tariffs will hurt economic growth in the United States, according to several people familiar with the research.

The findings from the White House Council of Economic Advisers have been circulated only internally and not publicly released, as is often the case with the council’s work, making the exact economic projections unknown. But the determination comes as top White House officials continue to insist publicly that Mr. Trump’s trade approach will be “massively good for the U.S. economy.”

The chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, Kevin Hassett, an economist who came to the administration from the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank, dodged questions at a White House briefing on Tuesday about whether tariffs would hurt an economy that has accelerated during Mr. Trump’s tenure.

Asked whether the administration’s economists had modeled the impact that a trade war with China would have on the United States economy, Mr. Hassett said Mr. Trump was a great negotiator who would persuade other countries to open their markets to American products.

I’ll end with this.

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?


Sunday Reads: “Cotton-Pickers” and “Baby-Dealers”

 

Have you heard the latest?

Oh, there is always a latest these days…every few hours, someone from tRumpWorld says or does something outrageous, that had the same “thing” been said or done a couple of years ago…would have been cause for resignations, being fired, impeachment, imprisonment…etc.

Think about it…

I watched Tanner 88 last night, a series I had not seen since it came out in 1988. It made me think about the years, 1988, 1998, and 2018.

1988- Gary Hart…Below is an article from 1987…it reads like a pulp fiction piece when you compare it to the scandals from tRump:

The Destruction of Politician Gary Hart | Vanity Fair 

After the crash of his presidential campaign, the smoking pieces of Gary Hart’s life were blown across the front page of every newspaper in America. Gail Sheehy discovered the black box in the wreckage, and has put all the pieces back together. What she found is startling: the world of Donna Rice is much darker than it seemed, and Hart was on a collision course with it all along.

Here is a particular bit to relish:

 I examined Donna’s live-in love affair with a big-time cocaine dealer, who is currently serving ten years in a federal penitentiary. Four of Donna’s friends illuminated the rest of the smoke and mirrors in this high-rolling netherworld. It might be seen as the forbidden picture show to which Hart’s hidden, sybaritic side had always longed for admission. Indeed, it might be one in a dizzying series of mirrors on which, according to a senior political consultant who has known and watched him for over a decade, “Gary Hart has been writing in lipstick for years, ‘Stop me before I fuck again.’ ”

Geez, ‘Stop me before I fuck again.’ Could be the title of tRump’s biography…only perhaps a slight change to, fuck it up again?

 

1998- Bill Clinton…Another look from an article in 1998, yes this one is also from Vanity Fair…keeping with the same magazine for context.

Bill Clinton and Women | Vanity Fair 

When the dust of Clinton’s presidency settles, the laws against sexual harassment will still be on the books. But the social sanctions against the behavior will be irretrievably damaged.If you doubt this, look around. In the weeks that followed the Lewinsky scandal, those who had been most affronted by the awkward new social arrangements lately demanded of them shambled out of their caves to beat their chests. Conservative columnist John Leo, for example, crowed in U.S. News & World Report that the scandal was “probably the decade’s high-water mark of euphoria around the water cooler … a chance to break free from the office sex police.”
It’s all very well to protest that we shouldn’t look to our politicians as role models: the saga of Clinton’s sex life is being played out on too large a screen to ignore. You can say until you’re blue in the face that public men are entitled to a realm of privacy; that certain kinds of bad private behavior do not necessarily conflict with political competence, or even genius; and that adultery is not in itself of feminist concern. These are all irrelevancies. This mess is on our hands, and we do not have the luxury of arguing with its existence; the best we can do is call it what it is.

2018- Donald tRump…Again, from Vanity Fair:

Trump’s Prayer-Day Benediction: Paying Off Porn Stars Totally Normal for “People of Wealth” | Vanity Fair

Why is everyone making such a fuss about something all rich people do?

Last night on Fox News, in an unintentionally hilarious attempt to clear his client‘s name, our man Rudolph W. L. Giuliani informed host Sean Hannity that not only did Donald Trump know about the hush money lawyer Michael Cohen paid porn star Stormy Daniels, but the president repaid the $130,000. In what appeared to be an (unsuccessful) effort to get Trump off for potential campaign finance violations, Giuliani told Hannity that the whole thing was “perfectly legal” because “they funneled it through a law firm, and the president repaid it.” As my colleague Abigail Tracy points out, it doesn’t actually matter where the money came from—Trump’s own pocket, campaign contributions, or elsewhere—or if it was repaid; if, per the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971, the money in question was used “for the purpose of influencing any election for Federal office,” it’s still a crime! Which made Giuliani’s Thursday morning appearance on Fox & Friends slightly problematic, considering he told the group it was a good thing Cohen made the Daniels story “go away,” as it would have been really bad if “that came out on October 15, 2016, in the middle of the last debate with Hillary Clinton.

But hey, we’re not here to debate what is or isn’t a federal crime—we’re here to discuss the social mores of the 1 percent. After Giuliani finished his media blitz, Trump logged onto Twitter to inform his followers that despite how things might look, paying porn stars six figures for their silence is standard operating procedure for the rich.

Gee, the good old days, when news about tRump was just things like paying off porn stars with campaign funds, conspiring with Russia, money laundering etc.

Anyway, that trip down memory lane was brought to you by the little mini-series Tanner 88, made possible from director producer Robert Altman and writer producer Gary Trudeau. Check it out if you can…it is streaming on Filmstruck and Amazon.

Now here are the links for today:

Fox News segment blows up after Trump advisor tells black Democrat he’s ‘out of his cotton-picking mind’

ox News host Ed Henry had to shut down a discussion on President Donald Trump’s immigration policies on Sunday morning when White House adviser David Bossie told a black Democratic consultant that he was out of his “cotton-picking mind.”

During the segment, Democratic communications expert Joel Payne railed at the Trump administration racist policies. The criticism angered Bossie, who also complained about ex-CIA Director Michael Hayden comparing the child detention centers to a Nazi concentration camp.

“Michael Hayden posted a picture of Auschwitz,” Bossie complained.

““Yeah, that liberal Michael Hayden,” Payne shot back, sarcastically referring to the fact that Hayden is a conservative.

“You are out of your cotton-picking mind!” Bossie blurted, causing Payne to blow up.

“Cotton-picking mind?” Payne exclaimed. “Brother, let me tell you something. Let me tell you something, I got some relatives who picked cotton, okay?”

Host Henry tried to take control as the two guests began yelling at each other, with Henry insisting Bossie intended to say “out of your mind,” before he called an end to the panel.

 

Video of “confrontation” can be found here:

Fox’s David Bossie Tells Democrat Joel Payne ‘You’re Out of Your Cotton-Picking Mind’ About Dog Whistles | Mediaite

Ed Henry Apologizes for David Bossie’s ‘Cotton-Picking’ Fox & Friends Remarks: ‘We ‘Don’t Agree With That’ | Mediaite

 

There was another kerfuffle this time between tRump representative, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, and an outraged public, Juan Cole takes a look at it here:

Sarah Sanders complains about not being served in Restaurant after Urging same Treatment of Gays, Immigrants

Sara Sanders complained on Twitter about not being served at the Red Hen restaurant in Lexington, Virginia. WaPo reports that the owner, Stephanie Wilkinson, insisted that patrons uphold standards of honesty and compassion, and that Sanders flacks for an “inhumane and unethical” administration, defending Trump’s “cruelest policies.”

Wilkinson’s grounds for not serving the White House spokesperson amounted to personal indecency. It is important to underline that this is what social scientists call an “achieved” status. The grounds had to do with Sanders’ own record of behavior and character, not with anything arbitrary about her.

In contrast, to achieved status, you have ascribed status. The latter is determined by things people think about your inherited characteristics. Being Black or Latino is an ascribed status. Or your family religion as a Catholic or Jew would be in this category of ascribed. It has to do not with your personal standards of character but with what prejudices people might have toward a whole group, of which you are part by virtue typically of inheritance. Even if you converted to Catholicism, e.g., you are not responsible for what all Catholics might have done or for what fanatic Protestants think about Catholicism.

It is wrong to shun people because of their ascribed status. It isn’t wrong to refuse to associate people because of their achieved status.

Sanders achieved her status as pariah in many quarters by lying assiduously on television for a living– by saying things she knew were wrong and/or untrue.

In contrast, Sanders is an advocate for allowing restaurateurs to discriminate on truly objectionable grounds, of ascribed status.

Read the rest at the link.

In connection with this: Expert: Sarah Sanders broke ethics rules with tweet about restaurant | US news | The Guardian

On Saturday, using her official White House account, Sanders posted: “Last night I was told by the owner of Red Hen in Lexington [Virginia] to leave because I work for POTUS and I politely left. Her actions say far more about her than about me.

“I always do my best to treat people, including those I disagree with, respectfully and will continue to do so.”

Walter Shaub, federal ethics chief under Barack Obama and briefly Trumpand now a fierce critic of the administration, responded: “Sanders used her official govt account to condemn a private business for personal reasons … she can lob attacks on her own time but not using her official position.”

Since when do these people have any shred of ethics?

Case in point, Jeff Flake went on one of the Sunday shows:

Flake: Trump has ‘unfortunately’ redefined Republican Party | TheHill

Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) said Sunday that President Trump has “unfortunately” redefined the Republican Party, and reiterated his calls for the president to face a primary challenge in 2020.

These assholes could do something, but they consistently vote with tRump anyways…fuck them all.

Here is a few other news items:

BNSF: Estimated 230,000 Gallons Of Oil Spilled In Derailment – Talking Points Memo That is a train derailment in Iowa…

Can America’s allies target Trump’s businesses in response to tariffs? – Business Insider

Op-eds in The Houston Chronicle and the Canadian news magazine Maclean’s suggested the only way to quell the rising trade tensions is to strike at Trump’s businesses. While some countries, such as China, have appeared to try and sway the president through treating his family’s businesses more favorably, countries have not made moves to curtail the businesses’ activity within their borders.

[…]

Debbie Shon, an international trade lawyer at Quinn Emanuel and a former official in the US Trade Representative’s office under President Bill Clinton, said that effectively hitting Trump’s businesses using trade actions — while legal — would be difficult.

“Looking at Trump’s businesses, I’m not sure what goods he sells that could be subject to tariffs or how you could use trade actions to hit his businesses unless you really tailored some sort of measure targeting key industries like real estate,” Shon told Business Insider.

That would force any country trying to go after Trump to get creative with their response. Scott Gilmore, a social entrepreneur and former Canadian diplomat, suggested in Maclean’s that Canada should use anti-corruption laws to pressure Trump on trade.

Trump-branded skyscrapers in Toronto and Vancouver represent the president’s most prominent business ventures in the country.

Well, I will leave that one to Dak…

At Midnight, Riyadh Erupts in Cheers for Women Drivers–but Women Activists still in Jail –Another one from Juan Cole, give it a read.

Now some updates on the shit happening at both borders:

Strict immigration enforcement extends beyond the border to Maine, Ohio – Axios

The chaos isn’t just in the Southwest. Increased highway checkpoints and workplace raids away from borders are alarming advocates for immigrants.

The big picture: “For 11 hours on Wednesday, drivers who wanted to travel through a remote stretch of northern Maine were asked a simple question: Where were you born?,” the N.Y. Times reports.

Show less
  • “Border Patrol agents closed off all southbound lanes of Interstate 95 north of Bangor, Me., stopping drivers, searching outside their cars with drug-sniffing dogs and refusing to let them pass until they disclosed their citizenship.”
  • On a cellphone video, a Bangor Daily News reporter was stopped near the lake and lumber town of Lincoln (more than 80 miles from the Canadian border) and told: “If you want to continue down the road, then yes ma’am. We need to know what citizen — what country you’re a citizen of.”
  • I have traveled that stretch of I-95 (all Trump country up there), and the checkpoints have been set up sporadically since 9/11. But they certainly have a different effect in this environment.

More details of other raids at the link.

Boston Boomer linked to this yesterday in the comments: Babies separated from immigrant parents in Miami shelters, lawmaker says | Miami Herald

At least 10 babies and toddlers taken away from their parents after crossing the U.S.-Mexico border are being housed in “tender-age shelters” in Miami-Dade, U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz told the Miami Herald on Saturday.

The Florida lawmaker said the children — who range in age from newborns to 5 year olds — are being sheltered at His House Children’s Home in Miami Gardens and Catholic Charities’ Msgr. Bryan Walsh Children’s Village in Cutler Bay, formerly known as Boys Town.

These facilities are also housing about 88 children ages 6 to 12 who have been separated from their parents, she said.

When the Democratic congresswoman, who represents parts of Miami-Dade and Broward counties, provided the Miami Herald with these figures, she cited a document given to her by federal officials.

It is very disturbing…especially when you consider the other tweet BB linked to, that the children will be adopted out.

 

More lawsuits are being filed against tRump: ‘Not knowing anything about my daughter is torture’: Immigrants separated from children at border file lawsuit in federal court – ABC News

As DHS released a statement: Fact Sheet: Zero-Tolerance Prosecution and Family Reunification | Homeland Security

It says over 500 children have been reunited with their families.

  • CBP has reunited 522 Unaccompanied Alien Children (UAC) in their custody who were separated from adults as part of the Zero Tolerance initiative.  The reunions of an additional 16 UAC who were scheduled to be reunited on June 22, 2018 were delayed due to weather affecting travel and we expect they will all be reunited with their parents within the next 24 hours.  There will be a small number of children who were separated for reasons other than zero tolerance that will remain separated: generally only if the familial relationship cannot be confirmed, we believe the adult is a threat to the safety of the child, or the adult is a criminal alien.

All this as one op/ed calls for asylum: The U.S. Should Grant Asylum To All The Families We Separated | HuffPost

In many countries, when thugs take power, they inflict harm on others. Every person then has a choice to make: join the thugs or refuse to harm others. The morally correct choice is the harder one. The brave ones who refuse to be complicit ― such as my clients from El Salvador, Nepal, Haiti and Cameroon who were asked to make this very choice ― were met with the most dire consequences. If they escape, they forsake all they know in hopes that they will be safer in places unknown.

Clinging to the audacious hope that their children’s lives will be better, families flee to the U.S., the nation whose symbol is a Statue of Liberty and whose laws have welcomed millions seeking refuge.  In the most cruel bait and switch, President Donald Trump ― aided by his attorney general and secretary of homeland security ― took those children away, stripping from their parents the very reason they risked so much.

They say the most unrelenting grief a person can experience is burying their child. Our country has inflicted this kind of pain on desperate parents. The very least we can do is grant them the right to stay here.

 

So, have a good afternoon and evening. This is an open thread.