New Years Eve 2018 Reads: Welcoming the Year of Speaker Nancy Pelosi

Les Fêtes Galantes de Paul Verlaine, illustrations de Georges Barbier, Piazza, 1928

Good Morning Sky Dancers!

We made it through another year of KKKremlin Caligula! This upcoming year may have a lot of surprises and we’re looking forward to them!

Senator Elizabeth Warren officially entered the 2020 Presidential race and joins Beto O’Rouke on Bernie’s Enemy list. How long before he starts his narcissistic zombie sashay to bring down Democratic Candidates all over the country?   Annie LInskey and Matt Viser of WAPO follwed Warren’s announcement of an ‘exploratory committee’.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren jumped into the 2020 presidential campaign Monday, offering a message of economic populism as she became the best-known Democratic candidate yet to enter what is expected to be a crowded race.

Warren’s announcement that she was establishing an exploratory committee — the legal precursor to a run — came as other candidates, including several of her fellow senators, made final preparations for their own announcements, some of which are expected in days.

“America’s middle class is under attack,” the Massachusetts Democrat said in a four-minute, 30-second video emailed to supporters Monday. “How did we get here? Billionaires and big corporations decided they wanted more of the pie. And they enlisted politicians to cut them a bigger slice.”

The video is part biographical, showing her hardscrabble Oklahoma upbringing; part economics lesson, replete with charts illustrating how the middle class is losing economic ground; and part red meat for the Democratic base, with images of President Trump and others disliked by liberals: presidential aides Kellyanne Conway and Stephen Miller and former adviser Stephen K. Bannon.

KASAMATSU — “Night in Summer (Fireworks)”,1957,Nagashima/Saji
(Note: Correct carver’s name should be Okura.)

While I share hard scrabble Oklahoma roots with the candidate, I’m doing my usual thing of waiting until the first debate performance to start winnowing my field.  Here’s an August, 2018 article from The Atlantic you may want to check out by Franklin Foer: ” Elizabeth Warren’s Theory of Capitalism. A conversation with the Democratic senator about why she’s doubling down on market competition at a moment when her party is flirting with socialism.”


Franklin Foer: All the investment bankers who have voodoo dolls of you might be a bit surprised that you recently described yourself as “capitalist to the bone.” What did you mean?

Elizabeth Warren: I believe in markets and the benefits they can produce when they work. Markets with rules can produce enormous value. So much of the work I have done—the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, my hearing-aid bill—are about making markets work for people, not making markets work for a handful of companies that scrape all the value off to themselves. I believe in competition.

Foer: To what end?

Warren: Markets create wealth. Okay, so I used to teach contract law, and if you really want to go back to first principles: On the first day, I used to take my watch off and I would sell it to someone in class. We’d agree on a price, $20. Then the question I always asked the students was: What did the buyer value the watch at? Much of the class would say $20.

That’s not the right answer. All we know is that the person would rather have the watch than have the $20 bill. What did you know about the value I placed on it? Exactly the inverse. I’d rather have the $20 bill than have the watch. Now, most people think the benefit of markets is: I walked away with a $20 bill, great, which I valued more highly than the watch, and you walked away with the watch that you valued more highly than the $20, but look at all the excess value there.

Maybe you wanted that watch because it completed your fabulous watch collection or you desperately needed a watch or it was so attractive to you that the value you placed on it would be in the hundreds of dollars. You got all that surplus value, and me, I really needed that $20. I had an investment opportunity over here for that $20 that has yielded a manyfold return for me. That’s how markets create additional value.

Foer: But markets right now are doing a good job of producing wealth. Yes?

Warren: Right.

Foer: In your description, that’s markets working.

Warren: The problem is that when the rules are not enforced, when the markets are not level playing fields, all that wealth is scraped in one direction. For example, leading up to the financial crash, there were a lot of mortgage brokers out there selling mortgages. Wow, did they get rich doing it. Families thought they were buying a product they could afford, whose payments they understood. Many of them lost everything. That’s a market that clearly was not working. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, after it passed, the first thing we did there at the bureau was to put new rules in place about mortgages. Not so that you could control the mortgage market, but so that the market would work.

Takehisa Yumeji fireworks over the Sumida river 1910-20s

Interesting things are running amok among Berniebots who are featured in this Politico article: “Bernie alumni seek meeting to address ‘sexual violence’ on ‘16 campaign. The signees are looking to change what they call a pervasive culture of toxic masculinity in the campaign world.”

More than two dozen women and men who worked on Bernie Sanders’ 2016 presidential campaign are seeking a meeting with the senator and his top political advisers to “discuss the issue of sexual violence and harassment on the 2016 campaign, for the purpose of planning to mitigate the issue in the upcoming presidential cycle,” according to a copy of letter obtained by POLITICO.

“In recent weeks there has been an ongoing conversation on social media, in texts, and in person, about the untenable and dangerous dynamic that developed during our campaign,” they wrote.

More than two dozen women and men who worked on Bernie Sanders’ 2016 presidential campaign are seeking a meeting with the senator and his top political advisers to “discuss the issue of sexual violence and harassment on the 2016 campaign, for the purpose of planning to mitigate the issue in the upcoming presidential cycle,” according to a copy of letter obtained by POLITICO.

“In recent weeks there has been an ongoing conversation on social media, in texts, and in person, about the untenable and dangerous dynamic that developed during our campaign,” they wrote.

Organizers of the effort said they did not intend for the letter to become public, but they confirmed that they sent it to senior Sanders officials on Sunday afternoon.

You can read the letter at the link.

Russian foreign relations resemble a cold war spy novel. This is breaking news from Newsweek:  “AMERICAN PAUL WHELAN ARRESTED IN RUSSIA ON SPY CHARGES AS POTENTIAL RETRIBUTION FOR MARIA BUTINA”.

Russia has arrested an American citizen in Moscow for alleged espionage, according to the country’s security services, the FSB.

“On December 28, 2018, staff members of the Russian Federal Security Service detained U.S. citizen Paul Whelan in Moscow while on a spy mission,” the FSB’s public relations center said in a statement. The statement implied that Whelan had been caught “during an act of espionage.”

Russian officials said they had launched an investigation and that Whelan could spend 10 to 20 years in prison if he is found guilty of violating Article 276 of Russia’s penal code. It is unclear what activities Whelan was allegedly engaged in. The U.S. Embassy in Moscow directed questions to the State Department.

“We are aware of the detention of a U.S. citizen by Russian authorities. We have been formally notified of the detention by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs,” a State Department spokesperson said. “Russia’s obligations under the Vienna Convention require them to provide consular access.  We have requested this access and expect Russian authorities to provide it.”

The State Department declined to provide additional information about Whelan, citing privacy concerns.

On December 26, the U.S. Embassy in Moscow posted a message on its Facebook page claiming that passport and visa services at the embassy would continue through the government shutdown. The message implied that the embassy was not working at full capacity, noting that “we will not update this account until full operations resume, with the exception of urgent safety and security information.”

Whelan’s arrest took place shortly after a Russian woman named Maria Butina pleaded guilty to conspiracy against the United States for attempting to infiltrate Republican political circles on behalf of the Russian government. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and spokespeople for the Russian government have attempted to portray Butina as a victim, and some analysts speculated that the arrest of Whelan could be retribution for Butina’s case.

Despite President Donald Trump’s openness to talking with Russian President Vladimir Putin and having closer ties with Russia, the U.S. relationship with Moscow has deteriorated amid special counsel Robert Mueller’s ongoing investigation into whether members of the Trump campaign collaborated with Russia to influence the outcome of the 2016 election.

Numerous Russian citizens and companies were indicted by the Justice Department as a result of the investigation. Meanwhile, U.S. intelligence agencies unanimously concluded that Russia attempted to influence the outcome of the 2016 presidential election on behalf of Donald Trump.

“Fireworks at Ikenohata Pond”
(“Ikenohata Hanabi”), KOBAYASHI, Kiyochika,1881

The Trump administration is in completely disarray and will likely be caught up in the LA Times interview with out going General Kelly.   I doubt they have time for all the chaos they’ve created abroad.   There’s basically chaos in every policy aspect these days so why not with Trumpski’s puppet master?




Unlike Kelly’s friend James N. Mattis, the retired Marine general who resigned as secretary of Defense with a public letter rebuking the president for abandoning allies and undermining alliances, Kelly kept his counsel.

But his impending departure from the eye of the storm created an embarrassing void at the White House as one candidate after another publicly pulled out or declined the chief of staff job.

On Dec. 14, Trump named Mick Mulvaney, his budget director, as acting chief of staff.

Even administration critics see Kelly’s departure as worrisome, saying he brought hard-edged national security experience and the integrity and ability to stand up to the president.

“It’s a loss, there’s no question,” said Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif).

“Now, it just seems to be a free-for-all,” said Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I). “There’s no real consistent figure that’s going to stand there and just make sure literally the trains run on time. I think that was one of Kelly’s major contributions.”

Kelly leaves as Trump has been cocooned in the White House as a partial government shutdown moves into a second week over his demands for $5 billion for a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border.

The president has responded by firing off angry tweets at Democrats, who refuse to provide more than $1.3 billion for border security, rather than seeking to negotiate a solution.

The stalemate also highlights the distance, at least in language, between Kelly and Trump over the president’s signature promise — to build a wall.

“To be honest, it’s not a wall,” Kelly said.

When Kelly led Homeland Security in early 2017, one of his first steps was to seek advice from those who “actually secure the border,” Customs and Border Protection agents who Kelly calls “salt-of-the-earth, Joe-Six-Pack folks.”

“They said, ‘Well we need a physical barrier in certain places, we need technology across the board, and we need more people,’” he said.

“The president still says ‘wall’ — oftentimes frankly he’ll say ‘barrier’ or ‘fencing,’ now he’s tended toward steel slats. But we left a solid concrete wall early on in the administration, when we asked people what they needed and where they needed it.”

Asked if there is a security crisis at the Southern border, or whether Trump has drummed up fears of a migrant “invasion” for political reasons, Kelly did not answer directly, but said, “We do have an immigration problem.”

So this is the weirdest–but highly believable story– from Raw Story last night: “Sarah Sanders has ‘struggled’ to find a new job as the White House press office becomes ‘Night of the living dead’: report”.

Back in June, CBS reported that White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders and her deputy Raj Shah were already planning to leave the administration by the end of the year. Sanders never denied the report. But with January just around the corner, no official announcements of their departures have been made, even as other top officials are shown the door or scramble for the exits of their own accord.

So why are they hanging on? According to Yahoo News, Sanders and Shah are struggling to find work elsewhere.

A stunning development, given the low unemployment rate.

Sanders reportedly declined to respond to specific questions about her plans but said she is currently “traveling.”

Yahoo News pointed out that Sarah has all but stopped delivering press briefings. What were once called “daily” briefings have now essentially become “monthly” briefings — with emphasis on the “brief.”

The outlet also observed that Shah has removed the title “deputy white house press secretary” from his Twitter bio.

Meanwhile, it seems the press shop itself has been nearly abandoned. This is not much of surprise — Trump has long considered himself to be his best spokesperson, and he has proven incapable of sticking to any coherent media strategy. And part of the problem, an anonymous source told Yahoo News, is that no one credible wants to work for the White House press office.

“No professional in good standing will even interview for a job,” the source said. “It’s a zombie comms shop. Night of the living dead.”


So we have a lot to look forward to in 2019. First, there’s the return of Nancy Pelosi to speaker and the return of Democratic committee chairs. Second, there’s more on the Mueller front and many expect that the next group of indictments will be quite close to the Trumpski himself. Then, there’s the fact we’re still here and standing and following things and there’s still some journalism out there that matters.

Happy New Year Sky Dancers!  And, what’s on your reading and blogging list today?

Temple New YearHappy New Year from Temple and me!!

69 Comments on “New Years Eve 2018 Reads: Welcoming the Year of Speaker Nancy Pelosi”

  1. dakinikat says:

  2. joanelle says:

    Having been ‘rear ended’ by a large truck at a red light two months ago and still suffering from a concussion, slipped disk, torn rotator-cuff, badly banged up knee, I’m pretty depressed by 2018’s happenings, not to mention a fake ‘president’ that stole the presidency from a candidate I strongly believed in and a republican party that is clearly a bunch of thieves, I can’t wait for a new year and a shot at something better.

    Hope your new year fulfills your wildest expectations, Sky Dancers!!!

  3. dakinikat says:

  4. dakinikat says:

  5. dakinikat says:

  6. bostonboomer says:

    Warren and Sanders had a meeting recently at which they supposedly agreed that both will run for president, so I’d be surprised if Bernie attacks her for it.

    Personally, I won’t vote for either in the primaries. I won’t vote for anyone who will be 70 years old by the time they are inaugurated, and I wouldn’t vote for those two anyway. Warren can do more good in the Senate, and Bernie can go away and die as far as I’m concerned.

    • Enheduanna says:

      I and probably most of us here experienced the BernieBot harassment online. Good they’re addressing it but I doubt that initiative came from the candidate. Perpetual candidate. I don’t think they even still like him in Vermont, right?

    • Sweet Sue says:

      At this point, BB, I loathe Bernie almost as much as Trump. If it weren’t for Bernie and Comey, we would have a brilliant, honest and dedicated public servant in the White House.

    • OG says:

      I agree about the age limit. Over seventy would be tough to get my vote.

      • bostonboomer says:

        Warren will be 70.

        • quixote says:

          I don’t know that any hard and fast rule about eligibility really serves us. Plus, I think it was Socrates, no dummy, who said nobody younger than 60 should be considered for head of state.

          What I want are good people, kindly, wise, encyclopedic in their knowledge of the details of state. Good people are hard to find.

          • NW Luna says:

            I didn’t know that about Socrates; thanks. Chronological age is a rather poor indicator of someone’s health or intellectual or even physical capabilities. There’s RBG for example. Smart as hell, and does full (sometimes called “men’s”) pushups in her conditioning routine — though she’s probably on a reduced regimen since surgery.

    • NW Luna says:

      The only candidate over 70 who would get my vote would be HRC, and damn it, we’ve certainly lost her (or at least 99% certainly).

      Whichever Dem wins in Nov 2020 needs to be energetic and experienced enough to start putting things right.

    • NW Luna says:

      • Gregory P says:

        Really, anyone with presidential aspirations certainly had a vested interest in preventing Hillary from becoming President especially when they are as old as Warren and Sanders.

    • dakinikat says:

  7. bostonboomer says:

    I have no idea what Chris Cuomo is talking about. ?? Certainly CNN is not unique in reporting Kelly’s leaks.

  8. bostonboomer says:

  9. bostonboomer says:

    This is easily the best thing I read in 2018.

    Lauren Hough at HuffPost: I Was A Cable Guy. I Saw The Worst Of America.

    This woman is a star!!

  10. OG says:

    Everyone is aware that the middle class is in trouble. I like Warren’s rejection of socialism and endorsement of working with capitalism. I need to hear more details. I never say I would not vote for anyone until I know who they are running against. I will say she is not high in my list. Beto would be st the hop right now but I know little about him either. There are more democratic party governors or ex-governors that I expect will jump in. It is time for candidates to get their names in the news.

  11. dakinikat says:

  12. dakinikat says:

  13. joanelle says:

    So when do you think we’ll hear the last whimper, gasp of life of the trump presidency and hopefully Pence will go with him!!!

    • NW Luna says:

      Never thought it’d even last this long — the Repubs in Congress are even more corrupt han I thought. I hope we get him out before much more damage is done, and with a Dem House we have a chance.

  14. dakinikat says:

  15. dakinikat says:

    • NW Luna says:

      “Reporters couldn’t see it back then. The importance of this – a back and forth link between Russian hackers, disinformation outlets and Trump campaign – seemed to unbelievable to be considered as true.”

      Couldn’t. Bloody. See. It.

  16. Riverbird says:

    Happy New Year, skydancers. I’m glad you’re here. I hope 2019 is better than 2018 for all of us.

  17. Minkoff Minx says:

    Happy New Year everyone! 💜
    Hey…If you are going out, please be careful. Stop by whenever you get home and drop a comment so we know you are safe. It is a crazy night for driving. Take it easy. I love you Sky Dancers❣️🎆🥳

    • NW Luna says:

      And a toast to you, JJ, and to all SkyDancers! We’re staying home tonight, fire in the wood stove, kittehs, and a half bottle of champagne to kick goodbye to 2018.

  18. NW Luna says: