Thursday Reads

Self portrait, Elaine de Kooning, 1946

Self portrait, Elaine de Kooning, 1946

Good Morning!!

I don’t know if you saw this, but Bernie Sanders was booed by Democrats at a Capital Hill meeting yesterday. Politico:

Sanders…stunned some of the Democrats in attendance when he told them that winning elections isn’t the only thing they should focus on. While they wanted to hear about how to beat Donald Trump — and how Sanders might help them win the House back — he was talking about remaking the country.

“The goal isn’t to win elections, the goal is to transform America,” Sanders said at one point, according to multiple lawmakers and aides in the room.

Some Democrats booed Sanders for that line, which plays better on the campaign trail than in front of a roomful of elected officials.

It’s about time Bernie faced some serious pushback.

Rank-and-file House Democrats want the Vermont independent to officially drop out of the race and throw his support behind the presumptive nominee, and they can’t understand why he hasn’t.

“It was frustrating because he’s squandering the movement he built with a self-obsession that was totally on display,” said a senior Democrat, speaking on the condition of anonymity.

After Sanders delivered his opening remarks — which touched on his favorite issues, including campaign finance, Wall Street reform and trade — lawmakers pressed him during a tense question-and-answer session on whether he would ultimately endorse Clinton and help foster party unity.

Sanders complained about the superdelegate process used during the primaries. “One person is starting with 900 delegates before anyone even votes,” Sanders said. The Vermont socialist and his supporters have been upset about the issue for months.

But House Democrats didn’t seem very impressed with the unapologetic Sanders, who didn’t yield an inch despite the rough handling he received.

What a pain in the ass Sanders is! Naturally, number 1 fan Chris Hayes invited Bernie onto his show last night to discuss the situation. Hayes did everything he could to get Sanders to finally admit he will endorse Hillary, and finally Bernie grudgingly admitted that it *might* happen next week.

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As I’ve said repeatedly, I wish he wouldn’t endorse her. Democrats should just ignore his antics and leave him hanging out on that limb until it finally breaks and he crashes to earth. But apparently the two campaigns are in talks about a joint appearance in New Hampshire at some point. From NY Magazine: 

On Wednesday evening, multiple outlets reported that the Clinton and Sanders campaigns were finalizing the terms of the Vermont senator’s endorsement, and discussing the possibility of holding a joint rally next week in New Hampshire. Later that night, Sanders confirmed those reports.

“I think at the end of the day, there is going to be a coming together,” Sanders told MSNBC’s Chris Hayes. “And we’re going to go forward together and not only defeat Trump, but defeat him badly.”

“So, you’re not denying the report that there are talks about a possible endorsement?” Hayes asked.

“That’s correct,” Sanders replied.

In his interview with MSNBC Wednesday night, Sanders suggested that he was hoping to extract a few more compromise proposals on health care and climate change before falling in line, promising, “I am going to use all the leverage I have.”

 

What a fucking asshole!

There’s been another police shooting of a black man, following close on the heels of the one in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Slate: Video Captures Aftermath of Police Shooting in Minnesota That Left Another Black Man Dead.

An emotional day of mourning for one victim of police violence, Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, ended with gut-wrenching news of another on Wednesday night, as word spread on social media that a black man in Falcon Heights, Minnesota, had been shot by an officer during a traffic stop.

The Minneapolis Star Tribune identified the victim as 32-year-old Philando Castile, a cafeteria supervisor at a Montessori school in St. Paul. According to the paper, Castile died a few minutes after being brought to a hospital.

You can watch the “graphic and disturbing” video at the Slate link above.

In the video, which was greeted with sickened disbelief all over the country on Wednesday night as news of the shooting spread, a woman who was with Castile at the time of the incident could be heard explaining that her boyfriend had been shot after informing the officer he was legally carrying a firearm.

“We got pulled over for a busted taillight in the back,” the woman said, speaking into her camera in a deliberate and steady voice as her young daughter sat watching from the backseat. “And the police just… they killed my boyfriend. He’s licensed to carry. He was trying to get his ID and his wallet out of his pocket, and he let the officer know he had a firearm and was reaching for his wallet. And the officer just shot him in his arm.”

The officer next to the car could be heard screaming, “I told him not to reach for it! I told him to get his hand up!”

The woman replied, “You told him to get his ID, sir, his driver’s license. Oh my God, please don’t tell me he’s dead.”

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CNN has some follow-up on the Baton Rouge shooting: Piecing together what happened before the videos.

The 911 call that brought police to a Baton Rouge convenience store Tuesday came from a homeless man, according to a senior law enforcement official. The homeless man had approached Alton Sterling, repeatedly asking him for money, the official said. Sterling showed his gun and the homeless man called police, according to the official. Sterling was later shot by police at the scene.

Federal authorities have taken charge of the investigation into the Tuesday killing of Sterling, a 37-year-old black man who sold CDs and DVDs outside the Triple S Food Mart in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
Sterling was shot outside the store after an encounter with two police officers. The officers could be seen in video on top of him before the shots were fired.

Protests began Tuesday afternoon in Baton Rouge and were largely peaceful. Vigils and memorials have spread across the country.

The face time comes as Mr. Trump continues to raise anxiety among Republicans about his temperament less than two weeks before the party holds its national convention in Cleveland. As with the convention, some leading Republicans including Senator Marco Rubio, a former primary opponent, decided to pass on the meeting with the presumptive Republican nominee.

Mr. Trump met House members at the Capitol Hill Club, where Larry Kudlow, the conservative commentator, introduced him. According to two members in attendance, the conversation was fairly subdued and focused on border security, the need to protect the Second Amendment and the high costs associated with the Affordable Care Act, the health law that Mr. Trump wants to repeal and replace.

As he did in a speech on Wednesday night, Mr. Trump complained about the tough media coverage he has faced, particularly the portrayal of him as someone who admires Saddam Hussein, and he bragged of his impressive performance in the primary elections.

Despite the recent protectionist tenor of his campaign, Mr. Trump insisted that he is a devoted free trader and that he wants to renegotiate deals with other countries so that they favor America.

Although the members did not confront Mr. Trump about his policies, one did ask him how he could help the party maintain control of the Senate and the House, suggesting some concern about Republican losses in the House in the November elections.

Trump is still trying to justify his use of the star of David juxtaposed on a pile of money to attack Hillary Clinton. His latest defense is truly bizarre. NBC News: Trump Uses Disney Coloring Book to Defend Star Use.

Shortly after Donald Trump lamented publicly that his social media teamreplaced a tweet originally featuring a symbol resembling the Star of David, the presumptive GOP nominee posted a photo Wednesday of a ‘Frozen’ sticker book with a similar symbol. “Where is the outrage?” he asked, calling out the “dishonest media” the same way he did when defending it as a sheriff’s star – “or plain star!” – over the Fourth of July weekend.

Many on social media suggested Trump “let it go!” – echoing the well-sang advice of Elsa, the older sister of ‘Frozen.’ Clinton dug a bit deeper into the film’s songbook for her response.

Of course there’s no money in the Disney graphic. Tweets below.

 

This morning, House Republicans called FBI Director James Comey to testify about why he failed to recommend an indictment of Hillary Clinton over her State Department emails. ABC News: FBI Director James Comey Grilled About ‘Dangerous’ Precedent in Clinton Investigation.

FBI Director James Comey faced skeptical and angry congressional Republicans this morning in a hastily called hearing on Capitol Hill to question his findings in the probe into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server.

In his opening statement, the chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, accused Comey of setting “a dangerous” precedent that will allow officials to “sloppily” handle classified information with “no consequence.”

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Chaffetz said Comey’s determination that charges weren’t warranted in the case sent a message that, “If your name isn’t Clinton or you aren’t part of the powerful elite … lady justice will act differently” toward you.

The criminal case against Clinton and her aides is now closed, but almost immediately after Comey announced his findings earlier this week, Republicans wanted to know why she was not prosecuted for mishandling classified information while using a private email server as Secretary of State.

“We’re mystified,” Chaffetz insisted today. “It seems that there are two standards, and there’s no consequence for these types of activities and dealing in a careless way with classified information.”

Here we go again. Now House Republicans will probably drag EGhazi on for months, and Hillary will again come out on top. The Washington Post asks: Will House Republicans overplay their hand on Hillary Clinton? Well of course they will. It’s what they do.

What stories are you following today?

 


Wednesday Reads: Open Thread

 

This is just an open thread until I can get the real thread up….my parents closed on the house and we are celebrating with lunch….


Lazy Saturday Reads

Paul Newman at the beach, 1963

Paul Newman at the beach, 1963

Good Afternoon!!

I’m illustrating this post with some beautiful people, mostly engaged in outdoor activities–just because I feel like it.

The news continues to be mostly ugly, unfortunately. There’s the latest terrorist attack in Bangladesh, the endless saga of Bernie Sanders’ refusal to accept reality, and of course the very real danger that racist misogynist xenophobe Donald Trump could somehow gain the presidency.

Before I get started on the bad news, here’s a bit of exciting news for Hillary supporters. The Clinton campaign announced yesterday that it raised nearly $70 million in June. Politico reports:

Hillary Clinton’s campaign reported Friday that it had raised more than $68.5 million for Hillary for America, the Democratic National Committee and state parties in the month of June.

Of that total, $40.5 million went to the campaign, while the remaining $28 million went to the DNC and state parties through the Hillary Victory Fund and the Hillary Action Fund, putting Clinton’s total cumulative fundraising at $288 million for the campaign and $90 million for the joint fundraising agreements. Clinton begins July with more than $44 million on hand, with an average donation of $48 to the campaign itself.

Now for the awful news. There’s been another horrible terrorist attack in Bangladesh, just a short time after the massacre in Turkey.

Steve McQueen

Steve McQueen

CNN: Dhaka cafe attack ends with 20 hostages dead, 13 rescued.

Bangladeshi troops stormed an upscale bakery in Dhaka’s diplomatic enclave Saturday morning, ending an 11-hour siege by militants who killed 20 hostages and two police officers, officials said.

It was the deadliest and boldest act of terror in a country that has become increasingly numb to ever-escalating violence by Islamist militants.

The victims — most of them foreigners — were among roughly three dozen people taken hostage when attackers stormed the Holey Artisan Bakery on Friday evening with guns, explosives and other, sharp weapons Friday evening, authorities said.
Some guests and workers managed to escape, jumping from the bakery’s roof. Others crouched under chairs and tables as the gunmen fired indiscriminately, witnesses said.

Early Saturday morning, military commandos moved in. By the end, 13 people had been rescued and 20 were dead at the restaurant, officials said. Two police officers had been killed in a gunfire exchange earlier in the standoff, authorities said.

Six terrorists were killed and one was captured alive, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Wazed said.

Exactly who was behind the attack is unclear.

Clint Eastwood skateboarding

Clint Eastwood skateboarding

Update to the story:

At least 12 of the 20 hostages who were killed in an hours-long attack at a cafe in Bangladesh’s capital over the weekend have been publicly identified, including three people who attended college in the United States.

Two of the students attended Georgia’s Emory University. That included Abinta Kabir of Miami, who was a sophomore at Emory’s campus in Oxford, Georgia. She was in Dhaka visiting family and friends, the school said.

The other was Faraaz Hossain, of Dhaka, a junior at Emory’s Goizueta Business School in Atlanta….

The third student was Indian citizen Tarushi Jain, 19, who was studying at the University of California at Berkeley, according to India’s minister of external affairs, Sushma Swaraj.

At least nine of the dead were Italian nationals, Italy’s Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni said Saturday.

According to the Italian foreign ministry, they were: Adele Puglisi; Marco Tondat; Claudia Maria D’Antona; Nadia Benedetti; Vincenzo D’Allestro; Maria Rivoli; Cristian Rossi; Claudio Cappelli; and Simona Monti.

Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Wazed on Saturday declared two days of mourning for the victims.

It’s all so senseless. What can I say?

Elvis with his bike

Elvis with his bike

CNN has news on the attack in Turkey: Istanbul airport attack: Planner, 2 bombers identified, report says.

Two of the three assailants in the terror attack that killed 44 people at Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport have been identified as Rakim Bulgarov and Vadim Osmanov, according to Turkey’s state news agency Anadolu, citing an anonymous prosecution source.

The Friday report did not identify the third attacker.

The report did not reveal their nationalities. But officials have said they believe the three attackers are from Russia, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan, and entered Turkey a month ago from Syria’s ISIS stronghold of Raqqa.

The report came a day after U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul, chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security, said the man who directed the attackers is Akhmed Chatayev, a terrorist from Russia’s North Caucasus region.

Bernie Sanders is never going to go away. I’m convinced that he agrees with Susan Sarandon that if Trump is elected president, Bernie’s long wished-for “political revolution” will magically take place. As I’ve said before, I don’t even want him to endorse Hillary, and I certainly don’t want him out campaigning for her. He would only be his passive aggressive self–seeking new ways to undercut her while pretending he doesn’t want Trump to win.

Joanne Woodward and Paul Newman

Joanne Woodward and Paul Newman

From Politico: Sanders is itching for a convention fight.

Bernie Sanders is still spoiling for a convention fight.

It seemed like Democrats could finally claim unity when no member of the Democratic National Committee’s 15-person convention drafting committee voted against the draft of the policy platform draft during a meeting in St. Louis this past weekend: 13 members of the panel voted for the draft, one abstained and one missed the vote. But since then, Sanders-aligned members have teed off on the draft for not going far enough in key areas.

While both neutral national Democrats and Hillary Clinton-aligned Democrats on the DNC standing committees have hailed the draft document — which is headed to a full vote before the 187-member platform committee on July 8 and 9 in Orlando, Florida — as both satisfactory and historically progressive, Sanders supporters insist the draft remains unpalatable. Among the issues they’ve identified: the platform draft’s treatment of Medicare expansion, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a carbon tax, and a ban on fracking. Sanders and his allies are vowing to fight for changes in Orlando — and all the way to the convention in Philadelphia, if necessary.

Nothing is ever enough for Bernie and his bros.

Bogie and Bacall

Bogie and Bacall

So far, Sanders and his team have locked up draft policy wins on language for abolishing the death penalty, expanding Social Security through raising the cap on how much Americans earning $250,000 or more pay to expand benefits, and breaking up the country’s largest banks. But that’s not everything on Sanders’ lengthy priority list, so the senator and his allies are vowing to keep pushing hard.

While he admits that some gains are better than none at all, Sanders himself has already begun voicing his dissatisfaction. In an email to supporters on Thursday (titled “We’re going to the convention”) Sanders wrote that “we are going to take our political revolution into the halls of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia where we will fight to place a $15 minimum wage, opposition to TPP, and a ban on fracking directly into the Democratic Platform.”

That email came one day after the campaign asked its supporters to sign a petition demanding language against TPP be included in the platform — a top Sanders priority.

“The most significant issue for us is the Trans-Pacific Partnership. The Clinton team has said there’s absolutely no daylight between their position on TPP and ours,” Sanders policy director Warren Gunnels said. “We want to make that clear in the Democratic Party platform. That the TPP should not receive a vote in the lame-duck session and beyond.

Bernie is a horrible excuse for a human being. He’s nothing but a swollen-headed narcissist with delusions of grandeur. At least we haven’t heard much from Jane lately. Maybe she’s disgusted with him too.

Katharine Hepburn skateboarding

Katharine Hepburn skateboarding

Huffington Post’s Sam Stein: Bernie Sanders’ Endgame Is Increasingly Bewildering To Team Clinton.

Democrats have for weeks treated the still-operational presidential campaign ofSen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) with a mix of deference and caution, worrying about too strongly pushing the occasionally irascible senator and his legion of devoted followers.

But as time has passed and the party’s convention nears, supporters of Hillary Clinton really want to know what Sanders’ endgame actually is.

The question has been prompted by some recent muddled messaging from Sanders himself. The senator has said he’ll vote for Clinton, but is declining to actually endorse her candidacy. On Tuesday, he raised the specter of convention disorder over the nuts and bolts of the party platform, all while insisting he will do everything in his power to ensure that presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump loses.

The problem is, Sanders is actually doing everything in his power to help Trump win.

“So far [Sanders] has been riding a wave of good feelings in the sense he ran an incredible campaign,” said former Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.), who served with Sanders and Clinton but has endorsed the latter.

“But that has a pretty short shelf life and then people start looking at you through a different lens, and that lens is: Are you a team player and do you have the larger picture in mind or are you just focused on yourself?” Conrad said. “At some point, pretty soon, he crosses the threshold. He may have already crossed it.”

He crossed it long ago, in my opinion.

Marilyn Monroe and James Dean

Marilyn Monroe and James Dean

With weeks to go before the party convenes in Philadelphia, Sanders’ role in that coronation of Clinton remains a mystery. He said Tuesday on MSNBC that he was taking his campaign to the convention floor in an effort to affect the platform.

“Politics is not a baseball game with winners or losers,” Sanders said at the time. “What politics is about is whether we protect the needs of millions of people in this country who are hurting.”

But changing the platform with the dramatic stripes that would satisfy the senator and his supporters seems unlikely. The party, for example, will be hard-pressed to formally disavow trade deals that its leader (President Barack Obama, not Clinton) still supports.

“You can’t have a platform that will embarrass the president,” said one prominent Democratic National Committee official.

But that’s what Bernie wants. And frankly, he has already embarrassed President Obama. He has also made a fool of himself. But I don’t think he’ll quit–maybe not even after the convention.

I’ll end with a silly story about Clinton Derangement Syndrome from The Washington Post: Watch people attack Hillary Clinton for dishonesty — while lying through their teeth.

Jimmy Kimmel’s “Lie Witness News” took to the streets to ask people about the approximately 160 previously unreleased Clinton emails this week. The show, of course, totally made up what was actually in the rather bland emails — saying Clinton was responding to spam from Nigerian princes and asking Vladimir Putin for shirtless pictures, for instance. But that didn’t stop these people from describing how they had read about these non-existent emails and berating Clinton over them.

The best part? The interviewer gets almost all of these liars to attack Clinton for her lack of honesty.

Here’s the video. It’s maddening but funny.

Have a fabulous Fourth of July Weekend Sky Dancers!!


Sunday Reads: Distorted Shapes Frame a Disillusioned Thought

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

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

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

Hillary Clinton marches in NYC Pride Parade – NY Daily News

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Last link for this Sunday:

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

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

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

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

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

01df05a59379a5135c56373a1c7710938059b7003d

 


Friday Reads: Return of the Dark Night

Good Afternoon!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here are five glaring alarm signs:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Start with the economics.

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

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

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

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

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?

 

 

 


Sunday Reads: Raspberries for You and a Strawberry Moon Too

Good Afternoon

See the expression on this Virgin Mary’s face? This is exactly how I feel.  It has been 3 weeks since my brother’s death. We are still waiting to hear if my parents are able to buy this little house, if the VA loan has gotten final approval from the underwriters. Whatever happens with that, we are still being kicked out by our landlord months ahead of our end of lease…so that her son can move into the place.

My home troubles are nothing compared to what others have lost this week. A week ago today I was writing updates on the mass murder in Orlando. And even then, I knew what sort of vile things would be said as the days progressed….

imageAfter massacre, Trump speech takes 2016 race in a scary direction | MSNBC

Donald Trump Explains Bigly Why Immigration Killed All Those Gay People In Florida | Wonkette

Fla. prosecutor suspended for vile Facebook rant against Orlando – NY Daily News

Georgia Congressman Who Prayed For Gays To Die Not Sorry About That | Wonkette

Some surprises did come…

If Bill O’Reilly Believes it’s Time For Gun Control, It’s Goddamn Time For Gun Control – The Daily Banter

Even f*cking Bill O’Reilly now thinks new gun control laws are ‘definitely needed’ – DeadState

Fox News Host Gretchen Carlson Calls For Assault Weapons Ban | Crooks and Liars

imageAt the same time, those who usually made the same choices…made those very same choices…

Bernie Sanders Goes AWOL on Guns Filibuster – The Daily Beast

On top of that, I have a very bad sinus infection…and the exhaustion from the months of so brutal a campaign, where shit has been flung from all directions. Most of it coming from the ASSHOLE running within our own party, and particularly after the bastard has clearly lost….I am in no mood to comment any further on any matters at hand.

Ugh…I can’t take any more!!!!! Bernie…shut the hell up!!!

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So as a statement on these links going forward, I will just put medieval images of beast sticking their tongues out in my way of a showing disgust…my version of the Razzies.

 

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In link dump fashion:

Trump says U.S. should consider racial profiling | Reuters

Republican Donald Trump said on Sunday the United States should consider more racial profiling in law enforcement, after urging harsher policies following last week’s mass shooting in Orlando.

“I think profiling is something that we’re going to have to start thinking about as a country,” Trump said when asked on CBS whether he supported more profiling of Muslims in America.

image“You look at Israel and you look at others, and they do it and they do it successfully. And you know, I hate the concept of profiling, but we have to start using common sense,” he added.

Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee for president, has drawn criticism from many in his party for his comments on American Muslims after the Orlando attack, in which a U.S. born Muslim man killed 49 people at a gay nightclub.

Trump also reiterated his support for more scrutiny of mosques, saying that could resemble a controversial New York City surveillance program that has been shut down.

“If you go to France right now, they’re doing it in France. In fact, in some instances they’re closing down mosques.”

Police in France closed some mosques shortly after gunmen aligned with Islamic State militants killed 130 people in Paris in a series of attacks on Nov. 13.

The Orlando gunman, Omar Mateen, expressed support for Islamic State, but officials believe he was “self-radicalized”.

Trump has drawn criticism from many in his Republican Party for calling for a temporary ban on Muslims entering the United States. He also has called for a suspension of immigration from countries with “a proven history of terrorism”.

[…]

image

Trump needs a kick in the ass!

Trump brushed off the criticism on Sunday and said he would put up his own money for his campaign if needed. “It would be nice if the Republicans stuck together,” Trump said in an ABC interview. “I can win, one way or another.”

imageGet Ready For Racial Profiling Under President Donald Trump

NRA’s Chris Cox Can’t Explain Why Civilians Need Military Weapons | Mediaite

Was a black teen’s hanging death a hate crime? The FBI answers, two years later | US news | The Guardian

‘Why not Texit?’: Texas nationalists look to the Brexit vote for inspiration | US news | The Guardian

Is white America blind on racism, or just playing dumb? | Clive Myrie | Opinion | The Guardian

Israel: Water as a tool to dominate Palestinians – News from Al Jazeera

The Egyptians who ‘disappear’ – BBC News

imageGeorgia Democratic chair fends off Bernie Sanders challenger | Political Insider blog

Juan Cole: British Trumpism? An Anti-Immigrant ‘Britain First’ White Man’s Slaying of a Parliament Member – Juan Cole – Truthdig

Nazi regalia discovered at house of Jo Cox killing suspect | UK news | The Guardian

Vile online abuse against female MPs ‘needs to be challenged now’ | Technology | The Guardian

Three held in Pennsylvania rape case of teen Amish girl ‘gifted’ to man | Reuters

Brazil ‘mass rape’ video: Seven suspects to be charged – BBC News

Why Did North Carolina Police Destroy Over 1,000 Rape Kits? | Care2 Causes

The Disadvantages of Being Stupid – The Atlantic

imageNRA’s LaPierre blasts Dems’ gun control push | TheHill

Venezuelans Ransack Stores as Hunger Grips the Nation – The New York Times

Trump to meet with 400 anti-LGBT evangelists one week after claiming to be a ‘friend’ of the gay community

Condoleezza Rice For Trump’s VP? | theGrio

Wonkette Ranks Hillary’s VP Picks By Hotness, Because We’re Shallow Like That | Wonkette

FDNY fire chief killed on 9/11 gets proper burial 15 years later | US news | The Guardian

image$7 Million in Donations to Go Directly to Orlando Kin and Survivors – The New York Times

The Drag Nuns Who Are Helping The LGBTQ Community Grieve

The ‘Cinemobile’ bringing movies to Romanian villages – Al Jazeera English

And since it is Father’s Day…Happy Father’s Day!

Ten of the best films about fathers | Life and style | The Guardian

Banjoville in the news again…Cub takes stroll through Georgia grocery store | 11alive.com

And for our last link: Strawberry Moon Seen On Summer Solstice June 20 : SCIENCE : Tech Times

The summer solstice taking place on June 20 will also feature an additional treat — the annual strawberry moon. This is the first time in 49 years that the two events take place at the same time.

imageStrawberry moons earn their name from a knowledge among the Algonquin people that this moon signified that fruits, including strawberries, were ready to eat.

Although winter and summer solstices happen each year, having these events take place at the same time as a strawberry moon is fairly rare.

“Reliably, the phases of the moon recur on or near the same calendar dates every 19 years. It’s the ‘or near’ that causes the full moon to miss the solstice on that 19th year, sometimes. Nineteen years from this year’s solstice – on June 20, 2035 – the full moon will not fall on the same date as the June solstice. It’ll be another near miss, with the full moon falling on June 20, 2035, and the solstice arriving one day later,” Bruce McClure wrote for EarthSky.

This full moon will also be the fourth one seen since the winter equinox, whereas there are usually just three seen between the two dates.

imageSweet innit?

“Stargazers looking to get an early view of the Strawberry Moon can head out on Sunday evening; however, the moon will not technically be ‘full’ until 7:02 a.m. EDT on Monday. People from western New York to Missouri may benefit from heading out on Sunday evening instead of waiting until Monday evening as a frontal boundary is forecast to spread clouds over these areas for the first night of summer,” Brian Lada, Accuweather meteorologist, reports.

It turns out the Strawberry moon has other names, depending on where you live in the world:

The strawberry moon is also known as the Honey Moon, Hot Moon, or Rose Moon. South of the equator, the event is called the Long Night Moon, ironic for an occurrence which takes place around the time of the shortest night of the year.

Enjoy it now, cause it won’t happen again for another 46 years!

This is an open thread…hope y’all have a pleasant day.


Thursday Reads: Politics News Improved by Fat Cat Art

Lascaux-Fat-Horse-and-Fat-Cat-w-1200x630

Good Afternoon!!

I was going to illustrate this post with photos of Donald Trump pinatas, but I changed my mind and decided to highlight fat cat art again. Lately I feel as if I’m living in a chaotic world, but I don’t know if the chaos is really worse than ever or if its just me. I’ve been having horrible nightmares again. My family members inhabit the dreams, and I guess they are still part of the aftermath of having someone in my family having been murdered. Even writing those words is painful. Anyway, seeing fat cats inhabiting famous paintings feels comforting to me somehow.

The big news today is that the filibuster in the Senate forced the GOP to allow votes on gun control. NBC News reports:

Senate Democrats ended a nearly 15-hour filibuster early Thursday after Republican Party leaders reportedly agreed to allow votes on two proposed gun control measures.

Sen. Chris Murphy, a Democrat from Connecticut, said that a compromise had been reached. Votes would be held on whether to ban people on the government’s terrorist watch list from obtaining gun licenses and whether to expand background checks to gun shows and internet sales, he added.

“We did not have that commitment when we started today,” Murphy said.

The nonstop series of speeches stretched 14 hours and 50 minutes. It followed the shooting massacre at a gay nightclub in Orlando.

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In addition, the family of the man who invented the AR-15 has spoken out. NBC News:

“Our father, Eugene Stoner, designed the AR-15 and subsequent M-16 as a military weapon to give our soldiers an advantage over the AK-47,” the Stoner family told NBC News late Wednesday. “He died long before any mass shootings occurred. But, we do think he would have been horrified and sickened as anyone, if not more by these events.”

The inventor’s surviving children and adult grandchildren spoke exclusively to MSNBC by phone and email, commenting for the first time on their family’s uneasy legacy. They requested individual anonymity in order to speak freely about such a sensitive topic. They also stopped short of policy prescriptions or legal opinions.

But their comments add unprecedented context to their father’s creation, shedding new light on his intentions and adding firepower to the effort to ban weapons like the AR-15. The comments could also bolster a groundbreaking new lawsuit, which argues that the weapon is a tool of war — never intended for civilians.

Eugene Stoner would have agreed, his family said.

The ex-Marine and “avid sportsman, hunter and skeet shooter” never used his invention for sport. He also never kept it around the house for personal defense. In fact, he never even owned one.

1

In the political world, Donald Trump’s campaign is sinking fast. From The Hill:

Donald Trump’s campaign for the White House is teetering amid dismal poll numbers, racially tinged controversies and a rising chorus of criticism from within the GOP.

After knocking Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) out of the primary in May, Trump picked up momentum and made strides in unifying the party. But the presumptive Republican presidential nominee has failed to pivot to general election mode and is now in his third straight week of bad headlines.

Not surprisingly, the angst in the Republican Party is intensifying.

“I think the tailspin could be really bad — historic proportions bad,” said Tony Fratto, who served as deputy White House press secretary during former President George W. Bush’s administration. “I think it’ll be a historically bad loss. I’ve said that from the very beginning.”

A Trump spokeswoman did not respond to a request for a comment on this story, but Trump and his aides often note that the former reality TV star confounded every Beltway prediction to win the nomination in the first place. After that emphatic victory, the businessman might well believe he can repeat the same feat in a general election.

But it’s not looking good at the moment. Check out the article for mucho bad news for Trump and the GOP.

a372a3ec73bcc76a16549551b919dfae

Politico: Trump’s relationship with RNC sours.

Donald Trump is relying heavily on the Republican Party to bolster his skeletal operation, but his campaign’s relationship with the Republican National Committee is increasingly plagued by distrust, power struggles and strategic differences, according to sources in both camps.

In recent days, RNC chairman Reince Priebus has privately grumbled that his advice doesn’t seem welcome with Trump, according to one RNC insider. Other party officials have expressed frustration that Trump’s campaign is trying to take too much control over a pair of fundraising committees with the party while adding little to the effort, according to campaign and party officials familiar with the relationship.

While Trump had promised Priebus that he would call two dozen top GOP donors, when RNC chief of staff Katie Walsh recently presented Trump with a list of more than 20 donors, he called only three before stopping, according to two sources familiar with the situation. It’s unclear whether he resumed the donor calls later.

Meanwhile, there’s deep skepticism on Trump’s campaign about the RNC’s commitment to the presumptive GOP nominee, with some campaign officials questioning how hard the RNC is working to help Trump and to raise money for his campaign’s joint committees with the party.

Indeed, faced with suggestions that party leaders are unhappy with Trump’s incendiary rhetoric about the Orlando shooting and the judge presiding over a lawsuit against the candidate and his Trump University, campaign insiders scoffed.

“I don’t think we are going to take a lot of political advice from Priebus,” a campaign official said. “From my perspective, we should not be relying on the RNC for much, because I’m not sure they are fully supportive yet,” the campaign official said, adding “but we hope and expect to soon be on the exact same page.”

Lots more good stuff at the link. It’s not looking good at all. Is it possible that Trump will either drop out or be overthrown by GOP leaders? It’s going to be interesting to watch.

Michelangelo_-_Creation_of_cAt-dam-A4
In a Vanity Fair exclusive, Sarah Ellison suggests that Trump’s campaign for President could really be a PR campaign to support his latest moneymaking project: Is Donald Trump’s Endgame the Launch of Trump News?

Trump is indeed considering creating his own media business, built on the audience that has supported him thus far in his bid to become the next president of the United States. According to several people briefed on the discussions, the presumptive Republican nominee is examining the opportunity presented by the “audience” currently supporting him. He has also discussed the possibility of launching a “mini-media conglomerate” outside of his existing TV-production business, Trump Productions LLC. He has, according to one of these people, enlisted the consultation of his daughter Ivanka Trump and son-in-law, Jared Kushner, who owns the The New York Observer. Trump’s rationale, according to this person, is that, “win or lose, we are onto something here. We’ve triggered a base of the population that hasn’t had a voice in a long time.” For his part, Kushner was heard at a New York dinner party saying that “the people here don’t understand what I’m seeing. You go to these arenas and people go crazy for him.” (Both Kushner and Ivanka Trump did not respond to a request for comment.)

Trump, this person close to the matter suggests, has become irked by his ability to create revenue for other media organizations without being able to take a cut himself. Such a situation “brings him to the conclusion that he has the business acumen and the ratings for his own network.” Trump has “gotten the bug,” according to this person. “So now he wants to figure out if he can monetize it.”

How would he run a cable network if he were POTUS? Maybe he just figures running and losing will make him more millions?

tumblr_o7139xdEAT1tbcxe8o1_500

In more bad news for Trump, Gawker thinks they have obtained the DNC’s hacked oppo research file on him.

A 200+ page document that appears to be a Democratic anti-Trump playbook compiled by the Democratic National Committee has leaked online following this week’s report that the DNC was breached by Russian hackers. In it, Trump is pilloried as a “bad businessman” and “misogynist in chief.”

The document—which according to embedded metadata was created by a Democratic strategist named Warren Flood—was created on December 19th, 2015, and forwarded to us by an individual calling himself “Guccifer 2.0,” a reference to the notorious, now-imprisoned Romanian hacker who hacked various American political figures in 2013.

Check it out at Gawker.

Final Trump link from the Daily Beast: Donald Trump Accused of Using His Charity as a Political Slush Fund.

Meanwhile Hillary is running a serious campaign.

Politico: Hillary Clinton to Unleash Hill on Trump.

Just hours after the votes were cast in the final Democratic primary, the Clinton campaign started reserving advertising blocks in eight battleground states on Wednesday, marking the presumptive Democratic nominee’s first significant attempt to define Donald Trump….

By reserving time in key swing states — at least Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, and Virginia — the Clinton camp is sending an unmistakable message to the presumptive GOP nominee that it intends to press into traditionally Republican territory without spending too much time worrying about defending traditionally Democratic destinations where Trump insists he will compete, said a handful of high-level Democrats close to the Clinton effort.

The ad barrage — slated to start on Thursday — will combine with a weeks-old onslaught from the major pro-Clinton super PAC, Priorities USA Action, which has already blanketed swing states with its own blistering negative spots and plans to stay on air until Election Day.

Waterhouse_-_The_Lady_of_Shalott_floating_to_Cat-melot-w

She’s also vetting VP candidates, and Bernie Sanders isn’t one of them. NY Magazine:

Hillary Clinton’s last interaction with Bernie Sanders may have been “positive,” but that doesn’t mean she’s willing to join forces with the Vermont senator for good. Although there has been some speculation Sanders could be in the running for a spot as Clinton’s running mate, on Wednesday, her campaign quashed the rumor by revealing that he isn’t even being considered.

According to TheWall Street Journal, the vetting is still in its early stages, but Sanders’s name isn’t on the short-list. Those under consideration are reportedly:

Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts (duh),

Labor Secretary Tom Perez,

Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro,

Senator Tim Kaine of Virginia,

Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio,

Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey,

Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti,

Representative Xavier Becerra of California, and

Representative Tim Ryan of Ohio.

And while Bernie has been being his nasty self, declining to concede and/or endorse Hillary, his big name supporters are switching to her.

Rubens_Abduction-of-the-Cat-of-the-Daughter-of-Leucippus-w

MSNBC: Major Labor Group to Endorse Clinton as Sanders Holdouts Dwindle.

The AFL-CIO is set to endorse Hillary Clinton Thursday, but a handful of unions within the massive labor federation are holding out support for the presumptive Democratic nominee and instead backing Bernie Sanders – with some even vowing to stick with her challenger until the bitter end.

The executive committee of the AFL-CIO, which represents more than 12 million active and retired workers, will vote on a presidential announcement during a meeting at its headquarters in Washington, D.C.

Sanders has refuses to concede the race, but Clinton is expected to easily secure the necessary support from the federation’s 56 affiliate unions to win the endorsement — including from several that had previously backed Sanders.

The president of the largest labor union to support Sanders, the Communications Workers of American, told his members this week that it was time to unify the Democratic Party around Clinton.

“Bernie is not going to be the nominee. Hillary Rodham Clinton will be,” CWA President Chris Shelton said in a speech. “And whatever you think of Secretary Clinton — I happen to think she was a damn good senator from New York and that a lot of the hostility against her is attributable to out-and-out sexism and to the ‘vast right-wing conspiracy’ — she is the candidate who is running against Donald Trump. And brothers and sisters, we must stop Donald Trump from becoming president.”

Bernie could have ended up with quite a bit of influence in the Party and in the Senate, but he decided he liked sour grapes better. I can’t wait till the Democrats kick him to curb.

So . . . . what stories are you following today?