The Volunteers (Open Thread)

I’m unimpressed when people in public office refuse to accept a salary for the job. I want them to take the paycheck that comes with the job, even if it’s a trifling sum compared to their obscene personal wealth. If only symbolically, a paycheck reminds the recipient who’s boss.

Rick Scott, the Medicare fraudster who purchased the governorship of Florida for around $100 million over two terms and then bought a U.S. Senate seat for $63 million, famously refuses to accept a salary. He’s a money-grubbing crook without an altruistic bone in his Skeletor-like body, so the reasonable assumption is he’s profiting off the offices. And look!

The governor’s blind trust is managed by a third party — a company that includes the governor’s former personal adviser. The governor reported that in 2017 his blind trust ballooned in value from $130 million to $215 million. The governor’s reported investment income from the trust rocketed from $4.3 million in 2016 to $120 million.

Early in his governorship, Scott ordered drug testing for all state employees and welfare recipients. It just so happened that his assets, which were transferred to his wife in a laughably lame attempt to disguise Scott’s interests, included a chain of urgent care clinics that did drug testing:

The Palm Beach Post reported in an exclusive story two weeks ago that while Scott divested his interest in Solantic in January, the controlling shares went to a trust in his wife’s name.

This raised a groundswell of concern and questions about his health policy initiatives, especially his push to move Medicaid into private HMOs. Solantic does not take Medicaid but does business with private Medicaid HMOs. The questions are growing louder with Scott’s executive order on drug testing.

Drug testing welfare recipients ended up costing Florida taxpayers $45K as a net loss, meaning we paid more for the tests than we saved in denying benefits — and that doesn’t count the legal costs associated with the many lawsuits the drug testing law spawned. But someone profited.

This morning, Trump bragged about donating his quarterly salary to DHS:

While the press doesn’t like writing about it, nor do I need them to, I donate my yearly Presidential salary of $400,000.00 to different agencies throughout the year, this to Homeland Security. If I didn’t do it there would be hell to pay from the FAKE NEWS MEDIA!

The tweet was accompanied by an image of the check, which was a bad move from an “optics” standpoint since it looks exactly like the exhibit Michael Cohen waved around in the Congressional hearing to corroborate his testimony about Trump paying off Stormy Daniels.

But that whiny “If I didn’t do it there would be hell to pay” shows how much charitable giving chaps Trump’s ass. He likes to brag about his generosity, but he doesn’t pay up except under duress, which is why his scam foundation was shut down.

Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner also claim to work for free. We know Trump and his garbage family are profiting from the presidency in various ways — piles of cash for Trump-branded hotels and resorts from domestic and foreign entities hoping to curry favor, exclusive trademarks for business products in foreign countries, cash to bail out teetering real estate empires, etc.

What hasn’t been fully tallied yet is the cost to Americans for these bribes. Here’s one example:

This week, the payday lenders are gathering at Trump National Doral Miami for the Community Financial Services Association of America (CFSA) annual conference.

They have plenty to celebrate. After years of lobbying and litigation, the Trump administration gutted an Obama-era rule that would have cracked down on the industry’s most abusive practices.

According to Judd Legum, it’s only $450 per round of golf, and the rule change is worth $7 billion to the industry, which is once again free to fleece the poor and desperate. That makes it a pitifully small bribe. Subverting U.S. foreign policy to bail out Jared will likely prove more expensive.

I’m guessing there are decent liberal politicians who are wealthy as hell and eschew their salary without profiting from their offices. I still don’t like it. Take the damned money, rich politicians. Donate the same amount to a charity later if it makes you feel better, but keep the news of the donation to yourself. Otherwise, us working stiffs might suspect you’re a dabbler.



Confronting the Threat

We — and by “we,” I mean the world — have a problem: the global white supremacist movement and its capacity to commit horrific acts of violence. Here’s how the POTUS is handling it today:

Bring back @JudgeJeanine Pirro. The Radical Left Democrats, working closely with their beloved partner, the Fake News Media, is using every trick in the book to SILENCE a majority of our Country. They have all out campaigns against @FoxNews hosts who are doing too well. Fox …..

….must stay strong and fight back with vigor. Stop working soooo hard on being politically correct, which will only bring you down, and continue to fight for our Country. The losers all want what you have, don’t give it to them. Be strong & prosper, be weak & die! Stay true….

….to the people that got you there. Keep fighting for Tucker, and fight hard for @JudgeJeanine. Your competitors are jealous – they all want what you’ve got – NUMBER ONE. Don’t hand it to them on a silver platter. They can’t beat you, you can only beat yourselves!

Pirro was suspended or shit-canned because of her latest anti-Muslim rant, in which she said that since Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota wears a hijab, Omar is a follower of “sharia law,” which Pirro says is “antithetical to the U.S. Constitution.”

Carlson is under fire this week because of racist, sexist gibbering newly surfaced from old appearances on the “Bubba the Love Sponge” radio show. But Carlson has been busily mainstreaming white nationalist garbage for years from his perch at Fox News.

After the Christchurch massacre, Trump tweeted “warmest sympathy and best wishes” to New Zealand. He has uttered not a word of comfort to the Muslim community there or here.

No one who has been paying attention found that surprising since the source of Trump’s political power is the ability to gin up hate through racist, sexist, xenophobic demagoguery.

Still, since Trump got a shout-out in the terrorist’s manifesto, the Beltway press asked Trump directly if we have a white supremacy problem, and he said no.

ACTING Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney was trotted out on the Sunday shows to defend Trump’s inexcusable response. Here’s what he told Chris Wallace when asked why Trump wouldn’t just deliver a speech condemning white supremacy and anti-Muslim bigotry:

“The president is not a white supremacist. I’m not sure how many times we have to say that.”

Meanwhile, Trump was giving Fox News a pep talk on Twitter to make sure his favorite anti-Muslim bigots and “white genocide” conspiracy theorists don’t get fired. So there’s your answer, Mulvaney.

Now for something completely different: Pete Buttigieg’s beautiful letter to the Muslim community in South Bend after the New Zealand terrorist attack.

This is how a great leader speaks to a shaken community. And that’s how we’ll confront the rising threat of white supremacist violence if we ever recover from this deeply shameful episode in our national history — with unity, and with the decency of people like Pete Buttigieg.



Brexit: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

It’s an ill wind that blows nobody any good, and just as the hideous Trump catastrophuck here in the States has rejuvenated the Democratic Party and spun comedy gold on late night TV, the rolling Brexit disaster has resulted in some damn funny professional commentary, as several jackals have pointed out in comments. Here’s a sample inspired by May’s Parliament debacle earlier this week:

The House of Commons was a Benny Hill chase on acid, running through a Salvador Dali painting in a spaceship on its way to infinity.

It was a kind of death-defying, window-shattering, epoch-shaping, never-to-be-surpassed lunacy.

The details are extravagantly complex, and if you can’t face them all, the key bit to remember is that Theresa May planned to defeat herself, then decided not to defeat herself by defeating herself, then lost. To herself.

Tom Peck, The Independent

And this:

By now, you will be aware that the prime minister failed to end her meaningful vote hoodoo, with this sequel to her last attempt – 2Meaningful 2Vote – knocked down by a margin of 149. Amusingly, some are suggesting that Meaningful Vote: Tokyo Drift could yet happen. A free vote on no deal takes place tonight, with potential amendments piling up. May herself ploughs on. It’s as if someone has popped a grey wig on Munch’s The Scream, then cast it in an ITV drama about the female governor of a category-A prison.

— Marina Hyde, The Guardian

I read those last two sentences aloud to my husband and could barely choke the words out for giggling. Also from that column, what appears to be an actual quote from “Conservative backbencher” Steve Double:

“This is a turd of a deal,” he intoned to the House of Commons, “which has now been taken away and polished, and is now a polished turd. But it might be the best turd that we’ve got.”

Speaking of turds that are far from our best, America’s ambulatory ocher dung heap weighed in:

“I don’t think another vote would be possible because it would be very unfair to the people that won. They’d say ‘What do you mean, you’re going to take another vote?’ So that would be tough.

I thought it would happen, it did happen, and both sides are very, very cemented in. It’s a tough situation. It’s a shame.

There was no reason for that to happen. They could have had the vote and it should have gone smoothly and unfortunately it didn’t.”

The Guardian notes that “[i]n opposing a second referendum Trump lines up with the Russian president, Vladimir Putin.”

Of course he does — the wily KGB man inserted his murderous claw up his puppet’s ass at some point between 1985 and 2016 and has used his pincers to move Trump’s lips ever since.

But the second part of Trump’s statement was pure Shitgibbon, once again invoking the now thoroughly exploded myth of himself as a master deal maker, failing as ever to comprehend anything more complex than “I want to eat/fuck/buy that,” and rudely shitting all over anyone with the temerity to behave as something other than a Trump flunky, no matter how inanely:

I’m surprised at how badly it’s all gone from the standpoint of a negotiation. I gave the prime minister my ideas on how to negotiate it and I think you would have been successful. She didn’t listen to that and that’s fine – she’s got to do what she’s got to do. I think it could have been negotiated in a different manner, frankly. I hate to see everything being ripped apart now.

I long for the day we get to see all these ugly turds take their final spin around the toilet bowl and then the fateful plunge straight down the sewer pipe. If the commentary and comedy are less biting after that happy day, we’ll muddle through somehow.

Open thread!

PS: I was going to Photoshop Theresa May’s hair onto an image of “The Scream” as an illustration for this post, but I recently switched computers, and my motherfucking Creative Cloud download keeps failing because Sweet Jeebus, Adobe sucks greasy green gator balls!



“Worsts & Worse” (Open Thread)

Hope there’s no Boeing stock in your portfolio; President Crazypants the Inscrutable has weighed in on the recent airline disaster(s) via Twitter. Nope, no “thoughts and prayers” for the victims since the recent crash occurred in a country populated mostly by non-white people — what we have here is freelance pontificating from a puffy bag of congealed fried chicken grease who probably hasn’t tied his own shoes in decades:

Airplanes are becoming far too complex to fly. Pilots are no longer needed, but rather computer scientists from MIT. I see it all the time in many products. Always seeking to go one unnecessary step further, when often old and simpler is far better. Split second decisions are….

….needed, and the complexity creates danger. All of this for great cost yet very little gain. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want Albert Einstein to be my pilot. I want great flying professionals that are allowed to easily and quickly take control of a plane!

[Ellipses his; there is no missing text.]

Imagine if President Obama — no, don’t. It’s pointless.

None of the people who enabled this lunatic will grow a conscience and oppose him publicly, no matter what crazy-ass shit he says or does, and that goes double for the plutocrats who received a trillion and a half in tax tuggies. This won’t change anything. Neither will this:

Patrick Moore, co-founder of Greenpeace: “The whole climate crisis is not only Fake News, it’s Fake Science. There is no climate crisis, there’s weather and climate all around the world, and in fact carbon dioxide is the main building block of all life.” @foxandfriends Wow!

Nor will this:

“Jewish people are leaving the Democratic Party. We saw a lot of anti Israel policies start under the Obama Administration, and it got worsts & worse. There is anti-Semitism in the Democratic Party. They don’t care about Israel or the Jewish people.” Elizabeth Pipko, Jexodus.

Nope, we voters will either kick this embarrassing and destructive bug-eyed orange loon out of office next year, or we won’t. So, carry on, friends. Open thread!



Florida Man! The Best Sport Utility Vehicle Salesman Currently Serving in the US Senate Edition

Florida Man goes to Washington, DC. Continues to be dumb as a box of rocks. Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you Senator Florida Man!

Shot:

Chaser:

Some people are born this stupid. Others aspire to it. And yet others have it thrust upon them. Senator Rubio has done all three. If it wasn’t for Norman Braman financing Senator Rubio’s career, lil’ Marco would be doing what he’s almost qualified to do for a living: selling cars for the Braman Auto Group in Miami.