Odds and Odds Without End

I miss the good old days (2008-2016) when a person could unplug for 12 hours and not find evidence of traitorous behavior in the highest levels of government and multiple instances of chief executive buffoonery upon reentering the media stream. Here are a few things that caught my eye:

This seems significant:

Former national security adviser Michael Flynn was warned by the Defense Intelligence Agency in 2014 against accepting foreign payments as he entered retirement, according to new documents obtained by the House oversight committee…

“These documents raise grave questions about why General Flynn concealed the payments he received from foreign sources after he was warned explicitly by the Pentagon,” said Rep. Elijah Cummings, the top Democrat on the House oversight committee, in a statement. “Our next step is to get the documents we are seeking from the White House so we can complete our investigation.

This stinks to high heaven, y’all. This specimen simply must be questioned under oath.

I’ve read a theory that Trump die-hards in the wingnut media are recognizing that this Russia business has the potential to bring the orange fart-sack down, so they’re creating an alternative narrative that, while the Trump campaign was thoroughly infested with Russian operators, he was personally clueless about it during the campaign but has now turned wily spy-hunter. That’s the line taken by tabloid trash purveyor David Pecker, Trump friend and aptly named publisher of the National Enquirer.

In another curious turnabout, Trump favorite and notorious Hillary-hater Judge Napolitano of Fox News published an op-ed questioning FBI Director Comey’s handling of the Russia investigation before the election:

How could Comey justify the public revelation of a criminal investigation and a summary of evidence of guilt about one candidate for president and remain silent about the existence of a criminal investigation of the campaign of another? How could he deny knowledge of surveillance that was well-known in the intelligence community, even among his own agents? Why would the FBI director inject his agents, who have prided themselves on professional political neutrality, into a bitterly contested campaign having been warned it might affect the outcome? Why did he reject the law’s just commands of silence in favor of putting his thumb on political scales?

I don’t know the answers to those questions. But the American public, and Hillary Clinton, is entitled to them.

Truth from an unlikely source. Will the fact that even Fox News bigwigs are questioning his precious integrity and impugning his self-cherished aura of bipartisan competence spur Comey to attempt to unshit the bed he so thoroughly shat in 2016? We’ll see.

It also appears that Trump got pantsed by Canada and Mexico after blustering about NAFTA yesterday. He’s agreed to “renegotiations” rather than following through on threats to unilaterally withdraw. Possibly Peña and Trudeau simply explained how the treaty works, just as President Xi held an impromptu “North Korea for Dummies” seminar at Trump’s private club, clueing Twitler in on the complexities of that situation.

Were I a citizen of Canada or Mexico, I’d be dancing with glee at the prospect of the upcoming negotiations with such an easily provoked, idiotic ass. The upside for us? Maybe we’ll get taco trucks on every corner after all, with a Tim Horton’s across the street!

There are at least half a dozen more news items that would be screaming headlines for weeks in a normal administration, such as Trump’s idea to break up the 9th Circuit Court because he doesn’t like its rulings. I didn’t need to read about that after watching the first three episodes of “A Handmaid’s Tale” yesterday.

Anyhoo, I miss the days when a tan suit could cause a media furor. Open thread!








Thursday Morning Open Thread: Turnabout, for Real Education

I much prefer this idea from Richard V. Reeves, at Quartz:

When the event was founded back in 1993 as Take Your Daughter to Work Day, the idea was to promote gender equality. It expanded to include sons 10 years later, and has since lost much of its animating purpose. It also remains a largely white-collar exercise: Sponsors of the foundation that advocates for the holiday include MetLife, HP, AOL, and Goldman Sachs…

But in practice, Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day hasn’t changed much. We need to turn it on its head. At Brookings we are trying to practice what we preach, and so this Friday we will be hosting over 100 high schoolers from DC Public Schools, as a result of a new partnership with two non-profit organizations—Build DC and the Latin American Youth Center—and DC Public Schools.

One of the biggest challenges the US is a lack of intergenerational social mobility. Too many children end up in similar positions to their parents on the social and economic ladder. Given this, the case for exposing disadvantaged kids to white-collar jobs is pretty clear. But there is something to be said for the other side of coin, too. Teenagers from affluent backgrounds often live in a bubble, surrounded by friends, neighbors and fellow students who share similar backgrounds. “Our kids are increasingly growing up with kids like them who have parents like us,” writes the Harvard social scientist Robert Putnam in his book Our Kids. He warns this represents “an incipient class apartheid.” It couldn’t hurt for upper-middle-class kids to step outside their bubble and spend a day in a working-class job…

Apart from tween-wrangling, what’s on the agenda for the day?



On The Road

Good Morning All,

This weekday feature is for Balloon Juicers who are on the road, travelling, etc. and wish to share notes, links, pictures, stories, etc. from their escapades. As the US mainland begins the end of the Earth day as we measure it, many of us rise to read about our friends and their transient locales.

So, please, speak up and share some of your adventures, observations, and sights as you explore, no matter where you are. By concentrating travel updates here, it’s easier for all to keep up-to-date on the adventures of our fellow Commentariat. And it makes finding some travel tips or ideas from 6 months ago so much easier to find…

Have at ’em, and have a safe day of travels!

 

Should you have any pictures (tasteful, relevant, etc….) you can email them to picstopost@balloon-juice.com or just use this nifty link to start an email: Start an Email to send a Picture to Post on Balloon Juice

 

Read more



You know what to do

The Trump Administration in an attempt to otherize non-white people and scare the living bejesus out of the Republican marks base has set up a hotline to gather reports of crimes committed by aliens.

NASA has recently been finding planets that might be in the Goldilocks zones and evidently those inhabitants are causing a lot of trouble on earth. So if you see any strange people near Roswell jaywalking, give the hotline a call.



Who Defines the “True Progressives”? (Part I)

Senator Warren, still my idol. Here’s some more excerpts from the MassLive interview:

Q: Who is we? I hear progressives, and politicians in general, talk a lot about the middle class, but not much about people who live in poverty. Why is that?

Warren: One of the things I talk about is the way I divide the world. It’s the top ten percent who do very, very well; and the remaining ninety percent. And I talk about the interests of the ninety percent together, and make the argument that the investments in education, in infrastructure, in a robust economy, and in research are the things that benefit the ninety percent.

Q: So the breakfast waitress, and the dual-income double-professor family?

Warren: That’s right. Who are busting their rear ends but still can’t pull it all together. So that’s really the idea behind it. America once worked to build a lot of opportunity. And they called it the middle class; they filtered things through the middle class. But the truth was, opportunity was there for the middle class, for the working class, for the working poor, and for the poor poor. And you watch from about 1935 to about 1980, income goes up for everyone.

Q: Are you talking about Reagan; the 1980 mark?

Warren: Yes, that’s the 1980 mark. And African Americans talk about this as well. From the time we first started measuring, there was a black-white wealth gap; a big one. But we were hooked on the idea of opportunity. When the Civil Rights movement picks up steam in the 1960s and 70s, the black-white wealth gap shrinks by 30 percent. Then the shift to a trickle-down economy causes the black-white wealth gap to triple. So that’s the point. We can make a set of investments that work for all of us.

Q: You know some African-American political analysts say the progressive movement is tone-deaf when it comes to race. They say economic opportunity is all well and good, but it’s not going to make racism go away.

Warren: I talk about this in the book; about the economics of race. Which is a different point. It’s there in the first part of the story; how we built a middle class, and it’s there in the second part with trickle-down economics. But I also talk about it in terms of the politics of race. And the discussions around the Republicans; the dog-whistles on race, and then Donald Trump’s deliberate efforts to try to stir up bigotry…

That’s really an essential point — the Democratic Party’s problem is not that civil rights and women’s rights are somehow a distraction from “real” economic issues. It’s that, in our two-party system, some people who don’t want to call themselves Republicans are trying to turn the Democratic Party into a platform to talk about their issues (ECONOMIC JUSTICE! SINGLE PAYER NOW!) rather than the messy, open-ended coalition of “special interest groups” (urban activists, local machine politicians, immigrant workers, civil rights and women’s rights supporters) we’ve been at our best and most successful.

In fact, this is another nasty revival from the original Gilded Age, when Finley Peter Dunne mocked the Goo-Goos determined to purge American politics of ‘corrupt’ urban professional politicians (with the help of voter registration!) and replace them with clean-minded properly-educated white ‘native-born’ men. Just as it was more than a century ago, it’s always the people of color, immigrants, women — and working-class — voters who are expected to sacrifice themselves for True Progressivism.

(To be continued)



Wednesday Evening Open Thread: Wheels Within Wheels

I was gonna use the ‘Not Normal’ tag… but after Nixon’s phlebitis and Reagan’s Alzheimers, “too ill to pay for his crimes, no point in examining things so closely” really *is* GOP-normal, isn’t it?

Apart from watching (probable) traitors scrabble after excuses, what’s on the agenda for the evening?



Empowerful

Via TPM, Axios, the landing pad for Politico rejects, transcribed Ivanka Trump’s latest women’s empowerment scheme:

I’m sure this is fine. It’s not like a fund that leverages political connections at the highest levels to buttonhole the rich and powerful worldwide would be seen as problematic during a political campaign — much less when operated from the White House by the president’s daughter, business partner and official adviser.

Crispy Cajun-fried Jeebus, I sure hope Hillary Clinton has a well-developed capacity for ironic amusement.