Open Thread: Some of Us Don’t Deserve Nice Things

Third-party challengers: First, as tragedy

I actually feel sorry for Bill Weld, who’s probably the last surviving Honorable Republican Pol.

(He’s hoping for Secretary of State in the Trump administration.)

And then as farce…
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The Trials of Snack Team 6: The Embezzling!

Slide1

While the Prosecution has rested in the Trial of Snack Team 6 and the Defense has begun to present their case, including calling Franklin Graham to the stand, we have news relating our intrepid heroes that originated outside the courtroom. The Idaho Statesmen is reporting that Brandon Curtiss, the leader of the Idaho III% Militia, took $2,901 of donations meant to assist four Idaho III% members who have been charged in the 2014 Bundy family led Bunkerville standoff (h/t: TPM). As a result 36 members of the Idaho III% Militia have resigned because Curtiss has allegedly taken this money and spent it on a variety of items that have absolutely nothing to do with funds to assist the four of his members and their families as they wait for their upcoming days in Federal Court.

The group’s PayPal account was in Curtiss’ name. PayPal records show Curtiss paid $295 on Aug. 7 to Rollin Smoke Diesel, an Indiana company that supplies aftermarket parts that allow pickups with diesel engines to produce thick clouds of black smoke in what has become a fad in some areas. The next day, the company credited $13 back to the account.

On Aug. 8, the account was billed $30 from Mister Car Wash in Nampa. Other payments that month for which the business purpose wasn’t clear include $37.50 to Adele’s Storage in Clarkston, Wash.; $30 to Spyfly.com, an online company that provides criminal records, personal financial information and contact information for people; $18.55 to a Taco Bell in Ontario, Ore.; and $71.59 to a Maverik store in Fruitland, where Curtiss resides.

That same month, the Mountain West Bank statement shows a $98.44 charge for an Idaho Parks and Recreation camping reservation and a $5 iTunes music download. There were also $292 in gasoline and food charges in Winnemucca, Nev., and Roseville and Sacramento, Calif., on Aug. 3 and 4, along with an Aug. 3 Walmart purchase in Sacramento.

By Sept. 13, the bank account showed a balance of $12.58. Six days later, the account was closed. It’s unclear whether 3% of Idaho has another existing bank account or what financial resources it still has.

Also, Curtiss appears to be a general, all around deadbeat. He was fined for not paying the Workman’s Comp premiums earlier this year for his Bail Recovery Agency, the Sons of Liberty Fugitive Recovery Service.

Tune in tomorrow for more updates. Same Bundy time, same Bundy station.

(I am not sure if it is kosher to mix Roman numerals with a % sign. But that’s how these guys do their name/symbol. I apologize if this is shaatnez.)



Emergency Kitten Bleg – Pasadena Area

From “long time BJ lurker” Chaz:

My kids just discovered that a stray cat that hangs out around my house had 3 kittens. We caught them and will clean them up but we’re looking for owners. Not sure about the sexes – I’m not getting too close until they’ve been deloused and such. We live in Altadena, CA which borders Pasadena to the north. Any advice on tiny kitten care and also catching the mom (to spay her) is also welcome.

I’m sending Chaz links to the Alley Cats Allies site — and also, of course, to Werebear at her Way of Cats blog — but any advice would be gratefully accepted.

If you want to contact Chaz directly, send me a message at annelaurie (dot) verizon (dot) net, and I’ll forward it to him.








Worse than Worthless (alternate working title- “OWW MY BALLS”)

mitch-mcconnell-turtle-man

These guys:

The Senate’s top Republican Thursday warned that legislation enacted over President Barack Obama’s veto to allow families of Sept. 11 victims to sue Saudi Arabia in U.S. courts may have “unintended ramifications” and that lawmakers should discuss fixes to the measure.

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said the White House was too slow to warn about the “potential consequences” of the measure. Both the House and Senate overwhelmingly overrode Obama’s veto of the measure on Wednesday.

McConnell said he told the president recently that the 9/11 victims bill “was an example of an issue that we should have talked about much earlier.”

***

“Everybody was aware of who the potential beneficiaries were but nobody really had focused on the downside in terms of our international relationships,” McConnell said.

McConnell said that the dynamic involving the bill — in which it barreled through both chambers before and proved unstoppable — was what happens when there is “failure to communicate early about the potential consequences of a piece of legislation that was obviously very popular.

It’s almost like he doesn’t know it’s his fucking job in the Senate to write bills and schedule debate to “talk about” and discuss “potential consequences.” Beyond that, it’s not like it was super hard to predict there would be consequences. In fact, a certain injury prone D-list blogger with an ice cream fetish and an animal hoarding problem thought of them pretty quick:

Also, there’s a particular somebody, gosh, what’s his name- Soetero something or other- WHO FUCKING VETOED THE GOD DAMNED BILL:

Congressional leaders plan to hold override votes in the coming days and supporters of the legislation say they are confident they can succeed in overturning the president’s action. It would be the first time during Obama’s presidency that Congress has overridden a veto.

The legislation would allow U.S. courts to waive claims to foreign sovereign immunity in cases involving terrorism on U.S. soil. The administration contends that this would break a longstanding practice that sovereign nations are protected from these types of legal threats. The result, according to the White House, is that American officials could now be sued in foreign courts over U.S. military or diplomatic actions abroad, which administration officials said poses a threat to national security.

“I recognize that there is nothing that could ever erase the grief the 9/11 families have endured. My Administration therefore remains resolute in its commitment to assist these families in their pursuit of justice and do whatever we can to prevent another attack in the United States,” the president wrote in his veto message to Congress. “Enacting [this legislation] into law, however, would neither protect Americans from terrorist attacks nor improve the effectiveness of our response to such attacks.”

You were literally planning to hold an override vote without holding any debate as he was telling you about the fucking unintended consequences, YOU STUPID CONFEDERATE HUMPING RETROGRADE IGNORAMUS.

If the media let these guys get away with this or try to pin this on Obama, they are as bad as McConnell.



Wasn’t Me

Jake wants you to know this was not him:

Local police notes this week:

A cat was injured at 9:45 a.m. Wednesday by a dog in the 1600 block of Sixth Avenue. Further investigation revealed the cat started the fight and the dog owner was not at fault.

I’m not getting a lot of work done today. That needs to change. How are you wrapping up your afternoon?

Open thread.








Et tu, Marcolito?

Newsweek’s Kurt Eichenwald dropped a bombshell on the Trump campaign this morning:

Documents show that the Trump company spent a minimum of $68,000 for its 1998 foray into Cuba at a time when the corporate expenditure of even a penny in the Caribbean country was prohibited without U.S. government approval. But the company did not spend the money directly. Instead, with Trump’s knowledge, executives funneled the cash for the Cuba trip through an American consulting firm called Seven Arrows Investment and Development Corp. Once the business consultants traveled to the island and incurred the expenses for the venture, Seven Arrows instructed senior officers with Trump’s company—then called Trump Hotels & Casino Resorts—how to make it appear legal by linking it after the fact to a charitable effort.

The payment by Trump Hotels came just before the New York business mogul launched his first bid for the White House, seeking the nomination of the Reform Party. On his first day of the campaign, he traveled to Miami, where he spoke to a group of Cuban-Americans, a critical voting bloc in the swing state. Trump vowed to maintain the embargo and never spend his or his companies’ money in Cuba until Fidel Castro was removed from power.

Sounds legit. The Trump Foundation operates as Trump’s personal piggybank / tax evasion scheme, so why not use a charity as a cover for an embargo-busting business expense?

This latest Trump scandal could have huge implications in Florida. Even Marco Rubio, who acknowledged that Trump is a conman but endorsed him for president anyway, issued what passes for a tough statement from that quarter:

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio said Donald Trump will have to “answer some questions” about a Newsweek story reporting that a Trump-owned company allegedly violated the United States’ trade embargo with Cuba in the late 1990s.

“This is something they’re going to have to give a response to. I mean, it was a violation of American law, if that’s how it happened,” Rubio said on the ESPN/ABC “Capital Games” podcast.

A real profile in courage, is our Marcolito. But the vote in Florida is on a knife’s edge, thanks in part to an aging bloc of voters who reflexively vote Republican because of hostility toward the Castros. This might complicate that a bit.



Quit Being Part Of The F-ing Problem, Jerk-Off

National treasure, Samantha Bee:

Here is Michelle campaigning for Hillary yesterday. I’m about ready to watch it. Heard she managed to surgically destroy Trump without ever mentioning his name. So that should start my work day off with a smile.

Open thread…



Breaking the broker business model

I’m not a broker. I’ve never personally sold a single dollar’s worth of insurance to anyone unless you want to count a condom I sold to a buddy for two beers back in grad school. The broker/agent side of the business is one where I’m curious about how it works as the insurance agent selling policies is usually the most public facing side of the insurance universe. The broker/agent model is broken on the individual market.

The fundamental problem is how brokers get paid and who pays them. Brokers who work the individual market and the very small group market are paid by the insurance carriers. Their commission can be a flat fee per covered life per month, it can be a percentage of commission, it can be a combination of a head fee and a percentage. The actual payment structure varies. At the same time, a good broker should be seeking to find the best situation possible for the person who is looking for insurance. And this is where the problem lies.

A good agent will place people into insurance products that are very appropriate for them. We looked at this in March:
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Thursday Morning Open Thread: Who Are You Gonna Believe?

… the record, or my lyin’ ego?

Someday we’ll all get tired of mocking the Debacle, but zingers like “Trump’s face looked like someone making a fist inside a sock puppet” are too good not to share…

Also, because this is 2016, the wearing of clothes seems to have become an election meme:

What’s on the agenda for the new day?



Late Night Open Thread: Bad 1980s Movie Music Video Edition

One of the most interesting early 1980s movie music videos with fight scenes shot in Chicago’s Loop.








Biff! Zapp! Pow!

Good evening good citizens. There has been a request for a lighthearted open thread. And what could be more lighthearted than the trailer for the upcoming animated movie based on the Batman 66 TV show? Adam West, Burt Ward, and Julie Newmar reprise their original roles. So be sure to tune in: same Bat time, same Bat station!



Long Read: “The Sandy Hook Hoax”

If you stare too long into the abyss… Reeves Wiedeman, in NYMag: “Lenny Pozner used to believe in conspiracy theories. Until his son’s death became one“:

On December 14, 2012, Lenny Pozner dropped off his three children, Sophia, Arielle, and Noah, at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. Noah had recently turned 6, and on the drive over they listened to his favorite song, “Gangnam Style,” for what turned out to be the last time. Half an hour later, while Sophia and Arielle hid nearby, Adam Lanza walked into Noah’s first-grade class with an AR-15 rifle. Noah was the youngest of the 20 children and seven adults killed in one of the deadliest shootings in American history. When the medical examiner found Noah lying face up in a Batman sweatshirt, his jaw had been blown off. Lenny and his wife, Veronique, raced to the school as soon as they heard the news, but had to wait for hours alongside other parents to learn their son’s fate.

It didn’t take much longer for Pozner to find out that many people didn’t believe his son had died or even that he had lived at all. Days after the rampage, a man walked around Newtown filming a video in which he declared that the massacre had been staged by “some sort of New World Order global elitists” intent on taking away our guns and our liberty. A week later, James Tracy, a professor at Florida Atlantic University, wrote a blog post expressing doubts about the massacre. By January, a 30-minute YouTube video, titled “The Sandy Hook Shooting — Fully Exposed,” which asked questions like “Wouldn’t frantic kids be a difficult target to hit?,” had been viewed more than 10 million times…

“I prefer the term hoaxer to truther,” Lenny said, kicking a pair of jeans and Adidas flip-flops onto the footrest of a leather Barcalounger. “There’s nothing truthful about it.” There is no universal Sandy Hook hoax narrative, but the theories generally center on the idea that a powerful force (the Obama administration, gun-control groups, the Illuminati) staged the shooting, with the assistance of paid “crisis actors,” including the Pozners, the other Sandy Hook families, and countless Newtown residents, government officials, and media outlets. The children are said to have never existed or to be living in an elaborate witness-­protection program…
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Wednesday Evening Open Thread: Going Low

Meanwhile, per TPM:

Eric Trump on Wednesday joined Donald Trump’s surrogates in applauding the Republican nominee for not bringing up Bill Clinton’s sex scandals during the Monday debate, even saying that the moment is “something I’ll always remember.”

“I mean, he very well could’ve looked down—and he said it when he came off the debate stage, ‘I wasn’t gonna respond to that question because I saw Chelsea in the front row and I just wasn’t gonna go there out of respect for her,'” Eric Trump told Iowa radio host Simon Conway, according to a clip highlighted by Buzzfeed News. “And that was a big moment for me and probably will actually become — my life and this campaign — and probably something I’ll always remember.”

He said his dad “really took the high ground where he had the opportunity to go very, very low.”…

Not to worry, though, the kids have figured out the real problem with Dad’s campaign — lousy advisors!

Folks, it’s time to repurpose those playground jokes to target a group that really deserves it…

How many Trumps does it take to change a lightbulb?

***********
Apart from going low, what’s on the agenda for the evening?



This Should Scare the Ever Loving Shit Out of You

Look what it is out just in time to maybe save us all:

The NY Times has a handy review:

Mr. Ullrich, like other biographers, provides vivid insight into some factors that helped turn a “Munich rabble-rouser” — regarded by many as a self-obsessed “clown” with a strangely “scattershot, impulsive style” — into “the lord and master of the German Reich.”

Do say. Sounds familiar. Let’s explore some more:

Hitler was often described as an egomaniac who “only loved himself” — a narcissist with a taste for self-dramatization and what Mr. Ullrich calls a “characteristic fondness for superlatives.” His manic speeches and penchant for taking all-or-nothing risks raised questions about his capacity for self-control, even his sanity. But Mr. Ullrich underscores Hitler’s shrewdness as a politician — with a “keen eye for the strengths and weaknesses of other people” and an ability to “instantaneously analyze and exploit situations.”

Link: mendacity

***

Hrmm. Ok. What else:

Hitler was known, among colleagues, for a “bottomless mendacity” that would later be magnified by a slick propaganda machine that used the latest technology (radio, gramophone records, film) to spread his message. A former finance minister wrote that Hitler “was so thoroughly untruthful that he could no longer recognize the difference between lies and truth” and editors of one edition of “Mein Kampf” described it as a “swamp of lies, distortions, innuendoes, half-truths and real facts.”

Link: goebbels

Link: trolls

***

Ok, ok. Two for two. No need to panic, right:

Hitler was an effective orator and actor, Mr. Ullrich reminds readers, adept at assuming various masks and feeding off the energy of his audiences. Although he concealed his anti-Semitism beneath a “mask of moderation” when trying to win the support of the socially liberal middle classes, he specialized in big, theatrical rallies staged with spectacular elements borrowed from the circus. Here, “Hitler adapted the content of his speeches to suit the tastes of his lower-middle-class, nationalist-conservative, ethnic-chauvinist and anti-Semitic listeners,” Mr. Ullrich writes. He peppered his speeches with coarse phrases and put-downs of hecklers. Even as he fomented chaos by playing to crowds’ fears and resentments, he offered himself as the visionary leader who could restore law and order.

Link: elites

***

I sense a trend:

Hitler increasingly presented himself in messianic terms, promising “to lead Germany to a new era of national greatness,” though he was typically vague about his actual plans. He often harked back to a golden age for the country, Mr. Ullrich says, the better “to paint the present day in hues that were all the darker. Everywhere you looked now, there was only decline and decay.”

americagreatagain

Link: ialone

redstate:

***

A terrifying trend:

Hitler’s repertoire of topics, Mr. Ullrich notes, was limited, and reading his speeches in retrospect, “it seems amazing that he attracted larger and larger audiences” with “repeated mantralike phrases” consisting largely of “accusations, vows of revenge and promises for the future.” But Hitler virtually wrote the modern playbook on demagoguery, arguing in “Mein Kampf” that propaganda must appeal to the emotions — not the reasoning powers — of the crowd. Its “purely intellectual level,” Hitler said, “will have to be that of the lowest mental common denominator among the public it is desired to reach.” Because the understanding of the masses “is feeble,” he went on, effective propaganda needed to be boiled down to a few slogans that should be “persistently repeated until the very last individual has come to grasp the idea that has been put forward.

Link: repeat

Link: 3rdgrade

Link: rhetoric

***

This is legit scary now:

Hitler’s rise was not inevitable, in Mr. Ullrich’s opinion. There were numerous points at which his ascent might have been derailed, he contends; even as late as January 1933, “it would have been eminently possible to prevent his nomination as Reich chancellor.” He benefited from a “constellation of crises that he was able to exploit cleverly and unscrupulously” — in addition to economic woes and unemployment, there was an “erosion of the political center” and a growing resentment of the elites. The unwillingness of Germany’s political parties to compromise had contributed to a perception of government dysfunction, Mr. Ullrich suggests, and the belief of Hitler supporters that the country needed “a man of iron” who could shake things up. “Why not give the National Socialists a chance?” a prominent banker said of the Nazis. “They seem pretty gutsy to me.”

cockblocked

Link: garland

***

Sweet Meteor of Death:

Hitler’s ascension was aided and abetted by the naïveté of domestic adversaries who failed to appreciate his ruthlessness and tenacity, and by foreign statesmen who believed they could control his aggression. Early on, revulsion at Hitler’s style and appearance, Mr. Ullrich writes, led some critics to underestimate the man and his popularity, while others dismissed him as a celebrity, a repellent but fascinating “evening’s entertainment.” Politicians, for their part, suffered from the delusion that the dominance of traditional conservatives in the cabinet would neutralize the threat of Nazi abuse of power and “fence Hitler in.” “As far as Hitler’s long-term wishes were concerned,” Mr. Ullrich observes, “his conservative coalition partners believed either that he was not serious or that they could exert a moderating influence on him. In any case, they were severely mistaken.

Link: stein

***

Go ahead and reach for the bottle, people, if you haven’t already:

Hitler had a dark, Darwinian view of the world. And he would not only become, in Mr. Ullrich’s words, “a mouthpiece of the cultural pessimism” growing in right-wing circles in the Weimar Republic, but also the avatar of what Thomas Mann identified as a turning away from reason and the fundamental principles of a civil society — namely, “liberty, equality, education, optimism and belief in progress.”

Link: losers

Link: winninginbusiness

***

The next time someone tells you that Hillary and Trump are both equally bad, or that Trump is no Hitler, tell them to shut the fuck up and get the fuck out of your face because you don’t have time for their stupidity and ignorance. You’re going to be out participating in events to get Hillary elected.

*** Update ***

I guess we can throw eugenics into the pile:



Faunasphere: Gender-Free, Multicultural, Anti-Christian Veggie Burgers Edition

1) First, in the LA Times, a vegan activist details the varied flavors of abuse she got after creating a petition asking In-N-Out Burger to add a veggie burger to its menu:

…dozens of vile Facebook screeds calling me: un-American, a fascist, a moron, delusional, an imbecile, fanatical, disgusting, disgraceful, a control freak sociopath, and the worst part of the human race….It turns out veggie burgers persecute religious groups (“You’re attacking a CHRISTIAN BUSINESS and it is WRONG”), seek to destroy American values, and are hell-bent on ruining everyone’s good time.

Also,

We have learned that this single menu addition could lead to In-N-Out, and quite possibly the whole country, becoming “a gender-free, multicultural safespace to cuddle in” that’s populated by “the worst types of humans.”

Eternal vigilance and all that… Still! That’s a heckuva fuss to make over a veggie burger. (The petition has 36,000+ signatures right now, btw. Please sign it!)

2) Relatedly, and music to my ears: Reuters reports that a group of forty large investors representing more than $1.25 trillion in assets is urging the top global food companies to shift to plant-based proteins:

“Investors want to know if major food companies have a strategy to avoid this protein bubble and to profit from a plant-based protein market set to grow by 8.4 percent annually over the next five years,” Coller said. The campaign follows an Oxford University study which said $1.5 trillion in healthcare and climate change-related costs could be saved by 2050 if people reduced their reliance on meat in their diet. The study also pointed to growing political pressure on companies to change, citing a consultation in Denmark on the introduction of a red meat tax and a Chinese government plan to reduce its citizens’ meat consumption by 50 percent, FAIRR said.

Among the companies being addressed: Kraft Heinz, Nestle, Unilever, Tesco and Walmart.

3) If you’ve ever had gall bladder problems then you might have some inkling of the agony bile farm bears endure their entire lives—trapped in tiny cages, and with their gall bladders constantly “milked” for bile for use in Asian folk remedies. Happily Laos has just announced that, in compliance with the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) treaty, it will close all its bile farms—and all its tiger farms for good measure. (Tigers are also used for folk remedies, as well as the pet and trophy trade.) The tigers and bears will be sent to sanctuaries. (No word on the lions, tho…)

4) Armani goes fur free. (And, btw, a lot of the supposedly fake fur out there isn’t fake. Here’s how to tell.)

5) Personally, I can’t wait for dairy to die:

Some of the nation’s largest dairy producers will pay $52 million to settle an antitrust class action with consumers in 15 states and the District of Columbia….The dairy producers were accused of conspiring to prematurely slaughter more than 500,000 cows between 2003 and 2010 to limit the production of raw milk and drive up prices for yogurt, sour cream and other dairy products.

Fortunately, it doesn’t look like I’ll have to wait long. (See, also, this article on how dairy farmers are converting their land into almond groves. Wheee! And because I know someone’s gonna bring it up: here’s a piece on water use in almond farms versus dairy.)

Looking forward to your thoughts and fauna-related news (and nondairy milk preferences) in the comments.