All entries by this author

Liar to narcissist

Jan 6th, 2017 10:30 am | By

Trump talked to the Times on the phone this morning.

Mr. Trump spoke to The New York Times by telephone three hours before he was set to be briefed by the nation’s top intelligence and law enforcement officials about the Russian hacking of American political institutions. In the conversation, he repeatedly criticized the intense focus on Russia.

“China, relatively recently, hacked 20 million government names,” he said, referring to the breach of computers at the Office of Personnel Management in late 2014 and early 2015. “How come nobody even talks about that? This is a political witch hunt.”

Ahhh yes, it’s a “political witch hunt,” because what valid reason could there possibly be to object to Russia’s meddling … Read the rest


Jan 6th, 2017 9:06 am | By

Today in Trump being shitty.

President-elect Donald J. Trump’s transition staff has issued a blanket edict requiring politically appointed ambassadors to leave their overseas posts by Inauguration Day, according to several American diplomats familiar with the plan, breaking with decades of precedent by declining to provide even the briefest of grace periods.

The mandate — issued “without exceptions,” according to a terse State Department cable sent on Dec. 23, diplomats who saw it said — threatens to leave the United States without Senate-confirmed envoys for months in critical nations like Germany, Canada and Britain. In the past, administrations of both parties have often granted extensions on a case-by-case basis to allow a handful of ambassadors, particularly those with

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Another frenzy

Jan 5th, 2017 4:54 pm | By

The Working Class Movement Library in Salford (across the river from Manchester – I’ve been there, just barely, having crossed the bridge near the People’s History Museum in Manchester so I could say I’d set foot in Salford) is putting on an event with Julie Bindel.

We are pleased to welcome journalist, writer, broadcaster and researcher Julie Bindel to speak as we mark LGBT History Month. Julie has been active in the global campaign to end violence towards women and children since 1979, and has written extensively on topics such as rape, domestic violence, prostitution and trafficking. She is currently a Visiting Fellow at Lincoln University.

Julie’s 2014 book on the state of the lesbian and gay movement in

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Only forty years

Jan 5th, 2017 3:35 pm | By

Amnesty International expelled the coordinator of its branch in Providence, Rhode Island for publicly disagreeing with Amnesty’s policy of decriminalizing pimping.

Marcia Lieberman, a freelance writer and member of local group 49 since 1976, received a certified letter Tuesday morning alerting her that her membership had been revoked, she said. Lieberman faxed a copy of the letter to the Providence Journal.

In the letter, Ann Burroughs, a board member for the global human rights organization, wrote: “Amnesty member leaders are not free to dissent from Amnesty’s policies and positions while identifying themselves as Amnesty volunteer leaders.”

Amnesty International’s policy on sex workers, which was published in May after a vote by chapters internationally, calls for “the decriminalization of all aspects

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Serious biz

Jan 5th, 2017 9:40 am | By

Yesterday in Trump on Twitter:

Jackie Evancho’s album sales have skyrocketed after announcing her Inauguration performance.Some people just don’t understand the “Movement”

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A spirited hearing

Jan 5th, 2017 9:37 am | By

Trump has been sneering and jeering at intelligence experts for days. This morning there was a hearing.

Senate Republicans and Democrats defended on Thursday the findings by the American intelligence community that Russia interfered in the United States election, during a spirited hearing before the Armed Services Committee just as President-elect Donald J. Trump has questioned foreign involvement.

Some highlights from the hearing:

■ Intelligence officials said Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks founder, should not be given credibility.

■ In a comment aimed at Mr. Trump, the director of national intelligence said there was a difference between “skepticism” and “disparagement” of the findings.

That actually sums up the problem with Trump’s way of “thinking” in general: it’s all attitude and … Read the rest

Up for grabs

Jan 4th, 2017 4:10 pm | By

The Washington Post has more on the Congressional land giveaway move.

House Republicans on Tuesday changed the way Congress calculates the cost of transferring federal lands to the states and other entities, a move that will make it easier for members of the new Congress to cede federal control of public lands.

Many Republicans, including House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Rob Bishop (R-Utah), have been pushing to hand over large areas of federal land to state and local authorities, on the grounds that they will be more responsive to the concerns of local residents.

Great – so if local residents want casinos in Yosemite or high rises in Yellowstone, they should be able to have them? Or is … Read the rest

Let’s give the Grand Canyon to Disney Corporation

Jan 4th, 2017 3:52 pm | By

Peter Walker on Facebook:

During the Republican National Convention in July, many were appalled to see that language supporting the transfer (a.k.a. giveaway, theft… etc.) of federal public lands was included in the official party platform. Many of us were uncertain whether this was serious. The answer appears to be yes. On its very first day, the new 115th Congress voted in favor of legislation by Utah Representative Rob Bishop to promote the transfer of public lands.

He posted the link to a story by Rich Landers at the [Spokane] Spokesman-Review:

The 115th Congress got off to an eye-opening start on Tuesday, looking to reduce outside ethics oversight and then voting in favor of facilitating transfers of some

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They don’t have their priorities straight

Jan 4th, 2017 11:38 am | By

Amy Davidson at the New Yorker explains why Trump failed to be enthusiastic about the Republicans’ move to kill the Office of Congressional Ethics.

The G.O.P. representatives were absolutely correct in thinking that the Trump years are shaping up to be a bitter farce, in terms of good government, and a tragedy in other ways—bereft, for example, of real efforts to improve the lives of the most vulnerable Americans. What they were confused about was the part that they are expected to play. This became clear on Monday night, as critics from all sides pelted the congressmen with their own absurdity, and, the next morning, when Trump began to tweet.

“With all that Congress has to work on, do

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How Trump decides what’s true

Jan 4th, 2017 11:19 am | By

One for the Strange Bedfellows file: Trump and Assange.

President-elect Donald Trump has backed Wikileaks founder Julian Assange in casting doubt on intelligence alleging Russian meddling in the US election.

Mr Assange said Russia was not the source for the site’s mass leak of emails from the Democratic Party.

Mr Trump has now backed that view in a tweet. He wrote: “Assange… said Russians did not give him the info!”

The president-elect has repeatedly refused to accept the conclusions of the US intelligence community.

Based on what? Nothing. Just his wishes. He doesn’t want it to be the case that Russia hacked DNC emails and helped sabotage Clinton, therefore he asserts that it’s not the case. He is Important, … Read the rest

Category mistake

Jan 3rd, 2017 5:04 pm | By

Today in Trump Stupid on Twitter:

The Democrat Governor.of Minnesota said “The Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare) is no longer affordable!” – And, it is lousy healthcare.

Democratic Governor. Democrat is the noun, Democratic is the adjective.

But that’s not the stupid. The stupid is “And, it is lousy healthcare.” It’s not healthcare at all you imbecile! It’s a system for distributing and financing healthcare, it’s not healthcare itself. College loans are not “lousy education” because they’re not education at all, they’re a (bad) system for distributing and financing higher education.

Plus of … Read the rest

Not just for pizza

Jan 3rd, 2017 3:33 pm | By

Also good: the kelp forest.

Also, the anchovies:

They open their heads like that as they swim.… Read the rest

Sea Nettles

Jan 3rd, 2017 3:16 pm | By

I’m on the Monterey Peninsula for my job, and I was given a guest pass to the Aquarium, so I went there. I see why people say good things about it.

This for instance held me rapt:

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Mr Exxon

Jan 3rd, 2017 10:28 am | By

Speaking of corruption, conflicts of interest, ethics, plutocrats – the Times reported a couple of weeks ago on how that whole tangle is slowing down the vetting of Trump’s cabinet o’ billionaires.

Senator Tom Carper of Delaware, the top Democrat on the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, sent letters to the top ethics officials at 17 government agencies, asking if they had been in touch with officials of the Trump transition, whether they had received financial disclosure statements, and whether any Trump pick “refused to provide any information that you believe is necessary to conduct a conflicts analysis as required by law.”

“Given the large and complex financial holdings and boundless, serious potential for conflicts of interest,”

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Republicans say: never mind

Jan 3rd, 2017 9:40 am | By

For now, that is.

The news broke 15 minutes ago that

House Republican leaders have pulled a proposal that would gut its independent ethics panel, amid widespread criticism of the plan, multiple lawmakers tell CNN.

Even Trump objected – except what he objected to was the timing, the prioritization, not the substance.

Trump called out his fellow Republicans Tuesday for proposing to curb the powers of the independent ethics panel as their first move of the year, although the President-elect suggested the ethics panel was “unfair.”

“With all that Congress has to work on, do they really have to make the weakening of the Independent Ethics Watchdog, as unfair as it … may be, their number one act and priority.

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Self-cleaning swamp

Jan 3rd, 2017 9:10 am | By

It’s a useful symbol, if nothing else – the surprise vote by House Republicans to kill the independent ethics office that oversees…Congress. No stinkin’ ethics for them! It’s helpful of them to make it so very clear.

The surprising vote came on the eve of the start of a new session of Congress, where emboldened Republicans are ready to push an ambitious agenda on everything from health care to infrastructure, issues that will be the subject of intense lobbying from corporate interests. The House Republicans’ move would take away both power and independence from an investigative body, and give lawmakers more control over internal inquiries.

It also came on the eve of a historic shift in power in Washington,

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On the eve of destruction

Jan 2nd, 2017 4:32 pm | By

The Republicans are getting all their ducks in a row for their big project of destroying everything now that they have the chance.

For six years, since they took back the House of Representatives, Republicans have added to a pile of legislation that moldered outside the White House. In their thwarted agenda, financial regulations were to be unspooled. Business taxes were to be slashed. Planned Parenthood would be stripped of federal funds. The ­Affordable Care Act was teed up for repeal — dozens of times.

When the 115th Congress begins this week, with Republicans firmly in charge of the House and Senate, much of that legislation will form the basis of the most ambitious conservative policy agenda since the 1920s.

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Becoming a stan

Jan 2nd, 2017 12:27 pm | By

Paul Krugman on Trump the strongman:

In 2015 the city of Ashgabat, the capital of Turkmenistan, was graced with a new public monument: a giant gold-plated sculpture portraying the country’s president on horseback. This may strike you as a bit excessive. But cults of personality are actually the norm in the “stans,” the Central Asian countries that emerged after the fall of the Soviet Union, all of which are ruled by strongmen who surround themselves with tiny cliques of wealthy crony capitalists.

Americans used to find the antics of these regimes, with their tinpot dictators, funny. But who’s laughing now?

We are, after all, about to hand over power to a man who has spent his whole adult life

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He’s got a plan

Jan 2nd, 2017 11:42 am | By

The Wall Street Journal tells us that Trump’s childish blurts on Twitter are actually all part of his cunning plan.

In fact, there seem to be specific objectives behind many of Mr. Trump’s seemingly scattershot missives and comments. Often, say those who know him, he is posturing or positioning in pursuit of broader goals. He doesn’t mind roiling the waters in the process—and, as a consequence, some of what he says isn’t to be taken literally.

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who speaks regularly with Mr. Trump and is developing a lecture series and book examining Trumpism, suggests the president-elect is in this regard similar to Franklin Roosevelt, who sometimes seemed to cultivate chaos in preparing the ground for

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Trump is easily distracted by shiny objects

Jan 2nd, 2017 11:18 am | By

Again, the Times says Trump lies, in a headline:

Why Corporations Are Helping Donald Trump Lie About Jobs

The byline is The Editorial Board, so it’s not just one writer, it’s basically the whole outfit.

President-elect Donald Trump would like everybody to believe that his election is energizing the economy by forcing businesses to create thousands of jobs in the United States. And companies like Sprint seem perfectly happy to go along with this fiction because they know they can profit handsomely by cozying up to Mr. Trump.

They point to his lie about the 5000 Sprint jobs, and add:

In sum, Mr. Trump’s statement was hot air, just like his tweet in which he thanked himself for an

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