27 July 2017

This is F%$#ed Up and Sh%$

Yesterday I wrote about a Pakistani crime ring operating out of the of a number of Democratic Congressional offices.  (As if that wasn't weird enough).

It turns out that they got fired once the investigations of equipment and data theft became known by every office at which they worked, except for Debbie Wasserman Schultz's office.

She did not fire her larcenous staffer until after his arrest for fraud:
When a computer expert who worked for congressional Democrats was accused of stealing computers and data systems in February, members of Congress cut him loose within days, leaving Imran Awan with no supporters five months later.

Except for Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

The Weston Democrat has not explained in detail why she continued to employ Awan until Tuesday when she fired him — after he was arrested on bank-fraud charges at Dulles International Airport in Virginia attempting to board a flight to Pakistan.

And she has not elaborated on what work Awan did for her after he lost access to the House computer network.

She declined to answer questions about Awan in Washington on Wednesday, and her spokesman, David Damron, accompanied her to the House floor while instructing a reporter that Wasserman Schultz would not take questions about her former employee.

………

But months after Awan was fired by everyone else, Wasserman Schultz grilled Capitol Police Chief Matthew Verderosa in May over why computer equipment was confiscated from her office as part of the investigation into Awan even though she was not under investigation.

“Under my understanding, the Capitol police are not able to confiscate a member’s equipment when the member is not under investigation,” Wasserman Schultz said. “It is their equipment and it is supposed to be returned.”

Verderosa told Wasserman Schultz that he couldn’t return the equipment without the permission of the investigation.
Am I the only one who thinks that this is hinky beyond words?

There are only two reasons I can see behind this, either Awan has something truly damming on DWS, or DWS hired Awan to spy on her colleagues in Congress.

Something here is crookeder than ……… sh%$ ……… I've run out of analogies.

A Well Deserved Repudiation of Cultural Relativism

A court in Ontario sentenced an Iranian immigrant for beating and raping his wife repeatedly for 18 months, well below the recommended sentence, with the justification that he was operating under the cultural norms of Iran.

The appellate court overruled this sentence and gave the offender a 4 year sentence, saying that Canadians need to behave according to Canadian standards:
The woman, a recent immigrant from Iran, suffered brutal spousal abuse but didn’t even realize it was against the law.

After moving to Canada in 2009 her husband forced the woman, whose identity is protected by the court, to have sex with him by hitting her, pulling her hair, pinching her and forcefully removing her clothes. “She cried out quietly so the children would not hear,” court was told.

He also slapped, kicked and punched their two sons and hit them with a belt. Once he locked them outside the house on a snowy winter day wearing nothing but shorts and T-shirts until their mother came home and rescued them.

When the husband was convicted of sexual assault and assault, Justice William Gorewich of Ontario court sentenced him to 18 months, citing mitigating factors that included the lack of a criminal record. The judge also noted a “significant cultural gap” between behaviour that is accepted in Canada and in Iran, and the “cultural impact” of changing countries.

That didn’t cut much muster with the Ontario Court of Appeal, nor should it have.

On appeal by the Crown, Justices Mary Lou Benotto, Alexandra Hoy and David Doherty found the 18-month sentence to be “manifestly unfit”and they imposed a far tougher, and entirely appropriate, four-year sentence.

They also went out of their way to send a powerful, timely message to the lower courts and the public in general that “cultural norms that condone or tolerate conduct contrary to Canadian criminal law” must not be a mitigating factor in sentencing. “Cultural differences do not excuse or mitigate criminal conduct,” the appeals court held.

If that were the case “some women in Canadian society would be afforded less protection than others.” In effect “it would … create a second class of person in our society — those who fall victim to offenders who import such practices.”
I wholeheartedly approve of this ruling.

I don't care if you come from WifeBeatIstan, there is no excuse for domestic abuse.  Ever.

Quote of the Day

This is vile. John McCain was never anyone’s white knight. This is the man who ushered in the age of troll candidacies by tapping Sarah Palin as his running mate. This is the man who caved to Donald Trump even after Trump had the audacity to mock his time as a POW. This is the man who called his own wife a c%$# in public. This is a man who has spent all this time acting as if all the Bad Republicans were forcing him to go along with their nefarious deeds while voting in lockstep with them. He is not a reluctant Republican. He’s a sh%$bag, same as the rest of them.
Drew Magary at GQ
(%$# mine)

Something Seriously Weird

The indespensible Matt Tiabbi has looked into the Government takeover of the government-sponsored entities (GSEs), Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and found it odd.

Not only is it odd, but it runs completely counter to the normal way that the Treasury Department handled rescues during the financial crisis.

For the bailouts of both the auto companies and AIG, the Secretary of the Treasury Timothy "Eddie Haskell" Geithner could not get the government out of those businesses, but with Fannie and Freddie, they retained a permanent ongoing interest:
In August 2012, a few months before Barack Obama told Mitt Romney the Eighties had called and wanted their foreign policy back, the U.S. government made a momentous and little-discussed decision. It unilaterally changed the terms of the bailout of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, seizing all of the companies' profits.

The government originally insisted on a 10 percent annual dividend in exchange for what ultimately became a $187 billion rescue. In 2012, the government quietly changed that 10 percent deal to one in which the state simply seized all profits. Government regulators euphemistically described this as "fully capturing financial benefits." The press paid almost no attention to this event.

………

They had gone bust during the crash years for a variety of reasons, mostly due to incompetent and corrupt management. But by the summer of 2012, with the real estate market in recovery, the companies weren't bust anymore. On the contrary, they were about to start making money again – enormous piles of it, in fact.

The government has always insisted it didn't know this. Not just in the summer of 2012 but numerous times since, officials have insisted that they needed 100 percent of Fannie and Freddie's profits because they wanted to protect taxpayers from likely future losses, and because Fannie and Freddie would otherwise be unable to pay back what they owed.

Mario Ugoletti, a special adviser to the director of the federal housing agency, said in 2013 of the companies' debts that it was "unlikely that [Fannie and Freddie] would be able to meet that amount consistently without drawing additional funds from Treasury."

But documents just released in a court case show that the government privately believed just the opposite before it made its historic decision to "sweep" the GSE revenues.

One key document is a memo from Mary Miller, assistant Treasury secretary for the financial markets, to then-Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner. Dated December 11th, 2011, Miller writes to Geithner that "Freddie is expected to be net income positive by the end of 2012, and Fannie by the end of 2013."

………

The only reason this story is hitting the headlines at all this week is because the government's 2012 decision triggered an all-out pitched battle between two investor groups. Those who bet on Fannie and Freddie's revival were wiped out by the government's 2012 decision, while those who shorted the firms have made fortunes.

The documents that came out this week were released in a lawsuit brought by Fannie and Freddie shareholders who believe that the government stole billions of dollars in profits from them.
Well, that last bit explains cui bono, doesn't it.

I'm wondering if the firm Warburg Pincus, where Geithner secured a job as president, had short positions on Fannie and Freddie, but I am a cynical SOB.

Then I decided to put on my cynical hat, and thought perhaps the Obama administration was attempting to move the GSE's function, and their government backing, to Wall Street, so as to privatize the profits and socialize the risks, to benefit the finance industry at the expense of ordinary Americans.

This did seem to be the modus operandi of the Obama and his Evil Minions, and that the easiest way to take down the GSE's would be to eliminate the major constituency for the supporting them, their investors.

It appears to have worked:
Lurking underneath the scandal derisively termed "Fanniegate" is a monstrous struggle for future profits. The fight here is not just about the profits generated by the GSEs, but what to do about them generally. Finance lobbyists have successfully forged a bipartisan consensus that the companies need to be privatized. Essentially, Wall Street wants to step into the shoes of Fannie and Freddie.

In most versions of GSE reform currently winding their way through Congress, the same too-big-to-fail banks that blew up the mortgage markets in 2008 would assume most of the responsibilities of Fannie and Freddie. Crucially, securitized mortgages would continue to enjoy government backing under many of these proposals.

Privatized profits, socialized losses. Who doesn't love that formula?

It would be the ultimate triumph for Wall Street, and the ultimate shocker ending to the crash era. After nearly blowing up the planet with a mortgage bubble and getting bailed out by taxpayers, banks would now be handed control of the real estate markets and granted permission to reap massive profits trading government-backed mortgages until the end of time.
I kind of hope that it's petty corruption by Geithner, who, after all, is a rather petty fellow, because the other alternative is that the policies of the Obama administration with regard to the finance industry were at their core ineluctably evil.

The counter argument to this theory is the massive program of prosecuting the Wall Street banksters for their crimes, but even George W. Bush prosecuted more aggressively than the Obama administration did.

Quote of the Day

One of the keys to understanding its origins is that the program was launched not because of a threat to U.S. security, but because of a perceived opportunity. That is always a danger sign, prompting powerful national-security bureaucrats to begin thinking about a “win” for the United States. (Think Vietnam and Iraq.)
Gareth Porter In the American Conservative of all places.
It's in a surprisingly well written article about how we ended up supporting al Qaeda forces in Syrian civil war.

Good Bye Rocket J. Squirrel


June Foray Dead at 99.

Voice of:
  • Rocky (Bullwinkle)
  • Natasha Fatale (Bullwinkle)
  • Nell Fenwick (Dudley Dorite)
  • Ursula (George of the Jungle)
  • Grandma (Looney Tunes)
  • Cindy Lou Who (How the Grinch Stole Christmas)
  • Lucifer the Cat (Cinderella)
  • Grandmother Fa (Mulan)
  • Wheezy (Who Framed Roger Rabbit)
  • Lena Hyena (Who Framed Roger Rabbit)
And hundreds more.

She will be missed.

26 July 2017

Ahhh ……… The Glories of the Free Market

Hospitals have had problems with staffing their emergency rooms, and have taken to contracting with a company called EmCare.

The result has been exorbitant fees charged by out of network doctors:
Early last year, executives at a small hospital an hour north of Spokane, Wash., started using a company called EmCare to staff and run their emergency room. The hospital had been struggling to find doctors to work in its E.R., and turning to EmCare was something hundreds of other hospitals across the country had done.

That’s when the trouble began.

Before EmCare, about 6 percent of patient visits in the hospital’s emergency room were billed for the most complex, expensive level of care. After EmCare arrived, nearly 28 percent got the highest-level billing code.

On top of that, the hospital, Newport Hospital and Health Services, was getting calls from confused patients who had received surprisingly large bills from the emergency room doctors. Although the hospital had negotiated rates for its fees with many major health insurers, the EmCare physicians were not part of those networks and were sending high bills directly to the patients. For a patient needing care with the highest-level billing code, the hospital’s previous physicians had been charging $467; EmCare’s charged $1,649.

“The billing scenario, that was the real fiasco and caught us off guard,” said Tom Wilbur, the chief executive of Newport Hospital. “Hindsight being 20/20, we never would have done that.” Faced with angry patients, the hospital took back control of its coding and billing.

Newport’s experience with EmCare, now one of the nation’s largest physician-staffing companies for emergency rooms, is part of a pattern. A study released Monday by researchers at Yale found that the rate of out-of-network doctor’s bills for customers of one large insurer jumped when EmCare entered a hospital. The rates of tests ordered and patients admitted from the E.R. into a hospital also rose, though not as much. The use of the highest billing code increased.

………

In the study, the researchers examined nearly nine million visits made to emergency rooms run by a variety of companies between 2011 and 2015, using data from a single insurance company that does business in every state. In exchange for access, the researchers agreed not to identify the insurer. Insurers and health care providers typically sign contracts forbidding them to reveal the prices they have agreed to, and the national trends in surprise billing detected by the Yale team are consistent with a broader study by government researchers.

The new data suggests that EmCare, part of publicly traded Envision Healthcare, did not sign contracts with the insurance company and was able to charge higher prices.

Fiona Scott Morton, a professor at the Yale School of Management and a co-author of the paper, described the strategy as a “kind of ambushing of patients.” A patient who goes to the emergency room can look for a hospital that takes her insurance, but she almost never gets to choose the doctor who treats her.
This actually highlights a flaw in Obamacare:  Whatever protection you have goes away when you get out of network services.

The larger picture is that for-profit healthcare is inefficient and morally bankrupt.

Adventures in Inventive Protests

Protesters in Minneapolis have put up street signs warning people that the local police are easily startled:
Joe Morino brought an incredulous friend to see the orange street sign he just spotted in the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood of Minneapolis.

The official-looking metal sign read: “WARNING: TWIN CITIES POLICE EASILY STARTLED.” It featured a graphic silhouette of a police officer, a gun in each raised hand, shooting in both directions.

“There’s a side of truth to the sign,” Morino said after snapping a picture of it. “That tells you there is something wrong with the system.”

The sign, which was still up at 8 p.m. Sunday, was one of at least two seen in the Twin Cities Sunday.

A photo of the same sign, reportedly near the corner of Snelling and University avenues in St. Paul, circulated Sunday on social media. A Facebook post said that sign later was removed.

Each was screwed into upright metal posts in the same fashion as conventional street signs.

The signs reference the killing of Justine Damond just over a week ago by Minneapolis police officer Mohamed Noor. Noor’s partner, Matthew Harrity, told the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension that he heard a loud sound right before Noor fired his gun, hitting Damond.
Do not underestimate the power of mockery.

Worst Defense Attorney Lawyers Ever

Today in complete moral and intellectual bankruptcy, counsel for the psychologists designed the CIA torture program are attempting to defend themselves against a civil suit by comparing themselves to the manufacturer of Zyklon-B, whose product was used in Nazi death camps:
As the recently departed White House press secretary demonstrated earlier this year, making comparisons to the Nazi regime’s murderous use of poison gas is rarely a good idea. That’s one reason it was so surprising that ahead of a crucial court hearing this week, defense lawyers for the two psychologists behind the CIA’s torture program compared their clients to the contractors who supplied the Nazis with Zyklon B, the poison gas used at Auschwitz and other concentration camps to murder millions of Jews and other prisoners in the Holocaust.

Psychologists James Mitchell and John “Bruce” Jessen were the architects of the CIA’s torture program. Now, in a groundbreaking lawsuit, three survivors and victims of the torture program are seeking to hold Mitchell and Jessen accountable.

This Friday in federal court in Spokane, Washington, Mitchell and Jessen’s lawyers will argue that they can’t be held responsible for their actions. In an extraordinary legal filing, Mitchell and Jessen claim they aren’t legally responsible to the people hurt by their methods because they “simply did business with the CIA pursuant to their contracts.”

A key part of Mitchell and Jessen’s argument hinges on the claim that poison gas manufacturers weren’t held responsible by a British military tribunal for providing the Nazis with the gas because the Nazi government, not contractors, had final say on whether to use it. They argue that they are like a corporate gassing technician who was charged with and acquitted of assisting the Nazis because “even if [Mitchell and Jessen] played an integral part of the supply and use of” torture methods, they had no “influence” over the CIA’s decision to use them and can’t be accountable.

In fact, the Nuremberg tribunals that judged the Nazis and their enablers after World War II established the opposite rule: Private contractors are accountable when they choose to provide unlawful means for and profit from war crimes. In the same case that Mitchell and Jessen cite, the military tribunal found the owner of a chemical company that sold Zyklon B to the Nazis guilty — even though only the Nazis had final say on which prisoners would be gassed.

The military tribunal made clear that “knowingly to supply a commodity to a branch of the State which was using that commodity for the mass extermination of Allied civilian nationals was a war crime, and that the people who did it were war criminals for putting the means to commit the crime into the hands of those who actually carried it out.”
There is a saying among lawyers, "When the facts are on your side, pound the facts. When the law is on your side, pound the law. When neither is on you side, pound the table."

These sadistic psychologists are pounding the table here.

OK, This is Very Weird

It appears that a group of Congressional aides, most of them working for Debbie Wasserman Schultx in some capacity, and all of them originally from Pakistan, have been under criminal investigation, and one of Wasserman Schultz's aides was arrested trying to catch a flight to Pakistan: (Background stories going back to February here and here)
Imran Awan, a House staffer at the center of a criminal investigation potentially affecting dozens of Democratic lawmakers, has been arrested on a bank fraud charge and is prevented from leaving the country while the charge is pending.

A senior House Democratic aide confirmed Awan was still employed by Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) as of Tuesday morning. But David Damron, a spokesman for Wasserman Schultz, later said that Awan was fired on Tuesday.


Awan pleaded not guilty on Tuesday to one count of bank fraud during his arraignment in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

Awan is accused of attempting to defraud the Congressional Federal Credit Union by obtaining a $165,000 home equity loan for a rental property, which is against the credit union’s policies since it is not the owner’s primary residence. Those funds were then included as part of a wire transfer to two individuals in Faisalabad, Pakistan.

Awan was arrested Monday evening at Dulles International Airport in Virginia before boarding a flight to Lahore, Pakistan. His wife, Hina Alvi, had earlier left the country for Pakistan, along with their children. Federal agents do not believe Alvi has any intention of returning to the U.S., according to a court document.

………

Awan, a longtime IT staffer who worked for more than two dozen House Democrats, has been at the center of a criminal investigation on Capitol Hill for months related to procurement theft. Several of his family members, also IT staffers at the time, were implicated in the ongoing investigation.

………

Alvi, another House staff member involved in the Capitol Hill investigation, left the country with their three daughters, headed for Pakistan, in March, according to an affidavit filed in the Awan case. Alvi had “numerous pieces of luggage” and more than $12,000 in cash, FBI agent Brandon Merriman wrote in the affidavit.
(emphasis mine)

The stories of he investigation at Politico go back to early February, which means that, unlike the claims made by Mr. Awan's lawyer, any investigation almost certainly began under the Obama administration.

There are also allegations of equipment and data theft, and these people worked for Democratic members of Congress for years.

This is f%$#ing weird, and I'm wondering if this is organized crime or some sort of ISI operation gone pear shaped.

Quote of the Day

%$#F% You, John McCain
The Rude Pundit
The whole thing is epic, but the following line bears a special note:
Besides, he gave us Sarah Palin, whose stupidity, vapidity, and cruelty arguably paved over the gravel road and made the ride easier for Donald Trump.

A Mixed Day for Voter Suppression

First, a Federal judge has ruled that Trump's voter suppression commission is not required to do a privacy review, allowing them to request data and make no real effort to protect personal data from hackers or other nefarious entities.

It appears that the judge found it irrelevant that the commision had already doxxed people who had made comments.
A federal judge on Monday allowed President Trump’s voting commission to go forward with seeking voter data from 50 states and the District, ruling that the White House advisory panel is exempt from federal privacy review requirements, whatever additional risk it might pose to Americans’ information.

The ruling averted a public setback for a president who has claimed that widespread fraud cost him the popular vote in November. The commission’s request for the voting information of more than 150 million registered voters remains controversial, with many state leaders from both parties voicing objections about its potential to reveal personal information, suppress voter participation and encroach on states’ oversight of voting laws.

The panel’s June 28 letter to the states requested that they turn over “publicly-available voter roll data,” including names, addresses, dates of birth, party registrations, partial Social Security numbers and voting, military, felony and overseas histories, among other data.
In related news, another Federal Judge just just approved sanctions against commission co-chair Kris Kobach for lying to the court:
A federal judge on Tuesday denied Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach’s request to reconsider a magistrate judge’s sanctions, finding Kobach has shown a pattern of misleading the court in a voting-rights case.
In a ruling issued Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Julie Robinson refused Kobach’s request to reconsider a $1,000 fine issued by U.S. Magistrate Judge James O’Hara, as well as O’Hara’s order that Kobach submit to a deposition in an ongoing case between the secretary of state and the American Civil Liberties Union over Kansas’ requirement of proof of citizenship for registered voters.

O’Hara sanctioned Kobach for misleading the court regarding the nature of voting-policy documents he was photographed with in a November meeting with President Donald Trump. The top sheet of the documents visibly showed suggested policy changes to the National Voter Registration Act which had been requested by the ACLU. After a review, O’Hara ordered Kobach to hand over the documents after finding them relevant to the case.

Kobach fought the order, arguing they were protected by Trump’s executive privilege and attorney-client privilege since an attorney in Kobach’s office had seen them. When he did hand them over, he marked the documents as confidential, a classification the ACLU is currently trying to overturn in an effort to make them public.

In her ruling, Robinson used three examples of Kobach’s previous behavior to chide him for habitually making misleading statements.
Heck of a commission there, huh.

Tweet of the Day



This is an inspired way to get ordinary folks to lobby their congressmen.

Linkage


Here is a PSA, Stop Emo Shaming: (I'm not gonna stop, but I am a bad person.)


25 July 2017

Cue New Labour Whining

Jeremy Corbyn has been saying that local constituencies should be able to select candidates by themselves, and the New Labour MPs who have been trying to overthrow him are having a freakout.

First, if you shoot at the king, don't miss, second, if your local constituency hates your flabby white ass, it's your own fault:
Jeremy Corbyn has opened the door to deselections of MPs critical of his leadership, by saying that it is a matter for local parties.

The Labour leader was asked about local activists' threats to overthrow Labour MPs they see as hostile to him.

Mr Corbyn told the BBC's Andrew Marr show: "I don't quite see why people should go to the party leader and say we want to influence what is happening in a constituency.

"The whole point of a democracy is that people decide."

………

The Labour leader was asked about reports that Tony Blair had personally intervened to prevent him being deselected by activists in his Islington North constituency when he was a backbencher.

Hilary Armstrong, who served as chief whip for five years of Mr Blair's premiership, recalled in an interview how Mr Corbyn's constituents had expressed concern that he was a serial rebel - voting against his party some 500 times - and tried to have him removed.

………

Talk of mandatory reselection of MPs was rife last year in areas where Momentum, the group of Corbyn supporters, was strong in local parties.

But Theresa May's decision to call an election at short notice meant the idea had to be dropped, and sitting MPs allowed to stand again.

………

Mr Corbyn said in 2015 when he became leader: "I wish to make it absolutely crystal clear that I do not support any changes to Labour's rules to make it easier to deselect sitting Labour MPs."

But last year, following a wave of resignations from his frontbench, he backed a "full and open selection process" in every seat.

Under the current rules, MPs can already be deselected if they lose a "trigger ballot" of the local party and affiliated groups.

The Labour leader's allies have called for a change in the rules, such as a requirement that 75% of members must support an MP for them to be reselected.
The Blairites are terrified because they realize that they are about as popular as a case of the clap, and if reselection (basically a local party caucus) were made routine, a lot of them would lose their jobs.

My heart bleeds borscht for those back-stabbing ratf%$#s.

They were actively trying to sabotage Labour in the last election in an attempt to take Corbyn down.

Drip, Drip, Drip

Something odd is going on in New York.

For reasons that are not clear to me, people are starting to go after Governor Andrew Cuomo, and I have no clue as to why.

Case in point, the CEO of the Western New York Fair just revealed that a Cuomo staffer attempted to delay cleanup at the fair after a tornado, because Cuomo wanted a telegenic platform for Cuomo to give a speech:
Call it a collision of politics and good old Western New York can-do attitude.

The cleanup after the tornado that struck the Erie County Fairgrounds was well under way Thursday afternoon when an aide to Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo asked that the cleanup be delayed -- until after the governor arrived, fair CEO Dennis Lang said.

"I said, 'You're kidding, right?'"

Lang said he told a Cuomo aide who asked him to keep debris in the area where the press conference would be held. "I just turned around and walked away."

Lang said he did not know the name of the man who asked for a delay.

"After the ceremonial service was over, I haven't seen any of them, nor do I expect to see any tomorrow and the day after tomorrow," Lang said of state officials and National Guard, who were at the governor's news conference.

Cuomo's office denied it requested the cleanup be delayed.
This sort of request is actually not that uncommon, but it is notable that someone is calling out the Cuomo administration about this.

We're also seeing the finger on the New York City Subway problems being pointed at him. (IMNSHO correctly) 

It's long overdue, but I am unclear as to why it is happening now.

If anyone among my reader(s) has some analysis, please contact me.

I See What is Going On Here………

I have previously noted that Trump's new Communications Director Anthony "Mooch" Scaramucci bears a scary reselblance to the Boneitis guy from Futurama.

Well, the good folks at The Daily Show noticed something else, that Scaramucci's body language Parallels are rather striking: (The whole video is worth a watch, but the specific clip starts at 9:12)


At first, I found it profoundly creepy, and then I realized what it was, an exercise in sucking up to Trump.

He almost certainly practiced in front of a mirror, as a way to make "The Donald" feel comfortable.

I've actually found myself doing something similar occasionally, when I am dealing with Asian professionals.

I tend to mimic their body language that they use to show that I am listening attentively.

Mooch has simply taking it to an outrageous level, and he has almost certainly done so in a far more conscious and practiced way.

What it reveals is that Mr. Scaramucci is a remarkably accomplished and devoted suck up.

He's perfect for the Trump administration.

24 July 2017

Lipstick on a Pig

In an Op/Ed in the New York Times, corporatist Senator Chuck Shumer pretends to be populist while rolling out the latest Democratic Party slogan, "A Better Deal."

I'm a lifelong Democrat, and as I watch them vigorously recruit Blue Dogs and New Dems as candidates in 2018, I have little faith in them actually prosecuting policies that will actually promote a better life for the bottom 99%.

They are still to busy chasing rich people as candidates and donors.

I'm Surprised. He Is So Considerate of Women


Blake Farenthold (R-TX)
Blake Farenthold is upset that Republican women Senators have concerns about the latest incarnation of Trumpcare, so wants to shoot them:
Texas Representative Blake Farenthold wants to take some female Republican senators out back and shoot them for not repealing the Affordable Care Act and killing thousands of their fellow citizens.

Farenthold says it’s “absolutely repugnant” that the GOP-led Senate hasn’t acted on repealing the health care law, singling out “some female senators from the Northeast.”

Farenthold, in a radio interview with 1440 Keys, said the Senate has failed to show the courage to repeal Obamacare. The Senate is expected to vote Tuesday on whether to move ahead on legislation they haven't even released for review by the Senators voting on it.

Still, the fact that Farenthold doesn't know what is or isn't in the legislation didn't stop him from blaming the female Senators, who actually may have a problem with the wanton murder of thousands of Americans by robbing them of access to affordable health care.

“If it was a guy from south Texas, I might ask him to step outside and settle this Aaron Burr-style,” he blustered.
What a lovely fellow.

His mother should have drowned him at birth.

Quote of the Day

Any fascist regime deficient in either the means, the will, or the aptitude to censor, jail or terminate non-compliant members of the press & judiciary is doomed to fail.
gaia's voluptuous anvil
Cause for optimism.

Seriously, Get Your Head Out of Your Ass

The New York Times just published an Op/Ed titled, :‘Make It So’: ‘Star Trek’ and Its Debt to Revolutionary Socialism," that should never have made past the editors.

It conflates the original series and later incarnations over things like the existence of money, see the mention of prices in credits in The Trouble with Tribbles, and the statement that there is no money in the Federation in TNG & DS9.

Furthermore, the original was if anything a manifestation of John F. Kennedy's decidedly capitalistic "New Frontier."

The basic theory espoused in the article, that SF is frequently social commentary with socialist overtones, is so obvious as to be banal, but the execution, cloaked in layers of academic jargon, is incoherent and inaccurate.

Fail.

United Strikes Again

United notified passengers that they could not check check comic books in as luggage if they were flying to Comic Con in San Diego, because ……… Transportation Security Administration (TSA).

The TSA released a statement that United Airlines had f%$#ed up: (Also here)
Don’t worry Comic-Con fans, you don’t have to remove your comic books from your checked luggage, despite what a Sunday photo circulated on Twitter suggests.

The dust-up began after a person named Adi Chappo tweeted the above, tagging United Airlines, which responded on Twitter:





But by Monday, the Transportation Security Administration was saying that no such restriction existed.



Lorie Dankers, a TSA spokeswoman, told Ars on Monday morning that she was mystified as to how United could get this policy wrong. “I don’t know how United went ahead and stated a TSA policy incorrectly,” she said. “I can say that TSA has advised in the past that if people bring several of the same type of item, it can alarm the checked baggage screening, but there is no prohibition on bringing things that are not a security threat. In this case, comic books are not a security threat and we encourage travelers to bring them if they so choose.”
Seriously, they make big bank on checked bags, so it takes a special type of incompetence to do this.

They are both inconveniencing the customer and losing money on the deal.

Adventures in Lame

I really got nothing to say that isn't in the headline:
Jason Chaffetz Wishes Congress Would Ask Chelsea Clinton Why She Did Benghazi
Please don't make me defend Hillary Clinton,

Linkage


Here is a very good animation of the functioning of the J-58 bypass turbojet used on the SR-71: