Christmas Chaos

In the span of a few hours

You have to either be a Russian sympathizer, American traitor or bumbling fool to stand behind Donald Trump.

I was working on something else for a new post but the shit storm that rained down on America today left me no choice but to start a new one. I’m going to wait until tomorrow to finish but I’m going to go ahead and publish.

60 thoughts on “Christmas Chaos

  1. Opinion
    Nancy Pelosi Spanks the First Brat

    By Maureen Dowd

    At this fraught moment when the pain of the shutdown is kicking in, President Trump and Speaker Pelosi offer very different visions — shaped by their parents — of what it means to be an American.

    Read more (pdf)


  2. Trump Got Rich by Screwing Over Workers—Of Course He’s Doing It Again as President
    “For decades, Trump repeatedly didn’t pay those who worked for him, and now that he’s in the White House, little has changed.”

    The biggest lie ever told in American politics is the claim that Donald Trump cares about working people.

    He never has. He never will.

    As a bankruptcy-prone business mogul, Trump has always financed his lavish lifestyle at the expense of the workers and contractors he screwed over. Now he is doing the same thing as president, having engineered a government shutdown that on Friday denied 800,000 federal employees their paychecks.

    “Cheating, scamming, and ripping off workers is a Donald Trump tradition that goes back decades. Federal workers are just Trump’s latest victims,” says Public Citizen president Robert Weissman. “For decades, Trump repeatedly didn’t pay those who worked for him, and now that he’s in the White House, little has changed. Hundreds of thousands of federal workers and employees of federal contractors are suffering the same fate because of the Trump shutdown.”

    Read more (pdf)


  3. Opinion
    Down the Rabbit Hole With Donald
    It’s just another week under the mattress

    If you had to pick the weirdest moment of the week, would it be:

    The Coast Guard tries to buck up its unpaid civilian employees by suggesting they consider becoming dog walkers or giving music lessons.

    In order to dramatize the dangers of life without a Mexico wall, Donald Trump goes to visit a Texas border city that just had its lowest crime rate in 34 years.

    The president rebuts critics who say walling off a country is sort of medieval by pointing out that all cars have wheels and “a wheel is older than a wall.”

    Multitudinous fact checkers point out that a wall is actually older than a wheel.

    Feel free to add your own. Whatever you say, I’ll probably believe you. It’s as if we’ve fallen down a rabbit hole and landed in a Wonderland totally devoid of wonder.

    Read more (pdf)


  4. F.B.I. Opened Inquiry Into Whether Trump Was Secretly Working on Behalf of Russia
    Following President Trump’s firing of James B. Comey as F.B.I. director, the bureau grew increasingly concerned about whether the president’s actions constituted anti-American activity.

    In the days after President Trump fired James B. Comey as F.B.I. director, law enforcement officials became so concerned by the president’s behavior that they began investigating whether he had been working on behalf of Russia against American interests, according to former law enforcement officials and others familiar with the investigation.

    The inquiry carried explosive implications. Counterintelligence investigators had to consider whether the president’s own actions constituted a possible threat to national security. Agents also sought to determine whether Mr. Trump was knowingly working for Russia or had unwittingly fallen under Moscow’s influence.

    The investigation the F.B.I. opened into Mr. Trump also had a criminal aspect, which has long been publicly known: whether his firing of Mr. Comey constituted obstruction of justice.

    Read more (pdf)


  5. ESSAY
    His Administration’s Push For High Taxes and High Public Investment Helped Build the Mid-Century Middle Class

    “It’s a tax bill for the middle class. It’s a tax bill for jobs. It’s going to bring a lot of companies in. It’s a tax bill for business, which is going to create the jobs,” President Donald Trump told business leaders earlier this fall as the Republican Congress pushed through sweeping tax legislation.

    None of that’s true, but it does beg the question: What would a tax policy need to look like to accomplish all this? Going back to an earlier Republican administration provides a striking example.

    During the administration of President Dwight D. Eisenhower, from 1953 to 1961, the top income bracket in the United States climbed to a marginal tax rate of 91 percent. Taxes on corporate profits were two times as great as they are in 2017, and that’s before the current proposal to cut that rate to 21 percent. The tax on large estates rose to more than 70 percent. Businesses operated under a relatively high tax burden, and they employed a labor force in which one-third of the workers were unionized and bargained with executives as equals. Corporations served a diversity of stakeholders as opposed to stockholders. The result was a booming economy that benefited most Americans.

    Read more

  6. Older people more likely to share fake news on Facebook
    Researchers speculate that older Americans lack digital media literacy to determine trustworthiness of online news

    (Obviously this blog is an exception)

    Older people are almost four times more likely to have shared “fake news” on Facebook than the younger generation, according to research published in the journal Science.

    On average, American Facebook users over 65 shared nearly seven times as many articles from fake news domains as those aged between 18 and 29, researchers from NYU and Princeton found in the study, which also concluded that actually sharing such false content was “a relatively rare activity”.

    The researchers analysed the Facebook history of around 1,750 American adults, cross-referencing links they had posted with lists of fake news publishers. In doing so, they found that the vast majority of Facebook users in their data did not share any articles from fake news domains over the entirety of 2016 – just 8.5% of Facebook users in the study as a whole shared at least one link to a domain such as,, or Those sites, and 18 others like them, made up the list of “intentionally or systematically factually inaccurate” stories that the researchers defined as fake news. Sites that are “partisan or hyperpartisan”, such as far right news site, were excluded from the list of fake news purveyors.

    Read more

  7. Opinion
    Rashida Tlaib Said Nothing Wrong
    But the reaction was obscene.

    By Michelle Goldberg

    To judge by the media freakout that followed, you’d have thought Tlaib had threatened to grab the president by his genitals and deport him to a country full of excrement. It was astonishing, both the straight-faced audacity of Republicans feigning outrage over profanity, and the gormless clucking of pundits comparing Tlaib’s swearword to Trump’s violent misogyny and racist demagogy.

    The whole tempest was so monumentally stupid that I was tempted to ignore it, particularly since it’s starting to blow over. But it’s worth trying to figure out what the uproar was really about, since it could be a sign of the kind of media coverage this brash new group of representatives, particularly female representatives, might be in for.

    It certainly wasn’t about the profanity itself. In 2004, Vice President Dick Cheney delighted conservatives by effectively telling Senator Patrick Leahy, on the Senate floor, to go copulate with himself. (“It’s sort of the best thing I ever did,” Cheney later boasted to right-wing comedian Dennis Miller.) In October, Kanye West used the same term as Tlaib in the Oval Office, and few pretended to be scandalized.

    Read more (pdf)


  8. Opinion
    Trump’s Prime-Time Bludgeon
    Why immigration rhetoric that worked in 2016 doesn’t work today.

    The people who didn’t want television networks to cede a prime-time hour last night — or, as it turned out, a prime-time 10 minutes — to the president of the United States were implicitly giving Donald Trump a credit that he does not deserve. There is a kind of silver-tongued orator who can persuade in any situation, who like Caesar’s Mark Antony can find a crowd leaning one way and leave them stirred up for the opposite cause, who is legitimately dangerous when given a rostrum or a soapbox or a prime-time speech. But that is not our president: His rhetoric is a bludgeon, and what we saw last night was just an attempt to club his enemies and critics with the same arguments he’s made a thousand times before.

    Read more (pdf)


  9. Opinion
    Trump Hits the Wall
    And what’s all that sniffling about?

    By Gail Collins

    We need to look at the bright side of Donald Trump’s border wall fixation.

    Sure, he’s shut down the government and thrown the nation into chaos. But it could be worse. He could be demanding a fiery moat between us and Canada. Or building a 36,000-foot-deep barrier across the Pacific Ocean to drive home his commitment to tariffs.

    See? There’s always a silver lining.

    Trump wants a $5.7 billion down payment to build a wall along the Mexican border to protect us from caravans of terrorists and drug dealers. We hadn’t heard a lot about the caravan menace since the midterm elections, but the president brought it back on Wednesday. This was shortly before he walked out of a meeting with Democratic leaders about the government shutdown.

    Read more (pdf)


  10. Sorry for the lack of postings but in addition to remodeling my kitchen, the motor on my furnace fan burned out yesterday. Damn, it was cold in my house this morning! Luckily it was still under warranty and the company was able to come out this morning to work on it. Things will get back to normal in a few days.

  11. NEWS
    Angela Merkel and hundreds of German politicians hacked
    German Chancellor Angela Merkel and other senior politicians were reportedly hit by a data hack, with some of their letters, contact details and party memos leaked on Twitter.
    I’m disappointed that I haven’t seen this reported on U.S. News or at least given front page treatment. These rightwing attacks on democracy need to be reported.

    The hack targeted all of Germany’s political parties currently represented in the federal parliament, except for the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD). The party confirmed to DW that it had not been affected.

    Preliminary review of the documents discovered no sensitive information. However, the data published on Twitter included mobile phone numbers, contact info, and credit card details from members of Germany’s major parties. The leak also included banking and financial details, ID cards and private chats.

    Justice Minister Katarina Barley described the incident as a “serious attack.”

    “The perpetrators wanted to damage our trust in democracy and our institutions,” she told reporters.
    Interior Minister Horst Seehofer said an initial analysis suggests that the material was obtained from cloud services, email accounts or social networks.

    Read more

  12. @Jmach1P: Me too but the way AOC handled it was great. Now she needs to beef up her proposal to cover what would happen if the 70% rate was implemented namely the rich would use LOOPHOLES to get it all back if not more. She’s very savvy and I bet she’s already thinking about it. Krugman backed her up and Anderson Cooper made an ass out of himself asking the question “how”.

  13. “Build a wall of steel, a wall as high as Heaven” against immigrants.- 1924 Ku Klux Klan conventionWe know our history, and we are determined not to repeat its darkest hour.America is a nation of immigrants. Without immigrants, we are not America.— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) January 9, 2019

  14. @chris: @chris:
    It makes my blood boil when I hear A.Cooper, and other idiots say
    “… but how are we going to pay for it?”

    Well… how was the build up to WWII paid for?, how was the Interstate Highway System paid for?, how was the Mercury, Gemini, & Apollo space programs paid for?, how was the Korean & Veitnam wars paid for?

    The uber Rich paid for it. (top tax rate 91% – 70% in those years)
    Business owners re-tooled factories to make war machines, not a simple or cheap and easy task.

  15. Opinions
    This is what democracy looks like

    “This is what democracy looks like.”

    It was the chant heard again and again at the women’s marches the day after Donald Trump was inaugurated and echoed later in mobilizations on behalf of gun sanity and the Affordable Care Act, in defense of immigrants and refugees, and in support of democracy itself.

    Those determined gatherings were, indeed, part of what democracy looks like. There is a reason the First Amendment to our Constitution asserts “the right of the people peaceably to assemble” immediately after it guarantees freedom of speech and freedom of the press. The assembly right is intimately linked to the next one on the First Amendment’s list: the people’s right “to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

    One of the main goals of tyrants is to keep dissenters shut in their homes and out of view. Only when they find each other can advocates of change realize their potential power.

    Read more (pdf)


  16. Opinions
    Why I left the Kansas Republican Party

    My change to the Democratic Party has already shown me reasons for optimism. I have found that I am respected, my opinion is valued, and open discussions are encouraged. I see a future in which sound policy is valued above scoring cheap political points.

    Read more (pdf)


  17. A close look at the 2018 midterm results shows why he is so weak.

    David Leonhardt
    By David Leonhardt
    Trump the Vulnerable
    A close look at the 2018 midterm results shows why he is so weak.

    By David Leonhardt

    Now that a new Congress has taken office, the vote count from the 2018 midterms is all but final. It shows that Democrats won the national popular vote in the House races by almost nine percentage points. That margin is smashing — larger, by comparison, than in any presidential race since Ronald Reagan’s 1984 re-election landslide.

    The size of the victory has gone somewhat overlooked, because election-night story lines still have an outsize influence on people’s perceptions. On election night, more than a dozen House races were still uncertain, and Democrats were suffering disappointing losses in several (mostly red-state) Senate and governor races.

    But the final story of the 2018 midterms should be clear: They were a giant warning sign to the Republican Party, also known as the Party of Trump.

    Read more (pdf)


  18. Opinion
    The Economics of Soaking the Rich
    What does Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez know about tax policy? A lot.

    Paul Krugman

    I have no idea how well Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez will perform as a member of Congress. But her election is already serving a valuable purpose. You see, the mere thought of having a young, articulate, telegenic nonwhite woman serve is driving many on the right mad — and in their madness they’re inadvertently revealing their true selves.

    Some of the revelations are cultural: The hysteria over a video of AOC dancing in college says volumes, not about her, but about the hysterics. But in some ways the more important revelations are intellectual: The right’s denunciation of AOC’s “insane” policy ideas serves as a very good reminder of who is actually insane.

    The controversy of the moment involves AOC’s advocacy of a tax rate of 70-80 percent on very high incomes, which is obviously crazy, right? I mean, who thinks that makes sense? Only ignorant people like … um, Peter Diamond, Nobel laureate in economics and arguably the world’s leading expert on public finance. (Although Republicans blocked him from an appointment to the Federal Reserve Board with claims that he was unqualified. Really.) And it’s a policy nobody has ever implemented, aside from … the United States, for 35 years after World War II — including the most successful period of economic growth in our history.

    Read more (pdf)


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