She Heard Her Master’s Voice…

Flunky Fail
Well, Trump’s toady Aileen Cannon seems to have failed in her quest to help the dumbass avoid responsibility for his crimes. She really DID try, though, demonstrating that her loyalty to Trump FAR exceeds her loyalty to jurisprudence. The lackey Cannon tried to block the DOA from doing their jobs, she really did. But a three person panel from the Eleventh District Appeals Court – two of whom were appointed by Trump – overturned that…um…”ruling” and put the investigation back on track.

To recap, Trump tried to get a “Special Master” to review papers seized during the warrant execution. The concept was to slow everything down and give the dumbass time to come up with…something. The Trump team knew, though, that no competent judge was going to participate in such shenanigans so they went to Cannon. SHE was all on board, trying to protect her hero. She shouldn’t have had the case at all but she kept that part of it anyway. The DOJ uses a “taint team” to discover any improperly held documents BEFORE the papers are passed to the active investigators so the idea of a Special Master was a waste of time and money anyway. But Judge Cannon doesn’t CARE about laws – her job was to protect Trump. He wanted the Special Master, he GOT his Special Master.

THEN, his Special Master, Raymond Dearie (a person suggested by the Trump team), told him he had to produce proof that Trump had, in fact, declassified all those papers – mostly an irrelevance since he STILL couldn’t legally hold them. The Trump team has…resisted the request. It’s one thing to spout lies at a political rally. It’s a whole different kettle of fish to lie to a court. Even Trump’s ‘D’ list lawyers aren’t going to do that. THEN Dearie said he wanted proof of Trump’s lie that the FBI planted all those classified documents at Mar-a-Lago. (He STILL hasn’t explained why – if the FBI planted those papers – does he think he should get them “back.”) They have until September 30 to produce a list of the planted documents.

In the meantime, New York State has filed a lawsuit against the Trump crime family Organization. It doesn’t seek jail time…yet. For now, it hits Trump MUCH closer to home: the money. Oh, and it ALSO seeks to bar them from doing any business whatsoever in New York State. I don’t think the CheetoJesus will do any time behind bars over his tax fraud, insurance fraud, or bank fraud – sadly, the US has special rules for rich people and, so far, NEVER jails ex-presidents – but Ivanka, Don Jr, and Eric are each likely quite…focused right now…

Also in the meantime, the investigation into election interference in Georgia continues as well. It’s moving a bit slower but the Georgia prosecutor investigating the allegations is openly talking about jail time for members of the Trump team who participated and we KNOW that includes Giuliani and Trump, himself – we’ve heard parts of the recording! Thus far, all the criminal participants are claiming they had nothing to do with anything and the whole thing is a witch hunt. You know, sticking to their lie in the hopes that someone, somewhere might believe them. Hey, the MAGAts do! What more do you need?

I guess it’s just a shame Trump can’t get ALL of his legal woes presented to the disgraced Aileen Cannon for disposition but it sure seems like the walls are closing in on him. I’ll tell you this: I don’t know how this thing will play out but I’m enjoying the show, for now. Pass the popcorn…

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Now, where are the spices?
Okay, so the move is done. Well, the relocation of the personal belongings from one location to another is done. NOW it’s time to unpack and “the move” isn’t complete until the boxes are unpacked. I don’t know which part is more difficult, packing up and moving out of a house I lived in for 9 years or unpacking and setting up a house I’ve lived in for 9 days.

It’s a morass of “What goes where?” “How can I make THAT work?” “Oh, man, what’s in THAT box?” and “Crap, what the hell happened to THIS?”

Priorities, people. The rules were followed. Beds first, kitchen second, bathroom – all “functional,” if not yet fabulous. I have a quiet, safe place to sleep. I can make a meal, although I have yet to find the box with the spices in it so everything’s a bit bland. I can shower at the end of the day, so I don’t stink at night. But an improperly hung towel rack has already fallen off the wall so I’ve already got repairs to do.

The kitchen I left was small. The kitchen I’ve arrived at is even smaller. That part is befuddling. I have high confidence I’ll figure something out but for right now, it looks like I’ll have a place to prepare a meal or a place to put small appliances, but not both. Not much of a problem for a blender but the coffee pot is critical!

Anyone who has ever moved house knows the challenge. There are too many things to do and not enough hours in a day to do them. So? One just keeps plodding along, one step at a time until everything is out of boxes and has some new place to shine. Of course, THAT’S when one realizes, “Oh, THAT should have gone THERE!” and the re-arranging begins. That’s thinking too far ahead, though, and I’m not ready for that. I’ll stick to baby steps, one day at a time, one box at a time.

Right now I’m just focused on trying to find the spices…

Defend the Indefensible…

John Roberts is out trying to defend his Supremely Kangaroo Court. He says he thinks it’s dangerous to connect the stupid decisions being handed down with the legitimacy of the court. The court, he says, has always engaged in controversial decisions and he doesn’t understand the connection between decisions people disagree with and the legitimacy of the supreme court.

But the court isn’t making only “controversial decisions,” is it? These are cruel and destructive “choices” based on personal whims of religious and conservative nut-balls – who committed perjury to be in a position to DO their damage in the first place – that harm millions of people. They’ve made it harder for millions to vote. They’ve stolen all women’s control over her own body. They’ve made it easier for polluters to pollute. They’ve damaged the separation of church and state. They uphold discrimination – at least, they uphold discrimination that “works” for them, personally. (They hate gays. They rule against gay rights…)

I think Roberts is trying to defend the indefensible and it appears I’m not alone. Young women from sea to shining sea are registering to vote and what I assume is an alarming rate to the GOP. The whole country was once convinced, say, nine months ago (coincidentally) that the Republicans were going to take back Congress in the 2022 mid-terms. They still have a better than average chance of doing so since they cheat so prolifically what with voter suppression and gerrymandering and now, apparently, hacking voting machines. Pretty much EVERY charge they throw at Democrats? Yeah, it’s not the Democrats, it’s the Republicans – and it always has been the Republicans.

So, suddenly, because of the Roberts court of rulings based on personal preferences, the mid-terms are going to come down to women and men who support women vs cons who want to take away as many rights from as many people as possible. (I’m certain that statement would be challenged by the cons. I’ve just gotten comfortable with the idea that when a con protests something, it’s projection, not concern and it seems to be ALWAYS the case.)

The cons have been told – and so they actually believe – they outnumber the left, meaning Democrats and progressives. I’ve never believed that. Like the GOP, the Dems vote as instructed by their party. The progressives vote their conscience. The two don’t always converge and it may make it appear as though the right outnumbers the left. But from time to time, the two groups come together over something (usually, the Dems take on some progressive position and it becomes easy for progressives and Dems to work together) and when that happens, there are CLEARLY more on the left than on the right. The Roberts court has brought the true goals of the right into crystal clear reality and that has created a revitalized coalition between the Dems and the Progressives. If this holds through to November – and I think it will – the cons will have difficulty even hanging on to what they’ve got, let alone making gains – even in the face of their election rigging.

If so, we’ll ALL have to raise a glass to the corrupted Roberts Supremely Kangaroo court for putting such a blunt and brutal face to GOP goals. Special side note: Lindsey Graham didn’t help matters for the right when he blurted out the GOP’s intent to pass Federal legislation banning abortion rights nationwide just as soon as they get the chance. I suspect even some right-leaning women might vote against the GOP (secretly, of course) over this. It’s one thing to mouth the words. It’s another to be forced to go through, or watch your daughter or grand-daughter, be forced to go through with an unplanned, unwanted pregnancy. Or worse, to lose that beloved family member to rulings that prevent abortion in the case of the loss of life.

I’ll tell you this: I hope Roberts and the GOP keep hammering away on their message that they fully intend to remove as many human rights as they possibly can. It will help them get hammered in the next election(s)…

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It’s a bit short today, this post. I’m moving house and don’t have time to put together everything I wanted to cover – which is a drag because there’s been so much of it recently. We’ll get back on track next weekend, though…

Prevarications and Passings…

Cons pretend to oppose activist judges
Well, the cons finally got the activist courts they used to bitch about endlessly. At the time, they pretended they were upset about activist judges who did things for political reasons that have nothing to do with – indeed, undermine, the rule of law. They said they thought that was a bad thing. It would have been, too, had it been happening when they were whining about it. But, like all things conservative, now that the activist judges have actually arrived – and now that they’re actively working FOR conservative ideology against democracy – oh, the cons are all over it. They LOVE it. They’ve never been happier to see activism from the bench.

I’ll tell you this: It’s going to be weird, having to check the political loyalties of judges to see if they’re loyal to the law or loyal to a political position but that’s the world the cons want and that’s the world they – along with the rest of us – are getting…

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But Cons love THIS activist judge…
Remember the useless, nothing-but-a-stall-tactic Special Master Trump was granted by his toady, Aileen Cannon in a craven attempt to gum up the investigation into Trump’s criminal activities? According to legal experts from sea to shining sea there was no basis for the appointment in the first place. Apparently, this partisan “judge” used some rather…unusual interpretations of law to work around the problem that there was no legal basis for the request to be granted. In THIS case, she elevated Trump to some special class because he had once been, ostensibly, President. So…no longer a citizen among citizens, I guess. Now the President, excuse me, their “President” is in a special class all by himself. Don’t believe me? The cons (wrongly, of course) believe Obama got away with something like 30,000 documents. Do you think they’d be cheering if a special master was appointed to protect him based on the notion that he had been President? I’d bet not.

But Trump got his special master. The DOJ is appealing, of course, but they have to face down the 11th US Circuit Court of Appeals – a court ALSO corrupted by Trump appointee “Federalist” judges. If they fail there, the only option is the Trump-corrupted Supremely Kangaroo Court. It’s looking like a rough ride for the law these days. But, in fairness, we’ve seen other Trump appointed judges nevertheless uphold the law and not Trump’s whims when ruling. MAYBE the 11th Circuit has some of those. We’ll see. Integrity is becoming increasingly rare in the MAGA bubble.

So now Trump, who demanded, then sued to get, the special master doesn’t want to PAY for the special master he demanded. As it happens, the GOP has been paying many of Trump’s legal bills. This is the quid-pro-quo for asking him not to officially announce his Presidential run until after the mid-terms but even at that, they’ve quietly backed away from paying in his stead and they’re not paying for the special master so Trump has to. Cue the whining. Asking Trump to actually PAY for something is considered a sin in MAGA world…

I’m pretty sure the accused should pay. I’m pretty sure that when one is facing criminal charges, experts brought in to defend the accused do so at the expense of the accused. (That’s part of the reason poor people get such unfair trials in this once-great nation.) One of Trump’s more questionable claims is that he’s a “billionaire.” One thing for certain is that Trump has fleeced his oh-so-gullible followers out of hundreds of millions of dollars. (His victims don’t mind.) Trump can easily cover the cost of his own legal defense, which would not have been necessary if he hadn’t committed crimes by stealing and mishandling all of those classified “documents” in the first place. (Sidebar: Have you noticed? Cons LOVE to feel self-important by calling papers in folders “documents” and “dossiers” but they’re still just papers in folders…)

I’ll tell you this: Trump should pay the price for his crimes and his defense. And I mean, he should pay the full price, all by himself…

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Can’t call fascism fascism?
On a related note, the cons have recently pretended to be upset over the suggestion that the conservative movement is, at it’s core, a fascist movement. They put on that faux-outrage mantel they’ve mastered through the years, offended on cue about whatever they’re told to be offended about, and get “angry” or “hurt.” Uh-huh.

I’ll tell you this: If you don’t want people saying you support fascism, stop supporting fascist policies and ideas. Pretty simple, really…

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Speaking of passings
I’m sorry the Queen of England has passed. I’m not sure why. It’s not like I knew her. I’m not a royal follower. I don’t even support the royal house. It’s a bit…anachronistic. Also, I know she was the face of many harsh and hard things that happened in colonies around the world during her reign. There are a LOT of people out there with legitimate grievances against the Brits. But I see those things as government and politics and the Queen, herself, seemed quite…personable.

I heard a guy on the radio say that there are many queens on the face of this planet but people referred to Elizabeth II as ‘The Queen’ and IF one simply referred to ‘The Queen,’ Elizabeth’s face was the face they pictured. I know that was true for me.

So, MyBaconPress.com offers deepest condolences to Britain’s royal family. The world lost a queen but the family lost a mother and grandmother and, normally, it’s hard to lose one’s mom…er…mum…

Reagan’s Damages…

There’s a thing happening on the left. People are starting to refer to Joe Biden as ‘Dark Brandon.’ I like it. If you missed it, there was an interview going on at a racing event in which the winner – a guy named Brandon – was being interviewed. Conservatives, being the way they are, took the opportunity to embarrass themselves on national television by shouting “Fuck Joe Biden” loudly enough to be heard by the microphones. The interviewer tried to cover the invective by pretending the crowd was shouting “Let’s go, Brandon.” They weren’t. In conservative world, Joe Biden became “Brandon” and a right-wing “smear” was born. (Truth? I never understood the “smear” of not knowing someone’s name…)

Recently, Biden has been pushing back against right-wing crazies who show up at his speeches just to try to heckle him. He’s taken to offering zingers that allow him to attack conservative ideology in general. In the past, he has stuck to less aggressive comments like, “They’re entitled to be outrageous, this is a democracy.” In the most recent go-round, though, he upped the ante a bit. During a speech in Milwaukee, some con heckler started in. Security starting moving toward the miscreant but Biden said, “Let him go. Look, everyone’s entitled to be an idiot.”

The man was tossed out anyway but the crowd loves Biden’s rhetoric. I do, too. As this has happened more and more, the left is taking back the “Brandon” slur by calling Biden “Dark Brandon” and Dark Brandon seems to be embracing the moniker. Biden is out giving speeches denouncing authoritarianism and autocracy and talking up democracy. He’s attacking some of the basic tenets of extreme conservatism and I say, it’s about time. I, for one, have had enough.

When Ronald Reagan first introduced the fraudulent concept known as “Supply Side Economics,” more commonly known as “trickle down economics,” I thought it didn’t make any sense. So did another candidate in the 1980 election, Reagan’s eventual Vice-President, George Bush (this would be Bush 41), who coined the term “voo-doo economics.” If your party is your faith, you STILL likely believe that Reagan was some kind of sage but based on evidence and reality, Reagan was a blithering idiot and Bush 41 and I were right. I know…words and numbers can be boring so I’ve got some pictures!

I didn’t make them. Some group out there – the ‘Center on Budget and Policy Priorities’ made them. They took something like 75 years worth of economic data comparing economic outcomes between countries. They put Reagan’s face to show when Reagan started HIS big lie and then let the actual data tell the rest of the story. It’s quite enlightening. For example, one showed economic gains between the “classes” of the United States through the years.

See Reagan’s face and the arrow? That’s when Reagan was elected. See how the lines run roughly together before Reagan and diverge more and more dramatically after Reagan? THAT is the direct result of trickle down economics, a conservative policy. Oh, but wait, there’s more:

In this one, the blue line is the National Debt and the red line is the debt’s percentage of the nation’s Gross Domestic Product. The national debt was declining steadily – until Reagan. Now it’s a conservative talking point and a concern for everyone, thinking and non-thinking alike. Even the conservatives, rank and file, anyway, don’t like the results of their own policies so they’re always on about how terrible is the national debt but oppose the necessary steps to correct the problem, taxing the wealthy.

I like this one. It’s sort of a close up of the public debt as a percentage of GDP. ANYONE can see how the debt has skyrocketed since Reagan. Cons, though, will close their eyes and refuse to look. But the rest of us really ought to know.

This one shows the increase and decrease in the share of national income between the 1% vs the bottom 50%, both in the US and Europe. The Western European model seems to be better for the largest number of people, yes? Based on data, of course, yes. The self-deluded will STILL shout “NO!” They’ll still be wrong, though. Okay, one more:

This one is a bit different, a bit more personal. This one shows life expectancy vs healthcare spending over time between the once-great United States and the first world nations that offer national health care in one form or another. One little line shows that US health care costs more than anywhere (thanks to Capitalists) with a far worse outcome. All that “Ain’t US health care the best in the world?” No, apparently not. Oh, sure, you’ve got a slogan but you don’t have decent health care.

So…have YOU had enough, too?

Fascists Behaving Badly…

I guess they would say they’re only airing their grievances. It doesn’t sound like that to me, though. I’m not sure I’ve ever heard a whinier group than today’s modern conservatives. Everything is either insult and injury or persecution and paranoia. Everyone is out to get them. Go ahead, just ask them, they’ll tell you. Simultaneously, they attack – and have pretty much destroyed – everything about this country I once thought made it a worthwhile effort. Technically, I believe it’s called projection. I accuse you of doing the things I am, in fact, doing. The cons do this so often, I don’t even have to list examples. Anyone who has ever listened to them for any length of time sees it in short order. Then, if you challenge them, they’re deeply wounded – followed closely by fury.

Listening to the Dumbass on his “Poor Me Tour” or his supporters trying to offer defenses is a little detestable. IS the whole world out to get you? No. The world doesn’t care about you enough to take the time to target you for anything. But, my gods, how they howl. And the farther from provable reality the currently held position, the louder the howling.

I’ll tell you this: I don’t feel sorry for them. In fact, I find it kind of disgusting…

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You may have noticed, I don’t have many positive things to say about today’s modern conservative movement. Many of the conservatives, themselves, I like very much. But the movement they represent and support? Abhorrent. I reconcile the two quite easily. I honestly believe the cons are being manipulated and deceived in their conservative bubble. They watch what they think is the “news.” (It isn’t, of course. It’s opinion, often outright lies, dressed up as “news.”) They believe themselves informed and they respond to the information they have accordingly – just like me. By the way, I believe this about Trump, too. One of the defining features of Trump is that he famously LOVES to watch television and we KNOW he was loyal to Fox “News” for a long time. Fox “News” has destroyed more minds than crack cocaine.

Most of my now conservative friends were once solidly blue. They became red only after a solid, sustained dose of Fox “News” or, these days, whichever outlet they get drawn into. Literally, the only difference between them and me is that I’m better at discerning the difference between facts and fictions. Not perfect, mind you, but better. Perhaps it was the critical thinking and logic classes. Maybe it was that history speaks to me so I paid attention in that class, too. It’s true, history DOES repeat…

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One of the falsehoods held by a large segment of this once-great nation is that government is bad and has no place in people’s day-to-day lives. But the government’s proper role in any transactional society is to act as referee between the have’s and the have-nots. The problem is, business exists for one reason: profit. Big businesses are amoral. That is, they don’t make moral or ethical choices. They choose profit. Always. But I continue to hold that any person or entity that acts amorally will, inevitably, act immorally. Business should, by rights, do any and every legal thing it can do to create profit. It’s up to the people in the society in which the business operates to define the limits of that behavior and we’re supposed to do that via our government.

Recently, one of my conservative friends complained to me that libs are calling cons “Fascists.” He was upset but I think it’s true. See, I’ve always accepted Mussolini’s definition of the word: “the marriage of corporation and state” – very much the America we live in today. (The rank and file cons have been handed a FAR more convoluted definition – one that conveniently frees them of the possibility they might be Fascists.) Mussolini was, after all, the original frontman of Fascism. He must have a voice in it’s definition, right? Fascism abdicates the proper governmental responsibility, creating, instead, an environment where government and corporations work together – with government taking it’s cues from the corporations.

But if business is to be the conscience of government, government will inevitably act immorally, too. (I mean, just look around you. It’s everywhere.) It’s not that either group SEEKS to behave badly. It just becomes the de facto outcome. When the government “marries” business, there is no more guardian watching out for the people.

Of course, the team that is supporting our current nightmare are, in fact, the cons. The rank and file don’t set the policy. They don’t even understand that’s what they’re advocating.

But I’ll tell you this: the conservative policy makers at the top don’t need the rank and file’s understanding. They need their support – and they have that…

The Trump Papers…

I really do wonder what happened to the contents of the folders, the 90 empty folders labeled as ‘Classified’ or ‘Return to Staff Secretary/Military aide’ the FBI found at Mar-a-Lago during the warrant execution. Are the contents hidden away? Have they been destroyed? Have they already been passed to his Russian handlers?

The details of the things seized during the warrant execution are coming out pretty quickly, now, and every day it looks a little worse for the former President. Normally, the DOJ is quite circumspect in it’s revelations about ongoing investigations. Normally, there are privacy issues that prevent them from disclosing details, even if they want to. But, of course, nothing about Trump is “normal.” The moment he demanded a Special Master to oversee management of the documents and that the information be revealed, the DOJ stepped up and started revealing pretty much everything it could.

No in-depth details, of course. These are national secrets. One does not just casually handle national secrets. Well, okay, ONE does…but most of us know better. The Trump-appointed judge in the case, Aileen Cannon, will rule on the request of a Special Master but the DOJ says he waited so long to file his motion, they’ve already gone through everything looking for potential attorney-client privileged documents. The judge seems inclined to grant the request. “What’s the harm?” she reportedly asked the DOJ.

As it happens, I have managed to maintain some of my friendships with conservatives. Mostly, we just avoid politics but, occasionally, we’ll dabble. I had one-such conversation recently with one of my more conservative friends. I told him I wasn’t trying to start a debate and I didn’t intend to argue. I just wanted to know what he thought about Trump’s papers. I explained that once he told me how he felt on the topic, I would know how the right is presenting the matter to it’s consumers in the conservative bubble. He answered pretty much the way I thought he would.
“Joe Biden!” he said. “Hunter! Hillary! George Soros!”
“Yes,” I agreed, “those are all good topics but for right now, I just want to know how you feel about the ‘Trump’s papers’ thing.” By that time, he had run out of “whataboutisms” and started to answer me.
“Obama!”
Well, okay, he had ALMOST run out of whataboutisms. The right believes that when Obama left office he took thousands of documents with him and nobody ever raided his home. I explained that those documents had not been taken by Obama. Instead, they had been sent to an archive repository in Chicago and were still under complete control of the National Archives and Obama has no say or control over them. He looked at me as though he pitied my simplistic naivety.

But then he started. “The FBI overplayed it’s hand. They executed an open-ended warrant and those are illegal.” I’m not sure what that means, but I was listening, not challenging, so I didn’t ask.) “There was no need to raid Mar-a-Lago, since Trump was cooperating. Trump had declassified all of the documents. Everything he had belonged to him.”
“Thank you,” I said. “I just wanted to know what they’re saying on your side of the aisle.”
“What are they saying on your side?” he asked.
“Well, on my side, it’s being presented as far more serious than you’re being told.”
“Uh-huh,” he kind of grunted.

The thing I noticed is that as he spoke he became increasingly angry. It’s like he (and, presumably, other cons) had been primed to anger on the topic. It strikes me that it’s a common tactic. The less strength there is to a conservative position, the more anger is stoked. It took me a bit to settle him down so we could get back to what we were doing.

Part of the reason I didn’t argue is that it’s useless. These guys believe the things they believe as a matter of faith. They don’t need no stinkin’ evidence. As a well established lefty, he wouldn’t be able to receive my words anyway. But then Bill Barr, of all people, weighed in on the entertainment channel called ‘Fox “News.”‘ On Friday, Barr said the ex-president had no legitimate reason to hoard classified material at his Florida resort. He also defended the Justice Department raid on Mar-a-Lago, saying the DOJ had been “jerked around” by Trump’s team. He called the request for a Special Master a “red herring.” He pointed out that even Trump’s lawyers hadn’t identified any privileged communications in the documents and that everything else appeared to be “seizable” by the FBI.

He said that the documents “belong to the government. Even if they’re classified, even if they’re subject to Executive Privilege, they still belong to the government.” Then, for good measure, he added that any other things taken, like news clippings or other innocuous things were “seizable under the warrant because they show the conditions under which the classified documents were being held.” Oh, he also said this: “People say this was unprecedented, well it’s also unprecedented for a president to take all this classified information and put them in a country club, okay?” Then, in response to the idea that the DOJ could have just gotten another subpoena, he added, “And how long is the government going to try to get that back? They jawbone for a year, they were deceived on the voluntary actions taken, they then went and got a subpoena, they were deceived on that, they feel, and the facts are starting to show, that they were being jerked around and so how long, you know, how long do they wait?!”

It’s just a guess, here, but MY bet is that Barr will NOT be returning as Attorney General under a second (or third, to hear them tell it) Trump administration. Also, by this afternoon, every hard-core Trumpster is going to know, without question, that Bill Barr is, and always has been, a RINO and never once helped Trump the way he was supposed to. (Clearly…)

It’s just a peek into the bizarre workings of the conservative media bubble. These people seem really ready to go to civil war – over fantasies. It would be like if Tolkien fans started killing people for real in defense of Middle Earth. Or, perhaps, killing people for real on the orders of their invisible super friend – which happens at far too common a rate.

I’ll tell you this: the reasons for their civil war will be fantasy, but the damage and killing will be all too real. I say, prosecute the criminal Trump, anyway. If the price to be paid is in blood, at least we will have done the right thing…

Rambling Rumblings…

I saw a news story that indicated that a judge had handed Trump a “win” by suggesting she was inclined to appoint a special master to look at the classified documents taken by the FBI per a request from Trump. The special master will look at the papers and see if any were taken wrongly. I guess we’re not supposed to notice that the guy who stole mountains of top secret and confidential documents from the White House is now concerned FBI agents serving a warrant may have taken something from him by mistake. (It happens. The government just returns anything it takes not covered by the warrants – like Trump’s passports that were taken and then returned…)

I’m not sure I’m prepared to call it a “win.” Not for Trump, anyway. He uses – hell, he counts upon – obfuscation and lies to keep his based fired up and on his side. Sure, he still has that ability but there will now be a person appointed at Trump’s request to oversee the process and when that person also confirms that the documents were taken wrongly from the White House AND that Trump shouldn’t have them, it’s only going to make Trump’s case worse. Sure, the conservative bubble will go into overdrive whining and crying about how unfair it is that THEIR GUY can’t just steal Top Secret documents from the White House if he wants to. They’ll tell their minions that the President said the magic words, “Oogoody-Boogidy” over them and rendered them harmless.

But I’ll tell you this: the people who understand things will have one more confirmation – among many others – that Trump is a criminal deserving of punishment for his crimes. I’m not sure that’s a “win…”

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I don’t much like the America that has been brought to us by the conservatives. Sure, I know they would decry that statement. “WE didn’t do it!” They would insist, “The liberals did it!” Of course, it hasn’t been liberals. To be fair, it hasn’t actually been conservatives, either. The conservatives have just been the tools the rich people have used as a cudgel. The rich want a tax cut. They get one of their talking heads to say so in the conservative bubble and suddenly the “base” thinks tax cuts are a great idea. Sure, the tax cuts they support will hurt them, personally, but the rich will be slightly better off and for a con, there’s no better outcome. (The cons STILL believe in “trickle-down” economics despite the fact that the only available evidence proves it has been b.s. all along…)

I call the conservatives “the people who don’t understand things” because of how easily they can be led to support positions that harm themselves in support of helping people who don’t need any help. I was planning on writing details about issues the cons support that they shouldn’t but then realized there’s a nice little summary available. Basically, the cons support anything that helps the rich and oppose anything that helps anybody else. Simple, see? So, for example, cutting student loans $10,000 for people making less that $75,000/yr is an abomination and an outrage while forgiving hundreds of thousands of dollars in loans to the same politicians who oppose the student loan cuts is just good politics, see?

Afflict the afflicted, comfort the comfortable – it’s the conservative way. Now, for clarity, I don’t really see the politicians in Congress as conservatives or progressives. I see them all as Toadies for the One Percent – playing a 535 person game of “Good Cop, Bad Cop.” The Republicans are the bad cops. They’ll block anything, everything that might, even accidentally, help some not-rich person. The Democrats are the good cops. As anger simmers among the average American because so many of us are, in fact, afflicted – victims, now, of the “Greatest Country On Earthtm” – the Democrats are charged with tossing out some bone to the masses – hopefully, enough to quell the throngs into submission.

The Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, was the Democrats boning the people. We wanted universal health care like all the other first world nations on the planet. Instead, we got a conservative-created, corporate bonus plan that requires people to pay for insurance without ever helping them get the care they actually need. We WANTED health care, we GOT health insurance. But the people settled down. Corporate greed began strangling the life out of the average Joes of the country – “inflation” they called it – so the Dems brought about the Inflation Reduction Act. Maybe it will help but I’d guess there are provisions stuck in there throughout that funnel money to the people who need it least. Still, the masses will settle down, a bit. It’s a delicate, difficult balance.

I’ll tell you this: I believe that, sooner or later, the one percent will push just a little too far. I don’t know when, I don’t know how but something, somewhere will trigger something nobody expected. If history is any guide (and it is) it may very well be some small, “normal” event that just sends everybody off at once. It won’t be pleasant but it’s becoming increasingly necessary…

Feints and Frauds…

Okay, I DO kind of love this. Trump’s lead attorney in the theft of state secrets case is a guy named Jim Trusty. If you can’t trust a lawyer named Trusty, who CAN you trusty? It’s hard to keep track of which lawyer is leading which criminal defense. Having a lawyer named ‘Trusty’ is going to make it easier in this case.

Apparently, Trump is planning to ask for a “Special Master” to oversee a review of the documents Trump stole that had to be forcibly retrieved from Mar-a-Lago. I’m not sure I’ve EVER heard anybody whine about being picked on as much as Trump does. Sure, he forced the FBI’s hand by refusing to actually turn over documents he wasn’t legally allowed to have until they had to execute a search warrant. Ever since, the whiner Trump calls it the “illegal break-in of my beautiful home.” So, for clarity, it wasn’t illegal and it wasn’t a break-in.

The right have offered every explanation, possible and impossible, to try and justify Trumps theft. None have held up to scrutiny by people who understand things. (ALL are now dogma to the true believers of Cult 45.) It’s funny. Talking heads on TV and the internet keep speculating about what’s possible, what’s illegal, who did what evil thing to harm their beloved chosen one. None of the speculation works out as presented on TV once in the courtroom. It turns out, the law doesn’t always work the way people think it does and it certainly doesn’t work the way conservatives want it to. That is, liberals are always guilty, but never, EVER Trump. Oh, by the way, the Trump team, to date, still have not filed any such motion. At this rate, by the time they do, the FBI will have gone through just about all of the documents. It DOES create yet another fraudulent – but profitable – talking point…

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Speaking of Cult 45, there’s a group out there called the Cult Education Institute. They put out a meme of five warning signs of a cult.
1. The leader is always right.
2. Criticism of the leader or questioning the leader is considered persecution.
3. Anything the leader does is justified no matter how harmful it may be.
4. The leader is the only source of truth, everybody else is lying.
5. Disciples must be devoted to the leader and never question him.

I’ll tell you this: the next time you get dragged into a discussion about Trump and discover the person you’re talking to simply cannot – will not – understand factual reality, remember the warning signs. His followers don’t know or care if he’s guilty…for them it’s a matter of faith. One cannot argue against faith…

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Well, this is kind of sad. The daughter of a powerful Russian Putin ally was killed when a car bomb exploded in the car she was driving. Russia, of course, blamed Ukraine. Zelenskiy denied any involvement. So…who to believe? On the one hand, we have Vladimir Putin, an established murderer who has never hesitated to kill anyone for his own purposes and who has prosecuted an illegal war that seems to violate the Geneva Conventions every chance it gets. On the other hand, there’s Zelenskiy, who seems to have fought quite an honorable war, if, in fact, the words “honorable” and “war” can ever be written together.

Putin’s war doesn’t seem to be going too well for him. He thought he’d have it over and done in a few days. But then it turned into a few weeks, then a few months. There’s a lesson from history, here. The United States of America once invaded a country illegally. (Okay, so we’ve done it more than once. In this case, I’m referring to Vietnam.) We thought, being a Super Power, we were going to “win” in a cakewalk. We didn’t. See, our soldiers were fighting because they were told to. Their soldiers were fighting for their homes and families. It turns out, when one county attacks people’s homes, those people tend to defend their homes with great ferocity. The same thing happened when the greatest empire on Earth at the time, Great Britain, came at the colonists in the Americas. Their soldiers were fighting because they were told to. Ours were fighting for their homes and families. Now it looks like Russia is having a similar experience in Ukraine.

I’ll tell you this: I suspect Putin needs something to keep his people riled up and supporting his war and the death of an innocent is just the ticket…

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I see a lot of speculation about what’s going to happen with Jimmy Garoppolo, the ex-starting Quarterback of the Santa Clara Forty-Niners. Here’s mine: I think Jimmy G will end up in Seattle. I think the Niners think Jimmy G will end up in Seattle, too. The team doesn’t WANT him in Seattle. The dude may be a mid-level Quarterback but he has first class knowledge of the team and how it operates. That will be important information to any team the Niners face, let alone one the Niners face twice a season.

They keep saying they’re hoping for a trade but every team in the league knows the Niners are going to cut Jimmy G just before they have to pay him a whopping sum for the next season. No other team is going to trade for Garoppolo at his current price, most especially when they know they don’t have to. All they have to do is wait out the Niners then get him off the waiver wire for whatever they can negotiate.

The only leverage the Niners have is knowing that waiting to get Garoppolo into their facility slows his progress with the new team. Hopefully, Jimmy G won’t have time to master Seattle’s system in time for the scheduled Week 2 match-up. The other side of that coin? The Niners know Jimmy’s weaknesses better than any other team, with the possible exception of the Patriots, Jimmy’s last team. Maybe the Niners aren’t as worried about a QB who panics in the pocket in pressure situations as they’re pretending to be…

Can’t Quit…But Should…

Hey, the far right is going bonkers again. Or is that more bonkers? They’re VERY upset that their chosen one – the CheetoJesus – keeps getting caught breaking the law. They think it’s very bad form for law enforcement to enforce the law.

I suspect, maybe just hope, that each time there’s a new revelation of wrong-doing on the part of the Orange Man – who, btw, IS bad – some small number of once-loyalists suffer an infusion of reality and fall away from the cult. Liz Cheney was one such. She is a conservative’s conservative. She supported Trump’s agenda with a near-perfect record. She drew the line at sedition, is all. But that was too much for the true believers. Now she’s out. She committed the crime of telling the truth. Trumpsters HATE that. She accepted reality instead of alternate reality. She responded to evidence. Oh, the humanity!

I never have been and I suspect never will be a fan of or supporter of Liz Cheney. But I salute her stand for the right thing. I’m sure history will vindicate her position. Of course, it will be too late but it’s great to be vindicated, isn’t it?

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Have you seen the news that Netflix is in a dither? They say they’re losing, or perhaps not gaining fast enough, subscribers. They say they’re having difficulty maintaining their customer base. They say they don’t know why. Maybe raising rates will help. Maybe adding commercials. Yeah, that makes sense. People are leaving so make it worse in every way for those who try to stay. (Sadly, in this once-great nation, that seems to be the new American way.) I have a thought. I think I can help.

Netflix puts out some good shows. Then, they don’t. I mean, they’re going to. They promise. There’s a new season coming. Eventually. When? No, we can’t say when. Oh, you’ll love it, they assure us – if you ever get to see it. Netflix regularly waits YEARS between seasons. By the time they get around to following up Season 1 with Season2, I’ve commonly forgotten all about the show in the first place. Perhaps my tastes have changed, whatever.

I don’t want to get involved with Netflix shows these days. The shows are good but there’s so much lag time between the seasons, it seems not worth my while. You can’t build your company on binge-watching and then refused to put out any product for the viewers to binge on. Television shows used to put out 30 new episodes, take the summers off, then start again. I know, things change. Now they put out 8 new episodes, then take two or three years off. Grueling…

That’s my unsolicited advice for Netflix. Put out a product we can count on so we can all ‘Netflix and chill’ again…

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The new season of the NFL is upon us and, once again, starts off with controversy. DeShaun Watson is the QB of the Cleveland Browns. That’s brand new. So far, he’s only ever actually played professionally for the Houston Texans. The guy got himself in trouble sexually harassing massage therapists. TWENTY-FOUR of them! Two grand juries in Texas refused to criminally indict him. (What? A Texas grand jury refused to indict a star Quarterback from one of their home-state teams? Shocking.) 24 civil suits were filed. 22 of them have been settled.

An independent agency suggested suspending Watson for 6 games. 4 women per game. I’m probably not supposed to think of it that way. The NFL wanted something “tougher.” They “fought for” a one year suspension. They all settled on 11 games and a five million dollar fine. So, 2 women per game. Yeah, tough. Coincidentally, Watson will be back to play just in time for the scheduled match up between his old team and his new team. Oh, and the Browns knew something like this was coming so they structured his contract with a piddly little first year rate so he wouldn’t lose too much money during the suspension and softened the blow with a $45 million dollar signing bonus. Apparently, DeShaun will be just fine. And, after all, they’re only women. It’s not like he protested social injustice, or anything. As we all know – and Colin Kaepernick found out – protesting social justice is a career-ending act. Fortunately (for DeShaun) sexually harassing 24 women is just an irritant that needs proper optics.

I’ll tell you this: the NFL thinks you’ll be back to watch anyway. I wouldn’t bet against them on this. They’re probably right…

Living Deregulation…

I hear a lot of complaining from a lot of people about the homeless. I hear a LOT of “explanations” for WHY those people are homeless. Some of the explanations are valid. Some are stupid. But here’s one people NEVER talk about because they don’t hear much about it.

I rent a house I’ve lived in for nine years. The previous landlord died and left the property to his kids who turned around and sold it. There are four houses – four families – on the lot. The new owner wants more money. Maybe needs is more accurate. Whichever it is, we’ve been told to move along – so we’ve started looking. Without boring you with the details of why, we prefer a stand-alone house to an apartment. We’re not demanding. We’re not particularly picky. We DO have some extra considerations most people don’t have but our focus, so far, has been on stand-alone houses. So…just for “fun” I thought I’d share the current math.

The rental agencies around here use a formula. It’s pretty basic. The household income must be three times the rent. Simple, yes? If you don’t meet that requirement, they won’t even talk to you. Hell, I made a mistake on a pre-screening form and lost out on a potential viewing. I tried to contact the company and explain my error but they just ignored me, presumably because they already had enough proper applications to choose from submitted by people who didn’t make a mistake. (Damn it!)

So here’s that math. Don’t worry. It won’t hurt. You, anyway. As it stands today, the entry level rent for a 2 bedroom house in Sonoma County is $2,300/mo. Three times that amount? $6,900/mo! Wow, $6,900/mo sounds like a LOT. In fact, $6,900/mo comes to $82,800/yr. The average work year for a standard employee is calculated at 2,080 hours per year. Little more math and…hey, in order to rent an entry level, 2 bedroom house in Sonoma County, CA one must make $39.81/hr.

So the choice for a person who wants or needs to stay near their families/support networks and the place they grew up? An apartment. Fortunately, there’s “relief,” there. For a 2 bedroom apartment, one “only” needs to make $31.15/hr or $64,792/yr. Now, these aren’t the upscale parts of Santa Rosa or even “Beverly Healdsburg.” This is just Sonoma County. ANYWHERE in the entire county!

Based on information from Payscale.com, the average hourly rate in Sonoma County is $22.32/hr. Certainly it explains why so many people flee Sonoma County. They have no choice. In my case, though, my income is tied to my business which does NOT move with me. I can leave but my work stays. Then what do I do?

Yeah, I know, this is a “me” problem. I only mention it because I think the next person I hear dismissing homelessness as a “choice” is going to get an earful. The problem I face isn’t because I did anything wrong. It’s not because of big government. It’s not high taxes and it’s not too many effing regulations! The problem I (WE, because there are countless of us in the same boat, here…) face is the direct and measurable result of allowing pooled investment funds (hedge funds) to buy up all the available housing as it comes on the market. Unregulated greed, pure and simple. It’s the direct result of conservative policies of deregulation. This is what “trusting business to do the right thing” actually looks like.

This is not a long-standing problem. The hedge funds were only allowed to start buying single family homes in 2011, the result of all the empty houses after Wall Street artificially inflated the housing bubble that crashed in 2007. The “market” was trying to maintain the artificially inflated housing values rather than let them drop back to where they should have been so banks were stuck holding all the empties and afraid more empties would show up if the equities dropped. People who had bought at the top of the market were leaving their homes as they found themselves underwater in the equity, whether they could pay the mortgage or not, a practice that became known as “strategic walkaways.”

So the hedge funds started buying the houses. The practice, at the time, was “sold” as a solution. The groups that could buy the inflated price houses would, then rent those houses out. But the “solution” has become a far more deadly disease. This process began only 11 years ago. In that time, one hedge fund has bought so many single family homes they could house the entire population of Iceland. ONE company! There are LOTS of these greedy little groups out there, all preying on the less advantaged and undermining the stability of the entire society. Oh, but…profits!

This seems like a good time to remind everyone of the axiom that business operates in a completely amoral environment – but any entity or group that behaves amorally ends up behaving immorally. It is the responsibility of the society in which the business operates to define the limits of the operation through regulation.

The solution, of course, is to return to regulations. Deny the hedge funds the ability to buy the housing and require them to divest in single family homes over a very short term. This would have the effect of flooding the market with single family housing. That, in turn, would cause the artificially inflated prices of those properties to drop back to realistic levels and make it possible for individuals to again buy homes. As the home prices dropped, rents would become realistic again as well. Stability would return. Homelessness would be reduced…

That one bit there? The part about causing “the artificially inflated prices of those properties to drop back to realistic levels?” One of the main goals of my prescribed solution? THAT’S the reason they’ll never do it and THAT is the only failing of government in this situation – their refusal to behave as the referee in the market.

I’ll tell you this: I know that Reagan created the homeless problem in the first place by throwing all the mentally ill patients out into the streets. I know that drug abuse – often created by the pharmaceutical corporations – has exacerbated the problem. But now I ALSO know that there could be people out there working and earning $30/hr and STILL be homeless because they can’t meet the minimum requirement – anywhere – in Sonoma County. Is it right that $30/hr should classify someone as “working poor” and render them homeless?