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Archive for the ‘we’re screwed’ Category

Russia is fake news.

This (Trump) administration is running like a fine-tuned machine. (Ignore the flying machine parts!).

Nuclear holocaust would be like no other!

Shoot that Russian spy ship out of the water!

I’m not ranting and raving. (Said while he was ranting and raving).

And so on and so forth. The press conference was officially called to announce his new pick for Secretary of Labor, given that his previous pick turned out to be a wife beater and worse (maybe he needs to do more of that “extreme vetting” on his own people, six of’em got fired today for failing their FBI background test). It turned into a demented ranting and raving session.

Immediately after the press conference, Trump’s pick to succeed General Flynn as National Security Advisor, former Navy SEAL Vice Admiral Robert Harward, turned down the job. Not because of the press conference, but, rather, because Trump was going to saddle him with staffers not of his own choosing. Harward said “Fuck that shit,” and went home. It is becoming apparent even to people outside the administration such as Admiral Harward that the Trump White House is a toxic working environment where underlings are appointed under bosses with orders to backstab the bosses. Given that, nobody who’s even the least bit competent is going to want anything to do with the Trump White House. So, seems like Donald Trump is going to hire the best people he can get… but they’re all going to be losers, because winners like Admiral Harward want nothing to do with the toxic Trump brand or the toxic working environment he’s creating in the White House.

– Badtux the “We’re Fucked” Penguin

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Out like Flynn: Apparently the leaking especially from the intelligence agencies that General Flynn was a Russian asset who lied to Trump and Pence about what he’d discussed with the Russian ambassador got to be too much for everybody. He’s now “resigned to spend more time with his family” (SNRK!).

This is not normal. It isn’t. It really isn’t. Not even FIVE FUCKING WEEKS and already a senior official has had to resign due to misconduct?! Un-fucking believable! So now Trump needs to get himself a new National Security Advisor. I wonder who, exactly, he’s going to get? I dunno, but I can tell you what he’s going to get:

bozo

Remember, Donald Trump said that his Cabinet was going to be the best people he could get. So these… people… are the best people he can get.

We are so fucked.

– Badtux the Waddling Penguin

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As the Roman Empire wound down, it became more and more rigid. The forms of “this is how things shall be done” became fossilized and inflexible and incapable of adapting to changing conditions. People who had the courage to try to change the system were rare, and generally got either kicked out of the system to be ostracized and condemned, or were killed.

As a result, during the disastrous years when Visigoths were attacking Italy from the east and Vandals were attacking Gaul from across the Rhine, the Empire lacked the ability to adapt, and largely collapsed. They killed their best general for daring challenge their rigidity and inflexibility, and the Western Empire basically ceased to exist as a viable entity shortly afterwards. There had been 40,000 soldiers in the Roman legions only a few short years before, but most of those soldiers deserted after their leader was assassinated and when anti-immigrant activists threatened their families (most of these soldiers were immigrants) and they decided to protect their families rather than to protect Rome. As a result, the Visigoths walked right in, and the Western Roman Empire became basically a vassal of the Visigoth kingdom until the day that the Visigoths decided it was no longer worth the pretense. By that time Rome had declined from a city of over 1.5 million people to barely 100,000 huddled in the ruins of a city built for far more.

And so all Empires fall, from lack of courage and fossilization.

There’s a bunch of people protesting and mailing electoral college electors asking them not to install Donald Trump as President, citing the horrifying people he has announced as his new cabinet and Russian interference as reasons. They are wasting their breath. While it is legal under the Constitution for the electoral college to install anybody as President that they wish, regardless of who they were pledged to support at the time they were selected, it is not going to happen because it has never happened. It is not done. Anybody who would dare to buck this tradition would be ostracized and driven out of politics. To buck tradition would require courage, and courage is something that is sadly lacking in declining empires.

And so all Empires fall, from lack of courage and fossilization.

– Badtux the History Penguin

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An interesting outlook on urban planning in the SF Bay area:

“The people who bought their homes a long time ago lucked into a windfall and they resentfully lash out at anyone trying to cut in on that windfall. But notice how un-American these claims are. The current residents want to protect their gains by telling other people how they can use their property. When a new restaurant starts to take patrons from an old restaurant we generally don’t think that the old restaurant–the long-term resident–has the right to prevent the new restaurant from opening. The same is true, by and large, for new technologies and ways of doing business. Yet when it comes to residential land we give the old residents a veto on the new.

We have collectivized property in the United States (unlike in say laissez-faire Tokyo). Property is not fully collectivized, of course, but a person’s land is not their own–it’s subject to the dictates of the collective. Collectivization has been tried in many other times and places and the results are by now predictable. Collectivization in Palo Alto has produced inefficiency, high costs and a politicization of choice that makes for ill-will and endless conflict.”

I can vouch for the ill-will and endless conflict. Here in the City of Santa Clara, it’s coming to a head. The 45.1% of Santa Clara residents who are homeowners are adamant that the 54.9% of Santa Clara residents who are renters not be given the opportunity to own a home here, because building more housing would lower their property values. These people are a minority, but they are an affluent minority, and thus far have managed to enforce their edicts irregardless of the desires of the majority, who simply want more housing so they don’t have to double up with multiple families in overpriced rental housing. But oh, to hear the screeching of those who bought their homes in 1973 and now suddenly there is a major retail/residential development going 4 stories tall on the corner down the street from them! It’s as if they think they have a right to dictate to the majority that no, you cannot have a home.

In that respect, I believe that Alex Tabarrok is completely incorrect. We have not collectivized property in Santa Clara. Rather, we’ve Animal Farmed property in Santa Clara. In Santa Clara, all residents are created equal, but some are created more equal than others…

– Badtux the “Who appointed these people dictators of our city?” Penguin

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I’ve been watching the fuss around the so-called “Panama Papers”, which are leaked documents that detail the efforts of a Panamanian law firm to launder money into various offshore tax havens on behalf of wealthy and powerful people worldwide. It appears that there are some people in Russia who are going to be non-people now, the prime minister of Iceland has already had to resign, and the prime minister of Great Britain is under fire for close connections to some of the people hiding wealth offshore. China has banned any mention of the “Panama Papers” by their media because major figures in the Chinese regime are shown to have massive offshore assets.

One of the strange oddities is that there are few Americans mentioned in these papers, and most of those are criminals who are already in prison. But one of the commentators on one of Emptywheel’s posts about the leak has a theory: Mitt Romney.

Wait, what about Mitt Romney? Well, if you recall 2012 Presidential election, Mitt Romney was forced to reveal that his effective tax rate was 15%. Which occurred because he took advantage of all the tax breaks available to rich and wealthy people in the United States. George Soros verified that he himself also paid around 15%. I suspect if we asked most rich people in the US, they also pay around 15%. Most tax havens tax income at around 20%.

In short, the United States is already an offshore tax haven. There’s no reason for our rich people to send their money overseas — because they’ve already purchased so many tax breaks here in the United States that they’re already taxed less than they’d be in most of those so-called “tax havens”.

That, to me, is the real story of these “Panama Papers” — they reveal that the United States has gone so far down the road towards oligarchy that the US is basically Seychelles with an obesity problem. In more ways than one.

In other words, WASF.

– Badtux the Waddling Penguin

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RAD-Duke-Edwards-bumper-sticker

In 1991, the two survivors of the “jungle primary” in the Louisiana governor’s race were Democrat Edwin “Slick Eddie” Edwards and Republican David “KKK Wizard” Duke. Or, as pundits put it, “the lizard versus the wizard”. For the next few weeks there were a whole lot of cars sporting *two* bumper stickers — the official Edwin Edwards for Governor bumper sticker, and the one above. The crook, of course, being Edwin Edwards, who did eventually get convicted of corruption and sent to prison, but only after his term of office was over.

Looking at the results of today’s party primaries, it looks like it’s about 90% certain that the Presidential nominees this fall will be Hillary Clinton and Donald “Mussolini Lite” Trump. That’s the way the numbers are adding up. It seems unlikely that Bernie Sanders will be able to take the remaining big states that he’d need to become the Democratic nominee. Hillary has New York tied up, and Pennsylvania is probably hers too. Add in California, and she’s darn close to the number of delegates she needs. Bernie simply doesn’t have enough votes in the remaining states to overcome that. The same applies to Trump versus Cruz (now that Rubio is out). There’s those who think the Rubio votes are going to go to Cruz. I think that’s unlikely. At best they’ll be split between Trump and Cruz… at which point Trump *still* wins.

So for many people, 2016 is shaping up to be the Race from Hell like the 1991 Louisiana governor’s election. Hillary is a lot like Edwin Edwards without the charisma — corrupt, but effective. (She doesn’t view herself as corrupt, she views herself as simply doing politics as usual, as far as I know she has violated no laws, but when politics as usual are corrupt, well). Meanwhile, Donald Trump… Donald Trump makes David Duke look like a boy scout. Like the story from yesterday where The Donald’s henchmen tried to take on the manager for the Rolling Stones and only backed off because the Stones had a shitload of roadies show up with crowbars and baseball bats and such. As Jerry Springer put it, “the big difference between my show and a Donald Trump rally is that nobody on my show is running for President.” Trump is a bully and a thug.

Given those two choices, I think the sentiment of the bumper sticker might bear some thought. Vote for the crook. It’s important. Sure, it’d be nice if we had Bernie up there in November running against Trump, but that seems unlikely — I mean, yeah, there’s that 10% chance, but all the stars have to line up just right and I wouldn’t bet on it. But given the alternative of a crook or a thug, well. I know who I voted for in the 1991 Louisiana governor’s race — I voted for the crook, who, incidentally, won because a lot of other people viewed it important to make sure the thug didn’t get in office. I have absolutely no problem with doing that again, especially since, like Edwin Edwards, Hillary Clinton is an experienced politician who knows how to get things done. She’s also about as charismatic as floor wax, but (shrug). Can’t have it all, I guess.

– Badtux the “It’s Important” Penguin

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Donald Trump dominates the Super Tuesday polls. After next Tuesday, he is likely to have enough delegates and momentum to be unstoppable and will become the Republican candidate for President.

What then? Well, Matt Taibbi seems to think that Donald Trump has a darn good chance of becoming President. The reason? We’ve turned our political process for electing a President into a billion-dollar reality TV show — and that’s something Donald Trump knows a *lot* about.

The money quotes:

It turns out we let our electoral process devolve into something so fake and dysfunctional that any half-bright con man with the stones to try it could walk right through the front door and tear it to shreds on the first go.

And Trump is no half-bright con man, either. He’s way better than average.

But, in an insane twist of fate, this bloated billionaire scion has hobbies that have given him insight into the presidential electoral process. He likes women, which got him into beauty pageants. And he likes being famous, which got him into reality TV. He knows show business.

That put him in position to understand that the presidential election campaign is really just a badly acted, billion-dollar TV show whose production costs ludicrously include the political disenfranchisement of its audience. Trump is making a mockery of the show, and the Wolf Blitzers and Anderson Coopers of the world seem appalled. How dare he demean the presidency with his antics?

But they’ve all got it backward. The presidency is serious. The presidential electoral process, however, is a sick joke, in which everyone loses except the people behind the rope line. And every time some pundit or party spokesman tries to deny it, Trump picks up another vote.

Six months ago, I said Donald Trump was in it for ego. And maybe he was. But then people started actually supporting him. At which point the lights went on in his eyes. Forget about Trump Tower. Forget about Trump University. This is his biggest scam yet, and it’s gonna be HUUUUUUUUGE.

– Badtux the WTF Penguin
openletter

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