Month: April 2016

The Democratic Party Bears Far More Blame on This That the Republican Party.

Over at Medium, Steve Five notes that, “If These Two Win, This is Going To Be The Sh%$tiest Election in US History,” with the charming sub hed of, “Dear God When Will It Be Over Please Make It Stop.”

He’s right:

After last night’s sweeping wins by Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, it appears even more likely that the two will become their respective party’s nominees. But according to multiple different polls and recent data, these are the sh%$tiest candidates in recorded history and this election will be a total mess.

A recent CBS poll has Clinton at 52% unfavorable rating, with Trump at 57% unfavorable. These are the lowest favorability ratings of presumptive nominees since CBS began polling, and other polls show similar findings. Clinton’s sh%$tiness has been seen as a major problem for the Democratic party, while the only consolation to the Democrats is that Donald Trump is statistically sh%$tier, to the point that he is potentially starting a civil war within the Republican party. If either of these two are elected, they will be the least favored nominee to become president in the history of polling.


If Clinton and Trump win their party nominations, we’re in for six months of peak sh$%tiness. Trump saving $2 Billion on ad revenue means he can outspend a cash-strapped Clinton after the primaries, and his sh$%ty rhetoric and fistfuls of money will force a hawkish Clinton to at turns go tough on him and differentiate herself with a market-tested party unification approach.


One thing is certain, if Clinton and Trump become their party’s nominees, it will be a race to the bottom. With Trump’s schoolyard rhetoric and Clinton’s distrustfulness, a heated general election fight will turn off an already election-fatigued American populace. According to the data, no matter who wins, a majority of Americans will lose.

I think that the assessment is fundamentally accurate.

It’s a f%$#ing mess, but Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are two different phenomena.

Donald Trump is the proverbial black swan. The Republican party could not have predicted him, or what he would be, or his ascendance.  No one could have predicted this.

Hillary Clinton, on the other hand, has been a known quantity for decades, and she record of failure that would make Dick Cheney or Donald Rumsfeld blush, whether it is Iraq, NAFTA, Hillary Care, crime bill, Libya, Syria, the Ukraine, or any other signature of her issues.

But the Democratic Party establishment, following the script to Blazing Saddles, has decided that, “”We’ve gotta protect our phoney baloney jobs, gentlemen!”

It is the Iron Law of Organizations Institutions, where power WITHIN an organization is pursued at the expense of the power OF that organization.

The Democratic Party establishment has consciously chosen its course for the most venal of reasons, and the rest of us will pay for this.

H/t DC at the Stellar Parthenon BBS.

F%$# Me, I Agree with the Orange One ……… Not Trump, the Other Orange One

I mean John Boehner, who is most assuredly not a fan of Ted Cruz:

“Lucifer in the flesh,” the former Speaker said. “I have Democrat friends and Republican friends. I get along with almost everyone, but I have never worked with a more miserable son of a bitch in my life.”

That’s my sense of Ted Cruz as well.

I have never in my life seen someone as widely loathed as Ted Cruz in public life.

I Really Thought That It Was Impossible for Him to Make Me Loathe Him Any More

But Ted Cruz proved me wrong when he announced the wildly premature choice of Carly Fiorina as his running mate:

Ted Cruz just suffered one of the worst drubbings of his presidential campaign, losing badly in five states, falling further behind Donald Trump and watching his dim hopes of capturing the Republican nomination fade further.

Yet less than 24 hours later, the senator from Texas did something normally reserved for presumptive nominees rather than struggling underdogs: He announced a vice presidential running mate.

In choosing Carly Fiorina for that spot here Wednesday, Cruz reached for a political lifeline at a time when he is running out of them. Facing a must-win situation against Trump in next Tuesday’s Indiana primary, Cruz is trying one un­or­tho­dox maneuver after another in hopes of extending the race and forcing a contested Republican convention in Cleveland — his only hope for becoming the nominee.

The announcement was designed in part to sharpen the contrast with Trump that Cruz is trying to draw. Introducing Fiorina at an afternoon rally in downtown Indianapolis, Cruz highlighted the former Hewlett-Packard chief executive’s fierce exchanges with Trump and her refusal to back down from him when she was a candidate.

The juxtaposition of the two of them is way worse than either one of them alone.

This is like watching a dog vomit, and then eat its own barf.

Not Long Enough

Child rapist and money launderer Dennis Hastert has been sentenced to 15 months in prison:

Mr. Hastert, whose date to report to prison has yet to be set, was ordered to pay $250,000 in fines, never to contact his victims and to receive sex-offender treatment.

“If there’s a public shaming of the defendant because of the conduct he’s engaged in, so be it,” Judge Durkin said.

Hopefully, given the nature of the crime and the length of sentence, he spends his time in a at least a medium security prison.

Are You Sh%$ting Me?

It appears that some people in Europe are so sick and tired of the consequences of Angela Merkel’s, and Germany’s, incompetent hegemony that they are hoping that Italian governance can fix Europe.

When Italy is your solution to your governance woes, you are in up a certain creek without a paddle:

As the European Union begins to disintegrate, who can provide the leadership to save it? German Chancellor Angela Merkel is widely credited with finally answering Henry Kissinger’s famous question about the Western alliance: “What is the phone number for Europe?” But if Europe’s phone number has a German dialing code, it goes through to an automated answer: “Nein zu Allem.”

This phrase – “No to everything” – is how Mario Draghi, the European Central Bank president, recently described the standard German response to all economic initiatives aimed at strengthening Europe. A classic case was Merkel’s veto of a proposal by Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi to fund refugee programs in Europe, North Africa, and Turkey through an issue of EU bonds, an efficient and low-cost idea also advanced by leading financiers such as George Soros.

Merkel’s high-handed refusal even to consider broader European interests if these threaten her domestic popularity has become a recurring nightmare for other EU leaders. This refusal underpins not only her economic and immigration policies, but also her bullying of Greece, her support for coal subsidies, her backing of German carmakers over diesel emissions, her kowtowing to Turkey on press freedom, and her mismanagement of the Minsk agreement in Ukraine. In short, Merkel has done more to damage the EU than any living politician, while constantly proclaiming her passion for “the European project.”

But where can a Europe disillusioned with German leadership now turn? The obvious candidates will not or cannot take on the role: Britain has excluded itself; France is paralyzed until next year’s presidential election and possibly beyond; and Spain cannot even form a government.

That leaves Italy, a country that, having dominated Europe’s politics and culture for most of its history, is now treated as “peripheral.” But Italy is resuming its historic role as a source of Europe’s best ideas and leadership in politics, and also, most surprisingly, in economics.

Italy?  Italy is the solution to the EU’s governance problems?
If you are holding up Italy as a better alternative on governance of anything, you have dug yourself into a very very deep hole.

Well, there was some Good Primary News Yesterday

As I noted a few months ago, Chris Matthews’ wife, Kathleen, was running for Congress, and that Chris Matthews was pimping his show to her campaign donors.

Running against her was a wine mogul who spent over $1o million dollars, and the winner was the people of Maryland’s 8th district, because very liberal constitutioal law professor Jamie Raskin beat them both:

State Sen. Jamie Raskin defeated self-funded businessman David Trone and former television news anchor Kathleen Matthews in the most expensive congressional primary race in the nation — a crowded contest in Maryland’s Montgomery County-based 8th District.


The campaign to succeed Democratic Rep. Chris Van Hollen in the district was competitive and costly. Van Hollen’s decision to run for the Senate created a rare open seat.

Candidates competing for the seat spent more than $14 million since last year – more than $10 million of it by Trone, who finished second.

Trone, founder of the Total Wine & More retail stores, blanketed the district – which stretches from Montgomery County north into Frederick and Carroll counties – with television and radio ads and mailings. “We don’t take money from PACs, lobbyists or corporations,” was a prominent campaign message. His strategy included a push to win over voters who are using absentee ballots.


Raskin won by about 7,000 votes, holding a 34 percent to 27 percent advantage over Trone. Matthews took third at 24 percent.

If Raskin wins the general, and it is a very safe district, then Raskin will be the only out atheist in Congress.

It’s a little thing, and I am still stuck with Dutch Ruppersberger in my district, but I’ll take it.

Classic Chutzpah

Darnell Earley, the former emergency manager of Flint, Michigan is trying to get the impoverished town to pay for his legal defense of his poisoning them:

Former Flint emergency manager Darnell Earley tried to bill the cash-strapped city $750 an hour for an attorney to sit with him while he was questioned last month in Washington by a congressional committee and to represent him in ongoing criminal investigations related to the Flint drinking water crisis, records obtained by the Free Press show.

Earley, whose office was searched by state investigators on Feb. 29, and who told the City of Flint on March 11 that he is under criminal investigation in connection with the lead contamination of Flint’s drinking water, wants the city to pay legal fees that already have topped $75,000 and continue to grow, records obtained under Michigan’s Freedom of Information Act show.

Flint City Councilwoman Jacqueline Poplar reacted with outrage Friday when she learned of the Earley invoices from a Free Press reporter.

“If he did send a bill — shame on him,” Poplar said. “The City of Flint shouldn’t be giving him a dime for legal fees or anything else. I would like him to refund every penny the City of Flint paid him to take us down this road.”

The classic definition of Chutzpah is the child who murders his parents, and demands mercy as an orphan.

Mr. Earley comes pretty close to that standard.

They Should Name this Cat Incitatus

In Rhode Island, there is a Cat running for President:


Take Denise Rachiele, who was surprised to see a presidential campaign office — Mr. Trump’s — pop up a few doors down from her pet store, All About Pets. Now, her windows are decorated with fake campaign posters for her cat, Stump.

“He felt he was more qualified, or at least as qualified, as Mr. Trump,” joked Ms. Rachiele, who said she had not decided whom she would support on Tuesday.

What? You don’t know who Incitatus was?

Read a f%$#ing book!

Quote of the Day

We thought America was the best in the world,” he said. “But unfortunately this happened, and it made us [think] like American police are the same as our police in Burma.”

Eh Wah the manager of Klo & Kweh Music Team, a Burmese/Karen band after Oklahoma cops stole $53,000 from him using asset forfeiture,

There is a happy ending here:  After the Washington Post wrote a story about this (link above), the cops and the prosecutors have done the right thing, and dropped the bogus charges, and sent him his money back.

A Feature, Not a Bug

In Kansas, Secretary of State Kris Korbach has managed to so hamstring voter registrations that ⅔ of voter registrations in Kansas are not being processed:

Voting rolls in Kansas are in “chaos” because of the state’s proof-of-citizenship requirements, the American Civil Liberties Union has argued in a court document, noting that about two-thirds of new voter registration applications submitted during a three-week period in February are on hold.

Kansas is fending off multiple legal challenges from voting rights activists, and just months before the state’s August primary, the status of the “dual registration” system remains unclear. Federal judges in separate voter-registration lawsuits unfolding in Kansas and Washington, D.C., could rule at any time. There’s also greater urgency because registrations typically surge during an election year.

Kansas is one of four states, along with Georgia, Alabama and Arizona, to require documentary proof of citizenship — such as a birth certificate, passport or naturalization papers — to register to vote. Under Kansas’ challenged system, voters who registered using a federal form, which hadn’t required proof of U.S. citizenship, could only vote in federal races and not in state or local races. Kansas says it will keep the dual voting system in place for upcoming elections if the courts allow its residents to register to vote either with a federal form or at motor vehicle offices without providing proof of citizenship.

This guy has been engaging in a felony concpiracy to deprive people of their rights for years.

When do we throw his sorry racist ass into a PMITA prison ?

So Not a Surprise

In all the commotion about the Panama Papers, we tend to ignore the fact that most of the dodgy finance that is used to hide wealth from the tax man occurs right here in the good old US of A, most notably in Wyoming and Delaware.

Well there is a an address in Delaware that is the “Headquarters” of the tax avoidance activities of Donald Trump, the Clintons, and 285,000 other shell corporations:

There aren’t many things upon which Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump agree, especially as they court very different Delaware voters ahead of a primary on Tuesday. But the candidates for president share an affinity for the same nondescript two-storey office building in Wilmington. A building that has become famous for helping tens of thousands of companies avoid hundreds of millions of dollars in tax through the so-called “Delaware loophole”.

The receptionist at 1209 North Orange Street isn’t surprised that a journalist has turned up unannounced on a sunny weekday afternoon.

“You know I can’t speak to you,” she says. A yellow post-it note on her computer screen reads “MEDIA: Chuck Miller” with the phone number of the company’s director of corporate communications. Miller can’t answer many questions either, except to say that the company does not advise clients on their tax affairs.

The Guardian is not the first media organisation to turn up at the offices of Corporation Trust Centre, and it’s unlikely to be the last.

The term tax haven may evoke images of exotic locales, but Panama actually ranks as the 13th most attractive spot for hiding assets, while the US lies third.

This squat, yellow brick office building just north of Wilmington’s rundown downtown is the registered address of more than 285,000 companies. That’s more than any other known address in the world, and 15 times more than the 18,000 registered in Ugland House, a five-storey building in the Cayman Islands that Barack Obama called “either the biggest building in the world, or the biggest tax scam on record”.

Officially, 1209 North Orange is home to Apple, American Airlines, Coca-Cola, Walmart and dozens of other companies in the Fortune 500 list of America’s biggest companies. Being registered in Delaware lets companies take advantage of strict corporate secrecy rules, business-friendly courts and the “Delaware loophole”, which can allow companies to legally shift earnings from other states to Delaware, where they are not taxed on non-physical incomes generated outside of the state.


Both the leading candidates for president – Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump – have companies registered at 1209 North Orange, and have refused to explain why.

Clinton, who has repeatedly promised that as president she will crack down on “outrageous tax havens and loopholes that super-rich people across the world are exploiting in Panama and elsewhere”, collected more than $16m in public speaking fees and book royalties in 2014 through the doors of 1209, according to the Clintons’ tax return.

The routine corruption in the United States is mind buggering.

Live in Obedient Fear, Citizen!

What a surprise. People are using facial recognition to stalk porn stars. I expect this to extend to non porn stars shortly:

This story originally appeared on Global Voices Advocacy

The developers behind “FindFace,” which uses facial recognition software to match random photographs to people’s social media pages on Vkontakte, say the service is designed to facilitate making new friends. Released in February this year, FindFace started gaining popularity in March after a software engineer named Andrei Mima wrote about using the service to track down two women he photographed six years earlier on a street in St. Petersburg. (They’d asked him to take a picture of them, but he never got their contact information, so he wasn’t able to share it with them at the time.)

From the start, FindFace has raised privacy concerns. (Even in his glowing recommendation, Mima addressed fears that the service further erodes people’s freedoms in the age of the Internet.) In early April, a young artist named Egor Tsvetkov highlighted how invasive the technology can be, photographing random passengers on the St. Petersburg subway and matching the pictures to the individuals’ Vkontakte pages using FindFace.

“In theory,” Tsvetkov told RuNet Echo, “this service could be used by a serial killer or a collector trying to hunt down a debtor.”

It ain’t just the government that is creating a panopticon.  The private sector is moving there even faster.

These Guys Could not Find their Ass with Both Hands

In what is a clear desperation move, Ted Cruz and John Kasich have divided up at least three upcoming primaries:

Donald Trump’s two remaining Republican presidential opponents campaigned Monday after striking an agreement on a strategy to divvy up three states holding primaries in the coming weeks — an unusual and urgent arrangement aimed at stopping the mogul from clinching the GOP nomination.

The campaigns of Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas and Ohio Gov. John Kasich released written statements within minutes of each other Sunday night calling for Kasich to stop competing in Indiana and for Cruz to clear the way for Kasich in New Mexico and Oregon. They called on allied third-party groups to do the same.

Speaking to reporters here in Borden before a Monday morning rally, Cruz said it was “big news today that John Kasich has decided to pull out of Indiana to give us a head-to-head contest with Donald Trump.” He said the division of resources in key primary states “made sense from both campaigns.”

As Charlie Pierce notes, “With conspirators like these, Caesar would have spent March 15 in a brothel, avoided the Senate for a month, and died of old age in his summer place in Gaul.”

The level of incompetence here buggers the mind.

Yeah, but None of the Good Munchies Can Be Eaten

Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky, one of the leading Askenazi (Easter European) Halachic authorities has ruled that Marijuana is kosher for Passover.

Of course, even if you smoke pot, you still cannot have ice cream sandwiches or Fig Newtons®, how the f%$# do you deal with the munchies:

Getting baked on Passover is no longer just for matzah, a leading Orthodox rabbi ruled, after sniffing (but not smoking) some cannabis leaves recently.

Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky, widely considered the leading living ultra-Orthodox halachic authority, ruled that marijuana is kosher for Passover and can be either eaten or smoked over the eight-day Jewish festival, during which strict dietary laws apply, according the pro-Cannabis online magazine

Kanievsky gave the ruling in response to a question from the pro-marijuana group Siach, meaning both plant and conversation.

Kanievky stipulated that in normal circumstances the plant is considered a member of the kitniyot group of legumes and pulses that are banned on Passover among Jews of Ashkenazi origin. But, he said, if used for medical purposes, cannabis is permitted for Jews from all backgrounds.

Kitniyot include rice, corn and beans. They have always been permissible to Sephardi Jews on Passover, but have been banned by Eastern and Central European rabbis since the 1200s when they were sometimes mixed with wheat. Refraining from the consumption of wheat products is among the central facets of the Passover holiday

It’s leavened grain products, whether wheat, rye, spelt, oats, and barley (the 5 traditional grains) that are forbidden, not wheat products, which is why most Matzoh is made from wheat.

The someone screwed on that bit.

Of course, as any agronomist knows, Marijuana is not, and has never been a legume, and it not typically grown next to the 5 grains, so how it would ever be considered Kitniot is beyond me, though, of course, cooking it into brownies or cookies would be chomaytz.

And the EU Implosion Continues Apace

The Austrian right wing Freedom Party just scored a surprise win in its Presidential elections:

Austria is braced for political turmoil with fears that the landslide victory for a rightwing populist and gun-carrying candidate in Sunday’s first-round presidential vote could trigger snap elections.

Norbert Hofer, of the rightwing Freedom party (FPÖ), defied pollsters’ predictions to beat the Green party’s Alexander Van der Bellen into second place, gaining 36% of the vote. The two candidates will go head to head in a run-off ballot on 22 May.

While the presidential post is mainly a ceremonial role, Hofer has threatened to make use of a right to dissolve parliament before the 2018 elections, warning other candidates in a TV debate that “you will be surprised by what can be done [by a president]”.

Hofer, a youthful 45-year-old who is partially paralysed after a paragliding accident, has campaigned for disability rights and is seen as having lent a friendly face to a party that balances virulently anti-immigration and Eurosceptic messages with leftist stances on welfare issues, led by firebrand Heinz-Christian Strache.

Hofer, who claims to protect himself in the “uncertain times” of the refugee crisis by carrying a Glock gun, scored overwhelming victories in all of Austria’s states apart from Vienna. In Styria, Burgenland and Carinthia – border states most affected by the refugee trail from the Mediterranean to central Europe – Hofer managed to gain 40% or more.

Let’s ignore the racism right now.*

The policies of the FPÖ are support for the welfare state, which the German dominated EU is trying to minimize, and it is skeptical of an increasingly anti-democratic structure and culture in Brussels.

It’s not surprising that this party is popular. Their positions are popular.

Meanwhile the mainstream parties have stapled themselves to EU policies that are based on delusional economics that are causing pain and misery for the vast majority of the population.

It’s no wonder that the 2nd place party was the Greens, with the two mainstream parties getting absolutely demolished:


Austria’s two main parties, which clung to a majority in the last national elections in 2013 after having run the country for most of the past 70 years, have seen approval ratings slump as they flip-flopped on the migration issue. The government’s inconsistency added to simmering domestic discontent about rising unemployment and economic stagnation.

The presidential candidates running for Faymann’s Social Democrats and Vice Chancellor Reinhold Mitterlehner’s People’s Party took 11 percent each, and were eliminated from the run-off. They managed to beat only Richard Lugner, an octogenarian shopping-mall operator and socialite famous for his appearances at Vienna’s Opera Ball together with celebrities such as Paris Hilton and Kim Kardashian.

The European experience has not yet failed, but it has been digging itself into a hole for decades.

It has become detached from, and disdainful of, the people that it is supposed to serve, ad its response to increasing hostility from ever larger segments of the populations is to build the walls higher on their fortress mentality.

*Apart fromthat Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?