And about $150,000 more to the RNC!

Pogue’s son and his daughter-in-law have donated over $200,000 to Trump’s campaign since August, (per) Federal Election Commission filings. Ben and Ashleigh Pogue donated $135,000 to the Trump Victory PAC in August, and Ben Pogue made an in-kind air-travel donation of about $75,000 in September.”

The couple also donated over $147,000 to the Republican National Committee.

They have no history of ever having made previous political donations in excess of $11,000.

The justification for Pogue’s pardon? “He paid 90% of his taxes. It’s not like he didn’t pay taxes. He didn’t pay (the rest) because he thought he was paying too much.”

Oh, he thought he was paying too much? Then I guess it’s OK!

Quality control issues have not been resolved.

“More than 100 precincts reported results that were internally inconsistent, that were missing data or that were not possible under the complex rules of the Iowa caucuses. In some cases, vote tallies do not add up. In others, precincts are shown allotting the wrong number of delegates to certain candidates. And in at least a few cases, the Iowa Democratic Party’s reported results do not match those reported by the precincts.”

Well, in order to answer that question, we have to pose another: what factor should determine the first state. For the sake of this link, the assumption will be “It should be the state which best reflects America.”

You may supply other criteria, of course, but let’s go with this one for now in order to evaluate which state best meets that particular criterion, since the media chatter for two weeks or more has centered around the fact that Iowa and New Hampshire are not representative of America.

So. If you were a marketing company testing a new product for a possible national roll-out, which state would be the test market most suitable to best estimate your product’s success in the full USA?

The answer supplied by this firm in 2016 was Illinois. It contains the correct proportion of midwestern farms, urban concentrations, rich suburbs and small towns. It contains approximately the correct proportion of whites, blacks, Latinos, and Asians, all in the approximately representative proportion of religions. It contains the proper proportion of elite universities, graduates from functional colleges, people with some college, high school grads and high school drop-outs. It contains the right mix of liberals, moderates and conservatives. It contains the right mix of income levels. Given all of those factors, campaigning in Illinois does not allow for pandering to small town and rural White America, as the candidates do in Iowa and New Hampshire, but the mix in Illinois also precludes pandering to any other groups. Any position taken there must either appeal across-the-board to one’s party base, or must be a calculated risk, just as in the whole of America.

The film which did this study compared dozens of factors in each state to national averages, then distilled all of those specifics down to five general categories. Illinois finishes among the top six best matches in all five categories, and is the absolute best match in demographic and income factors.

In contrast: New Hampshire is one of the states least representative of America (nearby Vermont is the least typical state), and Iowa is somewhere in the middle.

Alexander has a truly novel reason why no witnesses are necessary – we already know Trump is guilty AF! (But that is not grounds for removal.)

The logic goes like this:

* There’s no doubt that Trump did what he is accused of
* Therefore, we need no more witnesses or evidence. It’s proven.
* But what he did does not merit removal.

Honest to God, I’m not kidding. That really is his argument. See the Tweet below. Overwhelmed by a mountain of uncontradicted facts, and still intending to vote against removal, some GOP senators have obviously decided to salve their consciences with the “Yeah, he did it, but it’s not impeachable!” argument.

That’s actually a pretty clever position. Weaselly, but brilliant, because it allows them to vote “nay” on removal and “nay” on witnesses while avoiding the accusation of a cover-up. In essence: “When we voted to exclude witnesses, that was no cover-up. We already knew what he did, so what did we need additional proof for? But even given our knowledge that he did everything he is accused of, we can’t agree that it reaches the bar for removal from office.”

The reason that position is so brilliant is that it is defensible. What Trump actually did is not a matter of opinion. It’s a fact. He did it. There’s overwhelming proof. But whether that is sufficient grounds for removal IS a matter of opinion because the Constitution leaves plenty of wiggle room. People can argue that Trump has committed “high crimes and misdemeanors” or they can argue that he has not, and scholars could debate this ad infinitum with erudite references to the Federalist Papers and citations from precedents, but no matter how long they argue, neither side can say “The definition of a removable offense is completely clear.”

“On the campaign trail and trips to the southern border, President Trump has called his big, beautiful wall ‘tough’; ‘virtually impenetrable.’ On a September visit to the Otay Mesa border site in San Diego, he boasted, ‘This wall is not something that can be really knocked down.'”

Knocked over by winds this week, it fell on some trees on the Mexican side.

Trump once again loses a battle to his old nemesis – wind.

Also, we have found that gates have to be left open in summer.

“President Trump’s border wall probably will require the installation of hundreds of storm gates to prevent flash floods from undermining or knocking it over, gates that must be left open for months every summer during ‘monsoon season’ in the desert, according to U.S. border officials, agents and engineers familiar with the plans. The open, unmanned gates in remote areas already have allowed for the easy entry of smugglers and migrants into the United States.”

And finally – supporters of the wall don’t seem to grasp the concepts of drones and tunnels.

But apart from all that, everything seems to be planned perfectly.

“I’m thrilled to be on center stage again!”

“Oh … never mind.”


Main revelation in Bolton’s book excerpt: Trump guilty AF

Wow! Now Susan Collins may not only wring her hands, but may also have to mop her forehead before voting to acquit. That’s huge!

Top rebuttals:

1. Fox News: This means somebody did something very bad and should pay for it – the person who leaked the book excerpt.

2. Dershowitz: There’s no such thing as an impeachable offense. It was a typo in the Constitution.

3. Other people present during Trump’s crimes: “Do not recall” what happened.

4. GOP lickspittles: Bolton should withdraw the truth until after the election.

5. Trump: I’m innocent, I tells ya. Hey, what is the deal with those new toilets? Hey, what about that Adam Schiff? His neck is so wafer-thin it killed Mr. Creosote. What a great crowd. I’ll be here all year. Be sure to tip your waiter.

6. The Onion: “Bolton Pledges To Donate All Proceeds From Book Towards Killing Iranians”

Bryant, 41, was killed along with one of his daughters, 13-year-old Gianna, in a helicopter crash

“In 2006, at age 27, Bryant scored an amazing 81 points in a single game against the Toronto Raptors. Two years later, he earned the league’s Most Valuable Player award, calling the trophy a blessing at the time. At 34, Bryant became the youngest player in NBA history to earn 30,000 career points, edging other scoring greats such as Abdul-Jabar, Chamberlain, Karl Malone and Michael Jordan. He is currently the fourth-highest scorer of all-time in the league.”

(Kareem is the #1 scorer of all time. LeBron should be in the future, if he plays three more seasons.)

America’s top diplomat tries out a new form of diplomacy.

This reminds me of when the polite, predictable mainstream comedy of the 50s and early 60s first acquired an edge, then gradually morphed into insult comedy. Now it’s time for polite, predictable mainstream diplomacy to follow that path to insult diplomacy.

Actually, Pompeo seems to be floating a novel new defense of Trump: nobody cares if he fucks Ukraine over, which is basically accurate within Trump’s low-info base.

Continue reading “America’s Secretary of State: “Do you think Americans care about fucking Ukraine?””

Interesting article. I always love this kind of mind-boggling cosmic mystery.

NOTE: The article itself is sound, but the headline is not strictly accurate. We can see objects that are that are currently 46.1 billion light years away. Those two statements are not identical. We are seeing them as they were long ago, when they were no more than 13-point-something billion light years away. Two crucial things have happened since they emitted that light: (1) they and we have have moved away from one another at approximately the speed of light; (2) the universe, space itself, has expanded for various reasons touched upon in the article. (And we have fairly recently calculated – in the past quarter century or so – that the expansion of the universe is accelerating, which surprised many astrophysicists.)

That’s not so confusing, but a truly mystifying phenomenon is this: “The Universe Is Disappearing, And There’s Nothing We Can Do To Stop It.” How can that be? Because objects are moving away from us at an apparent speed faster than the speed of light. How can that be? It’s that pesky expansion again. The Hubble Constant (as recalculated since Hubble’s time) suggests that once distant objects are approximately 4,200 megaparsecs away (about 13.7 billion light years), two galaxies will separate faster than the speed of light.

In theory, if you could wait an infinitely long time, the night skies would be empty of any objects not gravitationally attached to us. (Well, I’m assuming that the life of the universe itself is infinite, which is probably not accurate, and I’m ignoring the fact that there will be no “us” then anyway, as our Sun will have burned out in some five billion years, which is just a brief blip of time in cosmological terms. Heavy stuff, dude.)

The emails are heavily redacted, and the details of what was being discussed within them are almost entirely blacked out. OMB said the heavy redactions are necessary because disclosing the details would inhibit “the frank and candid exchange of views that is necessary for effective government decision making.”

(Otherwise known as “criminal conspiracy.”)

Needless to say, Dersh has now determined that this logic only applied to Democrats in the office.

By the way, the attorney general also wrote that presidents who misuse their authority are subject to impeachment.

I agree with this assertion. It’s right there in MLK’s speeches.

“I have a dream that some day a man will be judged not by the color of his skin, but by his Republican party affiliation. Of course when that day comes, that party may still be judging a man by the color of his skin. I’m not sure. My dreams are not really that specific. Mostly when I dream, I’m just falling from great heights.”

Related story:

Kellyanne Conway Suggests Martin Luther King Jr. Would Have Traveled To Ukraine For Dirt On Biden

If we had any other President, that headline would only be found on The Onion. In this case, however, there is no irony or snark. That headline is literally true.

The White House is looking at ways to circumvent the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

And the President really said, “It’s just so unfair that American companies aren’t allowed to pay bribes to get business overseas. We’re going to change that.”

To be fair, Trump has a good point, although coming out in favor of bribery and corrupt practices is really not the best way to express that point. This is one of the few areas where he is not ignorant. He knows this situation well because of the business he was in. In many, many countries, you can’t build things without either (1) having extremely powerful friends or (2) bribing people. Or both.

I had the same challenges in my area. There are many countries in the world where one can’t obtain the simplest business permits without bribing one or even a series of corrupt officials. Some countries are worse than others. Among the most populous countries, Russia, Indonesia, Brazil, Nigeria, Mexico and a few others are especially corrupt, but they are not the only ones, just the worst ones. There are corrupt countries in the E.U., and there are many parts of the USA that are crooked as can be, although we tend to disguise our bribes in euphemistic terms like “campaign contributions” or “supporting your foundation.”

Of all the countries I worked in, there were only about ten where the basic business processes (licenses and permits) were quite transparent and the results seemed to be determined honestly and objectively. The Scandinavian countries were quite honest, as was The Netherlands. I never dealt with Canada or New Zealand personally, but many colleagues told me those places were honest and straightforward. Germany and the UK were also ethical, in my experience, but loaded with unnecessary red tape and too much bureaucracy.

So I have some sympathy for Trump’s frustration, but I think that legalizing bribery sounds like a rash solution. I think it would turn quickly into a system of bribes and kickbacks. (“I can get the company to offer you a six million dollar bribe if you’ll agree to forward two million of it back to me.”)

(And there is a technical question as well. Bribes are not only illegal, but they are also non-tax-deductible. If they were legalized, could they then be claimed as deductible business expenses?)

He represents a wildly entertaining (and scary) turn in the Ukraine story, based on the current tranche of Lev Parnas documents.

In May, Hyde was removed by police from Trump National Doral Miami in Florida. According to an incident report filed by the Doral police department, Hyde told the responding officer that he was in fear for his life and “a hit man was out to get him.” He was not arrested. Police escorted him from the hotel and transported him to an undisclosed location. In the vehicle, Hyde said his computer had been hacked by the Secret Service and that the Secret Service was watching him at the premises, according to the incident report.

In June, responding to a protective order, Simsbury police removed six firearms and more than 800 rounds of ammunition last year from his home. Officers seized three rifles, two shotguns, a flare launcher, and other shooting accessories.

When asked for his comments on the newly available documents, Hyde succinctly responded, “Bull Schiff is a giant bitch.”

He is currently a Republican candidate for a seat in Congress.

There are a few new anecdotes:

1. Trump told the Prime Minister of India, “It’s not like you’ve got China on your border.”

2. He wanted to change US law to allow corporations to bribe foreign officials.

3. He didn’t know why Pearl Harbor was important.

4. “Trump agrees to participate in an HBO documentary that features judges and lawmakers — as well as all the living presidents — reading aloud from the Constitution. But Trump struggles and stumbles over the text, blaming others in the room for his mistakes and griping, ‘It’s like a foreign language.'”

5. Axios reported in December 2018 that former New Jersey governor Chris Christie and Trump met privately to discuss Christie possibly becoming his next chief of staff. After Christie respectfully turns down the job, he asks Trump how the details of their meeting leaked out, since it was just the two of them and first lady Melania Trump in the room. “Oh, I did it,” said Trump.