There has been a lot of talk about sanctions against Russia for a Ukrainian invasion, and what Russia may do in rebuttal. I have read a lot about how the Russians may engage in monumental hacking attacks, or how they may cut off Europe’s critical fuel supplies.

What I have not read is this: Russia and its evil half-brother Kazakhstan supply 38% of America’s uranium. Uzbekistan, where my family comes from, is not as subservient to Russia, but they would have to comply if Russia made them an offer they can’t refuse, and they supply another 8% of America’s needs. All told, that’s nearly half of our uranium that Russia can control if it chooses to.

The United States has 56 nuclear power plants supplying power to 28 different states. Together those plants supply about a fifth of all power in the United States. If Russia and Kazakhstan were to impose an embargo on the sale of Uranium to the USA, it would have a massive impact on energy production. America’s allies, notably Australia and Canada, have substantial uranium resources, but can’t immediately supplant the supply from Russia and its allies. Similarly, nuclear power can eventually be replaced by other forms of energy, but not overnight. If Russia decided to take the most dramatic action and cut America off, a disruption like this could create chaos in the stock market, and could wreak havoc on everyday life in certain parts of the country.

Russia and the Kazakhs may not want to do this because they make a profit selling that uranium to the USA, so an embargo is a lose-lose, but they can do it if they feel it is necessary.

And you may have read this somewhere – Mr. Putin is not an especially nice person.

The House committee had already received hundreds of pages of documents within hours of the ruling.

“The ruling denying Trump’s request to take up the case effectively deferred to a decision last month against him by the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, which had concluded that Trump’s claims for executive privilege over the documents ‘would have failed even if he were the incumbent’ president, the Supreme Court noted.”

Trump’s claim was meaningless, anyway. Executive privilege only involves the President’s ability to shield certain matters from Congress or, in some cases, the judiciary and general public. So if the Supreme Court had sided with him, he could conceivably have kept the documents from Congress. But here’s the rub. He could not shield the documents from the executive branch. That’s not a thing. If the courts had ruled that Trump could shield documents from Congress, Biden could have ordered his subordinates to place everything online immediately (probably with some redactions), in which case the House committee would have had access to all of it anyway. Trump undoubtedly realized all of that, and that everything would eventually come out, but I assume his strategy was to stall for time on any evidence not in his control, while destroying any evidence in his control before it can be subpoenaed. (That’s almost always his strategy, and has been since long before he became a politician.)

She was sworn in tonight.

Pretty interesting story behind it.

Her personal back story is pretty inspiring. Her parents are Haitian refugees who worked low-level jobs (taxi driver and maid), but she made it all the way through law school and had been working as the CEO of Trinity Health. I’m not enthused about her for several reasons, but you would expect that she would be a strong candidate in a predominately Black congressional district, and you’d be right. She was essentially guaranteed a victory against any Republican. She probably would have won at least 60-40 if she had run against Jesus.

Now the Republicans couldn’t risk having one of their rising stars get slaughtered in an election, so they had to throw in a sacrificial lamb. This is the same theory that caused the 6th man on our high school golf team to play against John Calabria and Terry Diehl, two future PGA touring pros who went to two of our rival schools. Obviously our very best guy, who might shoot a 79 on his best day, was going to get killed by Calabria or Diehl, who played consistently under par on the courses we played. (If I remember right, Diehl first broke par on the Genesee Valley Course when he was 12! I remember thinking it must be a misprint.) So we just moved each of our 1-5 guys down one slot, and threw our weakest guy in against the two aces.

Who was the sacrificial lamb in the election? Quite a troll. An ex-con with quite a rap sheet, and a former drug addict who proudly displays his love of the Confederate “stars and bars.” His preferences include a preference for secession along the Mason-Dixon line.

Because black voters love that shit!

Well, you can’t accuse him of pandering!

At the time he filed his candidacy, he didn’t even have a driver’s license, because it had been suspended for a careless driving citation. Moreover, his ex-wife had filed a police report against him on Nov. 6, 2020, in which she alleged she feared for her safety. According to the report, she was told by a friend of hers that Mariner was “losing it” and wanted to take it out on his wife. “I’m just gonna tie her up, kidnap her and take her to the mountains to get her straight.”

A real boy scout. He probably even knew the correct knots to tie her up.

Oh, yeah, one more thing. He may not even have been legally eligible to run. Article VI, Section 4, of the Florida Constitution states that, “No person convicted of a felony … shall be qualified to vote or hold office.” It would be up to the courts to settle that. It’s not clear whether that provision has been overridden by an amendment. It’s not even clear whether that provision in the Florida constitution could legally apply to a federal office, since the U.S. Constitution specifically defines the requirements for the House, and it’s not clear whether the states can add additional requirements. This is a complicated matter, and not so obvious as I implied at first.

Be that as it may, you can probably guess how the election came out. The woman whose parents worked their asses off to escape poverty, enabling her to get a law degree and become a CEO, won overwhelmingly, about 4-to-1. The Confederate Flag guy got 19%. It is probably not completely coincidental that the white population of that district is (wait for it) … 19%.

So far, no surprises. That would be the end of the story in a rational world. But we don’t live in such a world any longer. All reality is backwards. The troll refused to concede the election and filed lawsuits alleging ballot issues in two areas. As if it mattered. The guy didn’t even get 20% of the vote!

His explanation makes no sense to me.

“Now they called the race — I did not win, so they say, but that does not mean that they lost either.”

OK.

His general state of confusion is further addled by what appears to be virtual illiteracy, based on his Facebook posts, which are often so baffling that one can’t tell what he’s trying to say.

“I’m 100% certain that when Dr. Martin Luther King gave this speech (the- ‘I have a dream…’ speech), he wasn’t talking about blaming disparities in the black community on ‘white privelage’. Today, the two most important issue to defeat are fatherless homes, especially in the black community, and stopping the left from using the black community as political pawns … I’ll be called a Nazi, and you’ll be called an Uncle Tom if you don’t look like me, but say what I.”

I couldn’t find any mention of his educational level in any of his biographical material. I’m guessing that a Ph.D. from the Yale classics department is probably not in the cards.

—-

“Gee, I’m kind of a dumb, illiterate white guy with multiple felony convictions who may not be eligible to hold the office I’m running for. I openly worship the Confederacy in a predominately Black district. I just can’t believe I lost! It must be fraud!”

The Man of La Manchin averred: “I’ve tried everything humanly possible. I can’t get there. This is a no.”

The Democrats were ecstatic after they won those two Senate seats in Georgia, thinking they were in the catbird’s seat, but that was all an illusion. The situation is better for them than if they had lost those seats, but the 50-50 stalemate in the Senate has made Manchin the most powerful person in America. Manchin was sent to Washington by a mere 290,000 voters, yet he now wields more power than Biden, who got 81 million votes. Nobody would be saying a word about Manchin if the Democrats had lost those two Georgia seats. If that had happened, only serious political junkies would even be able to name a senator from West Virginia. (I have no idea who the other one is.) Now everyone who watches TV news or reads a paper will stand a tip-toe when he is named, and rouse him at the name of Manchin. Talk about a guy in the right place at the right time! (Or the opposite, depending on your politics.)

“He’s got to condemn this shit ASAP. The Capitol Police tweet is not enough,” Trump Jr. wrote to Meadows.

“I’m pushing it hard,” Meadows replied. “I agree.”

“We need an Oval Office address. He has to lead now,” Trump Jr. continued. “It has gone too far and gotten out of hand.”

WTF? You have to agree with Junior’s thought process – but at the same time, you have to wonder why he did not just talk or text to his father directly. Mary Trump’s answer: “Cowardice. Because Donny knew that the message he was delivering was the message his father did not want to hear.”

Her answer seems logical, but I’d like to hear Junior’s own answer to the same query. Their family dynamic is fascinating. Did Junior first try to contact his dad directly, only to find his call screened? Were there texts from Junior to Senior that went unanswered before the outreach to Meadows? Does Eric know how to text? Inquiring minds want to know.

It seems that House Democrats are undeterred by this finding. It “is unlikely to stop House Democrats from approving the bill as soon as Thursday evening.”



This may not sound so dramatic, but if they pass it as is, the situation could be disastrous for the Democrats in two ways:

1. The Republicans have yet another reason to accuse Biden of being weak and ineffectual because he promised that this bill would be fully funded. Chop a few more points off that sinking approval rating.

2. The bill can’t pass the Senate in that form because Manchin specifically said he won’t add to the deficit. This means that the negotiations and squabbling will begin all over again, with the Democrats continuing to show the nation’s undecided and independent voters that they are just going to keep jabbering about this bill, and can’t get their act together.

As this independent looks at it, I’m looking at a choice between the party that wants to bring a copy of Balzac to a gunfight, and the party that wants to bring an AK-47 to a book discussion club.

So here’s what is happening in the Philippines:

In the Presidential race, Bong is running against BongBong. Even more fun, Bong’s last name is Go, and BongBong is the son of Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos. Oh, yeah, and there is a third major player in that race. They are running against former boxing great Manny Pacquiao. There are several other candidates as well. This match-up was precipitated by the fact that the current President, Duterte, is constitutionally forbidden to seek another term.

Now it turns kind of weird. Well, weirder. In the Philippines, the president and vice president are elected in separate contests. Duterte’s daughter unexpectedly filed to run for vice-president, even though the polls showed that she was the favorite to succeed her father in the #1 job. Meanwhile Duterte himself figured out that the constitution does not bar him from running for vice-president, so he also entered that race, thinking that his daughter would register for the presidential race. If his original plan had worked out, he could have ended up as her veep, with the family still firmly in control of the country, but because she decided to run for VP instead, Duterte was then slated to run against his daughter instead of with her. When he realized what had happened, he withdrew his VP bid and declared for the senate instead.

He’s still running ahead of Trump, but it’s getting close.

image host

The really telling stat in the new WaPo poll is the percentage of voters who “strongly” approve and disapprove. In late April, 34% “strongly approved” of his performance, while 35% strongly disapproved, simply reflecting the divided nature of our nation. As of now, only 19% strongly approve and a whopping 44% strongly disapprove. His support is disintegrating because those who had given him the benefit of the doubt are disenchanted and deserting.

If you study the numbers, you’ll see that there is still widespread support for his policies. The infrastructure bill has overwhelming approval, and even the framework of the expensive Build Back Better bill is widely popular in theory (58 yea, 37 nay). In short, people seem to like his ideas, but don’t think he’s the guy to pull them off.

The combination of supply chain bottlenecks, inflation and strikes is drowning out any good news he might claim in other arenas. Yes, he has problems at the border and with government gridlock and the botched withdrawal from Afghanistan, but the economy is the big enchilada. Only 29% of adults say they have a positive view of the economy. Biden could single-handedly cure COVID, re-build all of America’s bridges with his bare hands, stop global warming, and get a full-throated endorsement from Jesus in his second coming, but if 70% of Americans view the economy negatively, he’s still in one-term Carter Country.

In theory, he would become an independent, not a Republican, but would presumably caucus with whichever side he cares to, giving him tremendous power, since he can swing the Senate either way at his sole discretion.

After this article was published, reporters questioned Manchin about it. He replied, “I can’t control rumors, and it’s bullshit, bullshit spelled with a B, U, L, L, capital B.”

The reporter stands by the story, saying his source in unimpeachable.

As far as I know, only one observer saw this coming. I need to add here that having this come out is a major monkey wrench in the plan. The real key to the plan, as I see it, is to keep a Manchin move secret, so that the Republicans can first trick the gullible Democrats into abolishing the filibuster, then have Manchin exit, leaving the Democrats with a minority and no filibuster to protect them. According to the scenario I presented, Manchin’s departure was supposed to be the hole card which enabled them to win that pot.

Now that the hole card is exposed, the Democrats will be wary of any sudden Republican co-operation to eliminate the filibuster. Even if the filibuster remains, the Senate could turn topsy-turvy if Manchin were to caucus with the GOP, since McConnell would then control all committees, and be able to block all of Biden’s appointments, including to the Supreme Court if a position comes open.

On the one hand, he’s told his lackeys and sycophants that he’ll run again in 2024. On the other hand, he’s telling Republicans not to vote in 2024 (or for that matter in 2022). He said that this is the single most important thing Republicans can do.

He told Republicans not to vote unless the election fraud problem is “solved.” Since there is no significant fraud to solve, and Joe Biden will certainly remain in the White House until the next election (unless he dies), that means the Republicans should not vote at all.

But that’s not what he means. Remember that he basically has no grasp of the English language, so he does not express himself precisely. What he is really saying is that his base should not vote for any Republican UNLESS they embrace the election fraud theory. In other words, his base should kick out anyone not personally loyal to Trump himself, and to Trump’s mad assertion that he must somehow have been cheated out of the election.

In reality, it is Trump’s vote count that seems suspiciously high in the 2020 election. Consider:

  • The final polls, averaged and weighted, predicted a Biden victory by 8.4 points, but the final tally showed only a 4.4 Biden victory. Those 4 points represent some 6.3 million votes.
  • In 2016 Trump got 63 million votes.

Negative adjustments: During his presidency he became the only President in the long history of Gallup’s approval polls never to hit 50%, and his average approval rating over the course of his presidency was the lowest ever, and by a wide margin. Because of that, exit polls show that he lost 4.4 million (7%) of the people who voted for him in 2016. It is estimated that 3.8 million of his 2016 voters died before they could vote in 2020.

Positive adjustments: He did pick up 2.6 million (4%) former Clinton voters, 6.7 million (39%) of the people who did not vote in 2016, and 1.9 million (25%) who voted for third parties in 2016, so his vote total should have gone up about three million net after subtracting the 2016 voters that abandoned him or died. So how did the least popular presidency in history, led by a man who apparently gained only three million net voters from 2016, manage to earn an additional 11.2 million votes in 2020? Where did the additional eight million votes come from?

Doing the same calculation for Biden shows absolutely nothing suspicious.

Hillary got 65.9 million votes in 2016. Here are the adjustments from that number in 2020:

  • Biden picked up 4.4 million (7%) former Trump voters.
  • Biden lost 2.6 million (4%) former Clinton voters to Trump.
  • Biden picked up 10.0 million (59%) voters who did not vote in 2016.
  • Biden picked up 4.6 million (60%) voters who voted for a third party in 2016.
  • Biden lost about two million 2016 Clinton voters to the grim reaper. Not as many Democrats die each year as Republicans because of the age differential.

So Biden’s total should have been a bit more than 80 million, and it was a bit more than 81. Given that everything here is an estimate, he got exactly what he should have.

I’m not presenting a point that contains mathematical certainty. I know there are answers to those extra Trump votes that don’t involve fraud. Many of those answers center around people lying to pre-election pollsters, or the fact that one cannot easily conduct an exit poll of mail-in voters, but the point of the observation is that it is possible to argue that Trump’s 2020 vote count seems suspiciously high while Biden’s seems to be what it should have been.

For the moment, let’s assume there was no significant fraud in favor of either candidate, and let’s come back to the real world. Where Trump lost the election was in the voters who did not vote for a major candidate in 2016, but did in 2020. The exit polls show that this amounted to about 25 million voters (about 17 million who did not vote at all in 2016 and about 8 million who voted for third parties), and that Biden won those groups by a mile – 19 points among those who did not vote in 2016, and 35 points among those voted for third parties in 2016.

McConnell thinks he is pretty tough and crafty.

Hell, he’s not even close to being the cagiest, toughest, slimiest guy to be a Senate leader. Here is what the real master, Lyndon Johnson, would do in McConnell’s place.

1. In a secret backdoor deal, he would make whatever promises are necessary to get Manchin to switch parties, or to become an independent and caucus with the GOP.
2. It would be important NOT to announce the move until the time is right.
3. He would then give in to Democrats on eliminating the filibuster. They would be easily duped into doing so, thinking they had won a great victory.
4. Manchin would then officially switch parties and begin caucusing with the GOP.
5. Checkmate.

At that point, McConnell, possessed by Lyndon’s ghost, would have control of the Senate with the votes necessary to pass anything his heart desires, because with the filibuster gone, all Senate votes would require only 51 votes. That may not do much while the Democrats control the House, but he would also have the ability to reject all of Biden’s judicial nominations. He would also have the ability to take over the chairmanship of all committees, effectively suppressing many facets of the Senate investigations into Trump and January 6th.

Could reincarnated Lyndon find a way to coerce or persuade Manchin to change teams? You bet. How about chairmanship of any committees he likes, and all the money he wants for his next re-election campaign from conservative super-PACs. And those are only the carrots. If he failed with those alone, the ever-ruthless Lyndon would bring out the sticks.

McConnell tough? Lyndon, wherever he is, presumably looking up from the lowest rings of hell, is laughing at Mitch and calling him a pussy, as Trump did today! Lyndon and Trump were a lot alike – egomaniacs, megalomaniacs, narcissists … dicks. Of course, as the other American Pie kids said to Stifler:

Yup, at least Lyndon was OUR dick.

It’s kind of interesting to watch the progress of these two bills.

One thing that is completely clear is that the Build Back Better Bill, the $3.5 trillion one, is absolutely not going to pass under any circumstances. Manchin has made that very clear, and he holds all the power. There is absolutely nothing anyone can do to get him to vote for that. The liberals can whine and cry about how that should not be true because 96%-97% of Democrat lawmakers support the bill, but the fact of the matter is that it is true, and they need a Plan B.

The three-week audit has finally come to a conclusion after nearly six months. A draft of the Republican-backed “audit” of the Arizona election results in Maricopa County showed that Biden actually won by more than previously thought!

I was surprised by this result. I assumed that the Cyber Ninjas guy was both ignorant and corrupt. He did turn out to be incredibly ignorant about election procedures and laws, based on some of the bizarre statements in the report, but it seems that he did not prove to be corrupt, and did not manufacture some phony-baloney reasons why Trump actually got more votes, or Biden less.

His original margin of victory in 2018 was 24 points. This one is running 28 as I type this.

When he won in 2018, he got the highest number of gubernatorial votes (7.7 million) in California history. In fact, he got more than the two major 2014 candidates added together! This recall election has a chance to top that number, depending on the final count of voters and the final margin of victory.

Having noted all of that, let’s add that it is time for California to review some of its preposterous election procedures on recalls and referenda.

Clive Owen as Clinton; Edie Falco as Hilary; Sarah Paulson as Linda Tripp; Billy Eichner as Matt Drudge; Beanie Feldstein as Monica Lewisky (definitely looks like her). How the heck are they going to pad this out to ten episodes?

Looks like Falco has a pretty good throwing arm. I doubt if the real Hilary got that much behind the lamp or ashtray or whether it was she threw at Slick Willie.



But it’s not a certainty because of the complicated process. Sources say that the new ranked-order voting system will not permit an official result until mid-July.

Curtis Sliwa, the founder of the Guardian Angels and a conservative talk show host, won the GOP nomination in a landslide.

“The Texas congressman asked whether there was anything the U.S. Forest Service could do ‘to change the course of the moon’s orbit or the Earth’s orbit around the sun.'”

The noted genius addressed a Forest Service spokesperson as follows: “If you figure out there’s a way in the Forest Service you could make that change, I’d like to know.”

Unfortunately, the Forest Service was too busy raking the forests to deploy any of their latest orbit-altering technology.

Political power in the United States will continue to shift south this decade, as historically Democratic states that border the Great Lakes give up congressional seats and electoral votes to regions where Republicans currently enjoy a political advantage, according to new data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

Texas, Florida and North Carolina, three states that voted twice for President Donald Trump, are set to gain a combined four additional seats in Congress in 2023 because of population growth, granting them collectively as many new votes in the electoral college for the next presidential election as Democratic-leaning Hawaii has in total.

Republicans will control line-drawing for 187 congressional seats over the coming year, with Democrats controlling 75 seats, while the remaining seats that need to be drawn will be decided by independent commissions or divided governments, according to the nonpartisan Cook Political Report.”

That works out to more than $500 per child per day, and it’s apparently a discount based on this sentence: “Kenneth Wolfe, a spokesman for HHS’s Administration for Children and Families, said the average daily cost per child is ‘approximately $775 per day based on past experience.’

In comparison, I just checked the price of a Sandals all-inclusive 5-star resort in Negril, Jamaica, and it works out to $300 per person per day ($4200 for a couple, 7-nights). So we could transport the kids there, hire each kid a personal nanny at $90 a day (a desirable job with a solid wage in Jamaica), house them in a 5-star resort with unlimited gourmet meals included, and still cut the price in half from that $775 figure. The older kids can even drink booze for free! (Alcohol is also included at Sandals, and Jamaica has no minimum drinking age.)

In equally daunting math:

$60 million per week is three billion dollars per year – and the number of kids is expected to grow dramatically.

The cited rate of $775 per child per day multiplies out to $280,000 per child per year!

Of course I’m not saying that we shouldn’t take care of the kids, but perhaps we need to improve our efficiency.

A lot.

Chicago tops list of most corrupt city in US

I have told the story many times, but it bears repeating. When one got to upper-middle management in a company I used to work for, one was required to read the “Code of Ethical Conduct,” then sign an acknowledgment of having read it.

The most infamous passage went something like this:

“No official of XYZ corporation may offer a bribe to a public official.

However, there may be from time to time certain places where normal operations cannot be conducted without bribery. In such cases, the situation must be reported to the Vice-President in charge of the legal department. Such places may include Russia, Mexico, Nigeria … yadda, yadda … and Chicago!”

So, congrats to Chi-Town for living up to your hard-earned reputation.

“After making history by being impeached, (the President) lambasted his political opponents, painted himself as a persecuted hero and skipped his successor’s inauguration as he finished up his single term in office. In a bitter farewell address, he railed on about his many grievances and insisted he had no regrets from his time in office.”

The president in question was Andrew Johnson.

Johnson was still expected to attend the event as of the very morning of that Inauguration Day, but he begged off when his carriage came for him, and stayed in his office until the very last minute of his Presidency. “The last minute” is not a figurative expression in this case. He left the White House at noon, precisely as his term expired.