July 19, 2019
Slow Learners

In the American Labor Legislation Review, the Yale economist Irving Fisher wrote, “At present the United States has the unenviable distinction of being the only great industrial nation without compulsory health insurance.”

Professor Fisher’s “present” has dragged on for quite a while now. His study came out in 1916.


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Posted by Jerome Doolittle at 2:41 PM | Permalink & Email Post | Comments (1)
Historical Perspectives | Public Health and Welfare | Regulation for the Benefit of Public Health, Safety and Welfare
July 15, 2019
When We Really Needed A Wall

Blame it on the Democrats. Roosevelt let her in:

Born as the 10th child of the MacLeod family on the Outer Hebridean Isle of Lewis in 1912, Mary Trump was raised in a strict Presbyterian, Gaelic speaking household. She emigrated to New York in 1930 and found work as a domestic servant before later marrying businessman Fred Trump and having five children.

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Posted by Jerome Doolittle at 6:43 PM | Permalink & Email Post | Comments (4)
America is Doomed | Historical Perspectives | IMPEACH | Our Longest National Nightmare Ever
July 14, 2019
The Real Issues

As usual it’s hard to argue with Noam Chomsky on this. I would only add that in our outrage over Russia’s interference with our election we seem to forget that interference with foreign elections is what our own CIA does for a living.

And, I should say, the Democrats are helping Trump. They are. Take the focus on Russiagate. What’s that all about? I mean, it was pretty obvious at the beginning that you’re not going to find anything very serious about Russian interference in elections. I mean, for one thing, it’s undetectable. I mean, in the 2016 election, the Senate and the House went the same way as the executive, but nobody claims there was Russian interference there.

In fact, you know, Russian interference in the election, if it existed, was very slight, much less, say, than interference by, say, Israel. Israel, the prime minister, Netanyahu, goes to Congress and talks to a joint session of Congress, without even informing the White House, to attack Obama’s policies. I mean, that’s dramatic interference with elections. Whatever the Russians tried, it’s not going to be anything like that.

And, in fact, there’s no interference in elections that begins to compare with campaign funding. Remember that campaign funding alone gives you a very high prediction of electoral outcome. It’s, again, Tom Ferguson’s major work which has shown this very persuasively. That’s massive interference in elections. Anything the Russians might have done is going to be, you know, peanuts in comparison. As far as Trump collusion with the Russians, that was never going to amount to anything more than minor corruption, maybe building a Trump hotel in Red Square or something like that, but nothing of any significance.

The Democrats invested everything in this issue. Well, turned out there was nothing much there. They gave Trump a huge gift. In fact, they may have handed him the next election. That’s just a—that’s a matter of being so unwilling to deal with fundamental issues, that they’re looking for something on the side that will somehow give political success.

The real issues are different things. They’re things like climate change, like global warming, like the Nuclear Posture Review, deregulation. These are real issues. But the Democrats aren’t going after those. They’re looking for something else, the Democratic establishment. I’m not talking about the young cohort that’s coming in, which is quite different. Just all of that has to be shifted significantly, if there’s going to be a legitimate political opposition to the right-wing drift that’s taking place. And it can happen, can definitely happen, but it’s going to take work.

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Posted by Jerome Doolittle at 8:02 PM | Permalink & Email Post | Comments (0)
Elections | What Actually Matters
July 10, 2019
Party Labels

From the New York Times:

In 90 minutes of oral arguments on whether a federal district judge in Texas was correct in striking down the Affordable Care Act in December, two appellate judges appointed by Republican presidents peppered lawyers with blunt questions while the third judge, appointed by President Jimmy Carter, remained silent.

The two Republican appointees, Jennifer Walker Elrod, appointed by President George W. Bush in 2007, and Kurt Engelhardt, appointed by President Trump in 2018, seemed particularly skeptical of the Democratic defendants’ argument that Congress had fully intended to keep the rest of the law when it eliminated the penalty for going without insurance as part of its 2017 tax overhaul.

Identifying judges by party is a welcome change for the Times, as it would be for just about the entire American media. But even the Times couldn’t stay out of step for long. Here’s the next paragraph:

If the mandate is indeed unconstitutional, the next question is whether the rest of the Affordable Care Act can function without it. In December, Judge Reed O’Connor of the Federal District Court in Fort Worth said it could not and declared that the entire law must fall.

O’Connor is a Republican, that goes without saying. But it shouldn’t, given the political innocence of many, perhaps most, Americans. They might even believe Chief Justice John Roberts when he says “We don’t work as Democrats or Republicans,” and “We do not have Obama judges or Trump judges, Bush judges or Clinton judges,” and “We do not serve one party or one interest. We serve one nation.” Roberts may even believe that stuff himself, although I hope not. I’d rather have a partisan on the Court than a moron.

Every judge, every time, right down to traffic court, should be identified by his party of origin by every broadcaster and publication in America. Meanwhile, though, you’ll have to count on me. Just go to the right hand column and click on “Who Put That Asshole on the Court?”

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Posted by Jerome Doolittle at 7:18 PM | Permalink & Email Post | Comments (0)
Media | US Supreme Court
July 03, 2019
Trump Would Lead the Parade Himself…

… if it weren’t for those darned old bone spurs. This from Tony Piel, formerly with the U.S. Second and Fourth Armored (Tank) Divisions:
Like other Dictators, US President Donald Trump has announced that he has decided to hold a military extravaganza parade in Washington D.C. on the Fourth of July 2019 to show off U.S. military power (and thus to celebrate himself as “Dear Leader” of our country). It will include a fly-over by military aircraft (including his own “Air Force One)” as well the use of U.S' Army tanks, missiles and other weaponry.

You will be pleased to hear that Trump’s proposal includes showing off the latest shiny, “brand new Sherman tanks” (his words, not mine) as evidence of the latest in US military technology and proof of US military supremacy under his (Trump’s) leadership.

There's a hitch: We haven’t made Sherman tanks since World War II in the 1940s. Trump can perhaps be forgiven for this gaffe. For two reasons:

(1) Trump performed notoriously poorly in history courses in primary and secondary schools (a White House secret). Now, is ignorance of history a valid excuse ? (It did not deter acceptance for higher education, but that was thanks to endowment contributions from Daddy Fred Trump.)

(2) Trump was a draft dodger who paid for a fake medical deferment during the Vietnam War. (Well, “Who wants to die in a swamp ? “ Anyway, it didn’t deter him from playing golf.) So, how can President Trump be blamed for ignorance of such archaic military details ?

The cost of Trump’s extravaganza (to honor himself and frighten other nations) is estimated to cost some $100 million over and above the usual cost of conventional Fourth of July celebrations in Washington D.C. (This is somewhat higher than the cost of children’s soap, toothpaste, blankets and soccer balls. Presumably, Trump takes showers, eats well, and sleeps in a well-feathered bed, but he never played soccer. So, how would he know — or care ?). But wait ’til you see those “new” Shermans. (Realizing his gaffe, Trump is probably looking for some antiques right now.)

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Posted by Jerome Doolittle at 1:31 PM | Permalink & Email Post | Comments (2)
American Heroes | Idiots | Rich White Trash
June 30, 2019
The First National Sperm Bank

I was on Trump’s case way back in 1992, when my Tom Bethany mystery, Strangle Hold, was published. You’ll notice that in the excerpt below I felt no need to explain who he was. Even then any reader who wasn’t one himself knew Fat Donny was a ridiculous asshole.

Ned got back out on stage, then, and talked about the troupe, and about the nature of improvisational comedy. And then he introduced our own special little number. “Okay,” Ned said, “what we’re going to stage here is a holdup. And what you folks are going to do is tell us what to hold up. What about it? Who’s been stuck up?”

“A pizza parlor.”
“A topless bar...”
“A laundromat...”
“A sperm bank,” someone shouted. Three or four other suggestions came from the audience, and then the players huddled off to one side as if they were discussing which one to build on. Then a frizzy-haired blonde left the huddle with a chair in hand, and sat down facing us. She made as if she were working at an imaginary desk, while an actor named Harvey came through an imaginary door and stood in front of her. It was all going according to the script:

…Read on

Posted by Jerome Doolittle at 6:18 PM | Permalink & Email Post | Comments (0)
America is Doomed | Idiots | Our Long National Nightmare | Rich White Trash
Below Zero

I just got back from Barrow, Alaska, where I’ve been holed up for the last ten months. I randomly applied for a teaching job up there last July and, to my horrified surprise, the principal called me the very next morning. Two weeks later all of my worldly belongings were packed in a storage shed and I was on a plane.

(“All of my worldly belongings” are: a bed, a desk, about fifteen boxes of books, a dresser, and a 1999 Honda CRV with two hundred thousand miles on it; I also had a TV but I threw it away. I live like fuckin’ Ghandi, partly by choice but partly from financial want).

Fun facts about Barrow: It’s real name is Utqiagvik, which means “the place where we gather roots” or “the place where we hunt snowy owls,” depending on who you ask, but it doesn’t matter because nobody can pronounce the word anyway, so everyone still just says Barrow. It’s about three hundred and thirty miles north of the Arctic Circle — the northernmost town in the United States — and there are no roads in or out. From November to January the sun doesn’t come up; from May to July it doesn’t go down. It’s always cold. The temperature got as low as negative 36 with negative 60 wind chill. The hottest it will get in the summer is between 47-50 degrees.

The highest structure in town used to be the Presbyterian church, now it’s the Wells Fargo building. Out with the old God, in with the new …

There is nothing, absolutely nothing, around for hundreds of miles but bleak and forbidding tundra. To the north, just a few blocks from my front door, is the Arctic Ocean, which looked like this one afternoon last August:


…Read on

Posted by OHollern at 3:24 PM | Permalink & Email Post | Comments (1)
June 28, 2019
Them That Needs It

If free education for all is too expensive for the Republicans, Edward Bellamy has a perfectly logical suggestion in Looking Backward:

“If, indeed, we could not afford to educate everybody, we should choose the coarsest and dullest by nature, rather than the brightest, to receive what education we could give. The naturally refined and intellectual can better dispense with aids to culture than those less fortunate in natural endowments.”
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Posted by Jerome Doolittle at 5:40 PM | Permalink & Email Post | Comments (3)
Class Warriors | Education
June 21, 2019
What Is It About Iran?

…my neighbor Alan Tucker wonders. Here’s his answer, long but worth it:

What is it about Iran with us? A national schizophrenia? A disinterest in looking farther back into our national past than Mork and Mindy? What? For example, an article titled “Ayatollah Calls Trump ‘True Face’ of the U.S.” ran in the Feb. 8 New York Times. Thomas Erdbrink, reporting from Tehran on what the Ayatollah actually said, did what a journalist for the indispensable Times is supposed to do — and on site! So far, so good.

But then (read carefully now) Erdbrink segued into some context, beginning with “The history of animosity between both countries is long and deep,” followed by what we think of Iran — four words: sponsor of terrorist organizations.

“Iran has also been held responsible by the United States for several terror attacks, most decades ago. One of them, of course, was the seizure of 54 members of the American Embassy staff in Tehran for 444 days during the Islamic Revolution in 1979. Iran has also been accused of involvement in a 1983 bomb attack at a Marine barracks in Lebanon, where 241 service personnel died…. Iran denies the accusations.

“Iran has pressed several claims against the United States. Iran holds the United States responsible for having supported Saddam Hussein with intelligence, funds and weapons after he attacked Iran [Note: Iraq attacked Iran.] in 1980, dragging both countries into a [sic] eight-year war where thousands of Iranians and Iraqis died. [Deaths as would be typical in eight-year wars.]

“In 1988, an American naval vessel, the Vincennes, shot down an Iran Air commercial plane, flying over the Persian Gulf [yes, Persian Gulf] to Dubai, in the united Arab Emirates. All 290 people aboard died. Iran called the attack deliberate and the United States called it a mistake. Under a settlement … the United States offered no apologies and was order to pay around $60 million in damages to families of the victims.”

Really, that’s it? No mention of the genesis of the history of animosity? Such as that in the mid-1950s the US and the UK colluded to overthrow a democratically elected government in Iran. What a nice thing it would have been if we had nurtured that nascent Middle Eastern as a product of the shining example of America’s vaunted exceptional mission in the world. Instead, it was let’s take the oil from the wogs. And they’re barely civilized, not like us. (Oh, did they have a glorious civilization while the Europeans were living in huts? Who knew? Who cares?)

…Read on

Posted by Jerome Doolittle at 3:52 PM | Permalink & Email Post | Comments (1)
Historical Perspectives | Warmongers | Weakening America | World Affairs
June 13, 2019
Don't Worry…

…be happy. Huffpost sends this from The Real America:

Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) arrived early at the “America First Dinner with President Donald J. Trump” on Tuesday … Only five months ago, King condoned white supremacy in an interview with The New York Times. “White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization — how did that language become offensive?” he said. “Why did I sit in classes teaching me about the merits of our history and our civilization?”

Bobby Penning, a 70-year-old corn farmer, said he wasn’t really aware of King’s past controversies — like when the congressman endorsed a white supremacist for mayor of Toronto, the three times he’s promoted neo-Nazis and white supremacists on Twitter, the time he said that you “can’t restore our civilization with somebody else’s babies,” the time King warned of Mexican immigrants with “calves the size of cantaloupes” smuggling drugs across the border, and the time King talked to a Hungarian alt-right publication about the superiority of European culture.

“I’m from rural Iowa,” Penning said. “We don’t worry about those things.”

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Posted by Jerome Doolittle at 4:15 PM | Permalink & Email Post | Comments (0)
American Heroes | Idiots | Our Long National Nightmare | The Long Con | Weakening America
June 11, 2019
Child Abuser

Tony Piel writes:

On June 5, 2019, the Trump administration announced that it would restrict or cancel education, legal aid and playground recreation (such as the playing of soccer) for children held in “shelter” camps on our southern border.

President Donald Trump claims both the power and the necessity to do so based on: (1) his imagined “unlimited executive privilege” (which does not exist in fact or law); (2) his declared “national emergency” on our southern border (which is denied by the US Congress); and (3) the fact that our federal government already “pays too much for these children” (at the expense of tax breaks for the very wealthy). Most soccer balls, by the way, are donated by private persons.

If Trump persists in punishing children in order to dissuade their parents and others from seeking asylum, the US will be, and Trump himself will be, in violation of binding international treaties and agreements including: (a) the 1924 Declaration of the Rights of the Child, (b) the UN Charter and 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights; (c) the 1989 Treaty Convention on the Rights of the Child (which the Trump administration still refuses to ratify); and more recently (d) the 1985 - 1997 “Flores Settlement” on the detention, fair treatment and rapid release of immigrant children.

Under international law, States are bound by signed treaty obligations, and are required to prosecute any and all offenders including a head of state. This is also true under US national law. How so ? Article VI of the US Constitution states that “All Treaties made under the Authority of the United States shall be the Supreme Law of the Land.” That seems clear enough.

The choice for President Trump becomes patently clear: Removal of the announced violations of the Rights of the Child, or removal from office — one way or another. Which shall it be ?

(Anthony Piel is a former director and general legal counsel of the World Health Organization.)
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Posted by Jerome Doolittle at 5:42 PM | Permalink & Email Post | Comments (0)
Idiots | Legal Absurdities | Rich White Trash
June 04, 2019
Ukraine Leads the Way

Probably you already saw this, but then again…

KIEV, Ukraine — A young television comic and novice candidate trounced Ukraine’s political elite in the first round of the presidential election, official results showed Monday — a stinging rebuke by an electorate tired of the lack of change in a country dominated by rich businessmen.

Results released by the Central Electoral Committee showed that Volodymyr Zelensky, 41, who is famous for playing a schoolteacher accidentally vaulted into the presidency, leading the field with more than 30 percent. He received 5.2 million votes, almost double the number of his nearest competitor, President Petro O. Poroshenko, who had just under 16 percent.

That the Times gave even these few inches to Ukraine’s new president means that it found the whole thing weird, even humorous. Those Ukrainers, what’ll they be up to next, huh?

I found it brilliant, and wish we were smart enough to do likewise. Not only should we elect a comic as president, we ought to make it compulsory. Comedians see the world much more clearly and accurately than politicians do. Spotting bullshit, their own and others', is their profession. They are not stupid. Nobody stupid can be funny, unless by accident. Take Trump. Please.

I’ll take Jerry Seinfeld, Bill Maher, Jon Stewart, Amy Schumer, Larry David, Ellen DeGeneres, Louis C.K., Richard Pryor, Whoopi Goldberg, David Letterman, any one of them for president over most of the candidates milling around for 2020.

The best of the lot, now unfortunately dead, was the greatest philosopher of our times, George Carlin.


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Posted by Jerome Doolittle at 6:16 PM | Permalink & Email Post | Comments (0)
Political Commentary | Presidential Hopefuls
How About French Kisses?

This from the Times:

Should Americans, as part of their school curriculum, learn Arabic numerals?

CivicScience, a Pittsburgh-based research firm, put that question to some 3,200 Americans recently in a poll seemingly about mathematics, but the outcome was a measure of students’ attitudes toward the Arab world. Some 56 percent of the respondents said, “No.” Fifteen percent had no opinion.

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Posted by Jerome Doolittle at 1:42 PM | Permalink & Email Post | Comments (2)
Education
May 28, 2019
Stable Genius?

Depends on the stable. There’s some pretty smart studs out there.


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Posted by Jerome Doolittle at 3:03 PM | Permalink & Email Post | Comments (0)
Idiots | Our Longest National Nightmare Ever | Rich White Trash
May 14, 2019
Trump Cleared by Noted Scholar!

Tony Piel reports:

The Mueller Report is now available at your favorite bookstore as published by Skyhorse Publishing (2019). Liz and I purchased it at Barnes and Noble for $12, for the sole purpose of having access to the exact words and findings of the Mueller Report.

The only hesitancy I had about buying this particular book version of the Mueller Report was the fact that it is "introduced" by Alan Dershowitz, Felix Frankfurter Professor of Law Emeritus of the Harvard Law School. After the "Introduction," you have to go to page 38 to start the actual (if still "redacted") Mueller Report.

Why is this important ? Because the "average" reader will probably be snowed under by the legalistic language, detracting and misleading statements up front by Professor Dershowitz and by Trump's appointee Attorney General William Barr. How so ? The Dershowitz "Introduction" concludes quite simply:

"The report is a complete exoneration" of Donald Trump, and therefore "We should put the allegation to rest both as a legal and factual matter."

We all know, or should know by now, that this statement of "complete exoneration" by the Mueller Report is utterly false. If the casual reader swallows the Dershowitz "Introduction," then why bother to read the actual report, which begins on page 38 ? If Trump is completely exonerated, why read further?

Oddly, there is no mention of who put the book together. Who decided to give first place to Dershowitz, followed by Barr, before getting to what the Mueller team actually wrote ? Did some partisan group want to get the report out first, precisely to undercut it ? Does Dershowitz not read or speak plain English ? Too many lunches at Mar-a-Lago ? Would you want to send your child or grandchild to Harvard at the risk of being taught, judged and graded by the likes of Dershowitz? I don't think so.

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Posted by Jerome Doolittle at 6:26 PM | Permalink & Email Post | Comments (4)
American Heroes | Graft, Corruption and Malfeasance | Idiots | Legal Absurdities
May 10, 2019
Trump Done Good

See, what did I tell you?

Up to 200,000 uninsured people may soon have access to a medication that prevents the transmission of HIV.

The Trump administration announced on Twitter that health officials have worked with the biotechnology company Gilead, which developed the drug Truvada or PrEP (pre-exposure prophalaxis), to secure a donation of the medication, CNN reports.

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Posted by Jerome Doolittle at 5:29 PM | Permalink & Email Post | Comments (1)
Glimmers of Sanity | Hope for the Future | Public Health and Welfare | Strengthening America
May 09, 2019
War or Peace?

Tony Piel reminisces:

Anyone interested in understanding where our nation is headed internationally under the leadership of President Donald Trump, with the influence and incitement of his National Security Adviser, John Bolton, will do well to read Dexter Filkin's "On the Warpath" in the May 6, 2019 issue of The New Yorker.

I had the occasion to meet with John Bolton when he visited the World Health Organization back in the 1990s, intending to straighten us out for promoting international cooperation to control malaria and other communicable diseases. Bolton's view was that international collaboration and agencies like the UN, UNICEF and WHO were unneeded and wasteful. All that was needed, said Bolton, was for "the US to take the leadership, and have all the other countries just to fall in line."

In the first thirty seconds, I could see we were talking with an arrogant, born "Neo-Dictator," defined as an unalterable opponent of social democracy, one who seeks to employ a violent ideology to promote disunity and create a "Me First" political state, to rule America, and indeed the rest of the world. As National Security Adviser he had no respect for diplomacy, and faced with enemies abroad, Bolton would bomb first. (No matter that, like Cheney and Trump, Bolton dodged the Vietnam war draft. He didn't want to "die in a swamp." That's for other people.)

"On the Warpath" confirms our initial impression of Bolton, and probably yours too. To pick a single example: Bolton once made an impromptu entry to the office of Jose Bustani, then heading the US involvement in the International Convention to Ban Chemical Weapons, and demanded that Bustani resign. Why ? Because, said Bolton, the job was NOT to ban chemical weapons, but to ban the ban! Sure enough, the White House cut short Bustani's term. Result? Last year Bustani was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. (Trump wasn't.)

Trump's extreme unpredictability combined with Bolton's extreme predictability makes for a highly combustible mixture, with serious future risk of chemical and nuclear disaster for our country and the entire world. The choice is between War and Peace. It couldn't be clearer.


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Posted by Jerome Doolittle at 6:28 PM | Permalink & Email Post | Comments (0)
Idiots | Warmongers
May 05, 2019
Preposterous Times

From the last interview given by novelist Philip Roth, who died last year:

No one I know of has foreseen an America like the one we live in today. No one (except perhaps the acidic H.L. Mencken, who famously described American democracy as “the worship of jackals by jackasses”) could have imagined that the 21st-century catastrophe to befall the USA, the most debasing of disasters, would appear not, say, in the terrifying guise of an Orwellian Big Brother but in the ominously ridiculous commedia dell’arte figure of the boastful buffoon. How naïve I was in 1960 to think that I was an American living in preposterous times! How quaint! But then what could I know in 1960 of 1963 or 1968 or 1974 or 2001 or 2016?

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Posted by Jerome Doolittle at 3:12 PM | Permalink & Email Post | Comments (0)
Idiots | Rich White Trash
May 04, 2019
He Ought to Know

From Fat Donny’s fake autobiography, The Art of the Deal, available at all fine bookstores:

Instead, Conrad Hilton used his will to disenfranchise his children and grandchildren. At the time of his death, Conrad’s stock in Hilton was worth perhaps $500 million. But Conrad believed very strongly that inherited wealth destroys moral character and motivation. I happen to believe that it often does.
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Posted by Jerome Doolittle at 6:34 PM | Permalink & Email Post | Comments (2)
Idiots | Rich White Trash
May 01, 2019
Trump Sues Deutsche Bank : Why ?

Anthony Piel writes:

President Donald J. Trump filed a lawsuit in Federal Court in Manhattan this week, aimed at blocking Deutsche Bank from turning over Trump's personal and corporate business and tax records in response to a "friendly subpoena" by the US Congress. Here's the How, What, and Why.

Over two decades Trump has borrowed billions of dollars from. Deutsche Bank (DB) because he could no longer get it from American banks. How did DB get this kind of money ? When the Soviet Union collapsed back in 1991, a clique of "oligarchs," led by former KGB agent Vladimir Putin, took over all formerly State-owned assets (mineral reserves, manufacturing facilities) and sold them back and forth among themselves at ridiculous prices.

But then, to conceal all this from the "ordinary" Russian people, the "oligarchs" had to transfer billions abroad via secretive tax havens, disguised "investments," and, oh yes, DB. However, DB couldn't cook up enough legitimate business lending to match the excessive "oligarch's" deposits.

And then along came the Trump and Kushner families and organizations with the opposite problem: not enough cash to cover mounting debts and mortgage payments for their various towers, hotels, skyscrapers, failed casinos, failed university and other fiascos. A perfect match made in heaven (or hell).

For years the Trumps and Kushners engaged in (and are still doing it) a wide range of business fraud and tax evasion. For example: They dipped into a federal EB-5 program for rural development and stole millions of dollars for personal use and to defer mortgage payments in their urban developments — exactly what the law was NOT intended to do. For background on the hundreds of criminal scams, fraudulent tax-evasion schemes committed by the Kushners and Trumps, see Vicky Ward's "Kushner, Inc. — Greed, Ambition, Corruption," (St. Martin's Press, 2019).

Little wonder. Trump is absolutely, insanely opposed to disclosure of the truth.

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Posted by Jerome Doolittle at 5:05 PM | Permalink & Email Post | Comments (0)
Graft, Corruption and Malfeasance | Rich White Trash
April 27, 2019
The Pubic Hair Test, Revisited…

…since Joe Biden flunked it so spectacularly way back when, as chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. From the New York Times of October 11, 1991:

In a telephone interview Wednesday night, Mr. Biden made it clear that he viewed the problem before him as how to walk the fine line between guaranteeing that a person who sexually harassed a colleague did not acquire a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court and fairly treating both Mr. Thomas and Ms. Hill.

"I must start off with a presumption of giving the person accused the benefit of the doubt," he said. "I must seek the truth and I must ask straightforward and tough questions and in my heart I know if that woman is telling the truth it will be almost unfair to her. On the other hand, if I don't ask legitimate questions, then I am doing a great injustice to someone who might be totally innocent. It's a horrible dilemma because you have two lives at stake here."

…Mr. Biden told reporters today that if he had to conduct the hearings again, he would not change the decisions he made.

Really? Consider this then:
Nearly two decades after Anita Hill accused Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment during his fractious Supreme Court confirmation hearing, it remains unclear who was lying… Lillian McEwen, a retired administrative law judge who said she dated Clarence Thomas from 1979 through the mid-1980s, told The Washington Post: “The Clarence I know was certainly capable of not only doing the things that Anita Hill said he did, but it would be totally consistent with the way he lived his personal life then…”
And at least two other women waited in the wings to testify against Judge Thomas, but Biden never called them. Not that they would have been needed actually. Not in a fair trial.

Anybody with an ounce of common sense had to know that the liar in the room was not Anita Hill. And no senator could have believed Clarence Thomas for a minute. The judge, after all, had flat-out flunked the Pubic Hair Test, which was first described in the literature by me in January of 2001 and which I now repost as a public service:

Fans of political theater will recall that Professor Anita Hill had charged her former boss with a pattern of sexual harassment which included showing her a Coke can with a pubic hair sticking to it. Judge Thomas swore that he had never in his life done such an ungentlemanly thing.

How could we, the millions of spectators at this morality play, know what to think? Was it the future Supreme Court justice who was telling the truth, or was it the demure law professor? How could anybody possibly know? Could common sense help, maybe?

Was there anything in Professor Hill’s much-investigated background to suggest that she was a pathological liar? Even if she was, why would she had come up with such a peculiar lie? Did she suffer from hallucinations? Was she “creative?” Perhaps even an aspiring screen writer?

But even if she were, why would she have dreamed up such an unlikely scenario? Would the Coke can business be more destructive to her presumed harasser than any other lie she could just as easily have dreamed up?

No to the first question. Professor Hill seemed depressingly literal and humorless. It was hard to imagine her engaged in a flight of fancy. And no to the second. The tale of the pubic hair and the Coke can was so meaningless and bizarre that even the most simple-minded of senators would have realized that it was too weird not to be true. A competent liar would have stuck to such old standbys as indecent exposure, groping, and dirty pictures.

The Pubic Hair Test therefore indicated with zero probability of error that this particular woman could not and did not invent such a senseless, incomprehensible story. It had to be true.

God knows whose pubic hair that was, or what the future Supreme Court justice thought its presence on a Coke can signified, or what made him imagine that his weird performance might be seductive, but the incident plainly happened pretty much the way Professor Hill said it did.

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Posted by Jerome Doolittle at 7:03 PM | Permalink & Email Post | Comments (1)
Historical Perspectives | Presidential Hopefuls | Reveling in the Weird
April 25, 2019
Think You’re the Only Ones Stressed Out?

Well, TAKE THIS, Grease!!!!@realDonaldTrump

In the United States, about 55 percent of adults said they had experienced stress during “a lot of the day” prior, compared with just 35 percent globally. Statistically, that put the country on par with Greece, which had led the rankings on stress since 2012.

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Posted by Jerome Doolittle at 1:35 PM | Permalink & Email Post | Comments (3)
American Heroes | Idiots | Our Longest National Nightmare Ever | Psychology and Society | Rich White Trash
April 19, 2019
Dirty Old Peace Lover

Here are excerpts from a recent Sunday school lesson taught by Jimmy Carter, the only president in our lifetimes to have taken seriously the Fifth Commandment. Had he been willing to kill in order to free the American hostages in Iran Carter would have been a two-term president.

“The United States is the most warlike nation in the history of the world… Since 1979, do you know how many times China has been at war with anybody? None, and we have stayed at war… We have wasted, I think, $3 trillion on military spending. It’s more than you can imagine. China has not wasted a single penny on war, and that’s why they’re ahead of us. In almost every way…

“And I think the difference is if you take $3 trillion and put it in American infrastructure you’d probably have $2 trillion leftover. We’d have high-speed railroad. We’d have bridges that aren’t collapsing, we’d have roads that are maintained properly. Our education system would be as good as that of say South Korea or Hong Kong.”


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Posted by Jerome Doolittle at 2:01 PM | Permalink & Email Post | Comments (1)
American Heroes | Heroes and Friends | Our Long National Nightmare | Warmongers | Weakening America
April 18, 2019
Guess Who…

…said this at a dog and pony show in South Carolina for GOP presidential hopefuls:

There’s a strong tradition of being anti-war in the Republican party. It is the constitutional position. It is the advice of the Founders to follow a non-interventionist foreign policy, stay out of entangling alliances, be friends with countries, negotiate and talk with them and trade with them.

Q: Congressman, you don’t think that changed with the 9/11 attacks, sir?

No. Non-intervention was a major contributing factor. Have you ever read the reasons they attacked us? They attack us because we’ve been over there; we’ve been bombing Iraq for 10 years.

We don’t understand the irrationality of Middle Eastern politics. So right now we’re building an embassy in Iraq that’s bigger than the Vatican. We’re building 14 permanent bases. What would we say here if China was doing this in our country or in the Gulf of Mexico? We would be objecting. We need to look at what we do from the perspective of what would happen if somebody else did it to us. (Applause.)

Q: Are you suggesting we invited the 9/11 attack, sir?

I’m suggesting that we listen to the people who attacked us and the reason they did it, and they are delighted that we’re over there because Osama bin Laden has said, “I am glad you’re over on our sand because we can target you so much easier.” They have already now since that time killed 3,400 of our men, and I don’t think it was necessary.

I believe very sincerely that the CIA is correct when they teach and talk about blowback. When we went into Iran in 1953 and installed the shah, yes, there was blowback. A reaction to that was the taking of our hostages and that persists. And if we ignore that, we ignore that at our own risk. If we think that we can do what we want around the world and not incite hatred, then we have a problem.

They don’t come here to attack us because we’re rich and we’re free.They come and they attack us because we’re over there.

I mean, what would we think if other foreign countries were doing that to us?


This is the only time I can remember that any remotely serious presidential candidate, of either major party, has even posed the basic question that Osama bin Laden once suggested that we ask ourselves: Why didn’t his men attack Stockholm?

Asking it at last was Ron Paul, an obstetrician who at the time — 2007 — was an obscure Texas congressman from Tom DeLay’s old district.

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Posted by Jerome Doolittle at 6:24 PM | Permalink & Email Post | Comments (0)
Afghanistan | Glimmers of Sanity | Historical Perspectives | Iran | Iraq | Our Longest National Nightmare Ever | War on "Terror"
April 03, 2019
We Have Met the Enemy and…

…he is still us:

Lately I have been re-reading the history of my own times, and it turns out to be a discouraging exercise. Even a frightening one.The excerpt below is from a 1968 essay by the great I.F. Stone in the New York Review. Substitute the “War” on Terror, switch the names of the politicians as appropriate and the piece could run almost unchanged today. We’ve come a long way, baby — only in a circle. Stone had the 2016 election figured out a half century ago:
The average man approaches the problem of war with simple reactions of anxiety and threatened virility thousands of years old. There is a strong movement for peace, but there is also a strong contingent of cavemen among us, and it is hard to see which is the majority; the same people often belong to both categories. Reagan and Wallace speak for large constituencies, too. In Vietnam as in Korea the Democrats have kept the wars limited while Reagan, like MacArthur before him, speaks for a Republican right wing which thinks the whole business can be ended in no more time than it takes to go from the 17th to the 18th hole by dropping a bomb on Peking and another on Moscow.

The two urgent issues are the Vietnamese war and the black revolt. Both require solutions for which we are poorly conditioned. One is to give way in Vietnam to a communist, though also nationalist, tide. The other is to deal with the aspiration of the blacks, the other poor, which can only be met by fundamental changes, a real redistribution of income from haves to have-nots, and an intervention of the state deeper and more far-reaching than anything America has ever known before. The only party less prepared for this than the Democrats, though not much less so, is the Republican Party.

The issues, however, are beyond that unspoken ideological consensus within which the two-party system operates. The Democratic Party, unlike the Republican, has some legitimate claim to being the party of “the people.” But the people for whom it speaks turn out on closer examination to be middle-class owners of property, white-collar workers, or the organized working class.

The urban and rural poor, and all but the thin upper strata of the blacks and our other “colored” minorities, are not really a part of its constituency. They are outside “the people” in whose name it claims to speak. Unfortunately for revolutionary theorists, the more fortunate, those with something to lose, are the overwhelming majority. The poor, white and black, are but a lower fifth of the population. Should the Democratic Party move too far in the direction of taking them in, and serving their interests, it is likely to lose much of its white skilled worker followers to the Republican party. It is this which makes the Democratic Party look so unsatisfactory to the black radicals and the new left, purveyor of half measures rather than fundamental change. But in this the party faithfully reflects a majority constituency, and in this sense it is truly representative.

The new radicals generally are unwilling to face up to this reality. They prefer to believe that there is something wrong with the party, or with something called “the system,” or that society is sick, rather than admit that what they are revolting against is the majority itself. To admit that would be too difficult and too untactful a break with the dominant ideology of democracy. Black nationalist separatism is fantasy based on despair but in one respect is more realistic than the New Left, for in proposing separation it recognizes that what it is combating is the white majority and not some clique, conspiracy, or perverse ruling elite which has somehow led “the people” astray.

In a democratic society it is always assumed that the people are good, as in theology it is always assumed that God is good. Evil is an accident, or the work of the devil. When large numbers of ordinary men commit some outrage against humanity, it is tacitly assumed that somehow they are not part of “the people." That myth, the Common Man, is the theoretical sovereign of democratic society, and when he turns up in a racist mob or a typical veterans organization, ideology literally turns off our vision. Democratic political stereotypes remain stalwartly non- and pre-Freudian because you can't win elections by telling voters that they themselves are at fault. It is easier to let them off the hook by blaming some abstraction. Adam’s sins are still attributed to some serpent which crept into the garden.

It is the nature of the white majority, and of man, that brings the two-party system to the verge of breakdown when faced with the need to swallow a military defeat and to tax the whites for the benefit of blacks. The danger is that the white majority may choose instead to follow a simplistic demagogy which advocates as the way out a get-tough policy at home and abroad. Against that darkening a backdrop, McCarthy is a wan hope.

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Posted by Jerome Doolittle at 2:19 PM | Permalink & Email Post | Comments (2)
America is Doomed | Fascism in America | Historical Perspectives | Idiots | Psychology and Society
March 29, 2019
Big Frog-Neck Donald Trump

From Vox.com:

“Little Pencil-Neck Adam Schiff,” Trump said, prompting boos from the crowd. “He has the smallest, thinnest neck I have ever seen. He is not a long-ball hitter. But I saw him today — ‘well, we don’t really know, there could still have been some Russia collusion.’ Sick. Sick. These are sick people.”


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Posted by Jerome Doolittle at 6:10 PM | Permalink & Email Post | Comments (0)
Idiots | Rich White Trash
March 24, 2019
Hoover for President

From Beard’s Basic History of the United States, on the election of the Republican Herbert Hoover in 1928:

Gross inequalities in the distribution of wealth, long the subject of populist, progressive, and socialistic criticism, Hoover had frankly faced, to the alarm of conservatives, and he proposed to attack them by the use of the inheritance tax. The inheritance tax, he declared in 1919, “does redistribute overswollen fortunes. It does make for equality of opportunity by freeing from the dead hand control of our tools of production. It reduces extravagance in the next generation and sends them to productive service.” To Republicans who had assailed the income tax of 1894 as communistic that must have sounded like treason to the Grand Old Party; and to scholastic economists, a foolish flouting of “natural law.”
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Posted by Jerome Doolittle at 5:32 PM | Permalink & Email Post | Comments (0)
Economics and Society | Glimmers of Sanity | Historical Perspectives | Past Progressive | Rich White Trash
March 22, 2019
It’s the White House That Got Small…

…Trump plagiarized after his crushing 2020 defeat.

William Holden in Sunset Boulevard:

“You're Norma Desmond. You used to be in silent pictures. You used to be big.”

Gloria Swanson:

“I am big! It's the pictures that got small."


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Posted by Jerome Doolittle at 7:50 PM | Permalink & Email Post | Comments (0)
Hope for the Future | Idiots | Rich White Trash
March 21, 2019
No Comment

Gov. Matt Bevin (R-KY) told WKCT radio on Tuesday that he opposes mandating vaccines to send children to school — and as evidence that there are alternatives, explained that he had deliberately infected his children with chickenpox.

Bevin, who has nine kids including four who were adopted, explained that after contracting the virus, they were “miserable for a few days” but “they all turned out fine.”

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Posted by Jerome Doolittle at 11:51 AM | Permalink & Email Post | Comments (2)
Idiots | Public Health and Welfare | Regulation for the Benefit of Public Health, Safety and Welfare | Republicans | Reveling in the Weird
March 17, 2019
Crime Waivers

Found in my files, but timeless:

August 8, 1997, Washington Post story on medicare fraud... Billions are taken, all by prosperous and (to take a wild guess) Republican folks. Dwarfing not only all welfare fraud but, perhaps, all welfare. Turns out it was childishly easy to defraud Medicare. No doubt investigation would show that the Republicans and Republicrats were behind efforts to cut enforcement in this area, as in so many others.

Conservatives are hell on wheels for law enforcement in those areas where the laws are broken by the poor, such as dope and street crime. But they consistently oppose hiring more cops when the request comes from HHS, IRS, EPA, NLRB, SEC, and so forth. Which is to say in those much more lucrative areas of crimes which are largely committed by Republicrats themselves. In those cases it becomes not law enforcement but government interference.

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Posted by Jerome Doolittle at 3:01 PM | Permalink & Email Post | Comments (0)
Graft, Corruption and Malfeasance | Regulation for the Benefit of Public Health, Safety and Welfare | Republicans