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    • Why I’m Not Worked Up About “Fake News” And Why I Am
      So, there’s a lot of BS about fake news. Trump claims that most stories about him are lies (most of it isn’t, some of it is), the media claims that Russians are spreading fake news (yes, like everyone else) and so on. And, I mean, this is bad. But I find it hard to get […]
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Morning walk

Hi my best beloveds, busy, busy, busy. Will be back around lunch.

Walk to work in a trance music:

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What’s it all about, Bobby?

Back in March 2018, Franklin Foer wrote a piece for the Atlantic called The Plot Against America. You might have skipped right over it, confusing it with a thriller co-written by an ex-president and a famous novelist. But you would be wrong.

Foer’s piece is all about Paul Manafort, how he made his millions, how he lost his millions, his ties to government insiders in former soviet states, and how he eliminated ice from the menu at his daughter’s rehearsal dinner. Oh, and that stuff about how he coerced his wife into group sex? Yeah, there are hints and allegations that it might be true.

And then there’s this:

His work, the source of the status he cherished, had taken a devastating turn. For nearly a decade, he had counted primarily on a single client, albeit an exceedingly lucrative one. He’d been the chief political strategist to the man who became the president of Ukraine, Viktor Yanukovych, with whom he’d developed a highly personal relationship. Manafort would swim naked with his boss outside his banya, play tennis with him at his palace (“Of course, I let him win,” Manafort made it known), and generally serve as an arbiter of power in a vast country. One of his deputies, Rick Gates, once boasted to a group of Washington lobbyists, “You have to understand, we’ve been working in Ukraine a long time, and Paul has a whole separate shadow government structure … In every ministry, he has a guy.” Only a small handful of Americans—oil executives, Cold War spymasters—could claim to have ever amassed such influence in a foreign regime. The power had helped fill Manafort’s bank accounts; according to his recent indictment, he had tens of millions of dollars stashed in havens like Cyprus and the Grenadines.

Anyway, as I was reading it, I was reminded of Robert Mueller’s “speaking indictments” from earlier in the year. There was one about the Russian trolls. There was one about the ties of some agents of the GRU to the 2016 shenanigans. They were supposed to inform the public that there’s a story here, a narrative, that he is beginning to tell like Homer reciting in front of the fire about the muse singing about the man of twists and turns on a wine dark sea.

We may all be scratching our heads about what Manafort’s current trial regarding fraudulent bank loans have to do with the Trump campaign in 2016 and we may not find out exactly what the tie in is by the end of it. But I think Mueller might be using this case as another chapter in the story, a different kind of speaking indictment. There are connections here that run all over the place from Manafort. It’s vast and sleazy and I doubt that there will be a Penelope at the end of this tale but the destruction of the suitors is going to be riveting.

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Walk to work music. How do you call your loverboy?

Showdown

I’m think today will be a very bad day for Devin Nunes, Donald Trump and Republicans in general.

Stay Tuned with Preet features Steve Schmidt, John McCain’s campaign advisor. Schmidt tells us why he left the Republican Party. He’s right on almost everything. I’ll let you guess where he was wrong. Great interview. Highly recommended, especially for Republicans who are waking up to wonder how the hell they got here and how they get back their souls.

And now a word from our sponsor, Plato:

And this we may truly affirm to be a great proof that a man is just, not willingly or because he thinks that justice is any good to him individually, but of necessity, for wherever any one thinks that he can safely be unjust, there he is unjust. For all men believe in their hearts that injustice is far more profitable to the individual than justice, and he who argues as I have been supposing, will say that they are right. If you could imagine any one obtaining this power of becoming invisible, and never doing any wrong or touching what was another’s, he would be thought by the lookers-on to be a most wretched idiot, although they would praise him to one another’s faces, and keep up appearances with one another from a fear that they too might suffer injustice. Enough of this. Now, if we are to form a real judgment of the life of the just and un- just, we must isolate them; there is no other way; and how is the isolation to be effected?

I answer: Let the unjust man be entirely unjust, and the just man entirely just; nothing is to be taken away from either of them, and both are to be perfectly furnished for the work of their respective lives. First, let the unjust be like other distinguished masters of craft; like the skilful pilot or physician, who knows intuitively his own powers and keeps within their limits, and who, if he fails at any point, is able to recover himself. So let the unjust make his unjust attempts in the right way, and lie hidden if he means to be great in his injustice (he who is found out is nobody): for the highest reach of injustice is: to be deemed just when you are not. Therefore I say that in the perfectly unjust man we must assume the most perfect injustice; there is to be no deduction, but we must allow him, while doing the most

unjust acts, to have acquired the greatest reputation for justice. If he have taken a false step he must be able to recover himself; he must be one who can speak with effect, if any of his deeds come to light, and who can force his way where force is required his courage and strength, and command of money and friends.

And at his side let us place the just man in his nobleness and simplicity, wishing, as Aeschylus says, to be and not to seem good. There must be no seeming, for if he seem to be just he will be honoured and rewarded, and then we shall not know whether he is just for the sake of justice or for the sake of honours and rewards; therefore, let him be clothed in justice only, and have no other covering; and he must be imagined in a state of life the opposite of the former. Let him be the best of men, and let him be thought the worst; then he will have been put to the proof; and we shall see whether he will be affected by the fear of infamy and its consequences. And let him continue thus to the hour of death; being just and seeming to be unjust.

When both have reached the uttermost extreme, the one of justice and the other of injustice, let judgment be given which of them is the happier of the two.

Or, as Jennifer Palmieri, Clinton’s campaign advisor said to Kellyanne Conway:

“If providing a platform for white supremacists makes me a brilliant tactician, I am more proud to have lost.I would rather lose than win the way you guys did.”

All in all, we are the happier people.

********************************************

Walk to work music:

Baba O’Reilly in bluegrass:

or the original:

Walk to the bus music

Be back in a bit. Vamp.

Chris Collins should resign.

I have to make this short.

I’m not saying he should resign because he’s Republican. I’m saying that because his insider trading selfishness hurt people.

Short summary: biotech startups are created by scientists. Startup costs, capital investments in equipment etc are very expensive for pharmaceutical R&D. There aren’t as many positions available in pharma R&D since the patent cliff caused Pharmageddon in the last 10 years. That means companies have to scale down their portfolios and put most of their money and staff on one drug. One bad clinical failure or FDA ruling and all that hard work and money is gone. I don’t particularly like this business model but that’s the way out new breed of financiers want it. Scientists take a lot of risks and then they have to deal with vulture capitalists. You know what is a good model for a pharmaceutical company? A midsize private corporate lab. Sorry lefties, but that’s the way things work. But I digress.

If you’re lucky to find one, you’re likely to receive some of your compensation in stock.

A lot of your compensation is in stock. It’s not necessarily to incentivize you.

And you can’t make vulture capitalists stay. It doesn’t matter that they don’t understand that research takes a long time and fails repeatedly before something hits. They do not understand deferred gratification.

So when some asshole congressman reacts to a bad clinical trial by engaging in some insider trading and makes the stock drop by 92%, that hurts. That hurts everyone. It hurts the company, scientists and patients.

There ought to be a law or a better way to finance research. But there ain’t. We do have prosecution for insider trading.

I’ll take it.

And Collins can quit. Now.

Walk to Work Music

Good Morning, oh best beloveds. It’s a warm, sticky cloudy day in the burgh. Lots to do today. But I’ll be listening to the Manafort trial if I can. I think we’re getting hints of why Donald Trump doesn’t want to release his tax returns.

Get the popcorn. With extra butter.

Father John Misty:

Reputations and Water Towers.

Whew! I needed a break, guys. The news is too much these days. I don’t even know where to start.

The Trump Experience is starting to resemble one of those novels where the climax involves a parent sacrificing the child for his or her own benefit or material gain. Oh, that book hasn’t been written yet? Are you sure? Was there anything in The Godfather or Sopranos that was like that? I read The Godfather decades ago and can’t remember much about it. Is Don Jr like Fredo or is he only half as smart? A semifreddo, if you will.

So, Trump is shocked to learn that Don Jr lied to him when he needed that letter to the FBI. He was colluding after all. This must come as a great disappointment to Trump. He raised him better than that. What am I saying?? No he didn’t. Trump looks like the worst parent on earth.

Anyway, Trump is freaking out now. I think he’s more afraid of Rick Gates’ testimony than anything else. Rick knows a lot. He was with the campaign right through the transition. I have no idea what it is that he knows but I won’t be surprised if there are a few testimonial bombs left to drop.

The Trumpers are the only ones left who can’t figure this out. The rest of us have watched this drip, drip, drip of information coming out. It’s a freaking lake now. There’s so much corruption. And it’s not like Trump has had anything to do with the economy. He hasn’t helped wages go up and the prices of everyday goods manufactured with tariff heavy materials are going to start having a real effect on people’s wallets pretty soon. There may be a lull for a few more months. But it’s going to bite eventually. There’s no question about that, especially with interest rates going up and the national debt ballooning since the big tax giveaway of 2018.

And the only way to hold Trump accountable is for a Republican Congress to take this seriously. Which they ain’t. So, assuming that the individual states can actually run legit elections this year, there’s a good chance Republicans are going to get creamed. Expect them to try to save their own skins after Labor Day.

Say what you want about Hillary but her level of corruption doesn’t come anywhere near this. I don’t really have much more to add than that. I’m riveted in the same way I was during the hot summer of Watergate. Something big is coming.

On another topic, I get why Brian Stetler and Jim Acosta and Maggie Haberman are upset to be tagged with “Enemy of the People”. The free press is not supposed to be our enemy. We need to protect it. It would be horrific if we started knocking off Journalists like the do in Russia and Turkey just because we don’t like what they say.

That being said, I am sick to death of carrying a paint bucket to the top of the water tower to defend the media’s honor. Forget for a moment that they still haven’t apologized for what they did to Hillary. They also gave us the Iraq War, told Al Gore to stop fighting for his duly elected presidential office and shoved Barack Obama down our throat in 2008. But it goes farther than that. I can’t remember any paper of record reporting on the collapse of the research industry on the Northeast corridor. No, instead, it parroted the line that what the country really needs is more STEM professionals at a time when PhDs in medicinal chemistry were taking jobs as adjunct professors and contracts with no benefits. It’s a big huge story but the media couldn’t be bothered. It ran stories about the unemployed complete with pictures that made us look past our sell-by date, brassy blonde hair, nodding off over our keyboards in the biggest pair of sweatpants we own. Those kinds of images stick with employers. The NY Times was especially vicious with this type of article.

So, yeah, the media hasn’t always been good or innocent. There are particularly egregious offenders, like Fox News, but for a few notable exceptions, their “talent” can’t be taken seriously. The rest of them did get taken seriously and the media let us down badly as it whored for ratings in 2016. It knows what it did and it’s been defensive ever since. But it’s culpable in helping rob the majority of us who did not vote for Trump of what could have been a responsible, forward thinking president who wasn’t going to make the rest of the world pissed at us or deprive even one child of his or her parents.

We’ll defend you but thanks for nothing. The least you can do is act contrite. I know, it’s too much to ask.

Thank god for the blogosphere.

****************************

It’s late summer. Listen to the cicadas, drink your wine on the back patio, hike your skirts and dance in the grass. The summer storm is coming: