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      From Saez, Chetty, et al So, unless you think that genetic potential is that unequally distributed (and can explain eras where this chart did not apply, as in the post-WWII decades), you can pretty much forget “meritocracy.” Meritocracy is just a way of saying “we test for the things the middle and upper class has […]
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Manspreaders

Did you see the showdown in the White House?? The only thing more annoying than Donald’s infantile tantrum over the wall was Chuck interrupting Nancy just when she was on a roll.

(I imagine she pulled him aside and told him the next time he interrupted her, she wouldn’t take him to anymore meetings. “What did you learn, Chuck? Can you be quiet next time or will I have to leave you in the car with the driver? This is your choice.”)

What she actually did afterwards in “private” (with attribution) is administer some low blows to Donald. She referenced the Steele Dossier:

“It goes to show you: You get into a tinkle contest with a skunk, you get tinkle all over you.”

And she ruined his “cheeseburger night in bed listening to Fox”:

Pelosi, D-Calif., spoke of Trump’s insistence that a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border will be funded and said, “It’s like a manhood thing for him. As if manhood could ever be associated with him. This wall thing.”

Ooooo, that’s gonna leave marks.

Trump’s response is predictable. Whenever he is challenged by a woman, he conjures up disgust in his base by referencing their bodily fluids or their looks. I’m guessing he’s going to insinuate that Nancy is incontinent or unfuckable.

But you know, for self-actualized women like Pelosi, that kind of stuff doesn’t phase them. She gets off on totally different things these days. Like making the president look like a big, squishy, red faced toddler who manspreads what he has to pay women to touch. She made him lose it on national TV yesterday. That’s worth a couple of orgasms right there.

Probably made Chuck walk back to the Capital so she could have the backseat all to herself.

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Walk to work music:

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How do you solve a problem like Butina?

Maria Butina has decided to “fully cooperate” with the prosecutors who are investigating her actions as a foreign agent and her ties to the NRA.

I’m going to take a guess here that Trump’s was not the only Republican campaign that accepted rich and creamy dark money donations from the NRA.

The Parkland students found that out earlier this year. We’re talking about you, Marco Rubio.

Let’s try to get into the heads of all those Republican Senators who knew the source of all that gun money and did (and are doing) everything the Kremlin wants right now. How do they feel about what Maria Butina is going to say?

We can also dispense with the notion that the Russians were just interested in causing trouble and weren’t willing to do anything to win the 2016 election. Let’s dispose of that fantasy right now. You don’t go to all this trouble with the Facebook stuff and the hacking and the wheelbarrows full of cash to everyone running as a Republican if you aren’t interested in winning.

Vlad had a moment on Wednesday, November 9, 2016. It went something like this:

I suspect he’s also read a lot of Sun Tzu.

“The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.”

How does that feel to you, oh fellow American?

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WTAF, Jim??

James Comey gave an interview about his recent congressional testimony to Nicolle Wallace.

Every time I think Comey gets it, the neverending Hillary email issue and his own personal role in helping to elect the least scrupulous, dumbest, squishy orange peanut as president, he goes back to saying stupid shit. Take this for example:

“I understand the Democrats have important debates now over who their candidate should be,” Comey told MSNBC’s Nicolle Wallace, “but they have to win. They have to win.”

Over the course of more than an hour, Comey repeatedly derided Trump’s character, again likening the atmosphere around the President to what he saw in prosecuting mafia figures and suggested that Trump’s tweets could eventually amount to witness tampering. Asked if Trump might be an unindicted co-conspirator in some of the crimes recently described by special counsel Robert Mueller, Comey said he didn’t know, “but if he’s not there, he’s certainly close.”

Still, Comey said he hoped that Trump would be swept out of office without being impeached. Framing the rise of Trumpism as a political ill the country needed to exorcise at the ballot, he expressed a hope that Americans would “in a landslide rid ourselves of this attack on our values.” 

Removal by impeachment would muddy that,” he said, and potentially leave a third of the country feeling like their chosen leader had been removed in a “coup.”

No, Jim, having an organized crime boss “elected” with the generous assistance of the Russians, THAT was a coup.

First, Cohen’s commission of two campaign finance crimes on the eve of the 2016 election for President of the United States struck a blow to one of the core goals of the federal campaign finance laws: transparency. While many Americans who desired a particular outcome to the election knocked on doors, toiled at phone banks, or found any number of other legal ways to make their voices heard, Cohen sought to influence the election from the shadows. He did so by orchestrating secret and illegal payments to silence two women who otherwise would have made public their alleged extramarital affairs with Individual-1. In the process, Cohen deceived the voting public by hiding alleged facts that he believed would have had a substantial effect on the election.”

And those payments were likely just the tip of the iceberg, judging by the sealed documents and highly redacted memos. Just think of all the people who tried with all their might (including yours truly) who campaigned very hard in 2016 only to see Clinton’s lead diminish towards the election and then vanish altogether after your letter came out.
I think even you will have to agree by this time that Hillary Clinton would have made a *slightly* better President than Trump. You probably shouldn’t be telling Democrats what they have to do in 2020. We did it in 2016.
We have spent far, far too much time worrying about the feelings of people who voted for the losing candidate. Yes, Jim, Trump LOST by 3,000,000 votes. You could say that the Electoral College decides everything, in which case it failed spectacularly in its duty when it met to confirm him. But I am not particularly worried about the vast expanse of enraged rural voters from Ohio to Idaho. Seriously, Jim, they’ve exceeded their 15 minutes of fame. Their movement might have weakened on its own if Trump had lost, you even suggest as much going into 2020. We don’t need to hear about what they’re thinking over their pancakes and coffee at the local diner. We’ve heard it and find it shallow, short sighted and unconvincing.
What about the movement of the majority? We haven’t heard much from the rest of us who woke up on November 9, 2016, feeling terrified and despondent about our futures under Trump, McConnell and Ryan.
That was when the actual coup happened.
But in any case, we’re not talking about that. We are talking about holding Trump and his campaign responsible for their actions. And the only way we’re going to know what those actions were is if we investigate and see just how bad it was. If impeachment is warranted, can we really afford to wait until 2020 to vote him out? Let’s face it, Trump is unstable, incompetent and reckless, on top of his criminality. The Russians are sending troops to Crimea and the trade wars are making the markets unstable. This whole administration was a mistake that keeps unspooling all of our worst fears about Trump.
The coup ship has already sailed and there are far more of us who are livid about it than the dainty 1/3. That’s what all those women’s marches were about, Jim. Women. Remember them? The blue wave swept a bunch into office a few weeks ago? I’m beginning to think you have a real blind spot when it comes to the competence of women.
You can be sure we’re going to vote every one of the rogue Republicans out of office. But if we find out that guy at the top engaged in a conspiracy to nullify all the effort we put into canvassing and phone calling and envelope stuffing, we’re going to want his head.
I suggest you just stand aside and let us get on with it.

Cookies, Snoopy, holiday stuff

Trumpcast ran a letter from a Mueller junky this morning that is hilarious. I’m going to try to sneak Maddow into my earbuds while I’m making cookies and doing that whole Christmas thing.

I just can’t quit you, Bob Mueller.

In the meantime, here’s what we’re listening to on the way to the store for butter, sprinkles and chocolate.

Mueller Friday on My Mind

There’s been a lot of hype leading up to this day. I hope it doesn’t disappoint. Mueller, Manafort and Cohen are expected in court today. Tonight, the Mueller junkies in the media and on twitter will be trying to see behind the big black horizontal redactions to figure out what’s going on. It’s like one of those cryptogram puzzles on the funny pages of the newspaper where you had to figure out what the sentence was from a few… huh?… what’s a funny page? Ok, never mind.

Let’s just read the expressions on everyone’s faces in the court room. Or have the artist sketch them. I guess we should feel grateful that there are no cameras in these proceedings. Too many selfies.

The bottom line is that shit’s about to get real.

To be honest, it’s been real for a long time now. It started getting real when Newt Gingrich enraged his base back in the 90s when the Republicans lost to Bill Clinton, who only won the plurality of votes instead of a majority (Thanks, Ross Perot!) Since then, it’s been hit after hit. The election debacle in 2000. The fact that George Bush was RE-ELECTED after 9/11 and that stupid Iraq War. The finance industry walking away with their bonuses after the Great Recession of 2008, the ubiquitous Gerrymandering post 2010 when the Obama DNC decided that nothing BUT Obama counted for anything and took its eye off the ball. The “election” of Trump in 2016. And now the GOP not recognizing simple things, like the voters don’t like it anymore and want to replace it. Republicans aren’t shoring up defenses. They didn’t win so they’re seizing power in any way possible.

Somewhere on Twitter yesterday I read that the GOP has become the main actor in our political theater. Everyone else is a supporting player. Republicans are the only ones with any agency, as written by the likes of the editors of The New York Times. The rest of us just react. It’s like reading The Lord of the Rings from Sauron and Mordor’s POV. How do the Orcs feel about what happened at the Battle of Pelanor Fields? Did they join the forces of Minas Morgul over economic issues?

Anyway, that’s the way it looks right now. But I don’t think Republicans should get too hygge about the fight they think they are winning. There’s a lot of pushback from the rest of us. The blue wave midterm is evidence of that. Sure the odds of reasserting our power are not in our favor. But we are beginning to see what we’re up against. It’s a ruthless, unprincipled party that is soaked in luscious donor campaign funds, doing whatever it thinks it can get away with in order to maintain power and separate the rest of us from the security and choice we thought we had all our lives.

The root cause is that Republicans did get away with it. We were told to be civil by an entrenched cohort of well heeled, embedded political pundits, to be gracious winners who lost, to let the baby have its way. And look where it got us to be nice. Wisconsin and Michigan voters are seeing their will overturned. North Carolina seemingly shreds absentee ballots, or has Republicans helpfully fill them out for the naive voters. And this is apparently O. K. because the justice system is willing to look the other way.

So now our fate is in the hands of a former FBI Director and a deputy AG who are fighting off Trump appointed zombies. The overall image of what is going on is coming into focus. There has been a coordinated effort to take over the country by power hungry guys from the south with the help of syndicates of the super rich and mafiosi posing as foreign governments.

The good guys are fighting valiantly. But maybe it’s time they stopped playing fair and just unredacted the court filings. Let us see the whole ugly thing so we are properly scared shitless.

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And now for a little history lesson about our first Day of Infamy when we were attacked by a foreign power:

You learn something new everyday…

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Walk to Work Music. RD’s personal theme tune:

Two Brown Guys sitting around talking in a rain storm in LA

Do not miss this special episode of Stay Tuned with Preet Bharara interviewing Kumail Nanjiani from the show Silicon Valley. I loved it. So funny and smart. They talk about immigrating from South Asia, what an auntie tells you about dating, Kumail’s philosophy of racism (it’s not his problem, it’s the racist’s), and many other subjects. Best podcast to listen to on a cold, dark December day.

Preet also gives a prediction about the impeachment of Donald Trump towards the end. I won’t spoil it for you. Just go listen.

Stay Tuned with Preet.

He starts with questions from listeners. Don’t fast forward. It’s all interesting.

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Walk to work music at dawn in a cold city. Think of warm places…

So true…