33 thoughts on “Who’s Making Sense?”

  1. jace, thank you for finding that.  fly-over country could also be called flies on country like the desiccating dead dog  with hovering muscidae.  for those who’re unable to get to it, here’s an excerpt from that commondreams  link:  Rural America Is Reeling. What’s the Remedy?


    What I learned on this epic journey is that all rural communities are reeling. It doesn’t matter if they are surrounded by water or cornfields. Financial uncertainty, disappearance of their social systems, lack of access to basic services, isolation, and emigration – especially the younger generation – are among their top concerns.


    We can’t talk about the state of rural communities without recognizing the underpinnings of their struggle. Our visits last year taught us that their real struggles are rooted in:

    • Corporate consolidation and concentration of power and wealth, leading to diminished or lost access to essential inputs such as clean water, affordable land or fishing rights, infrastructure, markets, capital, and assistance from federal agencies.
    • Economic disempowerment, stemming from a lack of fair prices to farmers, ranchers, and fishermen, and their inability to cover costs of production — much less make a profit and put aside savings.
    • A feeling of disenfranchisement and isolation. Many of our hosts were surprised that we chose to visit them. The sentiment we heard many times was, “Nobody comes here.”  

    While the U.S. government has prioritized the bailout of Wall Street with public monies, it has marginalized distressed rural communities and failed to provide the necessary funds, expertise and assistance to help revitalize them.

    During Wednesday’s hearing, USDA Secretary Perdue and Members of Congress patted themselves on the back for quickly passing the 2018 Farm Bill, emphasizing that the legislation will deliver farmers from this period of economic distress. The lawmakers’ message to farmers was, “Hold on six more months while we begin to get the Farm Bill implemented.”

    But many family farmers, particularly small and mid-size grain and dairy farmers entering their fourth or fifth year of chronically low prices, do not have reserves to hold on for even another month, much less six. USDA’s own economists are projecting low prices continuing into the coming years. With rising farm interest rates and dwindling income from their farms, the 2018 Farm Bill and the federal government’s status quo approach is not working for family farmers.

  2. shades of nixon’s enemy list.

    NY Times:  U.S. Tracked Activists and Journalists as Migrant Caravans Headed to the Border

    LOS ANGELES — In an attempt to determine who was behind the caravans that were bringing large numbers of migrants from Central America to the southwest border, the Trump administration created a list of activists and journalists whom they subjected to additional scrutiny when they entered the United States last year.

    Federal immigration authorities faced criticism on Thursday after an internal government document, obtained by NBC 7 San Diego, suggested that immigration activists and journalists were specifically singled out for extra screening at border entry points by the United States and Mexican governments.


    In Washington, lawmakers on the House Homeland Security Committee sent a letter on Thursday to Customs and Border Protection criticizing the list and said it raised serious legal and constitutional questions.

    Esha Bhandari, a lawyer with the American Civil Liberties Union, said that targeting reporters or advocates for secondary screening and extended detention on the basis of their work was a violation of their rights. Ms. Bhandari said the A.C.L.U. was monitoring developments in the cases and exploring all legal options.

    “The implications of this are really disturbing,” she said. “It is unconstitutional for the government to target people for punishment or retaliation solely based on their first amendment protected activity.”


  3. have to laugh to keep from crying department

    watch wapo’s Late-night hosts weigh in on Paul Manafort sentence 

    Paul Manafort, who once served as President Trump’s campaign chairman, was sentenced March 7 to 47 months in prison for bank and tax fraud convictions — a far lesser sentence than the roughly 20 years he had faced under federal sentencing guidelines. Late-night hosts had a lot to say.


  4. guardian: Trump inauguration took money from shell companies tied to foreigners

    Donald Trump’s inauguration received tens of thousands of dollars from shell companies that masked the involvement of a foreign contributor or others with foreign ties.


    The Guardian has identified the creators of three obscure firms that contributed money to Trump’s inaugural committee, which collected a record $107m as he entered the White House in 2017.


    The three companies each gave $25,000 to Trump’s inaugural fund. At least one of the contributions was made for a foreign national who appears ineligible to make political donations in the US.

    A spokesman for Thomas Barrack, the chairman of Trump’s inauguration committee, declined to comment. The contributors denied wrongdoing.


    Federal prosecutors in New York and the attorney generals of New Jersey and Washington DC have in recent weeks issued subpoenas to the committee, demanding records and information on its contributors and spending.


    US election law prohibits non-resident foreigners from contributing to political campaigns, including inaugurations. Donors or campaigns who “knowingly and willfully” breach this rule may be fined or prosecuted.


    One of the $25,000 donations to Trump’s inauguration was made through a Delaware shell company for a wealthy Indian financier based in London, who appears to not hold US citizenship or residency.


    Another was made by a company formed in Georgia by a lobbyist with connections to the Taiwanese government. His wife said the firm was funded by Chinese investors. One of their daughters was later given an internship in Trump’s White House, which they said was unrelated to the donation.

    A third $25,000 contribution was made through a company formed anonymously in New York by an Israeli real estate developer who has helped other foreign developers with legal issues in the US. The Israeli developer said he held US residency, commonly known as a “green card”, which permitted him to contribute legally.


    Ann Ravel, a former commissioner at the federal election commission (FEC), said the use of anonymous companies was the biggest problem for authorities trying to ensure transparency and legality in political donations.


    >“We need stronger regulation,” said Ravel. “But our campaign finance system is structured to not let us find out who is behind these contributions.”


    Authorities including Robert Mueller, the special counsel investigating Russian interference in the 2016 US election, are looking into issues around foreign money in American politics and possible attempts to buy influence with Trump’s administration.


    A Washington-based lobbyist, Sam Patten, admitted last year that he illegally funnelled $50,000 to Trump’s inauguration from a Ukrainian oligarch. Patten, a former colleague of the convicted ex-Trump aide Paul Manafort, pleaded guilty to lying to Congress and failing to register as a foreign agent.

    [long article continues naming many more]

  5. Jace… excellent article!  Of course the obvious question is why do these people always vote against their own economic interests.  Sorry to read that Sherrod Brown is not running for prez…. but glad he’ll be staying in the Senate.  Manafort will get his due… even with a light prison sentence, he’ll have to keep looking over his shoulder and hope that the person behind him doesn’t speak with a Russian accent.

  6. Who Were the 23 Republicans Who Voted Against Resolution Condemning Anti-semitism and Anti-Muslim Hatred?

    Full List of 23 Republicans Who Voted Against Hatred Resolution

    Andy Biggs of Arizona

    Mo Brooks of Alabama

    Ken Buck of Colorado

    Ted Budd of North Carolina

    Michael C. Burgess of Texas

    Liz Cheney of Wyoming

    Chris Collins of New York

    Mike Conaway of Texas

    Rick Crawford of Arizona

    Jeff Duncan of South Carolina

    Louie Gohmert of Texas

    Paul Gosar of Arizona

    Tom Graves of Georgia

    Pete King of New York

    Doug LaMalfa of California

    Thomas Massie of Kentucky

    Steven Palazzo of Mississippi

    Mike Rogers of Alabama

    Chip Roy of Texas

    Greg Steube of Florida

    Mark Walker of North Carolina

    Ted Yoho of Florida

  7. I think Gene Robinson put it best this morning.

    Trump thinks his supporters are the most gullible people on earth. Are they really?
    I’ve got the perfect slogan for President Trump’s reelection campaign: “Promises Made, Promises Not Kept, But I’m Betting My Voters Are Too Stupid to Notice.”
    Let’s take stock:
    Trump promised to build a wall along the 2,000-mile southern border, with the cost of the “big, beautiful” barrier to be borne by Mexico. Trump made this pledge dozens of times in a call-and-response ritual at his campaign rallies. “Who’s going to pay for the wall?” he would demand, and the cheering crowds would yell the answer: “Mexico!”
    Result: Not a single mile of Trump’s wall has been built…
    Trump promised to reverse trade policies that he said allowed the rest of the world to play Americans for suckers. He pointed to the U.S. balance-of-trade deficit as a yardstick measuring the “stupidity” of prior administrations that permitted trading partners such as China, Mexico, Germany and even Canada to walk all over them. Tariffs were the solution, Trump said, as he launched a series of trade wars. “I love tariffs,” he crowed.
    Result: The Commerce Department announced Wednesday that the overall U.S. trade deficit in goods last year soared to an all-time high of $891 billion. The deficit with China, Trump’s principal target — the amount by which the value of imported goods exceeded the value of exported goods — reached a record $419 billion…
    Trump promised on Twitter that “there is no longer a Nuclear Threat from North Korea.” He made that boast last year following his summit in Singapore with Kim Jong Un, with whom Trump said he had fallen “in love.” …
    Result: Following months of little or no progress, Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats told Congress in January that North Korea is “unlikely to completely give up its nuclear weapons.” A second Trump-Kim summit, held last month in Hanoi, ended abruptly without an agreement. Around the same time, according to news reports, the North Koreans restarted workon a ballistic missile site. While Pyongyang has refrained from further tests of its nukes and missiles, Kim’s stockpile likely continues to grow. The threat remains.
    Trump promised to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, claiming he would put in place a new health insurance system that would deliver better results and lower costs. He made the assault on Obamacare the main thrust of his first year in office.
    Result: Obamacare remains the law of the land… Republicans have managed to chip away at the health-care law — the individual mandate is gone, for example — and Trump often claims the ACA is “imploding.” But still it stands.
    Trump promised to spend up to $1.5 trillion on refurbishing the nation’s infrastructure, building new airports, bridges, tunnels, roads and other gleaming monuments to American greatness. He said he was uniquely able to oversee such a program because of his successful career as a real estate magnate.
    Result: “Infrastructure Week” has become a running joke. Every once in a while, the administration announces it is launching the infrastructure campaign — then does nothing meaningful to follow through.
    Trump promised to “drain the swamp” of corruption in Washington.
    Result: Perhaps the most corrupt administration in U.S. history, riddled with nepotism and teeming with swamp creatures.
    I could go on. Trump did fulfill some promises he made to far-right ideologues (appointing archconservative judges) and the ultra-rich friends he sups with at Mar-a-Lago (cutting taxes for the wealthy). Overall, though, his administration has been a great big failure.
    He apparently believes his loyal supporters are the dumbest, most gullible people on earth. We shall see if he’s right.

    Do we really have to wait – or don’t we see it almost daily?

  8. hopefully come 2020 campaigns the public will be reminded that these are the words the 23 voted against:

    [from page 6 lines 1-22 and page 7 lines 1-23 of H.Res. 116]

    Now, therefore, be it

    Resolved, That the House of Representatives— 1 (1) rejects the perpetuation of anti-Semitic 2 stereotypes in the United States and around the 3 world, including the pernicious myth of dual loyalty 4 and foreign allegiance, especially in the context of 5 support for the United States-Israel alliance; 6 (2) condemns anti-Semitic acts and statements 7 as hateful expressions of intolerance that are con-8 tradictory to the values that define the people of the 9 United States; 10 (3) reaffirms its support for the mandate of the 11 United States Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat 12 Anti-Semitism as part of the broader policy priority 13 of fostering international religious freedom and pro-14 tecting human rights all over the world; 15 (4) rejects attempts to justify hatred or violent 16 attacks as an acceptable expression of disapproval or 17 frustration over political events in the Middle East 18 or elsewhere; 19 (5) acknowledges the harm suffered by Muslims 20 and others from the harassment, discrimination, and 21 violence that result from anti-Muslim bigotry; 1 bigotry against all minorities as contrary to the val-2 ues of the United States; 3 (7) condemns the death threats received by 4 Jewish and Muslim Members of Congress, including 5 in recent weeks; 6 (8) encourages law enforcement and govern-7 ment officials to avoid conduct that raises the spec-8 ter of unconstitutional profiling against anyone be-9 cause of their race, religion, nationality, political, or 10 particular social group, including the assignment of 11 blame or targeting members of an entire religious 12 group for increased suspicion, based on the conduct 13 of a single individual or small group of individuals; 14 and 15 (9) encourages all public officials to confront 16 the reality of anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, racism, 17 and other forms of bigotry, as well as historical 18 struggles against them, to ensure that the United 19 States will live up to the transcendent principles of 20 tolerance, religious freedom, and equal protection as 21 embodied in the Declaration of Independence and 22 the first and 14th amendments to the Constitution.

  9. Nice staging- looks great.  Should sell quickly in this sellers’ market.

    (An American flag might be a nice touch to compliment the colonial style and to entice patriotic buyers- maybe not, though. Just a thought.)

  10. After some cursory research on embattled Algerian President Bouteflika, it’s difficult to avoid noting that despots and illegitimate rulers tend to embrace the comb-over, regardless of the degree of their pattern baldness.  Just an observation- draw your own conclusions!

  11. Bink, calling that thing on SFB’s head a comb over is like calling the ceiling of the Cistene Chapel a painting.
    Poobah, Dad’s house looks great – the hard work is evident.  You shoulda called HGTV and pitched “Selling the ‘rents’ House” as a show idea – starting with the Crawford home.

  12. Yes, Mr Bink !
    I’ve noticed that dictators sport unusual hairdos as part of their brand. Here’s my report.
    mussolini pioneered the cueball look. stalin had a combed haircut – kinda unusual for a russian bolshie. hitler had the whitewalls and floppy forelock. mao had the vulture’s ruff, sometimes topped with a green workman’s cap. castro wore the green kepi. The saudis all use the red hound’s tooth do-rag. So did yasir arafat. kdaffy had the off-the-shoulder perm under a white peaked hat, with scrambled eggs on the bill. khomeini and khameini wear the white turban. None of wanted to look like the average Joe, Cesare, Yuri, Heinz, Yang, Jesus, Muhammed or Ali slouching through the towns and fields.
    Oddly, saddam hussein wore his pre-downfall hair in the fashion of your ordinary Minnesota pillow magnate. There’s always gotta be one to spoil the generalization.
    Many of the modern tyrants and other rants are once again wearing their hair weird. king kim, ‘King’ trump, and putin, f’rinstance. putin was buzz cut before the latest 007 was. Enough, and better, has been written about The Lovers and their styles by others.

  13. Casa Crawford looks lovely. Don’t forget the flowers in the entry, dining room, kitchen, and master bedroom. 
    Also, the smell of baking cinnamon buns for the kitchen, rather than lamb, liver, or fish. 

  14. wapo:    House Democrats pass H.R. 1, their answer to draining the swamp

    The House on Friday approved a far-reaching elections and ethics bill — one that would change the way congressional elections are funded, impose new voter-access mandates on states, require “dark money” groups to publicize their donors and force disclosure of presidential candidates’ tax returns.


    Democrats dubbed the bill H.R. 1, a designation meant to signal its place as a centerpiece of their congressional agenda. The measure, which has more than 500 pages, contains dozens of provisions favored by liberal advocacy groups, labor unions and other Democratic allies.


    “It’s a power grab, a power grab on behalf of the people,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said at an event staged on the Capitol steps ahead of the planned vote.


    House Republicans sought to portray the legislation, which passed 234 to 193 along party lines, as a federal government takeover that would undermine the integrity of elections.

    The bill is headed for a brick wall in the Republican-controlled Senate, where Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has dismissed it as the “Democrat Politician Protection Act” and made clear it will not get a vote. But Democrats and their allies believe passage of the bill Friday will build momentum for action in coming years if and when Democrats solidify control in Washington.


    “If Mitch McConnell is the immovable object, H.R. 1 is the unstoppable force,” said Rep. John Sarbanes (D-Md.), the lead author of the bill. “We’ll keep pushing on it.”

    A central provision establishes public financing for congressional elections, giving candidates as much as a 6-to-1 match for small donations to participating campaigns. Republicans have attacked the measure for funneling taxpayer money to political candidates; Democrats reworked the bill to tap fine revenue from people and companies found guilty of corporate malfeasance.

    Another key campaign finance provision would require nonprofit “dark money” groups that engage in political activity to disclose their large donors — a provision that has generated opposition from the American Civil Liberties Union and other advocacy groups who argue that disclosure could chill free speech.


    The bill also aims to end partisan gerrymandering of congressional districts by requiring independent state commissions instead of legislatures to draw lines. It would also create an automatic voter registration system, bar states from disenfranchising felons who have completed their sentences, create stricter rules surrounding voter-roll purges and weaken state laws requiring voters to present photo identification.


    Other provisions include a requirement that presidential and vice-presidential candidates disclose 10 years of past tax returns, a mandatory new ethical code for the Supreme Court, an end to most first-class travel for federal officeholders and a provision making Election Day a national holiday.


  15. So long as McMertle is in power in the Senate ain’ shit gon’ get dun the’ah, at leas’ not so long as Nancy is in power in th’ House.  

  16. pogo, yep it’s well known terrified turtles take to their shells.

    waldman in the plum line wapo:  The prospect of easier and fairer voting terrifies Republicans

    Today the House of Representatives passed H.R. 1, the Democrats’ political reform bill, and though Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) will never allow it to be considered in the Senate, it’s still an important statement of what Democrats believe in and what they intend to do if and when they gain control of Congress and the White House, say after next year’s elections.


    The bill contains a lot of different provisions, but I want to zero in on one set: those concerning voting.


    Again and again, McConnell has asserted that this bill is nothing more than an attempt to alter the system so more Democrats can get elected. As he wrote in The Post, “Their proposal is simply a naked attempt to change the rules of American politics to benefit one party. It should be called the Democrat Politician Protection Act.”



    I’m not sure if McConnell understands what a startling admission that is on his part.

    Because what McConnell is saying is that if our voting system were more efficient, more open and more fair, then the inevitable result would be fewer Republicans winning elections. In other words, Republican success depends on the system working in ways that restrict access to the ballot.


    I happen to think that’s fairly obvious and has been for some time. But it’s remarkable to hear the second most powerful Republican in America admit it.


    ow let’s examine these through the window of McConnell’s insistence that the goal of all of it is to make it harder for Republicans to win elections. What he is claiming is the following:


    • If registration were easier and more people who are not registered now did so, that would mean Republicans would lose more elections.
    • If it were easier for people with disabilities to vote, Republicans would lose more elections.
    • If the practice of voter caging were outlawed, Republicans would lose more elections.
    • If we cracked down on deceptive practices and voter intimidation, Republicans would lose more elections.
    • If we let those with criminal convictions who have served their time vote, Republicans would lose more elections.
    • If we mandated paper trails for ballots to ensure accuracy, Republicans would lose more elections.
    • If more Americans were able to vote early if it’s convenient for them, Republicans would lose more elections.
    • If more Americans could vote by mail if they chose, Republicans would lose more elections.
    • If secretaries of state couldn’t administer their own elections, as Brian Kemp did in Georgia last year, Republicans would lose more elections.


    And you know what? He’s almost certainly right.


    In a different world, Republicans might say they share the goal of making voting easier and more inclusive, and they just disagree with Democrats on the best way to accomplish that goal. But that’s not their position. Their position is that they don’t want voting to be easier and more inclusive. They would prefer it if all Americans didn’t vote.


    Which, if you believe in democracy, is a morally repugnant position to take. But they know exactly what they’re doing.


  17.  “…calling that thing on SFB’s head a comb over is like calling the ceiling of the Cistene Chapel a painting.“ -pogo

    i concur, but only because it’s more of an engineering marvel than an artistic one.  It’s like the Golden Gate Bridge of comb-overs.

    ^Friday fascist funnies

  18. March 08, 2019

    10:33 am ET

    *Shares of several oil and gas companies are trading lower after the Norwegian government announced that its $1 trillion sovereign wealth fund would start to divest its 134 oil and gas positions.


    Damn Norway all to hell. I just lost a bundle. 
    Now, don’ nobody gimme no bad news !

  19. Bink, that is a much more apt simile than mine.
    XR, I heard SFB referring to the Dem house action yesterday being disgusting – of course he did not specify whether he was talking about  H.R.1 or the Anti-Semitism/Muslim hate speech resolution, so I’m not sure whether he thinks civility or civics is disgusting.

  20. It’s that time of the year when those who have cats and dogs for pets do a lot of vacuuming in an attempt to keep the floors fur free.  At the end of the effort you know that it is time for a new vacuum bag and you might have accidentally sucked up an entire cat.  Pushing around on the full bag the supposed victim wanders by to look at you in a way that leaves you wondering why you own critters in the first place.

    Friday and all sorts of weird things happen along the Internet.  A lot concerns a reagan judge (rich white guy) giving a traitor, money laundering, rich white guy a non-jail sentence.  The biggest crime is that SFB is giving the far far right, kkk, white supremacists, and haters judges to last their life times. 

    Another interesting fun thing is the Internet is passing around a lot of pics of the greedy old perverts posing with the head of the sex slave trade ring in Florida massage parlor.  The sex slave ring is a human trafficking organization and the perverts are smiling a lot in the pictures.  Is this a russian thing? Is it a chinese thing?  Is it a korean thing?  What we do know is SFB  is in the pictures too.  Nothing like raping slaves and children to get a greedy old pervert up for the day.  How long did the pervert of the football team last, including travel time, less than three commercials on MSNBC Maddow.

  21. …revealing episode of “This American Life”, this week, providing a behind-the-scenes portrayal of the functioning of the House Judiciary Committee under the direction of Jerry Nadler vis a vis the recent Matthew Whitaker deposition- do recommend.

  22. The Opus Dei article above was from Punch, the British satire magazine. It is entirely bogus, but we are so used to seeing such articles, and Opus Dei has such bad p.r. that we are pre-programmed to believe such things unless there is a warning. 
    This is your warning. It’s as fake as a trump cabinet member.

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