Made In ‘Murica.

Vice President Mike Pence laughs as U.S. President Donald Trump holds a baseball bat as they attend a Made in America product showcase event at the White House in Washington, U.S., July 17, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Barria.

It seems this is “Made In Murica” week, one of those mind-numbing idiocies of the Tiny Tyrant. As usual with all of Donny’s ideas, this one means absolutely nothing. Very little is manufactured in uStates anymore, and for that to be different, oh my, radical changes would be needed, to say the least. What this all comes down to is Donny playing with some toys, and puffing hot air around a bit.

Donald Trump promised on Monday he would take more legal and regulatory steps during the next six months to protect American manufacturers, lashing out against trade deals and trade practices he said have hurt U.S. companies.

Trump climbed into an American-made fire truck parked behind the White House, took a swing with a baseball bat in the Blue Room, and briefly donned a customized Stetson cowboy hat in front of cheering manufacturing company executives from all 50 states gathered to hear him praise their products.

“I want to make a pledge to each and every one of you: No longer are we going to allow other countries to break the rules, steal our jobs and drain our wealth,” Trump said.

Other countries are not breaking rules, nor are stealing jobs. American corporations hand them jobs. That’s a bit different. They aren’t draining “our” wealth. The people doing that, gosh, they would be you, your family, and others who have mass amounts of money which is never ever enough.

He was speaking to a trade show – albeit one with a protectionist bent – organized by the White House to spotlight his efforts to revive the flagging manufacturing sector.

[…]

Trump did not give details about what his administration would do to protect manufacturers, but he railed against tariffs charged by other countries and unfair trade practices.

“That includes cracking down on the predatory online sales of foreign goods, which is absolutely killing our shoppers and our shopping centers,” he said.

“If you look at what is going on with shopping centers and stores and jobs and stores, it’s been very, very tough for them. They’ve have had a very hard time, closing at numbers and records that have never been seen before,” he said.

Who in the fuck knows what Donny means by predatory online sales. Pretty sure he’s not talking about Amazon. The world is full of amazing goods, why shouldn’t people buy those things? When I have a bit of extra pocket money, I like to shop at Novica. Every now and then, I get a fierce craving for Yorkshire Gold Tea or other such goodies, and I love being able to buy them, and no, I don’t buy anything through Amazon. For the most part, I try to support independent businesses, whether they are in uStates or not. I don’t see the slightest thing wrong with that. What Donny misses is that shopping in uStates is near dead because most people don’t have money to spare, and big box corporation stores are eating everything else alive. Not that I expect the Tiny Tyrant to have the very least understanding of economics. All he knows is graft, tax write-offs, and not paying anyone except himself.

Trump spoke in front of a panoply of iconic American-made products: Gibson guitars, Maryland crab pots, a Delaware-made NASA space suit and Cheerwine soda.

Ah, well, I’m sure we’ll all run out and purchase all those things.

He discussed sales of Sikorsky helicopters – “I have three of them!” he said, lifted horseshoes made with Nucor Corp steel, and strolled past vacuum-sealed Omaha steaks.

Jesus Fuck. Divorced from reality does not even begin to cover it.

He told the manufacturers that he was working for a “level playing field” for their wares.

“But if the playing field were slanted like a little bit toward us, I’d accept that also,” Trump said.

Mmmm hmmm. But it better not be level or slanted a little bit towards anyone else, oh no! Asshole.

Via Raw Story.

Now, when it comes to all the crap the Trumps sell:

The White House on Monday refused to say whether President Donald Trump’s business would cease manufacturing in China and other countries during the administration’s “Made In America” week.

[…]

But it wasn’t clear if Trump — who manufactures his products in Bangladesh, China and Mexico — was ready to give his jobs to American workers.

A White House official ducked the question when CBS Correspondent Mark Knoller asked about products made abroad.

“I will get back to you,” the official reportedly said.

Uh huh. Full story here.

A Burden Of Buzzwords In A Blurb.

So, I’m reading an article, and get stuck on “activated cashews”.  WTF are activated cashews? I already know that yes, cashews are good for you, in moderation, like many things. I also knew I was going to be very sorry for clicking on the cashew link. Yep, definitely sorry. It’s certainly easy to take money from people who have an excess of it, and apparently, one hell of a deficit in the sense department. What are activated cashews? A serious excess of empty buzzwords, signifying nothing, and a small bag of very overpriced nuts. Here’s the buzzy blurb:

Our enzyme-rich, activated, and dehydrated cashews are a mineral-dense protein. Pure, alkaline water awakens the nuts’ dormant properties, increasing digestibility and micronutrient, vitamin, and enzyme count. These raw, activated, bio-available nuts are a low-glycemic, anti-inflammatory source of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids that nourish skin, bones, and heart.

Perfect for high functioning snacking and activated nut milks, topping yogurts, puddings, and cereals, and for creating treats like granolas, cookies, crackers,  and your magical creations we haven’t discovered yet.

INGREDIENTS: Raw, organic, activated cashews

Gluten-free and non-GMO

As to why you need to activate nuts, or pay outrageous amounts of money for them? If you guessed this is a traditional method among certain cultures…bingo! I didn’t go into it enough to see just which particular tradition and culture is being co-opted here, but it all seems to trace back to one particular person, and a bunch of gullible idiots glommed onto it. Here’s a bit of it:

They seem like a great choice of snack – high in protein and essential fats, and riddled with fibre, antioxidants and minerals. This we know to be true, but they also contain natural chemicals that could interfere with your digestive system and prevent you from absorbing all of that wonderful nutrition.

Similar to how grains and legumes contain phytic acid, nuts contain enzyme inhibitors. Enzyme inhibitors act by binding to enzymes and decrease and/or block their actions. The enzyme inhibitors are beneficial to nuts, as they prevent the nuts from prematurely sprouting, however they also act on our digestive enzymes, preventing their proper digestion and absorption.

Nuts and seeds also contain small amount of phytic acid, which our digestive system is also unable to break down. Eating large amounts of raw nuts could then lead to symptoms such as feeling ‘heavy’, feelings of uncomfortable fullness, even nausea. Not only this, but it puts a massive strain on our our digestive system, compromising already fragile digestive tracts.

[…]

Activating nuts is an ancient and traditional practice that required the soaking of nuts and seeds in brine and letting them dry in the hot sun. Nowadays, we have a much faster and more sanitary method of drying, but the objective remains the same.

The soaking times of nuts vary according to what text you read. My personal method of activating nuts is inspired by Sally Fallon, as described in her book, “Nourishing Traditions”.
How to activate your nuts…

  1. Dissolve salt in enough water to cover the amount of nuts/seeds you are activating.
  2. In a large bowl place your nut or seed of choice.
  3. Cover with the salt water solution.
  4. Soak for the required number of hours.
  5. Strain and rinse the nuts.
  6. Spread over a dehydrator rack, or baking tray.
  7. Dry in the dehydrator for around 12-24 hours.
  8. If drying in the oven, set the oven at the lowest temperature possible, preferably no more than 65C. Stir or turn them occasionally, for the required drying time.
  9. And the result? A crunchy, delicious, totally bio-available and stress-free, nut!

It is important to ensure that your nuts really are dry and crispy before removing them from the dehydrator or oven, otherwise there is a risk that your beautiful and expensive nuts will become riddled with mould.

But mould is natural! Probably fuckin’ traditional somewhere in the world too, if you just look hard enough. Sweet Zombie Jesus, there are a lot of idiots in the world. It’s certainly easy enough to see why some people just decide to start picking pockets on a large scale, you can just make shit up wholesale, plaster buzziness all over it, and before you know it, you have a mattress full of money.

The Tiny Tyrant’s Campaign Scam.

The Trump International Hotel at 1100 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, is seen in Washington on Dec. 21, 2016. CREDIT: AP Photo/Alex Brandon.

It should be more than obvious by now that Trump never wanted to actually be president. He sucks at the job, to say the very least. He’s a fucking idiot who doesn’t have the slightest idea of what he’s doing, he’s incapable of learning, and doesn’t have the sense to surround himself with sane, responsible, knowledgeable people. He did get one thing right: campaigning. He could go out, be himself, an empty void of narcissism and hate, and discovered people in fear of losing their white privilege would cheer. He also discovered that campaigning was a great scam. So, he’s doing what he’s capable of doing, going back to the scamming. Ignoring that whole pesky president business, he’ll be hosting a re-election fundraiser tonight. If there’s a better argument for stripping obscenely people of their wealth, I don’t what it is. This might all be fun and power games for them, but it’s a different story for all of us out here on the ground.

If there’s anything President Donald Trump loves more than his business empire, it’s being a candidate on the campaign trial. Wednesday night, he’ll combine both roles as he hosts his first reelection fundraiser, the earliest of any sitting president.

The fundraiser, which people have paid anywhere from $35,000 to upwards of $110,000 to attend, will be held at Trump’s second residence along Pennsylvania Avenue — the Trump International Hotel.

Trump International has become one Trump’s most glaring conflicts of interest, visible from the White House lawn. When he signed a 60-year lease with the General Services Administration in 2013, he signed a contract that contains a clause that reads:

No member or delegate to Congress, or elected official of the Government of the United States or the Government of the District of Columbia, shall be admitted to any share or part of this Lease or to any benefit that may arise therefrom.

In March the GSA released a letter saying the Trump Organization is in “full compliance” with the lease, largely because he moved his business interests from the hotel into a trust. However as ProPublica reported in April, the trust is handled by Trump’s children and he is the sole beneficiary, able to remove funds from the trust without disclosing it to the public.

Being in a continuous campaign mode is profitable. In 2000, Trump speculated that he could “be the first presidential candidate to run and make money on it,” and there is evidence to support the claim that he has profited off of both the campaign and the presidency. When Trump initially set up his campaign headquarters at Trump Tower, he prided himself on being self-funded with a low-cost operation. He later quadrupled the rent to $169,758 after he began receiving funds from donors even though he employed less staff than in the months prior.

The pattern of profiteering off his initial run is continuing into his reelection campaign. According to FEC filings, the Trump campaign has sent $274,000 in rent to his offices in Trump Tower, even though his reelection campaign only employs 20 people. That works out to about $91,000 a month, which is more than half of what he paid at the height of his campaign when 168 employees were on payroll.

So donors who are paying upwards of $110,000 to attend Wednesday night’s even for Trump’s reelection campaign, are also funneling funds back to Trump twice. First, through the Trump hotel for the space, food and drinks. Second, the money that’s left over will go to Trump’s campaign expenses, which includes rent at Trump Tower. Because he still retains ownership, any event hosted at a Trump Organization Property by Trump the president, also benefits Trump the businessman.

Trump has also found ways to leverage the presidency to advance his business interests outside of his campaign.

Think Progress has the full run down on the scam.

The Death of Medicaid.

Al Franken at The BookExpo2017 in New York City, 6/1/17. CREDIT: Dennis Van Tine/STAR MAX/IPx.

Getting back to the Fuck You Care Plan, which gets worse at every small reveal. The denials over medicaid come in fast and furious, from evasive denials to outright lies, but the bottom line is quite simple: money will go into select filthy rich pockets; medicaid will be dead in few short years.

The bill would in fact massively cut Medicaid, threatening to completely phase out the program as we currently know it. The legislation would roll back Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion, starting in four short years. It would also make deeper cuts to Medicaid by placing “per capita caps” on the program such that states will receive only a set amount of money for each recipient, no matter how much their care actually costs.

Andy Slavitt, who ran Medicaid in the Obama administration, said on Twitter that “the main event in the Senate bill is the destruction of Medicaid,” characterizing it as “far, far worse than even the House bill.” And the House bill, as scored by the Congressional Budget Office, would leave 23 million more people without coverage.

But Trump administration officials presented alternative facts on Sunday.

Full story here.

Monday morning on MSNBC, Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) countered Roy’s argument. He noted that the tax cuts that Trumpcare would deliver to the richest 400 taxpayers would pay for 750,000 people to be on Medicaid. Franken didn’t rely on a single study but cited the more comprehensive analysis of recent research on Medicaid published in NEJM. These researchers found that for every 750,000 people who lose Medicaid coverage, 1,000 to 2,000 people would die.

Franken actually understates the case. The NEJM cited a recent study estimating that Medicaid expansion has saved one life for every 239 to 319 people covered. That means enrolling 750,000 people in Medicaid could actually save 2,300 to 3,100 lives.

Full story here.

The Tiny Tyrant’s Tax Evasion.

Via Twitter.

The people of Briarcliff Manor, NY, are rather upset with the Tiny Tyrant, and for very good reason. Turns out, Trump doesn’t want to pay his taxes. Alright, everyone who’s surprise, raise your hand. Not wanting to pay taxes is no great shock, there’s a reason people want to see those tax returns; what is of interest is why Trump doesn’t want to pay the property tax on his golf course.

ABC News reports that the Trump organization has filed a legal challenge with Briarcliff Manor to knock $250,000 off the property tax bill for the Trump National Golf Club, Westchester. ABC News notes that the organization’s challenge is “who resent having to assume the burden of paying additional taxes to support town services and the local school district.”

Emphasis mine. I’m just gonna let that sit there and sink in. This is from the Major Moron who never shut up about “making America great again”.

And Gloria Fried, the receiver of taxes for Ossining, tells ABC that “it is very difficult when you see someone who has all these assets at his disposal who would rather pay lawyers to avoid his civic duty of paying taxes.”

I imagine that avoiding civic duties is a way of life for the Tiny Tyrant, and all the fucking idiots put him in the white house. If I thought they were capable of it, I’d say they ought to be absolutely mortified.

Via Raw Story.

When Words Come Back To Bite Your Ass.

In this photo taken April 21, 2010, Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, speaks about financial reform at a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington. In a letter circulated by Hatch Thursday, March 3, 2011. CREDIT: AP Photo/Charles Dharapak.

With all the secrecy and other slimy moves in the ramming through of the Fuck You Care Plan, an interesting op-ed has surfaced, from Orrin Hatch. It certainly highlights the ongoing hypocrisy of rethuglicans, and why you can never trust anything they might say, and certainly not what they might do.

In short, in less than a week, Senate Republicans are considering ramming through a major piece of legislation that the public has not seen and will not be able to respond to, and they’re using a method specifically designed to circumvent any mechanism the Constitution allows the Senate’s minority party to stop it.

But don’t take it from me: Take it from Republican Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT), who agitated fiercely against the Senate Democrats’ rumored plan to pass Obamacare through reconciliation in 2010.

“This use of reconciliation to jam through this legislation, against the will of the American people, would be unprecedented in scope,” Hatch wrote in a 2010 Washington Post op-ed titled “Reconciliation on health care would be an assault to the democratic process.” “And the havoc wrought would threaten our system of checks and balances, corrode the legislative process, degrade our system of government and damage the prospects of bipartisanship.”

In the op-ed, Hatch details exactly how reconciliation allows a majority party to abuse parliamentary power, and why it’s inappropriate for health care. “It sharply limits debate and amendments to a mere 20 hours and would allow passage with only 51 votes (as opposed to the 60 needed to overcome a procedural hurdle),” he wrote. “But the Constitution intends the opposite process, especially for a bill that would affect one-sixth of the American economy.”

Now, of course, Hatch is all for the terrible process, and defends the secrecy on the basis it won’t give democrats a chance to criticise, because as we all now know, criticism is just the worst thing ever.

According to Hatch, holding public hearings on Senate Republicans’ Obamacare replacement plan would be useless, because those hearings would only give Democrats opportunity for criticism.

“We have zero cooperation from the Democrats,” he told reporters. “So getting it in public gives them a chance to get up and scream.”

When it was Obamacare on the table, Hatch was a staunch proponent of bipartisanship, arguing in an open letter to Obama that “our nation expects us to solve this challenge in an open, honest and bipartisan manner.” He added that “the American people deserve an open and vigorous dialogue on this critical legislation and the use of this process would be a clear signal that Washington continues to ignore their voices.”

Think Progress has the full embarrassing story. Well, it would be embarrassing to anyone except a rethuglican.

Media, Oh Media, Wherefore Art Thou?

CREDIT: AP Photo/Evan Vucci.

The Senate secrecy over the Fuck You Care Plan is working, and like a dream. It’s not being covered, anywhere, by anyone. Granted, there’s not a whole lot of story there, but media has no business ignoring it to the point that it seems it’s not a reality. If anything, media should be pounding on this, hard. If there’s a case of the death of democracy, it’s right there.

The informal July 4 deadline Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has set for Senate Republicans to pass a health care bill that could strip coverage from 23 million Americans is rapidly approaching — but you wouldn’t know it from looking at the front page of major newspapers across the country on Monday.

National outlets like the New York Times and Washington Post featured no front-page coverage of the American Health Care Act (AHCA), also known as Trumpcare, which is being secretly written by an all-male group of senators. The lack of attention being paid to the bill indicates McConnell’s strategy of avoiding publicity by drafting the bill behind closed doors, holding no hearings, and unveiling the bill’s text at the last possible minute is paying dividends.

[…]

People who consume their news online also didn’t see any coverage on major outlets’ homepages Monday morning.

Trumpcare has also been a blip on the TV news radar. According to an analysis by Media Matters looking at coverage from June 1 through June 14, the bill has received scant mention on broadcast and cable news, with Republican secrecy surrounding the bill barely even being mentioned.

There’s a reason Republicans want to Trumpcare on the down low — even Fox News is unable to spin the unpopularity of the bill, which is essentially a tax cut for the rich masquerading as health care reform.

[…]

Progressive senators are trying to make the media take notice. On Monday, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), and senators Patty Murray (D-WA) and Ron Wyden (D-OR) sent a letter to Republican committee chairs with jurisdiction over Trumpcare requesting that they “schedule hearings to discuss, debate and hear testimony about the health care bill you are currently drafting in secret.”

The letter, which goes on to list each of the 31 rooms where a hearing could be held, says the millions of American who would be negatively impacted by Trumpcare “deserve an open and public debate over the bill.”

“The American Health Care Act would fundamentally redefine health care in our country,” it concludes. “To draft it behind closed doors and pass it without even one hearing is nothing short of legislative malpractice and a repudiation of all the Senate stands for.”

So…how about it, media? Can we get a little bit of outrage over this travesty? A little bit of attention? Think Progress has the full story, along with many images showing the complete lack of coverage.

The Incompetency Path To Autocracy.

Slate has an interview with Masha Gessen on the current state of affairs:

[… ] You wrote a piece for the Times called “Trump’s Incompetence Won’t Save Our Democracy.” I think the common answer from many Trump opponents is that his incompetence has been the real saving grace. Why do you disagree?

I think that incompetence is actually an integral part of autocracy taking hold. Basically, what we mean when we say that he is incompetent, in large part, is that he doesn’t understand the way American government functions. But because he’s wielding power, he’s reshaping government very quickly to fit his idea of how government should function, and that is autocracy. His incompetence is actually an integral part of the damage that he’s doing by turning something like a democracy into something like an autocracy.

That may be true, but wouldn’t autocracy function better if he was competent enough to actually staff his administration with cronies and pass laws that would entrench his power?

I guess it depends on what your ultimate fear is. If your ultimate fear is that he will pass legislation that will do terrible things, then you’re right. My ultimate fear is different. My ultimate fear is that he is destroying the structure and culture of American government.

That’s my fear too, aside from nuclear war.

But you don’t do this legislatively. The thing is, if you pass this terrible legislation, that’s reversible because the mechanism is transparent, the mechanism of damage, and then in the post-Trump era you reverse it by passing a different piece of legislation. That’s great. When he destroys things by eviscerating institutions, by changing the way that they actually function, that’s a much more difficult thing to reverse in a post-Trump era. The fact that they haven’t been able to fill positions is actually part of what I’m talking about in terms of the way that government is breaking up into discrete, opaque parts.

The State Department, which I happen to know more about than other agencies, which isn’t a whole lot, but the State Department is basically missing that entire layer of political appointees who would normally ensure that there’s communication between the top and the career staffers who do most of the on-the-ground work. With that layer gone, they are all sort of functioning in a kind of airless space. If they still have money that they’re supposed to spend on programs that are still sort of maybe valid, then they will, but they’re not sure that that’s what they’re supposed to be doing, and they have no one to talk to about it, which is not to say that they’re making terrible decisions. They’re possibly, in fact probably making the best possible decisions under the circumstances, but they’re making those decisions out of the public eye. Restoring that system of accountability, which wasn’t that great in the first place, is much more difficult than reversing legislation.

The full interview is at Slate, and well worth reading. I’d say Ms. Gessen’s take on the incompetency factor takes on a new urgency, because this is the new strategy of the GOP, protecting and defending Trump from all accountability and accusation, “he didn’t know better” and “he’s not competent in politics”.  Think Progress has the full story on the new double speak of the incompetency defense.

Event Planner In Charge of Federal Housing.

Lynne Patton (YouTube).

An event planner with no political experience whatsoever, and a trail of bogus degrees has been placed in charge of federal housing programs in NYC. Ms. Patton was one of the people running Eric Trump’s fraudulent charity. So you can see why the Tiny Tyrant chose her: a liar, happily corrupt, with experience in committing fraud.

Donald Trump has named an event planner with no relevant experience and a sketchy resume to oversee federal housing programs in New York City.

Lynne Patton, who arranged Eric Trump’s wedding and tournaments at the president’s golf courses, was appointed Wednesday to lead the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Region II, which includes New York and New Jersey, reported the New York Daily News.

Patton will oversee the distribution of billions of dollars in taxpayer money to public housing authorities, as well as tens of thousands of rental vouchers and block grants to fund housing inspections and programs for senior citizens.

She has no housing experience, and Patton has claimed degrees she did not earn.

Her LinkedIn profile claims a law degree from Quinnipiac University, although the school’s registrar said Patton attended for two semesters but did not graduate.

She also listed Yale University on the social media profile, but HUD officials were unsure why.

[…]

Patton defended HUD Secretary Ben Carson last month, after he said poverty was a state of mind, and praised White House budget director Mick Mulvaney for saying the Trump administration would “measure compassion” by the number of people who were removed from government assistance programs.

If you are in NYC, and had hopes of help in this direction, you might want to start looking elsewhere. Via Raw Story.

Another Bad Bush.

John K. Bush, one of Trump’s federal judicial nominees, found himself in the position of having defend previous blog posts, which cited heavily from WorldNetDaily, the batshit christian conservative’s “news” source. Bush is a profound birther, and rabidly anti-choice. In spite of all this, he will most likely end up confirmed, unless some rethuglicans root around and find both a brain and a conscience.

Given Bush’s prolific history as a political blogger, those opinions were on full display during his confirmation hearing on Wednesday.

Birtherism came up after Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) noted a blog post where Bush relied heavily on World Net Daily, a conservative site famous for touting conspiracy theories such as the birther libel against President Obama. In the post — which bears the grammatically-dubious title “‘Brother’s Keeper’ — As In, Keep That Anti-Obama Reporter In Jail!”  — Bush touted a World Net Daily story claiming that one of the publication’s reporters was being held by immigration officials in Kenya after the reporter went there to investigate Obama’s Kenyan half-brother.

[…]

In any event, Bush felt that he needed to distance himself from the birther website he once cited, telling Franken that “I was certainly not intending to endorse any views of another group, as far as birtherism goes,” when he wrote this particular blog post.

Questionable citations aside, many of Bush’s other blog posts stated much more directly how the judicial nominee views the world. In one post in particular, for example, Bush claimed that “the two greatest tragedies in our country” are “slavery and abortion.”

After Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) asked Bush if he still held this view, Bush attempted to paint his views on Roe v. Wade as relatively innocuous. “I believe that [Roe] is a tragedy,” he said, “in the sense that it divided our country.”

Later in the hearing, however, Bush revealed that he either does not believe that all divisive decisions are tragic, or that he has a very poor command of American history.

“Wouldn’t you characterize Brown v. Board of Education,” Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) asked Bush, as “a case that divided our country?” In response, Bush first pled ignorance, then gave an historically-inaccurate answer.

“I wasn’t alive at the time of Brown,” Bush said. “But I don’t think it did.”

Well. There’s a heaping dose of flaming stupid. I didn’t exist at the time of Brown either, but I’m certainly aware of it, and aware of the massive divisiveness it caused, ripples of which abound to this day. You would have to be somewhere in the realm of complete dedication to ignorance to claim unawareness in this regard, especially if your career in life is that of a fucking judge. Fucking Idiot does not even begin to cover this.

In fairness, Bush’s ignorance of American civil rights history, while certainly not an optimal trait in a judge, might not prevent him from performing the core responsibilities of an appellate jurist. Typically, judges spend far more time parsing statutory language and consulting legal precedents than they do digging into political history.

But Bush is not like most people named to the federal bench. In a 2009 panel hosted by the conservative Federalist Society — an organization which has played a major role in selecting Trump’s judicial nominees — Bush aligned himself with originalism, the belief that the only valid way to interpret the Constitution is to apply its text in the way those words were originally understood at the time they were drafted.

Whatever the virtues or demerits of originalism as an interpretive method, it only works if the judges applying it have a deep command of history and the skills necessary to sort good historical arguments from bad ones. After all, how can someone figure out the original meaning of a text if they don’t understand the historical and political context that brought that text into being?

The fact that Bush knows so little about one of the most famous judicial decisions in American history does not suggest that he is up to this task.

I’d say that’s quite the understatement. The reality? Bush is yet another toady who will do whatever the Tiny Tyrant wants, regardless of law.

Think Progress has the full story.  * RWW watch also has this, along with video of the questioning by Franken.

196 Members of Congress: Suing Trump.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, left, and White House Senior Adviser Jared Kushner listen as President Donald Trump speaks during a Cabinet meeting, Monday, June 12, 2017, in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington. CREDIT: AP Photo/Andrew Harnik.

The lawsuits against the Tiny Tyrant are piling up, and a good part of congress has decided to join in, this time dealing with the emoluments clause, which has been utterly shredded by the Tiny Tyrant, who seems to think this whole presidenting thing is just like his many sleazy real estate cons. He’s not entirely wrong about that, but he hasn’t even so much as made an effort at appearances. Unfortunately, this particular lawsuit will only deal with forcing the Tiny Tyrant to abide by the constitution. If successful though, it may provide the means of exposing the so-called business empire, so people can finally have a peek inside and see what’s truly there, and what isn’t.

Nearly 200 Democratic lawmakers will file suit against President Donald Trump on Wednesday, alleging that he is violating the Constitution’s foreign emoluments clause by accepting payments from foreign governments through his businesses while president.

The plaintiffs include 30 Senators and 166 members of the House of Representatives — but a source familiar with the lawsuit said more lawmakers could join an amended complaint later if they wished. The case will be lead by the nonprofit Constitutional Accountability Center.

The lawsuit — and the sheer number of members of Congress participating — reflects the deep frustration of Democratic lawmakers with the leeway the White House has been given by the Republican majority in Congress.

Traditionally, Congress is taxed with oversight and accountability of the executive branch, which they carry out through hearings and other means. But the way Congress is set up gives extraordinary control to the majority party — and the Republicans in charge of the oversight committees have refused to investigate Trump, a Republican president, on issues involving his business activities.

Hamstrung by more traditional oversight means, and already shut out of any sort of working relationship with the president, Democratic lawmakers have now turned to the courts to try to force Trump to comply with the Constitution.

[…]

They also serve another purpose: As part of their discovery process, it is likely that the plaintiffs will ask for Trump’s tax returns.

From foreign profits to foreign debt, Trump has been unprecedentedly opaque about his finances for an American president. His tax returns pose the best chance at clearing up lingering questions over conflicts of interest and whether his decisions as president stand to benefit his pockets as a citizen.

But Trump has thus far refused all calls to make his tax returns public — meaning that these lawsuits may pose the public’s best chance at finally getting a look at exactly what the president’s business empire really looks like.

Think Progress has the full story.

Valley Fever and No Healthcare.

Dust storms spike with Valley fever cases. The largest number of dust storms from 1988 to 2011 are concentrated in the SW states reporting the highest numbers of fever cases.

The infection rate of Valley Fever in the Southwest United States has gone up a stunning 800 percent from 2000 to 2011, as dust storms have more than doubled.

New research directly links the rise in Valley Fever to the rise in dust storms, which in turn is driven by climate change. Valley Fever, which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention calls “a fungal lung infection that can be devastating,” is caused by inhaling soil-dwelling fungus. When the soil dries out and turns to dust, the wind can make the fungus airborne.

“Dust storms are found to better correlated with the disease than any other known controlling factor,“ a new study led by NOAA scientists concluded.

[…]

But the biggest concern about modern Dust-Bowlification is the tremendous challenge of “feeding some 9 billion people by mid-century in the face of a rapidly worsening climate.” This is why climate action is so urgent and vital.

This all goes along nicely with the rethuglican agenda of making sure a whole lot of people will die from a lack of good nutrition and healthcare. Until the day comes along they are personally threatened, there won’t be minds changing. Unfortunately, money makes a very nice cushion against what always hits the poorer people first. Speaking of the Fuck You Care Plan, the secrecy continues:

Senate Republicans plan to send their health care bill to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) for analysis but don’t yet have a plan to release a draft of the bill for public scrutiny, according to Axios.

“We aren’t stupid,” an aide to a Senate Republican told Axios.

It’s perhaps understandable that Senate Republicans would want to shine as little light as possible on an unpopular bill that could cause millions of people to lose their health insurance.

The Senate is reportedly putting the final touches on a health care bill that looks very similar to the so-called American Health Care Act (AHCA) passed by the House. According to the CBO, the House version would cost 23 million Americans their health insurance while dramatically increasing costs for older Americans and people with pre-existing conditions, in part because of the bill’s $834 billion cut to Medicaid over the next decade.

[…]

“We have no idea what’s being proposed,” McCaskill said, addressing chairman Orrin Hatch (R-UT). “There’s a group of guys in a back room somewhere that are making these decisions… Listen, this is hard to take.”

“You couldn’t have a more partisan exercise than what you’re engaged in right now,” she continued. “We’re not even gonna have a hearing on a bill that impacts one-sixth of our economy. We’re not going to have an opportunity to offer a single amendment. It is all being done with an eye to try to get it by with 50 votes and the vice president.”

[…]

McCaskill went on to blast McConnell for his hypocrisy. Before the 2014 election that returned control of the Senate to Republicans, McConnell “pledged to send bills through committees, even if it might upset members of his own conference,” as The Hill reported in May of that year. But last week, McConnell gave the health care bill “fast track” status, meaning it can skip the committee process altogether.

Republican hypocrisy was also evidence during the House process. Before the 2010 election that returned control of the House to Republicans, House Republican leaders unveiled their “Pledge to America.” The pledge contained a “Read the Bill” promise vowing, “We will ensure that bills are debated and discussed in the public square by publishing the text online for at least three days before coming up for a vote in the House of Representatives.” But a number of House Republicans admitted to not even reading the AHCA before they cast a vote for it.

Think Progress has the full stories: Valley Fever and What Healthcare?

Sunday Facepalm.

Yesterday, I posted about The Tiny Evangelical Tyrant, and that’s a serious problem.  Today, we visit some of the Religious Reich who fervently back the Tiny Tyrant. It is so very easy to roll the eyes over what seems to be, and is, such irrationality, and it’s okay to have the eyerolls and facepalms. After that, though, there’s a need to realize how serious these people are, and what they want to do. The longer the Tiny Tyrant stays in office, the more he’ll give them what they want, and what they want is damn scary. These people never shut up about how awful Islam is, sharia this, sharia that, sharia everything, and so on. What they want, however, is no different. They talk of demons and witchcraft. They talk of the slightest shake of the head against authoritarianism. They talk of degeneracy, of a woeful lack of modesty, looking at women, of course. They decry all the harlotry of the modern age.

The Religious Reich thinks this is time for the crusades again, literally. They are screaming and praying for blood, in an orgy of self righteous lust. They think only in terms of enemies. They wouldn’t have a problem with reinstating an Inquisition, or witch trials. They don’t see that type of thing as bad, and yes, they do believe in witchcraft. So do their congregations. This is what they’d like as the law of the land, along with belief in their psychopathic Jehovah to be the rule of the day everywhere, in schools and the public square. And yes, I know, there’s a tendency to dismiss it all as simply too fantastic to actually happen, but we’re half way there already. Most women are already all too aware of that. Same goes for most of the queer community, as well.

So, take a little delight in the silly, but remember that the Religious Reich is deadly serious about all this, and we must stand as a great wall of resistance and open opposition to their idea of America.

Lance Wallnau is indulging in imprecatory prayer.

“I pray that the words they have spoken even turn back upon them,” he continued, “and that you will cause everyone who dishonors the office of the president, who disrespects the authority of this government, who mocks the president—who is, in effect, mocking you, Lord—I pray now that you are going to turn upon those that are ministering a spirit of strife and contention and dishonor and disrespect and sowing rebellion and witchcraft in the nation, I pray that you cast them out of their position!”

“Those people that are falsely prophesying impeachment, falsely prophesying the destruction of this administration, it’s time this stopped!” Wallnau ranted. “Deliver us from evil.”

Wallnau said that this “warfare prayer” must spread across the nation because “when you’re nervous and worried about the president of America, go on the offense. Just don’t pray for peace; kick that demon! Bam!”

Goodness, I do believe he’s talking about all of us Resistance types. Of course, we’re small potatoes. Wallnau would like that ugly god of his to curse all media outside Fox and christian channels. Fortunately for us, Jehovah/Yahweh/El Shaddai/Adonai doesn’t seem to be the most motivated entity. I guess all that energy expended on tantrums, genocide, wars, murders, rapes, and so on, detailed in the old testament, must have really tuckered him out. Unfortunately, that won’t stop those who adore that mythical psychopath from trying to do “his will”.

Via RWW.

David Whitney, a very nasty piece of work coated in the slime of deep bigotry, has been preaching the evil of … Ariana Grande. Yep.

“Everything she stands for is quite eye opening,” Whitney said. “She is an open advocate for sodomy. She frequently speaks of her interaction with demons. That’s right, demons. She was raised, actually, in a Christian household but now clearly rejects everything that Christianity stands for and she states that she did so for a particular reason—because her brother is a sodomite and so, Christianity she threw out lock, stock and barrel for that reason. She has embraced not only sodomy, but a satanic cult religion … that is called Kabbalah, it is a Jewish cult belief system that is the opposite, in a sense, of our Christian faith.”

No one is as obsessed with sex as much as religious fanatics. They never shut up about it, and they cannot stand the idea of anyone, anywhere having any type of sex they don’t approve of, which is pretty much all of it. As for the whole Kabbalah business, I have no idea, but this goes back to yesterday’s post, and the insistence of christian thought that they are being horribly persecuted if other people believe differently than they do.

“It appears this Ariana is like the Pied Piper of Hamelin, leading a whole generation of young people, and indeed some very young people, to a very dangerous place,” he said, adding that Grande is “indeed a dangerous woman.”

Yeah, yeah, sex, drugs, and rock ‘n roll. We’ve heard this nonsense before. Pretty sure this particular type of idiocy has been heard since the second generation of humans. What was the particular plaint in 200 BCE? In the 10th century? And so on. Every generation of young people are always immersed in the most dangerous of behaviours, and that music, whatever it was or is, is very, very bad!

“What is not surprising,” he continued, “is that she is wildly successful, famous and rich because people who make a pact with the devil and sell themselves to Satan, he often rewards them with riches and fame and power.”

Well, no. It has to do with talent, first and foremost, a little luck, and a fucktonne of hard work. I have no idea what Lucifer is up to these days, but he doesn’t seem to do much either. Perhaps he and Jehovah/Yahweh/El Shaddai/Adonai are busy playing poker or something.

“This dangerous woman is promoting every form of immorality and indeed she is promoting satanism by her music and by her lyrics and by her gyrations,” Whitney said.

Oooh, evil gyrations! I don’t know how old Whitney is, but he sounds like he’s about 200 years old. And promoting love and acceptance! Oh, yes, you don’t get more satanist than that. FFS.

“So while we can measure accurately the damage that the suicide bomber accomplished—we can count the body bags, we can read the list of those in the hospital recovering from their injuries that the suicide bomber caused—it is far more difficult to measure the damage done by this dangerous woman. Exactly how many souls has she led down the path of destruction?”

And there we have it. Religious fanatics, even those on the enemy side, well, they’re just doing what they think is right. A woman singing and dancing? There’s an evil which must be stomped on immediately!

Via RWW.