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Denofcinema.com: Saturday Night at the Movies by Dennis Hartley review archive

01/01/2003 - 02/01/2003 02/01/2003 - 03/01/2003 03/01/2003 - 04/01/2003 04/01/2003 - 05/01/2003 05/01/2003 - 06/01/2003 06/01/2003 - 07/01/2003 07/01/2003 - 08/01/2003 08/01/2003 - 09/01/2003 09/01/2003 - 10/01/2003 10/01/2003 - 11/01/2003 11/01/2003 - 12/01/2003 12/01/2003 - 01/01/2004 01/01/2004 - 02/01/2004 02/01/2004 - 03/01/2004 03/01/2004 - 04/01/2004 04/01/2004 - 05/01/2004 05/01/2004 - 06/01/2004 06/01/2004 - 07/01/2004 07/01/2004 - 08/01/2004 08/01/2004 - 09/01/2004 09/01/2004 - 10/01/2004 10/01/2004 - 11/01/2004 11/01/2004 - 12/01/2004 12/01/2004 - 01/01/2005 01/01/2005 - 02/01/2005 02/01/2005 - 03/01/2005 03/01/2005 - 04/01/2005 04/01/2005 - 05/01/2005 05/01/2005 - 06/01/2005 06/01/2005 - 07/01/2005 07/01/2005 - 08/01/2005 08/01/2005 - 09/01/2005 09/01/2005 - 10/01/2005 10/01/2005 - 11/01/2005 11/01/2005 - 12/01/2005 12/01/2005 - 01/01/2006 01/01/2006 - 02/01/2006 02/01/2006 - 03/01/2006 03/01/2006 - 04/01/2006 04/01/2006 - 05/01/2006 05/01/2006 - 06/01/2006 06/01/2006 - 07/01/2006 07/01/2006 - 08/01/2006 08/01/2006 - 09/01/2006 09/01/2006 - 10/01/2006 10/01/2006 - 11/01/2006 11/01/2006 - 12/01/2006 12/01/2006 - 01/01/2007 01/01/2007 - 02/01/2007 02/01/2007 - 03/01/2007 03/01/2007 - 04/01/2007 04/01/2007 - 05/01/2007 05/01/2007 - 06/01/2007 06/01/2007 - 07/01/2007 07/01/2007 - 08/01/2007 08/01/2007 - 09/01/2007 09/01/2007 - 10/01/2007 10/01/2007 - 11/01/2007 11/01/2007 - 12/01/2007 12/01/2007 - 01/01/2008 01/01/2008 - 02/01/2008 02/01/2008 - 03/01/2008 03/01/2008 - 04/01/2008 04/01/2008 - 05/01/2008 05/01/2008 - 06/01/2008 06/01/2008 - 07/01/2008 07/01/2008 - 08/01/2008 08/01/2008 - 09/01/2008 09/01/2008 - 10/01/2008 10/01/2008 - 11/01/2008 11/01/2008 - 12/01/2008 12/01/2008 - 01/01/2009 01/01/2009 - 02/01/2009 02/01/2009 - 03/01/2009 03/01/2009 - 04/01/2009 04/01/2009 - 05/01/2009 05/01/2009 - 06/01/2009 06/01/2009 - 07/01/2009 07/01/2009 - 08/01/2009 08/01/2009 - 09/01/2009 09/01/2009 - 10/01/2009 10/01/2009 - 11/01/2009 11/01/2009 - 12/01/2009 12/01/2009 - 01/01/2010 01/01/2010 - 02/01/2010 02/01/2010 - 03/01/2010 03/01/2010 - 04/01/2010 04/01/2010 - 05/01/2010 05/01/2010 - 06/01/2010 06/01/2010 - 07/01/2010 07/01/2010 - 08/01/2010 08/01/2010 - 09/01/2010 09/01/2010 - 10/01/2010 10/01/2010 - 11/01/2010 11/01/2010 - 12/01/2010 12/01/2010 - 01/01/2011 01/01/2011 - 02/01/2011 02/01/2011 - 03/01/2011 03/01/2011 - 04/01/2011 04/01/2011 - 05/01/2011 05/01/2011 - 06/01/2011 06/01/2011 - 07/01/2011 07/01/2011 - 08/01/2011 08/01/2011 - 09/01/2011 09/01/2011 - 10/01/2011 10/01/2011 - 11/01/2011 11/01/2011 - 12/01/2011 12/01/2011 - 01/01/2012 01/01/2012 - 02/01/2012 02/01/2012 - 03/01/2012 03/01/2012 - 04/01/2012 04/01/2012 - 05/01/2012 05/01/2012 - 06/01/2012 06/01/2012 - 07/01/2012 07/01/2012 - 08/01/2012 08/01/2012 - 09/01/2012 09/01/2012 - 10/01/2012 10/01/2012 - 11/01/2012 11/01/2012 - 12/01/2012 12/01/2012 - 01/01/2013 01/01/2013 - 02/01/2013 02/01/2013 - 03/01/2013 03/01/2013 - 04/01/2013 04/01/2013 - 05/01/2013 05/01/2013 - 06/01/2013 06/01/2013 - 07/01/2013 07/01/2013 - 08/01/2013 08/01/2013 - 09/01/2013 09/01/2013 - 10/01/2013 10/01/2013 - 11/01/2013 11/01/2013 - 12/01/2013 12/01/2013 - 01/01/2014 01/01/2014 - 02/01/2014 02/01/2014 - 03/01/2014 03/01/2014 - 04/01/2014 04/01/2014 - 05/01/2014 05/01/2014 - 06/01/2014 06/01/2014 - 07/01/2014 07/01/2014 - 08/01/2014 08/01/2014 - 09/01/2014 09/01/2014 - 10/01/2014 10/01/2014 - 11/01/2014 11/01/2014 - 12/01/2014 12/01/2014 - 01/01/2015 01/01/2015 - 02/01/2015 02/01/2015 - 03/01/2015 03/01/2015 - 04/01/2015 04/01/2015 - 05/01/2015 05/01/2015 - 06/01/2015 06/01/2015 - 07/01/2015 07/01/2015 - 08/01/2015 08/01/2015 - 09/01/2015 09/01/2015 - 10/01/2015 10/01/2015 - 11/01/2015 11/01/2015 - 12/01/2015 12/01/2015 - 01/01/2016 01/01/2016 - 02/01/2016 02/01/2016 - 03/01/2016 03/01/2016 - 04/01/2016 04/01/2016 - 05/01/2016 05/01/2016 - 06/01/2016 06/01/2016 - 07/01/2016 07/01/2016 - 08/01/2016 08/01/2016 - 09/01/2016 09/01/2016 - 10/01/2016 10/01/2016 - 11/01/2016 11/01/2016 - 12/01/2016 12/01/2016 - 01/01/2017 01/01/2017 - 02/01/2017 02/01/2017 - 03/01/2017 03/01/2017 - 04/01/2017 04/01/2017 - 05/01/2017


 

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Hullabaloo


Sunday, April 23, 2017

 
Trump's fascist conduit

by digby



As we await the returns of the French elections in which a far right neo-fascist Marine LePen is actually a serious threat let's consider that Trump pretty much endorsed her because she's been "the strongest" on "the border", which means she, like him, is a Muslim bashing bigot.

Anyway, as we contemplate them meaning of all that, I thought I'd share this article from the New York Times last week about one of Trump's close associates. You know Trump is a moron who understands nothing a believes anyone who treats him like he is a genius, right?

Anyway:
George Guido Lombardi spotted President Trump’s young son Barron alone on a couch playing a video game in the gaping and gilded living room of Mar-a-Lago, his father’s private oceanfront club in Palm Beach.

“What are you playing?” Mr. Lombardi asked as a Secret Service agent watched under dripping chandeliers and medieval Flemish tapestries. Barron, engrossed in his phone, answered politely. But as Mr. Lombardi pressed on about spring break plans, the 11-year-old made it clear that he was not terribly interested in talking to his father’s longtime Trump Tower neighbor.

The same cannot be said, however, of the populist, anti-establishment leaders in Europe, who seem to have identified the Italian as a potential access point to the Trump administration.

With a deep suspicion of Islam, open borders and the European Union, Mr. Lombardi, 66, considers himself a bridge to Mr. Trump for his old friends and ideological allies in Europe, including Marine Le Pen of France, Geert Wilders of the Netherlands, Prime Minister Viktor Orban of Hungary and Beppe Grillo, the co-founder of Italy’s insurgent Five Star Movement — “the Trump of Italy,” as Mr. Lombardi calls him.

“I’m American to the extent I’m here 40 years,” he said in Italian-accented English. “But at the same time I understand Europe a lot and I understand what’s going on.”

What’s going on, he says, is that Mr. Trump has given hope to politicians trying to harness populist forces, often with the social media tools that Mr. Lombardi himself has used in his capacity as the administrator of Bikers for Trump and about 500 other pro-Trump Facebook groups.

But Mr. Lombardi’s apparent prominence shows that something else is going on. The election of Mr. Trump, a master self-promoter, has imbued members of his social circle with the perception of juice that comes with proximity to power.

Mr. Lombardi, a chief executive of plausible-sounding foundations (North Atlantic League) and practiced photo bomber of officials and second-string celebrities (Frank Stallone, Kenny G), is not letting the opportunity go to waste. He is now busy explaining the evils of Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany to international reporters, speaking on a panel in the Italian Parliament (“Trump has said on more than one occasion that he’d like to meet Putin”) and causing a global stir by escorting Ms. Le Pen to a Trump Tower cafe.

“It was kind of innocent,” Mr. Lombardi said of Ms. Le Pen’s January visit, as he sat next to a whirring Boca Freeze soft ice cream machine in the Mar-a-Lago beach house as Secret Service agents lounged outside, looking out over the Atlantic.

Ms. Le Pen, in America at his invitation, he said, had suggested a coffee in the lobby of Mr. Trump’s building, where he conceded, “there was always a remote possibility” of seeing the then president-elect. “I said, ‘Listen, Marine, you know there is all the media there,’” Mr. Lombardi recalled, saying Ms. Le Pen insisted no one would recognize her. “And sure enough: Bang.” (A spokesman for Ms. Le Pen did not return a call for comment.)

Born in Geneva, Mr. Lombardi has also introduced himself as Count de Canevaro and wears a gold ring bearing his family’s coat of arms. In the library at Mar-a-Lago he walked from a painting of Mr. Trump in tennis whites to a 1750 oil painting of Benedetto Saluzzo Della Manta, who he claimed came from the same region as a distant ancestor.

He moved as a child to Rome, where he said the riots of 1968 and the rampant communism of his university classmates prompted his departure to America. He arrived in his 20s, bummed around, married, had children, started a jewelry business, broke into real estate, divorced and met Gianna Lahainer at a National Italian American Foundation event.

Ms. Lahainer, a former office worker from Trieste who had married the real estate mogul Frank Lahainer, was already a friend and neighbor of Mr. Trump, having bought one of the first condos in Trump Tower. When Mr. Trump first considered buying Mar-a-Lago in 1985, she warned him about the noise pollution from plane traffic over the estate, prompting him to renegotiate the price.

Mr. Lahainer died in 1995 and in 2000, his widow, then 65, married Mr. Lombardi. The couple delighted in telling how she put her late husband on ice at a funeral home because she did not want to miss the social season. “Why should I wait?” she once told the Palm Beach chronicler Ronald Kessler.

Mr. Lombardi said that in reality his wife could not immediately procure permits to send her husband’s body back to his Italian birthplace, but the story amounted to “good advertising.”

While his second wife introduced him to Mr. Trump’s Mar-a-Lago circle, Mr. Lombardi acted as an unofficial (“always unofficial”) representative in the United States of Italy’s anti-immigrant Northern League, often called The Lega in Italy. He said he first met Ms. Le Pen in the early 1990s in Brussels through a friend in the European Parliament.

“I told her right away, ‘Marine, dump your dad. He is just a dead weight. And anyway you have to make a choice. You are either with the Jews or you are with the Muslims. You can’t be with both.’”

The two stayed in touch, and Mr. Lombardi took credit for arranging a meeting between her and the Israeli ambassador to the United Nations, Ron Prosor, in 2011. (The Israeli ambassador later claimed the meeting was an accident.)

Mr. Lombardi expresses fondness for the Jewish people, “our curly friends,” he said referring to the orthodox party that had rented Mar-a-Lago out that afternoon. The specter of the Nazis fuels his preferred, and somewhat tortured, historical parallel.

He envisions the Russian leader, Vladimir V. Putin, as the champion of the spiritual descendants of World War II resistance fighters. “Le Pen, Geert, Lega, Grillo, all the resistance is fighting the Nazi Islamists,” he said. “Of course, Ms. Merkel — You are Jewish, aren’t you? Come on! She’s the one who brought in all these Muslims more than anybody else. Why? Because they never lost their bad habits.”

Despite his increased visibility on Italian television, Mr. Lombardi cuts a low profile in Italy. But he said Mr. Trump has leaned on his Italian expertise, inquiring once about Silvio Berlusconi, the former prime minister, because, Mr. Lombardi said, Mr. Trump was intrigued by a “billionaire who became a politician.” Mr. Lombardi said on a panel in the Italian Parliament last year that Mr. Trump invited Mr. Berlusconi to America last Christmas, but received no reply.

When it came to Italy, though, Mr. Trump’s interest centered on showing the innocence of Amanda Knox, an American college student accused of murder in Perugia. Mr. Trump often spoke out and posted on Twitter in support of Ms. Knox, and asked Mr. Lombardi to look into her case during a trip to Italy. Now, Mr. Lombardi said, the president is “very upset” with the ingratitude of Ms. Knox, who supported Hillary Clinton.

Mr. Lombardi wanted to be of service to Mr. Trump again when he ran for president. The day after Mr. Trump declared his candidacy, Mr. Lombardi asked his neighbor if he really intended to run and then offered to organize support for him on social media.

Mr. Trump assented and Mr. Lombardi, who had no professional social media experience, began setting up a network of Facebook groups to organize support for Mr. Trump and antagonism toward Mrs. Clinton. He said he received many appeals to be an administrator of Facebook groups.

Congressional investigators are examining whether Mr. Trump’s supporters coordinated with Russians to promote stories that helped Mr. Trump. Mr. Lombardi said he had no relationship with Russia and dismissed any suggestion that his groups passed around stories pushed by Moscow-affiliated news media outlets or web robots. “I’m not a troll,” he said.

Instead, Mr. Lombardi expressed pride in his social media work. As Barron, shadowed by the Secret Service agent, kicked a soccer ball with a couple of children on a nearby lawn, Mr. Lombardi scrolled through hundreds of Facebook groups on his phone, including an icon that read, in Italian, “Friends of Putin’s Russia.” (“They ask me if I wanted to be an administrator,” he explained.) Then Mr. Lombardi dragged the screen to an icon he particularly liked.

“People Front for the Liberation of Europe. This one I created it. That’s my group. Sounds like me, no?” he said, listing the European anti-establishment leaders the group promoted. “All my friends.”
This article was in Politico a couple of months ago:
Lombardi, who describes himself as a real estate investor with rightward political leanings, said that throughout the presidential campaign he fielded calls from representatives of a veritable Who’s Who of the European Right, including French far-right leader Marine Le Pen — who was spotted in Trump Tower Thursday — Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, members of Austria’s Freedom Party, as well as the center-right French Républicains party who all wanted to meet with Trump.

“I’m in contact with just about everybody,” Lombardi, who is in his early sixties and emigrated to the United States from Italy in the 1970s, said in a telephone interview from New York. “When there is a high-level request, I pass it on. It may be to Eric [Trump], it may be to someone else. It may be to Donald himself. It depends on who, and what, it is.”

The National Front’s representative in the United States confirmed knowing and having spoken to Lombardi. “He is a go-between,” said Denis Franceskin. “He is part of the [Trump] network,” he said, adding: “Not the only one.”

It's certainly possible that this guy is just another blowhard hanger-on who happens to live in Trump Tower and spends time at Mar-a-lago. Maybe it's harmless that our president spends time with someone like this.

Maybe it isn't.


.





 
So proud of all the Executive Orders

by digby





It's so shameless you have to laugh:






Think what he could do if he had a GOP congress ... oh wait.

Here's a wingnut email from 2012 to Factcheck:

A Comprehensive List Of Obama’s Worst Executive Orders

JUNE 15, 2012 BY LAURIE ROTH

There have been over 900 Executive Orders put forth from Obama, and he is not even through his first term yet. He is creating a martial law ‘Disney Land’ of control covering everything imaginable. Some of the executive orders he has signed recently have been exposed thanks to ‘Friends of Conservative Action Alerts.’ They have compiled a choice list of ‘Emergency Powers, Martial law executive orders’: Get your headache medication out while you still can without a prescription.

* Executive Order 10990 allows the Government to take over all modes of transportation and control of highways and seaports.

* Executive Order 10995 allows the government to seize and control the communication media.

* Executive Order 10997 allows the government to take over all electrical power, gas, petroleum, fuels, and minerals.

* Executive Order 11000 allows the government to mobilize civilians into work brigades under government supervision.

* Executive Order 11001 allows the government to take over all health education and welfare functions.

* Executive Order 11002 designates the Postmaster General to operate a national registration of all persons.

* Executive Order 11003 allows the government to take over all airports and aircraft, including commercial aircraft.

* Executive Order 11004 allows the Housing and Finance Authority to relocate and establish new locations for populations.

* Executive Order 11005 allows the government to take over railroads, inland waterways, and public storage facilities.

* Executive Order 11049 assigns emergency preparedness function to federal departments and agencies, consolidating 21 operative Executive Orders issues over a fifteen-year period.

* Executive Order 11051 specifies the responsibility of the Office of Emergency Planning and gives authorization to put all Executive Orders into effect in times of increased international tensions and economic or financial crisis.

* Executive Order 11310 grants authority to the Department of Justice to enforce the plans set out in Executive Orders, to institute Industrial support, to establish judicial and legislative liaison, to control all aliens, to operate penal and correctional institutions, and to advise and assist the President.

* Executive Order 11921 allows the Federal Emergency Preparedness Agency to develop plans to establish control over the mechanisms of production and distribution of energy sources, wages, salaries, credit, and the flow of money in U.S. financial institutions in any undefined national emergency. It also provides that when the president declares a state of emergency, Congress cannot review the action for six months.

It would appear that Obama is planning for the total control and takeover of America via Martial Law. Food, energy, transportation, work, banking, and health. He has it covered.

While Obama is busy pulling executive orders out of the sky to control everything inside our country, he has been issuing executive orders to force us to submit to international regulations instead of our Constitution.

It wasn't just random wingnuts either:

Is this email accurate in stating that Obama signed the below mentioned executive order that gives the right and power to the president to impose a government takeover in a time of relative peace?

WARNING FROM TEXAS CONGRESSWOMAN KAY GRANGER…
An Executive Order You Should Know About

Dear Friend,

With all that is going in Washington these days some things don’t make the news the way they should. Fourteen days ago President Obama issued an Executive Order that you should know about.
This order gives an unprecedented level of authority to the President and the federal government to take over all the fundamental parts of our economy – in the name of national security – in times of national emergency.

Factcheck wrote:

The email claims that Obama has issued 900 executive orders but lists orders that previous presidents signed. The email also inaccurately describes those orders.

Another viral email cuts and pastes a constituent newsletter from Republican Rep. Kay Granger of Texas. She falsely claimed that an Obama executive order created martial law. Granger has since retracted her statements and removed the newsletter from her website.

It’s true that President Obama is increasingly using his executive powers in the face of staunch Republican opposition in Congress. He’s changed federal policies on immigration and welfare and appointed officials without congressional approval. But Obama’s executive actions have nothing to do with martial law.

Executive orders originated under George Washington, and their use stems from interpretations of Article II of the Constitution — which created the executive branch — and from presidential precedent.

Obama has not issued 900 executive orders. He has signed slightly fewer orders than President George W. Bush during this point in his first term, according to the University of California, Santa Barbara, which tracks executive orders. Obama has issued 139 executive orders as of Sept. 25. (The U.C. website listed 138 orders on Sept. 25, the same day Obama signed order 139). Bush issued 160 executive orders through Sept. 20, 2004, a comparable amount of time.

The viral email that claims Obama has signed 900 executive orders lists 13 orders as evidence, all of which previous presidents signed in the 1960s and 1970s.

Presidents number their executive orders consecutively. The first executive order that President Obama signed was EO-13489, which dealt with presidential records. Obama’s predecessors signed any executive order with a number lower than 13489...
As for the congresswoman's claims?
Granger, the Texas congresswoman, made false claims about an executive order that Obama actually signed in March. Writing in a constituent newsletter, Granger claimed that Obama’s “National Defense Resources Preparedness” order amounted to martial law, adding that it was “unprecedented” and “above the law” and lacked congressional oversight. 
The order was none of those things — and Granger said as much in a subsequent statement. Since the Korean War, Congress has granted the president the authority to ensure that national resources — such as the food supply and various industries — will be available to meet national security needs in times of war and other emergencies. That power is granted under the Defense Production Act, a law that dates to 1950 and must be reauthorized by Congress every few years. (The act expires in 2014.)

Like presidents before him, Obama issued an order updating the resources covered under that act, which allows presidents to delegate authority to various federal departments and agencies. For example, Obama’s order authorizes the secretaries of Defense and the Interior “to encourage the exploration, development, and mining of strategic and critical materials and other materials.”
If you wonder how the Russians figured out that Americans were gullible enough to fall for blatant propaganda, this is it. All they had to do was follow how the American right wing has worked for decades to see that a good many of them had been primed for decades to believe any bullshit they saw about people they hate.

.
 

March of the persons

by Tom Sullivan


This view from NASA's Cassini spacecraft shows planet Earth as a point of light between the icy rings of Saturn. Close-up shows Earth and its moon. Image: NASA.

While web surfing last night, I came cross this riff George Carlin used to do about Man's arrogance that he thinks he can control nature. Way over ninety percent of species that have ever lived are gone, he says. That's what nature does. Let them go with dignity. There's nothing wrong with the planet, Carlin says. It's been here four and half billion years. "The planet has been through a lot worse than us ... The planet will shake us off like a bad case of fleas." And yet.

We are are a part of nature. It affects us in ways we don't really understand. Even big game trophy hunters — bless their hearts — feel some connection to it. That's what we do when we're not working pointless jobs, paying bills, and sitting in front of glowing boxes watching other humans on reality shows behave like idiots so we can feel less like idiots ourselves. Brought to you by the Discover card, like Yosemite and Yellowstone if Wall Street gets its way.

And what have we discovered?

For one, Wall Street will have to find a new place from which to rule the planet. Soon enough it will be under water.

A pot-smoking lineman I know once declared it his aspiration one day to live "above the flush line." Up above the waste being generated by the rest of humanity. Those presently living above the flush line now soon will have to make room for Wall Streeters and the rest our coastal cousins. The flush line will be moving higher along with the coastlines.

A study release this last week in Nature Climate Change examines how rising sea levels will force coastal residents to relocate inland by 2100:
The study is the first attempt to model the destination of millions of potentially displaced migrants from heavily populated coastal communities.

"We typically think about sea level rise as a coastal issue, but if people are forced to move because their houses become inundated, the migration could affect many landlocked communities as well," said the study's lead author, Mathew Hauer, who completed his doctoral degree in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences department of geography.

While sea-level rise assessments are numerous and may help plan for the development of critical infrastructure, few research studies have grappled with where displaced people and families will go. No previous studies model how migration caused by sea-level rise will affect population other than in the directly affected coastal areas.


Image: Matthew Hauer, Nature Climate Change. Tick marks show the number of migrants (inflows and outflows) in thousands. States are ordered clockwise by the size of inflows. The top ten outflow states are colored; all other states are in grey.
Hauer has people in New Orleans wondering where they might have to move. People from inland communities such as Phoenix and Austin are wondering too about who will be moving in next door. Counties in Wyoming and "western Montana, central Colorado and northern Utah" had better start planning too.

The effects will be widespread. An arresting photograph by Paul Nicklen at Bill Moyers' blog this week speaks to the effects warming, rising seas are having on arctic and antarctic ecosystems. While sailing in the Svalbard archipelago in the summer of 2014, Nicklen came upon large polar bear cubs that had starved to death. Then:
“All of a sudden a blizzard came up, a massive storm — 80 knots of wind — so we had to go and hide,” Nicklen recalls. For protection, the best choice was to sail behind Nordaustlandet, a large, ice-covered island in the Svalbard archipelago. “And the temperature, even though we’re 600 miles from the North Pole, was 62 degrees Fahrenheit. And you’ve got all the waterfalls pouring off the Nordaustlandet ice cap.”

Nicklen snapped a photo — and, on this balmy day in the Arctic, captured a potent picture of climate change: A wall of ice in a steel-colored sea, with water pouring from the top of it.

“You go from the dead bears to this, and then look at the science — you come to understand that if we wait for the streets of New York or Miami to be flooded from rising sea levels, then we’ll be 200 years too late,” he says.
Another report from Nature Climate Change last year predicted the effects could last twice as long as human history.

The Slims River, an area I've hiked in the Yukon, changed course in just four days last year from increased melting of the Kaskawulsh glacier. Waters that used to drain through Kluane Lake north into the Yukon River now travel south to the Gulf of Alaska. Communities along the lake suddenly find waters receding and fish stocks in jeopardy.

Sea level rise might catch up to plate tectonics. Mount Everest grows at the rate of about 4 millimeters per year. But that elevation is measured above mean sea level. Sea level is rising (currently) about 3.2 millimeters per year. If that increases much, Everest could start getting shorter.


Saturday, April 22, 2017

 
Saturday Night at the Movies

Stealing the sun from the day: Top 10 Eco-Flicks

By Dennis Hartley





Come on you world, won’t you give a damn?
Turn on some lights and see this garbage can
Time is the essence if we plan to stay
Death is in stride when filth is the pride of our home


-from “Powerful People” by Gino Vanelli


So, do you do anything special for Earth Day? It almost seems counter-productive to have a once-a-year Earth “day”, because when you stop to think about it for about, oh, 5 seconds, shouldn’t every day be “earth day”? It sort of devalues the importance of taking care of our planet (since we appear to have only been issued the one, far back as I can remember). At any rate, in honor of Earth Day, I’ve cobbled together my picks for the Top 10 “eco-flicks”. Per usual, my list is alphabetical; no ranking order. And, as long as you don’t print out a hardcopy, this week’s post is 100% biodegradable (it’s a com-post!).











Chasing Ice - Jeff Orlowski’s film is glacially paced; meaning: these days, “glacial pacing” ain’t what it used to be. Glaciers are moving along (”retreating”, technically) at a pretty good clip. This does not portend well for the planet. To put it in a less flowery way…we’re fucked. After all, according to renowned nature photographer (and subject of Orlowski’s film) James Balog, “The story…is in the ice.” Balog’s fascinating journey began in 2005, while he was on an assignment in the Arctic for National Geographic to document the effect of climate change. Up until that fateful trip, he candidly admits he “…didn’t think humans were capable” of affecting weather patterns in such a profound manner. His epiphany gave birth to a multi-year project utilizing specially modified time-lapse cameras to capture irrefutable proof that affective global warming had transcended academic speculation. The resulting images are beautiful and mesmerizing, yet troubling. Orlowski’s film itself mirrors the dichotomy, being in equal parts cautionary eco-doc and art installation. The images handily trump the squawking that emits from bloviating global climate deniers in the opening montage, and proves a picture is worth 1000 words.









Emerald Forest - Although it may give an initial impression as a heavy-handed (if well-intentioned) “save the rainforest” polemic, John Boorman’s underrated 1985 adventure (a cross between The Searchers and Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan) goes much deeper. Powers Boothe portrays an American construction engineer working on a dam project in Brazil. One day, while his wife and young son are visiting him at his job site on the edge of the rainforest, the boy is abducted and adopted by an indigenous tribe who call themselves “The Invisible People”, touching off an obsessive decade-long search by the father. By the time he is finally (and serendipitously) reunited with his barely recognizable, now-teenaged son (Charley Boorman), the challenge becomes a matter of how he and his heartbroken wife (Meg Foster) are going to coax the reluctant young man back into “civilization”. Tautly directed, lushly photographed and well-acted.




Godzilla Vs. Hedorah - Yeah, I know what you’re thinking: there’s no accounting for some people’s tastes. But who ever said an environmental “message” movie couldn’t also provide us with some mindless, guilty fun? Let’s have a little action. Knock over a few buildings. Wreak havoc. Crash a wild party on the rim of a volcano with some Japanese flower children. Besides, Godzilla is on our side for a change. Watch him valiantly battle Hedora, a sludge-oozing toxic avenger out to make mankind collectively suck on his grody tailpipe. And you haven’t lived until you’ve heard “Save the Earth”-my vote for “best worst” song ever from a film (much less a monster movie!)





An Inconvenient Truth- I re-watched this on cable recently; I hadn’t seen it since it opened in 2006, and it struck me how it now plays less like a warning bell and more like the nightly news. It’s the end of the world as we know it. Apocalyptic sci-fi is now scientific fact. Former VP/Nobel winner Al Gore is a Power Point-packing Rod Serling, submitting a gallery of nightmare nature scenarios for our disapproval. I’m tempted to say that Gore and director Davis Guggenheim’s chilling look at the results of unchecked global warming only reveals the tip of the proverbial iceberg…but it’s melting too fast.




Koyaanisqatsi- In 1982, this innovative, genre-defying film quietly made its way around the art houses; it’s now a cult favorite. Directed by activist/ex-Christian monk Godfrey Reggio, with beautiful cinematography by Ron Fricke (who later directed Chronos, Baraka, and Samsara) and music by Philip Glass (who also scored Reggio’s sequels), it was considered a transcendent experience by some; New Age hokum by others (count me as a fan). The title (from ancient Hopi) translates as “life out of balance” The narrative-free imagery, running the gamut from natural vistas to scenes of First World urban decay, is open for interpretation. Reggio followed up in 1988 with Powaqqatsi (“parasitic way of life”), focusing on the First World’s drain on Third World resources, then book-ended his trilogy with Naqoyqatsi (“life as war”) in 2002. Do yourself a favor-clear a weekend!



Manufactured Landscapes -A unique eco-documentary from Jennifer Baichwal about photographer Edward Burtynsky, who is an “earth diarist” of sorts. While his photographs are striking, they don’t paint a pretty picture of our fragile planet. Burtynsky’s eye discerns a terrible beauty in the wake of the profound and irreversible human imprint incurred by accelerated modernization. As captured by Burtynsky’s camera, strip-mined vistas recall the stark desolation of NASA photos sent from the Martian surface; mountains of “e-waste” dumped in a vast Chinese landfill take on an almost gothic, cyber-punk dreamscape. The photographs play like a scroll through Google Earth images, as reinterpreted by Jackson Pollock. This one is a real eye-opener.




Princess Mononoke - Anime master Hayao Miyazaki and his cohorts at Studio Ghibli have raised the bar on the art form over the past several decades (that’s why I was sad when Miazaki-san announced his retirement from directing). This 1997 Ghibli production is one of their most visually resplendent offerings. Perhaps not as “kid-friendly” as per usual, but most of the patented Miyazaki themes are present: humanism, white magic, beneficent forest gods, female empowerment, and pacifist angst in a ubiquitously violent world. The lovely score is by frequent Miyazaki collaborator Joe Hisaishi. For another Miyazaki film with an environmental message, check out Nausicaa Valley of the Wind.





Queen Of The Sun - I never thought that a documentary about honeybees would make me both laugh and cry-but Taggart Siegel’s 2010 film managed to do just that. Appearing at first glance to be a distressing, hand-wringing examination of Colony Collapse Syndrome, a phenomenon that has puzzled and dismayed beekeepers and scientists alike with its accelerated frequency of occurrences over the past few decades, the film becomes a sometimes joyous, sometimes humbling meditation on how essential these seemingly insignificant yet complex social creatures are to the planet’s life cycle. We bipeds might harbor a pretty high opinion of our own place on the evolutionary ladder, but Siegel lays out a convincing case which proves that these “lowly” insects are, in fact, the boss of us.





Silent Running - In space, no one can hear you trimming the verge! Bruce Dern is an agrarian antihero in this 1972 sci-fi adventure, directed by legendary special effects wizard Douglas Trumbull. Produced around the time that “ecology” was a buzzword, its message may seem a little heavy-handed today, but the film remains a cult favorite to SF fans. Dern is the resident gardener on a commercial space freighter that houses several bio-domes, each one dedicated to preserving a species of vegetation (in this bleak future, the Earth has become barren of organic growth). While it’s just a 9 to 5 drudge to his blue collar shipmates, Dern’s character views his cultivating duties as a sacred mission. When the interests of commerce demand that the crew jettison the domes to make room for a more lucrative cargo, Dern goes off his nut, eventually ending up by his lonesome with two salvaged bio-domes and a trio of droids (named Huey, Dewey and Louie) who play Man Friday to his Robinson Crusoe. Joan Baez contributes two songs on the soundtrack.





Soylent Green - Based on a Harry Harrison novel, Richard Fleischer’s 1973 film is set in 2022, when traditional culinary fare is but a dim memory, due to overpopulation and environmental depletion. Only the wealthy can afford the odd tomato or stalk of celery; most of the U.S. population lives on processed “Soylent Corporation” product. The government encourages the sick and the elderly to politely move out of the way by providing handy suicide assistance centers (considering the current state of our Social Security system, that doesn’t sound like much of a stretch anymore, does it?). Oh-there is some ham being served up onscreen, courtesy of Charlton Heston’s scenery-chewing turn as a NYC cop, investigating the murder of a Soylent Corporation executive. Edward G. Robinson nearly steals the film; his moving death scene has the added poignancy of preceding his passing (from cancer) by less than two weeks after the production wrapped.



…and singing us out, Gino Vanelli (try to get past the skintight elephant bells, chest hair and disco moves, and focus on the lyrics…





More reviews at Den of Cinema



-- Dennis Hartley

 
Marching for (a) Reason

by digby



There was yet another big national march today, this one the March for Science. Here's a report from Los Angeles:
Ryan Erickson, 28, of Crenshaw, held a sign that read, “I like big brains and I cannot lie.” He said he was marching because he believes facts and science should dictate policy, and he’s worried the Trump administration doesn’t agree.

Asked why she was marching, Claudia Kries of San Pedro said, “Why wouldn’t I be? I’ve been at every march since Trump got elected. It’s how I stay sane.”

Saturday’s event fell within the first 100 days of the Trump administration, which has proposed drastic budget cuts for the National Institutes of Health and the Environmental Protection Agency. Top administration officials are openly skeptical of the scientific consensus that climate change is caused by human activity.
Saturday's march drew a diverse crowd of scientists, researchers and teachers, many of whom said they are new to activism.

Andrew and Chelsie Lee took the Gold Line from Pasadena for Saturday's protest. The couple said that beyond voting they aren't particularly politically active. He is an energy efficiency engineer and she is a customer service executive at a food company.

Since Trump's election they have been taking to the streets.

"With all of the things that are happening right now, it is exciting to be a part of something," she said. "Science is such a important underlying part of why we are successful as a nation.'

"As humankind," he chimed in.

Julianne Cuellar, 34, took a break from the march to sit under a tree in Grand Park. Cuellar, who works at an e-commerce company, had never been to a march before the November election. She described herself as being a casual observer of politics.

Trump changed that.

Since his inauguration, Cuellar has been to the Women's March in downtown, a Tax Day march last weekend demanding Trump release his tax returns, and a protest at Los Angeles International Airport against Trump's executive order limiting travel from several Muslim-majority countries.

"I just wanted to be part of a group standing up for facts and truth," she said. "I wanted to demonstrate resistance."

Allison Santos, a 31-year-old marine biologist and research assistant at Cal State Fullerton, said she had been so busy earning her master's degree that she only just voted for this first time last November. She said President Trump's victory shook her.

"I've never been a part of any type of march," she said in front of City Hall while holding a sign with a drawing of Earth that read, "I'm with her."

Daniel Blackburn, a software engineer from Irvine, held up a neon green sign that summed up how many scientists turned activists feel under the new administration: “We are so mad that even the introverts are outside with people.”

Blackburn said he is worried that the U.S. under Trump will fall behind on combating climate change through research or policy.

“We are losing out on valuable time we need to actually take action,” he said.

Blackburn is channeling his newfound activism into local politics.

He said he has been calling his congresswoman, Rep. Mimi Walters (R-Irvine), repeatedly but said he hasn’t gotten past interns or voicemail.

Walters is one of seven congressional Republicans in California who represent districts that Hillary Clinton won in 2016 and that Democrats are targeting for defeat in 2018. Blackburn is keeping a close eye on that race.

“There is a lot of anger at her,” he said.

Jeniffer Hernandez, a professor and immunologist at the Keck Graduate Institute School of Pharmacy in Claremont, had never been to a protest before Saturday.

But she said she felt attacked by Trump: because her parents are immigrants from Mexico, because of Trump’s comments about assaulting women and because her research lab is funded in part by federal grants.

“I’m outraged. I’m upset,” she said. “We need to be out here.”

She carried a sign, written partially in the colors of the Mexican flag, that read: “I’m a 1st generation Mexican-American scientist not a murderer, rapist or drug dealer.”

But while Saturday's marches made a political point — calling on elected officials and policymakers to fund science that enhances the common good and to rely on scientific evidence when making decisions on behalf of the country — they were intended to be nonpartisan.

“Science is not just for us in ivory towers, or for the liberal elite, and it’s not opinion,” said Alex Bradley, a PhD student at UCLA and one of the organizers of Saturday’s event. “We want to make it known that there are Republicans and Democrats doing science, and we all recognize its value.”

There were a lot of those Mexican criminal scientists in this crowd.

Some pictures from LA and around the country:















There's a lot of energy out there and as far as I can tell, it's not dissipating. The Resistance is for real.

.
 
They knew he was a snake before they let him in

by digby


The Trump University fraud case was universally known before the election. 











The problem, of course, is that a majority of Americans didn't let him in. His deluded followers helped him sneak in through the basement and now we can't get him out.

 Think Progress reports:
Days after a lawsuit accusing President Trump of violating the Constitution’s “emoluments clause” added more plaintiffs, the House Oversight Committee is requesting the Trump Organization turn over documents detailing what processes Trump’s business has implemented, if any, to make sure the president isn’t profiting from foreign governments who want to curry favor with him.

On Friday, the Oversight Committee sent a letter to Sheri Dillon — the lawyer who detailed how Trump planned to avoid conflicts of interest during a January 11 news conference — asking her to detail how that plan is being implemented by no later than May 12.

The Constitution prohibits presidents from accepting “any present, emolument, office, or title, of any kind whatever, from any king, prince, or foreign state.” But the Trump International Hotel has taken money from foreign governments to rent out event spaces and rooms at the hotel. And since Trump has broken presidential precedent by refusing to divest from his business interests, he stands to personally profit.
The problem was captured succinctly in this recent tweet from the Georgian ambassador that effectively served as an advertisement for the Trump International.

The Oversight Committee’s letter actually cites a story first broken by ThinkProgress about how the Embassy of Kuwait changed plans shortly after the election and moved a February event from the Four Seasons to the Trump International. During the January 11 news conference, Dillon said that Trump’s plan to circumvent the constitutional problem posed by deals of that sort is “to voluntarily donate all profits from foreign government payments made to his hotel to the United States Treasury.”


It's obvious that he hasn't done anthing and has no intention of doing anything.

Let's let Jason Chaffetz explain how this works in the minds of Republicans when it comes to Trump

"I think the people who voted for Donald Trump went into it with eyes wide open. Everybody knew he was rich, everybody knew he had lots of different entanglements… These other little intrigues about a wealthy family making money is a bit of a sideshow.”

Trump himself believes that it's perfectly ethical for him to run his businesses right out of he White House:

"I could actually run my business and run government at the same time. I don't like the way that looks, but I would be able to do that if I wanted to.
ale

He probably is although he has Ivanka and Jared there to help him keep an eye on Chip and Dale who aren't very together.

By the way, neither Ivanka or Jared have done much of anything to divest either. But why bother? According to the Republicans it's perfectly legitimate. The media is reporting ethical conflicts and potential for corruption every day and it just doesn't stick.

It's pretty clear that like military service before us, the requirement for adherence to ethics rules is for Democrats only. Republicans no longer have to worry about such trifles. After all, we know they're snakes before we let them in.


.











 
Trump's kitchen cabinet is made of solid gold

by digby




Note the two at the top. He's not supposed to speak with them about any official business because they are running the Trump Organization. We used to have this quaint notion that this would constitute a "conflict of interest" a concept that only applies to Democrats apparently.

The rest are --- predictable:

Relationships have always been President Trump’s currency and comfort, helping him talk his way into real estate deals over three decades in New York. Those who know him best say that his outer confidence has always belied an inner uncertainty, and that he needs to test ideas with a wide range of people.

As Mr. Trump’s White House advisers jostle for position, the president has turned to another group of advisers — from family, real estate, media, finance and politics, and all outside the White House gates — many of whom he consults at least once a week.

The media mogul Rupert Murdoch is on the phone every week, encouraging Mr. Trump when he’s low and arguing that he focus on the economy rather than detouring to other issues. The developer Richard LeFrak is a soothing voice who listens to Mr. Trump’s complaints that cost estimates for the border wall with Mexico are too high. Sean Hannity tells the president that keeping promises on core Republican issues is crucial.

The Run-Up
The podcast that makes sense of the most delirious stretch of the 2016 campaign.
Mr. Trump’s West Wing aides, like President Bill Clinton’s staff two decades before, say they sometimes cringe at the input from people they can’t control, with consequences they can’t predict. Knowing these advisers — who are mostly white, male and older — is a key to figuring out the words coming from Mr. Trump’s mouth and his Twitter feed.

Here, based on interviews with more than a dozen friends, top aides and advisers inside and outside the White House, are 20 of Mr. Trump’s outside touchstones.

The Mogul
Rupert Murdoch

Mr. Trump’s relationships depend on two crucial measures: personal success and loyalty to him. Mr. Murdoch excels in both categories. His New York Post vaulted Mr. Trump from local housing developer to gossip-page royalty, and his Fox News Channel was pro-Trump in the 2016 general election.

The two share preferences for transactional tabloid journalism and never giving in to critics. (Mr. Trump said the fallen Fox star Bill O’Reilly should not have settled sexual harassment complaints.) The president’s relationship with Mr. Murdoch is deeper and more enduring than most in his life, and the two commiserate and plot strategy in their phone calls, according to people close to both.

Mr. Murdoch even called the White House press secretary, Sean Spicer, to buck him up after Mr. Spicer was savaged for a remark about Adolf Hitler.

The Media
Sean Hannity

Presidents always deploy surrogates to appear on television to spout their talking points, but Mr. Trump has expanded on that by developing relationships with sympathetic media figures like Mr. Hannity who also serve as advisers. Mr. Hannity, the Fox News host, defends Mr. Trump’s most controversial behavior in public, but privately, according to people close to Mr. Trump, he urges the president not to get distracted, and advises him to focus on keeping pledges like repealing the Affordable Care Act.

Chris Ruddy

The chief executive of Newsmax Media is a longtime Mar-a-Lago member and was a Trump cheerleader among conservative media well before the website Breitbart joined the parade. He employs writers and editors who tracked Mr. Trump’s career when they were at The New York Post. He recently visited the Oval Office, and he and Mr. Trump kibitz in Florida and by phone.

The Lawyer
Sheri A. Dillon

Ms. Dillon seemed out of place when she spoke at a too-large lectern in the lobby of Trump Tower on Jan. 11, describing the steps Mr. Trump planned to take to separate himself from his business. But Ms. Dillon, an ethics lawyer who worked out a highly criticized plan for Mr. Trump to retain ownership of his company but step back from running it, has repeatedly counseled the president about the business and made at least one White House visit. (Michael Cohen, a veteran Trump aide, has been serving as his personal lawyer.)

Campaign Advisers
Corey Lewandowski

Despite his “you’re fired” slogan, the president dislikes dismissing people. Mr. Lewandowski, Mr. Trump’s hot-tempered first campaign manager, was fired in June but never really went away. A New England-bred operative whose working-class roots and clenched-teeth loyalty earned him Mr. Trump’s trust, he continued to be in frequent phone contact with Mr. Trump until the election and beyond. Friends of Mr. Lewandowski say that he can see the windows of the White House residence from his lobbying office on Pennsylvania Avenue, and that the view is even better during his visits to the West Wing, including when the New England Patriots were there this past week.

Newt Gingrich

The former House speaker talks more with Mr. Trump’s top advisers than he does with the president, but his presence permeates the administration. Mr. Gingrich’s former spokesman is at the State Department, and two former advisers work in the West Wing. Mr. Gingrich has relentlessly promoted Mr. Trump’s policy adviser, Stephen Miller, as the West Wing conservative ballast as the chief strategist, Stephen K. Bannon, has been under fire.

Childhood Friend
Richard LeFrak

Their fathers were developers together in New York, and the two men have been friends for decades. Mr. LeFrak is a Mar-a-Lago member, and he agreed to be part of an infrastructure effort that Mr. Trump hopes to put forward. Mr. Trump has turned to him to vent frustrations about the slow pace of bureaucracy.

The Peers
Thomas Barrack Jr.

Mr. Trump divides the people around him into broad categories: family, paid staff and wealthy men like Mr. Barrack whom he considers peers. A sunny and loyal near-billionaire who has socialized with the president for years, Mr. Barrack is less a strategic adviser than a trusted moneyman, fixer and sounding board who has often punctuated emails to Mr. Trump with exhortations like “YOU ROCK!” He has urged Mr. Trump to avoid needless, distracting fights.

Under Mr. Barrack’s leadership, Mr. Trump’s inaugural committee raised a record $106.7 million, much of it from big corporations, banks and Republican megadonors like the Las Vegas billionaire Sheldon Adelson. Mr. Barrack also helped usher Paul Manafort, the international political operative now under scrutiny for his ties to Russia, into the Trump fold last year. The velvet-voiced Mr. Barrack does not seek out attention for himself, one of the most important and elusive qualities by which the president judges people.

Stephen Schwarzman

The chairman and chief executive of the Blackstone Group, Mr. Schwarzman is the head of Mr. Trump’s economic advisory council. He and the president don’t speak daily, West Wing aides said, but do talk frequently. Mr. Schwarzman has counseled him on a number of topics, including advising him to leave in place President Barack Obama’s executive order shielding young undocumented immigrants, known as “Dreamers,” from deportation.

Steve Roth

A good way to get on Mr. Trump’s side is to do a deal with him, particularly if it means rescuing him from his own financial crisis. That’s what Mr. Roth, a real estate tycoon, did a decade ago when he bought out Mr. Trump’s share in a West Side real estate deal that went sour. Mr. Roth, head of Vornado Realty Trust and a longtime Democratic donor, also helped Mr. Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, when he injected $80 million into 666 Fifth Avenue, a Kushner family property in danger of defaulting on $1.1 billion in loans. Mr. Trump speaks with Mr. Roth frequently, and is leaning on him to help develop a trillion-dollar infrastructure package expected this year.

Phil Ruffin

Mr. Trump has 20-odd business partners, but none is closer to him than Mr. Ruffin, 82, a Texas billionaire who has lent his ear and private jet. The president was best man at the 2008 wedding of Mr. Ruffin to his third wife, a 26-year-old model and former Miss Ukraine. Mr. Ruffin has a knack for showing up when Mr. Trump needs him most and remains a die-hard defender. “This stuff about him having financial investments all over Russia — that’s just pure crap,” Mr. Ruffin told Forbes. “I went to Russia with him. We took my airplane. We were having lunch with one of the oligarchs there. No business was discussed.”

Carl Icahn

Rounding out Mr. Trump’s roster of wealthy octogenarians is this 81-year-old corporate raider and real estate mogul, who occupies perhaps the most respected perch in the president’s circle of businessmen buddies. The affection is longstanding: The Queens-bred Mr. Icahn has known Mr. Trump and his family for decades. It’s also numerical: Mr. Icahn is worth an estimated $16 billion, a major plus in the eyes of a president who keeps score. Mr. Icahn serves as a free-roving economic counselor and the head of Mr. Trump’s effort to reduce government regulations on business.

Man of Mystery
Roger J. Stone Jr.

Few alliances in politics are as complicated as the 40-year relationship between the Nixon-tattooed Mr. Stone and Mr. Trump. Mr. Stone won’t say how frequently they speak these days, but he shares the president’s tear-down-the-system impulses and is ubiquitous on cable news, radio and the website InfoWars defending Mr. Trump.

The Clubgoers
Ike Perlmutter

Mr. Perlmutter, the chief executive of Marvel Comics, who is so reclusive that there are few public photographs of him, has been informally advising Mr. Trump on veterans issues. The two men are old friends, and Mr. Perlmutter has been a presence at Mar-a-Lago.

Robert Kraft

The owner of the New England Patriots is a Democrat, but his loyalty to Mr. Trump, Mr. Kraft once said, dates partly to the president’s thoughtfulness when Mr. Kraft’s father died. Mr. Trump loved talking about the Patriots during the campaign, and Mr. Kraft has been a Mar-a-Lago presence since the transition.

The First Lady
Melania Trump

Mrs. Trump is uninterested in the limelight, but she has remained a powerful adviser by telephone from New York. Among her roles: giving Mr. Trump feedback on media coverage, counseling him on staff choices and urging him, repeatedly, to tone down his Twitter feed. Lately, he has listened closely, and has a more disciplined Twitter finger.

The Governor
Chris Christie

Mr. Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and palace gatekeeper, has shown a capacity to hobble his rivals, but few have been finished off. The most durable has been Mr. Christie, whose transition planning, several West Wing aides now concede, should not have been discarded. He has been a frequent Oval Office visitor and has worked with the White House on the opioid addiction crisis.

The Speaker
Paul D. Ryan

Mr. Trump and the clean-cut and wonky Wisconsinite aren’t exactly best friends forever. But their relationship is closer than in the bad old days of the 2016 campaign when Mr. Ryan delayed a hold-my-nose endorsement of Mr. Trump, whose morality he had long questioned. But as the president’s agenda passes through the razor-blade gantlet of the House, where Mr. Ryan faces the constant threat of opposition and overthrow, the two men have become foxhole buddies.

They seem nice.

And yeah, I'm sure he really listens to Melania ....

via GIPHY



 
There is no conflict between human rights and economic justice. They are two sides of the same coin.

by digby





I'm not an economic determinist so I don't find these arguments more compelling than the principles of human rights and civil liberties. But a lot of people apparently need to see women's reproductive freedom in economic terms and I think Ilyse Hogue of NARAL does a good job in this tweetstorm:

Had talk w/ @jmartNYT abt situation w/ @DNC and why women's rights, security should not be traded away for political gain.

At a Unity Stop in Nebraska, Democrats Find Anything But

Piece is good reporting on what happened but bad understanding on reality at play. Said it before & will say it a million times if required.
Calling repro rts/lgbtq rts "cultural catechism" or "social issues" or "single issue" send clear message to peopel that we are still not included. Sets up a false choice that undermines unity & denies reality of massive numbers of party base.

I challenge every reporter & every male politician to look in eyes of single mother buckling under weight of low-wage jobs, childcare housing costs and tell her that her ability to  determine if she adds to her family is a "social issue" or a "cultural  catcechism."

What you are clearly communicating is that your version of economic justice has no room FOR her or for the rest of us who are not white men.

Most white men know this btw since middle and working class families dependent on 2 incomes and pregnancies disrupt that contribution.

Those leaders who deny this are so emotionally connected 2 their own message of gender blind/race blind economic justice that they ignore reams of data from US & all over world that you can't lift women out of poverty w/out centralizing family planning. That includes abortion.

Here are the rest of the tweets:



















Rebecca Traiser takes this topic on in long form and it's really good.

Human rights and economic justice are not in philosophical, moral or ideological conflict.  Indeed, they are inextricably linked. You cannot have one without the other. If you de-link them, the whole foundation and framework of the argument falls apart.

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He told them he already knew everything

by digby




Remember this?
He said in a series of interviews that he does not need to read extensively because he reaches the right decisions “with very little knowledge other than the knowledge I [already] had, plus the words ‘common sense,’ because I have a lot of common sense and I have a lot of business ability.”

Trump said he is skeptical of experts because “they can’t see the forest for the trees.” He believes that when he makes decisions, people see that he instinctively knows the right thing to do: “A lot of people said, ‘Man, he was more accurate than guys who have studied it all the time.’ ”

Trump’s approach to understanding complex issues and reaching decisions is not unique in the annals of the presidency. Historians who have studied presidential styles depict a divide between men such as President Obama or presidents Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush, Jimmy Carter and Richard Nixon, who were given to reading extensively ahead of important decisions, and presidents Eisenhower, Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush, who preferred to have issues presented to them in short memos or orally.

“We’ve had good presidents of both styles,” said David Greenberg, a presidency historian at Rutgers University. “There’s a kind of danger when intellectuals and journalists see these presidents who don’t read much and scorn them as being not so swift. There’s some political prejudice there on the part of liberals against these business types who have a different executive style.”

Trump’s approach goes beyond the chief executive manner of Reagan or the younger Bush. “We’ve had presidents who have reveled in their lack of erudition,” said Allan Lichtman, a political historian at American University, citing Warren Harding and Lyndon Johnson as leaders who scoffed at academics and other experts. “But Trump is really something of an outlier with this idea that knowing things is almost a distraction. He doesn’t have a historical anchor, so you see his gut changing on issues from moment to moment.”

One day last month, Trump had a visit from a delegation of prominent executives in the oil, steel and retail industries, and one of the executives told Trump that the Chinese were taking advantage of the United States. “He said, ‘I’d like to send you a report,’ ” Trump recalled. “He said, ‘I’d love to be able to send you’ — oh boy, he’s got a lengthy report, hundreds of pages. . . . I said, ‘Do me a favor: Don’t send me a report. Send me, like, three pages.’ ”

Trump said reading long documents is a waste of time because he absorbs the gist of an issue very quickly. “I’m a very efficient guy,” he said. “Now, I could also do it verbally, which is fine. I’d always rather have — I want it short. There’s no reason to do hundreds of pages because I know exactly what it is.”

Well, he lives in a golden penthouse and flies around in a jet with his name on it so he must be a genius.

The fact that whatever money he has he inherited and he's obviously a con man dancing as fast as he can to keep up his lifestyle which is so threatened he had to start hawking cheap consumer items and defrauding unsuspecting TV fans of their hard-earned money.

Anyway, here's some insight from a piece in the New Yorker about how presidents learn on the job:
“It turns out” and “nobody knew” are two of the signal phrases by which Trump indicates that an epiphany has arrived: that health-care policy is “so complicated,” or that North Korea is not a Chinese client state. “After listening [to President Xi Jinping, of China] for ten minutes, I realized it’s not so easy,” Trump told the Wall Street Journal earlier this month. Never mind the obviousness of these statements, or Trump’s weird guilelessness in presenting them as insights; they are being received, by some, as signs that Trump is growing in office. “I think President Trump is learning the job,” Mitch McConnell, the Senate Majority Leader, said last week.

Learning the job, in fairness, is a big task for any new President. “Regardless of his prior training, nothing he has done will have prepared him for all the facets of that job,” Richard Neustadt, the great scholar of the American Presidency, wrote in “Presidential Power,” his influential study, in 1960. All Presidents, he argued, enter office ignorant, innocent, and arrogant—liabilities it can take two, three, or even six years for them to overcome. Some never do. Neustadt saw “a certain rhythm” in the Presidential learning process, and, indeed, in most cases, it follows a well-worn path: the chaotic cram session of the transition; the headiness and disappointments of the first year; the midterm elections in the second (a “shellacking” of the President’s party, as Barack Obama described it in 2010, tends to dispel any lingering arrogance); and, of course, the crises—domestic and foreign—that come without warning. The education of a President is episodic, driven by events. The results, as we know, are uneven. They depend not only on fate but on the answers to three basic questions: what are the “particulars of [a President’s] ignorance,” in Neustadt’s phrase; does he have the humility to acknowledge them; and does he have the capacity—political, moral, intellectual—to address them?
[...]
What is Trump’s particular ignorance? It is not a stretch to say that Trump knows less about policy, history, the workings of government, and world affairs than any of the men who preceded him as President. Trump’s ignorance sends historians and commentators scrambling for sufficient adverbs: to Daniel Bell of Princeton, Trump is “abysmally” ignorant; to Josh Marshall, of Talking Points Memo, he is “militant[ly]” so. “Proudly” is another popular one. Last summer, Trump told the Washington Post that he doesn’t need to read much because he makes great decisions “with very little knowledge other than the knowledge I [already] had, plus the words ‘common sense,’ because I have a lot of common sense.” The problem is not just what Trump doesn’t know; there is an expanding, alternative universe of things he imagines or insists to be true, from his claim that “millions” of illegal immigrants gave Hillary Clinton her victory in the popular vote to his charge that President Obama ordered a wiretap of Trump Tower. “He has made himself the stooge, the mark, for every crazy blogger, political quack, racial theorist, foreign leader or nutcase peddling a story that he might repackage to his benefit as a tweet, an appointment, an executive order or a policy,” the Los Angeles Times editorial board wrote earlier this month. Trump is somehow both credulous and cynical; if he were “mugged by reality,” in the old, conservative cliché, he would pin it on Obama, or perhaps Arnold Schwarzenegger.

This man is in so far over his head I think it's far more likely that he'll have a breakdown before he ever becomes even remotely competent. There is no area in which he has even the slightest ability. Even his self-promotion, the only thing he's ever really been successful at, is a pathetic failure in this global arena. And he is in very poor mental health.

We just have to keep our fingers crossed that the institutions will hold long enough to keep the country from completely falling apart before we can fix this monumental error.


 

They want to rule, Part eleventy-leven

by Tom Sullivan

Six years ago, I asked, Colonist or Royalist? Because the rich have put a lot of time and money behind programming people to support maintaining a society that keeps them safely on top. Business schools that teach Ayn Rand. Money-losing conservative newspapers. Fox News. Talk radio. How many people around your workplace marinate in it all day? On headphones? (Happens where I work.)



It's working:

“Corporations shouldn’t pay taxes at all. That’s a terrible idea.” — pro-Walker demonstrator Jay from LaCrosse in Madison, WI.
All that is prelude to how obvious (or careless) over time our friends across the aisle have become about what the real game is. North Carolina, Wisconsin, and Michigan have been test beds for Republicans to rig the election system, by restricting voting and through redistricting. If traditional rules no longer protect their dominance, change the rule. If the courts stop them, try, try again.

It's clear from the expectations the Trump administration brings to the White House that they too expect not to govern, but to rule.

Ahead of this week's congressional special election in Georgia which sends Democrat Jon Ossoff and Republican Karen Handel to a June 20 runoff, the Atlanta Journal Constitution reported:
At a GOP breakfast on the district’s eastern DeKalb outskirts, state Sen. Fran Millar criticized Democrats who think it’s a “done deal that this kid’s going to become the Congressman.”

“I’ll be very blunt: These lines were not drawn to get Hank Johnson’s protégé to be my representative. And you didn’t hear that,” said Millar. “They were not drawn for that purpose, OK? They were not drawn for that purpose.”

Rep. Hank Johnson, Democrat representing Georgia's 4th District.

In an era in which shifting demographics are reducing the voting majorities white America treat as a birthright:
Losing power is very personal for people on the right. Both left and right talk about taking "their country" back, but it seems much more personal for conservatives. In their America, it seems, there is no we, just i and me.

One place you hear it is in their rhetoric about voter fraud. It is a very personal affront to them that the power of their votes might be diminished by the Other. Every time someone ineligible casts a fraudulent ballot, they insist, it "steals your vote." Your vote. They have convinced themselves that there are thousands and thousands of invisible felons stealing their votes every election. Passing more restrictive voting laws is a matter of justice and voting integrity, of course. What other motivation could there be for railroading eligible poor, minority, and college-age voters?
So it is no surprise at all that after Tuesday's jungle primary in Georgia, Karen Handel, a real pioneer in Republican voter suppression, invoked the notion that losing an election to Democrats amounts to theft. The president himself joined the chorus: Does someone "as morally bankrupt as this president" even know the meaning of the word "steal"? Nancy LeTourneau asks. In court this week, his lawyers argued that protesters' First Amendment rights do not extend to "the campaign rally of the political candidates they oppose.” LeTourneau writes:
What it comes down to is that Trump’s reaction to anything he doesn’t like is to define it as criminal. Back in January, Martin wrote about the 12 early warning signs of fascism posted at the U.S. Holocaust Museum. This tendency is embedded in several of them, but most notably this one: “obsession with crime and punishment.”

You might suggest that this time it was simply a fundraising email for one House seat in Georgia. But using rhetoric about “stealing” an election is serious business in my book.
It is serious. It's a strategy.




Friday, April 21, 2017

 
Friday Night Soother: you hadn't otter....


by digby


You need some juggling otters. You need them so much:





And then there are these two adorable critters:











Little guys:
The Chicago Zoological Society announced Wednesday that twin river otter pups had been born at Brookfield Zoo in February.

The male and female pups, born Feb. 23, are the first successful river otter births in the zoo's history.

The mother, Charlotte, has been at Brookfield Zoo since 2012, and father Benny has been at the zoo since 2004. Otter pups are born with their eyes closed, fully furred and weighing about 4 ounces, the zoo said.

The pups are being kept behind the scenes at the zoo to bond with their mother and learn how to swim. They are expected to make their public debut later in April.

Here's another baby otter learning how to swim. They have to be taught. Who knew?



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