Obama — Eight years in office and he didn’t learn shit

Former President Barack Obama attends Baker Institute gala at Rice University

The 44th president of the United States, Barack Obama, took part in a moderated conversation at the 25th anniversary gala of Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy.

HOUSTON – Rice University’s Baker Institute celebrates 25 years with the help of special guest of honor, former President Barack Obama.

“Reaching across the aisle” was the driving theme for the discussion between Obama and former Secretary of State, James Baker III. The discussion worked to also address the need for more civility in our political and public discourse.

Republicans are busy drilling holes in the bottom of the ship of state and Obama wants bipartisanship? First, throw overboard all those who are trying to kill the passengers. Then talk bipartisanship.

Source

Cuomo? Oy!

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Democratic Party both acknowledge the existence of a false piece of campaign material that wrongly implied that his primary opponent, Cynthia Nixon, was anti-Semitic.

The execrable mailer, which Cuomo denied any knowledge of, apparently came from the New York State Democratic Committee. Not only is Cuomo the de facto head of that committee, but as far as I can tell, every single Cuomo mailing in the recent primary came out of that committee.

Sources: New York Times, New York Daily News.

Whither goest the Mueller probe?

MrMild has cautioned me against making predictions: “What’s the point?” he says. “They’ll either come true or they won’t.”

Nevertheless, here I go . . .

Mueller has already crossed Donald Trump’s “red line” by delving into the family finances, but has yet to target Trump himself or members of Trump’s family. What I see happening is that Mueller is drawing the noose tighter around Trump. Mueller has already seen Manafort convicted, Cohen pleading guilty, Pecker and Weisselberg getting immunity deals.

What’s next? Well, here comes the prediction: Mueller will further tighten the noose by flipping the rest of Trump’s executives. Mueller knows who they are, but for those keeping score at home, here’s a handy list. And another. Then there are the campaign staffers, and the inaugural committee.

Two final predictions (because I cannot help myself): Trump gets impeached, and ends up in Moscow where Putin gives him asylum.

Jeff Sessions stands between us and the abyss

Under increasing attack from Trump and Lindsey Graham, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions stands firm in maintaining the independence of the Justice Department.

While I am attorney general, the actions of the Department of Justice will not be improperly influenced by political considerations.

I demand the highest standards, and where they are not met, I take action. However, no nation has a more talented, more dedicated group of law enforcement investigators and prosecutors than the United States.

The Biteme Commissariat for Editorial Policy disagrees with Sessions on . . . almost everything. A quick sample would include the death penalty, civil forfeiture, immigration, sanctuary cities, medical marijuana, etc., etc., and so forth.

On the other hand, he has stood strong in opposition to Trump’s attempts to use the DOJ as Trump’s personal Star Chamber.

And for that, we offer AG Sessions our hearty support.

The Bitemaster talks about patriotism

The Bitemaster stands for the National Anthem, but supports those who kneel in protest against police brutality and racial injustice.

The Bitemaster despises the swifboating of John Kerry. It was one of the most dishonorable actions of George W. Bush’s presidential campaign.

The Bitemaster despises Donald Trump’s insults of Gold Star Mother Ghazala Khan.

The Bitemaster salutes our service members even when he disagrees with their politics. And that goes double for John McCain. Unlike Captain Bone Spur, McCain earned the right to to spout off on any damn thing he wants — even when I think he’s wrong.

I’m no showy patriot, but I have nothing against pledging allegiance to the American flag. But the flag lapel pin has become a symbol of fake patriotism, proudly worn by those who would destroy the Constitution and betray the US to Russia.

And the American right-wing is full of “sovereign citizens,” tax protesters, secessionists like Todd Palin, and other anti-American types.

Which brings me to standing for “God Bless America,” which is now played at American baseball stadia, Should one stand for it? It’s just a song, not the National Anthem. So I asked one of the most decent men I know, himself a veteran of Vietnam. He said he stands in honor of his friends who died there. Good enough for me. Next time, I stand.

 

The Democratic National Committee drives their midterm “blue wave” off a high cliff

Two months after adopting a resolution prohibiting donations from fossil fuel companies (in a unanimous vote), DNC Chair Tom Perez has introduced a new resolution to reverse course.

Party insider Perez, who beat out progressive Keith Ellison for the chairmanship in 2017, has issued some blather about this move somehow supporting the American worker.

Instead, this action will turn off all the young progressives that the party needs to turn out, in order to have any hope of breaking the current Republican hegemony. You’d almost think he was getting his orders from Putin.

So Tom Perez, you quisling, Bite Me!

Source: Democratic National Committee Proposes Reversing Its Ban On Fossil Fuel Donations | HuffPost

Everybody wants to be in a gang!

  • Jewish immigrants
  • Irish immigrants
  • Italian immigrants
  • Puerto Rican immigrants
  • Black migrants
  • Mexican immigrants
  • Dominican immigrants
  • White supremacists
  • ISIS recruits
  • Trump supporters

The poor, the outsiders, and the disappointed are all prospects for gang membership.

Are there gangs for happy WASPS, too? Well, there’s always the Episcopal Church, the Club for Growth and the Social Register.

How the GOP used a “two Santa Clauses” tactic to con America for nearly 40 years

First, this is a must-read on how a GOP economic strategy has crippled the Democrats for decades. How the GOP used a two Santa Clauses tactic to con America for nearly 40 years

Now, check out this story about how Russia is dumping its holdings of U.S. debt (“Treasuries” — T-Bills, T-Notes, T-Bonds, and TIPS). There are various theories as to why Russia is doing it, ranging from the benign (restructuring their portfolio) to the retaliatory (because of U.S. sanctions). But the Bitemaster sees something more sinister.

When there are more buyers of debt instruments, the lender can lower the interest rate it offers. When Russia gets out of the market, there are fewer buyers and the interest rate the U.S.Treasury has to pay goes up.

Which is just what has happened. So far, the cost to the U.S. is tiny: only a couple billion dollars. But if other countries follow, it could have long-term effects on the U.S. economy. And that is what I think is the plan behind Russia’s move.

And that could move voters towards the Democrats — except that the Democrats will be totally hamstrung by the gigantic national debt they would inherit from the Republicans.

Win or lose, the Dems are bleeped.

Can Anyone Take Down Nancy Pelosi?

The Huffington Post article Can Anyone Take Down Nancy Pelosi? considers whether Nancy Pelosi could win a contest for Speaker of the House, should the Democrats regain the majority in this year’s midterm elections.

First, a bit of background:

  • To hold onto her current position as House Minority Leader, Pelosi only needs the support of a majority of the Democrats (about 97 of 193 Dems).
  • To become Speaker, she would need a majority of the entire House (about 218 of a 435-seat House). In other words, she would probably need the support of every single Democratic representative.

Given the coolness towards Pelosi shown by a number of Democrats currently running for Congress (i.e., the people who might return the House to the Dems), Pelosi’s election to the speakership is by no means assured.

But would Pelosi be the best person for the job?

MrMild doesn’t think so, pointing out that under the leadership of Pelosi and Sen. Chuck Schumer, the Democrats have lost the presidency, the House and the Senate. Ouch!

Your Bitemaster has a different take: I’m concerned about her age and that of the other Democratic leaders in the House and Senate.

OfficeOffice holderAge
House Minority LeaderNancy Pelosi78
Deputy House Minority Leader / Minority WhipSteny Hoyer79
Senate Minority LeaderChuck Schumer67
Deputy Senate Minority Leader / Minority WhipDick Durbin73

Sure, these old folks are still capable of performing their duties, but in order to raise up the next generation of leaders we have to let them do some leading. So, Nancy, hold on to your congressional seat if you like, but please pass the leadership baton to the next generation.

[hat-tip to C. Northocote Parkinson]