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Fritz Walter

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Member since: Sat Mar 21, 2015, 07:08 PM
Number of posts: 3,678

Journal Archives

How OUR President addressed the UN in 2014

There is much that must be done to meet the test of this moment. But today I’d like to focus on two defining questions at the root of so many of our challenges -- whether the nations here today will be able to renew the purpose of the UN’s founding; and whether we will come together to reject the cancer of violent extremism.

First, all of us -- big nations and small -- must meet our responsibility to observe and enforce international norms. We are here because others realized that we gain more from cooperation than conquest. One hundred years ago, a World War claimed the lives of many millions, proving that with the terrible power of modern weaponry, the cause of empire ultimately leads to the graveyard. It would take another World War to roll back the forces of fascism, the notions of racial supremacy, and form this United Nations to ensure that no nation can subjugate its neighbors and claim their territory.

Recently, Russia’s actions in Ukraine challenge this post-war order. Here are the facts. After the people of Ukraine mobilized popular protests and calls for reform, their corrupt president fled. Against the will of the government in Kyiv, Crimea was annexed. Russia poured arms into eastern Ukraine, fueling violent separatists and a conflict that has killed thousands. When a civilian airliner was shot down from areas that these proxies controlled, they refused to allow access to the crash for days. When Ukraine started to reassert control over its territory, Russia gave up the pretense of merely supporting the separatists, and moved troops across the border.

This is a vision of the world in which might makes right -- a world in which one nation’s borders can be redrawn by another, and civilized people are not allowed to recover the remains of their loved ones because of the truth that might be revealed. America stands for something different. We believe that right makes might -- that bigger nations should not be able to bully smaller ones, and that people should be able to choose their own future...
Source: Obama White House Archives.

Contrast that with today's spectacle, including and especially the reactions of the delegates.

Randy's back with Cheeto Christ Stupid-Czar

That'll leave a mark, Miss M!


For those unable to open tweets, Bette Midler wrote:
"Trump wants to buy #Greenland? Let's make him find it on a map first."

Randy Rainbow to donnie: "Calm down, bitch!"

The long wait is over.

Don't miss Miss Lindsay's two-screen interview!

Randy Rainbow on "Fresh Air" yesterday

I was only able to hear bits and pieces of Terry Gross's interview with Randy, but knowing that NPR posts transcripts and audio clips of their shows on the following day, I knew I could read/listen to the entire program.

And it was worth the wait.

The interview lasts 36 minutes -- worth every minute. And for those who want to revisit Randy's videos featured, here they are:

Trumps Favorite Things

He's In Love (and We're All Going to Die)

Roy Moore - She was Sixteen

The Mueller Blues

This episode of "Fresh Air" is also available as a Podcast if you want to download it and play it over and over again.

drumpf in Asia - A Bad Lip Reading

In case you need a laugh or two today.

Justice Department lawyers may soon pay a high price for lying to the courts

ACLU filed a "remarkable" brief in federal court on Friday: drumpf's Justice Department entangled itself in an entirely different web of deceit. Additionally, the brief references a forthcoming motion for sanctions against the government attorneys who litigated this case. In addition to the lie about the citizenship question -- in which the Trump administration implausibly claimed that it added the question to aid Voting Rights Act enforcement -- they also lied about the deadline for printing census forms.

According to a Think Progress story published on Sunday, July 7,
While the New York case was making its way through the courts, the Justice Department repeatedly made another claim that turns out to be false (or, at the very least, that the Trump administration itself now claims to be false). The ACLU brief filed on Friday lists twelve separate occasions where Trump administration lawyers claimed that “the census forms must be finalized for printing by the end of June 2019.”

Because of this claim by Trump’s Justice Department, courts processed this case on an unusually expedited basis. Among other things, the Supreme Court invoked a rarely used procedure that bypassed review by a federal appeals court and allowed the nation’s highest court to review a trial court’s decision directly.

Not long after the Trump administration lost in the Supreme Court, however, it started singing a different tune. Though Justice Department lawyers initially signaled that they were giving up the fight to defend the citizenship question, they were later contradicted by President Trump himself. On July 3, they told a federal judge that they’ve been “instructed to examine whether there is a path forward, consistent with the Supreme Court’s decision, that would allow us to include the citizenship question on the census.”

In their brief, the ACLU invokes a doctrine known as “judicial estoppel”: essentially the Justice Department should be held to its previous claims about a June deadline. “'Estoppel' doctrines prevent parties from making one claim, then contradicting themselves when that claim proves disadvantageous."

The story also includes a link to the ACLU brief, which is worth reading.

This should be at the top of the news for the next few days. OK, OK: USA beat the Netherlands in the World Cup. Yay!

But after that story, this one should be the most prominent.

Randy Rainbow: "Maybe when this is all over, Kellyanne [Conway] and I can have a drink together."

DU has many, many Randy Rainbow fans, so I'm delighted to share this great article from the Washington Post. If you're stuck at the WaPo pay-wall, I would highly recommend you find a way -- borrow a friend's device, create a one-time phantom account, actually pony up a few coins -- to read the full article. It's that good.

Randy Rainbow’s Witty World
How a musical theater nerd reinvented political satire for the YouTube age

Here are some excerpts:

It’s no secret that in 21st-century America, power over public opinion doesn’t reside exclusively with editorialists or news anchors. We are now Entertainment Nation, and society’s jesters — Stephen Colbert, Samantha Bee, John Oliver, Trevor Noah, Bill Maher, etc. — have become as influential as the Walter Cronkites and David Brinkleys of yore...
...Rainbow, with his snappy riffs on the politics of the day, is a prominent part of this new and influential group, but he offers something distinct: a very old tradition of musical satire updated for the YouTube age. Think of him as a modern-day Gilbert and Sullivan, or the millennial version of the piano-playing Mark Russell or Tom Lehrer — the key difference being that his get-it-out-fast production marathons and savvy use of social media bring his commentary to the public quickly, directly and with no filter. Competitors like the Capitol Steps strive to put the mock in democracy as fast as possible, but with multiple writers and cast members, they can’t equal Rainbow’s speed. In a world on hyperdrive, he delivers near-instant gratification: Within minutes of Trump lawyer Michael Cohen’s appearance before members of Congress, for instance, Rainbow was taking song requests from fans on Twitter. Three days after Roger Stone was arrested in January, Rainbow posted a video parody of a number from the musical “Chicago.”

A sampling of Rainbow’s hot takes includes “Desperate Cheeto” (a take on Luis Fonsi’s “Despacito”), “Border Lies” (Madonna’s “Borderline”), “How Do You Solve a Problem Like Korea?” (“Maria” from “The Sound of Music”) and “GOP Dropout” (“Beauty School Dropout” from “Grease”). Actor-comedian Steve Martin told Rainbow that “A Very Stable Genius” — a takedown of you-know-who sung to Gilbert and Sullivan’s “I Am the Very Model of a Modern Major-General” — is a favorite ditty in the Martin household:

He is the very model of a very stable genius.
Of all the U.S. presidents he is the Mussoliniest.
He learned a lot of things according to his Wikipedia.
And demonstrates his ample intellect on social media.
When people are in need he is the best at making fun of them.
He knows 11 words although he can’t spell even one of them.

Fellow Randy fans who have WaPo accounts: please to share their favorite excerpts here. I would be hard-pressed to select a favorite of his YouTube videos (please subscribe!), other than to say I love it when he releases a new one. Very fresh, very topical, very pointed.

Want to stop money laundering? Require names of "Beneficial Owners"

While spending a few days visiting “up north,” I saw this editorial in today’s Globe and Mail.

Apparently, Canada is also seeing a huge impact of money laundering. For instance, in British Columbia,
...reports estimated that $5-billion was washed through the province’s real-estate market in 2018, inflating prices by 5 per cent.

There is good reason to believe that the same is happening in other Canadian cities. A report in March from Transparency International tallied almost $30-billion of “unknown funds” – from entities whose true ownership is cloaked – that have been pumped into the Greater Toronto Area housing market since 2008. Of that figure, $9.8-billion worth of deals were done in cash, avoiding the few checks on money laundering that exist in real estate.

B.C.’s money-laundering reports – on casinos, luxury cars and real estate – are the beginning of the story, not the end. The province last week announced a public inquiry, which should be a prelude to action.

It appears that our northern neighbors (neighbours?) have legislators with actual backbones. In this province, their parliament has come up with an effective solution: name names. Presumably, ass-kickings may follow.

An essential first step is a public registry of who owns what real estate. B.C. has taken the lead with first-in-Canada legislation introduced this spring that will reveal beneficial owners – the names of actual people – behind structures such as numbered companies.

As Transparency International argues, disclosure of beneficial ownership “should be a prerequisite for any property transfer.”

Just out of curiosity, has this idea ever occurred to our own* public servants?

Perhaps it’s the local climate. Or the great dining experiences I’m enjoying here, but is it “aluminium” hat-worthy to suggest that this is part of Putin’s scheme? Encourage (require?) Russian oligarchs to buy up property in western countries. No only to avoid taxes and other, pesky government “interference”, diversify holdings, and other easily recognizable advantages of money laundering; but also add to the destabilization of Western economies. Hyper-inflate real estate and luxury commodity sales, then watch the local/regional/national economies recede if not outright crash. Which provides even more opportunities for hidden investors to scoop up even more assets.
Nah! Must be the weather here...

We all know who owns the RepubliCONs. A list of names would read like the Moscow phonebook!

WaPo: The Red Hen Restaurant owner speaks up almost a year after asking Sarah Sanders to leave

Resistance isn't Futile.

I’ve been getting hate mail for almost a year now, ever since I asked White House press secretary Sarah Sanders to leave my Lexington, Va., restaurant, the Red Hen, last June.

At the time, the country was in turmoil over the Trump administration’s heinous practice of separating children from their parents at our southern border. In our tiny 26-seat restaurant, the horror felt simultaneously immediate and far away.

Faced with the prospect of serving a fine meal to a person whose actions in the service of our country we felt violated basic standards of humanity, we balked. We couldn’t do it.


In the days following, I tried to balance fears for the safety of my family and staff against the reality of being well-protected in a small, loving community. Overhanging it all was a sense that I’d seen this show before; don’t we all have ringside seats to the outrage circus these days? But there was plenty I couldn’t predict or assess: How likely was it, really, that the guy texting me from a Minneapolis area code was really going to come to town to set fire to our restaurant? It felt impossible to know.

There's a happy ending, and I won't spoil it for you here, other than to say that the Red Hen Restaurant is still in business.

If you can't get past the pay-wall, I'll try to add a few more great quotes in the comments.

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