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Snarkoleptic

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Gender: Male
Hometown: Chicago
Home country: USA
Current location: Chicago
Member since: Fri May 4, 2007, 12:12 PM
Number of posts: 5,553

Journal Archives

Want to know where to get a great Chicago style hot dog?

The Wieners Circle in Chicago, that's where!


We'll be ready to re-open when bus drivers can tell riders to wear a mask & not get spit upon.

Authoritarians are all-in until white privilege has it's fee-fees hurt.

"Front Lines" - Devastating new ad from Priorities USA

AP FACT CHECK: Trump defense misrepresents Mueller findings

https://apnews.com/ffc57a10c14a09fe1a459adc065bab18

WASHINGTON (AP) — In opening arguments of the impeachment trial, President Donald Trump’s defense misrepresented the findings of a special counsel’s report on Russian interference in the 2016 election by claiming the president was cleared of obstruction of justice.

A look at some of his legal team’s claims Tuesday during debate on the format of the Senate trial:

JAY SEKULOW, on special counsel Robert Mueller: “We had the invocation of the ghost of the Mueller report. I know something about that report. It came up empty on the issue of collusion with Russia. There was no obstruction, in fact.”

THE FACTS: He’s wrong to suggest that special counsel Robert Mueller’s report cleared the Trump campaign of collusion with Russia. Nor did the report exonerate Trump on the question of whether he obstructed justice.

Instead, the report factually laid out instances in which Trump might have obstructed justice, leaving it open for Congress to take up the matter or for prosecutors to do so once Trump leaves office.

“If we had had confidence that the president clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said so,” Mueller declared after the report was released.

How's your 409(k) doing?

Two days ago, BLOTUS boasted about growth in 409K's. Sure it was a typo and he meant 401(K), but he seems to be in mental decline, so lets compare Obama vs. Trump growth rates.
Of course, it's worth pointing out that the richest 1% own 50% of US stocks and to expand the view, the richest 10% own 84% of US stocks.
These facts don't stop garden variety broke-as-fuck trumpanzees from crowing about tRump's superior performance, so let's do the math.

Obama vs. Trump - first 35 months in office** The start/stop data are laid out down below, for those interested

Obama Dow +52.3% <<Clear advantage
Trump Dow +43.5%

Obama S&P 500 +54.2% <<Clear advantage
Trump S&P 500 +41.8%

Obama NASDAQ +80.7% <<Clear advantage
Trump NASDAQ +60.6%

There are 3 standard response you'll get from Trumpists.
1) No!, Fake News, or some such fact-averse push back. (I always challenge them to research it and try to debunk - they can't do it!)
2) Obama became POTUS during an economic downturn (Congrats for recognizing that Obama pulled us out of the 2nd Republican Great Depression - without help from R's)
3) Trump grew it by more points! (Upon which I direct them to the following article. Math=Hard)
https://finance.zacks.com/stock-market-points-vs-percent-6029.html
Percent Math

The designated number of points divided into the value of the underlying stock or index price produces a percentage change. If IBM is up 5 points from $100 per share, that means that it's up $5, and the stock gained 5 percent. If the S&P 500 is up 5 points from 1,420, the stock index gained 0.35 percent. Percentages of change are always calculated from the starting value. Using the percent change makes comparisons understandable. For example, if the Dow is up 130 points from a starting value of 13,180 for the day, and the S&P 500 has gained just 14 points from a starting point of 1,420, both stock indexes are up about 1 percent.

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**Here's the math, pulled directly from Yahoo Finance data, in case someone challenges these #'s. (sorry about the wonky formatting)
Obama inauguration 1/20/2009 thru 12/20/2011

Dow..... (1/20/2009 7949) (12/20/2011 12104) (Point Var. 4155) (Pct. Var. 52.27%)
S&P 500 (1/20/2009 805) (12/20/2011 1241) (Point Var 436) (Pct. Var. 54.16%)
NASDAQ (1/20/2009 1441) (12/20/2011 2604) (Point Var. 1163) (Pct. Var. 80.71%)


Trump inauguration 1/20/2017 thru 12/20/2019

Dow..... (1/20/2017 19827) (12/20/2019 28455) (Point Var. 8628) (Pct. Var. 43.52%)
S&P 500 (1/20/2017 2271) (12/20/2019 3221) (Point Var. 950) (Pct. Var.41.83%)
NASDAQ (1/20/2017 5555) (12/20/2019 8924) (Point Var. 3369) (Pct. Var.60.65%)

Forty years an outlaw, today I bought legal weed!

Supplies are limited here in Illinois, as it Cannabis was just legalized on January 1st. There have been lines as long as 4-5 hours and lots of products sold out.
Today I drove up and 20-minutes later drove off with 1g of Cresco Rocket Fuel (28.95% THC) and 20 gummies 50/50 CBD/THC.
Ideally, I would have bought 1/4oz or 1/8oz, but they've been rationing so nobody gets shut out.
My wife, who has never touched the stuff, is on board to try out the gummies this weekend.
I'm just about to light up my first bowl of the stuff, which smell so much better than the Midwest barn-weed that's oh-so common.

Sorry to geek out, but this is a big deal for a lot of Illinoisans, particularly those who are having convictions expunged.
This never would have happened under our former Repug Governor!



Reza Marashi weighs in on the absolute lunacy of Trumpco's approach toward Iran.

https://threadreaderapp.com/thread/1214031169173348352.html


THREAD: Over the past few days, I've spoken extensively with career U.S. government officials as they've worked around the clock to try and mitigate the damage from Trump's ineptitude on Iran. With their permission, I'm sharing a small taste from our lengthy conversations. Enjoy.

"We have no functional national security decision-making process in place. We have no plan for what comes next. They are woefully unprepared for what's about to pop off, and they're too stupid to realize it. People here are freaking out, and rightfully so."

"We're still trying to dig out from underneath the last war of choice, and now they're trying to start a new one. I finally cracked open the bottle of scotch you gave me that I've been keeping stashed away in my desk drawer."

"I'm gonna call you later tonight to talk through this so I can go into meetings tomorrow armed with some sane talking points to insert into this clusterfuck."

"When did most of us find out about killing Soleimani? After it already happened. Since then, we've been trying to cobble together contingency planning on the fly, but these charlatans ignore most of it, and then Trump does more stupid shit that puts us back at square one."

"All Trump cares about is shitting on Obama's legacy, sucking up to donors, and distracting from impeachment. None of this is about American interests or security. He's surrounded by ideological lunatic sycophants like Pence and Pompeo. But they're far from the only ones."

"So many of Trump's top advisors on Iran are military vets who served multiple tours of duty in our wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere. They believe to their core that Iran is the reason why they lost those wars, and they're dead set on payback - no matter what it takes."

"They've been pushing to kill Soleimani for years, and they finally baited Trump into it. They think war with Iran is long overdue, so for them, this was a means to an end. When Iran responds, they'll tell Trump to hit the Iranians harder. You see where this could go."

"They know the Iraqis are gonna kick them out now, so they're gonna try to kill as many as possible on their way out. Iranians, Iraqis, whoever. Some of them are advising Trump to tell the Iraqi government to fuck off and dare them to make us leave. I shit you not. Insanity."

"When I used your points about Soleimani's murder being a catalyst for Iranians to rally around the flag, they said that was 'Obama apologist bullshit,' and the Soviet Union forced people against their will into public displays of support. So apparently Iran is a superpower now."

"Trump is threatening war crimes against Iran, and none of his top advisors have the courage to publicly oppose it. Instead, they act like cowards and go on background with journalists to express their opposition. They should all resign. They don't deserve to serve this country."

"We have friends that are getting deployed into war zones, but for what? Trump has deployed 14,000 troops over the past 6 months, and it didn't prevent the current crisis. At what point do we start asking whether deploying troops is part of the problem rather than the solution?"

"The scariest part is that they're just making shit up to justify their preferred course of action. When we point out inaccuracies or question logic, we're at best yelled at or at worst cut out of the process. Most of the political appointees are paranoid, unqualified, or both."

"Last year, if you would've asked me whether American institutions are durable enough to prevent a Trump-led war with Iran, I would've said absolutely. Today, I'm not so sure. For as bad as it looks to you all on the outside, it's even worse when you see it from the inside."

"One of Trump's top Iran advisors got suckered into a honey trap, had their laptop/iPhone stolen and hacked before they woke up, and the White House refused to take precautionary measures regarding their security clearance. Ladies and gents, I give you the Trump administration."

In conclusion: Yes, folks. It really is that bad. I am but a humble messenger of truth. The voice of the voiceless. That is all. You may now return to your regularly scheduled programming.


Edit-
Who is Reza Marashi
https://www.huffpost.com/author/reza-marashi
Reza Marashi joined NIAC in 2010 as the organization’s first Research Director. He came to NIAC after serving in the Office of Iranian Affairs at the U.S. Department of State. Prior to his tenure at the State Department, he was an analyst at the Institute for National Strategic Studies (INSS) covering China-Middle East issues, and a Tehran-based private strategic consultant on Iranian political and economic risk. Marashi is frequently consulted by Western governments on Iran-related matters. His articles have appeared in The New York Times, Foreign Policy, The Atlantic, and The National Interest, among other publications. He has been a guest contributor to CNN, NPR, the BBC, TIME Magazine, The Washington Post, and the Financial Times, among other broadcast outlets.
Posted by Snarkoleptic | Mon Jan 6, 2020, 12:18 AM (5 replies)

Why is Trumpco trying so desperately to tie Iran to 9/11 and Al Qaeda? (Hint- AUMF)

File this under- "No one needs a war like a politician who's low in the polls."

It should come as no surprise that Trump wants to dangle a shiny object to distract us from all of the bad news flowing his way.
Impeachment, economic downturn, McGann may be testifying, etc. are weighing on his already sagging psyche, so why not start a war with Iran?
Trump gets a much needed distraction. Neocons win, defense contractors win, US oil companies win, Russia and Saudi Arabia win (It's been said Russian needs oil over $70/bbl and Saudi wants it nort of $85/bbl).

So what's the holdup?
Declaring war against Iran would require congressional approval, as the AUMF (Authorization for Use of Military Force) is only applicable to countries, groups and individuals involved, at least tangentially, in 9/11.

Here's an article published by Just Security in 2018, when Trumpco began stepping up their quest for an excuse to bomb Iran.
https://www.justsecurity.org/57338/trump-administration-claim-congress-authorized-force-iran-analysis-existing-statutory-authority-proposals/

In a policy speech at the Heritage Foundation last week, Secretary of State Pompeo set out a list of 12 grievances against Iran. While many involve desirable ends, they have rightly been critiqued as a “pipe dream” – a wish list divorced from any strategy, whose realization was made more wildly unrealistic after the U.S. abrogated its commitments and withdrew from the multilateral Iran nuclear deal (or JCPOA), creating another self-inflicted schism with our allies. It’s no secret that some of President Donald Trump’s most senior advisors, including National Security Adviser John Bolton, would prefer to address Iran’s nuclear program through regime change than by upholding a diplomatic solution that was working by all serious accounts. While stopping short of threatening war, Pompeo’s claim that the administration’s goal is to achieve a comprehensive agreement with Iran rings hollow. The real goal seems to be pressuring the regime to the point of collapse or goading Iran into breaking its nuclear commitments, “giving the United States and Israel an excuse for military action,” as Carol Giacomo explained. But one of Pompeo’s demands raises a different question: might the Trump administration also try to claim that military force against Iran is already authorized by Congress under the 2001 authorization for use of military force (AUMF) by arguing that the government in Tehran harbors al-Qa’ida (AQ)?

Pompeo’s list of demands included the following: “Iran too must end support for the Taliban and other terrorists in Afghanistan and the region, and cease harboring senior al Qaeda leaders.” He argued that Iran “continues to serve as sanctuary for al-Qaeda, as it has done since 9/11, and remains unwilling to bring to justice senior al-Qaeda members residing in Tehran.” And he asked “the Iranian people” whether they want their country to be “known for… being a co-conspirator with Hezbollah, Hamas, the Taliban, and al-Qaeda?” Pompeo’s speech isn’t the first time we’ve heard this allegation from the administration. President Trump’s May 8thprepared remarks abandoning the JCPOA also included, in his opening paragraph, an allegation that Iran “supports terrorist proxies and militias such as Hezbollah, Hamas, the Taliban, and al-Qaeda.”

These statements clearly serve the Trump administration’s broader narrative about Iran and its support for terrorism. But could they also indicate an attempt to justify war on grounds beyond Iran’s nuclear program? If so, would the administration be able to make a serious claim that the 2001 AUMF authorizes a use of force against Iran on these grounds? What about under draft AUMF proposals introduced in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee?



Adding- Can you imagine how utterly screwed we'd be right now if Dems had not taken back the House of Representatives?

Posted by Snarkoleptic | Sat Jan 4, 2020, 02:03 PM (7 replies)

This week was a big one in the history of this country. - Heather Cox Richardson, Historian

Found on Facebook-

December 14, 2019 (Saturday)

This week was a big one in the history of this country.

The House Committee on the Judiciary voted to impeach the President for the fourth time in American history. But that was not, actually, the biggest story. The big story was that it became clear that the leadership of today’s Republican Party, a party started in the 1850s by men like Abraham Lincoln to protect American democracy, is trying to undermine our government.

Even as I write that, it seems crazy. But I can reach no other conclusion after watching the behavior of the Republicans over the past few weeks, from their yelling and grandstanding rather than interviewing witnesses in the Intelligence Committee hearings, to the truly bizarre statements of Trump and Attorney General Barr saying the report of the Justice Department’s Inspector General about the investigation into Russian interference in 2016 concluded the opposite of what it did, to the Republican members of the Judiciary Committee making a mockery of the hearings rather than actually participating in them, and finally culminating in Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announcing on Sean Hannity’s program last night that “There’s no chance the president will be removed from office.”

A look at the members of the House Judiciary Committee who voted for or against impeachment explains how we got here. It was a strict party vote, and of the 23 Democrats who voted to impeach Trump, 11 were women, and twelve were people of color (California’s Ted Lieu did not vote because he was recovering from surgery). Of the 17 Republicans who voted against impeachment, two were women. Zero were people of color.

That the Republican Party has turned itself into an all-white, largely male party is the result of a deliberate campaign of industrialists to destroy the national consensus after WWII. Unregulated capitalism crashed the world economy in 1929, then an activist government both provided relief during the Depression and enabled the Allies to win WWII. By 1945, Americans of all parties embraced the idea that the government should regulate business, provide a basic social safety net, and promote infrastructure. This belief was called the “liberal consensus,” and it was behind both the largest welfare program in American history—Social Security—and the largest infrastructure project in American history—the Interstate Highway System. Taxes of up to 91% under Republican President Dwight D. Eisenhower helped to pay for this popular system.

But a small group of businessmen loathed the idea that government bureaucrats could tell them how to run their businesses. Rather than having to abide by government regulations, they wanted to go back to the world of the 1920s, when businessmen ran the government. They insisted that the government must do nothing but defend the nation and promote religion.

They made little headway. The economy was booming and most Americans loved their new nice homes and family cars, and recognized that it was labor legislation and government regulation that enabled them to make a good living. The liberal consensus kept wealth spread fairly in society, rather than accumulating at the top as it had done in the 1920s.

But there was a catch. The logical outcome of a war for democracy was that all Americans would have the right to have a say in their government. The idea that men of color and women should have a say equal to white men in our government gave an opening to the men who wanted to destroy the nation’s postwar active government. When a Republican Supreme Court unanimously decided that segregation was unconstitutional in the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision, the way was clear for these men to argue that an active government was not about protecting equality; it was simply a way to give benefits to black and brown people, paid for by white tax dollars.

This argument drew directly from the years of Reconstruction after the Civil War, when the Republican national taxes invented during the Civil War coincided with the 1870 Fifteenth Amendment guaranteeing black men the right to vote. In 1871, white supremacist Democrats in the South began to argue (disingenuously) that they had no problem with black men voting. What they objected to was poor men voting for leaders who promised “stuff”—roads and schools and hospitals in the war-damaged South—that could only be paid for with tax levies on the only people in the South who had money: white men. This, they said, was socialism.

One hundred years later, this equation-- that people of color would vote for government benefits paid for by hardworking white men-- was the argument on which businessmen after WWII broke the liberal consensus. Their candidate Reagan rose to power on the image of the Welfare Queen, a black woman who, he said “has 80 names, 30 addresses, 12 Social Security cards and is collecting veteran's benefits on four non-existing deceased husbands. And she is collecting Social Security on her cards. She's got Medicaid, getting food stamps, and she is collecting welfare under each of her names." In his inaugural address he concluded, “Government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem.” He promised to take tax dollars from welfare queens and give them back to hardworking white men.

These new Republicans slashed government regulation and social welfare programs, as they promised, but their laws did not help middle-class white men. Instead wealth moved upward. Voters pushed back, and to stay in power, Republicans purged the party of people who still believed that the government should regulate business and provide a social safety net—people Newt Gingrich called RINOs, for Republicans In Name Only—and then began to purge opposition voters. As Republicans got more and more extreme, they lost more voters and so, to stay in power, they began to gerrymander congressional districts. Increasingly, they argued that Democrats only won elections with illegal votes, usually votes of people of color. Those voters were “takers” who wanted handouts from “makers,” as Paul Ryan and Mitt Romney put it. It was imperative to keep people of color and women from voting. Their desire for government regulation, social welfare, and infrastructure funding was “socialism.”

A generation of vilifying Democrats as “socialists” has brought us to a place where Republican leaders reject outright the idea that Democrats can govern legitimately. To keep voters from electing Democrats, Republicans have abandoned democracy. They are willing to purge voting rolls, gerrymander states, collude with a foreign power to swing elections, and protect a president who has attacked Congress, packed the courts, and attacked the media, looking everything like a dictator on the make, so long as he slashes taxes and attacks women and people of color. While Republicans used to call their opponents socialists, they now call them traitors.

We are at the moment when Americans must choose. Will we allow these Republican leaders to establish an oligarchy in which a few white men run the country in their own interests, or do we really believe that everyone has a right to a say in our government?

For my part, I will stand with Lincoln, who in the midst of a war against oligarchy, charged his fellow Americans to “highly resolve that…, this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”
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