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Dear Sekrit Liberal Media Conspiracy

If this is what being cruelly silenced and oppressed by the Sekrit Liberal Media Conspiracy looks like --

-- please begin silencing and oppressing me immediately.

Also, my wife reminds me to ask what kind of signing bonus and dental plan my silencing comes with, and if my cruel oppression rates one parking space or two?

Yours in Christ,

Behold, a Tip Jar!


Trump on the 5th

Trump on the 5th

by digby

So, Michael Cohen's attorneys gave official notice that he plans to take the 5th Amendment.



Swamp water cocktail

Swamp water cocktail

by digby

I don't know that I've ever seen anyone anywhere, much less the man who supposedly runs the Consumer Protection Financial Bureau, say it quite this blatantly before. But here is the White House Budget chief and director of the CFPB openly soliciting bribes:

Mick Mulvaney, interim head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, told banking executives Tuesday that as a South Carolina congressman he always met with constituents. But he never met with out-of-town lobbyists, he said, unless they gave him campaign money — explaining why the bankers should push their agenda on Capitol Hill.

“We had a hierarchy in my office in Congress,” said Mulvaney, who was a leading conservative in the House until President Trump tapped him as his budget director, a job he still holds. “If you were a lobbyist who never gave us money, I didn’t talk to you. If you were a lobbyist who gave us money, I might talk to you.”

Still, he said, the priority was given to local constituents. “If you came from back home and sat in my lobby, I talk to you without exception, regardless of the financial contributions,” Mulvaney said in his address to the American Bankers Association, according to a transcript provided by the CFPB.

It's nice that he talked to his constituents. That makes it all ok:

Asked about the comments, John Czwartacki, a spokesman for Mr. Mulvaney, said: “He was making the point that hearing from people back home is vital to our democratic process and the most important thing our representatives can do. It’s more important than lobbyists and it’s more important than money.”

I don't know why I'm surprised. Every oast trump official is corrupt. It goes without saying.
He went before a bankers group and told them to give him money if they wanted him to do their bidding. It couldn't be more clear. That he also says congressmen listen to their constituents doesn't change that.

Recall how our president described this process:

“As a businessman and a very substantial donor to very important people, when you give, they do whatever the hell you want them to do,” Trump told the Wall Street Journal in 2015. “As a businessman, I need that.”

He was asked about that quote during a GOP primary debate. “You better believe it,” Trump replied. “I give to everybody. When they call, I give. And you know what? When I need something from them two years later, three years later, I call them. They are there for me.”

I think people mistakenly thought that when he said he was going to drain the swamp he meant that he would put a stop to this practice. That's not the case. He meant that he would stop the Democratic agenda, political correctness, giving money to black people, letting Mexicans and Muslims in the country. That's certainly what his followers thought. They voted for him largely because of his corruption not in spite of it. As he put it himself when challenged about not paying any taxes: "that makes me smart."

This is what they like about these guys. They are rich aren't they?


Live by the braindead celebrity, die by the braindead celebrity

Live by the braindead celebrity, die by the braindead celebrity

by digby

Kanye West has already fulfilled at least one current job requirement for being president of the United States — producing tweets that provoke confusion and controversy among the American public. But West still hasn’t cracked one essential measure of support: An endorsement from a member of Congress.

“Rappers are not normally in the sweet spot for my endorsement,” House Freedom Caucus chairman Mark Meadows told THE WEEKLY STANDARD on Wednesday morning.

And Florida Republican Brian Mast responded with a firm “no” when asked if the rapper had his vote. “I’ve never been a fan of most of the things that I hear come out of his mouth,” Mast explained. But the congressman added that Americans from all walks of life can run for office: “That’s the system that we have. Nobody is born into this.”

“Maybe he’ll go out there and show that he has some great things and some great ideas and some great leadership to offer. But I’m not going to hold my breath,” said Mast.

Buried in a series of vague posts ranging from missives on love, his deal with Adidas, and upcoming music, West on Tuesday night reaffirmed his plans to run for president in 2024. He has also been vocally supportive of President Trump and policies that lean to the right.

I thought the Democrats were going to be saddled with having to deal with people making fun of this guy. Looks like he's GOP for real. He is very wealthy, but the black thing might be a bit of a problem.

He's a whole lot like Trump, you have to admit.

In case you were wondering:


News?  How Does it Work?

2016 archive footage of CNN president Jeff Zucker every time the "Donald Trump Pandemonium Carnival" bumped CNN's ad rates up another percentage point.  
In Ayn Rand's The Fountainhead, there is a character named Gail Wynand -- a sleazy tabloid mogul who has spent a lifetime becoming wealthy and powerful by pandering the the lowest instincts of the mod.  Towards the end of the book, Wynand suddenly discovers his conscience and promises to mold the opinion of the mob to a high purpose:
"All right, it was contemptible-the whole career of the Banner. But this will vindicate everything. Dominique, I know you've never been able to understand why I've felt no shame in my past. Why I love the Banner. Now you'll see the answer. Power. I hold a power I've never tested. Now you'll see the test. They'll think what I want them to think. They'll do as I say. Because it is my city and I do run things around here. Howard, by the time you come to trial, I'll have them all twisted in such a way there won't be a jury who'll dare convict you." 
It does not end well, because Wynand finds out too late that he was never in control of the mob at all.  His only talent was getting rich from skillfully feeding the mob the tainted red meat that it wanted: pornography, scandal, violence and homilies to the wisdom of the mob.  But the minute he tried to put them in harness to a cause greater than themselves it all went to shit.  They abandoned him and turned on him as just the sort of snooty, know-it-all elitist that his own newspaper had taught them to despise.

Which brings us to this little parable about how NBC pissed away $69M on Megyn Kelly.

It never fails to crack me up me that the eight-figure-salary brain wizards who run America's news networks clearly do not have the first clue about the country in which they live and the people the purport to serve.  Because if they had come 'round these parts in the Fall of 2015 and asked any Conservative about Megyn Kelly, they'd have found out what we on the Left learned long ago from bitter experience: the most deeply held beliefs of the wingnut mob can flicked on and off like a light switch.  Which means that as long as Megyn Kelly was doing the job that Fox News hired her to do -- dressing like a soft-core porn star and looking deeply into the cow-dumb eyes of the Fox News horde while reassuring them that they're all patriotic geniuses -- her future at Fox News was golden.

But the minute she wheeled on Trump -- the minute she disrupted the smoothly integrated flow of flattering racist propaganda between Fox News and the imbeciles who watch Fox News -- the mob could be expected to treat her exactly as they had been trained to treat any other heretic: immediate discommendation.

The Fox News idiots were never going to follow her anywhere, and Megyn Kelly frankly sucks at anything other than what she has been trained to do:  whisper sweet wingnut nothings into the ears of lecherous old bigots.

Coulda saved these idiots nearly $70M, if they had just bothered to ask.

Behold, a Tip Jar!


Politics of the hat

Politics of the hat

by digby

Adele Stan talks about Melania's hat --- and some other news:

News outlets were no doubt grateful for something elegant and surprising to adorn their front pages or lead their broadcasts. Because under Trump, the news is ugly pretty much all of the time. And much of that ugliness is the kind of thing done to prime a population to accede to a coming crackdown.

For instance, it’s been a very busy month for the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) bureau at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Raids across the country altered the make-up of big-city neighborhoods and small rural towns. In Tennessee, ICE raided a meatpacking plant, rounding up 97 undocumented immigrants. The following day, 530 children were absent from school in Hamblen County, which has a large Latinix community, according to The New Yorker’s Jonathan Blitzer.

Trump supporters are cheering, of course. They don’t see how the apparatus now strengthened for the round-up of workers can be set upon any category of people, including themselves. Their Great White Father wound never do such things to them, they believe. But those brown people who are changing American culture, well, you know, they deserve it.

And Melania wore a white hat.

Meanwhile, Jeff Sessions, Trump’s beleaguered attorney general, is well along the path to revoking any shred of civil rights afforded Americans while engaging with law enforcement. From the start, Sessions sent a message when he said he would loosen Justice Department oversight of police departments known as violators of the rights of citizens, especially black and brown citizens.

Americans inside law enforcement and out heard the message. In Sacramento, Stephon Clark was gunned down in his grandmother’s backyard earlier this month by police officers who suspected him of breaking a car window. Two black men were arrested in Philadelphia for refusing to buy something while waiting there for a friend. On April 22, Chikesia Clemons,a black woman was thrown to the floor of a Waffle House in Alabama for disputing the restaurant’s demand that she pay for a plastic spoon. That same day, a black man, James Shaw Jr., heroically wrested an assault rifle from a white man who had already killed four people of color in a Waffle House in Tennessee. The white man had ties to the far-right “sovereign citizen” movement.

The president has yet to mention the incident, or to hail Shaw as a hero. Might upset the base, you see.

How ‘bout that white hat on Melania?

The intimation of the media by the Trump administration—and the co-option of Trump and key large right-wing outlets—barely cause a ripple anymore. Yet this story is not simply about mean tweets.

In early April, we learned that the Department of Homeland security is building a database of journalists. From Bloomberg Government:

DHS wants to track more than 290,000 global news sources, including online, print, broadcast, cable, and radio, as well as trade and industry publications, local, national and international outlets, and social media, according to the documents.

According to the request for proposals, Bloomberg reports, “Services shall provide media comparison tools, design and rebranding tools, communication tools, and the ability to identify top media influencers.” The ideological bent of each publication will be identified, and the public activities of top influencers monitored.


Our media landscape is changing in ways that smack of authoritarianism and corruption. But don’t look too closely. Did you get a load of that hat on Melania?

There's more. There's much, much more. Stan is seeing the forest, not the trees, something which far too few of our journalistic brethren are seeing or are willing to admit if they do. Read on.

Update: This woman is...horrible. She cannot just say "we support a free press." And that's because she and her authoritarian boss don't. They consider the press to be "the enemey of the people". They've said it out loud.

She'll go down as the worst press secretary in history and that includes Ari Fleischer:

But hey ... that hat.


Will Lesko win again in November?

Will Lesko win again in November?

by digby

It used to be that when a politician won an unexpectedly close election they would move a bit to the center, hoping that the large number of constituents who didn't vote for them would be reassured and come around to vote for them in the next election. Republicans are no longer observing that sort of silliness. It's scorched earth, winner take all, "suck it losers" for them:

Rep.-elect Debbie Lesko (R), who narrowly won a special election in Arizona Tuesday night, is expected to join the House Freedom Caucus after she is sworn in, the conservative group’s leader, Chairman Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) told The Hill.

Both Meadows and former Freedom Caucus Chairman Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) endorsed Lesko in her GOP primary earlier this year. And the Freedom Fund, the super PAC aligned with the Freedom Caucus, contributed to her campaign during the primary.

“We felt she was the best candidate in the 8th District of Arizona. We look forward to having her join our ranks as a strong contributing member of the Freedom Caucus when she gets sworn in as a new member of Congress,” Meadows said in a Wednesday morning phone interview.

“We have every expectation an invitation to join the caucus will be made and that she will gladly accept,” he added.

To join the roughly 30-member Freedom Caucus, a GOP lawmaker needs to be invited by the group; that only happens after a formal vote by the members.

And this woman is joining the most extremist far right group in the congress even though she has to run again in November!

They are living in their own world, all of them.


Presidential l’amour among the Roman columns

Presidential l'amour among the Roman columns

by digby

I wrote about Trump and Macron for Salon this morning:

There was a time not all that long ago when the right wing of the Republican Party referred to the France as the land of "cheese eating surrender monkeys" and were so offended by its leadership's unwillingness to blindly follow George W. Bush's headlong march to war that they absurdly changed the name of french fries in the cafeteria to "freedom fries."

There was a legendary exchange on CNN's Crossfire between Tucker Carlson and French foreign policy expert Justin Vaisse over whether or not France was going to be economically devastated by American disdain for everything French.

CARLSON: But just, honestly, just correct the misperception here. This is not simply an effort by the administration to beat up on France. This is coming -- there's a deep wellspring of anti-French feeling in this country, and it's going to have consequences. This is a bottle of French wine. This is a bottle of American wine.  
VAISSE (thick French accent): It is bigger.  
CARLSON: And it's bigger. That's exactly right. More forceful. There will be Americans who boycott French products. This in the end is really going to hurt France, isn't it?  
VAISSE: No, I think it is going hurt wine lovers.
In many ways those days were no less surreal than these.

But just imagine if Tucker Carlson of 2003 had seen into the future to a day when a Republican president stood on the steps of the White House kissing and hugging and holding hands with the President of France. That happened:

Ashley Parker at the Washington Post examined the dynamics of the handsy bromance:

The interactions throughout the visit, said Patti Wood, a body language expert and author of “SNAP: Making the Most of First Impressions, Body Language, and Charisma,” largely fall under a category known as “gamesmanship.”

In calling out Macron’s alleged dandruff, she said, Trump “did something called primate grooming.”

“It said, ‘We have an intimate relationship, but I’m dominant, I’m the alpha gorilla, I’m going to groom you,’ ” Wood said. “‘But I’m going to criticize you by saying you have dandruff, and I’m going to do that on the world stage and see how you handle that.”

She wasn't the only one to make that observation:

It's funny, but it's also weird. I don't think I've ever seen anything quite like it. George W. Bush was always somewhat awkwardly familiar with fellow leaders. He used to pal around with UK Prime Minister Tony Blair and made Angela Merkel uncomfortable with his frat boy horseplay. But even he didn't play this kind of primitive dominance game.

And it wasn't just physical. It's clear that President Macron came with a message about Iran and it was probably coordinated with the other European leaders. And for all of his touchy feely affection for the French leader,  in his comments at a joint photo-op and press conference, Trump stomped all over the Iran nuclear agreement calling it "insane" and "ridiculous" and he issued a threat that Iran would "have bigger problems than they ever had before" if they defied him. He went off on his usual tiresome, ill-informed rant about how the US had sent planeloads of money to Tehran to pay them off. (It was Iran's own money.)

Macron indicated that they were talking about maybe adding some provisions that could allay Trump's concerns and the president indicated later that he might be flexible but then retreated to his "we'll see what happens" stance (which usually means he has no clue what he's talking about) saying:

"Nobody knows what I'm going to do on the 12th. This is a deal with decayed foundations. It's a bad deal, it's a bad structure, it's falling down. It should have never, ever been made."
Macron's ploy to appeal to Trump's colossal ego in the vain and somewhat arrogant assumption that he could manipulate the ignorant leader by being his friend didn't work in any substantive way.  He isn't the first to have tried that gambit and he isn't the first to have failed. Trump loves to be loved but it's a one way street.

Just ask South Carolina Senator Lindsay Graham who spent months cultivating Trump's friendship, flattering him and feting him and telling him what a big, strong leader he was only to be crudely and publicly demeaned when he brokered a deal to fix the DACA problem that Trump's hardliners didn't like. He thought he had earned the president's trust and he probably had as far as it extends to anyone.

But Trump doesn't understand the job of president or the issues, so he has no basis upon which to make decisions other than some primitive playground dominance game or, as far as we know, simply flipping a coin. He doesn't know what he's going to do because he doesn't know anything.

This profile of H.R McMaster in this week's New Yorker lays out in chilling and alarming detail just what an unstable, unprepared man the president is and the outrageous lengths to which people inside the administration must go to keep him from blowing up the world out of sheer ignorance, emotional volatility or some combination of both. It's much worse than we knew.

The profile is not especially kind to McMaster who turns out to be lacking in self-awareness on a rather grand scale himself, failing  to figure out a way to maneuver or persuade this willful president to take his duty seriously and apply even a modicum of energy toward learning what he needs to know, much less govern his impulsive nature. It's a lethal and dangerous combination which nobody knows how to deal with.  McMaster ended up impugning his own integrity and being shown the door for his trouble as have so many others who've come into the president's orbit. Nobody's reputation survives Trump.

President Macron probably doesn't have a choice but to try to get through to him however he can but the buddy bromance won't work. (He's already being called "Trump's bichon frise.")  The only thing any foreign ally can do is prepare for the worst and hope that Trump somehow randomly chooses the right path.

The whole world is just floating on the Trump wave right now, praying it doesn't rise up and crash over all of us. You can love him or hate him or ignore him and it won't make a bit of difference.

Macron must realize that Trump's newest bff is a man named John Bolton and he's itching to tear up the Iran deal and go to war. (He is, after all, part of a foreign policy claque that used to say "everyone wants to go to Bagdad, real men want to go to Tehran.)


No DeLay in Trumpish corruption by @BloggersRUs

No DeLay in Trumpish corruption

by Tom Sullivan

Tom DeLay, former member of the United States House of Representatives.

You were expecting Honest Abe?

Mick Mulvaney, the interim director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, told banking industry executives on Tuesday that they should press lawmakers hard to pursue their agenda, and revealed that, as a congressman, he would meet only with lobbyists if they had contributed to his campaign.

“We had a hierarchy in my office in Congress,” Mr. Mulvaney, a former Republican lawmaker from South Carolina, told 1,300 bankers and lending industry officials at an American Bankers Association conference in Washington. “If you’re a lobbyist who never gave us money, I didn’t talk to you. If you’re a lobbyist who gave us money, I might talk to you.”

Now where might Mulvaney have gotten that idea and the boldness to express it in public? Maybe this from 1995 will help:
In the annals of the House Republican revolution, a pivotal moment came last April when an unsuspecting corporate lobbyist entered the inner chamber of Majority Whip Tom DeLay, whose aggressive style has earned him the nickname "the Hammer." The Texas congressman was standing at his desk that afternoon, examining a document that listed the amounts and percentages of money that the 400 largest political action committees had contributed to Republicans and Democrats over the last two years. Those who gave heavily to the GOP were labeled "Friendly," the others "Unfriendly."

"See, you're in the book," DeLay said to his visitor, leafing through the list. At first the lobbyist was not sure where his group stood, but DeLay helped clear up his confusion. By the time the lobbyist left the congressman's office, he knew that to be a friend of the Republican leadership his group would have to give the party a lot more money.

Tom DeLay would be convicted in 2010 of one charge of money laundering and one charge of conspiracy to commit money laundering. The conviction was later overturned. Mulvaney made sure to mention that constituents got a hearing from him before lobbyists who had payed him. He received nearly $60,000 from payday lenders.

The New York Times reports that since taking over the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau:

... he has frozen all new investigations and slowed down existing inquiries by requiring employees to produce detailed justifications. He also sharply restricted the bureau’s access to bank data, arguing that its investigations created online security risks. And he has scaled back efforts to go after payday lenders, auto lenders and other financial services companies accused of preying on the vulnerable.
Mulvaney insists the Associated Press refer to the agency by its statutory label, the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection, you know, to lower its public profile even further. Time does not permit a review of Trump EPA head Scott Pruitt's greatest hits. This administration puts Tom DeLay to shame.

"If you, dear reader, are thinking that the world has gone barking bonkers, then you might be one of The Decents," writes Kathleen Parker in considering videos shot by the Syracuse University chapter of the Theta Tau fraternity. Videos that surfaced over the weekend show members mimicking a sexual assault on a disabled person. Where could they have gotten the idea for that?

The district attorney for Onondaga County ruled the videos "repulsive" but not criminal. Parker urges the expulsion of the students involved, not for racism or anti-Semitism or legally protected speech, but for behavior contributing to the "gradual unraveling of decent society."

"Gradual" seems no longer to apply, given behaviors modeled for us in Washington. Hostility to virtually every non-white ethnic group and efforts to divide families through deportation make headlines every day. The Trump administration now wants to overturn treaty protections dating from the founding of the republic and impose work requirements on Native Americans if they want to keep their access to Medicaid:

[T]he Trump administration contends the tribes are a race rather than separate governments, and exempting them from Medicaid work rules — which have been approved in three states and are being sought by at least 10 others — would be illegal preferential treatment. “HHS believes that such an exemption would raise constitutional and federal civil rights law concerns,” according to a review by administration lawyers.
If only we could harness indecency as a power source.

* * * * * * * *

For The Win 2018 is ready for download. Request a copy of my county-level election mechanics primer at tom.bluecentury at gmail.


Should Your Web Project Be Static or Dynamic?

Did you know that it’s possible to group all websites into just two categories: static or dynamic? The distinction is fairly simple, but each of these categories has its pros and cons. Are you about to build a website and not sure which to choose? This article will help you make an informed decision.

Static Web Design

A static website, as you may guess, doesn’t change – there is no user interactivity besides hyperlinks. It usually contains only HTML and CSS, with no server-side scripting languages. You write the code for pages individually and that code is displayed to visitors.

What does this mean? Each page is unique and built from the ground up. Headers, footers, and so on are not universal. So, when even a small tweak is made, every single footer on every single page needs to be updated.

There is no interactivity such as user commenting or accounts. Many free site builders only let you create static websites, where you build your site page-by-page and with limited-to-no interactive elements.

A static website.

While sometimes tedious to work with and lacking interactivity, static websites are easier to create, take up little space and cost less since you won’t need to spend money on expensive hosting or content management systems.

When is it best to use static web design?

  • You’re a new programmer looking to practice.
  • Your website won’t need to be updated often.
  • You’re creating an informational or temporary site.
  • Your site won’t need user-interactive elements.
  • Pages need to be unique from each other and highly customized (you may run into trouble with this using dynamic design).
  • You need to have a website up and running quickly.

Google Sites example

Dynamic Web Design

On the other hand, a dynamic website is one that builds pages as a user visits them. Using the footer example, a dynamic site would have that element’s information stored in one place. You’ll only need to modify the footer once – rather than having to go back and change it on every single page.

Client- and server-side scripting languages such as PHP are common. They often have databases to store and manage information as well, or a CMS like WordPress. While this means higher costs, the efficiency is more than worth it.

STEAM - a dynamic website

These types of sites also may have interactive elements. Reservations, commenting, forms, user uploads, or shopping carts are examples of the elements a dynamic site may have.

One downside becomes apparent when creating a site with an inconsistent design. For instance, a vendor of multiple products may want the gardening section to have a fancy floral look and the home products to have a simpler, earthy palette. But displaying a different header, color scheme, and even page layout is more difficult than it would be on a static site.

While dynamic sites are easier to use once set up and are more versatile than a static website, there’s an argument to be made for either.

When is it best to use dynamic web design?

  • You’re willing to go through a more difficult development period to make future changes easier.
  • Your website will need to be frequently updated.
  • You have HTML elements you want to share across the website (headers, etc).
  • You’re creating a site that requires user interaction.
  • Your website doesn’t need to have a wildly varying design on certain pages.
  • You want content that’s easily editable and can be categorized (using databases).
  • You’re a commercial web designer who wants to give your clients an easier way to perform simple edits on their own (with a CMS).

Facebook's dynamic abilities

Static or Dynamic?

If you’re creating something small, temporary, or non-interactive, static may just be the way to go. It’s also a great way to practice design and basic programming skills. But if you want to make use of interactivity, databases and a CMS, try a dynamic design instead.

Whatever you choose, you should hopefully now understand the difference between these two types of sites and be able to decide which is best for your next project.


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