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Gender: Male
Hometown: Detroit, MI
Member since: Fri Oct 29, 2004, 12:18 AM
Number of posts: 74,624

Journal Archives

Donald Trump's American carnage: He continues to ignore COVID as his GOP enablers make it worse

Donald Trump's American carnage: He continues to ignore COVID as his GOP enablers make it worse
Let's never forget all the Republicans who enabled this catastrophe

DECEMBER 21, 2020 2:49PM

(Salon) It may seem as if President Donald Trump has done nothing since losing to Joe Biden but watch TV and rage tweet about his stolen election fantasy, however, he's actually been quite busy.

He's reportedly considering a military coup or an executive order to seize the voting machines in swing states that Biden won. He spent a lot of energy pushing Attorney General Bill Barr to pursue some of his wild theories about the alleged election theft and pressed him to appoint a Special Counsel to investigate Biden's son Hunter. He's also been engaged in purging the federal government of those he considers disloyal, particularly at the Pentagon, where he has spent the final few weeks of his presidency installing some of his closest collaborators for reasons that remain unclear.

So you can't say he is doing nothing — he's just not doing his job.


This Christmas week, our country is losing an American every 33 seconds to Covid, Covid, Covid. As the Washington Post's Philip Bump points out, "every time you listen to Bing Crosby's 'White Christmas,' about five people have died of the virus between the beginning and the end of the song." The death toll is over 318,000 and climbing.

Oddly enough, Trump can't even tear himself away from his scheming about the election he indisputably lost six weeks ago to take a victory lap for the successful approvals of the vaccines. All he could bring himself to do was whine pitifully to the press that they'd better not give Biden credit because it was all his doing. He has barely mentioned the successful rollouts of the first two vaccines on his hysterical Twitter feed. ..........(more)


Mitch McConnell is no more credible than Donald Trump -- but the press sucks up to him

Mitch McConnell is no more credible than Donald Trump — but the press sucks up to him
Beltway reporters natter on about the "problem" of "dysfunction" — a problem overwhelmingly caused by one man

DECEMBER 20, 2020 5:46PM

Now that Donald Trump is down and almost out, our major media news organizations seem to have finally acknowledged that nothing that comes out of his mouth can be trusted. They no longer consider him credible — not only about the election results, but also about the pandemic and its devastating economic consequences. His astonishing lack of empathy is now accepted as a given, as is the fact that he is exclusively interested in himself.

But what of Mitch McConnell? Yes, after six weeks, the Senate majority leader finally acknowledged the results of the election. But is what he is saying about the pandemic and the economy any more credible than what Trump is saying? Are his utterly transparent motives any less venal?

Unlike Trump, McConnell really matters right now. After singlehandedly holding up a second stimulus package for seven agonizing months (the House passed a big one in May) McConnell is suddenly responding to political expediency (Republican Senate races in Georgia upon which his hold on power depends) by allowing a vote on a wildly meager one.


Amazingly, it doesn't even seem to matter to congressional reporters that McConnell has provided no cogent argument for why he's blocking desperately needed aid. He doesn't need to explain! It's just taken as a given. As I wrote last week, the absolutely unparalleled, truly radical obstructionism by McConnell and his caucus has become normalized — even internalized — by the congressional press corps. ............(more)


Lt. Gen. Russel Honore on Flynn: "He's operating on a level of stupid I have never seen before"

"The Da Vinci Code" was a bestseller despite being a poorly written crock of s*** for a reason . . "

I think Dan Brown turned my parents into QAnoners
The author's "The Da Vinci Code" was a bestseller despite being a poorly written crock of s*** for a reason . . .

DECEMBER 19, 2020 12:00AM

(Salon) If you haven't heard of the far-right conspiracy theory QAnon by now, perhaps it's irresponsible of me to tell you about it. Essentially, a member of a sketchy Internet forum alleged that he is a high level government official with secret information about a satanic cult run by Democrat pedophiles and their sex-trafficking associates. It's the same old antisemitic dogwhistle all over again, but with a fun new twist: President Donald Trump has surreptitiously dedicated his career, not to shady business practices, but to taking them down. And you can help him, if you can find and figure out the unspecified clues, such as the "strategic" spelling errors in the President's tweets (covfefe!). Despite being widely regarded by experts and intelligence officials as at best baseless and at worst a source of domestic terror, the QAnon movement continues to accrue members at an alarming rate. A recent article stated that roughly one-third of Republicans who had heard of QAnon believe it has merit.

How can so many disregard the clear and obvious facts printed in mainstream media in order to believe in an improbably vast conspiracy? For the same reasons that they fell in love with "The Da Vinci Code" 17 years ago. A palace intrigue of epic proportions. Codes and puzzles hidden in plain sight, with a a mysterious man acting as the augur. A shadowy organization involved in dark rituals with global stakes. And you, reader, are breathlessly tasked with solving the riddle in real time, using the clues, your natural intuition, and perhaps your internet search engine of choice.


This is why I was shocked to find upon revisiting the book as an adult that it is absolute, unadulterated trash. Just really poor, from top to bottom. Let's start with the basics: the actual quality of the writing. Not plot (we'll get there), the words themselves.

"The Knights Templar were warriors," Teabing reminded, the sound of his aluminum crutches echoing in this reverberant space.

Teabing reminded . . . Teabing reminded who? REMINDED WHO? Who is he reminding in this space that is so reverberant, it has echoes? ...........(more)


So fascism came to America -- but what was it wearing?

So fascism came to America — but what was it wearing?
That thing about "wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross" seems to be apocryphal. It needs some updating anyway

DECEMBER 20, 2020 11:00AM

(Salon) ....(snip)....

When Donald J. Trump was running for president in 2016, Lewis's novel "It Can't Happen Here," written quickly in 1935 as authoritarian leaders were rising in Europe, started to sell out. In it, populist demagogue "Buzz" Windrip, a Democrat (i.e., a pre-Civil Rights Act Democrat, who would be a Republican today), wins the presidency. As Beverly Gage describes it in a 2017 essay for the New York Times, Windrip — who was based on both Long and the anti-Semitic radio priest Father Coughlin — is not exactly Trump, but he's right "there" in a number of respects:

Like Trump, Windrip sells himself as the champion of "Forgotten Men," determined to bring dignity and prosperity back to America's white working class. Windrip loves big, passionate rallies and rails against the "lies" of the mainstream press. His supporters embrace this message, lashing out against the "highbrow intellectuality" of editors and professors and policy elites. With Windrip's encouragement, they also take out their frustrations on Blacks and Jews.


Speaking of chaos, Trump and his gang of enablers have always reminded me of the year I spent in a fraternity. Somewhat to my surprise, I was elected pledge class president, and after a tumultuous year I tried my best to get a dozen young men through the seriously stupid, often dangerous and generally unhinged hazing of Hell Week, so they could, at last, become active members.

I don't care whether they were ever actually in a fraternity or not, but people like Matt Gaetz and Jim Jordan and their boisterous, under-thinking ilk — really, nearly all of the Republicans in Congress — are precisely like a bunch of entitled and semi-educated frat boys who are simply used to getting their way. They insist on it, as toddlers will do. Donald Trump is the president of this house, which has to be Delta Iota Kappa, yes, the proud DIK House. To parrot a favorite Trumpian phrase, as everyone knows, those DIKs should have long ago been kicked off campus and had their charter revoked. .............(more)


Pure incompetence or LIHOP? I'm torn .... Either way, 45 is a clear and present danger to the U.S.

(Rolling Stone) One day after the president’s own secretary of state pinned the blame on Russia for recent cyber attacks, Trump falsely claimed the incident has been exaggerated by “the Fake News Media”

Trump’s first public remarks on the massive and ongoing cyberattack that breached dozens of US federal agencies, think tanks, and companies were aimed at continuing the president’s cozy relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin — while showing little regard for what his own national security officials are saying.

On Friday, Trump’s Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told conservative talk show host Mark Levin, “We can say pretty clearly (the hack) was the Russians.” But on Saturday morning, Pompeo was contradicted by his boss on Twitter.

In a tweet thread, Trump not only called into question Pompeo’s assessment but also falsely claimed that it was the media making something out of nothing. ...........(more)


Who Holds the $1.65 Trillion of Apartment Building Debt amid Eviction Bans and Plunging Occupancy..?

Who Holds the $1.65 Trillion of Apartment Building Debt amid Eviction Bans and Plunging Occupancy Rates at High Rises?
by Wolf Richter • Dec 18, 2020 •

You guessed it: For over half of it, taxpayers are on the hook. Time to take a look.
By Wolf Richter for WOLF STREET.

The mortgage for “2 Cooper Square,” a 15-story luxury apartment tower with 143 units in the NoHo neighborhood of Manhattan, is now over 30 days delinquent, according to the Commercial Observer. In 2010, when the building opened, three-bedroom apartments sported asking rents “as high as $20,000 per month,” gushed the Wall Street Journal at the time. In 2012, the developer, Atlantic Development Group, sold the long-term leasehold in the building to Wafra Capital Partners in Kuwait for $134 million. In 2019, Wafra unloaded the leasehold to David Werner Real Estate and Emerald Equity for about $85 million – a loss of nearly $50 million, or about 37%.

At the time of the deal, David Werner and Emerald obtained a mortgage from Goldman Sachs of $65 million. The mortgage was securitized by Goldman Sachs in September 2019, along with mortgages on other commercial properties, into the commercial mortgage backed security GSMS 2019-GC42, where it represents 6.1% of the collateral.

And 15 months later, the mortgage is 30 days delinquent.

Occupancy plunged from 96% last year when it was securitized to 82% in the third quarter of 2020, according to a note by Trepp, which tracks and analyzes CMBS. Trepp notes that the loan has not yet been moved to the servicer’s watch list or the special servicer. ........(more)


'There's nobody here': Covid turns Wall Street into a ghost town

(Guardian UK) “They used to stand at the bar three deep,” says John Moran, surveying the long, empty counter at Killarney Rose, a Wall Street bar that would, in another era, have been stuffed with early-shift construction workers and, at lunch and late into the evening, suited bankers.

The world’s pre-eminent financial thoroughfare – at least throughout the 20th century – is a ghost of what it once was. The New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq are still located here, but dozens of financial institutions have emptied out from New York’s financial district in an exodus that started in the wake of 9/11 and has been hastened by Covid.

This week Deutsche Bank, the last major bank on the storied block, announced it would accelerate its departure from its offices at 60 Wall Street and could move as many as half of its 4,600 Manhattan staff to regional offices in the next five years.

Deutsche’s move comes as no surprise to Moran. New York’s financial district has been transforming into a residential zone – with a smattering of media and tech firms including Condé Nast, Time Inc, Group M and Spotify – for years. ..........(more)


Toronto will advance Eglinton East LRT and Waterfront Transit Network

Work on Eglinton East Light Rail Transit (LRT) and the Waterfront Transit Network will move forward following the Toronto City Council’s vote of support on the two projects.

The council directed city staff to continue evaluations and other work on the projects and to report back to the council next year on schedules for both projects.

The Eglinton East LRT is a planned 15-km (9.3-mile) extension of the Eglinton Crosstown LRT from Kennedy Station to Malvern, with up to 21 stops and three connections to GO Transit. The line would provide transit access to historically underserved communities, traveling through or adjacent to seven Neighborhood Improvement Areas and bringing higher-order transit within walking distance of 49,000 Torontonians.

Staff has reported the updated project cost of the Eglinton East LRT project to be C$4 billion (US$3.14 billion). The council approved an updated project scope with an evolved design that accommodates the province of Ontario’s subway expansion plans. For example, city staff revised a tunneled option connection at Kennedy Station between the Eglinton East LRT project and the province’s updated design for the Scarborough Subway Extension. ..........(more)


Donald Trump has real reason to be worried: Democrats are pursuing accountability this time

Donald Trump has real reason to be worried: Democrats are pursuing accountability this time
From the New York Attorney General to the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Democrats are on Trump's case

DECEMBER 18, 2020 2:45PM

(Salon) Ihave been chronicling the atrocities of the Trump era almost daily for five years and I'm exhausted. I don't think I'm alone. One of Trump's most insidious talents is to dominate the spotlight to such an extent that you can't look away even if you want to. He's everywhere. There is just so much, more than we can fully absorb, so we just keep watching, waiting for the spectacle to end, paralyzed and psychically drained.

And now it's almost over.

Aside from some short appearances in the press room to declare himself the winner, a couple of desultory interviews with friendly cable news hosts, one low energy rally in Georgia and the extended, puerile whine of his Twitter account, Donald Trump has been blessedly out of sight for most of the past five weeks. There's been no chopper talk, no televised Cabinet meetings with sycophantic tributes to his greatness, no crude insults toward reporters, nothing.


Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, gave notice this week that his committee intends to pursue the subpoena of former White House Counsel Don McGahn. You will recall that McGahn was not allowed to testify before Congress on the basis of a novel legal concept called "absolute immunity" which, if allowed to stand, would render congressional oversight practically impotent.

So while Democrats continue to pursue the subpoena as a means to push back against a legal principle that attempts to usurp their oversight powers, they will undoubtedly follow up on just what happened with all of that obstruction of justice Trump committed. They may not be able to sanction Trump for it, but they need to build the record — after all, this guy may try to bust his way back into power in four years. ............(more)


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