August 10, 2017

Posted by orrinj at 7:36 PM

ALL COMEDY IS CONSERVATIVE:

The forgotten story of when Trump got destroyed by an 11-year-old boy (Greg Evans, 8/05/17, Independent)

Back in 1997 Donald Trump became the principal of a public school in New York City. [...]

Addressing the school's population, most of whom were from ethnic minorities, Trump reportedly announced via a megaphone:

First of all who likes Nike sneakers?

Predictably, every hand of every child shot into the air. Then Trump unveiled his plan which sounds more like one of his old challenges on The Apprentice.

If everybody puts their name on a piece of paper right now, I will pick 15 people and I'll take you to the new Nike store that I just opened at Trump Tower.

According to the article, Trump's plan went down pretty well with the kids.

Sensing an opportunity, the future President launched into a speech about how to get rich and live the American dream.

Is there anyone here that doesn't want to live in a big, beautiful mansion?

You know what you have to do to live in a big beautiful mansion?

'You have to be rich,' a voice from the crowd replied.

That's right.

You have to work hard, get through school. You have to go out and get a great job, make a lot of money and you live the American dream.

And you're going to have fun doing it. It's a lot of fun. 

So, you have a man who inherited a fair amount from his father telling a group of kids, who mostly came from poor backgrounds, that working hard will make them rich. So far, so Trump.

The property developer's lecture quickly fell apart however, when he began taking questions from the students.

11-year-old Andres Rodriguez seemingly saw through Trump and expertly challenged him. 

Ocala report that she asked:

Why did you offer us sneakers if you could give us scholarships?

Zing!

Posted by orrinj at 5:57 PM

THE ROOM WHERE IT HAPPENS (self-reference alert):

Trump poised to nominate Christie ally for U.S. attorney in complex political deal (Andrew Seidman & Jonathan Tamari, 8/10/17, Philly.com)

The selection of the state's top federal law enforcement officer is part of a broader game of political horse trading playing out behind the scenes in Washington, Trenton, and New York. At the end of it, a half-dozen people will win jobs in law enforcement and on the federal courts that affect millions.

President Trump, a Republican, is expected to nominate federal District Court judges favored by New Jersey's two Democratic U.S. senators, Cory A. Booker and Bob Menendez. In turn, the two senators are expected to sign off on the nomination of criminal defense attorney Craig Carpenito as U.S. attorney, and another Christie ally is also in line for a seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit in Philadelphia.

We've told the story before about how the Grandfather Judd owed his federal bench seat to Ted Kennedy.  RFK and Jake Javits had a deal, when they served as NY senators, whereby the Republican got to choose a judge for every couple that the Democrat got.  They'd submitted the name before RFK was assassinated, but afterword, Johnson tried pulling it.  Javits went to the other brother and got him to intervene with the Administration.

Posted by orrinj at 5:55 PM

NOT DONE OBSTRUCTING:

Trump called for acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe to be fired on day of Paul Manafort raid (Kelly Cohen | Aug 9, 2017, washington Examiner)

President Trump complained about the then-Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe just hours after FBI agents raided the Virginia home of President Trump's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort late last month.

Posted by orrinj at 5:53 PM

NO ONE WILL MISS JOBS:

How to Not Get Fired by Elon Musk -- And Be Indispensable at Work (Business Insider, 8/10/17)

In his 2015 book, "Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future," Ashlee Vance shares the story of how Musk stopped working with his longtime executive assistant in early 2014.

According to Vance, the assistant, Mary Beth Brown, asked Musk for a significant raise after she'd been working with him for 12 years. In response, Musk told Brown to take two weeks off, during which he would assume her responsibilities and see whether she was critical to his success.

When Brown returned, Musk told her he didn't need her anymore.

Posted by orrinj at 5:48 PM

NICELY PLAYED!:

Trump thanks Russia's Putin for slashing U.S. diplomatic staff (Jonathan Ernst, 8/10/17, Reuters) 


"I want to thank him because we're trying to cut down our payroll and as far as I'm concerned I'm very thankful that he let go of a large number of people," Trump told reporters at his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey. "There's no real reason for them to go back."

Posted by orrinj at 5:30 PM

THE rIGHT'S BEST AND BRIGHTEST:

Sebastian Gorka, the West Wing's Phony Foreign-Policy Guru : Gorka's a former Breitbart editor with Islamophobic views and ties to neo-Nazi extremists - and he has the ear of the president (Bob Dreyfuss, 8/10/17, Rolling Stone)

Insisting everywhere that he be referred to as "doctor," Gorka began his rise with a 2008 Ph.D. awarded by little-known Corvinus University of Budapest, an institution that several scholars who spoke to Rolling Stone described as having a questionable reputation. "Corvinus is pretty low-tier, maybe third- or fourth-tier," says Daniel Nexon, a scholar at Georgetown University who has reviewed Gorka's dissertation. "He might as well have mail-ordered his Ph.D." Nexon ran its text through plagiarism software and found that portions of it were "repurposed."

"Gorka's thesis is about as legitimate as if he had been awarded it by Trump University," says Andrew Reynolds, a professor at the University of North Carolina who looked into Gorka's background. He says that of the three people who served as endorsers of Gorka's Ph.D., two didn't have any academic credentials whatsoever, and a third was György Schöpflin, a right-wing Hungarian politician who, Reynolds adds, was a Gorka family friend and once suggested studding a Hungarian border fence with pig heads to send a message to Muslim refugees. (Gorka said later that Schöpflin was "making a joke"; Gorka, whom Rolling Stone reached out to repeatedly, declined to comment for this article.)

Perhaps even more worrisome, Gorka's thesis proposed a dramatic restructuring of the national-security apparatus to create a police state. He suggests a radical reform of "internal barriers between the police force, the army and various intelligence services." This could also be seen as the start of a Gestapo-like, all-powerful national system of repression. "That's about as Nazi Germany- or Soviet Union-like a proposal as I've ever heard," says Patrick Eddington of the conservative Cato Institute. "The net effect would be to suspend the Bill of Rights, if his proposal ever saw the light of day."

During the decade and a half Gorka spent in Hungary, he was enmeshed in a web of ultraright, anti-Semitic and even Nazi-like parties, politicians and media outlets. For most of the 2000s, the Gorkas ran a think tank in Budapest called the Institute for Transitional Democracy and International Security (ITDIS). For funding, Gorka received at least $27,650 in U.S. federal grants, according to government records. "We worked for ourselves," Katharine Gorka tells Rolling Stone.

In the mid-2000s, Hungary's left-leaning government found itself besieged by right-wing street protests. Many of the protesters were affiliated with ultranationalist leader Viktor Orbán, who's been called a "neo-fascist dictator" by Sen. John McCain, and who leads Hungary today. Gorka served as adviser to Orbán, and later wrote for an overtly anti-Semitic newspaper, Magyar Demokrata. By all accounts, Gorka's own writing and statements at the time included no anti-Semitic comments, and neither The Forward nor other reporters who've investigated his background in Hungary have turned up any evidence that Gorka himself participated in anything that could be called anti-Jewish. "What you can say for sure is that he was allied with people who have very extremist views," says Péter Krekó of the Political Capital Institute in Hungary. "He was an opportunist, and he cooperated with figures who were very marginal."

Posted by orrinj at 6:41 AM

DONALD WHO?:

PENCE FOR PRESIDENT? (JEFF STEIN, 8/9/17, Newsweek)

Speculation about Vice President Mike Pence's political aspirations will likely get another jolt next week as he heads off for a high-profile trip to Latin America.

The State Department requested "nearly 700" visas for the security and protocol teams traveling in advance to one Latin American country alone to prepare for Pence's arrival, said a diplomatic source. (Like most others who spoke to Newsweek on the matter, the person asked for anonymity because such details are normally very closely held.)

He and others with long experience in preparing for diplomatic trips say they have never seen numbers like that and couldn't understand the unprecedented visa requests. The diplomatic source called it a "curious" number that dwarfed even the advance teams for President Barack Obama's trip to Brazil, Chile and El Salvador combined in 2011.

Forget the numbers; it's the distance he keeps between him and Little Finger.

Posted by orrinj at 6:37 AM

KNOWING YOUR ALLIES:

Islamic State threatens new attacks in Iran in video (Reuters, 8/10/17) 

A man wearing a black ski mask and holding an AK-47, seated alongside two others, made the threat in a video bearing the Islamic State's Amaq news agency logo and showing footage of two attacks in Tehran in June claimed by the militant group.

"The same way we are cutting the necks of your dogs in Iraq and Syria we will cut your necks in the center of Tehran," the man said, speaking accented Farsi.

Islamic State, a Sunni Muslim group which has sought to establish a caliphate in parts of the Gulf but is now under pressure from national armies and international groups in Syria and Iraq, sees Iran, which is predominantly Shi'ite, as one of its biggest enemies in the region.

Posted by orrinj at 6:31 AM

THE lEFT IS THE rIGHT (profanity alert):

The Rise of the Violent Left : Antifa's activists say they're battling burgeoning authoritarianism on the American right. Are they fueling it instead? (PETER BEINART,  SEPTEMBER 2017,  The Atlantic)


What's eroding in Portland is the quality Max Weber considered essential to a functioning state: a monopoly on legitimate violence. As members of a largely anarchist movement, antifascists don't want the government to stop white supremacists from gathering. They want to do so themselves, rendering the government impotent. With help from other left-wing activists, they're already having some success at disrupting government. Demonstrators have interrupted so many city-council meetings that in February, the council met behind locked doors. In February and March, activists protesting police violence and the city's investments in the Dakota Access Pipeline hounded Mayor Ted Wheeler so persistently at his home that he took refuge in a hotel. The fateful email to parade organizers warned, "The police cannot stop us from shutting down roads."

All of this fuels the fears of Trump supporters, who suspect that liberal bastions are refusing to protect their right to free speech. Joey Gibson, a Trump supporter who organized the June 4 Portland rally, told me that his "biggest pet peeve is when mayors have police stand down ... They don't want conservatives to be coming together and speaking." To provide security at the rally, Gibson brought in a far-right militia called the Oath Keepers. In late June, James Buchal, the chair of the Multnomah County Republican Party, announced that it too would use militia members for security, because "volunteers don't feel safe on the streets of Portland."

Antifa believes it is pursuing the opposite of authoritarianism. Many of its activists oppose the very notion of a centralized state. But in the name of protecting the vulnerable, antifascists have granted themselves the authority to decide which Americans may publicly assemble and which may not. That authority rests on no democratic foundation. Unlike the politicians they revile, the men and women of antifa cannot be voted out of office. Generally, they don't even disclose their names.

Antifa's perceived legitimacy is inversely correlated with the government's. Which is why, in the Trump era, the movement is growing like never before. As the president derides and subverts liberal-democratic norms, progressives face a choice. They can recommit to the rules of fair play, and try to limit the president's corrosive effect, though they will often fail. Or they can, in revulsion or fear or righteous rage, try to deny racists and Trump supporters their political rights. From Middlebury to Berkeley to Portland, the latter approach is on the rise, especially among young people.

Revulsion, fear, and rage are understandable. But one thing is clear. The people preventing Republicans from safely assembling on the streets of Portland may consider themselves fierce opponents of the authoritarianism growing on the American right. In truth, however, they are its unlikeliest allies.

Posted by orrinj at 5:27 AM

...AND CHEAPER...:

Robots to replace Disneyland Actors (DEEPAK GUPTA, 8/10/17, Next Web)

Over 1200 character actors portray Mickey, Goofy and other characters at Disneyland and they might lose their jobs soon.

A patent application reveals Disney's plans to create children-friendly "Soft" Robots. The soft-bodied robots are adapted for physical interaction with humans, particularly children. The robots also incorporate sensors and control software intended to reduce impacts on collision during human interaction.