Archive for March 2017
As Robin of Batman and Robin fame said, “Holy Stomach Ache!” It’s the ache that won’t go away. It’s IBS-D – Incredibly Boneheaded Scandals with Delirium.
Where to start? It’s like a fart in a whirlwind – it’s everywhere all at once, it stinks, and you don’t know who’s to blame.
What these IBS-D sufferers have yet to meet is my “little friend”:
Fortunately, our little friend is the “truth” – a close cousin of reality. It has a tendency to arrive each morning with the sunrise. Let’s review a few of these IBS-D victims.
You have Rep. Devin Nunes who got a call and started an odyssey straight out of Austin Powers. Nunes went to the White House to be briefed by wet-behind-the-ears NSC staffers, one who formerly worked for Nunes and the other who was to be fired but got a reprieve from Dolt 45, examined sensitive raw intelligence, got up the next day, had a press conference, and went back to the White House to tell them about things he had learned twelve hours before at the White House. Nunes is a liar and he has officially admitted it. Question is: Was he lying then, now, or both times?
Or Michael Flynn, woebegone National Security Adviser for 24 days and leader of “lock her up” chants, is peddling himself as a candidate for immunity for his “story” because according to his attorney, “He’s got a story to tell.”
Maybe the truth can’t be trusted if it is proven by science. Look no further than Scott Pruitt, EPA Administrator, who said the “EPA was returning to sound science in decision-making,” by ignoring it and allowing the continued use of a pesticide particularly harmful to children. Dow Chemical is happy with their life-sized skin puppet named Pruitt since the neurotoxic poison only harms children’s brains.
Then there is our Secretary of State T.Rex Tillerson – a human silver ridgeback gorilla. In keeping with OSHA standards for dealing with human ridgebacks, State Department employees have been instructed “not to speak to him directly — or even make eye contact.” As we know around here, a company lifer like T.Rex will always go along to get along and an original idea would kill him.
Or maybe we could go out to Kansas and visit with the original Tea Party scarecrow Sam Brownback. Governor Brownback has now hit the conservodroid trifecta. He cut taxes driving the state to the brink of bankruptcy, he did lasting damage to the state’s education system, and now he has vetoed expanded Medicaid. There’s 150,000 poor Kansans who wish Brownback was already ambassadoring in Italy since they have a nice anatomical spot picked out for something shaped like a boot as a parting gift.
Back in D.C. to avenge the failure of the American Health Care
Atrocity Act, all the men folk got together and decided the “manly man” thing to do was to blame a woman. Go figure. Just like with the Nunes story, it’s a story with more credibility stretch marks than Chris Christy after a Krispy Kreme drive-by looting. The woman guilty of not being a man, Katie Walsh, will be working with yet another “Mercer” group.
Speaking of Gov. Krispy, his bridge trolls were sentenced to prison this week. Krispy was in D.C. being “injected” as chairman of an opioid task force. I find it incredibly rich for Christy to be put in charge of any effort to gain self-control over the ingestion of substances.
And just one last thought. We are a country of 320 million people. If the very best advisers we have in this country are a guy who worked for a fringe conspiracy website, a creepy daughter/wife, and a son-in-law whose college application had a $2.5 million check pinned to it, then I’ve got more than a touch of real IBS-D.
What’s on your mind today?
Over the weekend I edited a short fundraising video for organizations that help victims of human trafficking. These are all religious institutions and the women interviewed were all nuns. One from NYC, one from London, and one from Mombasa, Kenya.
Human trafficking is the 2nd largest crime industry in the world, only behind drug trafficking. It generates hundreds of billions of dollars in profit – at the expense of human lives. And it is also the fastest growing “industry” in the world today. In 2012 it was estimated that as many as 20.9 million people around the world were victims of human trafficking. Imagine what those numbers are in 2017. Human trafficking includes sexual exploitation (including sexual slavery), forced labor, organ harvesting. The International Labour Organization (a United Nations agency) last compiled their statistics in 2012. Some excerpts:
90% are forced to labor for private economies or corporations
22% are in forced sexual exploitation
55% are women and girls & 45% are men and boys
26% are under the age of 18
Sister Jane Kimathi, from Mombasa, speaks of victims as young as 4 years old, forced into prostitution. Many, she says, come to their safe houses unable to speak because of the trauma. Some stay with the Sisters for as long as two years, as they try to rehabilitate them and find new homes. While their order is Catholic, they welcome all victims and their prayer room is nondenominational. She mentioned that Mombasa is a popular tourist destination. But the “tourist destination” designation is people who come there specifically searching for young children to abuse. Because of the many conflicts in Africa, the number of refugees spikes the numbers of slaves. They are people looking for ways to support their families. Nobody is looking for glamour or prestige in the sex trade, Sister Kimathi says. “It’s poverty and desperation.” Some of the children were sold by their parents into slavery. Some are orphans and some are runaways who were promised happiness by relatives, who then exploited them.
It’s a story the Sister from New York, Joan Dawber, picks up on. Sister Joan runs safe houses in Queens. She described one woman’s story: She came to New York to be a student, sponsored by an extended family. When she arrived, the family forced her to become their slave. She never attended school. She was forced to take care of the family, including raising their young children. She was forced to eat off the floor. Not just having her plate on the floor, she didn’t have a plate. Whatever food she was allowed to eat was put on the floor. If she was hungry and snuck any food out of the fridge, she was punished. She was her family’s slave in Queens, NY for five years. Her salvation came in the form of a neighbor who suspected something odd based on the young woman’s behavior in public. She tried to speak to her repeatedly, ask her how she is, only to have the young woman run away. Eventually the neighbor gave the woman a cell phone with pre-programmed numbers for the police and safe shelters. The young woman finally found courage to escape, using the cell phone to call for help. She has since finished school and lives in New York.
Sister Dawber points out that human trafficking exists in every state of the USA. It is not an issue that only happens out there somewhere. It exists all around us. It could be the waitress in a restaurant, or a manicurist at the nail salon. They could be of any age and any race. It can be almost impossible to know that this person ringing up our groceries is indentured to someone.
Sister Lynda Dearlove runs a safe house in London. Their organization primarily helps prostitutes. The interesting thing is that their mission isn’t strictly to “rescue” the women from prostitution. It is to offer them a safe home and counseling when in need. Many only come to spend the night, take a shower and eat. Some then return to the streets. The Sisters there never force anyone to stay. Many women have been coming to them for years for a night or two of peace. The Sisters hope that by offering women a shelter and offering them counseling they can help them enable themselves. Sister Dearlove passionately says that the can not force anyone to do anything. The best they can do is show the women that there is hope and they need to find it for themselves. Maybe not today, but possibly tomorrow. “They are valued and they are loved, and if anything happens to them we want them to know that we will miss them.” She says that people blame women for becoming prostitutes and that it is one of the biggest challenges we as a society face: The need to understand that if any of these women choose prostitution it is only because they are fleeing abuse, or drugs, or so many other possible traumas. Many are trying to support families and stay alive. They must never be judged or condemned, she says. They must be offered hope.
Note: Sister Dearlove was appointed a member of the Order of the British Empire in 2010.
This is an open thread. What’s on your mind fellow Widdershins?
Sometimes when presented with esoteric information I find myself thinking, “Why would I ever need to know that?” Without being psychic, there’s a better than even chance you are about to have that exact same thought, because…
This post is about budget reconciliation, the Senate Byrd Rule, and tax cuts.
Stick with me for about 400 more words and I promise everything will come together.
First, a quick story. Let’s say you are an enterprising high school student who, on occasion, visits your parent’s liquor cabinet. The parents, just as enterprising, mark the level of happy juice remaining after they partake. Therefore, fun is calibrated by hash marks running down the spine of the bottle indicating how much happy juice remains to be imbibed.
How does the enterprising teenager cover his surreptitious “borrowing” of fun juice? A “C” student would use water to fill the bottle back to the hash mark. An “A” student would find the pen used to make the hash mark and just make a new, lower one.
Folks, that’s a synopsis of the federal budget reconciliation act for purposes of tax cuts. I’ll explain.
Being discerning Widdershinners, the velocity with which the Republican American Health Care Atrocity Act (AHCA) moved was worrisome. Why the breakneck speed to alter almost one-fifth of the economy? The reason: Paul Ryan didn’t want anyone to notice the tax cut hash marks were being changed.
What the AHCA did was to lower the liquor bottle hash marks for tax cuts. It changed the tax baseline. The reason this is important is that the Senate rules require any tax cut to end after ten-years unless it is “paid-for” – ergo, the lower the hash mark, the less you have to replace. That’s the Byrd Rule.
The Republicans wanted to eliminate $1.0 Trillion in taxes over the next ten years by repealing the A.C.A. That meant $1.0 Trillion less they would have to replace in “pay-fors” in the next round of tax cuts, which they euphemistically call “tax reform”.
Paul Ryan doesn’t care about health care policy. He cares about tax cuts. The AHCA was merely a means to an end. Ryan, with a complicit White House, was merely figuring out a way to make the coming tax cuts larger and permanent. He was lowering the hash mark on the liquor bottle so he and his overlords could swill more of that sweet, delicious juice of the tax cut. The repeal of the A.C.A. taxes make the next tax cuts coming through “tax reform” look more affordable.
The chart below demonstrates what a massive redistributive tax cut the AHCA represented. It was redistribution from those least able to pay to the wealthiest collective in the country – the One Percenters.
Why am I taking your time with this? The quest for larger and permanent tax cuts isn’t over.
Ryan and his tax cut swilling cohort aren’t quitting – just like drinkers, nobody likes a quitter. Yesterday, a purloined recording of Ryan cooing to Republican donors surfaced. He promised:
We’re not going to just all of a sudden abandon health care and move on to the rest. We are going to move on with rest of our agenda, keep that on track, while we work the health-care problem. . . . It’s just that valuable, that important.
The anime-eyed granny-starver isn’t giving up. He might announce his grand plan as early as Thursday or Friday. Hell hath no fury like a Republican denied tax cuts. Who would have thought Republicans would seek to cut taxes, end regulation, rollback civil rights, and then for good measure, cut some more taxes? Who’d a’thunk it?
This class on budget reconciliation is now adjourned.
What’s on your mind today?
For those tuning in for Fredster’s mellow tunes, he’s taking the weekend to rest. He spends way too many hours a day making sure things run smoothly around here. I’m sure he’ll be around to drop some tunes.
As is my prodigiously prolixous habit, I have a story. Most everyone knows A Chorus Line is one of the longest running Broadway shows in history. What most people don’t know is that the stories comprising A Chorus Line are real.
When the show was work-shopped, dancers were asked to recount their “stories”. Those stories were woven together to create the play, the lyrics, and the music. Never before had it been tried. No one knew if it would work.
Well, it did work and it changed musical theater. It also changed lives. Young people became actors, dancers, choreographers, costumers, set designers, prop masters, and hundreds of other professions because of the show. It changed the way people saw theater.
This change came about because it was a play based in reality. It was about talent. It was about living your own truth – about telling your story. Most of all, the play was about standing up, following your heart, and doing something.
This week reminded me of A Chorus Line. The success of saving health care for 24 million Americans is due to people turning out, telling their stories, living their truth, and using their talent to overcome. Whether it was marching, calling, knitting hats, signing petitions, or just being informed, in the end reality won – at least for now.
Asked in November, anyone would have proclaimed the ACA dead. Health care was the long-hanging fruit – hanging so low it was touching the ground and rotting on the vine. No way, no how, would the Republicans be so incompetent as to not succeed at repealing something they have grunted and groaned about for seven years.
But they were that incompetent. They fielded a bill written with the venom of the insurance industry and recorded in the journals of epic fails. Never underestimate just how much Republicans will overestimate their reach.
So my suggestion is we celebrate with songs about overcoming adversity. If you have other ideas, you are welcome to share them. The first video is about the cast of Hamilton on April 16, 2016, celebrating the 40th anniversary of A Chorus Line opening off-Broadway at The Public Theater. At the end they talk about making a difference in the world just like what we witnessed this week.
Your turn. I hope your weekend is a great one.
Indeed, a bold move, let’s see if it pays off for them. So bold, the logic is nonexistent or exists in a parallel bizarro universe. Originally, I was going to post about a political science study, but it is too egg-headed and stuffy for a day like today.
Today we get to watch a bunch of Congressional one-eyed lemmings follow one another off the cliff because they’ve been told they can learn to fly on the way down.
These lemmings were tricked into trying to “midair Kitty Hawk” by King Don Dumb, the author of Schart of the Zeal. That’s a book about living a goony-eyed life of believing your own sh!t so much you get all excited and poop yourself, but not before toot farting, thereby signaling your unbridled zeal.
Here’s the upside for King Don Dumb if it passes – 24 million lose their health insurance, premiums go up, deductibles go up, coverage goes down, but the really rich get millions in tax cuts.
Overnight, there was another ransom note from the freaky Freedom Caucus. Not only does it cut essential benefits like maternity care, newborn care, pediatric care, mental health, drug treatment, rehabilitation, prescription drug coverage, preventative care, wellness care, chronic disease, laboratory services, hospitalization, and outpatient services, there’s more – even though that list looks like pretty much everything insurance is supposed to do.
To the things listed as essential services, add about eight other technical things that must have been written down during especially unctuous nocturnal emissions of insurance lobbyists. They include eliminating the “single risk pool” allowing insurers to cull the cheap healthy from the expensive sick, reinstating lifetime and annual coverage limits, eliminating the requirement for no-cost preventative care like mammograms, and undoing the Medical Loss Ratio standards, which is a fancy term for forcing large insurers to pay out at least 85% of premiums on claims and rebating the rest.
And here’s what I can’t believe hasn’t been covered: This travesty – this atrocity increases the deficit. It’s only slightly cheaper than the ACA, but it still increases the deficit because of the tax cuts. These heartless, amoral, hell-bound morons are borrowing money to heap suffering on 24 million people. It’s like an arsonist taking a mortgage on a house before torching it.
For seven years we’ve heard that selling insurance across state lines is the magical elixir to reduce premiums. That tired story is just another hornless unicorn, but it is what “wonkinator” Paul Ryan has sworn will work. States already allow interstate insurance sales, but insurance companies don’t do it because it doesn’t make economic sense. As health care expert Austin Frakt, told the Los Angeles Times, “I never understood the appeal of this idea. It only makes sense if you don’t know what you’re talking about.”
Here in one chart is all you need to know. The chart depicts the percentage of income paid for premiums of a 60-year old making $20,000.00 a year. Under the ACA, she pays about 5% of her income no matter where she lives. Under this “Death Care” (© Fredster), in some parts of the country the same 60-year old pays 100% of her income for coverage. No one is going to do that. No one can do that.
No idea how this will turn out in the morning, but I’m sure of these things: The legislative language is still being worked out, there is no CBO score so no one knows how much these changes will cost, and oh yeah, this Death Care is polling at 17%.
One other thing, even if it does pass, it is DOA in the Senate. King Don Dumb has tooted and schart his pants declaring, “Take it or leave it, I’m done with health care.” At about 11:00 p.m., he blamed the anime-eyed granny-starver for this fiasco. As if that is a surprise.
The bold strategy is whether or not they can hide the fact this “wealth care” is only about the rich and Republican swamp dwellers. Hell of a thing. If someone had only warned us.
The first procedural vote is scheduled for 8:00 a.m. EDT this morning.
What’s on your mind today?
James Comey is the strangest, most mysterious man in the known universe. And boy, does he have a poker face. What is his deal? What is his game? Officially people in the world of politics still vouch for his integrity. But the rest of us mortals can probably say: “Comey, I hate you. I love you. I hate you. I love you. I hate you. I like you. I’m not sure. I hate you. Huh?”
Most citizens probably never gave Comey much thought until his press conference announcing FBI would not recommend charges against Hillary Clinton for using a private e-mail server, although Clinton was very very naughty. The bizarre “She broke rules but we won’t prosecute” announcement brought out angry responses from Republicans and grudging gratitude from Democrats. When Comey was called to explain his actions before Congress, Democrats shielded him. Then the tables flipped when 12 days before the election Comey sent The Letter, making Republicans dance with joyful glee and sending Democrats into apoplectic fits of rage. There is no doubt that The Letter swung the election to Trump. Through all this Comey was investigating Trump’s connections to Russia. FBI started their investigation at the end of July. (July 27th is when Trump called on Russia to hack Clinton’s e-mails, but rumors of Trump’s relationship to Putin were already swirling. See Robby Mook/Jake Tapper clip below.) How in the world does the head of the FBI throw one candidate’s candidacy into chaos while knowing that the other candidate may be colluding with a foreign power to manipulate the election? These actions are inexplicable. And through it all Comey’s Mona Lisa smile is infuriating.
Now again Comey, with Trump installed in the White House, has unleashed the wrath of the Republicans and weary excitement from Democrats in Congress. Democrats need him. Republicans and Trump need him to shut up. If you’re keeping score, Comey has pissed off Republicans more often than Democrats. But he also handed Republicans the ultimate gift: The Presidency of the United States. What is his deal? What is his game? Will we ever actually know? Or will his motives and actions forever be the source of speculation? What will history books say about James Comey?
Of the people within Trump’s administration who seem likely to go down hard are Paul Manafort, Carter Page and Roger Stone. (Davis Nunes says he’s never heard of Page and Stone… make of that what you will… ) CNN put together a handy guide to Stone’s public comments regarding his connections to Assange, WikiHacks and Guccifer 2.0. These are great for when Stone says he didn’t know anything about anything. The timeline spans from August 10, 2016 (“Stone tells a local Republican Party group in Florida “I’ve actually communicated with Julian Assange”) to March 20, 2017 (“It’s only fair that I have a chance to respond 2 any smears or half truths about alleged “Collusion with Russians” from 2day’s Intel Hearing.”) I hope Stone starts prepping himself for a stone cold cot.
One of the sources of concern to Trump and Co. is Alfa Bank. The second largest private bank in Russia it came to some people’s attention when it was caught trying to communicate with a Trump server. The original story on the bank’s strange behavior came to light before the election, but the story was dismissed by almost the entire media. NY Times infamously dismissed it on October 31, 2016 with the following headline: “Investigating Donald Trump, F.B.I. Sees No Clear Link to Russia.” And with that, the media’s interest in the Trump/Putin connection died. The only person who followed up on it was a Republican writer Louise Mensch. She reported days later (late evening of November 7, to be exact) that the FBI had a FISA warrant to examine communications between Trump’s campaign and a Russian bank. Mensch claims the NY Times (Erich Lichtblau and Steven Lee Myers wrote the article) knew about the FISA warrant. And that they even interviewed then Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid about it. But threw out the entire Reid interview and buried the FBI/FISA detail. She continues to question Lichtblau on twitter about why he did these things and he largely ignores her. Meanwhile Alfa Bank is now claiming they have been hacked and are suing one of the analysts who examined their suspicious communications with Trump organization.
The information on Trump’s connections to Russia were discussed in public as early as July 24, 2016 by Robby Mook, Clinton’s campaign manager. On CNN’s State of the Union, on the first day of Democratic convention, Mook told Jake Tapper there were great concerns regarding potential Trump campaign collusion with Russia, stolen DNC e-mails published via WikiLeaks, and RNC’s watering down of Republican platform on Russia/Ukraine. These are now all vital parts of FBI’s investigation that could sink Trump and will most certainly sink many of the key players of his campaign. The media did not investigate this story until it was too late. (Notice also the chyrons on the Mook/Tapper video. An intellectually dishonest representation of the e-mails being published by WikiLeaks.) The media dedicated all of their resources to the Clinton e-mails. They dedicated no resources to potential collusion between Trump and Russia. This will always be one of the great journalistic disasters of all time. Perhaps greater than their failure to vet the Iraq War (NY Times again.)
Which brings me to Donald Trump himself. I won’t use any of the big words like sociopathic or narcissistic. I think he’s just a man who has never in his entire life had to deal with consequences for any bad behavior. Rich white man. If he did anything wrong, he got a gold star from daddy and lawyers took care of the fallout. He said and did as he pleased. No blowback on anything his entire life. 70 years of this. Imagine what this complete lack of accountability and self-awareness can do to a human brain. He goes bankrupt 7 times? Meh, someone will take care of the fallout and get him more loans. Wife isn’t pleasing anymore? Meh, someone will take care of the divorce and settlement. Being sued for racial discrimination? Meh, someone will take care of the settlement. This is a man who has thrown money at his problems and the problems went away for 70 years. He behaved during his campaign the way he has behaved his entire 70 years on Earth. Badly. Rude, arrogant, mean, vicious, malicious. Said everything that came into his head. And the crowds adored him. Think about what a crowd of 10,000 people chanting “Lock her up!” can do to your brain. Adoration. Say and do anything you like – and TV gives you hours of non-critical coverage. The crowds go crazy. Your approval ratings go through the roof. Your opponents, seasoned politicians all, go down in flames. And you don’t even have to do anything different! It just happens. For a man who has spent his entire life with zero accountability runs his campaign the same way – and he is rewarded with the Presidency of the USA. Think what that does to your brain. Everything he has ever done and said has been vindicated. He does not recognize that things are different now. His brain can’t process this information. Incapable of self-awareness or awareness of others. For 70 years he has done as he pleased, said as he pleased. And an army of Yes-Men have enabled and encouraged his delusions for 70 years. But it is different now. He is stunned that his inauguration crowd isn’t as big as his predecessor’s! (A Black Man!)
“No, it’s just not possible. Fake news! The Black Man wire-tapped me! Obviously. Why do I have to retract this? I don’t have to do anything I don’t want. I want to golf. Why can’t I golf? I said I want to golf! This is my resort! This is my home away from gilded home in NYC! I’ll do what I want! I’m President! I won! I did everything the way I always do! And I won! People love me! They all voted for me! All voted for me! Because I’m President! Those who didn’t vote for me have no right to exist! Deep state is out to get me! How else to explain that these things I said are being held against me? I always say what I want! Why are you ganging up on me?! I’m not a puppet! Tillerson will go to Russia! Because I said so! Because I won! This is a conspiracy to destroy me! You can’t tell me what I can and can’t say about Putin! You don’t like Putin? Too bad! I love Putin! I’ll say what I want! I won! I’m President! And you are nothing.”
I will finish on a completely different note. It is a story of love, regret and perseverance.
Through all the madness music has been a great source of solace to me. (Classical music and opera generally, but then…) Here is my favorite performer Madonna, in a “pirate” recording of her classic song “True Blue” at Barclay Center in Brooklyn on September 19, 2015, as part of her “Rebel Heart Tour.” Two nights earlier Madonna celebrated 30 years since her Madison Square Garden debut with a concert at MSG. (Amy Schumer was Madonna’s opening act at the NY shows in 2015, that’s why Madonna gives Schumer a shout-out in the clip below. At that tour way back in 1985, “The Like A Virgin Tour,” her opening act were the Beastie Boys.)
“True Blue” was written in the mid 1980’s by Madonna as a declaration of love for her then-husband Sean Penn. He was in the audience at MSG two nights earlier and there is private video of him watching Madonna singing the song. At Barclay’s (one of the two times I watched this show), Madonna told the story that after the MSG anniversary concert she received a letter from Penn. In it he wrote that watching her perform that night, after so many years and everything they’d each been through, he really appreciated everything she had accomplished and he acknowledged he was a fool to not have recognized her talents when they were married. “Thirty years!” Madonna screamed to the audience. “Thirty years I’ve been waiting for those words! And that, ladies and gentlemen, is marriage and why I will never get married again.”
Last time she sang “True Blue” live was in 1987, just as her marriage to Penn was falling apart.
Yesterday felt like I had been at the carnival too long. I had ridden the Tilt-a-Whirl too many times and eaten too much cotton candy. I was dizzy and jittery. Sensory overload.
There was just too much news yesterday. It was a carnival sugar high leaving me craving something savory – wanting something real. No what ifs – no fake news – just what’s real.
This story is real.
Imagine an eighty-something guy – let’s call him Marty. Marty is a retired AT&T employee. Not a sophisticated investor, Marty had accumulated a sizable chunk of AT&T stock at discounted prices. It was a nice nest egg, except…
In 2008 Marty watched Jim Cramer of Mad Money on the Today show say, “Whatever money you may need for the next five years, please take it out of the stock market right now.”
So without consulting financial advisers or knowledgeable family members, Marty sold his AT&T stock. This was October 2008. Wall Street was beginning a bout of serious bulimia after gorging itself on the mortgage/derivative/credit cotton candy fraud scheme. Selling was neither smart nor prudent.
If Marty had reinvested his funds, the S&P 500 total return would have been 192%. Within just five years, reinvestment would have returned him 98%.
In the popular vernacular: Sad!
Here’s where it starts getting real. Marty’s last name is Bannon. Marty is Steve Bannon’s dad. And Steve Bannon lays his entire life philosophy around the “Rosebud moment” of Marty losing money in the stock market in 2008.
The elevator pitch offered by The Wall Street Journal is this:
There were many factors that turned Steve Bannon into a divisive political firebrand. But his decision to embrace ‘economic nationalism’ and vehemently oppose the forces and institutions of globalization, he says, stems from his upbringing, his relationship with his father and the meaning those AT&T shares held for the family.
“Everything since then has come from there,” Bannon told the Journal. “All of it.”
Let’s break this down, shall we? Marty was 80-something then, he’s 95 now. He watched Jim Cramer screaming on the teevee. He didn’t call his son Steve who worked for Goldman Sachs or his other son who also worked on Wall Street. He didn’t reinvest. He was overleveraged in AT&T. He didn’t diversify. And here’s the kicker…
Marty probably didn’t lose $100,000. Without getting all wonked up, given the time Marty worked for AT&T he most likely paid a lot less than what he sold for. In fact, when he sold, the stock was trading at a 2006 level, far above Marty’s accumulation dates from 1945-1995.
If Marty had sold at the high point, most likely he would have made $100,000 more, but he didn’t lose money. Marty made a stupid mistake. I’m sorry that he did, but he wasn’t the only retiree who suffered because of Dubya’s lack of SEC enforcement and the greed of Wall Street.
What’s different is that Marty’s son is using this as his personal “Rosebud moment” – his excuse for being. So what does Steve Bannon do to protect the little guys – the Martys of the world?
Like Sancho Panza, Steve Bannon hitches his wagon to the millionaire, pussy-grabbing heir to a real estate fortune. A fortune siphoned-off renting to blue-collar hardworking Joes and Josephines as long as they were lily-white. To everyone’s surprise, this legacy heir wins the presidency.
Bannon pedals his tricycle to the White House where he is tickled to see a bevy of Goldman Sachs buddies occupying every nook and cranny. Within a week, Bannon has dinner and helps send a Navy Seal, someone’s husband and son, to his death. Not to be deterred, Steve then sets his sights on taking away the insurance of 24 million ordinary Joes and Josephines. The demonic irony is that by denying these folks insurance it will ensure the one-percenters an $800 Billion tax cut.
I can’t begin to capture the hypocrisy as well as Francis Wilkinson does:
So if you want to know why Steve Bannon ran a website that became a digital drag bar for neo-Nazis and racists, or why he is determined to ban desperate, war-ravaged Muslim refugees from reaching American shores, or to deport mothers of American children to nations they haven’t seen in years, or to stop subsidizing health insurance for the poor and middle class, or to eliminate environmental safeguards, or to deregulate Wall Street so that it has fewer constraints in exploiting vulnerable investors, or to deliver vast tax cuts to extremely wealthy people like Steve Bannon — all while the president of the United States conceals his tax returns and sells the presidency for profit, well, it all comes down to what the elites did to poor Marty Bannon.
“Everything since then has come from there,” Bannon said. “All of it.”
An illegitimate President being served by his own kind – a Decepticon, perhaps named Optimus Subprime. Bannon is fake. His whole “supposed philosophy” is an ontological excuse for believing in nothing. A real Rosedud.
What’s on your mind today?