Law professors torch Trump legal memo

So much of this is not normal, but if this is the reality we must amplify those fighting to defend the institutions that make America a thing.

The Office of the President is not a get-out-of-jail free card for lawless behavior,” the professors wrote in their letter, obtained by POLITICO. “Indeed, our country’s Founders made it clear in the Declaration of Independence that they did not believe that even a king had such powers; they specifically cited King George’s obstruction of justice as among the ‘injuries and usurpations’ that justified independence. Our Founders would not have created — and did not create — a Constitution that would permit the President to use his powers to violate the laws for corrupt and self-interested reasons.”

How to Handle All That News

So much news, so many sources, so much to read, so where does one start? If you are a news junkie as I am this is the ultimate question of our times (tad exaggeration).
My system for trying to keep up is not complicated, but it works for me and something similar might work for you. First I have 3 “old media” sources that I subscribe to so I read those as you would have in 1950 at the kitchen table. Those would be The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Wall Street Journal. These three are also the only news apps that I allow to send me notifications on my phone, breaking news only of course!

The next bit is how I take in the rest. It pretty much works like this. I see a link in a number of places and save it to Pocket. There are a few services that allow you to save items to read later, but Pocket works everywhere and has the best tools. Then a few times a day I go into Pocket on my phone or PC and read away.

I have two primary ways to find stuff I want to send to Pocket. That would be my RSS app (RSS explainer) and Twitter. Since the death of Google Reader I have used Feedly as my RSS service. I do however use third party apps to use Feedly though they provide more than adequate first party apps. On the MAC and iOS I use Reeder, and on Windows I like Nextgen Reader. Both apps do a great job of syncing with the Feedly service and most importantly make it easy to save to Pocket. For Android I still have not found anything better than Feedly for Android.

Those that know me understand I like and use Twitter a lot. While the social stuff is fun, I have found it be a useful place to see what news is breaking in the now. With the right Twitter app you can save anything that looks interesting with one quick click. On the Mac and iOS I use Tweetbot, on Android I like Talon, and on Windows I like Tweetium.

While a setup like this can take time to curate it is quick and easy to use. During the day or when I am busy I just quickly scan my Twitter and RSS feeds. If I see a headline or lede that draws my attention, I just click save to Pocket. Then when I have a few minutes I open Pocket and read!

Like anything the news is only as good as the sources you choose to follow and read. Don’t just read the sites and authors who you know you will agree with. Push your boundaries, remember there is a world outside of the borders you live within, and become an informed citizen.

Apps and services mentioned above:

The Time for the Gun Debate Was Yesterday

What to Bring to the Gun Fight | Crooked Media

Republicans have defined the terms of the debate on guns and instead of trying to change those terms, we have resigned ourselves to playing on their turf. The Democratic approach to guns is one of the last vestiges of the mushy strategic applesauce that dominated 1990s DLC-style centrism—the only way to beat Republicans is to try to sound more like them. It is a defensive posture borne of a defeatist mindset that is more a product of Democratic psychology than of political reality. Democrats speak softly and carry a small stick to the gun fight because they have convinced themselves that Republicans have the law, politics, and a presumption of victory on their side. The truth is less daunting, but unless Democrats come around to that truth, the presumption of Republican victory will become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Glad to see a group of writers actually writing. This is an important read.

Little Thing About Free Speech

Spurned by Major Companies, The Daily Stormer Returns to the Web With Help From a Startup – ProPublica

Nick Lim, the 20-year-old founder of the company BitMitigate, said he offered his services to Daily Stormer founder Andrew Anglin because he believes in free speech, but also to get the word out about his company, which protects websites from so-called denial of services attacks that overwhelm internet servers. 

He has every right to choose his customers, but this has nothing to do with free speech. Neither he nor his company are the government the last time I checked.

Speaking of that, I see many journalists get very preachy online saying similar things about free speech in regards to Twitter and Facebook. To them I say “get a clue”!

Read These Two Things

First, read this….

Mr. Flynn is gone, having been caught lying about his own discussion of sanctions with the Russian ambassador. But the proposal, a peace plan for Ukraine and Russia, remains, along with those pushing it: Michael D. Cohen, the president’s personal lawyer, who delivered the document; Felix H. Sater, a business associate who helped Mr. Trump scout deals in Russia; and a Ukrainian lawmaker trying to rise in a political opposition movement shaped in part by Mr. Trump’s former campaign manager Paul D. Manafort.

Then read this….

But now we learn that Sater is still very much in the Trump orbit and acting as a go-between linking Trump and a pro-Putin Ukrainian parliamentarian pitching ‘peace plans’ for settling the dispute between Russia and Ukraine. (Artemenko is part of the political faction which Manafort helped build up in the aftermath of the ouster of his Ukrainian benefactor, deposed President Viktor Yanukovych.) Indeed, far, far more important, Cohen – who is very close to Trump and known for dealing with delicate matters – is in contact with Sater and hand delivering political and policy plans from him to the President.

Were Cohen not involved, one might speculate that Sater is just up to yet another hustle, looking to parlay his one-time association with Trump into influence with the new President. Cohen hand delivering his messages to the President changes the picture considerably. How or why Cohen would do this, if for no other reason than the current massive scrutiny of Trump’s ties to Russia and Sater’s scandals, almost defies belief. But here we are.


Another Day Where the Media Fails

Another day, another bunch of bullshit flying through the media. In the middle of a GOP meltdown the Wall Street Journal posts an article claiming the US paid Iran for hostage release in SECRET. Yeah about that…
Here is a paragraph from a CNN article from January 17th

The U.S. State Department announced the government had agreed to pay Iran $1.7 billion to settle a case related to the sale of military equipment prior to the Iranian revolution, according to a statement issued on Sunday.
Iran had set up a $400 million trust fund for such purchases, which was frozen along with diplomatic relations in 1979. In settling the claim, which had been tied up at the Hague Tribunal since 1981, the U.S. is returning the money in the fund along with “a roughly $1.3 billion compromise on the interest,” the statement said.

You want to be against the Iran nuclear deal, go for it. Make your argument. However watching the news media make asses of themselves when the President, the State Department, and the White House Press Secretary all reported the unfreezing of the 400 million dollars is quite something. How in the hell does any publication have the gall to then use the word “secret” when writing about it eight months later? Someone fed this story which I get, but do a fucking Google search. To the rest of the media who just quoted the bullshit story as fact, find a new job.

Donald Trump in Two Videos

Yesterday this first video was shared everywhere online.  It shows kids singing a pretty awful song at a Trump rally.  I knew right away that they just changed the lyrics the famous song “Over There”.  It seems most did not catch that, so the second video is the original song from a movie about the writer of the song’s life.
The writer is George M. Cohan.  If you are ever in Times Square there is a statue of him right outside the TKTS booth.  I was sad to see that the movie “Yankee Doodle Dandee” is not streaming or on sale anywhere! If you ever find it on one of those old movie channels, you should watch it.



The Fourth Estate is Burning

Excerpt from Journalism in the Digital Age

The fact of the matter is that democracy requires informed citizens. No governing body can be expected to operate well without knowledge of the issues on which it is to rule, and rule by the people entails that the people should be informed. In a representative democracy, the role of the press is twofold: it both informs citizens and sets up a feedback loop between the government and voters. The press makes the actions of the government known to the public, and voters who disapprove of current trends in policy can take corrective action in the next election. Without the press, the feedback loop is broken and the government is no longer accountable to the people. The press is therefore of the utmost importance in a representative democracy.

With that in mind watch these 10 seconds and listen to the words of NBC’s Political Director Chuck Todd


Now here are two Tweets from last night after Kentucky elected a new governor. Chuck Todd and his ilk are so enamored with the horse race, they don’t actually cover the horses. Just take a look at last night’s exit polling in Kentucky, and you tell me if that is an informed electorate? I love politics, and I think political debate is a fundamental piece of our country. Not everyone should agree with me, and I should not agree with everyone. We need multiple parties with multiple ideas on taxes, health care, etc. Those ideas and debates can only work if they start based in fact. If we can’t agree the earth is round and have a media that corrects those that say the earth is flat, there is nothing to talk about.

The anti-Obama playbook worked in #kygov. Now the RGA heads to #LAGOV to see if same message can rescue Vitter in another red state

— Chuck Todd (@chucktodd) November 4, 2015


States are laboratories of democracy; nat’l GOP leaders will be watching closely to see how or if Bevin can repeal/replace health care in KY

— Chuck Todd (@chucktodd) November 4, 2015


Stop The Insanity, Not Everything Is About Inversion

There are times you hear things over and over and over and over again, and you just can’t take it anymore.  This is one of those times. 

Last week Burger King announced that it was buying Tim Horton’s.  Immediately the pundit class went into crazy mode.  “Oh my god Burger King is buying Tim Horton’s to avoid paying US taxes!”. INVERSION, INVERSION, INVERSION…..

Let’s try and bring some sanity to this.  First of all, when a company buys another company for the reason of inversion the big company, looking to avoid paying taxes, looks to pick up a smaller company in a tax haven.  While the top line corporate tax rate in Canada might be a little lower than it is in the US, it is not Bermuda.  Second Tim Horton’s is not some small little company.  Third, the few percent saved on taxes is quickly diminished by the falling Canadian dollar compared the US dollar.  Maybe there were other reasons for this purchase……

This deal has more to do with Taco Bell’s waffle taco than it has to do with inversion.  McDonalds’s has McCafe, Subway has their egg sandwiches with Seattle’s Best coffee, and now Burger King has Tim Horton’s.  However, it is more fun for people to go on TV and yell.  This debate is more fun because both political sides are on the same side for different reasons. You have the liberals on the left who like to scream that every corporation is evil, and you have the conservatives on the right who like to yell that taxes are evil. 

Just remember this, the corporations who scream about the high corporate taxes are the same corporations who are literally buying the politicians.  There is a reason that the tax code has not been changed.  They like the high rate with all the loop holes.  At the same time they can yell about this fake high tax rate, while taking advantage of all the loop holes their well funded Congresspersons’ have given them.  Look up the effective tax rates of the largest corporation in the US, and then you will realize how stupid the taxes are high argument is.