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Crime infested inner city housing

[ 59 ] March 22, 2017 |

725 5th Ave., NYC. Thanks to CaptainBringdown for the alert.

There, indeed, was an FBI wiretap involving Russians at Trump Tower.

But it was not placed at the behest of Barack Obama, and the target was not the Trump campaign of 2016. For two years ending in 2013, the FBI had a court-approved warrant to eavesdrop on a sophisticated Russian organized crime money-laundering network that operated out of unit 63A in Trump Tower in New York.

The FBI investigation led to a federal grand jury indictment of more than 30 people, including one of the world’s most notorious Russian mafia bosses, Alimzhan Tokhtakhounov. Known as the “Little Taiwanese,” he was the only target to slip away, and he remains a fugitive from American justice.

Seven months after the April 2013 indictment and after Interpol issued a red notice for Tokhtakhounov, he appeared near Donald Trump in the VIP section of the Miss Universe pageant in Moscow. Trump had sold the Russian rights for Miss Universe to a billionaire Russian shopping mall developer.


The FBI investigation did not implicate Trump. But Trump Tower was under close watch. Some of the Russian mafia figures worked out of unit 63A in the iconic skyscraper — just three floors below Trump’s penthouse residence — running what prosecutors called an “international money-laundering, sports gambling and extortion ring.”

The Trump building was home to one of the top men in the alleged ring, Vadim Trincher, who pleaded guilty to racketeering and received a five-year prison term. He is due to be released in July.

Questions I hope reporters ask, a lot, because I like watching Press Sec. Skeevy Spice twitch:

  1. Is this the wire “tapp” that tRump keeps complaining about?
  2. If so, what’s his problem with busting up an international gang?
  3. How well does he know Alimzhan Tokhtakhounov?

“Will you be ready when I call your bluff?”

[ 73 ] March 22, 2017 |
Grand Ol' Gang - Andy Thomas

Grand Ol’ Gang – Andy Thomas. The updated version will show you-know-who pouting because he lost

As Commentarion McAllen accurately guessed, the Banana Republican’s threat to “come after” Rep. Mark Meadows (R-Freedom’s Carcass) was inversely effective.

Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), chairman of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, says he’s not worried about losing his seat in 2018 if the ObamaCare repeal plan fails.

“I serve at the pleasure of the people of western North Carolina, and when you serve at their pleasure, it’s only those 750,000 people that can send you home,” Meadows told reporters Tuesday.

“It’s a temporary job, and I’ve known that from day one.”

Meadows’s comments came minutes after President Trump addressed the GOP conference Tuesday, telling members that they could lose their seats — and the House majority in 2018 — if they fail to repeal and replace ObamaCare.

In a battle of bullshitters, President Angry Apricot is going to lose against anyone who is willing to engage him and has at least one more brain cell than he does. So like every bully who receives a request to fuck off that he can’t refuse, the Tangerine Nightmare then squirmed a bit and claimed he was only joking.

“Mark Meadows is a longtime, early supporter of the president,” Spicer told reporters at Tuesday’s briefing. “He had some fun at his expense this morning during the conference meeting.”


In Spicer’s telling, Trump simply “continued to express hope that Congressman Meadows … would continue to see the efforts that have been made to make this better and address a lot of the concerns out there.”

“But he has made it very clear that he was having fun with him,” Spicer claimed. “The president’s committed to making sure that this gets passed.”

Sure. And if cringing and admitting that the empty threat was empty don’t do the trick, the Twitterer in the Dorkness can offer Meadows the cupcake his mom packed in his lunch.

If tRump were a pair of jeans

[ 75 ] March 17, 2017 |

If $95 Urkel jeans with plastic windows at the knees aren’t a metaphor for our times, they should be.

He’d be jeans that look like a hopelessly boring person’s idea of cool and he’d describe himself as follows

Slick plastic panels bare your knees for a futuristic feel in tapered and cropped high-waist jeans.

Wear them with with the $1,190 debutante’s degloved feet in red heels by Buffalo Bill & a MAGA hat.

For fashion aficionados who can’t resist the allure of knee peeps on their high waters, but don’t have a spare $100 lying around, Slate has some DIY solutions that are just as silly super.

  • Trash Peplum Top
  • Aluminum Foil–Elbow Patch Sweater
  • Ankle-Peek Tights
  • Sandwich Bag–Pocket Pants
  • Wax-Paper Cheerleader Skirt

WikiLOLs (Update)

[ 118 ] March 14, 2017 |


Julian Assange wants everyone to know that Hillary Clinton is still out there, hiding under your bed inside your microwave, scheming against the Valencia of Versailles, N.W.

Mike Pence is not amused and no surprise. If tRump latches on to this conspiracy he’ll spend the next four years at 1 Observatory Circle.

Vice President Mike Pence condemned WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange on Tuesday, saying his tweets about a “Pence takeover” of the White House are “absurd and frankly offensive.”

“I would dismiss that out of hand,” Pence said, after Assange tweeted that intelligence committee officials “close to Pence stated privately this month that they are planning on a Pence takeover” at the White House, though they “did not state if Pence agrees.”


Shortly after Pence dismissed Assange’s claim on the radio show, the WikiLeaks founder tweeted a link to his response, saying the vice president “responds to knowledge that Hillary Clinton and two officials close to him are working towards him taking the presidency.”

The ratfucking is coming from inside the embassy!

Update: Maybe the stupidest man in the White House press corps will ask Spicer about Clinton’s fiendish plan.



[ 274 ] March 12, 2017 |

Republicans are becoming more and more comfortable with admitting the GOP is the party of white supremacy. However, King’s little paean makes me wonder when they’ll start saying another quiet part out loud: The ability to wring as many babies as possible out of the bodies of white women and girls is an essential part of their plan to maintain and increase racial inequality.

Sure, it all stems from the hatred of, and desire to subjugate, women. But the concept of patriotic parturition would cut the need for po-facery about Life and Babies and the Ladies who are too stupid to know that they really do want to have a baby but at the same time can be trusted to care for an infant.

Patriotic parturition would also eliminate the hassle of arguing about birth control and skip straight to asserting that a white woman who fails to have babies is un-American. In fact, once they openly admit that white women are needed outbreed inner-city thugs, terrorists of color and cantaloupe-calved drug mules, a woman who fails to get pregnant is endangering the country. (And God help her if she has a baby with one of Them.)

As an added bonus, it will allow the bellicose chickenshits who infest the right wing to believe they’re fighting the war on terrorism every time they get a boner.

Update: Commentarian Nick Flynn shared this lovely mango.

I can’t tell if Wife With a Purpose is challenging women to make 6+ babies right now (supplies available at your local Hobby Lobby), or to provide proof they’ve made six at some point in their lives. At any rate, a photo of one child out of every three will be sufficient, apparently.

Kissin’ cousins

[ 63 ] March 9, 2017 |

Another day, another conservative Christian who is a parody of a conservative Christian.

The details sound straight out of a soap opera.

A doctor and his younger nurse fall in love. They continue their torrid affair even after his ex-wife tips off the nurse’s husband, a local politician, to the salacious goings-on. As the divorce moves forward, discovery turns up that the nurse is not just the doctor’s employee and his lover, but his patient, with a predilection for pain pills. And, oh, she’s his second cousin, too.


This is the town of Hohenwald (pop. 3,703) in Lewis County, where bitter divorce proceedings have brought to light possibly unethical behavior by Dr. Joey Hensley, a Republican state senator who also happens to be a family physician — and one who has run for office since 2002 on a platform of conservative Christian values.

He also happens to have been married four times because values.

Bills he has sponsored include

“Don’t Say Gay” bill, which would have banned public school teachers from even mentioning that homosexuality exists. During one hearing that year, Hensley commented, “I don’t think Modern Family is appropriate for children to watch” — because it features a married gay couple raising children. This session, Hensley is sponsoring a bill from the Tennessee Family Action Council that would make children created using donor sperm illegitimate — an attempt to make it harder for gay and lesbian parents to establish paternity. He is also a sponsor of the so-called “Milo Bill,” aimed at liberal practices on college campuses.

Fortunately for Sen. Hensley, being caught with one’s pants down isn’t an automatic career killer for a Republican. His voters will forgive him and feel virtuous for doing so. And when he continues his homophobic harassment campaign they’ll feel virtuous for contributing to that, as well.

AARP, AHA, AMA tl;dr on TrumpCare [AHIP Update]

[ 63 ] March 8, 2017 |
Cover for New Order's Waiting for the Sirens' Call

Cover for New Order’s Waiting for the Sirens’ Call


[Update – AHIP tl;dr: Needs work. But they do like the 30% bonus they’ll receive from people who have a coverage gap “strong incentives for continuous coverage.” Thanks to commenter and ancient horror from the depths of time and space Cthulhu for the heads up.]

The House GOP’s newly-released (and already widely maligned) Obamacare replacement plan has now made a trio of powerful medical interest group enemies: the AARP, the American Medical Association (AMA), and the American Hospital Association (AHA).

The AMA, the nation’s largest physicians’ group representing more than 220,000 doctors, residents, and medical students, was the latest to pile on against the so-called American Health Care Act (AHCA) on Wednesday morning.

Even though the AARP’s focus is older adults, of the three organizations it provided the greatest amount of detail about what’s wrong with this dog of a bill.

This bill would weaken Medicare’s fiscal sustainability, dramatically increase health care costs for Americans aged 50-64, and put at risk the health care of millions of children and adults with disabilities, and poor seniors who depend on the Medicaid program for long-term services and supports and other benefits.

The AARP has also coined the term “age tax,” which I hope protesters, Democrats in Congress and anyone else who wants to protect the ACA use at every opportunity.

The AMA addressed a number of issues, including the age tax in careful language that has a distinct undertone of What are you doing, you idiots?

The AMA has long supported advanceable, refundable tax credits as a preferred method for assisting individuals in obtaining private health care coverage. It is important, however, that the amount of credits available to individuals be sufficient to enable one to afford quality coverage. We believe that credits should be inversely related to an individual’s income. This structure provides the greatest chance that those of the least means are able to purchase coverage. We believe credits inversely related to income, rather than age as proposed in the committee’s legislation, not only result in greater numbers of people insured but are a more efficient use of tax-payer resources.

The AHA notes the lack of CBO score “severely hampers” the ability evaluate the bill and discusses the impact of the proposed changes to Medicaid.

I expect Ryan and his pals in Congress to vigorously ignore these letters because they represent reality, which is full of nogoodniks who don’t understand the importance of giving more money to unimaginably wealthy people and making non-wealthy people as miserable – and dead – as possible.

And now they’ve got their babbling human traffic drum to create the reality they want.

After House Speaker Paul Ryan unveiled the American Health Care Act this week, members of the far-right House Freedom Caucus made their own bet: that Trump isn’t very committed to passing Ryan’s vision for health-care reform and can be swayed to their way of thinking.

Their plan got off to a rocky start. During a meeting with 20 House GOP whips on Tuesday, President Trump said he would do everything he can to get the Republican health-care bill passed, and did not acknowledge that the reaction so far has been almost uniformly negative. “I really believe we’re going to have tremendous support,” he said. “I’m already seeing the support not only in this room, I’m seeing it from everybody.”

But don’t call him a liar.

Sanders on civil discourse and calling a liar a liar

[ 46 ] March 8, 2017 |

In his response to the WaPo article discussed here yesterday, Sen. Sanders deftly disassembles the idea that civil discourse means saying nothing at all if one can’t say something nice.

We face a very serious political problem in this country, and that problem is manifested in a post written yesterday by Amber Phillips of The Washington Post. In her piece, Phillips criticizes me for lowering the state of our political discourse, because I accused the president of being a “liar.”

What should a United States senator, or any citizen, do if the president is a liar? Does ignoring this reality benefit the American people? Do we make a bad situation worse by disrespecting the president of the United States? Or do we have an obligation to say that he is a liar to protect America’s standing in the world and people’s trust in our institutions?

The call to remain civil – or at least silent – in response to people who are being uncivil is hardly new. Members of marginalized groups are regularly shushed, told to tone it down, exhorted to consider how they will be perceived by the Fencesitting Chappaquiddickians and even the people who are marginalizing them in the first place.

But articles like Phillips’ indicate that these defenders of civility will tell anyone to be quiet no matter who they are or what they’re doing. They just want everyone to show due deference to the most powerful person in the room. If that person happens to be an orange white supremacist who often repeats lies created by or popular with white supremacists, it’s somehow not fair to say that person is a liar. It has always been ridiculous and dangerous.

Sanders’ response is worth reading in its entirety. He posts the Tweets Phillips took issue with in her article, explains them and wraps up with a question elected officials, members of the press need to answer.

But how do we deal with a president who makes statements that reverberate around our country and the world that are not based on fact or evidence? What is the appropriate way to respond to that? And if the media and political leaders fail to call lies what they are, are they then guilty of misleading the public?

(Hint: Yes.)

It’s not a mandate, it’s an incentive with a penalty for non-compliance

[ 116 ] March 7, 2017 |

Or more accurately, a Young & Unrich Persons Exclusion & Insurance Company Bonus Provision. However, if Reps Ryan wants to claim this is about choice because he put the word decision in the section, he needs to explain why a 30% penalty on people with a 63 day coverage gap isn’t a mandate.

And if anyone doesn’t think that the look-back process will be prone to errors that find an enrollee had a coverage gap of 64 days, please contact me about a nice deal on a membership to this fantastic, beautiful, the best, golf resort in West Palm Beach, Fla.

Slavery is an example of America’s can-do attitude

[ 97 ] March 6, 2017 |

It’s been five seconds, so here’s another reminder that Republicans are towering trashfires that have somehow learned to walk and talk. (Thanks to commentatoriat pianomover for the heads up.)

Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson referred to slaves as “immigrants” dreaming of a better life in a talk with department employees, according to Monday reports.

“That’s what America is about. A land of dreams and opportunity,” Carson said. “There were other immigrants who came here in the bottom of slave ships, worked even longer, even harder for less.”

What to the Republican is the concept of consent?

He added: “But they, too, had a dream that one day their sons, daughters, grandsons, granddaughters, great-granddaughters might pursue prosperity and happiness in this land.”

As an aside, if the concept of kidnapping victims as willing workers sounds familiar, it’s because it is popular in Redsville.

I expect the attempts to recast this nation’s history of savagery in defense of profits as the world’s first guest worker program will only pick up steam now that the GOP is back in charge.

They aren’t quite ready to share their belief that slavery itself was O.K., but pushing the idea that slaves from Africa were just another group of immigrants is a step in that direction. It makes America’s history less brutal and bloody, shifts the African-American’s place in that history and gives the impression that with a little effort, African-Americans could be as well incorporated into society as the Irish.

“If you want to keep a secret, you must also hide it from yourself.”

[ 35 ] March 6, 2017 |

The courtiers of the Valencia of Versailles, N.W., want everyone to know that His Trumpiness knows things that no one else knows about his wiretapping conspiracy theory. So there.

Also, the WH’s declaration that it wouldn’t discuss the matter until Congress finished its investigation of the wiretapping CT has gone the way of his promise to stop Tweeting if he was elected.

President Donald Trump’s top communications officials are vaguely suggesting that the president possesses classified information supporting his thus-far unsubstantiated accusation that President Barack Obama ordered wiretaps of Trump’s phones during the 2016 presidential campaign.

“Let me answer that globally,” Conway replied. “He’s the president of the United States. He has information and intelligence the rest of us do not. And that’s how it should be for presidents.”

He has pertinent information that support his claims (maybe), but Congress has to investigate his claims. Because  tRump’s information is a special, great, beautiful – just fantastic the best – presidential secret knowledge, and Congress must prove itself worthy by finding it without any help from him.

Similarly, in an interview on the “Today” show, NBC’s Savannah Guthrie asked Trump spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders whether the tweets in which Trump made the wiretap accusations over the weekend were based on a Breitbart News roundup of existing media reports that did not offer conclusive evidence of the wiretaps’ existence.

“I haven’t had the chance to have the conversation directly with the president, and he’s at a much higher classification level than I am, so he may have access to documents that I don’t know about, but I do know that we take this very seriously, and we think it should be thoroughly reviewed and investigated,” Sanders replied.

And James Comey opens another bottle of booze. As an aside, I wonder if he can see the RFK Department of Justice building from his office? Perhaps Sessions’ office faces his office in the Hoover horror. That would be funny.

Also funny, people sticking the verbal equivalent of a rake in front of Napoleorange’s goons and watching them step on it.

When asked by ABC’s Martha Raddatz whether it was appropriate for the president to tweet potentially classified information, the spokeswoman dismissed the claim.

“I don’t think he’s tweeting out classified information,” Sanders said. “He’s talking about, ‘Could this have happened? Did this happen?'”

In other words, Presidential Trump was JAQing when he tweeted things like

Terrible! Just found out that Obama had my “wires tapped” in Trump Tower just before the victory. Nothing found. This is McCarthyism!

No, that’s a statement. The Republican-controlled Congress will do nothing about it, but Presidential Trump Tweets Classified Information, Chaffetz Silent (for once), is a another line of attack for everyone who opposes the GOP.

Here is sort of a question. But it’s a leading question with a typo and minus a question mark.

How low has President Obama gone to tapp my phones during the very sacred election process. This is Nixon/Watergate. Bad (or sick) guy!

There are several possible explanations as to why Tromp isn’t letting this die down, but I stick to my theory that he’s an abuser.

He is always looking for reasons to make people suffer, those people have to be near him so that he can enjoy the full benefits of being an abuser, and surprise outbursts that require a lot of scrambling on their part are a great, hands-off way to spread the unhappiness.

This doesn’t mean the rest of the planet is safe, or that his lackeys are comparable to the victims of domestic violence, but it helps to understand why this sort of turmoil is going to be a hallmark of the next four years.

Here’s a great example of the cycle from an article that ran in the WaPo this weekend. This excerpt details how the weekend went after the latest TweeterTantrum.

That night at Mar-a-Lago, Trump had dinner with Sessions, Bannon, Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly and White House senior policy adviser Stephen Miller, among others. They tried to put Trump in a better mood by going over their implementation plans for the travel ban, according to a White House official.

People attempt jolly the horrible old creature into a better mood so he won’t wreck more things. Quick, talk about how to make life even worse for people who are immigrants or look like immigrants or just happen to come across an exceptionally dickish CBP agent when they enter this country, he loves that!

Trump was brighter Sunday morning as he read several newspapers, pleased that his allegations against Obama were the dominant story, the official said.

The beast is briefly soothed.

But he found reason to be mad again: Few Republicans were defending him on the Sunday political talk shows. Some Trump advisers and allies were especially disappointed in Sen. Marco Rubio, who two days earlier had hitched a ride down to Florida with Trump on Air Force One.

Nope, back to Rraaaarrrrrr!

And the courtiers dash for the cameras so they can say something that will in theory make him look like less of an erratic lying dolt. Perhaps that will negate any rage that may have been caused by some of today’s front pages.



USA Today.

But I doubt it.

Is our media learning medical reporting? Go on. Guess.

[ 23 ] March 5, 2017 |

A study: Poor replication validity of biomedical association studies reported by newspapers, published Feb 21 indicates that what I long suspected is true. Medical reporting by the general press is a hot mess.

It’s not news — so to speak — that credulous reporters too often produce nuance-free articles about research that deserves not only caveats but outright skepticism, nor how much coverage of science, and biomedicine in particular, suffers from “shiny object syndrome” — the uncontrollable impulse to chase after that latest thing to catch the eye, as long as it’s pretty and uncomplicated.

Now, however, researchers at the University of Bordeaux, France, have connected the dots with a study that shows the extent of the problem.

Their analysis of media coverage indicates that studies written about in newspapers are highly likely to be later overturned.

“This is partly due to the fact that newspapers preferentially cover ‘positive’ initial studies rather than subsequent observations, in particular those reporting null findings,” the researchers note in their study, which appears in the journal PLOS ONE.

The authors of the study offer some solutions to journalists and scientists

Our study also suggests that most journalists from the general press do not know or prefer not to deal with the high degree of uncertainty inherent in early biomedical studies. Importantly, such biased newspaper coverage can have important social consequences [32, 33]. For example, a content analysis of newspaper articles covering Caspi’s study showed that they emphasized the genetic side of the gene-by-environment interactions and this discourse deflected public attention away from the considerable impact of social inequalities upon health [34]. Therefore, with Susan Watts [35], we advocate that society “needs science journalism to weigh up the values and the vices of new science” (p. 151). In particular, when preparing a report on a scientific study, journalists should always ask scientists whether it is an initial finding and, if so, they should inform the public that this discovery is still tentative and must be validated by subsequent studies. Larsson and coworkers (2003) have identified the obstacles science journalists meet to accurately cope with uncertainty [36]. In particular, most interviewed journalists feel that it is difficult to find scientists who are independent from authors and who are willing to assist them. Thus, scientists, either as independent experts or as authors, are also responsible for improving the informative value of biomedical reporting in the mass media. In particular, they are responsible for the accuracy of the press releases covering their work and published by scientific editors or universities.

I appreciate the advice to potential expert sources, but ultimately the reporter must be able review and assess the study (not the press release or even the abstract). Or to back up a step, the reporter’s supervisor needs to care about the quality of the organization’s science reporting. And that’s why I remain cautiously pessimistic about any improvement in the way the general press reports on research.

It isn’t hard to learn how to look at a study and make some basic decisions about it. For example, were the subjects mice or men? If the subjects were all human, how many of them were there and what were their genders and ages? Then one can look at the purpose of the study, the type of study and finally the results.

These days the reporter doesn’t even have to be unchained from his desk and allowed to attend a seminar. Places like the Poytner Institute and journalism schools post helpful guides online.

This doesn’t appear to be happening, so I’ve been forced to conclude no one cares. The Health & Science section is a place for sciency-flavored fluff. Tell people they can eat dark chocolate and drink red wine, give them four different views on global climate change from six people who have letters that may or may not be relevant after their name, throw in something about death and repeat.

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