Trump Just Admitted that He Has Violated the Emoluments Clause

Sweet Baby Intelligent Designer, but the proposal to host the G-7 Summit at his club in Doral, FL, was an unforced error of the worst kind. Here was the original response, before Trump cancelled (boldface mine):

A day after President Trump awarded the huge Group of Seven summit to his own struggling Doral resort in Florida, the White House said Trump’s company would charge taxpayers only enough to cover the resort’s costs.

But neither the White House nor the Trump Organization answered more detailed questions about what that means. They did not provide specific dollar amounts or say whether dollar amounts have been agreed to.

Everything will be done at cost due to the emoluments clause,” White House spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham wrote in an email message, “which means the summit would be significantly cheaper for taxpayers and our foreign guests.”

Now Democrats need to ask if, when foreign dignitaries stay at other Trump properties, such as his D.C. hotel, if they are being charged “at cost” (given that he’s an inveterate liar, who knows what “at cost” really means?).

I’m starting to think they might not be “the best people.”

Posted in Bidness, Resistance Rebellion And Death | Leave a comment

Links 10/20/19

Links for you. Science:

Computer Science Now Counts as Math Credit in Most States – Is This a Good Idea?
MIT Confirms a Bridge Leonardo da Vinci Designed 500 Years Ago Was an Ancient Engineering Marvel
The Navy’s Patent for a Compact Nuclear Fusion Reactor Is Wild
Electric cars could be just another ecological disaster
These State Birds May Be Forced Out of Their States as the World Warms


The biggest lie tech people tell themselves — and the rest of us: They see facial recognition, smart diapers, and surveillance devices as inevitable evolutions. They’re not. (excellent)
Florida is scooping up huge amounts of data on schoolchildren, including security camera footage and discipline records, and researchers are worried
The obscure law that explains why Google backs climate deniers
Ellen DeGeneres’s defense of her friendship with George W. Bush was all about her
This Top Gifted and Talented School Is Integrated. Is It the Future? (this story goes through great pains to ignore that Asian students are massively overrepresented, even relative to white students, which would be a far more difficult frame through to view this story.)
Luckily, Trump Is an Unstable Non-Genius (President Tom Cotton won’t be, and he’ll be reluctantly, with a hangdog expression on his face, murdering people in basements)
President Trump is at war with the rule of law. This won’t end well
The Twilight of the Tech Idols
Joe Biden’s Family Has Been Cashing in on His Career for Decades. Democrats Need to Acknowledge That.
Bret Stephens Backs Out of Bedbug Debate
Mississippi Is About To Have An Election Under Jim Crow
Want to Stop Russia From Messing With Our Democracy? Rethink U.S. Counterintelligence.
Why the Bus Got So Bad, and How to Save It
Still little evidence that Warren is taking voters from Sanders
Why the upper-middle class would benefit from socialism
Trump’s Minneapolis Rally Was a Demonstration of the Moral Suicide Pact He’s Made With His Supporters
Do the far-right Oath Keepers have an official role with the Trump-Pence campaign?
The NBA–Hong Kong Controversy Suggests History Isn’t Ending How We’d Planned
Beyond the Sacklers: Free-trade policies contributed to the opioid epidemic

Posted in Lotsa Links | 1 Comment

Trump Backs Down on Holding the G-7 Summit at His Club

Well, that serves me right for blogging about fast-moving current events. I had a post all ready to go about Il Trumpe’s horrible decision to host the G-7 Summit at his club in Doral, Florida, and then he goes and backs down from that decision. I guess there was enough pressure such that even he couldn’t ignore the consequences of his own actions. It’s pretty clear Republicans really didn’t want to vote on whether federal funds could be used to support this. While Trump might not have limits, some Republicans still appear to have some self-preservation instincts.

Thankfully, we now can return to the spectacle of watching former Clinton supporters and current Gabbard supporters gnaw on each other.

Posted in Bloggity Blog | 1 Comment

Links 10/19/19

Links for you. Science:

Cell-Bacteria Mergers Offer Clues to How Organelles Evolved
The sea is running out of fish, despite nations’ pledges to stop it (we have a biomass crisis)
Time to get a flu shot: 11 cases reported in Maryland
Asking an employee to get a sick note is a ‘public health risk,’ experts say
Are You My Cousin or Half-Sibling? Sometimes 23andMe unearths family secrets. Sometimes it just makes a mistake.


Professional-Managerial Chasm (excellent)
New Dem Out– Democratic Socialist In
How The Trade War Crushed A Growing Chinese Market For U.S. Cranberries
Washington D.C. deserves to become the 51st state: D.C. residents should have the same right to representation as the rest of the country
For businesses and residents alike, Virginia must reform its energy economy (this has been a problem for a very long time)
How Telegram Became White Nationalists’ Go-To Messaging Platform
Just Playing Along
Globalization is exporting Chinese authoritarianism rather than American democracy.
Get Corporate Money Out of Politics (Sanders’ plan; we need campaign donation matching funds as H.R. 1 has)
‘Collapse OS’ Is an Open Source Operating System for the Post-Apocalypse
These 3 Policy Failures Are Killing the American Dream
The Plot Against Medicare for All
Twitter Took Phone Numbers for Security and Used Them for Advertising
Beware the digital Stasi in your pocket
This is the constitutional crisis we feared
D.C. Defendants Wear Ankle Monitors That Can Record Their Every Word and Motion
How canceling White House press briefings is now helping Trump fight impeachment
Nobody Should Be Friends With George W. Bush
The Republican Senate Confirmed the Russians Interfered in the 2016 Primaries (!) to Help Trump
Trey Gowdy Joins the Parade of Trump Lackeys Eager to Debase Themselves Until They’re Backstabbed
Republicans Stand by Trump Because They Like What He Does (said this before the NY Times figured it out)

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In Case You Missed It…

…a week of Mad Biologist links:

OpenStreetsDC and Safer Streets, the Dupont Circle Edition

Is Our Democrats Learning? The Working the Refs Edition

Right Now, Internecine Warfare between Sanders and Warren Supporters Is Stupid

The Corporate Board Scam

Nothing in Movement Conservatism Makes Sense Except in the Light of Creationism

The ‘Legitimate’ Reason Why Trump Might Have Abandoned the Kurds

Posted in Weekly Roundup | Leave a comment

Links 10/18/19

Links for you. Science:

Genes partially explain dog breed behaviors
Only 20 Nobels in the sciences have gone to women. Why?
A Virus in Koala DNA Stirs the Genetic Pot
Australia Just Had a Bad Flu Season. That May Be a Warning for the U.S.
Turns Out The Megalodon Shark Ain’t THAT Big


Getting to 51: Statehood fights have always revolved around race and partisanship.
Unsustainable California: No Easy Remedy for PG&E Blackouts, Fire Risks
Don’t Let Up!
Ellen DeGeneres, George W. Bush, and the death of uncritical niceness
Out of place, or just what we needed?
A Betrayal Too Far
How to End a Sentence: Juvenile sentencing reforms have sparked a face-off between the D.C. Council and U.S. Attorney over who should be released, and when. (reason eleventy gajillion and one why D.C. should have statehood)
US judge to hear challenge of Mississippi election system
Property Owners Can Do Basically Whatever They Want to Homeless People Now
Physicians: Bernie Sanders had a heart attack, but OF COURSE he could still be president (and compared to Trump’s mental health…)
My Adventures in Socialized Medicine
California Power Company Cuts Power to 800,000 Homes To Avert Wildfires
The Greening of Paris Makes Its Mayor More Than a Few Enemies
No, No, No. Elizabeth Warren Is Not a Socialist (of course, she isn’t. The interesting question is if Sanders or Ocasio-Cortez are).
“Libraries Have Become De Facto Homeless Shelters”: Emilio Estevez on His New Movie, “The Public”
Face of the Franchise
An Actual Conspiracy Kept Jeffrey Epstein’s Accomplices out of Prison
When normal politics are no longer possible
America’s last slave ship could offer a case for reparations
Germany: mass shooting attempt that killed two was antisemitic attack, minister says

Posted in Lotsa Links | 1 Comment

The ‘Legitimate’ Reason Why Trump Might Have Abandoned the Kurds

With Il Trumpe’s utter mishandling of the Kurdish-Turkish conflict (and that’s being generous), more than a few people have asked what’s in this for Trump? That is, how does this policy benefit Trump’s personal interests? Has he been compromised by Turkey (or allies of Turkey), or does he have a financial interest in doing this?

There actually is a sort of legitimate explanation for this–mind you, I didn’t write good, just legitimate, but his motives might not be illegitimate (i.e., impeachment worthy) or illegal (we’ll return to might in a bit).

Consider that Il Douche is a bigoted ignoramus who views most Middle Easterners as savages (he probably thinks this about anyone who isn’t white European or white American; if you haven’t noticed, he’s very racist). Combine that with his campaign promise to withdraw troops from the Middle East, and then sprinkle on top of that prominent Republican senators who have his ear and also are secretly telling people who they thought were Turkish officials that Turkey should have the green light, such as erstwhile Defender of the Kurds, Lindsey Graham: it’s pretty easy to see how Trump makes the decision to withdraw from Syria in such a stupid and murderous manner.

Because he’s very dim and governs like a failson, it probably never occurred to him that, if he wanted to withdraw from Syria without ethnic cleansing occurring, there needed to be a ton of prep work and contingency planning–a letter written at a sixth grade level wasn’t going to cut it.

This isn’t an innocent explanation, but it’s not exactly a guilty one either. So there’s a ‘legitimate’, if utterly horrifying, explanation for the Orange Shitgibbon’s Amazing Syrian Adventure. But there’s also a problem with accepting this explanation.

At this point, Trump has no credibility. There is no reason to assume the best when it comes to his behavior. He lies constantly and did so even before he took office, to an extent and kind that is unparalleled–and I do remember the reign of Little Lord Pontchartrain and the Reagan era. The Ukrainian Scandal, aka Moron-Contra, along with his non-stop violations of the emolument clause, also make it clear that he is utterly incapable of distinguishing between the needs of the U.S. and his own personal needs. We would be very foolish not to assume that there is some sort of corruption involved here, given his track record. And if there isn’t, he has a lifetime of being a horrible person to thank for that assumption.

Posted in Bidness, Fucking Morons, Resistance Rebellion And Death, Syria | 4 Comments