Thursday, June 29, 2017

Samantha Bee rips Paul Ryan's fantasy to cut Medicaid

Last night on Full Frontal, Samantha Bee covered the Republican Senate's healthcare bill. She also has a great joke about Speaker of the House Paul Ryan's (R-Wis.) fantasy which is to cut Medicaid. Check out the video below. Hilarious. That's a picture of Ayn Rand at the 1:50 mark. Rand is an inspiration to Ryan.

Conservative Republicans lie about Medicaid cuts

The Republican Senate's Healthcare plan known as the Better Care Reconciliation Act cuts Medicaid in the amount of about 770 billion dollars. Conservative Republicans argue that they are actually spending more from 2018 to 2026. And they are right that spending is going up but the conservatives are lying that this is an increase rather than a cut because it fails to take into consideration the larger increases under current law. The Republican Senate plan slows the spending, reduces eligibility and uses a lower inflation rate. The number of the cut comes from the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office. Here are three reports that indicate the Republicans actually are cutting Medicaid. Politifact. USA Today. In this article The Daily Kos destroys the Trump Administration's charts.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Stephen Colbert skewers Gwyneth Paltrow

Gwyneth Paltrow's lifestyle company Goop looks like it is selling snake oil. Sounds like great comic fodder for Stephen Colbert. Here are videos from June 22 and a second one from last night.

If the Trump Campaign colluded with the Russians then it is illegal

Wow. We're seeing conservative Republicans argue that collusion between Trump and the Russians is not illegal. I've written about the possible crimes of the Trump campaign. They range from the Logan Act to campaign finance laws to the epspionage act. But I guess it takes law professors to explain it to the conservatives. Here's a Business Insider article with a list of possible crimes that could be applied if the Trump campaign colluded with the Russians. Sigh, we need some outrage. Here's Keith Olbermann.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Transformers: The Last Knight IMAX 3D review

I am going to regret saying this but I kind of liked Transformers: The Last Knight. Yeah, I know it's getting skewered by the film critics. But with all of its flaws, the basic story gets through with no help from director Michael Bay. When Bay stops being Bay, the movie works. It's like Trump's aides trying to hide his smartphone so he can't tweet.

Transformers: The Last Knight. starts out in England at the time of King Arthur. The Knights of the Round Table are badly outnumbered and about to be defeated by Wonder Woman and the Guardians of the Galaxy. Okay, the stuff about Wonder Woman and the Guardians isn't in the movie. A barely recognizable Stanley Tucci as a drunken Merlin the Wizard seeks the help of an alien transformer to assist Arthur. With this needless and silly plot thread, I'm guessing that Tucci was really blitzed to deliver his lines. Anyway, he gets this magical staff that helps the knights. Then some transformers tun into a three headed dragon which is kind of lost in the all the action and they defeat The Avengers. Okay, they defeat the knights' adversaries. I forgot who they were fighting.

Flash forward. it's a time after the dreadful Transformers: The Age of Extinction. (2014) Spunky Hispanic orphan teenager Izabella (Isabela Moner) is living in a restricted zone with her robot R2-D2. Um... sorry wrong cute, small robot. It's name is Squweeks. The area is restricted because the government is hunting down all transformers even the good ones which are called Autobots. Anyway, some boys stumble in and find her. One of the kids immediately gets a crush on her. Hey, this is here for Bay's need to romance young and younger girls. Remember, the teenage daughter sexual affair with an adult in Age of Extinction? Anyway, Cade Yeager (Mark Wahlberg) from that movie, saves the kids from government robots out to kill transformers. He finds a old robot who gives him a magical medallion from the days of King Arthur. Yeager and Izabella escape, and the other kids are blown to bits by the government. Okay, the kids getting blown to bits didn't happen, they just disappear.

Yeager and Izabella who stows away on his jeep arrive at a junkyard where Yeager hides out with his robot friends, Cambot, Gypsy, Tom Servo, and Crow. Sorry, about those are the robots from Mystery Science Theater 3000. Yeager's robot friends are Bearded Guy with Mini-Gun, Samurai Guy, and Bumble Bee. Hey, I only know two Autobots. Meanwhile, Cybertron, a transformer planet is being flown on a collision course to earth. The government gets the evil Decepticons to attack Yeager and his autobots.

Meanwhile, the action is being monitored by Sir Edmund Burton. (Anthony Hopkins?!) He transports Yeager and Bumblebee to England. He also kidnaps Professor Viviane Wembly (Laura Haddock) who bears a striking resemblance to Megan Fox. This being a Michael Bay movie, she's here for eye-candy. Yeager and Wembley are recruited for the problem of planet crashing into planet thing. Whew, talk about all the stuff in this movie. I didn't even get to Optimus Prime. Folks, that's the basic plot description needed to review this film. And it's also the problem.

The screenplay by Art Marcum, Matt Holloway, Ken Nolan and story by Akiva Goldsman has too many characters and confusing plot threads. There needs to be less action written in the movie and more character development. The teenage girl Izabella needed a few scenes where she and her robot friend bond. Instead, we're introduced to her through big action combat scenes. There are so many characters, human and transformer that they took away from any time to develop Yeager and Izabella's quasi father-daughter relationship. The result of all these multiple characters and action set pieces is that I had little emotional connection with the major characters. And you can tell the film wanted you to feel.

Director Michael Bay is always the problem with Transformers movies. Everything that makes them a nauseous experience is here. Too much fast cutting. Swirling camera shots. One big action piece after another with no time to breathe. And explosions. Did I say explosions? EXPLOSIONS! Sexist dialogue with sexual innuendo directed at the female character. Too many confusing transformer versus transformer fights.

But some strange, positive things occurred in this Bay movie that didn't exist in the other ones. First, there was actual wit in this movie. Funny jokes about overly dramatic music in film. Seeing Sir Anthony Hopkins flip someone off was almost worth the price of admission. Real diversity among the protagonists. A Hispanic lead. A scene that takes place in Cuba where some Autobots are hiding. Very little product placement. With the exception of stealing a line from Winston Churchill, there are no cringe worthy plot threads. Wembly is not forced to wear tight shorts though she does have a clinging dress that squeezes her chest. Still for a Bay movie, that's like a female hero wearing a burqa. But there's no gratuitous shot of a woman's behind. Wait a minute. Did producer Steven Spielberg have Bay kidnapped so he could direct some of this movie?

If you're going to see this movie, shell out the extra bucks and see it in IMAX 3D. First, Bay shot the movie in native 3D. That means a two camera rig. Second, according to the video, he shot it with IMAX cameras. (Video below.) The IMAX theater always has better resolution and clarity thus enhancing any 3D film. But any 3D movie shot in native 3D is better than one that is converted. All nooks and crannies of objects are captured. This causes better pop and depth. Bay also knows he's shooting in 3D and sets up shots to exploit the effect. It's not VR but I felt like some objects were in the theater. This type of native 3D is worth your extra money. Send a message to studios for more native 3D movies rather than conversions..

When Transformers: The Last Knight focuses on Yeager and Izabella's friendship with the robots and their struggles, the movie succeeds. It only stumbles when all those explosions, transformer fights, screaming dialogue and roving camera shots are thrown at you. Regardless, it's a good time waster. The grade is C Plus.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Senate Republican health care plan is cruel

Conservative Republicans in the Senate have released their health care plan. It's meaner than the House version. It will cut Medicaid at deeper rate and transfers those savings to make tax cuts for the rich. Yep, Republicans want to transfer wealth from the poor to the rich. This will kill many poor people by kicking them off Medicaid. Here's a summary of Obamacare, and Trumpcare, the House and Senate versions. Huffington Post. Note the Senate plan breaks Trump's promises to cover everybody in the country. Video at the 10 minute mar k.

I've also included Seth Myers' video where he takes a Closer Look. We do need a laugh because frankly folks the conservative Republicans are inflicting a lot of pain to working people..

Rand Paul is an idiot

Conservative Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky) is selling the working people of Kentucky a bill of goods. On Morning Joe, Paul is asked about what he would say to the working people of Kentucky who are going to be kicked off Medicaid under the proposed Republican health care plan. I've got the video below and check out his "answer" at about the six minute mark. He doesn't answer the question. That's because he clearly doesn't like Medicaid and the Medicaid expansion under Obamacare. He then proposes "legalizing" health insurance to be priced at $1.00 a day. Not realistic.

Look, legalizing health insurance at $1.00 per day sounds great. Note that Paul doesn't say he would mandate insurance companies to sell it at that price. At this time no health insurance company is going to sell health insurance at that price. The only way that happens is if there is a large pool of consumers and huge amount of insurance companies competing to sell policies. Since the Republican plan gets rid of the individual mandate, there won't be that guaranteed pool of consumers. Insurance companies won't have enough in premiums to make a profit. Um.. Rand, insurance companies don't make money paying claims. There will be less insuarance companies hoping in to increase competition. You sir are an idiot.

Get insurance companies out of health insurance. This country should go to a single payer plan, i.e., Medicare for all.

Get Me Roger Stone review

Hollywood liberals are probably not going to vote Get Me Roger Stone for Best Documentary , the Netflix film on the conservative master of the dark arts of political dirty tricks, Roger Stone. They should. This film comes at a time when we have the most incompetent, dishonest, selfish, greedy man to occupy the White House in Donald Trump. And it was Stone who encouraged Trump to get into politics and advised him in the 2016 campaign.

Directors Dylan Bank, Daniel DiMauro and Morgan Pehme had a large amount of access to Roger Stone. Hours of interviews with him, footage of intimate details that even includes a beauty shot of the tattoo of Richard Nixon on his back. This gives us a detailed portrait of Satan. I kid. That's too simple. It's the portrait of Satan if he were a smiling, affable, handsome and well manicured man. Maybe, Satan comes to us that way.

This film traces Stone from a child doing his first political dirty tricks to his Watergate years, and to his triumph of riding Trump to victory in 2016 presidential election. What's telling is that first dirty trick. In a mock trial of the 1960 election at grade school, he spreads the lie that Nixon would have kids go to school on Saturdays. The result? Kennedy won. He learned that lies are a powerful weapon in politics. Something that Trump uses to this day.

He might have supported Kennedy as kid but somewhere he become enamored with conservatism starting with Barry Goldwater. Stone doesn't really get into much of the philosophy of conservative politics. In fact he claims in this day he's more of a libertarian, supporting gay rights. And this is where one might believe him. You see in the mid-1990's he get caught up in sex scandal and the Republican party kinda avoided him. That is until he's needed.

But what drives Stone is his Machiavellian philosophy in regards to politics. It's win at all costs. Damn morality. The ends do justify the means. Two examples come to mind. In the movie, he supports Trump in 2000 for the Reform Party nomination against conservative Patrick Buchanan. Part of the reason is that Stone does like Trump. But the movie points out, the other reason was to split and destroy the Reform Party so that it would not be a factor in taking votes from conservative Republican George W. Bush. The plan worked. Then in the 2004 Democratic primary, Stone was helping African American Al Sharpton who is very liberal. Did Stone change his politics? No. The movie hints it was more at disrupting the Democrats.

Stone's scorch the earth and Machiavellian strategies may get him in trouble. That makes this movie more relevant as time goes by. You see, Stone has come under the scrutiny of the government in the Trump Campaign's collusion with the Russians. Stone is prominently mentioned especially when it comes to his ability to predict negative Wikileaks data dumps during the 2016 campaign. A side note. The film also features commentary from two of Trump's men. Michael Caputo and Paul Manafort. Making this film interesting if they get prosecuted for Trump-Russia collusion.

Yet, Stone commands the film better than I have seen an actor or subject of a documentary in a long, long time. As evil as he is, it's hard not to like him. Take for example his Nixon tattoo. he says it reminds him of Nixon's resilience. Nixon got knocked down but he got up. True and not a bad idea. In the film, Stone is an arrogant, confident and also friendly rascal. He's got a nice and infectious smile. Even when he insults the filmmakers as a bunch of liberals, he does with a wink and in good nature. He may hate their politics but he knows they are also telling his story, hence he shows an affection for them. And there is no question, he loves his wife and children.

Get Me Roger Stone is also beautifully filmed. It's not just a portrait of Stone. But a view of his world whether it's impressive collection of Nixon memorabilia, the sunny landscapes of Florida or the domineering presence of Trump Tower. The film also follows Stone as he riles up the crowd by demagogically deriding Hillary Clinton. It's history.

I recommend seeing this film whether you are a liberal or conservative. Give this devil his due. Certainly, as a liberal, you can learn how your opponent operates. But as a documentary, Get Me Roger Stone is one fascinating portrait of a master of dark politics. The grade is A.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

John Oliver on Trump ond coal

Here's John Oliver on Trump and coal. Oliver points out that coal jobs aren't coming back no matter what Trump says. But there's always hope for those people in retraining. If only Trump would listen and care about the working man.

Bill Maher on jobs that can't be saved

Here's Bill Maher on jobs that can't be saved. There's a reality here. Progress may end jobs. Not all bad news. Look for other opportunities.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

What Democrats can learn from the Georgia 6th Congressional special election

Karen Handel defeated Jon Ossof in the special election for the Georgia's 6th congressional district. It looks like Handel won 52 % to 47 %. I know of one blonde, orange skin conservative Republican who is going to say it was a "great" victory for him and his policies. But what can liberals learn from this?

1. Look at the point spread. This district is solid Republican. Republican Tom Price won it last by a whopping 23 points. Huffington Post Something is going on in the country. Democrats now must focus in areas where the point spread is closer. Believe it or not, it's a good sign for Democrats.

2 And if you look at how well Hillary Clinton did, there are a lot of people who hate Trump. And if you look at today's South Carolina's 6th, the Democrats lost that one 51 to 47 percent. That was another huge Republican district.

3. Democrats must glue every Republican to Trump. Not that hard. There might be one or two Republicans in the whole country that do not support him.

4. Educate Bubba. Bubba was the fictional Bill Clinton voter. White, beer drinking male. Does Bubba know that conservative Republicans want to cut his Medicaid?

5. Field better candidates. Put a real fighter in there, someone who's all about ideas and not just getting elected. See Bernie Sanders. That being said, for the life of me, whey did the Democrats run a person who lived outside of the district? Here's my note to Jon Ossof and the Dems, dude if your'e going to run again, move into the district!

Sunday, June 18, 2017

The case of Trump-Russia collusion

There are conservative Republicans who are making the argument that there is no evidence of Trump-Russian collusion. And I can certainly say we have not seen any direct evidence of collusion. That being said, we have not seen any evidence that law enforcement and intelligence may have. But that doesn't mean there isn't circumstantial evidence and plenty of smoke. The question when it comes to collusion between President Trump and the Russians is whether this smoke is a fire in the basement or a burned roast.

Let's go over some of the circumstantial evidence. I might miss some because there's a lot of it so forgive me.

1. Donald Trump's ties and financial connections to Russia go back a long way according to this US Today report. But one thing I want to bring out. Son Donald Jr. said this regarding the Trump Organization, "Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets.”

2. General Michael Flynn, future National Security Adviser, accepts $45,000 dollars to attend a dinner in Russia celebrating Russia Today, a propaganda TV station. He sits at the table with Russian President Vladimir Putin. (General Michael Flynn wikipedia article; I'm going to use this a main cite since there's so much stuff about Flynn)

3. While running for President, Trump continually praises Putin.

4. After Wikileaks dumps stolen Democratic Party emails, Trump calls on the Russians to help and get Hillary Clinton's deleted emails.

5. Two Trump campaign officials have significant Russian connections. Campaign manager Paul Manafort did work for pro-Russian Ukrainian Viktor Yanukovych. That guy fled to, yes, you guessed it. Russia. Carter Page was a top foreign policy expert for Trump when Trump needed them. He was an investment banker in Russia and was investigated by American intelligence for Russian ties.

6. Republican National Convention. This little thing becomes significant. On the GOP platform, there's a call to arm Ukraine with lethal weapons to use against Russian aggression. The Trump campaign wanted the wording to be changed to "appropriate assistance." NPR report.

Now to most Americans, they wouldn't know anything about Ukraine. But if you're Putin, a guy who wants to keep Crimea and probably annex other parts of Ukraine with force, you don't wan't American lethal assistance going to the Ukrainians. This is the first public sign of payback to the Russians by Trump.

7. December 29, 2016. President Obama announces sanctions against Russia for the hacking of Democrats computers. On or about that day, Flynn now NSA designate, speaks to Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. The next day, Russia announces it won't retaliate. Hmm. I''m guessing that this was not about borscht recipes. According to Flynn's wikipedia there are allegations that his conversations with the Russians are about sanctions. Payback no. 2.

8. Jared Kushner, son-in-law to Trump and his most trusted adviser sought to set up a secure channel to the Kremlin. This occurred in December. I'm not kidding about this. The line would defeat American intelligence. There is some dispute as to what Kushner wanted from the Russians. He says it was about diplomacy. The Russians said it was about Kushner's business. And why did he need to talk to the head of VEB bank, a sanctioned Russian bank? Vox report.

We do know that Kushner's 666 5th Avenue Building is deep in debt. Bloomberg. Is it possible to get sanctions lifted on VEB then get a nice loan from them? Wouldn't that be a little obvious?

9. Trump takes office. The administration tries to rapidly and unilaterally lift Russian sanctions. Payback 3.

10. May 9. Trump fires FBI Director James Comey. And in an interview with NBC Lester Holt indicates it was about the Russian investigation.

11. May 10. Trump meets with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavorov and Kislyak. He gives them top secret information. Oh, he disallows the press from attending but lets in a Russian photographer. Payback 4.

12. There are reports that Trump will give back two compounds seized because of Russian hacking. Washington Post. Payback 5.

13. After Comey testified before the Senate we can come up with a timeline of his interactions with Trump. The interesting thing is that major Trump contacts occur after a General Flynn event. On January 27, 2917, one day after being warned about a compromised Flynn, Trump demands loyalty from Comey. On February 14, one day after Flynn is fired, Trump asks Comey who is alone to let Flynn go.

14. More from the June Comey hearing before the Senate. Senator Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) to Comey, "Do you think Donald Trump colluded with the Russians?" Comey, "That's a question I don't think I should answer in an open setting." (Olberman video below at 30 second mark.) Note Comey does not deny which he could easily. Conclusion: There's evidence that's not public that indicates Trump colluded with the Russians.

Here's Keith Olbermann's take on the evidence of collusion between Trump and the Russians.


So conservative Republicans, what evidence do we know? And by the way I have not even talked about the Steele Dossier and the pee tape. Well, let's go over this like a quid pro agreement.

1. What Trump Gets From the Russians.

a. Russia has invested in Trump's businesses.
b. Benefited from Russian hacking of the DNC and other cyber attacks.

2. What the Russians get from Trump.

a. Lifting of sanctions
b. No American assistance of Ukraine
c. Wedge between NATO and America (Trump at a NaTO meeting, refused to endorse Article V. Scolded allies to spend more.)
d. More positive treatment of Putin.

Wow, the Russians do pretty well. As Keith Olbermann and I have been saying RESIST.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Is Microsoft making the same mistake with XBOX One X that it did with the original XBOX?

At this year's E3, Microsoft has rolled out its now console, the XBOX One X. That's a mouthful. The name also lacks imagination. Anyway, it will cost a whopping $499. So what does the consumer get for shelling out all that cash. Okay, you get 4k gaming. But how many 4k TVs are out there? It is also the most powerful console ever. Beta News.

Um... the term "most powerful console" should sound familiar. When Microsoft went after Sony's Playstaion 2 with the original XBOX, it featured a console that was more powerful. Sony pwned Microsoft. Why? Sony had a great library of video games. SOCOM, Gran Turismo, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City. And on and on. The PS 2 was also backward compatible with the original Playstation. Against that what did Microsoft have? Not much. But it did have Halo. If it weren't for Halo's Master Chief, I don't think XBOX would have survived. Later, Microsoft did strike gold with the XBOX 360. How? Games and online mastery.

Viewing the XBOX One X's video, I'm not excited. Microsoft seems to be making the same mistake it did with the original XBOX. Where's the emphasis on the games? Specifically, what will the games look like on this console. Yeah, the video below hints at some games. But it's not enough. I see glimpses of Mster Chief. Okay, how about some actual gameplay footage? Come on Microsoft. You'll have to show the world what this machine can do.

Conservative Republican Gingrich: "the President cannot obstruct justice."

Conservative Republican Newt Gingrich said this, ""Technically, the President of the United States cannot obstruct justice." CNN Report. he said this to the National Press Club. Gignrich pointed out that President Trump had the right to fire FBI Director Comey. Yep, he can. But any power of the president is not absolute. For a guy who thinks he's smart, Gingrich has the all the comprehension of a fourth grader when it comes to the Constitution.

The amazing thing about Gingrich's dangerous idea is that in 1998 he voted to impeach Democrat President Bil Clinton for ... obstruction of justice. What hypocrisy. So, Gingrich is not motivated by a love of America. It's about love of the conservative Republican.

The President is not above the law. He can't violate the Constitution. I mean you would think Gingrich after trying to remove Clinton for obstruction would know that. Gingrich would merely need to read the newspaper to see how the Constitution works. Newsflash. Trump's Muslim ban was struck down by two Federal circuits. There are checks and balances.

Finally, let me address Gingrich's blaming the shooting of Congressman Scalise on the liberals. He said on Fox News' Outnumbered, "It's part of a pattern. You've had an increasing intensity of hostility on the left." The demonizing of liberals started with Reagan and was made into an effective political weapon by Gingrich when he was Speaker of the House of Representatives.

It is despicable for someone to shoot another for his political views. Sclaise's assailant was evil. That does not mean liberals are encouraging violence. It is not the liberals who are enraging the people. It's the conservative Republicans. The conservative agenda is an attack on working people and the middle class. Just look at the Trump health care plan. Cuts to Medicaid,and allowing insurance companies to charge more for pre-existing conditions. The plan is designed to fund tax cuts for the big rich. Crush the working man to help the big rich. This has been the conservative Republican ideology for decades. And the conservatives wonder why there are so much passionate protests this year.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Diane Keaton rocks

Jimmy Kimmel interviewed actress Diane Keaton last night. She was effervescent, charming, lovely and very funny. I grew up watching her movies especially the early, funny Woody Allen ones. Check out her films. My recommendation are these early Woody Allen movies, Play It Again, Sam(1972) , Annie Hall (1977) and especially Sleeper (1973).

Thoughts and prayers for the D.C. shooting victims

I hope those that were shot in Washington D.C. today get well soon. Thoughts and prayers for Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.) GOP Majority Whip, Matt Mika, Zachary Barth, . Capitol Police officers David Bailey and Crystal Griner. I'm sorry if I missed anybody hurt. To all, again please get well soon.

Colbert on Trump the Wedding Crasher

Time for some laughs. Here's Stephen Colbert on Donald Trump's habit of crashing wedding parties.

The country is in trouble because of Trump

There is a New York Times report that conservative Republican President Trump was thinking about firing independent counsel Robert Mueller. This would be a disaster for the United States. What it means is that Trump thinks he's above the law. Trump has already fired FBI Director John Comey for the Russian investigation. Trump could fire prosecutors at will. He would need to order the Attorney General Rod Resenstein to sack Mueller. He's said he won't do it without good cause. However, Lying Donald could fire AGs until he gets one to do it. Now we're talking about a Watergate Saturday Night Massacre.

So, what do we do if Tyrant Trump fires Mueller? Contact your congressman and senator. Ask them to impeach Trump. Peaceful protest. If Trump is still in around the next election date, vote liberal Democrat. And keep resisting.

Monday's The Last Word on this issue.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

John Oliver gets Lord Buckethead to appear on his show

Time for a break from Lying Donald Trump. Here's John Oliver in a hilarious piece on the disastrous British election for the Conservatives and Prime Minister Theresa May. Brexit just got a little harder. And to make things funny, Great Britain has joke candidates who officially get recognition. My favorite is Lord Buckethead. Guess what? John Oliver brought him to New York for his piece. Great fun.

General Mattis is loyal to his troops and Chuck Schumer trolls Trump

Yesterday, conservative Republican President Trump assembled his cabinet. Each minister heaped praise on him in a scene that is more befitting North Korea than the United States. But if you look at the linked video, one did not. It was Defense Secretary General James Mattis. First, he did not look like he was game for this obviously scripted event. Second, he told the country where his loyalty was. It was not to Trump but to the men and women in the armed services. Here's what he said.

"Mr. President, it's an honor to represent the men and women of the Department of Defense. And we are grateful for the sacrifices our people are making in order to strengthen our military so our diplomats always negotiate from a position of strength. Thank you."

Thank goodness for Senate Minority leader Chuck Schumer. (D-New York) Here he trolls Trump by parodying the over the top meeting.

Monday, June 12, 2017

The possible crimes of the Trump Campaign

I love Alan Dershowitz but he's been running around and defending President Donald Trump. Basically he's been saying Trump committed no crime. Look, I could agree if there is no evidence to prove he meets any violation of any statute. But what Dershowitz fails to get is we don't have all the facts and if we look at all the smoke from the Trump campaign, there are definitely federal statutes that are applicable. Again, assuming there is evidence, the more I see of Dershowitz, the more I think he's trying to represent Trump.

But what are some of the crimes that special counsel Robert Mueller can look at? Well, thanks to the conservative The Daily Signal, here's an article that lists them. While the article implies that it will be difficult to prove the violations, there are laws that cover any of the evidence if it exists. We're talking about everything from The Logan Act to Campaign finance laws.

Rebutting Dershowitz, is former Watergate prosecutor Nick Akerman. Here's a video he did with Chris Hayes of MSNBC where he argues that Trump has already committed the crime of obstruction of justice. He also wrote an article for the New York Daily News.

Ari Melber of MSNBC also had a panel of lawyers listing the offenses that the Trump Campaign could be charged with.

So, Alan. I hate to say this. Shut up. You don't know the evidence. In fact when asked whether he thought Trump colluded with the Russians, former FBI Director Comey would not answer in a public hearing. None of us know the evidence. I can say there is smoke in our house. Whether that's a burnt roast or a fire in the basement is the question.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

The Mummy review

Before The Mummy was released this month, I can imagine this conversation at Universal headquarters. Executive One says, "Just saw The Avengers box office profits for Disney. What movie franchise characters do we have? That guy that looks like a bat?" Battyman." Executive Two replies, "Batman. He belongs to Warner." "Damn." "The Funky Four?" "The Fantastic Four. Fox has that until their license runs out." "Frak." "Sir, we do have E.T." "Does E.T. have superpowers and can cause things to explode?" "No. But he's cute with big eyes and long fingers. He's really good with plants." "Never mind. Get me our monsters. The Mummy, The Creature from the Black Lagoon, Dracula and Frankenstein. And let's put Frankenstein and Dracula in one movie." "Um, sir. We did that in 2004. Van Helsing starring Hugh Jackman." "How did it do?" "Got killed by the critics. But made a nice profit." "Well, we need to trick the kids that our monsters are like Marvel and Batman. Hmm. Marvel Cinematic Universe. Dark Knight. I got it. Our franchise of movies will be called "Dark Universe". Don't just stand there. Get me Ted Cruz." "The right-wing nut from Texas?" "No. The one in that crazy cult that jumped on Oprah's couch." "Tom Cruise." "Right. Now, move. Time to make a billion bucks."

The Mummy
stars out in modern England where ancient artifacts of the crusaders and some Egyptian hieroglyphics are found. The scene moves to Iraq where two soldiers Nick Morton (Tom Cruise) and Chris Vail (Jake Johnson) are trying to loot a village for the antiquities. They are stopped by Jenny halsey played by the lovely Annabelle Wallis. They stumble upon the tomb of and evil Egyptian royalty, Princess Ahmanet played by the sultry Sofia Boutella. (Star Trek: Beyond) They transport tomb and mummy of Ahmanet aboard a plane to Great Britain. Unfortunately, the Mummy comes alive and causes the plane to crash in England where the Mummy will rise and wreck havoc. The protagonists will need the help of the mysterious Dr. Henry Jekyll. (Russell Crowe) Yeah, the one of Jekyll and Hyde fame.

One reason I wanted to see this movie was the team of excellent writers. Here's is the list of people who were responsible for the screenplay, David Koepp (Mission Impossible) , Oscar winner Christopher McQuarrie (The Usual Suspects). Dylan Kussman,and the story, Jon Spaihts (Doctor Strange) , Director Alex Kurtzman (Star Trek) , and Jenny Lumet. (RRachel Getting Married) Now in writing a comedy, you might want a bunch of writers to bounce jokes off each other since getting laughs is subjective. Unfortunately, this movie has all the signs of too many cooks in the kitchen.

The Mummy can't decide what kind of movie it is. Is it a comedy buddy movie? Nick and Chris start out this way. Maybe it's Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummy. I mean Chris is turned into an undead like the poor saps bitten by a werewolf in An American Werewolf in London. He shows up to kind of help Nick and offer some comic relief. But it's not enough. Is this movie a zombie flick? There are zombies, but they are mere minions. Superhero adventure? Yeah, Universal wishes. Without giving anything away, there's not enough heroic feats shown for that class of movie. You would think due to its horror lineage that the movie would be a good horror film. But it is not scary enough for the horror genre. In this day and age, The Mummy could have been a lot more gory. But I suspect the need to keep it at PG-13 for the teens made the filmmakers from giving us some really icky effects.

Director Kurtzman doesn't help things. He's hampered by the script but he's also a writer. For example, he had to see that there is no chemistry between Tom Cruise and Annabelle Wallis. Their characters were supposed to have a relationship. They don't even kiss in the film. So by the time, Cruise is supposed to care about her in the third act, you as the moviegoer won't. Kurtzman also mishandles the action scenes. The dual sins of fast cutting and badly lit scenes lead to confusion. The movie also commits the biggest sin in the monster movie genre. Must show the monster. I'm not going to spoil it for you. But this movie ends with a large hint that there's going to be a sequel. There's a monster created at the end but we don't see what "it" looks like.

The Mummy suffers because it's all commerce with very little art. It's more product and not all that entertaining. The grade is C Plus.

Conservative Republicans defend Trump because he's an idiot

Conservative Republicans Governor Chris Christie and Congressman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) are defending President Trump's attempts to stop the Russian investigation by saying he's doesn't know what he's doing or he's new with the job of being President. (2:20 and 7:30 of the video below) That's just great. Republicans, you sold us a bill of goods. Instead of getting a competent President, we got an idiot. Just remember folks, he has the nuclear codes. We need to laugh at this, it's too depressing to think about it. So here is Seth Meyers with a Closer Look.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Stephen Colbert on the Comey Senate Testimony

Here's Stephen Colbert on the Jim Comey Senate testimony. I've included the opening skit. Great stuff.

Comey vs. Trump

During Thursday's Senate hearing, former FBI Director James Comey called conservative Republican President Trump, a liar. Comey accuses Trump of trying to pressure him to  end the Flynn investigation. Trump denies he did. It looks like this thing is going to be a "he said, he said."

So who should you believe? The former FBI Director who exercises bad judgment but is a boy scout. Or a serial liar that we have as our current President? Just in case you think, I'm lying. let's go over some of Trump's lies.

Trump's lies.

1.  President Obama was not born in America.
2.  Thousands of New Jerseyans  were cheering and celebrating the fall of the Twin Towers during 9-11.
3.  Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) 's father was involved with Kennedy's assassin.
4.  Three to five million illegal immigrants voted in the 2016 election.
5.  Obama  illegally wiretapped   Trump Tower.
6.  He had the largest electoral college win since Reagan.  (Check out NBC reporter Pete Alexander literally fact check him in the video below.)

Folks, slam dunk on who to believe.    Comey.

Former Watergate prosecutor says Trump obstructed justice

Nick Akerman, a former Watergate prosecutor, wrote in the New York Daily News that President Trump obstructed justice. It's a federal crime and grounds for impeachment. He says the same thing to Chris Hayes of MSNBC in the video below.

Senate Republicans are moving against the working people and the poor

While the Trump-Russia scandal burns up the country, Senate Republicans are about to gut Obamacare. And if you are a working man or poor, these conservative Republicans are going after Medicare. Even "moderate" Republicans who seemed to want to support Medicare expansion look to gutting it in what is termed a seven year phase out. I'm talking about West Virginia Senator Shelley Capito and Ohio Senator Rob Portman. That goes to show you that there are no moderates in the Republican Party. Huffington Post

And check out this video of Senator Clare McCaskill (D-Mo) chew out conservative Republican Orin Hatch (Ut) for the lack of any hearings on the Republican health care plan. Yes, you heard that right. No hearings. No chance to amend the bill. No testimony.

Rise up working people. You may have voted conservative before. Maybe it was because you loved your guns and church. But you can't hug your guns and go to church if you are too sick and lack the strength. Call your right-wing senator and congressman. Tell them to fix Obanacare. Or better yet, support a single payer plan. Then at the next election vote for the liberal cause. RESIST.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Defending the New York Times

If you watched the Comey Senate hearing yesterday, Republican Senators seemed to score points against the New York Times by getting the former FBI Director Comey to state a February story was wrong. The story was about Trump campaign officials having contact with Russian intelligence.

The New York Times defended itself. The Times states that the FBI has a narrow definition of who is an intelligence official. Reporter Michael Schmidt was a guest on The Rachel Maddow show. This issue is addressed in the video below at the 7:30 mark. Rachel also notes that multiple news outlets corroborated the Times story.

Hey, conservative Republicans. Yeah, the Times could have gotten it wrong. But unlike you, they're trying to get to the truth. And right now, I trust the American news media rather than you.

Comey-Trump timeline

William Kristol said on MSNBC that former FBI Director James Comey met with President Trump one day after his White House was warned that General Michael Flynn was compromised by the Russians. So, I'm going to look back at the first months of the Trump administration and see how Comey's termination fits into this. The dates regarding Comey's meetings with Trump come from his opening statement released to the media on June 8. Here it is with NPR's annotations.

January 26, 2017

Acting Attorney General Sally Yates warns the White House that National Security Adviser Michael Flynn lied to Vice President Pence on the issue of meeting with the Russians. Flynn did. This could be used by the Russians to blackmail Flynn. CNN

January 27, 2017

FBI Director Comey is invited to dinner by President Trump in the Green Room. It's just hin and Trump. The President asks Comey if he wants to stay as FBI Director. Trump then demands, "I need loyalty, I expect loyalty." Towards the end of the dinner, Trump again demands loyalty. Comey says he can only promise "honesty." Trump then conflates that to mean "honest loyalty."

(Hey Kristol got something right. This demand by Trump occurs after he was warned about Flynn.)

February 13, 2017

National Security Adviser Michael Flynn resigns. Washington Post

February 14, 2017

Oval Office Meeting. This started out as a briefing by intelligence officials about counter-terrorism. At the end of the meeting, Trump clears the room of everybody. The last two to leave were Jared Kusner and ... Attorney General Jeff Sessions. It's important to note that Sessions is Comey's boss. The FBI is under the Department of Justice. Trump made it clear that he wanted to speak to Comey alone.

Trump says,"I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go. He is a good guy. I hope you can let this go.”

April 11 Phone call

Trump calls Comey. Wants to know if he is able to state publicly that Trump is not under investigation.
Complains about the Russia investigation as a "cloud" that hangs over his administration. Says to Comey, " Because I have been very loyal to you, very loyal; we had that thing you know.”

May 9, 2017

Trump fires Comey

Note. The dates that Trump pressures Comey occur after Flynn events. One day after being warned about Flynn, Trump on Jan 27 demands loyalty. On February 14 after Flynn resigns, Trump directs Comey to stop the criminal investigation into Flynn.

One more thing. Rachel Maddow is making an issue about Attorney General Sessions possibly being kept out of the loop on Comey-Trump meetings and Russian stuff, i.e. the details. Check out her video at 5:00 minutes. Comey hinted at such in today's Senate hearing. Business Insider. Sessions recused himself on March 2.

hmm. What does Jeff Sessions know? Why did he recuse himself?

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Scooter Gennett makes Reds history by slugging four home runs

Yesterday, against the St. Louis Cardinals, Cincinnati Reds' Scooter Gennett slugged four home runs. Here are the video highlights. No Cincinnati Reds player has ever done this. Gennett is also a Cincinnati kid. And by the way, the Reds won, 13-1.

Check out Scott Van Pelt of ESPN who details how rare this feat is. It's only been done seventeen times in the history of baseball.

Conservative Republicans don't believe in a livable wage

Yesterday, Karen Handel, Republican candidate for congress, stated the conservative Republican position on whether a person is entitled to a livable wage. In a debate, she stated that the issue is

“an example of the fundamental difference between a liberal and a conservative. ...I do not support a livable wage.”

Listen up, you indigent people who support Republicans. This is the conservative Republican position. Conservatives are not on your side. Don't support conservatives. Join the resistance. RESIST.

Here's the video of her statement.

Stephen Colbert on Trump's covfefe,

Okay, Stephen Colbert was gone for a week. Time for him to catch up. There was President Trump's covfefe tweet, his decision on the Paris Climate Agreement and son-in-law Jared Kushner. Check out the videos.

Reality Winner is a patriot

Lost in the upcoming Comey testimony, is Reality Winner. She leaked top secret information To The Intercept. And while, that's illegal in my opinion, she's a patriot. You see, people who leak must make a moral decision. Break the law and leak information to the press so they can speak truth to power or stay silent while corruption grows.

But what was the information that I can see why she leaked it? The Intercept reports that Russian military executed a cyberattack on a U.S. voting software supplier and more than 100 election officials. This occurred before the November 2016 election. One can see Ms. Winner's motivation. President Trump has shown no effort to stop the Russians from interfering in our elections. And it can be argued that he is a Manchurian Candidate. So Ms. Winner must have thought she needed to warn the public. There is Russian infiltration in our democratic institutions. Could the Russians change voting tallies? If the truth is known, even conservative Republicans would do something. What she did is the epitome of patriotism.

Ms. Winner is under arrest. But I wish her the best.

Trump lies about Obamacare

So I just watched conservative President Trump sit around a table with other Republicans say how Obamacare is a disaster. He cited that Anthem is pulling out of the Ohio marketplace as sign that it does't work. This is another lie that Trump is telling you. It's like Trump University. He's selling you a bill of goods.

Here's the truth. Yes, Anthem is pulling out. But it's not because of any problem of Obamacare. It's because of the liar in chief, Trump. Anthem, " singled out the uncertainty over whether the government would continue paying crucial subsidies, known as cost-sharing reduction payments, that reimburse insurers for limiting out-of-pocket expenses for lower-income customers. "President Trump has threatened to cut off the funding on multiple occasions, and in May his administration asked for an additional three months to decide whether it would continue appealing a lawsuit brought by House Republicans aimed at stopping the payments, which are expected to be worth $7 billion this year." Slate. So, Trump's threats to end subsidies to Anthem caused it to pull out.

Cone on you poor Trump voters. The conservative Republicans are not on your side. Contact that right winger you have as a congressman or senator. Tell them you want a single payer healthcare plan or fix Obamacare. Then vote liberal Democratic when you can. RESIST.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Wonder Woman review

The DC Extended Universe has been taking a beating with dreary movies like Man of Steel (2013) , Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice,, and Suicide Squad. (2016) These films were dark and joyless. Maybe there is too much testosterone among between Superman, Batman and Deadshot. DC might need a woman's touch. Saving the day is Wonder Woman.

This film starts out with a young Wonder Woman aka Diana, Princess of Themyscira which is a hidden island of Amazons. She trains for warfare with her aunt, Antiope. (Robin wright) Diana's mother, Hippolyta (Connnie Nielsen) tells Diana the story of how Ares, the god of war corrupted man and killed Zeus. As the years pass, we find out that Diana (Gal Gadot) is more than just a mortal. She's got superpowers. It's during this period as a young woman that Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) is rescued and informs the Amazons of World War I. Fearing that Ares has returned, Diana with Steve head out to find Ares.

Wonder Woman has one wonderful script. Zack Snyder, Jason Fuchs and Allan Heinberg have created a deep, philosophical story that honors its comic book roots with Greek mythology, feminism and humanity. As much as I loved the action scenes, I was riveted by Diana's struggle for purpose. Many times I wondered why she would fight for the human race. The film also has nice touches of warmth and humor.

Gal Gadot is perfect as Diana. We see her journey of discovery as she must leave her world and traverse the cruelty of war. Gadot is curious, conflicted and noble. Chris Pine is duty bound and has strong moral center. And everybody should have Connie Nielsen as their mother and an aunt Robin Wright. There's love and courage.

Director Patty Jenkins (Monster) could teach filmmakers how to make a superhero movie. Her fight scenes do not depend on fast cutting. She uses full body shots and slow motion. The result is that we know what is happening in the action set pieces. There are also multiple heroic scenes. If you're going to make a superhero movie, make the superhero do heroic things.

For the next Wonder Woman movie, I would like to see more philosophy. I'm serious. Trust your audience. Perhaps a discussion of the human condition between Hippolyta and Diana. As for the maiden voyage of the Wonder Woman franchise, the grade is A.

French President Emmanuel Macron gives hope to the American people

Speaking in English, French President Emmanuel Macron addressed President Trump's evil and stupid decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris Climate Accord to halt global warming. Video below. Macron addresses the American people, particularly those in the large majority who oppose Trump. He gives the American people hope that France and willing American citizens can ban together to save the planet. He finishes by cleverly taking Trump's slogan and modifying it . Make Our Planet Great Again. Bravo and Merci, President Macron. You are now leader of the free world.

Defending Bill Maher

So I'm watching CNN today and see a story where an African American commentator was really upset with Bill Maher for using the phrase "house n...r" on Real Time. And what struck me was that nobody seems to understand the context. Bill Maher has since apologized.

First, let me say I'm a politically incorrect liberal. And the "N" word is despicable. It has racists roots and was designed to demean and dehumanize a whole race of people. Because of its racist overtones, I hate it when African Americans use it.

So, what was the context of the word? it's in the video below. Guest Senator Ben Sasse (R-Nebraska) nvites Bill Maher to visit Nebraska. He says, "We loved to have you work in the fields." Maher, "Work in the fields? Senator. I'm a house nig....r." Video below. It's a joke, folks.

Wow, it's like this. Maher responds to Sasse's comment about "working in the fields ..." with a slavery joke since he's talking about, you know working in the fields like slaves. Maher quips being a "house Ni...r" as a slave who doesn't work in the fields. He's trying to be self deprecating.

But here's what he didn't mean. Maher in no way was trying to demean or use the "n" word to put down African Americans. And if you know Maher, he is not a racist. He's a politically incorrect liberal. So back off you pc leftists and hateful conservatives. Maher made a bad joke that required you to think a little more to get it, which is why it's not a good joke. He in no way, used the "n" word as a racist attack.

Trump administration wanted to quickly and unilaterally lift Russian sanctions

Yahoo News is reporting that in the early weeks of conservative Donald Trump's presidency, that his administration wanted to lift Russian sanctions. These were to be done unilaterally. The sanctions were for Russia's incursion in Ukraine and meddling of the 2016 American election. Yahoo News.

It took intense lobbying by State Department officials and congress to put a stop to Trump's plans. Congress moved to codify the sanctions. Then in February, National Security Adviser Michael Flynn resigned for failing to disclose that during the transition he had spoken to the Russians about the sanctions and telling the Russians to hold off retaliating. The 11th Hour with Brian Williams has an excellent piece which features one of the State Department officials who wanted to stop Trump. See video below.

The problem with Trump attempting to unilaterally lifting of the sanctions is that United States would get nothing. Russian aggression would be rewarded. The people of Ukraine would be jeopardy. The Russians would get away with hacking Americans to tilt the election.

This move also is another clue in the Trump-Russia scandal. It now makes sense. While this is speculation, it is not a far stretch to see this is as payback or quid pro quo by Trump for possibly the following:

1. Payback for hacking of the Democratic National Committee, releasing the information to Wikileaks, and using the Internet to spread false narratives about Hillary Clinton.

2. Payback for Russian investment and loans to Trump's business.

3. Getting a loan for Jared Kushner, Trump's son-in-law and adviser, from a sanctioned Russian bank once that bank had its sanctions lifted.

4. Agreeing not to release the Trump Pee Tape.

4. All of the above.

Conservative Republicans are very quiet about the daily news of the Trump-Russian connection. They are not putting America first. Where is conservative outrage of Trump's plans to give the Russians back tw compounds? To the Republicans, it's the party first. We must resist and defeat them in future elections.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

The pronunciation and definition of covfefe

I've noticed that people are mispronouncing the new word created by President Trump. The word is "covfefe." Here's how you pronounce it.

"COVEFEEFEE" The word broken down into syllables. "cove-fee-fee."

Now what about the definition? Here is the meaning.

Covfefe. n. Bullsh*%t spoken by a serial liar.

Use of the word.

Donald Trump, "According to my healthcare plan, you will have great healthcare." Working poor man from Kentucky, " What a load of covfefe."

Donald Trump, "I was a big hit at the NATO conference." French President Emmanuel Macron, "What a load of covfefe."

Donald Trump, "My campaign had nothing to do with the Russians." Special counsel Robert Mueller, "What a load of covfefe."

Trump pays back Russians and will lift some sanctions

So it begins. Hey conservatives, you want proof that Trump owes the Russians? The Washington Post is reporting that the Trump administration is about to hand over two American compounds back to Russians seized by America in retaliation for Russian hacking in the 2016 election.

Here's the connection, conservatives. President Obama announced the sanctions for the hacking which included evicting the Russians out of the two compounds. General Flynn, adviser to Trump and future National Security Adviser called the Russians specifically Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. He indicated that American policy would change and urged them not to retaliate. All this occurred on December 29, 2016.
The Russians did not retaliate. Post report above.

So what do the Russians have on conservative Republican Trump? Loans? Collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians? The Pee tape? Or maybe all of the above. We know Trump loves Putin, and refuses to agree that the Russians did the hacking. What's next? Lifting of the rest of the hacking sanctions? Then the Ukraine sanctions?

Now we know what they were laughing about. (Comrade Trump with Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov and Russian Ambassador Kislyak.)

Putin admits Russians could have hacked the Democrats

American President ... er, I mean Russian President Vladimir Putin denies that the Kremlin hacked the Democratic Party but concedes that "patriotically minded" Russian volunteers could have done it. L.A. Times report.

I'm guessing that it's difficult for even the Russian government to deny that the hacking came from Russia. And one must remember the Kremlin is the same bunch of guys who said Russian "volunteers" could been fighting against Ukraine. "Those guys in Russian army uniforms aren't Russian soldiers." Hey, conservative Republican President Donald Trump, are you going to admit that the hacks came from Russia, now?

The definition of "covfefe"

Early Wednesday morning, President Donald Trump tweeted the word "covfefe." It's probably a typo and it seems that the White House is having some fun with it. At least it seems that way, as they refuse to say it was a typo. Politico report. Heck, even Hillary Clinton was having some fun with the word. After getting attacked by Lying Donald, she tweeted, "People in covfefe houses shouldn't throw covfefe." Politico. I think she's got some of the meaning of the word right but not all of it, unless you can make a house of covfefe. .

Here's the definition of covfefe.

Covfefe. (cove-fee-fee) n. Bullsh*%t spoken by a serial liar.

Use of the word.

Donald Trump, "According to my healthcare plan, you will have great healthcare." Working poor man from Kentucky, " What a load of covfefe."

Donald Trump, "I was a big hit at the NATO conference." French President Emmanuel Macron, "What a load of covfefe."

Donald Trump, "My campaign had nothing to do with the Russians." Special counsel Robert Mueller, "What a load of covfefe."