Tag Archives: lees and orts

Lees and Orts

Not for nuthin’, but can you imagine the glee with which Sean Spicer is watching as his old boss self immolates?

Lees and Orts

The article is entitled Steve Bannon, Unrepentant.

Apparently, just out of the blue, Bannon called The Prospect’s co-editor/columnist Robert Kuttner, whereupon Bannon pretty much called the president* wrong on North Korea, dis’d alt-right & white supremacists as “clowns” and “losers”, then proceeded to limn how he would vanquish his administration rivals (‘They’re wetting themselves,’ he said.)

This is obviously Bannon’s last interview as a member of the president’s* administration. The only remaining questions are 1) when will Stevie take his leave 1 2, and 2) was the interview given knowing he was out of a job, or did he really think he could cross this president* in public and nothing would happen?

Pretty much delicious, either way.

UPDATE: Welllllll…we suspected Bannon would be gone quickly, but holy fast exit, Batman.

Lees and Orts

In other petite bourgeoisie back-biting, the Capital Bikeshare station at the White House has disappeared.

The Obama administration had requested it. SO, of course the current president* has it removed.

The District’s Department of Transportation confirmed Wednesday that it removed the nine-slot Bikeshare station this week at the Trump administration’s request.

Unlike every other Bikeshare station in the region, this one was not accessible to the public and could only be used by commuters who had access to White House grounds. The Obama administration requested the station in 2010.

It’s unclear why the White House wanted it removed. The White House didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

“I expect my staff to arrive at work in over-priced and ostentatious cars; exercise is for the proles”, the president* did not say.
Lees and Orts

Lees and Orts

Show 2 footnotes

  1. We’re giving even money on “Over the weekend.”
  2. Though, “by the end of the day” is also a fair bet.

Lees and Orts

From the couldn’t happen to more deserving folk files:

Thanks to a little-noticed auction sale, a South Bay couple are the proud owners of one of the most exclusive streets in San Francisco — and they’re looking for ways to make their purchase pay.

Tina Lam and Michael Cheng snatched up Presidio Terrace — the block-long, private oval street lined by 35 megamillion-dollar mansions — for $90,000 and change in a city-run auction stemming from an unpaid tax bill. They outlasted several other bidders.

Now they’re looking to cash in — maybe by charging the residents of those mansions to park on their own private street…

…Unsurprisingly, the residents were more than a little upset when they belatedly found out what had happened.
They didn’t learn that their street and sidewalks had been sold until they were contacted May 30 by a title search company working on behalf of Cheng and Lam, said Emblidge. The title search outfit wanted to know if the residents had any interest in buying back the property from the couple, the lawyer said.

“I was shocked to learn this could happen, and am deeply troubled that anyone would choose to take advantage of the situation and buy our street and sidewalks,” said one homeowner, who asked not to be named because of pending litigation.

“We’re shocked, shocked”, a multimillionaire who owns a home on the street is reported to have hissed, “that someone would have taken advantage of arcane tax laws to screw us that way. That’s what WE do!”
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The fuckin’ CIA…

New documents reveal how the CIA attempted to call off the failing coup – only to be salvaged at the last minute by an insubordinate spy…

…Declassified documents released last week shed light on the Central Intelligence Agency’s central role in the 1953 coup that brought down Iranian Prime Minister Muhammad Mossadegh, fueling a surge of nationalism which culminated in the 1979 Iranian Revolution and poisoning U.S.-Iran relations into the 21st century…

…Known as Operation Ajax, the CIA plot was ultimately about oil. Western firms had for decades controlled the region’s oil wealth, whether Arabian-American Oil Company in Saudi Arabia, or the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company in Iran. When the U.S. firm in Saudi Arabia bowed to pressure in late 1950 and agreed to share oil revenues evenly with Riyadh, the British concession in Iran came under intense pressure to follow suit. But London adamantly refused. So in early 1951, amid great popular acclaim, Mossadegh nationalized Iran’s oil industry. A fuming United Kingdom began conspiring with U.S. intelligence services to overthrow Mossadegh and restore the monarchy under the shah. (Though some in the U.S. State Department, the newly released cables show, blamed British intransigence for the tensions and sought to work with Mossadegh.)”

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Shadowproof comes up with a single payer plan:

Shadowproof is proud to contribute to the national health care debate by introducing our plan to transition the United States to a single-payer health care system. Our plan, the Medical Insurance and Care for All program (MICA), is a public health insurance program based on Medicare but open to all individuals. Employers will be required to buy their employees MICA or equally good private coverage. If one does not receive employer coverage, they will automatically be enrolled in MICA and charged for it in their taxes.”

Lees and Orts

Lees and Orts

Comes now The Intercept to shine needed light on yet more industrial chicanery, aided by agencies meant to regulate such:

For decades, some of the dirtiest, darkest secrets of the chemical industry have been kept in Carol Van Strum’s barn. Creaky, damp, and prowled by the occasional black bear, the listing, 80-year-old structure in rural Oregon housed more than 100,000 pages of documents obtained through legal discovery in lawsuits against Dow, Monsanto, the Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Forest Service, the Air Force, and pulp and paper companies, among others. As of today, those documents and others that have been collected by environmental activists will be publicly available through a project called the Poison Papers. Together, the library contains more than 200,000 pages of information and ‘lays out a 40-year history of deceit and collusion involving the chemical industry and the regulatory agencies that were supposed to be protecting human health and the environment,’ said Peter von Stackelberg, a journalist who along with the Center for Media and Democracy and the Bioscience Resource Project helped put the collection online.

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Sweet Jebus H. Kee-rist! Now The WaPo is ass-licking the ReThugs:

The Washington Post has devoted enormous resources to trying to convince its readers that the federal government’s disability programs are in crisis. And it has no qualms about misrepresenting the data to make its case.

Today we got a great example in a question and answer session in reference to its latest major feature piece. In answer to the question, “what’s the problem?” it tells readers:

“The program for disabled workers, which Congress had to rescue from insolvency in 2015, is estimated to go broke again sometime over the next decade or so. The government this year is expected to spend $192 billion on disability payments — more than the combined total that will be spent on welfare, unemployment benefits, housing subsidies and food stamps.”

The assertion that the program will go broke is extremely misleading. Even if Congress never did anything it could still pay will over 90 percent of projected benefits for more than two decades into the future and even at the end of the 75-year planning period, it is still projected to be able to pay over 80 percent of scheduled benefits.

This is an important point since many politicians have advocated cutting benefits to keep the program fully funded. If the point is to ensure to prevent benefits from being cut due to a shortfall, cutting benefits to make up the gap doesn’t help.

Lees and OrtsNo wonder tech shit costs so freaking much. Below is the story of a young Silicone Valley worker facing burnout, so much so that she goes to tall her boss she’s quitting and…well, read:

“My manager and I had lots of conversations. I teetered on leaving so many times,” she said. “But this time was for real. I was going to see these projects to a healthy state and then I needed to go. I felt good about it. The next thing, he told me not to come in.”

She panicked thinking he was firing her, but he explained she wasn’t being terminated at all. “Just don’t come to work,” he told her. “You’re burned out and need a break. Just don’t talk about it, and everyone will assume you’re on someone else’s team.”…

…And that’s how this hardworking, conscientious engineer wound up joining the least secret secret club in the Valley, known as “rest and vest.”

“Resting and vesting” is when an employee, typically an engineer, has an easy workload (if any job responsibilities at all) and hangs out on the company’s payroll collecting full pay and stock. Stock is often the bigger chunk of total compensation for a senior engineer than salary.

Once she was in rest-and-vest mode, this engineer spent her time attending tech conferences, working on pet coding projects, networking with friends, and planning her next career move.

She realized that her manager let her rest and vest to keep her quiet about the problems with that acquisition, so she had time to find her next thing. Had he terminated her immediately, she would have been incensed. “Everyone knew I had a big mouth and would speak out,” she said. “He figured, ‘Hey, it costs us next to nothing keep her happy for six months.'”

Lees and Orts

Lees and Orts

For those of you also tracking the number of times OMP visits one of his golfing resorts, NBC News created a handy web site for us.

The current number of days OMP has golfed at one of his clubs is 43; he’s run away and hidden himself at one of his properties 58 times, or just over 30% of his time in office.

Fore!

Lees and Orts

Google gone full e-vil:

In the three months since Internet monopoly Google announced plans to keep users from accessing “fake news,” the global traffic rankings of a broad range of left-wing, progressive, anti-war and democratic rights organizations have fallen significantly.

On April 25, 2017, Google announced that it had implemented changes to its search service to make it harder for users to access what it called “low-quality” information such as “conspiracy theories” and “fake news.”

Google does not explain precisely what it means by the term “conspiracy theory.” Using the broad and amorphous category of fake news, the aim of the change to Google’s search system is to restrict access to alternative web sites, whose coverage and interpretation of events conflict with those of such establishment media outlets as the New York Times and the Washington Post.

By flagging content in such a way that it does not appear in the first one or two pages of a search result, Google is able to effectively block users’ access to it. Given the fact that vast amounts of web traffic are influenced by search results, Google is able to effectively conceal or bury content to which it objects through the manipulation of search rankings.

…The World Socialist Web Site has been targeted by Google’s new “evaluation methods.” While in April 2017, 422,460 visits to the WSWS originated from Google searches, the figure has dropped to an estimated 120,000 this month, a fall of more than 70 percent.

Even when using search terms such as “socialist” and “socialism,” readers have informed us that they find it increasingly difficult to locate the World Socialist Web Site in Google searches.

Not to go full “fucking paranoid schizophrenic, a paranoiac” on you, but there are still a considerable number of knowledgeable folks who insist Google is funded/supported by elements of the NSA. Which, of course, nicely dovetails with Google’s new m.o. of fact suppression.

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The IoT is starting to creep us out…

(Reuters) – The Roomba robotic vacuum has been whizzing across floors for years, but its future may lie more in collecting data than dirt.

That data is of the spatial variety: the dimensions of a room as well as distances between sofas, tables, lamps and other home furnishings. To a tech industry eager to push “smart” homes controlled by a variety of Internet-enabled devices, that space is the next frontier.

Smart home lighting, thermostats and security cameras are already on the market, but Colin Angle, chief executive of Roomba maker iRobot Corp (IRBT.O), says they are still dumb when it comes to understanding their physical environment. He thinks the mapping technology currently guiding top-end Roomba models could change that and is basing the company’s strategy on it.

“There’s an entire ecosystem of things and services that the smart home can deliver once you have a rich map of the home that the user has allowed to be shared,” said Angle.

The Roomba in the Charles’ manse has been firmly stowed away in a closet for over two years. Wasn’t worried about privacy so much as the damned thing kept trying to clean my bare feet…

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President Donald Trump personally approved a false Fox News story claiming a murdered Democratic staffer—not Russian hackers—leaked Democratic National Committee emails to WikiLeaks, a new lawsuit claims.

Private investigator Rod Wheeler sued the cable-TV network in federal court on Tuesday, alleging it falsely quoted him in an article saying slain DNC staffer Seth Rich had contact with Julian Assange’s rogue publishing operation. Wheeler accuses Fox News regular and pro-Trump money manager Ed Butowsky of coordinating between the channel and the White House in an effort to frame Rich for the leaks and imply Democrats had a hand in his death. Fox News later retracted the article, saying it didn’t meet its “standards.”

The White House and Fox’s motivation to push the false story was to “lift the cloud” of the Russia investigation, Wheeler claims in the lawsuit. (Trump fired FBI Director James Comey a week before the article was published.) “One of the big conclusions we need to draw from this is that the Russians did not hack our computer systems and ste[a]l emails and there was no collusion like [t]rump with the Russians,” Butowsky allegedly wrote in emails to Fox News producers and anchors promoting the piece.

Wheeler’s lawsuit includes screenshots of text messages with Butowsky, including an exchange two days before the article was published in which Butowsky wrote: “president [Trump] just read the article. He wants the article out immediately. It’s now all up to you. But don’t feel the pressure.”

“A couple minutes ago I got a note that we have the full, uh, attention of the White House, on this,” Butowsky allegedly said in a voicemail that same day, according to the lawsuit. “And, tomorrow, let’s close this deal, whatever we’ve got to do. But you can feel free to say that the White House is onto this now.”

This sounds exactly like the sort of crap this WH would pull, but keep in mind that Wheeler is the same guy that on The o’Reilly Factor once claimed that more than 150 “violent lesbian gangs” armed with 9-millimeter handguns in the D.C. area alone were “performing sex acts” and “committing crimes.” This was wholly false, though he never retracted it. So take this item with a cowlick of salt…

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And of course, John Oliver…on sucking your own cock:

Lees and Orts

Lees and Orts

KC floodingOver the years we’ve resided on 3 continents, 8 countries, 7 states (within the US), as well as over a dozen cities. We were once partners in a business in Kansas City.

Not once were any of those homes/offices located in a low lying area, much less a well known flood plain.

But, hey! That’s just us…

Lees and Orts

It still remains our considered opinion that The Sopranos (The Best TV Show of All Time 1), was a documentary.

Warren (Dog Rest Him) of course objected, claiming we suffered from an idée fixe. We so wish he was around to see la costra nostra’s takeover of the White House:

White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci said Thursday that he doesn’t know if his relationship with White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus can be repaired, and he urged Priebus to publicly prove that he has not leaked damaging information to the media.

“If you want to talk about the chief of staff, we have had odds, we have had differences. When I said we were brothers, from the podium, that’s because we’re rough on each other. Some brothers are like Cain and Abel, other brothers can fight with each other and then get along. I don’t know if this is repairable or not — that will be up to the president,” Scaramucci said in a phone interview with CNN early Thursday morning, referencing the biblical brothers without mentioning that Cain murdered Abel.

Sarah Isgur Flores, a spokeswoman for the Department of Justice, said in a statement late Wednesday night: “We have seen an astonishing increase in the number of leaks of classified national security information in recent months. We agree with Anthony that these staggering number of leaks are undermining the ability of our government to function and to protect this country.” Flores added that Attorney General Jeff Sessions, whom the president has repeatedly attacked this week, “will aggressively pursue leak cases wherever they may lead.”

Mooch had earlier tweeted “In light of the leak of my financial disclosure info which is a felony. I will be contacting @FBI and the @TheJusticeDept #swamp @Reince45” and then later deleted it. 2

The tweet popped up within minutes of Politico’s revelation that Mooch is still making millions off his old businesses.

If we were Priebus, we’d take a pass on any boat ride OMP/Mooch might invite him along on.

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Goodbye and good riddance:

President Donald Trump has formally nominated Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback to serve as the State Department’s ambassador at large for international religious freedom.

Brownback has served as Kansas governor since 2011. His name has been in the mix for the post for weeks, before the White House announced his pick.

If confirmed, Brownback will serve effectively as the head of the Office of International Religious Freedom within the State Department. That office is charged with promoting religious freedom as a key objective of U.S. foreign policy, according to the State Department’s website. The office’s mission is to monitor “religious persecution and discrimination worldwide, recommend and implement policies in respective regions or countries, and develop programs to promote religious freedom.”

Browback seems an odd choice to promote religious freedom, seeing as how he’s more of a religious bigot. But, you know, fuck it – Brownbackistanis need a break.

Sadly, they’re unlikely to get one as Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer, who shares many of lil’ Sammy’s stupid and e-vil beliefs, will step into Brownback’s soiled loafers.

And so it goes…

Lees and Orts

Show 2 footnotes

  1. For it’s time…
  2. What a fucking ultra maroon! Those forms are public. Have you ever seen a WH administration so full of incompetent jackasses? We mean…beside the Reagan WH.

Lees and Orts

Earlier this year, around $1 million worth of stolen bees were found in a field in Fresno County. Sgt. Arley Terrence with the Fresno County Sheriff’s Department says it was a “beehive chop shop.” 1

…”This is the biggest bee theft investigation that we’ve had,” Terrence says. Most of the time, he says, beehive thieves turn out to be “someone within the bee community.”

That was the case in the giant heist earlier this year. The alleged thief, Pavel Tveretinov, was a beekeeper from Sacramento who used the stolen bees for pollination and then stashed them on a plot of land in Fresno County. He was arrested and could face around 10 years of jail time. And authorities say he didn’t act alone. His alleged accomplice, Vitaliy Yeroshenko, has been charged and a warrant is out for his arrest.

Steve Godlin with the California State Beekeepers Association says the problem of hive theft gets worse every year. “There used to be kind of a code of honor that you didn’t mess with another man’s bees,” Godlin says. 2

It’s worth noting this is not just a local thang; the Kiwiws are having more serious issues.

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Speaking of stolen sticky sweet treats…

Four years ago, thieves in Quebec made international headlines after stealing 3,000 tons of maple syrup belonging to the Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup, often referred to as Quebec’s maple syrup “cartel.” At $2,000 per barrel (roughly 13 times the price of crude oil), it was one hell of a loot. And though much of it was never recovered, the total stolen volume was estimated at $18.7 million.

But as brazen as “The Great Canadian Maple Syrup Heist” of 2012 was, it didn’t take police a long time to track down the culprits. It did take some time, however, for police to work out the scale of the operation. Their investigation led to 26 arrests and more than 200 witnesses being interviewed by police, and we can finally get some closure in a case that shook la belle province to its sweet, sticky core.

Lees and Orts


Where’s the “I Love It!” option?

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Doctors found a glioblastoma, a very aggressive cancer, when they opened up Sen. McCain’s head. Typical survival rate after diagnosis is roughly a year and a half.

Short term –politically– Maverick won’t be back in WDC for a while, making McConnell’s life a living hell. 3

Longer term –politically– it appears Kelli Ward will replace Maverick upon his death/resignation.

Assuming the cantankerous old fart doesn’t insist upon retaining his seat until he gorks out in chambers.

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The latest update on OMP‘s demands vis a vis visiting the UK:

Donald Trump reportedly told Theresa May he will not make a state visit to the UK until he is guaranteed a “better reception”.

The US President asked the Prime Minister to prepare a “warm welcome” before he agrees to set a date, it has been claimed.

The pair spoke on the phone to discuss the planned state visit, which has now been postponed until next year.

“I haven’t had great coverage out there lately, Theresa,” Mr Trump told Ms May, according to a transcript of the conversation seen by The Sun.

Ms May replied: “Well, you know what the British press are like.”

But Mr Trump added: “I still want to come, but I’m in no rush.

“So, if you can fix it for me, it would make things a lot easier.

“When I know I’m going to get a better reception, I’ll come and not before.”

There are no words…

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OMP‘s royal tendencies have started rubbing off on Peter Dinklage’s older, less smart brother, Jeff Sessions:

Washington (CNN) – Attorney General Jeff Sessions says he plans to continue in his job despite President Donald Trump’s comments that he’d have picked someone else had he known Sessions would recuse himself from the Justice Department’s Russia investigation.

We love this job. We love this department, and I plan to continue to do so as long as that is appropriate,” he told reporters Thursday.

The end will come shortly after OMP professes to have “total faith in Jeff Sessions.”

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One last thought; if you think the ReThugs are done with repealing the ACA, think again:

The Trump administration has spent taxpayer money meant to encourage enrollment in the Affordable Care Act on a public relations campaign aimed at methodically strangling it…

…Under Secretary Tom Price’s stewardship, HHS has filmed and produced a series of testimonial videos featuring individuals claiming to have been harmed by Obamacare. Those ‘viral’ videos have had decidedly limited reach, often gathering somewhere between 100 and 200 views each. But the Department has made a heavy investment in them nonetheless. To date, it has released 23 videos. A source familiar with the video production says that there have been nearly 30 interviews conducted in total, from which more than 130 videos have been produced.

Each testimonial has the same look, feel, and setting, with the subjects sitting before a gray backdrop and speaking directly to camera about how Obamacare has harmed their lives. They were all shot at the Department’s internal studio, according to numerous sources who worked for or continue to work at HHS. Under the Obama administration, it was customary that such videos were recorded and edited by an outside contractor who then billed the department for its work. One former official said that the contractor would charge roughly $550 an hour.

Best yet? The funding of these anti-ACA ads came from the HHS’ consumer information and outreach budget.

That’s correct – The current WH administration, and Tom Price, are creating and running anti-ACA ads with nearly half a billion dollars budgeted to get folks to enroll in the ACA.

Wake up, people.
Lees and Orts

Show 3 footnotes

  1. How did they discover them; did the police mount a sting operation?
  2. Or his woman. Or, more importantly, his horse.
  3. Yea!

Lees and Orts

The gal in the image below is fake.

Not “fake” in the pretending-to-be-someone-she’s-not sense, but fake in the sense she’s an actual plastic doll.

That’s right – she’s one of the products from Real Doll, apparently America’s response to the Japanese sex doll industry.

Real Doll puts out (snerk) several models, both male & female, as well as just “parts” (TOTALLY NOT SUITABLE FOR THE WORKPLACE!!!)

We’re at a loss for words.

Not Real...not that you care

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From the Beeb:

Downing Street and the White House are believed to be looking at options for the visit.

Mr. Trump accepted the Queen’s invitation for him to travel to Britain on a state visit when UK PM Theresa May visited Washington in January.

But the prospect of a state visit caused much controversy and reportedly led Mr. Trump to change his mind.

It was said he did not want to visit while there was potential for protests against him.

Nearly two million people signed one of a number of petitions saying Mr. Trump should not be invited to the UK on a state visit.

Sweet Jeebus, what a fuckin’ snowflake; if he’s not going to visit a country where folks protest his “presidency”, he’s not going to travel much at all.

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Donald Jr, amiright?

What was that quote? Oh, right: “The kids who need the most love will ask for it in the most unloving of ways.”

Or as Andy Borowitz put it: BREAKING: In Major Demotion, Donald Trump Jr. Will Now Report to Tiffany Trump.

Lees and Orts

The following is mostly for Kansas City’s Most Loved Russian, who, under the guise of purchasing cheap tickets to Scotland, is slowly winding his way back to Moscow lest his part in the imploding Russian election hack becomes public knowledge…

Kopter Express

Lees and Orts

Below is exactly why OMP is looking to kill the CFPB:

In roughly 240 days from now, banks and other financial companies will no longer be allowed to prohibit customers from banding together in class-action lawsuits through the use of binding arbitration clauses, as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau today released a long-awaited finalized rule on arbitration.

The 775-page rule [PDF] doesn’t ban the use of forced arbitration clauses outright, but it dictates when financial institutions, lenders, and others can use the provisions and creates specific language to be included in consumer contracts.

…The most troubling aspect of arbitration clauses is the fact they almost universally contain bans on class actions. This means that if several customers are all wronged by a bank in the same way, they must each go through the arbitration process individually.

To make matters worse, arbitration rulings are final, even when the arbitrator made an error that would have changed the outcome. In some instances, the arbitrator doesn’t even give a reason for their decision — just a simple ruling in favor of one party.

…Instead, affected companies can still use arbitration rules in their contracts with individual customers, but they can not use these clauses to stop consumers from being part of a group action.
The rule includes specific language that companies must use if they include an arbitration clause in a new contract.

The rule, which will take effect 60 days after it is published in the Federal Register and become enforceable after 241 days, does not apply to all consumer contracts. For instance, the CFPB notes that existing accounts are not subject to the arbitration ban.

…In addition to prohibiting certain uses of forced arbitration, the CFPB’s rule aims to make the arbitration process more transparent.

Because companies claim that arbitration actually benefits consumers, these businesses will be required to provide information to the CFPB regarding the number of arbitration claims that are filed against it and details on the awards provided to consumers who arbitrate.

The information such as initial claims, counterclaims, answers to claims, and awards issued in arbitration must be submitted to the CFPB with customer information redacted. The Bureau intends to publish these redacted materials on its website beginning in July 2019.

By gathering this data the CFPB says it will be enabled to better understand and monitor arbitration, including whether the process itself is fair.

In other words, the CFPB is living up to its mission – protecting consumers.

So of course the ReThugs are having conniptions: There should never be any accountability of big business.

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Best headline of the past week:

Martin Shkreli Will Not Shut The Fuck Up!

Sometimes Wonkette just nails it.

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Meanwhile, back at the fort White House…

While Donald Jr talks himself into ever deeper waters, it now appears that Jared Kushner tried a bit of the old Krysha on Qatar, seeking a half billion dollar “investment” from a Qatari billionaire.

The Qatari businessman refused, whereupon (shortly afterwards) OMP publicly denounced the tiny nation of Qatar, sending them into a crisis and crashing the Qatari stock market.

Brighton Beach extortion, to put it bluntly. It’s as if the White House is run by the mob.

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And finally, believe it or not you can now drink coffee from a horn.

Though why anyone would want to…

Lees and Orts

Lees and Orts

And so the blood-letting begins:

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency plans to offer some employees a buyout program to reduce staff, according to an internal memo seen by Reuters, as President Donald Trump proposes slashing the agency’s budget and workforce to reduce regulation.

The memo sent by acting Deputy Administrator Mike Flynn on Thursday said the agency wants to complete the buyout program by September. It did not give a dollar figure for the buyouts or say how many employees it hoped would take the offer.

The memo was sent to all employees at the same time EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt joined Trump at the White House to announce that the United States would withdraw from the Paris climate agreement.

“Early outs and buy outs … can help us realign our workforce to meet changing mission requirements and move toward new models of work,” the memo said. “The authority encourages voluntary separations and helps the Agency complete workforce restructuring with minimal disruption to the workforce.”

The EPA would see the biggest cuts of any federal agency in Trump’s 2018 budget proposal, with a 31 percent reduction in budget and the elimination of over 3,200 employees. The EPA employs about 15,000 people.

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It took them fucking long enough!

Kansas Gov. Brownback’s tax experiment comes to end, as legislature overturns veto.

When Kansas Governor Sam Brownback launched his experiment, he told Kansans that it would be an injection of adrenaline and that the economy would come roaring back to life. But after 5 years, the economy struggles and the state budget is a disaster. Speaking from the Senate floor tonight, Sen. Dennings (R-Overland Park) spoke out in favor of overturning the Governor’s veto and ending the tax experiment. ‘This was a mistake,’ and noted that it was his mistake, and he was prepared to break out the mop and start cleaning it up. For Governor Brownback, the overturn of his tax plan represents the ultimate rebuke of a governor. Unlike Democratic governors in states with Supermajority Republicans who have faced veto override, Governor Brownback would assume immunity – the State House & Senate are both super majority Republican. But the Republicans have seen enough. Sen. Hardy (R-Salina) made the case: ‘The people in this state have had it. Either we pay the bill now or we pay a bigger bill later.’ ”

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Lees and Orts

In prepared testimony released on the eve of his appearance Thursday before the Senate Intelligence Committee, former FBI director James B. Comey placed President Trump in the gunsights of a federal criminal investigation, laying out evidence sufficient for a case of obstruction of justice.

Comey proved what Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats and National Security Agency Director Michael S. Rogers carefully avoided admitting in their testimony 1on Wednesday — that the president had specifically attempted to shut off at least a major piece of what Trump calls the “Russia thing,” the investigation into the misleading statements by fired national security adviser Michael Flynn concerning his role in dealings with the Russians. This kind of presidential intervention in a pending criminal investigation has not been seen, to my knowledge, since the days of Richard Nixon and Watergate.

Well…duh!

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Everyone who joins the FBI takes their Oath of Office. They have a web page dedicated to presenting and explaining that oath; the following bit of that is both instructive and timely:

It is significant that we take an oath to support and defend the Constitution and not an individual leader, ruler, office, or entity. This is true for the simple reason that the Constitution is based on lasting principles of sound government that provide balance, stability, and consistency through time. A government based on individuals—who are inconsistent, fallible, and often prone to error—too easily leads to tyranny on the one extreme or anarchy on the other. The founding fathers sought to avoid these extremes and create a balanced government based on constitutional principles.

Something to muse over today while Comey testifies.

Lees and Orts

Lees and Orts

A little gem from back in the day – the first American spacewalk, launched June 3rd, 1965.

Lees and Orts

Show 1 footnote

  1. Think for a moment about the reaction Clinton would have received had she told the Benghazi committee that a question was “too inappropriate” to answer. Coats and Rogers’ testimony is treasonous.

Lees and Orts

OMP called confessed killer –and incidentally Phillipines’ President Duterte– “Rodrigo.”

And, of course, OMP relayed to Duterte “I just wanted to congratulate you because I am hearing of the unbelievavle job (you are) doing on the drug problem.” You know, as in going out and personally killing drug “dealers.”

And there’s more – read the transcript for yourself.

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Got to be careful with those jokes: From Mock Paper Sissors, which you should definitely be reading:

TAMPA –  At a time when journalists are under fire both literally and figuratively, Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn’s “joke” this week at a military conference about pointing twin 50 caliber machine guns at journalists and watching them “cry like little girls” rankled several reporters in the room.

…At the conference, Buckhorn told a crowd of more than 1,000 commando and defense industry leaders about his experience as a “hostage” during a demonstration of special ops rescue tactics. The highlight, he said, was when he was aboard a Navy special warfare boat, firing blanks from 50-caliber machine guns.

“And so the first place I point that gun is at the media,”  he told the crowd. “I’ve never seen grown men cry like little girls, for when that gun goes off those media folks just hit the deck like no one’s business. It’s great payback. I love it.”

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Meanwhile, down in The Grate State of Tex-ass:

HOUSTON — Texas State Rep. Jessica Farrar, D-Houston, filed a bill Friday that would penalize men for “unregulated masturbatory emissions.”

The satirical House Bill 4260 would encourage men to remain “fully abstinent” and only allow the “occasional masturbatory emissions inside health care and medical facilities,” which are described in the legislation as the best way to ensure men’s health.

Farrar said she created the bill after feeling fed up with the various legislative bills introduced by men addressing women’s healthcare.
“A lot of people find the bill funny,” Farrar said in a phone interview. “What’s not funny are the obstacles that Texas women face every day, that were placed there by legislatures making it very difficult for them to access healthcare.”

A man would face a $100 penalty for each emission made outside of a vagina or medical facility. Such an emission would be considered “an act against an unborn child, and failing to preserve the sanctity of life,” according to the legislation.

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From Zimbabwe comes further proof that belief in imaginary, supernatural beings is a mug’s game:

A pastor from a local church in White River Mpumalanga died this morning trying to demonstrate a biblical miracle to his (sic) congregants.

Past Jonathan Mthethwa of the “Saint Of The Last Days” churched drowned into the crocodile infested river also known as the Crocodile River and was seen by his church members getting eaten by 3 crocodiles.

“The pastor taught us about faith on Sunday last week. He promised he would demonstrate his faith to us today, but he unfortunately ended up drowning and getting eaten by 3 large crocodiles in front of us. We still don’t understand how this happened because he fasted and prayed the whole week,” said Deacon Nkosi, who is one of the church members.

It is said that Pastor Mthewa walked into the water and when he was 30 meters inside the river, he attempted to ascend above the water so he can start walking, but the 3 crocodiles appeared out of no where and started feasting on him.

“They finished him in a couple of minutes. All that was left of him when they finished eating him is a pair of sandals and his underwear floating above the water,” said Deacon Nkosi.

Depending upon what scripture one uses, and how that “scripture” is interpreted, the pastor’s underwear floating above the water could be deemed a miracle, n’est-ce pas?
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Pastor-eating crocodiles related:

A record low percentage of Americans believe that the Bible is “actual word of God,” with more calling it a “book of fables,” similar to Aesop’s, according to a new survey.

Gallup reports that just 24 percent believe the Bible should be taken “literally, word for word.”

“This is the first time in Gallup’s four-decade trend that biblical literalism has not surpassed biblical skepticism,” said the pollster.

By comparison 26 percent view the Bible as “a book of fables, legends, history and moral precepts recorded by man.”

Sadly 47% –or about the same number of “real Amurikans” who voted for OMP— still think it is the “inspired word of God but that not all of it should be taken literally.”

Much more work to do…
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A quick note of thanks to Tengrain, who is picking and choosing this week’s links over at Crooks and Liars – much appreciated.

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And finally…

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You can’t make this shit up:

The law firm that said OMP has no financial ties to Russia “with a few exceptions” was recognized in 2016 as Russia law firm of the year.

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In yet more you can’t make this shit up news, the House ReThugs apparently don’t understand how passing bills works…or doesn’t:

According to several aides and other procedural experts, if Republicans send the [American Health Care Act] bill to the Senate now and the CBO later concludes it doesn’t save at least $2 billion, it would doom the bill and Republicans would have to start their repeal effort all over with a new budget resolution. Congressional rules would likely prevent Republicans from fixing the bill after it’s in the Senate, the aides said.

…reluctant Republicans will once again be forced to decide whether to back it. Only this time, they would also be saddled with the CBO’s latest findings about the bill’s costs and impacts.

For those of you keeping score at home, the AHCA only passed by 2 votes; Chaffetz is set to leave in June and the MT-AL election is next week.

It’s a shame that no one ever seems to remember that the ReThug’s inability to actually govern, as much as their neo-Confederacy policies, is a fine reason to keep them out of office.

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On the idiocy that would be appointing Joe Lieberman to the FBI Directorship:

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And now a rational response to the OMP/Russia imbroglio:

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Drive the demons from the NSA data collection building known as “Titanpointe”! Mass exorcism ritual to purify data, reject false gods… and defend freedom of thought!

In the interests of metaphysically purging the edifice of the data it hoards and invoking a less maniacal version of citizen-government relations, on April 15th at 12 p.m. a cadre of priests, supplicants, and a volunteer choir affiliated with The Quiet American will exorcise the malevolent energy coursing through the so-called ‘Long Lines Building’ at 33 Thomas Street. This sacred day falls approximately one day before the rising of Christ, and three days before tax day.

Beginning with a prayer for the building’s physical materials and an invocation of the gods this architectural fiasco has insulted, exorcisors will then lay a perimeter of salt around the building to render ineffective the sinister frequencies it broadcasts. In a rite of liberation and fertility, thousands of pages of personal data, bouquets of flowers, and an ostrich egg will then be sacrificed to the building, thereby triggering a massive spiritual data hemorrhage that will release the banal facts of our lives back into their proper home – the ether — and expel the demons of fear and suspicion from the temple.

Windowless, monolithic, and creepy as all hell, the building at 33 Thomas Street is an altar to a false god, a monument to the bottomless fear that locks us in permanent war and makes us suspicious of our neighbors, our own towns and cities, our own capabilities and impulses. Windowless, shuttered to the world that it is intended to spy on, the building at 33 Thomas Street is a maelstrom of negative energy, a black hole that sucks up light in the form of our personal communications, then in some alchemical sleight of hand returns that light in the form of a panic and dread which we are assured is the real common currency of our civic life. Rather than allay fears of the end however, this brutalist heap – designed to withstand a nuclear assault and sustain the employees working within its bowels for two weeks – broadcasts paranoia.

No word yet as to whether the demons were removed… 1

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Jebus H. Fucking Kerist On a Pogo Stick… Could this look any more like a payoff?

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s low-selling 2014 memoir netted him another $218,100 last year, pushing his total book payments to $783,000 over the past four years, according to his tax returns.

Cuomo’s 2016 tax records, which his office made available for review Tuesday, showed the latest round of payments from HarperCollins, the major publisher that gave him a lucrative book deal in 2013.

The governor’s memoir — “All Things Possible: Setbacks and Success in Politics in Life — did not perform well: Just 3,200 copies sold since its release, including just 100 copies over the past two years, according to NPD Books, which tracks book sales nationwide.

It was a money-loser for HarperCollins, which ultimately paid Cuomo about $245 per book sold. It retailed at $29.99.

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By now you’ve heard Jason Chaffetz has decided not to run for reelection next year, much less attempt to claim Orin Hatch’s Senate seat. 2 You can find Chaffetz’s stated reasons for his decision here.

Immediately the second guessing began: Does Russia have компромат on Chaffetz? Snopes is unwilling to say one way or the other, but the more cynical among us assume someone does.

Another theory is Chaffetz realized at a recent “town hall” meeting that his days of running roughshod over America in the name of ReThuggery is fast coming to an end. Another school of thought is that he’s positioning himself for a run at the Utah governor’s office in 2020. 3

Regardless which, if any, of these speculations holds true, the sooner the corrupt jackass takes his leave, the better.

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Georgia don’t want no damned Dixie Democrat!

Five civil rights and civic engagement groups have filed suit against Georgia and its secretary of state for attempting to block registered voters from participating in a closely watched runoff election in Georgia’s 6th Congressional District.

On Thursday, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law filed a complaint in the federal district court in Atlanta, arguing that the state is violating the National Voter Registration Act. That law sets 30 days before a federal election as the earliest permissible deadline for voter registration.

Georgia complied with the provision for the special congressional election held this past Tuesday. But because no candidate won 50 percent of the vote, there will be a second election on June 20 ― a runoff between the top two finishers, Democrat Jon Ossoff and Republican Karen Handel.

Georgia election officials contend that the June runoff is simply a continuation of the special election this week, so they don’t have to allow newly registered voters to participate. The registration deadline for Tuesday’s election was March 20, and officials say anybody who registers after that day is not eligible to vote in the June runoff.

Ezra Rosenberg, co-director of the voting rights project at the Lawyers’ Committee, argues that under the federal law, Georgia can’t set the registration deadline for the June 20 runoff any earlier than 30 days before that election ― that is, May 22.

“The case is actually a very, very simple case,” Rosenberg told reporters on a conference call Thursday. “Federal law specifically defines elections as including runoff elections.”

We’re surprised Kris Kobach isn’t down Georgia way, offering his tried and true services, if only to distract himself from yet another court loss.

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What we’re (re)reading…
The Stars My Destination

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Show 3 footnotes

  1. Reminds us of the mythical skyscraper in The City that was purposely designed to put a dangerous edge on anything left in its confines; razor blades, knives, sharp suits… No word on whether Emperor Norton started that one. Or even Bear himself. The City has always been full of characters.
  2. In fact rumors were swirling yesterday afternoon that Chaffetz could step down as early as today. As of this post…crickets.
  3. Perhaps even the presidency; his campaign people have parked the following two domains – jason2028.com and jasonchaffetz2028.com.