Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Cruising the Web

So the President's personal lawyer pleads guilty and his former campaign manager is convicted of eight counts of fraud. I'm starting to believe that Trump surrounds himself with the very best people. That campaign seems to have been a dumpster fire of sleazy operators. Corey Lewandowski is starting to look good.

Is anyone really surprised by any of this? It was clear from the moment his name surfaced as Trump's campaign manager that Paul Manafort was a deeply problematic guy. He had a lot of connections to very bad people so I'm not feeling sorry for him even though it's probably true that he wouldn't have been prosecuted for any of this if he hadn't signed on to the Trump campaign.

And Michael Cohen seems to have been the very sleaziest of lawyers. And did anyone really believe that Trump hadn't used Cohen to pay off two women he'd slept with? I guess the campaign finance violations will give Democrats a hook to pin "high crimes and misdemeanors" on as they work to impeach him if they gain control of the House. If that is what they end up going after him on, it will seem pretty small beer next to all the rants about treason and collusion with Russia to steal an election that we've been hurting. But Mueller isn't done and he can still work to flip Manafort. Trump supporters who are pooh poohing yesterday's events may just be whistling past the graveyard. I'm just struck how unsurprising I found it all. We knew that Trump's big attraction was his reality-show background and feistiness in fighting back against his enemies. We also knew that he had an immoral history in his relations with women. He bragged about it all the time on Howard Stern. We know he cheated on his other wives. We heard his voice on the Access Hollywood tape. His cheating on Melania right after their son was born doesn't seem like a stretch for his standards of moral turpitude.

Here's an ironic thought I had. This whole Manafort imbroglio is all Ted Cruz's fault. When Cruz became the only candidate who might have challenged Trump at the convention and with a lot of the GOP establishment looking for ways to make a stand at the convention to thwart the frontrunner, Trump decided to hire Manafort. He knew him some because Manafort lived in Trump Tower and that automatically made him a good guy. And he had experience marshalling delegates for Gerald Ford back in 1976. So Trump hired him based on Manafort's experience 40 years ago, despite Manafort's more recent history as a lobbyist for a Putin-backed despot in Ukraine. Part of the problem was that more experienced and moral GOP operatives did not want to work for Trump's campaign and Trump didn't want to have much to do with the GOP establishment that had worked for the Bushes. I'm not saying that the Russian investigation would not have existed without the Manafort connection, but it would have had one leg knocked out. So blame Cruz and Trump's ability to hire the very worst people.

If he could just limit his Twitter rants, he'd probably not suffer all that much from these two events. Most people haven't been following the news and have no idea who Manafort and Cohen are. Those people who do know have already made up their minds what they think of Trump. And when it comes to 2020, I tend to think that the most important factor will be whom the Democrats nominate. Trump wouldn't have won in 2016 without having had the great luck to face one of the most unpopular major party candidates in all of American political history.

Liz Peek of Fox News has some very good advice for Republicans. Ignore all the chaff that is the focus of cable news and focus on economic news.
The biggest news story in 2018 is not Omarosa or Stormy Daniels – it is the booming economy, according to Director of the White House Economic Council Larry Kudlow, who made that case to pals at a recent dinner. He is right, of course. The acceleration in U.S. growth, bringing rising wages and increased job opportunities across the board, is a monumental achievement of the Trump White House. Especially since so many liberal economists, like Larry Summers, said it couldn’t be done....

[Ma]ny GOP candidates appear oblivious to both these themes. Democrats spend more time talking about the economy and the GOP tax cuts than Republicans do; they certainly have more to say about the president. Many Republicans running for office appear embarrassed by the economic power unleashed by lower tax rates and deregulation; it’s almost as though they don’t understand what is happening. At best, they seem unable to articulate why the tax cuts are helping their voters.

These reluctant Republicans have allowed Nancy Pelosi and her colleagues to set the narrative about the GOP tax cuts and the buoyant economy. Democrats began lying about the GOP tax bill before it was even written, with Chuck Schumer et al initially saying that it would not benefit middle-class workers. When numerous analyses indicated that claim was flat-out wrong, and as Americans discovered the savings in their paychecks, their tune changed, slightly. Now they stress that the gains are mostly flowing to the wealthy, and to big, fat corporations. They are hoping the politics of envy will override relief that jobs are suddenly plentiful and that consumer optimism is off the charts, for the first time in a decade.

Well, at least we can comfort ourselves that we must not be facing many severe problems in our country today because of all the great things being accomplished.

Bureaucrats in Prince George's County in Maryland have succeed in protecting citizens from the anarchist rebellion of a 91-year old woman in a wheelchair.
Prince George’s County filed a legal case against a Laurel couple in their 90s over a wheelchair ramp in their own home. To avoid legal trouble, the elderly couple’s son tore down the ramp, trapping the woman in her own home. The county permitting department said the family had no permit to build a wheelchair ramp in front of their own home.

"I don't want my husband trying to lift me now," said 91 year old Evelyn Strahle.

Evelyn Strahle's husband David is 94 years old. "Two people had to put her in a wheelchair and lift her down those steps before we had it,” said David.

A pile of lumber is all that remains of the wheelchair ramp that gave Evelyn freedom to leave her Laurel home.

“It clips my wings. I can't do anything," said Evelyn.

Evelyn's son Bob built the ramp. He's in the construction trades. He didn't want his parents to pay the $5,000 they priced a ramp of this size. Bob bought $1,700 of lumber and built it himself.

"Very well built and I felt very safe on it always,” explained Evelyn.

Then, a Prince George's County inspector came.

“There was an inspector that showed up here twice when I was here and I asked him why couldn't he just inspect it and tell me if there was anything I needed to do to make any improvements on it so that it would fit permitting requirements but he said that wasn't the process and I had to go through the long route,” explained son Bob Strahle.
The son ended up tearing down the ramp. Then weeks later, authorities admitted that they could have worked better with the couple. Ya think? But I'm sure that the good citizens of Prince George's County are breathing much more easily now knowing that they're being protected from rogue wheelchair ramps at private homes.

And all animal lovers can also rest happily knowing that this gross violation of animal rights has finally ended.
Mondelez International, the parent company of Nabisco, has redesigned the packaging of its Barnum’s Animals crackers after relenting to pressure from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

PETA, which has been protesting the use of animals in circuses for more than 30 years, wrote a letter to Mondelez in the spring of 2016 calling for a redesign.

“Given the egregious cruelty inherent in circuses that use animals and the public’s swelling opposition to the exploitation of animals used for entertainment, we urge Nabisco to update its packaging in order to show animals who are free to roam in their natural habitats,” PETA said in its letter.

Mondelez agreed and started working on a redesign. In the meantime, the crackers’ namesake circus — Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey — folded for good. The 146-year-old circus, which had removed elephants from its shows in 2016 because of pressure from PETA and others, closed down in May 2017 due to slow ticket sales.

The redesign of the boxes, now on US store shelves, retains the familiar red and yellow coloring and prominent “Barnum’s Animals” lettering. But instead of showing the animals in cages — implying that they’re traveling in boxcars for the circus — the new boxes feature a zebra, elephant, lion, giraffe and gorilla wandering side by side in a grassland. The outline of acacia trees can be seen in the distance.
Okay, so the symbolism of the animals in cages is removed. When will PETA get on the symbolism of people eating zebras, elephants, lions, giraffes, and gorillas? If what we're concerned about is pure symbolism, isn't eating animals worse than keeping them in a circus?

And nonbinary people don't have to worry about discrimination now that a California health provider, Healthline, has decided to get rid of such non-inclusive language as the word 'vagina.'
Healthline has claimed health disparities and higher rates of HIV and STIs observed in LGBTQIA communities are due to discrimination in the sex ed world. So, the California based health information provider has adopted the gender-inclusive term “front hole” in place of the medical term, “vagina” in their latest LGBTQIA safe sex guide.

“For the purpose of this guide, we’ll refer to the vagina as the ‘front hole’ instead of solely using the medical term ‘vagina,'” the document explains. “This is gender-inclusive language that’s considerate of the fact that some trans people don’t identify with the labels the medical community attaches to their genitals.”
I'm not quite sure how calling it 'front hole' changes anything. The physical body part still either exists or doesn't exist no matter what one calls it, but what do I know? I'm just wondering if they'll decide that 'penis' and 'testicles' need a new name. Aren't those words just as non-inclusiv