All the News Fit to Treat Badly

This screenshot depicts U.S. news media’s gross failure.

There have been numerous stories this week about the Trump cabinet which received slapdash coverage. All of them are scandals and should have resulted in the firing or resignation of two, possibly three cabinet members.

And yet the public is deluged with and seeking more information about a celebrity’s personal screw-up resulting in prosecution — a story which has no real impact on their personal lives. The public doesn’t appear to know how very badly Trump’s cabinet members are treating the public’s trust, or the risk posed by turning a blind eye to these cabinet members’ bad faith and corruption as nearly all of them are in the line of presidential succession.

In short, the public isn’t being informed about real news.

If the public is asking about a celebrity, leave it to celebrity gossip sites to answer. The public needs reporting about these failing cabinet members, and they need to know these stories are far more important than celebrity buzz, affecting the country’s ability to function normally. If the public isn’t asking about these cabinet members, it may be a sign that the media is failing them and/or the trend data may be manipulated.

~ ~ ~

How much do you or your family members and friends know about Wilbur Ross’s repeated lies about his personal holdings? The Office of Government Ethics refused to certify his most recent financial disclosure statement because he didn’t sell stocks that he said he’d sold. This has been going on since he became Commerce Secretary. His work in that role has been dismal as it is, not to mention his questionable relationship to a bank in Cyprus. But to lie and lie repeatedly to the government about his personal finances? There’s no excuse for his not knowing what assets he’s holding because he has to file a tax return reflecting ownership, earnings and subsequent profits and losses.

There’s also no excuse for news media to treat Ross’s lies as if they are perfectly normal for the person who is eighth in line of presidential succession and responsible for fostering, promoting, and developing the foreign and domestic commerce of the largest economy in the world. News outlets should be asking the White House every damned day why Ross hasn’t been booted out the door.

~ ~ ~

How much do you or your family members and friends know about former federal prosecutor and current Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta’s role in the ridiculously light sentence human trafficker Jeffrey Epstein received? Or Acosta’s role in violating the Crime Victims’ Rights Act, directly affecting at least 30 of Epstein’s victims?

News media paid a little more attention to this case because the crimes underlying it were of prurient interest. But they have already forgotten justice for the victims, blowing off Acosta’s continued employment in a role overseeing workplaces where human trafficking may occur. Acosta is right behind Ross in the presidential succession lineup. News media should likewise ask why Acosta still has a job as Labor Secretary right after they ask about Ross’s continued employment.

~ ~ ~

How much do you or your family members and friends know about former Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s alleged lies to federal investigators regarding disapproval of Native American casinos? This wasn’t the only probe Interior Department Office of Inspector General had been looking into; it’s the one which has been referred to a grand jury. What other damage may Zinke have done while he was at Interior? What continues under acting Interior Secretary?

Zinke had been two slots ahead of Ross in the presidential succession lineup. At least Zinke is no longer with the administration, unlike Ross and Acosta, or Betsy DeVos.

~ ~ ~

A staffer for Education Secretary DeVos attempted to obstruct investigation into DeVos’ restoration of approval for a college accreditor by trying to remove the acting inspector general looking into the re-approval. It’d be nice to know if DeVos instructed her deputy secretary Mitchell Zais to remove Sandra Bruce because was continuing her investigation, or if Zais tried this on his own. This is yet another cabinet-level scandal the public doesn’t know enough about compared to a celebrity story.

DeVos has been a threat to public education since her approval hearing when she suggested guns were needed in the classroom to protect against bears. She’s a threat to more than education as 13th in line of succession for the presidency, too, given there are open slots for Secretaries of Defense and Interior. College students struggling with tuition debt and students who’ve participated in active shooter drills would love to know why DeVos still has a job. They ought to know someone is asking every day.

~ ~ ~

And Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao couldn’t let these four cabinet secretaries have all the fun. She may have been improperly coordinating with our glorious Senate Majority Leader Mitchell McConnell — also her spouse — to ensure their home state Kentucky received a lion’s share of transportation projects.

Fortunately Chao is not in the line of presidential succession because she is foreign born.

Fortunately, her spouse McConnell isn’t in the succession lineup at all.

Unfortunately, these were just a handful of stories which should have ranked higher in the mind of the public and the media’s effort.

This is an open thread.

185 replies
  1. Rayne says:

    Those were biggies. There were more but it’s the middle of the night and I should be sleeping. I worry most about these stories because given the right knock-on-wood-horrific circumstance like a meteor strike, one of these corrupt assholes could end up president and they are simply not qualified for that gig let alone for a cabinet position.

    I think that’s one thing we need to hold against the Senate: they should be asking themselves each time a nominee appears before them for approval, “Does this person have what it takes to be president if nasty stuff hit the oscillator?”

    • chuck says:

      There is some good news Rayne:

      (Maybe that’s where all those boxes were going CNN…)

      Anyways, hearty agreement that this cabinet collection is peak graft. Thankfully they’re so self-serving and back-stabbish (especially now that front-stabber Scaramucci isn’t there to bring stab-balance) that they don’t seem to be able to coordinate themselves into pocket-lining via warmongering plus ‘rebuilding’. So there’s that.

      May you have pleasant dreams of justice being served rather than struggling to keep pace with all the new crimes being committed by the as of yet un-indictable. (Dream that changes too).

    • darylg says:

      What is your sense of whether the non-prosecution deal Acosta put in place will be unsealed? Clearly, Trump figures prominently in it.

  2. Cristabel says:

    yes, it was the education secretary who became president in “Battlestar Galactica” after the aliens killed everyone else so…

  3. JamesJoyce says:

    Rayne’s “radar” is robust.
    Minimum 4 weeks ahead of the curve..

    The mannequins mimick the official line while the minds here: “shred.”

    Time to eat my “Kraft” mac and cheese before it is taken off the shelf?

    • BobCon says:

      The first article I read in that blamed their losses on logistics and transportation issues related to the merger of Kraft and Heinz.

      Knowing how well those two companies managed their distribution pre-merger (they had it down to a science), I don’t buy it. The SEC issues hint that there was something screwy going on with the financing around the merger.

  4. Rapier says:

    Perusing the NY Times Saturday morning I can’t see any mention of any of these stories. Even the Acosta story which is almost the most tangential to Trump except it happened in Mar a Lago’s back yard. Epstein was no stranger to the place nor Trump who once said something to the effect ‘he’s a fun guy and like me loves beautiful women, some very young’, and Trump made a huge 1 time donation to the county prosecutor when it was handling the investigation and subsequent de facto dropping of the case. Oh, and the girl who was a primary ‘recruter’ either worked there or spent a lot of time at Mar a Lago.

    WaPo has a story on Acosta and the ruling which says the DOJ office there broke the law. It has a story on Zinke too. Still, the Acosta story is such a slow one right down the middle, sex and powerful people, it is impossible to imagine it won’t blow up. Well almost impossible. It is going to take all Barr’s considerable talents to bury this one. Let’s see if how long the Times will ignore it. Let’s also see if Mr. Epstein remains among the living. He’s not a young man.

    • Gerard Plourde says:

      I’ve been pretty disappointed by much of the Times’ coverage of this administration. I think that they’re soft-peddling a lot of the sleaze because of the involvement of people with ties to the New York establishment and the financial community. The city’s wealth (and by extension the Times’ as well) is disproportionately skewed to the care and feeding of organizations and individuals whose only purpose is manipulating other people’s money. While they do go after Trump they avoid looking too closely at the environment that nurtured him.

    • BobCon says:

      The Times’s near radio silence on Acosta is not surprising. The Jill Abramson plagiarism story has revived chronic complaints from other reporters about the way the Times covers stories.

      The Times will stall and stall on covering a story launched by another paper’s digging. If it does hit the mainstream and coverage is unavoidable, then the Times will sweep in belatedly with its own coverage stealing from others and giving no credit.

    • Laura says:

      Thank god the Miami Herald did such great work on the Acosta travesty. Anyone who protected Jeffrey Epstein, his helpers, and his clientele deserves Gitmo, as far as I’m concerned. (Looking at you, Detshowitz.)

  5. Mullica says:


    Gross malfeasance? Bumbling incompetence? Acceptance of a lowest common denominator that continually is being eroded by their own actions?

    It doesn’t matter why the 4th Estate is not serving us well. The importance of their inability & unwillingness to continually hold these sordid stories and their ignoble malefactors up for public disgrace and removal from influential positions hurts all of us.

    Maybe our press’s coverage of the government will soon parallel that of Hungary’s. Will the publishers care, as long as the papers sell?


  6. Rattlemullet says:

    I am a long time reader of Emptywheel please accept my sincere thanks for all the extremely hard work that the writers and commenters do day in and day out. This site always elevates the level of discussion. Sadly our news media at some point in the past discovered that tragedy as entertainment works well a business model. The attention span of a lot of people is directly correlated to the speed of the internet and may be most specifically Twitter a business model that depends on a limited number of letters and spaces to convey your most complex thinking. The clearest example would be the squatter in chief blasting out his deep cosmic thoughts on life and such, changing the subject with every tweet to keep the news media in a constant state of confusion.

  7. PSWebster says:

    Gotta lay into this: Kraft getting a rub and a tug…big deal. That’s how all the massage places in FL are set up: Chinese nationals come over for 3 months and make a lot of money to send home…they are not captives like the evangelical hipocritas say…cooking on the back steps…ha, ha…of course they are, to save money. The hostesses are usually latinas who own the license…the girls usually board together at a hostess apartment. They are not forced to do anything (ok…if they don’t make their tricks happy they move on). An extra 100 will get you just about anything. This is bad? No: only for prurient, repressed so called cristianos (most older white men in Florida…the latinos don’t give a shite…it is accepted along with their form of Catholicism in that sex is natural…duh). What is amazing is that Kraft walked into the sting…bet the coppers knew his routine and set him up…the owner of the hated Pats which is big time in FL. Hey, he is a billionaire ahole who buddies with The Big ORange poofter but he’s got a seemingly non duplicable team. It kind of shows what a cheapskate he is…he could easily afford a $4000 pro. There must be a ton in Jupiter as there are everywhere else old white men with $$$ live.
    Rolled into Singapore years back and as the taxi from the airport at 2am turned a corner into the hotel area I was amazed by the site of about 50 beautiful Chinese nationals ( I learned later) trying to flag down a john. I was more naive then. You will get arrested if you bang a Singapore girl so they substitute chinos because…well, why….they are just as racist as most of us.

    More Sex thoughts: (sorry, can’t help it)…some wild analysis ala early Freud: Stone actually lived for some time with Roy Cohn when he was an intern. Any wagers he got poofed then? His compensatory weight lifting and sex swinging (well hung, 8+ inches and his “insatiable” wife) suggests a probability above 50%. Who cares? I do. It is indicative of his so called cristiano insistence and appeal to them and his delusional beliefs of all the weirdly, oppressive Deep State shite…is that Roy who was deeply oppressive toward him way back when? A decent bet proffered.

    All that aside: great reportage and synthesis here at emptywheel. stick with your guns you guys…mueller is gonna release when he is good and ready.

      • PSWebster says:

        Of course not…underage girls are verboten no matter penis erectus conscientia non habet . ANd, no matter the ejaculations by the police regarding underground sex slavery rings…I still bet it is BS based upon ample interactions with mature massage women…who like most ho’s deserve more respect and a legal work environment.
        Epstein is a pervert along with Costa? what’s his name who pulled the strings so he more or less walked.

  8. rattlemullet says:


    Thanks for all the great work here at emptywheel. I am a long time reader. I have a question, I tried early to post a comment and it did not post, is there any way you can tell me why it did not post? Thanks

    • Rayne says:

      I can’t see a post hung up in the backend of the site, sorry. I wish I could offer a diagnostic but I suspect it may have been a network burp that ate your attempt. Nice to see you at emptywheel, thanks for trying to comment.

  9. Herringbone says:

    Is it just me, or have we also seen woefully little follow up on the initial story re: Flynn and selling nuclear technology to KSA? Or is that too close to Trump/Kushner/Russia to count?

  10. Xxxxellll says:

    It’s really too easy to blame the media over this. It’s really too easy to blame the media for everything that happens. Those who have a tendency to do so are just as guilty of corroding the trust in media as anyone else.

    • P J Evans says:

      I don’t know about you, but when most people get all their news from the media that are chasing celebrity news instead of political/economic news, I think the media are NOT doing their jobs well. They get special treatment because they’re supposed to report on government and how it’s doing.

    • Rayne says:

      I’ve been a managing editor for a news outlet here in the U.S., responsible for picking stories to cover or spike. I have a pretty good idea what going wrong with U.S. media — they’re chasing trash clicks, measuring the wrong thing to benchmark success.

      Welcome to emptywheel, first time commenter from overseas. By all means do tell us how our media works when your country doesn’t have the same free speech laws and subsequent media business models.

    • Kick the darkness says:

      I see your point. Part of me thinks-as long as there has been news media, there has been the need to sell it. And the same stuff that has always drawn people’s interest gets the clicks now-sex, scandal, celebrity, controversy, etc. Trump is good for business. On the other hand, if one were to compare and contrast how the media handled the Watergate affair with our current situation, what would that comparison look like? I don’t know. Reading the comments of some so-called journalists weighing in on Marcy’s twitter account today, for example, it is hard for me not to feel something has gone wrong within at least some segments of the profession. That writing for a particular niche, being “right” or “wrong” from a certain viewpoint, has become more important than the story and trying to inform the reader. I guess you are ultimately right, we (collectively speaking) enable slanted writing and media bubbles with the choices we make. But for whatever reason an intelligent an analytical approach seems harder and harder to find. Which is why I am all happy to support this site in whatever small way I can.

  11. 26826548 says:

    What remedy is available to us?

    Without being too apocalyptic, this era feels like an inflection point.

    Are we going to succumb to our bias to just watch the tsunami approach?

    I’m here for the high level analysis by highly trained and educated people, but the fact is you have no skin in the game. You’ll all be alright if everything goes to sh*t.

    People of lesser opportunity look to those at the level of the producers and commentators on this site, and wonder when they’re going to pull the emergency cord and shout fire.

    What would that even look like? Pink hats on the street for a few hours? A strike for a day?

    With respect, would the writers/commentators participate or leave it to those on the breadline to bear the violent police action and employer retaliation? Who is going to risk their mortgage or employment prospects? The least educated?

    The five stories in Rayne’s post above are all dynamite and shouldn’t just be steps on the descent to a dystopia. Who is going to speak out and tell those less educated that everything should stop, and stop with them, until we can recalibrate our captured democracies for the modern world?


    For the record, I’m not in the US, and like to think I’m not of it, but we’re all Americans now to greater or lesser degree thanks to US post-WW2 foreign policy.

    I could point to five similar stories from my region and wonder why a local reality tv show is bigger news. My parents generation wouldn’t have tolerated it, because people of status and conscience spoke out and acted out.

    • Rayne says:

      I’ve been debating about replying to this comment. I think I need to because of this: …but the fact is you have no skin in the game. You’ll all be alright if everything goes to sh*t.

      We all of us have skin in the game. ALL of us. The U.S. has been gradually manipulated from responding to the crises which affect most of its citizens so that they can’t react the way the French do. It only looks like nobody cares, that we’ll only take a couple hours off in pink hats BUT THE AVERAGE AMERICAN CAN’T AFFORD TO DO ANYTHING MORE. Christ, we don’t even have a federal holiday to vote, which is a deliberate suppression tactic to ensure the poor don’t show up to vote their interests.

      Even after the ACA became law so more people could have access to health care insurance in this country (and millions still don’t have coverage), 65% of all bankruptcies are *still* caused by health care expenses. EVERY SINGLE PERSON READING THIS SITE IS AT RISK UNLESS THEY ARE WORTH MULTI-MILLIONS. One health care crisis could blow out a million bucks easily, whether it’s a premature newborn with multiple birth defects or an aggressive recurring cancer. This precarity happening here, where most of us who are working age rely on employers to pay for our health care insurance, is another reason we cannot simply drop off and take to the streets. We’d lose our jobs and our family’s coverage.

      Enter the importance of a Labor Secretary who has no problems as a federal prosecutor with going easy on human traffickers, and a lying Commerce Secretary who thinks tariffs raising prices are no big thing, just a couple pennies here and there.

      And ALL of us across the U.S. and around the globe are affected by climate change. Americans have died because of its increasing severity combined with an administration’s gross neglect bordering on outright malignancy. Hence the importance of covering an Interior Secretary who is prone to persuasion by corporate interests, weakening environmental protections by selling out undeveloped public lands which buffer our environment.

      I could go on but frankly, if you don’t live in the U.S. and haven’t grown up in its culture, you don’t see why the system deters more immediate reaction. You’re beginning to see the breaking point with the reaction to the Green New Deal, like the barrage of attacks across all media platforms aimed at one freshman congressperson alone, including two billboards in Times Square, NYC. If your country can respond to crises more immediately, good for you. Continue to do so because the forces which suppress the U.S. are being co-opted and are coming for you.

      We ALL have skin in the game.

      • Laura says:


        Anyone who thinks this mess exists is because Americans are too self-centered to pay attention knows nothing about the systemic undermining of our safety net and our electoral process.

        Many of us ‘no-skin-in-the-game’ educated upper middle class folks are in fact donating, calling representatives, and volunteering for causes we care about – like getting out the vote. That’s because we see *others* who are a single car breakdown from job loss and homelessness and we are outraged. Hope you’re doing the same in your country – from what I’m reading, no Western democracy is invulnerable to the forces of wealth accumulation, foreign electoral interference, and political corruption.

  12. NorskieFlamethrower says:

    Thanx Rayne, all “we” whose brain mass is rapidly approaching critical can do is prioritize while at the same time expanding every issue that we address into a broader understanding of what the problem really is, which is of course capitalism. Force every issue into that larger understanding.

  13. Buford says:

    I am still very much bothered by the Ginny Thomas meeting with trump in the Oval office….Soon afterwards Justice Thomas was rumbling about the Libel Laws…Is there NO END to the stench of corruption?

  14. I Never Lie and am Always Right says:

    I’ve been up to speed on Ross and Acosta, less so on Zink et al.  Chao was not even in my radar screen.    When I was reading about Acosta/Epstein, I was thinking about how that story, if exposed quickly, might bring Trump himself down faster than anything else that is going on.

  15. Peacerme says:

    I struggle not to confront the stereo type of the “working girl”. I’ve been a therapist for 30 years and have talked to many ex sex workers. I try to be aware of absolutes, so I won’t dismiss the possibility that a few are not victims of a system that has power and control and privilege over them, but my mind really is challenged to imagine these people. I tend instead to have years of stories in my head of women who came into therapy wearing golden handcuffs they could not see often born of an original wound in childhood that made them feel powerless and unworthy. They keep their chins up (understandably so) by controlling what they can. Just as with racism, you cannot look at the issue of prostitution and parse it outside of a sexist system. Can’t analyze gangs and drug crimes in the African American population outside of the topic of racism.

    My bias is to say that any man who uses a prostitute needs to do a gut check about what consensual sex is and is not. Most women in these systems were groomed, from an early age to feel less than. If you are on the customer end that money, that food or shelter for sex is NOT consensual sex in my book. Drug problems, poverty, childhood sexual abuse, fear and systemic shame make sex workers possible. Any person who partakes in a sex act where dominance in these areas exists is NOT having a consensual sexual experience. In my view this is part of an aberration, a distortion of how humans are hard wired. We are hard wired to love. This hurts the privileged and those without privilege.

    There are white men on this earth who have never once experienced consensual sex. None of the sex workers (both men and women) I’ve worked with really enjoyed their work, and with healing could see the defense mechanisms they created within themselves to tolerate their circumstances. It adds to the confusion of the privileged, no doubt. But if we taught both men and women the difference between amazing sex, and non consensual sex it would decrease sex work as we know it. Might even get rid of the need as we replace hierarchy with real connection.

    A woman who was sexually abused as a child and responds to body cues to have an orgasm does not “choose” later in life when her body still responds to those cues. Without help and consciousness and healing she becomes handcuffed to that response in her body. Once again we can see how power and control distorts normal human functioning. Someday I pray we see that the power and control paradigm is not hard wired but a created, sustain way of life that weaves hierarchy, elitism, and mental health problems into the mix to sustain itself and all of us participate in its perpetuation on some level. But make no mistake, the paradigm cannot exist under the flood lights of truth. It wounds us, distorts our reality, makes us abandon the only mechanism we have for world peace, which is to regulate our own responses, (there is no peace without peace within) our own emotions, our thoughts and check them against the back drop of truth and knowlege. Power and control forces us to abandon our feelings as we manage the authority in the room instead of managing a connection to our own emotions. In this act we divorce ourselves and give up our personal power to be free. It’s happening to us under the extreme power and control of our current leader. It corrupts our connections to ourselves. To our ability to know truth. The press in many ways is our only chance. Gathering discussing exchanging and connecting. When fear and shame dominate and are perpetuated this completely disrupts the inner workings of humanity. Equanimity and balance are far more attainable without the paradigm of power and control to distort it.

    People who use sex workers, trading food, shelter, drugs, alcohol, money or fear, are participating in dominance and power and control.  We need to stop focusing on the workers and focus instead on the pathology that drives the niche for sex without connection. We need to focus more on a system that perpetuates sex without connection as we realize that this is a distortion caused by power and control. Invalidation. Disconnection.

    • roberts robot double says:

      Thank you for such a well-put understanding of the truth.

      The difference between a person possessing humanity and an inhumane person is their attitude toward selflessness and selfishness which, like all things human, comes down to whether or not they have been taught and then whether they give a s*** to manifest the teaching.

      A person callous to any other human being’s plight is literally and unequivocally merely an animal with human talents. Empathy, compassion and the selfless giving of oneself for the improvement of that other person’s happiness are, together, the dividing line between humanity and inhumanity. And these qualities *MUST* apply to *ALL* human beings or they simply do not count, i.e. Nazis care for their own but are in no way human.

      That Robert Kraft would engage in such demeaning, selfish behavior should in no way surprise anyone. The man is a billionaire. The “foods” his empire was built upon are deleterious to human health and are simply the most cost effective way to fill a belly for profit; they have *ZERO* concern for the health of the person consuming them. That is the corporate way, and that corporate money and influence have permeated our government to their advantage such that they are indistinguishable at this point.

      His being an owner of a NFL franchise demonstrates his utter lack of humanity because the sport of tackle football is plainly, completely inhumane in the damage that its participants endure as an essential effect of the sport, damage that predisposes them to further violence borne of the violence endemic to it and leads to mental diminshment as a result of head trauma. Kraft’s fellow white power royalty *clear* $9B per year in profit yet have lowballed the suffering veterans that built their business. It is pure evil, run by evil people for evil ends in an evil society that supports such wanton destruction of human life for “entertainment” and profit. It is the legacy of the Roman colliseums and that is nothing to be proud of.

      No billionaire *CAN* be a good human being. Such profit *ALWAYS* comes at a huge human cost, whether it is Kraft Foods or the NFL or Microsoft or Intel. The dehumanization of sex workers is not too different from that perpetuated in the change of terminology from “personnel” to “human resources”.

      Robert Kraft’s use of a poverty-stricken, trafficked sex worker is merely the continuation of his callous immorality in the face of the poor he has been using and abusing his entire life. And he can be judged by the company he keeps: Donald J. Trump.

      A human being can simply *NOT* look at a woman in her situation and think, “I can get serviced by her for $79”. No, they are no different from lions on the Serengeti, except that they can think and talk just like us.

      “They are like the animals, only worse.”

      Peace be with you all.

      • JD12 says:

        I tend to agree on billionaires. The personality it takes to keep chasing money like that is one that (a) doesn’t accept limits and (b) is incapable of true satisfaction. We’ve known this about Trump. We’ve seen it recently in Kraft and Bezos.

        Bill Gates seems to have an awareness of where his Microsoft money came from and is at least trying to even the score a little bit.

    • Tom says:

      Another problem is the false glamour given to the sex trade in films such as “Pretty Woman”. I could never understand why that movie was so popular.

        • Democritus says:

          I think a lot of us find it easier to indulge in fantasies like standing up to perceived bullies or high class snobs, instead of fighting to make the world better.

          Raynes comments above about how everyone is struggling to much to do so rings true. Without a big paradigm shift I fear for all of us, which may be why we are all putting so much hope on the Parkland kids

  16. RMD says:

    Curious thing: I am able to comment at the bottom of the page, but not in reply to a post.

    minor note of correction to comment above RE Kraft and references to mac and cheese.

    The Kraft Group is not connected to KraftHeinz

  17. oldoilfieldhand says:

    The fourth estate is doing exactly what it is meant to do, since being purchased by powerful interests.

  18. AitchD says:

    I don’t watch any TV except for some golf, but online I read about these wretched people and their offenses against our democratic sensibilities. It’s like George Wallace is the president.

    I’m surprised the post wasn’t called Trash Talk, it being about rich white trash.

  19. lawrence a fisher says:

    The media gets its share of blame, deservedly or not. My wife’s idea is that on a station like MSNBC, instead of covering the same 5 stories every hour, why can’t they organize it so that other stories get coverage in each hour. The two stories that got minimal coverage this week were Putin’s threat to USA over missiles in Eastern Europe, USA selling nuclear technology to KSA, and believe me, I watch almost as much cable news as POTUS.

    • Rayne says:

      Has a lot to do with the medium itself wrt to cable and the type of audience it attracts. For instance, if I watch MSNBC I refuse to watch Chris Matthews; some folks only tune in to Chris Hayes or Rachel Maddow. How does a cable network meet the desires of the audience which wants a deep dive on a particular topic with their favorite on-air personality while staying just ahead of breaking news, and cover a myriad of other stories? There’s only so much other news they can cram in crawls at the bottom of the screen. Personally I think MSNBC needs a second channel like CNN’s alternate, Headline News.

      Sadly, I don’t know how much POTUS’ viewing habits also shape the news featured on cable networks. You can be sure he’s not tweeting about the stories you think most important or the cabinet member scandals.

  20. ThingWithFeathers says:

    First time commenter.  On any site, ever.  I remember reading several months ago that Steve Bannon said something to the effect that “metoo” had the power to change the narrative and stop whatever malignant transformation he and his breed of influencers are doing to our national (and global) discourse and psyches.  Peacerme comment at  10:09 made me think of this and seems to contain a nugget of the remedy we need (slightly edited): ” …the power and control paradigm is not hard wired but a created way of life that weaves hierarchy, elitism, and mental health problems into the mix to sustain itself. All of us participate in its perpetuation on some level. But make no mistake, the paradigm cannot exist under the flood lights of truth. It wounds us, distorts our reality, makes us abandon the only mechanism we have for world peace, which is to regulate our own responses, our own emotions, our thoughts and check them against the back drop of truth and knowledge. Power and control forces us to abandon our feelings as we manage the authority in the room instead of managing a connection to our own emotions. In this act we divorce ourselves and give up our personal power to be free. It’s happening to us under the extreme power and control of our current leader. It corrupts our connections to ourselves. To our ability to know truth. ”  

    It’s obvious that these things Rayne lists above are not “in the news” because those controlling the narrative don’t want them there.  And we the people have become trained over the years to accept the news we are fed–giving up our own power–and  diminishing our own level of thinking and discourse, ie our own truth.  In fact, it may be easier–in the short term–to survive, which is probably also intentional.

    Thanks to EW community for the important work you do.  This community keeps me hopeful that there are people who still know their truth.

    • Valley girl says:

      Hope is the thing with feathers
      That perches in the soul,
      And sings the tune without the words,
      And never stops at all,

      And sweetest in the gale is heard;
      And sore must be the storm
      That could abash the little bird
      That kept so many warm.

      I’ve heard it in the chillest land,
      And on the strangest sea;
      Yet, never, in extremity,
      It asked a crumb of me.

      • Tom Maguire says:

        That is a lovely poem and thanks for sharing it. It reminds me of the line from Shawshank Redemption (And I’m going from memory here:

        “Hope is a good thing maybe the best thing, and no good thing ever dies.”

        That said, it also reminds me of the Woody Allen line, again roughly:

        “Hope is not the thing with feathers. The thing with feathers is my nephew and we’re taking him to a specialist in Zurich.”

        That is from my pre-boycott days of Woody.

  21. bmaz says:

    Gerard Plourde at 10:38 am – I am curious why in the world you would equate Kraft with Epstein. Because that forced and false equivalence is kind of silly.

    • Gerard Plourde says:

      I recognize the difference in the offense with which Kraft is charged. My comment was prompted by PSWebster’s judgment regarding the women who were being trafficked. His attitude was that it was inconceivable that they could be victims or unwilling participants. I’m not willing to accept that premise.

    • John K says:

      They are both ultra wealthy white guys who use the power of their wealth to secure and provide cover for their illegal sexual activities-it’s not a stretch.
      Of course Epstein is a true criminal who deserves prison for preying on young and innocent girls while Kraft, like a lot of guys, simply shows signs of aging disgracefully.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        They’re both alleged criminals. Epstein’s is the grander scale. As you say, both abused their money and power to commit crimes and to remain unaccountable for them for quite some time. That power includes being able to corrupt the bureaucrats we rely on to run government. That’s a serious process crime that needs attention.

      • Democritus says:

        Shoot, Rayne the screen name should be Democritus, sorry!

        AnywayI have no problem with legal prostitution, but that’s not what this was. These are trafficked women, and I see far too many making light because either they know guys who go or they go themselves.

        It is not ok. This guy could have paid to have a Vegas escort flying its him 24/7, he wanted the exotic strip mall experience. /s and not s

        • Rayne says:

          It’s definitely not okay. It’s slavery. IMO these rich assholes don’t want “exotic” anything. They treat their trip to the “spa” the way women treat a trip to get their nails done at the closest strip mall — like a commodified service. And like wealthy women of his class wouldn’t hop on a plane to get their nails done in Vegas, scum like Kraft won’t get on a plane to get his “spa” service.

          Adds an entirely new dimension to how these same rich jerks see their employees if observers didn’t already grasp the concept of football players as commodified services.

          (Fixed your username, no problem.)

          • Alan says:

            This does not in the least describe the Robert Kraft I’ve observed since he purchased the Patriots in 1994. I have not seen any sign that he treats everyone with the utmost respect–the people he works with, that work for him, that he associates with, and the community he lives in. He’s 77 years old and was married to Myra Kraft from 1963 until she passed away in 2011, and he doesn’t seem to have found a new love since, so give the guy a break.

            • Rayne says:

              Fuck. Off. Seriously. I am not cutting any billionaire slack if they will entertain buying sex from trafficked humans, especially when their age isn’t obvious. As others have said in this thread he’s perfectly capable of flying to Vegas and purchasing legal sex workers’ services, but he didn’t.

              And don’t be naive about Kraft’s marriage. You only know a white billionaire belonging to a certain social class didn’t get a divorce from his first wife.

              EDIT — Whatever you’ve seen personally of him is highly limited and if shared via NFL, highly edited. Kind of like The Apprentice and look what that got us.

              I’m still infuriated about this. Give a billionaire a break for buying a sex slave’s services because he’s got a dead wife? A contracted woman dies, buy another — we’re just swappable holes, right? Can you even hear yourself?

              • Alan says:

                Rayne: Your language and tone are completely uncalled for. It is unfortunate that as a moderator of this site, you are unable to handle a differing opinion with any kind of class. This is a reflection on you though, I hope, and not Ms. Wheeler.

                P.S., please see my very first comment on the Kraft news, in which I very clearly said that I would hope anyone in his position would make sure the workers have not been sex-traffic’ed before they visit a “massage parlor”. If they have, then that’s the crime the authorities should be focusing on, not people who work there or the people who visit, no matter how rich or poor.

                • Rayne says:

                  You’re done with this, right? Your first comment was bad enough. And now you’re still excusing slave users as not at fault because it’s the slave owners and law enforcement’s fault.

                  You’re not going to police my language after you insisted I cut a billionaire slack for participating in human trafficking.

                  You’re not going to police content here, period.

                  • Alan says:

                    I get that you purport to hate Kraft simply because he is rich. It looks to me like maybe you hate other things in your life and take it out on everyone else, including the people here.

                    And you can indeed use any language you want (as you have demonstrated), including telling people with different experiences or opinions to eff off. It only reflects poorly on you.

          • Democritus says:

            Oh god, I bet you are right and I just didn’t want to see that truth. ☹️ I just don’t get how someone could be like that, but of course these are the people who are never satisfied with wealth. Sigh. Ok almost time to flip forward and read the posts I missed with my busted nevk/ wing

            ETA I adore you I just read you you aren’t going to tone police and may have a some hero worship or developed minor cruch😉😊 (don’t worry I’m a happily married lesbian just joking)

  22. RWood says:

    Can’t agree with this post enough.

    Among my morning coffee internet visits is the WaPo, which I had great hopes for after Bezos acquired it. With his deep pockets backing it I thought the paper would be able to ignore the trivial and focus on what really mattered. Maybe I have subliminal “The Newsroom” ideas rattling around in my head. Regardless, it hasn’t happened, and only seems to be getting worse.

    Today their “front page” consist of A) the delayed Mueller report, B) Venezuela, C) Voter Fraud in NC, and D) “Doggy massages and canine quiche: A reporter unleashed among Japan’s pampered pooches”.

    I wish I were kidding.

    You have to scroll down past the opinion pieces to find an article on any of Drumps cabinet members. Even then, just one. A piece on Zinke.

    At least they did away with the R-Kelly, Kraft, and Celebrity-Idiot self-beating crap that’s dominated the last two days.

    Rayne did more here using half the words. So thank you for that.

    How to change this?

    • BobCon says:

      The Post still manages to do only half of what they could achieve with little effort. They have the talent to do much more than chase caravan stories and presidential tweets, and they could easily sell different stories to their audience.

      Having said that, at least they are better than they were in the early 2000s. The Post then was worse than the Times is now. They’ve managed to learn a few lessons, at least — possibly due to being free from legacy heirs who stuck his and her noses far too often in editorial and hiring decisions.

  23. Michael says:

    I first heard about Alexander Acosta via the article that Rayne posted,
    Then …. crickets. Until last night’s News Hour (PBS), in which the story and a short interview were included. CheetoHead sure does choose “the best people” …not.

    I’m in the habit of making PDF copies of articles that intrigue me or boil my blood, but somehow I neglected to copy the Miami Herald article (either that or I misplaced it). Whatever, I am happy to have the link because I had been frustrated by two fruitless searches of my Articles Stash since November.

    • Democritus says:

      That sounds like a better system then my bookmarking and sorting by subjectbif just because you can search within the PDFs .

      Hmmmm thanks for the idea, may play with it.

  24. RWood says:

    Since we’re in open thread land…

    OT: When did Lindsey Graham flip? I know there’s no exact date, but his sudden reversal from Anti-Drump to Bootlicker was rather sudden and I find myself wondering where in the updated timeline this happened and what, if anything, might be related. Do we have any new information that might lead us to an explanation? What possible dirt could Drump have to make him flip.

    Also, where’s Bannon? I’ve always placed him in the top three spots on the indictment list before the Mueller report dropped, but now it seems that he is not just being skipped over by the investigation, but given a clock of invisibility by the press as well. Why?

    • BobCon says:

      I also wonder about Bannon. That guy’s personal affairs are reportedly as dicey as Stone and Manafort, and if a prosecutor wanted to find pressure points to force cooperation, I have to assume they’re there.

      I’ve assumed that he is the kind of guy who squirrels away data that he can trade for freedom when needed, although whether it is the kind of things used in legal proceedings, I don’t know.

  25. fpo says:

    Thanks, ew.
    You’re fuel for the fire, the smoke of which I am certain burns in the eyes of my ‘up in ’22, swing state’ GOP senator every time he reads one of my e-mails.
    Keep the faith, folks. Do what you can. Persist…rhymes with resist.

    • Rayne says:

      Thanks much, I shouldn’t rely on my spellchecker at 4:00 a.m., eh? Will fix pronto, let me know if there’s any other boo-boos like this one.

      EDIT — realized I’d had a link at that point in one of my drafts which didn’t make this final copy. Just added it. Thanks again.

  26. P J Evans says:

    @roberts robot double  February 23, 2019 at 11:44 am

    The “foods” his empire was built on

    Since when are paper and packaging “foods”? Wikipedia: “the Kraft Group, a diversified holding company with assets in paper and packaging, sports and entertainment, real estate development and a private equity portfolio”

    Check your assumptions: Kraft paper is not Kraft mac’n’cheese (which isn’t unhealthy food).

  27. RMD says:

    February 23, 2019 at 11:52 am 

    OT: When did Lindsey Graham flip?

    Senator Graham has been the recipient of bundles of Russian cash, along with a group of high, ranking, Republicans (some are high, some are rank, some are both)


    • During 2015-2016 election season, Ukrainian-born billionaire Leonard “Len” Blavatnik contributed $6.35 million to leading Republican candidates and incumbent senators.

    • Sen. Lindsey Graham, SC: $800,000
    • 2.5 Million Sen. Mitch McConnell, KY [for his GOP Senate Leadership Fund under the names of two of Blavatnik’s holding companies, Access Industries and AI Altep Holdings]
    • Sen. Marco Rubio, FL: $1.5 Million
    • fmr. Gov. Scott Walker, WI: $1.1 Million
    • Gov. John Kasich, OH: $250,000 
    • Paul Manafort $10M• $7.35M accepted by Donald Trump & GOP PACs linked to Russia

    • Federal Election Commission documents
    •; and

  28. Gnome de Plume says:

    I’ve had trouble getting my comments section to even take my typing attempts.  But I’ve been having internet issues a bit anyway, so I didn’t blame the EW website.  Now I can’t remember what I was going to say!  Oh yes – I subscribe to the NYT and WaPo online, but I only have the WaPo set to send me headline notifications.  I don’t trust the NYT, especially Maggie H and her love stories on the Orange A-hole.  I watch a lot of MSNBC, but only on DVR because I can’t stand Chris Matthews or Chuck Todd.  What I enjoy are the reporters and commenters, although I do have WTF moments, especially with Ari Melber having the likes of Corey Lewandowski on his show.  Nor did I watch Chris Hayes the other night when he had Bernie on.

  29. Viget says:

    It’s coming! Likely today.

    Team did file under seal w redactions.

    What’s the over/under on last minute cooperation by Paulie M? Once he knew a pardon wasn’t saving his ass given NY State charges?

    Perhaps he has a recording of a promised pardon?

  30. Jonathan says:

    @Peacerme  I would add that it is an abomination to jail sex workers, because such a large majority of them are in fact, as you say, recapitulating the abuse they experienced in childhood. They are in fact being jailed because as children they were raped. Insult to injury which is as insane as it is inhumane.

    Furthermore, terming  sex work immoral only adds to the shame which the sex worker/ abuse survivor must hopefully work through. Even though the ancient stigma attached to prostitution, has a valid function in saying that there is something about it that is not right.

    Re sex without connection: my own feeling is that the intimate boundary should never be sold, as a matter of mental and spiritual health. Simple as that.

    • Rayne says:

      Sex work is work. It shouldn’t be stigmatized. It should be treated as a profession and regulated because of workplace risks just like other jobs.

      If you don’t personally believe that sex should be sold, great. Don’t buy sex workers’ services. But there are humans who do not have other recourse than to purchase sex services; they should have the ability to negotiate consensually what they need with providers who care about their clients.

      The problem with sex work in the U.S. is that it has been systemically denigrated; that negation makes it all the easier for human trafficking because the public has been culturally trained to look away from what has been labeled bad, evil, dirty. Far too many people have also acquired highly mixed to outright jacked-up messages about consent, which underpins rape culture and human trafficking (those who are trafficked are not able to make fully informed, truly free consent), as well as the abuses revealed by the MeToo movement.

      Treating sex work as a regulated profession acknowledges and embraces consent between sex workers and their clients.

      • Randall Wood says:

        Had this question seriously debated with a friend not too long ago:

        Does Melania Trump fit the definition of a sex worker?

        Not trying to stir the pot here, we approached as if she were not the current first lady. So, simple trophy wife? Or is it more than that?

        • Rayne says:

          She’s married to Trump; their relationship isn’t one which can be labeled provider/client. I think the issue which hasn’t been adequately investigated is how she entered the U.S., worked without proper paperwork, and whether her employment excluded anything falling under the definition of illegal sex work. The media has picked at it but I suspect they haven’t dug very deep because Trump is litigious as hell and will pitch a SLAPP suit in a heartbeat.

          • Jonathan says:

            @Rayne, kindly read my comment again, please. I said quite clearly, sex work should not be a criminal matter. I said that sex workers should not be shamed, because they have most certainly suffered enough.

            I understand that probably many sex workers engage in that profession, because they feel they have no alternative, and I only feel compassion for them. And while I don’t have the experience Peacerme does, the people I know who have confided to me what sex work did to them, explains why I say what I do.

            To put it bluntly. One in four girls are molested before the age of 18, as are one of six boys — those are the accepted stats, google them if you don’t believe me. So… you know lots of abuse survivors, as a statistical certainty… and if you were approachable and compassionate, they would have told you their stories, and you would know from first hand testimony exactly what I am talking about.

            • Rayne says:

              You are conflating sex work and abused human trafficking victims. You’ve done it twice in two comments, ex: “sex workers should not be shamed, because they have most certainly suffered enough.

              Human trafficking victims aren’t sex workers. They can’t consent to the work.

              And I don’t need your patronizing “Google it” attitude about abuse stats when you’re using those stats in your next layer of conflation, mixing up victims of sexual abuse outside human trafficking situations with sex workers.

              Healthy, safe sex work isn’t abusive. And victims of sexual abuse work in all manner of careers.

              What the hell is in the water here this afternoon?

  31. bloopie2 says:

    I’m curious, what “investigators” does someone like Mueller use?  Are there professional investigators that prosecutors routinely use?  Certainly being a lawyer is not the appropriate qualification.  Are there specialists in foreign etc.?

    • BobCon says:

      A lot of the personnel is FBI. DOJ has a bunch of in house investigators as well, some who are attorneys and some who have backgrounds in finance and other areas. It’s been reported that Mueller has gotten assistance from other parts of the government, such as the IRS, and I assume he is able to draw on Treasury, intelligence agencies, and others too. It’s a wide web of resources.

      • P J Evans says:

        I remember reading, years ago, that at one time the FBI wanted a degree in either law or accounting to get in as an agent.

  32. pseudonymous in nc says:

    For a while, CNN used to show an hour of CNN International during the day, but it was quietly shuffled away because it’s a completely different product. The structure of the domestic broadcast applies to all cablenews: panel after panel rehashing the same stories, nudged along by live cuts to press conferences or other piecemeal stuff that’s more like Twitter than a news broadcast, especially (I paraphrase) the idea that Twitter is about one person each day and the aim is not to be that person.

    It’s cheap. It’s often less informative than local news. It chases squirrels.

    • P J Evans says:

      FWIW, magazines and newspapers that have international editions generally have more real news in those than in their US editions. (Apparently US readers don’t have either the education or the attention span necessary for reality. /S)

    • BobCon says:

      It’s also worth noting that a very large percentage of cable news topics is not driven by reporters. Most reporters are told where to go and how to frame a story by editors and producers.

      So when Bob Forehead does a standup in front of the Capitol about a challenge to Pelosi’s authority, it’s because an hour ago an assignment editor told him to give them three minutes on that subject. He hasn’t been spending all day calling up sources to find out what’s going on, or whether there even is a challenge going on, He delivers what he is told to deliver.

      Where does the editor get the idea? Maybe they saw a competitor was doing the story online, or maybe a press flunky pitched them on the story. More often than not, it’s usual reactive pap.

      This is why CNN’s hiring of Isgur is such a problem. She will be giving reporters their marching orders, and she will be framing stories for them based on pitches she is hearing from GOP operatives. Hopefully she screws up early and gets fired before she can do much harm.

      Not all reporting happens this way, but it’s a disturbingly high percentage.

  33. bie phiephus says:

    Sort of depressing how many anti-Trump people are ready to lock up Kraft and throw away the key (not readers/commenters of this blog, but more widely). It certainly looks like Kraft broke the law (charged with a misdemeanor), articles about him had “sex slavery ring” in headlines, he’s a friend of Trump, and Epstein is also a friend of Trump. But there’s no friend of Trump transitive property. There’s no public evidence that Kraft did anything that would be illegal in Nevada. The last thing we need to combat Trump’s fake news is to engage in fake news. Stick to the facts.

    • Rayne says:

      There’s a problem with human trafficking in the circle surrounding Trump. The problem you’re complaining about arises from failing to adequately investigate and report stories in that circle more than two years ago. Why did we arrive at a point where the White House is occupied by a man who called multiple human traffickers his friends or long-time club members (ex: Tefvik Arif, Jeffrey Epstein, John Casablancas, not to mention many of their clients who are also friends of Trump.) The location on the map even tells you there’s something going on, from Vero Beach FL to Palm Beach County to Miami FL.

      Kraft is only a recent symptom that the underlying problem has continued and bleeds through.

      As for this: There’s no public evidence that Kraft did anything that would be illegal in Nevada. Solicitation and prostitution isn’t legal everywhere; Nevada is an exception. Human trafficking is legal nowhere in the U.S. Those are facts to which you can stick.

  34. Sandwichman says:

    26826548 @9:30 am said,  “Are we going to succumb to our bias to just watch the tsunami approach?”

    “Tsunami”! Slowly, I turned. Step by step. Inch by inch… Did you know that the Indian Ocean tsunami of December 26, 2004 was one of the inspirations for YouTube? The other inspiration being Janet Jackson’s Super Bowl wardrobe malfunction.

    Rayne @12:01 pm: “I have a pretty good idea what going wrong with U.S. media — they’re chasing trash clicks, measuring the wrong thing to benchmark success.”

    But that is the business model. It is the “wrong thing” from a journalism ethic but the only thing from a social media Ponzi scheme perspective. YouTube was officially launched on December 15, 2005 — 11 days short of the first anniversary of the Indian Ocean Tsunami. Seven months later, on July 15, 2006 Twitter was launched publicly. Facebook followed on September 26 of the same year.

    The business model of trash clicks works as long as fascination with celebrity spectacle expands exponentially. That is, it works in the short run. It is the wrong thing to benchmark success in the long run because the long-run population growth curve is logistic. Every Ponzi scheme runs up against that fact sooner or later.

    Right before the tsunami hits, the tide goes out. It is being sucked out by the approach of the monster wave. I have a feeling that we are in the “tide is out” moment.

    • Democritus says:

      Thanks! PJ! Can barely us right arm, which is new and not fun, surfing typing not easy.


      Also EW, you rock as always with your bad ass self 😊

      Your highlights are mind blowingly deductive and thank you for explaining your thoughts for all of us. It’s apprciated, and takes thick skin and/or courage and empathy to do. Thanks for caring.

      Just dipping in So one redaction from 25 page doc was Polish President, page 19.para 27?

      My mind is blown reading this. Insane. I was so sheltered

      • Democritus says:

        JFC page 22 para 37

        No wonder everyone freaked out with Rep Omar. Russia has been coordnating with Israel, which does not surprise me, but every one is too afraid to talk about it. While ignoring actual antisemitic groups like the Proud Boys.

  35. harpie says:

    Rayne @ February 23, 2019 at 2:59 pm

    Here’s Sarah Kendzior in December [THREAD]:

    […] / “Donald Trump is friends with at least five pedophiles, most of whom were involved in sex trafficking or blackmail schemes. There’s Epstein, Casablancas, Arif, Nader, Cohn. Who the hell is friends with five pedophiles?!” / […] / NY Magazine is a main purveyor of Jeffrey Epstein puff pieces and they openly admit their coverage was guided by NYC PR sleaze Howard Rubenstein — the same guy who did Trump and Kushner family PR / […] / This is how NYT covered pedophile sex trafficker and rapist Jeffrey Epstein in 2008: gushing over his wealth and connections and pitying him for going to prison. Ignores corruption in favor of quirks. This is a sick paper, a sick culture. […]

  36. roberts robot double says:

    @ P J Evans

    Thanks for teaching me about the two different Kraft behemoths.

    But you say that Kraft Mac’n’Cheese is healthy food.

    Kraft Mac’n’Cheese contains ‘sodium tripolyphosphate’ which google’s first question ‘Is sodium tripolyphosphate harmful?’ is answered with the following paragraph:

    It’s an additive—called sodium tripolyphosphate, or STPP for short—and it is used to make your seafood appear firmer, smoother and glossier. … In large quantities, STPP is a suspected neurotoxin, as well as a registered pesticide and known air contaminant in the state of California.

    Now, is this the hill you wish to make your stand?

    Such highly-processed foods are, by definition, unhealthy. Every food additive must be held suspect due to the pervasively insidious influence of corporate money on our regulatory agencies.

    Are you next going to extol the virtues of McDonald’s foods vis a vis America’s horrific treatment of its cows and chickens, our pesticide-ridden veggies and least expensive cooking oils?

    For-profit corporations only care that you cannot prove your tort in a court of law; they have ZERO concern for your health or well-being. Every organization that worships at the altar of the MBA is the enemy of humankind, for they have a legally mandated immoral greed to prioritize profit over every other factor, including human well-being. This is academic and inarguable.

    • Rayne says:

      DUDE. Stop. This may be an open thread but sweet cream Jesus you are going off deep into a fucking tangent and cluttering this thread while haranguing a regular community member. There are two current news stories about Kraft Group and Kraft-Heinz. We don’t need a pissing match about macaroni and cheese when it’s not germane to either the charges of solicitation against Bob Kraft of Kraft Group (a privately-held business conglomerate), or the Kraft-Heinz merger (formed by the M&A of two food and beverage producers, about which the contents of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese are not pertinent).

      Don’t give me “this is inarguable,” either.

      • P J Evans says:

        Thanks, Rayne.
        My response to that one, whose comments have generally been annoying to me, if not to you and others, is “YMMV. You do you, but don’t scold those of us who aren’t doing your thing.”

      • roberts robot double says:

        I apologize for being such a simpleton. Thanks for explaining how I can be a better community member.

        • Cathy says:

          Apologies — you may have zigged when you should have zagged (I read @PJ’s remark about unhealthy food as a modifier for the subject of the sentence: “Kraft paper”) but to the extent you may have been influenced by remarks in a previous thread – you may have been engulfed in some irresistible paronomasia (I say *irresistible* by way of self-defense). ;-)

  37. Sandwichman says:

    “Jeffrey Epstein… was close friends with Donald Trump and probably could corroborate a 13 year old girl’s allegation that she was raped by Trump.”

    Which makes the question — WHO were those four granted immunity from prosecution in the Epstein case and on what grounds were they granted immunity? — a matter of more public concern than Jussie Smollett’s sins.

    • Rayne says:

      Yup. Was Acosta awarded his cabinet position because of his effective job hiding the human trafficking from the public through his violation of CVRA? Is he at Labor Department because he’s expected to continue to mask the scope of human trafficking in our workforce?

      Just makes me want to vomit even typing that out.

  38. Marinela says:

    Hoping / hearing Mueller team saved few indictments for Paul M. to be charged at state level.

    Also, if / when Trump pardons Manaford, then Manaford can be subpoenaed and unable to plead the fifth. If he doesn’t answer the questions, or he lies, he will be in contempt, back in jail. So, maybe this would be another indication Mueller is not done yet.

  39. Tom says:

    @ Rayne at 12:38 pm  —   I never liked that Dustin Hoffman film Tootsie either, though it too was wildly popular.    The basic message of the movie, as I recall, was something along the lines of:  It takes a man to show a woman how to achieve her potential.

    • Rayne says:

      LOL not what I took away from Tootsie at all, thought it was centered on authenticity and vulnerability as essential to loving relationships. But then this is why movies should be diverse — we enjoy and take away very different things.

  40. Mark Ospeck says:

    >There have been numerous stories this week about the Trump cabinet which received slapdash coverage

    Spot on and v depressing, Rayne

    Like most EWs, I read a lot of the msm for your examples of this (out of plane, out of spotlight) massive endemic pervasive grift and graft. Admit to just being overwhelmed.
    But a little bird in my head* reminds that this is just a new information warfare kind of thing.
    Right now I’m just so easily taken advantage of because I’m so all in on the checkmate of king Trump (Putin’s asset). I won’t grant the man agent status. But the Russians are v clever, forever coming back at you in new and different ways. Simply great games players. And they will have set up fallbacks. Kill the king. So what.
    Don’t see how we defend against this hypersonic nukes Putin’s Russia untouchable criminal syndicate. But a good first step would be to support Navalny. There’s no good reason why Russians make 440 a month and Americans average 10x more.
    *and your bird can sing

    • Rayne says:

      The other depressing thing about Russians’ economic welfare is that corruption is systemic. Can’t get a phone, a new apartment, any service without expecting to pay a little something-something on the side. We’d scream bloody murder here if that happened in the course of normal daily living. They want to export that here, quid pro quo everything.

      One of the reasons Putin locked down so much of their social media is so that we can’t export the expectation to be free from nickel-and-dime corruption. This we need to overcome for the benefit of the Russian people.

      • Howamart says:

        We have a slightly different, more sophisticated type of systemic daily corruption: Banks, phone companies, hospitals, etc. tack on “hidden” fees and charges to bills that they count on us not to question because it takes too much time/effort for the few bucks involved. But it adds up to million$ per year of pure profit to Citi or Verizon…and $100s or $1000s per year out of each of our pockets. When you make the effort get fees removed because it involves enough $, you spend hours on the phone and then the charge is still on your bill the next month. The Repugnican attack on class action suits, Consumer Protection Bureau, FTC enforcement…is part of keeping this nickel and dime corruption part of the system.

  41. P J Evans says:

    @Marinela  February 23, 2019 at 4:33 pm

    State charges would be completely separate – Mueller’s people wouldn’t have anything to do with those.

    • Marinela says:

      Yes, they are different, but Mueller team referred those charges. This is what I meant, probably not clear.

  42. Jonathan says:

    @Rayne, What’s in the water, Rayne, is your own ego and inability to back down on anything.
    1. Most sex workers, who are in it by choice, are abuse survivors. Period. Check the stats. So yes, even those who are in the profession by choice, are in the vast majority of cases, recapitulating terrible experiences that were forced on them in childhood. While prostitution as regulated in some European countries, may be physically safe, and also safe from coercion, that does NOT necessarily make the profession, a mentally healthy activity to engage in. Clear????
    2. Of course those who are trafficked, don’t have a choice. I get that.
    3. You deserved everything you got when I mentioned the stats. While I understand that there are trolls around here, your trigger finger is lightning fast, as is your ability to conjure up provocation where none existed.

  43. Jonathan says:

    @Rayne, And just to make things even clearer, of course the number of survivors who end up in prostitution is a small minority. It’s just that the great bulk of sex workers, were abuse survivors first.

  44. punaise says:

    Here, let me lighten things up a bit.

    I don’t know if we’ve closed the book on BDTS Matthew Whitaker, but it reminds me of a an incident years ago. You know how there are (often local) local businesses that bear the founder’s nickname, such as Smokey Joe’s or Bob’s Big Boy?

    My sister-in-law was visiting from France, and as we were driving down San Pablo Avenue in an old part of Oakland she burst out laughing. “Mon dieu, that sounds painful!” she uttered as we drove past an old school flooring showroom whose sign read: “Linoleum Dicks” – sans apostrophe as I recall…

  45. Valley girl says:

    To ThingWithFeathers

    I hope you saw my response to you above  @ 5:10.

    I ran out of editing time, and then had trouble responding.

    I am no position to give you an “official” welcome as I am not  “mod” nor anywhere close to that.  But congats from me to you for having made your first ever comment at any site.

    I very much hope that my guess about your moniker is correct, and indeed refers to the Emily Dickinson poem I quoted.

    • ThingWithFeathers says:

      Hi Valley Girl, thanks for the welcome and yes you got the moniker! The poem is a family favorite. I’m not so sure I feel light and hopeful these days, though, and if I have to be a bird I suppose I’d rather be a dragon… I have never felt a very strong need to comment and have preferred trying to understand how information is presented in various forums and how people react to it. But the quality of this community compelled me to chime in. I really appreciate what this site offers: excellent analysis, thoughtful commentators and really effective moderators. Thanks again!

  46. P J Evans says:

    @punaise  February 23, 2019 at 6:00 pm

    There are billboards along CA-99 for a place in Bakersfield (IIRC) that sells dinettes and home-bar furnishings:

    Check Our Stool Samples!

  47. Rayne says:

    Goddamn it. I’m still picking away at a piece on Trump’s golf courses and clubs and I still find stuff that just pisses me off, like this crap:

    Here’s the official word from the club’s website: “Membership includes the use of the formal and casual dining areas, the Trump Spa and Salon, the pool, the Beach Club, breathtaking guest rooms and exclusive suites, a state-of the-art-fitness center, award winning tennis courts, beautiful croquet lawns and an entertainment series which hosts internationally world-renowned talent. In addition to on-site privileges at the club, members of Mar-a-Lago can enjoy reciprocal arrangements at the following Trump Golf properties:

    Trump National Golf Club Bedminster

    Trump National Golf Club Charlotte

    Trump National Golf Club Colts Neck

    Trump National Golf Club Hudson Valley

    Trump National Golf Club Los Angeles

    Trump National Golf Club Philadelphia

    Trump National Golf Club Washington D.C.

    Trump National Golf Club Westchester

    In other words, if you’ve had a background check and you’ve coughed up something south of $300K to become a Mar-a-Lago member, you’re cleared to buy “premiere services” at any of these course clubhouses.

    Who knows what else you might get, maybe the next available cabinet appointment…


  48. Kick the darkness says:

    Not quite along the lines of ignored stories by the media, but does anyone know if anything is going on in congress with respect to revisiting Dr. Blasey Ford’s allegations regarding Kavenaugh?  I hope that does not somehow just go away.  There was clearly something there.

  49. Eureka says:

    @ Rayne 940p- last week or whenever all were going in on the ‘imminent report’ line, I thought to myself, Fine.  NYS will go after the Orgs/ ‘charity,’ and Rayne will just have to take him out with the golf courses.

    • Rayne says:

      LOL I swear to goodness every single one of these courses is a money pit and his arrogant swag about them has been the perfect cover. They’re much too posh and too chi-chi to be naked profiteering and money laundering tools, right?

      And then presto, there’s a link between somebody arrested for solicitation and one of Trump’s clubs, and the same club was linked to at least one human trafficker, Epstein…given the number of clubs which hired undocumented workers, I don’t know how there isn’t enough reason to be suspicious there’s more going on.

  50. James E Powell says:

    Any story that promotes or supports the narrative of white supremacy will be pushed to the top of every news organization’s coverage. It’s what the white audience wants to see, hear, and read.

    • Rayne says:

      This is a point many community members here don’t recognize immediately, nor will they understand the choice to elevate/suppress stories is often based on deeply entrenched, now unconscious cultural programming arising from social stratification based on race/ethinicity/gender/wealth.

      But that’s why I write pieces like this one; these stories affect every one based on the subject of the story, because of their relative position in current power structures. The one story swamping the news this week center on a celebrity only sustains the stratification and cultural programming at the expense of addressing real threats to democracy.

      Welcome to emptywheel.

    • Rayne says:

      The kicker about the fake FCC comments: identities of 99% were stolen to submit most comments. One family member’s identity was used — there’s no way this person would ever bother to leave a comment let alone on this topic, being one of the most apolitical and disengaged folks in the family. But their identity was harvested and used like a virtual indentured servant without their consent. It’s creepy if you think about it; how’d the entity acquiring the identities know this person would never check for their name or protest its use? Is this how microtargeting voters in 2016 also worked?

      (ugh I should probably write something about this…)

  51. Peacerme says:

    The immigrant children at the border who disappeared? When they were unable to reunite some of the children, it made me wonder about a human trafficking. Regardless of whether it HAS occurred, it is a system ripe for exploitation.

    • Rayne says:

      The children are being trafficked if they are put in homes as “adoptees” through a process in which money changes hand for any fees — in essence, children being sold even if there is no sexual abuse involved.

  52. harpie says:

    Rayne at 5:01:

    given the number of clubs which hired undocumented workers, I don’t know how there isn’t enough reason to be suspicious there’s more going on.

    …and many [most/all?] of those workers were fired recently. I think I read that some were interviewed by OSC…I’ll see if I can find that.

    [Didn’t get much sleep, huh?]

    • Rayne says:

      Highly broken sleep lately, since the Super Moon. LOL

      I’d appreciate that link about any LEO interviews with undocumented workers, thanks much. I’ve had a piece partially written about the undocumented workers; I put on the back burner because it was first structured around the government shutdown. Needs a re-gear and a bit more meat before publication.

  53. harpie says:

    Rayne @ 4:36AM,

    Here is a little related good news:

    Kyle Griffen, 6:00 PM – 23 Feb 2019:

    A newspaper editor in Alabama urged the Klan to “ride again.” Elecia Dexter, a black woman, is now taking his place.

    Links to: A newspaper editor urged the Klan to ‘ride again.’ A black woman is taking his place.

     A black woman is the new editor and publisher of an Alabama newspaper after her predecessor [Goodloe Sutton] stepped down Thursday following widespread condemnation of his Feb. 14 editorial that called for mass lynchings and in which he said the Ku Klux Klan needed to “clean out” Washington. […] 

    • Rayne says:

      This could be a good move but I’m not holding breath; Sutton is the publisher and remains so even after he named Dexter to replace him as editor. Thanks.

  54. Michael says:

    Seems like not so long ago that both Mars a Go-Go and Kaiser’s vinegar farm applied to hire dozens of migrants. Today, tRump can’t fire his migrant workers fast enough.

    Seems like not so long ago that the frothy right had their knickers in a serious twist over what they had convinced themselves Hillary was doing to small children (Pizzagate), and one fine patriot went so far as to carry lethal force into the ground-zero to “investigate”. So why the frothy right’s blasé attitude toward Epstein/Acosta (for one example)?

    Reminds me of an old saw: if you don’t like Massachusetts weather today, just wait a day.

  55. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Another example of missing or mischaracterized stories in the press is Venezuela.  President Maduro has certainly run his country poorly.  He has not been effective in addressing the wealth and income gaps that are so harmful to average Venezuelans.  (The US thought the same of Hugo Chavez and arguably attempted more than once to overthrow him.)  But the same description could apply to Donald Trump.  He is sending troops to his own peaceful southern border because he needs a political distraction from his legal and re-election woes.

    The US-backed Juan Guaido has long been groomed and supported by the CIA.  That makes him inherently suspect as someone who would put the health and welfare of Venezuelan citizens above his loyalty to his foreign and domestic patrons.  Moreover, he’s been elected to nothing.  He is a self-appointed “president,” whom the US immediately recognized in an attempt to remove a leftist regime it does not like. (It does not like any leftist regimes.)  That behavior is common currency in US policy toward Latin America, historically, and toward Venezuela, in particular.  As Trump admitted with less restraint than Dick Cheney might have shown, Venezuela has all that oil: it should be “ours”.

    The US gubmint’s efforts are directed toward regime change for the benefit of US interests.  Mike Pompeo is not attempting to provide “humanitarian aid” or to prop up a neighboring government in trouble.  Whatever it is sending in those aid convoys, it is not intended to benefit average Venezuelans.  It is setting the PR stage for further action.

    If the US intended to offer humanitarian aid, for example, that aid would be accompanied by a platoon of aid specialists.  Their job would be to establish their bona fides and the contents of the convoys.  That aid would have been selected in cooperation with the existing government, and American specialists would be working with that government on its effective distribution.

    None of that appears to be happening.  Instead, the US is assembling Pompeo, Pence and the great humanitarian, convicted criminal, and non-Spanish speaking Latin American specialist Elliott Abrams, on the Venezuelan border.  They appear to be there to throw the US weight around, to confer politically with Guaido and cooperating regimes in Latin America, and to persuade them to back whatever the US intends to do next.

  56. RMD says:

    February 23, 2019 at 6:59 pm 

    Great comment, ok if I copy to share around?

    Please do. The writer at the Dallas Morning Star did a tremendous series investigating the Russian connections to Trump. Following the money, and the kompromat…

    a few other useful articles:

    What the Hell Happened to Lindsey Graham?
    It’s probably about the money.

    • Russians interacted with at least 14 Trump associates during the campaign and transition

    Russian money
    Trump has a long financial history with Russia.
    As summarized by Jonathan Chait in an invaluable New York magazine article:

    Will Trump Be Meeting With His Counterpart — Or His Handler?
    A plausible theory of mind-boggling collusion.

    “From 2003 to 2017, people from the former USSR made 86 all-cash purchases— a red flag of potential money laundering — of Trump properties, totaling $109 million.
    In 2010, the private-wealth division of Deutsche Bank also loaned him hundreds of millions of dollars during the same period it was laundering billions in Russian money.
    • ‘Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets,’ said Donald Jr. in 2008.
    • ‘We don’t rely on American banks. We have all the funding we need out of Russia,’ boasted Eric Trump in 2014.”

    • According to Trump attorney Michael Cohen’s guilty plea of lying to Congress, Trump was even pursuing his dream of building a Trump Tower during the 2016 campaign with the help of a Vladimir Putin aide.
    • Trump offered Putin a $50M floor in the building as an inducement

    These are the kind of financial entanglements that intelligence services such as the FSB typically use to ensnare foreigners, and they could leave Trump vulnerable to blackmail.— 

  57. Watson says:

    If the Trump administration was actually promoting democracy and human rights, the regime change focus would have been on North Korea and Saudi Arabia; and the humanitarian convoys would be headed to Flint, Michigan and Puerto Rico.

    Whatever the sins of the Maduro government, it is clear that the problem is that he and the Chavistas have been left wing.

    It’s instructive that virtually the entire US political and media establishment have lined up behind John Bolton and Elliott Abrams.

  58. WCIslander says:

    Thank you EW and all for this site.  I am speculating on a niggling frayed thread in this tangled ball of yarn. In most of the early reports of the Russian/Trump tower business deal, there were subtle references that Ivanka would have “sole and absolute discretion” to branding of the spa and fitness facilities as “The Spa by Ivanka Trump.”  Is there more to this than meets the eye in plain view?

  59. Tom says:

    Someone (I’m not sure who) once said that: “Politics is just show business for ugly people.” That helps explain how the news is covered; i.e., as entertainment.

  60. bmaz says:

    Alan at 12:36 pm, I truly love and appreciate your contributions here. They make this a far better site for everybody, including the proprietors. But that seems an unproductive path. There are a myriad of things behind the scenes that cause the proprietors here to deal as they do. Yes, we are protective. And that is exactly why this comment section still stands as well as it does.

  61. Peacerme says:

    I agree. I am just queasy when I think of what’s going on down there. This should be a red alert!!! It seems like this is some kind of crime on the part of trump administration. The abuse of these kids and adoptions without proper due process seem like trafficking to me. These are children!!! How is this not some Huge human rights crime??? How is this administration NOT responsible.

    One more thing. I get smashed for bringing this story up. Franklin credit union case. It started in Omaha NE and was discredited. I still believe there might have been a kernel of truth. It felt to me that the ballooning of the case into satanism, The Gosch case, were helpful in covering and confusing the stories about the children exploited.


    These are loose associations and I’ve probably been cherry picking my observations here but I believe the association between republicans, child porn and human trafficking goes way back.

    There is a lot of BS in the FCU story, but I believe and this is my judgment, that the satanism and Johnny Gosch issues were added to discredit a valid story about human trafficking. Some where in this case, might have been a kernel of truth. Too many connected suicides and deaths. (A multimillion dollar human trafficking could be catalyst-not satanic cult.) I worked at a mental health facility that year, in Omaha NE. Something was going on with those kids.

    Michael Jackson came to omaha. He did not perform and we didn’t know until after he left. I remember cause my little brother was obsessed. I know it was discussed. I can’t find reference now. But he visited omaha and hung out one night at the house where Franklin lived. Before all of this story broke. No one knew Franklin as anything but a local African American celebrity who moved from nobody to singing at the Republican national convention.

    George W Bush and the number of indicted Pedaphiles in his administration. At least 3 or 4. (The guy that actually was head of the department on child pornography. The guy who solicited someone online, the guy with the pages…I’ve tried to look up these stories but they are hard to find with simple searches and no specifics. If I took the time I would find them but I haven’t done that).

    It’s a pattern worth some real research. I just don’t have the time, resources or talent to follow it. I’ve tried to do a little.

    No matter what I wish more people were red alerting on those children!!

    • Peacerme says:

      I was replying to Rayne at 11:27 am.

      And where it says Franklin it should say Lawrence E King. I used Franklin to write my post knowing it was wrong cause I drew a blank on the guys name, then I forgot to go back and correct it before I hit “post”.

    • roberts robot double says:

      Technically, any action that selfishly harms another is satanic by defnition. We are commanded to love and serve others’ happiness such that we love them “as ourselves”. Most satanism is just plain old human selfishness because people who are acting out of ignorance to our duty to become consumed by love for *ALL* others have left themselves at our default state, that being satanic selfishness.

      We must, once we reach puberty, choose to go inward and beg our Creator to help us cleanse and purify our souls of our tendencies to vice (there are 19 virtue/vice pairs). This can be accomplished within any form of religion inspired by God (i.e. not Scientology which was the fabrication of a lying manipulator).

      That said, there are satanic practices that do the opposite of the spiritual path: they enhance the person’s vices such as oppression, lying, hypocrisy, hatred, enmity, greed and jealousy. Those people can get to the point that they take pleasure from the pain and misery of others (but a person can certainly achieve such hardening of their heart by themselves simply by their accumulated choices). The reason these practices exist is that everything in creation is created in pairs, so there are dark arts that mirror what we Sufis extol in the arts that enlighten our hearts by transmuting our vices into their corresponding virtues.

      It is important to comprehend the Greatest Command and that it is *NOT* optional. Anyone who is not trying to self-evolve towards complete absorption into love is stuck at the level of selfishness we are all born under, otherwise known as “original sin”.

      Know that no group does anything in secret for the good of others. Those of us that know the truth of peace and selfless happiness in service to *ALL* humanity and the Earth itself will *NEVER* keep this information to ourselves, no matter how it “annoys” others. Our hearts are bursting with joy and it makes us want to shout it from the rooftops. (It also gives us greater clarity to intuit and comprehend the world around us.)

      The vast majority of the people, religious or not, deny the perfectability of the human being and, therefore, they don’t even try, satisfied with whatever groups they align themselves with (our default state is mammalian in nature). We are the exalted creature not because of what we are born as but what we can become if we humbly look within ourselves to our Creator for honest help and the resolve to self-evolve.

      Peace be with you. I am at your service, my gentle-hearted fellow traveler.

      “The Way goes in.” –Rumi

  62. 26826548 says:

    I posted as 26826548 above, and want to reply to rayne’s reply at  February 23, 2019 at 1:44 pm

    Hi, I appreciate the long reply and was aware of, and agree with, almost all your points.

    Assumptions and generalisations incoming.

    My impression of the writers and consumers of this site is that they are professional people, or retired. It takes generally takes privilege to get to this position.

    They will be all right. Maybe even in the case of large medical bills. It may be possible to leverage future earnings against large unexpected expenses.

    Similarly, in some countries Lawyers or Physicians get preferential mortgage deals because they are seen as reliable.  They have better access to capital.

    The vast majority of people are not in the same position. They will not be able to leverage future earnings against unexpected medical bills and would therefore be more comprehensively ruined under the current system. Less social capital, less intangible privilege, therefore more vulnerable.

    Less privileged people have much more skin in the game.

    The five stories in your OP, what feels like five among hundreds these days, are all dynamite.

    If the most privileged amongst us will not show some real life skin in the game, not just talk about, the overwhelming seriousness of these stories, then the perpetrators will continue.

    I believe we need the educated professions to start truly resisting. Why was it left to the Cabin Crew’s union to truly threaten Trumps’s shutdown?

    Why not a “Lawyer’s Guild” strike? A “Physician’s Association” protest? Even if it’s only the liberal members of those professions.

    Do these people have skin in the game? Maybe they will be all right, generally, in an authoritarian dystopia if they don’t rock the boat.

    The Lawyer’s union in India, for example, take to the streets frequently.

    Leadership must be provided. Is it not time for people of status and education to call a strike and define in detail (because we have forgotten) what that looks like? It shouldn’t be left to the more vulnerable blue collar workers and the young.

    Frankly you could apply this critique to my own country, I also absolutely agree with your point that the forces which suppress the U.S. are being co-opted and are coming for my neighbours and I too.

    • bmaz says:

      26826548 at 1:43 pm – Fair enough. I don’t think we have good answers for those questions either. But we are trying to find them here.

  63. harpie says:

    Rayne at February 24, 2019 at 11:36 am

    I must have been hallucinating because I can not find anything about fired Trump workers being interviewed by any LE. They were talking to members of Congress, who then said they want to investigate Trump Org for hiring undocumented workers, but I’m sure that’s not news to you.

    I’m sorry, my statement was incorrect.

    • Rayne says:

      Thanks for looking. I swear I read something, too, about some other entity besides the House interviewing them but I can’t find it either. Perhaps I misread something about an advocate group working with them. Appreciate the effort; I don’t think this issue is closed yet.

  64. chuck says:

    At Rayne from 5:16am… File under good news:  AOC paying her staffers a liveable wage. I also read between the lines of this as a rebuke to Dems that carried the practice along, and especially Amy Kolbacher, without the clever first letter of every sentence in the press release spelling, “suck it amy”  (Plus! The article has tangental FCC connections, so we’re even staying on topic here.)

    • Rayne says:

      I’m going to look askance at every divisive word and act causing internecine friction within the Democratic Party. It serves the wrong entities.

      I see AOC walking the walk with the living wage — it’s goddamned expensive to live in the DC metro area, can’t live on stagnant wages and expect good public servants to continue to serve the public. They end up drawn into the revolving door and working for lobbyists against the public interest. It also says something to employers outside DC who haven’t been forced to think often enough about living wages. Paying minimum wage there are no jobs for which compensation is a “living wage” since rent across the country is out of reach.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        To illustrate the cost, a one-bedroom basement flat in NW DC, walking distance to many jobs, except those on the Hill, goes for at least $1750-2000/month. That’s with street parking if you can find it. Less in the ‘burbs, but then you have commuting expenses and time. So, the first $35,000 before tax goes to the rent. Or, you have an economically independent roommate, someone is subsidizing you, or you live where life is much harder and less secure every day.

        If employer A does not pay you enough to live there, someone else is, and employer A may not know about it or what it means. Or you are financially independent. That would cut out the vast majority of Americans from taking such jobs. It would further entrench the distance between the haves and have nots, and between government and the have nots. The latter ultimately destroys democracy. Thanks to AOC for walking the talk.

  65. Eureka says:

    @ punaise 112a-  FOUR!  (Sr., Jr., Eric, Javanka.)

    @ Rayne 501a- Well I was thinking of the unpardonable- jurisdictionally, temporally- so the morally unpardonable would fit just fine.

  66. e.a.f. says:

    Its easier for a lot of the public to focus their attention on one celebrity’s  actions than those of their own.  The actions of these 3 cabinet members is more than they want to deal with.  It would take action on their part to force the President to deal with it and I suspect the press knows this.  Why bother the public with the truth, which may require some work on their part, when they can focus on the actions of celebrity, brought down.  its so much more fun, especially if its an African American celebrity.    All they have to do is watch.  Then there is the no small matter that the MSM in the U.S.A., as in Canada are corporations which may have more to benefit from the “tricks” of these politicians.

    Its deflect, deflect, deflect.  Look at what one celebrity did, but don’t look at the Cabinet members of the most corrupt President of the U.S.A.   Its easy, they can go back to sleep in time to watch the Oscars.  The Senate members don’t care, as long as they have theirs.  They’re not interested in their country any more, just in getting their own.

  67. chuck says:

    At Rayne from 7:44pm, Apologies. I should have bracketed that comment with, “and still vote blanket Democrat.” It’s really the only tangible option for reversing the globe threatening trends we’re all dealing with. Just frustrating that more of the party doesn’t understand how much traction they’ll have with efforts made in the AOC, Sanders, Warren, and Wyden model.

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