Thursday, April 9, 2015

Midnight in the Garden of Fleecery and Evil

 ** Updated Below.

The Ready for Hillary SuperPac is holding a humungous going out of business sale in anticipation of Hillary herself formally announcing her candidacy as early as this week. You can get your Hillary fleece jacket, your Hillary fleece scarf, your Hillary fleece hat, your Hillary fleece headband. Each and every item of apparel is guaranteed Made In USA and bears the exclusive "Formidable" label, just in case you thought you were getting something cheap made in a Bangladesh Walmart sweatshop.

And just in case you were worried about the jobs of the Hillary retailers, don't be. They will be painlessly subsumed into the official campaign itself, simply moving their store to a new, shinier location. Only the logos will be changed. There will always be fleece.

The fleecing of America has been going very strong for a long while now, regardless of the political party or the president. We are just getting the shocking word that New York City municipal workers have been getting royally fleeced  by Wall Street! An analysis by the city comptroller reveals that over the past 10 years alone, at least $2 billion in "fees" have been paid to wealthy money managers by teachers, sanitation workers, cops, firefighters and other workers who thought they'd been saving for their retirements and earning interest on their payroll deductions.

As New York Times reporter Patrick McGeehan puts it in his lede (h/t Robert S.), "The Lenape tribe got a better deal on the sale of Manhattan island than New York City’s pension funds have been getting from Wall Street."
“When you do the math on what we pay Wall Street to actively manage our funds, it’s shocking to realize that fees have not only wiped out any benefit to the funds, but have in fact cost taxpayers billions of dollars in lost returns,” Mr. (City Comptroller Scott) Stringer said.
Why the trustees of the funds — Mr. Stringer included — would not have performed those calculations in the past is not clear.
Mr. Stringer, who was a trustee of one of the funds when he was Manhattan borough president before being elected comptroller, said the returns on investments in publicly traded assets, mostly stocks and bonds, have traditionally been reported without taking fees into account. The fees have been disclosed only in footnotes to the funds’ quarterly statements, he said.
The stakes in this arena are huge. The city’s pension system is the fourth largest in the country, with total assets of nearly $160 billion. It holds retirement funds for about 715,000 city employees, including teachers, police officers and firefighters.
Most of the funds’ money — more than 80 percent — is invested in plain vanilla assets like domestic and foreign stocks and bonds. The managers of those “public asset classes” are usually paid based on the amount of money they manage, not the returns they achieve.
Except that somebody changed the rules without telling the workers. Now, all Wall Street has to do is merely touch other people's money before turning it into gold... for themselves.  And it sure smells like Stringer is doing some ass-covering here himself. He knew what he knew when he knew it, and maybe figured it was better to expose himself rather than have some reporter or watchdog group do it for him.

This scandal will not stop Wall Street from its continual fleecing of the workers of America, however. If you thought that self-interested plutocrats had given up on the idea of cutting Social Security to augment their robbing of public pension funds, think again. They have a wealth of think tank surrogates to do the dirty for them. Just because their latest tactic of scapegoating Elizabeth Warren as an anti-capitalist witch is already getting stale doesn't mean they're actually going to stop. They won't stop until they succeed in burning every retiree and disabled person, every widow and orphan and low wage worker at the stake and then sweeping up their ashes as a commodity ripe for investment and future profit.

Reactionary pundit Ramesh Ponnuru did the honors in this week's Bloomberg View while his godzillionaire boss was getting knighted, blessing the Bush-Clinton dynasty, munching canapes with Joe Biden, not-running for mayor of London, and building a new bronze palace over the ruins of a Roman temple.

 Ponnuru's logic is nothing if not ponerological*:
Social Security is becoming a worse deal for each generation. Those now joining the workforce are expected to pay more into the system than they get out of it. Warren's plan is to shower more money on the current generation of retirees, but without increasing the deficit over the next 10 years. That means, in all likelihood, raising taxes on current workers while also increasing the program's long-run fiscal deficit.
The strongest argument in favor of expanding benefits is that Social Security should keep all senior citizens out of poverty, and doesn't. That fact, though, is really a remarkable indictment of the way the program is currently structured. As my American Enterprise Institute colleague Andrew Biggs has pointed out, the program substantially reduces work, saving and even birth rates without accomplishing this key social goal.
Translation: give Wall Street your tired, your poor and whatever pennies remain. Tax not what your wealthy elites hoard for themselves, but what you can bestow on the wealthy elites. And by the way, the only surefire way to keep people out of poverty is to get rid of poor people altogether. It's 21st Century Eugenics 101.

It's the same fleecing song that reactionaries have been singing since time immemorial. Karl Marx wrote about the selfishness of the elites in the mid-19th century in one of his New York Tribune newspaper columns, slugged Pauperism and Free Trade: The Approaching Commercial Crisis.

Karl knew that the term "free trade" was a neoliberal buzzword for enforced immiseration of the masses. How he  would have loved skewering NAFTA and the TPP. Back then, the elites were celebrating the Irish potato famine and "transportation" of the marginalized to the penal colony of Australia as the greatest cures for poverty the world had ever seen. Disasters culled the welfare rolls magnificently. "Never let a crisis go to waste" was not a slogan invented by right wing Democrat Rahm Emanuel, who recently bought himself a second term as herd-culler extraordinaire.

As a matter of fact, I'm going to play a little game and tweak some of the names and places in Marx's op-ed:
In a (mansion) malt-house in (Chicago) Banbury, Mr. (Emanuel) Henley, (mayor of Chicago and NAFTA architect) President of the Board of Trade, lately explained to his assembled (godzillionaire donors) farming friends that Pauperism had decreased but by circumstances which had nothing to do with (his own policies) free trade; and above all, by the (irresponsible mortgagors, poorly performing schools)  famine of Ireland, the discovery of gold abroad, the exodus of Ireland, the great demand consequent thereon for (Wall Street/ free market solutions) British shipping, &c., &c. We must confess that  (globalization and privatization) "the famine" is quite as radical a remedy against Pauperism as arsenic is against rats. "At least," observes (corporate media pundits) The London Economist, "the (hippies) Tories must admit the existing prosperity and its natural result, the emptied workhouses."
By the way, Marx's gig at the Trib didn't last too long. When he complained about not getting paid enough or on time, they told him not to bother sending them any more articles. Plus ca change, etc. Even socialists and hippies have to eat, which in Neoliberal World makes them greedy little bastards who need to donate more skin to the game.

* Political Ponerology: a term coined by Polish psychologist Andrew Lobaczewski to scientifically explain how evil can take over entire countries and political systems. His book by the same name, recommended by contributor Denis Neville, is well worth delving into, despite it not being an "easy read." The gist is that all it takes are a few psychopaths to infect a society and its government. A preview is available here.

** Update, 4/10. You heard it here last. Hillary Clinton is making the Big Announcement Sunday on Facebook. For somebody who claims to want to run a down-to-earth campaign, though, she sure is picking a funny way to show it. Because as her candidacy is revealed in cyberspace, she will actually be way up there in outer space, soaring high above it (and us) all on her way to Iowa for chit-chats with the carefully vetted just plain folks. The courtier press will find their instructions swearing them to secrecy and script-adherence under every kitchen chair. In exchange, they will be granted occasional access to a high level staffer for those all important news-crumbs.

Meanwhile, we get a preview of the preview, in which Hillary plays doting Granny harboring a tender desire for a whole nation full of entitled little Charlottes. This was juxtaposed with Elizabeth Warren kvetching hilariously last night about tender little fannies. No connection at all, I am sure.

Here is my New York Times comment on this subject:

“'I’m more convinced than ever that our future in the 21st century depends on our ability to ensure that a child born in the hills of Appalachia or the Mississippi Delta or the Rio Grande Valley grows up with the same shot at success that Charlotte will,” Mrs. Clinton wrote, referring to her new granddaughter."

Let's be clear. Charlotte has an absolute guarantee of success, not a mere shot at it. "Shots" are for the little people and their bootstraps, as are those reassuring dog whistles to Wall Street known as Ladders of Opportunity and Level Playing Fields.

It's not careerist success or the desire to be as rich as a Clinton that we're after, Hillary. It's sheer survival in a world gone mad with hyperactive capitalistic greed.

If these are the kind of bromides that Mrs. Clinton will present in lieu of actual policies -- like taxing the rich, coming out against the corporate coup known as the TPP, expanding Social Security, reining in and prosecuting Wall Street criminals, leading the fight to overturn Citizens United -- then she is going to need every penny of that two billion dollar donation stash to buy her way into the White House.

We no longer have a functioning democracy. So thank goodness that Elizabeth Warren is out there, putting the pressure on and speaking truth to power.

 She's giving voice to the real theme of Dynastic Horse-race 2016: "It's the Corruption, Stupid."


Meredith NYC said... flash--- Times editor Andy Rosenthal replied to my email I sent him and public editor, Wed, about op ed page 4am times, and also that Charles Blow column re S. Carolina murder by cop went up at a very early time, late aft or early eve---- throwing off readers who would expect it at Thus much fewer comments than it would normally get by about 1am.

Like, how many times must we check the op ed page for their crazy schedule?

I said – “I think we deserve an explanation from you, prominently displayed for readers, of the reason for the new schedule. I got a Times email about a new section for men’s' fashions! I think you owe subscribers an email explaining this rotten middle of the night op ed schedule which is an insult to your valuable commenters. Times commenters are one of the biggest selling points for your digital subscriptions, to put it mildly!

Karen, If you don’t mind, without naming source I used sentences from your post about their crazy algorithms,etc based on ‘readers habits’ , as they say, from several days ago.

Here’s his reply-----maybe there’s hope.

“We have indeed been experimenting with publication times, not because we think people are up at 3:30 in the morning scouring The Times, but because the various search sites and social sites on which we have to depend these days punish you for having a publication date that is “the day before.”

That said, we are not sure that publishing at 3:30 in the morning is helping in any really significant way with getting our journalism to more readers. So I am reconsidering it.

We also try to publish articles that are directly connected to the news as they become available, so this column by Charles Blow was on a big news event, and it was ready, so we published it online. As you can see this morning, there are over 400 comments on the column and probably more to come.

Nothing in our publication schedule is tailored to individual writers, whether Charles or anyone else. I’m sorry if it’s confusing. Like many news organization, we are struggling to find the right way to do things in an increasing scattered world of news and opinion.

Andrew Rosenthal
Editorial Page Editor
The New York Times”

Karen Garcia said...

Thanks for sharing that, Meredith.

I can sort of see Andrew Rosenthal's point about being "punished" by posting Tuesday's stuff on Monday night and thus making it seem like stale news to the average Google searcher or linking site. Everybody wants their "content" to be fresh and "the newest."

So my suggestion to him would be to post online op-eds at 12:01 a.m. or barring that, wait until a decent interval to open them up for comments -- say 8 or 9 or even later, when more people would be awake and alert, settled in at their work spaces with their coffee, etc. And have a moderator on duty as comments come in, so everybody's little essay has an equal chance at being seen. First come, first served.

Still, the previous early evening posting times did indeed ensure that Paul Krugman's columns would be posted more prominently and earlier on such major sites as Salon and the Huffington Post. I pointed this out in one of my own letters to The Times when they first made the change.

One of the other verified commenters suggested that the change was due to complaints from advertisers about the very progressive nature of most of the early comments. The Times spokesman said that this was not true. But I wonder. Everywhere you look, the extremely rich are kvetching about how maligned they are.

Kat said...

"In place of the old local and national seclusion and self-sufficiency, we have intercourse in every direction, universal inter-dependence of nations. And as in material, so also in intellectual production. The intellectual creations of individual nations become common property. National one-sidedness and narrow-mindedness become more and more impossible, and from the numerous national and local literatures, there arises a world literature."
It didn't quite turn out that way.
And the TPP is going to ensure that the intellectual creations of individuals most definitely do not become common property.
But maybe things are just moving (a lot) more slowly and than he anticipated. Could we say that the anti globalization forces are actually the next globalizing force he waited for?

Kat said...

Marx. I'm quoting Marx (in case that wasn't clear).

Meredith NYC said...

Re Rosenthal & op ed timing....thanks, Karen for explaining. It hadn’t entered my mind that the Times tracks readers coming to them from other sites, and that it ‘depends’ on these sites for readers and gets ‘punished’ with less readers depending on the time columns appear. If I got that right. No wonder they couldn’t announce the reason.

But, as you say, a Times column going up earlier on Salon is good, not bad for readership, I’d think. If they’d put the time next to the date of the column, like some sites do, then readers could go to the Times page to comment at the proper time.

Anyway, when you read opinion columns you don’t look for the freshest, newest content. What do readers care if opinion columns went up night before?
So this whole thing still sounds a bit odd.

Better to comment at home in eve, not at a busy job in the A.M. Unlikely many people read/comment on the subway/bus. I’d think evening columns would draw more readers/commenters even if delayed on other sites.
But what do I know? The Times hires experts to analyze this stuff and pays them good money---plus health insurance and retirement!

Meredith NYC said...

Another NYC scandal. Should be on page 1, not Metro. How will this one play out?

But rather than talk about evil pathology contaminating the world, we might look at other countries doing better than the US and see what they do, despite likely having the usual quota of psychos in their midst.

See Nicholas Kristof’s column April 9th. Alas, I just discovered it, long after comments closed. It went up on the Times site, at some mysterious time and I missed it. But these are the topics we need our columnists to write.

It features the International Social Progress Index for 2015. We might relate this to US austerity—right wing Gop style, vs the austerity happening other advanced countries. What is the difference? Our media avoids these comparisons, so the politicians can.

But somehow abroad they manage to finance h/c for all, low cost education, child care, and last but not least, non- Citizens United- type publicly financed elections. At the British election debates last week, there were 7 separate parties taking part, thus with a bit of a wider range than our 2 parties.

See Nicholas Kristof, “Enjoying the Low Life?” April 9.

“The United States is the most powerful colossus in the history of the world....

Yet let’s get real. All this hasn’t benefited all Americans. A newly released global index finds that America falls short, along with other powerful countries, on what matters most: assuring a high quality of life for ordinary citizens.

The Social Progress Index for 2015 ranks the United States 16th in the world. We may boast that we’re No. 1, and in some ways we are. But, in important ways, we lag.”

Kristof lists the top world nations on the Index.
Here’s a list of a few Kristof examples of how we rank in various measures.

“The index ranks the United States 30th in life expectancy,
38th in saving children’s lives, and
a humiliating 55th in women surviving childbirth.
O.K., we know that we have a high homicide rate, but we’re at risk in other ways as well.
We have higher traffic fatality rates than 37 other countries,
and higher suicide rates than 80.

We also rank 32nd in preventing early marriage,
38th in the equality of our education system,
49th in high school enrollment rates and
87th in cellphone use.”

Yikes! Cellphone use. Let’s analyze that.

Denis Neville said...

“We first crush people to the earth, and then claim the right of trampling on them forever, because they are prostrate.”- Lydia Maria Child

Wisconsin has now banned the state's Board of Commissioners of Public Lands from discussing climate change.

Can they get any more stupid? Is that possible?

Last night I watched an interview with Doug La Follette, Wisconsin’s Democratic Secretary of State and veteran environmental activist, who sits on the board. He described how bark beetles are decimating our forests and how gagging talk about climate change could impact northern Wisconsin forests that the agency oversees.

Doug La Follette’s great-grandfather and “Fighting Bob” La Follette were brothers.

“The existence of the corporation, as we have it with us today, was never dreamed of by the (founding) fathers. Until the more recent legislation, of which it is the product, the corporation was regarded as a purely public institution. The corporation of today has invaded every department of business, and its powerful but invisible hand is felt in almost all activities of life… the corporation has practically acquired dominion over the business world. The effect of this change upon the American people is radical and rapid… The influence of this change upon character cannot be overestimated…”- “Fighting Bob” La Follette, The Dangers Threatening Representative Government Speech at Mineral Point, Wisconsin, July 4, 1897

Which caused this Kansan to ask, what's the matter with Wisconsin? Where is the Wisconsin of “Fighting Bob” La Follette?

Wisconsin Republican Governor Scott Walker’s cuts to education, health care, family care for the disabled and long term care for the elderly, union busting and the right to work law, and now the banning of “climate change.” Why do so many Wisconsinites support him?

Why do people keep electing idiots?

Parkinson’s law of triviality, also known as bikeshedding. People devote way too much time and effort focusing on the trivial rather than focusing on complex matters that require critical thinking. It results in discussions that effectively drown out other discussions on more significant issues.

“Nations do not plunge at once into ruin - governments do not change suddenly - the causes which bring about the final blow, are scarcely perceptible in the beginning; but they increase in numbers, and in power; they press harder and harder upon the energies and virtue of a people; and the last steps only are alarmingly hurried and irregular. A republic without industry, economy, and integrity, is Samson shorn of his locks. A luxurious and idle republic! Look at the phrase! - The words were never made to be married together; everybody sees it would be death to one of them.” - Lydia Maria Francis Child, author of "Over the river and through the woods" from the song "A Boy's Thanksgiving."

Meredith NYC said...

Karen, thanks for link to article on NYC pensions losing billions to Wall St fees.

I cited it in my Krugman comment, since he talks about social security and pensions. At least he mentions these, tho doesn't go far enough.

I told the Times that pension article should be on page 1, and related to national pension/ retirement problems.

This is just the thing Clinton should address as she reaches the 12million level of fund raising, much from Wall St.
In a democracy the issue of that article is what the Dem candidate would've been talking about for months already.

Meredith NYC said...

Tim Egan has one of his excellent columns today in the Times ...contrasting the Repubs of today with the use by Lincoln of govt to benefit average people, and move the nation forward. It’s vivid and convincing---much better in fact than Krugman’s column on the good that govt does--a column not too bad really, with his usual writing skill, but still same old points, within a narrow frame.

Zee said...

Denis, you ask,

“Why do people keep electing idiots?,”

and then answer your own question with:

“Parkinson’s law of triviality, also known as bikeshedding. People devote way too much time and effort focusing on the trivial rather than focusing on complex matters that require critical thinking. It results in discussions that effectively drown out other discussions on more significant issues.”

There is, I think, some truth to this although, IMHO, Parkinson's Law of Triviality is, itself, only another in a chain of oversimplified answers to a complex web of social/economic/political questions that stretches back to the very beginnings of homo sapiens.

I, myself, subscribe to what might be called Mencken's Law (Of course, only one of many posited by H.L. Mencken):

Explanations exist; they have existed for all time; there is always a well-known solution to every human problem — neat, plausible, and wrong. (My bold emphasis.)

From which Parkinson's Law of Triviality as an explanation as to why we keep electing idiots might also be seen as “neat, plausible, and (at least partially) wrong.”

Allow me to explain.

We keep electing idiots because only smooth-talking, lying, unscrupulous idiots are willing to offer “neat, plausible” solutions to complex problems.

True to Mencken's Law, these “solutions” usually turn out to be “wrong,” too. But “neat” and “plausible” are what the sheeple want to hear, and what they vote for.

And when “neat” and “plausible” also turn out to be “wrong,” well, voters quickly turn to the smooth-talking, lying, unscrupulous idiot of the opposite party who also offers neat, plausible solutions. Who else they gonna to turn to: Ghost Busters?

We have no thinking politicians these days who are willing or able to even try to undertake the process of separating Parkinson's “significant” issues from the “trivia”—the latter of which I might argue are not so much “trivia” as matters of individual conscience—uniting us all around the former while leaving us each alone regarding the latter.

Nor may such a separation be possible in this day of passion and polarization, even if a politician were to seriously put his/her mind to it, and to articulate her/his thoughts to the public.

It is easy to understand Parkinson's simple example of over-absorption with the details of “bikeshed construction” (trivia) versus “understanding the full-blown cost of construction of a nuclear power plant” (a significant issue).

But on sociopolitical issues of the present day, one person's (e.g., Parkinson's) “trivial” issue is another's (maybe Zee's) “life passion.” How do Parkinson and Zee come to terms? Hence, the oversimplification.

So I think that my hope for any such “thinking politician” will be in vain.

“Neat, plausible” idiots will remain the rule until the entire idiot system collapses under its own idiot weight.

“In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; in all things, charity.”—St. Augustine

Zee said...

@Denis and @All--

In my previous remark, it was wrong of me to dismiss "average American voters" as "sheeple."

We are who we are, and we work with the tools and values that good fortune or society have given us, or that we wrenched from fate against all odds.

To dismiss others as "sheeple" is to ignore the vicissitudes of life to which we are all subject, and to de-legitimize the values and interests of others that are really a consequence of "fortune"--bad and good-- that have differed from mine.

I will try not to use such dismissive adjectives in the future.

Valerie said...

I think the thing that frightens me most is the fact that so many of our politicians are so willing to throw away Social Security, yet our investments, if we have them, are being manipulated and plundered by the very pension funds we count on to see us through our old age. What is wrong with these people? It has become acceptable in the financial industry to be downright sociopathic - to care nothing that their actions are seriously damaging other people's lives.

I saw a documentary not too long ago showing how the fees of investments were wiping out any profits. Apparently, this is quite wide-spread. The only option is to "educate ourselves" about investing. But it is a complicated business that many decent, hard-working Americans find overwhelming.

Where do ordinary people turn? Most of us are baffled by investments. We trust that our government is watching to see that our pension plans are run legitimately - After all, they will subsidise the very inadequate Social Security we will all have to live on one day.

Thirty years ago, a person paid off his/her house near retirement, managed through reasonable living to put aside a little "nest egg" and lived on Social Security. Now our homes, if we are still in them, are shaky investments, our retirement plans are being fleeced and our politicians are trying to destroy Social Security.

It is as Denis wrote, they are trying to make as many of us paupers as possible - and then what? Starve us? What will happen to us when the climate changes and large areas we depend on for our food start to experience dust bowl droughts? The future isn't looking very good. I think many uniformed people sense it even though they don't understand it.

Sadly, they will turn to politicians like Obama and Hillary and whatever Republican candidate is thrown out there. They won't look deeper into the smearing off Elizabeth Warren (I a so glad she is turning out to be true-blue and not a sell-out.) And they will trust the fox to watch the very vulnerable hen house that is their financial future.

Zee said...

"I’m more convinced than ever that our future in the 21st century depends on our ability to ensure that a child born in the hills of Appalachia or the Mississippi Delta or the Rio Grande Valley grows up with the same shot at success that Charlotte will (My bold emphasis.)

Almost as funny as Hillbillary's claim that she and the tomcatter left the White House "dead broke!"

annenigma said...

Here's my prediction: Hillary will be running as a two-fer, although it won't be Bill, and it won't be openly acknowledged so as to avoid direct attacks. Chelsea will be the other half of the two-fer and will be positioned to succeed her in 2020 or sooner if anything happened. Look to see Chelsea everywhere. The cover of Elle was just the preview.

Consider it an internship without as much physical presence as Hillary had in Bill's White House, but it will come with even longer coattails, and far more money, power, influence, and media pull (and push).

Does anyone think the Clintons wouldn't groom their only child for the highest office in the land, to be the most powerful woman in the world? Chelsea has not exactly been avoiding the spotlight or politics.

Think about it. She'd be Hillary without the baggage! A vote for Hillary could be a vote for future President Chelsea, so do we want to go there? We might not have a choice.

Oh, and guess who just turned 35?

Karen Garcia said...


I agree. Chelsea is the de facto FLOTUS in-waiting. You can tell by the photoshopped magazine cover selling her as a high fashion model... blowing hair and all.

At this point the only person who can defeat Hillary is Hillary. Don't count out that possibility.

I am hoping for a scandal-driven royal shakeup of the moribund Democratic Party and a last-minute draft. Warren? Sanders? Stranger things have happened.

As I mentioned in my comment on Maureen Dowd's latest, do we grab for the popcorn or do we grab for the barf bucket? I am opting for both. You just can't look away no matter how repelled you feel.

annenigma said...

Yes, popcorn and a barf bag are on my shopping list. Liked your MoDo comment Karen.

Hillary just wants to give children, i.e. Chelsea, a 'shot at opportunity' and a 'shot at success'. A big shot.

I wonder who Hillary would actually trust enough to be her VP? Any guesses?

Pearl said...

I have to disagree about your visions of Chelsea. Although the thought of having Hillary inhabiting the Oval Office requires a barf bag, she does have a brain although operating at a shark like level, she does have experience to create her visions of what America is all about according to her distorted vision and she is focused clearly on her mission with a strong personality to match. Everything I have seen of Chelsea in action is a woman of limitations in every area, with no conception of her own place politically, merely a shadow following direction from her parents. If exposed to speak if her mother runs, it will become more and more obvious how limited a human being she is.
It is bad enough to be faced with Hillary setting up her office to run, but to add Chelsea to the equation will not work. Hopefully, it may even be a hindrance to her mother's ambitions hopefully.

Will said...

I don't know, Pearl. I think our dear Chelsea does have a brain, but her charisma rating hovers somewhere between zero & negative territory. Seriously. I can actually feel her making ME duller every time I hear her speak. But then again, we had 8 long years of Dubya, so anything's possible. Can't wait for President Charlotte.

Zee said...


Does "trust" enter into VP selection as much as "ticket-balancing" or "keeping one's enemies closer even than one's friends?"

Think maybe: "buying off" Martin O'Malley, Bernie Sanders, or maybe even Elizabeth Warren.

Politics have ever made for strange--and calculating--bedfellows...