Stars and Stripes of Corruption #trump #newyorker

Photographer: Michael Steele/Getty Images 
The latest issue of the New Yorker has an Adam Davidson piece linking the Trump Organization, corrupt Azerbaijani officials, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, and the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA). It's worth a read, but it is very complicated. The TL;DR is captured here:
The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, passed in 1977, forbade American companies from participating in a scheme to reward a foreign government official in exchange for material benefit or preferential treatment. The law even made it a crime for an American company to unknowingly benefit from a partner’s corruption if it could have discovered illicit activity but avoided doing so. 
The Trump Organization's definite ties to corrupt Azerbaijani officials and through them, possible ties to the Iranian Revolutionary Guard are not new news. But hopefully this article and the Trump Administration's continued Iranian warmonger will put this back on the radar, because there's a lot more than smoke there.


The Shining City

(Stephanie Keith/Getty Images)
I've spoken of the shining city all my political life, but I don't know if I ever quite communicated what I saw when I said it. But in my mind it was a tall, proud city built on rocks stronger than oceans, windswept, God-blessed, and teeming with people of all kinds living in harmony and peace; a city with free ports that hummed with commerce and creativity. And if there had to be city walls, the walls had doors and the doors were open to anyone with the will and the heart to get here. That's how I saw it, and see it still.
- Ronald Reagan's Farewell Speech, 1989

Ronald Reagan. I'm quoting Ronald Effing Reagan. A sad day, made a little more hopeful with the actions of those gathering at airports around the country, immigration lawyers, and the ACLU.



Had to bring in Der Creuzenvessel in to get some self-afflicted dings repaired. Insurance paid for a rental while it was in the shop. A 2016 Dodge. 2016. As in the year that just passed. And yet:

Look at that thing! Could be straight off my 1979 Mustang! I didn't even know they still made these. Does Dodge make you get a more deluxe model to get luxuries like a modern antenna? What's the cost trade off there? A completely different assembly process to charge a couple hundred of bucks for an antenna that doesn't look like it's from the Soviet era? Weird. 



Now that this shitshow is just about over, I thought I'd reflect upon the best things I heard and read this election season.

George Saunders, "Who Are All These Trump Supporters?", The New Yorker

Includes gems such as:

"It seemed self-evident to them that a businessman could and should lead the country. 'You run your family like a business, don’t you?'I was asked more than once, although, of course, I don’t, and none of us do."

And my single favorite quote from the past year:

"Above all, Trump supporters are 'not politically correct,' which, as far as I can tell, means that they have a particular aversion to that psychological moment when, having thought something, you decide that it is not a good thought, and might pointlessly hurt someone’s feelings, and therefore decline to say it."

Evan Osnos, "President Trump's First Term", The New Yorker

Gets past the "OMG what did he say/do now" merry-go-round to imagine how Trump would actually govern. It's as scary as you might imagine.

Marc Maron, WTF Podcast #729

Before he interviews Roseanne Barr, Marc addresses Trump and more importantly Trump-ism. He says the things I wanted to say, but couldn't articulate:

"Here’s why people vote for Trump: ‘Fuck It!’ ‘Fuck It All!’ That’s got to be the rationale. It’s a ‘Fuck it All’ vote. And when you say why you voting for Trump? The answer is ‘Fuck You!’ So its ‘Fuck It All! Fuck You!’ That should be the campaign slogan in a way, because it is the counterpart, the perfect counterpart to an opioid high... What is compelling about engaging with his vision is that it’s a rush. It's a rush of shameless hate; it's a hit of arrogant ignorance; it's the satisfaction in moments of empty victory; it is the nihilistic intensity of potential chaotic upheaval and destruction. I mean there's no other way to look at it. There's no foresight. There's no vision of the future. There isn't... You know, it's when you watch a woman with authority, speak with authority, deliver a strong leadership vibe, a grounded person; for a dude sometimes there's only one way to take that in and that is, ah, I hate this teacher, ah, she's so mean this teacher. I wish a substitute was here. Remember that guy? Grow up."

Frontline, The Choice 2016

This reminded me of why Hillary Clinton is the way she is, and that she has a long history of great work in, to say the least, challenging environments. You see why she is secretive. Why she can be robotic. She's been attacked and vilified from the start for being a woman with brains and ambition. This doc gave me new insight into her, and reminded me of some insight I already had and forgot.

Jane Meyer, "Donald Trump's Ghostwriter Tells All", The New Yorker

You've probably figured out that The New Yorker is the only magazine I read. This article bars Trump as the thin-skinned, egotistical, vindictive, petty fraud con-artist that he is.

I'm so relieved it's all finally over, but I am thankful to those above, along with the podcasts Trumpcast, Keeping It 1600, the Slate Political Gabfest, and the 538 Election Podcast for keeping me sane and entertained during the circus.


Hillary Clinton is the San Diego Chargers

As a long-suffering Chargers fan, I have seen this story time and time again:
  • Get a big lead
  • Get injured at the wrong time
  • Play it conservative
  • Underestimate your opponent
  • Keep key components of your offense on the bench
  • Panic and make a stupid decision
  • Keep playing it safe
  • Lose a game you have no business losing
The world cannot afford another Mike McCoy, Hillary. 


Why is They?

For some unknown reason, Fox Sports San Diego likes to air, on TV, a replay of one of our horrible radio sports talk shows.  They often air it after a Padres game, so if you're like me and doodling on your phone or tablet, you end up unwittingly exposed to this garbage. So tonight it's on, and before I can change the channel I realize they are talking about Colin Kaepernick (San Francisco played the Chargers in San Diego tonight). One of the hosts, Steve Hartman - Ted Cruz lookalike and for decades one of the worst sports talk hosts in San Diegon - makes a statement disguised as a question: If Kaepernick plays terrible tonight in San Diego (he did not, btw), does that hurt his message?


It may be the most San Diego Sports Talk takes of all San Diego Sports talk takes. In a year where Donald Trump is running for president, this may be the stupidest thing I've heard all year.

But that's not even why I decided to post after a two month absence.

As I'm trying to process what I've just heard, this is what is on the screen:

That can't be right, right? Is that acceptable use of "is"? I always take a hard stand on this sort of thing only to be proven wrong. Like, I used to think the plural of "fish" was "fish" and anyone who said "fishes" was obviously a moron. Turns out I was mistaken. I was indignant enough about this to write this post, but now I'm having doubts. Can someone please confirm that Fox Sports San Diego is are the morons and not me I me I? MOOSEN.


the purple banana

Some random thoughts on Prince.
  • In all honesty, there aren't many Prince songs I like. The entire list consists of "1999", "Little Red Corvette", "Delirious", "When Doves Cry", and my favorite Prince song "Let's Go Crazy." That energy! That guitar solo! Whenever I hear it it takes me straight back to middle school at P.W. Engvall when music was almost enough to take my mind off of the tornado of home life.
  • I never really paid attention to the lyrics of "Let's Go Crazy". I just now looked them up. Wow. That song really makes no sense. All these years I've been singing "Let's look for the purple banana til they put us in the truck" thinking, knowing, that I was completely mishearing and butchering the lyrics. But I was right this whole time! 
  • While I didn't like many Prince songs, I've always acknowledged he was a genius. He did his own thing on his own terms, and I always respect that. He was one of the best all-around musicians of our time. I always kind wished he's do a metal cide-project so he could just let loose and shred. 
  • April 29th, 1997 was a weird day. I went to see Built to Spill and Modest Mouse at Canes. Modest Mouse was supposed to open, but there was some hang up that caused them to run late. So Built To Spill played their set. When Modest Mouse arrived they hurried on stage and tore through a few songs before the place shut down and everyone got kicked out. Everything was so rushed because apparently Prince had rented Canes for an after-show party. Built to Spill fans exiting the show squeezing past Prince fans entering the venue was an odd sight.  
RIP to an interesting dude who marched to the bead of his own drum (or Shiela E's, whatever) and a hell of a guitar player. 


I'm almost halfway finished, how do you like it so far? #GarryShandling

RIP Garry Shandling. 

The Larry Sanders Show was great and it deserves every ounce of praise it gets, and it was as influential as a show can get.

But my first experience with Garry Shandling was It's Garry Shandling's Show, and that is what I will always remember when I think of Garry Shandling.

Its run coincided with my high school years. We were an HBO family, and it was on Showtime, so I didn't get to see it that much in it's initial run (it later moved to network TV). The first time I saw it was at my friend Gary's when he was visiting one summer. Apparently they were a Showtime family. The theme song sucked me in, and at the time I thought it was about the funniest and unique damn thing I'd seen.  It was meta before meta was cool, and I'd like to think it was just as influential on it's style of comedy as The Larry Sanders Show was for its.

Thanks for the laughs, Garry.