At a rally last night in Iowa, Donald Trump made headlines by declaring that he would not want poor people serving in his cabinet. “I love all people. Rich or poor. But in those particular positions, I just don’t want a poor person. Does that make sense?” Trump declared. Trump boasted that he appointed Gary Cohen, a former Goldman Sachs President, as an economic adviser. Trump has drawn criticism for assembling a cabinet that consists of multiple billionaires and wealthy donors that seem to lack expertise in their assigned areas. The Cohen remarks are notable because Trump and his supporters once attacked Ted Cruz for his ties to Goldman Sachs. During their contentious primary, Trump attacked Cruz, saying “I know the guys at Goldman Sachs. They have total, total control over him [Ted Cruz]. Just like they have total control over Hillary Clinton.” The barrage of Goldman Sachs attacks from Trump led to the heckling of Cruz by Trump supporters. We have posted one of the incidents during which Cruz was harassed about his wife’s ties to Goldman Sachs.
As the reality of the Democratic loss in Georgia’s Special Election sets in, the party is clumsily working through the stages of grief. After the traumatic defeat, Democrats were largely in denial that the party was, in any way responsible for the loss of Jon Ossoff. In the immediate aftermath of the defeat, party loyalists argued that the seat was a long-shot anyway and ruled that Jon Ossoff’s loss was due to the triumph of local politics. Since the early phase of denial, the Democrats have sped through the remaining four stages, moving beyond acceptance and into a newly invented phase. BLAME! The loss of Ossoff must be the sole responsibility of some poor, unpopular soul. A consensus is forming that former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi should be the unfortunately-condemned spirit. The argument is largely being pitched by the same cast of ambitious characters that attempted an earlier coup against the former speaker but that does not mean that their claim does not have merit. Ohio Representative Tim Ryan charges that Pelosi is so reviled on the right that she was a weight around Jon Ossoff’s neck. His sedition prone followers see Pelosi as a nationwide bad luck charm. Republicans merely mention her name, tie Democratic candidates to the San Francisco elite and cruise to victory. Such is the hate for Nancy Pelosi. However, this conclusion represents two of the defeatist tendencies of the Democratic Party. In the recent past the Democrats have tended towards both overly simplistic explanations for their failures and a tendency to be cowed in the face of fierce opposers. The introspection averse powers in the party refuse to consider the more complex questions like perhaps Jon Ossoff needed to stand firm on a posture for or against President Trump. This question would require a deep dive into strategy and a level of rigorous reconsideration to which some of the party’s simpler minds are unaccustomed. Perhaps Jon Ossoff simply failed to define himself in terms of policy and principles which means that party officials would need to pour over his media campaigns and audit successful messaging and failed themes. But that would be hard. It is much simpler to see a single woman in San Francisco as all that ails the party. Instead of re-assessing the party’s approach to organizing and campaigning which would require an invasive autopsy, these Democrats would rather believe that all they need to do to find a path back to victory is replace a single hated party figure. It’s that simple. The Democrats love easy answers and that refusal to consider the complexity of their current quandary is condemning the party to a fatal repetition of errors. The consequences of this refusal to analyse is that Democrats haven’t even asked themselves how Nancy Pelosi became the hated figure that she is today. Nancy Pelosi is one of the most successful House Speakers in American history. She ushered through complex healthcare reform, in the face of historic opposition to the nation’s first African American President. Her mastery of strategy bested every legislative foe in her path and for that she became the focus of right wing anger. Any effective Democratic leader would likely be targeted with the same messaging that has decimated Pelosi’s national reputation. Replacing Nancy Pelosi is a solution that is temporary, lasting only as long as it will take for the conservative phalanx of talk radio, fox news and Breitbart websites to create a narrative about the next Democratic leader. Instead of an in-depth discussion on how Democrats can defeat the message machine of the right wing, some Democrats would rather exile one of their own, and bend to the will of their opponents. And this tendency to bow to those that oppose you explains a great deal about Democratic losses. Kick a stallion and it will buck back, bash the mule and it simply accepts the beating. Getting rid of Nancy Pelosi will not fix the party’s popularity problem. Tim Ryan, the leader of the current mutiny claimed in an interview with CNN that one of his Republican colleagues informed him that Pelosi was hurting the Democratic cause and the congressman sees nothing ironic or ignorant about taking political advice from his opponents. This timidity and gullibility in Democrats is just as responsible for Democratic failure as Pelosi’s reputation.
While MSNBC has built it’s reputation as a liberal network, it actually allocates more airtime to conservative hosts on it’s opinion shows. The network is known for it’s liberal firebrands but it has slowly evolved into the most balanced opinion based network on cable television. The network begins it’s daytime schedule with MORNING JOE-named for it’s primary host, former conservative congressman Joe Scarborough. While the show is co-hosted by Scarborough’s fiance Mika Brzezinski, the show is named after the republican host. Scarborough banks 3 hours of airtime each morning. A rotating line-up of mid-day hosts trade airtime until the solidly republican Nicolle Wallace reignites the network’s prime-time lineup. Wallace hosts her own show at 4pm , and Chuck Todd follows her with MTP Daily. Wallace is a clear partisan but Todd’s coverage largely lacks the partisan bent of most opinion based shows. Todd is followed by For The Record with Greta Van Susteren who is clearly right leaning and her husband is a gladiator for right wing politicians. Greta is followed by Hardball with Chris Mathews who is categorized as liberal by most conservatives. Chris Hayes, Rachel Maddow and Lawrence O’Donnell round out the prime time line up as the network’s solid leftists. In total that means conservatives bank 5 hours, while the clear liberals that the network is best known for only log 3 hours. Even if we include Chuck Todd as an unsubstantiated liberal, the left leaning hosts represent only 4 hours of the networks airtime. While often maligned as the left’s version of Fox News, MSNBC has reoriented itself to be an opinion based network that represents both the left and right in nearly equal proportion.
Americans were collectively traumatized when Philando Castile’s death was live-streamed on Facebook. The eerily calm pleas from Castile’s girlfriend Diamond Reynolds have haunted black americans as she recounted in real time, the compliant actions of her dying boyfriend. We learned from Diamond that Officer Jeronimo Yanez pulled the couple over for a broken tail-light. Castile informed the officer that he was a licensed and legally armed citizen yet when he followed the officer’s instructions and attempted to retrieve his license, he was shot 5 times at close range. The officer shot wildly, nearly striking Diamond and her daughter in the car. Despite video evidence that corroborated the frightening series of events, Officer Yanez was acquitted. Philando’s mother Valerie Castile declared “Damn, what is it going to take?” “The system continues to fail black people and it will continue to fail you all”. It would be possible to view her comments as the lamentations of a grieving mother but to many her declaration is the unavoidable conclusion drawn from a host of similar events throughout the country. Peaceful protests have begun in St. Paul Minnesota. Philando Castile was a fully employed cafeteria worker without a prior history of violence.
On Friday, President Donald Trump will travel to Miami to announce a major shift in U.S. policy. The President will end Obama-era policies that have allowed Americans to liberally travel to the island of Cuba. In an attempt to correct a policy the Obama administration deemed a 55 year failure, President Obama began communicating with the leadership of Cuba through Pope Francis. The result of the back channel has been a rebirth in Cuban commerce as Americans have flocked to the island, filling it’s once empty hotels. Many of those hotels however, are operated under the direction of the Cuban Military which is also benefiting from the boost in tourism. While the primary beneficiaries of new commerce have been the Cuban people, the Trump administration wants to end any commerce that might benefit the military. In Miami, President Trump will announce that the Cuban administration under President Raul Castro has failed to make pivotal reforms in human rights. He will declare that the Obama policy has been a catastrophic failure and he will reinstate travel restrictions that will halt much of the recent tourism to the island-nation. Americans and American businesses will be forbidden from supporting entities affiliated with the military which will effectively end the new tourism. The change in policy is opposed by business leaders and human rights groups. Embassies in both nations will remain open in the hopes that future communications will lead to reform on the island and improve the relationship between both current administrations.
The Russian military is reporting that it may have killed the enigmatic leader of ISIS. The international terrorist group has risen as a world scourge under the captaincy of a religious leader named Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi. As the leader of ISIS, Al-Baghdadi declared himself to be the ruler of the global Islamic community. By declaring himself to be the “Caliph” or Pope of all Muslim’s worldwide, Al-Baghdadi was able to attract militant Islamic fighters from all over the world. The Russian Defense Ministry is reporting that on May 28, the Russian Air-force struck a gathering in the Syrian city of Raqqa, potentially killing the Islamic State leader. The Russian statement however, seems tentative suggesting that the Russians themselves may have doubts about the success of the strike. Sources suggest that the Russians may have been acting independently, without the coordination of the U.S. backed Kurdish forces on the ground. The Russians may have only learned about Baghdadi’s presence at the gathering after the strike. Their ability to confirm his death is therefore limited.
It is worth noting that this is not the first time that rumors have swirled about the death of Baghdadi. In 2015, the Iraqi Military hit a convoy ushering the Islamic State leader and reports of his demise were circulated. In January (2017), a U.S. led strike in northern Iraq’s Al-Ba’aj injured Baghdadi, leading to more reports of his death. After several brushes with death, coalition forces are once again hoping that the mastermind of the most destructive terrorist organization in history has finally met justice.
In the world of YouTube, there are very few stars that are bigger than Rich Piana. The Bodybuilding phenom has one of the largest followings in the fitness community on YouTube but a recent audio recording has many wondering if their favorite fitness YouTuber is also a racist. The audio recording was taken by an ex-girlfriend over ten years ago. The incident, ten years ago, was prompted when the ex-girlfriend took a public photo with former basketball star Magic Johnson. Piana was incensed because his girlfriend was seen in public with a “N-word” and allowed Magic Johnson to kiss her on the cheek. Piana suggested that his ex-girlfriend was a “Dirty f-ing N-word-lover”. In the audio, he adds a lynching reference suggesting that she should be hung from a rope. Piana was never a first class body-builder but he found fame by openly discussing his personal steroid use, confirming the widespread usage of the entire body-building community. His honesty on the once-taboo subject earned him a rabid cult following. He parlayed his popularity into a supplement line called 5% Nutrition, meal prepping services, and apparel lines. His trademarked phrase became “Whatever it Takes” a reference that flaunted his liberal use of steroids. Piana’s fitness channel boasts over 943,000 regular subscribers with individual videos that score up-to a half-a-million viewers. How his following will be impacted by this incident remains to be seen.
The Audio is below (WARNING: Graphic content, containing 27 uses of the N-word). We have also posted Rich Piana’s apology.