Corporate NeoLiberal Shills

NaziSwastika.pngSeason Two of the Humorless Rants Podcast starts with a bang — featuring president of the Center for American Progress, Neera Tanden.

The conversation focused on two issues. The first was the future of the Democratic Party. Tanden noted that many people have written off the party — or at least feel that it needs to make deep changes. Such people think it should do something like the Republican autopsy after its 2012 defeat. Of course, it’s hard to justify that when Hillary Clinton got just under 3 million votes more than Donald Trump. The Democrats only lost the election because the system isn’t democratic.

Tanden noted, “We don’t need to beat ourselves into a pulp about the Democrats being dead.” She added, “I feel very optimistic.” And it’s not hard to see why when all of the indicators point to 2018 being more like 2006 than any other off-year election in recent memory.

The Russian-Trump Connection

The second issue of the podcast was the connection between the Russian government and the Trump presidential campaign. The Center for American progress has released a report, Russiagate: The Depth of Collusion. Tanden didn’t go into great depth about the 14,000 word report. (You should read it yourself!) But she did mention some tantalizing bits like the fact that they have found over 20 contacts between the Russian government and the Trump campaign.

Tune in for the whole show to learn more about these issues in addition to insights about Capitol Hill meetings where they serve water and don’t even offer doughnuts.

Season Two, Episode One: Corporate NeoLiberal Shills

Next Week

Join Elizabeth and Kevin next Sunday for a discussion of the DNC lawsuit, disobedience to Trump’s ban on transgender military personnel, and anything else that comes up this week.

Image cropped from Center For American Progress. by Jay Baker at Washington, DC by Maryland GovPics. Licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Season Two, Episode One: Corporate NeoLiberal Shills


Join the Dynamic Trio with their special guest as they talk with the president of the Center for American Progress about Russia, Cheeto, what it is like to be a Corporate Neoliberal Shill Whore and other topics!

CAP’s report:


Humorless Rants wishes to apologize about the audio. We had a lot of trouble with technical stuff this episode and so we are sorry it isn’t as good as it normally is.

So Trump has pardoned Arpaio: A Lawsplainer

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As you may have heard, Trump issued his first pardon of his presidency to former Maricopa County, Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio. Arpaio was recently convicted in a case involving contempt of a federal court’s order. What does this mean? Why did he do it? Is it legal? Allow me to lawsplain.

What is the presidential pardon power?

The presidential pardon power is granted by Article II, Section 2, Clause 1 of the Constitution, which says:

The President…shall have Power to grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offences against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment.

Thus, the presidential pardon power extends only to federal criminal acts, and does not and cannot be used to absolve a person of civil liability or immunize them from prosecution under state law.

But does a criminal contempt conviction qualify as an “offense against the United States?”

It turns out that it’s not entirely clear that a criminal contempt conviction actually qualifies as an “offense against the United States” in this context, since in Arpaio’s case the Government agreed to limit his potential imprisonment if convicted to six months or less, which obviated the need for a jury trial.

However, the U.S. Supreme Court in Ex Parte Grossman, 267 US 27 (1925) ruled that a conviction for criminal contempt of court and sentence of 1 year did qualify as an “offense against the United States,” and upheld President Coolidge’s pardon of a man who was criminally convicted for contempt of a federal court order prohibiting him from selling alcoholic beverages during the prohibition era.

Whether Ex Parte Grossman would have the same effect in the context of Joe Arpaio remains to be seen.

What does the pardon mean?

If it’s upheld by the courts, it means that Arpaio will not see the inside of a prison cell as a result of his conviction. However, the pardon will not absolve him of civil liability, and I would suspect that one or more victims of his contumacious conduct (that is: the brown people he illegally stopped in violation of the court’s injunction) will sue the pants off of him. At least I hope they do.

There is also the little problem that, according to SCOTUS, once Arpaio accepts the pardon, it is likely tantamount to an admission of guilt (although whether a court will construe it as such will depend on the exact wording of the pardon, which hasn’t been publicly released yet). Thus, Arpaio and his lawyers are likely now wrestling with whether to accept the pardon and how to deal with the legal consequences that will result.

Finally, let’s not diminish the fact that this pardon will have tremendous implications for the Arizona GOP in the 2018 elections and possibly beyond.

You Can’t Reason With Nazis

NaziSwastika.pngWith a title like “You Can’t Reason With Nazis,” you would think this podcast would be about the neo-Nazi rally in Charlotteville, VA. But this podcast was recorded before that. It just goes to show, Nazis are always with us — especially when our president is “Donald Trump: Friend of Nazis.”

Kevin and Elizabeth are joined by Jesse Turner.

They start with Noah Berlatsky’s argument against Angela Nagle’s (ridiculous) idea that liberals created the alt-right. As Elizabeth noted, “There’s a reason why we don’t have dialog with Nazis.” This is where Jesse Turner relates to the discussion, since he has studied Nazism in some depth.

What follows is a fascinating look at the actual Nazis and the neo-Nazis that we all have to deal with. Not surprisingly, this gets into Donald Trump and his rhetoric and use of power. What’s most interesting is that things really haven’t changed. The same lies that worked then work today.

Tune in for 50 minutes of the best audio you’ll hear this week. It’s only here that you will learn if it is effective to tell Nazis to check their Aryan privilege.

Episode Sixteen: You Can’t Reason With Nazis

Next Week

Tune in next with for Neera Tanden! Yep, that’s right: Neera Tanden.

The Looming Male

Today an excerpt of Hillary Clinton’s forthcoming book What Happened was released.  The one from the book talks about how Clinton felt as she was on the stage with Cheeto looming over her.  The reaction at the time was mixed-many people noticed how he was trying to intimidate her.  I personally had always wondered if he was going to hit her since she does know how to get under his skin.

It speaks to a lot of women because they remember the same time that a male did that to them.  Stood over them in an attempt to force them to bend to their will.  Men have for centuries used the power of their bodies to make women do as they want rather than what the women want. It is a subtle act of power and control that was for once incredibly obvious.

Yet when Clinton talks about it, it is the same mix of reactions that happened at the time.  She wonders if she should have told him to back off and thinks her failure to do so was a mistake. (Look media, one of those mistakes you insist she admit to in order to appease your abusive view of her!)

I don’t think it was really that much of a mistake.  She was in a damned if you do and damned if you don’t moment.  Do you acknowledge the inappropriate behavior of a male so people assume you are making too much of it?  Because that is the reaction even when the person is watching it happen in front of them. “No, no, he wasn’t trying to intimidate you. You are overreacting.”  If you don’t then people will say “why didn’t you speak up then?”  Which each action comes a cost.

This is one of those where I think she played it right for the time. Now of course she could probably sock him in the nose and everyone would cheer.  But that is because what she said about the racist, sexist, violent, idiotic smeghead has been shown to be true by his having won the middle class white person vote in three key states. Now people get why it was important.