Wednesday, April 18, 2018


Do we need any more proof that Donald Trump is a lying moral degenerate? Trump just blasted out on Twitter that the people of California are unhappy revolutionaries.

What Trump ignored on his way to yet another ignorance-filled rant is that the people of California have consistently said they are pretty happy with Governor Brown. In fact, a statewide survey in November found that more than 70 percent of Democrats - and about half of the state's voters overall - want the next governor to pursue Governor Brown's agenda. This includes the majority of young voters, Latinos and those with college degrees; i.e. California's future leaders.

The moral degeneracy of Trump is made abundantly clear with his comments that California's sanctuary cities are somehow crime infested "breeding" zones. Chris Cillizza's "The Point" picked up on the reference and ran with it today.

Here's the key point to remember. There is absolutely no empirical evidence that immigration increases crime in the United States. In fact, data shows that youth born abroad are less likely than youth born in the United States to be criminally active. Focusing on the Republicans bogeyman in California, an American Law and Economics Review paper concludes that Mexican immigration has no effect on violent or property crimes (a point that was backed up by Kern County Sheriff Donny Youngblood in our recent documentary, American Migrant Stories).

So, yeah, Donald Trump lies as easily as he breathes. The worst part is that he wraps his lies up in the morally depraved world that he lives in, and his supporters don't care.

- Mark

Monday, April 16, 2018


For those of you in the Kern County region, you won't want to miss this opportunity this Thursday (April 19 / 6 pm) to see the two candidates - Scott Spielman and Cynthia Zimmer - for Kern County District Attorney. The event is sponsored by the Office of the Provost, the Department of Political Science, CSUB's Pre-Law Society, and the Political Science Club.

The event is free and open to the public.

- Mark


Is the United States slowly turning into a hateful and vindictive state? According to Newsweek, a good number of Holocaust survivors see it happening in Trump's America.

- Mark

Friday, April 13, 2018


The article below was written by Charles Blow, of the NY Times. It deserves to be read and shared widely.

During the early days of the Obama administration, I did a few appearances on “Fox & Friends.”
The conversations were predictably shallow, tilted and exploitive. The hosts had a particular knack for asking the idiotic with chipper earnestness, spewing venom through simpering smiles. There was, I felt, maleficence at work with a pretense of positivity.
I knew well that I was swimming in a shallow intellectual pool, and yet I told myself that I was doing yeoman’s work, doing my small part to try and correct misinformation and to reach those lost in Fox’s fog.
But I soon discovered that the show, and indeed the network, was beyond redemption.
I was simply being used to help give the show the appearance of fairness, impartiality and legitimacy, when it was anything but.

Appearing on Fox, I became part of the disinformation machine rather than hobbling it. So, I cut ties, stopped responding to their requests and stopped the appearances.

I never saw the show as anything more than a carnival, a propaganda tool for conservatives. I would never have thought that the show’s hosts would emerge as the most influential in American media, as the website Mediaite dubbed them.
This show, with its kindergarten-level intellectual capacity, moved from parroting conservative policies to constructing presidential priorities. “Fox & Friends” has essentially become Donald Trump’s daily briefing.
Countless media outlets have written and talked about the strangely intense connection between Trump and the show.
As The Guardian put it, “The show manages to serve as a court sycophant, whispering in the ear of the king, criticizing his perceived enemies and fluffing his feathers.”

Politico Magazine concurred, saying the show “feels intentionally designed for Trump himself — a three-hour, high-definition ego fix.”
And the impact that the show is having on Trump is undeniable. Dan Snow, a master’s student at the University of Chicago, analyzed the president’s tweets and found that they are highly concentrated in the hours when the show is on.
As Politico wrote, Trump is “live-tweeting” Fox’s coverage. Vox noted that at times he seems to be tweeting precisely what he sees on the show, sometimes even using their exact language.
Indeed, a February analysis by The Washington Post found that of all the things that Trump has tweeted about since his inauguration, “Fox & Friends” ranked third, behind only Obama and tax cuts.
In fact, Trump had tweeted about the show roughly twice as often as about the stock market and roughly three times more often than about the border wall.
Trump’s Fox fixation isn’t benign or inconsequential — because, like him, the network has an aversion to the truth.
According to PunditFact, a project of the Tampa Bay Times and The Poynter Institute that checks the accuracy of claims made by pundits, of the statements on Fox that have been fact-checked, only 10 percent were rated true, while a full 60 percent were rated either mostly false, false or “pants on fire,” the worst possible rating.
The site did not do a separate analysis confined to “Fox & Friends,” but it has done three fact checks each on two of the show’s co-hosts: Brian Kilmeade and Steve Doocy ...

You can access the rest of the article by clicking here.

- Mark


For the specifics on the FBI's very "lawful" raid on the office of Donald Trump's lawyer click here.

- Mark

Wednesday, April 11, 2018


Paul Ryan is stepping down as Speaker of the House. Among the hopefuls to replace him include Bakersfield's own Kevin McCarthy. I appeared on KGET 17 News' 5 pm segment to discuss the developments. The primary points I made include:

* If Trump wants a "Yes Man" as Speaker of the House, Rep. Kevin McCarthy is his man. This is not simply a matter of agreeing on policy matters. Rep. McCarthy has been deferential to the point of being obsequious (there is a thing called separation of powers).

* Rep. McCarthy will do nothing to fix or ameliorate the economic damage Donald Trump is doing in the area of trade in general, or with looming currency battles, tariff wars and trillion dollar deficits in specific.

* Rep. Paul Ryan is not leaving because of family concerns. He's leaving a sinking ship. Rep. Ryan can see the disaster coming down the pike with SS Trump's policies now poised to spread throughout the economy (strangely, Cathy Abernathy seemed to believe the disaster I was referring to was tied to the possibility of the GOP losing the House; I was speaking about the economic disaster coming around the corner from the GOP's tax and trade policies). 

For our full discussion click here, or you can click on the clip below.

- Mark


So Speaker of the House of Representatives, Paul Ryan, has joined the growing list of retiring Republican members of Congress. Let's be clear here. It has nothing to do with Paul Ryan accomplishing his goal of tax reform, as he claims. It also has nothing do with creating an America that's more united and poised to move forward (that would be a lie).

Paul Ryan's retirement has everything to do with his realization that the mess he's helped create cannot be fixed by our current Republican-led Congress, or by the man he helped support and elect, Donald Trump.

With 24 Republicans announcing their retirements - the most since 1973 - Ryan's retirement is akin to rats leaving a sinking ship. Call it the SS Trump.

But there's more to this story.

Paul Ryan also understands the economy and SS Trump are heading towards another market busting iceberg. This is no show stealing headline. It's going to happen.

Virtually every derivative and debt-driven puzzle piece that was in place before the market crashed in 2008 is either in place or falling into place as I type these words. Speaker Ryan's mindless deregulation policies, applied to a mythical free market system that only Republicans seem to see, only serve to speed up these developments (more on this in a later post).

As for the immediate future, who's going to be the next Speaker of the House?

One of the front runners is Bakersfield's own Kevin McCarthy. The positive spin on this is that he's become one of Donald Trump's trusted politicos in Washington. He even picks out and hand delivers Trump's favorite candies (or has his staff pick them out).

Unfortunately, the downside is Rep. McCarthy has become one of Donald Trump's trusted politicos in Washington. Trump is fast becoming a national liability, and Kevin enables the worst tendencies of an unbalanced and morally corrupt man who will be judged harshly by history. Rep. McCarthy will do nothing to slow Trump down.

The real problem, however, is that when it comes to focusing on big picture national priorities Rep. McCarthy is MIA. If we're being blunt - and that's what this is about - Rep. McCarthy has become something of a party hack. You wouldn't know that if you were to ask his supporters here in Bakersfield, or Kern County. They absolutely adore him. And why not? Kevin does retail politics very well. He's actually a pleasant person to speak with.

But even his supporters will tell you (or at least they tell me) that he's not a deep thinker, and that he's in over his head.

As an example, as I pointed out in our local paper, the Bakersfield Californian, Rep. McCarthy played a leading role in the congressional incompetence that led to the brief government shutdown. In the process he also helped set the groundwork for gridlock on DACA and immigration by giving Donald Trump the green light to use fear and national security as an excuse to stall immigration reform. This serves no purpose other than to harm the most vulnerable of our communities, while feeding a national paranoia about foreigners.

While this promotes the electoral goals of the GOP, it's toxic for our nation.

But Kevin's inability to focus on what's good for the nation isn't just tied to his shortcomings on issues like DACA and immigration. Kevin hasn't always had the best interests of our region at the top of his list while in Congress (I will be writing about these in the future).

I'll have more to say about all of this at a later date. For the moment, I'll be discussing these issues and more tonight, at 5 pm. I'll be on KGET's 17 News, with Cathy Abernathy.

If you're in the Kern County region I hope you tune in.

- Mark

Tuesday, April 10, 2018


The FBI raided the Rockefeller Center office of Donald J. Trump's attorney, Michael Cohen, early Monday morning. The FBI seized business records, emails and other documents, including articles related to a payment made to porn actress Stormy Daniels. As expected Trump went on the attack, claiming that the FBI's action was part of a larger 'witch hunt' that effectively amounted to an attack on the nation.

According to the NY Times, Trump "lashed out" in "an extraordinarily angry response." He even accused his own Justice Department of breaking in to Michael Cohen's office.

Let's keep in mind that the warrant was signed off by U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman, who is not only a Republican but is on record donating to Trump's campaign. He was also appointed to his current post by Donald Trump.

To help us understand what's behind the warrant, defense attorney and retired JAG office (Marine Corps), David Torres offered a few comments on his FB page that helps explain what's happening. I've synopsized and put into bullet points some of the key points below.
* The search warrant (SW) was signed by a Judge in the Southern District of New York.
* The US Attorney who prepared the affidavit for the SW was appointed by DJT. The Special Prosecutor is a Republican. His boss, Rod J. Rosenstein, is also a Republican.
* Before a SW can be executed, the person seeking the SW - the US Attorney for the NY District - must prepare a thorough affidavit of probable cause stating with specificity the items of evidence they expect to locate at a certain location.
* The investigating officer has to state under the penalty of perjury how they obtained the information and support the information with evidence and/or statements. The judge must believe the affidavit contains sufficient probable cause to support the warrant before signing it.
What the above means in simple terms - as David Torres so eloquently puts it - when Donald Trump "says the FBI 'broke into' his lawyers office, that’s a lie." The FBI had the right and, I might add, the duty to pursue the evidence that they have been presented with. The FBI investigates criminal matters, a process which even the president of the United States is not above. This means, as Mr. Torres points out, everything the FBI did when it executed the SW "was done by the book."

Simply put, as much as Donald Trump's supporters want to continue supporting him and his crazed interpretation of law, Trump does not live under another set of rules.

David Torres points out several additional matters of protocol we should understand about the SW process.
* Whenever a SW is effected at a law firm, a “Special Master” is appointed by a judge to insure the Attorney-Client privilege of other clientele is protected and their files are not reviewed.
* While defense attorneys have the right to attack the affidavit of probable cause, the attack on the SW is reserved for attorneys in a court of law before a federal judge.
* More importantly, attacking an affidavit of probable cause is NOT the prerogative of the president of the United States, especially when the only goal is to besmirch the reputation of the FBI and the legal process.
A couple of additional points we want to keep in mind here include:
* Donald Trump made his comments in front of our nation's military leaders. The message on separation of powers and institutional integrity was clear: Trump respects neither.
* The prosecutors obtained the SW after receiving a referral from Robert Mueller III, which suggests the SW is not directly related to Mueller's investigation, and likely resulted from information Mueller's investigation uncovered and gave to prosecutors in New York.
* Geoffrey Berman was a law partner of Rudy Giuliani's, former mayor of New York and an early supporter of Donald Trump.
Unfortunately, Trump's not going anywhere any time soon. Stay tuned.

- Mark

Sunday, April 8, 2018


You can read about the developments by clicking here, here and here. You can access (and apply for the job at) the "Media Monitoring Services" position by clicking here.

- Mark 

Friday, April 6, 2018


Donald Trump, once again claimed -with absolutely no evidence - that millions of votes were cast illegally in California. The comments replaced the initial focus of his talk, which was supposed to be on taxes. 

The worst part of Trump's presentation may not have been his bald faced lie about voting. After petulantly tossing his prepared comments on taxes in the air, Trump's supporters actually applauded his child-like spontaneity, as if being president of the United States is some kind of carnival act that's supposed to entertain and feed the fickleness of a mob.

 What a nightmare ...

- Mark