Wednesday, August 31, 2016

MID-WEEK READING (August 31, 2016)

What's the Alt-Right (LA Times)?

What are the biggest defence budgets in the world (Telegraph)?

Alaskans witness collapsing mountains, shattered lives (Truth Out).

The plight of the white working class isn't economic, it's cultural (The Federalist).

Someone is wrong on the Internet. That's where I come in (Washington Post).


Big Pharma's dirty secret: EpiPen was developed entirely with taxpayer money (U.S. Uncut).

The CEO who hiked EpiPen prices actually just said, "No one's more frustrated than me" (Slate).

Pharma CEO gave herself an $18 million raise after hiking EpiPen prices (U.S. Uncut).

EpiPen users unleash wrath on Manchin: 'Your daughter should be charged as an accomplice to murder' (Raw Story).

Why did Mylan hike the EpiPen prices 400%? Because they could (Forbes).


This chart reveals the inhumanity of U.S. drug prices compared to other countries (U.S. Uncut).

Disgusted with sky-high drug prices, California take on Big Pharma (Truth Out).

Good Lord. Even the price of insulin is skyrocketing (Slate).

Legalize it all: How to win the war on drugs (Harper's Magazine).


Nightmare on Main Street: America's housing system was at the centre of the last crisis. It still has not been properly reformed (The Economist).

Corporate welfare at its ugliest ... Inside the administration's $1 billion deal to detain Central American asylum seekers (Washington Post).

Overcharged: The high cost of high finance ... $12.9 trillion to $22.7 trillion (Roosevelt Institute).


I'm Latino. I'm Hispanic. And they're different, so I drew a comic to explain (Vox).

Latinos age slower than other ethnicities, UCLA study shows (UCLA Newsroom).


Trump campaign chief Steve Bannon is registered voter at vacant Florida home (The Guardian).

Trump lawyer send 'Art of the Deal' ghostwriter a Cease-and-Desist letter (NY Times).

Trump campaign's new CEO peddled conspiracy theories about Clinton team (Mother Jones).

Secret ledger in Ukraine lists cash for Donald Trump's campaign chief (NY Times).


Paul Singer says, "Everyone is in the dark"; warns of "sudden, intense market breakdown" (Zero Hedge).

A closer look at the Federal Reserve's securities lending program (The Big Picture / Barry Ritholtz).

The counterfactual on QE (The Big Picture).


U.S. pastor, who believes floods are God's punishment, flees flooded home (BBC).

Conservative Louisiana flood victims are suddenly silent about big government (Modern Liberals).

Christian Activist: Mother was justified in killing her daughters since they dated "black guys" (The Intellectualist).


Dallas cops' pension fund nears insolvency in wake of shady real estate deals, FBI raid (Zero Hedge).

Top administrator exits Dallas police and fire pension fund (Dallas Morning News).


Now this is a surprise ... "The NRA's favorite gun 'academic' is a fraud" (Think Progress).

Comedian BK Irons goes off on Donald Trump in a hilarious way ... Fair warning, language spots make this PG13  (YouTube). 

Fast-growing corporate evils that should be media issue ... and campaign issues (Buzz Flash).

More than six decades ago, Woodie Guthrie took on the racist real estate practices of Donald Trump's father (Buzz Flash).

- Mark

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Monday, August 29, 2016


Almost two years ago I wrote about the three charts the banks don't want you to see. Specifically, these three charts made it clear (1) America's biggest banks are effectively bankrupt without federal subsidies, (2) Bank of America is spending billions of dollars defending criminal activities that seem to be a regular part of doing business, and (3) Bank of America spent more money defending itself in court than they earned between 2011 and 2014.

So, you're probably wondering, what's happened to our banking system? How did it become such a mess, and a threat to our domestic and global economies?

Godfrey Bloom, Member of European Parliament, explains what's wrong with our banking system on a general level, by taking a look at the bailout and easy money culture that's propped up our financial institutions both domestically and globally ...

In case the link doesn't work, this is what Bloom describes: The banks are broke, and have been able to survive only by lending money that's been created out of thin air with U.S.-led policies designed to make sure the banks don't go under.

All of this is made possible because of what the bankers confusingly refer to as moral hazard, quantitative easing, and repressed interest rates. Since most normal people aren't familiar with this kind of "bankspeak" I've broken down what it all means here:

1. MORAL HAZARD: This is bankspeak for bailouts and favorable legislation. Both enable the financial sector by letting them off the hook for reckless and stupid business decisions. 
2. QUANTITATIVE EASING (QE): This is another confusing bankspeak term. It means that Federal Reserve is effectively printing money (as it were), which they then dump into the financial system so the banks have something to play with and don't go under. Dumping money into the system creates a "beer goggles" effect that let's bankers pretend things look better than they actually are. If you want to get vulgar, yeah, you can say QE is counterfeiting - as Bloom suggests - since the Federal Reserve doesn't get any real collateral in return for the money they create and lend to the banks.
3. INTEREST RATES REPRESSED ARTIFICIALLY: As if bailouts and counterfeiting to save a broken system weren't enough, the Federal Reserve artificially keeps interest rates low so market players who borrow don't have to pay market prices for what they want buy and trade. Artificially repressing interest rates reduces operating costs by making everything cheaper, which keeps the economy humming along as if markets are healthy. They are not.
4. DEPOSIT GUARANTEES: This one is real simple. After the banks collapsed - because they were both incompetent and using their clients money to bet on Wall Street in 1929 - the federal government needed to rebuild public confidence in the banks. There would be no more "trust us, we know what we're doing in the market" mentality. The U.S. created the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) which said, in effect, when the banks mess up the federal government will reimburse you for what you deposited with the banks. The banks pay a minimal fee (though many didn't before 2008) and get the full backing of the U.S. government / taxpayer.

So, in a nutshell, according to Godfrey Bloom, the global banking scam is built around regular government-backed bailouts, counterfeit cash, artificially cheap money, and taxpayer-backed deposit guarantees.

Does this sound like a financial system governed by free market principles, or a banking scam? You make the call.

- Mark 

Friday, August 26, 2016


Calm down conservatives.

The Clinton Foundation "scandal" is yet another "silver spoon" distraction, courtesy of right wing talk radio and Fox News. So, yeah, while even the Associated Press got duped, the reality is the GOP and their noise machine need another Benghazi-like distraction because their presidential candidate is perpetual clown show who appears to be running a political Ponzi scheme of epic proportions.

Here's a couple of memes that helps to put things in perspective.





The most disturbing part of all this ginned up background noise is that conservatives who buy into these distracting "look at the shiny spoon" stunts are only showing that they hate the Clinton's more than they love America. The fact that the press doesn't call them out on any of this is the real shame of America today.

Fortunately, CNN's Paul Begala points out the hypocrisy, and vigorously goes after what the media is (or is not) doing when it comes to the Clinton Foundation. His claim that President Clinton deserves a Nobel Prize for what he's doing might be over the top for some, but it's a legitimate topic to bring up.

- Mark


In many ways, this Dilbert cartoon captures the the birth and logic of right-wing talk radio and the typical Trump supporter ... 

- Mark

Tuesday, August 23, 2016


The documentary below is an 18-minute helicopter tour of Mexico's pyramids. It's narrated by Orson Welles and won two Academy Awards. I use this in class to introduce students to pre-conquest Mexico. It's titled "Sentinels of Silence" and is one of the best and most dramatic clips you'll ever see of ancient Mexico. Enjoy ...

- Mark


You can't make this stuff up. Then again, you don't have to with our current crop of Republican ideologues who have no sense of compassion, nor seem to understand how federalism works.

It turns out that the same Louisiana congressmen, who voted against federal relief for Hurricane Sandy victims in New York and New Jersey - under the banner of being fiscally conservative - now want federal relief for their flood impacted Louisiana residents. Here's two of the Louisiana congressman who suddenly found "Federal Relief" Jesus, Rep. John Fleming and Rep. Steve Scalise ...

You can read about the GOP's sudden embrace of federalism, and how it's supposed to work, in this Los Angeles Times article - "These Louisiana politicians are demanding flood aid, but voted against Sandy relief" - by Michael Hiltzik.

- Mark 

Saturday, August 20, 2016


I wrote about this issue last year, but it needs to be repeated. It especially needs to be repeated because supporters of Donald Trump and the GOP need to be slapped in the face with this reality: Trump and his Republican inspired policies will take us back to a place that Will Not Make America Great Again.

As a reminder, this is where we were 7 years ago ...
* The stock market had crashed, and was heading towards Great Depression territory. 
* Wall Street was begging for protection, and were black mailing the nation for trillions in bailouts (which they eventually got).  
* The real estate market had crashed, and millions of people ended up losing their homes.  
* The banking system was in disarray, and on the verge of collapse. 
* The Federal Reserve and all the market experts were naively "shocked" by market events (as if reckless deregulation, lax oversight, and cheap money weren't a clue). 
* Unemployment was above 7% and heading higher. 
* Our multi-trillion dollar war debacles in Iraq and Afghanistan were going strong.  
* President Bush, who had inherited multi-billion dollar budget surpluses, was leaving President Obama built-in $1.4 trillion budget deficits. 
Now throw in the fact that the Republican party has done everything they can to block and stonewall virtually every major piece of legislation that President Obama has pushed or embraced; as if what they did the last time they were in control was a good thing.

Here's the point I'm trying to make. According to virtually every economic indicator, things are better today than they were when President Bush left office. Take a look ...

In spite of this, Donald Trump and his supporters speak as if President Obama did absolutely nothing to clean up his predecessors mess. Worse, they speak as if America is worse off than it was 7 years ago. 

Watching adults embrace this kind of delusion is not healthy. More to the point, embracing this kind of thinking, as Donald Trump's supporters do, tells us they may be mental.

So, no, you should not engage Trump's supporters in a political debate, as if what they have to tell you is of any value. You can't argue with people who won't accept facts. Indulging delusional thinking adds nothing to your life, or the value of America. It's simply not worth it.

The fact that millions of Republicans don't understand any of this says much about the GOP, and the state of our nation.

- Mark

Friday, August 19, 2016


The Pew Research Center just finished a survey of the global community. They asked people around the world how much confidence they have in global leaders and U.S. presidential candidates "to do the right thing". It would appear that our friends from other nations have little to no confidence in Donald Trump, or Vladimir Putin. But they have a great deal of confidence in Hillary Clinton, and President Obama, to do the right thing.

I'm not sure about you, but if forced to place a bet I would put my money on Donald Trump calling the global community a bunch of losers - or something to that effect - when asked about this poll. Just saying.

- Mark

Thursday, August 18, 2016


Researchers at the Roosevelt Institute decided to look at how dysfunctional our markets are by determining how much our financial sector actually costs the American economy. They begin by reminding us all that a healthy financial system is supposed to facilitate savings, funnel savings and finance to productive investment, reduce risk with viable insurance programs, and should act as a dependable medium of exchange. 

The Roosevelt Institute's report "Overcharged: The high cost of finance" nonetheless makes it clear that our financial system is no longer providing these services in a way that helps build an economy with a stable or secure market environment. 

Our problem today, as the report points out, is that after decades of deregulation the U.S. financial system has slowly been degraded into "a highly speculative system" that is failing spectacularly at facilitating efficiency or providing market stability. Today, American taxpayers, families, and businesses are being forced to pay for this failure in the form of higher fees, growing debt loads, and perpetual bailouts. 

Rather than helping the American economy create viable wealth structures for the long-term, America's financial sector is now siphoning off trillions of dollars - a process I've referred to as wealth extraction. As Joseph Schumpeter might have put it, it's the difference between playing monopoly and building them.

Overall, the Roosevelt Institute estimates that the financial sector costs the American economy - and you and me in the form of higher fees and bailouts - between $12.9 trillion and $22.7 trillion

If this stuff seems interesting - and it should since it's going to help bring down the economy again - you can read all about it here and here.

- Mark 

Wednesday, August 17, 2016


With the ability to fly across the Atlantic in 3.5 hours, the Concorde was an engineering marvel but a commercial failure. What happened? Why don't we see these planes around today?

The video clip below explains what happened to the Concorde. As an added bonus, the clip from Vox also helps explain how markets actually function in the modern world, and international political economy. Enjoy ...

- Mark

Tuesday, August 16, 2016


By the end of June more than 50% of Republican voters said they would have preferred someone else other than Donald Trump as their party's nominee. Since then 50 foreign policy Republican officials made the case that Donald Trump is a national security threat, and should not become president.

For those of you keeping score, The National Memo and The Atlantic have an up to date list of high profile Republicans who will not be voting for Donald Trump in November, which you can access here and here.

- Mark


A friend sent me this Alex Jones hit piece on Hillary Clinton (yeah, another one), which claimed she stole the primary election from Bernie Sanders. My friend wanted to know what I thought of Alex "The Aliens Are Coming ..." Jones' piece. My response was simple and short, and follows below:

1. THE SOURCE: You want to first consider the source. Alex Jones, seriously?

2. SUDDEN ELECTORAL PURITY: When Republicans start complaining about how George W. Bush stole the 2000 election from Al Gore, with the same indignation and energy they exert now, I might take what they have to say about stolen elections a little more seriously.
3. HILLARY STILL WON: While there were numerous late Bernie Ballots counted after the June 7 elections, Hillary still won California (for example) by over 375,000 votes.

In all cases, it's best to remember that anyone backing the GOP this election cycle can't live without conspiracy or fear. They need the drama, or else there's no way for them to understand the world they live in.

They can't explain the election and popularity of the nation's first Black president without conspiracy or fear ...
They can't explain how the economy is better today than it was 7 1/2 years ago without conspiracy or fear ...
They can't explain why Benghazi is more important than the more than 20 embassies and consulates that were attacked during the Bush administration - which left 66 dead - without conspiracy or fear ...

In a few words, the GOP needs the drama that comes with conspiracy and fear to help their world make sense. Applying logic and common sense turns their world upside down which, in many ways, helps explain the popularity of Donald Trump.

- Mark

Monday, August 15, 2016


From Business Insider we get a bar graph that breaks down how America has accumulated $12.29 trillion in consumer debt ...

Most of us understand that debt really isn't an issue if you can pay for it. This means the real issue is comparing household debt to household income, which you can read about here.

Long story short? From 1980 through 2014 total household debt increased about 70% faster than household income.

So, yeah, stagnating wages and growing consumer debt is the real story behind the American economy. Think about this the next time your conservative friends want to tell you about the benefits of Ronald Reagan and the GOP's tax cuts for the rich program.

- Mark 

Friday, August 12, 2016

WEEKEND READING (Aug. 12, 2016)

Indiana House Leader resigns after texting sexually explicit video of himself cheating on wife to everyone on "Contacts" list (Salon).

Presidential job approval ratings from Ike to Obama (Pew Research Center).

The great charter school rip-off: Finally, the truth catches up to education "reform" phonies (Salon).

These are the 4 of the biggest problems facing our Corporate-Dominated economy (Alternet).

New study proves Republicans are to blame for slow economy (The Guardian).

GOP busted for MASSIVE embassy security cuts starting in 2011 (Reverb Press).

By trying to destroy President Obama through unfettered anti-intellectualism, the GOP destroyed itself (The Intellectualist).

Woman has a romantic evening with her Tinder Date. Then he texts her to tell her she's fat (Little Things).

Nation with crumbling bridges and roads excited to build giant wall (The New Yorker).

Scientists: Earth endangered by new strain of fact-resistant humans (The New Yorker).

Rush Limbaugh bemoans CNN's "Instant Fact Check" that call out Trump lies (Media Matters).

Donald Trump's "self-funding" includes payments to family and his companies (NY Times).

Too good to check: Sean Hannity's tale of Trump rescue, that never happened (Washington Post).

Trump's 'Obama founded ISIS' comment exemplifies why his campaign is on the brink of doom (Washington Post).

These three states are making a Trump win basically impossible (Washington Post).

Meet the California couple who uses more water than every home in Los Angeles combined (Mother Jones).

This Lego-Style home can be built in a few weeks with just a screwdriver (Tech Insider).

A Chinese company 3-D printed 10 houses in a day (Business Insider).

How to hack an election in 7 minutes (Politico).

Louisiana GOPers blame OBAMA for slow Katrina response - even though the storm took place three YEARS before he took office (Daily News).

Hannity to WSJ editor: If Hillary wins "I will hold a**holes like you accountable" (Politico).

"The Bull Market just won't die", Citi laments as it sees "Red" everywhere (Zero Hedge).

Trump offers huge favors to billionaires, and calls it a big economic speech ... GOP presidential pick's policy would pave way for Wall Street looting of economy (Alternet).

The end of capitalism has begun (The Guardian).

So-called "post-capitalism" is just another crappy capitalist snowjob (Skewed News).

A world without work (The Atlantic).

Radical new economic system will emerge from collapse of capitalism (The Guardian).

Former U.S. Labor Secretary Robert Reich says the Gig economy can be a "nightmare" (Buzzfeed).

Angelo Mozilo - 25 people to blame for the financial crisis (Time).

Ireland jails three top bankers over 2008 banking meltdown (Reuters).

Neoliberalism - the ideology at the root of all our problems (The Guardian).

50 Republican officials make the case that Trump is a national security threat (Vox).

U.S. veteran homelessness slashed in half: What's behind the decline (CSM)?

Rigged Game: Ever wonder how Wall Street analysts are so good at forecasting? Hint, it's not their Excel skills (Zero Hedge).

- Mark


- Mark

Wednesday, August 10, 2016


The Washington Post has called on the Republican Party to dump Trump. What threw them over the edge was Donald Trump's suggestion that the "Second Amendment people" in his camp might know what to do if Hillary Clinton becomes president and starts nominating judges that they don't like. 

The Washington Post's argument is spot on and forceful:

The Muslim ban, the David Duke denial, the “Mexican” judge flap, the draft dodger denigrating John McCain’s military service, the son of privilege attacking an immigrant Gold Star mother and the constant revisionism and lying about past political positions taken are but a few of the lowlights that have punctuated Donald Trump’s chaotic chase for the presidency ... the political ride will only get rockier for Trump in the coming days after he suggested that one way to keep a conservative Supreme Court after Hillary Clinton got elected would be to assassinate her or federal judges. Trump and his supporters have been scrambling wildly all day to explain away the inexplicable, but they can stop wasting their time. The GOP nominee was clearly suggesting that some of the “Second Amendment people” among his supporters could kill his Democratic opponent were she to be elected ...  A bloody line has been crossed that cannot be ignored. At long last, Donald Trump has left the Republican Party few options but to act decisively and get this political train wreck off the tracks before something terrible happens.

Will calls for the GOP to dump Trump work? Probably not. Trump's supporters don't deal in reality, and are bending over backwards to justify and parse his words. They don't see anything wrong with what he said, or says. 

For their part, the leadership of the GOP have lived in a clueless Christian-neoliberal alternate universe for years. They don't have the intellectual or moral spine to confront their Frankenstein. 

But the real reason Donald Trump's campaign will continue is the idiot fatigue that surrounds Donald Trump. Simply put, every time Donald Trump says something stupid or ignorant too many people are now shrugging it off as if it's just another Johnny Manziel-TMZ moment.  

What we are seeing - and with a nod to Neil Postman - is a society that has become so distracted by trivia that our political culture has been recast into "a perpetual round of entertainments", where serious public conversation is little more than an elevated "form of baby-talk". Give them what they want and they will coo for you. What we would like to think is an informed society living in a vibrant democracy is really little more than an audience in a vaudeville act. Life has become burlesque.

Idiot fatigue is not a symptom for Trump's supporters, it's a condition.

- Mark

Tuesday, August 9, 2016


You can find details of Wachovia's money laundering, penalty, and fine story here - and their parent company's (Wells Fargo) broader ties to the dark side here.

- Mark

Monday, August 8, 2016


Let's recall how it all started ... the GOP was ticked off that Hillary broke the mold of how a First Lady was supposed to act, especially when she pursued health care reform. They are now consumed with the reality that the man they hate the most, Bill Clinton, will help change "the role" of White House couples forever while Hillary works to make the country safer and stronger.

If you've wondered before, wonder no more ... the modern GOP has never been ready for the future, and don't really love America. They only care about power and pursuing an outdated ideology, while imposing a religious view that doesn't fit America. Worse, they don't care if they bring the country down as they ignore civic responsibilities, while engaging in cultural witch hunts against a world they want to control but will never understand.

The fact that the GOP doesn't get any of this helps explain why many of their supporters are so filled with anger and hate. The world they think they know is eluding their grasp, which feeds their frustration. Donald Trump and fear are all they have left, which is why the Republican Party is lashing out at those that don't fit the ugly caricature of America they've created.

Trump is their face, and their political monster.

- Mark

Friday, August 5, 2016

WEEKEND READING (August 5, 2016)

EU demands Britain pays pensions of 1,730 Eurocrats in wake of Brexit vote (The Telegraph).

Sarah McBride shuts down Clint Eastwood's defense of Donald Trump's racism (ATTN:).

Former Fed official: Wealth bubble in 'scary graph' flashes warning about future U.S. downturn (Against Crony Capitalism).

Truck driver gets sweet justice after being brake checked by aggressive driver (Live Trucking).

Samantha Bee 'apologizes' to Eric Trump - then trolls him with barrage of hunting pictures (Raw Story).

Beware: Donald Trump knows even less about world affairs than Sarah Palin (Fusion).

Donald Trump's many business failures (Newsweek).

It's official: Hillary Clinton is running against Vladimir Putin (The Atlantic).

Hillary Clinton 'loves' the idea of appointing Obama to Supreme Court (Washington Times).

Rep. Richard Hanna becomes the first Republican Congressman to say he's with Hillary Clinton (Mother Jones).

Fox News contributors Laura Ingraham's idiocy: Puerto Ricans are not U.S. citizens (Politics USA).

Former Fox News commentator sentenced to prison for faking CIA ties (Reuters).

Ex-Reagan adviser: Fox News is 'self-brainwashing' Republicans into a radical fringe party (Raw Story).

Fox News didn't air that amazing speech by the father of a fallen Muslim soldier (Huffington Post).

The GOP's challenge: Denying Obama's economic gains (MSNBC).

All the terrible things Hillary Clinton has done - in one big list (Market Watch).

Why facts don't matter to Trump's supporters (Washington Post).

The real origins of the religious right (Politico).

The mythical connection between immigrants and crime (WSJ).

State Department concludes past secretaries of state "definitively" handled classified information on private email (Media Matters).

The reviews are in: Conservatives say the DNC was 'disaster' for the GOP (TPM).

Courts strike blows to GOP voter restrictions in 3 states (NY Times).

In first for sitting president, Obama publishes a scholarly article (Fortune).

When capitalism only rewards shareholders, it's time for reform (PBS News Hour).

Profits without prosperity (Harvard Business Review).

Theresa May's plan to put workers on boards is borrowed from Germany and France (Independent).

The United States and NATO are preparing for a major war with Russia (The Nation).

Inside the corporate utopias where capitalism rules and labor laws don't apply (In These Times).

New Feature: Trump's 'Baghad Bob' of the week (Washington Post).

Inbreeding ruined these royal families (All Day).

- Mark 

Wednesday, August 3, 2016


- Mark


How the 'Stupid Party' created Donald Trump (NY Times).

'The party died in this room tonight': Nicole Wallace grief-stricken as Trump's RNC speech ends (Raw Story).

VFW releases statement on Donald Trump and it's devastating (U.S. Uncut).

Watch Trump throw crying baby out of Virginia rally (Rolling Stone / Politico).

The facts behind Donald Trump's many falsehoods (Dana Milbank).

Joe Scarborough claims Donald Trump repeatedly asked a foreign policy adviser why we can't use nuclear weapons (The Week).

Yes, it runs in the genes ... Eric Trump: "Strong, powerful women' don't allow sexual harassment to occur (The Guardian).

Judge allows suit against Trump University to proceed (NY Times).

Donald Trump to sexual harassment victims, 'find another career' if you're so unhappy (Blasting News).

Donald Trump hired me as an attorney. Please don't support him for president (Huffington Post).

'You dodged the draft': Khizr Kahn slams Trump for taking Purple Heart - then bragging about it (Raw Story).

Obama says Trump is 'unfit to serve' as president (Huffington Post).

Soldier who served with Humayun Khan won't vote for Trump after he criticized family (BuzzFeed News).

Warren Buffett is latest billionaire to excoriate Donald Trump (NY Times).

Trump's tax plan would mean a $7.1 billion reward for his family - cost taxpayers $10 trillion (Raw Story).

Buying a Trump property, or so they thought (NY Times).

Trump's failed Baja condo resort left buyers feeling betrayed and angry (LA Times).

In response to Trump, another dangerous movement appears (Rolling Stone).

The 250 people, places, and things Donald Trump has insulted on Twitter: A complete list (NY Times).

Everyone is calling Scott Baio a 'moron' after threatening to sue anyone who calls him a moron for supporting Trump (Freak Out Nation).

Inside Trump's financial ties to Russia and his unusual flattery of Vladimir Putin (Washington Post).

Donald Trump has no idea what his "rigged election" talk could unleash (Vox).

Donald Trump is trying to undermine the Democratic process itself (Slate).

Kirby: A Trump supporter, an El Salvadorian maid and a columnist walk into a Montana hotel ... (Salt Lake Tribune).

Blast from the past edition ... Florida Republican: Donald Trump is a Democratic plot to make GOP look stupid (Raw Story).

- Mark