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Monday, March 27, 2017

The Trump Placebo



A friend showed The Omnivore this conversation from Facebook:

The writer is, obviously, a Trump-voter who wants the Omni-Friend, Michael, to lighten up and enjoy the MAGA-ing. Is Trump MAGA-ing? Already? If so, how much? If not? How would we know?

Let's see.

1. Trump Voters / Republicans Certainly Think Things Are Getting Better

Gallup tracks how Americans feel about the current economic conditions and their guesses about the future. This is how it looks post-election:

The climb is from Republicans and independents--Democrats felt less optimistic about the future by 13pts (a big decline). From a December poll:

The Omnivore will note that we've been through this before with Obama--in the reverse. So is this just good feelings? Or is something really happening?

2. The Numbers - Who Believes Them?

Republicans will have an awkward advantage here: now that Trump is in the White House they feel okay to "believe the numbers" (particularly unemployment figures)--and so will Democrats, having believed them all along. The reason this is awkward is that if the numbers are "okay" today and were "okay" this time last year--then Trump-supporters should have to acknowledge that the active ingredient probably wasn't Trump.

So . . .  Jobs!

3. The Jobs President

Trump takes a lot of vocal credit for saving American jobs. What does the Jobs picture look like since Trump took office? Since we can now use government statistics, The Omnivore will go to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

How is employment doing?
Unemployment has been falling since 2008. By February it's . . . doing okay.
How about changes in "real hourly wages" for private employees? There's no Trump effect here either. Ah, but how about Labor-Force Participation?
Labor-Force participation has dropped and it increased slightly at the end of the year back to where it was around 2014. If you didn't like it in 2014, why is it okay now? Right: Trump.

Take-Away: Trump may be increasing optimism in the labor situation--but he isn't having an impact yet. A lot of Obama voters felt rosy about the economy after he was elected. How'd that work out for them?

Well, how did it?

4. The Bull-Market President!

This is the S&P adjusted for inflation:
That last gray line is the 2008 collapse followed by the election of Obama. If you were invested in the stock market, under Obama, you did great! It is worth noting that right now some stock market watchers are nervous because:

  • The market is on an 11 year winning-spree. That means, statistically, it's time for a bear.
  • The market is very susceptible to nerves. If Trump encounters a real crisis and fumbles it, it could crash.

5. The Trump Real Estate Market

Here's existing home-sales, vs. new-home sales:
Things are doing okay here with steady rises since 2011. Okay!

The Truth: Nothing's Happened Yet

Trump may be great for the economy or he may be a disaster--we won't know for at least a year. In The Omnivore's own job-area, the financial sector, we believe that he will de-regulate banking which will be good for us--but potentially bad for you. However, our view is that (a) anything that is intended to happen will take around 2 years to develop and have an impact and (b) no one--not even us--want to go back to 2008 rules. Despite what Bernie Sanders voters tell you, the banking system did not intend to crash the economy and we don't think we'd survive the same conditions a second time.


One other thing: If Trump is the economics president, he's come in the worst possible package. Trump's initial foray into the healthcare markets sparked fears of a crash (which recovered after he fumbled the ball completely). Ryan's plan wasn't the proximate cause--it was the chaos and uncertainty that Trump projected.

This has also had impacts on things like the Municipal Bond Markets (loss of 5bn to investors, largely due to uncertainty) and US Treasuries. If Trump can create his 1T infrastructure program, keep inflation to a minimum, and continue to hold the unemployment rate low while letting labor-force participation increase (the retiring boomers will work against that, however), confidence and stability will increase.

On the other hand, if he continues to create international discord with allies, fumble legislative initiatives, and can't shake the Russia-scandal then he is going to look like a chaos agent instead of a growth president.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Is Conspiracy Theory America's New Religion?


A crowd of #pizzagate protesters descended on Washington D.C. They were calling, of course, for an investigation that will never, can never, come--to find the innocents that Hillary and her malefactors have been abusing in the privacy of a pizza-compound. Their evidence for this are symbols with arcane meanings, riddles in hacked emails, and a chain of dots of information that paints a picture of unspeakable evils.

Never mind that, legally speaking, there's zero evidence, that investigators have yet to turn up anything that isn't on the Internet, and that the scenario, whatever it might be, makes no sense. These people have faith. Serious, serious faith.

This . . . reminds The Omnivore of something.

Church-Going In America is Declining

There are a lot of reasons for this (not the least of which is that modernity has made a hash of every-day life's scheduling and a lot of people are working weekends or flat out on their backs for their 6 AM Monday). People have conflicting cultural signals. The Church, as an entity, has had some . . . problems (The Omnivore is looking at the Catholic Church scandals--but there are others). Women--who traditionally represent a backbone of unpaid volunteer organizing--are in the workforce in greater numbers than ever. And so on.

There are plenty of full-on bad reasons too--but this article isn't about bashing (a) modern society or (b) the church*.

The fact is that there's a gap in the American spirit and it looks an awful lot to The Omnivore like conspiracy is vying to fill it.

That would be a very, very, very bad thing.

We Are Spiritual Creatures

Even athiests admit we're wired for spirituality (they may argue that's why the Church is a lie, of course). The fact is that, like social relations, if we lack spirituality in our lives, we feel a void. We seek to fill it. The Omnivore listened to a pod-cast yesterday about how middle-aged men are lacking in friends--this has nothing to do with spirituality--modern-life had created a cadence that had kids, the job, the wife--but no guys. They lost touch. They drifted away. It was too hard to maintain the friendships.

The objective health of these men suffers greatly. It may be more dangerous than obesity. More dangerous than smoking.

The Omnivore suspects that a Spiritual Need exists as well. It may not be as well defined--but the evidence for it is simply overwhelming (every human society has religion. Full stop.)

If we aren't getting our spirituality from church, what if other things are vying for it--marketing themselves--hitting all the key markers.

Conspiracy As Religion: The Worst of all Possible Worlds

The pattern is pretty straightforward:

  1. Conspiracy Theory requires faith--but provides "evidence."
  2. There is a doctrine and a scripture.
  3. There is an in-group. If you question it--if you have a crisis of faith--you can be exiled.
  4. It promises special knowledge. Gnosis.
  5. It provides a good and an evil. The evil may be men--but they are men of numinous power and influence.
  6. Conspiracy provides for quests (investigators). It provides prophets (leakers, people on YouTube).
  7. It makes money: you can vend to Conspiracy Theorists.
  8. Perhaps, some say, it even provides comfort ("No Children Died At Sandy Hook").
  9. It provides righteousness--not just "self righteousness"--but actual "objective" righteousness.
Of course it doesn't deliver any of those things: Conspiracy is decay. Conspiracy theory is toxic dysfunction. It plays to the worst aspects of any religious impulse you can think of--it teaches your fellow men are predators or prey--and that the prey, most of them, are asking-for-it-sheeple. 

It provides self-righteousness but without any morality or responsibility. It encourages selfish behavior--it promotes evangelizing by means of mockery and insult.

If conspiracy is gathering hold as a religion, the country is in big trouble.

:: Looks Around ::

We appear to be in big trouble.

A Couple of Notes

Firstly, let's not lose our history here--America has always had a superstitious under-current. There have always been cults (read about Joseph Smith's beginnings hucking magical stones before his founding of Mormonism). There have always been conspiracy theories. This isn't new.

What is new, if this is new, is that the theory has reached the operational level of government. A couple of years ago the Governor of Texas called out the National Guard to address concerns that the US Military was going to take over.

Today Alex Jones has a White House press presence.

What makes The Omnivore uncomfortable here is that the line between real and fake has been attacked and actively torn down by the organs we once counted on to protect us from it (government, media--the right wing media--and even mainstream religion in its inexplicable trust of Donald Trump). The enduring atrocity of #pizzagate now seems to have children (at leas a few) being "raised" in it--as some kind of central facet of their lives.

Surely this is an outlier--but in 2015 the Texas National Guard was an outlier.

Secondly, if you are a person who distrusts "organized religion," The Omnivore fucking assures you that if religion is going to happen with or without you--and it is--then you want traditional organized religion 100 times out of 100 over Conspiracy-Theory-Religion. No matter what you think of "the Church" it's not the psychic industrial waste of conspiracy theory.

If True, Then What?

The Conspiracy Theory Church may not exist--it may just be a few points of data jumping out to The Omnivore--but if it does--if it can be shown to--then mainstream churches need to stand together against it. Conspiracy Theory and positive spirituality are not, ultimately, compatible--and while many people compartmentalize them in various ways--and we are not talking about a few strange speculative beliefs here--we are talking about people acting strongly in ways driven by a deeply adopted identity that is based on things like #pizzagate--the promotion of these things by the "mainstream" (which, today, includes the Trumpist-Media-Sphere--that is friendly to #pizzagate and other damaging beliefs) will grow and spread.

A spiritual disease, if you will.

That is all.



* Someone one explained going to Church to The Omnivore like going to the gym--but to work on your spirituality instead of your muscles. Mainstream Churches, if they are doing their job, provide vegetables (morality, an uncompromising position on right and wrong), along with meat and desert. Conspiracy is the opposite: it provides all the bad stuff and none of the good stuff. It just feels good.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

RyanCare Collapse

DRUGE BRINGS OUT BLIMP. IT'S THAT SERIOUS.
Yesterday was a spectacular failure for Republicans, Deal Making, Tax Cuts for the 1%, and Increased American Mortality. The Ryan-Care Trump-Plan exploded before take-off with the last minute fixes getting the bill further from passing rather than closer as the party flailed wildly. By some estimates there were approximately 60 (!) no-votes in the end.

This is, of course, because the bill served no master in the GOP: Yeah, it cut taxes for the super-wealthy--but tax reform will already do that. For moderates, it cost people their insurance. For conservatives, it didn't go far enough--so this problem was kinda predictable. The only part that wasn't predictable was that the Freedom Caucus didn't cave--and THAT was due in large part to Trump actively fumbling the negotiations!
Then Trump made a mistake. After singling out Meadows and asking him to stand up in front of his colleagues, Trump joked that he might "come after" the Freedom Caucus boss if he didn't vote yes, and then added, with a more serious tone: "I think Mark Meadows will get on board." 
It was a crucial misreading of Meadows, who has been determined to please both the White House and his conservatives colleagues on the Hill. Upon assuming the chairmanship of the Freedom Caucus earlier this year, Meadows was viewed suspiciously by some of his members who worried that the North Carolina congressman is too cozy with Trump and would hesitate to defy him. 
A great deal of electronic ink has been spilled trying to determine what this means. Here is what "it means."

What Failure To Repeal Obamacare Means

Firstly, it turns out that the GOP doesn't really care that much about Obamacare. They'll take their bloody nose and move ahead. Their base will more or less go along with it (see the exception). This is because healthcare is a Gordian knot for the GOP that they cannot untie and are unwilling to cut. Their base really, really hated Obama and even his giving a bunch of them healthcare didn't change that fact.

The actual policy? Like Medicare and Social Security? They're okay with--kinda.

Secondly, they may find it easier to agree on the goals of Tax Reform--but they will find it as hard or harder to implement. This is because while they all agree that taxes should be cut--and especially for the wealthy and corporations:

  1. The cutting of Obamacare taxes was supposed to be a big bonus for the wealthy. It won't happen now.
  2. Trump's agenda is, excepting O-care, pretty pricey. Plus he's contemplating some "kinetic actions" which will also be pricey. Trump doesn't really understand the finances (it seems) but he's going to demand that the federal government pay for some stuff (the wall, etc.) and people are going to ask where the money will come from. His go-to: order the work and then not pay--will not work from the White House.
  3. While the goals may be easier with Tax Reform, the details are probably harder. While Republicans were, it turns out, not real sure what their constituents really wanted in a bill (just not Ryan's Plan), a bunch of their leaders do know exactly what they want in tax reform and that's going to create differing policy-drivers.
  4. The stakes are going to be high--but the time factor is going to be difficult: Trump wants a win tomorrow. Tax reform will take months or years.
  5. Going small: Tax cuts is the obvious answer--but the GOP may expect more from their total ownership than marginalia.

The Big One Though - Ryan and The Bus

What this really means, though, is that Trump, having been handed a narcissistic injury of bigly proportions, will have no emotional restraint to keep him from throwing Ryan under the bus. This will be done in two ways:
  1. Surrogates (Breitbart) will get Weapons Free Clearance on Ryan--and, uhm, his wife. Flynn Jr. Is already tweeting that Ryan's wife is a huge Democratic operative. Breitbart unleashes a special on first, Ryan's weakness in the House--and second with articles about Hollywood celebrities rejoicing in the failure of repeal. Trump-friendly press will need bad-guys to exonerate Trump and while Democrats are the go-to, in this case, that's gonna be hard to sell.
  2. Trump will publicly say most of the right things and then complain in private. The complaints will leak like crazy.
The net result of Trump's self-destructive need to blame is not solely due to the fact that Trump is incompetent and unwilling to accept responsibility. It's also due to the fact that Ryan really did launch a dog of a bill and, for inexplicable reasons, Trump signed on to it.

From Trump's perspective the only way out of this bill was to throw Ryan under the bus early and hard. A look at the bill could have told Trump and his advisers it would never become law. The reason Ryan though it would is because he put the basic concepts of it in his 'Better Way' plan and was under the impression that the (broad) agreement on it was real. Ryan seems to have been surprised that people "ran on" this--but didn't actually support it.

This was foolish--they "ran on it" because it gave them a fig-leaf of a plan. They didn't support it because governance is hard and Ryan is more a P90X policy-bro than a leader or consensus builder. The black-eye that Ryan got is really, probably, surprising to him--and exposing for the Republicans. Mainly, what it exposed was a moderate group that really likes being elected officials and realize that although their base doesn't really get it, when they lose healthcare they'll feel it.

You might think that throwing Ryan under the bus is no big thing--Ryan's a big boy and it really is his failure. That's not the case: Trump's legal teflon is directly proportional to Trump's perceived ability to sign conservative legislation. If Ryan is catastrophically weakened against Trump they will start to realize that Trump is really in this for himself and getting conservative legislation to Trump's desk requires a leader somewhere. That isn't Ryan. It . . . might not be anyone. It sure isn't Trump.

When that happens, do you think that Trump's base will realize he isn't accomplishing things and turn on him? No. They'll turn on congress. If Trump's base turns on the House? They'll impeach him.

Maybe.

UPDATE: Bannon is, apparently, keeping a "shit list" of R's who were planned "no"-votes on the bill. The idea being there will be a reckoning for them at some point. This is the sort of thing that prevents Trump from just 'moving on' with ease or style.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

On The Twitter Seizure Guy


If you are not aware, last year a Newsweek writer Kurt Eichenwald was sent a tweet with a flashing strobe gif on it that caused him, an epileptic, to have a seizure. He filed a criminal complaint and, hey, they got the guy: a 29 year old from Maryland named John Rivello. The guy is now facing criminal charges for knowingly inducing a seizure.

There are a few basic thoughts here:

  1. Should this be, you know, a crime? Sending someone a flashing gif to cause a seizure?
  2. Isn't Eichenwald responsible for his own safety? You can disable animated gifs--shouldn't he have done that (he was given a seizure once before by the same technique, The Omnivore believes)?
  3. It appears all the technology companies involved (Twitter, AT&T, and Apple) rolled over quickly to give up Rivello's information. Alt-Right.com (the link) is very upset!

The Answers

Yes, it's a crime. The investigation turned up a bunch of research Rivello had done on the causing of seizures. His tweet said "you deserve a seizure." There's no doubt that he was exploiting a weakness in Eichenwald to cause significant harm (if he'd glanced at the phone while driving, he and others could have died, for example--as it was, he had difficulties for quite some time after).

Secondly, do you know how to disable animated gifs without looking it up? The Omnivore didn't. While Eichenwald would be well instructed to do that on all his devices, (a) he could always be hit by checking his account on a device where animations are not turned off and (b) the fact that he didn't is unlikely to be sufficiently powerful to say "he deserved it." It takes a fairly large degree of intended malice to do what Rivello did. Full stop.

Lastly: The organizations involved all acted under a search warrant. We, as consumers, can decide to either use American technology services, which will generally comply with a warrant--or not. There are alternatives to Twitter out there which can be far more resistant to search warrants--but one reason not to use them is because you get far less protections (and far fewer people are on them).

The Omnivore doesn't know what the "expectation of privacy" is for Twitter--but Rivello should probably not have assumed he was completely untraceable when trying to harm (or even kill) Eichenwald. The Omnivore is not impressed.

More To The Point

It's pretty obvious to The Omnivore that most people invested in the debate are partisan. Rivello used the handle @jew_goldstein for his attack. The Omnivore will say, with great confidence, that Rivello was a Trump-voter, definitely in the "basket of deplorables" category (antisemitic, hostile to the press, and probably a bunch of other things too--there's scant information on him The Omnivore can find--but it'll eventually come).

The problem is that people are defending Rivello on the right even though he is clearly deplorable. This is why large swaths of Trump's support are, in fact, tainted: People who will defend this behavior (even with a fig-leaf of philosophy over the actual facts) are shouldering and welcoming the "deplorable" identification.

In other words, the electronic ink spilled on the Trumpian side of this equation shows that, yes, in fact, "deplorables" are welcome in Trump's coalition. This is a perfect litmus test.

The Obamacare Vote Approaches



Tomorrow the ACA-Repeal House vote happens. Although it has taken some time, Trump is now coming out pretty strongly in favor of it, threatening to "come after" congressmen who vote "no." Starting today, the sense is that Trump-Ryan don't quite have the votes to pass it but it'll be close. With all of today and some of tomorrow, it seems likely that if pressure can work then it will work.

The question is: will pressure work?

The Trajectory of the Repeal

Before we get into arm-twisting, let's be real about something: the House wants a more conservative repeal, the Senate wants a less conservative repair/replace. These are going, for the most part, in two different directions so getting a bill that would pass both will be "a challenge," and by "a challenge," The Omnivore means "Good freakin' luck."

So the win-win-lose for the GOP is that the bill passes the House, dies in the Senate, and then everyone throws up their hands and plans for "something better" by 2019. This gives everyone a chance to say "We tried" to their constituents without (necessarily) ejecting anyone off their healthcare (O-Care will suffer badly and if nothing is done to remediate that, people could lose coverage--but that, at least, isn't on a positive-action from Congress).

So . . .


Will Pressure Work?

On the plus side, according to a just-released poll of Trump voters, only 3% of them would change their vote if they could. Most Trump voters are still quite enthusiastic. While this may seem bizarre to the rest of us, keep in mind that these people are living in a world where everyone lies the same way Trump does--he's just a bit less polished about it. As such, you don't have to believe any information you don't especially like.

If Trump is still the alpha-dog then he can, presumably, mobilize his base in a primary-challenge against incumbents who vote against him.

There are two problems with this, however:

  1. If Trump lost 3% of his vote from last November, it'd be President Hillary by 303 to 228 EV. Trump lost the popular vote and only won his EV by a slim margin. If he's disappointing people, and to some degree he is, his margin is pretty fragile.
  2. Trump's core is very, very supportive but Trump isn't going to change his spots. The question asked was whether you'd change your vote to Hillary, Johnson, or Stein (or not-vote). It didn't ask if you'd rather have had Ted Cruz . . . or if Joe Biden had run against Trump if you'd have switched to him. As such, if you have a popular House member, even if you're a GOP voter who hadn't switched to Hillary (or one of the non-starters), that may not be enough to give him power to primary.
Keep in mind that this bill is historically unpopular. For a candidate, that may not be meaningful since you have limited options (Hill-vs.-Don). For a bill, though, if it doesn't make anyone really happy, why pass it at all?

The only real arguments Trump seems to be making are (a) because we said we would and (b) because I told you to. This is a bad position from which to marshal strength.

So Force Won't Work?

Abject force, in this sense, will probably not. The key, however is that if everyone is pretty sure that the House-approves / Senate-rejects thing is a done-deal then they can vote for the bill with the knowledge that it'll be a long, long time before anything material happens. In that environment, The Omnivore thinks: "Yes, it can pass." That's where he would marginally bet if he were a betting Omnivore.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Between Obamacare and A Hard Place



In terms of being "the dog who caught the car" the GOP's control of the whole federal government (for some definitions of "control") may be the best example ever. Having run on repeal of the ACA in 4 elections, failure, at this point, "is not an option."

The problem is that "repeal" (a) at its most basic will create electoral chaos by leaving lots of people who want insurance without it and (b) anything short of basic repeal won't satisfy conservatives who want that. It's either a conservative / base revolt or a vulnerability of unknown size in the next few major elections.

The Reality

The ACA was optimized to increase coverage--both by brute force with the Medicaid expansion and by removing barriers such as the pre-existing condition lock-out. Remember: if you were in the private market there was a time when you couldn't get coverage for pre-existing conditions at any price. The ACA did away with that--but the cost was the Individual Mandate.

The GOP has the opposite problem: The Medicaid expansion probably did the most to insure poor people of anything in the ACA (remember, most people still get insurance through their employers) but that's the sort of thing the GOP is ideologically opposed to. Sure, grandma may get to live longer--but it's at a great cost to the nation, yadda, yadda.

The GOP can't really admit this--but now that they hold the controls, they're in a bind: they have to "compromise" with their principles and that isn't pretty.

Even Worse

Even worse is that the messaging dilemma that has plagued the GOP since they decided they were "okay" with racist voters votes--but still had to be on-message against racism (among other problems) hasn't gone away with a great victory. Now they have powerful factions that want different things and they have to find a way to talk about these that (a) sounds coherent and (b) sounds kinda like Democrats.

Huh?

Well, yeah. Ryan is pretty clear that he wants to "shrink government." Everyone can agree with that--until their constituents get shrunk. Trump rode to victory claiming, literally, great health care for everyone. It turns out? People believed him.

This, combined with Trump's lack of leadership (he says he'll primary anyone against the current bill--but hasn't, and won't--put his name on it. And, for example, Breitbart attacking Ryan over the bill while Bannon sits at Trump's right hand) leaves nobody clear what they ought to be saying, let alone doing.

Right now everyone is romancing the Trump--but we know how that ends: he agrees with everyone and then does something random.

The End Game

Since failure isn't "an option"--both for Trump who has gotten his negotiator-skill(z) put on the line and for the GOP in general--they need to pass something. Ergo, something will be passed. The question is what is the minimum sub-set of reductions that can pass for "repeal"?

The Omnivore predicts two major modifications to the current state of Health Care:

  1. Officially change the name of the Affordable Care Act to "Obamacare"
  2. Officially change the name of Obamacare to "The Ryan Act" (some conservatives will object to the term 'care' in any description of the bill)
That should satisfy "everyone."

Thursday, March 9, 2017

The Trump-Putin Smoking Gun Likely Does Not Exist

Go Get 'Em, Trumpy
Chances are you remember the Obama-IRS Scandal--the one where Obama hired Lois Lerner and told her to target the Tea Party? Which she did--destroying her hard drive in order to keep the directives from the Oval Office from being discovered.

Right?

It didn't happen. Firstly, Obama did not hire Lerner. That was Bush. But what did happen is that the IRS did investigate Tea Party groups to a degree that constituted maleficent political activism. Yes, she got some liberal groups in there--no, the pattern was not the same.

The other part that didn't happen was that there was a communication from Obama to her--that's the part--the smoking gun--the secret sauce--that conservatives needed to be there to Bring. Obama. Down. When it failed to turn up, the scandal fizzled. They blamed the press, of course--but The Omnivore is pretty sure that that final piece of the puzzle never existed.

Why? Because it didn't need to. Firstly, Obama, aware of the Federal Records Act would never have emailed Lerner telling her to target his political enemies. Secondly, the Tea Party was explicitly an anti-Tax, anti-government, anti-IRS group. It was also abusing the rules about being a non-profit and taking political activity (just like everyone else forever does). She didn't need a directive. It's entirely plausible she decided to do it on her own.

Trump & The Russians

So now let's get current. Is there going to be a video of Putin and Trump agreeing to exchange the Baltics for Trump's real estate developments in St. Petersburg? No. You're not going to get that. Why? Because it doesn't exist--or, at least, it doesn't need to. Putin's goal was chaos and weakening of America, likely under a Clinton presidency.

He didn't need quid-pro-quo with Trump to help him: Trump was by his nature the bullet aimed at America. All Putin needed to do was help him fire--give him money, release helpful intel, and so on.

We are pretty sure at least the second happened. Probably in some way, the first. Oh, there were things Putin wanted: the change on the Ukraine stance in the Republican platform, for example--but for those, all he had to do with have cut-outs meet with people he was already friendly with (Manafort, Flynn, etc.) and make suggestions.

Those suggestions get presented to Trump as a tasty chance to get cuddly with Putin--something Trump is inclined to do anyway. That's it. That's all. Remember how Obama was strung along thinking there could be a "reset button"? They didn't need back-room deals--just good old fashioned diplomacy.

Trump is a Russian dupe--not a Russian spy.

What Does This Mean?

It means you should give up on the Intelligence Community taking out Trump. There's an outside chance something will happen (like--maybe in his Tax Returns)--but the fact is that the GOP will never impeach him unless he's on tape vocally selling out America while . . . eating pedophile pizza or something. It's just not going to happen (The Omnivore would love to be wrong about this--but The Omnivore is rarely wrong).

On the other hand, it does mean that you can bask in the stunning hypocrisy of the GOP and take notes for later. China is fast tracking Trump hotels that will offer prostitute services. Imagine if Obama had done that? This sort of thing needs to be the messaging--not that Trump is a Russian Secret Agent--that he's effortlessly bought and paid for by our geopolitical enemies.

Most Trump-voters are not persuadable--but America doesn't need most Trump-voters. It just needs most Americans. Work on that.