Laundering money and selling your clothes!


Donald J. Trump v. Thoreau:
Has it really been two hundred years since sacred Thoreau was born?

We grew up two towns away. has it been two hundred years?

That's what Ron Charles tells us in today's Washington Post. Charles is the long-time editor of the paper's Book World. He starts his piece by naming Walden as his favorite book:
CHARLES (7/13/17): This week marks Henry David Thoreau’s 200th birthday, a bicentennial that emphasizes just how briefly the writer lived. He died before he was 45, but “Walden” is immortal.

“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately,” Thoreau writes, “to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.”

Except for a couple of more explicitly religious works, “Walden” is my favorite book, one I’d want with me on a desert island surrounded by pond water. I also might haul along my cherished copy of Thoreau’s journal...
Before he's done, Charles recounts his history teaching Walden, and he cites his favorites passages.

His favorite passages are a bit didactic for our tastes. For ourselves, we'd start with these epigrams:

This is a delicious evening, when the whole body is one sense, and imbibes delight through every pore. I go and come with a strange liberty in Nature, a part of herself.


Sell your clothes and keep your thoughts. God will see that you do not want society.
To our ear and eye, that first passage captures Thoreau as at least an occasional ecstatic—as a person with the experience of being deeply happy, full complete stop, no particular reason required.

"Sell your clothes but keep your thoughts?" Truthfully, it can't always be done. But it's decent advice.

As opposed to sacred Thoreau, we have our current ruling family of grifters. We also have our terribly self-impressed liberal selves.

In this morning's New York Times, Nichaolas Kristof writes a headline which says this:

"All Roads Now Lead to Kirchner"

Effortlessly, we jotted an annotation:

We should possibly leave one road which leads, in the end, back to us. Back to the attributes which allowed our ultimate grifters to ascend to ultimate power.

Across from Kristof, Gail Collins has written her latest tongue-in-cheek pseudo-column. If President Donald J. Trump starts World War III today, Collins will have a tongue-in-cheek, quiz-themed column ready for Sunday's editions.

She may include a Seamus reference. This too is how our grifter clan ascended.

Thoreau recommended selling your clothes. The New Republic has now published this lengthy report about laundered money and Trump.

The money may have been hard to trace. The basic gong-show was not.

This president made himself the King of the Birthers in 2011. He kept this gong-show going for the next five years. This is how out treasured liberal institutions reacted:

On July 2, 2016, the New York Times finally did a full-length, front-page report about Trump's history as a birther. Even then, the paper was too timid to ask the obvious question:

Hadn't it always been a lie when Trump said he'd sent agents to Hawaii, and that they were shocked, just shocked, by the things they'd discovered?

In the midst of last year's campaign, the Times still refused to ask. Our career liberal heroes, knowing the rules, agreed to avert their gaze.

Anderson Cooper ran and hid from this entire topic. When he interviewed Candidate Trump, he played a cross between Trump's pool boy and his caddie. He never questioned the birther scam. Donald J. Trump got a pass.

When Trump announced in June 2015, Rachel Maddow made a point of saying she had nothing against him. The gentleman had been Birther King for four years at that point.

Earlier this year, MSNBC hired Greta Van Susteren away from Fox, where she had served, for years, as official hostess/enabler to Trump's birther musings.

Maddow devoted a segment to telling us liberals how great Greta was, and that they were great drinking pals.

What kind of person does that?

We liberals! We're slow, undisciplined, self-deluded and spectacularly dumb. We sell our suspicions, and buy entertainment on our cable TV.

There's nothing we like more than being conned. If we might borrow from sacred Thoreau:

This will be a demagogic evening, with Our Own Rhodes Scholar weirdly grinning and displayed her practiced hand jive.

Also this grifter pair: Early in 2016, Joe and Mika finally flipped on their long-time buddy, Trump. He wasn't the Trump they'd always known, they have sometimes said.

By that time, the Trump to whom they'd pandered and fawned had been Birther King for four years. What kinds of con men behave this way, while getting a total free pass?


  1. While the NY Times and others focus on items that will not affect any people, the Trump Administration is taking actions that will improve the health care of thousands of people.

    In Shulkin’s five months on the job, the VA has been a whirlwind of activity: The department announced last week that between President Trump’s inauguration and July 3, it had fired 526 employees, demoted another 27, and temporarily suspended another 194 for longer than two weeks. In April, the department launched a new website that lets veterans compare the wait times at its facilities and view Yelp-style reviews of each facility written by previous patients. Veterans Health Administration’s Veterans Crisis Line — designed for those struggling with PTSD, thoughts of suicide, and other forms of mental stress — is now answering “more than 90 percent of calls within 8 seconds, and only about one percent of calls are being rerouted to a backup call center.” A year ago, an inspector general report noted that “more than a third of calls were being shunted to backup call centers, some calls were taking more than a half hour to be answered and other callers were being given only an option to leave messages on voicemail.” At the end of June, Shulkin unveiled the world’s most advanced commercial prosthetic limb — the Life Under Kinetic Evolution (LUKE) arm — during a visit to a VA facility in New York. Veteran amputees demonstrated the technology, a collaboration among the VA, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, and the private sector. (The name alludes to the lifelike robotic hand that Luke Skywalker is fitted with in The Empire Strikes Back.) In May, Shulkin said the department had identified more than 430 vacant buildings and 735 underutilized ones that cost the federal government $25 million a year. He said that most of the buildings are not treatment facilities and could profitably be closed or consolidated. Of course, if he actually attempted to close or consolidate some of the buildings, he might face a controversy along the lines of those touched off by military-base-closing announcements in recent decades.

    1. better trolling please

    2. David in Cal failed to note Secretary Shulkin was. along with FBI Director James Comey, the only holdovers originally appointed by President Barak Obama.

      "President-elect Donald Trump Wednesday named David Shulkin, the top health official in the Department of Veterans Affairs, to be VA secretary.

      A physician, Shulkin serves as VA's undersecretary of health, a position he's held in the Obama administration since 2015."

  2. The birther scam isn't Trump's biggest crime. Why is Somerby so attached to it? Even Obama has moved on. Thoreau is not a very interesting thinker or writer to me. I suspect I wouldn't like Somerby much if I were to meet him.


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  4. "the paper was too timid to ask the obvious question"

    Oh please! Are you still expecting a paper like the NYT, which lied us into a war that cost trillions of dollars and hundred of thousands of lives, to do that?

  5. ..."a war that cost trillions of dollars and hundred of thousands of lives..."

    Interestingly, if you criticized this war, you were called an "American hater" by the same exact Conservatives who want to sweep Trump Administration treason under the rug.

  6. Typo alert--Kristof's op-ed piece is entitled, "All Roads Now Lead to Kushner," not Kirchner.

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