Link Roundup, 5/9/2019

From AP: Republican Senator Burr calls Don Jr. to testify in an Intelligence Committee hearing

From Vox: Next steps in the Barr contempt case

From Vanity Fair: Mnuchin’s efforts to keep Trump’s finances secret

From The Week: Both the IRS commissioner and the IRS chief counsel have business relationships with Trump

From the New York Times: Decades of Trump family tax fraud

Trump declines to interfere in Putin’s Venezuelan Playground
Part One, from the Washington Post: Trump officials threaten military action in Venezuela
Part Two, from the Washington Post: After call with Putin, Trump pours cold water on Republican dreams of a Venezuelan war


  1. Game journalist George “SuperBunnyHop” Wiedman uploaded a 40-minute video titled “Unioniziation, Steady Careers, and Generations of Games Culture”. In it, he interviews some developers who are interested in unionizing about their experience with crunch in the games industry and about how unions can possibly improve working conditions. Alongside this, he gives a brief history of unions in the film industry and how, despite being unionized, the industry still carries on today, more profitable than ever. One of the interviewees talked about developers burning out and leaving the game industry altogether. Workplaces engaging in crunch that is routine and expected rather than a tactic used only in case of emergencies is putting a damper on talent retention like that isn’t good for the overall quality of games. Multiple high-profile games releasing over the last couple years and being buggy messes attests to that. It’s clear that if the game industry is to survive, changes have to be made:

    As well, over at the Entertainment Software Association, the industry group that runs the E3 trade show and created the ESRB, there is currently turmoil. In the last half a year, half of the association’s leadership has left, either because they got fired or they quit. The former CEO Mike Gallagher, his attitudes, and the direction in which he was leading the company was apparently a point of contention. He wanted the ESA to publicly support Trump policies in ways that, to my recollection, they had never supported the policies of Obama or Bush. His move in November 2017 where the ESA backed the Republican tax plan may’ve been the straw that broke the camel’s back. Gallagher also gave advice on being a manager, saying that if you haven’t burned people out in three years, you weren’t working them hard enough. Given the current problems in the game industry, it’s no wonder he’s no longer the head of the organization:

  2. Quietly unfolding, negotiations on America’s budget and debt ceiling. Amid all the war-mongering, international financial unrest from tariff demands, everyday payrolls have to be met – Until they aren’t. This process has been difficult enough when it just involved Congress. Add this President and who knows anymore? How can any American look at the constant chaos during this administration and not be concerned?

    1. Mary,
      Apparently @ 35% of Americans think all this chaos is a good thing. Probably they think Trump is giving the finger to the elites, aka the educated masses! And Trump is doing just that!
      It will be interesting when, in a few months, Republicans have to raise the debt ceiling. And with deficits ballooning out of control, this will not be a little nudge in the debt but a big jump!
      The reality , at least from my perspective, is all this debt is beyond our control at this point. Congress, well, one side at least, just refuses to do anything meaningful about the debt except cut food stamps. God forbid we take back some of the tax cuts for billionaires!
      Bit it is not just the US that has a debt problem. it is almost worldwide. One must wonder, well, i wonder, if this will result in the same mess we were in in 2008! Of course, with the Dems luck, one of them will be president when it all hits the proverbial fan and the Dems will be blamed!
      it all begs the question, “Why the hell would anyone want to be President?” Any sane person that is:-))!

      1. There are at least 42M fools. Lets hope congressional Democrats are not. This is what they are contending with.
        There is really no historical precedent when traditional democratic norms and rules are blatantly ignored. If SCOTUS doesn’t intercede on the side of law, frankly the only guardrail left is the election. It would be wonderful if there were an overwhelming rejection of trump by the American electorate. Who would have ever thought the United States of America would be in this situation ?

    2. I was surprised that this wasn’t bigger news too Mary. March 2nd the debt ceiling was reinstated at just over 22 trillion dollars and Treasury is operating under “extraordinary measures” which should keep us above water till fall when both it and the budget will have to be addressed.

      I hated watching Republicans play reindeer games with the debt/budget during the Obama Administration…I’m now wondering if it makes sense to take the “he who cares the least wins” approach. Leave this sh*t sandwich on their plate and walk away in October. Sequestration kicks in without a budget. Watch all the Defense contractor stocks take a smack. Its petty, but tempting.

  3. I’ll add this little piece to the roiling of US and world markets from trump’s tariff escapades: “what if” China doesn’t capitulate to trump? What if, they hold a few aces themselves? Trump is also talking about buying more farming goods to donate to needy “s***hole countries to prop up his mid-west base…where would the money come from? Deficits anyone?

  4. So Amit Mehta , one of the predominately Democrat nominated judges on the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, plans on fast-tracking the federal tax returns case May 14th.

    It appears it will get through that court “relatively” quickly, at which the inevitable appeal by the tyrant and his regime will be heard by the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. (the naming convention is important)

    That appeals court is made up of 11 members, 2 nominated by the bush family, and 2 by the tyrant. The remaining 7 are supposedly not corrupted. So it is safe to assume they will rule against the regime, at which point this is pushed upstairs to SCOTUS, which will naturally quash the release of the tax returns.

    So my best guess, it will take a 3-5 months, tops, for the two courts that have not fallen completely to fascism to bump this to SCOTUS. That last sham of jurisprudence will then take their time to draw this out so it does not impact on the theoretical election cycle (I still think there will not be one), or rule fast and put it to bed.

    I am betting on the fast ruling, so this will die quickly in the memory of the idiots who still have not decided on whether tyranny is OK or not.

    Now, I look forward to NY state releasing the state taxes, but I am sure the spin will be that his federal and state tax situation are completely different. I also truly wonder if a forensic accountant will be able to pinpoint the tyrant’s dealings with Russia and others strictly through the state tax returns.

      1. EJ, Since you’re “way over there”, I’ll drop in a link to today’s political discussion on Deadline Whitehouse, with former Republican Nicole Wallace. I watch this program regularly because of her sharp questioning, guests from across the political spectrum, and her great sense of humor. It helps to laugh as often as one can these days. Great guests, sharp observations. Hardball. It’s about 40′ but it’s worth watching. Enjoy.

      2. Wallace is that rare political pundit who is intelligent, savy and is able to find humor in the madness around us. She is also “totally woke” about the republican party’s abdication of responsibility, people she used to work with and support. Watch for these outstanding guest contributors. They are really sharp and add so much to the discussions on her show. Rick Stengel, former editor of Time and former Undersecretary Secretary of State; Former MD Dem Congresswoman, Donna Edwards; Former DOJ Spokesman, Matthew Miller; Joyce Vance, former Federal Prosecutor – under AG Eric Holder; Chuck Rosenberg and Mimi Rocha, former federal prosecutors, SDNY; Karen Finney and Heidi Przybyla, MSNBC political analysts; David Jolley, former Repub MoC, FL; and Michael Steele, Former Chair of the RNC and MD Lt. Governor; and many others whose insight broaden my understanding of what is happening and why. These stand out to me.

  5. Burr and Collins are facing tough re-election bids, but this strikes me as far too little and much too late to impress the anti-Trump voting blocs. I hope they are both swept out of office in Nov 2020, along with at least Ernst and Gardner and McSally.

      1. I consider them to be the lowest hanging fruit. I’ll be knocking on doors for whichever Dem goes up against Cornyn next year. The only toady whose voter-induced exit I would applaud more would be McConnell’s, but I don’t have any impact on that one.

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