Associated Press File Photo / Former President Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle, have filed a petition against a small California entrepreneur because she would not give them want they wanted in regard to a trademark name.

Big-Footing a small entrepreneur

Former President Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle, are involved in a filmmaking company they or their lackeys named Higher Ground Productions.

So when the former first couple and their company wanted to trademark the name, they tried asking first. That worked with a number of other trademark owners with names similar to theirs, but Hanisya Massey, a black California woman who owns Higher Ground Enterprises, wasn't having any of it.

She refused to give up the name but said she would be open to negotiation if she were cut in on the deal. She wanted in on their productions, and she wanted to act in them.

The Obamas chose not to share the wealth. So, they filed a petition to cancel Massey's trademark. They would have a case if her company does not use the trademark in regular business activities, but she's apparently involved in a number of enterprises.

"If there's not sufficient use of the mark," Harvard Law School professor Rebecca Tushnet told The New York Times, "then the registrant has no rights and the Obamas can go ahead. On the other hand, if Massey can demonstrate that she does consistently make use of the trademark, she could have a case against the Obamas, suing them for trademark infringement."


Maybe nobody heard me

A day after laughing at an audience member who called President Donald Trump's actions "mentally retarded," U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris, a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, pretended she was outraged at such a thing.

"When my staff played the video from my town hall yesterday," she tweeted, "it was upsetting. I didn't hear the words the man used in that moment, but if I had I would've stopped and corrected him. I'm sorry. That word and others like it aren't acceptable. Ever."

Unfortunately for Harris, other people also had the video in which a man asked her, "What are you going to do in the next one year to diminish the mentally retarded actions of this guy?"

The candidate answered, "Well said," then laughed. "Well said. Well, I plan to win this election, I'll tell you that."


Vast left-wing conspiracy

So paranoid was the Bill Clinton White House about the burgeoning right-wing radio talk show scene in the mid-1990s that, according to the Washington Free Beacon from documents from the Clinton Presidential Library, it created an "elaborate, multi-year operation" that "deployed thousands of activists" to be callers to the shows.

The so-called Talk Radio Initiative (TRI), created following the 1994 mid-term elections in which Republicans swept into the leadership of Congress, trained operatives to call into shows, lie about their identities, surveil the show contents and pose as ordinary listeners who would disseminate Democratic talking points. Talk show host Rush Limbaugh at the time termed such operatives "seminar callers."

"My office is now coordinating closely with talk radio shops in the White House, Federal Departments and Agencies, the House, the Senate, and [the] ones I have helped set up in the State Parties," TRI Director Jon-Christopher Bua, an acting-coach-turned-DNC staffer, wrote in an April 1996 memo to White House Deputy Chief of Staff Harold Ickes.

Further, Bua, according to the Free Beacon, credited the initiative's creation to then-first lady Hillary Clinton, she of the later "vast right-wing conspiracy" charge when media began closing in on her husband's sexual liaisons. Bua made the claim while holding a TRI seminar for feminists at the 1996 Democratic National Convention, according to a National Review dispatch.

"Volunteers must be able to keep the project confidential so as not to create the image of a 'Democratic conspiracy,'" a 1995 TRI guide prepared by Michigan Democrats said. "Democratic performance in the 1996 elections will no doubt be affected by the success or failure of this initiative."

Clinton, of course, won re-election in 1996 but was disgraced by impeachment just over two years later.


Land of enchantment and prevaricators

Former undercover CIA operative Valerie Plame, seeking to capitalize on a 2003 leak scandal during the George W. Bush administration, is running as a Democrat for a congressional seat in New Mexico.

She's not off to a good start.

In a new campaign ad, Plame says she was "an undercover CIA operative. My assignment was preventing rogue states and terrorists from getting nuclear weapons. You name a hot spot, I lived it [as images of Iran, Iraq, Syria, Pakistan and North Korea flash by]. Then Dick Cheney's chief of staff took revenge against my husband and leaked my identity. His name: Scooter Libby. Guess who pardoned him last year? [image of President Donald Trump].

The fact-checker at the Washington Post, no fan of any Republican, gave her three out of four Pinocchios for lying. He said the ad could mislead viewers about her service — she was "under diplomatic cover in Greece" — and said "no evidence shows Libby disclosed Plame's role [in the CIA]." He also said it is a stretch trying to suggest any complicit role in the episode for Trump.

Her facts, said the fact-checker, are "fuzzy."