Thursday, January 19, 2017

Friday, January 6, 2017

Topsy Turvy


The world as we have known it has been turned upside down.  Not long ago, the Soviet Union or now Russia, was considered to be a menace - the "Communist Menace."  Citizens of the United States were expected to be vehemently opposed to all things Soviet or Russian.  Politicians had to be especially circumspect so that no tint of "red" colored their policies or beliefs.  To be called a "Commie" or a "Communist sympathizer" was a death knell.

When I was much younger, I remember how certain members of our Congress, in particular a alcoholic moron from Wisconsin, instigated "witch hunts" with the specific purpose of identifying and removing anyone who had the slightest connection, past or present, with the Soviet Union or a Communist group.  These witch hunts extended as far as Hollywood where good ol' Ronnie Reagan assisted in destroying the careers of actors, directors, producers, etc., who in truth or by rumor had showed any inclination to favor anything Soviet.

People who many years previously might have thought positively of Karl Marx or Marxism or Communism were ferreted out and tormented before being shunned by friends, family and employers.

Much of this anti-Redness derived from the right wing in this country and conservative Christians.  Thus, in 1956, our stalwart congressional representatives decided it was necessary and timely to include "In God We Trust" on our coinage while previously, in 1954, the words, "under God," were inserted in the Pledge of Allegiance precisely because they wanted insurance against the Communist threat and surmised that the almighty deity (not almighty enough to halt the Commies in their tracks, however) would note the piety of America's leaders and protect us from the ravages of the pestilence known as Soviet Communism.

No one, and I mean, no one, would dare stand up and declare anything positive about the Soviet Union or its leaders!  To do so would be political suicide and perhaps a sentence of death for treason.  We were engaged in a "cold war" with the Russian oligarchs and fears of an atomic attack had our children ducking under their desks to practice what to do when the Russians sent atomic bombs our way.


Our world has turned upside down.  In this last election, 81% of American "evangelical" Christians voted the Trump/Pence ticket.  They did this in spite of the fact that Trump proclaimed great affection for Putin and declared him to be a much better leader of his country than Obama was in the U.S.

Trump then publicly invited Putin and the Russians to hack into the emails of his opponent, Hillary Clinton.

The first instance of proclaiming affection for a leader of the Communist Menace might be considered merely stupid but it should have meant immediate disqualification for anyone running for president of this country!'

The second instance of inviting the leader of the Communist Menace to interfere in the election of a United States president is more than stupid; it is treasonous on its face.  Trump should not have been elected, he should have been arrested and should currently be looking at Washington from behind vertical bars.



In recent days, Trump has refused to meet with our intelligence leaders or to bother reading their daily briefs which would keep him informed on the world situation relative to the United States.  And, in spite of the fact that our intelligence community has in concert investigated and declared that Russia was engaged in sabotaging the recent election in favor of Trump, the president-elect has not seen fit to acknowledge the veracity of those investigations while at the same time singing the praises of Putin.


Where the hell are the so-called "conservatives" and so-called "evangelical Christians" at this point in time?  Why in hell are they not enraged and calling for Trump's removal and imprisonment?  There's no confusion about the facts. Trump has acted in treasonous ways against our country!  Why are the anti-Commies suddenly mute.  Why is our media pretending it's no big deal?

It's topsy-turvy.  Can you imagine for one second what would have happened to Barrack Obama if he had said just one percent of what Trump has said about Russia or Putin or if Obama had invited Putin to insinuate himself into the American electoral process?  All hell would have broken loose and Obama would have been hanged, figuratively or literally.

An acquaintance of mine, fervently anti-Obama, sent me material (see below) showing Obama to be a commie sympathizer or perhaps a Communist himself. In his mind such a thing would put Obama in league with Satan himself.  I wonder what he thinks of Mr. Trump at this point in time?




But there's more...


We have not yet mentioned the fact that Trump is a self-confessed sexual predator who has as yet failed to acknowledge that his behavior was wrong and, indeed, actionable.

Where are all the Christians now?



Consider also his business dealings, his many failures, his multiple bankruptcies. To file for bankruptcy is often a device to avoid paying what you are legally bound to pay.  Then there's those accusations of racism.  He deliberately kept minorities out of his housing projects in New York City.  He and his father paid millions of dollars in fines for those actions.  Time and again we've read how he's refused to pay people who work for him.  This very day it is reported that personnel involved in building his "landmark" hotel in D.C. have been stiffed out of millions of dollars.

His so-called university was early on identified as a sham and he settled that problem out of court to avoid the negative publicity the multiple lawsuits would bring.

Very recently a judge ordered that his "charity" stop raising funds for it appears that the money raised did not find its way into any charity other than the Donald's pockets.

Where's the "evangelical" outcry now?


And how has Donald responded to all this?  He's on Twitter most days hurling insults at people who he feels have dissed him.  Instead of reading intelligence briefings this adult child believes it is more important to blast away at those involved in a Saturday Night Live skit.




Finally, I'm not as angry at Donald as I am at all those self-righteous, stupid, religious nincompoops who were willing to destroy this country by electing a totally unqualified candidate in order to somehow get back at the "liberals" or "progressives" or "minorities" or "atheists" or whomever else they didn't like.

If you voted for Trump you have given up all right to be called "Christian" or a "patriot," or "sane."






Thursday, December 22, 2016

Revenge List Of A Narcissist

This post is by my friend, William Kendall, who some say is a Canadian genius.  He's a great writer, and eminently sane and sees life clearly - as it is - in particular, life in the U.S. of A. or as it is sometimes called, "Trump Land."

Revenge List Of A Narcissist

Okay, so before the election I wrote a post that shall go forever unpublished (Norma and a few other people have seen it), featuring Trump's epic temper tantrum when he lost. Obviously for some inexplicable reason, he didn't lose. After the election, well, let's just say I wrote a rant for myself, basically venting, which will also go unpublished. It contained a lot of curse words and would have ended up losing me at least a couple of readers.

I've written this lately though. It's Trump's revenge list. The first part of everyone he wants to get even with. Incidentally, writing in his voice still makes me nauseous. I'll try not to say I told you so when the time comes.


Okay, right? So I won, right? Won it fair and square and cheated like a bastard the whole time, right? Now it’s time to settle some scores, get even with a few people. Nothing too big. Just millions and millions of people. Losers, all of them. Losers! Big fat losers! So that’s what this is. This is my revenge list. The people I’m going to start gettin’ even with startin’ on day one of the Trump Presidency, which, by the way, is going to be the greatest, the most stupendous, the most amazing, the best ever presidency you ever saw, right? Lincoln? Washington? The Roosevelts? All losers compared to me. Because I’m the best, the greatest, the most stellar president ever. And I’ve got really big hands.

Where was I? Oh, right. My revenge list. And it’s gonna be great. All these people who for one reason or another ended up on this list? They’re gonna pay. They’re gonna pay big time. And this revenge list is gonna be the biggest and the best revenge list of all time. Richard Nixon has nothin’ on me!


By the way, it’s probably a good idea not to let anyone see this list. Part 1 of 483 716, in fact. It's a big list. Yuuuuuuuuuge!

So where do we begin? Well, in no particular order...

Crooked Hillary. Lock her up! Lock her up!

The Squirrel Faction

Obama and Michelle

Rosie O’Donnell. What a disgusting pig, let me tell you...

The Pope

Jon Stewart

Ellen De Generes

Zombie plot bunnies


Anyone around the world who ever thought it was a good idea to criticize my buddy Vladimir

Tim Russert. Sure, he’s dead, but I want that know it all no-nonsense punk punished anyway

Dogs and cats. Buncha fleabags, the lot of them

Alec Baldwin. Nobody mocks me and gets away with it.

Mexico. They’re bringing drugs, they’re bringin’ crime, they’re rapists...

All those women who dared to accuse me of gropin’ them. Hey, I can grope anyone I want! I’m President Donald Trump! Soon to be Exalted Grand Emperor Donald!

Megyn Kelly. Bleedin’ outta her whatever...


Van Jones

John Oliver

The Queen

The blacks

Stephen Colbert

Angela Merkel

China

Vampires

The Jedi

Larry Willmore

Luxembourg. They know the reason why.


CNN, NBC, the New York Times, and the whole lamestream media that refuses to bow down to everything I say and hail me as their lord and master. I’m really gonna get even with those losers, believe me folks. Matter of fact, when I get my way, I’m gonna just have Trump News, the Enquirer, and Breitbart as the only legal news outlets.

Those ex-wives of mine. Soon to be followed by the current one, just as quick as I can find another bimbo from eastern Europe to be the next trophy wife

Tree huggin’ environmentalists

Hulk Hogan and Ric Flair

The Bush family

Trevor Noah

The ACLU

Muslims


Bill Nye the Science Guy. That De Grasse Tyson guy too. We can’t have reasonable well informed experts tellin’ anyone the truth, after all.

Lyin’ Ted. I mean, seriously, folks, the man’s father practically killed JFK, I read it in theEnquirer, and that’s the only paper that matters to me, believe me, believe me...

Bill Maher

The Illuminati

Canada

The UN

PBS

Ivanka


Ferris Bueller. Just because. Smart aleck punk, who’s he think he is?

That therapist who once told me I’m a class A narcissistic sociopath with a terminal self love complex. Hey! I don’t need to jerk off! I’ve got people who’ll jerk me off on command!

That heavy metal drummer. Costs me thousands of votes and puts supporters of mine in jail after beatin’ them up, and he thinks he can get away with it?

While we’re at it, we’re gonna just change the way music’s heard. All Ted Nugent, all the time. Nothin’ else. If Ted’s good for me, he’s good for everyone. Everybody else can go **** themselves. There’s not gonna be any Beyonce serenadin’ the Obamas ever again.


Bruce Springsteen. Born in the U.S.A. my ass. He was born in Canada! He’s got worthless communist socialist maple syrup guzzlin’ tree hugger written all over him! I demand to see the birth certificate! Lock him up! Lock him up!

Every single person who ever mocked my great outstanding hair and my hands. My hair is real and my hands are yuuuuuuuuuuuuuge! Just as yuuuuuuuuuuuuuge as my Trump schlong!

My eighth grade teacher, Mr. Reading, who gave me detention for calling him an asshole. I’m really gonna get even with him, believe me, folks...

Grumpy Cat. Nobody outfrowns me!

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

National Security Adviser To Be Hobnobbing With Nazis

"Retired Lt. Gen. Mike Flynn, Donald Trump’s pick to serve as his national security adviser, met several weeks ago with Heinz-Christian Strache, the head of Austria’s anti-immigrant Freedom Party, which was founded after World War II by former Nazis.
Strache described the meeting, which was first reported by The New York Times, on his Facebook page, where he also announced signing a “cooperation pact” with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Although the Times story focused on the Russia pact, the Flynn-Strache meeting is at least as significant. Austrians’ support for far-right parties has increased significantly over the past 15 years. Strache’s Freedom Party received 35 percent of the vote in this year’s parliamentary elections and narrowly lost the race for Austria’s ceremonial presidency earlier this month.
“This is not just any opposition party: It is one with Nazi sympathies,” said Daniel Serwer, a former state department official who’s now a professor at the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University. “Nor is Flynn any national security adviser. He is a documented conspiracy propagator. His long-term strategy colleague, Steve Bannon, is an ethnic nationalist and anti-Semite. The president-elect is an anti-Muslim and anti-immigration bigot.”

The above is a quote from an article on The Huffington Post.  Please read the entire article HERE.

The Obama's Last Hanukkah Celebration



What follows is part of what President Obama had to say at this celebration:

This is the season that we appreciate the many miracles, large and small, that have graced our lives throughout generations, and to recognize that the most meaningful among them is our freedom. The first chapter of the Hanukkah story was written 22 centuries ago, when rulers banned religious rituals and persecuted Jews who dared to observe their faith. Which is why today we are asked not only to light the menorah, but to proudly display it—to publicize the mitzvah. And that's why we've invited all these reporters who are here. (Laughter.)
Everybody in America can understand the spirit of this tradition. Proudly practicing our religion, whatever it might be—and defending the rights of others to do the same—that's our common creed. That's what families from coast to coast confirm when they place their menorah in the window—not to share the candles' glow with just your family, but also with your community and with your neighbors.
The story of Hanukkah, the story of the Jewish people, the story of perseverance—these are one and the same. Elie Wiesel taught us that lesson probably better than just about anybody. In one of his memories of the Holocaust, Elie watched a fellow prisoner trade his daily ration of bread for some simple materials with which to piece together a makeshift menorah. And he wrote that he couldn't believe the sacrifices this man was making to observe the holidays. A stunned Elie asked him, "Hanukkah in Auschwitz?" And the man replied, "Especially in Auschwitz."

* * * *

You'll notice immediately the difference between this president and the prezident elect.  The sadness that difference engenders is overwhelming.  We may not always have agreed with President Obama, but we don't always agree with anyone.  But we know that Mr. Obama is a good and decent man who loves his country and has tried to do the best he can under unbelievably difficult circumstances.  
Next month, we transition from a leadership tradition noted for its elegance and quality - a tradition built upon truth and honesty and reason, a tradition devoted to our country's highest ideals - to a tradition based on lies, fake news, cheating, stupidity, racism, hatred, greed, ignorance, and disregard for our historical documents.  It is a tradition defined by chaos.

A Flag For Our Time


Perhaps this is a more suitable flag to represent our country these days.  Our prezident elect, a psychopathic liar and sexual predator, seems to also be a puppet of the Russian government, brought to the White House by the votes of a minority of Americans and through the efforts of the Russian government (according to both the CIA and the FBI).

[Why the hell can't the Democrats bring suit against the Trumpers and have this election nullified?]

Not only so, but at the same time Der Trump, a man who has, in the past (according to his current wife), kept a copy of Hitler's Mein Kampf by his bedside, and who has praised Hitler on numerous occasions, a man who has said that the Russian prezident, Putin, was a much better man and leader than our own president, Mr. Obama, is also a man who has blatantly allowed Nazis to infiltrate his administration and take leadership positions, who has appointed people to head up government agencies who have no experience and are ignorant of what these agencies do, and in several instances, have indicated they want to destroy the agencies of which they are soon to be in charge!

Newt Gingrich, that thrice-married deviant from years past, who is largely responsible for the Congress' current gridlock, has shown us the new face of American fascism. He suggests that the prezident can do whatever the hell he wants and no one can do anything about it.  He need not divest himself from his business holdings, and in fact, can use the presidency to increase his private fortune.  Gingrich goes even further and says if that turns out not to work so well, the Congress should rewrite the ethics laws for the convenience of Der Trumpf.

We're getting a look at Trump's middle finger in his "victory" rallies.  Do they not remind you of Hitler's fondness for "victory" rallies?  Yesterday our news sources noted that Der Trumpf plans to keep his own security army which again, reminds us of Hitler's brown shirts and the SS.  While the U.S. Secret Service in charge of keeping Der Trumpf safe say this Trump army will make their job much harder, Der Trumpf says he doesn't care.

Never before have we faced such a challenge to our democracy.  While we've had some ignorant and stupid presidents, we've never had one who is tied to a country that has been our mortal enemy for over 60 years, or one who has no feel for our democratic system or our Constitution.

We are in for one hell of a ride and it's not going to be fun for the great majority of Americans.


Nazi's Emboldened by Our Russian-Tainted Prezident Elect


Reuters Photo

Welcome to the United States under Trump, 2016 via 1933.  It's started again. 

A scary "call to action" in white supremacist outlet The Daily Stormer has resulted in Jewish residents of Whitefish, Montana being targeted and harassed by followers of Alt-Right leader Richard Spencer. Stemming from an article in the Daily Mail in which Spencer's mother said that the business she owns is being damaged by her son's views, author Andrew Anglin falsely took her comments and provided his own context and perspective in order to blame Jews for the issues — even though Sherry Spencer never specified that she was being bothered by a certain group or religion.


Read more HERE.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Trump Is A Child!


Trump is a child
A child of privilege
Like children everywhere
He's tearing things apart
The child has got his claws
into the U.S.A.
He's ripping out our soul
Night rains on our days
And if this country falls
The rest are jeopardized
Most frightening of all
His term has yet to start.

Graphic attribution:  Christian Bloom

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Rick Perry and the Department of Energy



R. Perry, the ex-governor of the State of Texas, has been nominated by Da Trumpf to head up the Energy Department.  In some ways this is appropriate for Perry is known for his commitment to fossil fuels, building nuclear plants, fracking the hell out of west Texas and generally ignoring the welfare of his constituents with the exception of the well-heeled, the ignorant religious kooks, and the well-connected.

He's also an accomplished liar, much like da Trumpf.  For example, when he was governor he complained constantly that the federal government took Texas money and gave nothing or very little in return.  The truth is much different. Texas received considerably more money from the feds than they sent to Washington.  But the truth wouldn't play well with the folks in the hinterlands who had been brainwashed into thinking Texas didn't need nobody and could go it alone.

Another of Perry's accomplishments is the public schools.  Texas has been a constant leader in the race to the bottom.  And in terms of caring for the welfare of women and children, Texas is comparable to most third-world countries.

Texas is known for football, though, and most every high school sponsors a football team filled with wannabes looking toward a career with the Dallas Cowboys.  That, of course, rarely if ever, happens.

Texas also has lots of religion, fundamentalistic Christianist religion, with huge churches that look like big box stores, and preachers that rant and rave against sex and drugs and infidelity (well, at least until they're caught in a tryst of their own) and unbelievers who they claim are leading Texas and the nation toward some mythical biblical apocalypse.

During the recent presidential primary race, Mr. Perry was an enemy of Mr. Trump.  Mr. Perry couldn't stand Mr. Trump and said so at every opportunity. There was one funny moment when Perry complained about several federal agencies, claiming he would get rid of them if elected president.  Then he couldn't remember the name of one of the departments he intended to abolish!

It turned out to be the Energy Department.  When asked about that department it quickly became clear he knew nothing about it: he did not know its mission or how it worked; nothing. (Interestingly enough, some of da Trump's "advisers," when asked about this department, acted like they'd never heard of it.)

Back to the primary race.  Perry had this to say about da Trumpf in an address he gave at the Willard Hotel in Washington, D.C.:

"He offers a barking carnival act that can best be described as Trumpism: a toxic mix of demagoguery, mean-spiritedness and nonsense that will lead the Republican Party to perdition if pursued.  Let no one be mistaken, Donald Trump's candidacy is a cancer on conservatism, and it must be clearly diagnosed, excised, and discarded."

And there's more.

"...Donald Trump, the reality television star, is a great generator of ratings.  But Donald Trump the candidate is a sower of division, wrongly demonizing Mexican-Americans for political sport.  He has piqued the interest of some Republican voters who have legitimate concerns about a porous border and broken immigration system.  But instead of offering those voters leadership of solutions, he has offered fear and sound bites.  This cannot stand."


You might think that such statements would disqualify anyone from a position in the Trump administration.  But noooooo.  In spite of those terrible comments about da Trumpf and even though Perry knows nothing about the Department of Energy, he was offered the position of head of that department by da Trumpf.

This is one more example of the crass stupidity of Trump and friends.  Once again they put their own welfare above the welfare of the country for Perry can be counted on to serve the rich and powerful first and foremost.

A Washington Post article said it best:

“There is no doubt that Rick Perry is completely unfit to run an agency he sought to eliminate — and couldn’t even name. Perry is a climate change denier, opposes renewable energy even as it has boomed in Texas, and doesn’t even believe CO2 is a pollutant,” League of Conservation Voters President Gene Karpinski said in a statement. 

“Not only that, he is deep in the pocket of Big Polluters, who have contributed over $2.5 million to his presidential campaigns, a disturbing sign that they expected him to protect their profits in office, not do what’s best for the American people.”


Hang on to your hats, because if there is a hell, we're headed in that direction.


Presidential Traitor



It just can't get any worse than this.  The Russians successfully elected their puppet to the presidency of the United States.  Trump knew they were working to get him elected and did nothing.  The Republicans knew the same thing and did nothing. President Obama confronted Republican representatives with the fact that the Russians were engaged in sabotaging the election, but the latter pretended that was a Democratic ploy to defeat Trump.

If Trump knew before the election what the Russians were up to, he is a traitor.


Read the entire horror story at Shareblue HERE.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Death By A Thousand Cuts



Lingchi is a form of torture and capital punishment used by Imperial China from the tenth century until 1905.  Lingchi is "death by a thousand cuts."

In most cases, a small cut will not kill a person.  Multiply one small cut by a thousand, however, and death will likely ensue.  The same is true for nations.  A few small aberrations of policy or stupid decisions by presidents or legislatures or judges may not affect the overall health of the nation, but when you multiply those "small aberrations" and "stupid decisions" you've got a problem.

Ladies and gentlemen, we have a problem.  We are led by a man who would feel right at home in Imperial China; a man who is likely to bring about the death of the United States by his decisions and his policies, as well as by the decisions and policies of his minions and his appointees.  Never before, except maybe during the Warren G. Harding administration, have we seen such scum rise to the surface in positions of power!  As others have noted, Trump did not "drain the swamp" as he promised, but pulled out the creatures of the swamp and made them his secretaries and advisors.  The swamp is now the official residence and workplace of the Trump administration.

Here's one small example of a "cut" and Trump isn't even president yet.  A number of his advisors are advocating the take over of 56 million acres of Native American tribal lands.  The title to these lands is currently held by the federal government. It is a power play intended to privatize those lands so that energy corporations can enjoy deregulated drilling for profit.  Tribal leaders are vehemently opposed to this dastardly and cowardly attack on their lands and sovereignty (note that for over 100 years the United States has followed a policy which promoted the preservation of Indian tribes on U.S.-owned reservations and these reservations are considered sovereign nations and ruled by leaders chosen by the respective tribes).

With Trump and his swamp denizens in power, expect many more such attacks on the rights of the people, on the programs that help people, on common sense and the common wealth.


Nomi Prins in an article at TomDispatch, notes that Trump is choosing his players from a similar socio-economic background of wealth and privilege to his own, who carry with them "an assumed allegiance to a dogma of self-aggrandizement that overshadows everything else.  In the realm of politico-financial power and in Trump's experience and ideology, the one with the most toys always wins.  So it's hardly a surprise that his money- and power-centric cabinet won't be focused on public service or patriotism or civic duty, but on the consolidation of corporate and private gain at the expense of the citizenry."


Let's see how that is working out in real time.  Trump has selected as his Secretary of Commerce one Wilbur Ross.  Ross, as described by Nomi Prins, "made his fortune as a corporate vulture (sporting the nickname 'the king of bankruptcy'.  He was notorious for devouring the carcasses of dying companies, spitting them out, and pocketing the profits.  He bought bankrupt steel companies, while moving $6.4 billion of their employee pension benefits to the rescue fund of the government's Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation so he could make the company financials look better."

Ross's chances of being selected as a member of Trump's cabinet were doubtless increased because he bailed out Trump's casinos which were going down the tubes in Atlantic City.

While Trump promised the world to the battered coal industry and its workers, Ross will not honor those promises.  He owned a coal mine in West Virginia which was given numerous citations for various violations, said mine exploding and killing 12 miners.

Ross is a member of a secret Wall Street fraternity, Kappa Beta Phi which isn't surprising considering that in 2014 he whined that the one percent is being harassed for political reasons.

Ross is also connected financially to China, that country having invested $500 million in a private equity fund owned by Ross.  Another negative:  "In August 2016, his company had to pay a $2.3 million fine to the Securities and Exchange Commission to settle charges for not properly disclosing $10.4 million in management fees charged to his investors in the decade leading up to 2011."

What the hell is going to do as Secretary of Commerce? He's sitting on a pot of gold and does anyone think he's going to fined for any financial chicanery so long as he holds that position?


Then there's Betsy DeVos, daughter of a billionaire and daughter-in-law to the guy who started the Amway corporation.  She's going to be Secretary of Education.  The problem is she did not go to a public school, nor does she know anything about public education except for the fact that she hates it and has worked for years to destroy it!  Count on her to promote private schools and charter schools at the expense of our public schools.  Additionally, she is a fundamentalist Christian who wishes to impose her particular beliefs upon students in the public schools.  Which all means we can count on a war on public education in the near future.


Elaine Chao has been nominated as Secretary of Transportation.  That sounds about right; she rode a bus once when a little girl.  She may not know anything about transportation but being the wife of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, she knows how to make contacts and money.  She has served on the boards of Wells Fargo Bank (while Wells Fargo was scamming its customers out of millions of dollars) and Murdock's News Corp.


Trump has selected a really bad guy as Secretary of Labor, Andy Prudzer.  He is the CEO of Hardee's and Carl's Jr. parent company CKE restaurants.  Pudzer is not a fan of the little guy.  In fact, he hates the idea of the minimum wage.  He's afraid raising the minimum wage will make companies go bankrupt.  This from a clown who made $4.458 million in 2012.  People who actually work for a living and make this country what it is are in deep caca with Pudzer in this vital position.


Jeff Sessions is Trump's pick for Attorney General.  Sessions was turned down for a federal judgeship a few years back because he is a notorious racist.  He is known to be an enemy of civil rights and women's rights.  Sessions thinks the ACLU and the NAACP are "un-American."  He voted NO on the Violence Against Women Act, and twice voted NO against laws which would help curb sexual assault in the military.


Secretary of the Treasury is the plum Trump offered to one of the worst of the Wall Street execs.  Steve Mnuchin is a hedge fund patriarch and a Hollywood producer, though I don't know what he's produced.  A former exec at Goldman Sachs he knows how to cheat folks out of their homes and how to con the government out of billions of dollars.  He got rich on the backs of regular folks by foreclosing their homes, 36,000 of them!

There's so much dirt on this guy, I could write several pages, but suffice it to say that he wants, as Secretary of the Treasury to help fill the coffers of the bankers on Wall Street once again; thus, his numero uno priority is to delete the Dodd-Frank legislation so Wall Street can run amok unregulated once more.  Just like the good old days!


Any normal person would not choose someone to head up the Environmental Protection Agency who hates and wants to get rid of the EPA.  Trump being anything but normal has chosen a horrible person by name of Scott Pruitt to be the administrator of the EPA.

Scott has been in bed with the fossil fuel industry for years and fought every bit of legislation which would call that industry to account for their shenanigans. It's no surprise, therefore, that Scott doesn't believe in global warming or climate change.  He has sued the EPA again and again attacking the Clean Power Plan and Clean Water Rule.


Tom Price, a 6-term Repug Congressman from Georgia, is nominated for Health & Human Services. It would be hard to find a worse choice.  He's an orthopedic surgeon and hates Obamacare.  In 2015 he tried to arrange a budget switch that would defund Planned Parenthood.  In spite of being a doctor, he doesn't seem to give a damn whether people get decent health care or not.


Another horrible person was nominated by Trump to be director of the CIA. Mike Pompeo, from Kansas, is a Repug and has served 3 terms in Congress. Being from Kansas should tell you all you have to know.  He's anti-Muslim and has made untrue anti-Muslim statements.  He thinks CIA personnel who were involved in torture are "heroes."  He opposes closing Guatanamo, is against the Iran nuclear agreement and stupidly claims that Obamacare has increased labor costs.  He believes further that there is, in fact, a "government mandated restaurant recession."


One of the fundamentals of our system is that civilians run the government and the military stays out of the way, except to obey the president, who is also commander and chief of the military.

Trump is challenging that tradition and risking serious problems such as they've had in 3rd-world countries and in American banana republics.  His choice for Secretary of Defense is James Mattis, a hard-nosed retired Marine Corps general. He's what they call a "hawk" and has debunked Obama's Iran agreement. He likes to kill people and is an unknown quantity when it comes to the fight for peace.  His nickname is "Mad Dog."


Another retired Marine Corps general is John Kelly, picked by Trump to head Homeland Security.  His last job included oversight of Guantanamo.  He's a hard-liner whose treatment of prisoners was severely criticized.  He is opposed to closing Guantanamo and the Iran deal.  It is hard to know what he would do in all circumstances, but his values and past actions predicate a noisy pseudo-patriotic patronizing of military responses to possible future crises.


Michael Flynn is Trump's choice to be National Security Advisor. Unfortunately, Flynn is a whack-job and a conspiracy aficionado.  A retired Army general, Flynn tends to treat all Muslims as terrorists, claiming falsely that Sharia law is spreading across the US and the the country is currently engaged in a world war with radical Islamists.  Flynn also sent out 16 fake or propaganda news stores on the social media, which General Barry McCaffrey said were "demented."  He appears unstable and would be another horrible addition to Trump's group pack of goofballs.


Linda McMahon, who co-founded the WWE, has nothing to qualify her for the job of running the Small Business Administration, unless you consider the $7.5 million she gave Trump for his White House run.


Steve Bannon from Breitbart, which he claims to have made the voice of the "alt-right" in this country, is Trump's top advisor.  The words, "alt-right," are a pseudonym for Nazi.  So, tell it like it is.  Bannon is a Nazi and is operation is a Nazi operation.  As one person wrote, "His web site was a clearinghouse for hate speech of all kinds including white nationalism, anti-semitism, immigrant-hatred and misogyny.


Rex Tillerson is looking to be our next Secretary of State.  Tillerson is the CEO of the Exxon Mobil Corp.  Other than heading up one of the world's worst polluters, there isn't much to recommend the guy.  He does have close connections with Russia and Putin, however, and has contracted with the Russian oil company to do joint oil exploration and production.  So far, they've set up 10 projects in Russia to work together.


This brief run-down on Trump's nominees should keep all decent, honest, ethical persons up at night.  Trump's cabinet and cronies give new meaning to the word, "madness."  Already, they Trump team is trying to identify people in the EPA who worked to help stop global warming so they can be fired.


Lingchi, death by a thousand cuts, has begun.  It will be a slow process and it will be painful. The United States has always failed to live up to its promises, but in the past our leadership has at least tried, even if fitfully, to direct the country in the right direction.

Today, whatever light has shone in this country, is dimming.  We no longer represent democracy and decency.  We are now a country led by a psychopathic liar, one of the least decent humans on the planet and his compatriots, all of which are driven by greed or pathological hatred for others and for the notion that the government is in place to assist people reach their dreams.

If there is a god, he or she has forsaken us.




Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Rethinking Christmas


FAUX News supports a "war" on Christmas every year.  This so-called war is, of course, the fault of them damn libruls who don't believe nothin' and try to take the joy out of the conservatives/reactionaries' celebration of the season.  

Christmas, by god, is the reason for the season.  Keep Christ in Christmas!  


Here's a fascinating tidbit:  The celebration of the birth of the legendary Jesus was not of much interest in the early church.  In fact, it was pretty much ignored for the first 400 years of the church's life.

By then, however the cult of the Virgin Mary had gradually become a factor in the church and the superstitious laity egged on by the ignorant clergy, supported the notion that she was the "mother of god" and deserving of recognition and veneration on her own.  She birthed Jesus so that birth became of interest and importance.

Simultaneously, the cult of Mithras which was fighting Christianity for supremacy in the Roman Empire, had provided Christians fodder for fleshing out their religious beliefs and practices.  For example, while the cult of Mithras was pretty much just for the male members of society, it did include a baptismal rite featuring a symbolic washing in the blood of a bull along with a Eucharist which included the drinking of wine and the eating of bread.  Early Christian fathers, of course, argued that the Mithrans stole those things from Christianity, but their arguments do not hold water.  It was the reverse.

Additionally, Mithrans believed their savior was born of a virgin on December 25 in a cave surrounded by angels, the babe being wrapped in swaddling cloths. It is said that the eve of Mithras birth, December 24, was a time of great celebration in Rome.

Because the birth of Jesus had been of little consequence, no one knew when their legendary, Jesus, was supposed to have been born.  One of the Gospel birth stories speaks of Jesus' birth occurring when shepherds were in the fields with their flocks, which would suggest it was not during the winter.  Most of the Christian leaders didn't give a rip until the middle of 4th century, and there was great disagreement.  Some thought his birth was in the fall, others in the spring. Finally, they chose December 25, which was the day when Mithras, a sun-god, was born.

It was a smart move, because one of the gods most people in Rome worshipped was born on that day so it made for an easy transition from paganism to Christianity.


Today, Christmas is a time when the birth of Jesus gets little attention, except in the churches.  We do hear the words, "Peace on earth, goodwill toward men," but nobody really cares about them and it has become obvious in recent months that for most people in this country that refers only to good, conservative Americans. Everyone else can go to hell.

The most important thing to note about Christmas these days is that our capitalistic country promotes unending purchases of merchandise (most of which is made in China - that damn atheistic commie country) because our retailers have screwed things up so badly their commercial lives actually depend upon ever-increasing Christmas sales.

Some pious folks do go to church.  They enjoy hearing the same old stories regurgitated over and over again.  It is soothing and healing to sing Christmas carols and listen to Christmas bells and soak in the Christmas atmosphere. Seldom do they realize (because the almost never read their Bibles) that only two of the four gospels contain a birth story and they contradict each other dramatically.  They focus on smarthy sentimental stuff like creches and camels, wise men and stars, and angels singing high in the heavens.  Jesus is never presented as a real human being, but as a sprightly little cherub resting in a crib, never crying, never pooping, never sucking on his mother's teat, totally innocuous and totally unrelated to real life.

But it's better that way.  If Christians actually celebrated the life of Jesus instead of the mythical birth they would be compelled to change their ways and who the hell wants to do that.

I mean, really, 81% of the evilgelicals in the U.S. voted for Trump to make America great again. Who needs Jesus?


So maybe we should have a war on Christmas.  We should maybe wage war on the monumental hypocrisy inherent in pledging obeisance to the savior of the world while at the same time acting in ways totally inconsistent with what he taught!  We buy and buy and hassle everybody in sight, drink too much, and spend way too much for no good reason other than to put coins in the coffers of the businesses who could not exist without this unholy holiday.

Christmas today is not about the birth of Jesus or the birth of Christ no matter the pretentious phonies at FAUX News.  And interestingly enough, the apostle Paul cared not a whit about when, where, or how Jesus was born.  He never mentions it in his letters.


Is it possible that the American Atheists have a point?  Going to church on Christmas merely reinforces old myths and old traditions and old patterns of behavior which bring nothing good to the world which the Savior came to save.

Make Christmas great again.  Skip church.  Skip all the nonsense.  Bring families and friends together; renew the ties that bind;  and follow the words of the one who grew into a troublemaker, who challenged the status quo, the religious and political establishments, who said in no uncertain terms that the only thing of importance to god and to the world is that we care for and love one another.

Racism, bigotry, narcissism, egocentrism, hatred and war must be expunged from our lives if we want to make Christmas great again.  Nothing else matters.  And if the church does not help make that possible, then by god, skip church!

Meanwhile, until we figure out how to rightly celebrate Christmas, let us greet one another with the phrase, "Happy Holidays," to show we care for all people and recognize the worth of those who follow different traditions!


One last thought:  If the Church didn't think the birth of Jesus was worth fussing about for 400 years, I reckon we don't need to fuss about it, either.


Friday, December 2, 2016

Greg Palast and the Presidential Recount

GregPalast.com
 
The No-BS Inside Guide to
the Presidential Recount

Sorry, no Russian hacker hunt

by Greg Palast for Truthout

Greg Palast investigated vote suppression in the 2016 election for Rolling Stone.  The film of his investigation, The Best Democracy Money Can Buy, was released by Cinema Libre Studios in September.

There's been so much complete nonsense since I first broke the news that the Green Party would file for a recount of the presidential vote, I am compelled to write a short guide to flush out the BS and get to just the facts, ma'am.
Clip from The Best Democracy Money Can Buy by Greg Palast

Nope, they’re not hunting for Russian hackers
To begin with, the main work of the recount hasn't a damn thing to do with finding out if the software programs for the voting machines have been hacked, whether by Putin’s agents or some guy in a cave flipping your vote from Hillary to The Donald.

The Green team does not yet even have the right to get into the codes. But that's just not the core of the work


The ballots in the electoral “dumpster”
The nasty little secret of US elections, is that we don't count all the votes.

In Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania—and all over America—there were a massive number of votes that were simply rejected, invalidated, and spoiled. They were simply, not counted.  Officially, in a typical presidential election, at least three million votes end up rejected, often for picayune, absurd reasons.

The rejects fall into three big categories:  provisional ballots rejected, absentee and mail-in ballots invalidated and in-precinct votes “spoiled,” spit out by a machine or thrown out by a human reader as unreadable or mis-marked.
So, as Robert Fitrakis, lead lawyer for the recount tells me, their first job is to pull the votes out of the electoral dumpster—and, one by one, make the case for counting a rejected provisional, absentee or “spoiled” ballot.


Spoiled:  over-votes and under-votes
How does a vote spoil? Most fall in the categories of “over-votes” and “under-votes.”

In Michigan, the Green team has found a whole lot of people who voted for TWO candidates for President.  These are the “over-vote”—votes that will count for neither candidate.

How odd.  While the schools in Detroit are not stellar, its graduates do know that they can only have one president.
Then, some folks didn’t vote at all.  They are the “under-voter.”

But, Fitrakis and team suspect, many of these under- and over-voters meant to vote for a candidate but the robot reader couldn’t understand their choice.

Here’s how it happens.  Voters in Michigan and Wisconsin fill in bubbles next to their choice.  The cards, filled up with darkened bubbles for each race, are gathered and fed through an “optical scanner.” These robotic eyeballs mess up all the time.

This is what Fitrakis, an old hand at vote-machine failures (both deliberate and benign), calls “the calibration problem.”

Are machines calibrated with a Republican or Democratic bias? No, that's not how it works. But just as poor areas get the worst schools and hospitals, they also get the worst voting machines.

The key is an ugly statistic not taught in third grade civics class:  According to the US Civil Rights Commission, the chance your vote will be disqualified as “spoiled” is 900% more likely if you’re Black than if you’re white.

So the Green Party intends to review every single one of the six million bubble-filled cards. They’ll use the one instrument that can easily tell one bubble from two, or one bubble from none: the human eye.

As you can imagine, This will require several thousand eyes.  The good news is, Fitrakis reports, that well over a thousand volunteers have already signed up.  Training by Skype begins Tuesday morning. 

 
Support the 2016 Stolen Election Investigation
The team and I are off to Ground Zero:  Michigan. Wisconsin. Pennsylvania. To report the REAL story of the recount.
I’m also responding to urgent requests in the recount states for our technical files and analysis. And then it’s on to Washington—to the Department of Justice—while there’s a bit of Justice left.
 
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Last stop for Democracy


Provisional or “placebo” ballots
According to the US Elections Assistance Commission (EAC), Americans cast 2.7 million provisional ballots in the last presidential election.  About a million were simply discarded.  What?!

Yes.  Discarded, not counted.  You show up at your normal polling station and they can’t find your name, or they don’t like your ID, or you’re supposed to vote in another precinct.  Instead of letting you vote on a regular ballot, you fill out a “provisional” ballot and place it in an envelope, sign your name, and under penalty of jail time for lying, affirm you’re a properly registered voter.

The polls close
then the magic begins.  It’s up to highly partisan election officials to decide if your vote counts.  Hillary Clinton only won one swing state, Virginia, notably, the only one where the vote count was controlled by Democrats.  She lost all swing states—Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Arizona, North Carolina and Florida—where the GOP set the rules for counting these ballots and their hacks acted as the judge and jury on whether a ballot should be counted.

Wisconsin generally rejects votes cast in the wrong precinct, even if they’re legal voters—and, says Fitrakis, “even if their official precinct was just another table in the same high school gym—and they were mis-directed by poll workers.”

(That’s why I sometimes call “provisional” ballots “placebo” ballots.  They let you feel you’ve voted, even if you haven’t.)

In Wisconsin, provisional ballots were handed to voters—mostly, it appears, students—who didn’t have the form of ID required under new Wisconsin law. These ballots were disqualified despite zero evidence even one voter was an identity thief.

Fitrakis says the Stein campaign will fight for each of these provisional votes where this is clearly no evidence the vote is fraudulent.


Mail-in, Early and Absentee Ballots go Absent
If you’ve gone postal in this election, good luck!  According to EAC data, at least half a million absentee ballots go absent, that is, just don’t get counted.  The cause: everything from postage due to “suspect signature.” Fitrakis told me that in his home state of Ohio, you need to put your driver’s license number on the envelope, “and if you don’t have a driver’s license and leave the line blank—instead of writing ‘no driver’s license’—they toss your ballot.
From Palast's book The Best Democracy Money Can Buy: A Tale of Billionaires & Ballot Bandits by Ted Rall

It’s a “gotcha!” system meant to knock out the ballots the officials don’t want to count.  (Remember, your mail-in ballot is anything but secret.)  Team Green will try to fight for each absentee ballot rejected for cockamamie reasons.

If the recount doesn’t change the outcome, can we feel assured the election was honest?

Sadly, no.  As Fitrakis says, “If a student is given a provisional ballot because they didn’t have the right ID, or the state simply lost their registration, we can fight for the ballot to be counted.  But most students who voted off campus didn’t know their right to get a provisional ballot and most probably didn’t get offered one.

Students and others were discouraged from voting because they lacked the proper ID (300,000 by the estimate of the experts with the ACLU—that’s thirty times Trump’s plurality).  But if you didn’t cast any ballot, provisional or otherwise, no one can fight for it.

And final decisions may come down to the vote of the Wisconsin Elections Commission, God forbid.  As Norman Stockwell, the editor of Madison-based The Progressive explained to me, formerly, elections law adjudications were made by a panel of non-partisan judges.  These were replaced by this new commission of partisan shills appointed by GOP Governor Scott Walker.


Trump says millions voted illegally. Is he crazy?
Crazy like a fox.  There’s a method in his madness that affects the recount.

While the media dismisses Trump’s claim that there are "millions of people that voted illegally," they have not paid attention to the details of his claim.  Trump explains that millions of people are “voting many, many times,” that is, voting in two states in the same election.

Trump’s claim is based on a list of “potential duplicate voters” created by his operative, Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach.  Kobach (a top dog in Trump’s transition team)  directs a program for hunting down fraudulent voters using a computer system called, “Crosscheck.”

It’s quite a computer:  Crosscheck identified a breathtaking 449,922 Michiganders who are suspected of voting or registering in a second state, a felony crime, as are 371,923 in Pennsylvania.

I spent two years investigating the Trump/Kobach claim for Rolling Stone.  We obtained the “confidential” suspect list of several million citizens accused of voting twice.  In fact, it was no more than a list of common names—Maria Hernandez, James Brown, David Lee—that is, common to voters of color.  Read: Democrats.  A true and typical example: Michael James Brown of Michigan is supposed to be the same voter as Michael Kendrick Brown of Georgia.
Page from The Best Democracy Money Can Buy (FREE) Comic book penned by Keith Tucker

About 54,000 voters in Michigan, five times Trump’s plurality, lost their right to vote based on this nutty double-voter accusation.  In Pennsylvania, about 45,000 were purged.

The problem for Fitrakis:  While he eventually plans to file suit against Crosscheck purges, in the meantime, it’s not clear he can challenge someone whose lost their vote because of a false accusation of double voting.  And those who found their names missing and didn’t demand a provisional ballot—there’s no hope at all of recovering their vote.


Is Jill Stein going to get rich?
Fitrakis laughs at this one.  “The FEC [Federal Elections Commission] has very strict rules on recounts. The donations for the recount are sequestered in a specially designated account and all spending is restricted to the recount.” 

The big problem is that the cost is somewhat out of Stein’s control.  Each state will bill the campaign for the “pro-rated salaries and benefits” of its county and state officials working on the recount.

To add to the cost and just plain drive the Green team crazy, the Wisconsin Election Board announced on Monday that each separate county elections clerk will decide if they’ll even let the Green volunteers directly view the ballots.  Fitrakis and partners will have to get a court order to get into each county.  How does one recount ballots without seeing them?  (Hmm, is the Wisconsin board, stooges appointed by the GOP Governor, fearful that the viewing the ballots will expose the game?)


Hillary joins the fray
What will the Clinton camp add to the recount? “Lawyers,” said Fitrakis, though he’s yet to see them.  The Clinton campaign is apparently helping find one voter in each Pennsylvania county, as one is required in each jurisdiction to file for a recount of that state.

And what about that hack job?
While Fitrakis is not looking for Russkies in the computer code, he says, “We’re more concerned with the private companies that control the keys to the kingdom—to match what’s on paper to the official count.”  The “keys” are the little machines, memory cards and other electronic gewgaws that are used to suck the data from the voting machine—which are carried off to another state for tabulation by a private contractor.  Will these tabulations at each step match what the volunteers find in the on-the-ground recount?

One problem is that the tabulation software is “proprietary.”  A private company owns the code to the count—and the privateers will fight fiercely, with GOP help, to keep the ballot counting code their commercial secret.


Push and Pray Pennsylvania
In the end, the single biggest impediment to a full and fair recount is that 70 percent of Pennsylvania voters used what are called, “Push and Pray” voting machines—Direct Recording Electronic touch-screens.  Push the screen next to your choice and pray it gets recorded. Pennsylvania is one of the only states that has yet to require some form of VVPAT (“vee-pat”) or voter-verified paper audit trail that creates an ATM-style receipt.

Therefore, the Keystone State recount will have to rely on hopes of access to the code, statistical comparisons to counties that used paper ballots—and prayer.


Maybe it IS the Russians
The possibility that a Putin pal hacked the machines was championed by University of Michigan computer sciences professor J. Alex Halderman who proposed, “The attackers would probe election offices well in advance in order to find ways to break into their computers…and spread malware into voting machines.”

I imagine some squat, middle-pay-scale civil servant in chinos and a pocket protector who works in the Michigan Secretary of State’s office approached, one late overtime night, by some FSB agent in high heels and a slinky dress split halfway up her thigh. The svelte spy would lean against the bureaucrat provocatively and whisper, “My handsome dahling, would you mind sticking this little thumb drive into that big old computer of yours?

Professor Halderman, if you want to help the recount, put down the James Bond novels and pick up some Opti-Scan ballots.  We’ve got a lot of bubbles to read.  End
 
 
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Greg Palast (Rolling Stone, Guardian, BBC) is the author of The New York Times bestsellers, The Best Democracy Money Can Buy and Billionaires & Ballot Bandits, now out as major motion non-fiction movie.

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