Archive for January, 2017

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Wagging The Dog

January 30, 2017

Wagging The Dog.

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In light of recent events I think this might be a good time to take a close, hard look at who’s running the country.  By that I do not mean Trump or his children, his advisors or cabinet, or the Republicans in Congress.  What I want to understand is who was it that we trusted to make the decision, already going so wrong,  that we all must live by in this newly formed Trump Nation.

First, let’s look at some hard numbers.  At the last count, the population of the United States of America was 322,762,018.  Now to be fair, I must acknowledge that this was the last census estimate.  People die and babies are born.  The number is always in flux, but it’s close enough to work with. 62,979,879 people voted for Donald Trump.  That is a hard number.  A simple mathematical analysis easily shows that a mere 19.5% of the total population made that decision for the rest of us. That’s 19.5% of men, women, children, seniors, city-dwellers, rural dwellers and suburbanites, prisoners, patients, cripples, Illegals, students, workers, ministers, military—-everybody.

So who are these 62 million?  Well to start with a great number are single issue voters, mostly dominated by people of faith, Christians, “right-to-lifers,” who are willing to compromise all their other principles—ethical and moral guidelines— for this single, prayed-for outcome, in the belief that a man who can make money in any manner, can make decisions the rest of the world can live by.

Next are the voters living in fear that a wall on the Mexican border can protect them from dying in a movie theater or nightclub at the hands of a drug-addled rapist/terrorist from Mexico, and having failed to teach their kids to just say “no”, keep their daughter’s virginity safe and their family from OD-ing on cheap elephant-tranquilized heroin while driving their foreign made SUV into head-on traffic.

After that, we must consider those who feel they must protect the rights of said Latino-terrorist (or anyone else on the no-fly list for that matter)  to purchase assault weapons, in order to remain safe themselves, thereby keeping America strong.

And of course there are the economically-challenged and  motivated voters, who feel that a billionaire who has made money cheating people, by not paying valid invoices, sold fraudulent products and manufactured his goods overseas using cheap labor, can fix our economy and create more American jobs because he believes in “America first.”  These same people bought into the idea that he was the supreme dealmaker, and that he would stock his cabinet with the best dealmakers.  Well maybe that much is true.  Maybe all those guys he nominated know how to get the most from a deal, but the real issue is not how the deal is arrived at but the very nature of the deal itself, what do we want in the first place?  That is not about the dealmakers but is all about the voters.

And worst of all are the hard-line party voters, staunch Republicans all, willing to vote for a flip-flop candidate, really an independent without a plan or policy of substance, who, failing the advice and onslaught of negative comments by virtually every other leader in their party, all people of substance turned hypocrite, voted for the bully-braggart because he energized their base emotions of anger and revenge.

And lastly, let us not forget the fringe—the kooks and weirdos, the right-wing hate groups, racists, misogynists, and in general those still living in the past with delusions of how it “used to be,”  the “deplorables” as Hillary so named them—50% or not, still a real working fraction in the equation.

This is the Trump coalition.  These are the people who now believe that they run the country— 19.5% of Americans, the tail wagging the dog.

But as recent demonstrations show, they are not as in control as they might think.  The 80.5%, the rest of us,  may not control the congress, the cabinet, the lobbyists or the president and his family, but we outnumber them and we will be heard.  When spontaneous groups can mobilize in mere hours and minutes to close airport terminals all around the country, when millions of women worldwide unite in protest against the policies of a man who gets his policy-making information from limited channels on his television, I say look back at Richard Millhouse Nixon, Mr. Trump, you are more vulnerable than he, and we will stop every effort to take our blessed country in the direction of ruin you have embarked on.

 

 

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The Joker

January 25, 2017

 

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The Joker.

I think it started some years ago when we began calling janitors “maintenance engineers.”  After that it spread like wildfire, becoming increasingly devious over the decades until wars were called conflicts. Civilian casualties became collateral damage.  Torture was renamed enhanced interrogation and now today, lies are referred to as alternative facts, thanks to ever-smiling Kellyanne Conway.  I’ve seen that smile before, maybe in Batman films… yes, the Joker.  A gleeful smile, wide and frozen, it belies the perfumed excrement of her “alternative facts.”  As skilled an actor as he is, Jack Nicholson runs a poor second to Kellyanne, despite the fact he’s better looking, even in full Joker makeup.

It’s like Shakespeare said, “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”  That principle is true of excrement as much as of the rose. Call it what you want, it still smells the same.

But in a world where alternative facts must coexist with real facts, the last remains of factual potential must be censored by the Ministry of Propaganda, leaving only alternative facts.  That effort began when Trump ordered the Park Service to stand down on further tweeting and shut down all public communication not authorized by the Whitehouse, after it retweeted the NY Times comparison photos of the Obama and Trump inauguration crowds.  With little delay, Trump then moved to have the EPA remove the main page of climate change data, global warming and emissions from it’s website and went on to censor The Department of Energy was next to fall, and other agencies followed with similar gag orders.

Furthermore, EPA grants have been frozen, and agency employees are barred from speaking about the gag orders.  The memo ordering the social media blackout is shown below.

Now in a futile effort to substantiate his worst fears regarding the popular vote he has called for a major investigation into voter fraud that he alone estimates to be between 2 and 5 million votes, all of which had to be cast for the Democratic candidate, Hillary Clinton.  In an unusual about face CNN has finally grabbed its balls and has begun using the word “lie” referring to Trump pronouncements, initiating an odd standoff between a first-time ball grabber and a lifetime pussy grabber.

I say let’s get this over with.  Will someone please give Donald Trump a gun and drive him down to 5th Avenue so he can shoot somebody and prove at least one of his claims.  It may help ease his emotional pain and we can get back to facts.

 

 

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The Ventriloquist

January 22, 2017

The Ventriloquist.

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It was customary practice in my youth to play games—card games and board games.  Video games were yet to come, but not for me.  Often younger relatives might be playing against each other,  say an older youth playing against a much younger child, a teen against a kindergartner not letting the younger child win.  At some point an adult would intervene and help the smaller child, enabling them to win.  The small child was definitely the winner, but the older child might well be correct to claim that the win was illegitimate.

Today many are calling President Trump’s win illegitimate.  Let’s be clear here, his win was every bit legal, but it was achieved illegitimately.  Candidate Trump paraded himself in a manner that in the long game proved for most of us, that this is an essential truth, perhaps not yet a fact, but still a truth.  If this were not a concern, then President Trump might well be willing to give it a rest, but he can’t.  Yes, we must respect the electoral process, even with it’s flawed college defined by gerrymandered districts, and yes, we must respect the office of the president, but that does not mean that we must respect the man holding the office.  To receive respect you must act in a manner deserving of respect.  Nothing in Donald Trump’s history (go back as far a you like) has ever given anybody reason to respect him, except that he has made a lot of money, a shallow substitute for ethics, values and reasoned thought.

FACT:  Trump was elected with only a 26% total of the eligible voters, not the 46% of Americans as David Axelrod repeatedly mistakenly claims.

FACT: Trump lost the popular vote by almost 3 million people.

FACT: This is hardly a mandate.

And now the measure of his legitimacy seems to rest on the evaluation of his inaugural crowd size vs. Obama’s inaugural crowd and also by comparing it to the size of the crowds in Washington on the day following (but not at the 620 protests nationwide and many others world-wide).

Will someone on the Trump team please wake up this hollow buffoon to a reality that defies dispute. Just because he says it is so, does not make it so.  The narcissistic statements he made on that day regarding the size of his crowd were an embarrassment that he cannot back down from.  And then to stand in front of the CIA (an intelligence agency) and insult their intelligence by denying the very egregious things he had previously said in the most plain and blunt fashion as being a media attack, only added to his lack of credibility, now in a state of total deficit.

But wait, there’s more.  The Ventriloquist, VOTUS, rolls out his dummies, Sean Spicer and KellyAnne Conway to plug the holes in the dike.  Spicer revealing himself to be a complete fool who will say anything he is told to say no matter how easily refuted, and Kellyanne Conway who in the best spirit of politispeak coins a new word for lying, “alternative facts” to support Spicer and Trump in their transparent efforts.

And it’s only just beginning.

Now as supreme commander, he chastises the Park Service for retweeting a Time photo comparing the crowds on the mall at the Obama and Trump Inaugurals.  In the best Orwellian spirit he feels he can erase the facts and suppress further revelations.

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Top: 2009.  Bottom 2017.

Well Donald, it’s like I said, “it’s only just beginning.”  We the American people will hold your feet to your own fire of lies, with or without the support of the namby-pamby, so called liberal media.  CNN being oh-so proper was too shy to call the sea of pink hats by their proper name. “pussy-grabbing hats” and referred to Madonna’s speech as containing the F-bomb.  Why can’t they just say “Fuck.” She said it on the news, it’s just reportage to repeat it.  CNN you’re just a big overrated pussy.  Start taking us seriously and take the news head on.  Call a lie a lie.

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The Smell Test

January 17, 2017

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The Smell Test.

I’m not sure that the tale of the boy who cried wolf is oft repeated these days.  It was one of those fables told to children of another era to instill values and principles about the right way to conduct oneself—moral, yes, but really just plain, common-sense, good advice.

The tale involves a shepherd boy who repeatedly cried wolf when his sheep were not under threat of a wolf.  After a while, his cries were ignored and no one any longer responded.  Eventually, when the wolf did come, his cries for help went unheeded and many sheep were lost as a result. It’s a tale about the ultimate effects of repeated lying and how it discredits personal integrity and erodes trust.

Donald Trump is the extreme example, the epitome of the denial politician, a distillation of decades of evolved strategies of political denials protecting self-interest by requiring absolute proof to accept a belief in the opposing view.  As anyone familiar with the machinations of closed-door, back-room politics and dealmaking can tell you, no one knows for sure but the dealmakers themselves and proof in the legal sense is highly unlikely, if not impossible. As the voting public is left to make its own determination, it often must fall to the smell test, a rather unscientific method but often more accurate than the inconclusive legal test.

Regarding Russian hacking, Trump has repeatedly denied their involvement.  Only under pressure from every intelligence agency of the United States, seventeen in all, as well as nations worldwide, has he finally conceded that yes, we were hacked by the Russians.  He has cried and lied so many times that his current admission of the truth is being being given little attention while the real danger is being widely ignored.

We should be well familiar with this strategy by now.  The most recent and very best example may well be the issue of climate change.  In the face of years of exacting documentation, satellite imaging, scientific measurements and analysis and the confirmation by virtually every scientist worldwide save those on right wing political payroll, a few republican politicians from energy producing and environmental polluting states stand against the rest of the world as climate deniers, to hold the line on energy profits for the lobbyist companies that financed them into office. Meanwhile, the worst floods, the biggest hurricanes, the most tornadoes, forest fires, mudslides and  droughts and rising oceans continue to threaten and afflict our nation and it’s citizens and all the world unabated.  Do we need absolute legal proof, or is all this evidence, a simple smell test, enough?

So let’s look at a series of facts and subject the November election and the idea of Russian hacking to the smell test..

1. In 2012 Rex Tillerson then CEO of Exxon negotiated a 500 billion dollar oil exploration deal with Vladimir Putin between Exxon and the Russian government’s oil company Rosneft. Russia has 63.6 million acres of oil that it cannot access and only Exxon has the technology to make extraction possible.

2. In 2014, when Russia invaded the Ukraine and took Crimea, the Obama administration imposed sanctions that stopped the oil deal dead in its tracks.

3. Throughout his campaign Donald Trump repeatedly praised Vladimir Putin, even lying to say that he had met him and knew him.  Furthermore Trump has indicated that he has every intention of warming relations with Russia.

4. Tillerson owns 2.6 million shares of Exxon. Despite selling off his current shares, it seems that because of many complicated tax laws,  1.3 million shares will likely remain held until fully vested which occurs after he would leave office.  Even if put into a blind trust, any action taken by Tillerson as SOS to renew the Russian deal would line his pockets  to an extreme degree now and far into the future.

5. Trump has withheld all his financial information by denying access to his tax records.

6. Trump and Pence do not have to divest themselves of their financial assets.

7. Trump has repeatedly denied Russian involvement, even in the face of top secret briefings to the contrary.

8. Currently, in spite of CIA opinion to the contrary,  he challenges the assertion that the hacking was done to favor his election and deny Hillary a win.

One must task, “Then why did the Russians do it, if not for that?”

So there’s the smell test…

We know fore sure that the Russians hacked the Democrats and leaked harmful information regarding Hillary Clinton.  That much is a fact.  But the questions remain..”Why did they do that?  What did they expect to happen?  What did they want?  Who benefits?”

We also know that the Russians hold information on Trump that could be damaging whether true or not.  Most likely they have financial information that is accurate, attained through hacking.  But think about this… In the world of spies, disinformation is more useful than information.  The best way to obfuscate a fact is to tie it to a lie, one so preposterous that it is not likely to be believed by anyone, much less reported in mainstream media.  Perhaps a lie that could be disseminated by internet media like BuzzFeed regarding, say  “Golden Showers” in Moscow—nasty, outrageous, funny and virile—but ultimately the understated truth evaporates with the preposterous lie it is tied to and it all goes away.  It can never be proved in the legal sense.

So I ask you, which is the more likely scenario?

Candidate Trump, a multibillionaire who achieved wealth by screwing suppliers, skirting fraud, shipping jobs overseas, who is defending multiple charges regarding sexually assaulting women, (and not coincidentally admitted such on camera as a confessed pussy-grabber), has been caught repeatedly in lies, and who won his nomination by bullying a field of hapless Republican candidates to the cheers of angry mobs, who has incited violence at rallies, demeaned women, immigrants and the handicapped, publicly egged on Putin to hack Hillary and denied the intelligence of every Agency guarding the US cyber networks, that this same Candidate Trump who brags he could shoot someone on 5th Avenue without political consequence, boldly pushing the world record set by Dick Cheney, was an innocent babe in the woods, unaware of the consequences of his actions and ignorant of the facts and conclusions in the face of Russian hacking briefings by the CIA, FBI and others…  that  Candidate Trump,  has nothing to personally gain and is only acting in the interest of the American people?

OR…

The Russians hacked Hillary to help Trump win and Trump and his cronies, Exxon and the Russians will all soon be the richer for it.

Trump may defend his policies and appointments on the “letter of the law” but everything about Trump—his candidacy, his legitimacy, his right to govern, his choices—-all violate every principle regarding the “spirit of the law.”

And now the media falls into line asking us to unite behind Trump for the good of the nation.  No good can be had by such action.  Trump has been a divisive candidate from the start and continues his divisiveness to this day.  “Divide and conquer” is his strategy.  Yes, we must unite, but not behind Trump.  It begins with people of integrity refusing to acknowledge his legitimacy, people like representative John Lewis and more than 50 Democrats that are boycotting the inauguration.  These are today’s heroes, first in the battle lines drawn to stop this deplorable movement called “Trump Nation.”

After Trump was endorsed by hate groups like the KKK, Hillary almost got it right when she coined the “basket of deplorables” phrase referring to half of Trump’s supporters.  Of course that was just a figure of speech, like saying there was a “million ants.”  The other half being non-deplorable (by her own definition) rose up in protest, as if she had referred to them, and she caved.  Pity.  Moderate Democrat that she is, she chose to play by the old rulebook and she failed to pick up the banner and attack head on.  Today as Trump’s approval slips to about 41% he heads into the inauguration with the lowest approval rating of any modern-day  President Elect.  It’s not half of his supporters that are deplorable.  More accurately it’s 41% of the nation.

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The Illegitimate Child

January 6, 2017

The Illegitimate Child

A middle-aged woman is told by her neighbor that her husband has been cheating on her.  She has proof that she shares with her.  Considering the facts, the woman makes a bad choice and has an affair with a charismatic ner-do-well who tells her what she wants to hear in order to seduce her.  He promises her a new life and that he’ll protect her.  Unfortunately, all the union produces is an illegitimate child. It’s a real child, just wrongly conceived.  The child is here to stay.

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We live in a democracy where every four years the adult citizens can participate in electing a president to manage the affairs of the country by setting policy and commanding the military.  Anyone who qualifies can vote.  The qualifications are very low, pretty much you just have to be old enough.  However, in recent times we have witnessed many games played in several states to delegitimize minority voters by the application of voter registration rules towards discriminatory ends. This has been well reported and documented.  It handed the GOP the election in Florida in 2000 that shoe-horned Bush into the Whitehouse and continues to this day.  It is nothing short of bare-knuckles, hands-on election hacking, but within the accepted tone of election mudslinging, insults and lies, it is acceptable practice and has yet to be held responsible for wrongly electing a winner.  Perhaps that is because we do not elect the candidate with the best ideas, policies and ethics.  No, we elect winners.  It really doesn’t matter how they win, they just have to win.

In theory American voters make an informed choice.  Their information comes from media sources who must play the “fair and balanced game” by reporting news that includes both sides of a political argument, all the spin, much disinformation, false promises, deflection, outright lies and smiling denials.  To that end, voters are left to make a decision based on their opinion which is formed by the information they choose to access.  Unfortunately most people choose the channels of access that support their existing beliefs and no new knowledge is attained.  They make an emotional decision rather than an informed one.  The system allows for that.  The “system” preys on that.  If the winner can falsify information to achieve success, they are still, nonetheless, the winner.  We do not question their legitimacy.  That’s the way it works.

So the question I ask today is this.  What difference does it really make where the lies come from?  A lie is a lie.  If we accept that we can elect our leaders on lies, then why should we delegitimize a winner who gains an advantage through truthful leaks from a foreign player, simply because the foreign player wants to influence the outcome.

Let’s be real here.  We need to understand that every nation, every foreign leader, not just every US citizen, has a stake in the outcome of our elections.  Foreign corporations and wealthy individuals donate massive sums of money in every legally-loopholed way to influence our elections and garner influence in future administrations.  No problem, right?  They do it out in the open and we just stand by and watch.  Should we be surprised that Russia has a preferred outcome in our elections, or that they seek to influence that outcome.  I think not.  Is there anything wrong with that?  What they have done is distribute factual data.  That data was assimilated by news sources and put before the American public.  It became one of several factors that affected the results of the election.  It was the facts and not the method that affected the results. Since when have truthful facts delegitimized an election?  Foreign leaders are not bound by our honor code, yet it sticks in our craw that we have been manipulated to make a choice that favors an enemy. God forbid it calls our own values into question.

There are no illegitimate children-only illegitimate parents. We are those parents.

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