civil_rights (26)

Drug Deals and Bullshit...

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Image Source: Philosophy Talk, "Is There a Case for Bullshit?" by Serena Wong

 


Topics: Civics, Civil Rights, Existentialism, Fascism, Human Rights


One of the most salient features of our culture is that there is so much bullshit. Everyone knows this. Each of us contributes his share. But we tend to take the situation for granted. Most people are rather confident of their ability to recognize bullshit and to avoid being taken in by it. So the phenomenon has not aroused much deliberate concern. We have no clear understanding of what bullshit is, why there is so much of it, or what functions it serves. And we lack a conscientiously developed appreciation of what it means to us. In other words, as Harry Frankfurt writes, “we have no theory.”

Frankfurt, one of the world’s most influential moral philosophers, attempts to build such a theory here. With his characteristic combination of philosophical acuity, psychological insight, and wry humor, Frankfurt proceeds by exploring how bullshit and the related concept of humbug are distinct from lying. He argues that bullshitters misrepresent themselves to their audience not as liars do, that is, by deliberately making false claims about what is true. In fact, bullshit need not be untrue at all.

Rather, bullshitters seek to convey a certain impression of themselves without being concerned about whether anything at all is true. They quietly change the rules governing their end of the conversation so that claims about truth and falsity are irrelevant. Frankfurt concludes that although bullshit can take many innocent forms, excessive indulgence in it can eventually undermine the practitioner’s capacity to tell the truth in a way that lying does not. Liars at least acknowledge that it matters what is true. By virtue of this, Frankfurt writes, bullshit is a greater enemy of the truth than lies are.

On Bullshit, Harry G. Frankfurt

Well, he used it in a rally. They finally embodied it in a president* that's clearly fatter than when he started "executive time" or something, because golfing on the government dime isn't burning any calories, nor are his prodigious tweeting bowel movements.

*Putin-installed puppet

Level 1 Bullshit Artists

Pilgrims coming for "religious freedom." Winthrop's "shining city on a hill" was a shit pile of lies. His utopia looked like proto "Handmaid's Tale." Dude didn't even like Quakers. WHO doesn't like Quakers? You damned near died your first winter, in some cases resorting to cannibalism, systematically slaughtered the First Nation Peoples who GOT you through that winter and masked the genocide in the false memory of Thanksgiving propagated as propaganda to introduce Black Friday and the holiday binge buying season where everybody's broke in January. Happy capitalism. Socialism is evil. Ask Denmark.

Level 2 Bullshit Artists

Slavery. When you saw the road was rough with thorns and thistles; the First Nation peoples had bows, arrows and occasionally guns showing you how pissed they were when you tried to genocide them, you and Great Britain went to the continent of Africa, payed off some douche chieftains that wanted to get rid of rivals and use uncompensated labor to make yourselves rich beyond Solomon's dreams. Your government documents state your reason to secede was about slavery and your revulsion of black people, so don't bullshit me, you or anyone else. You balk at reparations because it's like pulling the thread of your favorite suit, watching the entire structure unravel. I get why you're nostalgic over the "peculiar institution." Bullshit artists are lazy. See "executive time."

Level 3 Bullshit Artists

I call bullshit on the revered "Founding Fathers." Your papered-over Tea Party in Boston Harbor wasn't a noble act of rebellion: you were COLONISTS. You didn't hitchhike to America! Britain paid your cruise ship tickets on the Mayflower. You essentially saw a way NOT to pay your taxes. (Your descendants created lawyers, loopholes and offshore bank accounts for that now.) "We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal"...except black men, black women, their children and descendants; white women didn't vote until 1920. African Americans didn't get the Voting Rights Act until 1965, and THAT has to be periodically reauthorized! It barely passed this last time, like republicans might want to vote slavery back in.

Level 4 Bullshit Artists

The Fairness Doctrine: "In the Radio Act of 1927, Congress dictated that the FCC (and its predecessor, the Federal Radio Commission) should only issue broadcast licenses when doing so serves the public interest. In 1949, the FCC interpreted this more strictly to mean that licensees should include discussions of matters of public importance in their broadcasts, and that they should do so in a fair manner. It issued “In the Matter of Editorializing by Broadcast Licensees,” which announced the Fairness Doctrine, and began enforcing it."

It's after the 1987 repeal of the Fairness Doctrine, right wing AM talk radio and Rush Limbaugh became the darling of the trucker set and the foundation of the echo chamber that would eventually become Roger Ailes Fox "News," 4Chann, 8Chann, Infowars and QAnon. Read the above underline statement, and ask yourself if they do.

Level 5 Bullshit Artists

The Fox News Channel (FNC) is an American basic cable and satellite news television channel that was founded by media mogul Rupert Murdoch in 1996. Roger Ailes appointed himself as permanent CEO of the news operation in 2001 & was created as a Republican-centered alternative to CNN. In January 2002, the ratings of the channel surpassed top-rated CNN to become the #1 news cable channel. They fell in March 2002, but since then the network has maintained its #1 cable rating (as of 2019) with increasing viewership and international access. Wikipedia

Ailes was a staffer in the Nixon administration, and of course thought any republican president should be allowed to get away with grand theft from the Watergate building. Too bad he had those tapes that did him in. He should have had Twitter, and misspelled, or spelled covfefe.

Level 6 Bullshit Artists

The entire Russian government has resigned just hours after President Vladimir Putin proposed sweeping changes to the country’s constitution, according to reports. The TASS news agency, which is owned by the Russian government, reported Wednesday morning that Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and his ministers submitted their resignations to Putin. The agency said Putin thanked Medvedev for his work and said the outgoing prime minister would be installed as deputy of the presidential security council. Medvedev said he resigned to give Putin space to carry out the changes he wants to make to the constitution.

The Entire Russian Government Has Resigned, Jamie Ross, The Daily Beast

Wow! I guess "he alone will fix it" by decree+ like an emperor, or in the case of Russia: a Czar. Now I see where his comb-over toupee Neanderthal got it from. It sounds like he's making what's left of their constitution into toilet paper just like his Orange Satan puppet. He did this as his American pet's impeachment hearings got underway. You don't have to commit a crime to get impeached, but it's awkward as the Government Accounting Office announces you're guilty of a crime.

+"So let it be written, so let it be done" Yul Brynner as Pharaoh in The Ten Commandments, in a slew of Hollywood cultural appropriation.

 

Level 7 Bullshit Artists


Seven deadly sins: pride, greed, lust, envy, gluttony, wrath and sloth, source: Wikipedia

Evangelicals aren't a religious body anymore: they're a political party with zero values. Somehow, the once "family values" party fell in line behind a heathen that exemplifies ALL seven deadly sins turned racism into a winning strategy for the moment. He's impeached forever - the third president* in U.S. history, the first in the 21st century and with the Lev Parnas What App drop, he apparently thinks Quid Pro Quo is a healthy bowel movement for septuagenarians.

The Southern Strategy is subject to the thermodynamics of Entropy just like any other moldy philosophy. John Bolton called the plot against Marie Yovanovitch that may have threatened her life a drug deal, but he's teetering between breaking another bombshell in a shitload of bombshells or depressing the sales of his future book by waiting too long. Any information that could remove the orange tweeting thing from the nuclear button is useless if he gets a second term, or if we're all glowing in the dark.

By the way Orange Satan: a shit load of lies doesn't make them true. It's just all bullshit.

*Putin-installed puppet
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Kompromat: Donald Trump at a Miss Universe party in Moscow in 2013. What he might have done in a hotel room there is nobody’s business except, perhaps, his wife’s. Photograph: Stoyan Vassev/Reuters, Irish Times

 

Topics: Civics, Civil Rights, Existentialism, Fascism, Human Rights


The Apprentice was first aired in 2004, and presented Trump as the ultra-successful real estate deal-maker who would choose from a cast of candidates competing for a job in the Trump Organization. Trump's catch phrase on the show was, "You're fired," which he would deliver pointing at that week's unsuccessful candidate.

Editor Jonathan Braun told the publication that Trump would fire contestants on the show on a whim, forcing editors to "reverse engineer" programs to make Trump's decisions seem coherent.

Production staff described how their job was to elevate Trump's image, whose star had fallen since his 1980s heyday of fame.

"Most of us knew he was a fake," Braun, who worked on six series of the show, told The New Yorker. "He had just gone through I don't know how many bankruptcies. But we made him out to be the most important person in the world. It was like making the court jester the king."

In his address, the president threatened to invoke severe sanctions against Iran, but seemed amenable to deescalating the burgeoning military aggression. Still, the nine-minute address was packed with the president’s standard potpourri of falsehoods, lies, and bouts of incoherence. But the most striking aspect of his speech had less to do with what he said than how he said it. Which is to say, Trump was slurring and snorting through an address that was ostensibly designed to calm a nation on the brink of war.

Trump has never been a particularly graceful public speaker, but his mush-mouth sounded especially pronounced this morning. There was heaviness to his speech, as if he was struggling to talk through cottonmouth. He also had difficulty with the letter S, which he couldn’t pronounce without a drawn out hiss, as if he were a snake. One of the more flagrant examples entails the president mangling the pronunciation of “tolerated” while condemning terrorism.

The briefing by his laughable national security team, supposedly justifying the killing of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani Wednesday raised more questions than it answered. Senator Mike Lee sounded livid. Rand Paul also seemed willing to seize back the Article I powers congress has abdicated since 9/11. John Bolton saying he would testify in an impeachment trial sent the current president* and republican-led senate in a panic to conclude quickly the only trial in America or in HISTORY - without called witnesses. Russia hacked the RNC like they hacked the DNC, but did not release it, meaning they HAVE it in other words, kompromat, used to manipulate them.

WASHINGTON -- Newly released documents show Donald Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani was in contact with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in the months before the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine was abruptly recalled.

The State Department released the documents Friday to the group American Oversight in response to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit. They show that Pompeo talked with Giuliani on March 26 and March 29.

Austin Evers, executive director of American Oversight, said the documents reveal “a clear paper trail from Rudy Giuliani to the Oval Office to Secretary Pompeo to facilitate Giuliani’s smear campaign against a U.S. ambassador.”

Last week, former Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch told House impeachment investigators she felt “kneecapped” by a “smear campaign” Giuliani led against her. She was withdrawn from her post in Ukraine in May.

The documents released Friday also include a report, that appears with Trump hotel stationery, that appears to summarize a Jan. 23 interview with a former Ukrainian prosecutor general, Victor Shokin. The summary says Giuliani and two business associates, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, were present.

The instinct of this president* is to be a crook. He was so Dr. Flunk-en-stein he's blocked any public access to his grades at Fordham University in New York and Wharton at the University of Pennsylvania. It's so bad, he apparently didn't know colleges and universities CAN'T release that information without his permission. It's so bad he doesn't want us to see his grades at his military academy high school. Michael Cohen threatened the institutions - mob lawyer gangster-style - to protect his former client's demonstrably fragile ego (Mike's in jail for him now).

We're out of the The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) for the same reasons: racism and jealousy. He tore it up because "the black guy who teased him at the White House Correspondence Dinner" did it. The announcement of Bin Laden's death comically preempted his precious reality show, the ONE place he could pretend to be successful instead of the failure even he knew he was. How DARE his enemy!

He needs his name on NAFTA 2.0 because of his malignant narcissism. He took Orly Taitz cockeyed, Quixotic crusade and rode the bigotry former Dixiecrats cum republicans cum Tea Party cum his cult following who were quite clear they loathed having an African American president and the immigration and demographics changes he represented. Along with help from Vladimir Putin and the antiquated electoral college, he slumped to the Oval Office, a position he'd never thought of, never prepared for and is not qualified for, despite his braggadocio regarding his "big brain."

“Donald Trump was the dumbest goddamn student I ever had.” I remember his emphasis and inflection — it went like this: “Donald Trump was the dumbest goddamn student I ever had.” Kelley told me this after Trump had become a celebrity, but long before he was considered a political figure. Kelley often referred to Trump’s arrogance when he told the story that Trump came to Wharton thinking he already knew everything.

This has relevance now because as recently as this week, President Trump challenged the Secretary of State of the United States to an IQ contest. This came within two days after NBC reported that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called the President a “moron” or a "f**king moron." The president has frequently bragged that he was a great student at a great school (Wharton). Thus, the public is entitled to a contrary view from somebody who was there (Dr. Kelley), and I faithfully report it here.

Bill Kelley was one smart cookie. His textbook was standard in his time in the then-new field of “marketing intelligence” and the necessity of using computers and databases to manage it. (See onlinelibrary.wiley.com which credits Bill for coining the quoted phrase.)

Frank DiPrima, DailyKos, AlterNET

He is both poster child of the SAT cheating scandal and the abysmal mythology of "white supremacy." He has proven the Alt-Wrong, Noodle Nazis, Klu-less Kleptocratic Kakistocracy to be the impotent impostors they've always been, frightened they have to compete for positions of the future; reaching for a past that never existed. They want white picket fences, white women at home: barefoot, submitted and perpetually pregnant to increase their stock of fascists. They want black people on the back of buses, Hispanics/Latinos back in Mexico, LGBT back in the closet; big oil and coal unfettered regardless of environmental consequences. They need fear to rule over others to bandage the failures they can't accept in themselves, and their pathetic lives.

And they have anointed an orange, satanic savior, a lens through which they focus their racist angst through.

Sadly, for The Apocalypse, there is no second season.
 

*Putin-installed puppet: a new definition for PIP, which he wouldn't follow anyway.

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Malignant Solipsism...

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Echo gazes at Narcissus while he longingly peers at his own reflection. J.W. Waterhouse, 1903. Public domain.

 

Topics: Civics, Civil Rights, Existentialism, Fascism, Human Rights


One day while hunting, Narcissus comes across an untouched, glassy spring. He is drawn to its beauty and lies down to take a drink, but what he sees in the still water enchants him. He is in love with what he sees and is inflamed by the features of the vision: the hair, his eyes, porcelain skin, and rosy cheeks. Attempts to kiss and hold the reflection are in vain, and Narcissus is only frustrated by the teasing reactions of the image. When Narcissus winks, the image winks back, when Narcissus waves, the image waves, and when he cries tears, he sees that the image also cries. Narcissus cannot understand why he cannot reach what he so desperately desires.

The tormented boy agonizes over his unrequited love. He cannot leave the spring and is trapped in his frozen gaze at his reflection, pining away for the boy in the water who rejects all advances. Then Narcissus realizes that the image is his, but it’s too late, as he has already fallen tragically in love with himself. Knowing that he can never have what he desires, his body withers away in despair. When Narcissus says “Goodbye” to the reflection, Echo’s voice says “Goodbye.” At that moment, Narcissus dies while peering into the spring. Historic Mysteries

 

*****


The Camp of the Saints (French: Le Camp des Saints) is a 1973 French dystopian fiction novel by Catholic author and explorer Jean Raspail. A speculative fictional account, it depicts the destruction of Western civilization through Third World mass immigration to France and the West. Almost forty years after its initial publication, the novel returned to the bestseller list in 2011. Wikipedia/The_Camp_of_the_Saints

The Turner Diaries is a 1978 novel by William Luther Pierce, published under the pseudonym Andrew MacDonald.[1] The Turner Diaries depicts a violent revolution in the United States which leads to the overthrow of the federal government, nuclear war, and, ultimately, a race war leading to the systematic extermination of non-whites.[2][3] All groups opposed by the novel's protagonist, Earl Turner, including Jews, non-whites, "liberal actors" and politicians, are exterminated. Wikipedia/The_Turner_Diaries

The Turner Diaries may sound familiar if you recall the Oklahoma City Bombing. Timothy McVeigh had a copy of it in the pickup truck he was discovered in. An army veteran skilled in explosive ordinance disposal (E.O.D.), fashioning a bomb of fertilizer and fuel was a matter of course.

The Jewish white nationalist (pxymoron) Steven Miller recommended The Camp of the Saints in several revealed emails to Brietbart. Mr. Miller - a second generation descendant of Jewish refugees from the Nazi pogroms in WWII Poland - and the author of our kiddie concentration camps efficiently "disappearing" and outright killing brown children (24 that we know of).

“Clear direction from POTUS to continue to hold.”

This is what Michael Duffey, associate director of national security programs at the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), told Elaine McCusker, the acting Pentagon comptroller, in an Aug. 30 email, which has only been made available in redacted form until now. It is one of many documents the Trump administration is trying to keep from the public, despite congressional oversight efforts and court orders in Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) litigation.

Earlier in the day on Aug. 30, President Donald Trump met with Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to discuss the president’s hold on $391 million in military assistance for Ukraine. Inside the Trump administration, panic was reaching fever pitch about the president’s funding hold, which had stretched on for two months. Days earlier, POLITICO had broken the story and questions were starting to pile up. U.S. defense contractors were worried about delayed contracts and officials in Kyiv and lawmakers on Capitol Hill wanted to know what on earth was going on. While Trump’s national security team thought withholding the money went against U.S. national security interests, Trump still wouldn’t budge.

Thanks to the testimony of several Trump administration officials, we now know what Trump was waiting on: a commitment from Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden.

 

Kate Brennan
Just Security: Exclusive Unredacted Ukraine Documents Reveal Extent of Pentagon's Legal Concerns


Holding onto the Articles of Impeachment may have been suggested by Professor Lawrence Tribe, but it is by far a masterclass in government dexterity by Speaker Pelosi, who did predict Orange Satan would self-impeach, which he does with every twitchy tweet from the loo.

However, at the voluminous avalanche of lies, he's starting to affect the notions of truth and reality:

Democracy requires that we honor the culture of words. The very idea of democracy is based on the hope that fellow citizens can reason together and find a system for adjudicating differences and solving problems—all of which assumes there is a shared commitment to the integrity of our public words. If you believe words can ennoble, you must also believe they can debase. If they can elevate the human spirit, they can also pull it down. And when words are weaponized by our political leaders and used to paint all opponents as inherently evil, stupid, or weak, then democracy’s foundations are put in peril. Which brings us to the dismal, demoralizing Donald Trump era.

The debasement of words has reached a zenith with the coming of America’s 45th president, who dominates discourse in this country in ways perhaps no other president ever has. And if we hope to repair the damage that’s been done, we need to understand what it is about Trump’s misuse of words that is pernicious and dangerous.

The least problematic part is the sheer banality of Donald Trump’s words. During his presidency, Trump has uttered no beautiful and memorable phrases. His inaugural address, which is a speech normally meant to inspire the citizenry, is remembered, if at all, for the phrase American carnage and Trump’s description of a dystopian nation, broken and shattered. More worrisome is that many of Trump’s utterances are an incoherent word salad. If you read the transcript of many of his interviews and extemporaneous speeches, you often find that Trump is not only unable to lay out a coherent argument; at times he’s unable to string together sentences that parse.

The banality and weaponization of Trump’s words are bad enough, but the greatest cause for concern is his nonstop, dawn-to-midnight assault on facts, truth, reality. That places Trump in a sinister category all his own.

Many politicians are guilty of not telling the full truth of events. A significant number shade the truth from time to time. A few fall into the category of consistent, outright liars. But only very few—and only the most dangerous—are committed to destroying the very idea of truth itself. That is what we have in Donald Trump, along with many of his aides and courtiers. We saw it at the dawn of the Trump presidency, when he insisted—and sent out his press secretary to insist—that the crowd size at his inauguration was larger than that of Barack Obama’s, despite photographic evidence to the contrary. And that behavior has continued virtually every day since.

 

Trump’s Sinister Assault on Truth: The president appears committed to destroying the very idea of facts.
Peter Wehner, The Atlantic

*****


Democracy depends on a shared set of facts that can be debated in discussed either in a court, on a congressional floor or near a coffee machine at work. It's affable and seeks a happy medium: no one gets everything they desire, but it does require compromise.

Fascism is nothing at all like that. Like George Orwell's famous novel, "1984," fascism requires and demands power for its own sake. It wants what it wants for the sake of wanting. History has no meaning to it at all. Logic and reason have no appeal or sway in people who traffic in "alternative facts" or its Karl Rove precursor: "created realities." Sunshine Fascism...April 12, 2019

 

*****


At the direction of the President, the U.S. military has taken decisive defensive action to protect U.S. personnel abroad by killing Qasem Soleimani, the head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps-Quds Force, a U.S.-designated Foreign Terrorist Organization.

General Soleimani was actively developing plans to attack American diplomats and service members in Iraq and throughout the region. General Soleimani and his Quds Force were responsible for the deaths of hundreds of American and coalition service members and the wounding of thousands more. He had orchestrated attacks on coalition bases in Iraq over the last several months - including the attack on December 27th - culminating in the death and wounding of additional American and Iraqi personnel. General Soleimani also approved the attacks on the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad that took place this week.

 

Top Iranian general killed in US airstrike in Baghdad, Pentagon confirms
Amanda Macias, Joanna Tan, CNBC


At the direction of a president that has lied over 15,000 times since bizarre inauguration, replete with rain ignored and carnage commentary. At the direction of a president that has used racism, sexism, homophobia and xenophobia like a hobbyist would use a socket set. "Soleimani was actively developing plans to attack American diplomats and service members in Iraq and throughout the region" means those plans likely didn't die: they have been inherited by a motivated deputy now promoted. There will be reprisals and escalations in the Near East that will be...biblical. Secretary Clinton's AMER-EXIT to Belfast is telling and foreboding.

We're at the direction of a president who many psychological professionals view as a malignant narcissist and devotee of solipsism. No reality is real external to his own disturbed mind. No history has existed save the history he makes in 140 characters. No truth is real except the banal "truthiness" of the moment. His cult minions follow such disturbed mental gymnastics blindly without critique. There is no overarching policy or plan for anything, nor will there ever be, like 140 misspelled characters and retweeted conspiracy theories. It's to change the narrative from impeachment, real-world consequences be damned.

There is a cult industry pre and post the Internet speculating the identity of "the man of sin"; "the son of lawlessness."

- Prophesy enthusiasts postulated Napoleon and Hitler cum Nostradamus, with one consonant rearrangement: Hister, because as with all conspiracy theories, humans look for patterns and invent them whether they're real or not. Saddam Hussein was thrown in for good measure.

- Ronald Wilson Reagan was the evil one because each letter of his names numbered "6."

- Mikhail Gorbachev was him due to his birthmark on his forehead.

- George W. Bush had a website and a book, likely from his membership in Skull and Bones.

- Barack Hussein Obama had that, misappropriated scripture and myriad conspiracy theories from his inauguration forward.

My pet name for the 45th president is mostly tongue-in-cheek. However, his following is cheering for Armageddon, and the actions last night have brought us closer to that. There will be a response here, or abroad. The earth does not need humans that draw up treaties and break them with Iranians or Native Americans.

The enamor for "end times" has no definition other than "the world coming to an end." The Earth is 40,075.017 km in circumference, 510,072,000 km2 surface area, 1.08321 × 1012 km3 volume, 5.97237 × 1024 kg mass; 5.514 g/cm3. Evolutionary biologists put oxygen-generating photosynthesis some 2.4 billion years ago, evidenced by rust. Humans evolved in Africa 200,000 years ago, migrated away where ultraviolet light wasn't so direct and thus lightened, then defined that natural process as evidence of "superiority." Australia is on fire in their driest summer in the southern hemisphere, fueled by climate change and apathy from science and climate deniers. T.S. Elliot summarized our exit in "The Hollow Men": "This is the way the world ends, This is the way the world ends, This is the way the world ends, Not with a bag, but a whimper." The whimper might be fires, floods and weather we cannot contain, let alone control.

Prior to our entrance on this terrestrial soil, the earth traveled in space around the sun 365.25 days per year more or less without witnesses, scribe, historian, artist or scientist to count 4.5 billion years. The earth does not need us: we need it.

The 2019 Doomsday Clock by the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists claimed two minutes to midnight.

The 2020 Doomsday Clock in this third decade of the 21st century will at least be informative once published.
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Men of Lawlessness...

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Facebook image I was informed was "meme logic," which until that instance, I didn't know was a thing.


Topics: Civics, Civil Rights, Existentialism, Fascism, Human Rights


[From Newsweek] "I solemnly swear [or affirm, as the case may be] that in all things appertaining to the trial of the impeachment of [the person being impeached], now pending, I will do impartial justice according to the Constitution and laws: So help me God."

The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each State, elected by the people thereof, for six years; and each Senator shall have one vote. The electors in each State shall have the qualifications requisite for electors of the most numerous branch of the State legislatures.

When vacancies happen in the representation of any State in the Senate, the executive authority of such State shall issue writs of election to fill such vacancies: Provided, That the legislature of any State may empower the executive thereof to make temporary appointments until the people fill the vacancies by election as the legislature may direct.

This amendment shall not be so construed as to affect the election or term of any Senator chosen before it becomes valid as part of the Constitution.

The Constitution of the United States, Amendment XVII

The fix was in on the ratification of the 17th amendment in 1913.

Senators before then were appointed by their state legislatures in the event they might be jurors in a trial of impeachment. This was to ensure they wouldn't make decisions "based on politics" and would be unbiased, considering only the facts as presented by trial lawyers in charges towards the accused.

In recent days, McConnell indicated that he has held discussions with the White House to formulate an impeachment game plan to achieve a favorable outcome for Trump. "Everything I do during this, I'm coordinating with the White House counsel," the senator told Fox News host Sean Hannity late last week. "There will be no difference between the president's position and our position as to how to handle this." The Republican also revealed that he will be working in "total coordination with the White House counsel's office and the people representing the president in the well of the Senate." Ibid

The purging of voters in Georgia and Wisconsin...the incessant search for nonexistent **voter fraud*** (mimicked by his mop head doppelganger in the UK), while slow-walking the protection of our elections from foreign interference...rejecting out-of-hand any witnesses that this present darkness of White House has blocked from ANY public testimony...openly stating you're WORKING with the plaintiff (Al Capone could have benefited from such hubris and rigged jury), holding up the "advise and consent" of Merrick Garland to the U.S. Supreme Court AS IF Moscow Mitch knew he might get an opportunity to appoint two replacements with the NEXT president*...and if he didn't, he'd just stonewall any duties that didn't expand the borders of raw, naked fascist political power. To continue calling them republicans is an insult to actual republicans.

We are distracted by "smart phones" and dumb down apps on them. We're more versed in soundbites and slogans than civics or history. This ignorance is by design, despite a warning by the sage Frank Zappa. Indeed, how WOULD you know if someone's shredding The Constitution through a meat grinder if you DIDN'T know what was in it?

At the dawn of humanity, bartering was used in lieu of money to buy goods. As early man began to rear domestic livestock, one of the earliest forms of barter included cattle, sheep, as well as vegetables and grain.

The first known currency was created by King Alyattes in Lydia, now part of Turkey, in 600BC. The first coin ever minted features a roaring lion.

Coins then evolved into bank notes around 1661 AD. The first credit card was introduced in 1946.

The history of money: from barter to bitcoin, Rebecca Burn-Callander, The Telegraph

HOW would you know you're pockets are being picked by some rich fat cats that are amused they can make us scurry after each other like rats in a maze after the same block of cheese when all we're up in arms about artificial barriers: borders, Melanin, class; money. Concentrating on smaller things that make us "feel good" in the moment doesn't hold power or the powerful accountable for the mess they've made for profit. See Sacha Baron Cohen calling out the "silicon six."

Shiny objects like gold and silver replaced bartering; printed money replaced coins, bank and credit cards making wallets thinner each year. We're well past bartering and into cryptocurrency and legal tax evasion. A few clever assholes found a way to squirrel away more digital shiny objects in offshore accounts, not paying a dime in taxes to their host countries and bribing every elected official that will parrot repetitively a party line that's easy for rubes in red hats to follow. Face it: racism and fear is all they've shoveled out; NOTHING has ever bothered to "trickle down" since Reagan, or paid a single bill, healthcare costs or college. It's time to give up believing the shtick. They sure don't, but they'll use it as long as it works. It will work until it doesn't work, or like Rome we become a mausoleum and interstellar tourist trap for failed planetary systems. A byword. A joke.

Who asked Franklin the question that sparked his witty response? It was Elizabeth Willing Powel, a pivotal woman of the founding era who has been erased from this story. Her erasure not only creates a founding-era political history artificially devoid of women, but it also makes it harder to imagine contemporary women such as Pelosi — or Hillary Clinton, Elizabeth Warren or Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez — as political leaders.

The first record of the anecdote appears in a 1787 journal kept by one of the delegates to the convention, James McHenry of Maryland. He wrote: “A lady asked Dr. Franklin Well Doctor what have we got a republic or a monarchy. A republic replied the Doctor if you can keep it.”

Yes. He is impeached. After the dismal speechifying by his GOP interlocutors and miserable defense of the indefensible. Whether he is removed is up to a dysfunctional senate that has publicly admitted bias and willingness to release a criminal, a move who's only parallel is the outgoing, asshole former Governor Matt Bevin, pardoning a pedophile as his last dick move on the way out, corroborating he never should have been elected in the first place. Speaker Nancy Pelosi delaying sending it to the senate was suggested by Harvard professor and constitutional scholar Lawrence Tribe. It was a master stroke. It was also poignant that her opening remarks identified the Russian agent as an existential threat to our republic. Our own republic is threatened from within by republicans that have no semblance of respecting the rule "of the people and by the people," but by our own nauseous version of Russian oligarchs, empowered by the Orwellian "Citizens United." When you have to purge half a million votes to "win" elections, you likely don't have any platform that's amendable to most citizens.

But in the end, will we have a republic, or a crumbling facade on a dung hill? To not speculate on worse-case scenarios is both hubris and naivete. Entropy is the second law of thermodynamics: over time, the system will either increase change - from order to chaos - or remain the same. The second law can be aptly applied to political systems.
 

Let no one deceive you in any way. For that day will not come, unless the rebellion comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, who opposes and exalts himself against every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, proclaiming himself to be God.

2 Thessalonians 2:3-4 ESV

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Wheels Off...

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Google's First Fully Autonomous Car Gives Up; Drives Self Off Cliff - Joe Bagel
The scene is from Thelma and Louise

 

Topics: Civics, Civil Rights, Existentialism, Fascism, Human Rights


I will be taking a break until the holidays. I have a lot of deadlines to meet.

Conservatism as popularized by their patron saint, Ronald Reagan and a budding media propaganda wing that covered all the bases - AM talk radio, Tom Clancy novels, Bruce Willis, Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger was hyper masculine, Uber patriotic and most decidedly: anti-Russian. The spike in testosterone was a reaction to the Vietnam War, the one we "lost." It was a modern "lost cause" that stuck in the craw of those that wanted Ho Chi Min to surrender like the Germans and the Japanese Emperor. Our mythology told us we were "the good guys" and the film credits always had happy endings with the hero getting the girl.

Something happened from the launching porch for "The Gipper" in Philadelphia, Mississippi, the wink-and-nod to white southern racists - left over Dixiecrats cum "Reagan democrats," soon-to-be Tea Party/Orwellian "Freedom Caucus," African Americans loyal to the previous "party of Lincoln" and genteel 1%, all wooed by Lee Atwater plausible denial coded language, faced with the reality of changing demographics, not in their Melanin-lacking favor. It was something the "Southern Strategy" didn't anticipate.

For this democracy to work, each of us has to agree on the same set of facts. We may not believe in what approach to take to solve them, but believing in the facts would merely change the approach to their resolution.
TruthFiction
Climate change is realClimate change is a hoax
Russia interfered in the 2016 electionsUkraine interfered in the 2016 elections
The current president is a crookThe current president is fighting the "deep state"

A functional Republican Party might use cap and trade to fight Climate Change. They would use diplomacy to modify the Paris Climate Accords to stay within the confines of its goals. Heck, they might make a buck or two.

A functional Republican Party would take the Autopsy authored by the RNC and reach out to diversify a party dwindling in number of Lincoln African Americans, conservative Hispanic/Latino citizens, Asians and Log Cabin Republicans.

After ANY of these impeachment inquiry hearings; after Mr. C.Y.A. Gordon Sondland uttered the magic Latin phrase: quid pro quo and Dr. Fiona Hill pimp slapped the republicans on the House Intelligence Committee (it hurt to type that), a functional Republican Party would look beyond their fundraising and think of The Constitution they swore to protect and defend against all enemies, foreign and domestic.

But we don't have that. We've never had that.

Racism itself is a conspiracy theory. It requires a leap of faith that your lack of exposure to equatorial ultraviolet rays over 1-200,000 years bequeaths you red ruby slipper, pixie dust and fairies that bless every step you take on the Yellow Brick Road in Oz.

"If you can convince the lowest white man he's better than the best colored man, he won't notice you're picking his pocket. Hell, give him somebody to look down on, and he'll empty his pockets for you." (then) Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson

 

*****


If the Republicans cared about the facts or the gravity of the crime being investigated, the answer would be apocalyptically damaging. But they don’t care, and they will continue to defend Trump even if those testifying under oath include an eyewitness to a criminal conspiracy hatched in the White House like Sondland, or patriots like Fiona Hill, Alexander Vindman, and Marie Yovanovitch, who not only provided irrefutable evidence of the crime but detailed the existential threat that crime poses to America.

Had Trump pulled out that (so far) proverbial gun and shot someone on Fifth Avenue, Republicans would trot out the exact same defense they have this week: The shot was fired at 2 a.m. and there were no eyewitnesses. Those nearby who claimed to have heard the shot had actually heard a car backfiring. The closed-circuit video capturing the incident is, as the president says, a hoax concocted by the same Fake News outlets that manufactured the Access Hollywood video. The confession released by the White House was “perfect” evidence of Trump’s innocence. Election records show that the cops who arrived on the scene were registered Democrats and therefore part of a deep-state conspiracy to frame the president for a crime he didn’t commit but that the Democrats did. The victim was not killed and will make a complete recovery, so no crime was committed anyway. And even if Trump had killed the young woman he gunned down, the argument advanced by Trump’s lawyer last month would apply: “The person who serves as president, while in office, enjoys absolute immunity from criminal process of any kind.” Next case!

 

Republicans Are Excusing a Criminal Conspiracy, Frank Rich, NY Magazine


Devin Nunes is about as dense as the cow he's frivolously suing. Ohio congressman Jim Jordan acts like a wrestling coach (that has new charges of not protecting student athletes from a predatory pedophile team doctor), and apparently, doesn't make enough to purchase a suit jacket!

Impeachment is likely in the House of Representatives. The senate is signalling along with republicans writ large that the "rule of law" doesn't apply for this Orange Satan, as the unitary executive - the Baal altar of William Barr - apparently only applies to presidents on his team. Russia, Iran; Israel can select our next president with impunity. Citizens will tune out and binge watch streaming media, oblivious to their responsibilities as citizens, masking their pain.

The Washington Post has the tag line "Democracy Dies in Darkness."

In darkness, Putin wins.

Apathy from exhaustion...is darkness.
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What's At Stake...

 

Topics: Civics, Civil Rights, Economics, Fascism, Human Rights, Politics


The Democratic Leadership Council (DLC) was a non-profit 501(c)(4) corporation[1] founded in 1985 that, upon its formation, argued the United States Democratic Party should shift away from the leftward turn it took in the late 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s. One of its main purposes was to win back white middle class voters with ideas that addressed their concerns.[2] The DLC hailed President Bill Clinton as proof of the viability of Third Way politicians and as a DLC success story.

The DLC's affiliated think tank was the Progressive Policy Institute. Democrats who adhered to the DLC's philosophy often called themselves New Democrats. This term is also used by other groups who have similar views on where the party should go in the future, like NDN[3] and Third Way.[4]

On February 7, 2011, Politico reported that the DLC would dissolve, and would do so as early as the following week.[5] On July 5 of that year, DLC founder Al From announced in a statement on the organization's website that the historical records of the DLC have been purchased by the Clinton Foundation.[6] The DLC's last chairman was former Representative Harold Ford of Tennessee, and its vice chair was Senator Thomas R. Carper of Delaware. Its CEO was Bruce Reed.

Source: Wikipedia


The Supreme Court's 2010 decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission helped unleash unprecedented amounts of outside spending in the 2010 and 2012 election cycles. The case, along with other legal developments, spawned the creation of super PACs, which can accept unlimited contributions from corporate and union treasuries, as well as from individuals; these groups spent more than $800 million in the 2012 election cycle. It also triggered a boom in political activity by tax-exempt "dark money" organizations that don't have to disclose their donors. You can listen to the decision (see "Opinion Announcement - January 21, 2010") as read by Justice Kennedy and the dissenting opinion read by Justice Stevens. Read on to learn more about how the Supreme Court transformed the campaign finance landscape with this decision, and how it is now affecting U.S. politics.

Citizen's United vs. Federal Election Commission, OpenSecrets.org

Both political parties through the need for funds deified the "free hand of the market." Both are concerned at the resonant chord Sanders, Warren et al have struck with an electorate not umbilical-tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average. Instead of a "rising tide that lifts all boats," the effort to kowtow at Moloch's altar has produced Caligula.

Former Governor and "Bain Capitalist" Deval Patrick threw his hat into the democratic primary, as did billionaire and former republican, former independent and ended-up-democrat Mayor Mike "stop and frisk" Bloomberg. Governor Patrick seemed to eclipse the news another school shooting occurred in California, now apparently routine, despite the death of two citizens that won't grow up. Meanwhile, Erdoğan blasted a propaganda video over his I-Pad showing the Kurds as terrorists, the same aforementioned Kurds he apparently has a "great relationship" with while committing genocide.

In the ever-changing defense of the indefensible, the Reich Wing has veered from the impeachment inquiry hearings have "no pizzazz" and chief of lies tweeting about it sixty times in a day, Hillary colluded with the Russians (to apparently, lose the election and plunge us all into a dystopian nightmare); crowd strike, star chamber, no Quid Pro Quo, a Quid but no Pro Quo what-about-ism on bribery and the latest hilarious defense: he's too stupid to commit a genuine Mafia shakedown - he forgot the cement boots.

We have a political party that believes in science, facts and reality who's name has been turned into a pejorative ("democrat party").

We have a political party that believes in conspiracy theory, lies and obfuscation; "creates its own Karl Rove realities," believes the self-admitted sexual assaulter NEVER LIES (according to Franklin Graham) that somehow with a straight face still associates itself with integrity, principles and "family values." Stephen Miller - the architect of our kiddie concentration camps, apparently willed himself "white" and shared racist propaganda that would have prevented his grandfather's escape from Polish pogroms.
 
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See "Sunshine Fascism," April 12, 2019

Impeachment, despite the protestation is in The Constitution. Alexander Hamilton (well pre the Broadway hit and triple platinum album) wrote about it in the Federalists Papers:

A well-constituted court for the trial of impeachments is an object not more to be desired than difficult to be obtained in a government wholly elective. The subjects of its jurisdiction are those offenses which proceed from the misconduct of public men, or, in other words, from the abuse or violation of some public trust. They are of a nature which may with peculiar propriety be denominated POLITICAL, as they relate chiefly to injuries done immediately to the society itself. The prosecution of them, for this reason, will seldom fail to agitate the passions of the whole community, and to divide it into parties more or less friendly or inimical to the accused. In many cases it will connect itself with the pre-existing factions, and will enlist all their animosities, partialities, influence, and interest on one side or on the other; and in such cases there will always be the greatest danger that the decision will be regulated more by the comparative strength of parties, than by the real demonstrations of innocence or guilt. Federalist 65, Yale Law School

The President of the United States would be liable to be impeached, tried, and, upon conviction of treason, bribery, or other high crimes or misdemeanors, removed from office; and would afterwards be liable to prosecution and punishment in the ordinary course of law. The person of the king of Great Britain is sacred and inviolable; there is no constitutional tribunal to which he is amenable; no punishment to which he can be subjected without involving the crisis of a national revolution. In this delicate and important circumstance of personal responsibility, the President of Confederated America would stand upon no better ground than a governor of New York, and upon worse ground than the governors of Maryland and Delaware. Federalist 69, Yale Law School

Putin would love to discredit representative democracy, itself a pejorative to him. The Internet Research Agency has interfered in elections around the globe, an annoyance so far with one clear success here in the US. He would love for all nations to organize around strongmen - reporting to him, of course - making him richer than Midas and Solomon.

For the rest of us, outside of the politburo would be literally as Russia faced years before its 1989 fall: disease, famine and death.

The defeat and demise of democracy would have the impact of the Chicxulub crater.

Except instead of a wall falling symbolically, we could be facing extinction. Only delusion and hubris would make us ignore this.

A few xenophobic Ayn Rand worshipers will be rich beyond the wildest psychopaths' dreams - for a moment - until inevitable Entropy completes our societal and mass species apoptosis. There will be no second act and fully negates starships, lest they be filled with ghosts, corpses and dreams. It's that stark.
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Snowflakes and Woke Folks...


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Topics: Civics, Civil Rights, Commentary, Human Rights, Politics


For ONCE, this isn't about the self-destructing Orange Satan. There will be ample material next Friday, as his downward spiral continues.

That doesn't mean I'm not concerned with our republic. Public impeachment hearings begin next Wednesday, broadcast on every network, including the conservative ones. That being said, the most dangerous animal in the world is man, and like any, is most dangerous when cornered. The scene from the Sons of Jacob takeover is disturbingly instructive. The question is, would Ayn Rand self-centered capitalism even CARE if we lost our democracy as long as stocks continue trading between 9:30 am - 4:00 pm EST?

 

*****


The conniption fits about African American actress Halle Bailey playing the Little Mermaid were humorous and disturbing. It reminded me of the controversy over NK Jemisin winning the Hugo and Nebula Awards for science fiction...because she's African American. A whole community - self-described as "rabid puppies" and sad puppies eventually were bequeathed the apropos label: "snowflakes."




A term for someone that thinks they are unique and special, but really are not. It gained popularity after the movie "Fight Club" from the quote “You are not special. You're not a beautiful and unique snowflake. You're the same decaying organic matter as everything else."




Began being used extensively as a put down for someone, usually on the political left, who is easily offended or felt they needed a "safe space" away from the harsh realities of the world, but now has morphed into a general put down for anyone that complains about any subject.



Source: Urban Dictionary/Snowflake

 


1. Ahem: mermaid's aren't real. o_9 The fact that humanity came from what we now know as the continent of Africa can be verified as can the political creation of so-called "white" people in 1681.

 


2. The legend of mermaids was probably based on the manatee (which doesn't look attractive at all, except to other manatees) and drunken, horny sailors that hadn't seen land or women in a while.

3. Atlantis is fiction, as is Aquaman and Namor, depending on which comic book series you followed. There are hidden worlds and undersea organisms we're discovering every year, yet we haven't discovered Atlantis, mermaids, mermen, Big Foot, the Loch Ness monster, unicorns or leprechauns.

 

*****


I posted several trailers for "Harriet" played by British actress Cynthia Erivo and screenplay co-written by Kasi Lemmons, an African American woman who also directed the film.

In real life, Cynthia Erivo dates actor Dean John-Wilson, an aforementioned so-called white guy. English society has its issues (see: Brexit). However, manumission in eighteenth century England wasn't followed up with black codes, lynchings and Jim Crow. Also, English actors have played American parts before - Christian Bale played Bruce Wayne in the Dark Knight trilogy and Sir Patrick Stewart played a Frenchman in Star Trek: The Next Generation and Charles Xavier in X-men. How soon we forget.

To be fair: in some forums my posts were received positively. In others, I was immediately attacked by the diversity doppelganger of the aforementioned pound puppies: "woke folks." Specifically, I recall a diatribe about the movie and certain characters not being historically accurate. It was as interesting and I think the same phenomena as Arial NOT being a single white female. It was fascinating, but something I felt I had to address:

1. It’s a movie. The statement at the beginning says “based on true events.”

2. If your criticism is historical inaccuracy, that is correct. Often what is cinematic is not accurate. The writers have to generate conflict to keep our interests. That is the license of creativity.

3. I’m a Star Trek fan, but I also majored in Engineering Physics as an undergrad and pursuing graduate study in Nanoengineering. That said, I don’t watch Trek to learn physics as warp drive is inherently impossible at even a casual understanding of Einstein’s Special and General Theory of Relativity. It’s entertainment, nothing more.

I deeply enjoyed "Black Panther" and Chadwick Boseman's acting abilities, knowing full well his Wakandan accent was as practiced as Michael B. Jordan's and that Wakanda as a nation doesn't exist. Plus, Jack Kirby and Stan Lee who created the first black and distinctly African Superhero were two Jewish guys from New York!

I still wore my "straight out of Wakanda" shirt as others wore dashikis with pride and not a lot of analysis or forethought.

I am absolutely fine with Cynthia Erivo playing Harriet Tubman. I'm overjoyed David Gyasi is playing the real life inspiration for the whitewashed Lone Ranger. The African Diaspora in America are involuntarily from both of their home nations, knowing neither intimately. Both actors had to audition and be judged by the merits of their abilities. They worked as hard as the two Englishmen who portrayed a fictional billionaire superhero crime fighter and a starship captain in the 24th century. If neither of these individuals won their parts, we'd be talking about someone else.

No less than former President Obama called out the woke as non-activists, more concerned with scoring consciousness zingers than the heavy lifting of citizenship. He, and before him General Colin Powell and currently Kamala Harris via the ever ridiculous and receding Rush Limbaugh and through the "kings of woke" Ben Carson and Cornell West (Jonathan Capehart, Washington Post) wasn't "black enough" despite many times vilified and hung in effigy.

Both snow and woke are triggered beyond their tribal enclaves and feel the connected world closing in with divergent opinions of "how things used to/ought to be," a particular intolerance being the bedrock foundation of fascism.

Of the two groups, I can say voting in a (currently) democratic republic is a lot more important than posting opinions from their smart phones, or the basement. 

 

Both need to switch to decaf.


I can't wait for their coming conniption fits on Bass Reeves.

 

Related links:

The 'Superhero Journey' Of Harriet Tubman, Now On Film
Noel King, NPR Morning Addition
The Real Lone Ranger Was Black, And Now There Is A Movie About Him
Jerry L. Barrow, BET

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On Fascism...

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[Major General Smedley Butler. Image reprinted from Philadelphia’s Organized Crime of the 1920 and 1930s by Anne Margaret Anderson with John J. Binder courtesy of the Library of Congress (pg. 11, Arcadia Publishing, 2014).]

 

Topics: Civics, Civil Rights, Existentialism, Fascism, Human Rights, Politics


"One of the things taken out of the curriculum was civics," Zappa went on to explain. "Civics was a class that used to be required before you could graduate from high school. You were taught what was in the U.S. Constitution. And after all the student rebellions in the Sixties, civics was banished from the student curriculum and was replaced by something called social studies. Here we live in a country that has a fabulous constitution and all these guarantees, a contract between the citizens and the government – nobody knows what's in it...And so, if you don't know what your rights are, how can you stand up for them? And furthermore, if you don't know what's in the document, how can you care if someone is shredding it?"

"Notes From the Dangerous Kitchen," a review and a quote from Frank Zappa, Critics at Large

In 1934, a colossal claim reached the American news media: There had been a plot to overthrow President Franklin D. Roosevelt, in favor of a fascist government. Supposedly in the works since 1933, the claims of the conspiracy came from a very conspicuous and reliable source: Major General Smedley Butler, one of the most decorated war heroes of his time. Even more unbelievable were his claims of who was involved in the plot – respected names like Robert Sterling Clark, Grayson M.P. Murphy, and Prescott Bush (George Herbert Walker Bush's father and George W. Bush's grandfather). While news media at the time mocked Butler’s story, recently discovered archives have revealed the truth behind Major General Butler’s claims.

Major General Smedley Darlington Butler (July 30, 1881 – June 21, 1940), nicknamed "Old Gimlet Eye",[1] was a senior United States Marine Corps officer who fought in both the Mexican Revolution and the World War I. Butler was, at the time of his death, the most decorated Marine in U.S. history. During his 34-year career as a Marine, he participated in military actions in the Philippines, China, in Central America and the Caribbean during the Banana Wars, and France in World War I. Butler later became an outspoken critic of American wars and their consequences. Butler also exposed an alleged plan to overthrow the United States government.

By the end of his career, Butler had received 16 medals, five for heroism. He is one of 19 men to receive the Medal of Honor twice, one of three to be awarded both the Marine Corps Brevet Medal (along with Wendell Neville and David Porter) and the Medal of Honor, and the only Marine to be awarded the Brevet Medal and two Medals of Honor, all for separate actions.

In 1933, he became involved in a controversy known as the Business Plot, when he told a congressional committee that a group of wealthy industrialists were planning a military coup to overthrow Franklin D. Roosevelt, with Butler selected to lead a march of veterans to become dictator, similar to Fascist regimes at that time. The individuals involved all denied the existence of a plot and the media ridiculed the allegations, but a final report by a special House of Representatives Committee confirmed some of Butler's testimony.

Halloween yesterday had impact.

A formal vote along party lines agreed to an official impeachment inquiry. The same vote republicans wanted initially...until they didn't. The rules they raided the SCIF over was as republican as the Affordable Care Act: they were passed by John Boehner for Benghazi. Karma is truly a bitch.

 

*****


Major General Smedley Butler is one of nineteen men to win two Congressional Medals of Honor. He was on his way to becoming Commandant of the Marine Corps. His reporting the coup led to likely his stall at two stars and lackluster failure to gain elected office as a republican senator.

His reveal of the fascist plot to overthrow the US government is instructive. To quote the historian Timothy Snyder, "On Tyranny":

"History does not repeat, but it does instruct. As the Founding Fathers debated our Constitution, they took instruction from the history they knew. Concerned with the democratic republic they envisioned would collapse, they contemplated the descent of ancient democracies and republics into oligarchy and empire. As they knew, Aristotle warned that inequality brought instability, while Plato believed that demagogues exploited free speech to install themselves as tyrants. In founding a democratic republic upon law and establishing checks and balances, the Founding Fathers sought to avoid the evil that they, like the ancient philosophers, called tyranny. They had in mind the usurpation of power by a single individual or group, or the circumvention of laws by rulers for their own benefit. Much of the succeeding political debate in the United States has concerned the problem of tyranny within American society: over slaves and women for example."

History and Tyranny, Prologue, Timothy Snyder, "On Tyranny"

We're seeing a growing rise in inequality as the 1% build their versions of castles and motes in exclusive enclaves, separating themselves from the rest of the population. They continue post Citizens United influencing electoral politics with bucket loads of money and horse shit. The poetry we ascribe to our founding documents neglects that John Jacob Astor - our nation's first multimillionaire - after struggling in the fur business, made cheddar in the opium trade to China, as did "Warren Delano Jr., the grandfather of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt." He eventually settled...into New York real estate with the help of Vice President Aaron Burr. One of his properties was part of the original New York Public Library system. When you investigate history, it has a way of destroying illusions.

 

America’s First Multi-Millionaire, 250 Years Later
Get the facts about John Jacob Astor, America’s first multi-millionaire.
Barbara Maranzani, History.com


We have deluded ourselves into thinking we are "the good guys." The Constitution is at most a suggestion by White, Anglo Saxon Protestant Cisgender men who owned slaves, kept wives and mistresses, defying the demands of Colonial England and usurped power. Though they used the words "We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal," African slaves were not considered human and women were not regarded at all except as sexual partners and mothers. The tendency towards miscegenation resulting in mixed children that fostered "colorism" within the future African Americans made things even more confusing.

We need to recognize this designed division for what it is: a way to maintain power by those in power. It will not bring back coal, put blacks on the back of the bus, women out of the work force, LGBT back in the closet or immigrants - Ellis Island, Emma Lazarus poem notwithstanding, or asylum seekers - back in their native countries.

This is a moment for Americans to consider our founding documents with regards to what kind of country we had to what kind of country we ultimately want going forward: one with sovereignty that selects its own leaders, or an anarchy selected in banana republic elections in literal Russian Roulette?

Instead of overthrowing the president, the installed Manchurian ass(et) may be trying to overthrow US!

We won't always have a self-sacrificing Smedley Butler to save us.

WAR is a racket. It always has been.

It is possibly the oldest, easily the most profitable, surely the most vicious. It is the only one international in scope. It is the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives.

A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not what it seems to the majority of the people. Only a small "inside" group knows what it is about. It is conducted for the benefit of the very few, at the expense of the very many. Out of war a few people make huge fortunes.

In the World War [I] a mere handful garnered the profits of the conflict. At least 21,000 new millionaires and billionaires were made in the United States during the World War. That many admitted their huge blood gains in their income tax returns. How many other war millionaires falsified their tax returns no one knows.

How many of these war millionaires shouldered a rifle? How many of them dug a trench? How many of them knew what it meant to go hungry in a rat-infested dug-out? How many of them spent sleepless, frightened nights, ducking shells and shrapnel and machine gun bullets? How many of them parried a bayonet thrust of an enemy? How many of them were wounded or killed in battle?

Out of war nations acquire additional territory, if they are victorious. They just take it. This newly acquired territory promptly is exploited by the few -- the selfsame few who wrung dollars out of blood in the war. The general public shoulders the bill.

War is a Racket, Major General Smedley Butler
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Half Century...


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Topics: Civics, Civil Rights, Fascism, Human Rights, Internet


As stated, my incarceration ends this Friday. However, my "due process" is as much a mystery as my apparent offense. Any appeals goes into the nether ether; a 1 and 0 equivalent of a digital black hole. The temporary suspension of my First Amendment rights is annoying, but I have the ability to post to forums that I'm the administrator, and if determined to, I can message any post to another Facebook subscriber "on the outside" to post for me. The inconvenience comes when you wish to join into a flow of ideas over something you have an emotional tie to (like, homecoming). As a parent and now a grandparent, I can attest it is far more instructive "teaching a lesson" when the offender has a clear explanation of what the original offense was. I likely ran afoul of an algorithm.

It's interesting that Facebook is the byproduct of a theft if "The Social Network" is to be believed. To address its (assumed) accidental complicity in the spreading of fake news by Internet trolls, there is a "news" service that respects all voices, inclusive of those on the Alt Right (Wrong) like Brietbart and the Daily Caller along with legitimate news outlets as a faux diversity of voices. Yet, Mr. Zuckerberg doesn't want government regulation or for Facebook to be broken up into smaller companies (though, I doubt he would starve).

Facebook and Twitter are "free" with the exception of gathering metadata on our browsing and spending habits and using it towards profiting of those same and other corporations. It can also be used nefariously by governments as discovered in 2016.

On this fiftieth anniversary of the Internet, we should recall the lesson from the fictional character, Spider-man: "with great power comes great responsibility."
 

Marking the anniversary, our founder and inventor of the web, Sir Tim Berners-Lee, said:

“It’s astonishing to think the internet is already half a century old. But its birthday is not altogether a happy one. The internet — and the World Wide Web it enabled — have changed our lives for the better and have the power to transform millions more in the future. But increasingly we’re seeing that power for good being subverted, whether by scammers, people spreading hatred or vested interests threatening democracy.

“A year ago, I called for a new Contract for the Web, bringing together governments, companies and citizen groups to come up with a clear plan of action to protect the web as a force for good. In a month’s time that plan will be ready. This birthday must mark the moment we take on the fight for the web we want.” *

 

As the internet turns 50, we must protect it as a force for good, Web Foundation

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Angry White Guys...

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Rep. Andy Biggs, R-Ariz., at podium, speaks during a news conference in the Capitol Visitor Center outside the Laura Cooper, deputy assistant secretary of defense, deposition related to the House's impeachment inquiry on Wednesday, October 23, 2019. Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call via AP Images MSNBC

 

Topics: Civics, Civil Rights, Human Rights, Fascism


TAMPA — From the convention stage here, the Republican Party has tried to highlight its diversity, giving prime speaking slots to Latinos and blacks who have emphasized their party’s economic appeal to all Americans.

But they have delivered those speeches to a convention hall filled overwhelmingly with white faces, an awkward contrast that has been made more uncomfortable this week by a series of racial headaches that have intruded on the party’s efforts to project a new level of inclusiveness.

The tensions come amid a debate within the GOP on how best to lure new voters. The nation’s shifting demographics have caused some Republican leaders to worry not only about the party’s future but about winning in November, particularly in key swing states such as Virginia and Nevada.

The demographics race we’re losing badly,” said Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (S.C.). “We’re not generating enough angry white guys to stay in business for the long term.”

Rosalind S. Helderman and Jon Cohen, Washington Post, August 29, 2012

Republican National Conventions are paste-white affairs with a smattering of African American members and some tokens as room jewelry. That has declined steadily since 2000. The GOP Autopsy Report is a fascinating document, and could have stopped the bleeding had it not been turned to toilet paper by our current Russian ass(et). 

Two weeks ago, I posted excerpts from the New Republic article by Jeet Heer: The Right Is Giving Up on Democracy. Disrupting the congressional process of inquiry is a departure from the governing norms of democracy itself.

In the summer of 2015, the House Select Committee on Benghazi was still chasing conspiracy theories, holding a series of closed-door hearings with officials and witnesses. As part of the investigatory process, other members of Congress who were interested in learning more were excluded – and when former House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) tried to crash a deposition, Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) blocked him.

On this, Gowdy, who chaired the Benghazi panel, was correct. Not only did he take steps to prevent a political circus – nearly every witness was interviewed behind closed doors – but House rules only permit members to participate in depositions if they serve on the relevant committees. These are not spectator events.

SCIF: Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility. A Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility (SCIF; pronounced "skiff"), in British and United States military, national security/national defense and intelligence parlance, is an enclosed area within a building that is used to process Sensitive Compartmented Information (SCI) types of classified information. Wikipedia

This WASP-C (White Anglo Saxon Protestant, Cisgender) frat boy stunt has compromised our SCIF.

This is the SAME SCIF the Benghazi Hearings were held in.

Forty-five republicans are literally IN the room with full access to the same classified information and testimony being investigated. Like a Grand Jury, this part of the process is not public. It will eventually be aired publicly.

This is the SAME SCIF entered with cell phones that can be hacked by distant actors in far off countries (like Russia) that can get an electronic "peek" into the building. It probably happened while ordering pizza. It only takes one. The hearing was delayed likely to allow NSA to sweep and re-secure the SCIF. It violates federal law.

I hope it's not permanently compromised, as Putin would want it. I called my representative and blasted him through his admin for a sophomoric stunt.

President Teddy Roosevelt (R) offered educator Booker T. Washington a visit to the Presidential Mansion that proved contentious to a nation based on the "norms' of white supremacy. African Americans weren't official "guests," they were at most servants and nothing more. It is said after that visit, the mansion would get the definitive name "White House," removing all doubt about the nation's foundations.

"The Southern Strategy" is suffering from Entropy. It worked well in 1968, exacerbating the fears of "the other" by white southern Dixiecrats that stormed out of the Democratic Party post Brown vs. Board of Education (1954), The Civil Rights Act (1964), the Voting Rights Act (1965); the Fair Housing Act (1968). Forty years later, they would collectively lose their minds with the election of the one and only African American to the highest office on the planet. He would move his family into a house built by slaves, the descendants servants for generations and still there. He would be hung in effigy and disparaged in vitriol. The report of the demographics shift in the nation - "demographics is destiny" (Auguste Comte) - cemented the collective conniption fit of the white and privileged.

“We’ve got a queer running for president, if that ain’t about as ugly as you can get,” Sevier County Commissioner Warren Hurst said to the crowd after telling them to “wake up.”

“I’m not prejudiced, but by golly,” continued Hurst, waving his finger in the air, “a white male in this country has very few rights, and they’re getting took more every day.” While one member of the crowd walked out in protest, Hurst was met with whistles and applause from the audience after he finished speaking.

Tim Fitzsimons and Gwen Aviles, NBCNEWS

We’re not generating enough angry white guys to stay in business for the long term.”

Nixon on his reelection swept the south - the first time by a republican - but, this isn't 1968. Or 1980 - 1988. The wink-and-nod genteel "soft bigotry of low expectations" under the current darkness of this Orange Satan went from dog whistle to foghorn.

This was and is about those in power that don't want that power interrupted, by people of color, women, LGBT, immigrants et al.

And they're likely willing to burn the whole joint down to "make America [a] great (white supremacists' hope) again."
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The Sons of Jacob...

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Warning signs hang in a church in Hulu’s adaptation of The Handmaid’s Tale. Hulu | Vox

Topics: Civics, Civil Rights, Existentialism, Fascism, Human Rights


Note: Taking a blog break as I prepare for midterms. I'll reemerge in about two weeks.

The Sons of Jacob are the conspiratorial group that devised the philosophy and social structure for a totalitarian patriarchal theocracy and orchestrated the rise of Gilead.

A founder of a local Sons of Jacob chapter tells the Boston Globe in an interview he read about the community in a Facebook group and got into it because he wanted to help "the kids" to "get them out of gangs and away from their sinful families and into a better way of [life]."

According to Offred, "'they' shot the president and machine-gunned the Congress, and the army declared a state of emergency". She adds "they blamed it on the Islamic fanatics" and that "the entire government" was "gone like that", making her wonder "how did 'they' get in". Later on "they suspended the Constitution" which they said "would be temporary". Moira suspects "they've been building up to this".

Source: The Sons of Jacob, The Handmaid's Tale Fandom Wiki

Margaret Atwood published The Handmaid's Tale in 1985. The Sons of Jacob didn't have Facebook or social media, so their emergence was from a fictionalized decline in birthrates that propelled them to act out of fear for survival. Being 1985, it would have never occurred to the writer to bring an outside force from Russia favoring the Sons of Jacob to assist them first electorally: we were in the Cold War and apparently still litigating the Civil War. The author pointed out in an interview, what seems sudden in a coup d'etat typically happens first in the background. Outside the awareness of the country, it suddenly overruns an unsuspecting public with a surprise assault.

Impeachment is not necessarily for a crime. He can be impeached for not fulfilling his presidential duties nominating candidates (preferring "acting" positions) for senate confirmation in their constitutional duty to "advise and consent" (obliterated by Moscow Mitch with respect to President Obama and Merrick Garland).

[The president] shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur; and he shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States... Senate.gov

Now...Caligula tweets threats of civil war and witness intimidation, yet another ground for impeachment. Twenty-four hours after denying he strong-armed the Ukrainian president, did it AGAIN from the White House lawn, involving China. The fact he has a shot-in-foot trade war with them is bizarre, and the equivalent of falling on his own Sword of Damocles.

Public-opinion polling shows that Trump’s low opinion of American elections has practically become Republican Party orthodoxy. According to a Reuters/Ipsos poll released on Friday, Republicans have an “unprecedented” level of “concern and mistrust in the system.” Roughly 70 percent of Republican voters believe that if Hillary Clinton wins the election, it’ll be due to fraud. In both this poll and an NBC News/SurveyMonkey poll, only half of Republicans say they’d accept a Clinton victory. (In the latter poll, by contrast, 82 percent of Democrats said they would accept a Trump victory.)

This suspicious Republican electorate is joined by growing ranks of conservative politicians, pundits, and intellectuals. They’re all increasingly willing to say that the existing American political system is hopelessly flawed and needs to be rolled back to the days before blacks and women could vote. On the most obvious level, this can be seen in moves by Republican governors all over America to make voting more difficult, through stringent voting ID laws, new hurdles to registration, and the curtailment of early-voting options. Equally significant has been the gutting of key provisions of the Voting Rights Act by conservative Supreme Court justices in the 2013 Shelby Country v. Holder ruling.

But these overt forms of voting suppression are merely the most visible manifestations of a larger questioning of democracy on the political right. Trump’s anti-democratic rhetoric—and the eagerness of so many good, white patriotic Americans to cheer it and believe it—is a symptom of the larger trend on the political right toward doubting the legitimacy of the American system. The question we need to be asking isn’t, “Why is Trump being such a jerk?” It’s, “Why is the American Right giving up on democracy?”

The Right Is Giving Up on Democracy, Jeet Heer, New Republic, October 24, 2016


William Barr, the nation's top cop, isn't fighting the Opioid Crisis at home, but globetrotting after debunked conspiracy theories to link Ukraine to the DNC server hack, not Russia, therefore discrediting the Mueller Report and thus, justify lifting any sanctions against them. Rudy Giuliani - America's mayor after 9/11 - is passing around said debunked conspiracy theories in Trump hotel folders with monogrammed stationary. Mike Pompeo is denying unsuccessfully testimony to the House Intelligence Committee regarding his complicity in the Ukrainian call, which he eventually admitted being on. Mike Pompeo is a graduate of West Point. Mike Pompeo is a Harvard Law graduate. He's supposedly a "Christian" with a penchant for mendacity that is only eclipsed by Orange Satan.

At my previous job before graduate school, one of my coworkers was lamenting about the "birth rate decline of white people" right outside of my office. He had three children, the guy nodding next to him had FIVE and the next two gents two and three children respectively. For the record: I have two sons, a daughter-in-law; a granddaughter (not then). I clearly was outnumbered. White supremacy is if nothing, anxiously numerical.

I closed the door to my office. It wasn't worth a reply.

The Sons of Jacob are fictional, but the fear of "white genocide" is quite real and first retweeted by the Manchurian Candidate now at Pennsylvania Avenue.

The prospect of civil war was first opined by evangelical (evil-gelical) pastor Robert Jeffress, again retweeted by an addled, Internet addicted and disturbed mind. Franklin Graham can't recall a SINGLE lie told by the "father of lies." He made #Antichrist trend on Twitter after his self-apotheosis as "the chosen one." I guess such a figure needs anti-Christian followers in his flock, as neither remotely reminds me of Christ.

White Americans own a lot of guns, brought on by "fear of the other": demographically, evangelicals became numerical minorities in 2017. Some openly discuss the aspect of a modern civil war. One of my friends from undergraduate at NC A&T, said so. Working as a GS engineer for the US Navy, they openly discussed a race war with the only African American engineer in the division and the rounds of ammunition they purchased for the "Turner Diaries"-inspired bloodbath. My wife heard similar sentiments from her coworkers at her employment where she is also the only African American.

The impeachments of Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton were successful in their respective House of Representatives only. Nixon seeing the biblical "handwriting on the wall," resigned before removal. Even with the mounting evidence, and if impeachment is successful for the first time in our history: If his removal is recommended by Moscow Mitch's senate, their constituent's collective pathology may be worth tearing our republic to bits over. I shudder over that apocalyptic scenario.

I'm not sure their blindness lets them see it: fascist sons of bitches erecting this bullshit mountain will not "make America great again," turn back the clock on climate change; make coal or petroleum clean, bring back factory and farm jobs, de-globalize the world economy, make women barefoot and perpetually pregnant, put black, brown and anyone other-than-white-people on the back of the bus, LGBT back in the closet or inaugurate a Dominionism-inspired Republic of Gilead.

 

In fiction, Moira suspected "they've been building up to this".


They are building us up to something...
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Man Without a Country...

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Source: Book vs. Flick: Stephen King's IT, Sara Century


Topics: Civics, Civil Rights, Existentialism, Fascism, Human Rights


"I, AB, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.”

Source: 5 U.S. Code § 3331.Oath of office, Cornell Law School

"You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies." John 8:44

This is a man without a country and really, a party without a country.

He is a man without a country because he has nothing beyond his wallet he truly believes in. He wasn't a liberal the sixty-five years he was a member of the Democratic Party; he's by far not a conservative in the Republican Party whose racism, sexism, homophobia and xenophobia he has driven nakedly to its logical conclusion of fascism. He obviously had the building blocks to exploit. Pathological lying is one of his many visible mental disorders. He would rather run a hustle than study, as true education would be an admittance he doesn't know everything, and his narcissistic personality disorder simply won't allow anything but his self-deluded, deified perfection, and enablers willingly reflecting back the adulation that has no bottom.

His soul and wallet are equally owned by Vladimir Putin because Russian oligarchs were the only ones that would loan him any money when he burned his bridges with any legitimate American banking institution after SIX bankruptcies - it takes special talent to lose money in gambling casinos. He is evidence of what it looks like when one man who metaphorically and quite literally "gains the world," and sells his soul (if he ever had one).

The hearing yesterday shows just how far the former party of Lincoln and Reagan has fallen from the ideal of whatever conservatism - envisioned by William F. Buckley and Barry Goldwater was supposed to mean.

The whistle blower charge has been declassified. The agent has also been threatened with the only constitutional punishment for treason by Orange Caligula in a breathtaking display of projection. The current constitutional crisis we find ourselves in may either prove our democratic ideals, or damn them to disorganized tribalism. I am literally praying for our continuance as a nation.

The idea of a Director of National Intelligence dates back to the 1950s, but was instituted specifically after the attacks on 9/11. It's main purpose is to coordinate the myriad agencies - the same seventeen that conclusively pointed to Russian interference in 2016 - that weren't talking to each other before the attacks. It is supposed to be a senate confirmed position; there have been two confirmed and two acting directors.

Acting DNI Joseph Maguire is senate confirmed - for the counter-terrorism task force, per his previous skill sets as a Navy Seal. We currently have a dysfunctional, dystopian system of "acting" positions, due to the record turnover of government workforce (currently at 78%, a record in less than four years) and the lack of desire by those sane to work for someone clearly unstable.

 

*****


The Reality Of What They Are

Formatted reality shows are essentially game shows, because there is a specific structure, set rules, and a clear winner. What makes them exciting to watch is the fact that they are often clever dramatic social experiments. To truly connect with an audience and have entertainment value in a show, the idea needs to be as fun to watch as it is to participate in.

Docuseries reality shows allow us to witness life unfold for a person, family, business, or group set within a lifestyle and circumstance that creates entertaining and compelling content. The reason viewers tune in is because we have an insatiable appetite for witnessing and being entertained by the human experience.

This formulaic reality show will not work for very much longer. It's not even fun to watch.

We were attacked on 9/11. We were attacked during the 2016 presidential elections. We are open for slaughter and attack by those same forces, and we've been damned lucky another 9/11-style attack hasn't happened, or that the current kleptocracy hasn't spurred or allowed one to happen! That will unify nothing except our devolution into chaos. It's easy if the United States became a failed state, for the world currency to switch from the dollar to the Chinese Yuan without a blink. They could relocate the UN and Wall Street to Europe. We could in a fortnight become a byword and a historical footnote.

He is a man who has never had a country like any lover or wife he's not unwilling to cheat on.

My concern is as a people, WE have a country instead of a badlands of anarchy.
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Roger Ailes, Roy Cohn and Reality...


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Topics: Civics, Civil Rights, Existentialism, Fascism, Human Rights


Republican media strategist Roger Ailes launched Fox News Channel in 1996, ostensibly as a "fair and balanced" counterpoint to what he regarded as the liberal establishment media. But according to a remarkable document buried deep within the Richard Nixon Presidential Library, the intellectual forerunner for Fox News was a nakedly partisan 1970 plot by Ailes and other Nixon aides to circumvent the "prejudices of network news" and deliver "pro-administration" stories to heartland television viewers.

The memo—called, simply enough, "A Plan For Putting the GOP on TV News"— is included in a 318-page cache of documents detailing Ailes' work for both the Nixon and George H.W. Bush administrations that we obtained from the Nixon and Bush presidential libraries. Through his firms REA Productions and Ailes Communications, Inc., Ailes served as paid consultant to both presidents in the 1970s and 1990s, offering detailed and shrewd advice ranging from what ties to wear to how to keep the pressure up on Saddam Hussein in the run-up to the first Gulf War.
 

Roger Ailes' Secret Nixon-Era Blueprint for Fox News, John Cook, Gawker, 2011 article


Near the beginning of “Where’s My Roy Cohn?” the new documentary about the lawyer and power broker who mentored Donald Trump, an interviewee says, “Roy Cohn’s contempt for people, his contempt for the law, was so evident on his face that if you were in his presence, you knew you were in the presence of evil.” He wasn’t being hyperbolic.

In the 1950s, as chief counsel to Senator Joseph McCarthy, Cohn wasn’t just a key player in the anti-Communist witch hunts of the time. He also persecuted men in the State Department who were suspected of being gay, despite being a closeted gay man himself. Later, he became a consigliere to New York’s mafia families, some of whom also had ties to Trump, even as he ranted about law and order.
 

Roy Cohn Is How We Got Trump
From McCarthyism to the mob to Trump, Cohn enabled evil.
Why did elites embrace him?
Michelle Goldberg, New York Times


More than four years into the experience, Trump can now pull a stunt that would have obliterated any previous politicians’ career before sundown and get away with it, because it’s incrementally more of exactly what he has been doing since he rode that golden escalator into this elongated infamy we now endure.

This is part and parcel of creeping fascism. An instance of horrifying racism becomes merely “expected” from the president, and then he moves on to another one, and then another, and another after that. He and his administration are laboring to normalize the grotesque.

History is the scaffold for the present.

Though Washington, DC was designed by the genius (and likely, closeted) African American Benjamin Banneker, it is, as of 2019, applying the umpteenth time for statehood. Moscow Mitch will block it as the grim reaper of all things decent, because it will "give an advantage to democrats." True. The District of Columbia will gain two senators and as long as we insist upon the anachronism, the slave state favoring electoral college. It should be extended to Puerto Rico, Guam and other territories. It is a tacit admittance the GOP's policies aren't attractive to a large swath of the population. Hence, the best way to win is to block, inhibit, intimidate, purge, voter ID or otherwise Russian-hack the vote.

We are here because we never dealt with the nation's demons of Native American genocide and land theft. We are here because we told ourselves captive, silly myths about enslaving Africans was "Christianize-ing the savages," and further logical fallacies about not needing to pay the descendants of centuries-free labor reparations.

Not withstanding the poignant observations of his college professor, the one thing he's studied and mastered brilliantly is chaos and division. It's the genius of feral instinct, not unlike a rodent in survival mode.

We are here because of the words "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal." If they had simply added the modifier "White Anglo Saxon Protestant Cisgender Male," the matter would have been clarified. There would have been no 13th, 14th, 15th or 19th Amendments; Shirley Chisholm, Hillary Clinton, Harvey Milk, Barack Obama or Pete Buttigieg.

We are here because one man is a disciple of Roger Ailes and Roy Cohn's dark arts - either directly or indirectly - he's expertly mimicked their panache for not telling the truth to Olympian heights, and fabricates the reality he would rather than is. He has a ready-made audience of anti-vaxxers, conspiracy theorists, climate change and science deniers. He has a bully charm to elicit the same behaviors from his minions - either fall in line, or be turned on in a tweet. 

My acerbic commentary on Facebook regarding the article by John Fea "Why is Christian America Supporting Donald Trump?":

Because the first supremacy on this soil was Christian supremacy: it takes balls and psychopathy to slaughter the same First Nation people who kindly got them through their first winter. Many colonists resorted to cannibalism - look it up. It made it easy to kidnap Africans whose agricultural expertise made the colonists richer than sultans and kings. Many a lynch mob were the same people who read the good book minutes before the barbarous act, and many “Christian” masters sired Mulatto children or practiced “buck breaking” - raping male slaves to dehumanize them in front of their families, despite in either case being married with children and in many cases, “ministers.”

The veil is just off. This is who they’ve always been.
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Herd Immunity...

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Everyone who was in the Fullerton, CA, movie theater, not just those at the "Avengers" screening, may have been exposed to the contagious disease. (Source: CDC/Twitter, KCRG)

 

Topics: Biology, Civil Rights, Human Rights


Normally, I save this type of commentary for Fridays, but...

As measles cases rise, more vaccine exemptions are being demanded by parents concerned about government control or worried about the now-debunked link between immunization and autism.

This year’s back-to-school season coincides with the worst measles resurgence that the nation has seen since the disease was declared “eliminated” nearly two decades ago.

At least 1,241 people — many of them school-age children — contracted the viral infection across 31 states so far this year, according to the most recent count by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which called it the highest number of reported cases in nearly a generation. [1]

Here's what I was looking for:

Measles was declared eliminated (absence of continuous disease transmission for greater than 12 months) from the United States in 2000. This was thanks to a highly effective vaccination program in the United States, as well as better measles control in the Americas region. [2]

The declaration was a bit hyperbole and grandiose: we again, increased the likelihood of protection from it via herd immunity.

You can reduce the incident of things when you respect the science.

This resurgence of measles, with an R0 of 18 versus Ebola's R0 of 2 - is due to the rampant conspiracy theories spread online and hyped by celebrities that has impacted herd immunity - simply, if 95% of the population go for their vaccinations, it protects the 55 or so that for various reasons good only to them, refuse to get them.

When the numbers increase in the un-vaccinated and the numbers decrease in the vaccinated, you have the situation we're currently not enjoying.

This lack of respect for science has analogies: climate change and mass shootings.

In each case, there is a disrespect for the science that preceded any announced conclusions. In the case of climate change, it enjoys the same treatment the cigarette industry used to sow doubt (and in many cases, the same PR and law firms to do it).

With gun lobbyists that did NOT exist at the founding of the country, science is discouraged and the useless channeling of 'thoughts and prayers" follows any massacre, as if they know our attention spans are fleeting and the carnage has already been factored into their business models.

Though it thought triumphant in 2000 to declare ourselves measles-free, this predates 9/11 when our sense of safety was ripped away like a scab of useless flesh. Fear gripped the nation and irrationality became the norm. Fear of the "other" drove gun sales then, and they always will.

My "societal inoculation" to reduce (not eliminate) gun violence:

1. License and insurance - this logical step is resisted by the aforementioned gun lobbyists as the "slippery slope" to totalitarianism, yet no one has proposed we NOT regulate vehicle or business licenses.

2. Universal background checks - of in-store and straw one-to-one purchases.

3. Buy-back programs to those that don't want to go through the hassle of 1 or 2.

4. Confiscation - for the knuckleheads that will invariably try to go out in a "blaze of glory."

No one law or set of laws will eliminate gun violence any more than one vaccine, even at 95% herd immunity will totally eliminate a disease: it simply reduces its frequency; the current R0 for guns has to be around the mid thirties.

The above is slightly better than the thoughts and prayers that haven't traversed higher than the myriad ceiling under which they have been uttered.

 

1. Across the nation, hundreds of thousands of kids are going to school unvaccinated, Jayme Fraser, The Columbus Dispatch
2, Center for Disease Control and Prevention: Measles History

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Handmaids, Families and Utopias...

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Image Source: Trump's 'Sharpie Gate' Hurricane Dorian Stunt is Getting Trolled on Twitter
Alison Sullivan, God's Daily Dot

 

Topics: Civics, Civil Rights, Existentialism, Human Rights, Star Trek


I will make a commentary on "Sharpie Gate" momentarily.

The Handmaid's Tale is a dystopian novel by Canadian author Margaret Atwood, originally published in 1985. It is set in a near-future New England, in a totalitarian state resembling a theonomy that overthrows the United States government. The novel focuses on the journey of the handmaid Offred. Her name derives from the possessive form "of Fred"; handmaids are forbidden to use their birth names and must echo the male, or master, whom they serve.

Beginning with a staged attack that killed the president and most of Congress, a radical political group calling itself the "Sons of Jacob", exploiting religious ideology closely resembling some traits of Christian Reconstructionism, launches a revolution. The United States Constitution is suspended, newspapers are censored, and what was formerly the United States of America changes drastically into a theonomic military dictatorship known as the Republic of Gilead. The new regime moves quickly to consolidate its power, overtaking all pre-existing religious groups, including traditional Christian denominations; and reorganizes society along a new militarized, hierarchical model of Old Testament-inspired social and religious fanaticism among its newly created social classes. Above all, the biggest change is the severe limitation of people's rights, especially those of women, making them unable to hold property, handle money, as well as forbidding them to read or write.

The story is told in the first-person narration by a woman called Offred. In this era of declining birth rates due to increasing infertility brought about by environmental pollution and radiation, she is one of those few women with healthy reproductive systems. Hence she is forcibly assigned to produce children for the ruling class of men "Commanders", and is known as a "Handmaid" based on the biblical story of Rachel and her handmaid Bilhah. Apart from Handmaids, other women are also classed socially and follow a strict dress code, ranked highest to lowest: the Commanders' Wives in blue, the Handmaids in red with the exception of white veils around their faces, the Aunts (who train and indoctrinate the Handmaids) in brown, the Martha's (cooks and maids) in green, "Econo-wives" who handle everything in the domestic sphere in stripes, young and unmarried girls in white and widows in black.

Source: The Handmaid's Tale, Wikipedia

Aptly described by one viewer as "the prologue to The Handmaid's Tale", Netflix's The Family is the new docuseries taking the world by storm.

A deeply gripping tale, the critically acclaimed show tells the story of the clandestine Christian organization called 'The Family' and their hidden influence on U.S. politics.

Based on a true story, The Family is a docuseries that combines archival photos and interviews with dramatic reenactments to investigate a secret Christian organisation known as The Fellowship Foundation, colloquially referred to as 'The Family'.

Their Washington D.C.-based network, comprised solely of men, includes numerous high-powered politicians, diplomats and religious leaders from around the world, who conspire together to influence legislation on a global level.

Their leader is a man named Doug Coe, described in the trailer as "the most powerful man in Washington you've never heard of". Coe believed that God's work was best carried out away from the public eye.

Source: The Family, docuseries on Netflix, Harper's Bazaar

The Family author, Jeff Sharlet wrote it and its follow on, C Street as warnings on the abuse of power by an un-elected political organization that has out-sized influence on the US government. We've accepted the National Prayer Breakfast as "normal," when in strict constructionist reading of The Constitution, flagrantly violates The First Amendment.

Margaret Atwood opined in interview that what she wrote in 1985 isn't something she dreamed up out of whole cloth: there are real-life analogs. What was dramatized in the book and now in the series as the overthrow of the federal republic, suspension of the US Constitution has a prologue we often don't see...until the "Sons of Jacob" think they can openly get away with violence. They may first have an ultra secret organization that no one except for one truthful author has ever heard about.

 

*****


The joke is first evangelical literature in the 1970s and the 1980s focused on the "end times" as a terrible, awful future event to avoid. 2 Chronicles 7:14 was often quoted at the end of a popular litany of speculative literature as a cosmic "get out of jail" card with the almighty. It also calmed and soothed Christian writers' audiences enough to consider the next book in their careers of scaring the bejesus out of their readers.

For most of our nation’s history, White Christian America (WCA) set the tone for our national policy and shaped American ideals. But especially since the 1990s, WCA has steadily lost influence, following declines within both its mainline and evangelical branches. Today, America is no longer demographically or culturally a majority white, Christian nation.

Drawing on more than four decades of polling data, The End of White Christian America explains and analyzes the waning vitality of WCA. Robert P. Jones argues that the visceral nature of today’s most heated issues—the vociferous arguments around same-sex marriage and religious and sexual liberty, the rise of the Tea Party following the election of our first black president, and stark disagreements between black and white Americans over the fairness of the criminal justice system—can only be understood against the backdrop of white Christians’ anxieties as America’s racial and religious topography shifts around them.

The End of White Christian America, Robert P. Jones, Amazon.com

The mythology of Star Trek likely germinated in the nightmares Gene Roddenberry and people steeped in Cold War "duck and cover" drills (me included), thought a lot about: would World War III be the existential LAST war? Worlds orbit suns as we now observe throughout the universe. They do not require air, water or life - sentient or otherwise, just gravity, planetary physics and an orbital path.

It is mythology because benevolent aliens happening upon a fledgling warp species is pure "Deus ex machina." Warp drive is as imaginative as unicorns. Aliens that can traverse vast distances would probably be indifferent, if not militant to a technologically emerging species. Roddenberry could have easily made them Klingons.

The short-lived Enterprise, debuting days after September 11, 2001, tried to document our unsteady first steps to the stars, prior to Federation bureaucracies, Prime Directives and the original intro that became The Captain's Oath.

The CBS streamed, so far sophomore seasoned Discovery series not only fleshed out Captain Christopher Pike - the previous USS Enterprise's highest ranking Starfleet officer - it briefly alluded to the third world war in season 2 regarding ex-pat Earthlings and a time-traveling Red Angel (no spoilers - stream, binge and catch up).

What's missing is the cause.

Lying about Hurricane Dorian like a third grader forging his 68 on a report card to an "88" before his parents see it. It is callous of the lives lost in the Atlantic (20 and counting); the height of narcissistic personality disorder, and also illegal.

18 U.S.C. §2074 makes it a crime to issue a counterfeit weather forecast, claiming that it was issued by the Weather Bureau.

Despite a rare rebuke by the National Weather Service, who ostensibly WORK for the orange twit, he doubled, tripled and QUADRUPLED down, exhaustively dragging us ALL into his mad Twitter reality where he is king for life, he is right all the time and his "great brain" is the purest of genius, even stable.

We pulled out of the nuclear arms deal with Iran with the impulsive, not thought through, non-reviewed action that let us walk out of the Paris Climate Accords. We may have to send troops to ensure Iran doesn't reconstitute it's nuclear enrichment program (what the deal was supposed to do); we may end up paying trillions mitigating the after effects of super heated ocean water resulting in climate change damages after calling it a "Chinese hoax."

2053 is the fictional start of the Trek timeline almost species ending third world war. Ten years after that, Zefram Cochrane flies the Phoenix and attracts the attention of Vulcans who are (as written), benevolent, logical and vegetarian. We weren't interesting until we warped, because apparently thermonuclear annihilation and near species extinction is rather boring on a galactic scale.

The "end" may not take thirty-four years. It might just take an errant tweet during a septuagenarian bowel movement in the midst of "executive time" to produce a demonstrably pathetic lie about Alabama...or, a mushroom cloud.

Homo Sapiens to Homo Stultus...a gross, but sadly fitting epitaph.

“It is certain, in any case, that ignorance, allied with power, is the most ferocious enemy justice can have.” James Baldwin
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Helsinki to Biarritz...

 

Topics: Civics, Civil Rights, Existentialism, Fascism, Human Rights


We got here from a so-called "reality show" about a faux billionaire:

The Apprentice was first aired in 2004, and presented Trump as the ultra-successful real estate deal-maker who would choose from a cast of candidates competing for a job in the Trump Organization. Trump's catch phrase on the show was, "You're fired," which he would deliver pointing at that week's unsuccessful candidate.

Editor Jonathan Braun told the publication that Trump would fire contestants on the show on a whim, forcing editors to "reverse engineer" programs to make Trump's decisions seem coherent.

Show producer Mark Burnett remarked, "We know each week who has been fired, and therefore, you're editing in reverse." Amid a series of firings and resignations in the Trump administration, he remarked, "I find it strangely validating to hear that they're doing the same thing in the White House."

Production staff described how their job was to elevate Trump's image, whose star had fallen since his 1980s heyday of fame.

"Most of us knew he was a fake," Braun, who worked on six series of the show, told The New Yorker. "He had just gone through I don't know how many bankruptcies. But we made him out to be the most important person in the world. It was like making the court jester the king."

Louis Anslow points out a certain German chancellor was initially considered a joke as well. As he posits, "how did that work out?"

For someone that constantly carps "no collusion" and "the Russian hoax," he gives fodder to those who think otherwise:

Biarritz, France (CNN) - A sharp and sometimes bitter disagreement broke out between President Donald Trump and several G7 leaders over whether to allow Russia back into their club during a welcome dinner on Saturday, according to two diplomatic officials and a senior US official with knowledge of the exchange.

Trump, as he did in public over the course of the summit, ardently advocated for it, the officials said. As the leaders discussed issues like Iran and fires in the Amazon rain forest, Trump interjected and asked why Russia should not be included in the talks, given its size and role in global affairs.

That met sharp resistance from some of the leaders, principally German Chancellor Angela Merkel and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson. They argued Russia had grown more anti-democratic since it was ejected in 2014 for its incursion into Ukraine, disqualifying it from rejoining the G7.

The dispute amounted to one of the most heated moments of this weekend's G7. Afterward, Trump publicly insisted the gathering was marked by displays of unity and cooperation. While the leaders did hold amiable discussions throughout both the dinner and other sessions, the exchange on Russia was notable for the fiercely argued views on both sides, the officials said.

He might as well put on a Russian ballerina tutu, "I love Putin" t-shirt and cheerleader pompoms:

It wasn’t the first time Trump has said his predecessor was somehow responsible for the act of aggression that got Russia booted from the G-8, and he’s never been able to come up with anything better than “whatever” in explaining how exactly President Obama was supposed to stop the annexation. All that matters, according to Trump, is that Obama is bad and Putin, even at his most anti-democratic, is incapable of wrongdoing. Just like Trump.

Trump’s anti-Obama screed on Monday came after he was asked about his belief that Putin should be readmitted to the G7 despite showing no remorse for his indiscretions, a cause Trump championed at last year’s G7 in Canada, and again over the weekend in France. As the Washington Post reported on Monday, Trump’s desire to bring Putin back into the fold was far more intense in Biarritz than the president let on publicly, which is saying a lot.

His campaign began on Saturday night, when world leaders met for the first time over dinner. As the Post writes, after beginning cordially, the occasion went “off the rails” when Trump started lobbying on behalf of Putin. His dining partners were not pleased:

“The entire 44-year vision of the G-7 gathering, according to the non-U.S. participants, is to hash out global issues among like-minded democracies. So the discussion quickly turned even more fundamental: whether the leaders should assign any special weight to being a democracy, officials said.

Most of the other participants forcefully believed the answer was yes. Trump believed the answer was no. The push back against him was delivered so passionately that the U.S. president’s body language changed as one leader after another dismissed his demand, according to a senior official who watched the exchange. He crossed his arms. His stance became more combative.”

Not even Boris Johnson, the new Brexit-happy prime minister of England, was on Trump’s side. The next day, he reportedly gave plaudits to French President Emmanuel Macron for how he diffused the argument over dinner the previous night. “You did very well there last night,” Johnson said, according to the Post. “My God, that was a difficult one.

We are five years and forty-eight hours from halcyon days when tan suits were the controversial rage. We're in a daily abusive relationship with a gas lighter and his cult following (a short list): Alex Jones between throwing obvious psychotic fits and accusing anything beyond his third grade comprehension of reading and math to "false flag operations"; feckless evangelicals that have given up any pretense of moral authority, KKK et al racist domestic terrorists and Q-Anon, the natural online evolution from the outer fringes of 4CHAN and 8CHAN per "It Came From Something Awful" author Dan Beran. It could yet become more awful. Margaret Atwood's "The Handmaid's Tale" was a fanciful, dystopian novel and a fascinating Hulu series: not a blueprint. White evangelicals have strange hard on's.

Orange Satan's spiritual and hair mousse twin in the old country suspended parliament to popular backlash, an assault on the British Constitution that can only push our own constitutional assaults to the forefront of his "limited cognitive ability, and of generally dubious character" per General "mad dog" Mattis. 84 environmental regulations are being rolled back, inclusive of methane - a gas along with carbon dioxide that exacerbates global warming, as fires burn in the Amazon and a hurricane barrels towards Florida. The Tongass National Forest mitigates climate change like the Amazon - he's ordered chopped down. We are becoming Apokolips.

It makes as much sense as rolling coal exhaust trucks "owning the libs" polluting the same air they breathe on the same planet. It's the equivalent of shooting their own feet...and laughing about the gaping hole.

Nothing about what he does makes any sense other than political penis envy of the smarter, (bigger hands), more popular black president who's legacy he's hellbent in cartoon megalomania villainy in trying to destroy. Champagne glasses are clicking in the Kremlin, who like their smokestack gremlin brethren ALSO live on the same planet!

In comic books, good typically triumphs over evil.

This life is not a comic book.

There will be no movie...nor a sequel.
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Caligula...

Topics: Civics, Civil Rights, Existentialism, Human Rights


This week was epic crazy, but republics have done crazy before.

The third of Rome’s emperors, Caligula (formally known as Gaius) achieved feats of waste and carnage during his four-year reign (A.D. 37-41) unmatched even by his infamous nephew Nero.

After Germanicus died in 17 A.D., Caligula’s family fell from favor in the eyes of the emperor Tiberius and the powerful Praetorian guardsman Sejanus, who saw the elder sons of the popular general as political rivals. Caligula’s mother and brothers were accused of treason, and all died in prison or exile. Caligula’s grandmother Antonia managed to shield him from these intrigues until Sejanus’ death in 31. The next year, Caligula moved in with the aging Tiberius, who gleefully indulged his great-nephew’s worst habits, commenting that he was “nursing a viper in Rome’s bosom.”

Tiberius adopted Caligula and made him and his cousin Gemellus equal heirs to the empire. When the emperor died in 37, Caligula’s Praetorian ally Marco arranged for Caligula to be proclaimed sole emperor. A year later, Caligula would order both Marco and Gemellus put to death.

Caligula was not quite 25 years old when he took power in 37 A.D. At first, his succession was welcomed in Rome: He announced political reforms and recalled all exiles. But in October of 37, a serious illness unhinged Caligula, leading him to spend the remainder of his reign exploring the worst aspects of his nature.

Caligula lavished money on building projects, from the practical (aqueducts and harbors) to the cultural (theaters and temples) to the downright bizarre (requisitioning hundreds of Roman merchant ships to construct a 2-mile floating bridge across the Bay of Bauli so he could spend two days galloping back and forth across it). In 39 and 40 he led military campaigns to the Rhine and the English Channel, where he eschewed battles for theatrical displays, commanding his troops to “plunder the sea” by gathering shells in their helmets).

Source: Caligula, History.com editors

He picked a fight with Denmark, the Prime Minister his latest strong, intelligent woman he's called "nasty." He has apparently usurped deity and Jedi Knight masters, though it would be entertaining to see if he attempts "force-walking" over still waters. I'm not putting it past him, I just have more confidence in gravity.

The hashtag Antichrist is trending on his favorite social media platform. There's a few conspiracy theory sites up, just as there were for President Bush and President Obama. People are dusting off their Bibles and researching scripture.

He's headed to the G7 summit (what can POSSIBLY go wrong?) to represent US interests, who've pointedly decided to not issue a statement for the first time. He wants Russia (the people and strongman stooge he refuses to insult) back in the august body after being punished for invading Crimea.

This is the same person that descended the escalator in Trump tower. His opponent, Secretary Hillary Clinton used a quote by Dr. Maya Angelou: "when someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time!"

He is mentally ill, and his sociopathy is understandably exhausting. The Al Wilson song "The Snake" he misappropriates to castigate immigrants is both projection and Freudian slip.

One of the first psychiatrists who sounded the alarm over Donald Trump's state of mind has expressed renewed concern that the president's recent pronouncements show his cognitive abilities are deteriorating.

This week, Trump canceled a planned state visit to Denmark after the country's prime minister refused to countenance his idea of the U.S. purchasing Greenland, the European nation's autonomous territory. He later described Mette Frederiksen's statement as "nasty."

In addition, under fire for saying Jewish-Americans who vote for Democrats showed a "total lack of knowledge or great disloyalty," a comment criticized as an anti-Semitic trope, Trump shared a message from conspiracy theorist Wayne Allyn Root, who said Israeli Jews love the president like he is "the second coming of God."

Later on Wednesday, Trump appeared to repeat the theme on the south lawn of the White House, where he said he was the "chosen one" in his trade spat with China.

Dr. Lance Dodes, former assistant psychiatry professor at Harvard Medical School, contributed to the book The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump.

He's the master of distraction, his only real talent. It's similar to his calling in and pretending to be his own publicist, John Barron et al, extolling the "virtues" of Donald Trump. It's similar to his manipulation of New York tabloids. It's just on steroids every time he has a bowel movement during "executive time" and flies his fat little fingers on Twitter. His hubris has merely been digitized.

But we've been lucky. Damned lucky. There hasn't been a 9-11 attack, minus the digital one on our sovereignty to pick our own leaders. We had Hurricanes fueled by climate change - see Puerto Rico. Hurricanes Katrina and Rita were existential crises that plummeted the popularity of Bush and his political party. The war-of-choice in Iraq didn't help and increased the chances of his successor not being Senator John McCain (R.I.P.), but any democratic candidate, it just so happened the one in 2008 was historic.

My comfort: Dr. Rachel Bitecofer is a name and political scientist you should become familiar with.  She predicted the Blue Wave in the 2018 midterms and predicts a 278 electoral college victory over Orange Satan's 197. The biblical forty and two months reign would be about right for this Antichrist, as in not Christian by a long shot.

I'm motivated to vote in 2020, and so should you be. It would let Jeff Tiedrich get back to his day job. It would lower all our blood pressures, including his.

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Lords and Serfs...

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Danny Kaye - The Court Jester


Topics: Civics, Civil Rights, Existentialism, Human Rights


If there is a lesson in all of this it is that our Constitution is neither a self-actuating nor a self-correcting document. It requires the constant attention and devotion of all citizens. There is a story, often told, that upon exiting the Constitutional Convention Benjamin Franklin was approached by a group of citizens asking what sort of government the delegates had created. His answer was: "A republic, if you can keep it." The brevity of that response should not cause us to under-value its essential meaning: democratic republics are not merely founded upon the consent of the people, they are also absolutely dependent upon the active and informed involvement of the people for their continued good health.

Richard R. Beeman, Ph.D. - National Constitution Center

The idea behind a republic: "a government in which supreme power resides in a body of citizens entitled to vote and is exercised by elected officers and representatives responsible to them and governing according to law" Merriam-Webster

I seriously doubt he ever planned to win.

The outrageous things he said on the campaign trail quickly got replaced by the daily outrageous things he says in the oval office.

It's why he never backed out of the Moscow Tower deal: the reason he doesn't look like he has a plan or a clue is because he's NEVER had one beyond his own wallet.

His former life as a conman masquerading as a billionaire on a faux reality show he has publicly announced he misses. A child of privilege and the hell spawn of a New York real estate scion, he's never had to face his own limitations as no one in his space of living has ever given him any. He's never doubted his own self-aggrandized fantasies of himself as he dismissed quickly anyone that countered the addictive fantasy with stone-cold facts. Thus, climate change is a Chinese hoax and Russia didn't install a Manchurian candidate.

Nielsen Ratings alone could never feed the ravenous appetite of a person that craves constant attention; that may never forgive the deserved punning received at the White House Correspondents Dinner, itself a response by then President Obama on his racist birtherism shtick. It drove up ratings. It drove attention and crowds to him. It's the kind of thing that feeds the never-ending hunger of a malignant narcissist.

How does such a being... come to be?

For [Dr. Justin] Frank, the dynamic between infant and mother has a profound influence on a person’s psychological outlook and health. Trump’s mother was Mary Anne MacLeod, who arrived in New York from the Outer Hebridean island of Lewis in 1930. After six years as a domestic worker and nanny, she married the property developer Fred Trump and they had five children.

The otherwise garrulous president has said little about his mother. Notably, for his first few months in the Oval Office, the only photo behind his desk was of his father. His mother was added later. Yet, Frank points out, 72-year-old Trump’s gravity-defying hair is a very deliberate homage to his mum’s.

“The fact that he tries to get us to feel his anxiety and he externalizes responsibility makes me feel that, as a young child, he did not feel contained or held by his mother or other caretakers,” he says. “He didn’t have a strong maternal force in his life.

“The one thing we do know biographically is that when he was two, the last child in the family was born, but when his mother went to the hospital she didn’t come home right away. She had a hemorrhage, she had four surgeries and came close to dying and there was virtually no talk about that in the family. His older siblings just went to school as if it were normal while they’re terribly worried about their mother.”

His mother’s frequent absences, Frank suggests, left Trump devoid of empathy.

“One of the things that you do when you’re feeling ignored and abandoned in some way,” he says, “is develop contempt for that part of yourself. You have the hatred of your own weakness and you then become a bully and make other people feel weak, or mock other people to make it clear that you’re the strong one and that you don’t have any needs.

In the end, he has mommy issues.

He tweets from the shitter, and gets two strong, opinionated congresswomen barred from Israel. He belittles and demeans those he feels most intimidated by: opinionated, strong women. It explains his venom in the 2016 campaign against his opponent. His following may be like him: everyone loves mommy until she runs for president. The United States managed before Barack Obama to maintain the continued hegemony of White Anglo Saxon Protestant (John F. Kennedy the noted exception) Cisgender Male Supremacy. No person of color before him came close, no woman, no openly gay candidate, no Asian, Hispanic/Latino. The Make America Great Again (ironically, "MAGA" in Nigerian means one who has been conned) desperately wants to restore that sociopathic order, murderous to everyone else but themselves.

He wishes to be a lord like the royal families in Europe, always emphasizing innate qualities bequeathed by biology or deity: "good genes," a public compensation for feeling less than worthy of his ascension to a golden toilet throne.

He wishes to be lord in a realm of actual billionaires and successful business empires who haven't filed for bankruptcy six times, closed down and settled fraudulent universities or fraudulent charities and Olympic level lawsuits only exceeded by his pathological lies.
 

He wishes to be a lord above the serfs who follow him, that like any conman he disdains.

In the end, despite the Newsweek article, he's lower than a court jester made king...he may even think he's as witty and talented as his fellow New York resident, the late Danny Kaye.

In the end, he's just Biff: "Lord of the Flies" (and we know what they eat).
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Image Source: Entertainment Weekly
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The Cesspool...

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Credit: Getty Images

 

Topics: Civics, Civil Rights, Internet, Existentialism, Politics


Last month, I temporarily deactivated my Twitter account following a colossal dump of racist abuse into my feed, including a man in Texas whipping up his followers to phone into an NPR radio show on which I was a guest to ask about “white genocide.” Others played a guessing game around my skin color in the belief this would help them gauge my IQ. On YouTube, one of the editors of Mankind Quarterly, a pseudoscientific journal founded after the Second World War to argue against desegregation and racial mixing, imitated me by dressing up in an “Indian shirt” (I am British; my parents were born in India). The comments underneath said I should I go back to where I came from.

It’s just another day online.

The Internet Is a Cesspool of Racist Pseudoscience
Angela Saini, Scientific American and author of Superior: The Return of Race Science


I will take a week off before classes start in the fall.

The Internet is a development of science as well as the military-industrial complex. Scientists, engineers and librarians used as "FTP" - file transfer protocol, which predates what we've come to recognize as HTTP - hypertext transfer protocol.

If you peruse DARPA's website, there is historical reference to the idea of something that would survive a thermonuclear attack. The previous communications protocols from WWII was a "hub-spoke" configuration: thinking of a wagon wheel, the hub was at the center and typically the headquarters for deployed assets in theater. The spokes were distant users of the communications network the hub would have set up with an engineering design called a communications plan (in a previous life, I was that person as an Air Force Communications/Computer Systems Officer). Thus the enemy - presumed the USSR during the Cold War - would simply destroy the hub and the spokes would be in the dark and disconnected, or deploy an EMP - electromagnetic pulse, exploding a nuclear device in atmosphere, disrupting most if not all high frequency transmissions. The idea of a "web" was so that could not occur.

The network involved satellites of course, and the distant users were tied to the hub with troposphere line-of-sight microwave horns, radio frequency equipment that multiplexed voice and digital through encrypted teletype, audio and digital switches. It was a beautiful thing to witness when it all worked.

What is developed for the government like Velcro eventually gets to the masses. AOL is an ancient form of email and web browsing that required dial-up phones and a loud modem. Netscape was the first attempt at commercial web design software, relying mostly on the aforementioned HTTP. Before social media, people started bantering or bickering back-and-forth on message boards or would send "flame mail" trying to make a point. When using company assets to send witticism or derogatory commentary, many then and now found themselves in the unemployment lines.

As I alluded to in Filter and Subtext, what particularly used to happen as a societal breaking mechanism - editors in the case of print media; producers for film - pretty much no longer exists. One may publish their first thoughts, misspelled and grammar failing; grainy, amateurish film made on cheap laptops or with cellphone cameras. Any pointing to written errors labels you a grammar Nazi; any video has to be "true" because it's on the Internet with high views. The ready access to information has led to the dangerous belief that no one has to train and become expert in a field to have an informed opinion.

The Internet is both falsely empowering and the source of demographic demarcation: by having the ability to get anything in an instant gives the impression that you KNOW a subject. As a person that reads academic papers for a living, I can assure you in the first read of any paper, I won't know the subject. I will read the abstract several times followed by the introduction, experimental procedure; results and conclusions. I will read some of the papers in the references. There are words, phrases and either physical or chemical compounds I'm not familiar with (Google). I write things down; take notes. I work through the formulas in the paper so I can understand them. It is a tedious, grinding process that takes time. I recall a maxim in the martial arts: "a black belt is a white belt that never quit." So it is with building any level of expertise in well...anything. By choosing "news feeds" instead of reading morning and evening print media as well as three main networks essentially reciting from the same Associated Press scriptures, we automatically place ourselves in silos that when we try to converse with one another, devolve into electronic and actual shouting matches.

Tom Nichols is a college professor at the US Naval War College, occasional opinion contributor on MSNBC and until recently, was a member of the Republican Party. In his treatise "The Death of Expertise," he points to a disdain of experts on the right and the left; the confusion of confirmation bias (finding the thing that you already agree with confirming what you already believe) as "evidence" your position and opinions are true. This likely parallels the transistorizing of the cumbersome and large hub-spoke network into our hip pockets. It may empower those unfamiliar with the Dunning-Kruger Effect that despite their sense of empowerment, they may be way out over their skis. They might tweet the first thing that comes to mind while sitting on the loo during "executive time." In such a world, everyone's an expert and no one is for the most part humble enough to admit they might be wrong or at least misinformed about a subject. In such a world, the warming temperatures are ignored and the science is scrubbed from government sites as "inconvenient" to the stated China hoax theory. In such a world, pseudoscience is pushed in every corridor of existence as "free speech" and "teach the [faux] controversy." Facts won't matter: There is still a Flat Earth Society in the 21st century (with a website). There are still conspiracy theorists that think the Moon landing was faked.

In such a world, the chimera list of wrong-headed things that can be believed: Alt-Right (Wrong) racist tropes, Bigfoot, the Clinton's murdering people or running child sex rings; crisis actors at mass shootings, E.T., fascism (aided and abetted by our own cleverness per a virtual Yuval Noah Harari at TED); flying saucers, Godzilla, Loch Ness Monster, Neo Nazis, Ouija boards, Pizza Gate, poltergeists, Q-Anon is almost endless, but not ONE can bother to read the Mueller Report or believe that our election processes were as attacked as the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center and walls of the Pentagon fell to ruinous rubble on 9/11.

The FBI intelligence bulletin from the bureau’s Phoenix field office, dated May 30, 2019, describes “conspiracy theory-driven domestic extremists,” as a growing threat, and notes that it is the first such report to do so. It lists a number of arrests, including some that haven’t been publicized, related to violent incidents motivated by fringe beliefs.

The document specifically mentions QAnon, a shadowy network that believes in a deep state conspiracy against President Trump, and Pizzagate, the theory that a pedophile ring including Clinton associates was being run out of the basement of a Washington, D.C., pizza restaurant (which didn’t actually have a basement).

“The FBI assesses these conspiracy theories very likely will emerge, spread, and evolve in the modern information marketplace, occasionally driving both groups and individual extremists to carry out criminal or violent acts,” the document states. It also goes on to say the FBI believes conspiracy theory-driven extremists are likely to increase during the 2020 presidential election cycle.

Exclusive: FBI document warns conspiracy theories are a new domestic terrorism threat
Jana Winter, Yahoo News


"Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." John 8:32

In such a world, truth itself becomes a casualty, and the opposite of freeing truths is slavery.
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Of Memes and Men...

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Image source: Facebook

 

Topics: Civics, Civil Rights, Climate Change, Existentialism, Human Rights, Politics


We were inundated with Facebook memes, videos and caricatures of Robert Mueller.

We saw him pose heroically as a Marine when he served in Vietnam.

We saw him superimposed as Sheriff Matt Dillon (played by actor James Arness) from the two-decade television series, “Gunsmoke.”

As much as I enjoy the movie theater and seeing my once comic books on the big screen, like Bill Mahr has opined, I think we're inundated with superhero movies to the point like our fixation with reality shows, we're losing our ability to use critical thinking and reasoning. It has disastrously resulted in a reality show president with demonstrable Internet Addiction (Twitter) and Narcissistic Personality Disorder (across the pond, Boris Johnson is now British Prime Minister). Of course, we give such a limited being, a caricature bereft of any respect for scientific inquiry, now having control over entities that will impact our addressing (or, ignoring) climate change and the nuclear codes.

Spoiler alert: we don't.
 

This country has been surprised by the way the world looks now
They don't know if they want to be Matt Dillon or Bob Dylan
They don't know if they want to be diplomats ...
Or continue the same policy of nuclear nightmare diplomacy
John Foster Dulles ain't nothing but the name of an airport now

The idea concerns the fact that this country wants nostalgia
They want to go back as far as they can ...
Even if it's only as far as last week
Not to face now or tomorrow, but to face backwards

And yesterday was the day of our cinema heroes
Riding to the rescue at the last possible moment
The day of the man in the white hat or the man on the white horse ...
Or, the man who always came to save America at the last moment
Someone always came to save America at the last moment
Especially in "B" movies

Gil Scott-Heron, B Movie, Genius Lyrics


In the end, Robert Mueller is a 74 year old man that clearly didn’t want to be there. He wrote his 448 page report for a different time and American: when we got our news from morning and evening local papers, not mobile apps. He wrote it for an American that developed powers of concentration during the dominance of radio, listening intently to every word spoken. He wrote it for an America that had fewer options for distraction in the form of a plethora of cable channels and Internet websites. It is an America and American that does not exist now.

He's not Matt Dillon - tough as the laptop doctored memes made of him, or the videos of him handcuffing Orange Satan and leading him off to the pokey. He doesn't have the deep voice he had on earlier videos of his speech patterns. He's an older man now. Entropy diminishes our faculties over time. It's biology, chemistry, physics: senescence. Despite a billion-dollar industry selling us all manner of snake oil, there is nothing we can do to stop it from occurring to any and all of us. At best, we can ease its transition.

Yes. He could have used the deferment the draft board gave him during the Vietnam War: he had actual bad knees (not fake bone spurs). He conditioned himself to pass the grueling Marine physical and served his country. He went through Army Ranger School and Airborne School to jump out of perfectly good airplanes. He is in the Army Ranger Hall of Fame (I didn't know there was such a thing). After September 11, 2001, he steadily lead the FBI during some dark times as we entered the 21st Century, unsure if we'd survive at all.

Yet, there were his fellow republicans Wednesday with exception of a respectful few attacking him. The ageism jokes were repugnant of elected officials, yet it's on video. The Orange Caligula crowed it as a "win": he's consumed an entire political party, making it as crude, traitorous, licentious and feckless as himself. Pundit's like Chris Wallace said it looked "disastrous for the democrats." Chuck Todd said the "optics were terrible."

When did facts need optics? When did an attack on our nation (9/11; the 2016 election) need a band? "Infotainment" should have never entered our lexicon in the 1980s. It's made us less than non-serious: it's made us silly.

Don’t think of visuals or theatrics. Have you READ The Mueller Report? Download it for G-d's sake! You binge watch streaming videos, so you can digest this in a weekend! Did you HEAR Mueller use the words "unpatriotic" and "problematic" with regards to this president*? Did you hear that the Russians are interfering, not next year, but NOW? My senator, Richard Burr (R-NC) and Vice Chairman Mark Warner (D-Va) just released the intelligence report on Russian interference in the 2016 election. It's chilling, but not enough for Mitch McConnell et al. to hesitate blocking election protections that would - in their warped minds - not favor republicans. No worries.

Fun fact: no president has ever been removed from office by impeachment. Jackson after the Civil War like Bill Clinton after Monica Lewinsky was impeached in the House but both measures failed in the Senate. Their records still reflect their impeachment.

Nixon after the Watergate impeachment inquiry was looking at it actually happening in the House and upheld in trial in the Senate with members of his own party. The inquiry was after he won a landslide reelection victory: 49 states to his opponent George McGovern's 1. He won 60.7% of the popular vote and was the first republican to sweep the south. His popularity fell after the inquiry revealed his malfeasance, and he resigned rather than be removed by members of his own party when they actually had principles and followed their Oath of Office.

Mitch McConnell above all others has reduced the senate from a political body that prided itself on deliberating hard issues and coming to consensus into a tribal, unconstitutional free-for-all. Oleg Deripaska, indicted by Mueller Russian oligarch and close adviser to Putin is building an aluminum plant in his state - no worries. Donald Trump would likely survive as McConnell would "pull a Merrick Garland," and just refuse to hold a trial. Since the votes would go on partisan lines, that would put senate republicans on record supporting a lawless president before a major election. His impeachment however would stand, on his record for all time. Impeachment is also not just about this president*, but the next actual one, and what we as a nation will tolerate.
 

Nancy Pelosi hasn’t brought forward an impeachment inquiry because previous to this, only 85 democrats supported impeachment. That number has climbed, and will likely go higher.

However, if the thesis of the argument is this president* is not following The Constitution and thus constitutes a crisis, neither is the current Speaker of the House. Slow-walking an impeachment inquiry is either also a constitutional crisis, or it's not. If NO ONE is following The Constitution, there effectively isn't one and the rule of law is a myth: it is the rule of whims and notions of current moments and times as arbitrated by a pathologically lying narcissist with impulse control.

Lastly, if he gets away with it, interference in our elections by foreign countries becomes in the words of Mueller “the new normal,” and our democracy* as well as our sovereignty* as currently our Putin-installed president* will forever have asterisks next to their titles. We won't have to worry about immigrants of any stripe.

Our sovereignty will depend on our getting out to vote en masse to counter any foreign election meddling, domestic voter suppression and the return of an "oldie-but-goody" in Florida: poll taxes!

We will cease to be a country.

White supremacy was this nation's origin; racism unto oblivion and the ash heap will be our epitaph.

“We will take America without firing a shot. We do not have to invade the U.S. We will destroy you from within....

Attributed to Nikita Khrushchev in comments from Barbara Fowler post Helsinki, Orlando Sentinel
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