Right-Wing Bogeymen

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Just like in the old days, when I used to get the Newsmax ‘newsletters’ for oppo research, I now get all kinds – and I mean ALL kinds – of newsletters from various trumpian groups.  I delete most of them, but sometimes the subject headline is just so whacked out that I have to take a look.

Here’s one from American Patriot Daily, with the headline, “George Soros is Linked to a Coronavirus Attack – this is why You’ll be Seeing Red.”  Here’s part of this laughable article:

Donald Trump and the rest of his administration are doing everything in their power to contain the spread of the coronavirus.
But now the President is fighting the invisible enemy on a new front.

Democrats are worried that polls showing the American people supporting the President’s response to the coronavirus will lead to Donald Trump’s re-election in November.

Top party officials also can read the polls that show the American people approve of the President’s handling of the coronavirus outbreak.

Polls not only show that the public approves of how Donald Trump is managing the crisis, but that his overall approval numbers are also rising to the highest levels of his presidency.

Priorities USA responded to that anger with an announced TV ad campaign falsely attacking President Trump for a supposedly sluggish federal government response to the coronavirus pandemic.

And George Soros is helping to bankroll this smear campaign by pumping three million dollars into Priorities USA’s coffers.

These folks don’t actually care about the attack of the coronavirus pandemic, they only care about how trump is perceived to be handling it.  I have not yet seen a single poll indicating that the majority of citizens “approve of the President’s handling”  Au contraire, right now the polls are showing that approximately two-thirds of “the American people” DISAPPROVE of trump’s spastic and contrarian responses to the pandemic.  And as of this writing,worldometer shows that 112,639 Americans have died of COVID-19.

Next, another right-wing bogeyman:  Antifa.  From a recent NBC news article:

“A Twitter account claiming to belong to a national “antifa” organization and pushing violent rhetoric related to ongoing protests has been linked to the white nationalist group Identity Evropa, according to a Twitter spokesperson.”

“The antifa movement — a network of loosely organized radical groups who use direct action to fight the far-right and fascism — has been targeted by President Donald Trump as the force behind some of the violence and property destruction seen at some protests, though little evidence has been provided for such claims.”

The tweets in question have been removed by Twitter, but here’s a screen shot – IMHO, all you have to do is read them to know that they’re a clumsy attempt to target Antifa:

antifa fake tweet

Note the misspelt hashtag #BlacklivesMaters.  Yeah, these guys at Identity Evropa are real fucking pros.

And here’s a question from an interview I started to read on Raw Story.  It’s a question that should be asked by EVERYONE in America:

Many people in the news media and among the American public are upset that Donald Trump is not acting “presidential” in response to the nationwide protests and the apparent murder of George Floyd. They keep expecting Trump to behave like a responsible leader who can help calm and heal a country in pain. He is incapable of doing such a thing. This is honestly pathetic: Why do so many public voices keep pleading with Trump to be something he is not?

Lastly, just for fun,  some cute dog pics from Bored Panda – here’s two of my favorites:

funny-dogs-pic1

There’s always ONE family member who refuses to pose normally for the cameras:

funny-dogs-pic2 there's always one

THIS IS OUR OPEN THREAD – AS ALWAYS, TALK ABOUT ANYTHING YOU WANT.

 

Recent ‘Toon Gnuz from Paul Jamiol

Our good friend and honorary Critter Paul Jamiol has been busy lately: illustrating a children’s book; working on a new collection of his excellent editorial cartoons to come out in early 2020; plus, most days, putting out new, grimly accurate observations on these terrible times.  (All images are copyrighted by Paul Jamiol.)

jamiol banger the sausage dog book cover

pauls new book

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jamiol 061919

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jamiol 062819

jamiol 07012019

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jamiol vileness

jamiol 07062019

jamoil detention

jamiol racist rant

That’s just a sampling.  For more, and to see how talented Paul’s wife, Lin, is with her green thumb [and who knew that Paul is an amazing photographer!], visit Jamiol’s World.

Paul has been chronicling political/current events since September 2000.  His encouragement and kindness to us Critters when we left ThinkProgress to start TheZoo, as well as our longstanding friendship, will always be appreciated – hell, I still LOVE our personalized header ‘toon.  I know that we here at TheZoo became pretty burnt out trying to do our part – it’s so damned hard to keep covering this shitshow, when day after day, even hour after hour, horrors upon horrors unfold.  Thank you, Paul, for your dedication to illustrating  what could well become America’s downfall.  It’s a grim task, and I don’t envy you.  Please carry on for as long as you can stand it, and we’ll try to keep up.

 

Open Thread – Come and get it!

Marching into Fascist Madness

I’m not ready to discuss A.G. Barr’s “summary” of the Mueller Report, which came out as I was starting this. I didn’t bother watching most of the press coverage, I was too disappointed. Besides, I’d rather wait to see if Jerry “Nads” Nadler, Adam Schiff, etal, can come up with something to cheer me.

In the meantime, I had already run across this survey, which I decided on a whim (of a hat?) to take a look at. I’m glad I did, but when I started reading the questions, I was disturbed – to say the least.

We all know that trump would love to change the libel laws so that he (and his cohorts) can sue a reporter, a newspaper, a network, whoever, over any criticism of trump or his administration.  And of course we all know that trump has been in a verbal war with every news agency except Fox, aka “trumpTV”, although he has lately begun to call out certain Fox reporters who are not lobbing softball questions.

And lastly, we all also know that trump LOVES dictators, and is just dying to emulate them.  So far trump has mainly stuck to his well-documented verbal and Twitter war with journalism and journalists, despite the fact that trump’s stochastic terrorism has already spurred trumpists to violent actions and plots. However, the even stronger stench of fascism in this survey leads me to conclude that the next battle will be much scarier and, eventually, even more violent.  It also seems certain that trump will do whatever he can to try to subvert the First Amendment in order to jail journalists whose questions piss him off for any reason.  The survey also panders to single-issue voters, i.e., anti-choice/”religious-freedom” and/or 2-A voters.

If you don’t want to take the survey or go to the link, below is a description plus the questions.

The survey was titled (in a big red box):

“MAINSTREAM MEDIA ACCOUNTABILITY SURVEY”, above which it states

“Certified Website Of President Donald J. Trump”

The response choices to almost all of the following questions are YES, NO, or NO OPINION:

Do you believe that the mainstream media actually cares about working Americans?

Do you believe that the mainstream media has unfairly reported on our presidency?

Do you trust MSNBC to fairly report on our presidency?

Do you trust CNN to fairly report on our presidency?

Do you trust Fox News to fairly report on our presidency?

On which issues does the mainstream media do the worst job of representing Republicans? (Select as many that apply.)
-Immigration
-Economics
-Pro-life values
-Religion
-Individual liberty
-Conservatism
-Foreign policy
-Second Amendment rights

Which television source do you primarily get your news from?
-Fox News
-CNN
-MSNBC
-Local news

Do you use a source not listed above?  [I added BBC News, just for fun – although I was also tempted to add Al Jazeera]

Do you trust the mainstream media to tell the truth about the Republican Party’s positions and actions?

Do you believe that the mainstream media does not do their due diligence fact-checking before publishing stories on the Trump administration?

Do you believe that the media unfairly reported on Trump’s executive order temporarily restricting people entering our country from nations compromised by radical Islamic terrorism?

Were you aware that a poll was released revealing that a majority of Americans actually supported our temporary restriction executive order?

Do you believe that the media is engaging in a witch hunt to take down President Trump?

Do you believe that people of faith have been unfairly characterized by the media?

Do you believe that the media wrongly attributes gun violence to Second Amendment rights?

Do you believe that the media has been far too quick to spread false stories about our movement?

Do you believe that the media has turned a blind eye to Planned Parenthood’s worst actions?

Do you believe that the media uses slurs rather than facts to attack conservative stances on issues like border control, religious liberties, and ObamaCare?

Do you believe that the media purposely tries to pit Republicans against each other in order to help elect Democrats?

Do you believe that the mainstream media has been too eager to jump to conclusions about rumored stories?

Do you believe that if Republicans were obstructing Obama like Democrats are doing to Trump, the mainstream media would attack Republicans?

Do you agree with the President’s decision to break with tradition by giving lesser known reporters and bloggers the chance to ask the Press Secretary questions?

Do you agree with President Trump’s media strategy to cut through the media’s noise and deliver our message straight to the people?

Do you believe that our Party should spend more time and resources holding the mainstream media accountable?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Let me repeat that last one:

Do you believe that our Party should spend more time and resources holding the mainstream media accountable?

Um, in what way, trump?

This is more than just shouting “FAKE NEWS!”, or even “THE PRESS IS THE ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE!” This is painting “the media” as the enemy of everything trump’s cult holds dear, the enemy of the trumpian “reality” that trumpists are so desperately trying to force on the rest of us, despite the evidence before everyone’s “lying” eyes. It is an attack on one of the most sacred foundations of our democracy and our freedom, and it must be stopped.

OPEN THREAD – Chime in!

Weekly Rap-Sheet!

Since I’ve pretty much sucked at getting a Daily Gnuz out, I’m gonna use the weekend to try a Weekly Rap-Sheet.
Be at ease, no actual Rapping is scheduled, although it may break out spontaneously at any time…

And here’s the Rap Sheet for this past week.

US calls on Russia to end support for Syria after alleged chemical attack
H/T The Hill
Please, Vlad, can you not be so obvious? You’re making me look bad, so I have to pretend to scold you. No hard feelings or leaked videos, right?

And,
Orbán wins landslide to secure third straight term
H/T Politico
Hungary goes all in for Fascism. Anti-Immigration, free to pursue the vision of an “illiberal democracy,” complete with anti-immigrant rhetoric and policies, crackdowns on NGOs and strong opposition to greater EU integration.
More Trumpism, on steroids.

Finally,
How Should Progressives Respond to Trump’s Trade Tantrums?
H/T The Nation
A thoughtful treatise on what’s wrong with the global economic system and how progressives can offer viable alternaives…Good read.

Open Thread, roll it up and swat a pervert with it!

RUCerious @TPZoo

Daily Gnuz

Evangelical Christians’ reactions/non-reactions to Charlottesville, via The Christian Post:

First, there are actually a couple of articles where pastors, etal, are finally allowing their collective conscience to break through. Here’s one, and here’s another

Of course, those voices are few, and they’ve got competition, i.e.:

Here’s an opinion piece from “guest contributor” Brad Huddleston, the title of which I thought promising, until I actually read it: “Charlottesville: Jesus Commands Us to ‘Tell The Truth’, So Why Aren’t We?” A few excerpts:

“I was in Charlottesville, Virginia, during the riots and what I observed and what I saw in the media’s coverage are, for the most part, two very different narratives.

Although the atmosphere was volatile everywhere I walked, I have to believe that it was Sovereignty that kept me away from the physical confrontations. I did, however, observe verbal ones. I saw various white supremacist groups filled with hate and evil intentions. They were armed with weapons and ready for a fight. I also watched members of Black Lives Matter as well as Communists/Marxists, carrying their hammer and sickle flags. They were also filled with hate and evil intentions.”

Sounds to me as though it wasn’t “Sovereignty” that kept him away from the physical confrontations, it was his own cowardice. So all he did was “observe” certain things, verbal interactions, certain flags, and interpret them in the light of his own prejudices [“during the RIOTS”.]  How dare he automatically credit BLM with “evil intentions”, when they were protesting against NAZIS and WHITE SUPREMACISTS! And if BLM were involved in extremely heated arguments defending their right to exist as equals in the face of horrifying insults, threats, violence, etc., who would blame them for hating everything that these armed, sometimes uniformed, Confederate-and-Nazi-flag-waving un-American RACISTS do, say, and stand for. The hammer-and-sickle flag-waving “Communists/Marxists”? The author ‘identifies’ them in a later section as the Antifa. I call bullshit. Apparently the author was so terrified he couldn’t even verify what these people were marching for/against.

“The media was slamming the various white supremacist groups (and they should). But I immediately noticed something very perplexing. Very little if any coverage was being given to the various Communist and Marxist groups and violent Black Lives Matter and Antifa activists. It was as if the white supremacists were the only ones who were filled with hate. I kept waiting and waiting for someone to show images of the reality that we, who were actually there, observed.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“Let’s never forget that the Communists and Marxists have killed far more people than Hitler. Nevertheless, they are all equal in their evil, and all should be equally condemned. If they are participating in the same riot, they should share the same headline. Because white supremacists’ numbers are small, we should be far more concerned about their Marxist and their Socialist cousins. Our American universities have been cranking them out for years, and we’re now seeing the results.

Both extremes were represented in Charlottesville on that scary day. To give the extreme left a pass, and even affirm them, would make Hitler proud.”

I can’t even comment, I’m so gobsmacked by this. But I would like to ask Mr. Huddleston if any of the BLM or Antifa drove a car at speed into a crowd of human beings, killing one and injuring more than a dozen others; and how many BLM or Antifa were “ARMED WITH WEAPONS and ready to fight” as the Nazi/KKK and white supremacist pseudomilitary actually were?

And then we have conservative black pastors and others defending trump’s abhorrent remarks in “Black Christian Leaders Detest Claim That Trump Is the ‘Driver’ of Racial Division in America.” Here’s just one little slice of this twisted, surreal pie:

“Corrogan Vaughn, a political activist who ran against Democrat Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland in the 2016 election, argued that those in the media who blame Trump for the racial tension in the United States are trying to turn Trump into a “villain.”

“Don’t make our commander in chief a villain when in actuality it is more the villainess of the media in terms of making something where nothing is,” Vaughn stated.

Oh, joy, keep screaming that the “media” is to blame, and this imaginary ‘alt-left’, ffs – like who’re you gonna believe, trump and the evangelicals, or your lying eyes?

For more, here’s the Christian Post’s Political page. Have fun.

This is our Open Thread – enjoy!

August 2017: Charlottesville

In view of the recent Charlottesville VA White “Supremacist” get together and its predictable consequences — including Donald Trump’s (predictable) non-response to the disgusting tactics of a major segment of his “base” — I thought it might be appropriate to post again the substance of a New York Times editorial I first ran across (and posted here) in early March, 2015. It speaks eloquently of the undercurrents which drive events such as those last weekend in Charlottesville, undercurrents made clear in the editorial’s title, “The Danger of American Fascism.” The bottom line is a simple one; it says that when we speak of ‘movements’ including White Nationalists, White Supremacists, Neo-Nazis, the Ku Klux Klan, and what’s come to be known recently as Alt-Right, we are speaking of various aspects — definitions, in fact — of Fascism.

Following are excerpts from said lengthy editorial, but which collectively summarize the essence of its thesis.

The Danger of American Fascism

“On returning from my trip to the West in February, I received a request from The New York Times to write a piece answering the following questions:

1. What is a fascist?
2. How many fascists have we?
3. How dangerous are they?

“A fascist is one whose lust for money or power is combined with such an intensity of intolerance toward those of other races, parties, classes, religions, cultures, regions or nations as to make him ruthless in his use of deceit or violence to attain his ends. The supreme god of a fascist, to which his ends are directed, may be money or power; may be a race or a class; may be a military clique or an economic group; or may be a culture, religion, or a political party.

[. . .]

“The obvious types of American fascists are dealt with on the air and in the press. These demagogues and stooges are fronts for others.. . . The American fascist would prefer not to use violence. His method is to poison the channels of public information. With a fascist the problem is never how best to present the truth to the public but how best to use the news to deceive the public into giving the fascist and his group more money or more power.

[. . .]

“If we define an American fascist as one who in case of conflict puts money and power ahead of human beings, then there are undoubtedly several million fascists in the United States. There are probably several hundred thousand if we narrow the definition to include only those who in their search for money and power are ruthless and deceitful. . . . They are patriotic in time of war because it is to their interest to be so, but in time of peace they follow power and the dollar wherever they may lead.

“American fascism will not be really dangerous until there is a purposeful coalition among the cartelists, the deliberate poisoners of public information, and those who stand for the K.K.K. type of demagoguery.

“Still another danger is represented by those who, paying lip service to democracy and the common welfare, in their insatiable greed for money and the power which money gives, do not hesitate surreptitiously to evade the laws designed to safeguard the public from monopolistic extortion. . . .

“The symptoms of fascist thinking are colored by environment and adapted to immediate circumstances. But always and everywhere they can be identified by their appeal to prejudice and by the desire to play upon the fears and vanities of different groups in order to gain power. It is no coincidence that the growth of modern tyrants has in every case been heralded by the growth of prejudice. . . .

“The American fascists are most easily recognized by their deliberate perversion of truth and fact. Their newspapers and propaganda carefully cultivate every fissure of disunity, every crack in the common front against fascism. They use every opportunity to impugn democracy . . . to conceal their own selfish imperialism. . . .

” . . . Monopolists who fear competition and who distrust democracy because it stands for equal opportunity would like to secure their position against small and energetic enterprise. In an effort to eliminate the possibility of any rival growing up, some monopolists would sacrifice democracy itself.

[. . .]

“Democracy to crush fascism internally must . . . develop the ability to keep people fully employed and at the same time balance the budget. It must put human beings first and dollars second. It must appeal to reason and decency and not to violence and deceit. We must not tolerate oppressive government or industrial oligarchy in the form of monopolies and cartels. As long as . . . this liberal potential is properly channeled, we may expect the area of freedom of the United States to increase. The problem is to spend up our rate of social invention in the service of the welfare of all the people.

[ . . .]

“It should also be evident that exhibitions of the native brand of fascism are not confined to any single section, class or religion. Happily, it can be said that as yet fascism has not captured a predominant place in the outlook of any American section, class or religion. It may be encountered in Wall Street, Main Street or Tobacco Road. Some even suspect that they can detect incipient traces of it along the Potomac. It is an infectious disease, and we must all be on our guard against intolerance, bigotry and the pretension of invidious distinction.”

It’s interesting to note that when the author points out that “American fascists are most easily recognized by their deliberate perversion of truth and fact; Their newspapers and propaganda carefully cultivate every fissure of disunity, every crack in the common front against fascism; They use every opportunity to impugn democracy . . . to conceal their own selfish imperialism,” he could clearly be referring to situations that haunt the country this very day. But since the essay was originally published by the New York Times on April 9, 1944, that’s clearly not the case. It was written by then Vice President Henry A. Wallace at the request of the Times who asked him to, as Wallace noted, write a piece that answered the questions “What is a fascist? How many fascists have we? How dangerous are they?” I first ran across word of the Wallace essay in a 2004 Common Dreams article by Thom Hartmann. A google or two later, I located the complete essay entitled The Danger of American Fascism from which the excerpts above were chosen.

April 9, 1944 to August 12, 2017: Seventy-three years plus 125 days later, and the only thing that’s changed is that the situation has worsened by orders of magnitude. Back then, Franklin Roosevelt was President and Henry Wallace was Vice President. We all know where they stood. Today, Donald Trump is President and Mike Pence is V.P., and we all know where THEY stand. Today, this day, for the very first time the Fascist movement defines the electoral base of the President and his V.P. Donald Trump is and long has been, clearly, one of them, and Mike Pence forever remains too much of a wimp to admit it or point it out.

But still, the fact remains: IF America is to survive, if her goal is for “Democracy to crush fascism internally . . .” then  “It must appeal to reason and decency and not to violence and deceit. We must not tolerate oppressive government or industrial oligarchy,” but rather we must work “to spend [sic] up our rate of social invention in the service of the welfare of all the people.”

Will we as a people ever learn? Wallace was spot-on correct way back then, and his words ring even more true today than perhaps they ever have. The time has come, in other words, and that time is NOW. Donald Trump must be removed from the office of the Presidency whether by impeachment or via the 25th amendment, and the Republican Party must either recreate itself by disavowing any, each, and all of its current fascistic premises, or be disbanded entirely.

Or we could, of course, accept the Fascist alternative. Irrational hatred and fear coupled with greed and the quest for power have, after all, always worked so well as motivational memes . . . at least for those who find comfort in such nonsense.

Charlottesville residents excepted, thankfully.

Personally, I prefer that other approach, the one easily summarized in a simple slogan:

“Make America Great, For Once. DUMP TRUMP!”

TWH; May 10 2017; The Apostatic Creed

After Comey’s firing, White House openly pushes for conclusion of FBI’s Russia investigation

Gripping headline, that one. Made me think that before all this Trump Reign (Trump Rain??) is over, he may declare it mandatory that all of us “skeptics” had better switch tracks and spout our allegiance to the genius and grandeur of our new Führer, the former Orange Shitgibbon, or “It vill be da verse for you.”

So. Here it is. My effort to help each and all of Progressive mindset become the equivalent of a religious Apostate, to offer (at no charge!) the means to demonstrate abandonment and renunciation of those core beliefs, of that Democratic Credo, to substitute the pretense of embracing the contrasting stupidity of, for lack of a better word, Trumpissm.

Please understand the difficulty of the process, how hard it is to spout the pure BS demanded by illiterate ‘strongmen’ such as those who define today’s Republican Party. I know there must be the occasional faux pas embedded, but since only Progressives have the mentality to spot a faux pas in the first place, there’s no need to worry.

Good luck, and remember: this is to make HIM feel good, not you!

******

THE APOSTATIC CREED

I believe!

I believe in the Donald J. Trump!

(May, 2017)

I believe in Donald J. Trump, our almighty  Prophet  Profit who sitteth on the Throne of his Sainted Peter, aka the Throne of Amurkkka!

I believe in the Holy Ghosts of Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan! I believe that their collective  dementia  wisdom persisteth through this very day and prospereth well in other equally  hollowed  hallowed minds including (but clearly not limited to) those named Pence, Ryan, McConnell, Bannon, Chaffetz, Nunes, Issa, Cruz, Sessions, DeVos, … the list of Grand Republicans is interminable!

I believe in the Holy Christer Nation called Amurkkka and in her God named Profit! I believe in the rape of the environment for our Profit’s sake! I believe in the oppression of we the people for Profit! I believe in the theft for our Profit of any and all resources public and private! I believe in the mining of wilderness, the logging-off of forests, offshore drilling, and the paving of land anywhere and everywhere when Profit is the reward! I believe in unlimited air and water pollution and in the tailpipes, smokestacks, sewer pipes, and politicians that produce same, all for our Holy Profit! I believe in our Great Profit’s future thanks to the sale of National Parks and wild lands to miners and drillers and developers! I believe that Saint Reagan’s Interior Secretary (and super-fine Republican) James Watt was spot-on correct when he said, “God gave us these things to use! After the last tree is felled, Christ will come back!” Yay!

I believe, too, in other  quasi-religious quackeries  Religious Freedoms, including Intelligent Design, the overturning of Roe v. Wade, the prohibition of Birth Control, all together with a constitutionally-mandated hatred of Homosexuals and Transgenderinos! I believe Public Education is the Work of the Debbil! and must be treated as such! I believe in Junk Science, especially when it disavows global warming or quits protecting endangered species BECAUSE: there’s a lot more Profit to be made when there are no (legal) consequences that get in the way of the process of making money!

I believe in the Wealthy and in their right to destroy all else in favor of their own comfort! I believe in WAR!! I believe in imperialism, and in the theft of needed resources from any other land on the globe! I believe it’s the Right of the Wealthy to start wars even as it’s their right to avoid fighting in them! I believe it’s the Right of the Wealthy to force the poor and the powerless to fight in their place and to die, to be permanently maimed or driven insane in the process (I mean, who really cares, you know?)! I believe it’s the Right of the Wealthy to enjoy any and all privilege and to deny all others the same through any level of chicanery, legal or illegal! I believe that The Law applies NOT to the Wealthy, only to everybody else!

I believe in massive government Power! I believe in unlimited profligate and wastrel spending, and especially in the Orwellian doublespeak lingo it takes to cover up, to mask, and to always deny the Fascistic Union of Government Power with Corporate Profit! I believe it is the duty of the masses to work always on behalf of Power and Profit for the Few! I believe that unlimited Power of the Few is necessary to promote the unlimited Power of the State both at home and around the globe! I believe that the Power of the State and the Power of the Few are one with Profit, therefore are one with God Hisseff! (He who sits atop his Sainted Peter whilst on the Throne! Damn, that felt good!)!

I believe in the Second Amendment, but not the other twenty-six! Instead, I believe that the Constitution is exactly as Donald J. Trump has said, that “It’s really a bad thing for the country”! I further believe that the constitutionality of the words “high crimes and misdemeanors” (as reasons to impeach a President) refer only to Oval Office blow jobs and have nothing to do with political malfeasance of any kind, including the (warrantless) final and total theft of all liberties and freedoms of Americans everywhere, including taking health care away from its lazy bums!

I believe in the H-Bomb and in Amurkkka’s right to use it (or threaten to) on anyone who pisses us off, especially when those who piss us off ain’t white, and/or when they look like Chinamen! I believe that spending more money on “defense” (i.e. WAR!) than the next dozen nations combined is necessary to keep Amurkkka free and to ensure forever Yuge Profits! And we’re gonna BUILD THAT WALL And keep them Spics out of Amurkkka!

I believe that “thinking” is a left-wing-liberal-pinko plot! I believe in the emergent Teabagger Fascism which requires no “thinking” at all, only obedience: Amurkkka über alles!! (to coin a phrase)! I believe in NASCAR, Christmas, Columbus, and the Super Bowl (so long as some black chick doesn’t sing and dance in front of white folks), but not in Martin Luther King and all the dirt he done! I believe that guns, “quads,” dirt bikes, snowmobiles, and even the “Minutemen” are the greatest Creations in all of history! Gifts from God The Profit! YeeHaw!

I believe! I’m a Trumpisst! I’m a REPUBLICAN, and my slogan is
as Simple as ME:

I Got Mine!! Screw Everybody Else, and . . .

Make Amurkkka Great Again!

Amen!

Whew.

******

OPEN THREAD

The Weekend Watering Hole: Friday, March 24th, 2017: FAUX Pas

On Wednesday, March 22nd, TIME Magazine’s Washington Bureau Chief, Michael Shelton, interviewed FAUX president Donald trump. I give Shelton credit, he apparently did not laugh in the FAUX president’s face (which is the least I’d like to do to trump’s face on any given day at any given minute. But I digress.)  I have to feel sorry for poor Mr. Shelton, as there was no way that any human could possibly keep up with the gibberish uttered by the “Most Embarrassing Man In The World”(TM). ‘Sad.’

The following is an except from ‘President trump’s Interview With TIME on Truth and Falsehoods.’ If you’re not dizzy by the time you’ve finished reading it, you will be if you read the entire interview. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

FAUX POTUS: “Yeah well if you’d look at, in fact I’ll give you the front page story, and just today I heard, just a little while ago, that Devin Nunes had a news conference, did you hear about this, where they have a lot of information on tapping. Did you hear about that?”

SHELTON: “I have not, no.”

FAUX POTUS: “Now remember this. When I said wiretapping, it was in quotes. Because a wiretapping is, you know today it is different than wire tapping. It is just a good description. But wiretapping was in quotes. What I’m talking about is surveillance. And today, [House Intelligence Committee Chairman] Devin Nunes just had a news conference. Now probably got obliterated by what’s happened in London. But just had a news conference, and here it is one of those things. The other one, election, I said we are going to win, we won. And many other things. And I think this is going to be very interesting.”

SHELTON: “So you don’t feel like Comey’s testimony in any way takes away from the credibility of the tweets you put out, even with the quotes?”

FAUX POTUS: “No, I have, look. I have articles saying it happened. But you have to take a look at what they, they just went out at a news conference. Devin Nunes had a news conference. I mean I don’t know, I was unable to see it, because I am at meetings, but they just had a news conference talking about surveillance. Now again, it is in quotes. That means surveillance and various other things. And the New York Times had a front-page story, which they actually reduced, they took it, they took it the word wiretapping out of the title, but its first story in the front page of the paper was wiretapping. And a lot of information has just been learned, and a lot of information may be learned over the next coming period of time. We will see what happens. Look. I predicted a lot of things that took a little of bit of time. Here, headline, for the front page of the New York Times, “Wiretapped data used in inquiry of Trump aides.” That’s a headline. Now they then dropped that headline, I never saw this until this morning. They then dropped that headline, and they used another headline without the word wiretap, but they did mean wiretap. Wiretapped data used in inquiry. Then changed after that, they probably didn’t like it. And they changed the title. They took the wiretap word out.”

Almost the last thing the FAUX president said in the interview was this:

“Hey look, in the mean time, I guess, I can’t be doing so badly, because I’m president, and you’re not.”

So…I gather from all that Nunes held a news conference, and the NY Times took out “the wiretap word”, and voila! he’s magically vindicated. Oh, and also, too, he’s the president.  Badly.  So there!

Words fail me.

This is an early edition of the Weekend Watering Hole. Have at it.

The Watering Hole, Monday, February 20th, 2017: ICYMI

A few articles from the past week:

I noticed something in one of Raw Story’s articles on Stephen Miller, and had to look into it:

“Though he denies it, Miller is believed to have written a significant portion of the travel ban, with some help from Steve Bannon and congressional aides sworn to contractual secrecy.[emphasis mine]

The Daily Mail article linked to in the above excerpt had more:

“Senior House Judiciary Committee staffers helped produce President Donald Trump’s controversial immigration ban, even as top lawmakers and cabinet heads were left in the dark.
The aides were required to sign nondisclosure agreements as they labored in secret to help draft the ban, Politico reported.

Trump’s transition brought in the Hill aides during the transition, while it was still rushing to staff the administration.”

And the Politico story had even more:

“The work of the committee aides began during the transition period after the election and before Donald Trump was sworn in. The staffers signed nondisclosure agreements, according to two sources familiar with the matter. Trump’s transition operation forced its staff to sign these agreements, but it would be unusual to extend that requirement to congressional employees.”

Now, wait a minute – since when do the president-elect’s staffers and congressional aides sign non-disclosure-agreements?  Aren’t any of them subjected to any vetting process, any background check, in order to work for the president-elect, or for congresspersons and congressional committees?  These are all government public servants, not trump’s TV employees!

I honestly don’t know anything about the legalities of this.  Both the Daily Mail and Politico articles are from the end of January, but I don’t remember hearing about this then. Considering that the articles also state that the congressional aides’ ‘bosses’, such as both the House and the Senate Judiciary Committee Chairmen, were not consulted, I’m a little surprised by that.  Am I just a suspicious cynical alarmist, or is this secretive ‘reacharound’ to bypass normal procedural channels just one more example of trump’s delusional version of presidential power, one that just slipped by amidst the hundreds of other trump delusions?

(sigh)  However…

Maybe there’s hope that there may be a REAL investigation into the trump-Russia cabal. From the Raw Story article:

[T]he Senate Intelligence Committee has ordered more than a dozen individuals and agencies to preserve records related to Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. elections.

According to the Associated Press, a congressional aide confirmed that the committee had sent formal requests that all materials related to Russian meddling be preserved.

The AP notes that the letters were a bi-partisan affair with both the panel’s chairmen, Richard Burr (R-N.C.), and vice chairman Mark Warner (D-Va.) signing on.

The Friday letters come on the heels of a closed door meeting with FBI Director James Comey who spent nearly three hours answering questions Friday afternoon in a secure room in the Senate basement used for classified briefings.”

Finally, some humor amidst the destruction of our world as we know it: if you didn’t catch John Oliver last night, here’s Raw Story’s thread covering it. Enjoy.

This is our Open Thread – say anything.

The Watering Hole, Monday, February 6th, 2017: Don’t Forget RUSSIA

Two recent articles to remind us that at least Senator Ron Wyden has our back when it comes to investigating Vlad the Imputin’s Russians having hacked our election for trump.

First, an excerpt from David Corn’s article at Mother Jones:

Since Trump has moved into the White House, there has been less public chatter in political and media quarters about the Russian hacking that, according to the US intelligence community, was mounted by Putin’s spies as part of an extensive clandestine operation to undermine the US presidential campaign in order to benefit Trump. The same goes for allegations that Trump or his associates interacted with Russian officials or intermediaries during the campaign. After the election, Russia’s deputy foreign minister said “there were contacts” between Trump’s team and Russian officials, and various news reports have noted that the FBI has examined connections between Trump associates and Putin-allied Russians—without offering much detail about these FBI inquiries. Yet in the first, chaos-filled weeks of the Trump presidency, the story of Russian meddling in the election—after blowing up with the disclosure that President Barack Obama and Trump were briefed about private intelligence memos alleging Russia had run a yearslong secret program to cultivate Trump and gather compromising intelligence on him—has seemed to move off the center stage.

Second, a diary by Mark Sumner at Daily Kos adds commentary to the above Mother Jones story:

“Now that the intelligence committees are supposedly on the case—and with the FBI not discussing whatever inquiries it may be holding on this front—the controversy (or scandal!) has been nudged to the back burner. This often happens in Washington: a secret investigation is launched, the story goes dark.”

“Helping cast those shadows is a press that seems to have instant amnesia about anything Russia related, to the extent that Russian forces attacking towns in Ukraine just one day after Trump and Putin had their contents unknown chat, wasn’t enough to push aside Trump’s latest tweets on television ratings. The connections between Putin and Trump, Manafort, Flynn, Page, and others in the regime seldom merits a mention.”

We HAVE to keep this investigation front and center, and demand that our Congresscritters and Senators not only support the search for the truth, but inform we, the people, of that truth, no matter the cost. This is OUR country, OUR democracy, and OUR freedom at stake. We cannot let this issue fade into the background, despite all of the distracting crap continuously popping up in the foreground. There are many fights to fight in this travesty of a presidency, but said presidency’s legitimacy is the biggest fight that we all face.

This is our Open Thread–say whatever you want.

The Watering Hole, Saturday, January 28th, 2017: “The Emperor’s New Clothes”

Since so many people are referencing the Hans Christian Andersen tale, “The Emperor’s New Clothes”, in regard to Trump’s first week in office, I thought I should post the classic for all to re-read.

Many years ago there was an Emperor so exceedingly fond of new clothes that he spent all his money on being well dressed. He cared nothing about reviewing his soldiers, going to the theatre, or going for a ride in his carriage, except to show off his new clothes. He had a coat for every hour of the day, and instead of saying, as one might, about any other ruler, “The King’s in council,” here they always said. “The Emperor’s in his dressing room.”

In the great city where he lived, life was always gay. Every day many strangers came to town, and among them one day came two swindlers. They let it be known they were weavers, and they said they could weave the most magnificent fabrics imaginable. Not only were their colors and patterns uncommonly fine, but clothes made of this cloth had a wonderful way of becoming invisible to anyone who was unfit for his office, or who was unusually stupid.

“Those would be just the clothes for me,” thought the Emperor. “If I wore them I would be able to discover which men in my empire are unfit for their posts. And I could tell the wise men from the fools. Yes, I certainly must get some of the stuff woven for me right away.” He paid the two swindlers a large sum of money to start work at once.

They set up two looms and pretended to weave, though there was nothing on the looms. All the finest silk and the purest old thread which they demanded went into their traveling bags, while they worked the empty looms far into the night.

“I’d like to know how those weavers are getting on with the cloth,” the Emperor thought, but he felt slightly uncomfortable when he remembered that those who were unfit for their position would not be able to see the fabric. It couldn’t have been that he doubted himself, yet he thought he’d rather send someone else to see how things were going. The whole town knew about the cloth’s peculiar power, and all were impatient to find out how stupid their neighbors were.

“I’ll send my honest old minister to the weavers,” the Emperor decided. “He’ll be the best one to tell me how the material looks, for he’s a sensible man and no one does his duty better.”

So the honest old minister went to the room where the two swindlers sat working away at their empty looms.

“Heaven help me,” he thought as his eyes flew wide open, “I can’t see anything at all”. But he did not say so.

Both the swindlers begged him to be so kind as to come near to approve the excellent pattern, the beautiful colors. They pointed to the empty looms, and the poor old minister stared as hard as he dared. He couldn’t see anything, because there was nothing to see. “Heaven have mercy,” he thought. “Can it be that I’m a fool? I’d have never guessed it, and not a soul must know. Am I unfit to be the minister? It would never do to let on that I can’t see the cloth.”

“Don’t hesitate to tell us what you think of it,” said one of the weavers.

“Oh, it’s beautiful -it’s enchanting.” The old minister peered through his spectacles. “Such a pattern, what colors!” I’ll be sure to tell the Emperor how delighted I am with it.”

“We’re pleased to hear that,” the swindlers said. They proceeded to name all the colors and to explain the intricate pattern. The old minister paid the closest attention, so that he could tell it all to the Emperor. And so he did.

The swindlers at once asked for more money, more silk and gold thread, to get on with the weaving. But it all went into their pockets. Not a thread went into the looms, though they worked at their weaving as hard as ever.

The Emperor presently sent another trustworthy official to see how the work progressed and how soon it would be ready. The same thing happened to him that had happened to the minister. He looked and he looked, but as there was nothing to see in the looms he couldn’t see anything.

“Isn’t it a beautiful piece of goods?” the swindlers asked him, as they displayed and described their imaginary pattern.

“I know I’m not stupid,” the man thought, “so it must be that I’m unworthy of my good office. That’s strange. I mustn’t let anyone find it out, though.” So he praised the material he did not see. He declared he was delighted with the beautiful colors and the exquisite pattern. To the Emperor he said, “It held me spellbound.”

All the town was talking of this splendid cloth, and the Emperor wanted to see it for himself while it was still in the looms. Attended by a band of chosen men, among whom were his two old trusted officials-the ones who had been to the weavers-he set out to see the two swindlers. He found them weaving with might and main, but without a thread in their looms.

“Magnificent,” said the two officials already duped. “Just look, Your Majesty, what colors! What a design!” They pointed to the empty looms, each supposing that the others could see the stuff.

“What’s this?” thought the Emperor. “I can’t see anything. This is terrible!

Am I a fool? Am I unfit to be the Emperor? What a thing to happen to me of all people! – Oh! It’s very pretty,” he said. “It has my highest approval.” And he nodded approbation at the empty loom. Nothing could make him say that he couldn’t see anything.

His whole retinue stared and stared. One saw no more than another, but they all joined the Emperor in exclaiming, “Oh! It’s very pretty,” and they advised him to wear clothes made of this wonderful cloth especially for the great procession he was soon to lead. “Magnificent! Excellent! Unsurpassed!” were bandied from mouth to mouth, and everyone did his best to seem well pleased. The Emperor gave each of the swindlers a cross to wear in his buttonhole, and the title of “Sir Weaver.”

Before the procession the swindlers sat up all night and burned more than six candles, to show how busy they were finishing the Emperor’s new clothes. They pretended to take the cloth off the loom. They made cuts in the air with huge scissors. And at last they said, “Now the Emperor’s new clothes are ready for him.”

Then the Emperor himself came with his noblest noblemen, and the swindlers each raised an arm as if they were holding something. They said, “These are the trousers, here’s the coat, and this is the mantle,” naming each garment. “All of them are as light as a spider web. One would almost think he had nothing on, but that’s what makes them so fine.”

“Exactly,” all the noblemen agreed, though they could see nothing, for there was nothing to see.

“If Your Imperial Majesty will condescend to take your clothes off,” said the swindlers, “we will help you on with your new ones here in front of the long mirror.”

The Emperor undressed, and the swindlers pretended to put his new clothes on him, one garment after another. They took him around the waist and seemed to be fastening something – that was his train-as the Emperor turned round and round before the looking glass.

“How well Your Majesty’s new clothes look. Aren’t they becoming!” He heard on all sides, “That pattern, so perfect! Those colors, so suitable! It is a magnificent outfit.”

Then the minister of public processions announced: “Your Majesty’s canopy is waiting outside.”

“Well, I’m supposed to be ready,” the Emperor said, and turned again for one last look in the mirror. “It is a remarkable fit, isn’t it?” He seemed to regard his costume with the greatest interest.

The noblemen who were to carry his train stooped low and reached for the floor as if they were picking up his mantle. Then they pretended to lift and hold it high. They didn’t dare admit they had nothing to hold.

So off went the Emperor in procession under his splendid canopy. Everyone in the streets and the windows said, “Oh, how fine are the Emperor’s new clothes! Don’t they fit him to perfection? And see his long train!” Nobody would confess that he couldn’t see anything, for that would prove him either unfit for his position, or a fool. No costume the Emperor had worn before was ever such a complete success.

“But he hasn’t got anything on,” a little child said.

“Did you ever hear such innocent prattle?” said its father. And one person whispered to another what the child had said, “He hasn’t anything on. A child says he hasn’t anything on.”

“But he hasn’t got anything on!” the whole town cried out at last.

The Emperor shivered, for he suspected they were right. But he thought, “This procession has got to go on.” So he walked more proudly than ever, as his noblemen held high the train that wasn’t there at all.

The last line, of course, doesn’t exactly compare to our Trumperor, who would NEVER suspect and certainly could never admit that any actual, tangible, verifiable fact “would prove him either unfit for his position, or a fool.” Our Trumperor has been strutting around naked for a very long time. So, how many ‘little children’ will it take to convince ‘the whole nation’ that the Trumperor “hasn’t got anything on!”

This is our Open Thread–what’s on your mind?

Randy Rainbow weighs in on Alternative Facts

This is how I’d like to see the White House Press Corps respond to this administration’s bullshit artists.

The Watering Hole, Monday, January 23rd, 2017: Freedom of the Press

We’ve all ripped both network and cable news organizations for their role in aiding and abetting this abomination of a Presidential election. But since the Orange Shitgibbon has won, and he and his spokesgoblins are taking more active steps to label any accurate and unflattering reporting of their words and activities as “fake news” by the “dishonest press”, this should be considered a very serious attack on the First Amendment right of Freedom of the Press. After having previously, in a fit of pique, revoked The Washington Post’s press credentials during the campaign, now the new Trump administration has shut down access to and from CNN.

According to a MediaMatters article:

President Donald Trump and his team continued their unprecedented attempts to delegitimize and blacklist CNN by refusing to have a representative appear on CNN’s Sunday political talk show, State of the Union, while booking appearances on the other major political talk shows on ABC, CBS, NBC, and Fox Broadcasting Co.
At the top of the January 22 edition of CNN’s State of the Union, host Jake Tapper said that his show “asked the Trump White House for a member of the new administration to join us this morning, but they declined.”

 

During Trump’s first press conference as president-elect on January 11, Trump refused to take a question from CNN senior White House correspondent Jim Acosta, calling his network “fake news” and “terrible.” Following the event, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer admitted to threatening to remove Acosta from the press conference and later demanded an apology. Trump ally and Fox News contributor Newt Gingrich responded to the incident by asserting that Trump should use the altercation to “shrink and isolate” CNN and eventually “close down the elite press.” Acosta and his colleagues from across the media condemned Trump’s treatment of CNN.

 

The Trump team’s refusal to appear on CNN came one day after it declined to air the live feed of Spicer’s first press conference after the inauguration, where Spicer blatantly lied about the size of inauguration crowds. According to Variety’s Brian Steinberg, “CNN’s refusal to take the live feed suggests executives there are reluctant to put false statements on air, and, what’s more, do not think the new White House press representative is entirely credible.” From the January 21 report:

 

“CNN’s decision to not air the press conference live illustrates a recognition that the role of the press must be different under Trump. When the White House holds press briefings to promote demonstrably false information and refuses to take questions, then press ‘access’ becomes meaningless at best and complicit at worst,” said Danna Young, an associate professor at the University of Delaware who studies politics and the media. “Democracy works best when journalists have access to the executive branch, of course. But that holds true if and only if that access leads to verifiable, accurate information. The decision on behalf of CNN to wait and verify before airing it live suggests that the media are adapting quickly to this new era.”

 

To be certain, news outlets routinely make decisions about whether to air press events live, usually based on projections about news value. But this press conference, held just a day after the President’s inauguration, would have been a hot prospect for a cable-news outlet, and could have sparked hours of debate and follow-up on CNN’s schedule. In an unusual and aggressive maneuver, CNN aired its regular weekday lineup this Saturday, underscoring heavy interest in breaking news of a series of massive protests by women across the nation in response to Trump’s presidency as well as the new President’s first few days in office.

While I am still outraged by the fact that CNN had hired Corey Lewandowski fresh from the Trump team campaign, and paid the lying POS good money to NOT say anything bad about Trump, maybe, just maybe, CNN can redeem itself by employing real investigative journalism. There’s a lot to dig into in all aspects of Trump’s life/taxes/business practices/Russian connections/conflicts of interest, and a 24-hour news network is what’s needed to get to the bottom of Trump’s “alternate facts” swamp.

What do you say, CNN? Do the right thing, or cave to a tyrant?

This is our Open Thread–comments welcome.

The Weekend Watering Hole, Saturday, January 7th-8th, 2017: Russian Roulette

Here’s some of the most recent articles about the U.S. intelligence agencies’ report on the Russian influence in Trump’s election.

First, here’s a PDF of the report itself.

Next we have relevant articles from yesterday’s Washington Post and the New York Times.

And then a couple of articles on Trump’s post-intelligence-briefing statements, one from the NY Times, and one from this morning’s Raw Story. Apparently Trump took time from his preoccupation with Arnold and The Apprentice to tweet a few idiocies while avoiding the ‘yuge’ Russian elephant in his room.

What will it take for Trump, his minions, and the GOP to finally admit that the chambers in the Russian Roulette revolver aren’t all empty?

This is our Open Thread – join in with whatever you want to talk about.

The Watering Hole; Jan. 5&6, 2017; “Bye, Bye, Miss American Pie . . .”

“Nature makes only dumb animals. We owe the fools to society.”
(Honore de Balzac)

******

The bifurcation of the United States is now complete. The AFM (American Fascist Movement, aka the GOP, the Far Right) has, finally, taken over the ‘defining’ substance of the country via its majority control of the House, Senate, White House, and presumably quite soon, the Supreme Court, all alongside the political control of some 32 states. When, on January 20th, the new Precedent (sorry, couldn’t help it) named Donald J. Trump is inaugurated and officially becomes POTUS, the final demise of America will begin in earnest. The goals of the AFM-GOP are fairly straight forward; they intend to address a number of cash and power redistribution projects. Here’s their shortlist:

  1. Repeal Obamacare;
  2. Cut Social Security;
  3. Privatize Medicare;
  4. Drastically reduce Medicaid;
  5. Repeal Roe v. Wade;
  6. Defund Planned Parenthood;
  7. Disallow female Reproductive Rights;
  8. Deport undocumented immigrants;
  9. Overturn Obama’s immigration Executive Orders, including DACA;
  10. Build a border wall;
  11. Dismantle the EPA;
  12. Halt all Carbon-reducing efforts;
  13. Increase coal, oil, and natural gas production;
  14. Pull out of the Paris Climate Agreement;
  15. Open all Public Lands to fossil fuel/mining exploration and production;
  16. Potentially work to hand over all Federal Lands to the respective States;
  17. Tax reform: reduce  rates for corporate and top individual brackets, screw all the common folk;
  18. Abolish Net Neutrality (so cable companies can finally make a buck or two);
  19. Increase “defense” spending;
  20. Restart the nuclear arms race;
  21. Stop worrying about budget deficits;
  22. Blame the entire of the National Debt on Democrats, Obama mostly;
  23. Find places to start new wars;
  24. Universalize voter suppression and “ihre papiere, bitte” laws;
  25. Dismantle Public Education, pay for privatization with tax dollars;
  26. Rid colleges and universities of all those commie professors;
  27. Diminish NATO and the EU;
  28. Explore national merger with Russia.*

*(Not sure if number 28 is on any docket outside the Trump admin., but felt it worth a mention).

In short, (thanks to voter suppression, along with our clearly obsolete Electoral College) it’s a minority of voters that has enabled “All Of The Above.” Stated another way, the death of what once was a nation “of the people” is on the verge of total revision, with the fresh goal of a Feudal-style Fascist Oligarchy lying in wait just over the next horizon. The process should not take all that long to complete, now that the Extreme Right has essentially garnered full control of the government.

The presumed overall consequence — the bottom line — is a simple one: IF the AFM-GOP succeeds in the imposition of its Fascist agenda, the odds are very good that any return to Rooseveltian-style government where the PEOPLE come first, not the money-power enclave, will be gone for at least a generation or two, possibly forever. Remember: when government devolves into Fascism, the sole purpose of the blended money-power government is to disable and destroy each and every program designed to support and enable The People’s pursuit of a comfortable and productive life, and hand it off, instead, to the bums in their imaginary gleaming castles on the hill (sotospeak).

The process will begin on the afternoon of January 20, 2017, immediately following the swearing in of this nation’s 45th POTUS, Donald J. Trump.

potus

Resistance must begin immediately. I, for one, will not attend, watch, or even acknowledge this particular inauguration. I will, instead, spend my time exploring and supporting alternatives, aka virtually any potentially viable project that has even the slightest chance of ridding the nation of its Fascist element, aka the Republican Party . . . and all its works and all its ways. Apparently I’m not alone in this ‘dream,’ at least according to the following link’s stated goal:

Does impeachment begin now? The case for building the end of Trump’s presidency before it even starts

Hoping intelligent people across the land will consider and act appropriately upon all viable options, and in the process never forget the ancient but still accurate admonition of Plato:

The punishment for those who are too intelligent to engage in
politics is that they shall be governed by idiots.

Touche.

******

OPEN THREAD

The Watering Hole; Th/Fr December 29/30, 2016; “Make America Great Hate Again”

Since November 8, 2016 and the “unpresidented” (s)election of Donald J. Trump as “precedent” of the United States, the probable consequences are rapidly clarifying, as evidenced in the following (tiny) handful of links:

‘We can march through town carrying high-powered rifles’: Neo-Nazi plans march against Montana Jews

Hate Groups Promise Revolt If Trump Abandons White Supremacy

Tracking the explosion of hate in Trump’s America

It appears that even though Trump’s inauguration is still 3 weeks away, he has already succeeded in enhancing amongst his followers the (irrational but traditional) Fascistic dreams of Power and Hate. And sadly, those same irrationalities are currently spreading through Europe — Brexit in England, Far Right Nationalism emerging in Poland, Hungary, France, Austria, Germany — altogether reminiscent of the Fascist tyrannies of just a few generations ago.

As England’s Prince Charles recently stated,

I’ve seen the rise of many populist groups across the world that are increasingly aggressive towards those who adhere to a minority faith. All of this has deeply disturbing echoes of the dark days of the 1930’s.

“I was born in 1948 just after World War II in which my parents’ generation fought and died in a battle against intolerance, monstrous extremism and an inhuman attempt to exterminate the Jewish population of Europe. That nearly 70 years later we are seeing such evil persecution is beyond belief. We owe it to the people who have suffered and died so horribly not to repeat the horrors of the past.”

And today, as we set ourselves up “to repeat the horrors of the past,” we watch as anti-Semitism, racism, bigotry, xenophobia, anti-Islam, and white Nationalism (neo-Nazism) rapidly reassert themselves both at home and abroad, thanks in no small part to the American election of November 8, 2016. It’s worth noting that said election was, curiously, influenced by Russian cyber interference — likely motivated by Putin’s desire to see the world abandon freedom and democracy and select, instead, Fascism as its ruling authority. And who better than Trump — a politically inept egomaniacal narcissist — to help that movement along?

Russian analyst Nina Khrushcheva (great grand-daughter of Nikita Khruschev) recently noted that Trump is playing “right into Putin’s hands.” She further stated,

“I was just in Moscow and the Russians are saying ‘Look at those fools, look at their their democracy. How could America lecture us on any development, institutions, human rights, democracy, rhetoric when they just elected Donald Trump. He’s such a fool. He’s such a bully. That’s what America deserves and we’re going to take advantage of it.’ And that’s how Russians feel about it, and now it’s taking shape with letters from Vladimir Putin to Donald Trump with their exchange on potential nuclear armament and whatnot.”

In short, with the election of Donald J. Trump, the United States has ceded any global advantage it might ever have had to the re-emergent right wing fervor aka Fascism. We fought and defeated it in the past, but now have finally succumbed, thanks to the devolution of the Republican Party from one of democratic principle to its embrace of neo-fascism, and to the election of a narcissistic egomaniac — Donald J. Trump — who knows virtually nothing of anything other than his own ego (and how to grab women by the p***y, of course).

In short, we are on the edge of a major dilemma. Our current situation brings to mind an essay written more than three years ago, one that was first posted on October 17, 2013, well before anyone had even the vaguest notion that Donald Trump would ever become a candidate for the presidency, much less win an Electoral College “victory.” But he did, and in so doing has magnified immensely the quandary America came face-to-face with, in 2012: the American Fascist Movement, aka the (Republican) Tea Party.

So here, in celebration of 2016’s final passing is, courtesy of said essay, both a three-year rear-view-mirror look back, coupled with what is now virtually guaranteed to be a look forward as well; reprinted in full.

****** Continue reading

The Watering Hole; Th/Fr December 1 and 2, 2016; “Thou, Whoever Art Above . . .”

I’ll admit it. I’m DISGUSTED!

I know I’m not alone in this, but I can say with heavy duty authority that in the aftermath of the 2016 Presidential (s)election, my disgust has peaked at levels I’ve never known before, levels that, until November 9, I would have never guessed attainable, much less even possible. But it happened. Somehow, the most narcissistic, egomaniacal, misogynistic, xenophobic, bigoted, racist, fascistic and ego-driven presidential candidate in American history has been (s)elected (at least via Electoral College terms), and will become POTUS on January 20, 2017.

My initial reaction was to rant (which I did), then attempt to listen to those voices of ‘moderation,’ those voices that try to convince us “radicals” that hey, this is America where the voice of “the people” — not of the tyrant — is heard, is determinative of the nation’s (and the world’s) future. Those voices of moderation are, of course, nonsensical in that they ignore the obvious consequences that invariably occur when the entire government of a nation is turned over to what is, effectively, a far right wing politic, a Fascist majority. And sadly, that is precisely what ‘we the people’ did on November 8, 2016; we “elected” a Fascist president, and left in place right wing majorities in both the Senate and the House along with a vacancy on the Supreme Court which will now be filled by an extreme right wing appointee, thus granting control  of the entire of our federal government to the American Fascist Movement.

That should be the point that causes any salient mind to rant and rave for hours on end about electoral national destruction, but then again, to the “salient” mind, what would be the point? As Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar noted, “The die is cast.” Besides, it does one no good at all to imagine being down in the pit, surrounded only by idiots, white supremacists, Republicans, Fascists  — assuming there’s a difference. There are, after all, other places — peaceful and quiet places, places brimming with ‘salient’ life forms — places that are far better, that inspire rather than denigrate one’s imagination.

Here’s an example: a six line poem by longtime colleague and friend T.R. Nissle, words which he penned some 40 years ago in response to a few photos I managed to ‘snap’ during my frequent and solitary sojourns “out there” on some then relatively undisturbed corners of the Sonoran Desert in southwestern Arizona. Six lines with six photos (the top three ‘inspired’ the poem), together offer a refreshing look at the living world — though not expressly through human eyes.

THE PRAYER OF THE CACTUS

ca-1972-cave-creek-wasjh-praying-saguaro

▲Thou, whoever art above, hear me die –▲

ca-1973-white-tanks-old-sentry

▲Hear my silent, lonely prayer –▲

ca-1975-mcdowells-saguaro-backlit-350pxl

▲For tongueless creatures everywhere;▲

003s▲We neither savage, jest, nor boast of soul –▲

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA▲But flower unmaliciously –▲

2004-january-sunrise-ove-salt-river-valley-022f▲Disjoin us from Humanity.▲

Those six photos are of the Sonoran Desert’s most unique life form, the Giant Saguaro Cactus, in various stages of both life and death. Curiously enough, the Saguaro’s longtime scientific name Cereus giganteus (Britton & Rose) was, in recent years, changed to Carnegiea gigantea in honor of renowned wealthy industrialist-become-philanthropist Andrew Carnegie who, in his last years prior to his death in 1919, donated (as 2015 share of GDP) some $78.6 Billion (approx. 90% of his accumulated wealth) to charities, foundations, and universities. I suppose it could simply be my naivete, but I seriously doubt that any of today’s billionaires will ever wind up with a signature cactus named after them. Trumpissonia gigantea? Probably not.

The bottom line remains: If humans would take a moment and agree to (1) abolish all war, (2) disallow greed,  hate, and irrational fear, (3) abandon their never-ending savage quest for power, and (4) agree to never again boast of soul — but flower unmaliciously, the world would fast become a livable place for all its creatures, big or small. Including even ourselves.

I remain filled with doubt, however; human history has yet to suggest that humans are uniformly capable of being earth-friendly in any context. More than two centuries ago, for example, William Wordsworth  noted that though . . .

There was a time when meadow, grove, and stream,
the earth, and every common sight,
To me did seem
Apparelled in celestial light,
The glory and the freshness of a dream.
It is not now as it hath been of yore;–
Turn wheresoe’er I may,
By night or day,
The things which I have seen I now can see no more.

To which I can only add, in MY voice to all of earth’s creatures everywhere:

Disjoin US from “Humanity.”

2005-mar-brittlebush-encelia-farinosa-022s-sharper

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OPEN THREAD

The Watering Hole, Monday, November 28th, 2016: Warning Signs of a Dictatorship

From November 23rd in Foreign Policy Magazine, “10 Ways to Tell if Your President is a Dictator”, by Stephen M. Walt, here’s a brief [believe it or not] summary. (You’ll need to register in order to be able to read the entire article. Registration is free, and allows you access to five articles per month.)

An excerpt from the opening:

“…if you live in the United States, what you should really worry about is the threat that Trump may pose to America’s constitutional order. His lengthy business career suggests he is a vindictive man who will go to extreme lengths to punish his opponents and will break a promise in a heartbeat and without remorse. The 2016 campaign confirmed that he has little respect for existing norms and rules — he refused to release his tax returns, lied repeatedly, claimed the electoral and political systems were “rigged” against him, threatened to jail his opponent if he won, among other such violations — and revealed his deep contempt for both his opponents and supporters. Nor does he regret any of the revolting things he did or said during the campaign, because, as he told the Wall Street Journal afterward, “I won.”[**] For Trump, it seems, the ends really do justify the means.

[**Tweet from WSJ: “When asked if he thought his rhetoric had gone too far in the campaign, Donald Trump told WSJ: “No. I won.”]

“Given what is at stake, one of the most important things we can all do is remain alert for evidence that Trump and those around him are moving in an authoritarian direction. For those who love America and its Constitution more than they love any particular political party or any particular politician, I offer as a public service my top 10 warning signs that American democracy is at risk.”

1) Systematic efforts to intimidate the media.

A free, energetic, vigilant, and adversarial press has long been understood to be an essential guarantee of democratic freedoms, because without it, the people in whose name leaders serve will be denied the information they need to assess what the politicians are doing.

If the Trump administration begins to enact policies designed to restrict freedom of the press, or just intimidate media organizations from offering critical coverage, it will be a huge (or if you prefer, yuge) warning sign.

Trump has already proposed “opening up” libel laws so that public figures can sue the press more easily. This step would force publishers and editors to worry about costly and damaging lawsuits even if they eventually win them, and it would be bound to have a chilling effect on their coverage.

His administration could deny access to entire news organizations like the New York Times if they were too critical of Trump’s policies or just too accurate in documenting his failures. Just because the First Amendment guarantees free speech doesn’t mean some parts of the media can’t be stampeded into pulling punches or once again indulging in “false equivalence.”

2) Building an official pro-Trump media network.

“…While trying to suppress critical media outlets, Trump could also use the presidency to bolster media that offer him consistent support. Or he could even try to create an official government news agency that would disseminate a steady diet of pro-Trump coverage.

In Trump’s ideal world, Americans would get their news from some combination of Breitbart, Fox News, and the president’s own Twitter feed…”

3) Politicizing the civil service, military, National Guard, or the domestic security agencies.

“One of the obstacles to a democratic breakdown is the government bureaucracy, whose permanent members are insulated from political pressure by existing civil service protections that make it hard to fire senior officials without cause. But one can imagine the Trump administration asking Congress to weaken those protections, portraying this step as a blow against “big government” and a way to improve government efficiency.

But if the president or his lieutenants can gut government agencies more or less at will, the fear of being fired will lead many experienced public servants to keep their heads down and kowtow to whatever the president wants, no matter how ill-advised or illegal it might be.

And don’t assume the military, FBI, National Guard, or the intelligence agencies would be immune to this sort of interference. Other presidents (or their appointees) have fired generals who questioned their policy objectives, as Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld did during George W. Bush’s first administration when he removed Army Chief of Staff Eric Shinseki, who had the temerity to tell a congressional committee that the occupation of Iraq was going to need a lot more people than Rumsfeld had claimed. Other generals and admirals got the message and stayed out of Rumsfeld’s way for the rest of his disastrous tenure as defense secretary. There have also been fights in the past over control of the National Guard, but a move to assert greater federal authority over the guard would give Trump a powerful tool to use against open expressions of dissent.”

4) Using government surveillance against domestic political opponents.

“This step wouldn’t be entirely new either, insofar as Nixon once used the CIA to infiltrate anti-war organizations during the Vietnam War. But the government’s capacity to monitor the phones, emails, hard drives, and online activities of all Americans has expanded enormously since the 1960s.

As far as we know, however, no one has yet tried to use these new powers of surveillance to monitor, intimidate, embarrass, deter, or destroy political opponents.

…an ambitious and unscrupulous president could use the ability to monitor political opponents to great advantage. He would need the cooperation of top officials and possibly many underlings as well, but this only requires loyal confederates at the top and compliant people below. The White House had sufficient authority, under George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, to convince U.S. government employees to torture other human beings.”

5) Using state power to reward corporate backers and punish opponents.

“A hallmark of corrupt quasi-democracies is the executive’s willingness to use the power of the state to reward business leaders who are loyal and to punish anyone who gets in the way. That’s how Putin controls the “oligarchs” in Russia, and it is partly how Erdogan kept amassing power and undermining opponents in Turkey…

…I know, I know: Corruption of this sort is already a problem here in the Land of the Free —whether in the form of congressional pork or the sweet deals former government officials arrange to become lobbyists once they leave office — so why single out Trump? The problem is that Trump’s record suggests he thinks this is the right way to do business: You reward your friends, and you stick it to your enemies every chance you get.”

6) Stacking the Supreme Court.

“Trump will likely get the opportunity to appoint several Supreme Court justices, and the choices he makes will be revealing. Does he pick people who are personally loyal and beholden to him or opt for jurors with independent standing and stellar qualifications? Does he pick people whose views on hot-button issues such as abortion, gay marriage, and campaign financing comport with his party’s, or does he go for people who have an established view on the expansiveness of executive power and are more likely to look the other way if he takes some of the other steps I’ve already mentioned? And if it’s the latter, would the Senate find the spine to say no?”

7) Enforcing the law for only one side.

“…given the nature of Trump’s campaign and the deep divisions within the United States at present, a key litmus test for the president-elect is whether he will direct U.S. officials to enforce similar standards of conduct on both his supporters and his opponents.

If anti-Trump protesters are beaten up by a band of Trump’s fans, will the latter face prosecution as readily as if the roles were reversed? Will local and federal justice agencies be as vigilant in patrolling right-wing hate speech and threats of violence as they are with similar actions that might emanate from the other side?…If Trump is quick to call out his critics but gives racists, bigots, and homophobes a free pass because they happen to like him, it would be another sign he is trying to tilt the scales of justice in his favor.”

8) Really rigging the system.

“…given the promises he has made and the demography of the electorate, Trump and the GOP have every incentive to use the next four years to try to stack the electoral deck in their favor. Look for more attempts to gerrymander safe seats for House Republicans and more efforts to prevent likely Democratic voters from getting to the polls in 2018 and 2020.”

9) Fearmongering.

“Stoking public fears about safety and well-being is a classic autocratic tactic, designed to convince a frightened population to look to the Leader for protection. Trump played this card brilliantly in the campaign, warning of “Mexican rapists,” foreign governments that “steal our jobs,” “scores of recent migrants inside our borders charged with terrorism,” and so on. He also hinted that his political rivals were somehow in cahoots with these various “enemies.” A frightened population tends to think first about its own safety, and forget about fundamental liberties, and would be more likely to look the other way as a president amassed greater power.

The worst case, of course, would be an Erdogan-like attempt to use a terrorist attack or some other equally dramatic event as an excuse to declare a “state of emergency” and to assume unprecedented executive authority. Bush and Cheney used 9/11 to pass the Patriot Act, and Trump could easily try to use some future incident as a — with apologies for the pun — trumped-up excuse to further encroach on civil liberties, press freedoms, and the other institutions that are central to democracy.”

10) Demonizing the opposition.

“Trying to convince people that your domestic opponents are in league with the nation’s enemies is one of the oldest tactics in politics, and it has been part of Trump’s playbook ever since he stoked the “birther” controversy over Obama’s citizenship. After he becomes president, will he continue to question his opponents’ patriotism, accuse them of supporting America’s opponents, and blame policy setbacks on dark conspiracies among Democrats, liberals, Muslims, the Islamic State, “New York financial elites,” or the other dog whistles so beloved by right-wing media outlets like Breitbart? Will he follow the suggestions of some of his supporters and demand that Americans from certain parts of the world (read: Muslims) be required to “register” with the federal government?

Again, these are the same tactics Erdogan and Putin have used in Turkey and Russia, respectively, to cement their own authority over time by initiating a vicious cycle of social hostility. When groups within a society are already somewhat suspicious of each other, extremists can trigger a spiral of increasing hostility by attacking the perceived internal enemy in the hope of provoking a harsh reaction. If the attacked minority responds defensively, or its own hotheads lash out violently, it will merely reinforce the first group’s fears and bolster a rapid polarization. Extremists on both sides will try to “outbid” their political opponents by portraying themselves as the most ardent and effective defenders of their own group. In extreme cases, such as the Balkan Wars in the 1990s or Iraq after 2003, the result is civil war. Trump would be playing with fire if he tries to stay in power by consistently sowing hatred against the “other,” but he did it in the campaign, and there’s no reason to believe he wouldn’t do it again.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“This list of warning signs will no doubt strike some as overly alarmist. As I said, it is possible — even likely — that Trump won’t try any of these things (or at least not very seriously) and he might face prompt and united opposition if he did. The checks and balances built into America’s democratic system may be sufficiently robust to survive a sustained challenge. Given the deep commitment to liberty that lies at the heart of the American experiment, it is also possible the American people would quickly detect any serious attempt to threaten the present order and take immediate action to stop it.

The bottom line: I am by no means predicting the collapse of democracy in the United States under a President Donald J. Trump. What I am saying is that it is not impossible, and there are some clear warning signs to watch out for. Now, as always, the price of freedom is eternal vigilance. Or to use a more modern formulation: If you see something, say something.”

 

This is our Open Thread – feel free to talk about whatever you want.

The Watering Hole, Monday, November 7th, 2016: “Trouble sleeping?”

With the most consequential election of my lifetime now just one day away, a scene from Star Trek: Next Generation’s “Best of Both Worlds” Part 1″ keeps returning to my mind. It takes place before the battle with the Borg, as Captain Picard paces through the Enterprise, and finds Guinan alone in Ten-Forward:

Guinan: “Trouble sleeping?”

Capt. Picard: “It’s something of a tradition, Guinan – Captain touring the ship before a battle.”

Guinan: “Hmm. Before a *hopeless* battle, if I remember the tradition correctly.”

Capt. Picard: “Not necessarily. Nelson toured the HMS Victory before Trafalgar.”

Guinan: “Yes, but Nelson never returned from Trafalgar, did he?”

Capt. Picard: “No, but the battle was won.”

Guinan: “Do you expect this battle to be won?”

Capt. Picard: “We may yet prevail. That’s a… a conceit. But… it’s a healthy one. I wonder if the Emperor Honorius watching the Visigoths coming over the seventh hill truly realized that the Roman Empire was about to fall. This is just another page in history, isn’t it? Will this be the end of *our* civilization? Turn the page.”

I wish that I had the calmness, almost equanimity, with which Captain Picard views the possibility of approaching doom and the likely takeover of the United Federation of Planets by a heartless, merciless “race.” I cannot view a similar fate for our country without a feeling of utter dread.

“We may yet prevail” as Picard says, if by “prevail” one means that Hillary Rodham Clinton wins the Presidency. If that happens, in my humble opinion, we the sane will have only one night, possibly, to feel the relief of dodging a bullet. As long-time students of politics and human nature, particularly ‘American’ human nature, we Critters and Zoosters and other reality-based folks are all too well aware that a final election result which denies Donald Trump the Presidency is just the beginning. There inevitably will be a barrage of ‘bullets’, figuratively at best, to continue to dodge. And it may well “be the end of *our* ‘civilization’.”

Guinan offers hope of a sort:

Guinan: “This isn’t the end.”

Capt. Picard: You say that with remarkable assuredness.”

Guinan: “With experience. When the Borg destroyed my world, my people were scattered throughout the universe. We survived – as will humanity survive. As long as there’s a handful of you to keep the spirit alive, you will prevail – even if it takes a millennium.”

And while Guinan could be right, that “[t]his isn’t the end”, I wish that *our* people were able to scatter throughout the universe. “Humanity” may survive, but will it still be recognizable as “human”?

This is our daily Open Thread–talk me down?

The Watering Hole: Friday October 14 2016; “There Was A Fever Over The Land . . .”

trumps-gop-elephant

A comprehensive guide to accepting Donald Trump’s sexual assault denials

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I have to admit it’s more than a little bit fascinating to watch as the REAL Donald Trump emerges from within the orange skinned and squirrel pelt hair version — not that the REAL one is any sort of an improvement, of course. What’s even more fascinating is to watch the intellectual devolution of various chunks of the Republican Party’s Trump supporters, to see how far down into the muck they’re willing to drop and still vibrantly support the ‘thing’ underneath the orange and the pelt. Big question: Just how far down the Trumpian path are his Trumpisstas willing to go? All the way to the end?

Here are a bunch of links to current articles that suggest there just may well be no limits, that all the way to the very bottom is, indeed, their principle option perfectly stated.

Michele Bachmann: Electing Hillary Clinton ‘Will Lead To Even More Sexual Assaults Against Women’

Michele Bachmann: God May Curse America If We Elect Hillary Clinton

Rodney Howard-Browne: America Will ‘Head Towards Civil War’ If Hillary Clinton Wins

James Dobson Continues To Support Trump Because His Comments ‘Don’t Threaten The Future Of This Nation’

Evangelicals slammed Bill Clinton’s sexual misconduct. So why does Trump get a pass?

Dave Daubenmire: ‘We Cannot Vote For Hillary Clinton Because Women Are Not To Have Authority Over Men’

Trump: ISIS Will ‘Take Over This Country’ If Hillary Clinton Wins

Janet Porter: Trump’s Statements Don’t Matter Because Only He Can Save America From Becoming A Police State

On November 9th, Trump’s Followers Will Probably Be More Dangerous Than Trump

Those links seem to more-or-less summarize, overall, the collective attitude(s) of the portion of the political right that can be defined as totally intolerant. It includes the fundamentalist Christian segment, the white supremacist segment, along with the implicit attitudes embedded therein that Donald Trump, the current Republican candidate for POTUS, fully supports and urges forward

For some very very ‘mysterious’ reason, the focus of this, the current political situation underway in the United States, has reminded me of a scene from the 1961 movie, Judgment At Nuremberg — the scene in which German Judge and Tribunal Defendant Ernst Janning (Burt Lancaster) speaks to the Tribunal of the conditions in Germany that led to such horrible and bitter consequences. Here is Janning’s monologue (from the Academy Award winning script by Abby Mann; emphasis mine):

There was a fever over the land. A fever of disgrace, of indignity, of hunger. We had a democracy, yes, but it was torn by elements within. There was, above all, fear. Fear of today, fear of tomorrow, fear of our neighbors, fear of ourselves. Only when you understand that can you understand what Hitler meant to us. Because he said to us: ‘Lift up your heads! Be proud to be German! There are devils among us. Communists, Liberals, Jews, Gypsies! Once the devils will be destroyed, your miseries will be destroyed.’ It was the old, old story of the sacrificial lamb.

What about us, who knew better? We who knew the words were lies and worse than lies? Why did we sit silent? Why did we participate? Because we loved our country! What difference does it make if a few political extremists lose their rights? What difference does it make if a few racial minorities lose their rights? It is only a passing phase. It is only a stage we are going through. It will be discarded sooner or later. ‘The country is in danger.’ We will ‘march out of the shadows.’ ‘We will go forward.’

And history tells you how well we succeeded! We succeeded beyond our wildest dreams. The very elements of hate and power about Hitler that mesmerized Germany, mesmerized the world! We found ourselves with sudden powerful allies. Things that had been denied us as a democracy were open to us now. The world said go ahead, take it! Take Sudetenland, take the Rhineland – remilitarize it – take all of Austria, TAKE IT!

We marched forward, the danger passed. And then one day, we looked around and found we were in even more terrible danger. The rites begun in this courtroom swept over our land like a raging, roaring disease! What was going to be a passing phase became a way of life.

I haven’t made an exact count of the words one would have to change in order to bring Janning’s statement up to date sufficiently to describe the current and emergent politic in this country, but I’m guessing it would be no more than a dozen or so. Some of the substitutions are almost automatic: e.g. Trump for Hitler, America for Germany, Muslims for Gypsies, etc. But the saddest aspect of all, really, is that in Trump’s proposed America, There [will be], above all, fear. Fear of today, fear of tomorrow, fear of our neighbors, fear of ourselves. Only when you understand that can you understand what [Trump] meant to us. Are we as a people — Americans — willing to fall for that nonsensical ruse, the one that devoured both Italy and Germany in the last century? Is Fascism our goal, our ultimate destiny? FEAR? Are we on our way down that path?

Secret Nazi group uncovered after Colorado teen kills himself to prove his commitment to killing Jews

I know it’s not politically correct to use the words Hitler, Nazi, Fascism, Republicans and Trump in the same document, but sometimes the urge becomes overpowering — esp. when piles of evidentiary foundations seem to be lurking ‘out there’ behind every bush. In any case, I’ve said my piece and will leave it to others to decide for themselves the direction the American right wing has taken, along with the possible (and likely) consequences the future will place on full display.

gop-swas

Yeehaw? Achtung?

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OPEN THREAD

Sunday Roast: Trump Trouble & Debate Live-Blogging

The truly funny part about this video is that it was posted in July.  Randy Rainbow just had a feeling, I guess…but I don’t need to know the details.

Soooo, in a continuation of the Great Emasculation, Hillary Clinton and Donald “Tic Tac” Trump will appear at a town hall style forum in St Louis, MO (6 pm, PT), wherein inexplicably undecided voters will ask questions of the candidates.

Hillary will attempt to behave in a statesman-like manner, while barely containing her giggles and snorts in regard to the state of her opponent’s campaign; and Donald will flop and flail around like a potty-mouthed steelhead landed next to the fish ladder — you almost made it, little guy! — and will probably say something that will cause me to choke on my popcorn within the first 15 minutes.

Join us, whether you’re just hanging out in the comments section, or doing hard-hitting live commentary on the 2016 presidential race (somebody should, I guess), or just pointing and laughing your ass off like the rest of us.

EDIT:  Here’s one of the places you can watch the aforementioned clusterfuck:

This is our daily open thread — Drinking game = Death

Sunday Leftovers: Mocking Trump

I found one of these videos posted in the Raw Story comments by “sam202.”  All the words are Trump’s own, but a genius named Peter Serafinowicz dubbed him to sound all catty and Liberace-like.

I think the dubbed voice is more appropriate for the gossipy content of Trump’s speeches anyway.

This is our totally late — so late we’re down to leftovers — open thread.

The Watering Hole, Saturday, July 23, 2016: Ego

The Oxford English Dictionary’s definition of ego:

Noun:

1.      A person’s sense of self-esteem or self-importance

1.1    Psychoanalysis The part of the mind that mediates between the conscious and the unconscious and is responsible for reality testing and a sense of personal identity

1.2    Philosophy (In metaphysics) a conscious thinking subject.

Synonyms: self-esteem, self-importance, self-worth, self-respect, self-conceit, self-image, self-confidence;

Now, let’s take a brief look at Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump’s ego:

1. Trump’s self-esteem? Off the charts–his self-descriptions include being “the greatest” this, the “best” that, the “most” whatever. Anyone who claims otherwise is just “wrong” or “stupid”, or has some imaginary personal beef against Trump, because in no way will Donald Trump admit to any ignorance, mistake, lie, or out-and-out wrongdoing. Which leads to…

1.1 Trump’s ego cannot “mediate” between the conscious and unconscious. Reality testing?! Trump’s conscious and unconscious create their own reality, and it’s a reality that he seems to feel no need to test. His “reality” is part-and-parcel of his personal identity, and it is impenetrable by truth, facts, and even Trump’s own previous words or deeds.

1.2 While Trump may be “conscious” in the literal sense of the word, he is not a “thinking” subject.

With his penchant for superlatives, Trump might possibly think that he has a “superego“, but the OED’s definition of superego leads me to believe that Trump’s ego vanquished his superego a long time ago:

Noun:
Psychoanalysis The part of a person’s mind that acts as a self-critical conscience, reflecting social standards learned from parents and teachers

“Self-critical”?  Rarely and barely.  Hell, Trump told evangelicals that he didn’t feel the need to go to confession, since he doesn’t think that anything he does is wrong.  And I learned things like manners, respect and intellectual curiosity from my parents and teachers, apparently unlike Trump.

Trump has a dysfunctional relationship with the truth. According to Politifact, only 8.4% of Trump’s statements have been factual.  Their review of Trump’s statements shows that a whopping 70% of Trump’s statements are rated “Mostly False”, “False”, or “Pants on Fire.” Here’s one of the “Pants on Fire” stories:

“The day after the 2016 Republican National Convention, Trump said his vanquished Republican rival, Sen. Ted Cruz, had never denied that his father was in a 1963 photo with Lee Harvey Oswald, who went on to assassinate President John F. Kennedy that November.

Trump said: “All I did is point out the fact that on the cover of the National Enquirer there was a picture of him and crazy Lee Harvey Oswald having breakfast. Now, Ted never denied that it was his father. Instead he said, ‘Donald Trump.’ I had nothing to do with it. This was a magazine that frankly, in many respects, should be very respected.”

[The idea that ‘the National Enquirer should be very respected’ should rate a “Pants on Fire” of its own.]

Politifact gave Trump the “2015 Lie of The Year” award to The Donald.  An excerpt:

“…a little hyperbole never hurts,” Trump wrote in his 1987 best-seller The Art of the Deal. “People want to believe that something is the biggest and the greatest and the most spectacular. I call it truthful hyperbole. It’s an innocent form of exaggeration — and a very effective form of promotion.”

[Ah, and that explains “Trump University.”]

Next, here’s a glib, almost superficial, and often sickeningly fawning article from the Washington Post, by AP “reporter” Nancy Benar, titled “For Trump, it’s about America’s ego — and his own.” Some key excerpts:

“Almost every deal I have ever done has been at least partly for my ego,” the billionaire declared in a 1995 New York Times piece titled, “What My Ego Wants, My Ego Gets.”

“The same assets that excite me in the chase often, once they are acquired, leave me bored,” he told an interviewer in 1990, as his boom years were sliding toward bust. “For me, you see, the important thing is the getting, not the having.”

Trump,[sic] stresses his Ivy League education and revels in juvenile jabs, labeling his adversaries “stupid,” ‘’dumb” and “bad.”

“I know words,” he declared at a December campaign rally where he criticized the Obama administration. “I have the best words. But there’s no better word than stupid, right?”

Wrong, Mr. Trump. As a Presidential candidate, now nominee, some of the “best words” that you should memorize the meanings for are:  honesty, integrity, class, civility, respect, humility and responsibility. I know that these terms and ideas are foreign to you, but you should familiarize yourself with them – there might be a quiz between now and November.

This is our daily Open Thread–feel free to talk about this or any other topic.

The Watering Hole, Monday, July 11th, 2016: “Christians” vs “Critters”

If you’d like more proof that at least some “Christian Evangelical” megachurch “leaders”, along with the “Prosperity” Jeebus hucksters and their varied brethren, should be under the microscope of the IRS, there’s a few articles on the Christian Post’s “Politics” page. (Also see RawStory’s recent thread about “Pastor” Jeffress.)

Or, if you prefer to start your day/week with some ‘critters’, here’s the official “Watering Hole”:
watering hole
bear cubs boxing cutefunnyanimalz blogspot com
belly up pups
black kitten
leaping lemurs
sea_lion a to z animals
upclose kitty amolife com
fucking love this stick animal animal animal blgspt

This is our daily Open Thread–say whatever you want.

Brexit – Live

 

In the video above you find a compelling explanation what Brexit is about really. Having watched some of the debates and quite a bit of coverage on BBC, ITV and a couple more news sites, I can fully agree with him. It is about immigration. And nationalism and then some immigration.

I’ll watch some of the BBC voting night coverage and will give you the first couple of developments live as they unfold. Then I will probably collapse, because I am not as young as I used to be when I joined you all for a night of music, booze and cigarettes on Music Night.

Whatever is the result tomorrow morning, I’ll let you know.

Fair warning: If they vote “Leave”, I will be seriously pissed off, because I still haven’t given up on the hope to spend my retirement in the North of England. I would have to go to Scotland instead, because the Scots will then leave the UK and reenter the EU.

Here’s a heat map of how Britons stand on the issue:

cegrab-20160315-113854-216-1-736x414

source: http://news.sky.com/story/1659864/skys-brexit-map-reveals-most-pro-leave-areas

So let’s get started….and hope for the best.