The Watering Hole, 1/18/2017

As soon as Hillary Clinton cinched the Democratic Party’s nomination her supporters began deriding Sander’s supporters in earnest, in an effort to shame or fear-monger them into voting for The Chosen One. As a Sanders supporter, their efforts further turned this author off from Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party.

In two days, Donald Trump will become the President of the United States. Ever since the election, those on the left have called Trump voters all kinds of names, all of which were anything but kind. This divisive name-calling is counterproductive. It only serves to drive Trump supporters further away, as the natural tendency when one is attacked is to become defensive.

To change the course of this Nation, it will be necessary for the common man on the left and on the right to work together, to join forces against the ruling oligarchy. Up until now, the oligarchy has been content to control our government from behind the scenes. But with Trump, and his likely choices to fill his Cabinet, they are up front, running the show from the highest seat of power.

So, how do we, the people, bridge the divisive gap between the left and the right? It must start with overtures from the left. It must start with recognizing that not everyone who voted for Trump is racist. Not everyone who voted for Trump hates women. Like Sanders supporters, many, many Trump supporters voted for change. Trump was going to drain the swamp, and drain the swamp he will. He’s going to Make America Great Again by putting the interests of the 1% above all else. The common man and woman who voted for Trump will soon be left out in the cold.

As they see their health insurance disappear, or skyrocket out of reach, as States budgets buckle under the crushing weight of an unfunded mandate to provide health care for those who no longer have coverage while the taxes on the 1% are cut and cut again; as they realize that Right to Work laws mean the end of unions, union wages and benefits; and when it dawns on them that Trump is not bringing their factory jobs back, many, many Trump supporters will feel they’ve been conned. The last thing they’ll want to hear is an “I told you so” from the left.

Trump supporters will need to hear facts, objectively stated. They’ll need to hear solutions, short of taking up arms. They’ll need to know that those on the left will have their back and will stand with them, side by side, through the long, arduous task of wresting control of our government from the moneyed elite sitting on both sides of the aisle.

Trump supporters have been conditioned to see liberals as the enemy. Liberals have been trained to see conservatives as the enemy. Both views have been fostered by the ruling class so that liberals and conservatives alike do not see them as the enemy.

We need to mend fences where we can. The first side to stop using hate speech will ultimately control the dialogue.

OPEN THREAD – OPEN THE DIALOGUE

The Weekend Hole, Sat-Sun, January 14-15, 2017: Everything’s Alt-right (A Song Parody)

One of the greatest rock operas (and one of my personal favorites) is “Jesus Christ Superstar,” a story about a nice Jewish boy who went into his father’s business. (A Jewish friend from the development I grew up in used to tell me that joke.) This particular parody is based on the very popular song from that musical, “Everything’s Alright.” I feel bad because try as I might, I could not find any suitable video, or even audio clip, to post so you can follow along. But it MUST be from the original Broadway musical, and NOT the film which sucked hugely. If you use a clip from that, it won’t match the lyrics because they sing it wrong in the movie. You know how these parodies work. Can’t have that. So you’ll have to drag out your CD and play along. Then again you should know how the song goes, especially once you start going through the words. I hope you enjoy it. Let me know what you think, and if you like it, please share it. Thank you very much. Oh, and, yes, the Trump lines are deliberate.

Everything’s Alt-right
Original words and music, “Everything’s Alright” by Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber, 1970
Additional lyrics by Wayne A. Schneider, 2017

Kellyanne Conway
Try not to get frenzied, try not to log onto
Forums that upset you so don’t you know
Everything’s alt-right yes Nazis online
And we want you to tweet well tonight
Let the world turn around you tonight
And the lies will get by so retweet all about them tonight

Steve Bannon
Everything’s alt-right yes everything’s alt-right yes

Kellyanne Conway
Tweet and it shall soothe you calm you then annoy you
Stir up your poor hothead so then you’ll see
Everything’s alt-right yes Nazis online
And they’re cool; your appointments, sweet
More the liars in your stead and fleet
Post your lies post your lies
Then relax think of Nazis tonight

Steve Bannon
Everything’s alt-right yes everything’s alt-right yes

The Thinking People Who See Trump For The Fraud He Is
Donald your appointments brand you an extremist
Could we be paced for a war?
Why are your days wasted? You could have placed maybe
Three hundred better people or more
People who aren’t angry people who aren’t raving
Matter more than your tweets and hair

Kellyanne Conway
Try not to get frenzied try not to log onto
Forums that upset you so don’t you know
Everything’s alt-right yes Nazis online
And we want you to sleep well tonight
Let the world turn around you tonight
And the lies will get by so retweet all about them tonight

Steve Bannon
Everything’s alt-right yes everything’s alt-right yes

Donald Trump
Surely you’re not saying we have the resources
To save the poor from their lot?
There will be poor always pathetically struggling –
Look at the good things you’ve got!
Think! while you still have me
Move! while you still see me
You’ll be lost and you’ll be so sorry when I’m gone

Kellyanne Conway
Tweet and it shall soothe you calm you then annoy you
Stir up your poor hothead so then you’ll see
Everything’s alt-right yes Nazis online
And they’re cool; your appointments, sweet
More the liars in your stead and fleet
Post your lies post your lies
Then relax think of Nazis tonight
Post your lies post your lies
Then relax think of Nazis tonight

All
Everything’s alt-right yes everything’s alt-right yes

Everything’s Alt-right (Reprise)
Original words and music, “Everything’s Alright” by Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber, 1970
Additional lyrics by Wayne A. Schneider, 2017

Kellyanne Conway
Try not to get frenzied try not to log onto
Forums that upset you so don’t you know
Everything’s alt-right yes Nazis online

Donald Trump
And I think I shall sleep well tonight
Let the world turn around me tonight

Kellyanne Conway
And the lies will get by so retweet all about them tonight

This is our daily open thread.

The Watering Hole, 1/11/17: Making America Great Again, Part 1

In reviewing the latest draft bill to repeal Obamacare, defund Planned Parenthood, cut taxes for the top 1%, shift Medicaid expenses to the States and privatize Medicare, this author came across a provision that has, as yet, to receive any attention from the mainstream media.

The bill calls for mandatory sterilization of all children born in the United States. However, parents can avoid having their children sterilized by paying a fee that reflects the costs to society for raising that child. The fee is based on the parents’ socio-economic status, and ranges from $0.00 to over $400,000.

Low income and minority parents pay the fees at the upper end, because research conclusively establishes it costs society more to raise their children. They tend to rely on Medicaid for medical expenses; food stamps to feed their children; their children attend public schools and more frequently are incarcerated. On the other hand, affluent parents’ children attend private schools, have health insurance, and have lower incarceration rates.

Since this is pushed through in a budget reconciliation bill, it cannot be filibustered. Sources close to Trump indicate he will sign the bill the minute it hits his desk.

OPEN THREAD

The Watering Hole, Mon-Tue, Jan 9-10, 2017: Donny’s A Liar (A Song Parody)

In case it isn’t obvious by now, I think Donald J. Trump is more than just a bullshit artist, he’s a flat out liar.

Donny’s A Liar
Original words and music “Baby’s On Fire” by Brian Eno, 1973
Additional lyrics by Wayne A. Schneider, 2017

Donny’s a liar
Never toes the line he ought to
Look at him laughing
Says he’d like to date his daughter

Donny’s a liar
And we’re all laughing at his bitching
Hating those photos
Oh, they spot his double chin thing

Continue reading

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, Wednesday, January 4, 2017. The United States of America is a Christian Nation.

The United States of America is a Christian Nation.

But how did we get this way, and what does it mean to be Christian anyway?

The following is this author’s impressions of the evolution of Christianity, based on an admittedly unscholarly understanding of the history of the religion.

Christ wasn’t very popular when he died. Sure, of the prophets of his time, he’d been gaining in popularity, culminating in his arrival at the seat of his religion, Jerusalem. But within a week he’d upset the status quo, turning over the tables of the profit-center of the priesthood. The reaction from the authorities was swift and the son of a carpenter was executed.

But there was something about what he said, or what others said he said, that would not die. He said love one another, even love your enemies. Give away your possessions so that you are not controlled by them. Care for the poor, the sick, the imprisoned, the foreigner.

This message grew as little communes formed across the Roman Empire. And it challenged the power of the State. Governments, by far and large, stay in power by controlling the governed. And one of the best ways of controlling the governed is to keep them divided amongst themselves. Sew distrust, hate, fear and scapegoating and you keep the populace’s attention focused on each other, while those at the top of the economic structure continue to hoard more and more of the country’s resources.

But a religion that espouses loving and accepting is antithetical to a government that rules through divisiveness. A religion that teaches its followers to share all they have with each other (the essence of communism) threatens a hierarchy dependent on concentrating wealth into the hands of the few.

But contemporary Christianity, at least that espoused by a vocal and politically powerful ‘evangelical’ sect, now teaches division amongst the masses and not only condones, but praises the concentration of wealth into the hands of the few. How did that happen?

Well, several hundred years ago, the Roman Empire made Christianity the State Religion. Perhaps it was a matter of ‘if you can’t beat them, join them’. But it became ‘us against them’. Christians versus Muslims. Christians versus Jews. If you were Christian, you belonged to a group that was saved by God. If you weren’t a Christian, you were influenced by Satan. Christians versus non-Christians.

And Satan, being the devil, was to be hated, as were his followers, i.e. all non-Christians. Thus the religion of love became one of hate. Evangelical Christianity has little to do with the teachings of the son of a carpenter. It has everything to do with forgiving their own while condemning all others. And, in this sense, the United States of America is a Christian Nation. We have elected a President who calls everyone that does not support him his enemies and brands them as losers. He is embraced by Evangelical Christians who forgive him his sins and cheer his calls for violence against those who do not support him.

The son of a carpenter would tell us to repay hate with love, to love Trump and his supporters, to love the enemy, no matter what. But, then again, sometimes it is necessary to overturn the tables of the money changers and drive them out with a whip.

OPEN THREAD

The Year End Hole December 31, 2016: A Year We’d Like To Pretend Didn’t Happen

The year 2016 will likely be remembered for the pain and grief of losing so many famous people, as well as the pain and grief of our country’s losing its collective shit and electing as President a man whose only qualifications for the job are the bare minimum spelled out in the Constitution: he was born here, he’s old enough, and he’s lived here along enough. It would have been nice if the Framers had the foresight to add a few more requirements to be president, such as knowing what the hell you’re talking about, being able to talk about it coherently, and understanding what the responsibilities and sacrifices of being a public servant are. I see none of those very desirable qualities in the man chosen by the Electoral College to be the 45th President of the United States. Nor do I see any of those very desirable qualities in the millions of people who voted for him.

I can believe a great many of them, but not a majority, were not so much voting for Donald Trump as they were voting against a version of Hillary Clinton that simply did not match the one who exists in the real world. They voted against a myth. Then there are the ones who voted for Donald Trump, but who also voted for a myth. They believed that he was a very successful businessman because he said he was one. They believed he was worth billions of dollars because he said he was. (The estimates of what his real estate holdings are worth come from him, and him alone. And they can go up or down depending on whether there are tax considerations at stake.) They believed he could do all the things he promised to do as president because he said he could do them, not because he actually had the legal or constitutional authority to do them. I could go on, but you get the idea. Neither Trump nor the people who voted for him understand the first thing about governing and being a public servant. And let’s not even talk about who Trump’s most vocal supporters were: Nazis and the KKK. And they got their reward with a senior advisor to the president whispering sweet bigotry in his ear.

I would certainly like a do-over on 2016. Bring back all the wonderful people we lost and throw out the ones we elected to run our country. I want to be hopeful about 2017. I want to think that it can’t be any worse, but then I thought 2016 couldn’t keep getting any worse and it did, day after day, right up to losing Princess Leia AND her mother on consecutive days. So it’s hard for me to believe things are going to get better just because our rocky little blue dot completed another revolution around a hot ball of gas that simultaneously gives us life and tries to take it away. But the alternative is too depressing to contemplate, so we pretty much have to hope it gets better. (Insert forced smile here.)

For a better and more humorous take on 2016, check out Dave Barry’s Year in Review. He always makes me laugh though he has yet to make my drink come out my nose. And whatever your plans this weekend, please enjoy a safe, happy holiday, and may you have a happy, healthy and prosperous 2017.

UPDATE: And just to show us 2016 wasn’t through making our lives miserable, another popular actor, William Christopher, has died. Christopher was best known for playing Father Mulcahy on both M*A*S*H and AfterM*A*S*H.

Thanks for all the jocularity, Mr. Christopher.

This is our weekend open thread, as I probably won’t post something else on Sunday. Feel free to discuss any topic you wish. Consider signing up to post your own weekly column at The Zoo. Several days available. Happy New Year.