Saturday, September 30, 2017

Just Like Nixon

Like many millions of Americans, I have been enjoying Ken Burns' amazing 10 part documentary, The Vietnam War. Part 7 contains an historical fact that most folks likely do not know about.

Richard Nixon and his team told the South Vietnamese government that if he was elected president, they'd get a better deal with the North Vietnamese. This all took place in the weeks leading up to the election. Humprhey was actually up in the polls and likely would have won had it not been for the South Vietnamese refusing to show up to the peace talks in Paris in the fall of 1968. Nixon ended up winning by 0.7 of a percentage point with a few states falling his way in the last few days.

The Donald seems to be doing his best to emulate Nixon. He too has conspired with a foreign government to influence and election. Back in 1968, LBJ called what Nixon did "treason." It's time for us to recognize that our current president is guilty of the same thing.

We all know where this is going to end up. The facts speak for themselves.

Friday, September 29, 2017


Yet Another Trump Appointee Bites the Dust

Another Trump administration flunky is out:
Tom Price, the health and human services secretary, resigned under pressure on Friday after racking up at least $400,000 in travel bills for chartered flights and undermining President Trump’s promise to drain the swamp of a corrupt and entitled capital.

Already in trouble with Mr. Trump for months of unsuccessful efforts to repeal and replace President Barack Obama’s health care program, Mr. Price failed to defuse the president’s anger over his high-priced travel by agreeing to pay a portion of the cost and expressing “regret” for his actions.
But Price isn't the only one to charter private jets for his own personal use:
Scott Pruitt has spent more than $58,000 in charter and military flights, according to The Washington Post. Ryan Zinke, the interior secretary, used a charter airplane for several flights, including a $12,000 trip to deliver a speech celebrating a new professional hockey team in Las Vegas.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin asked about using a $25,000-an-hour military plane for his European honeymoon and later used government jet to fly to Fort Knox, in Kentucky, a trip that offered him a clear view of the solar eclipse in August, although he later disclaimed any interest in the event.
And Trump's VA secretary took his wife on a European vacation at taxpayers' expense:
Nearly three days into a trip to Europe this past July, Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin had attended a Wimbledon championship tennis match, toured Westminster Abbey and taken a cruise on the Thames.

The 10-day trip was not entirely a vacation. Shulkin was in Europe for meetings with Danish and British officials about veterans’ health issues, so taxpayers picked up part of the tab.

Yet he and his wife spent about half their time sightseeing, including shopping and touring historic sites, according to an itinerary obtained by The Washington Post and confirmed by a U.S. official familiar with their activities.
Trump's administration is the richest and most corrupt in recent history. And even though they're rich, they all -- except for Betsy DeVos -- are cheapskates who want to charge their junkets to the American people.

And where's Trump this weekend?
“I’m not happy, O.K.?” Mr. Trump told reporters as he was about to head to his New Jersey golf club for the weekend, barely an hour before the resignation was announced. “I can tell you, I’m not happy.”
I'm not happy, either, Donnie boy. The American people aren't happy with the incompetent, greedy and lazy lunkheads Trump has hired. He is the worst judge of people -- probably because he'll hire anyone who sucks up to him. He seems to have set a national record for the highest turnover rate in an administration.

By this time next year I wouldn't be surprised if Trump has fired more people than he's hired. And that moron will think that's a good thing.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Lock Him Up!

President Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner has used a private email account to conduct and discuss official White House business dozens of times, his lawyer confirmed Sunday.

Kushner used the private account through his first nine months in government service, even as the president continued to criticize his opponent in the 2016 presidential election, Democrat Hillary Clinton, for her use of a private email account for government business. Kushner several times used his account to exchange news stories and minor reactions or updates with other administration officials.
Uh huh. Right. And I've got this office building at 666 Fifth Avenue with a great view of the Brooklyn Bridge for sale.

His lawyer also had this to say: "All non-personal emails were forwarded to his official address." Question: are the Russian collusion emails personal or non-personal?

So, is Trump going to call for Jeff Sessions to investigate and ultimately prosecute his son-in-law for doing the same thing Hillary Clinton did?

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Trump Cozies Up To The City Mice

And I am going to LMAO re-attach it and laugh it off again when Trump supporters wonder WTF?

Thursday, September 21, 2017

A Barber's Story

I've been going to the same barber for about 15 years. It's a classic, old style barber shop where I can get what little hair I have left cut for $16. I always pay $20 with the extra going to the gal that's been taking care of my mostly bald head for all that time. Her and her dad own the shop which they bought from her brother a few years back.

Their family is very well known in my town. So is the barber shop. People come in just to hang out, even if they don't need a hair cut. Most of the patrons are Trump fans as I pointed out recently. They all are really pissed off at the world and constantly complain about people who achieve success being "elites." They ALL believe that Trump is going to bring them great riches somehow and bring our country back to the good ol' days...whenever that was. Even though I live in a suburb of Minneapolis, it's still has a very small town attitude.

The dad is a consummate asshole. He verbally abuses his daughter constantly. He is always bitching about women, the blacks, and the people trying to bring this country down which is pretty much everyone who doesn't agree with him and do what he says. His an angry, hateful old man who is clearly afraid of the world moving on without him.

The dad doesn't get along with his son either. He bought the shop from him but there were a lot of bad feelings over that. The son developed some health problems and was living on assistance from the state. The son was always kind of an asshole too. It's not surprising, really, because of his father. The son actually cut my hair a few times. I stopped going to him because he too complained all the time. It was always someone else's fault that he had all the problems he had. The son bitched about freeloaders until he sort of became one and then he shut up about people living on welfare.

Oh yeah. One more thing. The son owned a lot of guns. I say "owned" because last week he shot himself in the head with one of them.

Most of the 33,000 gun deaths in this country are from suicides. Most of those suicides are older, white men who have very serious mental illnesses and do nothing about them. This family is so dysfunctional that any mention of mental health would have been met with howls of derision from dear ol' dad. The son just repressed everything for years until it became so bad that he wanted to end it all. I wonder how similar this story is to all the others. I wonder how many of these suicides could have been prevented if these folks weren't wrapped up in that culture of denial that exists in the Gun Cult. Somehow, suicides are OK because it's an individual making a choice. What about all the people they leave behind?

I got my hair cut today and saw his sister. She's basically a zombie. She misses her brother so much and is racking her brain to try to figure out if there was anything she could have done differently. Her dad has become more abusive. Clearly, he's blaming himself and is too much an asshole to admit how his behavior partly caused this.

Welcome to Trump's America. It's a nation filled with gun toting, abusive racists whose emotional intelligence level is so low that they can't figure out that they are their own worst enemies.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Definition Reminder

Internet Troll 


In Internet slang, a troll (/ˈtroʊl/, /ˈtrɒl/) is a person who sows discord on the Internet by starting quarrels or upsetting people, by posting inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community (such as a newsgroup, forum, chat room, or blog) with the intent of provoking readers into an emotional response or of otherwise disrupting normal, on-topic discussion, often for the troll's amusement.

Good News Roundup

It's been a while since I pointed out some of the good news recently. Here are a few great ones.

This week's issue of the Christian Science Monitor (print edition) shows that US homelessness is on the decline. Since 2007, homelessness has dropped 15 percent, particularly among veterans. It has been a strategic goal for the federal government, starting under George W. Bush, that homelessness be reduced. Barack Obama continued this goal. Nonprofits have also greatly aided in this effort and heavy reductions have been seen in states like Connecticut, Delaware and even New York.

In Costa Rica...

Costa Rica Wants to Become World's First Country to Eliminate Single-Use Plastics

Yay, Costa Rica!!

In Senegal...

And in Australia...

Australia Produces Enough Renewable Energy to Power 70% of Homes

Canada's Leader and Our Leader

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Fire Sale On Make America Great Again Hats-Literally!

As every single non Trump supporter predicted, fans of our dear leader have turned on him for not being pure. Check it out.

Trump Backers Burn MAGA Hats in DACA Protest

When it comes to betrayal, sometimes nothing is as therapeutic as fire and a trending hashtag. At least, that's what some supporters of President Donald Trump found as they processed and protested his apparent decision to work with Democratic leaders on border security and the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which has shielded nearly hundreds of thousands of young immigrants from deportation.

Awwww...such a shame...look at all those pissed off Twitter users. I wonder if they are real people or merely Russian trollbots

Friday, September 15, 2017

Is this the I Told You So Moment?

Well, we finally learned what it takes for Trump to alienate his base: a deal with Democrats on DACA, allowing people dragged into the US as kids and raised as Americans to stay here:
With chants of “build the wall,” warnings of rapists coming from Mexico and an unforgiving promise to deport millions, Donald Trump forged a fundamental bond with millions of frustrated Americans who helped him take over the Republican Party and win the White House.

But now the same issue of immigration is straining Trump’s ties to hard-line conservatives. Trump’s agreement this week with Democratic leaders on a more moderate approach to immigration legislation has sparked bitter talk of betrayal among some of his staunchest defenders on the right — and forced many of them to rethink their loyalties amid confusion over what the president favors.
Anne Coulter responded with this: "If we’re not getting a wall, I’d prefer President Pence." And this: "At this point, who DOESN'T want Trump impeached?"

Now, we don't know if Trump is actually going to go through with this deal with the Democrats. Because, face it: he's a lying hypocrite and con man who doesn't know what he's doing, and rarely does what he promises.

But if he does go back on his stupid wall promise (stupid because boats!) and restore DACA, no one should be surprised. Trump has been screwing over his fellow Republicans, like John McCain, Chris Christie, Jeff Sessions, etc., etc., since before he was elected.

This looks like the "I told you so moment" that so many pundits warned Trump supporters of when he started his run for president: his multiple bankruptcies showed what a bad businessman and incompetent deal maker he was. When he skated away from the bankruptcies and left investors and bankers holding the bag for his incompetence it showed what a backstabbing scumbag he was. He doesn't pay the people who build his hotels and golf courses. His bragging about his sexual assaults and voyeurism showed the man had no morals, no conscience and no self awareness. Or maybe it's the syphilis and senile dementia finally taking hold of Trump's addled brain.

Trump is in this for himself only: he doesn't give a damn about the wall, DACA, Islamic terrorism, hurricane victims in Florida and Texas, America, or anyone or anything other than himself and his money, his businesses and his "ratings."

If Trump thinks his "ratings" will be higher if he dumps the wall and makes DACA permanent, he'll do it. He'll stab all those white nationalists who love him so much in the back in a heartbeat and cozy up with fellow New Yorker Chuck Schumer.

Last month Roger Stone threatened civil war if Trump were impeached:
One of Donald Trump's closest advisers has warned a bloody civil war would erupt if the US President was impeached.

Roger Stone predicted "an insurrection like you've never seen" if politicians sought to remove the US leader from the White House and claimed any politician who voted to topple him "would be endangering their own life".
That was before Trump got cozy with the Democrats, angering people like Anne Coulter.

What does Stone think Trump's murderous supporters (Stone's very own assessment) will do if Trump goes back on his promises? Will they, like Anne Coulter, settle for impeachment and Mike Pence? Or will they endanger Trump's life, as Stone threatened? Or are we to believe that they'll always love Trump, even if he blows off the white nationalist agenda and signs a DACA amnesty?

So, alt-right: do you now believe that Donald Trump is a lying, scum-sucking, backstabbing, senile weasel who can't be trusted further than you can throw him? Which ain't far, considering what a porker he is.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

This Seems Like a Bribe...

The more we hear about Michael Flynn, the more corrupt he seems. He took $25,000 as a "consulting fee" from a company that was trying to build nuclear power plants in the Middle East with Russian involvement:
As a top official on President Donald Trump’s transition team, former Army Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn actively promoted a private-sector scheme to build dozens of nuclear reactors across the Middle East known informally in the transition as the “Marshall Plan.” But he did not publicly disclose that backers of the plan had paid him at least $25,000.

Flynn communicated during the transition with the backers of the for-profit plan, billed as a way of strengthening ties between the U.S. and Arab allies looking to develop nuclear power capability. Meanwhile, the Trump adviser expressed his support for the plan with people inside the transition — and discussed its merits with others beyond Trump Tower, according to sources within and close to the Trump team at that time.
The Trump administration is constantly rattling sabers over North Korea's and Iran's nuclear programs, and Flynn was advocating putting more nuclear plants over there?

Flynn disclosed the payment two days before he was fired. During that same period he "consulted" for the Turkish government, publishing an op-ed against a Turkish cleric living in the United States whom the dictator of Turkey wants extradited. He also took money from the Russians before he signed up with Trump.

In Trump's age of political incorrectness, let's call a spade a spade: those weren't consulting fees. Those were bribes. As a public official working for the Republican candidate and then the president-elect, Flynn took money from multiple foreign governments and companies involved in foreign countries in exchange for exerting influence on Donald Trump and the United States government.

These payments represent a clear conflict of interest for any public official, especially for a national security advisor who is privy to very sensitive information. How did Flynn get appointed with so many inappropriate foreign entanglements?

The Trump administration looks more and more crooked with each passing day.

Fighting Populism With Populism

In a recent interview, Steve Bannon spoke of how he "gets" liberals.

“The Democrats,” he said, “the longer they talk about identity politics, I got ’em. I want them to talk about racism every day. If the left is focused on race and identity, and we go with economic nationalism, we can crush the Democrats.”

Well, that all depends. If the Democrats get a populist candidate of color, there are far more people of color now than white people in this country. But Bannon isn't all wrong and, since he has so graciously given us his strategy, we should take advantage of that.

Rather than talk about the immigration issue in terms of race, for example, Democrats should talk as straight as Trump to those swing state voters who voted twice for Obama and then pulled the lever for Trump. I'd begin by asking them why they are too lazy to work jobs that only the undocumented workers want. Then, I'd tell them quite plainly that any jobs they thought they might have aren't coming back because of robotics. So, if they want to get a decent paying job, they should pull themselves up by their bootstraps and go back to technical school. The job they should aim for is fixing the self serve check out lanes at Wal Mart and Target. I'd probably throw in the fact that coal is dead and they should look to getting into renewables.

Plain and straight talk. Just like the guy they voted for...

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Climate Change Has Already Made Florida Uninhabitable

Millions of people have flocked to Florida for retirement. They are drawn to the warm winters. In 2015 19.1% of the population was 65 or older.

The problem is that summer in Florida is hell. Without air conditioning people die, especially the elderly. After Hurricane Irma millions of people were (and some still are) without electricity. And now they are dying from the heat:
Six people are dead and more than 100 have been evacuated to hospitals from a nursing home that had no air conditioning following Hurricane Irma, the police said Wednesday.

The nursing home, the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills, had electricity but suffered a “prolonged power failure” to the transformer that powered the air conditioning, the administrator said in a statement provided to NBC 6, a local television station. “Unfortunately, early this morning several patients experienced distress and there were three fatalities,” the statement said.

Two more died during the evacuation to a nearby hospital, city officials said. A sixth person also died, officials said, though it was not immediately clear when that happened.
You need artificial life support to survive Florida summers. Climate change is turning Florida into Venus lite, with crazily strong wind storms and unbearable temperatures. And it's only going to get worse.

As greenhouse gas emissions from the burning of fossil fuels continues to warm the planet, temperatures are only going to rise further. Hurricanes and tornadoes are going to be more severe as the ocean gets hotter and the capacity of the atmosphere to hold water vapor increases.

It also appears that the operators of the nursing home are guilty of malfeasance: they're required to have emergency power for their air conditioners. And instead of evacuating residents when they were clearly in distress (the home is right next to a hospital with air conditioning), they let them die.

Like the nursing home operators, the Trump administration is guilty of malfeasance for pulling out of the Paris climate accord and rolling back Obama-era pollution rules.

Scott Pruitt, Trump's EPA administrator, says it's insensitive to talk about climate change during a hurricane season that climate change has intensified to catastrophic levels, giving us Harvey and Irma. That's like saying it's insensitive to talk about radical Islam after an ISIS terrorist attack.

The oil industry has convinced themselves and their Republican toadies that climate change is a good thing: all that oil in northern Alaska and Russia can finally be drilled and the Northwest Passage will be opened up, making shipping oil to Asia so much more profitable. Ever notice how everything the Trump administration does seems to benefit Russia one way or another?

Trump better be careful. If the heat kills all the geezers in the South the Republicans will lose control of Southern legislatures, Congress and the presidency.

Saturday, September 09, 2017

Worried About Education? Start With Fake News

Right wing bloggers (and really, conservatives in general) have a fixation on our country's education system. They think that it's all one giant, liberal indoctrination. That basically means they want it to be one, giant conservative indoctrination machine. Remember, it's always a safe bet that if the right is bitching about _____________, they are actually trying to do _______________.

Conservatives who whine about the education system should be happy, though. They have successfully undermined both the education system and the liberal elites in the media...with the help of Russia, of course. Students today think that most regular sources of news (CNN, New York Times etc) lie and are all fake news. Yet, they believe what they read on Twitter.

So, Pepto Bismol-colored water pouring from faucets, a tornado spiraling alongside a rainbow and the president of the Philippines urging citizens to kill drug dealers-all declared FAKE by students today. But the gorilla named Harumbe getting 15,000 write in votes, that was all real. Why?

Because they read it on Twitter.

Between the tacit support of treason (Russia's support of Trump) and the continue attacks on sources of information out of juvenile spite, it's clear that these people are an acute and very present threat to our national security.

And they need to be stopped.

You Are Going To Pay For It

Meet Melvin Redick. He's from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania and he hates liberals, especially that bitch Hillary Clinton. He wants you to go to the #DCLeaks web site and learn more. He has a cute picture of himself with a backwards baseball cap and his face painted daughter. What a model American!

One problem, though.

He doesn't exist.

Melvin Redick is one of thousands of fake social media profiles created by Russian troll farms in order to tip the election to Donald Trump. A few days ago, Facebook disclosed that they had shut down several hundred accounts that they believe were created by a Russian company linked to the Kremlin and used to buy $100,000 in ads pushing divisive issues during and after the American election campaign. How many more are out there like Melvin Ridick's?

I realize that there are millions of Trump supporters out there who are like pigs in slop right now. Liberals are pissed. Heads are all 'splodey and stuff. Yay, us! But you need to understand something right now and it's very, very important that you do.

If you think all this Russian stuff is liberal elitist claptrap, you are supporting treason. And you are going to pay for it.

Big Time.

Thursday, September 07, 2017

Americans First!

An article in the Christian Science Monitor illustrates the false equivalence that Donald Trump drew between George Washington and Robert E. Lee:
In the heat of the debate over Confederate monuments, the names of two generals – Robert E. Lee and George Washington – were linked.

"Is it George Washington next week?" Donald Trump asked, amid the furor over the removal of a statue of Lee.

John Dowd, an outside attorney to President Trump, then circulated an email stating: "You cannot be against General Lee and be for General Washington, there literally is no difference between the two men.”
This is, of course, a bald-faced lie, as historian Jonathan Horn explains:
On the eve of the Civil War, Lee's letters are pretty clear. He thinks secession was illegal, he thinks George Washington would agree, and he opposes it.

In April 1861, Lee is called to the city of Washington by an emissary for Abraham Lincoln who tries to get Lee to crush secession. As Lee remembers the story, the emissary tries everything to get him to say yes and says, "the country looks to you as the representative of the Washington family."

Yet he makes this decision to turn down that command, and he says he can't go to war against the state he calls home, Virginia. He explains this decision to his mentor in the Union Army who says, Lee, you've made the greatest mistake in your life.

But Lee believes that he has to follow his native state, where his first loyalty is due.
[Washington] had come to view to himself as an American first. The best evidence for this is his Farewell Address, which instructs Americans to put the union above any local allegiance. 
Lee thought he was a Virginian first and American second, while Washington was an American first and foremost, and everything else second.

I am with Washington. It is literally un-American to be anything else before being an American. I hear so many conservatives say things like, "I am a Christian first, a conservative second and an American third," or "I'm a father first, a Republican second and an American third." These roles are not exclusive and cannot be ranked.

It irks me every time I see conservatives wearing American flag pins while proclaiming they're so proud of their state, whose flag incorporates the design of the Confederate flag, or has hundreds of monuments to Confederate traitors.

I think it is preposterous to have "dual citizenship," like the Russians who come to the United States and stay at Trump resorts to have their anchor babies. You know, anchor babies? That thing Republicans always accuse Hispanics of? The Chinese have also been doing it for a long time.

I have no problem with the birth citizenship rule that makes this possible. And I have no problem with people speaking their native language at home, preferring ethnic food over the fattening fare that passes for American cuisine, or wearing headscarves or even hijabs. As long as they are Americans first and everything else second.

People like Peter Thiel, the Silicon Valley billionaire who supported Trump for president and bought himself New Zealand citizenship, aren't real Americans. Thiel is planning to bail on this country as soon as it's convenient. Thiel, and any American who actively obtains citizenship in other countries, should be required to renounce their American citizenship, since they clearly have divided loyalties.

People who obtain citizenship by virtue of having been born in a place, as Ted Cruz did in Canada or Russian anchor babies do in the United States, should required to choose their country of citizenship when they come of age.

This is what "America First" should really mean: you are an American before all else -- New Yorker, Texan, Christian, Muslim, atheist, Republican, Democrat, conservative, liberal, black, white, Hispanic. You should place the welfare of the United States -- the whole of it -- above your state, ethnicity, religion or political party.

And yes, America should come before religious institutions. If you're a Catholic before you're an American, move to Italy. If you're a Jew before you're an American, move to Israel. If you're a Mormon before you're an American, go start your own country on Mars.

Religion should be completely separate from country. That's not to say that morality and religious sensibilities should not inform our political process. But as soon as religious institutions and dogma get involved in politics, it's always a disaster as one religion jockeys to gain temporal power over the others.

Today it's Christianity vs. Islam, but in the past it was Protestant vs. Catholic (as recently as 1960), and if we let Christianity dominate it'll be no time before the temporary truce between protestants and Catholics is over. Baptists will start calling Catholics satanists all over again. Oh wait, they're still doing that.

Like Washington, we should be Americans first and everything else second.

Tuesday, September 05, 2017

Trump's Dumpster Fire Nominations

Donald Trump is the most unqualified and incompetent person to sit in the Oval Office in at least a century. Is it any wonder that the few people he's managed to appoint to his administration are equally incompetent and unqualified?

Two appointments are especially egregious, both made in the last few days.

The first is Jim Bridenstine, a congressman from Oklahoma. Trump has picked him to be the head of NASA. The Frank of Bridenstine is a politician, not a scientist, engineer, or even a manager. The senators from Florida, the state that is perhaps most affected by this pick, Marco Rubio and Bill Nelson (Republican and Democrat), denounced the choice:
Rubio said he and Nelson “share the same concerns” and worry Bridenstine’s “political baggage” would weigh him down in a GOP-led Senate that has grown increasingly resistant to Trump. NASA can’t afford that, Rubio said.

“I just think it could be devastating for the space program. Obviously, being from Florida, I’m very sensitive to anything that slows up NASA and its mission,” Rubio told POLITICO.

“It’s the one federal mission which has largely been free of politics and it’s at a critical juncture in its history,” Rubio said. “I would hate to see an administrator held up -- on [grounds of] partisanship, political arguments, past votes, or statements made in the past -- because the agency can’t afford it and it can’t afford the controversy.”
Trump and Clovis
Trump then nominated Sam Clovis, Trump's Iowa campaign manager and a talk show host, to be chief scientist of the USDA. The law requires the post to be filled by a scientist or educator.

But Clovis has no background in agriculture, veterinary, economics or any kind of science whatsoever. His degree is in "public administration," whatever the hell that's supposed to mean.

In Trump's eyes, Clovis' main qualification appears to be his weight: Trump probably figures a guy that fat must like to eat, so he put Clovis in charge of the food.

The common thread for these nominees? Neither believes that burning fossil fuels causes climate change. But a large part of both agencies' mandate is monitoring the effects of climate change on weather and crop production.

This continues a trend in the Trump administration of appointing people uniquely unsuited to the jobs they're supposed to be doing, much like Trump himself.

In addition to picking bad people, Trump is way behind in making nominations. There are 596 positions requiring Senate confirmation, and Trump has only filled 117. He has formally nominated 106 positions. There are 43 more awaiting formal nomination.

That leaves 330 positions with no nomination: Trump has only filled 20% of the positions in his administration seven months in. This is probably a good thing. Since Trump will only pick the worst people to run these agencies, the fewer appointments he makes the less damage he can do.

At this same point in their presidencies, Obama had 310 appointments confirmed, Bush II had 294, Clinton had 252, and Bush I had 208. Trump is having a hell of a time finding good help.

But some posts cannot go unfilled without causing major problems.

One of the most glaring vacancies is the ambassador to South Korea. Obama told Trump that his number one foreign policy problem was going to be North Korea and its missile and nuclear programs. Our North Korea strategy depends on South Korea, a key ally and host to 35,000 American troops, forming the front line against North Korea.

But Trump has insulted South Korea by not appointing an ambassador, threatening to cancel our free trade agreement with them, and claiming that the south has been appeasing the north.

Meanwhile, Trump has been making hollow threat after hollow threat against North Korea. He now looks like an impotent blowhard every time Kim Jong-un launches another missile and detonates another nuclear bomb.

Trump is a bragging idiot who does not know when to shut up: the first thing out of his mouth was a threat to nuke North Korea if they even said anything bad to us. So then they launched a missile over Japan and detonated their largest ever nuke. Trump did nothing.

Kim crossed Trump's red line, spat on it, jumped all over, shot a missile over it and blew up a nuclear bomb on it. And Trump just sputtered impotently. Kim knows that Trump will not start a war and Kim enjoys making Trump will like a fool every day: North Korea's nuclear missile program is now a fait accompli; it will now demand a seat at the table with the United States, China, Russia, Pakistan, India, Britain, France, and all the other nuclear powers.

This is not Trump's -- or Obama's -- fault: it started with Reagan's invasion of Grenada, which put small dictatorships on notice. Then Bush I invaded Iraq, and Iraq's WMD programs were dismantled. Then George W. Bush made the axis of evil speech, telling Iraq, Iran and North Korea he was going to destroy them. Bush then invaded Iraq. Saddam was captured and killed. Libya gave up its nuclear program. And then Qaddafi was overthrown and killed.

W's tough talk and foolish invasions literally forced North Korea and Iran to develop nuclear technology to avoid similar fates.

But this shows how utterly worthless Trump's bombast is in the real world of foreign policy. He starts out with the biggest, most dire threats. When North Korea blows him off and he does nothing, there's no way to escalate the rhetoric. He's blown his entire wad, right off the bat, appearing to all the world like the impotent old man he is.

This is why Trump cannot find a suitable nominee for the South Korean ambassador. This is why he picks hacks and idiots like Clovis and Bridenstine to staff his administration: no competent person wants to be tainted by having worked in the Trump administration.

Besides, they all know Trump will just blame them every time he screws up, and he'll fire them.

What sane, competent, honest public servant would want to serve in the dumpster fire that is the Trump administration?

Monday, September 04, 2017

Back To School

I've been in school for the past three weeks but the rest of the nation will officially be back tomorrow. That means it's time for articles like this.

Silicon Valley Courts Brand-Name Teachers, Raising Ethics Issues

I like the attention to 21st century skills and the connection to students. I don't like the fact that her classroom seems to be about her and not the students. And the "ooo-ahh-isn't-technology-making-us-smarter" thing is really played. Let's please stop that now.

Who gives a shit that her room looks like Starbuck's? The article's main thrust is that education has become corporation driven and that's a problem. I don't think that it is. What is a problem if the classroom is about the instructor and it becomes a cult of personality thing. It's not HER classroom.

It belongs to the students.

Sunday, September 03, 2017

America First is America Alone

North Korea just tested a hydrogen bomb, and how does Donald Trump respond? He blasts South Korea and threatens to withdraw from a free trade agreement with them. The south has been our ally and hosted our troops for more than sixty years, forming a solid bulwark against North Korea.

Trump seems dead set on alienating us from every ally we have: South Korea, Germany, Australia, Japan, Mexico, Canada, you name it.

Trump thinks he can treat other countries like some punk real estate developer in Manhattan. He thinks that he can bully South Korea now that North Korea is threatening to hit them, Japan, LA and Chicago with ICBMs.

"Give me what I want or I'll let North Korea invade you," Trump is saying.

There's a difference between being a tough negotiator and being a dick. A good negotiator makes sure both sides get a win. A dick just cares about getting what he wants. Trump is a dick.

The United States used to be the most dependable and stalwart ally a country could have. Israel, Europe, Japan and South Korea knew that we would always have their back, no matter who was president and what political party was in power.

Not anymore. Trump has insulted all our allies, one way or another. Even Israel has got to be questioning the United States' loyalty to them in light of Trump cozying up to Nazis and white supremacists who chant anti-Semitic and Hitlerian slogans (Jews will not replace us!/Blood and Soil!/Blut und Boden!) while carrying torches and giving the Nazi salute.

Our allies have got to be thinking, Well, Donald, you ain't the only game in town. After canceling the Trans-Pacific Partnership deal -- which would have formed a block of trade partners against Chinese domination -- Trump is forcing countries like South Korea into the arms of the Chinese.

North Korea's only ally is China. Trump has been blustering impotently, incoherently and ineffectively against North Korea for months now, and has done absolutely nothing to check their development of WMDs. Now he's bullying South Korea over trade when the north is lobbing nuclear-tipped missiles.

What's going through the minds of South Koreans now? Trump is unhinged and incompetent, stabbing us in the back when we need the United States the most. Maybe we can get a better deal with the Chinese. They have some modicum of control over Kim Jong Un. If we cut a deal with them maybe they'll rein in the north...

Trump has irreparably damaged our country's reputation. We are no longer an ally that can be counted on in a pinch. We elected a moron whose childish urges and petty hatreds have been translated into a disastrous foreign policy.

The rest of world is watching the United States have a meltdown over white supremacists during one of the most serious nuclear crises in half a century. Its president is childish, narcissistic, inattentive buffoon whose aides have to constantly clean up the bullshit that spills out every time he gets up on stage or tweets.

His own cabinet members don't even try to defend him anymore. They are constantly forced to contradict the idiotic things he says to salvage our relationships with our allies.

Trump seems to be intent on handing over American power to the Russians and the Chinese. In short order we'll have no trade pacts with any other country and all our troops will be disinvited from Germany, Japan, and South Korea as those countries make accommodations with the Russians and the Chinese, cutting us out.

Steve Bannon must be thrilled that Trump is carrying out his America First agenda, albeit out of utter malfeasance. But it won't end well for us: America First means America Alone.

Saturday, September 02, 2017


It was a mild breath of fresh air to see our VP act like a human being in response to the devastation down in Houston. Trump is down there today hoping for a do over. As I was watching Pence, I puzzled at why the GOP in Congress doesn't want to cut bait from Trump and just have Pence. After all, they could impeach Trump whenever they want to, right? Then they would have a true conservative.

Then it hit me.

A President Pence would mean that they would lose all those people that voted for Obama twice and then Trump in those key districts in the Rust Belt. There are just aren't enough conservative votes out there for Republicans to win anymore. They need Democrats to bring them over the top.

What does that say about their party?

Quote of the Day

A gentleman by the name of Larry Scott had this to say in a recent comment on an answer on Quora.

Outstanding answer. What actually blows me away is how anyone who is sane, and I mean legally sane, could look at these two and come up with the conclusion reached by the Trumpians. However, as the election grows more and more distant, and the more we learn about Trump voters and their motivations, it becomes clear that they do not prescribe to any particular norms of political thinking, no particular ideology or philosophical bent. Instead it was more like a collective juvenile rant, in much the same way we’ve all seen a “child gone wild” and screaming in a supermarket shopping cart when told they couldn’t have some particular whatever.

Sounds a little familiar....I love it!!

Say You Are Vladimir Putin...

Friday, September 01, 2017

Another Day, Another Egregious Cop Story

With the advent of police body cams, dash cams and cell phones there seems to be another story of egregious police behavior every day. Today's tale of outrage involves a cop assaulting a middle-aged blonde white woman who's just doing her job.  

By all accounts, the head nurse at the University of Utah Hospital’s burn unit was professional and restrained when she told a Salt Lake City police detective he wasn’t allowed to draw blood from a badly injured patient.

The detective didn’t have a warrant, first off. And the patient wasn’t conscious, so he couldn’t give consent. Without that, the detective was barred from collecting blood samples — not just by hospital policy, but by basic constitutional law.

Still, Detective Jeff Payne insisted that he be let in to take the blood, saying the nurse would be arrested and charged if she refused.

Nurse Alex Wubbels politely stood her ground. She got her supervisor on the phone so Payne could hear the decision loud and clear. “Sir,” said the supervisor, “you’re making a huge mistake because you’re threatening a nurse.”

Payne snapped. He seized hold of the nurse, shoved her out of the building and cuffed her hands behind her back. A bewildered Wubbels screamed “help me” and “you’re assaulting me” as the detective forced her into an unmarked car and accused her of interfering with an investigation.
And the guy whose blood he wanted to draw wasn't a suspect: he was a victim who had been sedated by medics when a fleeing suspect rammed his vehicle (the suspect died).

The attitude this cop displayed is responsible for a lot of police abuse. These cops seem to think they're gods and can do whatever they hell they want because they've got a badge and a gun. If you disobey or contradict or run away from them they're gonna arrest you, or beat you or shoot you.

These kinds of cops don't get what "public servant" means. That nurse pays that cop's salary: he works for her.

What's worse, he was just following orders:
A neighboring police department sent Payne, a trained police phlebotomist, to collect blood from the patient and check for illicit substances, as the Tribune reported. The goal was reportedly to protect the trucker, who was not suspected of a crime. His lieutenant ordered him to arrest Wubbels if she refused to let him draw a sample, according to the Tribune.
The rot goes all the way to the top of some of these departments: it's not just a few bad cops out on the street. These cops don't know current Utah law, or even the basic laws of evidence and police procedure that any American who watches television knows by heart.

Both the cop and his lieutenant should be on the street this instant, out of a job. They can't treat people they work for like this. But they're still employed (this happened more than a month ago).

And the rationale for the blood draw makes utterly no sense: the perp was dead and couldn't claim the victim was at fault for the crash. What were they protecting him from? He was innocent of any crime, so if they did find drugs in his system that would only open him up to charges for driving under the influence. Why did they want to add insult to his injuries?

Blacks and other minorities have been putting up with this kind of police abuse for centuries. On the plus side, this case provides incontrovertible evidence that not all bad cops are racist: they're just really terrible, power-crazed scumbags who think they can run roughshod over anyone who dares talk back to them. (Though one might argue that this cop was sexist -- would he have treated a white male doctor the same way?)

Now, I am not condemning all cops, just the ones that pull this crap. Being a cop is a very hard job. They see a lot of bad people doing bad things, and that's got to take a toll on their faith in humanity, as well as their psyche. It's not a job I could do, and I'm glad people are out there doing it.

But that's no excuse for cops like Payne and his lieutenant. They are clearly not up to the task: these clowns should have been fired immediately and lost their pensions. Examples have be set.

And not just to extract retribution: bad cops cost taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars a year in settlements to victims.

This incident and others like it put the lie to what that Georgia cop said about only killing black people: anyone can be a victim of incompetent and arrogant cops. A woman standing in the alley behind her house, a nurse just doing her job, and, yes, black men minding their own business driving down the street.