Monday, March 06, 2017

Your Unreality Is Not Going To Hijack This Country

The media needs to start covering President Trump differently. When the right wing blogger/commenter in chief makes his usual assertion to deflect and redirect attention away from the real issues at hand, the media needs to call him on it. Simply stating that there is no evidence isn't enough.

They need to call him a coward. And that's just what I am doing today.

In fact, I'm asserting that Mr. Trump, like nearly every conservative I've ever had an online conversation with regarding politics, is a coward. They refuse to face the responsibility of what they or the people they support have done. Instead, it's invariably "Look! Squirrel!! The Democrats do it too!!" This is a common tactic that is deeply rooted in flawed logic.

The latest example of this is Trump's accusation that President Obama had him wiretapped. There is zero evidence of this (other than Mark Levin's ravings) but who cares? About 20 percent of eligible voters will believe it. Both the media and the left have to get to the heart of why these folks are so easily taken in. Or they need to merely get more people to the ballot box every year so these people lose. Perhaps the latter might be the best route to go because I doubt the Trump voter can be saved. When you are that filled with spite and hatred, change is most difficult.

President Trump is going to continue to behave this way until he loses. Why not? He's won so far with this tactic so why change. It's up to all of us to make him lose and send the alt right a message.

Your unreality is not going to hijack this country.

Sunday, March 05, 2017

Creating Their Own Safe Space

Today's Strib had a piece in it about pro Trump supporters and their protest at the state capital today in St. Paul. Two parts jumped out at me.

The rally was one of several held around the nation Saturday by a loosely organized group called March4Trump. Word about it was spread largely via social media. Many at the Capitol expressed deep mistrust of the mainstream news media, with some livestreaming the event on social media.

Most on the right think the media is liberal, liars, fake news etc. Doesn't this mean that they are just like liberals in creating their own safe spaces?

Yes. Yes it does.

They refuse to accept any information that isn't to their liking. They summarily reject critical thinking and, well, FACTS. Worse, they think liberals do the same thing. Hint: we don't. We read and see all the same news they do but recognize nonsense when we see it.

Here was the other part that interested me.

Steven LaMont, a 30-year-old plumber from Rush City in Chisago County, came to St. Paul with a group of friends. He, too, blasted negative characterizations of Trump supporters, saying voters like him backed Trump because the middle class has been squeezed by policymakers in Washington. "I'm sick of the hard left always putting a label on individuals, like you're a racist, you're homophobic, you're this or that, and they don't even know who we are," LaMont said. "People voted for Trump not just because of who he is. We voted for him because we're the squished middle class."

This is why Trump won. The same people that voted for Obama twice voted for Trump. Democrats need to figure out exactly why and use that going forward. It's going to be easy because Trump isn't going to deliver.

Oh, and btw, why are Trump supporters just normal folk when they protest but liberals are "paid" protesters?

Saturday, March 04, 2017

Tied Up Phone Lines

Friday, March 03, 2017

Lock Him Up!

During the presidential campaign Trump supporters chanted "Lock her up!" because Republicans thought Hillary Clinton had committed some horrible crime by having her own email server. There was no evidence of nefarious deeds or serious security breaches after years of FBI investigations and congressional witch hunts.

It turns out that Vice President Mike Pence has an email problem of his own. At the very same time he and the Republicans were blasting Clinton for her private email server, Pence did this:
Vice President Mike Pence routinely used a private email account to conduct public business as governor of Indiana, at times discussing sensitive matters and homeland security issues.

Emails released to IndyStar in response to a public records request show Pence communicated via his personal AOL account with top advisers on topics ranging from security gates at the governor’s residence to the state’s response to terror attacks across the globe. In one email, Pence’s top state homeland security adviser relayed an update from the FBI regarding the arrests of several men on federal terror-related charges.
This violated Indiana law on government record keeping, the exact thing Republicans accused Clinton of.

Worse, Pence was hacked:
Cybersecurity experts say Pence’s emails were likely just as insecure as Clinton’s. While there has been speculation about whether Clinton's emails were hacked, Pence’s account was actually compromised last summer by a scammer who sent an email to his contacts claiming Pence and his wife were stranded in the Philippines and in urgent need of money.
Like a total noob Pence fell for a phishing attack.

Pence claims he didn't conduct any significant state business with the private email account. But then there's this:
Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb's office released 29 pages of emails from Pence's AOL account, but declined to release an unspecified number of others because the state considers them confidential and too sensitive to release to the public. 
If they're so sensitive they should never have been sent via an AOL account!

Furthermore, since hackers had access to his account, Pence's security breach has exposed him (or others) to extortion and blackmail at best, and possibly divulged intelligence on terrorist suspects at worst.

Now, why did Pence use a private account to conduct some state business? Technological ineptitude? Laziness? Or was he hiding something, keeping correspondence off the record?

Because Pence's email account was on AOL it means that pretty much any AOL employee with the right privileges had access to his emails. Clinton's server was on the premises and was handled by her own people, limiting exposure. There's been no evidence that Clinton was hacked, but we know Pence was, through his own stupidity.

Clinton never tried to hide what she was doing: she had a single server and email address that she handled all her correspondence through. Everyone who sent her email knew it. You can complain about her record keeping, but she made utterly no attempt to hide what she was doing. It might have broken some rule, but it was totally open and transparent.

Pence used a private AOL account to send sensitive emails and got hacked in a very open and embarrassing way:

At least when people got an email from Hillary Clinton saying she was in the Philippines, she was really there on State Department business.

Thursday, March 02, 2017

Busing That Works

In Hartford, Conn., voluntary desegregation is diversifying classrooms...

Sessions Under Fire

Another day, another Trump administration official under fire for his links with Russia. Attorney General Jeff Sessions had two contacts with the Russian Ambassador, Sergey Kislyak, last fall.

What was the subject of these conversations? Sessions has issued several contradictory statements. He testified in his confirmation hearing he had no contact with the Russians. Now, he's saying he had contact but it was in a Senatorial capacity. Several Republican leaders have called for Sessions to recuse himself from the ongoing investigations into Trump's Russian ties. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has called for Sessions to resign.

I think he should definitely recuse himself. Resign? Eh, not yet anyway. I'd rather have him hold out as long as possible so if he is really guilty of lying and the Russian connections, he'll get taken down while AG.

That would leave a mark!

Wednesday, March 01, 2017

Rally 'Round The President, Boys and Girls!

Last night was the first time in nearly two years that Donald Trump acted presidential. Or, at least that's the narrative for today. I think Trump and his people came to the realization that they couldn't get anything done if they kept on the way that they were. They had to at least put up an appearance of normal, hence the "new" Trump complete with a different take on immigration, asking for compromise with the Democrats and even sporting a new tie!

Well before the speech, Politico put a piece up about the president and how he is a great performance artist pretending to be a manager. I think there is a great deal of true to this. Last night, he turned up the volume to 11 with this tack and is now REALLY looking presidential (emphasis on the word "looking")

Every single American needs hold him accountable to act on what he said last night. His actions, not his words, will tell us how serious he is. If he passes a law on immigration reform and signs a bill for a trillion dollar infrastructure plan, he's going to have my support.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Totalitarians All Along

For years, conservatives warned of liberal totalitarianism. It turns out it was really them all along that want a state similar to the Soviet Union.

By using the phrase and placing himself in such infamous company, at least in his choice of vocabulary to attack his critics, Mr. Trump has demonstrated, Ms. Khrushcheva said, that the language of “autocracy, of state nationalism is always the same regardless of the country, and no nation is exempt.” She added that, in all likelihood, Mr. Trump had not read Lenin, Stalin or Mao Zedong, but the “formulas of insult, humiliation, domination, branding, enemy-forming and name calling are always the same.”


I've said this for years. Whenever conservatives bitch liberals being ____________, it's invariably them that are being ____________.

The Befuddling Line of Whine

With all the political talk at last night's Oscar ceremony, there are sure to be howls of derision from the right over how Hollywood just doesn't get it and they better be careful about who they criticize if they want to win more elections. I guess the right assumes that everyone in California votes for Democrats even the big studio execs.

This line of whine has always befuddled me. Isn't this the same group of folks that bitch about people being two faced and wishing they would be more honest? Being too PC and not allowing the country to speak their mind?

I guess the right has exclusivity when it comes to being abrasive and honest. And they clearly can't take what they dish out every single fucking day.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

The Flippers

Take a look at these charts from NPR. They show the people that voted for Barack Obama in 2012 and then flipped to vote for Donald Trump in 2016. The contrast is staggering. How could this happen? At first glance, it appears confusing and beyond explanation. Obama and Trump are two vastly different people. I'd go as far to state that one is good and one is bad.

Yet they do have a common thread that they also share with Bush, Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan. The losers in past elections (Hillary Clinton, Mitt Romney, John McCain, John Kerry, Al Gore, Bob Dole and George HW Bush) also have something in common. It's pretty simple when you think about it. The winners all have a populist appeal and seem to care more about common folk. The losers come off as elitist and unsympathetic to your average Joe.

All either party has to do in each presidential election cycle is nominate someone that is populist and is down with regular people. That's it. It really has nothing to do with Ds or Rs.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Boehner Speaks The Truth

I've always liked this guy.

Which Town Hall Is This?

Friday, February 24, 2017

Smelling More Like Nixon

The Trump Administration must be pretty nervous about its Russian ties these days. Apparently, they asked the FBI to "knock down" stories about Trump ties to Russia. Appalling in many ways and a gross breach of ethics. Further, it tightens the comparison to Richard Nixon in the final months of his presidency. Considering we are barely out of the first month of the Trump administration, the future does not look good for this president.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Which View?

Phoning It In

I was shocked, I tell you, shocked, that many GOP Congressmen were holding "phone in" town halls (whatever the fuck that means...sounds made up to me) with their constituents over this mini break for Congress. Ah, the party of bravery and strength....

Even worse for them is the belief that is being perpetuated within the right wing bubble that these angry constituents are actually paid protesters. Didn't the Democrats say the same thing in 2009?

How did that turn out? :)

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Keep Baby Happy

How do new mommies keep baby happy? Well, we fill baby's world with happy things so they don't get sad and fussy. We don't want them to look like this.

We want them to look like this

It's the same thing for our president. His staff has learned that if they only show him praise from the media, he won't have a tantrum on Twitter. In fact, they go out of their way to steer him clear of all that bad, poopy headed stuff and only let him see the happy things.

I for one am so comforted that our president, like most right wing bloggers and commenters, fills his world with light and not darkness:)

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Three Separate Probes

Reuters has a piece up regarding the THREE separate probes that the FBI is currently conducting regarding the connections between Russia and the Trump Administration. Before I highlight each one, I find it highly amusing and outright LMAO that the same people who were chanting "lock her up" last year are now excusing everything that has to do with Trump and Russia. They call it everything from fake news to an Obama shadow government operation running by the Ladies Optimists Club of Hibbing, Minnesota. The cognitive dissonance runs deep with these folks...

The three probes are:

-The FBI's Pittsburgh field office, which runs many cyber security investigations, is trying to identify the people behind breaches of the Democratic National Committee's computer systems, the officials said. Those breaches, in 2015 and the first half of 2016, exposed the internal communications of party officials as the Democratic nominating convention got underway and helped undermine support for Hillary Clinton.

- The bureau’s San Francisco office is trying to identify the people who called themselves “Guccifer 2” and posted emails stolen from Clinton campaign manager John Podesta’s account, the sources said. Those emails contained details about fundraising by the Clinton Foundation and other topics.

-Beyond the two FBI field offices, FBI counterintelligence agents based in Washington are pursuing leads from informants and foreign communications intercepts, two of the people said. This counterintelligence inquiry includes but is not limited to examination of financial transactions by Russian individuals and companies who are believed to have links to Trump associates. The transactions under scrutiny involve investments by Russians in overseas entities that appear to have been undertaken through middlemen and front companies, two people briefed on the probe said.

Based on this information, as well as other reports of secret deals regarding Ukraine and the Flynn resignation, it's only a matter of time before Trump is toast. GOP leaders in Congress will begin to weigh how expendable Trump is compared to what they could accomplish with a President Pence. Let's recognize that Pence is a fairly stable conservative who would work much more easily with Republicans in both the House and the Senate.

The only thing really holding them back at this point is the voters. They know that around 40% of this country love and blindly follow Trump...for now. If that number dips below 35 percent, I suspect we will start hearing impeachment talk.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Emboldened by Trump?

When I was just out of college I volunteered to teach recent Russian emigres English at the Jewish Community Center in St. Paul. It put my otherwise useless Russian degree to good use (my sister-in-law, who also majored in Russian, went to work for the CIA, but that was not my cup of tea).

At that time Jews were the only Russians who could leave the Soviet Union, ostensibly to emigrate to Israel (the USSR practiced Germany's pre-Holocaust version of Zionism), but many of them came to the United States instead.

Now, in the age of Donald Trump, that same Jewish Community Center has been the target of two bomb threats in as many months. Last month 17 Jewish centers were hit with bomb threats.

During Donald Trump's fake news conference, which consisted mostly of lying and bragging, took place the day after Bibi Netanyahu visited the White House. Trump had fielded a lot of questions that he perceived as "tough" because the reporters wanted real answers instead of more bragging and lying.

So he asked the assembled reporters for an easy question from a friendly reporter. Trump picked Jake Turx, an orthodox Jew, easily identifiable by his attire and hairstyle. Trump apparently assumed Turx would ask him an easy question because of his buttering up of Bibi the day before.

And, in fact, the reporter did give Trump a softball:
“... [W]hat we are concerned about and what we haven’t really heard being addressed is an uptick in anti-Semitism and how the government is planning to take care of it. There’s been a report out that 48 bomb threats have been made against Jewish centers all across the country in the last couple of weeks. There are people committing anti-Semitic acts or threatening to——”
All Trump had to to was disavow the scum that threaten Jews. It's a no-brainer. But Trump couldn't do it. He took the question as a personal affront:
At that, Mr. Trump interrupted, saying it was “not a fair question.”

“Sit down,” the president commanded. “I understand the rest of your question.”

As Mr. Turx took his seat, Mr. Trump said, “So here’s the story, folks. No. 1, I am the least anti-Semitic person that you’ve ever seen in your entire life. No. 2, racism, the least racist person.”
Look. It's really simple. When someone has to tell you that they're not a bigot, they're almost certainly a bigot.

It doesn't matter how many Jewish friends, relatives, wives, or grandchildren you have. When you say and do things that demean and hurt Jews, or don't consider them to be equals, or imply that all Jews are money-grubbing misers, you are an anti-Semite and a bigot. Even if you think you're just joking.

It's like Rush Limbaugh claiming, "I can't be sexist! I only marry women!" For sixty years my dad has told the same, tired old sexist jokes. I'm sure he loves my mom, but he treats her as a servant and not an equal.

For centuries western society demeaned and demonized Jews, yet Jews were an integral and essential part of that same society, acting as bankers and money-lenders because the Church prohibited Christians from charging interest (usury was a sin). This same attitude persists today in people like Trump.

Trump has frequently tried to pass off his obnoxious stereotyping of Jews in his speeches as humor, but Jews have long since grown tired of hearing how good they are at counting Donald Trump's money.

Since Trump started running for president he has, in the parlance of George W. Bush, emboldened racists, anti-Semites and bigots. Indeed, Trump's fake news conference brought great praise from neo-Nazis (via Haaretz):
At the website The Daily Stormer – named after the Nazi-era newspaper Der Stürmer – editor Andrew Anglin wrote that the press conference “was one of the greatest things I’ve ever witnessed in my life. From start to finish, it was simply beautiful. He blasted the media, the Jews, Mexicans, Obama – all of his/our enemies.”
You see that? The "his/our enemies"? The racists and anti-Semite have adopted Trump as one of their own, because -- despite his protestations -- Trump's words and actions are identical to those of the racists and anti-Semites.

One of the first acts as president Trump took was to discontinue monitoring of right-wing hate groups in the United States and instead focus solely on Muslim extremists. This is very short-sighted, as there are more terrorist attacks in the United States by right-wingers than by Muslims. (Only with the Orlando attack did the body count from Muslim terrorists exceed that of right-wingers.)

Inspired by Dylann Roof, emboldened by Trump?
Fortunately, not everyone in the FBI got the message: just four days ago Benjamin McDowell was arrested for illegally buying a gun in order to copy Dylann Roof's massacre. The FBI was looking into McDowell because he had threatened a synagogue on Facebook.

If McDowell had been a Muslim Donald Trump would have gone ballistic: he would have castigated the judges for stymieing his Muslim ban and demanded their resignations.

But Trump -- and the "fake news" media -- have been almost completely silent about McDowell and all the other right-wing terrorists who have been emboldened by Trump's rise.

It's really simple, Donald. If you want to prove you're not a bigot and an anti-Semite, stop telling us that you're not an anti-Semite or a racist, and instead start condemning people like Benjamin McDowell in no uncertain terms. Disavow The Daily Stormer. Tell David Duke to go to hell.

And reinstate monitoring of hate groups of all stripes.

#22 and #24

Grover Cleveland, our nation's 22nd and 24th president, was the only president to be elected, to lose his reelection bid, and then win again 4 years after he lost. Why?

He wanted to get rid of tariffs.

Berkeley and CPAC's Common Cause

Last month Milo Yiannopoulos, the gay, racist, woman-hating, alt-right Breitbart editor, troll and Trump supporter was disinvited from speaking at Berkeley after demonstrators rioted, demanding his speech be canceled.

Donald Trump immediately tweeted his outrage, threatening to take away the university's federal funding, ostensibly for suppressing free speech.

I'm not sure why Trump thinks this. Which clause of the Constitution grants everyone the right to speak at Berkeley?

Now Yiannopoulos has been barred from speaking at the CPAC (Conservative Political Action Committee), after Yiannopoulos made comments that appeared to promote pedophilia. He now claims to have been joking.

Is Trump to going to issue a similar condemnation of CPAC and threaten to revoke their non-profit status? And will Breitbart man up and fire Yiannopoulos?

Yiannopoulos' disqualifying comments, however distasteful, were illuminating: as a kid he appears to have been molested by a priest and forced to perform oral sex. It's sad that he had to go through that. But the abuse molded his opinions, such as his claim that “People are only gay to be transgressive. They choose to be gay to be naughty.”

That's the guilt talking. It's the conservative party line spread by the Church to excuse the crimes committed by priests who were probably victims when they were children. I grant, possibly, that Yiannopoulos is gay simply because he's a contrarian dick (or perhaps because he drives women nuts).

But most gays are not like that. And they don't want Yiannopoulos to screw up another generation of gay kids the way his Father Michael screwed him up, by feeding them a line of bull equating homosexuality and pedophilia. They don't think that Yiannopoulos has the right to publicly inflict his hatred on innocent bystanders, such as the transgender student he attacked during a speech in Milwaukee.

By coincidence, a report came out in the same edition of the paper that found that suicides among gay teens declined by 14% when states legalized gay marriage. Shutting down trolls like Yiannopoulos saves lives!

The problem with Yiannopoulos is not that he's conservative. Or that he's gay. The problem is that he's a selfish, hate-mongering troll who takes delight in hurting people.

In other words, he's just like Trump and all the rest of the gang at Breitbart.