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Sunday, April 23, 2017

Why Clinton But Not Trump?

James Comey continues to befuddle me and today's very long piece in the New York Times does nothing to clear things up.

What he did not say was that the F.B.I. was also investigating the campaign of Donald J. Trump. Just weeks before, Mr. Comey had declined to answer a question from Congress about whether there was such an investigation. Only in March, long after the election, did Mr. Comey confirm that there was one.

Why? Why tell them about Clinton but not Trump? I refuse to accept that Comey was in the tank for the Republicans. He's just not that kind of guy. Perhaps he thought that since the Clinton investigation was closed (and he probably thought she was going to win anyway) he had an obligation to tell Congress. The Trump investigation was ongoing so that would mean no comment. As the article notes, what if he said nothing and she won? Then it would appear as if he was colluding...which it ended up looking like anyway but for Trump.

No matter which way you cut it, it all sucks.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

A Real False Flag Attack

Donald Trump, Orly Taitz, Alex Jones and the whole right-wing propaganda machine are always spouting conspiracy theories about false-flag attacks, in which the government or some other nefarious entity stages a completely fictitious terrorist attack (like 9/11 or Sandy Hook).

Eleven days ago this happened:
An 'Islamist' suspect has been arrested in connection with the pipe bomb attack on Borussia Dortmund's team bus as authorities say they are treating it as a 'terrorist attack'.
German police searched properties belonging to 'two suspects from the Islamist spectrum' on Wednesday and arrested a 25-year-old Iraqi man from Wuppertal - not far from Dortmund - meaning another man is still on the loose.
But in reality this was a false flag attack staged to make it look like Muslims were responsible for the bombing:
German federal prosecutors say the bombing of a soccer team's bus in Dortmund, Germany, was carried out by a man apparently attempting to manipulate the team's stock for profit. The 28-year-old man has been arrested and charged with attempted murder, among other things.

Three explosions went off near the Borussia Dortmund team bus on April 11, as it was pulling out of the hotel where the players were staying. One player was injured and needed surgery on his wrist.

Authorities say letters claiming responsibility for the blasts — and identifying the motivation as Islamic or right-wing extremism — appear to be specious.

Instead they say a man with German and Russian citizenship, identified only as Sergej W., planted the bombs, apparently to make money.

On April 11, before the blast, the suspect purchased a "put option" that allowed him to make a profit if Borussia Dortmund's stock value fell. Put options are like short selling — the more value the stock lost, the more money he would make.
Authorities are selling the story that this Russian guy was just trying to make some money. But we know that the Russians have been actively working to sabotage elections in the United States and Europe, to sow further chaos after destabilizing the West by flooding Europe with Syrian refugees.

But the most natural question is, was this attack actually ordered by the FSB in Moscow in order to ratchet up tensions in Western Europe ahead of elections in France tomorrow and in Germany in September?

And then, instead of just framing Islamists, what if Russian spy "Sergej W." decided he could make a little extra money on the side by gaming the stock market?

As conspiracy theories go, it's much more plausible than all the wacko theories about Sandy Hook, when gun nut Adam Lanza murdered his mother and 26 others, including 20 kids.

It's exactly the kind of disinformation scam that the Russians have been running for decades. I'm not saying it's true, but there are a hell of a lot easier and safer ways to scam the stock market than setting yourself up for a terrorism charge by killing an entire soccer team.

Happy Earth Day!



Happy Earth Day, Planet! I'm sorry that conservatives in the United States don't give a shit about you. As usual, I, along with many others who think more than emote, will take responsibility for their inaction and willful ignorance and try to save you!

Make Sure Those Ships Are Heading In The Right Direction!

























He reminds me more and more of Kim Jong Un everday...

Friday, April 21, 2017

Which Party Again Are The Adults?

Donald Trump invited Sarah Palin, Ted Nugent and Kid Rock to the White House in what has to be the clearest example that we are literally in the film Idiocracy. Like the adolescents they are, they took the time to pose under a photo of Hillary Clinton and mock it. Which party has the adults in it again?

Oh, that's right. It would be this party.


Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Is this Clown Really the President?

A lot of people are saying that Saturday Night Live has finally become relevant again: its parodies of the Trump White House have resounded with the public.

But SNL is facing stiff competition from someone who satirizes Donald Trump better than anyone else: Donald Trump himself.
While recounting the story to Fox Business, Trump confused Syria and Iraq, mistakenly saying he launched missiles at Iraq. “We had finished dinner. We’re now having dessert,” Trump said.

“And we had the most beautiful piece of chocolate cake that you've ever seen, and President Xi was enjoying it.

"I was given the message from the generals that the ships are locked and loaded and we made a determination to do it, so the missiles were on the way.

"I said, 'Mr President, let me explain something to you’. This was during dessert.

“’We have just fired 59 missiles’, all of which hit by the way, unbelievable from hundreds of miles away.

“What we have in terms of technology, nobody can even come close to competing… So what happens is, I say: 'We have just launched 59 missiles headed to Iraq’."

Host Maria Bartiromo was forced to correct his mistake, saying: "Heading to Syria?"

Trump responded: “Yes, heading toward Syria.”
While blathering on moronically about chocolate cake Donald Trump didn't realize that he had just said he bombed Iraq, when he had just attacked Syria in an attempt to distract from the deepening investigation of his campaign's ties to Russian spies and prove he wasn't Putin's bitch. Now, was this a simple slip of the tongue, or is Trump really that oblivious and senile?

The evidence is quickly mounting: have a look at this video, starting at about 1:10:



Trump's wife Melania, a woman who was born in a foreign country, had to remind him to put his hand on his heart for the national anthem. Doesn't Trump get that his base demands knee-jerk obeisance to meaningless patriotic forms like flags and anthems? Or does he think he needn't respect the flag because he's the president! Or is he so senile and/or deaf that he can't recognize the national anthem? Or what?

If Barack Obama had done this, he would have been crucified by the right because he hates America!

Trump's total lack of knowledge about history, international affairs, the law, the complexities of health care, and on and on, completely disqualify him from being the president. And it's easy to see how voters unacquainted with arcane policy matters could put had utter lack of qualifications aside because they're tired of the same old excuses from career politicians.

But things like this that should make it crystal clear to anyone who voted for Trump that he's either mentally defective -- a senile old man who really doesn't know what the hell's going on -- or he doesn't give a shit about this country and everything he said during the campaign was a lie and a sham.

Sadly, both are likely true.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Tax Bill=Dead

Donald Trump is never going to get a deal done on tax reform as long as he doesn't release his income tax returns. The voters don't want it. Check out this recent town hall put on by Tom Cotton, junior senator from Arkansas.

FBI used dossier allegations to bolster Trump-Russia investigation

The FBI used the infamous MI-6 dossier as justification for a whole host of investigations, including the most recent one into Carter Page, a senior Trump campaign official. Much as the president would like the Russian stuff to go away, it won't. There is simply too much evidence out there that demands an investigation.

It's incredibly obvious to the thinking world where this is headed. Let's hope this happens sooner rather than later.

Danes Going Green

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Easter (No) Break

It looks like Easter break isn't going very well for Republicans. They are getting mowed down at town halls with a veritable ton of energy from the left. This energy is also apparent in ongoing tax day protests calling for Donald Trump to release his tax returns. All of this points to a pattern with which I am most pleased.

Obviously I'm not happy that Trump is president but if this gives the Democrats the kick in the ass they need, then that's some small solace. We won't know for sure, though, unless we see two things.

1. Increased voter turnout

2. Liberal and progressive candidates that are new and emerging from districts that went for Obama and then for Trump. I'd also like to see new candidates in solid red districts step forward and run on progressive platforms.

We need NRA voter level enthusiasm otherwise this won't work. Perhaps the mere fact that Trump won will provide this energy.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Has bail reform in America finally reached a tipping point?



Check out the full article here. 

Defining The Trump Voter

What are the best ways to characterize the Trump voter? It's certainly something that has been up for debate since the Donald won office last November. I think the best place to start is the man himself. He can easily be characterized by two words: childish tantrum.

This characterization can easily be extended to the people who voted for him but they are having their childish tantrums for different reasons. As I have stated previously, the right wing blogger/commenter crowd is always in childish tantrum mode because they can't stand the reality of liberals being right most of the time. All of their envy, insecurity and inferiority comes out in one fell swoop when they foam at the mouth about "smug liberal elites." They failed in life so they are taking it out on the rest of us.

Worse, they apparently think that the rules of being nice and being respectful only apply to liberals. They get to say whatever the fuck they want and no one is more perfect for this than Trump himself. For proof of this, watch what happens when a liberal calls a Trump voter ignorant or uninformed. It's the end of the frikkin' universe or something much like it. Yet, calling liberals "libtards" is just dandy!

A good chunk of Trump voters voted for him merely because they were having a childish tantrum about Hillary Clinton. I'm still trying to figure out what it is about her that makes grown men...particularly grown older men...descend into fits that are worse than a crying four year old at Wal Mart acting out to get his mom's attention. Is it just because she's a woman? A successful liberal who is intelligent? Both? Regardless, these are the voters that propelled him over the top.

And this group includes the mouth foamers on the left who voted for Jill Stein...

I think a majority of people who voted for Trump are merely folks who always pull the lever for the Republican candidate. They would never vote for any Democrat under any circumstances and merely went along. I liken these folks to the German citizens who just went along in the 1930s...

So, it's a mixed bag of angry malcontents, nihilists, and sheep that define the Trump voter. It's a really bad combination and one that is ripe for solidifying a dictatorship assuming their dear leader was competent enough. He's not at all. Given this fact, he's had to rely on more conventional folks like James Mattis, Rex Tillerson, and HR McMaster. And the GOP Congress isn't competent either. For years, they bitched and bitched about the Affordable Care Act only to fall completely flat in their efforts to repeal it.

All of this makes me realize that there is another way beyond "childish tantrum" to characterize the Trump voter.

Spineless Ineffectives.

Friday, April 14, 2017

"You're Sorry"


Number One With A Bullet!

Mark Ward has the top answer on a gun question on Quora?

Why, yes.

Yes, he does. 1.4 K views.


Is Trump's base turning on him?

That's the question posed by Politico recently. I can certainly see why they would. He's starting to govern in pretty much the same way Hillary Clinton would have governed. He's reversed himself on NATO, China, Russia, and more.

"Donald Trump dropped an emotional anchor. He captured how Americans feel," said Tania Vojvodic, a fervent Trump supporter who founded one of his first campaign volunteer networks. "We expect him to keep his word, and right now he's not keeping his word." 

Earlier this week, Vojvodic launched a Facebook group called, “The concerned support base of President Trump,” which quickly drew several dozen sign-ups. She also changed the banner on her Facebook page to a picture of Bannon accompanied by the declaration: “Mr. President: I stand with Steve Bannon.”

Hell hath no "fury" like the right wing blogger/commenter...hee hee hee...

As someone who recognizes the reality of the world and how to function in it, I applaud Donald Trump's reversal on all these positions. I'm also hoping that Bannon's days are numbered. It looks like they might be. Someone with such a fictitious view of the world bound by ideologically intransigence (aka right wing blogger/commenter) has no business implementing policy.

So, reality has hit Donald Trump smack in the forehead. Who would have guessed being the president would be so hard?

Clarification

I've had more than few emails inquiring as to why I've been missing a few days here and there in terms of posting. The main reason for this is school. I've been teaching new classes to the district (Human Geography A and B) so lesson planning has been more extensive. I've also been asked to help write curriculum for these classed going forward for the future.

So, I might miss a day here or there. Maybe two. If I do, however, I'll make it up with extra posts on one day. Nikto has been filling in the gaps as well but he's busy too writing all of his gaming software. Sometimes life for both of us can be hectic.

Don't fret, our couple of hundred daily readers. We will be around to soothe your political commentary needs. And a special shout out to the couple thousand of you that hit our site when the Russian Trump connection really blew up a few weeks back. We (and our advertisers) appreciate it!


Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Under A Cloud


Monday, April 10, 2017

Time to Reregulate the Airlines

United Airlines has made big news by beating up a passenger who refused to give up his seat to UA employees on an overbooked flight:
A doctor trying to return home to his patients was dragged by his hands from an overbooked United Airlines (UAL.N) flight, according to social media, embroiling the carrier in its second public relations nightmare in less than a month. 
The airline was one of the top-trending topics on Twitter as users took to the website to express their anger over the forceful removal of the passenger from United Flight 3411, which was en route from Chicago to Louisville, Kentucky, on Sunday.

The man had already been seated on the plane and when the airline suddenly discovered that they needed four empty seats to accommodate employees who had to get to Louisville in a big hurry, three security guards beat the passenger up and dragged him off the plane.

This is getting completely out of hand. Airlines have reduced legroom to nothing, packing passengers into airplanes like sardines. They charge you $50 extra to buy tickets from human beings. They charge you extra to bring carry-on luggage. They charge you extra to check your bags. They charge you extra for meals, if they offer them at all.

Next thing you know, they'll be charging passengers extra for wearing clothes, and the very air they breathe. Hey, clothes have weight too, it costs a lot of money to keep the cabin pressurized!

All this is on top of all the indignities you have to suffer to pass security: removing your shoes, removing your belt, getting X-rayed, the body cavity searches -- oh, wait. I'm exaggerating there. Or am I?

I have basically given up on flying because of the way TSA and the airlines treat passengers as cattle, or subhuman terrorist suspects.

It's all a waste of time and money anyway. The terrorists have proved that they don't need anything fancier than an assault rifle they can buy at any gun show -- without a background check. Or they can just steal big semi-tractor trailer from any truck stop, where rigs are just left idling while the drivers hit the can. Or an IED built from a pressure cooker and a bunch of nails that they can leave on any bus, train or crowded city street.

The days of Al Qaeda-style coordinated airplane hijackings are over. ISIS is the flavor of the day, and they don't need any fancy aerobatics or explosive underwear to kill people. Just a bomb, a gun or a truck.

Yes, we still need security at airports, but the current regime is extremely expensive overkill: airline security has cost us a trillion dollars since 9/11.

It's time for the American people to stand up for their rights. Congress needs to pass an Airline Passenger Bill of Rights that prohibits invasion of privacy and gouging customers for basic travel services. It must guarantee sufficient leg room for grown adults -- with room to lean back -- and that all people be treated equally as human beings. 

I'm really tired of rich people traveling on tax-deductible corporate expense accounts literally cutting the line in front of people who have to pay for their tickets with their own hard-earned money.

With our ridiculously lax gun laws, Americans already have to accept the fact that anyone can just whip out a gun and shoot you at a traffic light, in a restaurant, at your school, or at your work. Shootings happen 300 times a day, and we don't say boo.

But somehow we've been brainwashed into thinking that airline hijackings are so much more dangerous and likely. The risk of airline hijackings has been drastically overstated by the security-industrial complex to wring maximum profit out of passengers by threatening to inflict maximum pain upon them unless they pay up.

How do I know the risk is overstated? In 2015 TSA screeners were missing 95% of bombs and weapons smuggled aboard planes. Yet no US airliners have gone down in 15 years.

It's just crazy that we won't lift a finger to stop red-blooded American wife-beaters and the mentally ill from buying handguns, but we'll spend trillions to prevent the one-in-a-million chance that a terrorist will get a bomb a plane.

Saturday, April 08, 2017

Puzzling Gorsuch

Now that Neil Gorsuch has been confirmed by the Senate to take the seat left empty by the passing of Antonin Scalia last year, I find myself puzzled over why conservatives are so elated. Do they think that Gorsuch is going to help them out on issues of abortion, affirmative action or same sex marriage? After all, the court has ruled on cases recently which upheld affirmative action, struck down restrictions on abortion and declared same sex marriage to be Constitutional.

So, despite there being "conservative" justices on the court, liberals are still having their way. I have to wonder if Gorsuch will tip anything right at all. Certainly, Alito and Thomas will vote to the right but Kennedy and Roberts aren't exactly the right wing blogger/commenter's dream, are they? Certainly, I would have preferred Merrick Garland for a variety of reasons, the most important one of which was that it was his seat. The Senate failed to do their duty.

Yet something tells me that all those folks who held their nose and voted for Trump simply because of right wing Supreme Court fever dreams are going to end up mightily disappointed.

Rewriting History

While I fully support President Trump's recent attack on a Syrian airbase in response to the Assad government's chemical weapons attack on its own people, I find myself confused. Is this the same Donald Trump who said this just a few years ago?

Or all of this

Here's my personal favorite.

Ah, yes...the red line lie. That would be the one where our much missed and highly successful former president actually went to Congress to ask permission to attack Syria. The result?

Congress, especially the Republicans, told President Obama NO. Now, of course, all those same Republicans are loving themselves some Syrian air strikes. What a bunch of hypocritical assholes.

As usual, the Christian Science Monitor has the best coverage of this story.

“We should not invest the limited American military attack with any strategic connotations so far,” says Fawaz Gerges, a Middle East expert at the London School of Economics (LSE). “It’s an attack divorced from any strategic political vision. It remains to be seen whether the Trump administration has any concrete ideas to find a political solution. I’m very skeptical.”

Yep.

Friday, April 07, 2017

Trump's Attack on Syria Is Just Another Con Job

Donald Trump just lobbed 50 cruise missiles at an air base in Syria, acting unilaterally and without congressional approval, ostensibly in retaliation for a nerve gas attack that killed civilians, including women and children.

He spoke sanctimoniously about how horrible it was in the Rose Garden the other day, saying that the attack altered his opinion of Syria and Assad.

But this was not the first time Assad used chemical weapons. Back in 2013, when Barack Obama was president, Assad used them, and he used them again in 2014 and 2015. Obama initially proposed that the United States retaliate and asked Congress to authorize attacks. Congress never even held a vote because arch-conservatives and people like Donald Trump said the United States had no business getting involved in the Middle East. At the same time Trump called Obama weak for not attacking Assad. Consistency is not Trump's forte.

The fact is, the cruise missiles launched two days ago weren't aimed at Assad. They were aimed at the American media and the American people.

Trump doesn't give a damn about those dead kids. Assad is just as evil today as he was the last three times he gassed children. So what could have possibly changed Trump's mind? Perhaps the massive responsibility of being president of the United States?

That's being far too generous. No, the real reason Trump attacked Syria is because the investigation into the Trump campaign's collusion with Russia during the 2016 election is really heating up. Devin Nunes had to step down because of his clownish behavior at the White House. Jeff Sessions had to recuse himself because he'd been talking to the Russians himself. And Trump's disgraced former security advisor Mike Flynn is teasing a great story that he'll tell only if he gets immunity.

By attacking Syria, Trump hopes to distract the media from the Russia story, "proving" that he's not Putin's bitch because he attacked Russia's puppet in Syria.

The attack is a huge gamble, though: it could well alienate his core supporters.
Some of President Trump’s most ardent campaign supporters were among his most vocal opponents on Thursday after he ordered the missile strike against Syria, charging him with breaking his promise to keep the United States out of another conflict in the Middle East.

Prominent writers and bloggers on the far right attacked Mr. Trump. They accused him of turning against his voters by waging an attack that he had for years said would be a terrible idea. They also criticized him for launching the strike without first seeking congressional approval — something he said on Twitter in 2013 would be a “big mistake.”
Trump is following the same wag-the-dog strategy that George W. Bush did with Iraq. Yes, Assad is sadistic child-killing scumbag. But he has been exactly the same child-killing scumbag for the last four years: as recently as last November, Trump was still under the delusion that he could work with Assad. If it was bad for Obama to attack Assad, why is it suddenly good for Trump to attack Assad? He's the same guy doing the same things.

The fact is, Trump has been punked by the Russians and the Syrians. He's an amateur surrounded by a bunch of amateurs, all of whom are completely ignorant of how ignorant they are.

Politically, things don't bode well for Trump: he's alienating his core supporters. He ticked off most of the Republican party by being such a dick to their favored candidates. The health care debacle showed that he couldn't even accomplish a no-brainer like repealing Obamacare with complete control of every branch of government. Democrats think he's a moron. Pretty much everyone in Washington will be glad to see this stupid, money-wasting, golf-playing, self-important dickhead get his comeuppance. Including his own cabinet, most of whom have been sidelined by divas and incompetents like Jared Kushner and Steve Bannon.

That makes it a perfect time to start a war!

Anyway, now that the Republicans have Gorsuch, what do they need Trump for? That Supreme Court seat was the only reason the vast majority of Republicans held their nose and voted for Trump.

I foresee a new slogan: Dump Trump's Rump!

Thursday, April 06, 2017

Another Buh Bye!

Devin Nunes, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, has stepped aside as chairman citing evil liberals as the cause. The actual cause was his own unethical and possibly illegal behavior in handling the investigation into ties between Russian intelligence. Worse, he appeared to be Trump Flunky #89, regurgitating information about the investigation from the White House itself.

Flynn, Bannon, Nunes...the arc of the universe is long but it bends towards justice...

Wednesday, April 05, 2017

Republicans Whiff on Health Care Again

Congressional Republicans skipped town again for yet another recess without repealing Obamacare, which they insisted they would do on Day One of the Trump administration. These guys work like three weeks a year.

The reason Republicans are having such a hard time coming up with a replacement is that most of them just don't seem to believe in health insurance. At all. They want companies to be able to offer policies that don't cover anything:
According to several members, Mr. Pence had proposed allowing states to obtain waivers from two provisions of the Affordable Care Act. One provision requires insurers to cover a standard minimum package of benefits, including maternity care and emergency services. The other generally requires insurers to charge the same price to people of the same age who live in the same geographic area.
What?! They don't want policies to cover emergencies!? It's like buying car insurance that doesn't cover accidents! What's the point?

They also want to get rid of the pre-existing conditions requirement, allow life-time caps, drug rehab, psychological services, and on and on. Basically, they want to destroy everything that allows an individual health-care marketplace to exist.

They say they want to allow healthy people to buy cheaper polices and save money. But this is nonsense: the policies Republicans want to offer cover nothing, so no one would buy them. Republicans don't seem to get that healthy people don't need health insurance, so they won't pay for it, no matter how cheap the useless policies are.

This brings us to the real question: what is the point of health insurance? Insurance is supposed to spread risk over a large pool and, to use a word Republicans hate, socialize risk to alleviate private misery.

But if policies don't cover emergencies, or the back-breaking costs of cancer treatment, or run-of-the-mill things like prenatal and maternity care, there is no reason to buy health insurance. You might as well just pay for things as they come up, just like in the bad old days, when people who got cancer or had a heart attack just died if they didn't have enough money.

In the 1980s and 1990s health insurance companies justified their existence by saying that they controlled costs. They negotiated with providers to get the lowest cost on the services they covered. However, if they didn't cover a service, they didn't negotiate a lower cost.

You can see how this works when you get a statement from the insurer after visiting the doctor. It typically shows the ridiculously high price the doctor charges guys who walk in off the street, and then it shows how much gets knocked off because the insurer negotiated a lower price with the doctor for that service. If you haven't hit your deductible you pay what's left over. If you've hit the deductible then the insurance company pays the bill.

If, however, you used a service that wasn't covered by the insurer, nothing gets knocked off and you pay full freight.

And that's why the Republican idea of offering policies that don't cover anything is incoherent and worthless: if the health insurance companies don't negotiate lower costs on a service, patients pay the ridiculously high non-negotiated prices that doctors charge.

The one and only job insurance companies have is to lower prices, and if they don't do that then they are providing no useful service and are utterly useless middlemen and parasites. No one will buy their policies. And they will stop selling such policies.

And that seems to be the Republicans' goal. But why?

Do they like seeing families go broke after they lose a battle with cancer? Do they like girls and women getting pregnant because they have no access to birth control? Do they like seeing babies born with birth defects because they didn't receive proper prenatal care? Do they like seeing people with untreated diabetes losing their feet and legs and dying from sepsis caused by ulcers?

I don't know. One thing that seems certain is that they really enjoy making other people suffer.

Buh Bye

Guess who just got booted off of the National Security Council?

Steve Bannon.

As I have said a few times on here, the best way to deal with the right wing blogger mindset is to not give them the attention they so desperately need. If they see liberals freaking out, they pop boners and are all super happy that the smug liberal elite are getting payback. Just let shit work itself it out. Boy, it sure did with this situation.

As soon as Flynn was gone and McMaster took over, I knew things were going to be set right. I suspect he had little tolerance for right wing blogger buffoonery. That ideology simply has no place in the real world so it was buh bye to Bannon!

Tuesday, April 04, 2017

Trump Just Gave Away Your Privacy to Hackers and Spies

For the last month or so Donald Trump has been whining about how the privacy of his associates who were consorting with Russian spies was violated when their names were released to the press.

But yesterday Trump signed a law passed by Republicans on a party-line vote that got rid of privacy rules enacted by the FCC under Obama:
The bill repeals regulations adopted in October by the Federal Communications Commission under the Obama administration requiring internet service providers to do more to protect customers' privacy than websites like Alphabet Inc's Google or Facebook Inc.

The rules had not yet taken effect but would have required internet providers to obtain consumer consent before using precise geolocation, financial information, health information, children's information and web browsing history for advertising and marketing.
This means that Trump and the Republicans want your ISP to be able to sell your browsing history.

This is a gross violation of our personal privacy. What it means is that your ISP can sell your browsing history to any private detective, your ex-wife, your employer, Russian and Chinese spies, and literally anybody who wants to see what you're doing.

It also means that the government doesn't have to get a search warrant to look at your internet activity. They can just buy it from your ISP since it's freely available public information.

To make it even worse, hackers and and cyber criminals can also buy this information from your ISP. This will give them data like your home address, your email address, your search history, what porn sites you visit, what music you listen to, what Facebook and Twitter pages you visit, what computer games you play, what news sites you read, what email provider you use, and what banks you use.

It will also let hackers and criminals figure out when you're home, where you are during the day, where you're going and what you're doing.

This kind of information makes it trivial for hackers to automatically target people directly with highly effective spear-phishing attacks specifically tailored to customers on a massive scale, without having to hack a bank's records to find out who their customers are.

Instead of spamming millions of people with phony emails from Bank of America, they can specifically target Bank of America customers with information gleaned from the URLs that will make the phony emails almost impossible to distinguish from official emails sent from the bank.

Sloppy programming can inadvertently embed delicate information in your internet traffic, without the hackers having to spy on you in real time. When they find a bug in an website, they can instantly exploit it, knowing exactly who deals with that website.

This poses a huge risk to the nation's financial security, not to mention our personal privacy. This will allow hackers and spies to more effectively target employees of major financial institutions and government agencies.

Trump whines like a little bitch when his minions get caught conspiring with the Russians. But he's just fine with letting Russian hackers and spies watch every single thing Americans do on the web.

Monday, April 03, 2017

Tantrum!

So Right Wing Blogger/Commenter President 8 Year Old was supposed to sign another one of his imperial declarations (which actually mean nothing) but some person with a fat face asked him a poopy question so he stomped off down the hallway without doing nuthin!

Check it out!

Sunday, April 02, 2017

The 38%

President Trump's approval rating continues to fall as he struggles to explain his connections to the Russian government, the Russian mafia and Russian oligarchs. He has likely settled down to his core base of around 38 percent of voters who will believe anything he says and NOTHING that anyone who is remotely against the president says.

Trump himself isn't really the problem. It's this 38%. We know from various studies over the last 15 years or so that the demographics that are the Trump voter aren't rational and allow emotion to drive their reasoning process. If Trump is impeached and driven from office on the basis of facts, this reality will be ignored and a new one will be formed in which liberals conspired with the elites and the media to destroy their savior. How on earth do we get these folks to recognize how warped this is?

Perhaps we can't. It may just be that we simply have to get more people to vote against this view. More importantly, we have go get more people to run against this view.

More women...more minorities...

Saturday, April 01, 2017

The Enablers

Friday, March 31, 2017

Propaganda 101

Former FBI agent Clint Watts called out the president and his followers yesterday in front of the Senate Intelligence committee for actively using Russian measures to undermine the US political system. It's what most of us have known all along and it's shocking, disgusting, likely treasonous and just plain fucking stupid.

When you send someone to Washington DC to "drain the swamp," you are, in effect, doing the Russians' bidding. They want our system weakened so they can increase their influence in the world. It certainly helps when you have tens of millions of Americans who are so consumed by hatred of liberals that they will believe anything they read.

The blame for this lies directly at the feet of right wing bloggers and their mouth foaming band of commenters. Now that the direct connection has been made (as seen in the testimony below), it's time we stopped listening to these assholes and call them out on their ignorant and destructive behavior.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Incompetent and Oblivious

When Trump was running for president he promised he would hire the best people, the best.

Then he picked Michael Flynn as his national security advisor, who lasted only days on the job.

The guy he picked for Labor secretary, Andrew Puzder, withdrew his nomination after he was exposed as a wife-beater.

They're not the only dolts. Steve Mnuchin was in the news recently for plugging the Lego Batman movie, which is an ethical no-no because he was a producer on it. But that isn't the worst. In an article about humans losing their jobs to robots and AI was this tidbit:
Steve Mnuchin [...] said at an Axios event last week that artificial intelligence’s displacement of human jobs was “not even on our radar screen,” and “50 to 100 more years” away.
This guy is Secretary of the Treasury. On the same day that article appeared, so did an article about how Blackrock, the biggest exchange-traded-fund business, is firing their human stock-pickers and using artificial intelligence and big data instead.

Now, instead of just auto workers their jobs to robots, big-shot money managers are being fired:
As part of the restructuring, seven of BlackRock’s 53 stock pickers are expected to step down from their funds. Several of the money managers will stay on as advisers. At least 36 employees connected to the funds are leaving the firm.
Steve Mnuchin is totally disconnected from the real world. Robots have been destroying manufacturing jobs for decades. Clearly he hasn't been shopping where real people in decades: Target, Home Depot and even the local grocery store have automatic checkout.

Mnuchin also has not been reading the news: stories about how AI will displace doctors are rampant. Uber's ultimate strategy is self-driving cars, one of which was just in an accident. Domino's is delivering pizza with robots in Europe. Amazon warehouses are almost totally automated, and the company has been talking about using drones to deliver packages for years now.

Like everyone in the Trump administration, Mnuchin has no idea what's happening to real people in the real world. Or he doesn't care.

And the suckers who voted for Trump are going to be hurt the most by his policies as they lose their jobs to robots, have their health care stripped away, and are poisoned by pesticides and air pollution as Trump dismantles the EPA.

The Research behind the "Carnage"

Since the president took office, people have been wondering why so many voters have been acting against their best interest in supporting Trump's agenda. Thankfully, we now have the answer in the form of peer reviewed research.

Essentially, there has been a deep, mental illness that has been metastasizing in the white community for the last 20 years. As the authors note...

This paper documents a marked increase in the all-cause mortality of middle-aged white non-Hispanic men and women in the United States between 1999 and 2013. This change reversed decades of progress in mortality and was unique to the United States; no other rich country saw a similar turnaround. The midlife mortality reversal was confined to white non-Hispanics;

The data they reveal is stunning. And it honestly explains why these folks gravitated towards Trump. They see a guy who is wealthy and lives in an ivory tower. That could be me, they think, and all of their problems would be solved. Never mind the fact that this is not how curing mental illness works and they would likely continue to have the same problems, they are all in!

Trump played into this malaise and continues to do so. Like the late night huckster promising riches (in this case, ideological ones), Trump is the cure for all that ails them. If the Democrats want to make serious gains next year in the midterms, this study should be the basis for their message. These people are hurting and they need help. Real help...as opposed to the vanity fueled nonsense that Trump is offering them.










Trump's EPA Approves Autism-Causing Pesticide

After lying about the connection between autism and vaccines for years, Donald Trump had his EPA administrator reject a ban on chlorpyrifos, a pesticide that has been definitively linked to increased autism in children:
Scott Pruitt, the head of the Environmental Protection Agency, moved late on Wednesday to reject the scientific conclusion of the agency’s own chemical safety experts who under the Obama administration recommended that one of the nation’s most widely used insecticides be permanently banned at farms nationwide because of the harm it potentially causes children and farm workers.
Why? Two main reasons: Dow Chemical is a giant company that donates lots of money to political campaigns. And it mollifies conservatives who want to eliminate regulations, especially those that protect Americans from profit-hungry corporations.

Chlorpyrifos is a neurotoxin. More specifically, it is a acetylcholinesterase inhibitor, a class of chemical compounds that occurs in nerve gas and deadly snake venoms. It is a powerful poison and will kill human beings in fairly small doses.

It works by destroying the nervous system of insects. It has the same effect on human beings, and for that reason it was banned for home use years ago.

Does any of that matter to Trump? Nah. Only peons and the kids of peons are affected by chlorpyrifos. Rich kids who live in Manhattan are completely unaffected.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Rethinking King

Perhaps the cognitive dissonance wall is starting to crack in northwest Iowa. Some folks in this dark red section of the country are starting to question their representative, Steve King. Why?

He heard dairy farmers say they couldn’t get their cows milked without immigrants. “You can put an ad in the paper and you won’t get two white guys to apply,” said Mr. Wielenga, who grew up on a dairy farm himself. He heard of the ruinous damage an immigration raid had done to families.

“Some of these kids were born in the U.S.,” he said. “These families had lived here 10 years, and all of a sudden, Dad’s gone, Mom’s gone. When you think of it from that perspective, what’s the lesser of two evils?”

Ah, yes, reality rears it's ugly head once again. Unlike Mr. King, he's constituents actually have compassion for the people that live in their town. I'd say it's time to find a young, energetic Democrat to run in that district!

Hooray for...China?

China Poised to Take Lead on Climate After Trump’s Move to Undo Policies

For someone who is supposed to be a successful businessman, why can't Donald Trump see the profit to made in renewable energy? More serious are the consequences of a China dominated renewable energy market. Consider what happens when people are desperate for alternative sources of energy to mitigate the effects of climate change in their region. They will turn away from US and be forced to buy from China.

Considering China's record on human rights, I'd say that's a large problem.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Waving Buh-Bye To the House Intel Investigation

Now that House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes has shown that he is compromised in terms of the investigation he is running regarding ties between Russian intelligence and the Trump campaign, the House investigation is officially dead.

So, it's now the Senate's turn and my hope is that things will be taken a little more seriously in the upper chamber. Honestly, there is no more important story than this one. This is not a legitimate presidency until we find out what's going on in terms of all of these connections. I'm happy to see that both Paul Manafort and Jared Kushner will be testifying before this committee.

Monday, March 27, 2017

The Definition of Corruption

If you look at any tinpot dictatorship, banana republic, or post-communist oligarchy a pattern quickly emerges: the leaders' relatives and friends all suddenly start making amazing deals with people who have business before the government.

Witness the Putin cronies who have controlling interests in state-run businesses, the incestuous business relationships among children of the Chinese elite, the ties between Latin American political leaders and the oil companies.

Now look at what's going on in Washington:

After Jared Kushner conducted diplomatic negotiations with China, the Chinese company Anbang gave his family business $4 billion to finance a building with the ominous address of 666 Fifth Ave.

A Chinese woman with ties to Chinese Intelligence recently bought a condo in a Trump property for $15.8 million.

A Chilean billionaire who was denied mining permits in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area in northern Minnesota bought a mansion in Washington, DC, and rented it to Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner for "fair market value." The billionaire is suing the federal government to get at the land in the BWCA, which the Obama administration ruled was too sensitive for the toxic runoff from a copper mine.

These are just a few of the conflicts of interest that have arisen since Trump took office; the pre-existing conflicts still stand. Just one example: his ownership of the hotel in Washington is in clear violation of the lease agreement which forbids office holders from benefiting from it, though the agency in charge of it released a ridiculous ruling that it's okay because Trump "resigned" and gave control to his son Eric.

And then there's the issue of Trump taking golf vacations every god-damned weekend to his resorts and golf courses, which charge the government and arm and a leg for housing the secret service detail, which goes directly into Trump's pockets. This after Trump whined incessantly about Obama playing too much golf on secure courses at Camp David and during his vacation in Hawaii.

And then there's the expense of all the extra security that's required for Melania in New York, Trump in Florida, Ivanka and Jared in Washington, and Trump's two sons who go gallivanting around the world at government expense making more crooked business deals.

And then there's the economic devastation of the local governments, police forces and businesses that are adversely affected by the huge security presence Trump brings. Not to mention the delays and irritation suffered by the people who live and work nearby.

At the rate Trump is going, over four years he will spend half a billion dollars with his Mar-a-Lago and New York trips alone. All together, Trump and his family will cost the American taxpayers a billion dollars with their lavish lifestyles.

Which is far more than all the money Trump wants to save by cutting funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, National Endowment for the Arts, National Endowment for the Humanities, etc.:
The president’s budget would eliminate the NEA’s $148 million budget, the NEH’s $148 million budget and the CPB’s $445 million budget, as well as $230 million for the Institute of Museum and Library Services, which supports libraries and museums across the country. Additional cuts could affect the Smithsonian Institution and the National Gallery of Art.
If Trump and his family want to be involved with all this extra-curricular activity, that's fine. But they should pay for their fun themselves, instead of taking Big Bird away from American kids.

Learning the Hard Way

Over the years, I've interacted with many folks like Steve Bannon, the former Breitbart editor and current senior adviser to the president. The right wing blogger/commenter mentality has a few key characteristics that have been on display quite often during the young, Trump presidency.

They are absolutely convinced they are right about everything, issuing imperial edict after edict on how they would "fix" Washington. They view liberals as being autocratic dictators who constantly are telling them how to live their lives. They are xenophobic, nationalistic to a fault, resistant to any sort of new information and truly believe that bullying folks will win them the day.

Last week's health care debacle showed just how ineffective all of these qualities are and it was summed up quite nicely by John Podhertz.

"I'm Steve Bannon. i've been in politics since August 2016. You will bow before me, elected Republican officials! I ran a website!"

If you peal back each one of these traits that the right wing blogger/commenter has, you see insecurity, projection, and poor people skills. More importantly, you see an arrogant belief that they can beat Washington DC and their ongoing enemies, the press.

They can't.

And they never will.

Sure, they have their candidate in Trump, that was ironically elected by a coalition of moderate Democrats and Republicans, but he's simply not all powerful. That's a lesson the Democrats should learn from all of this. They have an opening now to work with the president and pass bipartisan legislation. They could get all sorts of things passed that the right wing blogger/commmenter would hate but most Americans would love. Things like actually fixing the issues with the ACA, tax reform, and expanded background checks for all gun purchases.

Of course, none of this may happen because I don't think the president is going to be in office for his full term. He might not even last the year given the ongoing investigations into his campaign and the Russian government. I'm still baffled that his supporters are ignoring all of this and calling it a witch hunt. But that's cognitive dissonance for ya!

Sunday, March 26, 2017

I'm President and You're Not!


Pretty much sums up the attitude of every right wing blogger and commenter as well... 

And yes, Trump did actually say this...

Saturday, March 25, 2017

The Con Man



The best part of the video above is the comparison between Trump and infomercial hucksters...

Friday, March 24, 2017

Let's (Not) Make A Deal

Donald Trump has always been a con man. The fact that people bought into his act shows how fucking stupid people are. That's right, STUPID!.

Now, I'm sure this will offend all those uber sensitive white rural voters whose precious little egos need coddling every single fucking day but I don't care. They elected a guy who talks like this all the time so they better be able to take what they dish out without whining about "smug, liberal elites" who look down on them. How is it my fault that they are ignorant?

Take health care, for example. Trump promised them the moon and assured all those Republicans who hate Obamacare with all the heart and soul that he would give them something better. He would "art of the deal" that mammajamma and deliver. Well, guess what?

He fucking failed.

The so called "repeal and replace" American Health Care Act couldn't get enough votes in the House because of GOP infighting. The actual reason is that children can't govern. When you put people in charge that are not adults, they can't accomplish anything. All they know is how to be against something.

The GOP in Congress and their soon to be impeached leader got a big does of reality today. Health care is all tough and stuff. And maybe the adult who was in office from 2009-2017 knew what the fuck he was doing after all.

Somewhere, Barack Obama is laughing his ass off.

I am too, actually. This is what right wing bloggers governing looks like.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Monday, March 20, 2017

Good Words

I have been authorized by the Department of Justice to confirm that the FBI, as part of our counterintelligence mission, is investigating the Russian government’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election.

That includes investigating the nature of any links between individuals associated with the Trump campaign and the Russian government, and whether there was any coordination between the campaign and Russia’s efforts.

---FBI Director James Comey, testifying today before the House Intelligence Committee.

The question now is how long Trump will be in office.


Saturday, March 18, 2017

Tin Foil Hat or Playing the Part?

The last couple of weeks has seen President Trump accuse the former president of wiretapping his office, the British of wiretapping his office, and President Obama of wiretapping both himself and German Chancellor Angela Merkel. The icing on the cake was this.

“What I can say is there are many ways to surveil each other,” Conway said as the Trump presidency marked its 50th day in office during the weekend. “You can surveil someone through their phones, certainly through their television sets — any number of ways.” 

Conway went on to say that the monitoring could be done with “microwaves that turn into cameras,” adding: “We know this is a fact of modern life.”

Wow.

We've officially entered the Tin Foil Hat Brigade territory. Microwaves? Really??

Perhaps not, though, because I've been wondering of late if Trump and his team are merely pretending to be batshit nuts in order to appeal to their batshit nuts constituents. After all, his supporters are the short wave radio turned email forwarders turned bloggers turned social media fake news voracious consumers crowd. They really do think that the government is spying on them via microwave ovens.

Trump is a reality TV star so it wouldn't surprise me if there is some sort of directive out there to play up all of this nutty shit.


Friday, March 17, 2017

Another One Bites the Dust

Another Law & Order anti-immigrant, Kenyan-socialist-hating, abortion-hating Republican bites the dust in the Conservative Paradise of Oklahoma:
Acting on a tip, the police in an Oklahoma City suburb swarmed a Super 8 motel shortly after midnight March 9 and found [Republican State Senator Ralph] Shortey and a 17-year-old boy together in Room 120, according to the authorities.
The teenager told officers he and the senator had met a year ago through a Craigslist ad and had exchanged sexually explicit texts over the messaging app Kik. He said they had been smoking marijuana before the police arrived, and officers reported finding condoms in a backpack belonging to Mr. Shortey. 
The more they rail against forbidden fruit, the more it seems they've tasted it...

Nope. No Racism Here...


Completely Tanking

President Trump's approval ratings are officially tanking. Every major polling outfit, including Fox News, show him underwater. His first weeks in office have been an absolute train wreck. It's one paranoid disaster after another.

But that's what you get when you elect a right wing blogger who is essentially a Russian asset.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

The Legacy of the Affordable Care Act

Here's a great piece about how the legacy of the Affordable Care Act will endure forever. People don't like to have things taken away from them and that's why the American Health Care Act is essentially Obamacare lite.

They can’t erase the fact that millions of Americans have now received subsidized insurance coverage via the federal government, however. That’s changed many voters’ expectations for health policy in the United States, and moved the Republican debate over health-care legislation from whether it should be to what it should be.

Yep.

Ou Est The Donald?

Is it just me or has the Donald been out of the news of late? The media seems very focused on the new health care bill proposed by the House Republicans. Things seem...weird...when they aren't hyper obsessing about the latest thing that Trump did. Perhaps it has something to do with this.

Trump's poll numbers have been on the decline...even more so than usual. Rasmussen has him seven points under water. This was the poll that favored Trump and relies on robotic data collecting. So, if there are any "shy" Trump voters, they can say they favor him without any social recriminations. Gallup has him sixteen points down which is really fucking bad. Perhaps he's just not getting the ratings anymore.

He's likely in the low 40s right now and if the health care plan fails (which it will) then he's going to drop below 40.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

What The President (and all of us) Could Learn About The Economy

Great piece in today's Times about the economy, especially if you want to know the basics about economics. Here was my favorite part.

Oh, and about the dollar. Finally, the president’s economists will need to answer his question about the dollar. Here’s the simple version: The value of the dollar in foreign-exchange markets is just a price. Like other prices, whenever it changes, some people gain, and others lose. It is not useful to think of a stronger or a weaker dollar as either good or bad. One has to look at the situation at hand and the underlying drivers of the change.

Yep. I've heard so many arguments over the years for both strong and weak dollars that it gets frustrating after a while. This sums one simple paragraph sums up why it should be analyzed as such.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

News Flash: A Non-Idiot Discovered in Florida!

A retired police captain who shot and killed a man in a movie theater will stand trial for second-degree murder after a judge ruled that Florida's "stand your ground" law is not applicable in this case.

Following two weeks of pre-trial testimony, Judge Susan Barthle ruled against Curtis Reeves' claims that he used his gun in self-defense when he fired his weapon, CNN reports.
Of course, the story started with a typical Florida idiot: the moron who shot a man who was texting in a theater.

The non-idiot in this case is the judge, who rejected the notion that you can shoot anyone who pisses you off:
"Because the defendant's testimony was significantly at odds with the physical evidence and other witness testimony, this court has considerable doubts about his credibility, and is not willing to come to the conclusion that these circumstances are those envisioned by the Legislature when the 'stand your ground' law was enacted," Barthle said, according to CNN.
But this shows why the stand your ground defense is indefensible: the judge rejected the defense because there were witnesses.

If you shoot someone in cold blood without any witnesses, you can claim the stand your ground defense and no one can gainsay you. You just need to perform a few forensic countermeasures, say, banging your head on the pavement after you commit murder, like George Zimmerman did when he killed Trayvon Martin after stalking the boy in his car.

Any law that lends more weight to the lies and excuses of a murderer than the life of his victim is inherently evil.

But the trial isn't over yet. The killer is a geezer, while his victim was a big, tough Navy man. The jury may still swallow the story that Reeves' feared for his life.

If they do find Reeves not guilty, it'll be open season on anyone who seems the slightest bit scary: big guys, veterans and bikers. As we saw with Martin, black teenagers were already fair game.