Thursday, August 17, 2017

Anti-Fascists Are Heroes

Reading rightwing website (Redstate, National Review, Hotair) there is a divergence of opinions about Trump.
  • Some say he was right about both sides having fine people, that there must have been one or two innocent yokels that didn't realize that all those torch carrying thugs doing Hitler salutes and shouting hatred toward Jews were Nazis.
  • Others contend Trump didn't mean to give aid, comfort, and support to white supremacists because he is just so inarticulate and stupid.
  • And a rare few admit Trump is a racist who is dragging both the Republic Party and the nation into the gutter.
But there is one thing that all Republicans seem to agree on, anti-fascists (ANTIFA) are worse.

I'm here to tell you that anti-fascists are great.
Belgian underground resistance fighters
During World War II, my father's bomber was shot down over Nazi occupied Belgium. He was rescued by anti-fascists in the Comet line (Réseau Comète) who protected him for months from SS forces hunting downed American flyers. Several of these Belgian patriots were captured by the SS, tortured for information of Allied flyers, sent to concentration camps, or executed.

Because of the heroic actions of the anti-fascists, my father survived the war allowing him and my mother to conceive me. Although, now that I think about it, there are many Republicans in this Trump era who would look at me, a liberal Democrat, and wish my father had died at the hands of the SS so I wouldn't be alive to write this.

Anti-fascists are my heroes. I celebrate and honor the brave men and women opposing Nazi thugs in the streets and Nazi sympathizers in the White House.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

There Is No Such Thing As a Fine Nazi

Trump felt the need to mend fences with his white supremacists supporters today. Today he reiterated his initial, limp dick, statement. He defended Confederate rebel statues and said that there are "are very fine people on both sides."


These are very fine people.
French Resistance fighters
Jewish partisans defending the Warsaw Ghetto
American soldiers landing at Normandy

Heather Heyer, died defending freedom, Aug. 12, 2017
who fought for liberty, often at the cost of their lives - their Last Full Measure of Devotion.

These are pieces of shit.
After forcing the Jewish women from the Polish Mizocz Ghetto to strip naked, Nazi machine gunners killed them en masse. Then these two men walked among the bodies shooting any survivors.
German soldier, with scores of his comrades watching, shoots a Jewish man so he will topple into a mass grave. Vinnitsa, Ukraine
SS soldier shooting baby.
Nazi paraders, Charlottesville, Aug. 12, 2017
There is no "both sides" here. There is good and there is evil. Trump is choosing the side of evil.

Monday, August 14, 2017

It's Happening Here

A significant political movement, the Trump base, are happily goosestepping the nation to its doom.

The Walmart tiki torch parade in Charlottesville was a clear homage to the Nazi torchlight marches of the 1930's. (We're here, we're proud, we're going to finish what Hitler started.)

After Ivanka Trump denounced white supremacy by name commenters attacked her as a Jew traitor. (Fascist marchers in Charlottesville shouted "Jews will not replace us.")

The blame-both-sides crowd condemn anti-fascists, saying their counter protests were to blame for the fascist violence. (Anti-fascists are the real villains here.)

A nation's leader responds:
The scenes at the right-wing extremist march were absolutely repulsive ― naked racism, anti-Semitism and hate in their most evil form were on display.
Unfortunately, that wasn't from the American president but from German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

This is only a beginning as Trump obliquely encourages his supporters to march for "blood and soil" ethnic cleansing. 

Friday, August 11, 2017

Why Trump Thanked Putin

After Congress imposed sanctions on Russia, Putin kicked out 755 US diplomats. And Trump thanked him.

Why say something so obviously demeaning?

In sadomasochism, the submissive is expected to thank his master for the torture he receives.

Trump was merely fulfilling his role as the gimp in the relationship.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

He's Only the President, Don't Listen to Him

The most interesting thing out of Trump's "fire and fury" rant is that the White House, meaning John Kelly, let it be known to the world that it should ignore what he said. It was "improvised" and not official policy.
That was doubled down by reports today that the Government in general is ignoring his statements on the theory that his short attention spaans he will quickly forget what he wanted. The White House is making it crystal clear that Trump is meaningless and that people should wait until they hear from Tillerson or Haley or Mattis or someone else with actual authority.

Mooch Can't Quit Being a Clown
Tony the Mooch has decided his 7½ minutes of fame hadn't made him a big enough laughingstock. He's beginning the late night comedy show circuit. And, no, I shan't watch, I don't like my laughter seasoned with vomit.

In other Moochnews, he is comparing himself to Monica Lewinsky which I assume means he is impressionable young bimbo and not that he gave Trump a blowjob.

Trump Making Friends
I'm guessing Trump never read this book because I seriously doubt that gratuitously attacking a man you need to help you if you want to get anything passed by Congress is one of the chapters. To be fair, Trump is just parroting what Steve Bannon whispers to him.

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Madman On the Button

I've mentioned before that I developed a nihilist approach to nuclear conflict growing up during the Cold War having existentialist discussions with my elementary school friends during the Cuban Missile Crisis.
Hiroshima, 1945.
I've also mused what war with North Korea will look like.
If there’s going to be a war, it’s going to be in the region, not here in America. ~ Sen. Lindsey Graham
Basically, Seoul wiped from the face of the Earth (along with your Samsung product warranties), millions dead, and Russia possibly using the chaos to invade eastern Europe triggering World War III.

Retired Gen. Barry McCaffrey was on MSNBC last night and, while acknowledging the apocalyptic lose of human life, predicted a Korean War would last only six months.

Generals are always predicting wars will be short. Donald Rumsfeld said the Iraq War would last less than five months. Lincoln's Secretary of State thought the Civil War would be over in 60 days. World War I was supposed to be "over by Christmas."

The first Korean War lasted three years and ended in a draw. There were 140,000 American servicemen killed and wounded and 2.5 million civilian casualties.
If we have them [nukes], why can’t we use them? ~ Trump, 2016
Then there are the madmen holding the triggers, and by the day it is getting harder to know which of them is more insane. One or the other may order a nuclear attack because of rampant paranoia or just because his hemorrhoids are acting up.

Sometimes, accepting the pointlessness of existence makes sense.

Sunday, August 06, 2017

What Happened on August 8, 1938

I recently read the Chicago Tribune from 79 years ago. It was a fascinating look into the past.
Nazi Bible
This was what I was looking for, an article written by Rev. John Evans. In the 1930's, Nazis decided to remove all references to Jews from the Bible. Gone was the entire Old Testament. Jesus was no longer descended from the Hebrew King David, his origin was now Germanic.

Concepts like "thou shall not kill" and "turn the other cheek" are nowhere to be found, to be replaced by the commandment to "keep the blood pure" and "Honor your Fuehrer and master." Cries of "Hosanna" were changed to "Heil."  Nationalism replaced peace as the driving command of faith.

Chicago Aliens Rush for Citizenship
Page five had an article on the doubling of people becoming naturalized citizens. This was considered a good thing. The bulk of the new citizens were Polish, escaping likely invasion from Germany and Russia, as well as refugees from fascist Germany and Italy.

Southern Invasion
Also on page five was an article about 2500 National Guardsmen practicing to defend Chicago. The scenario for this war game was that nine states of the old Confederacy split from the Union and, allied with a foreign power, invade the north to secure its industrial cities.

Palestine Troubles
Barclays Bank in Hebron, Palestine firebombed in 1938.
Tucked way back on page 16 is the story of British Colonial Secretary Malcolm MacDonald's secret mission to Palestine to witness the continuing violence of Jewish terrorists and Arab rioters. MacDonald, in a statement, pledged to restore peace to the region.

War News
While Germany wasn't involved yet, World War II was already raging in Asia and Spain.
The battle of Ebro in Catalonia would continue for several more months. On this day, the Loyalists had driven back the fascist Nationalists, reversing gains that had been made with the support of the German Luftwaffe.

Russia's Red Army was engaged in skirmishes with Japan along the Russia-China border. Both sides warned against this leading to full scale war.

In Sports
Both the Cubs, who would eventually win the pennant, and White Sox split doubleheaders. Dodgers firstbase coach Babe Ruth was thrown out of the game for arguing with an umpire. Detroit slugger Hank Greenberg was ahead of Ruth's 60 home run record; he would end the season with 58 homers.

The Dow Jones Average was at 145.67, up from its Depression bottom of 41.22 but it wouldn't reach its 1929 high until 1954. You could buy a mink dyed muskrat hair coat for $125 while Persian lamb coats sold for up to $495. Men's suits sold for under $50. A ham sandwich, with pickle, was advertised for 15 cents at the Triangle restaurant on West Randolph.

A 1932 Nash was going for $75 while a brand new Buick convertible would cost $1500.

Want ads 
Grinding horseradish at a Jewish fruit and veg store in Chicago, 1938
"Day work, Colored" at $2.50 a day, experience and references required. Experienced salesmen, men only, could expect $30 to $40 a month. One ad was looking for a male clerk for a fruit and vegetable store, Jewish preferred. Another wanted a 15 year-old Gentile (no Jews) boy to train as a typesetter. A plant superintendent could expect $6000 annual salary.

Women had limited job opportunities. A private secretary with bookkeeping experience could get $110 a month while a typist topped out at $70 a month. A good housekeeper would be worth $25 a month or $7 a week plus carfare. Then there is the ad for fifteen cocktail waitresses, must be very attractive, who will get 25 cents an hour plus tips.

Rooms could be rented for $8 a week or $30 a month and up. A five room Portage Park house was being offered for $5000. Other homes were going for $400 down and $29 a month, so if you could scrape together the down payment it was cheaper to buy than rent.

Letters to the Editor
Complained about high taxes, disrespected doctors, and junk mail.

Wednesday, August 02, 2017

Trump the Absurdist

When I was young I studied the Theater of the Absurd, plays by writers such as Samuel Beckett and Eugene Ionesco. I didn't think that research would have much practical benefit, until this year.
2013 Broadway production of Waiting for Godot.
Some of the characteristics of Absurdist theater is that rationality is useless to understanding reality. The dialog tends to babble, flooded with random non-sequitors, as the words spoken seem to lose their natural meaning (i.e. Trumpspeak).

Action, when there is any action at all, is arbitrary, illogical, and devoid of any reasonable purpose. Petty, meaningless acts are trumpeted as if they were profound and important.

The characters in the plays range from clowns (Tony Scaramucci) to realistic (John Kelly). The character's relationships are confused, friends and enemies are interchangeable and unrecognizable. The characters lack growth, motivation, or obvious purpose.

We, the audience, the public, are alienated, teased, puzzled, and disturbed all at once. "Entertainment" is useless as the audience is meant to think, think that thinking is useless.

Trump's North Korea policy, for example, is the plot of Waiting for Godot with the possible alternative ending of nuclear annihilation.

Monday, July 31, 2017

How To Lose a Mooch in 10 Days

Damn boy, that's just fucking embarrassing.
Mooch came to town, shat on everything for just ten days, and has now been kicked to the curb like a diseased whore. I hope, at least, that Donnie gave his rentboy cab fare.

Sunday, July 30, 2017


There have been a series of revelations of just how psychotic the White House has become.

The Trump Kowtow
Even before the election I had noticed that Trump has a strong desire to force others to humiliate and debase themselves before him. Kellyanne Conway (aka: Ilsa, She Wolf of the SS) has openly advised White House employees that their first priority is to display "deference and humility" before the Dear Leader with the realization that he is a superior creation with no peer on Earth.

Fight Club
Trump wanted to watch Reince Priebus and Tony the Mooch fight it out in public for his amusement. Trump was reportedly angered that Reince didn't put up a more entertaining fight. This reminds me of the story of the Louisiana teachers who forced their students to fight each other.
Donald Trump wants to finish what Charlie Manson started. If you don't remember the police beating of Rodney Scott, the acquittal of the gang of cops by an all white jury, and the riots that followed, it was an event that changed the concept of policing. While there are still rogue officers beating and killing innocent suspects, it is not (yet) the common occurrence of 1991. Treating suspects with respect is taught, if not always followed.

Then there was the motive of Manson's murder spree in 1969 - to provoke race riots that would reduced society to chaos allowing Manson to rise up as the savior. Trump's call for police to routinely rough up suspects, innocent and guilty alike, will create the chaos that will allow cancers like Trump and Steve Bannon to metastasize.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Scaramucci the Mobster

Anthony "Tony the Mooch" Scaramucci gave a Mafia style interview with New Yorker magazine today, obscenity laden and even including death threats.
What I want to do is I want to fucking kill all the leakers. ~ hitman Scaramucci
For comparison, here is a wiretap of Mafia Don John Gotti.

It's only a matter of time before corpses start appearing floating down the Potomac River.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Numbers to Blow Your Mind

Space is big. Really big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind-bogglingly big it is. I mean, you may think it's a long way down the road to the chemist, but that's just peanuts to space. ~ Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
Seven Octillion (7x1027)
This is the number of atoms in the human body.

A Googol (10100)
A Googol is ten to the power of 100, one followed by 100 zeros. For perspective, there are about 1080 atoms in the entire universe. So a Googol would be the number of atoms in one hundred quintillion universes.

8604 Years
Tony Padilla is Lecturer in Physics at the University of Nottingham in England. As an exercise for Numberphile, he calculated the number of years it would take for humans to consume every available atom in the universe. At our present rate of population growth, by the year 10621, there would be no atoms left to make stars or bunnies as every atom in the entire universe will be dedicated to the two sexdecillion humans squeezed into the cosmos. Birth control, maybe?
When you are put into the Vortex you are given just one momentary glimpse of the entire unimaginable infinity of creation, and somewhere in it there's a tiny little speck, a microscopic dot on a microscopic dot, which says, "You are here." ~ Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

Graham's Number
This number makes a Googol look like a speck of dust on a universe of universes. Graham's number describes connectivity in multidimensional hypercubes and if you want to know more get a doctorate in mathematics. It is impossible to imagine the size of this number.

If you wrote googol digits on an atom and filled the universe with a googol of such inscribed atoms and did it again with a googol number of universes you still wouldn't be close to writing down the full length of the number. Yet it is a real number and they know that the final digit of the number is a 7.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Pardons for Everyone

Trump's fear for himself and his family is not the Russia probe, per se, it is all the financial scams they have engaged in during the years, especially the money laundering they have done for Russian mobsters. Hence he is considering a blanket pardon for the entire Trump Klan for all their various crimes. There are problems with this plan, of course.
  1. When Trump pardons himself he is admitting to having committed impeachable offenses, accepting means agreeing to guilt. There can be no pardon without guilt.
  2. A Trump pardon cannot protect him from impeachment.
  3. Pardoning the others means they no longer have any Fifth Amendment rights. They will have to testify in full; the President cannot pardon judicial or congressional contempt citations.
Then there is blowing up a bomb in the whole concept of the rule of law, ripping the blindfold off of Lady Justice, poking her in the eyes, then dragging her out back and raping her.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Is Jared Kushner the Anti-Christ?

This thought came to me when some news show pictured Kushner's New York office tower at 666 Fifth Ave.
666, of course, is the Number of the Beast in the Bible. He has been gifted the portfolio of Mid-East peace negotiator which is exactly where the battlefield of Armageddon is located. Then there is the undeniable fact that Jared looks an awful lot like Damien in the Omen III.
Compared to the number of fundamentalists (nearly all of them) who stated categorically that President Obama was the Anti-Christ, very few are suggesting Jared is the spaw..n of Satan.

I don't believe any of that claptrap, it is enough for me that he is a conspiratorial asshole.

For a good discussion of 666, this video is from one of my favorite YouTube channels, Numberphile.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Cult of Personality

Mussolini's Fascist Party Headquarters featured the big, glowering face of Il Duce.
They are not a majority, yet, but a substantial minority of the US population are enthralled in the Cult of Trump. They are bewildering to those of us retaining our sanity.

They bleat out whatever talking point is presented to them by Trump as if it were their own thoughts. For months they chanted "fake news" at any evidence of Trump collusion with Russia yet when presented with Junior's admission of collusion they immediately switch to a "nothing burger" mantra where everybody colludes and collusion with a longtime enemy is a good thing.

Anyone who has read George Orwell's 1984 will recognize the radical yet immediate and seamless shift in mobthought. It is impossible for those of us practiced in critical thinking to imagine how a human brain could operate like that. Don't they remember what they believed last week?

This is a phenomenon I've never seen before in the United States. I see it but I do not understand it.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

The Most Disingenuous Story Ever Told

Winston Churchill: "Madam, would you sleep with me for five million pounds?"
Socialite: "My goodness, Mr. Churchill... Well, I suppose... we would have to discuss terms, of course... "
Churchill: "Would you sleep with me for five pounds?"
Socialite: "Mr. Churchill, what kind of woman do you think I am?!" 
Churchill: "Madam, we've already established that. Now we are haggling about the price."
The months long denial by Trump of his campaign's collusion with Russian agents has now been proven to be a lie.  The new story is that there was attempted collusion of campaign officials to attack Hillary Clinton, but it turned into baby adoption collusion. Really?

Three top campaign people, Trump Jr., son-in-law Jared Kushner, and campaign manager Paul Manafort take time out of their busy schedules to hold a meeting with a lawyer with close ties to Putin on the advice of the son of a Russian oligarch with even closer ties to Putin. Junior was hoping for election collusion with Russia while the other two were just ignorantly tagging along. Junior says he left disappointed when the collusion meeting turned to babies.

That's their story! Junior tried to collude but failed, Kushner is an ignorant dope, and Manafort wasn't listening.

In my life I have never heard a more laughably improbable story. I expect better out of the Three Stooges.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Jared's Protection Racket

Russian mobsters call it Krysha, in the English speaking world it is known as the "protection racket." During the election and after, Jared Kushner tried to shake down Qatar, strong arming a Qatari billionaire into giving him a $500 million "investment" in his business.

The Qatari eventually refused. Shortly afterwards Trump publicly denounced the tiny nation of Qatar, sending them into a crisis and crashing the Qatari stock market. It was the international equivalent of  throwing bricks through their windows and roughing up a few employees. Like any ruthless New York gangster, Kushner needed to punish Qatar for disrespecting him and also teach a lesson to any other countries that might resist his extortion.

It may be crude, but extortion, as we have seen, is Trump's favorite strategy. Also China, Cuba and, of course, NATO. What Trump says and does makes a lot more sense if you accept as true that the White House is now run by Vincent Gigante.

Thursday, July 06, 2017

Trump and Korea

I was ten years old during the Cuban Missile Crisis. I most clearly remember the duck and cover drills we had to do in school
and having existentialist discussions during our elementary school lunches about how silly hiding under a desk would be in the event of a nuclear holocaust. The threat of imminent doom will turn even young children into Sartrean philosophers.

Only very much later did I learn that the Pentagon strongly argued in favor of extensive bombing of Cuba followed by a full scale invasion (OPLAN 316). That would have certainly led to Russian tanks moving into West Berlin and the beginning of World War III.

Pacifists, like Jean-Paul Sartre, argued that the proper course was to do nothing. Even Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara argued that a handful of missiles in Cuba did not change the balance of power and that doing nothing was better than doing something stupid.

President Kennedy wisely chose the aggressively peaceful solution of a total naval blockade of Cuba while negotiating with Russia to withdraw the American nuclear missiles that had been placed in Turkey a year earlier in exchange for Russia removing the Cuban missiles.

Speak Tough and Carry a Limp Rag
As far as anything can be deduced, President Twitter's "plan" for North Korea having missiles able to reach parts of the US is to vaguely threaten a trade war with China. This is an empty threat partly because it is directed towards the wrong country and it will never happen if only because the Trump family has extensive investments in China.

No other country would join a trade war with China meaning it would be a war of the United States against the world. That would lead to the economic destruction of the United States, not China.

Like with the Cuban Missile Crisis, there are no easy solutions to North Korea or they would have been done years ago. A shooting war would lead to millions of deaths on both sides of the 38th parallel. It would take a total mobilization of the US military with extensive conscription of civilians to confront North Korea's seven million man army. And there is not another nation on Earth, perhaps not even South Korea, that would join us in the fight.

This is a subject that requires calm and rational counsel, nuanced negotiations, and probably using concessions instead of more threats.

Who thinks Trump is capable of any of that?

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Government Of, By, and For the Oligarchs

Government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth. ~ Abraham Lincoln
What a funny little government.

For a week now I've tried to understand the thinking behind the Senate's health care bill. The effect on the people would be horrible. The effect on the health care industry, doctors, hospitals, and HMOs, would be even worse. Literally, the only beneficiaries would be a few dozen ultra-rich oligarchs who stand to profit from tax cuts and financial upheaval. No government of, by, and for the people would ever dream of such a thing.

Supporters of TrumpCare in Congress are making claims that are both cynical and fanciful, claims even they cannot be deluded enough to believe.
Nobody dies because they don’t have access to health care. ~ Rep. Raul Labrador, R-Idaho

If we assume that Congressional Republicans are not all blithering imbeciles with the IQs of radishes and the morals of bedbugs sucking your blood while you sleep, what could possibly be their motivation?

The only answer that makes sense is that they are the willing vassals of a handful of oligarchs. Their motives are not to do what is best for the United States or its people but to exclusively serve the very, very rich. They probably even think they are being honest in that they are following the orders of the people who own them.
An honest politician is one who when he is bought will stay bought. ~ Simon Cameron, a Republican politician in the 19th century noted for his open corruption.
The oligarchs offer Republican congressmen wealth and power and all they demand in return is total loyalty.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Six Movies to Watch in the Trump Era

All The President's Men (1976)
Key Quote: Follow the money.
The story of the investigation into a corrupt president displays the power and responsibilities of the press during a constitutional crisis. It is not an overstatement that without a news media free to question and report on the government, democracy cannot survive. An all-star cast including Robert Redford, Dustin Hoffman, and Academy Award winner Jason Robards.

The Manchurian Candidate (1962)
Key Quote: His brain has not only been washed, as they say... It has been dry cleaned.
An American war hero is brainwashed by the Chinese into being a Russian assassin, programed to murder a presidential candidate so a Russian controlled idiot will be elected. Angela Lansbury is outstanding as the treacherous mother of the hero turned assassin who is also his Russian handler.

A Man For All Seasons (1966)
Key Quote:
Sir Thomas More: Then why does your Grace need my poor support?
King Henry VIII: Because you're honest... and what is more to the purpose, you're KNOWN to be honest.

I've mentioned before I think this movie is a good metaphor for Comey-Trump situation. Thomas More, a legal scholar and, perhaps, the last honest man in England during the reign of Henry VIII. He refuses to take the easy path of betraying his conscious and the law to follow the demands of the king. Six Academy Awards including best picture and best actor (Paul Scofield).

Idiocracy (2006)
Key Quote:
President Camacho: Shit. I know shit's bad right now, with all that starving bullshit, and the dust storms, and we are running out of french fries and burrito coverings. But I got a solution.
The President's cabinet
What happens when the United States is run by a gaggle of nincompoops so dumb they can't find their asses with both hands and a chair.

A Face In the Crowd (1957)
Key Quote:
Lonesome Rhodes: This whole country's just like my flock of sheep!
Marcia Jeffries: Sheep?
Lonesome Rhodes: Rednecks, crackers, hillbillies, hausfraus, shut-ins, pea-pickers - everybody that's got to jump when somebody else blows the whistle. They don't know it yet, but they're all gonna be 'Fighters for Fuller'. They're mine! I own 'em! They think like I do. Only they're even more stupid than I am, so I gotta think for 'em. Marcia, you just wait and see. I'm gonna be the power behind the president.

A lowbrow huckster becomes a media sensation. As his popularity grows his ego inflates even faster. He becomes a political kingmaker. His popularity crashes when his real personality is revealed. He then retreats into a delusional fantasy where he pretends he his still beloved. Directed by Elia Kazan and staring Andy Griffith in his first role.

Citizen Cohn (1992)
Key Quote: No! I killed you for the headlines! For the fuckin' headlines!
Donald Trump and Roy Cohn
Roy Cohn was a Jew who hated Jews, a homosexual who hated gays. He was the brains behind Joseph McCarthy and McCarthyism. As a lawyer he was the Mafia's favorite attorney. Utterly ruthless, remorseless, and corrupt. In one of the few times God got it right, Cohn died of AIDS. Important because Roy Cohn was Donald Trump's mentor.

And a television series to make us feel better.

West Wing (1999-2006)
Key Quote: I am the President of the United States, not the President of people who agree with me.
Want to remember a time when the White House was filled with intelligent people, patriotic people whose first instinct was to do what was best for the nation, not their egos?

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

The History of American Politicians
Shot by Crazy People

It is the nature of this country that crazy people have easy access to guns and frequently politicians end up getting shot by them.

In this list I am excluding duels (at least four deaths), wars (one Civil War Senator), and any attack without guns or where no shots were fired.
The Lincoln conspirators.
 Abraham Lincoln (President) 1865: Booth was deluded into thinking that killing Lincoln and other cabinet officials would reverse the course of the war.

James Hinds (R-AR) 1868: A post Civil War carpetbagger politician. Shot by the Ku Klux Klan.

Thomas Haughey (R-AL) 1869: Shot following a fist fight with a supporter of another Republican.

James Garfield (President) 1881:
Assassin Charles Guiteau, an unemployed lunatic, thought he was personally responsible for Garfield's election and expected to be named ambassador to France. Didn't get it. He paid extra for an ivory handled revolver because he wanted it to be museum quality after the assassination.

William McKinley (President) 1901:  The third president assassinated in 36 years. His killer was a reclusive anarchist who felt killing McKinley would end capitalist excesses.

John Pinckney (D-TX) 1905: A public meeting to discuss Prohibition devolved into a Texas riot, 75 bullets fired in less than a minute.

Theodore Roosevelt (Presidential candidate) 1912: Shot in the chest by a saloon-keeper who said that the ghost of William McKinley told him to do it. Roosevelt was shot while giving a speech and, being a tough SOB, he finished the speech before seeing a doctor.

Franklin Roosevelt (President) 1933: This one missed but killed the mayor of Chicago who was standing next to the President. The shooter was another anarchist who said he planned to kill every government leader then every businessman.

Sen. Huey Long (D-LA) 1935:
Huey "Kingfish" Long was a cutthroat politician who scored successes by how many careers he ruined. He was gerrymandering a judge off the bench when he was approached by the judge's son-in-law who, of course, was carrying a gun. Long was either shot by him or the wild shooting of Long's bodyguards.

The Capitol Shooting (1955): No one was killed, but five congressmen, two Republicans and three Democrats, were shot by Puerto Rican nationalists who wanted to end American ownership of the island.

John Kennedy (President) 1963: Officially killed by Lee Harvey Oswald who was too crazy for the Russians to keep him as a defector.

Sen. Robert Kennedy (D-NY) 1968:
Five years after his older brother was assassinated, Bobby was killed by a man lashing out against the existence of the state of Israel.

George Wallace (Presidential candidate) 1972: After Arthur Bremer failed to get close enough to Richard Nixon he turned his attention the third party candidate because he was desperate for fame. Any famous victim would do.

Sen. John Stennis (D-MS) 1973: Shot and wounded during a mugging.

Gerald Ford (President) 1974: A follower of Charles Manson, Sara Jane Moore, missed Ford from a range of 40 feet when someone bumped her arm as she fired. She was the second Manson girl in 17 days to try to kill Ford; Squeaky Fromme's gun misfired. (Actually, Sara was associated with the Symbionese Liberation Army. It's hard to keep these wackos connections straight.)

Leo Ryan (D-CA) 1978: Killed by People's Temple followers prior to their mass suicide.

Ronald Reagan (President) 1981: Seriously wounded by a lunatic who thought that would impress actress Jodie Foster.

Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) 2011: Seriously wounded by a man notable for his bizarre behavior who thought women did not belong in politics.

This exhausting list doesn't include the many governors, judges, and state representatives shot over the years in our American shooting gallery.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

The Only Wall Trump Will Ever Build

Is made of stone.
A few days ago I had lunch at a Mexican restaurant where I used to be a regular but I hadn't been there for several years. The waitress recognized me and knew what my usual order was.
I do not have any recollection of meeting or talking to the Russian Ambassador or any other Russian officials. ~ Jeff Sessions, June 13, 2017
If she could remember that I refuse to believe Jeff Sessions can't remember meeting with a Russian spymaster just six months ago. He is either willfully lying or senile.

Sessions testimony before the Senate committee consisted of him answering those questions he wanted to answer and stonewalling on those questions that were probative. Sessions has cast his lot with a coverup.

Will Trump Fire Mueller?
Anything is possible, but this story is a case of running it up the flag pole and seeing if anybody salutes. Trump wanted to put the option out there to see if he could get away with it. It was also a lame attempt at threatening Mueller. Feckless threats are really the only arrow in Trump's quiver anymore.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Narcissist In Chief

At some level it's hard not to feel sorry for Donald Trump. He is an embarrassingly pathological narcissist who can't help humiliating himself as he strives for public adulation.

Today, he lined up his cabinet secretaries to heap praise on him in front of the press. It was forced and pathetic and more fitting of a six year-old bully at his birthday party, "Now you're all going to tell me how great I am," than a leader. Or, perhaps more accurately, it is what a six year-old bully thinks leadership looks like.

I do not feel sorry for Trump's cabinet who choose to demean themselves into becoming Trump's pitiable sycophants. You made your beds, now lie in the shit.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Is Comey the New Thomas More?

I've been watching "A Man For All Seasons" on Turner Classic Movies and have been struck by what an astonishing metaphor it is for the Comey-Trump story..
If we lived in a State where virtue was profitable, common sense would make us good, and greed would make us saintly. And we'd live like animals or angels in the happy land that needs no heroes. But since in fact we see that avarice, anger, envy, pride, sloth, lust and stupidity commonly profit far beyond humility, chastity, fortitude, justice and thought, and have to choose, to be human at all... why then perhaps we must stand fast a little --even at the risk of being heroes.
There is a scene where Henry VIII (Trump is neither as noble nor as intelligent as Henry) tries to corrupt More into betraying his conscious. Trump needed to corrupt Comey...
Because you're honest... and what is more to the purpose, you're KNOWN to be honest.
Republican politicians are aptly described by the line...
The nobility of England, My Lord, would have snored through the Sermon on the Mount.
For how else would congressional Republicans act during a reading of the Constitution than sleeping through it?

In the case of Thomas More, the rule of law collapsed under the weight of corruption. How this story of Jim Comey and Donald Trump will end is not yet written.

Will the American system of justice prevail or will the nation be sacrificed, martyred to the consuming greed and lust for power that is Trumpism?

Wednesday, June 07, 2017

Trump Told FBI Director Comey, 'I Expect Loyalty'

A question which must be asked, how many other members of the Trump administration have been required to swear personal loyalty to Donald Trump?

Prior to Hitler, German soldiers made the following oath:
I swear fidelity to the constitution of the empire, and vow that, as a brave soldier, I will at any time protect the German Reich and its regular institutions... (source)
On February 8, 1934, that oath changed from fidelity to the constitution to loyalty to one man:
I swear to God this sacred oath that to the Leader of the German Empire and people, Adolf Hitler, supreme commander of the armed forces, I shall render unconditional obedience... (source)
No longer were soldiers committed to defending the constitution. The constitution had become a meaningless rag.

Prior to Hitler, civilians were not required to recite any loyalty oath. As of 1934 they were:
I swear: I will be faithful and obedient to the leader of the German Empire and people, Adolf Hitler, to observe the law, and to conscientiously fulfill my official duties... (source)
Some Germans refused to swear an oath to a person instead of their country's constitution. Many of these were executed or sent to concentration camps.

On taking office as director of the FBI, James Comey took the following oath:
I, James Comey, do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God. (source)
The FBI, in their own website, says that loyalty oaths to individuals "too easily leads to tyranny on the one extreme or anarchy on the other."

Trump's expectation of personal loyalty over loyalty to country strikes at the very heart of our freedoms.

Words Matter, and So Does Silence

'I Do Not Support a Livable Wage'
Making Marie Antoinette sound generous.
Republican congressional candidate Karen Handel said one of those sentences that turn professional campaign consultants into alcoholics. She could have said something about opposing a minimum wage hike, which was the actual question, but Handel choose to say what was in her heart - that the poor should be worked to death for peanuts. 

Trump Cuts Our Throat in Middle East
America's Al Udeid air base in Qatar
When Donald Trump tweeted his attack on the nation of Qatar he was undermining the stability of the nation hosting the largest US military base in the Middle East. There are about 10,000 American military personnel stationed in Qatar, it is the forward base for US Central Command and the base for US anti-ISIS activities. Moments after Trump's tweet, Putin was on the phone to Qatari leaders offering Russia's support for Qatar against Saudi and American interference.

The Sound of Silence
ISIS attacked the parliament of a sovereign state, killing more innocent people than in the London Bridge attack yet there is utter and complete silence from Washington, no official comment nor even an semi-official tweet. The victim was the nation of Iran and there are suggestions that the ISIS attack was coordinated through Trump's friends in Saudi Arabia.

Taking the Fifth (sort of)
Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and National Security Agency Director Michael Rogers appeared before a Senate committee today and effectively took the Fifth Amendment, refusing to testify about any conversations they had with the President over stifling the Russia probe. They did say they didn't feel "pressured" to do anything illegal, which wasn't the question. Of course, they wouldn't have felt pressured if they had willingly agreed to obstruct the investigation.