Sunday, December 31, 2017

Conspiracy Theories R Us

Let's end the year with wild flights of paranoia. I'm not says any of this will happen, only that I wouldn't be surprised if one or two did happen.

The FBI Purge
Republicans love for all things Russian Soviet has led to their openly using the word "purge" when talking about what they want to do to America's law enforcement. Between 1937 and 1939, Stalin purged the Russian army of three of their five highest ranking generals, eight of nine admirals, and almost all of the corps and divisional commanders. The result was gutting the Red Army just before Hitler's invasion of Russia. Stalin believed the army was insufficiently loyal to him personally and wanted an army that, while incompetent, was totally submissive to him.

Trump and his minions want to purge the FBI leadership. That will lead to easy pickings for Russian, Chinese, and North Korean spies. Organized crime will be able to run roughshod over the country. And terrorists will be able to plot their actions with impunity. But the FBI will be personally loyal to Trump.
There will be televised show trials of FBI leadership to display the extent of their disloyalty.

As Republicans face a crushing electoral defeat in 2018 they will need something to completely change the political climate. War with North Korea is that something. Armchair generals will predict a swift war with an easy victory, remember the 2003 Iraq War was only going to last five weeks. The reality will be a long, bloody slog against a huge seven million person Korean army in hardened defensive positions that has been preparing for this war for over half a century.

Sedition Laws
Lots of people will oppose the new Korean War. When the war is not swiftly won blame will be thrown at those opponents of the Great Cause. Trump will sign "laws" not passed by the Senate outlawing opposition to the war or the government.

Mass Arrest of Democrats
Democratic candidates, and even sitting Democratic legislators, will be arrested for violation of the sedition laws. There is historic precedence for this in America. In 1918, socialist Eugene V. Debs was arrested for violating the World War I sedition act. He ran for president in 1920 from prison. Congressman Matthew Lyon of Vermont was arrested for violating the 1798 sedition act. He ran for reelection in 1800 from his cell and won.

By arresting scores of Democratic candidates and outlawing criticism of the Trump government, Republicans insure their victory in the midterm elections even gaining a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate allowing for even more radical legislation including finally opening the long expected

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Holiday Cheer With Three UK Sketches

Tis the season to be jolly and Britons have a great sense of humor.

Trekking In Russia

This brilliant Monty Python sketch is still hilarious after forty years.

The Hedge Sketch

Before House MD, Hugh Laurie teamed with Stephen Fry to form one of the great comedy duos ever.

Are We the Baddies?

The modern team of David Mitchell and Robert Webb wonder if, maybe, the Nazi's were the bad guys.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

The Republican Tax Bill as Told In Movie Posters

The bill was written by lobbyists for a handful of the country's richest billionaires whose motto is
Paul Ryan's plan is to use the tax bill to balloon the deficit, requiring decimating programs designed to help the most helpless Americans. Ryan's philosophy is
The raw motive for this is pure
Sen. Bob Corker surrendered a supposedly principled stand against exploding the deficit in exchange for a provision added to the bill that will make Corker a shit ton of money. Principles be damned, Corker is nothing but a
As for Sen. Susan Collins, she agreed to vote for the tax bill only after receiving a solemn promise from Mitch McConnell that there would be a second bill fixing her problems with the one she was voting for. Minutes after her vote was locked in, that promise was thrown into the trash, proving Collins to be
As for us regular Americans just trying to get by, we are

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Bills of Mortality

As Republicans hack away at the American healthcare system, perhaps it is time to revive the old British system of tallying the weekly causes of deaths.

1665 London Bill of Morality
In that year, over two-thirds of deaths were caused by the raging bubonic plague. There were few plague deaths until May of that year, just three. By June hundreds were dying per week, by July it was thousands per week. The peak was hit in September when 7,000 people were dying of plague every week. In just 18 months, the plague wiped out a quarter of London's population.

The Bills of Mortality recorded every death by ever cause.
  • bubonic plague - 68,596
  • malaria (ague) - 5,257
  • tuberculosis (consumption and tissick, King's evil) - 4,894
  • small pox - 655
  • women died in child birth (childbed) - 625
  • syphilis (French pox) - 86
  • murder - 9
  • execution - 21
 Child specific deaths included:
  • Teeth and Worms (a variety of infections in teething children) - 2,614 
  • Chrisomes and Infants (unspecific deaths within a month of baptism) - 1,256
  • Griping in the Guts (infantile diarrhea, dysentery) - 1,288
  • Rising of the Lights (croup, called that because it sounds like the child is coughing up a lung) - 397
  • Overlaid and Starved (killed by a nursing mother who falls asleep on top of a baby) - 45
  • Headmouldshot & Mouldfallen (malformed skull caused by a difficult birth) - 14
 Fewer than 10,000 children were born in that year.

By 1670, nobody died of plague and the leading cause of death was Griping in the Guts.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

On Sophistication

It's hard to believe in this time of Trump but there once was a thing known as sophistication.
Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn embodied sophistication.
The word came to English from Latin but its progress from antiquity is fascinating. It started as a Greek word, sophistes, meaning wise man or teacher. When the Romans got it their less cultured society dismissed the discussions of wise men as the quibbles of fraudsters. Their word, sophisticare, meant using wisdom to delude and confuse.

It was with that meaning that the word entered English in the 14th century. As the Renaissance blossomed in the 16th century, intelligence was no longer reviled. Being sophisticated was no longer an insult. Instead, to be educated and worldly was seen as virtues to be aspired to.

In America today, we are seeing a revision to the barbaric definition of sophisticated as a condition decent people avoid. Education and travel are the realm of the hated elites. A majority of Republicans now believe that colleges are bad for America. They argue that schools teach unimportant things like science, math, biology, and history and that children should be left on their own to somehow learn whatever they fancy. They insist that faith is more important than knowledge.
Where ignorance is bliss, 'tis folly to be wise.
Sophistication inspired Duke Ellington in 1932, remembering his teachers who taught school and traveled in the summer. They were truly Sophisticated Ladies.

Lots of people have recorded"Sophisticated Lady" but the definitive interpretation belongs to Ella Fitzgerald. (Lyrics by Irving Mills)

Monday, December 11, 2017

A Roy Moore Bedtime Story

Little Stephanie, Judge Roy is going to tell you a story about when America was great.
It was a time before the Yankee invasion. Little Kimmie was a girl just like you, only she was a n****r. The Master's four sons took a fancy to little Kimmie so, being a good Christian, the Master approached Kimmie's mamma and asked permission to make Kimmie a house slave.

Kimmie's mamma knew this meant that Kimmie would be living in the big house and have proper clothes instead of rags to wear. Kimmie's mamma also knew Kimmie would become the sex toy for all the men in the Master's household. Kimmie's mamma also knew, because the overseer had told her before the Master came that, if she refused the Master's kind request both she and her daughter would be whipped within an inch of their lives and Kimmie would be taken away regardless.
On Kimmie's first day the Master's oldest boy took Kimmie into the kitchen, slammed her on the big oaken table, and raped her so hard she cried out for her mamma. Kimmie served her masters for years. The white master's children Kimmie helped to raise would grow up to rape her themselves.

In time, the good Lord blessed little Kimmie with her own children, twins, one boy and one girl. She didn't know which of the white masters was the father. As the children grew Kimmie continued her service to the men of the Master's house until the children reached the age of twelve.
By then, the boy was growing into a strong young buck while the girl was even prettier than Kimmie had been. Kimmie's son was sold on the auction block, catching a good price. Kimmie, who has aged badly through the years of rape, was sold to a Mississippi cotton farmer to finish her days working the fields. Kimmie's daughter took her place as the house fuck slave.

Then, the Yankees came to destroy our peculiar institution that had made America great. Kimmie and her children were freed but never found each other again. The Yankees forced upon us constitutional amendments that declared all people equal, an abomination to God.

In time, we sons of the South were able to restore some of what had been lost. If some n****r got uppity and thought they might be as good as white folk and even try to vote, well there was always a stout rope and a nearby poplar tree to teach their kind respect.

Those evil Yankees returned, this time with the twin plagues of civil rights and voting rights. But we will throw off the shackles of equality and restore America to the master/slave relationship that serves it best.
Now, Little Stephanie, Judge Roy wants to show you something. Don't say "no," Stephanie. You don't want your mother and father to go the prison, do you? Innocent, you say? It's so cute you think I'd care. Now, be a good little girl and do everything Judge Roy tells you. Ya' hear?

Some Roy Moore Shit

Not Predicting Prediction
I've been involved in enough political campaigns to know what it means when a candidate gives up campaigning the weekend before the election. It's when you know what the outcome will be and you get severely depressed and just don't have the energy to continue. This is, however, not a prediction. I quit the prediction game a year ago.

Although, "attending a football game in Philadelphia" ranks up there with hiking the Appalachian Trail for creative staff excuses.

Moore's a Russian Agent
I'm not saying speaking Russian automatically makes someone a spy, but Moore grew up during the 1950's Red Scare in a community that would rank speaking Russian with reading from the Satanic Bible in Latin. Doing either would be considered invoking evil. Yet, Moore speaks Russian well, praises Putin, and says that America should be more like Russia. When was he recruited?

Moore and Slavery
Moore loves the antebellum South. He has openly declared that the time when slavery was law was the last time America was great. It was a time when overseers would rip a child out of the arms of a nursing mother (above), masters would rape the young virgin daughters of slaves fathering children they would take as slaves, and families were torn apart on the auction block.

Moore also has attacked all the Constitutional amendments after the original ten. He specifically wants to repeal the 14th that requires equality before the law for all citizens regardless of race or creed.

"Little Girl"

This Hugh Laurie ditty could be Roy Moore's theme song.

Thursday, December 07, 2017

Evangelicals Vision for Jerusalem

For evangelical Christians peace in the Middle East is abhorrent. They want war there and not a little war, they lust for a war of annihilation in Israel where the blood will flow a meter deep. They want the Muslim world so enraged at Israel that they will band together a massive invasion army. They want to bring about the Battle of Armageddon. They expect this war to kills two-thirds of the Jews in Israel with the survivors converted to Christianity. They foresee Jerusalem reduced to rubble to be rebuilt by a returning Jesus.

After the war they foresee the mass genocide of unbelievers so that only Christians will remain alive. Many believe that only the members of their particular Protestant sect will survive the culling.

This is the only thing evangelical Christians want for Christmas. I'm not saying Trump believes this shit, he believes nothing that doesn't have a dollar sign attached, but it is what Radical Republicans expect will be the result of Trump moving the US embassy to Jerusalem.

Tuesday, December 05, 2017

Trump's Lawyer and Occam's Razor

Occam's Razor is the theory in logic that you can never go wrong underestimating the intelligence of this President.

Trump appeared to tweet a confession to obstruction of justice when he claimed to have known that Michael Flynn had lied to the FBI when he told then FBI Director James Comey to drop the investigation of Flynn. Conversely, Trump lawyer John Dowd claims he wrote the tweet and Trump was totally ignorant.

Which story is most likely true?

Dowd Wrote It
According to the White House, Trump's Twitter posts are "official presidential statements." A trained lawyer, deliberately pretending to be Trump, clumsily dictates a statement that makes it appear that Trump has committed a felony. Dowd did it such a way that there is no email trail tracing back to Dowd even though attorneys obsessively document their actions to protect both themselves and their clients.

Trump Wrote It
and Dowd is lying because Trump stupidly incriminated himself on Twitter. Covfefe.

Which is the simplest explanation?

Friday, December 01, 2017

Trickle Down Economics and Other Stuff

Trickle, Trickle
The Republican tax plan reminds me of a 1950's do-wop classic. Here's Manhattan Transfer.

White House of Wax 
Melania Trump's Christmas decorations look like a scene from a schlocky 50's horror movie.
Then there is her appearance watching ballerinas. She's standing, almost motionless, with a null expression on her face. Those slight movements are the only proof they didn't wheel out a wax statue to impersonate the First Lady. Although I wouldn't put it past the mad master of the White House to have a vat of boiling paraffin in the basement waiting for his wife.

Empty Chairs
The first lesson of politics I learned is to always have a venue slightly smaller than your expected attendance. You want to squeeze people in and have them standing in the aisles. If the fire marshal isn't pissed you've failed.
The White House hired thousands of folding chairs for the 2017 national Christmas tree lighting ceremony. Dozens showed up leading to this truly embarrassing photo.