Friday, April 28, 2017

Friday fun day: again, let us point and laugh at their president

It should surprise no one  'Prez' Don  the Con displayed massive ignorance while antagonizing our good neighbor, and number 2 trading partner and good ally, Canada.

Donald TRump at least nominally won the presidency by winning the states of Wisconsin, Michigan and Wisconsin, although all three were narrow and possibly tampered wins.  For example there was a problem with more votes than voters in Wisconsin.

Of those three states that nominally put Rump over the top, only one shares a border with Canada, but Rump rather spectacularly doesn't know which one.  I personally would be surprised if Rump could correctly name the capitol of any of the three, in spite of attending college in Pennsylvania.

In contrast as something of a party trick, our excellent senator, Al Franken, can correctly and accurately draw the map of the United States, with each state correctly bounded and located relative to the national boundaries and adjoining states, and each capitol city correctly named.

TRump has threatened trade wars with Canada, ignorant of the harm that would do to both nations and to our mutually essential relationship.  Further the issue which demonstrated Don the Con's belligerent stupidity is that American milk producers don't have a trade problem for a particular dairy product, ultra-filtered milk, rather there is a problem of oversupply, a glut on the market, of that milk product. That is properly the problem and responsibility of the producers to correct, not consumers, past or present.

I have yet to see where anyone in the TRump appointed administration, much less the Goat-in-Chief himself, has asked that fundamental question ascertaining excess product.  This in spite of the conservative obsession, or more accurately empty lip service, to free market capitalism, and to individual responsibility for their success or failure.

Our neighbors to the east in Wisconsin either have to adjust production to suit demand, or find new markets.  The fair and rational solution is not to attempt to bully or arm twist buyers to purchase their product.

Trade wars and tariff conflicts, as history teaches us, is the single most consistent cause of wars. So it is especially troubling that the illegitimate President, along with his party and supporters, is so profoundly ignorant of geography, history, and economics and so offensively hypocritical.  Rump has to go, he is dangerous, dangerous to us, dangerous to the world.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Thursday Schadenfreude: Bill, Sean, and soon Rush go bye bye

We have had the satisfaction and gratification of seeing crusty old white lechers, predators and perverts being driven from right wing propaganda outlets.

Roger Ailes is gone from Fake aka Fox News, as is Bill O'Reilly.  It is looking increasingly as if Sean Hannity is being sued for similar sexual harassment misconduct and will likely follow them out the door.  New accusations are emerging, with new suits likely.

In other news, iHeart Communications notified the SEC that they expect to go into bankruptcy, likely by this time next year if not before. IHeart, owned by Bain Capital, is the media company that puts Rush Limbaugh on the air.  Limbaugh is no longer the conservative kingmaker power figure he used to be, thanks to the long term abandonment of not just Limbaugh but other radio personalities like Hannity, after the utterly undeserved abuse Limbaugh inflicted on Sandra Fluke and his persistent racism, sexism and general misogynist bigotry.  The man who invented the term feminazi is effectively being neutered.

Feminists, both men and women, have been the driving force behind these changes to previously robustly profitable right wing propaganda outlets. We have flexed our collective economic, social and political muscle, with boycotts of businesses that directly take offensive positions, like Chic Fil A which was anti-LGBT and anti-gay marriage, which later did a 180 degree change of position due to persistent opposition, including from socially progressive feminists.

A local conned-servative blogger, friend of both Penigma and myself, and sadly, the father of a daughter now in her early 20s, regularly attacks feminists generally, and women in politics specifically, including opposing equal pay for equal work and equal opportunity regardless of gender.  In a recent blog post he and his little minion followers that was typically demeaning and disrespectful towards women and their capabilities.  One comparison likened women to fluffy growling kittens, while making yet another exaggerated hyper masculine analogy in which macho male conservatives, in reality, old wrinkly crabby flabby white guys who do little other than whine and promote right wing propaganda lies, are mean, dangerous Rottweiler's to weak fluffy kitten feminists. I feel badly for any young woman who has to be subjected to denigrating women and lack of support for fair employment treatment, including a lack of support for a fair wage for her labor.

In that context the schadenfreude is sweeter at the victory of feminists and other progressives in successfully holding right wing misogynists accountable.

I have long mocked Republican math, where numbers have little or no foundation in objective reality, but are instead solely reflective of ideology -- and fantasy, or one might say more accurately, delusion.

Hard reality, there are more women than men.  There are slightly more girl babies born than boys, and more girls survive infancy.  On the other end of life, women live longer than men, and the trend is now for men to live less long, not longer, regrettably. News articles I have read lately all argue that more women are being employed in traditionally male sectors of employment, and that will continue, and conversely, predictions are, more men will become employed in traditionally female dominated jobs.

That is a reality presently, and in the probable future, which favors feminism and fairness, not regressive conservative misogyny and sexism.

Conservatism suffers from a persistent belief in false ideological narratives, and from a nasty set of prejudices that have always put them on the wrong side of the issues that form the arcs of history.  That argues more not less schadenfreude to come at their expense.

Since I cannot alter that, I will make the best of it and simply enjoy it. We will, like the great Liz Warren's example, persist; and sooner or later we will win.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Another Russian-rigged election, another Kremlin puppet fascist

France held a primary election last Sunday. This time the fascists came in second instead of winning.

Not as successful as the Russian collusion (apparently) between the TRump campaign and (increasingly apparently) other Republican leadership figures, along with emerging Chinese corruption. But it was still successful enough to defeat a couple of contenders.

The French general election is coming up in May. Macron is predicted to win, but then so was Clinton.

Marine Le Pen just engaged in a little fake political theater, stepping down temporarily (supposedly) as leader of the National Front, the bigot antisemitic party that is promoting lies about the assistance nasty right wing French bigots provided to Hitler's "final solution" rounding up  French Jews for the gas chambers.

It is going to be hard to pretend however that she is not owned by Putin after she took 9 million euros to support Putin grabbing Crimea, attacks on NATO ( including pulling out entirely, and a French exit from the European Union, aka Frexit).

And now it emerges that in addition to big dirty Kremlin cash, the very same hackers tried to do similar cyber attacks on the leading candidate, sane sensible centrist Emanuel Macron.

Like Putin, like TRump: another treasonous attack on representative government by dictators.

Le Pen's appeal is much the same, if more covert, appealing to a new generation of radical right wingers with the same prejudices, just as post election analysis demonstrates that TRump voters were substantially both racist and authoritarian.

Like poorly educated and badly informed far right blind ideologues,  the supporters of Le Pen hate and fear immigrants, and are Islamophobes and homophobes.

We can only hope the French object to having their elections rigged by Putin and his sell out puppets, and therefore reject both Le Pen and fascism.

I am waiting to see how long Republicans approve, condone, and endorse fascism before they decide it is too high, and too Un -American, a price to pay for power, like selling their souls to the devil.  Except of course like the French Nazi collaborators in WW II, the soul sellers aren't the only people enduring Hell as a result of their unjustified fear, hatred and perfidy.

Treason never plays well in the hindsight of history, and that is what selling one's country to Putin is: treason.

It bothers me....

In terms of the news cycle, it is already old and forgotten.

But while I tend to eschew conspiracy theories, I am troubled by the possibly credible challenges I am seeing to the claims of chemical weapons use by Assad in Syria.

I remember too well the lies from Dubya to involve the USA in an unjustifiable regime change in Iraq.  There were lies to the citizens of the USA, lies to the UN.

I don't doubt Assad has chemical weapons, but there is some credible evidence both sides possess them.  What does not make sense in the context of the explanation we have bee offered is why TRump would make such a hasty decision in advance of better information and analysis, but especially why TRump would do so with notification to Putin and Assad - the two are inseparable - BUT NOT notify or discuss such a decision with Congress.  And this is a Republican controlled Congress, one where TRump supporters control the pertinent committees that could be expected to advise and support Trump's decision --- if, BIG IF -- it was based on factual evidence and analysis.

Without the precedent of Dubya, I would be less willing to entertain such an idea, but TRump has demonstrated a far lower level of integrity than his most recent Republican predecessor, and worse, there seems no capacity to learn from Dubya's mistakes.  (We have only to look at TRump's proposed tax plan filled with corporate welfare and "wealth-fare" to see that.). And to many of the Dubya swamp rats are holding power in the Republican controlled Congress and the TRump administration.

Doubling down on Dumb and Dubya seems to be the order of their president, and if that is true, then the press, including citizen journalists like those who write blogs like this one, should be asking more hard questions, and looking for answers that fit the observable facts better in the context of 21st century history, both US and international history.

We cannot afford to let TRump's odd actions in Syria disappear from our consciousness without more rigorous and persistent examination.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Ossoff wins Special Election in Georgia

Georgia has so-called jungle primaries.  To win outright you have to get 50% of the vote or better.

The democratic candidate Ossoff only won 48.1%, well ahead of the next candidate, a Republican, with less than 20%.

So now Ossoff will be in a runoff in June for the congressional seat once held by Nut/Newt Gingrich.

What makes this a significant win, considered widely to be a referendum on Trump specifically and Republican governance generally, was the unusually high voter turnout for a primary, with a mix of Democrats, Independents, and defecting disaffected Republicans in the mix of Ossoff voters.  Following an unexpectedly good showing in the bleak Brownback Kansas political landscape, where the Republican governor is an epic failure and where many of the far right tea parties in the legislature have been ousted already, the trend seems to be dissatisfaction with Republicans, their policies, (both proposed and in practice) and their inability to govern.

As Trump continues to flame out, with polls showing steep declines in support for his promises ever manifesting and with rampantly growing disbelief in both his integrity and competence, as the right is shown up generally for their utter lack of real solutions, the 2016 GOP victories have gone bitter failures.

America was scammed by Trump, and as that reality dawns, the country doesn't like it. This bodes well for Dems in 2018.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Who Laffers last laffs best

Einstein famously defined insanity as doing the same thing while expecting a different outcome. Governor Sam Brown back just moved up from most hated governor, to second most hatd governor.  Chris Christie replaced Brownback.  Brownback had previously replaced Gov. Bobby Jindal as the most hatd governor, who was so bad he just up and quit.

In krazy Kansas, right wing Governor Sam Brownback's former supporters, now Brownback haters, voted for Don the Con for president and another right wing pro-Trump representative to
take the place of Mike Pompeo who joined the Trump illegitimate administration.

Where this becomes funny is that the good but dim and too-trusting voters in Kansas believed against overwhelming evidence, that Brown back and the architect of his economic policies, one Arthur Laffer, were going to make Kansas great again. The result was not just failure but epic failure. Brown back sold this failure as a great experiment in Republican governance, with a radical right state executive branch and a radical right legislature.

It was a radical right wing failure by every metric.

And WHO did then candidate Trump invite to advise him on HIS economic plans?  If you guessed the evil klown team of Laffer and Brownback, you would be correct.

So kray kray krazy Kansans expect from policies EXACTLY like those at home, and exactly like the same policies which have been tried and which failed repeatedly, over more than a century (see the policy under the horse and sparrow label) that their president Trump will do the same darn thing for which they despise Brownback and his Igor-clone lab assistant, but this time the result will be flying unicorns farting rainbows of prosperity across the whole country this time.

Insanity. Insanity combined with ignorance.

The only sparkle of hope that the good but misguided citizens of Kansas are recovering from their epidemic of insanity compounded by ignorance is that in the special election last week, the election was far closer than expected.  In the state legislature a week or so before that, moderate Republicans had joined with Democrats and very nearly undid some of the Brown back evil.

Change is coming, slowly and surely.  We can expect to see it, I hope, by 2018. That is about how long it should take to throw off the insanity and ignorance the rest of the way.

Republican governance is bad governance. That is true at the local, state and federal levels.  The proof is in Kansas, and now in DC.

Monday, April 10, 2017

More guns = more road rage incidents: why you should oppose misnamed constitutional carry

Conservative pro-gun extremists are trying to make Minnesota a so-called Constitutional carry state, meaning no one requires a permit or any training whatsoever to carry a loaded handgun concealed or otherwise.

These crackpot extremists would have you ignore -- or as they do, deny -- the considerable body of evidence that more guns, and more lax gun regulations, result in significantly more gun violence with no corresponding decrease in any levels of crime, violent or otherwise.

In short, guns are impulse violence weapons, and there is no upside in trying to subvert or pervert the US Constitution to accommodate the gun huggers' obsession with carrying around deadly weapons in a civil society.

Guns are weapons of impulse violence, both in aggression towards oneself, in suicides, and towards others where anger and frustration are present. study found the incidence of road rage, for example, have doubled since 2014, as reported "Road Rage Shootings Surge on America's Highways and Byways."

There is no upside to (not)Constitutional Carry.  Nothing in the Constitution says this kind of dangerous demand by gun nuts has to be indulged.  No rational evidence says that desire to be armed in public should be indulged either, either.

What makes us safer is fewer guns, most of all fewer guns in the hands of the angry and impulsive who are more prone to misuse them.  In a 2015 study, quoted in the Trace article, Jeffrey Swanson, a professor of psychiatry and behavioral science, studying the relationship between anger and guns, found 1 in 10 who self-reported owning and carrying guns, with destructive behavior patterns, including getting into fights and breaking and smashing things.  And a 2006 study from the Harvard Injury Control Research CenteršŸ˜¢

Friday, April 7, 2017

Trump bombing Syria was a cheap fraud, a political stunt

Trump desperately needed something to boost his image in the face of his steeply declining approval ratings, and the failures of his executive orders and legislative attempts.

I started to be suspicious this was like fake scripted reality TV when the number of bombs was announced, 59 missiles at the cost of more than $70 million a piece, the taxpayers money used for political stunt theater.

It was more obvious as it became clear the Russians knew in advance, and therefore the Syrians  knew too, as reports showed personnel and important equipment was evacuated well ahead of the attack.  And there was even less question this was political theater after the post bombing photos showed minimal damage, with in particular both runways remaining intact.

How do you rain down 59 Tomahawk missiles loaded with that much explosives and do such minimal damage, including leaving functional runways if this was a real, serious attack?

This stinks to high heaven.

I have no faith Trump gives a gold plated damn about suffering or dying children. He didn't care about civilian losses, including children, dead from drone attacks or the special forces attack in Yemen.

Trump, or more probably Putin (the better thinker of the pair) desperately needed to at least give the appearance of distance from Putin.  Putin suffered no losses, the manipulator still has his hand up puppet Trump's ass.  The probable collusion and probable blackmail hasn't gone away.

But for too many, the easily distracted, the shallow thinkers, the distraction, the change of narrative, was successful.

Just substitute "squirrel" for distracting a dog, or 'noisy' for 'shiny' for distracting the shallow, uncritical thinkers.

Classic Trump.

Be smarter than to accept that facile manipulation.