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In the Trump gulag, reality bites.

My coffee pot is gurgling, the milk, eggs and bread are hereby secured, a mid March Nor’easter roils outside my window and the Trump administration has failed to pin reality to the mat. Trump’s Putin aided ascension to ultimate power has apparently opened a wormhole to an alternate universe. For the Trumpsters, this Tuesday afternoon is both moody and blue. Their Daliesque take on reality makes the Large Hadron Collider look about as sophisticated as a 1990’s flip phone by comparison.

Kellyanne Conway is Patient Zero for a never seen before kind of political Tourette’s Syndrome. She can form words but they have no origin, no destination and her sounds and movements only resemble a human being the way Disney World’s Hall of Presidents resembles our past leaders. The effect is close but it’s damned creepy upon closer inspection. In the Trump world, reality only exists in their own minds and yes, George Orwell got there first.

In order to rule with fear, enemies are needed. Trump has offered a nice selection of imagined foes and the Two Minutes Hate has been converted into Trump’s nightly tweet storm. We have the press, also known as the mainstream media, former President Obama purportedly playing Spy vs. Spy in Trump Tower, the Congressional Budget Office, the “mess’ Trump inherited upon taking office and several other imagined opponents. They feed Donald’s need to feel victimized and that fuels his manufactured outrage.

Trump has admitted to being the same person now who he was in first grade and watching him try to lead is like letting your German Shepherd drive your car. Poochie can see over the steering wheel but that’s about it. Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas, in a rare instance of self awareness, has warned that signing on to Paul Ryan’s health care reboot will put the House majority at risk next year. As ever, any perceived threat to GOP power is the only way to get their attention. Here, Cotton stares balefully at a hall bulging with enraged constituents. He is asked a thoughtful, direct question about health care and proceeds to ignore it. Why not? The room is full to overflowing with “paid” protestors. At least these people have jobs to go to.

Conway has again been loosed into the media sphere after Steve Bannon gave her a time out for the last two weeks. She sat in the Oval Office, legs curled underneath her, like a toddler waiting for her lunch. She tapped her Smart phone while Trump and a few henchmen looked utterly lost by the Resolute Desk. Conway’s opinions regarding the covert capabilities of small appliances has brought her unique brand of mendacity and paranoia to new heights.

Conway makes lying as natural and as thoughtless as an autonomic bodily function. She does it so shamelessly, it would be impressive if she wasn’t so dangerous.

Paul Ryan is married to his dead on arrival health plan like Ulysses tied to the mast. The siren call of the money that insurance lobbyists pack for him and the rest of Congress is so captivating, Ryan calls throwing millions out of their care an act of “mercy”. It’s one thing to lie or delude for a living. It’s something else to want to mesmerize the American public into supporting the removal of a basic right that the rest of the Western world has taken as a given for generations. Like Conway, Ryan lies robotically and without conviction. I didn’t vote for Bernie Sanders but he ably summarizes Paul Ryan’s true motives for health care here.

Stopping this debacle and and saving the ability for many Americans to see their doctors is lost on the Democrats. The catatonic Nancy Pelosi, the personification of the incompetence that allowed Trump to win is talking like her party is in the Majority. Remember this classic sound bite?

Is it worse to pass a bill to find out what’s in it or is better to pass a bill while ignoring the Congressional Budget Office’s warnings that the bill becoming law will be catastrophic? Joe Kennedy takes down Paul Ryan with refreshing clarity here. He goes heavy on the scripture but the point is made.

There is one great comfort in all of this. The GOP is bought off, craven, obsessed and without any concern for those who are not rich or powerful. They lack any ability to reverse course to save their jobs in the midterms next year. With no better angels to appeal to, it comes down again to citizens with pitchforks. Only one to a customer please. We will need enough to go around.

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A Republic in name only.

The shock is only fading now. On Election Night, the electoral map oozed red as every pundit, pollster, prognosticator and pretender submitted their credentials as paid fools, dupes and spittle spewing partisans for the media’s zombie waltz with the corporate bottom line. A billionaire five year old has been enabled all the way to the Oval Office, Hillary Clinton went home with a surplus of 2.8 million votes and the robot Electors played the equivalent of eager sexual submissives to Donald Trump’s raging political id. 62 million Americans fell for an ambiguous slogan on a red baseball cap while imagining a populist instead of a demagogue under the brim.

Having grown up with a hyper awareness of media and direct experience as a news reporter and a radio personality at various times, I had been paying entirely too much respect to the print and electronic media. Election Night proved that. All of the artfully arranged, computer generated and pundit approved prognostications were only so many trillions of bits and bites being forced through the electronic ether of talking heads entitlement. They could not measure the naked rage of the so called Fly Over Wing of the Alternative Right. I did not fully recognize that that voting bloc was comprised of other Americans like me who have been chafing and raging under the mantle of lies and policies that keep them and me exactly where we are.

I have learned that if you laugh at someone’s rage, they are likely to make you pay and pay we will after Donald Trump slaps his undersized hand on a Bible to claim ultimate power on January 20th. To that end, I claim my share of the responsibility here. I did not vote for Trump but dismissing a true threat can motivate others to vote for it. The following video is disturbing and I am not ascribing this hateful, racist vitriol to all Trump supporters.

There is rising intolerance in this country and this is the biggest danger as opposed to what our nation claims to have been before now. I can’t decide if the revolting above video is an unscientific study of a greatly increased level of hate in America or if that particular Trump rally just invited too many goons into range of the New York Times’ cameras and microphones. I do know that the rage expressed here is only rage. There are no ideals being expressed, only vitriol being lobbed because the people there were being egged on by Donald J. Trump to do it. I was not on the front lines of social change in the 1960’s and 1970’s. I forgot who said it but my generation then was wide eyed, not tie dyed. Muhammad Ali shows here that the Black Lives Matter movement isn’t a new invention. Only the branding is different today.

I was seven years old in 1968, just mature enough to have a little appreciation for the grief the country was convulsed in when Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis in early April. About two months later, Robert F. Kennedy was cut down in the kitchen of the Ambassador Hotel, a far more impressive hostelry in Los Angeles. Many readers have heard or seen the material below but it’s worth hearing again for the genuine grief drowning out an all but pure national idealism at that time.

The circumstances were of course different. King was in Memphis to support workers carrying out a garbage strike to demand better wages and Bobby was on the way to taking his slain brother’s place in the Oval Office. Both Kennedy and King were hated intensely by many but you never heard either man make the grotesque appeals to ignorance that the President Elect has all but perfected.

These events actually happened but some Trump supporters will say with a straight face that operatives of Hillary Clinton showed up at Trump’s rallies to encourage them, they say the events never happened or like Trump, they say that victims of violence at these rallies got exactly what they deserved. Having the ability to take events you witness yourself and instinctively twist them to match your prejudices is a disgusting commentary on the state of this nation. We won’t have a chance going forward if we can’t agree that beating a person for his or her political opinion is simply wrong. Donald Trump did not invent violence involving political speech.

The Democratic National Convention in 1968 is often referenced but violence in the face of peaceful protest happens almost daily in America. Posting these videos is not inflammatory on my part. This is our current day. It is not exploitative. This is our history. Hillary Clinton was a phony who wanted power and she was unfit to hold it with classified emails sitting in her Blackberry but she did not incite violence or appeal to the worst in anyone as a public figure. She was more of a traditionalist by secretly rigging the primaries against Bernie Sanders. The Russians, in turn, rigged the general election against her with a kind assist from FBI director James Comey.

What concerns me most is that we may have reached the time where any raised voice is perceived as a threat, any demand for rights is a only a challenge to those in power and any attempt to demand better only makes you an “undesirable”. If we haven’t reached that time, then we are perilously close. This is how republics end and dictatorships begin. Don’t bother reading your history on this point if you are disinclined to do it.

You may already be living it.

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Code Orange and Bottle Blonde Ambition clash in Thunderdome 3

On the night of October 19, the national waterboarding known collectively as the three presidential debates came to an end. There are 19 days left before this nation chooses a spray tanned fascist with a satanic comb over or a stealth Republican with an ISIS itch for President. Donald Trump’s Mussolini inspired fragrance, “Il Duce”, has given Hillary Clinton enough cover to laugh off her email scandal and Putin’s hacking of her private server. The generally offensive Chris Wallace played moderator and he actually pushed the combatants into a substantive exchange while the live studio audience was ordered to stifle their laughter when Wallace nagged them for having pulses and heartbeats.

Jill Stein and Gary Johnson were denied access to the debate stage and were left to back channels in whispering their talking points. It was the most distinguished evening at UNLV since the basketball team wore freshly laundered uniforms in a home game. Trump’s effeminate, undersized hands tried to wick away Hill’s squawking points while punctuating her answers with a parrot like, “Wrong!”, to keep his loyalists interested.

As more women emerge with accounts of being sexually abused or groped by the Republican nominee in past years, there is enough misogyny left over for Hillary to actually appear sympathetic with Trump referring to Clinton as, “a nasty woman”, in the last five minutes of the debate. Hillary is less sympathetic with her email controversy but she has some company there. Her campaign boss, John Podesta, had his emails hacked and CBS News reported on October 20th that Podesta entered his information into a link called, “Fancy Bear”. It’s a Russian based hacking site and Podesta fell victim to a “spearfishing” operation, according to CBS. I am generally averse to posting Fox News content but Chris Wallace peppers Podesta here about the Russian hack job.

The U.S. intelligence apparatus has stated outright that Putin is trying to get the outcome he wants in this election and that is a Trump win next month. Because the endless American election cycle involves winning the majority of 50 state elections and a lack of oversight to assure a clean game on the federal level, we are turkeys waiting to be plucked and ex KGB man Putin knows a soft target when he sees dinner through the rifle scope. At least the state by state system spreads the risk just a bit. With Trump not committing to accepting the election outcome unless he wins, a disqualifying statement on its face, there are sure to be lawyers in lock step to challenge the result. In some states, there will be no paper back up system to assure an honest count. This soulless little snippet is used here to make the point that democracy is made of paper and not bits.

Just as some criminals use intermediaries to pass information, only in person and with no paper or electronic trail to trip them up later, the election system in this country is already decentralized with the states in charge of voting. That’s a big advantage against hacking to start with. Paper should be the primary record for all elections and the software should be an additional record to go with the paper count. I can claim just a little direct experience as a former poll supervisor in my town. (Hold the applause please.) After the polls closed, the machines were locked down and a paper roll was removed with official witnesses present. A poll supervisor, me in that case, took the locked ballot box with the official paper roll locked inside and drove it immediately to the Board of Elections. Paper is honest, retrievable and impossible to hack unless the machines themselves have been compromised.

The above video makes the point and my choosing it because I am arguably less nerdy than the fine young people featured cannot be proven with any certainty. Machines need to be too simple to be hacked by malicious programs but that is admittedly above my pay grade.

As to the election, Hillary will almost certainly be the President-Elect on the morning of November 9th. Trump has shattered all the rules by all but breaking our political system. Hillary probably rigged the primaries in her favor and Bernie Sanders made nice with her later for the good of the country, something Trump is simply unable to do.

He has coarsened this culture to all time lows but he has proven that women deal with abuse and obstacles that few men have ever contemplated. If you are half awake and not a Donald J. Trump minion, Hillary deserves respect for running her race with a glass ceiling above her and a misogynist floor beneath her. She and Podesta deserve condemnation for making an electoral hack possible in the alleged “greatest democracy the world has ever seen.” She doesn’t have my vote but she gets a little respect because for women, the game really is rigged. I’ll be voting for a woman anyway on November 8th.

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Mussolini and The Queen take their bows.

A new medical term needs to be invented describing an acute malady and no Jerry Lewis Telethon is likely to help. The symptoms are likely to feature writers hunched over keyboards, cold coffee in hand. The affliction features a bulls eye rash imprinted on the ears and retinas. It can only be treated by a prolonged vacation from all televised media, Continue reading

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The remains of the fray

Bernie Sanders has emerged with a much needed primary win in the Hoosier State, Ted Cruz’s electoral push shot has missed the “ring” and Donald Trump will be the first political zombie to win the nomination of a major Continue reading

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And a little bird shall lead them…

Nothing is more lame than a blogger offering excuses as to why he or she has not posted lately. Call it, “Trump Fatigue” in this case. Rule one for writing is not to repeat yourself and I had already devoted a post weeks ago to The Donald and his neo-Nativist movement. Trump has sucked so much air out Continue reading

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The Constitution comes a Courtin’.

Justice Antonin Scalia died on a Texas hunting trip recently, where hand raised birds were nurtured to the edge of maturity, only to be blown to smithereens on their maiden flights by the Judge who gave the world DC v. Heller. This decision affirmed that Americans have the personal right to keep and bear arms. As a Constitutional “originalist”, you would think that the Hammer of the Radical Right would have known that The Second Amendment was crafted to give the pre-federalist states the right to form militias for the common defense. This had nothing to do with blasting God’s defenseless creatures to atoms for a little R & R. It had nothing to do with high schools being shot up or with toddlers finding, and then firing, loaded weapons they spied beside the See and Say and the X Box controls.

Suddenly, Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell, is the Great Populist and is calling for a national referendum on the man or woman who will refill Scalia’s capacious judicial robes. Scalia wrongly equated money with speech in the Citizens United decision and as a Constitutional “originalist”, he should have known that the Founders could have never have conceived of a vast, electronic, media infrastructure fed by the checkbooks of lobbyists and oligarchs.

The Constitution provides for the President to appoint Supreme Court nominees while the Senate “advises and consents” until the seat is filled. The document says nothing about balling things up until a GOP Presidential candidate can replace the sitting President, who is the only one charged with fulfilling his Constitutionally mandated role. At the base of this contempt for written law on the part of the GOP is the pervasive belief that Obama was never legitimate in the first place. He is a Democrat, he is black and in elephant eyes, he doesn’t understand who he is supposed to be working for. This is a nation of lobbyists, not laws. It is a nation of men, not Constitutional faith. As such, President Obama should use any means available to him to restore the Judicial Branch of government to nominal function.

Scalia and other Republicans have described the Constitution as dead. This “originalism” fetish of Scalia’s is bankrupt for this reason. In Colonial times, only white men who owned land could vote. By Antonin’s reckoning, he should have railed against the 19th Amendment. Women have only had the ability to vote since 1920 and as a white man with no land to my name, the vote should be denied to me as well. Slavery is referenced in the founding document too. Should that peculiar institution be revived to satisfy Scalia’s originalism? The Constitution is for those who live under it and as brilliant and visionary as James Madison and company were, they could not inscribe every eventuality onto parchment for all time. Precedent and the preservation of rights and liberties enshrined in the Constitution should guide The Supreme Court, not loopy “originalism”, that pays no heed to the growth of freedom from that first Constitutional seed.

The government is now beating up Apple to provide a reverse engineered back door to their encryption proof IPhone 5C. If Apple rolls over here, as it were, they will be little more that an ad hoc brick in the national security state. Get a damned warrant! Beyond that, it is not the duty of a private corporation to provide a skeleton key to Big Brother with every IPhone purchase. Below, Apple’s Tim Cook tells the insufferable Charlie Rose where he stands. This was before Cook refused a federal magistrate’s order that Cook provide a back door in to IPhones without a warrant.

Touching one last time on Scallia’s originalism, the 18th Century equivalent of the IPhone debate would be for the government to be given a copy of all of your letters, bills or other correspondence on demand and with no warrant in the interest of national security. Only technology changes. The right to keep information secure does not change and the Fourth Amendment’s language clearly covers anything that Tim Cook can dream up. Maybe Tim should include an app for the Constitution to keep the FBI honest. The Constitution is the most precious hand raised bird ever hatched. It did not gain flight only to be shot down by radicals wearing the camouflage of Constitutional purity.

“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the person or things to be seized.”

Originalism? There you go, Justice Scalia.

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Obama’s last bow, GOP zombies and Hill the Thrill’s conscription of spawn.

Apologies for the long delay between posts. As of this date, my Christmas tree is still up, the New Year’s resolutions were never made and the Christmas fruitcake is leading in the Republican polls. To make up for the time lapse, you lucky, topically obsessed Continue reading

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The Donald leads the Neo Know Nothings into political oblivion

The Know Nothings were an anti Catholic, anti immigrant group in the 1850’s. They often met in secret and feared Catholic, Irish and German immigrants as a threat to the white, Protestant order of their day. Donald Trump has christened a new bellowing sect of paranoid, largely under educated whites who are lapping up Trump’s anti Muslim rhetoric as tonic Continue reading

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Carson, Trump and winning with flat out crazy

Ben Carson once rooted around in the brains of children and made a good reputation as a neurosurgeon. His own brain has enough bat crazy pathologies to merit his own wing at the Rubber Room Academy of Continue reading