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    • Shhhh! Russia Can Like Something And It Can Be Good.
      I know, I know. Russia is evil, the worstest of the worst and is made worse by Trump, because it’s because of Russia that Trump is President, not because Clinton ran a terrible campaign and Obama presided over an economy that worked for about 3% of the population. But maybe, just maybe, even though Russia […]
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What do we know today that we didn’t know two days ago?

medium_9016253998-21Raise your hand if anything that has happened in the last couple of days has surprised or shocked you.  Betsy DeVos was going to be confirmed. The scorecard was predictive. The only useful power that the VP has is to cast a tie breaking vote. Would the GOP really confirm an unpopular cabinet nominee along party lines in spite of so much opposition from their voters? Of course it would. These are the same Republicans who would shut down the government and threaten its credit rating in order to throw red meat to their “Christian” conservative constituents who wanted to put a silver bullet through Planned Parenthood.

And making Elizabeth Warren sit down and shut the fuck up was a twofer. They got to disrespect Coretta Scott King and Warren at the same time. They were probably just waiting for the opportunity to do it, sharpening their knives for the day when they could humiliate Warren and tell a woman to know her place. It doesn’t matter if they finally gave in on the letter. That wasn’t the point. Defanging Warren was the point.

They really are that shameless.

For the next two years, they can do whatever they want. We’ve known this since the day after the election. That feeling of dread we all had in the run up to Trump’s inauguration? It’s all been justified.

Getting angry with righteous indignation will only get you so far. And if they know they can push our buttons, they’ll keep doing it like a rat on cocaine pushing the lever over and over again.

These are not nice people. They’re Stanford prison experiment guards with sunglasses people. The problem is that no one is going to stop this experiment early. It’s going to go on until at least November 2018. There will be no halt to the daily humiliations, the long term devastations, the collaborations with the Trump White House that are intended to keep us off balance and infuriated. They are teaching us learned helplessness.

Are we going to let them do that to us?

Don’t get mad. Get even.

“Come, you spirits

That tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here,
And fill me from the crown to the toe top-full
Of direst cruelty. Make thick my blood.
Stop up the access and passage to remorse,
That no compunctious visitings of nature
Shake my fell purpose, nor keep peace between
The effect and it! Come to my woman’s breasts,
And take my milk for gall, you murd’ring ministers,
Wherever in your sightless substances
You wait on nature’s mischief. Come, thick night,
And pall thee in the dunnest smoke of hell,
That my keen knife see not the wound it makes,
Nor heaven peep through the blanket of the dark
To cry “Hold, hold!”
– Macbeth, William Shakespeare
Show no mercy.

******************************************

Thanks to all of you who sent me messages and little gifts of music and I Ching yesterday. It lifted my spirits. I worked off my sleep deficit last night.

Trump and Peter Pan

maxresdefaultI woke up in the middle of the night to find that I had unintentionally left CNN running on my iPhone (just the audio, the risk of seeing Katrina Pierson while she strangles kittens under the desk with her bare hands is a bit too much for me). I can’t remember what program was on. Is there a Don Lemon person now filling in for Larry King? It’s been awhile.

Anyway, they were playing a clip from Trump’s rally today where he was going off on Hillary because the Orlando shooter’s father was sitting behind her and, while he was getting all breathless and purple with incredulous rage at her stupidity and incompetence, there was Mark Foley, disgraced former congressman and fall semester pledge for NAMBLA sitting right behind him.

The host and his guests went wild with hysterical laughter. I mean gut busting, can’t catch my breath, wiping eyes hilarity. It took awhile for it to all settle down and I could tell from their voices that they were waiting for a commercial break to get it all out. Then Lemon said something to the effect that he thought he’d seen everything but he never thought he’d be living in an SNL skit.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. Donald really is dangerous. He’s reckless and incites violence and his followers are crazy, militant and menacing. And you’re absolutely right about all of that. But even menacing, dangerous people tend to keep a degree of gravitas about them so they can get shit done.

It’s much harder to do when everyone is laughing.

It reminded me of the This American Life episode Fiascos that featured an act about an amateur production of Peter Pan with a director who wanted to take some risks. At first, the audience was forgiving of the flying apparatus that threatened to hurl one of the actors into a wall, and Captain Hook’s missing hook. But by the time the indians had scaled the balconies and an accident caused the fire department to come busting into the auditorium, the 4th wall completely disintegrated, belief was officially suspended and the audience gleefully participated in the laughter, mockery and ridicule.

That’s about where we are with Trump.

I dunno, maybe this is Paul Ryan’s strategy, just give him enough rope to hang himself. Maybe it will work.

It sure is funny.

It’s appalling and outrageous that the GOP hasn’t pulled him after the 2nd Amendment assassination comment the other day. But I’m betting they’ll abandon him when no one can take him seriously anymore and there’s still more than two months of endless coverage to turn into merciless parody and satire. They’ve got their own campaigns to worry about.

Not sure I would have used the word “army”

It sounds too much like they’re going to go all ISIS on us.

 

Cynically Sussing the Paul Ryan Choice for Romney

“Braaaaains”

On the surface, Romney’s choice of zombie eyed granny starver Paul Ryan as his VP running mate shouldn’t make any sense.  This is the guy who is determined that everyone who isn’t wealthy or well-connected take a severe haircut in services, that we pay for, by the way, so that the wealthy and well-connected never have to pay us back for all the money we let them have in the past 30 years.  If Romney was up against the *old* Democratic party, it would be a piece of cake to shoot this down.

But the fact that Romney even made this choice in the first place indicates something entirely different.  For one thing, the Republicans have been saving their ammunition, and they must have a ton of it, while Obama has been burning through campaign money like a wildfire trying to cripple Romney and he hasn’t gotten much traction.  Obama even threw the tax return issue out there, probably because he felt he had to.  Romney can stonewall that from now until doomsday but the best time to have brought it up would have been just before the election.  What do the Democrats have left?

There must be an advantage to Romney picking Ryan or he wouldn’t have done it. Republicans play to win. I’m going to guess that the deficit hawkery is really important to the GOP to ensure its wealthy base pays nothing in taxes.  But it doesn’t want to necessarily kill the donor as long as there are still organs to harvest.  You don’t want full scale insurrection on your hands. So, choosing Ryan might have been a safer choice. Let’s try to reason this out:

1.) By getting Ryan out of the House, the pressure is off the GOP to actually go through with any severely drastic cut his plan would have provoked the Tea Party lunatics to demand.  The Tea Party won’t be happy until no one gets anything they PREPAID.  It’s a power thing, not a rational objective.  They’ll push the envelope because they can, not because it’s wise or good for the party.  But with Ryan out of their hair, the GOP leadership can claim they now have a power vacuum and who is going to take his place for pushing and whipping like he did?  They will look in vain for a replacement but all of the up-and-comers will fall short of Ryan’s brilliant political skills.  Maybe they won’t be able to get all the way through Atlas Shrugged or they have a nugget of compassion that hasn’t been bred out of them.  Who knows, but for some reason, they’ll be more self-effacing and compliant than Ryan.

2.) By getting Ryan in the VP spot for the election season, the GOP has a twofer: It can run on the deficit issue, which means that it will be all deficits, all the time on TV and in the papers from now until November, AND it can deep six Ryan in the VP position after the election where we will never hear from him again.  The VP spot is where politicians go to die, er, not literally but functionally.  Think about it, how many VPs have gone on to become president after running a successful campaign instead of after some catastrophic event?  I can only think of one in the recent past- George Bush Sr.  So, what Ryan stands for is important to the GOP message machine, but Paul Ryan himself is not so important or they would have left him where he was.

3.) It will force the Democrats to either out deficit hawk the Republicans, driving the election season narrative to the right, or it will give Democrats an opening to defend the American people from additional demands for sacrifice and economy killing cuts in government spending.  Ehhhh, I’m going to guess that the GOP knows Obama really well and anticipates that he will continue to go right.  It’s what he was hired to do.  The bankers want him to get rid of all entitlements so they won’t feel obligated (do they even have feelings of obligation and responsibility?) to discipline themselves and not gorge on more than they can swallow.  If Obama hadn’t come down so hard on the Occupy movement on the bankers’ behalf, he might have something to hide behind- a moral message about how wrong it is to hurt the 99% of us who work hard and play by the rules.  But he did and now he can’t.

All in all, I’d say this was a win for the GOP.  They know their message and propaganda machine is more than adequate to skew the Democrats’ counterpunch in their direction.  Obama has done a lousy job and he can’t run on the things that are really important to the 99%.  If unemployment were not an issue, the deficit problem wouldn’t be a problem, would it?  If more of us were back at work, we wouldn’t be collecting unemployment benefits, we’d be paying our taxes.  But because unemployment was NOT the focus of Obama’s four years in office, he’s not only allowed the little Depression to impoverish people, he’s added to the deficit because revenue has fallen off. Sure, running up a big deficit during a recession/depression is not a bad thing, but you’ve got to have a plan to replace the money you spent someday while jump starting an economic recovery and this is not an argument that Obama has chosen to make.

Krugman, Stiglitz, Romer, and some other economists have tried to convince him to do it in order to put people back to work, but he only wanted to listen to his banker friends and now he’s stuck.  In order to turn this around, he’s got to grow a unibrow and become a FDR style Democrat on steroids.  Cewl, swave and deboner will not cut it, especially when there’s more desperation than commitment behind the nasal stopped Chicago accented delivery.  He had four years, two of them with his party in majority in BOTH houses of Congress, and he wasted them, falling right into the trap the GOP laid and the rest of us anticipated. Republicans wanted to make life so difficult that the only way to make it better would be to apply New Deal strategies, which they would try to oppose.  A skillful politician would have gone bold and big.  Alas, we got Obama.

For a guy who has so many political gifts {{cough, cough}} and plays a mean game of 11-dimensional chess, he should have seen it coming.

************************************

One other thing that should be glaringly obvious: the *presumptive* lineup for both parties will contain…

four men

You know, this is the 21st century and it’s almost like the 20th never even happened when it comes to women.  All of the other countries in the world are at least struggling with their females in government problem.  Here, we act like there is no problem.

Even Pakistan has had a female head of state.  Pakistan.  But here?  Not even on the radar.

I’ve always wondered why women stay in abusive religions where they’re not considered the equal of men.  What’s in it for them?  And why don’t women ask that question of their parties?

Just curious.

************************************

And here’s a blast from the past.  This goes out to Paul Ryan and his buds:

GOP candidate’s debate: live blog

Alright, do we want to live blog this thing?  What is more fascinating?  The stupid things the candidates say or the audience reaction to the stupid things the candidates say?

GoodHair Perry is supposed to be the frontrunner.  Yeah, it doesn’t make sense to me either but then, their side of the aisle exists in a parallel universe.  Let’s listen in, shall we?

Have at it.

Great. Just Great.

I slid down the stairs on Wednesday evening and ended up on one of my toes.  It’s now a lovely shade of magenta and has a sausage like stiffness.  I don’t think it’s broken but running today is going to be a bit of an experiment.

Meanwhile, the lunatics in the Republican party are definitely running the hen house.  I think the party is toying with the concept of self-immolation for sacrificial purposes.  What does it matter if the Republicans are done as a party for a generation?  They’ve managed to pull the Democrats so far right that even if Republicans lose their majority in the House next year, there will be no turning back all of the damage they’ve caused to the economy, worker’s pensions, medicare and social security.  To turn it around would take a strong, committed leader who believed in the power of government to intervene when the unfettered free market takes advantage of the common guy.

But all we have is Obama.

Seriously, Democrats, is that all you’ve got?  Is sticking with this guy so important that you would let the rest of us go up in flames when the Republicans finally flick the match?

I’m not voting for him.  My vote is my own and I’m giving it to someone who will actually fight for me.  Obama ain’t it.  There is nothing you can say to make me change my mind.  Quit playing this “Election by anointment” game.  It’s very undemocratic and I’m not putting up with it.  His performance has been substandard and he does not appear to know what he’s doing.

BTW, just because the Republicans and Charles Krauthammer are calling Obama a failure doesn’t mean we can’t also refer to him as a failure.  In fact, Republicans are probably counting on a knee-jerk reaction from the left to the word “failure”.  The more the Republicans say it, the more the left will deny it and pump out glossy propaganda about Recovery Summer 2.0.  But no one is fooled by this.  Obama *IS* a failure.  You don’t have to be from any political clubhouse to see it.  Denial isn’t going to make him more competent and successful and attacking your lefty critics is not going to change the utter enormity of the failure that Obama is.  If he had just been a mediocre, inexperienced president in another time, then he would have gone down in history as a McKinley or a Cleveland or one of those other presidents no one cares about.  But no, we had to have a mediocre inexperienced president during the worst possible time since 1929.  The guy has no idea how to put government to work to pull us out of this depression/recession.  That’s failure, my lefty friends.  And if you do nothing but let him keep failing for another four years, you condemn us all.  The GOP would never try to talk you out of running Obama again.  They like the way this is all playing out.  Only your friends will tell you the truth.

More “no duh”:

Krugman writes today about the rentiers and how this special interest is manipulating Washington.  Well, that was pretty clear when they bought the 2008 primary for Obama.  No wonder Congress can’t get enough rentier “sugar”.  To the rest of us, it seemed pretty obvious that the rich and powerful were going to take care of themselves to our detriment.   They don’t care about us.  We do not mean anything to them.  They will keep drinking our milkshakes until there’s nothing left.  The only people who care about it are us.  And the only reason we presumably do not have the power to stop the ravenous rentier grasshoppers is because we have a bunch of self-appointed creative class assholes clinging to Obama as if their lives depended on him.

What is more important at this point?  Saving Obama’s ass at all costs or saving the rest of us?  I am not cooperating. Do we look crazy to you guys?  We haven’t got fricking jobs anymore.  Get a new player.  NOW.

Dump him.

Uncle Sam Contracts Frater Magnus to Safeguard his Healthcare Liberty

Lincoln_A

You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not fool all of the people all of the time. – Abraham Lincoln

There’s a sucker born every minute. – P.T. Barnum

BenjaminFranklinWe, the People, are born every minute. The last ten years provides ample evidence about the regularity to which Lincoln alludes.

Geese are but Geese tho’ we may think ’em Swans; and Truth will be Truth tho’ it sometimes prove mortifying and distasteful. – Benjamin Franklin

The Constitution of the United States is like a manual for building a nation of equals before the law. It embodies the wisdom that some people gain power and freedom by stealing the power and freedom of others. It enacts principles to thwart those who conduct such thefts. “Liberty” is a common code word for describing the nation’s promise of power and freedom to its citizens.

Interestingly, the founders were all too aware that the apparatus they made to uphold the liberty of the nation’s citizens, i.e. the government, could also fall under the influence of those who would thieve the liberty of others. Accordingly, citizens must be mindful of what they, and others, ask of their government, while using the government as a tool to promote liberty, and other Constitutional and DOI objectives, and thwart liberty thieves. Unfortunately, some citizens are so focused on defending their liberty from the government that they lose sight of the reason that the government was created, i.e. they lose sight of the enemies of liberty. They are so focussed on the tree, that they lose sight of the forest that is being clearcut all around them. Continue reading