Saturday, April 22, 2017

Here We Are

Here we are at the precipice of a new American Dark Age. 

The Trumpist Republicans are openly and shamelessly suppressing science. They are freezing grants, shutting down NASA climate research, and muzzling the scientific voices of the EPA and other agencies. 


How is this making America great? 


While the economic giveaways flow ever upward to Wall Street and the wealthiest micro-minority, the flood of deception, dishonesty and disinformation from the far Right has reduced our nation to the sad and degrading circumstances that demand a “March for Science”. 


Ignorance is strength in Trumpistan, comrades. Ignorance is the tool of the enemies of democracy, equality and freedom. Ignorance is the ally of the greedy and the swindlers, the weapon of authoritarians in power, and the leverage of polluters. 


Informed and sane Americans must resist and persist against the dark forces of ignorance, avarice and suppression. 


And it is inspiring to see so many of those real Americans, and true patriots, marching and speaking out today. 


They are the kind of Americans who make America great.



“I dream of a world where the truth is what shapes people’s politics, rather than politics shaping what people think is true.” - Neil deGrasse Tyson

Friday, March 24, 2017

Obama 1- Trump 0

Obamacare remains law of the land. Don the Con is America's new biggest loser.

Not an insignificant victory from an out-of-power, foreign Muslim, wire-tapper of Trump Tower, and not to mention "founder of ISIS".


Time to cut taxes for the rich and cut benefits for the poor, de-regulate Wall Street banks to allow more fleecing of the public, and gut environmental regulations to let polluters pollute, because...freedom, ya know. There are some travesties where all Republicans find agreement. 

Monday, March 20, 2017

Make America Smart Again

Restoring sanity, truth, and decency in our country may be just a futile dream now that the Great American Tragedy of Donald Trump is unfolding. But when the dream dies so does our representative democratic republic. 

Ignorance, bigotry, scorn for truth, science, the arts, journalism and a free press are the ugly and cruel operating principles of the authoritarian white nationalists in control of the Executive Branch of our federal government.

Their popularity is sinking into the unprecedented sub-40% approval ratings. They don't care, of course. They have no mandate, and working for the interests of the American people has never been their goal. 

Far Right power has always followed one path, and that always leads to militarism, civil rights abuses, trickle up wealth and stripping our constitutional provision for the general welfare. As the military and law enforcement agencies get more money and power, with less accountability for the latter, public health, safety nets, public services, education, and scientific and medical research are put to the chopping block. 

Freedom and democracy are in a desperate struggle for survival against repressive authoritarian rule. The authoritarian nationalists lie, cheat and steal in order to rob from the poor and reward the rich.

The American people are losing in the one sided conflict between democracy and the authoritarianism of the economic elites. And the authoritarians will demonize anyone who speaks this truth. 

Why is Trump the president of the United States? Orwell knew. "Ignorance is strength".

After the election, astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson told Stephen Colbert, “I think we have a four-year mission now. I think what we need to do, let us together, make America smart again.”

There's no doubt on Sunday March 19th, Tyson was referring to Trump’s proposed cuts to science, the arts, health, education and more in this series of tweets:

The fastest way to Make a America Weak Again: Cut science funds to our agencies that support it.

The fastest way to Make America Sick Again: Cut funding to the National Institutes of Health

The fastest way to Make America Stupid: Cut funds to programs that support education.

The fastest way to thwart Earth's life-support systems for us all: Turn EPA into EDA — the Environmental Destruction Agency.

The fastest way to melt glaciers & flood the World's coastal cities: Ignore scientists and do nothing to stem the rise of CO2

We can all imagine a land that provides no support for Art. But is that a place you’d want to Live? To Visit? To Play?

The very best way to support and feed your delusions: Surround yourself with people whose world views match yours exactly.


We all want to Make America Great Again. But that won't happen until we first Make America Smart Again.

It boils down to this: If more Americans listened to and believed this man over the arrogant evil buffoon in the White House, we may have a slim chance for progress, fairness, equality and sanity.

But then again, since when have those been American values?

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

"Support The Troops", Or "Support Ignorance"?

Dear Leader says climate change is a Chinese hoax. It is a blatant lie, of course, but that means nothing to con-servatives.

The Orange Savior’s con-servative cult followers, and practically the entire Republican Party, join him in his denial of climate science.

Now we have science denier, and shill for Big Oil, Scott Pruitt in control of the EPA, the same agency he sued on behalf of oil companies. That should work out swell.

There’s an interesting quirk in the far-Right’s demented rejection of science. They revere the military to the point of worship, yet the Pentagon openly disagrees with their delusional anti-science ideology.

Obviously they revere and worship Big Oil PR even more than the military. And apparently they believe Dear Leader, and their cult indoctrination, over Secretary of Defense James Mattis.

In written answers to questions from Democratic members of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Mattis said, “Climate change is impacting stability in areas of the world where our troops are operating today. It is appropriate for the Combatant Commands to incorporate drivers of instability that impact the security environment in their areas into their planning.”

From Pro Publica:

Trump’s Defense Secretary Cites Climate Change as National Security Challenge 

Here are two of the climate questions from Sen. Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire, with Mattis’ replies:

Shaheen: “I understand that while you were commander of U.S. Joint Forces Command you signed off on a document called the Joint Operating Environment, which listed climate change as one of the security threats the military will face in the next quarter-century. Do you believe climate change is a security threat?”

Mattis: “Climate change can be a driver of instability and the Department of Defense must pay attention to potential adverse impacts generated by this phenomenon.”

Shaheen: “General Mattis, how should the military prepare to address this threat?”

Mattis: “As I noted above, climate change is a challenge that requires a broader, whole-of government response. If confirmed, I will ensure that the Department of Defense plays its appropriate role within such a response by addressing national security aspects.”

In a reply to another question, Mattis said:

“I agree that the effects of a changing climate — such as increased maritime access to the Arctic, rising sea levels, desertification, among others — impact our security situation. I will ensure that the department continues to be prepared to conduct operations today and in the future, and that we are prepared to address the effects of a changing climate on our threat assessments, resources, and readiness.”

Not only does the Cult of Conservatism reject science and the truth, but they reject the assessments of their precious military as well. 

If there was any doubt where their loyalty truly lies, it is dispelled now.

Capitalism is their god and corporations are their prophets.


The Cult of Con-servatism's open willful ignorance and disagreement with our own military tells us something deeper. So much for their “Support the Troops” BS. Most of their “Support the Troops” bleating means “support war”, just like liberals have asserted all along.

Cons clearly support ignorance more than they "support the troops". 

That should also work out swell.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Historic Words Of Our Great Leader

In these trying days of making America great again, working out ways to strip Americans of health care, padding the wallets of insurance company CEOs, de-regulating Wall Street, and letting polluters go unchecked, let's pause for reflection and inspiration. 

Let's once again share the timeless wisdom from the "only one" who can do it all. 

I invite you to pop a tic-tac, and bask in the words of our great leader and conservative nationalist savior. (Not to mention role model for our children.)

“I did try and fuck her. She was married.

I moved on her like a bitch, but I couldn’t get there.

And she was married.

You know I’m automatically attracted to beautiful.

I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss.

I don’t even wait.

You can do anything…Grab them by the pussy.

You can do anything.”


- The President of the United States of America

This is the eternal message America chose to pass on to our descendants. 

Rules for basic human decency are for losers.

Don't try this at home. It's OK ONLY if you are Republican.

 The Trump Regime has a message too. 

We know Kellyanne "Buy Ivanka" Conway violated ethics rules.

Don't expect any consequences for that. 

In fact the Trumpists have declared they don't need to follow "many" damn ethics rules. And they don't have to tell us why.

"We note initially that although many regulations promulgated by the Office of Government Ethics ("OGE") do not apply to employees of the Executive Office of the President..."

The Office of Government Ethics director Walter Shaub is calling out the arrogant authoritarian assholes.


U.S. Ethics Official To White House: No, These Rules Definitely Apply To You

The Office of Government Ethics has informed the Trump administration that the White House has an "incorrect" view of ethics laws.

In a Thursday letter, OGE director Walter Shaub contradicted what he called the White House's "extraordinary assertion," made in a recent letter, that "many regulations promulgated by the Office of Government Ethics ('OGE') do not apply to employees of the Executive Office of the President." 

Shaub was having no part of that: "The assertion is incorrect, and the letter cites no legal basis for it."

Ethics are for losers.


Thursday, March 2, 2017

What's That Smell?

On behalf of the American people, I'd just like to say this.

Thanks a lot, Vlad.

First came Dear Leader’s open invitation to Russia to hack Hillary and side with him in the election. That began with the famous words, "Russia, if you're listening..."

Apparently they were.

We recall Trump had praised Putin for being a "better leader" than President Obama. I guess killing critics is a sign of good leadership to our Dear Leader. 

That’s comforting.

Then Trumpist Paul Manifort had his ties to Russia that included working for the pro-Russian former president of Ukraine, Viktor Yanukovych.

Next General Mike “Kremlin Boy” Flynn, Trump’s appointee for national security adviser, had to resign over his dirty dealings with Russia.

Is something is starting to smell here?

We recall Flynn tweeted the viscous far Right fake news about a pizza place serving as a Hillary “sex crime” location.

Edgar Maddison Welch, from Salisbury, North Carolina, entered the Comet Ping Pong restaurant with what police described as an assault rifle. There were conflicting reports of gunshots.

The restaurant had been the subject of death threats from radical Christian terrorists for Trump.

Ooops. Dear Leader has declared only Muslims can be terrorists.  Never mind.

And thank you for your "service", Flynn. You're a real hero. Have a slice of pizza. You earned it.

Then comes our top law enforcement officer Attorney General Jefferson Beauregard Sessions meeting with a known Russian spy in September, while KNOWING Russian interference in our election was being investigated.

Now we learn Sessions lied under oath to a Senate committee saying, “I didn't have — did not have communications with the Russians, and I'm unable to comment on it”.

Something definitely smells now.

What next? Good question.

Better add this bit about Donald Trump Jr. meeting with a pro-Russia group.

Three weeks before Election Day, Donald Trump Jr. left the campaign trail and the country to speak at a private dinner in Paris organized by an obscure pro-Russia group that promotes Kremlin foreign policy initiatives and has since nominated Russian President Vladimir Putin for the Nobel Peace Prize.

A key organizer of the event later told reporters she flew to Moscow to brief a senior Russian official about the session.

The White House referred question about the president’s son to the Trump Organization. A spokeswoman for the Trump business did not respond to questions from ABC News about why Donald Trump Jr. flew to France for the session during a critical phase of the presidential campaign, who arranged for him to attend, whether he was paid, what was discussed or if anyone vetted the group before he went.

The group sponsoring the session, the Center of Political and Foreign Affairs (CPFA), was founded by a wealthy French businessman and his partner, who are reported to have made major investments in Russia.

They are openly linked with the Russians,” said Renaud Girard, a French opinion writer who served as the moderator of the session Trump attended. “They don’t hide it at all.”


And finally, or worse yet, not finally, there’s this news:

Michael T. Flynn, then Donald J. Trump’s incoming national security adviser, had a previously undisclosed meeting with the Russian ambassador in December to “establish a line of communication” between the new administration and the Russian government, the White House said on Thursday.


Jared Kushner, Mr. Trump’s son-in-law and now a senior adviser, also participated in the meeting at Trump Tower with Mr. Flynn and Sergey I. Kislyak, the Russian ambassador.

I knew I smelled cooked beets!

Wake up and smell the borscht, Komrads.

***UPDATE***

(Just a reminder: The platform written at the GOP convention in Cleveland eliminated references to arming Ukraine in its fight with Russia.)

Hmm.

Exclusive: Two other Trump advisers also spoke with Russian envoy during GOP convention

Attorney General Jeff Sessions is not the only member of President Trump’s campaign who spoke to Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak at a diplomacy conference connected to the Republican National Convention in July. At least two more members of the Trump campaign’s national security officials also spoke with Kislyak at the event, and several more Trump national security advisers were in attendance.

===

Trump’s son-in-law also met with the Russian spy.

Kushner and Flynn Met With Russian Envoy in December, White House Says

WASHINGTON — Michael T. Flynn, then Donald J. Trump’s incoming national security adviser, had a previously undisclosed meeting with the Russian ambassador in December to “establish a line of communication” between the new administration and the Russian government, the White House said on Thursday.

Jared Kushner, Mr. Trump’s son-in-law and now a senior adviser, also participated in the meeting at Trump Tower with Mr. Flynn and Sergey I. Kislyak, the Russian ambassador.

===

Just pass me the vodka.


Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Vision Of Greatness

Trump has spoken and America beheld his splendid vision of greatness...all arrayed upon Dear Leader’s glorious vague promises.

We got what we expected in Dear Leader’s speech to Congress tonight.

We saw him pointing his finger at Democrats, blaming them for everything wrong with America. He glowered at them for not following his agenda, and promised he could fix every major problem we face if Democrats would just join together with him.

The usual “depleted military” will get more money...and win wars. Drugs and crime and chaos were invoked. Law and order is coming. Cops and law enforcement got special praise.

A grieving military widow and crime victims were the best props, of course.

Trump proceeded to show us just how much he really sympathizes with crime victims. Well, special crime victims anyway.

Trump has decreed a Homeland Security Office called V.O.I.C.E. for Victims Of Immigration Crime Encounters. Very compassionate, at least to his special few prop victims. Immigrant victims shot by Right Wing nuts, not so much. 

To balance that, he wants no further terror-related investigations of Right Wing extremists. 

He fixed that problem real fast didn't he? From now on only Muslims are terrorists. Got it?

Before Trump’s address I stated, "Trump will parade victims of immigrant crime tonight. Will he mention the hate crime murder in Kansas? He should, but I highly doubt it. He always speaks to his base, and his baseness."

I was correct on the first and last points.

It was good to hear him address the Kansas murder.

“Recent threats targeting Jewish Community Centers and vandalism of Jewish cemeteries, as well as last week’s shooting in Kansas City, remind us that while we may be a nation divided on policies, we are a country that stands united in condemning hate and evil in all its forms."

Very good. I wonder what prompted him to do the right thing for a change? A FreePress perhaps?

Trump had come under criticism for not being more forceful in denouncing a wave of anti-Semitic incidents and other hate incidents since his election. Although a White House spokesman released a statement on Tuesday denouncing the Kansas shooting, the Kansas City Star called for Trump to address the attack personally.

“During such moments of crisis, people look to the president for strength and guidance,” the newspaper’s editorial board wrote on Monday. “They need to hear their moral outrage articulated, the condemnation of a possible hate crime and the affirmation that the U.S. values everyone’s contributions, whether you’re an immigrant or native-born.”


Journalism can be a call to conscience. No wonder Republicans hate it.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Dear Leader Is Right

First they called the media the "opposition party", and told them to "keep their mouth shut".

Today it is the "enemy of the American people."

The White House once again festers with fascism, and the tyranny that sees journalism and a free press as threats to their power and message.

The Right has never forgotten or forgiven  journalism, since Watergate took Nixon down.

"Liberal media" is a term invented by the Right. The phrase is in itself the biased opinion of the Right.

Yes, there is "liberal media" like The Nation and Mother Jones. They do not have a corporate bias. They are reality based. This is why Colbert said reality has a "well known liberal bias". Funny 'cause it's true.

There is Con-servative media from talk radio, to FOX, to Murdoch's print empire, and of course Kommisar Bannon's Breitbart, our White House propaganda ministry. They serve as propagandists for the Alt-Right, white nationalists, and Republican Party. They are not reality based.

The mainstream media is corporate owned. It is not liberal. It is corporate, with a corporate agenda and corporate bias. Sometimes they are reality based. Other times they pander to government or corporate interests. They are capitalists, not socialists.

Low information, or indoctrinated, people cannot understand or accept these facts. To that degree the duplicity is a victory for the Right.

Now a fascist tells us media is the "enemy of the American people". Yes, the same corporate media that made the asshole into a celebrity.


Ironically Dear Leader is right, just not as he sees it.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Wonderful Idea, Isn't It?

General “Putin Pal” Flynn has been exposed. He resigned, not because of what he did, not because the White House didn’t know, but because someone was patriotic enough to inform the public and report the truth.

And truth is the enemy of our authoritarian leadership. The Trumpists are scrambling, not to expose the Russian interference in our election, but to squash anyone exposing their sordid actions.

It's a good thing we have a few patriots in the FBI and intelligence agencies who understand they serve all Americans, not just the Trumpists. They will be targets. Trump fired Acting Attorney General Sally Yates for daring to speak truth to his abuse of power.

Our Dear Leader, Putin’s Puppet, had no problem with his campaign illegally negotiating with Russians. He openly invited Russia to hack against Hillary. It was no joke. “I don’t kid” declared Dear Leader recently.

The Great American Tragedy has become a supreme Russian victory. Putin won the election. Comey won the election. What happens when a dictator and a powerful head of law enforcement collude in the acquisition of political power for a narcissistic authoritarian?

Police states happen.

If not for some patriotic civil servants, the Trumpists would be getting away with more underhanded tactics.

The far Right authoritarians of the GOP,(Most Republicans) are in lock-step loyalty to their Dear Leader. They will follow to the bitter end. Their bunker awaits.

Rand Paul has his priorities. “I just don’t think it’s useful to be doing investigation after investigation, particularly of your own party...Republicans investigate Republicans. I think it makes no sense.”

Investigations are for Democrats. We get it.

Jason Chaffetz, the chair of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, understands. He was ready for President Hillary Clinton.

“It’s a target-rich environment. Even before we get to Day One, we’ve got two years’ worth of material already lined up.”.

Why bother to investigate the weasel Flynn’s treachery? Chaffetz said the matter “was taking care of itself”

This is the time for John McCain and any other Republican with a basic sense of human decency, to step up and voice their outrage over this ongoing Great American Tragedy.

Having one wacko "pizzagate" conspiracy nut gone is a good thing. Too bad his former emotionally unstable boss is still a follower of Alex Jones.

But fear not, Dear Leader is a "man of the people". His cabinet of Exxon/Mobile, by Goldman Sachs, and for the Kochs is cranking up to speed. And his racist run Justice Department prepares to target minority voting rights, dissent, and any opponent of Dear Leader.

Comey and Putin have decided on our presidency. Their interference and political manipulations, along with the antiquated electoral college have crushed the will of the people. This is how America will be great, right?

The Klan cheers. Authoritarian con-servatives gloat. Formerly reasonable people say, "Let's give him a chance".

Wonderful idea, isn't it? Yes, let's give Putin, Bannon, and Alex Jones a shot at determining the course of our nation.

How can anybody NOT think that a corrupt cartel of authoritarian liars, white nationalists, Putin toadies, and corporate elites will make America great?

Welcome to Trumpistan.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

The Right's War On Truth

Before linking to articles examining the history of the Right’s war on truth, I offer these introductory remarks.
==
Traditional American conservatism has been transformed into a radical Right "Movement Conservatism" (con-servatism), and has gone from pledging to support and defend the Constitution, to pledging to support and defend the wealth of the elites.

The radical Right MUST LIE, because they represent a powerful and wealthy anti-democracy minority bent on one-party rule. They serve that political power, and their god called the “Free Market”. Their god has no conscience, no morals, and no regard for our air, water and planet.

Slavery and child labor were once in service to their Free Market God, just as science denial, environmental degradation, union busting, and opposition to minimum wage and job safety standards are today.

This is the unspoken truth in both our culture and corporate/government complex.

We who seek and share the truth now find we are out on the "Reality Fringe". It is the place not to be recognized, to be dismissed by the corporate media, ownership class, and extremist political culture.

Con-servatism is based on beliefs focused on self interest, but over-proportionally benefiting the economic elites, all under the banner of their false god.

Progressivism is based on facts and reason, focused on the common good.

While we reject their beliefs, they reject facts and reason. 'Twas ever thus.

==

In “1984” Orwell said, "Ignorance is strength". Electing a man who claims climate change is a Chinese hoax makes the case. We needn't continue down the long list of ignorant statements.

Americans have been long conditioned to revere wealth, and view the wealthy as morally and intellectually superior to the general population.

Remember when "personal responsibility" was the value conservatives claimed as their own? 

That went out their "Overton window" when they embraced alternative facts.

Personal responsibility doesn't apply to our new con-servative authoritarian leader. "When you're a star, they let you get away with it". This boast of sexual assault is from the "law and order" candidate. We know just who "law and order" applies to, don't we?

==

The “Big Lie” wins again.

The voices from the far Right insist newspapers and broadcast media (AKA “Liberal media”) are "cheering sections for the most progressive elements of government".

They will ignore certain facts though. Today's corporate news media are owned by a small number of corporations. A very large share of it is owned by Murdoch’s Right Wing News Corp; Fox News, Wall Street Journal, etc.

"Liberal media" is the far Right's highly misleading propaganda term for corporate media. Unlike in the past, the news divisions are used for profit generation. Much has changed from the public service requirement of airwaves and print news.

Corporate media serve their bottom line, not liberal ideology. Their bias is always in favor of their corporate owners and advertisers.

Always.

They support the status quo because the status quo supports them.

Always.

Corporate media run stories the Right doesn’t like, so it is accused of bias against them. They ignore the fact the same corporate media virtually parroted Bush and Cheney’s Saddam/al-Qaeda ties, “nukular” aluminum tubes, and “biological labs” lies as news.

The radical Right’s war on truth is now getting dangerous for the entire world.

The Pentagon knows climate change is real. Why do Republicans disagree with both the scientific consensus and Pentagon on what is real?

How can that be sane, let alone reasonable?

They are rewarded by Big Oil and the Kochs to reject reason and science, and to deny climate change. Then they project unto science their own obvious “political agenda”.

This corruption is a threat to the nation, humanity and the planet.

Their lack of intellectual honesty clearly disqualifies them to lead any country.

The truth offers no comfort. The lies wrap it up and put them at ease. No more thinking about what they don't want to know.

====

From:

“Secrets of conservatives’ decades-long war on truth

Deep on page 546 of his 1,839-page budget, Wisconsin’s Governor Scott Walker tucked in a crucial idea. He proposed to strip a principle from the mission statement of the University of Wisconsin, a school that attracts students from all over the nation and from 131 foreign countries. From the core philosophy that has driven the university since the turn of the last century Walker wanted to hack out the words: “Basic to every purpose of the system is the search for truth.” Rather than serving the people of the state by developing intellectual, cultural and humane sensitivities, expertise, and “a sense of purpose,” Walker prefers that the state university simply “meet the state’s workforce needs.” In the face of scathing criticism, the governor backtracked and, despite a trail of emails that led to his office, tried to claim the new language was a “drafting error.”

But Walker’s attempt to replace the search for truth with workforce training was no error. Since the earliest days of Movement Conservatism in the 1950s, its leaders have understood that the movement’s success depends on destroying Americans’ faith in the academic search for truth. For two generations, Movement Conservatives have subverted American politics, with increasing success, by explicitly rejecting the principle of open debate based in reasoned argument. They have refused to engage with facts and instead simply demonized anyone who disagrees with their ideology. This is an astonishing position. It is an attack on the Enlightenment principles that gave rise to Western civilization.


Make no mistake: the attack is deliberate.


... After an economic free-for-all of the 1920s that had pitched the nation into the Great Depression, Americans embraced the government regulation that reined in shady business dealings and protected workers. How could businessmen make inroads against such a popular program?


In 1951, a young William F. Buckley, Jr. articulated a strategy for opposing the consensus that supported New Deal policies. Buckley’s “God and Man at Yale: The Superstitions of ‘Academic Freedom’” was a sophomoric diatribe by the Catholic son of a wealthy oil magnate, published by the small right-wing Henry Regnery Press. In it, Buckley rejected the principles that had enabled social progress for centuries and laid out a mind-boggling premise: The Enlightenment, the intellectual basis of Western Civilization, was wrong.

Rational argument supported by facts did not lead to sound societal decisions, Buckley claimed; it led people astray...

...When Governor Walker replaced “the search for truth” with “meet the state’s workforce needs” in the charge to the University of Wisconsin, he did not make an error. He was articulating the principle that has driven Movement Conservatives since their earliest days: Facts and arguments can only lead Americans toward a government that regulates business and supports working Americans, and they must be squelched.



====

 And more recently we have a piece by conservative talk radio host Charles Sykes, admitting what went wrong.


He recalls Trump’s campaign surrogate Scottie Nell Hughes saying, There’s no such thing, unfortunately, anymore as facts.” (Well, besides “alternative facts”.)
====


From “Why Nobody Cares the President Is Lying”:

Mr. Trump understands that attacking the media is the reddest of meat for his base, which has been conditioned to reject reporting from news sites outside of the conservative media ecosystem.

For years, as a conservative radio talk show host, I played a role in that conditioning by hammering the mainstream media for its bias and double standards. But the price turned out to be far higher than I imagined. The cumulative effect of the attacks was to delegitimize those outlets and essentially destroy much of the right’s immunity to false information. We thought we were creating a savvier, more skeptical audience. Instead, we opened the door for President Trump, who found an audience that could be easily misled. 

====


Amen.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Warning Signs

As Dear Leader announced his discriminatory ban against Muslims and avoided mentioning Jews on Holocaust Remembrance Day, we should pause and examine the history of such behavior.  

Let’s have a look at the poster hanging in the US Holocaust Museum listing the early warning signs of fascism:

EARLY WARNING SIGNS OF FASCISM

1. Powerful and continuing nationalism
2. Disdain for human rights
3. Identification of enemies as a unifying cause
4. Rampant sexism
5. Controlled mass media
6. Obsession with national security
7. Religion and government intertwined
8. Corporate power protected
9. Labor power suppressed
10. Disdain for intellectuals and the arts
11. Obsession with crime and punishment
12. Rampant cronyism and corruption

Looks like the agenda of the Bannon/Trump White House.

In other news, Trump’s nominee for the Supreme Court joked in his yearbook that he founded and led "Fascism Forever Club" to rally against the "left-wing tendencies" of his professors while attending a Jesuit all-boys preparatory high school.

“Left wing” Jesuit teachers? Right. Just like the "liberal media".


If allowed on the stolen seat on the Supreme Court he’ll get to promote Dear Leader's version of the real thing.

Addendum:

 1. Powerful and continuing nationalism

“America first. America first.” "When you hear about the tough phone calls I'm having, don't worry about it. Just don't worry about it. They're tough. We have to be tough. It's time we're going to be a little tough, folks. We're taken advantage of by every nation in the world, virtually. It's not going to happen anymore. It's not going to happen anymore." - Trump  "I'm not a white nationalist, I'm a nationalist," - Commissar Bannon

2. Disdain for human rights

“Torture absolutely works”. Trump calls for 'hell of a lot worse than waterboarding' ... "I would bring back waterboarding," - Trump 

3. Identification of enemies as a unifying cause

Mexicans, Muslims, and Media, Oh my.

4. Rampant sexism

"Tic Tac" Donny "The Pussy Grabber" Trump. Commissar Bannon was arrested for grabbing his wife by the throat.  

5. Controlled mass media

“Suing the press for libel”. Only “Alternative facts” from FOX and Breitbart are to be trusted. “The media should be embarrassed and humiliated and keep its mouth shut and just listen for a while. I want you to quote this. The media here is the opposition party.” – Commissar Bannon

6. Obsession with national security

"Our decimated military". "We never win anymore".

7. Religion and government intertwined

Trump vows to “totally destroy” restrictions on churches’ support of candidates

8.Corporate power protected

 In a 52 to 47 vote, the Senate approved a resolution already passed by the House of Representatives that wipes from the books a rule requiring companies such as Exxon Mobil and Chevron Corp to publicly state the taxes and other fees they pay to foreign governments. Tax cuts to follow. We now have a cabinet of Exxon/Moblie, by Goldman Sachs, and for the Kochs.
 
9. Labor power suppressed

Trump launches war on unions: First, Trump blasted an Indiana union boss personally on Twitter, prompting a blistering response from labor leaders. Then he announced his choice for secretary of the Department of Labor is fast-food executive Andrew Puzder, an outspoken union opponent.

10. Disdain for intellectuals and the arts

Exhibit A: Suppression of climate science. 

Exhibit B: "The Theater must always be a safe and special place. The cast of Hamilton was very rude last night to a very good man, Mike Pence. Apologize!, The cast and producers of Hamilton, which I hear is highly overrated, should immediately apologize to Mike Pence for their terrible behavior.”

11. Obsession with crime and punishment

“I am the Law and Order candidate”.  “Stop and frisk” and more militarization of police are his agenda. Threatens to “send in the feds”, militarizing law enforcement in Chicago.

12. Rampant cronyism and corruption

Corporate billionaires in the cabinet. Ivanka in meetings with heads of state. Son in law as advisor.

The Many Scandals of Donald Trump: A Cheat Sheet

Sexual-Assault Allegations
The Beauty Pageant Scandals 
Racial Housing Discrimination  
Mafia Ties  
Trump University  
Tenant Intimidation  
The Four Bankruptcies  
The Undocumented Polish Workers  
Alleged Marital Rape  
Breaking Casino Rules  
Antitrust Violations  
Condo Hotel Shenanigans  
Suing Journalist Tim O’Brien for Libel 
Refusing to Pay Workers and Contractors
Undocumented Models
The Trump Foundation

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Freedom And Suppression Of Freedom

Trump’s Press Secretary Sean Spicer hit the ground running, quickly emulating the Orwellian Ministry of Truth in “1984”. 

Not that it’s an issue of importance, just Trump’s ego, that his hands are much smaller... I mean his inauguration crowd was much smaller than Obama’s. 

The Ministry of Truth had to provide “alternative facts”, in Kellyanne Conway’s words, about the inauguration crowd.

They’re jealous and upset that the number of protesters AFTER the inauguration was far larger than the pro-Trump crowd.

The national and global protests were massive. They represent "the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

As with minority rights to vote, this freedom is a threat to Trump and his Republican rulers.

Suppressing the truth along with the constitutional right to vote are not the Republicans’ only tactics against the remnants of a free republic.

As I previously noted, dissent will be suppressed and viciously attacked. 

Republicans are leading the assault for their Dear Leader already. Their assault on constitutional free speech is under way.

Our First Amendment rights are in their crosshairs.

Republican Lawmakers in Five States Propose Bills to Criminalize Peaceful Protest.

They even go so far as to virtually give free license to kill protesters by running them over.

And we thought Bush’s fenced off “Free Speech Zones” were bad.

Of course no fascist regime, and Republican Party tyranny, is complete without suppressing and demonizing a free press.

Channeling his inner Goebbels, Spicer said, “There's been a lot of talk in the media about the responsibility to hold Donald Trump accountable.  And I'm here to tell you that it goes two ways.  We're going to hold the press accountable, as well.”

Nein, Herr Reichsminister!

It does NOT go “two ways” in a free country.  It does NOT go “two ways” under our Constitution's First Amendment in the Bill of Rights. A free press is NOT accountable to government.

Journalism is always the enemy of tyranny, and the Republican Trump Cult is no exception.

The far Right’s dogma and demonization of “liberal media” reflects the same scorn for a free press as the Nazi’s term “Lügenpresse” (lying press).

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The ugly history of ‘Lügenpresse,’ a Nazi slur shouted at a Trump rally

Critics of Adolf Hitler's regime were frequently referred to as members of the “Lügenpresse apparatus.”... “Lügenpresse” (lying press) was an important component under propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels.

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We recall the post-Trump-victory celebration by leading ideologue of the alt-right movement Richard B. Spencer, where he said, “Perhaps we should refer to them in the original German?”

The audience immediately screamed back, “Lügenpresse,” reviving a Nazi-era word that means “lying press.”

Mr. Spencer suggested that the news media had been critical of Mr. Trump throughout the campaign in order to protect Jewish interests.

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Dear Leader himself is only too happy to lead the charge against our Constitutional free press.

Even the libertarian Cato Institute understands:

From “Trump’s Dangerous War on Press Freedom”:
By Nat Hentoff and Nick Hentoff

Trump’s outrageous attacks are only the latest assault in a war on press freedom he has waged throughout his campaign, and which he told a journalist at the press conference he intends to carry on into the White House.

At his rallies, Trump has frequently belittled journalists, whom he keeps restricted to a small fenced pen. He’s called reporters “liars,” low-lifes” and “dishonest scum,” as he singles them out for ridicule before the jeering crowd.

“We’re going to open up libel laws and we’re going to have people sue you like you’ve never got sued before,” Trump told journalists at one rally, promising to punish the publication of “purposely negative stories.”

“Donald Trump misunderstands — or, more likely, simply opposes — the role a free press plays in a democratic society,” said Thomas Burr, the National Press Club president. “Reporters are supposed to hold public figures accountable. Any American political candidate who attacks the press for doing its job is campaigning in the wrong country. In the United States, under our Constitution, a free press is a check on politicians of all parties.

“If we are to demand that other countries respect the tradition of a free press, we must also practice that here at home.”

But don’t expect any such demands from Trump if he’s elected president.

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No worries. Trump is eagerly fulfilling his expected role in America’s Last Great Tragedy.