Tuesday, October 31, 2017

The Real "Empty Barrel"

So much for honor and service.

Former general John Kelly supported his Orange Authoritarian leader’s botched consolation call, and the lies about it, to a woman who lost her husband while serving in Niger. Kelly’s subsequent attack on the military widow and her friend Congresswoman Wilson was the same far Right tactic of accusation, tinged with racism, for all who dare call out their lies.

Kelly claimed Congresswoman Wilson "stood up, and in a long tradition of empty barrels making the most noise, stood up there in all of that and talked about how she was instrumental in getting the funding for that building." 

This is a lie, proven by video of the event in question. Right wing assholes don’t need no facts. This has always been true. Why should they worry about facts if they get in the way of their hate, greed and agenda for power?

Kelly was so filled with hate for the uppity Black woman, he repeated,  "even for someone that is that empty a barrel, we were stunned." Aww. Poor wittow stunned asshole.

Kelly told Fox News he used the phrase to eloquently "call people liars." This is the vile projection we see all the time from the radical far Right.

Proven liar John “Empty Barrel” Kelly refuses to admit to the lie and refuses to apologize.  He is a disgrace to not only the country and Constitution, but to basic human decency. No wonder he fits in so well with the Kremlin approved Trump Cartel. 

John “Empty Barrel” Kelly had more to add to his dishonorable vile character. “I would tell you that Robert E. Lee was an honorable man.”

Yes, for defending slavery and treasonously killing thousands of American soldiers. You can bet every goddamned white racist is totally on board with him.

So much for “supporting" the US military. Let’s add ‘hypocrite” to “liar” and “asshole”, to bestow upon the far Right authoritarian John “Empty Barrel” Kelly.

Empty Barrel expanded on his ignorance by saying, “He was a man that gave up his country to fight for his state, which, 150 years ago, was more important than country. It was always loyalty to state first back in those days. Now it’s different today. But the lack of an ability to compromise led to the Civil War. And men and women of good faith on both sides made their stand where their conscience had to make their stand.”

More BS. The Revolution was fought for United States independence, not for individual state sovereignty.

His, “men and women of good faith on both sides” echoes his beloved Fuhrer’s praise for white racists marching with Nazis in Charlottesville.

Empty Barrel showed more stupidity with, “...the lack of an ability to compromise led to the Civil War”.

Oh, really? This from a far Right jerk from a party that refuses to compromise? What an ignorant asshole. (Pardon me if that term becomes redundant. I’m open to any other descriptor that would be more accurate.)

The Compromise of 1850, allowed the South to implement slavery in new U.S. territories gained during the Mexican-American War.

Author Ta-Nehisi Coates  tweeted, “...it’s called The three fifths compromise for a reason”, referring to the constitutional provision that increased representation for slave states in the House of Representatives in 1787.

Coates added, “But it doesn’t stand alone,  “Missouri Compromise. Kansas-Nebraska Act.”

He later tweeted there was also the Compromise of 1877, which further disenfranchised black people once federal troops withdrew from Southern states.

Coates summed it up with, “Shocking that someone charged with defending their country, in some profound way, does not comprehend the country they claim to defend.”

I would say this now applies to the vast majority of the morally bankrupt Party Of Trump. 

John “Empty Barrel” Kelly is a viper, who fits in perfectly with the snake pit that infects our White House.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Profiles In (Relative) Courage

In case nobody noticed, I disagree with Republicans almost all the time.

They are generally wrong-headed, war mongering, authoritarian, democracy suppressing, corporate shills, as well as hypocritical Christian servants of mammon. Like their Dear Leader, many of them have employed disinformation, anger and resentment as a means to gain and hold power. They run a good scam in fooling Americans. They have duped many good Americans into thinking they share their values and represent the little guy.

They don’t.

Gullible conservative Americans take them at their word. 

Republicans are in power primarily to serve banks and corporate interests, cut taxes for the rich, deregulate polluters, suppress climate science, undermine public education, delegitimize our free press, and cut safety net benefits for the poor. Their actions speak louder than their words. Vice President Mike Pence cast a tie-breaking vote, killing a regulation that allowed consumers to bring class action lawsuits against banks and credit card companies.

Lucky for them most Americans pay less attention to their actions than to their “values” rhetoric.

Despite all that, some of them are showing signs of human decency and respect for truth. They have been speaking out against the incompetent, authoritarian, racist, liar in the White House. Although the fact they are not up for re-election next year does detract from their demonstrating a higher level of courage. Kudos to Sasse for speaking some truth about Trump before last year’s election.

While I have little use for their words, I sincerely hope the shamefully few voices in the Republican Wilderness resonate with our fellow Americans. Sadly, far too many are brainwashed by the propaganda of FOX(R), Breitbart, Hate Radio, and their ilk.

So today I’m letting the Republicans with relative courage take the greater share of my post.

If that isn’t “fair and balanced”, what is?


Senator Bob Corker:

 The President has not yet been able to demonstrate the stability nor some of the competence that he needs to demonstrate in order to be successful... He concerns me. He would have to concern anyone who cares about our nation...It’s a shame the White House has become an adult day care center. Someone obviously missed their shift this morning.

I think Secretary Tillerson, Secretary Mattis, and Chief of Staff Kelly are those people that help separate our country from chaos, and I support them very much."

(Since this comment, John “Empty Barrel” Kelly has shown his Trumpian colors by dishonestly attacking a female Black representative who was supporting a gold star widow.)


Republican Senator Ben Sasse:

I can’t support someone that I don’t think would take the oath of office in good faith.

Mr. Trump’s relentless focus is on dividing Americans, and on tearing down rather than building back up this glorious nation. 

Trump whined, “With all of the Fake News coming out of NBC and the Networks, at what point is it appropriate to challenge their License? Bad for country!... Network news has become so partisan, distorted and fake that licenses must be challenged and, if appropriate, revoked. Not fair to public!”

In response, Sasse noted:

Mr. President: Words spoken by the President of the United States matter...Are you recanting of the Oath you took on Jan. 20 to preserve, protect, and defend the 1st Amendment?...
Question for conservatives: What will you wish you had said now if someday a President Elizabeth Warren talks about censoring Fox News?...Please just stop, This isn’t normal and it’s beneath the dignity of your office. 

(While Sasse’s point is solid, the Party of Trump has been attacking journalists and demonizing our free press for decades. IOKIYAR, after all.)


Senator Jeff Flake:

...And there are times when we must risk our careers in favor of our principles.

Now is such a time.

It must also be said that I rise today with no small measure of regret. Regret, because of the state of our disunion, regret because of the disrepair and destructiveness of our politics, regret because of the indecency of our discourse, regret because of the coarseness of our leadership, regret for the compromise of our moral authority, and by our -- all of our -- complicity in this alarming and dangerous state of affairs. It is time for our complicity and our accommodation of the unacceptable to end.

We must never regard as "normal" the regular and casual undermining of our democratic norms and ideals. We must never meekly accept the daily sundering of our country - the personal attacks, the threats against principles, freedoms, and institutions, the flagrant disregard for truth or decency, the reckless provocations, most often for the pettiest and most personal reasons, reasons having nothing whatsoever to do with the fortunes of the people that we have all been elected to serve.

Reckless, outrageous, and undignified behavior has become excused and countenanced as "telling it like it is," when it is actually just reckless, outrageous, and undignified.

And when such behavior emanates from the top of our government, it is something else: It is dangerous to a democracy. Such behavior does not project strength -- because our strength comes from our values. It instead projects a corruption of the spirit, and weakness.

It is often said that children are watching. Well, they are. And what are we going to do about that? When the next generation asks us, Why didn't you do something? Why didn't you speak up? -- what are we going to say?

Mr. President, I rise today to say: Enough. .. I have children and grandchildren to answer to, and so, Mr. President, I will not be complicit.

(Noble words. “We must never regard as "normal" the regular and casual undermining of our democratic norms and ideals.” 

The Party of Trump has been waging all out war on voter rights, by purging qualified voters and hindering registration and poll access. 

The Party of Trump obstructed the Black President’s Constitutional duty to replace a Supreme Court justice. 

The case Gill v. Whitford is focused on Wisconsin, where in 2012 The Party of Trump won just 48.6 percent of the statewide vote, but captured 60 out of 99 seats in the state assembly.

The Party of Trump has made corporations super “persons”, bestowing them political power, by leveraging their corrupting wealth as protected free speech. 

We just don’t have time for the long list of Republican actions taken to undermine our democratic norms and ideals.)


Senator John McCain:

My friends: In the four decades I have attended the Munich Security Conference, I cannot recall a year where its purpose was more necessary or more important.

The next panel asks us to consider whether the West will survive. In recent years, this question would invite accusations of hyperbole and alarmism. Not this year. If ever there were a time to treat this question with a deadly seriousness, it is now.

This question was real, half a century ago, for Ewald von Kleist and the founders of this conference. Indeed, it is why they first started coming to Munich.

What would von Kleist’s generation say if they saw our world today? I fear that much about it would be all-too-familiar to them, and they would be alarmed by it.

They would be alarmed by an increasing turn away from universal values and toward old ties of blood, and race, and sectarianism.

They would be alarmed by the hardening resentment we see toward immigrants, and refugees, and minority groups, especially Muslims.

They would be alarmed by the growing inability, and even unwillingness, to separate truth from lies.

They would be alarmed that more and more of our fellow citizens seem to be flirting with authoritarianism and romanticizing it as our moral equivalent.


George W. Bush:

...We know that free governments are the only way to ensure that the strong are just and the weak are valued. And we know that when we lose sight of our ideals, it is not democracy that has failed. It is the failure of those charged with preserving and protecting democracy.

...The American dream of upward mobility seems out of reach for some who feel left behind in a changing economy.  Discontent deepened and sharpened partisan conflicts. Bigotry seems emboldened. Our politics seems more vulnerable to conspiracy theories and outright fabrication...

...We have seen our discourse degraded by casual cruelty. At times, it can seem like the forces pulling us apart are stronger than the forces binding us together. Argument turns too easily into animosity. Disagreement escalates into dehumanization...

...And our young people need positive role models. Bullying and prejudice in our public life sets a national tone, provides permission for cruelty and bigotry, and compromises the moral education of children. The only way to pass along civic values is to first live up to them.


We are under one-party rule; therefore members of that party are the first line of resistance in checking the ongoing Great American Tragedy that Americans were desperate and ignorant enough to allow into the White House. The Great American Tragedy will continue as long as the Party of Trump shares his agenda and remains in power.

We have heard that “many Republicans” agree with these gentlemen in private, but are afraid to speak up when it matters. How’s that for the spirit of “public service”?

They are perfect examples of the moral rot and cowardice in the face of truth that infects the Party of Trump, and they are undeserving of public office for that fact alone.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Just Another Day

This is how they whip up false accusations, fake news, racist blame, lies, and hate. It’s what the Right does. All. The. Time.

Sarah “Quitter-In-Lipstick” Palin tweeted, “bet you not a single mainstream news organization is going to cover this story. Not PC or something.” 

From the Sacramento Bee:

Sonoma sheriff shoots down right-wing reports linking arson suspect to wine country fires

Breitbart News and InfoWars offered no evidence to link the man’s arrest to the fires and their accounts of the man’s arrest were disputed the same day by Sonoma County Sheriff Rob Giordano.

“There’s a story out there he’s the arsonist for these fires. That is not the case. There is no indication he is related to these fires at all,” Giordano said in a news conference also broadcast on the department’s Facebook page and area TV stations. “I just did want to kill that speculation right now so we didn’t have things running too far out of control.”

Right-wing websites including Breitbart and InfoWars Tuesday each published stories on the Sunday arrest of Jesus Fabian Gonzales, whom sheriff’s deputies arrested on a single count of arson.

“The U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement Agency (ICE) issued a detainer request on the Sonoma County Jail for Jesus Fabian Gonzalez (sic), who was arrested Sunday on suspicion of arson in Wine Country fires that have killed at least 40 residents,” says the lead paragraph of stories published on both InfoWars and Breitbart.

Despite a lack of evidence linking Gonzales to any other fires, Breitbart’s readers were quick to jump to conclusions.

“How many more innocent Californians must die on the alter of democrat immigration polices?” reads the top comment on the Breitbart story, which has been widely shared on social media. “Why do they continue to return the same anti American politicians to office at the risk of their very lives? If there is one democrat California voter who reads this post I’d love to get into your empty head and learn what makes you hate yourself.”

Yes, they are a cult, and willfully ignorant, and yes, they are deplorable. 

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Let's Test Our Limits

We have our First Amendment Right to free speech. But it is not an absolute right. We have the intended right to a free press, to peaceful assembly and to speak to power. We don’t have the right to shout “fire” in a theatre or to threaten, libel and slander.

Like the First Amendment, the Second Amendment is also not absolute.

Most of us support some gun control or limits on Second Amendment rights. At present it is an insignificant minority that wants a total ban, along with government confiscation. It is also an insignificant minority that wants no controls or restrictions whatsoever.

Let’s dispel the notion that the Second Amendment is for waging war against the government if our candidates lose, or we don’t like some laws or leaders. Only  dangerous idiots speak of “Second Amendment remedies” in that context.

The Second Amendment’s purpose was for the people to have a militia to mobilize for protection and defense against armed threats.  Militias are now antiquated and we have law enforcement and the National Guard for citizen protection. Since the Redcoats and Geronimo are no longer active threats, that leaves only the threat of violent criminals.

While we have the right of armed self-defense against violent criminals, we should understand the need for limits. 

Most Second Amendment defenders support background checks for purchases. Most Second Amendment defenders will also support prohibiting sales to minors, the mentally ill, domestic abusers and felons.

The fact is some level of gun control is desired by most of us.

Where we differ is in the degree of gun control and regulations.

Let’s test our limits.

Should untrained civilians have the right to bear without registration:

A Nuclear Submarine?
An Aircraft Carrier?
A B1 Bomber?
An F22 Fighter?
An Abrams Tank?
An Anti-tank Rocket Launcher?
A Mortar?
A Bazooka/Rocket Propelled Grenade?
A Belt-Fed  .50 Caliber Machine Gun?
An M-6O/M240 Machine Gun?
An Automatic M-16 or AK47 rifle?
A Semi Auto M16 style  or AK47 style, convertible to automatic, with 30+ round magazine?
A Semi-Auto Rifle with 10 Round Limit magazine?
A Semi-Auto Shotgun?
A Lever or Bolt Action Rifle?
A Pump Action Shotgun?
A Semi-Auto Handgun?
A 6 round Revolver?

Since there is no documented case of self-defense that required a 30 round magazine. That is where I draw my line. 

If there were no civilian sales of large volume magazines and military style weapons easily converted into machine guns, there would be many more survivors from the Las Vegas Massacre and other mass shootings. 

For all guns up to that threshold I would support mandatory background checks, registration, and safety certification for all future sales. There is no sane reason for weapons to be easier to obtain than a driver’s license. There is no sane reason for guns to be irresponsibly owned, stored or operated by the wrong people. 

I totally get the argument there is no sane reason for even having weapons in the home. States and homes with the highest per-capita gun ownership suffer proportionally higher deaths from guns. An armed society is not a polite society.

Practical sane steps are needed. Otherwise the Second Amendment is little more than a suicide pact and prescription for tragedy for the nation.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

The Holy Church of the NRA

Its about freedom, they say.

Thousands of Americans have died, and thousands more Americans will die from the NRA symbol of freedom.

The Holy Church of the NRA preaches the answer to gun violence is simple. We just need good men with guns.

Good men with guns were at the Las Vegas concert. They and their guns were useless in countering the sniping mad man with militarized weapons.

Scores of human beings are dead, and hundreds wounded.

Nothing will be learned. No actions will be taken to mitigate the bloodbaths wrought by assault weapons. No actions will be taken to restrict the number of assault weapons. They are, and will be, easier to get than a drivers license.

This must be accepted as the way of life in our country. In reality it is the way of death.

Nothing will be done to interfere with the proliferation of military style weapons of mass destruction, for the Church of the NRA and the Militia Amendment shall never be challenged.

Human sacrifice must be offered in reverence to the almighty Gun God at the Alter of the Militia Amendment. The will of the Holy Church of the NRA shall be done.

It's the non-negotiable cost of "freedom" that must be paid...by the victims.

The only problem is the victims and the population terrorized by criminals and gun nuts are not so free, are they?