Questions and Observations…

Are you with Q?  Ancient Alien theorists say, “Yes”!  I mean, really, who wouldn’t be?  He seems like a fun guy.  Granted John de Lancie played Q a bit…over the top as the saying goes but I think it gave Q that certain…je ne sais Quoi that made the character special – unforgettable, even.  Those episodes were always fun and he…what?
Wait, what?  ‘Deep State’?  What’s that?  Really?!?  Okay, one question:  when you make your hats, do you use the heavy duty foil or is the normal weight okay?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I finally saw a climate change denier say in the social media that it would be inappropriate to try to say the fires currently raging across the entire western region of the United States have anything to do with Climate Change, specifically, Global Warming.  The “thinking”, apparently, is that because many of the fires have human-caused ignition points – several are attributed to arson – they can’t possibly be blamed on global warming.

And here I thought the IPCC said the fires that DID happen would be larger, more intense, and harder to fight.  I’m no expert but I don’t think sources of ignition even entered into the discussion.  Two record-setting fires in as many years seems to back the IPCC position.  You know…again…

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“Americans HAVE the sticker shock of health care as it is and what we’re also not talking about is, why aren’t we incorporating the costs of all the funeral expenses of those who die because they can’t afford access to health care?  That is part of the cost of our system.  Why don’t we talk about the cost of reduced productivity because of people who need to go on disability, because of people who are not able to participate in our economy because…they’re having issues like diabetes or, or they don’t have access to the health care that they need?  I think at the end of the day, we see that this is not a pipe dream.  Every other developed nation in the world does this.  Why can’t America?  And that is the question that we need to ask.  We have done these things before.  We write unlimited blank checks for war.  We write…we just wrote a two trillion dollar check for that tax cut – the GOP tax cut – and nobody asked those folks, “How are they going to pay for it?”  So MY question is, why is it that our pockets are only empty when it comes to education and health care for our kids?  Why are our pockets only empty when we talk about 100% renewable energy and it’s going to save this planet and allow our children to thrive?  We only have empty pockets when it comes to the morally right things to do.  But when it comes to, uh, tax cuts for billionaires and when it comes to unlimited war we seem to be able…to invent that num…invent that money very easily and, to me, it belies a lack of moral priorities that people have right now, especially the Republican Party.”
_                                                                                                                   – Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

Stupid Is As Stupid Does…

gullible

I’ve heard a couple of things from my conservative brethren that I think even THEY must know are nothing more than talking points.  One is about Paul Manafort.  They pretend he shouldn’t be prosecuted because there’s no demonstrated link between him and Russians regarding the collusion investigation…that they know of, anyway.  That is to say, Meuller might well have discovered crimes in Manfort’s life but because Meuller is investigating campaign collusion with Russia how can crimes unrelated to campaign collusion be prosecuted?

I KNOW – and I mean, I really KNOW – that my conservative brethren aren’t that stupid.  Here, let me put it another way.  Let’s say I get pulled over for speeding and while the cop is approaching the car, he notices the body of the person I just murdered in the back seat.  According to the espoused theory, he’s supposed to ignore the axe in the body’s head and just write my citation and let me go.  After all, he stopped me for speeding.  It would be…inappropriate if he arrested me for the murder, right?  See?  Stupid.  It’s immediately apparent.

If this is the line the White House or ‘Fox and Friends’ or whomever wants you to parrot, don’t.  They’re asking YOU to bring shame and disgrace to yourself and your family to defend a lie.   Free advice, here.  If your “team” asks you to pretend you’re too stupid to see what’s wrong with the official position, you might want to decline lest someone take you at your word…

Speaking of Meuller, though, the whole “they haven’t found anything so the investigation should be shut down” line falls very near the other one on the stupid scale.  I simply refuse to believe conservatives are stupid enough NOT to know that the investigation is “on-going.”  (“On-going” means they’re still investigating.)  The reason you haven’t heard the details is that you’re not supposed to…yet.  One of the most important bits that whole line ignores is that our National Embarrassment keeps adding to the pile, extending the investigation.

Every time Dumbass Don tweets some new bit of obstruction, it has to be investigated, too.  Now that he’s confessed (via twitter) that he knew the meeting with the Russians was about getting dirt on Hillary, Meuller has more work to do.  The investigation gets extended.  In reality, you haven’t heard anything yet NOT because there’s nothing to report but, instead, because there’s so much, it’s taking a long, long time to pull it all together in a legally appropriate way.

I’ll tell you this: I KNOW my cons aren’t stupid.  But if you don’t want people to decide you’re stupid or call you stupid, stop pretending to be just to win a political fight.  Whatever the issue of the day is will come and go but the label you’re applying to yourself will last forever…

VOTE…

Remember back a few years ago when every faith-based “Movement Conservative” knew – and I mean absolutely knew – that Mexicans were coming across the border and cutting off the heads of farmers who lived nearby?  The stories were rampant.  Finally, a reporter went on down to the areas around the borders and asked the Sheriffs for the incident reports.  Surely people weren’t having their heads chopped off without law enforcement at least making a report, right?  Turned out, of course, it was just a myth…a Movement Conservative Myth.  Sure, they still believe it.  Nothing can cause them to change a belief they’ve decided on, least of all factual basis.  But for the rest of us, it confirmed what we already suspected: Movement Conservative Blather…nothing more…

It’s the same with this voter fraud…um…fraud.  Every one of the Movement Conservatives knows – just KNOWS – that in-person voter fraud is rampant.  Thousands, millions, maybe billions of fraudulent votes get cast in every single election if you ask them.  In truth, it doesn’t happen, at least not to a statistically significant degree.  When it DOES happen, it’s usually a matter of sending in an absentee ballot and then going to the polling place anyway.  I know Ann Coulter did it.  I’ll bet she wasn’t trying to help Hillary, though.

Trump said it happened again in the 2016 election.  It didn’t.  They said it anyway.  Trump established a commission.  When they started to discover that it hadn’t happened, Trump disbanded the commission.  People argued about it over the internet.  In today’s Guardian appears this article,  ‘Documents disprove White House voter fraud claims, says ex-member of Trump commission.’  Spoiler alert: it didn’t happen.  No, don’t try to convince your Trumpublican uncle.  He can’t hear you.  He’s faith-based…

You know what DOES happen, though?  Computer voter fraud.  These are the voting machines built by the companies the build ATM’s but those same companies insist they can’t build a machine that handles complex transactions AND gives you a receipt.  Anyway, you cast a ballot on one of those computer voting machines and maybe your vote gets counted as intended, maybe your vote gets applied to the vile candidate.  There’s no way for you – or anyone else – to know.

I keep hearing about how the Russians interfered with our “election” by saying mean things about Hillary on the internet.  Truth be told, I have a hard time getting upset about it.  The conservatives have been saying absolutely horrible things about Hillary since 1992.  When I saw some lying meme about her during the campaign, the thought of Russians never crossed my mind.  I just dismissed it as more conservative bullshit.  But while all this talk is going on, there’s also talk around the edges about the security of the voting machines.  Did they hack in?  Did they flip votes?

Of course they did.  You don’t really think this country elected Trump, do you?  But the “two parties” don’t want to admit it for two reasons.  The public face is that they want to reassure the public that the voting system is fair and accurate.  But the real reason is that each party wants to try to maintain the ability to hack into the machines and swing elections they way they’d like to see them come out.  In my mind’s eye, I see two “war rooms”, one Republican, one Democrat, each furiously hacking into machines and switching votes.  The Dems flip one, the Repubs flip another.  The Dems flip one the Repubs have already flipped and the Repubs come back to flip it back their way and vice-versa.  Back and forth the battle goes until the polls close and a “winner” is announced.

Either way, your vote probably didn’t get counted accurately – at least not if you wanted to vote for someone other than the conservative.  So, if you want to vote for the conservative, go ahead and use the machines.  (Can you tell I think the cons are better at it?  They’ve had more practice.)  BUT…if you want to vote for someone other than the conservative and you want your vote to count, DO NOT – under any circumstances – use a computerized voting machine to cast your ballot.  Vote absentee.  Paper.  Traceable.  “Unflippable”, if you will…

The major parties won’t like it and the press won’t like it.  It will take FAR longer to count the ballots and announce a winner if they have to count all the absentee ballots – but it will be a better outcome.  Vote!  You just have to, that’s all.  There are no acceptable excuses in this “election.”  But vote absentee.  (Hey, it’s actually easier and you can vote in your underwear – or less, if you’re so inclined.)  Make the bastards count the paper ballots.

I’ll tell you this: we cannot count on our “elected” officials to do the right thing in this matter.  They have too much to lose.  The ONLY way we can take back the vote is if we use paper and the only way we can voluntarily use paper is if we all vote absentee, so that’s what we need to do…

Thoughts?

Democratic Socialism…

OcasioCortez

I like that more women are running for public office.  I like that more young people are running.  I like this woman, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.  I wish I could vote for her but, for now, she’s a New York asset.  I think – okay, I hope – that she represents a new wave of politician in the US.  Here’s the thing: she’s openly Democratic Socialist – I like that, too – and that scares the heck out of a certain segment of our society.

Of course, the terrified segment doesn’t understand they’ve been living the “hell” of Democratic Socialism all their lives.  They never even thought about it until Fox “News” told them it was bad – without ever telling them what it is.  Now that same segment is out arguing against public Fire Departments because they don’t understand the history of Fire Departments in this once-great nation.

I read a column in the Guardian called, ‘Socialism is no longer a dirty word in the US – and that’s scary for some‘.  It starts with this passage: “Here’s a fun game to play with a right-leaning American: say the word “socialism” and count the number of seconds it takes for them to scream “VENEZUELA” in response.”  It’s true, too.  Either that or you get references to Marx, Engels, Stalin, and/or Lenin – all Communists.  The terrified crowd never mention Finland or Sweden where people are happier, healthier, and better educated.  NONE of them talk about the US…

When FDR introduced the New Deal, he seemed to know that Americans wouldn’t accept ‘Socialism’ so he just gave it a name Americans could accept – but it was Democratic Socialism and it helped to make America great in the first place.  The self-serving rich declared war on the New Deal almost immediately.  As they’ve seen their class war successes pile up (Since Reagan) the vast majority of Americans have seen their own quality of life decline…

The basic concept of Democratic Socialism is this: you make so-called “Capitalists” compete in a Capitalist environment and on a level playing field.  That is to say, society takes away the ability of the shallow thinkers to squeeze people in areas where they have no legitimate ability to say no.  Is that confusing?  Here’s an example.  If you get cancer, should treatment destroy your life and that of your family by wiping out your finances?  So-called “Free Market” Capitalism says yes.  Democratic Socialism says no.

One can find examples of private industry squeezing everywhere they look.  There are so many, I don’t have space to write all of them here – and this is the (socialist-built) internet!  A huge swath of these self-described business geniuses couldn’t make a dime if they didn’t control some aspect of life people need.  (A fundamental aspect of Capitalism is that the consumer MUST enjoy the ability to say no or it’s not Capitalism – it’s extortion.)

Alexandria Ocasia-Cortez gives me hope.  I became depressed when I realized we’re NEVER going to educate the faith-based ‘Movement Conservatives.’  They prefer their faith and don’t WANT to be educated.  But I’ll tell you this: Ocasia-Cortez reminds me there are intelligent, fact-based people still around in this once-great nation so we’re not lost yet.  Hope springs eternal, I guess…

Opinions…

Look, I get it.  Everyone has a right to their own opinion.  But I learned from Francis Bacon (no, not directly) that the sheer number of opinions that exist stand as testament to the number of opinions that must be wrong.  Is that not true of the faith-based “Movement Conservatives”?

TrumpShootsUncleSam2

This cartoon recently traveled around the internet.  It has one major flaw: our National Embarrassment is a coward and would NEVER shoot someone himself.  But I think it’s brilliant in many ways.  It hearkens back to a campaign speech now-President Crumple made in which he said he could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue and not lose any supporters.  It demonstrates his loyalty to Putin and Russia and his contempt for Uncle Sam and the United States.  His acolytes simply ignore what they see and stick with their preferred narrative.

I occasionally excuse their behavior with the idea that they’re being deceived by people who are VERY good at deceiving but the truth is, after awhile, one must acknowledge they’ve CHOSEN to be deceived.  They prefer it.  So, how much longer do thinking people have to pretend that Movement Conservatives have anything of value to add to the national conversation?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

And while we’re on the topic (and when are we not?) have you seen that the so-called POTUS is now talking tough to Iran?  (From a safe distance, of course.)  IN ALL CAPS, no less.  Iran is upset, rightfully in my opinion, that Trump welched on the Iran agreement.  They recognize that Trump is unstable.  They expressed their displeasure at his fecklessness.  He responds with threats.  His negotiating tactic – ‘Never honor an agreement’ – is becoming tiring to the rest of the world…

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I think it’s hilarious that China has retaliated to Trump’s stupid (wait…isn’t that redundant?) tariffs by attacking his supporters in the heartland.  I suspect the Chinese are thinking that when the Trumpsters begin to suffer the results of Trump’s stupid policy they’ll re-think their support.  They won’t.  They’ll just blame Obama…

Oh and speaking of deferring blame, would Movement Conservatives please come up with something more entertaining than Hillary’s emails?  I know, you can’t defend so you have to misdirect but could you please find something to point to other than the deleted messages?  They’re gone.  (That’s the ‘deleted’ part, see?)  There’s nothing anybody can do about it.  Hell, I’d agree that they probably contained nefarious or otherwise harmful information.  It hurt her more than helped her that they went missing.  But they’re gone.  Find a new talking point.  That one has run it’s course…

Out With the Old…

There’s an old saying.  It has a lot of variants but it goes something like this: If you’re not a liberal when you’re young, you have no heart.  If you’re not a conservative when you’re old, you have no head.  People who DO become conservative like to use this line as a way to suggest they find some deeper understanding as they age and naturally become conservative.

My personal feeling is that the phrase simply describes a phenomenon of aging.  Another way to say it is this: when you’re young, healthy, and vibrant – when your body and brain are working at their optimum – you think well.  Therefore, you tend to be liberal.  After years of abuse by the world, alcohol, injuries and just plain age – when your body and brain are no longer functioning well – you think poorly or, perhaps, just “less effectively.”  THAT’S when you become more conservative.

I think that has been happening to Diane Feinstein over the years.  Now, don’t get me wrong, here.  I’m not suggesting Feinstein is some kind of rabid tea-bagger hoping for the end of America but she certainly seems to have moved right with age at a time when an increasing number of Americans are tiring of the “incremental baby-steps” approach.  People are looking for more progressive representatives.

Apparently, the California Democrats agree.  They’ve endorsed Kevin de Leon in his bid for the US Senate despite the elder Statesperson’s request that they remain neutral.  Feinstein’s camp suggested such an endorsement might lead to inter-party squabbles.  It might.  Perhaps, since the California Democrats have endorsed their preferred candidate, she might consider stepping aside with grace and supporting the new wave.

Ha ha, just kidding.  Of COURSE she’s going to run.  Hell, she’s still the odds-on favorite to win.  I don’t have any major heartburn with that.  She’s been (mostly) good for California for years.  But she’s 85.  She’s held her seat since 1992.  That’s 26 years!  She’s the oldest sitting Senator.  Perhaps it’s time for new blood; a new vision…

Handlers and Assets…

I’ve been listening to Chuck Schumer and other Democrats call on our National Embarrassment to cancel his one-on-one with Putin.  The position is that because there’s so much evidence – like the 12 Russians just indicted for conspiracy – linking the Russians to attempted disruptions of the last “election” it’s probably not a good idea to have a private, one-on-one meeting.

That’s the correct position, of course, but only in a world where right and wrong matter.  We no longer live in that world so, right or wrong, the meeting proceeds.  Besides, do you actually think a spy enjoys the authority to tell their handler whether or not they’ll answer a call?  I don’t think so.  Putin calls, Trump responds.  That’s the way it works.

I’ll tell you this: Trump will be lucky if Putin doesn’t make Trump blow him before they trade information and the next assignment…you know, just to show who’s boss…