Scandalous…

It looks like the fights over voting are heating up. There’s been a bill offered in Congress to eliminate Citizen’s United, the foul ruling that allowed the richest of the rich to buy our once-great government and, well, do to it what they’ve done. It’s going to take a Constitutional Amendment, though, and we know the radicalized Republicans will never support the effort. How do we know?

While Democrats in Congress are trying to fix Citizen’s United, Republicans are trying to change voting laws in an effort to give themselves a boost in upcoming “elections.” Can’t win with your policies? Why, simply suppress your opposition by changing voting laws! One of the conservative geniuses in Georgia spelled it out. As reported by Politico, ‘“They don’t have to change all of them, but they’ve got to change the major parts of them so that we at least have a shot at winning,” Alice O’Lenick, a Republican on the Gwinnett County, Ga., board of elections in suburban Atlanta said.’

Meanwhile, cheating Texas Republicans want to reduce the number of days available to vote because – of course they do. Not to be outdone, the cheating Republicans in South Carolina want to implement new voter ID laws. Cheating Republicans in Pennsylvania want to implement voter ID laws AND limit absentee ballots. When one throws in Gerrymandering and other voter suppression techniques used by cheating Republicans it seems like they’ll do ANYTHING to try and “win” an “election.” Well, anything except offering a more palatable platform. THAT idea never seems to enter these cretin’s heads…

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The cons are starting to slither back to Facebook bringing their “alternative facts” (read: lies) and rejection of evidence with them. I’m not surprised. Once the circle-jerk known as “Parler” was shut down, they were bound to find their way back. I HAVE noticed there is not even a modicum of contrition over January 6th, though. It’s like it never happened or, at least, that it’s being hyped by liberal media. Whatever. I’m pretty sure I’ll have less grace for them than I used to.

I saw radicalized conservatives attack and defile the United States Capitol building and try to find and murder the Vice-President of the United States – all the while droning on about their pretended “patriotism” and ALL without a SHRED of evidence. As the saying goes, stupid is as stupid does. It pretty much dropped ALL of the pretense, though, and, for that, I’m grateful. This is not a loyal opposition with honest intentions. These are traitors. I don’t have as much grace for traitors as I do for the merely stupid.

The thing is, the Onan Network, Newsquacks, and Q-anonsense are still out there poisoning minds and radicalizing the gullible. Sure, a lot of the weakest thinkers will be going to prison now. But the One Percent’s radicalizing disinformation machine known as the conservative bubble – will just make more.

The truth is, I was glad when they absconded to Parler. Facebook got quiet and peaceful. Boring, even. But as it happens, leaving them alone and unchallenged in their little echo chamber helped to radicalize them faster and more deeply. At least being on Facebook means they might get challenged more often. I don’t know how to defeat the One Percent’s disinformation machine but I CAN demand evidence or brand them liars and, in my opinion, thinking people the world over should do just that…

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I’m glad President Biden stopped the Keystone XL pipeline. Apparently, Canada isn’t as happy but Biden is doing the right thing in making the move away from fossil fuels. I live in California. California has long been prone to fires but with the increase in global warming California is pretty much on fire somewhere all the time these days. Using the nasty-ass tar sands oil just so we can stay addicted to oil isn’t sustainable anyway so why keep polluting and why keep building infrastructure to support a dying technology?

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Sure, it’s only been four days but as it stands, I think Biden is doing a good job so far. I was VERY interested in voting for him in the 1988 election but he never made it that far. He was brought down by a plagiarism scandal. Can you imagine? THESE days, NOTHING qualifies as a deal killer. Bush 43 started not one but TWO illegal wars. He got re-elected anyway. Donnie Dumbass watched while nearly 400,000 (and counting) Americans died as a direct result of is failure and millions still voted for him. Biden had to step down because of misattribution. Good times…

Fallout…

Apparently, some of the rioters are upset. They are complaining that they now face prison and they just do not seem to understand why. They are asking the dumbass for pardons and, not surprisingly, the dumbass is not responding. I am no lawyer but I do not think he CAN pardon them at this point. The Constitution says specifically that he can pardon “except in Cases of Impeachment.” Having been impeached for the second time – an impeachment directly associated with his incitement to insurrection – I think his ability to pardon the attackers has been removed. (Constitutional lawyers, am I right?)

On the one hand, it’s kind of fun to watch these sad, betrayed suckers gaze in wide-eyed wonder as they try to grasp why so many are so angry with them – and why they’re likely going to prison. They’re only now beginning to understand that the dumbass was only too willing to sacrifice THEIR lives trying to benefit his own – and some of them STILL don’t seem to get it. Some do, of course. I’ve read where many in the trump camp are revolting. Yes, I know, they’re ALL “revolting” but I mean ‘reacting to being betrayed…’

I honestly believe the radicalized insurgents would readily strap on bomb vests and blow themselves up if the right person told them to do so – just like the Islamic terrorists they are always on about. Apparently, I’m not alone in this belief. The families and friends of the domestic terrorists aren’t helping to hide them. Largely, family and friends are working to identify and expose the radicalized insurrectionists and the FBI has more leads than they can follow up quickly. I expect they will all be followed up. It will just take a bit more time. I even heard, anecdotally, about a woman who changed her profile on some dating site to reflect her “conservative” values and when the conservative “incels” try to impress her with their presence in the Capitol, she just forwards the “proof” to the FBI. Nice.

I just hope the dumbass doesn’t slither his way out of this one, too. I know that traditionally, American presidents never go to jail. But trump has spent his life trampling traditions so, in this case, he should meet his devoted followers in prison. Perhaps they can all have a nice conversation about loyalty…

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I think Lauren Boebert isn’t going to last long in Congress and she MAY face criminal charges that put her in one of those cells with other radicalized traitors. She’s the Q-anon follower who tweeted out the location and movements of various persons of interest to the attackers. Talk about in on it. Directing insurgent traffic from inside the Capitol and on her own phone wasn’t the most brilliant move I’ve ever heard of.

But I wonder how many of the 147 Republican House members or if traitorous Senators Hawley and Cruz will be expelled for their part in the attack. See, the Republicans are FAR more loyal to the party than the country. As a party, they KNOW if Congress does as it should and expels the traitorous members, their strength as a party will be weakened. I feel certain Republicans will opt to retain as many members – even disloyal traitors – as they can. You know – for the good of the party…

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I know that Moscow Mitch said he was glad the Democrats were pursuing impeachment a second time. People speculated that he was using the opportunity to be rid of the dumbass once and for all. I suspect McConnell is happy about it because he sees it as Democratic overreach he can use to take back the Congress in the mid-terms…

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The DOW seems to doing just great, thank you very much. It’s important to remember that ALL of this started because rich people were afraid they were losing too much power in the 1960’s and 1970’s. It was intentional. It was planned. When you look for the guilty, look to the one percent. (Specifically, Charles Koch.)

The monster that is the radicalized right didn’t happen by chance and it didn’t happen over night. Nor was it the result of one party. Sure, Ronald Reagan introduced the ridiculously stupid concept of “Supply Side” economics but it was Bill Clinton who signed the law that opened the floodgates to the world of disinformation we all suffer from today.

I can’t really speculate on the details of how this all plays out but history shows, over and over, that accurate information is the lifeblood of democracy and the disinformation machine that was built, nurtured, and maintained by the one percent is destroying ours.

If it was up to me, I would correct the First Amendment to include; “any agency that identifies itself as a news agency may not knowingly present false nor misleading information.” We can’t really stop people from lying by pretending to be expressing their opinions but we CAN provide dependable news outlets…

To Hell With Those Guys…

He’s a tricky bastard…
He tricked a group of people into believing he was probably a pretty good business man, though nearly every business he ever started failed…
He tricked a smaller group of people into believing that he might make a competent president even though he lacked the experience or skills for the job…
He tricked a still smaller group of people into believing he was doing the job well – but spent the vast majority of his time watching television, playing golf, and sowing division and discontent…
He tricked a still smaller group of people into believing that people marching for justice were the bad guys and the people marching against justice were the good guys – then heaped praise on the true bad guys…
He tricked a still smaller group of people into believing he hadn’t done what he did in Ukraine – then convinced them someone else had done that very thing…
He tricked and even smaller group of people into believing a worldwide pandemic was a non-event, then that nothing could be done about it – and then played golf while (so far) 367,652 Americans died…
He tricked an even smaller group of people into believing the 2020 election would be, had been, and then was “rigged” and encouraged his loyalists to fight back and “stop the steal” – despite lacking evidence…
He tricked an even smaller group of people into sending their hard-earned money to the self-described master negotiator billionaire to fund lawsuits – then filed only frivolous suits and pocketed most of the money…
He tricked an even smaller group of people to come to Washington DC on January 6th to attend one last rally – that will certainly prove to have been a “super-spreader” event…
He tricked a smaller group of people to march on the US Capitol building, telling them he’d be with them – then he went home, in typical cowardly-trump fashion, and watched the whole thing play out on television…
He tricked an even smaller group of people into insurrection and committing felonies that carry at least a 10 year sentence – then insulted, denounced, and renounced those who did as he asked…
Now, finally, he sits, isolated, in his metaphorical bunker with only the last of his loyalist sycophants to pander to him – leaving nothing but wreckage, carnage, and death in his wake…

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Tantrums…
I’ve heard more than once since the attempted coup (mostly from the right) that impeaching the dumbass again would only inflame the radicalized right. What, you mean as opposed to any other time? The radicalized right is already inflamed and they’re going to remain inflamed as long as the conservative media bubble is allowed to continue infuriating and radicalizing conservatives.

Here’s what I know; no parent surrenders to the tantrums of a brat without creating a huge, ugly monster. The adults in the room need to do the right thing even if tantrums ensue. Donald Trump fomented insurgency and instigated an insurrection. Five people died as a direct result of his actions and bidding. If that’s not a high crime and misdemeanor, none exist. He MUST be impeached. He MUST be held to account.

If more of the radicalized right wants to learn about prison from the inside, I’m sure they can be accommodated…

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Oh, the Constitution…
Here’s a little bit from that Constitution cons are always pretending they love so much. This is from the 14th Amendment, Section 3:
“No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice-President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any State, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any State legislature, or as an executive or judicial office of any State, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof. But Congress may by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability.”

I mention it because there are a LOT of Republicans – sworn members of Congress – who supported this action. Sure they’re trying to run away from their support now but they did what they did and they should be censured, then removed. In fact, if I got to choose (I don’t) I would manage the order of operations this way: First thing Monday morning the House votes to remove every member who supported the coup attempt, then introduce the Article of Impeachment.

Sure, the radicalized right would whine and scream that their voices are being removed. Yep. They are. You want to argue politics? Fine. You want to advance ludicrous positions? Great. You want to foment violent insurrection against the Congress of the United States of America? You’re out. Period. It really IS that simple…

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Proudly Not Responsible…
I’ve noticed many on the right are SO proud of their actions – they’re blaming other people. The party of personal responsibility won’t take responsibility for what they did. Frankly, I don’t think they’re worth arguing with beyond pointing out that I support the arrest and conviction of EVERY person shown to have participated in the insurrection, politics and party affiliation notwithstanding. If Antifa was there they should go to jail right along with the moron cons who shot video and took photos of themselves trashing the US Capitol.

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Plan Your Sedition in Private…
Speaking of whining, NOW the cons are out whining that their favorite meeting place in social media – the site knows as “Parler” – is being taken off-line. Google has already removed the app from it’s play store. Apple said they’re going to do the same Monday if Parler doesn’t get it’s oversight act together. And Amazon, who hosts the site, has declared that the site violates it’s terms of service and have said they won’t host the site anymore. Why, it’s getting to the point where hardworking, honest, America-hating conservative traitors have no social media outlets available to plan their various coups, rebellions, and/or attempted assassinations…

Constitutional…

So…did you hear about the insurrectionists who intend to question the outcome of the “election” in the Senate on Wednesday? As of now, 11 Republican Senators and Senators-elect intend to insist the votes were wrong…somehow. No, they don’t have any evidence – any more than any previous “effort” of Team Trumpery. Their story is that they’re doing it because so many of their constituents have chosen to believe stupid things. I don’t buy the story. The trumpsters act on faith alone. They believe what they’ve chosen to believe and there’s no amount of evidence that’s going to change their predetermined minds – which means there’s no reason for the dog and pony show.

Except Georgia. The dumbass started sabotaging the Republican turn-out effort in Georgia by telling the dwellers of the alternate reality that the vote is illegal and invalid and encouraged his acolytes not to participate. Then, “Lyin’ Ted Cruz” (the dumbass’s nickname for him) pulled together his coalition of 11 cowardly toadies and said they’d challenge the vote. Then, the dumbass came out on Saturday and encouraged his oh-so-gullible automatons to get out and vote. Think about that. On Friday, the dumbass tells them NOT to participate and on Friday night, they all knew they would not participate. Then, on Saturday, he tells them to participate and on Saturday night they all knew they would participate. My guess is that they didn’t even remember their determination to boycott the process from…you know…the day before.

Yeah, yeah, the so-called “Senators” are within their legal right – but they’re just wasting time and even THEY know it. This is just a stunt to try to quell the dumbass tantrum. It would be great if there were consequences. How about this: if their “challenge” fails to demonstrate any irregularities – in the same way none of the recounts, audits, or even 60 lawsuits have demonstrated irregularities, each of the assholes who voted to support the anti-American waste of time gets removed from Congress.

Devoutly to be wished…

How about this. I hereby (and you know it’s official since I used ‘hereby’) declare that I don’t trust the vote outcome in, say, Florida so there must be an investigation, review, audit, recount, and decertification of all trump votes in that state – because that’s apparently how it works now…

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Cons think the dumbass is the greatest thing since Jesus. They pretend he’s done a perfect – dare I say – divine job regarding Covid-19 right from the start. But the evidence says he mishandled the outbreak, he mishandled the spread, and now his administration is mishandling the vaccine roll out as well.

As of this morning? Over 350,000 dead Americans…

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Basically, I’m opposed to the personal income tax. This is going to become important because I think it’s time for Americans to push back against the one percent and the tax system is a very good, non-violent way to do that. BUT…I’m also conflicted because I’ve long doubted the personal income tax system currently in place is constitutional.

In simplest terms, I hold the position that our government cannot violate one section of the Constitution in an effort to enact another section of the Constitution. So, here’s what happened. The original Constitution of the United States, the main body, was written in 1787. That document gives Congress the power to lay and collect taxes. I’m under that impression because of Article I, Section 8 where it says, and I quote: “The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes…” Pretty clear. BUT…

Several of the colonies would not ratify the Constitution as written without a specific list of protections for the citizenry of the nascent nation. These are known as the Bill of Rights. James Madison wrote them – in 1789. Two years later. So, here’s the thing. The Fourth Amendment says “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated…” Sure, we can debate the word “unreasonable” but it seems logical to me that if the government is free to peek into your panty drawer anytime they want to just by declaring such a search “reasonable” the Fourth Amendment basically means nothing. And if the Fourth Amendment DOES mean something, the government can’t force people to turn over their papers in violation of the Fourth Amendment in an effort to enforce Article 1, Section 8.

To make matters worse, the FIFTH Amendment includes this little gem. “…nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself…” Granted, that part only comes into play if one makes a mistake or intentionally makes a false statement but I count it two against one. The government can’t force me to turn over my papers and can’t force me to provide information that may incriminate me just to enforce Article 1, Section 8.

For clarity, I pay my taxes as demanded and suggest you do the same. The slogan of our once-great nation is that we’re a nation of laws, not justice. Governments have implemented unjust laws since the beginning of time. I’m sure the government has already looked at this glaring conflict and declared their own position to be correct (no conflict of interest there) and they WILL send you to jail if they decide to…

Distractions or Delusions?

I continue to be impressed with the depths the cons will go to in an effort to deny facts they don’t like. I persist in believing they’re mostly being deceived by the conservative bubble but after awhile, it really doesn’t matter.

If I understand this correctly, George Soros created the Coronavirus because he wanted Bill Gates to get a vaccine that will make China cry and the Nashville bombing was a ploy to cover up the whole thing. Okay, maybe that’s not quite right. But it DOES make as much sense as the alternative facts being peddled in the bubble. Whatever it is they’re smoking over there in con-land, it’s too powerful and their cognitive abilities are paying the price.

I read a letter to the Editor in the Santa Rosa Press Democrat this morning in which the writer was expressing his anger that over fifty courts have refused to even consider all of the evidence the trump campaign has. I believe the writer was sincere. He simply doesn’t know that the trump legal team didn’t bring any evidence, just…well, trumpery. He should know it. He could know it. He doesn’t WANT to know it. So how does one communicate with someone who has made a conscious choice to be wrong and insists on stubbornly sticking to their wrongheaded position? The answer is, you don’t.

On the up side, social media is much quieter. Boring, even…

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I’ve been watching as various (non-journalistic) outlets complain about the assorted and sundry elements found in the Covid relief bill. The thing is, Congress – in it’s never-estimable wisdom – pushed the Covid relief bill as part of a government funding bill. So cash relief for struggling Americans and unemployment enhancements are part of Covid relief and aid to foreign countries is part of the government funding. Putting the two out together was the perfect opportunity for opponents to misrepresent – and misrepresent they will…

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The question in my mind is whether the dumbass knew he was putting the GOP in such a precarious position with his demand for $2,000 dollars in place of the $600 the GOP was willing to go or was it just part of his tantrum? Moscow Mitch has shown ALL Americans that as long as he’s in charge, Americans are on their own. (Well, poor Americans, anyway. Congress is ALWAYS there for the rich.) When the dumbass called for more, Senate Democrats were quick to seize on the $2,000 dollar option. Republicans were forced to come out and say no, exposing their true colors.

I presume that down in Georgia, Democrats are hammering the message every day: it doesn’t matter which party you belong to, if you need a bit of help through this crisis you didn’t create, you’d BETTER vote Democrat because the Republicans have made their position clear: they HAVE to offer something as a political ploy to try and help in Georgia but it will be as little as possible and there will be nothing after this so…make that $600.00 last.

It’s cruel and it’s blind. The actual economic impact from Covid hasn’t even hit yet but it’s been racing at us for months like a freight train that can’t stop. As more and more people fall through the cracks, they’ll get desperate – then angry. I imagine Mitch’s plan is to try to point that anger at Biden. The cons will buy it. Hell, they’re already angry at all the failures of the not-yet-extant Biden administration. I don’t expect thinking people will, though. I don’t know what the one percent think will happen but history says it’s not going to be good for them…

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I was confronted by a couple of my con friends who wanted to know why I refused to give the dumbass the credit he deserves for bringing the vaccine so quickly. It turned out to be a beneficial exchange – for me, anyway. You see, I DID have concerns about how quickly the vaccine was developed. I trust science and if scientists say it’s safe, well, okay. But in looking into whether or not trump deserves credit, I discovered some things I thought I’d share here for your (possible) peace of mind. What follows is my (slightly edited) response:

Here’s the thing: you guys are acting like trump donned a lab coat and started peering through microscopes and cutting RNA. (I get that. When the reality of the Chosen One falls short, glorifying stories ensue. Always.) But he didn’t do that. He doesn’t even seem to understand Covid-19 is real. Now, the one thing we CAN agree on is that Operation Warp Speed (OWS) promised a huge pot of money for development of a vaccine, yes? As you’ve indicated, the conservative bubble is crediting OWS with the unprecedented speed of development. As is usually the case, the conservative bubble is twisting the details to present a less than accurate complete picture.

You see, it’s not like the world was sitting around waiting for Americans to develop a vaccine. Most of the first world knew of the need and began working on options long before OWS. OWS was launched in May – only FIVE months AFTER the need for a vaccine became apparent. So…late to the party. How late? Well, the company that actually developed the first successful vaccine was NOT Pfizer. It wasn’t even an American company. It was created by a small German company called BioNTech. It was in human trials in Germany in MARCH. That would be two months BEFORE OWS even launched.

More, the Pfizer/BioNTech partnership didn’t use OWS money. They self-funded. I’m not trying to be unfair. OWS DID sign an agreement with Pfizer to buy 100 million doses and knowing they had access to the American market certainly didn’t dissuade Pfizer. This particular forward thinking move was offset a bit by the administration’s decision to NOT commit to another 100 million doses Pfizer had offered without risk – which now means we’ll all have to wait longer. Either way, because Pfizer self-funded, they were not going to get paid at all if they didn’t come up with a success.

Actually more important to the development speed, though, is the fact that most of the drug companies had a head start. Because of SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) and MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome), both forms of Coronavirus, scientists knew where to start. They had already started working on vaccines for those two forms in the past. They stopped the SARS effort because of money when SARS petered out. But they STILL had the information they needed and scientists had continued working on a MERS vaccine since 2013. In short, this current vaccine became available so quickly because the world had already been working on it. Much of the groundwork had already been done before anybody had ever even heard of Covid-19.

Trump DOES deserve credit for this: his complete failure to effectively address the problem in the first place created HUGE waves of infections (and deaths). That gave the testing protocol lots and lots and lots of potential test subjects. In other words, if Trump had been better at flattening the curve, testers would have had to wait longer to find viable subjects. So, I guess there’s that…

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Best hopes and wishes from My Bacon Press to you for the upcoming new year. We’re finally getting rid of the vile pestilence – and Covid-19 is going to go away, too! Happy New Year!

Egyptian Rivers…

I believe Joe Biden is just offering up an olive branch to the Republicans when he says he thinks he’ll be able to work with them but I wish he’d stop saying so. It sounds nice but naive. The Republicans aren’t even pretending to work across the aisle. Their “position” is that Democrats are illegitimate. Moscow Mitch declared at the beginning of Obama’s administration that his goal was to ensure Obama was a one-term President. (Job well done, eh?) I haven’t heard him say the same about the incoming Biden administration but Republicans certainly have already retreated to their anti-Democrat stance. Joe may be willing to work with Republicans but Republicans WILL NOT work with Joe. Period. Joe needs to approach his new job with a firm grip on that knowledge. I’m wary because “reaching across the aisle” was the line that shielded Obama from accomplishing too much for the American people…

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I’ve got to say, trump’s meltdown is becoming SO severe I’m starting to feel sorry for him. I mean, up until now I felt, in order, contempt then disbelief. After that came embarrassment. I genuinely felt embarrassed for him. Now? Jesus, it’s just…SO pathetic. Losing to Joe (60 times!) seems to have really and finally broken him. NONE of his usual coping techniques – the “tools” that have taken him this far in life – (denial, name-calling, threats, bribes, lawsuits, and tantrums) have worked. No matter WHAT he does, facts remain facts and he knows – everybody knows – that HE’S the biggest loser!

You know who else thinks this current trump show is pathetic, disgusting, and embarrassing? Karl Rove! Karl says that Americans LOVE a comeback story but they HATE a sore loser. A rational person would get it. When Karl Rove says you’ve gone too far, you can rest assured you’ve gone too far!

As a result of the trump tantrum, 45 is doing as much damage as he possibly can on his way out the door. He’s rolling back regulations. He’s still firing people and installing lackeys. He’s STILL got his cowed and cowardly Senate pushing as many “conservative” judges as possible. He’s like a little brat with a gun and an endless clip. He’s just blasting away at America in every way he can at every chance he gets.

Okay, well, that didn’t last long. I’m back to contempt…

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Generally, I don’t have anything against the Swedes. They seem like nice enough people. But I sure got tired of hearing about them from the anti-mask, anti-lock-down contrarians. Apparently, the Swedes were going after the misinterpreted form of herd immunity. You know, the one where we just let people get sick and die off until the bug just…stops. In this model, the “immunity” is derived from the near-extinction of the herd. It’s exactly the kind of “misinterpretation” (read: lie) the Heritage Foundation or Cato are famous for and apparently, Sweden fell for it.

Now, because they didn’t react well to the pandemic, Swedes are dying at record levels – just like in the good old USA – and for the same reason! Stephen Colbert said it best: “It’s almost as if doing nothing has done nothing.” Well, it IS decreasing the surplus population. Ebenezer Scrooge would be pleased…

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In the meantime, Congressional Contrarians continue to obstruct efforts to help Americans most in need as a result of the feckless response to trump’s pandemic. This is going to be a rough ride because I’m certain Moscow Mitch has already pegged the impending economic disaster as a great political opportunity. All he’s got to do is prevent any (or, sufficient, at least) disaster relief from reaching Joe Six-pack. (To hell with desperate American people. It’ll be good for the party!)

The economic time-bomb awaiting us all is in rent relief. As it stands, there’s a hold on rent payments for anybody who loses income because of Covid-19. Great. BUT…once trump’s pandemic is controlled, all back rent will become due. Yeah, good luck with that.

The very fabric of this once-great nation has been reduced to pure, selfish greed. It’s not like the majority of landlords out there are offering up units at the lowest price possible. The mantra is, whatever the market can bear, remember? They take top dollar and then squeeze a little harder. The working class is already working multiple jobs and scrambling desperately each month in an effort to make just one month’s rent. How the hell are they supposed to pay back nearly a YEAR’S worth?

Economists generally agree the economic downturn associated with trump’s pandemic isn’t structural. The thinking is that once the pandemic is controlled people will go back out and start spending again. Right now? I agree, it isn’t structural. But once those rent payments become due, it won’t be money that follows. It will be bankruptcies and evictions.

Yes, I get it. Landlords aren’t evil. They’ve made an investment. Their resources are often tied up in these units so the downturn is as devastating to them as to the tenants who stand to lose their homes. In this, the “Greatest Country On Earth”tm Congress could just make the payments. But, apparently, THAT would be a “handout” and we just don’t have enough for a handout to desperate Americans AND defense contractors (or Joel Osteen, who took 4.4 million taxpayer dollars for his megachurch that doesn’t pay taxes) so Average Joe is on his own.

Somehow, I don’t think the millionaires and billionaires running this once-great nation have a solid handle on what life is like for those of us born without a silver spoon…

Dems vs Progress…

I suspect the Dems had better get ready to get their asses handed to them again. On the one hand, they know they couldn’t have beaten the dumbass without the support of Progressives. On the other hand, they know that the Progressives didn’t come out for the Democrats so much as in their own interests – the enemy of my enemy is my friend, kind of thing. But here’s the thing; both statements are true. Progressives were serving their own interest…but Democrats CAN’T win without Progressive support – and they’re quickly squandering said support.

Progressives who manage to make it to Congress find themselves marginalized. The center-right Democratic party just doesn’t want to hear from anyone trying to help the American people. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (‘AOC’ to most) is arguably one of the most outspoken Progressives in Congress. She was fighting for a seat on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which oversees everything from health care policy to climate issues. Establishment Dems stood squarely against her. They were concerned that she would bring Progressive ideas to the committee.

The cracks in the alliance began almost immediately after the “election” as Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren were bypassed for office after office in the new Democratic administration, though the logic of not plucking Democrats from states with Republican Governors from the Senate is inescapable. So the Dems had built-in protection for snubbing Progressives that way. But marginalizing AOC specifically BECAUSE she’ll work for the majority of Americans? That’s a bad move with bad optics. Progressives are watching – and not happy.

The corporate supported/supporting Democrats tried to dictate to Progressives in 2016, remember? They insisted that Progressives will do as they’re told by the party, thereby inflicting Donald Trump on the world. Progressives allied with Democrats in 2020 – it’s true, for their own protection – to help the party undo the damage they created in 2016 but it was a temporary alliance, dependent entirely on gaining a bit of recognition for our contribution regardless of our motivations – because the Dems STILL need us. Putting AOC on the committee would certainly have been a way to throw Progressives a bone but they wouldn’t even do that…

Stupid Democrats. Independent Progressives have NO loyalty to your stupid party and I don’t expect they ever will. Democrats get to dictate to party loyalists and no one else. You do not, have not, will not dictate to Progressives how they vote and, for their part, they will not stay allied with a group that keeps poking them in the eye. We did not come out FOR your incremental baby-steps, corporate candidate. (Sadly, Progressives expect very little…well, progress…from the Biden Administration.) We came out against the Orange Moron. So far, Democrats have “recognized” the Progressive contribution by slapping Progressives in the face over and over. That’s probably not going to engender support going forward.

Look, everyone knows the Republicans are the Vanguard of the One Percent’s class war against Americans but Progressives see the Democrats as little more than the One Percent’s second rank. Sure, Progressives will help the Democrats against Authoritarians and/or Fascists but we STILL oppose the Democrat’s corporate, one-percent-loving agenda. Progressives STILL want to see the complete annihilation of this stupid, failed, and fraudulent “Supply Side” (aka, “trickle-down” or “voodoo”) economics and a return to the balancing effects of FDR’s New Deal – the system that made America great in the first place. The Dems are going to have to give us something – or they’re going to have to go it alone…

30,000? Uh, oh…

Have you ever seen one of those videos of people putting rubber bands on watermelons? Granted, you have better things to do with your time than sitting around watching videos of people putting rubber bands on watermelons but you should watch at least one. That way, for the rest of your life you’ll be able to say you’ve seen what happens and nobody can ever take that away from you! (Click here to watch a short one.) All right, since I know some of you didn’t click, I’ll tell you. As rubber bands are added, the watermelon begins to lose it’s shape.

At some point – often without warning – the watermelon explodes. (Technically, I guess it implodes since the pressure is from the outside in. Either way, though, you end up with a mess of watermelon all over everything.) There’s even a challenge among people to see who puts on the last rubber band, that kind of thing. Really, it’s not what you think. Some watermelons can take as many as 1,000 rubber bands before breaking and the anticipation is pure suspense…

Have you ever heard of the Dow? (What, no segue? Don’t worry, I’ll tie it together…) Of course you have. It’s on every news report at some point. When it’s up, it’s often in a little box in the corner on the screen so we can watch our glorious economy grow and grow. (I’ve noticed that when it’s “off” – don’t say “down” – they hide the window…) Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman has three rules about the Dow. One, the Dow is not the economy. Two, the Dow is not the economy. Three, the Dow is not the economy. Those three rules are axioms. The Dow is not the economy. But you know what? It used to be. Or, rather, it used to be a solid indicator.

When the Dow was created, it was the Dow Jones Industrial Average and it collected together the most important industrial stocks in this once-great nation, creating a useful snapshot of the overall state of the economy at a given point. “The Dow,” as it was referred to, measured the output of things companies made or built or moved. But those industries are, mostly, gone, now. They’ve either collapsed entirely, become only shadows of their former selves, or they’ve been off-shored. As those industrial stocks sank, they were replaced by financial services stocks. “The Dow” became the Dow Jones Index but continued, deceptively, to present under the same name. It confuses people who don’t realize it just ain’t what it used to be. Financial services make nothing, build nothing, move nothing but paper. They create financial value for a very small number of people almost always at the expense of a large number of people.

My favorite current example is Toys R Us. (Sorry, I don’t know how to type a backwards ‘R’…) Toys R Us was once a thriving, going concern. They were doing just fine, thank you very much. They did SO well, they caught the eye of financial services people – never a good thing. The money people decided they wanted to own Toys R Us so they borrowed a massive amount of money and forced a buyout. THEN they stuck the debt load on Toys R Us. Toys R Us didn’t create the debt. They wouldn’t have because they knew they couldn’t manage it. The corporate raiders took everything of value from the company and then let it collapse under the weight of a debt Toys R Us didn’t want or incur in the first place. Tony Soprano called the same behavior a “bust-out.” A few people made a LOT of money. Tens of thousands of people lost their jobs in one fell swoop and the domino effect of closed stores and lost jobs harmed the economy across the land.

Sure, maybe just a little, overall, in the grand scheme. But that is just one event. This kind of thing has been going on across the land in industry after industry for something like 40 years, now. Once upon a time, thanks to FDR and the New Deal, the United States really DID have the greatest economy in the world so they’ve been able to paper over the effects of their rampage for a long time. But the stresses of our gutted society are beginning to show through with unmistakable impact. We all know the list. We can’t provide clean water. We can’t fix our roads. We can’t educate our young. We can’t provide health care to our population. Homelessness is becoming epidemic. But the Dow is up! Woo-hoo! Oh, My GOD, the news readers excitedly report, the Dow just passed 30,000!

The thing is, I’ve come to understand a rubber band on a watermelon as a metaphor for each and every point tick up in the Dow. (I told you it would all come together…) You see, that 30,000 number represents nothing so well as the success rich people have had extracting wealth from everyone else. I understand the Dow as a CEO happiness index, not a measure of the health of the US economy. These days, CEO’s are happy when the company’s bottom line increases. As an example, the CEO of PG&E realized he could increase his take home pay if they just eliminated the expense of maintaining the lines and equipment – so they stopped. It worked, too. Keeping expenses down raised the stock value. The CEO got more money.

Sure, he literally burned Paradise to the ground, wiping out the lives and livelihoods of countless people. Just one rubber band. In fact, PG&E maintenance failures have now been faulted in many of California’s fires. A few more rubber bands. But that one guy made a LOT of money. One guy benefits. Thousands suffer. The Dow ticks up. A rubber band. Toys R Us is busted out. Another rubber band. Flint, Michigan can’t get clean, safe water. A rubber band. People can’t earn a living wage and are told it’s their own fault. Add a rubber band. People agitate, then protest. Cops deploy water cannons, each one a rubber band.

Winston Churchill has a quote, ‘The farther back you can look, the farther forward you are likely to see.” What that means is that past is prologue. History tells us not only where we’ve been but where we’re likely going. We’ve all been watching the financial gutting of our country ever since Ronald Reagan inflicted voo-doo (aka, “supply side”) economics on us. We know that the takers in our society, the richest 1 percent, will never stop taking and never stop using their exaggerated market power to KEEP on taking. But we ALSO know that eventually, people just won’t have enough to function in the world. Anger sets in. People look for someone to blame. Right now, poor people are being told their problem is OTHER poor people but sooner or later, people will figure it out. America has been fighting a class war and the rich people have taken an early and decisive lead. But look back. History makes clear that, sooner or later, there’s going to be one too many rubber bands on the watermelon.

The suspense is killing me…

Conflicts…

This is true. I’ve got a serious conflict within me about wearing masks. No, I’m not opposed. I know they’re important and I understand why. Accordingly, when I need to wear one, I wear one. But after nearly a year having to mask up to buy milk, I’m REALLY tired of them. So, every time I have to don one, I find myself cursing trump’s name for his complete and utter failure to address the problem in a competent way. Or at all, really. But at the SAME time, I’m very aware that if Trump HAD addressed Covid-19 effectively, there’s a VERY good chance he might have “won” the “election.”

I wonder if there’s a word for being cursed (STILL wearing the mask) and blessed (rid of him) at the exact same time…

Just in passing, I find it a bit scary that TWICE, now, this country has been saved from collapse by illness. In the first case, the illness was Polio. FDR contracted it. In an effort to overcome it, he went to a natural spring said to have healing properties. While there, he was – horror of horrors (for a child of wealth) – exposed to the “common man.” It gave him an insight wealthy people don’t normally have. It gave him an understanding of what life is like for the non-trust fund crowd. That knowledge a) created the New Deal and b) created the greatest middle class (and economy) the world had ever seen. (Cons have since destroyed it…)

The second illness is the current Novel Coronavirus known as Covid-19. More than any other single factor, the failure of the dumbass to respond effectively to Covid-19 even as the death toll rose inexorably forced a change in the way elections operate and, likely, saved America from authoritarianism – at least for now.

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The devil went down to Georgia, he was looking for an election to steal. He was in a bind because he was WAY behind and he kept trying to make a deal…


(Sorry, Charlie…)

The GOP was nervous about the Dumbass giving a speech in support of their two candidates, David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler. They were nervous he would focus only on himself and his delusions about the recent “election.” They were mostly right, although he did, apparently, finally get around to encouraging his votaries to come out for the run-off.

They will, too. Right now, the cons are out whining about how unfair the election was and how rigged the process is. There’s a logical response to an unfair process: don’t participate. Some of the most extreme members are calling loudly (always loudly) on other cons not to turn out for the GOP. Some on the left are hoping the boycott catches on. I don’t mean to be a wet blanket, here, but it won’t. EVERY GOP and con voter will turn out dependably. They just do. Sure, they’ll be happy to complain about – well, about everything, really – but specifically, they’ll bitch about the unfair process right up until the day they participate in it again. But make no mistake, participate they will.

Interestingly, there may be a surge in paper ballots. I know lefties aren’t supposed to say this because the cons are saying it but there’s just too much evidence that the voting machines are not trustworthy or secure to ignore. I think so many being forced to use paper in November – confounding Trump’s “certain” win – demonstrated the point. Cons know they lost on paper, too. My guess is, they’ll boycott the machines in favor of paper this time. Dems and Progressives had better do the same…

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Speaking of Dems and Progressives, I’m kind of sad-laughing at my Progressive counterparts. Generally speaking, they’re the most intelligent of our society. (Hey, is that blatant pandering or just self-serving cockalorum?) They understand things on a level most Americans do not – say, for instance, that FDR’s New Deal was FAR better than today’s Screwed Deal. But they’re all butt-hurt that Biden isn’t picking more Progressives for his cabinet. Progressives pretend that since they came out “to help the Democrats,” the Dems owe them something – some kind of consideration.

But for THEIR part, the Dems know Progressives didn’t come out “for them.” We came out for ourselves. More accurately, we came out for our country. We knew that Trump HAD to be stopped and for a short, wonderful while, there, the goals of the Democrats and Progressives converged to our mutual benefit. But Trump has been defeated – something like 46 times, now! (I mean, he is SUCH a loser!) Progressives immediately returned to, “Hey, let’s make this country better!” and the Democrats immediately returned to “Let’s make sure not to rock the boat too much” and the conflict heated right up again.

We’ll figure it out. The important part is that, for now, the dumbass contingent has been stopped…

Weasel Words…

The conservatives seem to have exited, stage…well, I don’t know where they went but they’re gone for now. Truthfully? It has been peaceful but rather boring. I guess Zuckerberg was on to something in promoting “debate” between fact and fiction.

I think they’ll be back though, frothing, amped up on alternative facts, and ready to fight. I’m ready, too. In the meantime, though, I’m enjoying the respite…

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The Loser’s lawyers keep walking into courts and saying the election was rigged. The “evidence” they present? ‘We don’t like the results.’ The remedy they seek? ‘Let’s just not count votes for Biden!’ Sure, it’s clever. Wily, even. Unfortunately (for them), it’s not democracy. We’re going to go ahead and count the votes.

One guy gave 2.5 MILLION dollars to help fight democracy. Too late, he realized he’s been duped and wants his money back. I’m guessing he’s not going to get it. I hope he doesn’t, a fool and his money being as they are. The fine print of these campaigns made clear that they were going to redirect money from the legal effort for various reasons.

It’s an expensive lesson but I guess he just got 2.5 million reasons to learn to pay more attention to actual facts and less attention to “alternative facts” (aka, “bullshit…”)

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The internet seems like it’s been infecting our lives forever, now, but that isn’t really true. I’m older than the internet and I remember the early, wild-and-woolly days when the world wide web went public. One of the most prominent features of the day? Easy, albeit slow, access to porn. No, that’s a different column. The prominent feature I’m interested in here is computer viruses. (Ah, porn and viruses. They just go together, don’t they?) Viruses were EVERYWHERE. Rampant, even.

It isn’t that people weren’t trying. Many people knew they should have virus protection. Most didn’t realize anti-virus software has to be maintained. Some would try freeware. Some would buy something but not maintain it. Many just took their chances. The result? A pandemic of computer viruses. At some point, viruses were SO ubiquitous, people started to become wary about hooking up the old modem. Internet service providers (ISP’s) came to the conclusion that they had to take charge in the anti-virus department or the web might just become too dangerous a place to risk for most people and it might never take off…

Every decent ISP began including anti-virus software as part of their service. Even at that, viruses kept coming – although the new practice managed to “flatten the curve,” as the saying goes. It became clear that ISP’s were going to be on the hook for this if they wanted to reduce computer viruses. I believe every decent ISP will continue to include antivirus software as part of their service for their own good, let alone the good of their customers.

But are you a Comcast internet customer? Have you been using the anti-virus software they provide – I’m sorry, “once provided” – from Norton as part of their service? Well, then you need to know, Comcast is going to eliminate that portion of their service on January 1, 2021. And no, there will NOT be a commensurate drop in cost just because there’s a measurable drop in service quality.

Let us assume that both Symantec (Norton’s parent company) and Comcast are just greedy corporations trying to squeeze out as much as possible while doing as little as possible. (EVERY corporation wishes it could have the ‘give-us-your-money-for-nothing’ model but religion sewed that up generations ago. Now, everyone else has to do something…)

Now, Symantec’s lifeblood is virus protection. If they don’t do a good job, they’re gone. Comcast? Not so much. Symantec is financially motivated to protect against viruses. Comcast? Why would they care? Between the two, who do you think will do the best job of virus protection, the company whose job it is or the company that just cut off your virus protection?

In fairness, Comcast is claiming they have some protections built into their system but then, they claim they offer Gigabyte speeds that never get anywhere NEAR a Gigabyte. You should expect their “protection” to be just as weaselly. Even their own description of their system protection makes clear how vulnerable the entire network is going to be.

IF you use their gateway ($15.00/mo, thank you very much) and IF you never connect your device to any non-Comcast system, you might be safe. (You won’t be.) Comcast is shedding responsibility in order to cut costs, yes? Do you think they’re going to take on the cost of maintaining virus definitions or staying current against malware? How are they going to protect your end-user equipment if their already inadequate protection stops at their gateway?

No, if you’re a Comcast victim…er…customer, you now have to buy and maintain your own antivirus software. Since past behavior is a solid predictor of future behavior, I’m guessing people won’t – for a wide variety of reasons.

The best answer is to find a different ISP, one that still provides anti-virus protection. Just dropping Comcast altogether would register appropriate disapproval. But Comcast is, effectively, a monopoly. They know not everybody can do that. For example, I have limited options where I live so I’ll have to stay with Comcast internet. But now Comcast has hit me with an unexpected cost. MY plan is to get the money to pay for robust virus protection from Comcast – by dropping everything else.

I’ve been in the process of cutting the cord for sometime now, anyway. As it happens, Comcast television is little more than a convenience. I can watch pretty much whatever I want to watch outside of the Comcast system. It just not quite as neatly organized. As it happens, I don’t WANT to pay nearly $300.00 a month for a bit of organization. So I’ve been cutting back. Now, I’ll cut back the rest – except for internet service.

The change will minimize what comes out of my pocket in response to Comcast’s choice. More importantly, it will minimize what goes INTO Comcast’s pocket – and reducing their revenues is really the only language they’ll understand…