Clumsy and Inept…

Oh. My. GOD!  During Trump’s July fourth speech, he praised the colonial army for taking the British airports.  People began rightly pointing out that the British hadn’t yet built any airports in the colonies as air travel was still over 100 years into the future.  So, Trump, oblivious as always, blamed his ‘airport’ gaffe on the teleprompter.  Set aside, for a moment, the fact that his acolytes used to condemn the use of teleprompters – at least when the black guy used them.  But now Trump claims three things about it.  One, it was hard to read because of the rain.  Two, it “went down” because of the rain.  And, three, he insists he “knew the speech very well” so he was able to do it without the teleprompter anyway.

But if he “knew the speech very well”, the speechwriter must have intentionally put the line about the airports into the speech.  Even his lies are clumsy and inept…

I’ll tell you this: the thing I might consider newsworthy would be if he ever says anything that isn’t stupid…

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“…and at Fort McHenry, under the rockets’ red glare, it had nothing but victory.”  Donald J. Trump, July 4, 2019, describing the Colonial Army’s successes.

Oops, wrong war.  The Battle of Baltimore took place in 1814 during the War of 1812.  The Revolutionary War had been over by more than a week by then!

The man is an embarrassment to humanity…

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I’m not the only person who thinks so.  The British ambassador to the United States, Kim Darroch created an assessment for the Brits about Trump.  He described Trump as “radiating insecurity” and his administration as “clumsy and inept.”  This was a formal assessment for the benefit of British Ministers.  It was meant to be secret but it was meant to be honest, too.

Frankly, I think the assessment was all wrong.  The clowns in the Trump maladministration would have to improve by orders of magnitude in order to achieve “clumsy and inept…”

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Some on the left have suggested that Trump might be a Russian agent working with Putin.  I’m sure that’s not true.  There’s NO WAY Putin would allow Trump to know he’s an asset for the Russians.  Trump is just too stupid to be able to keep such a confidence.

But the fact that he doesn’t know he’s a Russian asset doesn’t mean he’s not giving up state secrets…

Clumsy and inept, indeed…

Tricks of the Traitors…

You know how those of us who follow journalists keep seeing our fearful misleader creating crises and then stepping in “at the last minute” to save the day?  Many on the left find themselves wondering what the heck he’s up to.  Why create a crisis only to “solve” it?  My suspicion is – as evidenced by his ongoing little Nuremberg rallies – Trump never left the campaign trail and these are campaign stunts.  Sure, they’re dangerous stunts but dangerous stunts make for better television, right?

It’s important to remember that those who have carefully and securely isolated themselves inside the conservative bubble don’t get the same information as the rest of the world.  The opinion-mongers inside the con bubble don’t tell their adherents about the run-up to a given problem.  They only talk about the details of the problem and then – voila – the glorious “save” from Donnie Dumbass.

The so-called “President,” Comrade Trump, knows how he looks to those outside the con bubble.  He just doesn’t care.  He’s playing to his base.  He’s got 30% of the electorate solidly locked up.  He said himself he could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue and his base wouldn’t care.  I think we’ve all been surprised to discover that if he shot one of his acolytes, they’d make excuses FOR him as they die.  (Loyalty above self-respect…)

It’s a scheme.  It impresses the hell out of the 30%.  They actually think he’s some kind of brilliant negotiator.  Hopefully, though, I think it might backfire.  I wrote a song, once, from the point of view of a politician with the lyrics, “I see the problems with solutions quite clear but I won’t fix them ’cause I need them next year when I run again.”  The truth is, the American people are sick and tired of business as usual.  They wanted – perhaps needed – someone outside of the incremental baby-steps crowd.

There were two anti-establishment candidates running in 2016.  Most Americans wanted Bernie.  When they couldn’t have him (thanks, DNC), they settled for Trump.  That means there was some number of voters out there who mostly voted AGAINST Hillary but I doubt they’re going back to Trump again having seen this once-great nation turned into an international laughing stock.  So he KEEPS locking up his guaranteed 30% but simultaneously erodes the larger support he’ll need to “win” a second term.  (Although, who knows what happens when the Russians start flipping votes in the machines again…)

Hope really does spring eternal, I guess…

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Can you tell I don’t really believe Trump won the “election?”  I think the Russians hacked into the oh-so-hackable voting machines and installed their ass – I’m sorry – assET into the Oval Office.  NOBODY – Republican nor Democrat – has made even the slightest serious effort to address the vulnerability of the voting machines.

If you love your country, vote on paper – NOT on those god-damned voting machines…

This and That – June 24, 2019…

It’s just an idle thought, of course, but it struck me that between Grandfather and Grandson, the Drumpf/Trump clan has managed to bring shame, discredit, and dishonor to not one but TWO family surnames.  That’s quite a feat.  Most families go for generations without tarnishing even one…

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You know who didn’t want strikes against Iran?  Vladimir Putin.  I don’t really like having a Russian asset in the Oval Office but I guess in this case, we owe one to Vlad.  The US really needs to finish the wars it has already started before starting another one.  Otherwise, we’re just being wasteful…

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I understand the conservatives are having fits over AOC calling Trump’s concentration camps “concentration camps.”  Of course, they are concentration camps – by definition – but it’s no surprise the conservatives don’t know history so they don’t know the term pre-dates the Nazi death camps.  But I think arguing over the nomenclature is a standard tactic of those who can’t honestly defend the reality…

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I find myself wondering if Joe Biden is being pushed out in front of the rest of the democratic pack as a lightening rod.  It’s hard to tell.  Have the Democrats pre-sold the nomination again?  And to BIDEN of all people?!?  Maybe.  But Biden isn’t going to be President.  So, maybe he’s just out there running interference for the rest of the Democratic field until a true potential candidate can be identified…

 

If It Walks Like A Duck…

JobLossesPhoto

So…it turns out the infamous Trump tax cuts really were for the wealthy.  I mean, I knew it at the time but a segment of our population genuinely believed they’d help everybody.  All of the corporate supporters promised new jobs and new investment.  So far, very little has been done in that arena.  In fact, jobs are being cut.  As one example, AT&T promised the tax cuts would create 7,000 new jobs!  Awesome, wow!  Instead, AT&T has CUT 23,328 jobs.  NOT so awesome but…wow.  The bosses at the top made plenty of money, though.  The thing is, there’s an entire segment of our population who doesn’t know this.  They just…don’t know.

There’s an old adage that teaches that quality information is the life-blood of democracy.  But if quality information is the life-blood of democracy, what do we say about media outlets that knowingly inject fraudulent information into the discussions?

Think of the guy who never has a nice word to say about his wife.  He speaks of her disparagingly at every opportunity and his comments aren’t just disrespectful.  They are mean.  He says she’s was ugly.  He says she’s stupid.  She doesn’t cook well.  She’s no good in bed.  She’s a terrible mother.  There’s not ONE area of life he has anything nice to say about her.  Yet, if you ask, he says he loves her.  It doesn’t feel like love to anyone listening and if he says he does, it sounds more obligatory than true.  He’s expected to love his wife so he says he does.  But there’s nothing else – nothing anybody can point to – that would cause anybody to think he loves his wife.  It’s lip-service.

That’s how I feel about conservative media.  They tear at and tear down the United States government at every opportunity.  They only speak of the government disparagingly and the comments aren’t just disrespectful.  They’re intended to undermine the respect and authority the government once enjoyed.  (I do NOT hold that the government has been perfect in every measurable way at all times…)

I’ve long said the conservative media never – EVER – tells the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.  I’ve recently learned that it was designed that way from the start.  Some self-serving rich assholes decided they were too good to pay taxes and they should, by rights, be above the law and free from regulation.  Of course, that’s a hard sell to the people who are going to have to drink the polluted water, breath polluted air, live on polluted land, eat polluted food, and do more so they can do less and they knew it.

So they used some of their lucre to create conservative media.  They’ve used every marketing trick in the world to seduce and deceive a large swath of “Joe Six-pack” Americans into taking stands and actions against their own interests and, instead, pampering the already privileged elites.  Then, when life gets harder for the masses, the conservative media creates excuses and blames others.  It always comes back to the same story, though: a handful of rich people want more.

Here’s the thing, though: constantly attacking the American government is – well, not to put too fine a point on it – anti-American.  We expect such drivel from world leaders who don’t like us but it’s harder to declare an anti-American bias against other people claiming to love America.  But I don’t care that some conservative outlet dresses it’s sets in red, white, and blue.  They’re anti-American.  Every effort they make to undermine this once-great nation is anti-American.

So, I’ll tell you this: for me, from this point forward, it’s not just “conservative media.”  It’s the “anti-American conservative media…”

No Downside…

Mostly, I don’t debate climate change with the deniers because I know it’s part of their catechism and I don’t wish to be rude to people about their religions.  When the deniers see something supporting the mainstream science, they pounce, intent on overpowering the message with reams – MOUNTAINS – of industry-produced pseudo-science, all of which ends up being disproved over time (because, of course, it’s pseudo-science).  The thing is, I’ve realized that they can’t use ANY of it – not one word – until they’ve leaped over an obvious and undeniable truth: there is NO downside to switching from dirty, polluting, and finite fossil fuels to clean, non-polluting renewables.  None.  Making the switch as quickly as possible is better in every way, even before the question of climate change enters into it.  The actual only argument against switching?  Money (and who gets it…)

One guy, Corbin “Corby” Robertson Jr., sunk the bulk of his inherited wealth into cornering the market on coal.  According to the book ‘Dark Money’ by Jane Mayer, by 2003, his company, Quintana Resources Capital, owned more coal reserves than any other private company, second only to the United States Government.  That’s some “jenius” right there, cornering the coal market in 2003.  It’s like seeing trucks, trains, and 200 mph Bugatti’s and sinking your entire fortune into Conestoga wagons.  HE probably sees himself as some sort of negotiating heavyweight so he never realized he was being allowed to “win” the discussions by people who were getting out while the getting was good.  Now the entire planet is supposed to suffer because he made a poor investment?  Sorry, pal…

But he’s not alone in trying to stem the tide of history and entrap Americans in caskets of coal.  There’s a very small number of people who rely on their ability to throttle the energy supply in order to acquire “their” beautiful lucre – and THAT’S the true panic behind switching.  See, it’s not ONLY about renewables.  It’s really about the fact that the best distribution of renewable sources is non-centralized.  A non-centralized network means they can’t interfere with power production and squeeze out a little extra profit for…well, you know…the “shareholders.”

So, members of the privileged elite like the Koch brothers finance think tanks, professorships, media outlets, “grass roots” movements, and anything – everything – else they can to try to perpetuate their profits.  CATO is part of the so-called “Kochtopus.”  So is the Heritage Foundation, American Enterprise Institute, the Federalist Society, the Mercatus Center, and several others.

All of these groups were set up and/or funded by the Kochs with the specific intent to deceive a certain segment of our society into supporting what the Kochs think is good for the Kochs.  (They pretend it’s about “freedom.”)  They’ve enjoyed tremendous success.  Their topics literally define the “conservative agenda.”  Climate change is only one subject.  The Kochs and the other deceivers already know they’ve lost the fight, if for no other reason than, sooner or later, the fossil fuels will run out.  So they crank out all of this bunk, knowing it’s bunk and knowing that sooner or later they’re going to lose the fight but intent on protecting their profits for as long as possible and at any cost.  Well, any cost to you and me, that is…

But I’ll tell you this: I don’t actually hold that interfering with the profits of a few spoiled and failed human beings is a downside and that leads me to the inescapable, essential conclusion: there is NO downside to switching from dirty, polluting, and finite fossil fuels to clean, non-polluting renewables…

 

Running With Angels…

I know a guy who likes to run.  No, that’s not right.  I know a runner.  That’s FAR more accurate.  He started running less than 10 years ago but he’s already run the Boston Marathon three times.  For the uninitiated, that’s no small feat.  He started running “short” 5k’s with his wife.  It got good to him and the races started getting longer and longer.  A marathon is 26.2 miles.  He started doing those and, before too long, they weren’t enough, either.  So, he started looking for ways to increase the challenge.  Speed was one challenge, of course.  Then came longer distances and added challenges during the run.  One day, he told his sister, who gets about using a wheelchair due to Muscular Dystrophy, that he’d like to push her in a race.  She thought that was a great idea.

Now, I’ll tell you the truth.  I thought it was one of those vague-bookings.  (You know, you run in to someone you haven’t seen in awhile and one of you says, “Oh, we should get together” but no solid plans are ever made.)  There were some efforts to find appropriate equipment.  As it happens, though, the chairs are VERY expensive – particularly when one considers they were planning only one race – so…vague-booking, right?  Well, not so fast…

There’s an organization out there called ‘Ainsley’s Angels of America.’  They’re a pretty awesome group.  Their mission statement reads, in part: “In addition to ensuring everyone can experience endurance events, Ainsley’s Angels of America aims to build awareness about America’s special needs community through inclusion in all aspects of life.”  Basically, they facilitate exactly the kind of thing Mark and Rhonda wanted to do.  They make racing chairs available for disabled people to get the experience of being in a race.  And, yes, you have to be disabled.  They won’t just lend you a racing chair on a lark.

When an idea moves from the “wouldn’t that be nice” phase to “hey, we’re doing this” phase, things begin to crystallize.  Details emerge like, “I wonder what it’s like to actually DO this!”  So, a half marathon “trial run” seemed a good “entry level” race for the pair.  I was to be “ground support.”  They signed up for the Armed Forces Half Marathon in Concord, CA and began making arrangements with Ainsley’s Angels.  At one point, the Angels’ “Ambassador”, Russ, asked Mark to estimate his time over the course of the race.  Having never pushed a person in a chair during a race before, Mark estimated roughly two hours.  Russ said he’d try to assign an appropriate co-runner.

Now, in hindsight, it seems like one of us might have realized that “assign a co-runner” suggested some sort of requirement of the organization – but we didn’t.  They said, “assign a co-runner” and we heard “offer a co-runner.”  See the difference?  No, neither did we.  The day of the race, Mark and Rhonda arrived at the Angels’ booth where they were introduced to Chris, their co-runner.  Chris explained to Mark that, normally, the co-runners trade places every mile – detail on how the “offer” works.  Mark acknowledged the information and the three of them lined up for the start.

As the runners took off, I snapped this photo:

Reduced with circles

The guy circled in blue is Mark.  He doesn’t much like the photo because I caught him in mid-gasp as he took in air.  To me, though, it just says “power.”  In Mark’s mind, he’s in a race and he races to win.  He explained to me later that his goal was just to get the chair moving as fast as possible as quickly as possible and then let momentum do much of the work.

The guy circled in Ainsley’s Angels pink is Chris, Mark’s “co-runner.”  You can see the rest of the ‘Wheels’ division behind them.  To me, Chris’s face very clearly indicates surprise.  I’m pretty sure he didn’t expect Mark to make such a strong start.  See, Chris is a regular co-runner.  He knows the rules.  He knows that the co-runner wasn’t an “offer” so much as a “requirement.”  HE knows the runners are expected to stay together…

They didn’t…

Mark and Rhonda ended up with a first place finish in their division.  Well, Rhonda did.  Somehow, Mark ended up in a different division so, confusing though it may be, Mark ended up 92nd overall out of a field of 695 – but he was pushing a wheelchair with a grown woman in it so…that’s not bad.  His finish time was 1:51:42.  Her finish time was 1:52:38 (compensation for a “soft start”).  After the start of the race, we never saw Chris again.  The Ainsley’s Angels team were very gracious when they explained to Mark that he wasn’t supposed to leave his co-runner.  Mark and Rhonda expect to run one more race in concert with Ainsley’s Angels: a full marathon, of course.

I’ll tell you this: Ainsley’s Angels of America is an incredible group that depends upon charitable contributions to keep the racers racing.  So here’s a link to their donations page should you feel so inclined…

Crapitalism – Profitability edition…

So…they blew up a segment of San Bruno.  They didn’t HAVE to, of course.  They CHOSE to.  They had received a rate increase to fix the problem pipeline but used the money from said increase to run a political campaign in an attempt to create a permanent monopoly for themselves.  San Bruno blows up, people die.  PG&E gets “punished” via fines – AND they get another rate increase.  The fine will come and go.  The rate increase is forever.

Flash forward.  PG&E burns Paradise to the ground.  Sure, they’ll get “punished.”  They’ll have to pay a fine.  The fine will be a big-sounding number, something that will impress the great unwashed who are just trying to get by week to week.  But it will only be a pittance to PG&E.  Oh, and to make sure investors don’t suffer too mightily from PG&E’s negligence, they asked for – and received – yet another rate increase.  The fine will come and go.  The rate increase is forever.

So, corporations being what they are, do you think PG&E is learning not to blow things up and burn things down…or do you think they’ve discovered a new revenue stream?  As long as “regulators” make it profitable for PG&E to destroy California, no one here is safe…

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Speaking of profitability, these new laws against abortion in the various states can only be fought one way: money.  I don’t mean lots of money for lawyers and lawsuits.  I mean the states involved have to suffer financially.  There are NO other solutions.  Unchecked greed is the order of the day in this once-great nation.

The whole abortion question is a tough one.  I know people are passionate about it on both sides.  I think there’s merit in arguments that come from both sides.  Not ALL of the arguments, of course.  People tend to carry arguments to their illogical extremes and warn of apocalyptic outcomes.  I’m solidly on the “safe, legal, and rare” train.  The ONLY solution is readily available contraceptives and teaching comprehensive sex education to children BEFORE they need the information – which, with perverts sneaking into the bedrooms of eight-year-old girls, is YOUNG…

The thing is, Alabama seems to like it’s poverty-stricken status.  Alabamans will fight for their right to stay desperate.  (They think it’s “freedom.”)  Sure, Lynard Skynard wrote a catchy and proud anthem in response but Neil Young was right…

The result is that nobody goes to Alabama intentionally.  There’s no reason.  But THAT means, there’s nothing to cancel in protest.  Nobody there makes almost anything worth having so there’s very little to boycott.  Okay, so apparently, they make a LOT of chemicals there.  It’s a proudly red state, implying the “deregulation” model.

Unregulated chemical manufacturing?  Maybe that explains some things…

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I’ve been pleased more than once in my lifetime that I haven’t yet been suckered into the conservative way of “thinking.”  Right now those guys are arguing that paying a little more in taxes and saving a HUGE amount in personal expense is unacceptable while simultaneously insisting that Trump’s consumer tax increase, or tariff, is awesome because they think it hurts the Chinese.

Apparently, one can sell conservatives ANYTHING, so long as it’s packaged as harming someone…