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?

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?

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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…

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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…

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…

Who Wins?

Scary.  That’s the only word I can think of for what’s coming.  Scary.  I just finished reading an opinion piece from the BBC called, ‘What is Donald Trump’s Family Separation End-game?  The writer opines that there’s a two-fold strategy in place: one, get his stupid wall or, failing that, two, motivate his base.

It should say enough that terrorizing little children motivates his base to fall out in support.  It’s motivating Democrats and progressives to fall out as well but in defiance – so at least lefties won’t find themselves on the wrong side of history and they won’t have to tell themselves comforting lies in the future.  The question is, who wins?

Ted Cruz says liberals will crawl over broken glass to vote in the upcoming mid-terms.  Republicans, of course, will be the ones breaking the glass.  I’ve never wanted to agree with Ted Cruz but I hope he’s right about this one.  Dems and Progressives MUST fall out to vote.

History supports the notion that Republicans win when there’s low voter turnout.  (Do a search onGoo Goo Syndrome.”  They KNOW this to be true.  It’s the reason they work so hard on voter suppression.)  But they can be counted on to vote in every “election”, every single time.  Dems and Indies are less…compliant.  But history ALSO supports the notion that when something big is happening, Dems DO come out in large numbers.

There are more sane people in this country than Republicans so, if Dems DO come out in force, we’ll win.  We’ll take enough control of Congress to stop President Beeblebrox in his tracks.  (For the uninitiated, the reference is to Zaphod Beeblebrox in Douglas Adams’ ‘Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy’ series.  His job, as President of the Galaxy, is to distract people from noticing what’s really going on around them…)

But the punitive crowd will still come out as well – and in force.  Dems often don’t bother with mid-terms.  So the question is, who wins?  The results will have consequences that determine the very soul of this once-great nation.  No, we’re not going to be able to impeach Trump – not just yet, anyway.  Sure, the House might vote for it but the feckless Republicans in the Senate will not lift a finger to stop Trump because he’s so lucrative for them.  Still, we CAN stop him…or, at least, slow him down.

It’s curious.  I have this belief that anything begun dishonorably is destined to fail.  It’s a fairly easy argument to make that the United States of America – what with all it’s official support of enslaving human beings – was begun dishonorably, which, in turn, means it MUST – sooner or later – fail.  Every day that goes by and the country I love falls further and further into a pit of it’s own making that it may never climb out of, I’m vindicated in my larger, over-arching belief.

But I’ll tell you this: I’m not happy about it…

Let the World Ignore Him…

Image: BELGIUM-NATO-DEFENCE-POLITICS-DIPLOMACY-MEETINGI shouldn’t be, I know, but I’m always surprised whenever I rediscover there are people out there who don’t seem aware that Fox “News” is a political propaganda machine.  It’s not a credible news outlet, despite it’s misleading name.  It’s just an attack machine aimed at any individual considered an enemy by whomever is running the show that day.  Barack Obama was a favorite.  If he said “up”, Fox “News” said “down.”  Simple.  Always oppose.  It’s just what attack news is all about and always has been.

You may not be aware that when this country was born, well-positioned people sponsored entire newspapers to be their voice to the populace, specifically creating papers run by editors loyal to whatever cause the sponsor was promoting at the time.  In that same tradition, Fox “News” is set up by rich people to benefit rich people.  They’ve taken advantage of a certain mindset in this once-great nation and those minions keep Fox going by parroting whatever they hear on ‘Fox and Friends’ or Hannity.

Mostly, the adherents of Fox are old.  Really old.  Scared of dying, they become frightened of everything else, too, and Fox is there to make sure the fears seem real and justified.  It’s actually unkind.  These people don’t think well anymore.  Fox “News” is terrorizing old people and weak thinkers to further their own political agenda and they do so with great effect.  And now, we’ve got a group of those gullible, weak-thinkers in the White House…

I don’t know exactly how long Trump has been a Fox viewer but I’d guess it goes all the way back to when his brain first calcified.  The self-described master of the Art of the Deal – which, apparently, is NEVER honor an agreement – doesn’t seem to understand that Fox “News” doesn’t know – or even care – if what they say is true.  “True” isn’t relevant.  Only attack is relevant.  As such, they attacked everything the Obama administration did, good and bad.  But Trump, apparently, never figured out that it’s just a ploy so, like most Fox viewers, he actually believes the crap they spew.

When the world made an agreement with Iran, Fox trashed the deal.  Sure, they had to make up details in order to attack it but they’re always happy to make things up over at Fox and so…attack they did.  Not because it was a bad deal.  Fox trashed it because Obama was in office when it was finalized.  That’s it.  It was the attack message of the day: Obama = bad.

So, naturally, our National Embarrassment has used faulty information to make actual, real-life decisions about the world at large, including Iran.  Trump just did what Trump does: pull out of an agreement that has already been made and start agitating for “a better deal.”  Was the Iran agreement the very best deal in the history of deals?  Probably not.  Was it the complete and utter failure Fox told Trump it was?  Not in the least.

Smart people, so-called “intellectual elites” in the Fox crowd, tried to stop him.  Emmanuel Macron came from France to try to stop him from pulling out.  Angela Merkle came from Germany to try to stop him.  Intelligence agencies from around the world insisted the deal was working as planned.  But Macron and Merkle – people who DO know what they’re talking about – don’t hold the same sway with the dotard as Fox and Friends – people who clearly DON’T know what they’re talking about.  So, Trump pulled out of the deal, anyway.

At first, I was a little concerned.  Outside of Fox “News” and Trump’s calcified brain, everybody knows that ending the deal is setting Iran on the path to nuclear weapons right away.  But, as is the case with everything regarding this maladministration, one doesn’t jump right in and start making predictions.  It’s better to wait a day or two, think about things; watch things unfold a bit.  I pretty quickly realized that the rest of the world knows that Trump is untrustworthy, dishonorable, and just plain fucking dumb…um…not at his intellectual best.  So the rest of the world has put the US on hold, as they should have done.  They’ll get back to us just as soon as we solve our problem.  In the meantime, the world is moving forward without us.

That thought gave me comfort.  Sure Trump can be counted upon to do the wrong thing, make the wrong move.  But the rest of the world doesn’t have to pull out just because Trump did.  I’m guessing that even as Donnie was holding up his paper to demonstrate that he can still write his name, the rest of the world was on the phone to Iran reassuring them that they’ll stay in the deal.  Sanctions, for example, don’t have much effect if the rest of the world won’t honor them and I’m hoping the rest of the world won’t honor them.  (And, yes, that is what it has come to: most Americans hoping the rest of the world can hold out against America!  Thanks, Don…)

Then I see this headline in the Guardian:  US threatens European companies with sanctions after Iran deal pullout.  Think about that for a second.  Trump made the wrong move for the wrong reasons.  Now he’s threatening US allies if they don’t make the wrong move with him.  You might want to read that again: Trump is threatening US allies if they don’t make the wrong move with him.  Our allies…

I’ll tell you this: I hope the world defies Trump despite the threats.  They just need to hold out for a little while.  We’ll correct our error and dump Trump as soon as we can.  Then we’ll be able to rejoin the world community as grownups, not petulant brats…

You Chose Out…

When I was young, ‘you chose out’ was a fairly common refrain from parents across the land.  Back in those days, children were allowed to play outside…unsupervised!  (I know!)  I wrote “allowed.”  I meant “forced.”  Once you chose to go outside, you stayed outside until dinner – for which you’d better not be late.  It was a kind of “you made your choice, now live with it.”  I’ve got to offer that same advice to conservatives, these days…

It seems they’re all worked up over these ongoing investigations into our National Embarrassment and the swamp creatures that surround him.  There’s this District Judge in Virginia, T.S. Ellis, whose head is WAY too far up a Fox “News” hole, who decided to defend his President.  He repeatedly expressed his opinion that the prosecution of Paul Manafort, Trump’s one-time campaign manager, was really about Mueller’s investigation into Trump.  Mueller’s investigation has alleged criminal wrongdoing by Manafort.  According to CNN, ‘Manafort has asked the judge to review Mueller’s authority to bring charges in an investigation that began well before the special counsel’s appointment and focused on actions years before the campaign.’  Ha, ha…good one!  I’ve got just one word for you.

Whitewater.

Whitewater was a failed land development deal in which Bill and Hillary Clinton lost money – in 1979.  In 1992 (13 years after the fact) a Resolution Trust Investigator named Laura Jean Lewis was looking into a Savings and Loan owned by Jim and Susan McDougal – friends of the Clintons and co-investors in the Whitewater deal.  She submitted a criminal referral to the FBI.  Both the Arkansas District Attorney (sure, possibly biased) and the FBI concluded that the referral lacked merit but that didn’t stop Lewis from pursuing the matter.  After all, when has “lacked merit” ever mattered to conservatives?

Lewis continued to issue referrals for another couple of years and in 1995, testified before the Senate Whitewater committee – because the Senate had convened a Whitewater committee to look into charges that lacked merit from now 16 years prior.  Initially, a guy named Robert Fiske was appointed to investigate as special prosecutor.  In may of 1994, Fiske issued a grand jury subpoena to the sitting President and his wife.  (The subpoenaed documents were reported as “missing.”)  In June, 1994, Fiske made an announcement that no criminal charges should be brought and that he was about to conclude his investigation.  So, the GOP fired him – they accused him of having a conflict of interest because he’d been appointed by Clinton’s Attorney General – and replaced him with Kenneth Starr.

Starr seemed to have had an agenda.  He enlisted the testimony of a guy named David Hale.  Hale was in trouble for embezzlement from his own insurance company.  He received a reduced sentence after suddenly “remembering”, in 1993, that the Clintons had pressured him to make a loan to Susan McDougal – a remembrance he hadn’t made during his initial testimony in the original FBI investigation in 1989.  Susan McDougal refused to answer questions about the investigation.  Starr held her in prison on contempt charges for 18 months.  McDougal has always maintained that Starr offered her “global immunity” from other charges if she would cooperate with the Whitewater investigation.

By April of 1998, Starr had pretty much concluded the Whitewater deal was a non-starter.  In September of that year, Starr issued his infamous “Starr Report” which mentioned Whitewater only in passing.  But they had found a blowjob.  Even THAT didn’t stop the GOP.  They appointed yet another “independent” counsel, Robert Ray, who, in September, 2000 (and 60 MILLION dollars later) issued a report that said, “This office determined that the evidence was insufficient to prove to a jury beyond a reasonable doubt that either President or Mrs. Clinton knowingly participated in any criminal conduct.”

So…do special prosecutors use little fish to try to catch big fish?  Heck yes, they do.  Is investigating charges from YEARS prior “out of bounds”?  It doesn’t seem so.  CAN someone continue to investigate even after multiple “final” reports state no factual basis for the charges exists?  Yep.  Might a sitting President be subpoenaed?  Absolutely!  Might that same sitting President be charged with offenses that have nothing whatsoever to do with the charges that launched the initial investigation?  Ask Monica Lewinsky…

I’ll tell you this: ALL of these lovely little legal niceties regarding a sitting President were established by conservatives in their “witch-hunt” against Bill Clinton.  Do conservatives now get to change their own precedents because the target of an investigation is a Republican?  No.  No, you don’t.

You chose out…

 

Not In The News…

It sure is tough writing about politics, these days.  With our vaunted “fourth estate” in tatters, it’s hard to even know what’s going on.  Have you seen the cleverly edited video in which newsreaders were ordered by Sinclair Broadcast Group to read a script supposedly decrying the practice of forcing newsreaders to read scripts that “ some members of the media use their platforms to push their own personal bias and agenda to control exactly what people think…”  These pieces are called “must-runs” as in, the given station is ordered to run them whether they agree with the content or not.

But when you get ownership groups pressing their agendas by using their platforms to complain about ownership groups using their platforms to press their agendas it becomes that much more difficult to figure out who’s trustworthy and who’s not.  Here’s a hint: American broadcast media is NOT trustworthy.  Print media is better because you have time to linger and think about what’s being presented but if it originates in America, you should assume it’s owned by one of the five companies that own most media in this once-great nation and accept that you’re getting either useless fluff or carefully edited news…

My greatest complaint tends to be around what’s NOT reported.  I’m not talking about conservative bubble “stories” only THEY get because they have their super-secret decoder rings.  (“Why, oh why won’t the mainstream media cover THIS?”  “Um, because it’s bullshit?”)  I’m talking about REAL news stories that don’t get carried for reasons that serve the owners.

As an example, these days, we’re treated to a semi-regular feature in which someone is asked for their “best” example of Trump/Russian collusion.  The most common answer I see is the pee tape.  (And how great IS it that we all get to talk about the President of the United States of America and a “pee tape”?)  They don’t ask me, though.  MY best example of possible Trump/Russian collusion is about a Tanzanian bank that operated mostly in Cyprus, FBME, or the First Bank of the Middle East.

It’s closed now.  Pretty good timing, if you ask me.  But before it was closed down, it was a known haven for Russian money laundering.  Some of the Russians laundering money were VERY close to Putin.  Do you know who else stands accused of laundering money through FBME?  Well, that would be Paul Manafort, the one-time campaign manager for Trump.  Manafort denies the charges.

Turns out?  Deutsche Bank was a Correspondent Bank for FBME.  A Correspondent Bank is one that provides financial services for the “partner” institution – wire transfers, accepting deposits and documents, that sort of thing.  Oh, and Deutsche Bank is, far and away, Donald Trump’s biggest lender.  Nobody else will lend to the guy anymore.  He’s too big of a risk.  But Deutsche went out of it’s way to find borrowers who were out of favor with more…respectable institutions and they found the Donald…

I’ll tell you this: in fairness to our crap media, Robert Mueller has played it pretty close to the vest when it comes to the details of his investigation – as he should.  But the Guardian from the UK covered it, so it was clearly “coverable.”  I guess it’s just more fun to salivate over Stormy Daniels’…um…accusations…