Paradise Burned…

Not JUST the town, mind you, although that appears to have burned entirely.  California has now suffered through THREE of the worst fires in it’s history.  Tubbs (2017), Mendocino Complex (2018), and Camp (2018).  It’s good that the deniers have assured me Global Warming is all a conspiracy or I might be getting worried.  I DO feel, however, like the Chinese are going to an awful lot of extra trouble to convince people their hoax is real.  Couldn’t they just doctor a video or something?

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Speaking of fires, I see in the news that “President” Dumpster has fired Jeff Sessions and replaced him with a delusional loyalist dedicated to doing the so-called “President’s” bidding.  Nixon tried it but found that men of integrity stood up for the nation.  Sadly, “men of integrity” is an oxymoron in today’s GOP.

The upshot is, partisan AG Matthew Whitaker will likely try to squelch the Mueller investigation into the National Shame’s interactions with Russia in service to his master.  I suspect he’ll succeed, too.  He’ll take the report and refuse to release it.  Simple.  This is going to come down to the Democrats and their control of the House of Representatives.  I wonder if they’ll follow up…

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I’m glad Stacey Abrams is holding strong against Cheatin’ Brian Kemp.  I hope she’s able to force a run-off.  To me, there is currently no greater exemplar of the depths to which Republicans will stoop to cheat than the Georgia Governor’s race.  Kemp did every underhanded, dishonorable, dishonest dirty trick he could think of – and he STILL might not win.  The people of Georgia seem to know what a scumbag Kemp is.  The people of Georgia seem to have preferred Abrams.  They might get stuck with Kemp, anyway.  It’s a flaw in our country’s set-up that a person can cheat so nakedly, so completely, and “win” anyway.

Someone I know said to me, “That should be illegal.”
“It is”, I said. “Lawsuits will be filed and Kemp will lose…but he’ll still get to be Governor.  We don’t punish politicians who cheat so we can pretend we’re ‘protecting the integrity of the vote’.  But there’s no ‘integrity’ in a stolen election…”

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I believe the ‘integrity of the vote’ went out the window with the introduction of voting machines that don’t create a paper trail.  I note that EVERYONE in both parties was paying lip-service to the idea that the Russians might hack into the voting machines and affect the outcome.  I ALSO note that neither party suggested not using the suspect machines until they can be secured and PROVE the ‘integrity’ of their vote counts…

On the up side, we the people likely never “elected” the National Shame at all…

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Democrats turned out in FAR higher numbers than Republicans – which make sense.  There are FAR more lefties than righties out there.  Still, they didn’t win what the numbers would have dictated had the GOP not been cheating so effectively for so long.  In California, we did away with gerrymandering and the obstructionist Republicans went away with it.  I hope to see a concerted effort on the part of Democrats to eliminate gerrymandering everywhere they can.  I doubt I will, though.  The Dems will be loathe to eliminate a “tool” they might benefit from in the future, even if it does undermine democracy.

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Fun fact: the term ‘gerrymander’ was first coined by the ‘Boston Gazette’ in 1812 after a guy named Elbridge Gerry formed a district that was completely partisan and looked roughly like a salamander.  Because of the way he spelled his name, we pronounce the term with a soft ‘g’ – like a ‘j’ sound.  But Elbridge pronounced his name with a hard ‘g’ – like Gary.

Gerry was a conservative, of course, which means the conservatives have been cheating – fearful of leaving their unpopular positions in the hands of the people – since at least 1812…

206 year later?  Paradise burns…

The 2018 Mid-terms…

“Vote ‘no’ on their Proposition or everyone you know will DIE!”
“No, vote ‘yes’ on our Proposition or everyone you know will DIE!”
“It doesn’t do ANYTHING to help veterans…”
(Um…isn’t it about recycling?)
“Your grandma will HATE YOU forever if you vote against this Measure!”
“Nothing less than blood in the streets.”
“If you vote against this, the terrorists have already won!”
“Plagues of bloody water, frogs, and then locusts…”

I guess they’ve been using scare tactics during political campaigns going back to the Bible…probably longer.  I’m over it.  “Election” day is stalking us like a knife-wielding maniac in a slasher film and I’m just trying to get away.  The avalanche of propaganda that has consumed my mailbox continues unabated, offering absolutely zero in the way of information but urging my vote one way or the other anyway – always with some scary outcome if I don’t do as directed.  “For the children!”  Uh-huh.  Repeal a tax on vodka…for the children.  Right, I got it…

I take a circuitous route to my mailbox.  The path I follow allows me to pass right by my garbage can.  The political mailers drop right in as I pass.  Sometimes I wonder about the money some special interest group has invested into the colorful little flyers as I drop them into the can without so much as a glance.  I note that we, the people can never raise enough cash to feed the poor but we always seem to have plenty for less-than-useless, lying little flyers…

“My opponent is:
Sure to tax you into the poor house!
Happy to support corporate rule!
Instantly going to repeal the Constitution!
Tragically misinformed on the issues!”

I’ve already voted.  I think the most important technology Silicon Valley could give us – besides a voting machine that can create an audit report, that is – might be an “opt out” that lets the various interests know that my vote has been cast – so leave me out of the flyers, advertisements, and robocalls from this point forward.  You’re wasting MY time and YOUR money.  Hell, even if you change my mind…it’s too late.  I’ve already got my “participant” sticker!

Vote.  Exercise your franchise.  Do your duty (or, in some cases, “dooty”).  Put it on paper if you can but VOTE!

My understanding is, liberals vote Tuesday and conservatives vote on Wednesday so get out there on your designated day and vote like your future, your very life, depends upon it.

It actually might…

Shortcut To Power…

I have a lot of respect for Willie Brown.  Agree with him or not, if you’re an honest individual, you have to admit, the man has a brilliant mind for politics.  That makes it nice for me that I’ve mostly agreed with him.  Please take note, as I have, that I haven’t written any bits about Mr. Brown when I agree with him.  So…guess what?  I saw an article in this morning’s SF Chronicle written by Willie Brown called, ‘Berniecrats try to shortcut their way to power‘…

He’s decrying the idea that Democratic Socialists are running on the Democratic ticket.  It’s a short piece but it could have been shorter.  This paragraph sums up the whole thing nicely: “Democratic socialists are not Democrats. They run under the Democratic banner, but they have contempt for traditional Democrats. They just don’t have nerve to run as a third party.”

Coupla things…

It probably doesn’t need to be pointed out to Mr. Brown that it wasn’t an original idea of the Democratic Socialists to infiltrate one of the two major parties of our so-called “two-party system.”  The Libertarians did it to the Republicans and have driven them to the extreme, even nut-ball right.  I don’t have “contempt” for traditional Democrats.  But I am rooting for the Democratic Socialists to have great success running as Democrats, thereby pushing the Democratic party back to being a progressive party rather than the center-right “safety” spot they occupy today.

The way I see it, this phenomenon is occurring specifically because – as Mr. Brown certainly knows – it’s very difficult to set up a viable third party these days.  There was a time in history when Teddy Roosevelt got angry with the Republicans and set up a new, third party and ran in all 50 states that year (1912). The Progressive Party (aka, The Bull Moose Party) even carried six states.  But then the “two parties” started introducing and passing “ballot access” laws making it more and more difficult for competing parties to obtain nationwide access.

The Green Party first appeared on a ballot in Alaska in 1990.  As of 2008, the Green Party was able to appear on ballots in 31 states and the District of Columbia.  18 years.  63% of state ballots (+DC).  As of September, 2016 they had achieved 45 states.  88%, 26 years.  The question of whether or not they have the nerve to run as a third party never enters into it.  They don’t have the ability to run as a third party.  Willie Brown’s extensive political expertise absolutely precludes any possibility he doesn’t understand that reality.

Mr. Brown is, as I’ve already indicated, politically brilliant but he’s also – and, apparently, more importantly – a loyal Democrat.  It has ever been thus so it’s not really news.  But the Democrats put themselves in a tough spot when they sold the nomination up front  and they’ve been peddling alternative realities ever since in the vain hope that something, anything might stick.  I think they should just leave it alone.  People have made their determinations about what happened in 2016 and they’re not likely to change.

I’ll tell you this: I find it difficult to believe the Democrats would run ANY risk of reigniting the Dem Wars of 2016.  Particularly one as savvy as Willie Brown…

Shame…

Shame, noun – a painful feeling of humiliation or distress caused by the consciousness of wrong or foolish behavior.  They say adversity builds character.  We all know, by now, that Donald Trump has never known a minute of adversity in his entire life, which explains his complete failure as a human being and his total lack of character.  Every time I think the bar can’t be lowered, it gets lowered and I’m left gobsmacked trying to figure out what happened to this once-great nation…

I’ve been known to refer to the POS (oh, did I forget the T and the U?) as our ‘National Embarrassment’ but in my mind, he’s earned a change in status.  Is it an upgrade or a downgrade?  I don’t know but from this point forward, he’ll be known, by me, as our ‘National Shame.’

The Saudis have admitted to killing Jamal Khashoggi but say it was the result of an impromptu fistfight.  I’ve got to say, it sure was prescient of the Saudis to bring a bone saw to a meeting just in case an impromptu fistfight broke out that would end in the need to dismember a body!  Who knows, perhaps Saudis take bone saws to EVERY meeting.  That would certainly explain the GOP’s cowardly and deferential behavior toward them.  (Remember when 43 gave King Abdullah a big kiss on the lips?)

Our National Shame says he finds the explanation credible.  Oh, and let’s be sure that whatever response the United States comes up with does NOT interfere with the arms deal…

So there it is.  The United States has been finally, fully exposed.  It doesn’t matter what you do or don’t do, so long as nothing interferes with profits.  Even a blatant murder can be – should be – overlooked…so long as nothing queers the deal.  The weapons in question are most likely going to be used to kill innocent Yemenis, too, but even that’s okay…so long as the checks clear.

It should be noted that our National Shame might react a bit if his buddy Sean Hannity was murdered.  After all, Khashoggi wrote for the Washington Post and Trump effing HATES the Washington Post.  (They write honestly about him and he can’t have that.)  But even if it was Hannity, the Shame would move forward with whatever deal was on the table.  Hannity would understand.

But I don’t…

Uncivilized…

Reuters is reporting that The National Embarrassment says separating families at the border and stealing children deters illegal immigration.  I’d have to guess that’s true.  The people running for their lives were looking for a civilized place where they might be able to survive.  Trump has shown the world that the United States is NOT a civilized place any more…

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Still holding hope for a ‘Blue Wave’?  Is it true that Democrats don’t get out the vote or is it MORE true that Republicans cheat so shamefully, completely, and sadly, successfully that it isn’t possible for enough Democrats to vote?  I’d say it’s the second one.  Case in point?  In Georgia, a man named Brian Kemp is the Secretary of State AND the Republican nominee for Governor.  He’s using his office as Secretary of State to suppress opposition votes in every way he can – legal and otherwise.  It’s an obvious conflict of interest but his supporters will just say it was smart.  I find myself thinking about JFK’s warning: “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable”…

It’s Up To Women…

Oh, white men are scared, huh?  SOME white men, perhaps.  Most know that false charges of reported sexual abuse are less common – somewhere in the neighborhood of two to eight percent.  I suspect most of those claims are connected to someone trying to gain the upper hand in divorce or child custody cases.  Conservatives, of course, have a different number.  The number THEY use is 41%.  Ooh, scary.  Of course, even using that false number, it STILL means that 59% of claims are true.

But the pretending-to-be-scared white men – and women – rallied around the 41% number to get the Kavanaugh “win.”  You heard the cons in social media, wringing their hands and crying out, “What about our sons and brothers?”  Fair enough.

But what about your daughters?

If 41% of the time a charge is false, 59% of the time it’s true.  (It’s called ‘Math.’  100-41=59, see?)  According to conservatives, though, when some lying woman makes a claim, the correct course of action is to ask the guy if he did it.  When he says no, the next step is to try to figure out how the lying bitch put herself into such a vulnerable position in the first place.  I’m sure the position is going to lead to more open and honest discourse in conservative households across the land…

It’s going to be interesting to see how women respond to being portrayed as deceivers who lie for the sheer thrill of trashing defenseless men.  After all, we KNOW that women are inveterate liars.  The Bible tells us so!  Therefore, it’s best – apparently – to disregard the 60% of women who are being truthful in defense of the 40% of men who are being falsely accused, right?

If this doesn’t galvanize women to action, I suspect nothing will.  Hey, maybe they really DO like being cat-called while walking down the street, being judged first and foremost on their looks, and having men whip out their junk and wave it in their faces.  Who knew?  (Apparently, Harvey Weinstein and Brett Kavanaugh…)

We’ve got an “election” coming up.  More than any other voting bloc, I’m watching women.  Will women turn out in record numbers?  I suspect that even some conservative women realize their contrived support of Kavanaugh undermined the credibility of ALL women claiming sexual abuse – including their own and their own children – for the sake of a political “win.”  So do they go into a voting booth shouting “MAGA!” and then secretly vote for the Democrat?

See, I hold that actions speak louder than words.  Marching in the streets and knitting pussy hats is all well and good but if women don’t come out in force and vote their best interests, the energy behind the marches becomes little more than bluster.  I fear that the subtext to NOT coming out is, “Yeah, we ARE what you say we are.”

Men, to be sure, are going to come out and vote their “teams.”  You can count on conservative men – and some women – voting Republican to ensure the conservative misogyny retains it’s “rightful” place.  Progressive and Democratic men are less predictable.  I, for one, will be voting with the Democrats in the interests of women but the truth is, I’m white and male.  I’ll be okay, even in the conservative hell hole.  Left leaning men may or may not be fired up to go to the polls.  So, like it or not, it’s down to you women.  And isn’t that the way?  Men make a mess and leave it for women to clean up…

I’ll tell you this: fair or not – and LIKE it or not – this next election isn’t about a “blue wave” or a “red wave.”  It’s clearly about a pink wave…

The Kavanaugh Rubicon…

Historians tend to say that Rome transformed from a Republic to an empire when Julius Caesar crossed the Rubicon River with his armies.  There’s a specific date – January 10, 49.  But it’s not like Rome changed overnight, the result of one action.  Technically, it didn’t even “fall” on January 10.  That’s just a solid date to represent the change from an historical point of view.  There were many things before the 10th that led up to the crossing of the river and it took awhile AFTER the 10th for Rome to become an official empire.

In the same way, it’s possible October 6, 2018 will be noted by future historians as the day the curtain came down on the American Republic.  Like Rome, there have been many events that have led up to that date – it’s been a slow-moving coup.  And it seems foolish to imply that everything is different on October 7.  It will take time.  But in the future, October 6 seems like a nice, central date upon which to pin the end of the United States of America, the Republic and the beginning of the American Empire – the official empire, anyway…

The thing is, this once-great nation was set up to operate on good faith.  Good faith refers to honesty or sincerity of intention.  Really, in one way of thinking, once one party – the Republicans – decided to operate only on bad faith, the country was doomed.  Our founders didn’t include any mechanism in the Constitution to correct for pure bad faith from one party or the other.  Hell, they didn’t even anticipate “parties”…

I’ll tell you the truth.  Even as I’ve seen this train wreck coming, I’ve had difficulty truly believing the Republicans would actually destroy the country just to get their misguided way.  But really, conservatives have hated the United States almost since the day it was born.  They’ve been trying to undermine and disempower the Constitution going all the way back to Jefferson.  It seems they’ve finally accomplished the mission with this most recent abomination.  As of October 6, 2018,  Schlitz Kavanaugh is a member of the Sour Cream Court.  Barring what the Republicans call “2nd Amendment Solutions”, the Court promises to be an unbalanced, unhinged pseudo-institution for years, perhaps decades to come.

I have a new salutation: may you reap as you sow.  I offer it, now, to conservatives.  Their bad faith and overt corruption has finally brought this once-great nation low.  For the vast majority of us, the future is not bright.  I see you in your MAGA hats but  Trump and the Republicans haven’t made America great.  They’ve made it history.

Nice work…

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As a sidebar – the textbook kind, not the judicial kind – it might be a bit of fun to consider the possible permutations of how the future might play out on this land mass.  Of course, there are a LOT of variables but generally speaking, I see five, possibly four new nations replacing the one taking up space now.  This will be Hawaii’s chance to regain independence and Alaska is so far removed, I’m pretty sure they’ll either go it alone or go back to Russian control so the rest refers to the contiguous United States.

In the West, California will lead the way towards a nation that spreads east from the Pacific Ocean to include the Colorado River basin.  We need the water.  I think Oregon and maybe Washington State will go along willingly.  The rest?  Hey, California is a large, strong economy.  I think we’ll be able to field an army large enough to take and hold what we need…

I see the same happening in the Northeastern states.  The original northern colonies may well band together.  They, too, will enjoy enough economic power to defend themselves and with the failure of the American government, who’s going to stop them?  I could see them reaching across to the Dakotas.  Pennsylvania brings plenty of oil but with the find in North Dakota, it seems it would be prudent to get what they can while they can…

The South will, of course, finally be able to say they won a war they lost but have continued to “fight” for 153 years.  The Confederacy will rise again.  Talk about dedication to being wrong-headed!  They’ll still have to do it without their slaves so their future seems best described by the words ‘desperation’ and ‘poverty’…

The question for me is, will Texas go along with the larger South?  I don’t think so.  I think they’ll go back and get the territory that once was a larger Texas.  That included parts of Oklahoma, Kansas, New Mexico, Colorado, and even Wyoming.  This, of course, will set up border skirmishes between California and Texas over the Colorado River water…

That leaves the flyover states.  Where will they end up?  Who cares?  Maybe they’ll end up representing the tattered remnants of the once-great United States.  More likely they’ll be absorbed – like it or not – by the nations developing around them.  They won’t enjoy the economic power to protect themselves so they’ll be pushed around for awhile before being controlled by one power or another.  Who knows, maybe Canada will take them…

Yeah, I know.  Talking about how the continent breaks up politically is pretty far-out stuff.  To be clear, I’m not saying this is how it happens for sure.  I’m just “noodling.”  It’s possible the map remains unchanged.  But when Rome fell, new countries formed out of the once Roman Empire.  When the Soviet Union broke up, new countries formed where once the Soviet Union had reigned supreme.  I don’t see any reason for the area that once comprised the United States of America to be any different…