John 8:32…

I don’t know if it’s schadenfreude – pleasure derived from the misfortune of others. I am enjoying it, though, so it’s possible. People who understand things have been in a kind of proxy battle with Fox “News” pretty much since Fox hosts started lying on air in the 1990s. The proxies, in this case, are conservatives blaring the bunk spewed by Fox on a daily basis. I can’t just tell them they’re being deceived. I’ve tried. They don’t believe me. I can’t tell Fox, either. They don’t care. And, really, why should they? It’s not like they don’t know they’re lying. It’s not “news” to them. So the battle has raged for decades – Fox attacking America, Fox viewers waving the banner and marching in the parade.

It got SO easy for Fox to lie, they became increasingly confident in their acolyte’s ability to shout down all opposition and simply broadcast more lies and even louder. It’s been quite frustrating for those of us who love this once-great nation, watching conservative lies tear it apart piece by piece. But Fox got ahead of itself, didn’t it? Fox got too far out in front of the great lie of the feckless fuckup, Donnie “the dumbass” trump. Now it’s coming back to bite them. It’s the so-called “moment we’ve all been waiting for.” We NEVER have to credit Fox “News” again and if someone cites them as some kind of authority, the citation can be dismissed without a second thought.

Oh, you haven’t heard? One of the “devils” the dumbass chose to target in his great lie was a company called Dominion Voting Systems. They make voting machines. The MAGA cons claimed Dominion was cheating on behalf of Biden. They don’t have a single shred of evidence, not one thing – over 60 court cases say so. But, my gods, one could not shut them up about it, in part because Fox “News” had done story after story after story. Rupert Murdoch, the Australian owner of Fox, is evil, not stupid. He likely knew when he named his editorial opinion station that calling it “News” would grant it a certain gravitas it never deserved – and it worked. When things got too tight in one of their lying tales, the talking heads on the show would just remind everybody they’re not journalists, they’re simply “entertainers.” But the viewers dutifully dismissed such disclaimers and took the hosts words as news, if not gospel truth – the exact effect Murdoch seemed to want.

But Dominion has them trapped now. The Fox “News” hosts can (and do) say anything they want outside of the courtroom. That’s how they get away with being slippery in the ways they are. But once one is under oath? Things change. Dramatically. On television, Sean Hannity, for example, gets paid to lie. But he goes to jail for lying under oath. So when it came time for Hannity to be deposed in connection with trump’s…er…trumpery, Hannity came clean. Under oath, he said he didn’t believe the Dominion voter fraud claims “for a second.”

He sure seemed to, though, didn’t he? He brought guests on to repeat elements of the big lie on a regular basis and didn’t challenge any of them on any of their made up points. And Hannity isn’t the only one. Dominion has also deposed Tucker Carlson, Jeanine Pirro, Lou Dobbs, Maira Bartiromo and Steve Doocy. It appears they have all taken pretty much the same position – under oath. They march right back to their shows and continue lying as though they hadn’t just sworn under oath and in private the exact opposite of their pretended opinion being broadcast. But now we ALL know, without question, without doubt.

Fox “News” lies and is NOT a dependable source of information…

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Musk ordered the removal of Twitter’s suicide prevention tool. It was called #ThereIsHelp and it tied help resource references to certain specific searches. Can you believe it? No one knows why he did it. He said he didn’t think such a tool was necessary since upsetting content was down on Twitter. (Fair enough. ALL content is down on Twitter.) I think it displays his ignorance. These little help notices pop up in all kinds of media these days. If someone kills themselves on a show, for example, there’s almost always a disclaimer before or after offering connections to related help agencies. Honestly, I don’t know if they help but they certainly couldn’t hurt and I just don’t understand why Musk would attack connections to resources for potentially suicidal people.

I think Musk has now pretty much convinced everybody that he hasn’t a clue as to what he’s doing or how he should be or could be doing it. My own suspicion is that he had a rich-guy temper tantrum. Cons, in general, do not like the fact that various social media platforms began cracking down on lies (deceptively labeled “fake news”). They took it personally which, of course, they would since the vast majority of the fraudulent posts being removed as false were from conservative sources.

It never once penetrated their calcified brains that perhaps those stories were being removed for being false. They simply would not – will not – accept the idea that they’re being manipulated by their favorite talking head into helping the uber-rich usher in a “more perfect (for the uber-rich)” fascist state. Instead, they decided it was some kind of war on conservatives. The funny (to me) part is, the conservative bubble is a kind of feedback loop and the messages get picked up and repeated over and over until ALL con consumers believe the stories and sometimes, that includes members of the uber-rich class and/or the pretenders to the class, like trump.

In this case, that was Musk. He’s supposed to be smart but he can’t distinguish a lie from a fact? All I know for sure is that he clearly bought into the whole war on conservative “information” story and decided to do something about it. He put up $44 Billion dollars to buy a social media platform he knows nothing about. HE thought he could go in and “fix it” by just taking off all of the brakes and letting the thing roll. And rolling it is – straight down hill. (Okay, in fairness, he did just seem to be shooting his mouth off when he made the offer and he tried everything he could think of to get out of the deal but was forced – by his own mouth – to go forward in the end.)

Each day, it seems a bit more likely that Twitter is headed for the dustbin of history. I’ve never been a twit (or whatever they call themselves) so I don’t really care but his investors – twits or not – seem to care very much. Tesla is rapidly losing ground to competitors as well. Now that Musk has totally exposed himself as a moron con people who like to buy electric cars – mostly progressives – are not buying Teslas. This is a development I like since I’ve long thought of Teslas as rolling crematoriums. I doubt the space project will take much of a hit over the whole deal but Musk, himself, might end up forced out as hurting the brand.

I’ll tell you this: I’m very much enjoying this short moment of watching the truth take back some of the gains the lies have held for so long. Fox “News” is getting overrun by the truth. Musk is being run over by the truth. Next? Why that looks like the dumbass is about to have to answer to the truth – perhaps for the first time in his putrid little life…

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On the topic of January 6th, there appear to be two different kinds of people: those who watched the January 6th Committee hearings and know that the dumbass is a traitor who engineered an attempted coup in order to steal power and those who assiduously avoided the hearings and know…well…nothing, really but have very strong opinions anyway.

Now comes the final report. 845 pages of evidence. Here, let me save you some time. The dumbass did it. He’s guilty and there are no ifs, ands, or buts. (As a digression, I know the cons believe their Cheetojesus has never once failed at anything. People who understand things know that the exact opposite is true – trump has never started anything that succeeded – and his egomaniacal coup attempt is no different…) The guy has been slithering out of trouble his whole life with lies, bullying, and scumbag lawyers. Now he’s up against Federal law. Federal law has been dealing with lies, bullying, and scumbag lawyers for a long time. Federal law remains unimpressed by theatrics and hysterics…

I STILL say he won’t go to jail. Although that would be my favorite outcome, he won’t so I’ll settle for a conviction that prevents him from ever holding public office again and takes as much of his stolen lucre as they can legally take. (His supporters will just give him their money instead. If Donnie wants it, they’ll eat cat food for awhile and they’ll never question eating cat food so they can support the so-called billionaire business dude. The cons do not display vast intelligence…) Anyway, all true Americans knew trump was guilty based on the evidence and now the evidence has been formally laid out in this report. Yeah, it says he’s guilty but read it anyway. The details, I’m told (I haven’t read it yet), are delicious.

I’ll tell you this: sometimes, the truth really CAN set one free – but it isn’t helping Donnie one little bit…

Rinse and Repeat and Repeat and Repeat…

One can only wonder how many more times the Dumbass will be able to scam his self-blinded believers into giving him some more of their money. His latest scam is NFT trading cards. NFT is the abbreviation for a Non-Fungible Token. It’s basically a blockchain, like cryptocurrency, which should tell you something about it’s value and dependability for future gains. Sure enough, as the cryptocurrency craze has crashed, so have NFTs. So, naturally, that’s when trump steps in – and his acolytes all jump in and give him $99 for each photo showing him doing things he never has done, never will do, never could do. Curiously, all of them are just his head superimposed onto drawings of a thin guy with ripped abs, doing “manly” things. To me, they seem kind of reminiscent of the various photos we see of Putin doing “manly” things with his shirt off.

In addition to the fantasy photos, the cards are sold along with a promise. If you buy one, you’re automatically entered into a contest to win certain prizes. Dinner or a Zoom call with trump, that kind of thing. Apparently, the fine print says that the “dinner with trump” is really just an invitation to one of his fundraising rallies and the Zoom call is a group thing – and NONE of it is necessarily going to happen at all. The “win” is predicated on “validation and eligibility verification.” Oh, AND you don’t even get to select the card you like. You give the Dumbass your hard-earned money and the card is randomly generated. Apparently, some are more valuable than others and the folks running the program created several of the most valuable for themselves before the first offering and are keeping them, making them less available to the gullible buyers. Reports say they are hard to buy and hard to access. The buying process sends the cards to the wrong place. If you’re very good with a computer, they can be found. If you’re an “old” who doesn’t quite get “the internets,” you might think the process failed and try buying again – a scam within a scam…

Sure, it’s a swindle – let’s call it trumpery – but it’s yet another he won’t go to jail over. In the fine print, they make clear that these things actually have no value and he’s not making any claims they do. Each one had a value of $99.00 to him, though. According to the news, they sold out in a day but 1) we don’t know who bought them and 2) they seem to have irritated more cons than they ingratiated him to them. One of his previous supporters – a guy going to prison after participating in trump’s Capitol assault on January 6th – sent out a tweet saying he couldn’t believe he’s going to jail for an NFT salesman. (I’d bet his family and/or friends tried to warn him…)

The Dumbass Don announced his presidential bid as quickly as he could after the November elections. He only waited on that announcement because the Republicans were paying his legal bills and threatened to stop if he announced before the election. They tried to get him to wait until after the Georgia run-off but trump wouldn’t wait. He thinks he’s protecting himself from his criminal activities by running for president so he threw his hat in the ring. He’s done a few “campaign appearances” in conservative media but he’s not exactly on the campaign trail. As of December 8 of this year, he’s had NO rallies and doesn’t even have a campaign manager. He DID have a much publicized lunch with not one but TWO well-known racists, his company has been found guilty of tax fraud, officials keep finding classified documents that he stole from the White House and the January 6th committee looks all set to recommend at least three charges against him after their extensive investigation.

I’ll tell you this: the whole “we don’t jail ex-presidents for political reasons” thing has gone too far. If we don’t jail THIS ex-president, what little remains of the facade of “the rule of law” will collapse completely…

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Most of the people who understand things know by now that the NRA uses the term “responsible gun owner” as a euphemism for “gun owner” whether that person is “responsible” or not. Then, when one of them snaps and goes on a mass-murder spree, they try to distance themselves from that, particular, “responsible gun owner.” Last July, some “responsible gun owner” opened fire on a July 4th parade in Illinois and killed seven people and injured dozens of others. Now the nut-ball’s father, Robert Crimo, Jr, is facing felony charges for helping the mentally disturbed shooter get the gun in the first place. Lake County State’s Attorney, Eric Rinehart, said the father was criminally reckless when he sponsored his son’s application to get a gun. The kid had issues. Everyone who knew the kid, knew the kid had issues. The dad signed the form anyway.

For me? It’s a welcome trend. It started in Michigan after some teen-aged “responsible gun owner” killed four of his classmates in a school shooting. The parents were charged with involuntary manslaughter for buying their kid a gun despite knowing he was disturbed. Now the father of this Illinois shooter is charged, as well. I hope the trend continues and the enablers go to jail along with their disturbed children…

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I’ve got to say, I’m glad the Dems passed the Defense of Marriage Act ensuring gay marriage is here to stay for as long a the act remains in tact. I wish they had done the same for Roe v Wade but, apparently, couldn’t be bothered. They were busy, instead, passing a defense spending bill that gave the Pentagon $50 billion dollars MORE than they had asked for. (“Looks like honest government to me.” he said facetiously…)

Another thing they COULD have done, but didn’t, was pass a spending resolution that was so high the incoming cons couldn’t hold the country hostage to financial demands for a year or two. Now, though, we’ll have to endure threats (and realities) of government shutdowns until more tax cuts are passed for the wealthy – harming America – and social services are slashed again – harming America. It’s the Republican way to comfort the comfortable and afflict the afflicted.

I’ll tell you this: something you might want to remember, every tick UP of the Dow Index is a tick DOWN of the economic health of this once-great nation…

Obfuscations and Objections…

Big ole’ Joe Biden was giving a speech to the victim’s families of the Sandy Hook shooting. It’s the 10 year “anniversary” of the shootings.. He said the nation should have ‘societal guilt’ over taking too long to address gun violence and the curse of school shootings.

I’m going to give that a big ole’ “Screw you, Joe!” What I have on the topic is bleak, helpless, depression and foreboding. YOU, on the other hand, Joe, you and your fellow politicians? YOU absolutely should have societal as well as personal guilt. You see, I have no power – none – to do anything whatsoever about gun violence in America. If I DID have power, I would have done something a long, long time ago. (Have you read my ‘Keep Your Gun Act?‘)

The politicians in Washington DO have the power to act and guess what? You didn’t. You haven’t. You won’t. Surprisingly, speeches haven’t done it. Thoughts and prayers have been remarkably ineffective. Hand-wringing and laments, it turns out, have little power against bullets and large capacity magazines.

Don’t you dare try to lay your feckless failings off on me…

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The Republicans are at it again. The party of projection is, once again, working as hard as they can to disrupt fair and honest elections. Yes, certainly, they’re still whining about how bad stolen elections are. Still, nobody interferes with elections in this once-great nation more often or more effectively than the Republicans. Their latest? They’re hoping to make it possible to gerrymander every state they can to gain permanent governing power…

In state after state, districts were often set by the sitting legislature. Not surprisingly, those legislatures tend to draw maps that allow them to keep power despite the fact that they’re in the minority. That’s how, say, Mitch McConnell, keeps his power. California used to be nearly ungovernable due to Republican districting. By drawing very carefully considered districts that favored Republicans, they kept enough Republicans in office to disrupt California politics for years. Then, California passed a proposition that required the districts be set by an independent committee, the California Citizens Redistricting Committee (CCRC). Suddenly, the districts more accurately represented the state’s population and Republicans lost their once-gerrymandered seats. To be clear, there are still Republicans in our state legislature and they continue to try to harm as many people as possible. There just aren’t enough to get the job done.

I don’t know if the CCRC was the start of a movement or just part of a movement, but I know similar ideas started popping up across this country whenever and wherever the people could make it happen. But the Republicans are evil, not stupid. They see it happening. They KNOW that if their chances are based on their policy positions, they’d likely never win again, or at least not enough to keep up their harm offensive. FAR too many people would benefit and stop suffering if districts are drawn fairly and they know it. So, naturally, they’re trying to stop it.

The mightily moronic Supremely Kangaroo Court is hearing a case, Moore v Harper, that is trying to strip questions of voting rights and congressional districting from state courts and hand those powers to state legislatures. Wherever Republicans control the legislature, they would never lose that control again despite that fact that their “ideas” suck and appeal only to the smallest number of people. Such a case, of course, requires funding. Republicans can’t just make cases on their merits – they would have to have merits – so they force them and that takes cash. So far, as nearly as people who track these things can tell, they have received $90 million dollars in so called “dark money,” the tool of fascism brought to you by the oh-so-stupid (and certainly anti-American) 2010 Citizen’s United ruling inflicted by the Roberts Court.

The Republicans are pressing this idea that state legislatures cannot be overruled by state supreme courts when it comes to setting rules for federal elections, even if the legislature’s actions violate the state’s constitution. They call this the ‘Independent State Legislature Theory’ (ISL) in an effort to make it sound legitimate, not like “election thievery…” It’s a very dangerous idea. According to this idea, a state legislature could set a rule that one guy – “Let’s just have Dick do it” – simply declares a winner in every federal election and there’s nothing anybody can do about it. For clarity, I haven’t actually heard anyone float that particular idea – but according to ISL, they could – and nobody could stop them. Besides, they don’t need one guy. Gerrymandering is very much the idea that one Dick declares the “winner” before any ballots are ever cast…

The term ‘Dark Money’ refers to spending on an election in which the source of the money is not disclosed. In simpler terms, ‘dark money’ is rich people buying elections and the outcomes they prefer – a decidedly unamerican activity. The leading dark money financier of the conservative groups is called DonorsTrust and it’s known as the ATM of the right. They get their money from unknown sources and distribute it to various other conservative, anti-American groups to support conservative causes.

Because it’s so effing stupid, the ISL was once, solidly, a fringe idea, rejected by every knowledgeable person. Now we have so many lawyers and judges that got their “law degrees” from conservative diploma factories and buy fully into conservative ideology, America is facing the risk that it may become the law of the land. Normally, Americans could trust that the Supreme Court would prevent such stupidity but since it’s now packed with diploma factory lawyers who keep making rulings based on their personal preferences and not the law itself, there’s no telling how these unqualified morons might rule. ISL serves mostly to support the extremely unpopular conservative agenda so it seems the conservative ideological activists on the court might like it. On the other hand, courts, even the Supremely Kangaroo Roberts Court, might be disinclined to remove power from the courts in any circumstances.

I’ll tell you this: when I updated (and corrected) the United States Constitution as a personal project, I inserted a line that said the districts should be as close to square-shaped as possible. It’s a pretty simple solution that precludes such a threat…

Setting Free…

The truth will out…

A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting on it’s shoes… – Charles Spurgeon

Three things cannot long be hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth… – Buddha

The truth seems to be making something of a comeback in this once-great nation, despite the best efforts of conservative media. With Alex Jones being ordered to pay over One Billion dollars to the people he lied about in the Sandy Hook shooting to the impending challenge to the lies of Fox “News,” there seems, finally, to be a way to combat misinformation that is having an effect: defamation lawsuits. The latest? Why, that would be Rupert Murdoch – chief evil leader of Fox “News.” When the broadcasters take their lies too far, they can be sued. It isn’t easy but it works when it can be used and I think people who CAN sue for defamation, should sue for defamation.

Oh, and before the cons all start in with, “well, two can play at that game,” no…you can’t. Since you can never prove your lies (being, you know, lies) you can’t prevail in a defamation suit. You don’t have any evidence supporting your claims and trying to only opens up your company to further scrutiny. As it happens, the truth is a one-way weapon. Because of conservative mendacity, facts really DO have a liberal bias, these days…

People who understand things know that Murdoch’s “Fox” has been broadcasting mostly lies for something like 26 years. They’ve had such a huge megaphone, very little has been able to slow them down and certainly no one has stopped them. But now? Murdoch tied his fortunes to America-hating Donald Trump. Like most things Trump-associated, the relationship has left Trump intact but Fox “News” facing impending destruction. (Fingers crossed.)

Dominion Voting Systems took exception to Trump’s lies about the so-called “stolen election.” When Fox “News” decided to support the lie and trumpet the fraud, Dominion decided to sue for defamation. According to the Guardian, they’re building a pretty solid case. They’ve been deposing one lying piece of…um, failed human being after another. The next on the list is old Rupert, himself. They’re slowly exposing each and every operating piece of the internal workings of Fox.

I’ve spent years fretting over Fox “News.” I’ve been stunned, over and over, as they broadcast some obviously stupid lie, only to have their consumers start repeating it just a little later that day. The daily Fox talking points became fodder for one lying right-wing broadcast and/or publication after another. It became fashionable among the people who don’t understand things to pretend they never watch Fox “News” the minute they realized citing Fox hurt and didn’t help their credibility. At some point, I realized it might even be true that they don’t watch but that didn’t mean they weren’t citing Fox “News.” Just because that person hadn’t watched, didn’t mean other people hadn’t watched then picked up and repeated the talking point. It’s been very frustrating.

Fox is pretending it’s presenters are protected by journalistic privilege. The problem is, at least one of their presenters, one Sean Hannity, has said over and over again that he’s NOT a journalist. He’s just a talk-show host. He’s blatantly saying he doesn’t have to tell the truth since he’s not a journalist while Fox is arguing that, as a journalist, Hannity is protected in his lies. It can’t be both and I accept Hannity’s own statement of his position over Fox’s. Meanwhile, most of the people who stuck to the truth have been purged from Fox. (They just really hate the truth over there. It never, EVER helps conservative causes…)

I don’t know how this will play out. The sensationalist headline in the Guardian reads, ‘Is Dominion’s $1.6bn Defamation lawsuit a death blow for Murdoch and Fox News?‘ Murdoch is worth billions. Even after paying over a billion dollars (and still counting) in the UK related to another of his scandal rag’s wrongdoing – in this case the hacking of private phones – he can lose the Dominion suit and STILL have billions of dollars available to finance Fox so I doubt it will be a “death blow.” Still, it’s going to hurt.

I’ll tell you this: I’d like to see Fox have to broadcast, over and over, a complete retraction and apology for the misinformation on each show that supported the lie, for as many times as they told the lie, with a proviso that they can NOT dismiss it as “error.” I doubt such a legal remedy is available but it would be fun (and honestly a bit weird) hearing Fox “News” hosts telling the truth for a change…

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Speaking of lying liars, Kari Lake – who ran a losing campaign for Governor of Arizona – is trying her hand at the trump technique of whining about the election and begging for a do-over. (The United States doesn’t DO do-overs.) She’s pretty sure she’d have won if only so many Democrats hadn’t come out to vote against her and she has the “fix” in mind. She thinks it would be great if the courts would just throw out all the democratic votes and leave only the Republican votes intact – because she’s “concerned” about improper elections. I guess we’re not supposed to noticed that arbitrarily tossing away votes against you is the very definition of “improper.” It seems Lake is just fine with that kind of tampering.

I’ll tell you this: I’ll be very happy when this “they stole the election” bunk is finally laid to rest. It’s tiresome…

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I’m pretty excited to see what Brock Purdy can do with the Forty-Niners today. He’s the seventh round pick taken to run a practice squad and not really expected to need to do more. Now, because of injuries, Purdy is thrust into the role of starting Quarterback on a team making a playoff run. There’s been much talk (speculation) about how Purdy will do, being a seventh round pick and facing off against Tom Brady, the most asterisked player of all time.

Brady has regularly been associated with the stink of cheating since his early days in the league but nobody can question his talent and skill. (It’s one of the main reasons all the cheating has been so frustrating. He doesn’t need to and never has.) People often dismiss Purdy’s chances because he’s a seventh round pick. They seem to forget that Brady, himself, was a sixth round pick, also never really expected to do much and who, coincidentally, also got his opportunity because of injuries. If the story gets framed as sixth rounder vs seventh rounder, it sounds like it will be a much more balanced game.

I’ll tell you this: I’m pulling for Purdy. Yes, partly because he’s running my home team but also, I like the underdog story and Purdy could be it…in spades. (Fingers crossed…)

Slimy…

I’ll have to admit I found Kirsten Sinema’s defection irritating, though not surprising. The entire time she’s been in Congress (that I’ve been aware of her) she’s been irritating, though not surprising. She ran – and won – as a Democrat but many had her pegged as a DINO, Democrat In Name Only, right away. The part I DID find surprising? She’s really a nothing. She’s actually just an opportunist. She’s been a registered independent before. She’s ALSO been registered in the Green Party. She ran as a Democrat and won. Now she’s an independent again. She works like a Republican. There’s no telling how long it will be before she moves into that camp but my guess is, she will, sooner or later. She seems to have NO loyalty to anything or anyone but herself.

I don’t know why the Democrats continue to support DINOS. I supposed putting Kirsten Sinema or, say, Joe Manchin in office gets the party control of the committees but what good is that control if “Democrats” like that will constantly undermine the efforts of the party? Sinema has now cut herself off from support from the Democratic Party and I suspect Manchin will do the same soon. My attitude? Don’t let the door hit you on the way out. Yeah, sanity needs to expand it’s hold on this country but using fakes won’t get ‘er done, you know?

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14,000 Barrels. That’s how much the latest (discovered) leak from the Keystone Pipeline dumped into a creek in Kansas. 14,000 barrels. I’ve been seeing stories like this my whole life, an oil spill here, an oil spill there. The Keystone Pipeline started operations in 2010. There have been 22 previous serious spills. Truth be told, it’s one of the larger reasons I’d like to transition away from crude oil as an energy source. (That’s in addition to the climate change effects and the fact that it’s finite and running out.) The cons – certainly not a dependable source of information – blame Democrats for…well, everything, really. But in THIS case, I’m talking about their dogmatic belief that Joe Biden DESTROYED the oil industry. To me? The industry seems to be doing just fine, thank you very much.

One of the points the cons pretend to understand is that Biden cancelled the Keystone XL Pipeline. Now, the XL was only the latest branch in a complex of pipelines and it was still under construction. It had not moved one drop of crude and was not scheduled to move a drop of crude for another couple of years. But, somehow, Biden cancelling the project “destroyed” the oil industry. Leave it to the cons to display – furiously – their lack of understanding.

I prefer solar. I find that when oil spills all over the landscape, everything dies and it takes years to clean up. When solar “spills” all over the landscape, flowers grow. That’s a better outcome. Is solar the perfect solution? Not yet. It still needs development. That takes a bit of time. Some people take issue with solar because it doesn’t solve every problem today. That’s some solid thinking, isn’t it? (It’s a logical fallacy called ‘making the perfect the enemy of the good.’) When cars were first invented, they didn’t solve every problem immediately, either. In fact, the horse was the better option for a LONG time after the invention of the automobile. But horses can’t compete with cars anymore when it comes to travel. The same will be true for alternative energy sources.

There’s only ONE reason we haven’t made the switch we should have made years ago: greed. The people who own the centralized energy distribution systems make lots of money manipulating that market to their own advantage. The very best long-term power solution is DEcentralized generation. Once that happens, “they” lose their ability to manipulate the market. They know it. They bought time with their anti-science claims about climate change but they’re starting to lose that battle – as the oceans lap at their feet in Omaha. (Hyperbole alert!)

If you live in California, you’re likely FAR more sensitive to the realities of price fixing and market manipulation than any other place in this once-great nation. The oil companies have LOTS of reasons for their failures. None of them ever hold up under scrutiny. So, we’ve been paying HUGE amounts of money just to fill our tanks here on the west coast and, excuses notwithstanding, nobody can figure out why. This last fall, there was this massive spike in gasoline prices at the pump. According to the Governor’s office, it put $63 BILLION dollars into the company’s coffers in just 90 days. The key point, here, is that the prices spiked in California at a time when (again quoting the Governor’s office) “crude oil prices dropped, state taxes and fees remained unchanged and gas prices did not increase outside the western U.S.”

The Governor started off calling for a windfall profits tax. Now his suggestion has morphed into some complex kind of scheme that’s supposed to encourage the oil companies to do the right thing. I suspect the change is related to his constantly denied but well-known desire to be President of the United States and the need to work with the corporations to get there. It’s how fascist states work. It’s why he’s about to eliminate some of the financial incentives to roof-top solar, to placate Pacific Gas and Electric.

Corporate greed is holding down the economy and rapidly rendering the planet incapable of sustaining human life. It’s pretty simple really. We could stop. We could do so quickly. But we have to have the will and…we don’t.

I’ll tell you this: humans like to pretend we’re the smartest thing to ever grace the face of the planet. I’d say wiping out one’s own species for a dollar is pretty effing stupid, though…

Hey, Let’s Not…

Have you been accused by a con of suffering from TDS, yet? No? Oh, you haven’t lived. TDS, that’s ‘Trump Derangement Syndrome.’ THEY mean that you’re so blinded by your hatred of Trump, you simply can’t see all the wonderful things he is and has done. Which, of course, makes the slur perfect. Unfortunately for them, it’s perfect projection.

You see, “Deranged” is defined by Merriam/Webster as: ‘Mentally unsound’ or ‘wildly odd or eccentric.’ They’re saying that because I come to conclusions about Trump based on things that actually happen, I’m mentally unsound. Conversely, because THEY come to conclusions about Trump based on things that have NEVER happened and traits he simply does not possess, they must be the ones operating at full efficiency?

I’ll tell you this: Yes, someone in this scenario is “deranged” but I’d say it’s the people who follow Trump blindly and believe whatever they’re told to believe despite available evidence…

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I hate to throw water onto everybody’s fun, I really do. I can see that the media and the left are having fun with the “story” about Trump saying he wanted to throw out the Constitution. But…c’mon, man. Is that really what you think he was saying? Really? I suppose it could just be me but that’s not the way I understood him. In fact, it’s the exact opposite of what he said and/or meant. It just is. He said, “A massive fraud of this type and magnitude allows for the termination of all rules, regulations, and articles even those found in the Constitution.” That’s what he said. Those were his words. (According to CNN.) But they’ve been taken out of context to reverse his intent.

Now look, the topic, itself, is and – always has been – pure bullshit. His subject is the “stolen election.” HE knows he’s lying through his stupid teeth when he talks about it but his deluded, dare I say “deranged,” acolytes don’t know it at all. But what Trump is saying is that if the DemocRATS can steal the election, ostensibly by ignoring rules, they can disregard ANY rule at ANY time. HE is accusing DEMOCRATS of wanting to destroy the Constitution, or worse, having done so already. He did not advocate eliminating the Constitution – in this instance.

In a larger sense, his entire Big Lie about the stolen election is about abolishing the Constitution and his invoking an insurrection at the Capitol in an effort to overturn the process as dictated in the Constitution certainly belies his willingness to uphold the Constitution. His ACTIONS clearly indicate he’s willing to abandon the Constitution if doing so will help himself. But he did not say so at that rally.

There’s nothing about Donald Trump I like or admire. He IS the embodiment of the Seven Deadly Sins. He’s a waste of human flesh. He’s the very worst of the worst of the very effing worst. I only mention all that so you believe me when I write that I do not want to have to defend Donald J. Trump in any way at any time. WE DON’T NEED TO MAKE SHIT UP IN ORDER TO MAKE HIM LOOK BAD! He gives us all the evidence we need, all day, every day. Let’s stick to the real stuff, shall we? Please?

The worst part? He’s already out there telling his deranged adherents the left is floating a fake news story about him again – and they ARE! Now they have something real to point to. It gives his base an honest example of fake news against him. Sure, they’ll still make ’em up but for now they don’t have to. So, spike the story, okay?

Let’s focus on the NY State tax fraud. And the theft of classified government documents. And the election interference in Georgia. And his orchestration of the January 6th coup attempt. And his complete collapse with the pandemic because he disbanded the pandemic assessment team. And his corporation’s tax fraud. And his cozy relationship with Putin and other evil world leaders. And his association with white “supremacists” and other racists of, interestingly, all races. (He’s an equal opportunity racist? Get your arms around THAT!) And the other, Federal, tax fraud and all the other real, honest, legitimate things he does.

I’ll tell you this: The left is simply handing a weapon to the right in the culture wars and I think that’s stupid…

For Niner Fans…

If you’re like me, you weren’t happy to see Jimmy G go down in the game against the Dolphins. Your hope for the season…slid. You saw a rookie coming in and thought that was that. But then something happened. The rookie, a guy named Brock Purdy, played well. He didn’t just play a little well. He played very well.

If you’re a Niner fan (like me) you’ve heard much talk about Jimmy G. Some people love him and want to see him stay with the team. I’m not one of those. I think (along with many others) Jimmy G is a good Quarterback – unless he’s in a pressure situation. “Pressure situation” has different meanings but in his case, it’s when he’s playing from behind in the second half or deep in his own territory late in a game they’re losing or sometimes, just because it’s a big game. He’s also not great in the red zone, the last 20 yards of field before scoring a Touchdown. I think Jimmy G panics in the pocket under pressure and I think his head coach, Kyle Shanahan, thinks so, too.

People have been questioning some of Shanahan’s play-calling but I think he has had to adjust. Since Jimmy is unlikely to throw a successful pass in the red zone, Shanahan is forced to try to run the ball, which often means playing for field goals. After starter Trey Lance went down with a broken ankle, though, Jimmy was the best choice available. For the record, I think that was true at the time despite what I write about him in these other paragraphs.

I’m also going to acknowledge, the rest of this is based on one game. One. Teams haven’t had a chance to game-plan against Purdy, yet. Purdy might come out and play like…well…me in the next game. That would not be good. I think he won’t though. Purdy looked poised and confident. He hit passes in the red zone – touchdown passes. Yes, he threw an interception and it was kind of a stupid interception – I haven’t forgotten. But every Quarterback in the history of the game throws interceptions. He also threw two Touchdown passes – in the red zone. That’s something we know Jimmy doesn’t do, generally speaking.

Joe Fonzi, a local sports reporter, didn’t show much of Purdy’s post-game interview. I think it’s because Fonzi stole one of Purdy’s lines. When asked what he thought about playing Tom Brady next week, PURDY said, “He’s been playing football longer than I’ve been alive.” (That’s the line Fonzi stole.) THEN Purdy said he thought playing against Brady would be “kind of cool.” That doesn’t sound like some kid out there shaking in his boots. He’s ready to play. He’s looking forward to facing off against Brady.

So, yes, one game, but this kid was very good and I’m looking forward to watching him play next week. I realize ALL of his upcoming opponents are going to try to get him to buckle under the pressure. But then I realized something else. Purdy was the team’s number 3 QB. Some teams don’t even carry a number 3. The number 3’s job, more than anything else, is to run the scout team against the defense in practice. But stop a second and think about what that means.

The Forty-Niners have one of the best defenses in the NFL this year. They may be THE best. They can’t slow down in practice without hurting themselves during regular games so they practice as hard as they’re going to play. So Purdy has been running an offense in practice that consists of non-starters against the team’s starting defense – one of the best defenses in the league. To me? Another way of saying that is to say that Purdy has been practicing against one of the best defenses in the league for months, now. Who can bring more against this kid? He’s had to learn how to pick apart a great defense with a less-than offense – and he’s had to learn to stay alive in the process.

I saw him moving but I also saw him staying calm in the pocket. I saw him roll out and pass the ball and hit his receiver right in the numbers. (It’s very hard to do. The ball tends to drift. In similar situations, Jimmy G tends to throw interceptions or hit the guy in the third row.) I saw him throw short. I saw him throw Touchdowns in the red zone. He threw at least one pass that was dead-on accurate to a guy covered like a blanket and hit the pass perfectly.

Yeah, one game. I know. I’m not ready to anoint him the second coming of Joe Montana. But I’m also not worried about him leading the team like I would normally be with a rookie in that role. I’ll go further. IF he keeps playing like he did against the Dolphins, I suspect that both Jimmy G AND Trey Lance might be taking a hit on the depth chart.

IF he keeps playing like he did against the Dolphins…

Bombed…

Okay, class, time for a pop quiz! Get out your number 2 pencil, everything under your desk, eyes on your own paper. Okay, here we go. Oh, yeah, it’s a word problem…

There’s a guy, homeless, alcoholic, and drug addicted. He owns a van with a bad door latch. He knows that if he drives too aggressively, the door has a tendency to come open and if anything or anyone is leaning on the door, it or they will fall out. On Wednesday, November 30th, there’s a drunken woman in the van with him and he’s mad at her so he’s driving angrily. In fact, he intentionally drives in the way he knows pops the door and the woman actually falls out of the van and onto the street.

Fortunately, she seems to have avoided serious injury but the road rash is extensive. Even more fortunately, the cops get involved. They know immediately the pair are drunk. As the cops document the injuries on the woman, they discover evidence of physical abuse and they note as much. They ALSO discover the guy is on probation for assault and battery.

Drunk driving is a violation of his probation so they arrest him again. He’s charged with violating his probation, a misdemeanor. He’s charged with misdemeanor assault and battery. He’s ALSO charged with felony DUI with injury. His bail is set at $101,000.

Okay, are we clear? He’s on probation for assault, he gets arrested for a second assault and violating his probation by driving drunk and causing injury. Pretty clearly a threat to the society, wouldn’t you say? Okay, for 1,000 points (with no cash value), here’s your question: How long would you expect the guy to remain in the local jail awaiting trial?

Okay, time’s up. Pencils down. How long did you guess, a week? Two weeks? A month? Until his trial? I see…

So, who had one day? No, that’s what I mean, one day! As you may have guessed, this is NOT an hypothetical event. This really happened on the evening of November 30 and the driver was out by Friday morning, December 2. He didn’t even have to post bail. They just…let him out…

No, I wouldn’t have guessed one day, either…

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Hey, the United States has a new bomber! Nice. As most of us know, the US has no needs other than military equipment so it’s really good they’ve come up with something. It’s called the B-21 and it’s the shiny new showpiece in Eisenhower’s feared military/industrial complex. We don’t know much about it. It’s classified and, being military hardware, that makes sense. Sadly, it also means we, the people paying for the thing, aren’t allowed to know if it works. In this case, “works” could mean anything from being able to fulfill the mission it was designed for to just being able to get into the air dependably. There was a BIG roll-out of the thing. We got to see some spectacular photos. We were told it’s the new truth, light, and way toward killing our fellow human beings. They’re currently building six of them. The Pentagon wants somewhere between 100 and 170 of them. Now, apparently, all we have to do is test it.

Yeah, you read that right. We’ve got one, they’re building six and they want somewhere between 100 and 170 and they’re going to start testing next week. I sure hope it works because in this once-great nation, they’ll build that thing whether it flies or not. I used to wonder how “they” got away with that, building weapons systems that don’t work. As it happens, there’s a trick. Just in case some Congress Critter mistakenly decided to do the right thing and try to kill an expensive and wasteful weapons system, the manufacturers distribute the parts and assembly among as many states as they can. The contract for military hardware is usually QUITE lucrative AND the factories the parts and pieces are built in and/or assembled create jobs. These are make-work programs to keep people working and keep money flowing into the states so no Congress Critter will step up to try to stop that waste.

Oh, how I wish my thoughts on this were just standard cynicism but I learned about the way it works with the F-35 Fighter plane. It was planned to be a next generation fighter/bomber. The thing is, a plane that tries to do everything does nothing well. None of the services want the plane because it doesn’t work well with any of the individual branch’s missions. Bernie Sanders once said he was going to try to kill the program. Once he found he couldn’t (specifically because of the widespread distribution of parts and assembly), he did an about-face and managed to get several of them housed in his home state of Vermont, the thinking being that the money is going out under any circumstances, why should Vermont miss out? It’s crappy but it’s also true. If someone wants to waste money, they can feel free to waste some of it my way any time they’d like.

The estimated cost for each B-21 is $700 Million dollars. They want as many as 170 of them. That’s going to come in at about $125 Billion dollars – and that assumes they keep the cost down to the estimate. When have you ever heard of that happening in military contracts? Estimates for the total cost of the failed F-35 come in around $1.7 TRILLION by the time the program “ends.” As the saying goes, a billion here and a billion there and pretty soon you’re talking about some serious money…

Don’t get me wrong, here. I prefer a strong United States to a weak one. I just don’t understand how building weapons systems that don’t work make us stronger. I understand how it makes the Congress Critter’s positions in wanting to keep their phony-baloney jobs stronger, though, and that is, apparently, the main consideration. But those self-same Congress Critters will ALSO harp on endlessly about how they have to “stem government wasteful spending” so they have no choice but to cut Social Security, Medicare, and/or programs intended to help and protect the most vulnerable in our society.

I’ll tell you this: I would rather see a couple of weapons systems cancelled than any portion of the social safety net so when they start, call your Congress Critter and tell them to cancel wasteful government spending on weapons systems before they even consider messing with the social safety net. Turns out, there is LOTS of wiggle room in the American national budget if we could just stop feeding the ravenous military/industrial complex…

Sick Leave and Sick Minds…

I’m a union guy. Truth be told, I understand why Biden stepped into the fray with the railroad workers. Our economy is improving but still too weak to suffer a major economic setback. Of course, that’s the POINT of a strike. If the company won’t do the right thing, pressure on the company can (and often does) force them to do the right thing. The workers weren’t looking for million-dollar-a-year contracts or anything outrageous like that. All they wanted was paid sick leave. That’s the big unsettled question, effing sick leave. They currently have to use vacation time or take a pay hit if they get sick. They wanted paid sick leave. The Biden administration imposed the contract offered by management – with NO sick leave. The worker’s demand is not outrageous but when a contract was imposed, it was the management contract and not the union version.

I stumbled across a conservative talk show on the radio right in time to hear the hosts agreeing that greedy workers are taking advantage of generous companies through paid sick leave. It’s no wonder the people who don’t understand things ARE the people who don’t understand things. “All praise the benevolent corporations” is a sentence of almost complete and pure bullshit. You know how I know? We’ve been suffering through an exodus of American corporations moving their companies out of America for over 40 years. The workers in those companies found other ways to make a living but the companies STILL needed workers. They just wanted cheaper workers. Non-union workers. Workers who thought pay of $1.50 a day was good money – and where the government allowed the companies to build encampments that often imprisoned the workers. And when those companies left the country, certain media outlets began saying that the “good jobs” had left the country but do you know what made them the good jobs? It was NOT that they were manufacturing jobs. It was that they were union jobs.

Cons like to pretend that if workers get too uppity, the glorious corporation will only introduce robots and there won’t be any work to do. They say this as though the companies are offering jobs out of altruism. Here’s a prediction you can take to the bank: the very minute robots can be trusted to do the work, robots will do the work and the human workers will be cut loose just as quickly as possible. The corporations DO NOT care about anything – anything – except the profit margin. Period.

There used to be a difference between the Democratic and Republican parties. The cons (currently ostensible Republicans) like to pretend workers owe fealty to their glorious corporate overlord and anything the company does is good for everyone. Currently ostensible Democrats like to pretend they stand for the people against the overbearing power of maleficent corporations. This railroad debate put the spotlight on the Democrats true colors and, I believe, they failed.

I’ve already mentioned, I understand why the Dems stepped in to protect our struggling economy. But Biden COULD have used the same authority he has to impose contracts to impose the union version WITH sick leave. He didn’t. He sided with management.

I’ll tell you this: Any way you look at it, that’s a betrayal of the working class…

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There’s an old Aesop fable that teaches that a man is known by the company he keeps. Donald trump hangs around with racists and criminals. Yep, checks out…

Here’s a worse part. It’s reported that he felt he had to take the dinner with known, avowed racists so as to not alienate “his base.” So…what does that say about his base? If I suggest in this column that the cons might be leaning a little too far into racism I get quite a lot of pushback. Now the object of con love has suggested that HE thinks his base is racist. Some of the Republicans are using the opportunity to distance themselves from the trumpster – but not all of them. There are STILL people out there supporting trump. Racists, all, apparently. Hey, don’t take it up with me. Talk to your lord and savior, the racist Donald J. Trump. As the saying goes, he said it, I believe it, that settles it…

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Speaking of morons…I’m kind of loving what’s going on with Alex Jones these days. He’s trying to protect himself by filing bankruptcy. At this point, he has been ordered to pay something like 1.5 BILLION dollars to the families of the Sandy Hook victims for continually saying it was all a hoax. The so-called Sandy Hook Hoax is what gave Jones his big boost in the bullshit business. It looks like his hoax is going to bring him down, too.

He’s tried everything he can think of. He tried moving money to offshore investments but he got caught and they made him stop. He claims he’s nearly a pauper and has nothing – but a forensic accountant found over a hundred million dollars- still not enough for a $1.5 Billion dollar judgement, of course. Now he’s trying to discharge his debts through bankruptcy – but one CAN NOT discharge the kind of punishment from this kind of judgement through bankruptcy. He WILL have to completely open his books to the bankruptcy court, though. Attempting to lie to a bankruptcy court is a Felony.

Oh, he also says he’s going to appeal some of the judgements against him but most (as I understand it) are default judgements. That is, he was offered an opportunity to refute the charge early and made the choice not to. As a rule, cons actually believer things they make up in their own minds and I suspect he thought he could just ignore his way out of this problem. Once he found out that reality continues whether he signs up or not, he decided, “Hey, maybe I ought to put up a fight.” Hey, maybe he should have. But he didn’t…