Sunday, April 23, 2017

Swamp Thing


                                        Scam Alert Cash Up Front


There's a scam that homeowners are warned about every now and then. Crews working neighborhoods ring bells and offer to do some sort of work, yard work, plumbing, anything like it. They will say that they have a special deal, but that it's a one day special, that they need to close the deal quickly so the work can begin.

As you may guess, when the job is paid upfront, the work may not ever get done. Or, more cash will be required because of unexpected difficulties in the job. Senior citizens are most often targeted for this con, but it can happen to anybody that will fall for it.

During his campaign for the Presidency, a signature issue for Donald Trump was that he'd build a wall on the southern border and "Mexico would pay for it".

Well, Donnie Boy wound up winning and he's trying to get something accomplished as the first one hundred days of his Presidency are coming to an end. Since Mexico has stated, in no uncertain terms, that they will most definitely not pay for Trump's Wall, the Donald is trying to have billions of dollars appropriated from a finance bill that is necessary to keep the government from running out of money. Trump wants American taxpayers to front the money for his wall, and he'll somehow get Mexico to pay us back down the line.

Once a con man, always a con man. How is this any different from the home repair scam? Convincing folks that they need work done and squeezing more and more money out of them to get the project done is a known and typical fraud. Looking at his record, it's clear to see that Trump is just as much of a fraud. 

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Looking Out for Number One

                             

"How can Trump be in bed with the Russians when he just called them out for their ties to Syria? It doesn't make sense! He himself has called the relationship with Russia to be as bad as at the height of the cold war!"

You might think these were logical questions and statements that put the investigations into Trump's campaign ties to Russia and the sentiment of U.S. intelligence services conclusion that Russia did interfere in the U.S. Presidential elections into a whole new and skeptical light.

Well. logic be damned. Let's look at the facts.

Donald Trump has a long checkered and documented past of self-dealing in every way imaginable. From stiffing private contractors to abusive use of lawsuits, Trump is a known devious and dishonest manipulator. Just because the Russians may have helped him or simply preferred him to Hillary Clinton doesn't mean that when the chaos and ineptitude of Trump's still less than one hundred days old and derailing administration  that a nifty turn to military action in Syria and diplomatic name calling of the Russians wouldn't be just the tonic for the embattled Trump Administration.

Even now as he pushes out his buddy Steve Bannon, Trump will do what he must to survive. Skip out on payments to small businesses in Atlantic City? Check. Declare bankruptcy multiple times, leaving co-investors holding the bag? Check. Even throw your Russian patrons under the bus, in spite of having the election tilt your way with their help? No problemo.

It's just about the Donald, and it doesn't matter who he betrays when the going gets tough. And besides, the Russians may be crafty, but that doesn't make them smart. Getting in bed with the Trumpster may have felt good at the time, but now that Donnie-boy has shown a propensity for launching cruise missiles without the lawful assent of Congress, maybe Vladimir might be starting to have a bit of buyer's remorse right about now.

Just like a wistful bride with her hunky but abusive husband, maybe Vlad thought he could change him. We know how that scenario tends to play out, don't we?



Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Fool Me Once

Image result for Fool Me once


Donald Trump has nominated for the Supreme Court Neil Gorsuch. Gorsuch is a Federal Judge pre-approved by the radical conservative special interests that Trump was pandering to during his presidential campaign. Gorsuch is nominated for the slot that Senate Republicans denied to Merrick Garland, an Obama nominee, that resulted from the death of Antonin Scalia. The Supreme Court has been working short-handed for over a year.

It is in this toxic situation that Republicans hope to secure for themselves the "Conservative slot" of Scalia on the Court for themselves, by way of Gorsuch.

First off, this is a fiction wrapped in a lie. There is no such thing as a "Conservative slot", and the unconstitutional actions of the Republican majority were an embarrassment to this country. The Republican majority denied Judge Garland a hearing and a vote, and now, with the prospect of a Democratic filibuster to prevent Gorsuch the 60 votes needed for confirmation, there is talk of the "nuclear option". That would be a change in the Senate rules that would negate the right to filibuster by the minority and allow approval of a Supreme Court nomination with a simple majority.

The Republican majority can do this. They can change the rules. The Democrats did this when Republicans blocked all of President Obama's nominations for all manner of positions. The Democrats left in place only the sixty vote requirement for the Supreme Court.

With Democrats now a powerless minority, they have no way to prevent the Republicans from simply changing the rules on the Gorsuch nomination. Some are counseling the Democrats to hold off on the filibuster on the Gorsuch nomination. The rationale is that Gorsuch isn't so bad, that it's just a replacement for a "Conservative slot" on the court. They should save their filibuster for when Trump gets the opportunity to replace a liberal judge.

No, No, and NO!!!

Yes, it's true that the Democrats can't stop the Republicans from putting Gorsuch on the bench. But who in their right mind thinks that come some future situation, perhaps when the elderly and not in great health Judge Ginsburg retires or dies, that the Republicans won't use their majority to set rules that would allow yet another corporatist Conservative onto the court? Who in their right mind believes that the wretches that comprise the Republican majority in the Senate wouldn't gladly take Democrat acquiescence now and strong arm another horrendous Conservative cretinous nominee into the "Liberal slot" down the line?

This sort of strategy is exactly how the Democrats have allowed the gerrymandering of the country and created the sort of culture of losing that has long vexed the party.

The Democrats MUST stand united in resistance and defiance to any and all attempts by the Trump administration to hack away at the very foundations of our American values and culture. Have they learned nothing from the Republican debacle in their idiotic attempts to repeal and replace Obamacare? The Republicans are a party not at all interested in governing, and the Democrats must stand against their entire program. Democrats must use the Republicans own ineptitude against them.

If the Republicans want to ram through Gorsuch, let them. The Democrats can not be a part of the political appeasement of Trump or his minions.

As the country becomes aware of the results of Trump's platform, as it is implemented, there are two ways things may go. The country will either continue its descent into chaos, or there will be a new awakening to what has been taken from us. The rising up of the real majority, no longer in its comfortable stupor, will take back this country and restore its true greatness.

Sadly, the first option is set into motion so far. 

Friday, March 24, 2017

Now It's In Public

                             

Now we know what's been going on behind closed doors in the Trump Organization all these years. Lies and duplicity, disloyalty and all manner of slimy behavior. The stories about Trump and his business dealings are legion, and now that he is President, all of his worst machinations are on display for the country, and the world, to see.

The business world is run in a dog eat dog, Machiavellian way. No news there. The fact that Trump has operated his business through multiple bankruptcies, the stiffing of private contractors, and the bullying use of lawsuits has worked well for him in the private realm, clearly has no analogous method in the realm of governance.

All that's left, after a mere two-plus months into his tenure is the ragged and pervasive stench of failure with more than a pinch of corruption and treason. And instead of behind closed boardroom doors, it's all out in public view.    

Monday, March 13, 2017

Ebony and Ivory


                            

For years, radical conservatives have described the drug problem in this country in terms of race. Minorities that used illegal drugs were considered less than human, unable to be productive members of society. Minorities lacked "family values" the conservatives said. Divorces, single mother led families, high crime rates, and joblessness were all the proof these conservatives needed to justify their racist beliefs.

Odd how now, nearly four decades into the "Reagan Revolution" and the near total collapse and destruction of the middle class, we are finding these same destructive social problems in white communities all across the midwest.

A news article today highlights the incredible drug overdose rate in West Virginia, of all places, a whiter state you'd have a hard time finding. With the advent of crystal meth, a cheap and powerful drug, deaths from drug overdoses are skyrocketing. A fund for aid to indigents funeral services has run out of cash because of the high rate of drug deaths. Funny, there is no talk of moral failings of these white communities that are now suffering from the same afflictions that minority communities have suffered from for decades.

Obviously, it is not and never has been a racial problem. It has always been a matter of economics. When minority families are oppressed by high rates of joblessness and suffer from the despair of no hope for better prospects, the very fabric of society frays and comes apart. Now that white communities across the country are facing the same conditions, the bonds of their communities are disintegrating and the results are remarkably similar. High divorce rates, poor education, joblessness and drug abuse are the scourge of whites, just as they have always been to minorities.

People are horrified when America is described as a racist society. Given what we've seen and now know to be true, it's time to accept the facts as they are. 

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Living the Lesson

                                  



Like many Asian industrial powers, South Korea has had great success in taking good ideas and making them better. In the consumer electronics realm, South Korean companies have made great strides in improving products with each new product cycle.

Politically, these economic powerhouses have used the blueprint of American democracy to enhance their standing in the world and to provide a secure economic environment for their well educated and upwardly mobile middle classes.

Now it is time for the student to instruct the teacher.

South Korea has impeached and removed from office their head of state. Corruption and political malfeasance justified the move and new elections will be held. There are defenders of the deposed President, but the mature populace has not resorted to violence. It is a textbook example of modern political maturity.

The United States has a similar situation. A democratically elected President is enmeshed in corrupt practices and foreign intrigue. His cabal of fascist advisors is enabling the crippling of the nation economically and politically. For the good of the country, the only logical solution is the impeachment and removal of President Trump.

Will this country live up to its principles and promises, or does this administration mark the unstoppable slide to oblivion of the great American experiment?

Stay tuned. 

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Truth With No Consequences

          


Donald Trump is still having a hard time with the truth. All about him are leaks and the truth trickles out painfully slowly.

Since his January twentieth inauguration, he's lost a National Security advisor to a lack of truth, and now his newly installed Attorney General has had to recuse himself from investigating the Trump campaign following the revelation that he told lies to Congress during his confirmation hearings. He perjured himself, but maybe that's just semantics. Lies under oath may not actually be perjury to the Republican-controlled Congress. The Republicans do a good job of watching out for their own.

But, I wonder, what's all the hullaballoo about, anyway? So what if Trump and his campaign unlawfully colluded with the Russian government to tilt the election to Trump? So what if Trump has installed a cabinet that will carry out Steve Bannon's fever dream of tearing up the country's social contract? It's not like his constituents care about the truth.

Trump's base, his voters, are aware of what a liar Trump is. He's a sexual predator, a con artist, a thief, a serial philanderer, but none of that mattered to his base. They proudly voted him in.

As we know, his voters were the basket of deplorables, the racists, misogynists, know-nothings and the alt-right gang. Those cretins were tuned into the racist rhetoric spewed by Trump during the campaign, and they ate it up.

Another group were the Hillary-haters. That group that would have voted for ANYONE other than Hillary Clinton. That Donald Trump was the opposing candidate was just a happy coincidence for Donald. These misguided souls would have voted for Hitler if Hillary were the only other choice. Even with all of the tumult of the first months of Trump, this group still continues to rationalize their choice, cognitive dissonance being what it is.

A third group, mislabeled as "Never Trump"-ers, were the "principled" Republicans that opposed Trump during the primaries, but now that Trump is President, the use-by dates of their principled stances have long since run out. These collaborators are cynically attempting to get their repugnant radical Conservative platform implemented before the inevitable Trump meltdown, or after, when Pence is elevated to the Presidency.

The truth has no place in the world of these groups of Trump voters. Trump has the freedom to lie to their faces and smugly be certain of there being no significant push back from any of these groups. Rather than waste a lot of time, Trump ought to come clean about Russia's involvement in his campaign. He should release his tax returns so that the mystery of his financial entanglements will no longer arouse the righteous suspicions of the minority Democrats.

The truth will deflate all of the obstacles and clear the way for an easy enactment of his fascist agenda. He has nothing to fear.

The truth will set him free. 

Saturday, March 4, 2017

FBI or LifeLock?

            
           

This amusing commercial for LifeLock points out the futility of monitoring a problem if you don't fix it. It makes the case for their (very high priced) credit monitoring and identity theft protection.

The bigger point that one might inquire about is the role of the FBI in the recent Presidential election.

It appears that the FBI was well aware of ongoing inappropriate and possibly illegal activity involving Russian intervention in the election and collusion with various members of the Trump campaign.

That's all well and good, but it's now four months after the election. Why was the FBI, if aware of these activities as it now seems clear, unable to put a stop to it? Is it not the role of the federal law enforcement agency to protect the nation from any unlawful activity? Or, are they merely like the "dental monitor" in the above LifeLock commercial, only to monitor but not prevent illegal activity?

What is the point of the FBI monitoring the illegal activities of anyone if they do not act to prevent these activities?

It might be costly, but perhaps we ought to swap out the FBI for LifeLock.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Reagan is Right

            

I can't believe it! I'm down with Reagan!

RON Reagan, that is.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Whiff

                                  

Now MLB has decided, in the interests of speeding up the game, that they are changing the intentional walk. Rather than throw four balls, the manager will signal from the dugout, and the batter will trot on down to first base. No pitches required.

This is yet another assault on the venerable game with no thought given to how the game is being diminished with all these new rules designed to counter the very nature of the game. Without the need to pitch four balls, the pitcher is given a reprieve to his tired and inaccurate arm. There will be no chance for a wild pitch, no chance for a ball to come too close to the plate and be hit by the batter, an occurrence I saw happen just last season. There will be no chance for any mayhem on the basepaths by the opposing team, should they wish to further rattle a pitcher already in trouble.

Like all of the unadvised rules changes being put into force recently, the goal is to make the game faster, for the sake of new fans with no connection to the game, its history or its charms. The problem is that it hurts existing fans, and changes the game into something very different from the old familiar pastime. We see this during playoff and World Series games, when casual fans or non-fans are watching, and rather than focusing on the game, the cameras inevitably focus on the faces of the managers or bench players looking for "reaction shots"  that may play well on the tube. For a baseball fan, these telecasts are always the worst.

There is really no hope for changing these new and unnecessary rules. The powers that be have no faith in their own sport and will continue to willingly morph the game into something soon to be unrecognizable.