Saturday, April 21, 2018

In the Age of National Divisiveness Jarrar and Stone Come Together Not to Praise Barbara Bush

Every so often the savage rhetoric expressed at the far ends of the American political spectrum dovetail together. In those moments they morph into some weird mutated monster like those usually reserved for publishing houses such as Marvel Comics. Indeed, on the rare occasions when the ire of both the right and left become focused on the same event, or individual the ugliness, no matter what the source, is revealed to be so similar it is, for all practical purposes, identical.

You see a tad of this phenomena with former FBI Director James Comey. The President of the United States and his wild eyed rubes go into frothing fits every time they hear his name. Simultaneously there are plenty of those on the progressive side of things, myself included, who have no use, or sympathy for the fucker. Let's face it, from our perspective Comey handed, Donald J. Trump the White House in 2016. Yes, some of us find it sweet irony he is now loathed by the very son of a bitch who profited most by the FBI's suspiciously timed on and off again investigation of Hillary Clinton's emails.

Which brings us to this afternoon and the day of Barbara Bush's funeral.

I freely admit I didn't like her husband's politics, or policies and that I celebrated to crazed excess after Wild Bill Clinton handed him his head in the 1992 election. I didn't like her oldest kid either. Honestly, I considered him an idiot completely over matched by the office and utterly controlled by an amoral gang of war mongers and profiteers, chief of whom was Dick Cheney.

That doesn't mean I disliked, or liked Barbara Bush. She didn't make, or execute policy and her presence in the White House, or later in her role as the mother of a president, didn't push the nation into a massive recession, or to the brink of a second great depression. Those were the sins of George Herbert Walker Bush and later, George W. the younger.

It also doesn't mean I will disparage her life and marriage to a guy she obviously adored--hey, when you stay wedded to the same person for 70 plus years love does have something to do with it. Think not? Quick, rattle off a list of names which immediately come to mind when you think of that sort of marriage longevity. Listen, when you're as old as I am staying power counts for something.

Besides, I never celebrate the death of any person, good, or evil. Even when Seal Team Six took out bin Laden my only emotion that night was the grim satisfaction he knew it was Americans kicking in his bedroom door. The only exception to the rule was when Tim McVeigh got the hot shot from the Feds after he blew apart 168 bureaucrats and innocent babies in Oklahoma City on an April morning 23 years ago. Even then there was no urge to dance in the street, or pop the cork on a bottle of champagne.

However, much to the detriment of common decency, people like Fresno State professor, Randa Jarrar, and Don Trump operative, Roger Stone are not encumbered by such restraint.

After she heard of Mrs. Bush's passing, Jarrar went into a tweet storm. Among other things she posted, "Barbara Bush was a generous and smart and amazing racist who, along with her husband, raised a war criminal. I'm happy the witch is dead. Can't wait for the rest of her family to fall to their demise the way 1.5 million Iraqis have. byyyeeeeee."

When faced with the inevitable backlash she accused her critics of being racist. (Ms. Jarrar says she is a Muslim Arab-American.) Then, after bragging she was tenured and therefore could never be fired, she posted a phone number which she claimed was hers. It wasn't. The number was a suicide hot line at Arizona St. University. The crisis center was quickly overwhelmed by a surge of angry calls which, as you can guess, had nothing to do with actual mental health calamities. Additional operators had to be brought in so people with real issues wouldn't be stuck on hold for lengthy periods, or receive a busy signal.

Man, that was one witty practical joke.

Presumably on the far side of the moon from Ms. Jarrar is Trump confidant, Roger Stone. He had been invited to speak to those highly influential Okaloosa (FL) county republicans on what is known to true believers as Lincoln-Reagan Day. That was before he publicly called Mrs. Bush, "a nasty drunk." Then added, "She drank so much booze, if they cremated her, her body would burn for three days."

According to the Okaloosa executive committee chair, Mark Franks, after they read Stone's screed, the committee immediately, "ended our contact with Mr. Stone." Franks went on to say, "It's tough to lose a speaker when you're three weeks out, but this is what I felt needed to be done out of respect for Barbara Bush. I thought he'd be entertaining, but for me this went over the line."

Who knew 21st century republicans had a line any more? Well, you learn something every day.

Be that as it may, Brother Stone had a different take on things. He quickly responded with, "I cancelled my appearance as the sponsors wanted to censor my public comments which is unacceptable." The Hill quoted him as saying in an email, "The day an officious country club republican in Ft. Walton Beach tells me what I can and cannot say is the day that hell freezes over." He went on to write, "...most Americans, most republicans HATE the Bushes."

While a lot of us are out of the loop on things such as Roger Stone's country club membership we certainly know his pal, Donald Trump belongs to a few.  However, we shouldn't get into too many incongruities since they tend to muddle the focus of such fierce, although blatantly, faux populism.

So what we have here is a professor of creative writing at a California university--one of those arrogant academic types who working class progressives such as myself sneer at over a bottle of beer--and a fascist ass hole who pretends to speak for people he actually despises.

Neither have any sort of compassion and, as proven by their recent statements, both are suspect when it comes to their inclusion in the human species.

But hey, even in this age of national divisiveness, at least they agree on something.

sic vita est


Tuesday, April 17, 2018

The Ten Dollar Retainer: Mike Cohen's Third Client Goes Into a Song and Dance Routine

Ah, the webs we weave, or at least try to conceal.

Michael Cohen has had an exclusive list of clients the last couple of years. So exclusive in fact it numbers only three. Everyone knew who the first two were. The current President of the United States, Donald J. Trump is the foremost. Among other things, Cohen represented him in the case of Stormy Daniels a dancer and porn star whose body of film work is readily available to the public via the site, Cohen claims he personally paid Ms. Daniels $130,000 to keep quiet about an alleged affair between her and Trump during Mrs. Trump's pregnancy. Despite the pay out, the attorney and Trump both deny the affair ever happened. They also maintain the president knew nothing about Cohen's gift which was made in the weeks leading up to the 2016 national election.

Then there is GOP fund raiser, presidential pal, and venture capitalist, Elliot Broidy. According to several reports Cohen, "facilitated," a $1.6 million payment to a Playboy Playmate who he got pregnant. After telling the The Wall Street Journal the, "one or two year," hook up was consensual, Broidy was quoted by the publication as saying, "At the end of our relationship, this woman shared with me that she was pregnant. She alone decided that she did not want to continue with the pregnancy and I offered to help her financially during this difficult period."

There is no word how Broidy's wife, Robin and their three children felt about his consensual relationship or his subsequent financial aid. Cohen on the other hand, billed him $250,000 to handle the deal, proving he isn't always as altruistic as he was when he covered for The Big Orange Guy.

That brings us to Monday. Up until yesterday the third client had remained a mystery to both the media and public. The then unnamed person was so intent on remaining anonymous he put up a fight to keep his identity a secret. In a letter to District Judge Kimba Wood, Cohen's legal team wrote, "Of the three legal clients, Donald J. Trump and Elliot Broidy have allowed us to reveal the fact they are legal clients. The other legal client indicated they did not authorize their name to be publicly filed in connection with this matter and directed Mr. Cohen to appeal any order to disclose their name."

Judge Wood wasn't having any of it and ordered the name to be read aloud in court. Reporters moved to the edge of their seats. Was it Paul Manafort? Perhaps it was Carey Lewandowski. Hell, given the way things are going these days it might have even been, Vladimir, by God, Putin.

But no, it was FOX News host, Sean Patrick Hannity, head cheerleader of team Trump. A few days earlier he had gone on the air accusing Robert Mueller of being, "corrupt," and at war with the President because the FBI conducted raids at Cohen's offices and home. Those would be the same raids which revealed Hannity's legal connection to the lawyer.

Being a glib dude the TV and radio host immediately went into a song and dance routine worthy of the Jackson Five. On his radio show Brother Hannity claimed he had never retained Cohen, "in the traditional sense." It was a statement which immediately brought to mind Bill Clinton when he said something along the lines of he and Monica Lewinski never had sex in, "the traditional sense."

In a Tweet, Hannity wrote their brief meetings were, "almost always about real estate." He also claimed he, "may have paid," Cohen $10 to ensure lawyer-client privilege. He went on to state he had never received an invoice from the attorney and later said, "I never paid legal fees to Michael."

Well, unless you count that $10 bucks because, in Hannity's own words, he needed Cohen to understand,  "I want privilege to cover me about this conversation."

While not a lawyer it sure sounds like Sean Hannity hired an attorney--one whose specialty of late is bailing two thirds of his clientele out of sticky situations with women who aren't their wives. Cohen certainly thinks he did, because as shown in the public record, he listed the FOX talking head as a paying customer.

Which, of course, is not to say Sean Hannity has anything to do with an unknown porn star, or Playboy model, or even some skank hooker working the streets looking for a, date. It does however prove this fucker is in so deep with the President and his pals the accusations he is nothing more than a Trump soldier and part of a state controlled media outlet are justified, if not confirmed.

Hey, there are only three reasons he would want his name kept off Mike Cohen's client list. One is, at some point, he did let the little head do the thinking for the big head. Two, he is trying to keep alive the myth his coverage of the current American administration along with that of his employer is, "fair and balanced," rather than nothing more than blatant pro Trump propaganda. Or, three, Hannity is involved in some shady real estate deal along with the Trump organization which is in one way, or another connected to--you got it--Russians.

If the first, or third are the problem, Sean Hannity is screwed beyond belief, because his dubious transactions, either carnal, or financial will eventually be exposed. And he knows it.

If the second is the case, there's no reason Mr. Hannity should be sweating. Let's face it, as anyone with a functioning brain in this country can tell you, that ship sailed long ago.

Ladies and gentlemen, as you might have guessed, the bar is open.

sic vita est 


Thursday, April 12, 2018

The $30,000 Untold Tale of Dino Sajudin: The National Enquirer Ponies Up to Protect Donald Trump

David Pecker is a big fan of Donald J. Trump. Normally that would be no big deal because, as we've learned, there are plenty of trailer park Nazis out there who love the guy. The major difference is Pecker isn't some run of the mill truck driver, or plumber convinced the Mexicans are coming for his job. He runs America Media Inc.

The flagship of AMI's publishing empire is the National Enquirer, a tabloid most notable for its point of sale positioning in practically every grocery store in the land and its lurid and many times suspect headlines and stories. You know, like the one which ran during the 2016 presidential campaign telling readers, Hillary Rodham Clinton was taking a witch's brew of narcotics not just to sustain her during the race, but to literally survive from one day to the next.

The Enquirer's sources for such breaking news are murky and many times steeped in hearsay. They are also almost always uncorroborated in any true journalistic sense. In addition these sources are usually paid in cash after the story is published in order to keep them on the hook before it appears.

Hey, it is tough to track down a couple of actual witness who will testify Mrs. Clinton is, "a secret sex freak," as the Enquirer once reported. After all, if people blabbed about something like that to reporters it wouldn't be much of a secret would it? However, if you don't mind using a source who heard from a friend his, or her cousin once had drinks with someone who admitted to having participated in a back room lesbian orgy, then what the hell, America has the right to know doesn't it?

All of which brings us to one, Dino Sajudin. The AP reported today that Mr. Sajudin once held the information sensitive position of doorman at one of Don Trump's buildings. Before the 2016 presidential campaign began he called the Enquirer's tip line with the hot news that he had heard El Donald had an affair with one of the building's employees and fathered a child with her.

The AP writes the Enquirer strapped him into a polygraph machine and Sajudin was able to pass the test when questioned about, not the veracity of the story, but who he'd heard the rumor from. Enquirer senior editor, Dylan Howard. almost immediately cut the former doorman a check for $30,000 and had him sign a contract giving the publication exclusive rights to his information in perpetuity. There was also a clause which said if Sajudin told anyone else his salacious tale he would have to pay AMI $1,000,000.

The story died right there. Howard, claimed it was killed because it couldn't be verified and therefore didn't meet the Enquirer's suddenly rigorous investigative standards. Former employees claim the reality is no one even followed up on the gossip. In other words, these employees said there was never an attempt to investigate, or verify what our man Dino told them.

Their assertion was AMI had made what is known as a, "catch and kill," payment. In short the company paid Sajudin the $30 grand in order to bury the rumor before he took it to someone with even less scruples. The AP noted the former employees stated "catch and kill," is normally used by the Enquirer either as a favor to the person who is subject of the tip, or as leverage to get information out of him, or her at a later date--an act which some of us might describe as blackmail. Additionally the same employees told the AP that during the campaign, when it came to articles disparaging Trump's political foes, reporters didn't have to verify didly squat before the Enquirer would run them.

Ah yes, high standards indeed.

A few months after Sajudin approached the Enquirer, AMI used a variation of, "catch and kill," when it hired former Playboy Playmate, Karen McDougal. Ms. McDougal was claiming she had an affair with Trump. AMI gave her a job as a columnist for a fitness magazine it owned, paying her $150,000. Once she took the cash she became an employee and was bound by contract to keep her mouth shut about the affair. After running only a couple of her columns she was left sitting at a desk with nothing to do. Thanks to the Wall Street Journal, her story broke days before the election, but by then things were circling the drain for Clinton.

Dino Sajudin, on the other hand, was released from his contract after the election when it was assured his bull shit story couldn't do any harm.

Michael Cohen, Trump's personal attorney, admits he spoke to Enquirer employees about both McDougal and Sajudin in his capacity as a Trump representative. Despite the meetings Cohen insists he neither encouraged or knew of the pay offs made by AMI amounting to $180,000.

Right. Just like he gave Stormy Daniels $130,000 of his own cash without the knowledge of his client.

Now we have a hint why the FBI was kicking in the doors of Cohen's hotel room, home, and office the other day. Let's face it, when $310,000 is paid to three different people so they won't squeal about a presidential candidate's sordid sex life--real, or fantasized--it tends to look like you've broken a few federal campaign laws.

Beyond Cohen's possible felonies, it is becoming increasingly obvious the results of the past presidential election were deeply influenced by media such as FOX News and AMI who served as mouthpieces for the Trump campaign, not just eviscerating Hillary Clinton on a daily basis, but by shamelessly covering up their man's grievous sins. That's in addition to Cambridge Analytica dissecting the psyches of Facebook users then selling the results to people like Steve Bannon. It's also before we get to Mark Zuckerberg's indifference to the outrageous lies being plastered throughout his site by the fucking Russians even as their bots infested Twitter like a swarm of plague carrying fleas.

Given this monstrous shit is it any wonder Trump won? No there isn't. In fact, after looking at these revelations, the only question right now is how Mrs. Clinton kept it as close as she did.

sic vita est


Saturday, April 7, 2018

Viva la Revolucion! The Great Oklahoma Teacher Rebellion is Still On

On Monday, April 2nd, tens of thousands of Oklahoma teachers shut down virtually the entire public school system across the state when they showed up en masse at the capitol complex. Their grievances were both numerous and profound.

The teachers, among the lowest paid in America, had gone for a decade without an across the board pay increase. During the same time frame they watched as general funding for Oklahoma's public schools had been gnawed away at by an unending procession of GOP controlled legislatures eager to give tax breaks to every corporate fat cat with an oil lease, or wind farm.

Beginning in January, as state educators started to make ominous noises about taking action, the current gaggle of right wing wankers in both state houses, on a seemingly daily basis, rejected pay raise after pay raise and every school funding bill proposed. In March, Oklahoma's teachers, partly inspired by a successful walk out in West Virginia, finally issued an ultimatum. Get something done by April 2nd, or we will take action.

As the deadline approached many in the legislature foamed at the mouth and whirled like dervishes. The teacher's demands were, by Oklahoma standards, breathtaking. They wanted a $10 grand raise spread out over two, or three years. They also wanted more money for school support staffs and other state employees. Then came the kicker--they wanted every bit of that cash stolen from public education over the past ten years put back in the budget.

They were then and now up against a bunch of tea party/alt right extremists who consider everyone to the left of Sean, by God, Hannity a communist son of a bitch.

Well, no one said it would be easy and we could digress at this point into a discussion of how these vile clods actually hate public education and want Oklahoma to be nearly dead last when it comes to teacher's pay and per student expenditure, but that debate is for another day.

Luckily, sometimes fear motivates even the most recalcitrant ideologues. Within a few days of being confronted by the faculties of nearly every public school in the state the legislature passed a bill which gave teachers a $6,100 raise right away. Okay, but since the pay increase was tied to a funding measure which would return a mere 10% of the previously slashed funds to state schools and its students, the act translated into a sneering bribe slipped to a door man at a cheap jack night club.  

The teachers certainly considered it as such and the walk out was on for last Monday. Later in the week republican Governor, Mary Fallin would tell the local media she had expected the teachers to show up, thank her and the legislature for the, "historic raise," then go back to their jobs. It is unclear what drugs the Governor was on when she came to that conclusion.

On the 2nd of April it is estimated 30,000 rowdy educators stormed the capitol grounds and building. They were in no mood to grovel. Within 24 hours the support staffs of the schools, who had been ignored in the initial bill, were given a $1,200 raise.

Then, as the actor Mac Brown once said in a movie, came the weird part. On Thursday Fallin was quoted in the OKC daily paper she hoped, "reasonable heads would come together..." That would be a day after she told CBS News Oklahoma teachers were like spoiled teenagers who were complaining their new car wasn't fancy enough. It would also be immediately after GOP representative Kevin McDugle went on social media to claim the teacher's ingratitude and conduct was so outrageous and felonious it threatened the future behavior of the state's youth. He added he'd never vote for another bill funding education. A second legislator told the protesters if they didn't like what had been done for them they should find another career because, "There are plenty of new college graduates out there willing to take your jobs."

Ah yes, quite reasonable.

McDugle later issued an apology of sorts. He said his original post was made in, "the heat of the moment." He went on to blame, "outside groups from California and Chicago," for all of the criminal misbehavior he had witnessed. Then he began a rant which claimed numerous legislators and their aides had received death threats. A day after TV news sources noted three different law enforcement agencies said they hadn't received any reports of death threats, they suddenly got four. To this moment none of the threats have been verified and no one has identified any outside group trying to provoke violence, or vandalism.

Yes, it had come to that and more. Around the same time another legislator claimed many in the crowd were not actually teachers, but, "paid actors."  A fourth said the teachers themselves and their protests were being controlled and subverted by, "outside socialist groups."

Yesterday, OKC's daily paper, The Oklahoman--a republican news letter which on the side publishes a sports page and obituaries--lectured the teachers for not protesting at their local school boards. The op-ed piece claimed the real problem with public education lay with them, not the legislature. Then today, without mentioning, the unconfirmed rumors of death threats, vandalism, or accusations of paid actors and run amok socialists, the paper accused teachers of fomenting, "conspiracy theories." on social media in order to portray themselves as, "victims."

Yesterday, the legislature passed two bills which would add somewhere around $50 million to education funding. However, they also passed a third measure, no doubt hoping celebrating educators wouldn't notice. It repeals a hotel and motel tax hike which was part of the original pay increase package. The act, if not vetoed by Fallin, will cost public education just about--you guessed it--$50 million.

The teachers weren't buying into that crude shell game. The head of the Oklahoma Education Association issued a statement saying two things needed to happen for the walk out to end. One: Governor Fallin must veto the hotel/motel tax repeal. Two: Oklahoma has to get rid of its capital gains tax exemption, something the legislature has refused to even consider.

A poll taken Thursday shows 72% of Oklahomans support the walk out. Educators from across the state emboldened by those numbers left the capitol building yesterday chanting over and over again, "See you Monday."

Yes, much to the chagrin of the Governor and her tea party cronies, the rebellion is still on.

Give 'em Hell, Miss Brooks.

Viva la revolucion!



Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Here is to the Oklahoma Teachers in the Streets

Decades ago I was talking to a friend who had recently moved here from Illinois. She made this observation about Oklahoma politics and politicians. "Your democrats are republicans and your republicans are like no one I've ever seen before."

Unfortunately now days far too many people nationwide have become acquainted with the far right edge of the republican party. It has gotten to the point any more, unless you're a raving born again Christian, have a bizarre gun fetish, or embrace outright fascist xenophobia, the party of Teddy Roosevelt won't let you in, much less vote for you. Indeed, only the ideologically pure of heart need apply. All others are forced to wear bells around their necks and wander the wilderness proclaiming themselves, "Unclean!"

Down here on the southern plains these tea party/MAGA types have had a death grip on the legislature for what seems like forever. They tend to loathe government in general and many of the people they are supposed to serve. In order to impede the functions and services of that government they do weird shit. Like a number of years ago when they passed a measure which makes it impossible to raise taxes unless 75% of the legislature votes in favor of it. In most places this is known as minority rule.

All of which brings us to public education, another area which cranks up the hyper-religious and tea party juices of your average Oklahoma law maker. Most of them consider public education just another extension of the dreaded, Big Government.

Well that and it teaches kids stuff like science and history rather than Christian fundamentalism and myths as fanciful as any spun by Homer, Uncle Remus, or even, Donald John Trump.

In order to spare us from the evil of what they consider debatable theories and fake facts disseminated in public schools, the state legislature, over the last 10 years or so, has cut funding for education and allowed teacher salaries to stagnate. One of the immediate benefits of the harsh conditions imposed upon students and educators is it allowed the republican majority to give huge tax breaks to the people who, among other things, control the fossil fuel and wind energy companies. The idea was these lucky recipients of the state's largesse would invest mightily in Oklahoma and we'd become some sort of capitalist utopia.

Unfortunately, like the, "right to work," scam passed years ago, this latest conservative trickle down economic fantasy hasn't worked out so well. Oklahoma is still nearly broke and vast numbers live below the poverty level, although we are home to many of the finer customer call centers still located within the republic's borders.

As for education the results have been, at best, bleak. Depending on which chart you look at, teacher's pay in Oklahoma is anywhere from 42nd to 48th in the nation and total state expenditures per student now ranks 47th. At the same time the legislature's pay is 10th highest in the United States while the Governor's salary is 17th.

A little while ago, inspired by educators in West Virginia who went on strike, Oklahoma teachers said enough is enough. For weeks they had watched the legislature kill one pay raise after another thanks to that 75% rule and a cabal of arch conservatives who vote against any tax increase on what they call, principle. That principle includes not pissing off the fat cats running the oil and gas industry who own many of them as surely as they do their fabulous mansions.

Fed up, last month Oklahoma teachers presented the legislature with an ultimatum. Give us a $10 grand raise spread out over a couple of years, replace the cuts in education, plus provide our support staffs and other state employees who have also suffered through a decade without a pay increase more money--or we walk.

The gang down at 23rd St. and Lincoln Blvd blinked--sort of. Faced with a state wide strike they magically came up with $400 million in new money.

However--and there is always a however when it comes to these clowns--while their self described, "historical," legislation, included a $6000 raise for the teachers it didn't do squat for the support staffs, other state employees, or more importantly replace any of the school funding slashed over the past decade. You know, money to pay for things like text books, desks, and school infrastructure. In other words they expected the teachers to sell out the kids and others by taking the money then shutting the fuck up.

Yesterday, despite the raise, educators from across the state walked out. Most of them are still out, because as one said, "I'm teaching at a high school built for 1,200 students that has over 2,000. I have more students in my classes than desks and we're using textbooks that are 20 years old." The tales of teachers spending hundreds, if not thousands of dollars of their own money to buy supplies for their pupils are too numerous to list.

Quick, name another job which requires you to get a bachelor's degree, then a masters, while expecting you to kick in part of your own salary in order to perform it successfully. Not to mention, possibly taking a bullet from some certifiable lunatic in the middle of a hallway. If there is one it certainly isn't in the Oklahoma house and senate chambers. Or the Governor's office. Or anywhere in that great glass tube in downtown OKC known as the Devon Energy Tower.

Here is to the teachers who had the guts to look the tea party wankers in the eye then take to the streets. And, here is hoping they stay there until they force those assholes to cave into what we all know is not just the future of the state, but what is, quite simply, right.

sic vita est


Friday, March 30, 2018

Nikolas Cruz: Just the Latest Misunderstood Bad Boy Rock Star

I want you to know that Nikolas knows about us and he had the biggest smile on his face when he was told that we all support him. Keep the letters coming because he can't wait to finally get them.

An unnamed teen aged girl's post on one of the Facebook sites dedicated to Nikolas Cruz, the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooter who murdered 17 students and teachers in a little over six minutes on Valentine's Day, 2018.

One of the reasons Nikolas Cruz hasn't received all those letters the anonymous young lady mentioned is because he is on suicide watch. Another is, as the Daily News reported, more than a few include photos of the senders barely clothed and in provocative positions.

Yes, it would seem some people simply can't resist the bad boys, especially if they are really bad. Not to mention, in Cruz's case, extremely deadly.

Of course it isn't like we haven't seen this grotesque fetish before. The quintessential crazy fuck, Charlie Manson maintained a huge following right up until his death in November of last year. Before Florida sat Ted Bundy down in the electric chair in 1989 he received stacks of correspondence from those enamored with him. After they murdered their parents, Erik and Lyle Menendez both got life, then each of them married women who began writing and visiting them while they were in the joint. 

Obviously, there is no accounting for taste.

Nor apparently the human capacity for loneliness, self loathing, and demented obsession.

The Daily News, quoted Cruz's defense attorney, Howard Finkelstein as saying, "In my 40 years as a public defender I've never seen this many letters to a defendant. Everyone now and then gets a few, but nothing like this."

One of those contained this sentiment: "I'm 18 years old. I'm a senior in high school. When I saw your picture on the television, something attracted me to you. I'm really skinny and have 34C breasts." The note arrived in an envelope decorated with hand drawn hearts and happy faces.

Another, from a woman in Chicago, contained one photo of her cleavage, another of her dressed in a bikini sucking on a Popsicle. and. finally, a tight shot of her ass taken as she was bending over.

For the sake of full disclosure it should be noted not all the correspondence has come from women. There was set of photos sent by a middle aged man living in New York which showed him, bushy gray mustache and all, sitting behind the wheel of his car. The pictures arrived tucked inside a card which sported the image of a cute cat on the front.

In addition, at last look, Cruz's fans have sent him around $800 which has been deposited into his Broward County Jail commissary account. He can use the cash to buy personal hygiene items, plus coffee and different snacks.

A Facebook group, which has now gone private, counts 300 members. It is named, "Nikolas Cruz--The First Victim." Before it became secret one female member solicited photos from the group so she could put together a collage of the selfies. "I want him to see how many people love and care for him and all the beautiful faces, " she wrote.

One of the trending hashtags supporting Cruz is #stopthebullying. A major belief of these pathetic twists is, if someone had just made friends with Nikolas he would have never gone off his nut and opened fire.

According to Stoneman Douglas senior, Isabelle Robinson that notion is outright bullshit. She should know. When she was in the seventh grade Cruz nailed her in the back with an apple as she sat eating lunch in the school cafeteria. His motive for the attack was apparently something along the lines of, hey, she was sitting there.

A couple of years later she was assigned to the future killer as a peer mentor/mediator. She described her one meeting with him as a painful experience during which he cursed at her and lewdly ogled her breasts. In short, Nikolas Cruz was the bully.

On February 14th Isabelle Robinson found herself hiding in a closet as Cruz ran amok. The very thought school authorities once stuck her alone in a room with him both terrifies and enrages her.

Since the cops won't allow Cruz to see any of the photos and letters, save for a few pleading with him to find God, one has to wonder how that young internet admirer knew, "he had the biggest smile on his face," after learning about his supporters.

The Daily News had a hint. It reports Broward County deputies have overheard Cruz's brother Zachary telling him he has become, "quite popular with the girls," during visits. Presumably that was before young Zach was popped on March 20th for trespassing at, you guessed it, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

To say something is wrong with this picture is understating things a tad. Nikolas Cruz's life wasn't without recent emotional trauma, but let's face it, the fucker had been off the rails for years before he started shooting. He was not the sad, innocent, loner driven to madness by cruel classmates. He had been, by many accounts, mean, aggressive, and bat shit crazy long before the death of his adoptive mother.

Yet, despite all of his unacceptable and delinquent behavior, he was still able to buy a type of weapon which, as any reasonable person will tell you, should be restricted to the military. And now, in the wake of his rampage, some among us are imagining him to be just another misunderstood rock star because he chose to use the God damned thing.

Is it any wonder the bar has opened? I didn't think so.


Monday, March 26, 2018

Emma Gonzalez: A Gun Range Target Morphs Into The Constitution of the United States

You can say this for the rabid pro NRA and alt right crowds in this country. When they feel threatened by anyone, even teen aged girls, they go all in with crazed social media blitzes that make the Russians look positively civilized in comparison.

On Saturday tens of thousands took to the streets across the nation to protest gun violence and America's lax laws which allow it. One of the faces of the protest in Washington D.C. was Parkland, FL Stoneman Douglas High School senior Emma Gonzalez. She has a unique perspective on the subject because on Valentine's day last month 14 of her classmates and three of her teachers were gunned down by a former student who had been able to buy an AR-15 assault style rifle as easily as he could a movie ticket.

This weekend isn't the first time Ms. Gonzalez has appeared in front of news cameras letting people know she thinks congress and the NRA are willing to let children be murdered in order to preserve their version of, The American Way. She has also been quite adamant all those, "thoughts and prayers" which are offered to the victims by both groups after each and every school massacre just won't cut it any more.

The savage campaign against Emma Gonzalez and other Stoneman Douglas students began almost immediately. First there was Florida legislative aide, Benjamin Kelly who sent emails from his government account to a Tampa newspaper claiming she and some of the others weren't high school students at all, but paid crisis actors. Just before he was fired he said his only regret was he had contacted the wrong media outlet.

Then there was a republican candidate for the Maine state legislature, Leslie Gibson. His response to Gonzalez's message was a tweet in which he claimed he'd never succumb to the wishes of a, "skinhead lesbian." Gibson, who at the time was running unopposed for the Maine seat quickly drew a GOP challenger in the upcoming primary and dropped out.

Now we've come to this. Ms. Gonzalez did a photo shoot for, "Teen Vogue," during which she was shown tearing a gun range target in half. By the time some troll using the name, "Linda NRA Supporter," got through doctoring the pictures, then posting them on Twitter, the paper target had morphed into a copy of the Constitution of the United States.

Before, the "Linda," account was suspended by Twitter, the altered photos were retweeted 65,000 times by true believers, now utterly reassured this crazy looking kid was out to destroy America. One of those vile yokels was the actor Adam Baldwin. He also retweeted the post, but this time the message went to his 250,000 some odd followers along with the added hashtag, #vorwarts.

For those wondering about this obscure reference, vorwarts is German for the word, forward, and way back when, "Vorwarts! Vorwarts!" was the title of the Hitler Youth anthem. Hey, who knew the guy was such an expert on Nazi trivia?

When confronted with news the photos had been faked Baldwin promptly declared the deliberately misleading images and his accompanying hash tag were nothing more than, "political satire."


In another widely seen photo, Ms Gonzalez is wearing a jacket with a small Cuban flag sewn onto the arm. This is probably because her mother and father, a math tutor and--you have to love it--a cyber security attorney got out of Cuba in 1968 and she is, you know, of Cuban descent.

Not so, screamed another right wing troll who posted, "Emma Gonzalez wearing the flag of an authoritarian communist nation. Makes sense. They both hate an armed citizenry!"

Just to ensure all their bases were covered, Iowa GOP representative, Steve King's campaign took her to task on Facebook. No, not for being a commie plant, but that she failed to understand both her heritage and the brutal nature of the Cuban regime her parents escaped from.

High School students not understanding the gun debate, or for that matter, anything else, is a common theme among the right wing. They are howling constantly the pupils of Stoneman Douglas and all those others are being exploited, yes, manipulated, by the liberal media and their big money backers,  the "Hollywood Elites," and George, by God, Soros himself. To prove it, FOX News has put Gonzalez's fellow student, Kyle Kashuv on the air multiple times--in a strictly non exploitative way, of course. Saturday afternoon young Kashuv solemnly informed the viewing audience the vast majority of those thousands of kids we saw in the streets didn't understand what they were marching for.

In addition, our old pal Rick Santorum went on CNN and told the audience all those young people were doing nothing other than looking for, "someone else to solve the problem." Rather than seeking some weenie socialist style answer, he said, they should be doing something specific to help themselves when it comes to school violence, like taking CPR classes.

It was a statement so devoid of intelligence and common decency it moved Dr. Eugene Gu to tweet, "Marie Antoinette: Stupid peasants, let them eat cake. Rick Santorum: Stupid students, let them learn CPR."

You know your argument is in trouble, both intellectually and morally, when you have to stoop to this sort of God awful shit. However, doing just that has never made the right wing purveyors of blatant propaganda and lies, or their raving disciples pause, much less blink.

Indeed, despite what Kyle Kashuv told a FOX panel his fellow students knew exactly why they were protesting in the streets. Here is a hint: they don't want their brains blown out while walking from English Lit to the gym simply because some crazy fuck can get his hands on a weapon that should be limited to the military.

They also know if lawmakers don't do something about it mass school shootings are going to happen again, and again, and again. The pro NRA crowd knows it too. They just don't want to admit they own part of the responsibility for the ongoing horror, nor do they want to do anything to stop the body count from growing even higher than it already is.

Honestly, evil is too kind of a descriptor for them.

sic vita est