Tuesday, May 31, 2016

It is No Longer Strange in Syria

They do everything, targeting hospitals, women, and children. It is no longer strange.

Farouk Kashkash, director of the national hospital in Idlib, Syria.

The Guardian is reporting the attack on the hospital run by, Mr. Kashkash took place at 10pm last night and included multiple air strikes. No one is sure if it was Syrian planes, or the Russians. Both air forces have done it before and just about everyone on the ground expects it to continue happening. That's because--you know--nothing says civil war quite like deliberately targeting the wounded and sick and those offering them medical attention.

Right now the death toll, which is expected to rise as the rubble is cleared away, stands at 30, several of them are kids.

According to The Guardian, the Assad regime considers all medical facilities, their staffs and patients in rebel held territory legitimate military targets. Why? Well, because about six years ago when the carnage was beginning the Syrian government passed a law--an anti terrorism measure--saying it was.

That's right. In Syria it's perfectly legal to be just as much of a terrorist as the so called terrorists.

It's not like the attack last night hasn't happened before, or the Syrian government is the only one with bloody hands. Medecins Sans Frontieres said in February that 94 of the facilities they support were hit by air strikes, or shelling in 2015.

In fact early last year the organization, Physicians for Human Rights, claimed it had documented 224 attacks on 175 different medical facilities since the fighting began. Nearly 600 personnel manning those hospitals and clinics have been killed.

In the face of all this madness, the U.N. Security Council did what it does best. Earlier this month it passed a resolution calling for an end to such heinous war crimes. The Russians even signed off on it.

Right. We're all civilized aren't we? Well, maybe not. The Guardian points out this particular brand of barbarity in Syria and Yemen continues and in both places combatants are either helped directly, or logistically by various members of the council.

Yes, yes, it is all horrifying and by the way, here is another $20 million in arms. Just use them responsibly for God's sake.

No wonder everyone over there is trying to get somewhere else as fast as possible. Hey, when your odds of getting blown up during a visit to the local ER for a broken limb  are better than 50-50 it is definitely time to hit the road.

No one can stop this monstrous behavior. Obama certainly hasn't been able to. Sanders, or Clinton won't either and, the brutal truth is, if he's elected, Trump won't give a shit. When it comes to the Russians, Putin probably thinks bombing hospitals is a great idea--hell, he might have come up with the idea in the first place.

There is no end in sight to the maelstrom of violence swirling in the middle east. Tragically there might not ever be. At least not as long as the industrialized powers keep trying to pull the strings on puppets they cannot control, or even understand.

That's a bet you can be sure of..


Saturday, May 28, 2016

A Warm Muggy Saturday on the Southern Plains: the Honored Dead are Ignored, a Cover Up in Waco, and the Media Hands Over the Oval Office for Free

It is Memorial Day weekend in the United States. In theory it is a time for those of us enjoying our freedom to honor the people who have given their lives defending it. And there are a lot of them. According to Wikipedia 1,354,644 men and women have died in American conflicts since 1775. Another 40,917 are missing and presumed dead. Of course the numbers early on were basically estimates so the totals are probably higher.

Memorial Day weekend is also the unofficial start of summer here and for the vast majority of the population that's a far more important event. In fact, most of us will spend the weekend watching a variety of sports, cooking out, and lounging at pools, or beaches while never giving a thought to those who have made and continue to make the ultimate sacrifice.

Hey, let's face it, if we were to really think about all those dead we might actually come to conclude war is a rotten exercise that should be conducted only as a last resort rather than some political expediency, or ego trip.

Indeed, let's keep positive around here, or at least try.

Unfortunately that's easier said than done. Just ask them in Waco, Texas. This week saw the lid ripped off a sex scandal at Baylor University which is so vile it rivals the one that rocked Penn State a few years ago.

It would seem the powers that be at the Southern Baptist institution of higher learning have, over a period of years, been covering up a series of rapes committed by members of its football team. The affair is so sordid head coach, Art Briles, who brought Baylor out of a seemingly permanent stay in the Big 12 Conference cellar to the top of the league, was canned. He was allegedly aided and abetted in the cover up by the school's athletic director who has been suspended.

In addition, our old pal Ken Starr--the guy who was investigating Bill Clinton in the Whitewater case years ago and stumbled across Monica Lewinski in the process--was chucked out of the school president's office. Brother Starr did manage to land on his feet, however. He has been named a chancellor at Baylor and has retained his job as a professor of, you guessed it, law.

Well why not? Someone has to teach up and coming attorneys the value of ethics on the job.

Meanwhile, a story on MSN's news feed earlier today posed the question, "Will Trump continue to dominate the media?"

It didn't take long to answer that question. A quick survey of stories throughout the news page showed Donald Trump's name and or florid mug was featured in headlines 46 different times. In comparison, Hillary Clinton's name or photo showed up in the lead of 17 stories, while Bernie Sanders was featured on seven occasions.

It is time to face the terrible reality that Don Trump doesn't need a paid campaign staff. He already has one free of charge. It is called the U.S. media.

So there we have it on this warm and muggy day on the southern plains. The honored dead are generally ignored. When it comes to repulsive sexual behavior it far better to be a starting linebacker than the victim of it. And, it is time to begin checking out property rates in places like Montreal, because the American press is handing the oval office to Donald J. Trump on a silver platter.

With all that in mind, ladies and gentlemen, the bar is most certainly open.


Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Hypocrisy? Hey, the Stupid Rubes are Going to Vote for Me No Matter What I Say, or Do

You don't have to look far, or long to see with absolute clarity the horrific absurdity of the Trump campaign.

Starting around 2014 the Trumpster went public with his notion that global warming is some great hoax perpetrated by scores scientists for reasons which remain a tad vague. During the course of this election cycle he has repeated that assertion time and time again. Last fall, during the first cold snap of the season he even tweeted, with his typical sarcasm, he needed a big dose of global warming.

Now it appears that, while continuing to assure the bleating herds who follow him climate change is a liberal scam, he actually might think it isn't. Well, at least his corporate people do.

Politico did a little research and found the Trump International Golf Links course in County Clare, Ireland--located hard against the water--has filed for a permit to build a giant sea wall. Part of the application reads, "If the predictions of an increase in sea level rise as a result of global warming prove correct it is likely that there will be a corresponding increase in coastal erosion rates not just in Doughmore Bay, but around most of the coastline in Ireland. In our view it could reasonably be expected that the rate of sea level rise might become twice of that presently occurring."

So which is it, global warming, or not? It is doubtful Trump cares one way, or the other. Such hypocrisy is so common place to him it's obvious he utterly dismisses the word and its ramifications. In the end, all he is concerned with is that one of his golf resorts is threatened by the very forces he says don't exist, therefore he needs to build a wall to protect his investment. No explanation, or clarification is needed.

In other words, Hey, the stupid rubes are going to vote for me no matter what I say, or do, so screw all that honesty stuff and logic; full speed ahead.

On Monday the Trump campaign released a video on Instagram that included the voices of two women who have accused Bill Clinton of sexual assault. The Boston Globe is reporting they were Juanita Broaddrick and Kathleen Willey, both of whom are well known for their accusations.

As the Globe pointed out, Trump has often shrugged off criticism of his treatment and attitude toward women. In fact he has jumped the media on more than one occasion for dragging up stories which appeared in the New York press years ago.

Earlier this month he was asked about pretending to be his own press agent back in the 1990's. His response was, "When was this? Twenty-five years ago? Wow, you mean you're going to go so low as to talk about something that took place twenty-five years ago?

Broaddrick has been claiming Bill Clinton assaulted her in 1978 ever since he ran against Bush the elder. Willey began saying, Clinton got handsy while he was still in the oval office. Neither incident has ever been proven and Clinton denies they happened.

None of this should come as a surprise. During the birther nonsense, Trump told interviewers his investigators were digging up unbelievable facts regarding Barack Obama's birth certificate. When it was proven there was nothing to it, he dropped the issue. Now he seems to have completely forgotten he ever spent time on television making crazed allegations about where Obama was, or wasn't born.

Yes, such details aren't even inconveniences when it comes to an ego maniac like Don Trump. He happily makes up shit as he goes along and keeps spewing it out so fast no one else can get a word in edge wise. Indeed, to him this isn't a presidential race, it's simply his world--the biggest, gaudiest, carnival side show in history--the rest of us just happen to be stuck living in it.

sic vita est


Thursday, May 19, 2016

MSN and the Rest of the 21st Century Media Have Found Their Guy for 2016

When Ted Cruz complained about all the free advertising Donald Trump was getting on TV, via news talk shows we knew he was right. The only real debate was how much that media exposure would have cost a normal candidate. Cruz's estimate was $5 billion. That seemed a tad high at the time, but a number which could be eclipsed before this campaign is over.

Unfortunately for all of us, television isn't the only place where Trump's orange tinted face shows up constantly for free.

I use MSN's news feed as the home page on my PC.  Now, I'll be up front in admitting I don't have a clue as to how it is put together, who does it, or who decides to roll it over from time to time with updates.

I personally divide the page into two sections. What I call the header is that slide show at the top--an ever shifting large photo with a headline and sometimes an abbreviated list of related stories. Then there is what I refer to as the scroll down where all the other stories are shown.

All in all it felt like a little survey was in order. Indeed--a count of the number of times El Don's name, or photo appeared on different stories compared to the exposure Hillary Clinton, her husband, Bernie Sanders, and even Barack Obama were getting. It didn't matter if the story was unflattering, or not. It was simply an audit of the sheer number of times, MSN displayed his name in a headline, or showed his photo. In some cases there was an overlap, as both Trump and Clinton were mentioned in the same lead, so that counted as one each.

Yesterday at 1:30pm CDT, in the header, Trump's name and, or photo was seen three times. Mrs. Clinton's name was mentioned once. It spiraled out of control from there. Eyeing the scroll down was a dizzying lesson in the old adage, there is no such thing as bad press. Donald Trump's name, or photo appeared 30 different times in story leads. In comparison, Hillary Clinton's showed up 14 times--15 if you want to count one piece about Bill Clinton. Barack H. Obama's name, or photo appeared four times and Senator Bernie Sanders was there on five different posts.

Hey, it must be an anomaly right? Why would MSN be so enamored with a complete loon like Don Trump?

Today at 1:30 pm the experiment was repeated.

Neither Trump, or Clinton were featured in the header. In the scroll down the president of the United States of America was featured in six stories, Bernie Sanders in 10, and Bill Clinton hit the page four different times. His wife, the person who will be running against the Trump blitzkrieg, showed up 16 times, while the presumptive republican nominee headlined 45 separate entries.

In short, within 24 hours Donald Trump's name, or photo appeared on the MSN news feed in 78 instances, while Hillary Clinton's showed up a mere 31 times.

No wonder the evil fuck won the nomination and could well end up president of the United States. His contorted mug shows up everywhere we look. Yes, he might tell his supporters the media is out to ruin him, but the truth is he owns it. In fact their coverage of Don Trump has been so slavishly extensive the whole industry should be charged with aiding and abetting a criminal enterprise.

In the end, why should any of us be surprised? The media doesn't care about anything other than sales and ratings and they're willing to provide an endless stream of free advertising to any sort of monster in order to get both. After all, Time Magazine declared Adolf Hitler its 1938 man of the year. Less than 12 months later his troops were running amok in Poland.

Tragically, as Time did so many years ago, it's obvious MSN and the rest of the 21st century media have found their guy for 2016. And, just like Time, they don't give a rat's ass what he stands for, or is capable of doing.

Ladies and gentlemen, for reasons we all understand, the bar is most certainly open.


Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Sanders' People Run Amok in Nevada and Suddenly Things Couldn't be Better for the Trump Campaign

For around the first six months, or so of the nomination process the working theory was that Donald Trump would self immolate by pushing his wildly obscene act, at some point, too far. Unfortunately everyone who espoused that notion vastly overestimated not only the intelligence of grass roots republicans, but their sense of decency and good taste.

Even before it became apparent the big bellied white rubes would carry their man over the top another theory began making the rounds. This one contended nominating Don Trump was tantamount to an act of mass suicide which would lead to a huge victory by Hillary Rodham Clinton. All manner of people, from Glenn Beck, to Ted, by God, Cruz tried to use this one to frighten mainstream republicans into voting for any one besides Trump.

Meanwhile, the democrats, were participating in a fairly reasonable and civilized debate between Mrs. Clinton and Vermont Senator, Bernie Sanders. It was a spirited, but respectful running argument, during which, a third theory said, after the nomination was settled, democrats everywhere would kiss, make up, and join forces to kick Trump's ass.

Boy, those were the days.

Saturday, in what could be a tragic preview of the democratic national convention in Philadelphia, things came completely unglued at the Nevada state democratic get together.

According to the AP, Sanders' supporters ran completely amok that night at the Paris Hotel in Las Vegas. Among other things Sanders' people, shouted down key note speaker, Senator Barbara Boxer, D-CA. When things didn't go the way they wanted they screamed obscenities and rushed the stage. The situation spiraled so far out of control the convention had to be shut down, because security didn't think they could contain things. Just to prove them right, the Sanders' people began throwing chairs when the announcement was made.

In a letter to the national co-chairs of the democratic rules and by laws committee, the Nevada party claimed, "The explosive situation arose in large part because a portion of the community of Sanders delegates arrived at the Nevada state convention believing itself to be a vanguard intent upon sparking a street fight rather than attending an orderly political party process."

The Sanders campaign knew there was a potential for trouble. The day before the convention his staff issued a statement telling those exuberant fans to, "...work together respectfully and constructively."

After the debacle a Sanders spokesperson said, "We don't condone violence, or encourage violence, or even threats of violence."

Yeah, well too bad none of the rank and file are listening.

One of the clever Sandites posted Nevada democratic chairwoman, Roberta Lange's home address, work address, email, and cell phone number on line. Since then she has been receiving what she describes as hundreds of obscene and threatening phone calls and texts. It became so bad at her job the business had to unplug its phone lines. According to her, "I feel threatened everywhere I go."

This is a nightmare. Just as the GOP establishment, with a few notable exceptions, seems to be coming to terms with a Trump candidacy and looks to be coalescing around him, the Sanders' people are going off their nut. Their message increasingly is, it's either our guy, or the fucking apocalypse.

This election is going to be a close thing. Trump has proven and, on a daily basis, continues to show he is capable of any grotesque accusation and lie, no matter how evil and preposterous it might be. He is going to be backed by more money than the gross national product of Ireland. The last thing the democratic party needs is a bitter wedge--fueled by unconscionable violence--driven between it's center and left.

Suddenly, things couldn't be better for Trump's national campaign. Divide and conquer, baby. How do you think Adolf got to both the English Channel and the suburbs of Moscow? How do you think Don Trump got this far? And finally, how far do you think he will go if he is president?

As for me, no matter who wins the democratic nomination, I'd rather not know the answer to the last question. Some of you bright eyed idealists might want to consider that option.

sic vita est


Friday, May 13, 2016

The Next Great Ideas in the Oklahoma Legislature

Here are the next great ideas currently being mulled over by legislators in Oklahoma.

The first is House Joint Resolution 1009. It calls for the people of the state to vote on a constitutional amendment which would make it harder for any entity, either public, or private, to regulate not just the sales of firearms, but where they can be carried.

A story in yesterday's The Oklahoman, by Rick Green quotes state senator Robert Holt as saying, "The proposed amendment could put wide ranging gun regulations in jeopardy, including provisions banning guns at private businesses, universities, and Oklahoma City Thunder NBA games."

In other words, if this monstrosity passes, a state court could rule the Thunder, by not allowing a person to carry a gun into the Chesapeake Energy Arena, is in violation of the constitution of the state of Oklahoma.

Yeah, well that's a bit of a problem. The NBA has a rule which strictly forbids guns at any of its team's venues. The Thunder ownership group has already issued a dark warning saying it will have to move the team if the state forces them to allow rubes who are packing firearms into their games.

That's right Seattle, just be patient. If these crazy wankers get their way, KD, Russ, and the rest of the gang could well be on their way back to the Pacific Northwest in the near future.

Then we come to House Bill 3098. Current state law requires people who carry a gun either in open, or concealed to pass a background check conducted by the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation plus a course in firearm safety and proficiency.

Bill 3098 would eliminate all that evil socialist government overreach and allow everyone to carry openly without any sort of training, or background check.

Green quoted the author of the bill, Rep. Jeff Coody, R-Grandfield as saying, "People who carry guns bear a grave responsibility, but it's up to them to get training and the government should not require this." Coody then had the audacity to say he didn't think people without firearm training would start to carry guns openly. He finished with, "I don't believe anyone with a brain would do that."

Yes, he really said it and--even more frightening--members of the human race have actually elected this horrific buffoon to public office.

For those wondering, Grandfield is a few miles southwest of Duncan, OK. In the summer of 2013 Australian, Christopher Lane was shot to death as he was jogging in Duncan. The three vile dopes charged with the crime have tried to explain why they did it several different ways--one of them being, they were bored.

In October of 2014, University of Oklahoma student Alan Hruby snuck home to Duncan one night, stole his father's 9mm hand gun, then the next day murdered him, his mother, and his sister. He did it in order to inherit the family fortune.

Meanwhile, today in Greenville, SC a high school was evacuated after a student accidentally shot himself in the school cafeteria. And, in Manchester, NH, two cops were shot and wounded at separate locations early this morning. The latest reports are the suspect is in custody.

Sorry, Brother Coody, but given the circumstances it would appear there are tens, if not hundreds of thousands of people out there without training, who would love to openly carry a gun.

In fact, it looks like they already are.


Tuesday, May 10, 2016

The Walking Dead in Nebraska, the Ghost of Albert Speer in Cleveland, Someone Named Sarah Thinks People are Listening, and the Search for an Accomplice Has Begun

I've always had a weakness for lost causes once they're really lost.

Rhett Butler

It appears Ted Cruz does too. Last week he suspended his presidential campaign after getting trounced in Indiana. However, earlier today he told the head of his radio propaganda machine, Glenn Beck there might be some sort of "Walking Dead" zombie chance of a resurrection.

The Hill reports Cruz told Beck, "We launched the campaign intending to win. The reason we suspended our campaign was that with the Indiana loss I felt there was no path to victory. If that changes we will certainly respond accordingly."

The change he's speaking about is beating Don Trump in today's Nebraska primary, a winner take all contest with 36 delegates up for grabs. The latest theory apparently is, maybe I can win a state after I've quit, while not showing up, or saying a word.

Hey, why not? Nothing else has worked--might as well give it a whirl and see what happens.

Meanwhile, Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan has volunteered to step down as the chairman of the GOP convention if Trump wants him to. One can easily imagine speaker Ryan praying night and day the presumptive nominee will take him up on the offer. After all, the affair in Cleveland now has the distinct possibility of eerily resembling one of those horrific pre WWII Nuremberg rallies put together by Albert Speer for his old pal, Adolf Hitler.

Besides, the list of republicans who don't want to be anywhere near the place is a distinguished one. Included in the number of no shows will be former nominees Mitt Romney and John McCain. And of course everyone in the world named Bush.

Ryan, has stated, he's, "not ready," to endorse Trump, but has left that door open slightly, depending on what Trump says and does over the next couple of months. Ryan's refusal to immediately jump on the bandwagon incensed a woman named Sarah Palin who, rumor has it, used to be relevant in some republican circles.

Palin proclaimed to anyone interested she will back Ryan's opponent in the Wisconsin republican primary election later this year. It is not clear if Ms. Palin even knows the rube's name--it's Paul Nehlen--but by God she is all for him and promises us Ryan will be Cantorized. It is a reference to former house majority leader Eric Cantor, who was defeated two years ago in a GOP primary by a tea party howler because he hadn't acted crazy enough on the house floor.

Finally, it's been reported the ever violent Corey Lewandowski will head up a committee searching for El Don's running mate. Lewandowski, when he isn't manhandling female reporters, also serves as Trump's campaign manager. Unfortunately for us all we know Lewandowski's team will come up with some terrible, brute, fool, or an oily, amoral, grifter because, quite frankly, they're the only type of people who can abide Donald Trump.

So there we have it on this day, Tuesday, May 10th, 2016. There is a zombie non campaign in Nebraska, the specter of mass torch lit demonstrations set to the music of Richard Wagner looms in Cleveland, dire political threats have been issued by someone who believes people actually listen to her, and, at last, the search for an accomplice to future crimes, is being directed by a hired thug.

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, is it any wonder the bar is now open.

I didn't think so.


Wednesday, May 4, 2016

It's Official: Republicans Have Lost Their Minds

It's finally official. Republicans nationwide have lost their fucking minds.

As of 5pm this afternoon Donald J. Trump will become the presumptive nominee of the party that once gave us Abraham Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt.

Last night Ted Cruz dropped out after getting his head handed to him in Indiana. Reports are that this afternoon John Kasich will finally make a concession to reality and drop out too. That means Trump is the last man standing in what was once a field of 17 candidates.

Unfortunately for all involved he is also, as Cruz said yesterday, "...a pathological liar. He doesn't know the difference between truth and lies. Practically every word that comes out of his mouth is a lie. The man is utterly amoral; morality doesn't exist for him."

Cruz's angry spasm of truth came after Trump had accused the senator's father of being somehow involved in the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Always careful to credit his sources, Trump cited an article which was published in the National Enquirer last month. What he failed to mention is the Enquirer's reputation for journalistic accuracy not only ranks right up there with say, Alex Jones and Erich von Daniken, but the garishly awful rag fully supports his candidacy.

We should be used to this sort of madness by now. After all, crazed bullshit is a Trump staple. He still insists he personally witnessed "thousands and thousands" of Muslims in New Jersey celebrating the downing of the World Trade Center towers. And he's never backed away from his allegations that Barack Obama was born someplace, anyplace, but Hawaii.

It would be easy to say the republicans have nominated the very first conspiracy theory candidate and leave it at that. However Don Trump is much more evil than some loon posting YouTube videos.

Elizabeth Warren described him this way in a couple of tweets. "Here is what else @realDonaldTrump has built his campaign on, racism, sexism, and xenophobia." Then, "@realDonaldTrump incites supporters to violence, praises Putin, and is, cool with being called an authoritarian."

She is accurate with both assessments.

Donald J. Trump has convinced millions the United States is no longer great and like Herr Hitler he has blamed it squarely on a variety of people who aren't like them. Hitler had Jews, communists, gypsies, and homosexuals. Trump has professional politicians, Latin American immigrants, Muslims, and China.

He ignores contradictions and irony as you and I might ignore a clump of weeds in a field. He uses the mainstream media relentlessly for his own ends and to their disgrace they've given him hours of free coverage. To show his appreciation for the air time, he incessantly tells his supporters the press is a bunch of liars who are doing everything in their power to defeat him.

When Rafael Cruz said he thought a Trump nomination could be the destruction of America, the candidate told a FOX interviewer, "I think it's a disgrace he's allowed to do it. It think it's a disgrace he is allowed to say it." Moments later El Don started yammering about the possibility the elder Cruz was in on the Kennedy murder.

God only knows what sort of vile nonsense he will spew about the Clintons. At this time the only thing we can be absolutely certain of is the imminent return of Vince Foster's ghost.

That's right. The insane ugliness has just begun and it is going to get much worse.

Count on it.

sic vita est