Thursday, June 30, 2016

The Nature of the Beast and the Gangs of Brown Shirts Who Follow Him

Where shall we begin?

A couple of days ago numerous sources reported the Trump campaign began sending out scads of emails to people soliciting donations. As all such mass electronic mailings do, the message was meant to look like either the candidate, or his son, Don Jr. sent them. While that is fine and normal there was a bit of a problem. A number of the emails went to members of parliaments in places like Iceland, Scotland, Australia, and England under the heading, "Help Make America Great Again."

This means one of two things. Either the Trump people are incredibly stupid, or they are participating in a criminal enterprise. That's because federal law makes it illegal to solicit, or accept donations from foreign nationals in a presidential race. At least two different groups have filed complaints with the Federal Election Commission. Don's people haven't commented on the situation, although a few of the over seas law makers have. Most of those who've gone public told Mr. Trump, in no uncertain terms, to bugger off.

The New York Times ran a story yesterday detailing the corruption of the failed, Trump Institute, which was a separate entity from the defunct Trump University. In 2005 Trump lent his name, for a fee, of course, to what amounted to a series of real estate seminars held in hotel ball rooms across the country.

His main participation was in the form of a TV infomercial during which he stated--see if this sounds familiar TU alums--he had hand picked the instructors and, in his words, "I put all of the concepts that have worked for me, new and old, into our seminar." He also told the studio audience, "People are loving it. People are really doing well with it and they're loving it."

The whole thing was actually a cheap jack scam run by a husband and wife team named Milin. They've been sued by numerous clients and have been under investigation for various things including fraud by state attorney generals from Texas to Florida. It turned out large chunks of the material being handed out to attendees, with Trump's photo prominently displayed on the front, had been plagiarized straight from a ten year old real estate manual. In fact the seminar, which cost each participant $2,000, was such a con that a help line manned by so called Institute experts repeatedly told callers to ignore what they'd learned in the sessions because it was either out of date, or useless.

Another New York Times story reports that despite all his promises to bring American jobs back and slap tariffs on foreign made merchandise, El Donald has been proud many of the products with his name on them come from overseas. The story notes that in 2013 he bragged his line of furniture came exclusively from a factory in Turkey. A few years before he was proud to announce crystal ware he was promoting was manufactured in Slovenia. And in 2012, after being kidded about where his clothing line was made he told David Letterman, "That's good we employ people in Bangladesh. They have to work too." Now he is under investigation for using undocumented immigrants to work on a hotel he's building in Washington, D.C.

Today the Los Angeles Times published the tale of an outfit called the New York Institute for Law and Society. In 2000, the Institute proclaimed it was a grass roots, anti gambling, organization funded by 12,000 pro family donors. That year they began taking out ads in papers opposing a proposed Mohawk Tribal casino that was scheduled to be added onto a race track in the Catskill Mountains, two hours from New York City.

As you can guess the ads were both apocalyptic and racist in nature. They claimed the Mohawk casino would bring increased crime, break up families, and cause locals to go bankrupt. Yes, all that, plus there would be a spike in violence thanks to the very presence of those savage Mohawks in the neighborhood.

As you can also guess the 12,000 grass root donors didn't exist. There was only Don Trump and his pal Roger Stone. Stone eventually testified, Trump personally signed off on every ad, while paying for them with over $1,000,000 of his own money. The real pro family reason for the sordid campaign? The new Mohawk property would cut into the bottom line of Trump owned casinos in Atlantic City. The state of New York found the affair so despicable it fined Trump $250,000. He paid the ticket without contesting it.

So there we have it. The republican party of the United States is set to nominate, not a potential president, but rather a crude high end grifter who will stoop to any means in order to fill his own pockets.

Not that it matters. The fascist brutes who are sold on Trump will ignore this entire, lurid, trail of incompetence, deception, hypocrisy, and brute lies. They are going to vote for him, as he said himself, "Even if I walk out onto a street in New York and shoot somebody."

Indeed, such is the nature of this particular beast and the gangs of neo brown shirts who follow him.

sic vita est


Saturday, June 25, 2016

Warming the Hearts of Conservatives with Chaos and Economic Turmoil

Apparently nothing warms the hearts of conservatives here and across the Atlantic more than mass chaos and economic turmoil.

The day after Britain voted 52% to 48% to leave the European Union several things happened, none of them particularly good. The pound took a nose dive to its lowest level since 1985 and Moody's changed the UK's credit rating outlook to negative. In Tokyo the stock market lost 8% of its value. The German market lost 12%. In the U.S, the Dow dropped 610.32 points, NASDAQ went down 202 points, and S&P lost 75 plus points, which translated into a 3.59% decrease in value.

The Scots, over 60% of whom voted to stay in the EU, immediately began talking about conducting yet another referendum to separate completely from England. First Minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon went before cameras and said, "A second referendum is clearly an option that is required to be on the table." She then went on to say the Scottish government would seek to start negotiations with the EU right away to ensure that Scotland can remain in the organization, despite the out come of the election.

Breakdowns of the vote showed young people, college grads, and urban areas like London were more in favor of staying in the EU. The leave it crowd included the elderly, less educated, and those living in rural areas.

To take it further, the 18 to 34 year old demographic favored staying by 57% and the under 25 age group voted 75% to remain. 57% of those over 55 voted to leave. And, does this sound familiar? To the older, whiter, crowd, leaving the EU appeared to have more to do with nationalism and restricting immigration than it did with economics.

This head long charge into the valley of  neo-isolationism was accentuated by another stunning report which suggests many Britons didn't really understand the ramifications of the results. Google issued a statement saying searches in the UK for things like, "What happens if we leave the EU? What is the EU? and What is Brexit? all spiked dramatically after the polls closed.

In fact, Leavers Remorse has been so intense over a million and a half people have signed an online petition demanding a second vote--a sort of national oopsy. Or, to put it another way, "Sorry chaps, we fucked up, let us have one more go at it."

Beyond the island, none of the news and fall out deterred far right politicians in France and the Netherlands from calling for their governments to also withdraw from the EU.

The craziness on the east side of the pond was so inspiring it prompted Daniel Miller, the head of what is known as the Texas Nationalist Movement to tweet Governor Greg Abbott. Mr. Miller wants Abbott to schedule a state wide referendum on Texas independence from the United States. Miller brags his organization has 250,000 members which sounds impressive until you realize there are currently 27.47 million people living in the state.

Even without that whole American Civil War precedent it's obvious Brother Miller hasn't thought things through completely. A Texas monetary system would have to be established, so would an entire military, not to mention a border patrol and presumably a wall along the Rio Grande. All of it at local tax payer expense.

That's before the citizens of a new Texas Republic have to deal with stuff like the loss of medicare, medicaid and federal assistance for infrastructure and disaster relief. Think not? A good number of French went on social media yesterday and said to the British, "good riddance." It won't be any different here for a whole lot of us disgusted by Miller's bull shit and the hubris of his followers.

Meanwhile, Donald Trump, who was in Scotland, opening another of his golf resorts, seemed completely oblivious to the prevailing sentiment of the Scots. El Donald publicly applauded the UK decision to quit the EU. He was even happy about the pound sterling's near collapse, claiming it means more people can now afford to travel to his property and hand their money over to--well--Don Trump.

In other words, "Hey, someone has to come out ahead in this mess and I'm that guy."

Yes, it has been a weird couple of days and this is just the beginning. There is no telling what the markets will do on Monday after a weekend to mull things over.

There we have it on another sweltering day here in the heart of the southern plains.

As you can well guess, the bar is most definitely open.

sic vita est


Tuesday, June 21, 2016

There is Madness Afoot

There is madness afoot and it is everywhere.

Yesterday, in response to the nightmare in Orlando, the United States Senate did what it does best--absolutely nothing. The republicans proposed two gun control bills which were so watered down they were basically a waste of paper. The democrats put two bills of their own out there which the GOP immediately called, too restrictive.

All this political nonsense comes shortly after a CNN/ORC poll found 85% of Americans support blocking people who are on the terrorist watch list from buying a gun and 90% believe there should be background checks on each and every sale of a weapon.

Reactions poured in. The White House issued a statement calling the senate deadlock, "a shameful display of cowardice." At about the same time, some clown running for the U.S. house in Florida promised to give away a semi-automatic assault style weapon to a prospective voter on the 4th of July in order to ensure the continued safety of the republic.

Hillary Clinton posted a social media message with the names of the 49 Orlando victims followed by the word, "Enough." Later she sent a tweet which read, "It's time to demand more than thoughts and prayers from our elected officials."

A few days ago Don Trump lamented that it was too bad none of the customers in the night club were armed in a fashion similar to the murderer. His notion that firearms should be wielded in a place where alcohol flows freely was so crazed and bizarre two NRA officials publicly condemned it.

Yes, that's right. A couple of days ago, Donald Trump achieved what until now has been deemed utterly impossible. His concept of where concealed weapons should be allowed appalled even the gruesome bastards who run the National Rifle Association.

Of course it hasn't been the best of months for our man Don. As his poll numbers continue to slip and fund raising stalls he suddenly and without warning canned his combative campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski. In a CNN interview Lewandowski was asked why he was thrown under the bus. His response was, "I don't know. I don't know the answer to that."

In addition the people at Apple announced they wouldn't provide their usual technical and financial support to the republican national convention. The reason is simple. They really, really don't like Donald J. Trump.

Finally, the Washington Post reports nearly 10% of the cash strapped Trump campaign's May expenditures went to--wait for it--Trump owned properties, a Trump owned airline, and the candidate himself, along with various family members, as reimbursement for expenses. According to the article the campaign paid $423,000 to the Mar-A-Lago Club in Palm Beach, even though Trump stays in his own home on the grounds when he is in town.

Market Watch, covering the same story, says the true figure for monies paid to Trump entities and family members was actually closer to 20% of the total campaign costs in May.

Hey, a guy has to make a buck, right?

So there we have it on a steamy day here in central Oklahoma. The senate is still gridlocked as the body count mounts. The White House and Hillary call foul while they're unable to do a thing about the mayhem. A guy in Florida wants to buy votes by giving away a gun its inventor intended to be released solely to the military. And, Don Trump is still--well, to be honest--an asshole, completely unfit for the oval office.

Ladies and gentlemen, trust me, the bar is open.

sic vita est


Monday, June 20, 2016

Disturbed in Dallastown, PA

An account recently published on line by the AP portrays the Reverend Christopher Rodkey, of Dallastown, PA, as a decent, if somewhat naive, sort. According to the story, Rodkey says his church is interested in promoting religious tolerance. Not only that, but the minister maintains he personally believes Muslims are, "Used as scapegoats by the religious right."

All of which explains why the sign outside of his St. Paul's United Church of Christ currently reads, "Wishing a blessed Ramadan to our Muslim neighbors."

Not long after it went up, the church received an anonymous call from a man who, among other things said the sign was, "despicable," and that, "Islam is a godless and pagan religion."

Besides being a local Christian leader, Rodkey proved himself to be a bit of a detective. He managed to find out the number on the caller ID belonged to one, Matthew Jansen.

When contacted, Brother Jansen explained he had driven past St. Paul's many times over the years and seen, "disturbing," things on its sign. However, this latest one, according to Jansen, was "Over the top as far as I'm concerned. The message was blasphemous."

Jansen went on to say when he initially called he was so irate he simply forgot to leave his name. He claims when he realized his omission, he called back and left his name and number on an answering machine.

As you can guess he went a little further. Rodkey looked up Jansen's Twitter page and found a photo of the sign, along with the church's phone number. There were more posts there which the minister also described as, "disturbing," although, obviously, in different way.

Fairly quickly after Jansen's tweet the church began receiving what was described as, "hang up calls." So many in fact the phone and answering machine were unplugged for a few days.

Jansen says he wasn't trying to be intimidating, but that he wanted to confront the, "greater issue of Islam."

Well, that's one way to describe it.

So who is this crazy guy, named Matthew Jansen? Is he part of a white nationalist group? Some neo-Nazi, clad in camo running around the woods, claiming to be a militia freedom fighter?

Actually he is an elected board member of the Spring Grove Area School District and--you guessed it--a Donald Trump delegate to the republican national convention.

After taking a gander at Jansen's rants on Twitter, Pastor Rodkey was quoted as saying, "I can't believe an elected official would believe the things he does."

Quite honestly, Reverend, you need to get out more. Or at least turn on the news every now and then, because these evil fucks are being elected by the sack full from sea to shining sea. The only thing mildly surprising about Matt Jansen is that he is on a school board, rather than sitting in the United States House of Representatives.

Don't lose hope though. Given the current level of vitriol being spewed by Jansen's preferred candidate and the number of liked minded travelers in this mass orgy of religious bigotry he might get there. Indeed, if the past year has taught us anything it's that all you need is a Twitter account, a telephone, a gut full of hate, plus a glimmer of ambition, and then, like Horatio Alger, you can go far.

Hey, who could possibly say America is no longer great?

Oh, wait...

sic vita est.


Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Yes, Dorothy, There Really is no Place Like Home

Sometimes you have to escape for a while. The bellowing insanity of Donald Trump, the unending gun violence and those malignant fetishists who say the only way to solve it is for there to be even more guns available--it all becomes too much. Paralysis eventually sets in and along with it comes the terrible notion the republic is swirling down a dark drain into abject fascism.

Indeed, at times like these it is best to hop on a plane, slug back huge amounts of the over priced beer during the flight, and head for some distant locale with cool temperatures. One peopled by those who don't need to own a firearm in order to get an erection.

Right--as John Lovitz used to say--that's the ticket.

The plan was we would simply disappear into a little hotel tucked away on the narrow brick streets of Old Montreal and make sure the TV was at least off, if not unplugged. Then, we'd  take an evening cruise on the St. Lawrence seaway and throw down a couple of dry martinis right before eating filet mignon swimming in a rich burgundy sauce, accompanied by large glasses of pinot noir.

For a time it worked. Virginia and I made our escape last Wednesday. We flew into Montreal and immediately lost ourselves in a never ending collage of sidewalk cafes, French themed restaurants, and art galleries. We were blessedly cut off from all news and the rancor and severe craziness which comes with it.

At least until Sunday. That was the morning she looked. After 35 years of living with me, my wife has become as much, or more of a news junkie than I am. A mere 72 hours into the self imposed black out she had to see what was going on. We found out immediately.

At that moment, the nightmare in Orlando was still developing. No one was even sure what the final body count would be. In an instant, everything wrong with the United States and the world had shattered the perfectly peaceful hide out we'd taken refuge in.

What became immediately obvious was the latest in a long line of home grown lunatics had been able to get his hands on an array of weapons as easily as one buys a bunch of bananas. Then, inevitably, he'd taken out all his horrid fantasies and seething anger, on a crowd of innocent people who were doing nothing more than having a good time.

Omar Mateen might have had tenuous connections to ISIS, might have had help from his wife, or others--hell, he might have even been a severely conflicted, self loathing, Muslim gay man. That is all still part of the investigation. What we do know for sure is that he was batty as a bed bug on meth and had absolutely no problem getting his hands on a weapon which has no real purpose other than killing human beings.

Let's face it, those evil fucks running amok in Syria and Iraq didn't have to smuggle the murder weapon into him on the sly. Mateen just strolled over to a Florida gun store and bought it with barely any questions asked.

And the presumptive republican nominee's reaction to it all--besides a ham handed and despicable hint the president of the United States might secretly be in favor of this latest savage trip into murderous frenzy? It is that we should ban not only Muslims from immigrating to these shores, but anyone else who comes from places where there is a history of terrorism. That Omar Mateen was born here a couple of decades ago doesn't matter. His law abiding parents shouldn't have been admitted into the country because their son, who had yet to be conceived, turned out to be a deranged nut.

By that standard no one from Europe should have ever been allowed onto the continent. Just ask your average Native American.

We flew back into the maelstrom known as the U.S.A, yesterday. There had been, for a short while, silence, serenity, and wonder. Now it is once again the day to day grind of madness.

Yes, Dorothy, there really is no place like home.

sic vita est


Wednesday, June 8, 2016

The Process is Over For Bernie

The Democratic nominating process is finally over. Actually it has been for a while now. Clinton has known it. Obama has known it. The press knew it too, they just didn't want to cut into their ratings by admitting it. Now we learn, thanks to a new story in Politico, senior aides to Bernie Sanders also realized it quite some time ago. In fact the only person, besides his legions of passionate fans, who steadfastly refuses to admit it, is the senator from Vermont himself.

The article paints a picture of someone who feels personally disrespected by establishment movers and shakers, betrayed by former congressional allies, and wrongfully set upon by Mrs. Clinton when it comes to gun control issues. It also hints at a Sanders playing the gruesome role of vulture, hoping against hope, Clinton will be indicted for her email problems during her State Department days before the convention.

One can easily see how this whole thing spun out of control. When Sanders began his campaign with an ice cream social hosted by the guys who own Ben and Jerry's it was widely considered a lovely, albeit doomed adventure in idealism whose main aim was to nudge Hillary Clinton to the left. Then, amazingly, the crowds began to gather and they were large and raucous, filled with the eternal glow of enthusiastic youth. Money began to pour in and voters began to respond.

Suddenly, what was once a Quixotic charge at windmills seemed a national movement capable of attaining goals people had only dreamt of.

Hell yeah, baby. Put the screws to the uber rich and Wall Street. Make the greedy bastards finally pay their fair share and stuff like tuition at state run universities and medical care for everyone will become free. Yes, it is all so magical and fantastic--an American utopia is at hand.

Unfortunately, as most of us burned out leftist types realized from the beginning, such phantasms are utterly impossible to attain.

The terrible reality, which none of the Sanders supporters have wanted to recognize is, even if elected, a democratic socialist president isn't going to get one bit of legislation through the house of representatives. After all, we're talking about a gang of horrific rubes who have voted to abolish the Affordable Care Act over 50 times when they knew it would either die in the senate, or be vetoed by the president.

And they are still going to be in the majority next January no matter how badly that orange haired fascist bastard might fuck up this fall. Between the gerrymandering of congressional districts and cold blooded attempts at voter suppression there is no way they will. The numbers, much like Senator Sanders', simply aren't there.

Politico's post says Sanders has refused to endorse democrats in state races who have not specifically endorsed him. In other words if they stayed neutral he won't have anything to do with them. That shouldn't be surprising, because as, Samantha Bee pointed out on her show, Full Frontal, last week, he's been a democrat for about ten minutes.

Hey, what should we expect from a guy who is wrapped up in glorious hallucinations and denies brute reality.

In the end, the terrible truth is Bernie Sanders is a mutant variation of Donald Trump--a sort of weird polar opposite doppelganger. Because of Trump's improbable win we are left to imagine what he would have done if he had gone under. However, thanks to Senator Sanders' loss we're going to find out exactly what he will do.

One can only hope it isn't something so stupid and vengeful it will help hand the highest office in the land over to a racist beast who has no self control, or even a hint of decency.

sic vita est


Friday, June 3, 2016

The Bad Day in San Jose and a La Raza Judge

The street violence is escalating as Donald Trump continues his bellicose attacks on people of Mexican and central American descent.

Yesterday the protests outside of a San Jose rally, thanks largely to an unresponsive police department, turned ugly in the extreme and came within a hair of degenerating into a full blown riot. The Washington Post filed an online story with accompanying videos which showed Trump supporters being roundly pummeled and terrorized as they attempted to enter, then later leave the hall where he spoke.

It won't take long for Trump to start gleefully airing snippets of the videos while claiming they prove what he has been saying all along. That is, white America is being over run by gangs of savage Latinos who are here illegally.

He'll be wrong, of course, but, he and his racist mob won't care. There is no way to tell how many of the protesters in San Jose are here on the sly. He will also ignore numerous accounts of peaceful Hispanic demonstrators attempting to protect Trump supporters from bands of thugs who showed up simply because they smelled a gang fight in the making.

ABC reporter Tom Llamas was quoted as saying, "Some of the protesters were throwing up gang signs." Then he said, "There were people who came to demonstrate and some who just wanted to brawl."

The Clinton and Sanders campaigns quickly condemned the violence, but the damage is done. So, thanks to some punk ass gang bangers in San Jose, the Trump camp now has a new weapon in its arsenal.

Never one to let a scab go unpicked, earlier in the week, El Don had this to say about the judge who is presiding over the fraud case involving the defunct Trump University. "The trial is going to take place sometime in November. There should be no trial. This should have been dismissed on summary judgment easily, everyone says it. But I have a judge who is a hater of Donald Trump, a hater. He's a hater." He added, "The judge, who happens to be, we believe, Mexican, which is great. I think that's fine."

Really, then why bring it up, Don?

Later, Trump spokesperson, Katrina Pierson defended the ethnic reference by telling CNN, "I think what's really interesting about this particular judge--as Mr. Trump refers to him as a Trump hater--is he even mentions on his judicial questionnaire that he was a La Raza Lawyers Association member. This is an organization that has been out there organizing the anti-Trump protesters with the Mexican flags--they are pushing it. The signs have been very apparent. And so Mr. Trump is just stating the obvious."

Actually the La Raza Lawyers Association, which exists solely to support Hispanic attorneys, isn't organizing any demonstrations. However, a completely different entity, known as the National Council of La Raza, a long time social and political activist group, is.

As for Judge Gonzalo Curiel--well, he was born in Indiana.

But, why dwell on such details when we're dealing with the big picture.

Indeed, no one who supports me will figure out the difference between two separate La Razas, or get beyond the guy's name anyway. Press on, always press on--never give the rubes time to think.

And there we have it on a muggy Friday in Oklahoma. The Trump propaganda machine has just been handed a huge gift even as the xenophobic fuck still spews his vile nonsense non-stop.

Hey, aren't politics in America just grand?