Fingers of Blame

No, Donald Trump is not Mussolini. He is a wild, sociopathic American genius who has yanked the reins of a rampaging horse away from the monsters who spurred and whipped the beast into a mad-populist frenzy. Trump may be a sociopath, but he is not the one who tormented that horse into screaming, nostril agony.

Stop looking for villains to compare to Mussolini, to Huey Long or MacArthur, Mr. Will.

Look in a mirror. You have reached out to choose treason with both eyes and with both hands and with a willing heart.

David Brin on Facebook

Rather than compare Trump to any particular fascist, even though his talking points are reminiscent of a few of them and his past behaviors are demonstrably corporatist in nature (Mussolini’s brand of fascism) I will go straight to the source. Learned people in positions of authority in the GOP (like George Will) should have known where their actions were taking them. The Republican party has made themselves into the NSDAP, the party of Germany that elected Hitler. They could be any one of the groups that backed fascists in the troubled times before and during World War Two, it really doesn’t matter which group you choose to compare the Republican party to. What is important is that if Republicans nominate Trump and he wins because they give him the status of ‘Republican nominee’ then the horrors he inflicts get hung around their collective necks.

They need to understand this point going into the convention. It needs to be made blatantly clear that we are at a historic turning point. They have an important choice to make now. They should probably put some real thought into that. Perhaps it is time they actually noted the points illustrated, and revised their goals. That is, unless they want to be the party that brings fascism to the US.

Facebook Status backdated to the blog. 

Teabaggers Defend the OHM

Facebook

The former chair of the Texas Libertarian Party issued this challenge on his Facebook wall a few days ago. He was immediately inundated with various versions of staid anarchist philosophy that ranged from hand-waving excuses for Trump’s behavior to the standard observation that all government is tyranny. At which point I offered the following,


I’m betting Trump will not be the nominee. I’m already seeing stuff happening behind the scenes that will make it possible to put someone else in as the nominee even if Trump is selected by the (certifiably insane) base of the GOP and Tea party.

As I’ve commented more times than I care to remember, it is the anarchists (and libertarians) willingness to call all government tyranny that has brought us every dictator in history, from Napoleon through Stalin to whichever dictator that holds power today. If all government is tyranny then any attempt to govern that springs from anarchist roots will be tyrannical.

This also explains Trump’s popularity with the Tea Party, who were once libertarians to a man. The LP is well rid of them.


The Charlie Foxtrot continued unabated. Thus ends this demonstration of the bankruptcy of libertarian and anarchist thought. The John Birch Society finally rules supreme.

Facebook comments backdated to the blog.

Apple vs. the FBI

Robert Reich on Facebook

A backdoor is not required to address the immediate issue of this specific case. What this decision shows is a lack of understanding on the part of the judge, and an attempt to force Apple to do what the US government has tried to get Apple (and all other tech companies) do for the better part of 20 years. Make our data systems less secure in the name of national security. Ironically it is the government that is grandstanding on this issue, not Apple.

Berning Issues

While declaring victory in the Nevada caucuses last night, Hillary said she wasn’t interested in a “one-issue campaign.” The remark was meant as a criticism of Bernie, but I think it misses the mark. If making our economy and democracy work for the many, rather than for a few at the top, is “one issue,” then this one issue is a necessary precondition for achieving anything else worth achieving.

What do you think?

Robert Reich on Facebook – February 21, 2016

I and hopefully most of the voters who turn out in November understand that the chief executive of the United States has a bigger role to play than the minutiae of holding the legislature’s hand through the job they should understand they were elected to do.

This is why Bernie’s message is important, but not the job the President should focus on. Most of what he wants to do has to start in the legislature and we’d all be better off if he is there helping to lead the charge of a legislature which has been cleaned of the deadwood preventing his kind of change.

The president has to be our advocate not just to the rest of our government, but to the other governments we have to co-exist with. A job that Hillary is better prepared for. A job that no other candidate running is as well prepared for.

Give examples of her vaunted experience.

Whatever she did in the state department, and I don’t feel like enumerating the points (#Benghazi) is more experience than any other candidate running. Bernie has no interest in the subject of statecraft or of foreign relations, which is the biggest indictment of him as a candidate for the presidency. He is consumed with legislative ideas. Great. He should go back to the legislature and get on that.

He’s going to be shellacked by the Republican nominee on the subject of socialism alone. When socialists are the only group less popular than atheists, you can guarantee that socialism will figure highly in every attack ad that they will aim at his candidacy. I know my fellow Americans. Call it faith.

Facebook status and comments edited and backdated to the blog.


February 21, 2019. The latest stunts pulled by the Orange Hate-Monkey proves my point about how Bernie would have been treated. The difference now is, this is four years later and we’ve seen what capitalism is under the tender mercies of the current crop of Republicans.

Brain Fog

Three days ago I looked at the front page of this blog. The last article written is still the February 2016 primary piece Who Gives a Shit About Iowa? Have I not written anything since then? WTF?

I’ve had several interesting conversations since writing that piece. I’ve had two or three good ideas (one of which will be applied to the next chapter of EPHN if I ever get around to completing the one I’m working on) None of the stuff I come up with gets beyond notes phase. None of it gets beyond notes phase because essentially, I have no brain. The problem I’m having is one of the symptoms of Meniere’s, one that half the medical community says isn’t real. Those of us who have Meniere’s know differently. We call it brain fog.  I’m struggling with it right now, so please bear with me.

I’m trying to write today even though I have trouble forming basic thoughts because this is yet another part of the disease that plagues my every moment, and I don’t really bother to talk about it to anyone outside the wife, the daughter and the son.

Brain fog.  It’s like the insides of my head are full of cotton wool. Like the frontal lobes of my brain (had to look that up, sadly) have electrical current running through them, and conscious thought is elusive. Just beyond reach.  Most frequently brought on by vertigo attacks, it can show up without notice any time the pressure in the ears change, the tinnitus changes, the headaches start or stop. You name it. I think I had a vertigo attack while sleeping last night because I went to bed early and dizzy. I woke up the drooling genius searching for keys on his keyboard that I am now.

When I woke up seven hours ago I thought about writing this piece.  Clever ideas about what to say, ideas about how to express myself floated in one side of my head and out the other.  They are lost to me now.  I keep hearing the voice of the antagonist from Spock’s Brain “I put the teacher on my head” a frequent joke around the house when one of us is forgetful.

Star Trek TOS (Preview S3-E01) – Spock’s Brain

But it really isn’t a joke when I feel this way.  Ah, to have access to a device that would put the knowledge back in my head. To restore the mental acuity that I usually take for granted but is so lacking now (took a full 30 seconds to come up with the word acuity) I’m torn between stomping my feet in mock anger “brain, brain what is brain?” or just going with the flow and embracing the silence.

Earth Girls Are Easy, Because I’m Blonde

The above is another inside joke around this house, as frequently referenced as Spock’s Brain.  At least Earth Girls are Easy was meant to be funny. If only I was blond and female I could make vapid work for me.  Guys without brains or muscle aren’t of much use.  The Wife is blond and generally smarter than me when I’m like this. Some would tell you she is always smarter.  Can’t argue with that right now.

So I’m going back to my marathon of Better Call Saul. Been meaning to watch that anyway and it is complex enough that I actually have to watch it or I’ll miss something, unlike most television. Finished the Expanse yesterday and there won’t be new Walking Dead till Sunday.  I’ll find something else to watch when I finish that. Hopefully this fog will pass soon and I’ll have something more substantive to say.

(This post subject to edit or deletion when the brain returns. Come back soon, brain)

It’s all about Power

This video expands on one of the points I’ve tried to make several times. The point being that the carnival and pageantry that most people obsess over is designed to distract from the real issues at play.

It's all about Power — Who Has It and Who Doesn't

What is the election of 2016 really about? What's the biggest underlying issue, affecting everyone? Watch our latest video, and please share.

Posted by Robert Reich on Thursday, February 11, 2016
Robert Reich on Facebook: It’s all about Power — Who Has It and Who Doesn’t

…and if you allow yourself to be distracted, you will allow the status quo to continue. Which is why I’ve been saying Hillary Clinton for President? for awhile now. She may be status quo, but she might also not be status quo. There is no way to know until we elect her to office.

This may be one of the last things I share from Robert Reich for awhile. I really do value his insight, but he has climbed too far onto the Bernie bandwagon for my comfort. I wonder what it is he knows about the Clintons that he isn’t telling? He was their Secretary of Labor after all. Still, you need a party to back you in the current political sphere and Bernie Sanders doesn’t have a party.

I love Bernie Sanders. He is just one man.

It will take a majority of the US population becoming involved in politics to fix America’s problems. Bernie Sanders has made the same kinds of claims that Trump has. Namely, that he’s the only one who can fix the problem. He can’t fix America’s problems because he’s just one man.

Facebook status expanded and backdated to the blog.


All parties are rigged to provide advantage to the members of the party (which Hillary is and Bernie is not) That is why parties are the problem, and also why ‘third’ parties are no solution. The only solution is an amendment to the constitution that strips person from corporations and removes money from the category of protected speech. What those actions will end up producing in toto no one knows, but we are left with few options aside from the amendment since all congressional rules end up being modified by the next congress.

http://www.wolf-pac.com/

Facebook status backdated to the blog. An example of the Bernie promotion I was talking about.

Smells like 1984 to Me

PBS News Hour: Egypt’s opposition forcibly muted five years since revolution

Five years after the revolution that toppled the government, Egypt has yet to achieve the movement’s democratic ideals. But there are no more protests because protests are illegal. Freedom of speech curtailed, McCarthy-esque fear pervades under President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, with opposition parties persecuted and former revolutionaries jailed. Special correspondent Nick Schifrin reports.

Contrast US satellites Egypt & Israel, the treatment of their people by their governments, with Syria. Syria, backed by Russia and tied to the old USSR, is held up as resisting progress while US satellite countries in the region continue the old ways of suppression quietly on the sidelines. Never has the future painted by George Orwell in ‘1984’ been more starkly illustrated than on this anniversary of Mubarak’s fall from power.

Guardian article

Social media post copied to the blog

Who Gives a Shit About Iowa Anyway?

So the news is engaged in a full court press today, bound and determined to prove that their horserace really is a race and they really aren’t blowing smoke up our collective asses.  I’m doing my best to avoid this mess today, not listening to the news in a complete reversal of my normal patterns for daily life.

It is Monday though and Monday is Freethought Radio day (as well as Point of Inquiry day lately) so I have been listening to my regular podcasts (and BBC news) and Freethought Radio had an interesting interview with Justin Scott who has been doing some brave work in Iowa, going around asking questions of presidential candidates at various meetings attempting to call attention to the slights being offered to minority groups in the US when it comes to the subject of faith.

I wanted to highlight the bigotry by omission of candidates for government office; candidates who go around touting their religion prominently.  This importance placed on their beliefs in the supernatural leaves me wondering openly if they understand how those who believe differently feel when they stress how important their religion is to them. How important they think their religion is to good governance in the US.

The problem for me is, neither Justin Scott nor FFRF seem to be interested in producing content to be consumed directly on the internet and only on the internet.  FFRF’s near cluelessness when it comes to web programming is what lead me to attempt to catalog all their episodes several years ago, a project that I finally had to give up when I realized that I wasn’t willing to volunteer my effort on the project indefinitely.

First off, the videos of his interviews are not where he said they were; they are on his personal youtube channel which I finally located here. This is a playlist of all the interviews to date;

Justin ScottJohn Kasich on Religious Based Discrimination – Feb 1, 2016

FFRF’s link resolves on Facebook to look like this;

The youtube link conveys about the same level of information.  Therefore it falls to me to write something that I can share even though, as the title of the piece says, I really couldn’t care less about Iowa. Or New Hampshire, for that matter.

Why?  Because they aren’t representative of America.  They just agreed that they would go first, and they are determined as small Midwestern states to make themselves out to be more important than they are by being first to caucus and first to primary in the US, because they are utterly forgettable by almost any other measure unless you like snow.

So the presidential candidates run around in these little isolated areas of the US for months at a time, far longer than the voting block that they represent merits if you were looking at national influence, percentage of voting Americans. The idea that these two races mean anything would be laughable if only the media could be convinced to laugh.  Instead they insist on portraying the primaries as horse races and build up the competition as if what we are witnessing was a sporting event and not the future leaders of our country vying for attention.

Which is why the subject of Justin Scott’s videos interests me, even though his location in Iowa galls me ever so slightly.  Iowa is one of those regions where religion figures prominently; and when I say religion, I mean evangelical christians, the omnipotent WASP‘s who have run the country since its beginning.  The people who are most threatened by the presidency of Barack Obama and the likely potential that he will be succeeded by Hillary Clinton, if we are lucky.  If we aren’t lucky we’ll have any one of the current GOP candidates currently doing their best to out-conservative each other.

Being brave enough to go out in public and film, to identify oneself as an atheist and ask how the candidates plan on protecting your right to not believe.  That takes real courage.  I wanted to let Justin know that I appreciated his work, even though I have to spend several quality minutes (hours actually) writing a post highlighting the important work that he is doing.  I wish that more members of the media had the balls to ask the really hard questions.

Daily Beef: Watch the Damn Road!

I was riding shotgun with my daughter a few days ago, when we picked up my son from driver’s training.  She is still on her learner’s permit, so we engaged in a little educational observation of drivers around us.  Nearly every car at the various stoplights on the way home contained people texting and/or playing on their phones. Most of them did not bother to put the phones down when the light turned green and simply started driving down the road looking at their phones.  One driver in a brand new Corvette drove down the middle of Koenig lane taking up both lanes and weaving into opposing traffic while attempting to work his phone (prime example of someone with too much money and not enough brains) my children were beside themselves with outrage.  Every time I attempt to even change songs on my mp3 player they slap it out of my hands, never mind my trying to do anything else with the phone while I’m driving.  We can’t get auto-drive cars soon enough as far as I’m concerned.  Most people these days seem to be incapable of understanding just how dangerous their behavior is to everyone around them.

If you know one of these people show them this video,

RYDBELGIUMThe impossible texting & driving test – Apr 27, 2012

…maybe they’ll get the picture.

Not too long ago, the Wife and son came up next to someone in a left-turn lane that was texting on their phone at a red light. The car that pulled up behind this person honked the horn, for whatever reason, and the texting person promptly drove out into oncoming traffic without even bothering to look up first. Their car was totaled. The drivers who hit them totaled their cars as well. All because they couldn’t be bothered to even look at the road before attempting to drive. Couldn’t even be bothered to check the traffic signal. Couldn’t even be bothered to pay the slightest bit of attention to the actual peril they were driving into, because whatever it was on their phone had all their attention.

It sounds funny, until you get into a wreck yourself. I T-boned a car at sixty miles an hour once all because the couple from Colorado who pulled out in front of me stopped to argue about which way they wanted to turn after they had already started their turn without checking for oncoming traffic. I was left with a few hundred feet and less than a second to make a decision,so I decided. I decided not to kill the driver of the other car and instead impacted the rear door of his side of the car before bouncing over the curb of the side road, impacting and launching over a three foot tall embankment, and leaving half my car behind me on the embankment. If I had calculated instead for minimum personal damage, I would have killed the poor bastard in the driver’s seat by ramming straight into the arguing idiot’s car, and the Wife and I would probably have fewer aches and pains to deal with (the airbags in the Saturn worked beautifully) but when you have less than a second to decide, you spend the rest of your life wondering if you did the right thing, and that is when you are paying attention to the road under the best conditions possible.

When you are looking at your phone (or reading, or doing your nails, or your makeup, or shaving, or…) you aren’t actually driving your car. Inertia is, and nature is a cruel bitch to the stupid.

PUT DOWN YOUR PHONE AND PAY ATTENTION!