A Wake-Up Call

I’ve mentioned a few times that I wonder, as Trump sees his poll numbers sliding and as we move closer and closer to election day, what new tricks Trump will try to ensure his re-election.  It seems he has pulled a number of tricks out of his sleazy bag, but are there more?  Robert Reich’s column in The Guardian today shows us what has been done, and what is left that could happen.  We all need to be aware, to stay on our toes, to be ready to fight back.  And most of all … on November 3rd … VOTE!


Donald Trump’s re-election playbook: 25 ways he’ll lie, cheat and abuse his power

From now until November, opponents of the most lawless president in history face a fight for democracy itself

Robert Reich-4By Robert Reich

Donald Trump will do anything to be re-elected. His opponents are limited because they believe in democracy. Trump has no limits because he doesn’t.

Here’s Trump’s re-election playbook, in 25 simple steps:

1) Declare yourself above the law.

2) Use racist fearmongering. Demand “law and order” and describe protesters as “thugs”, “lowlife” and “rioters and looters”. Describe Covid-19 as “kung-flu”. Retweet posts from white supremacists. In your campaign ads, use a symbol associated with Nazis.

3) Appoint an attorney general more loyal to you than to America, and politicize the Department of Justice so it’s lenient on your loyalists and comes down hard on your enemies. Have it lighten the sentence of a crony convicted of lying under oath. Order investigations of industries you dislike.

4) Fire US attorneys who are investigating you.

5) Fire independent inspectors general who are looking into what you’ve done. Crush any whistleblowers you find.

6) Demean and ignore the intelligence community. Appoint a director of national intelligence more loyal to you than to America. Demand that the head of the FBI pledge loyalty to you.

7) Pack the federal courts with judges and justices more loyal to you than to the constitution.

8) Politicize the Department of Defense so generals will back whatever you order. Refer to them as “my generals”. Have them help clear out protesters. Order the military to surveil protesters. Tell governors you’ll bring in the military to stop protesters.

9) Purge your party of anyone disloyal to you and turn it into a mindless, brainless, spineless cult.

10) Get rid of accumulated experience and expertise in government. Demean career public servants. Hollow out the state department, the Departments of Justice, Health and Human Services, and public health.

11) Reward donors and cronies with bailouts, tax breaks, subsidies, government contracts, regulatory rollbacks and plum jobs. Put their lobbyists in charge of your agencies. Distribute $500bn in pandemic assistance to corporations in secret, without any oversight.

12) Coddle dictators. Don’t criticize their human rights abuses. Refuse to work with the leaders of other democracies. Withdraw from international treaties.

13) Create scapegoats. Demonize migrants and lock up asylum seekers at the border, even if they’re children. Put a white nationalist in charge of immigration policy. Blame Muslims, Mexicans and Chinese.

14) Denigrate and ridicule all critics. Describe opponents as “human scum”. Attack the mainstream media as purveyors of “fake news” and “enemies of the people”.

15) Conjure up conspiracies supposedly led by your predecessor and your opponent in the last election. Without any evidence, accuse your predecessor of “treason”. Fabricate a “deep state” out to get you.

16) Downplay real threats to the nation, such as a rapidly spreading pandemicLie about your utter failure to contain it. Muzzle public health experts. Urge people to go back to work even as the pandemic worsens in parts of the country.

17) Encourage armed supporters to “liberate” states from elected officials who disagree with you.

18) Bribe other nations to investigate your electoral opponent and flood social media with lies about him.

19) Use rightwing propaganda machines like Fox News and conspiracy-theory-peddling One America News to inundate the country with your lies. Ensure that the morally bankrupt chief executive of Facebook allows you to spread your lies on the biggest media machine in the world.

20) Suppress the votes of people likely to vote against youIntimidate voters of color. Encourage Republican governors to purge voter rolls, demand voter ID and close polling places.

21) Seek to prevent mail-in ballots during the pandemic. Claim they will cause voter fraud, without evidence. Threaten to close the US postal service.

22) Get Vladimir Putin to hack into US election machinesas he did in 2016 but can now do with more experience and deftness. Promise him that in return you’ll further destabilize America as well as Nato. Let him even place a bounty on killing US troops in Afghanistan.

23) If it still looks like you’ll be voted out, try to postpone the election.

24) If you’re voted out of office notwithstanding all this, refuse to leave. Contest the election, claim massive fraud, say it’s a conspiracy, get your cult of a political party to support your lies, get your propaganda machine to repeat them, get your justice department to back you, get your judges and justices to affirm you, get your generals to suppress any subsequent rebellion.

25) Declare victory.

Memo to America: beware Trump’s playbook. Spread the truth. Stay vigilant. Fight for our democracy.

Dangerous Words …

These days, I generally don’t give Alex Jones much space or consideration here, for he is naught more than a two-bit carnival hawker, and we have more important things to talk about.  His radio show, InfoWars, has been dropped by Facebook and Twitter, and while he still has a loyal following of the ignorant who are willing to believe every conspiracy theory they hear, he is pretty much washed up.

Jones has gotten himself in trouble of late, has numerous lawsuits against him as a result of his claim that the Sandy Hook shooting that took the lives of 20 first graders and 6 teachers in 2012 was all a hoax, that it never happened, that the parents were paid actors.  Well, some of Jones’ viewers believed him and in the years since, some parents have received threats and even had to relocate to ensure the safety of their remaining children.

His latest is so strange that I was all set to ignore it … why give him the attention he craves … until I thought about the potential ramifications, rather like the Sandy Hook fiasco.  We can shrug off the conspiracy theorists and their theories, can ignore them and hope they go away, but the real danger comes from left field, from the ignorant who, lacking education or common sense, will believe and act on the conspiracy theories.

Remember Pizzagate?  A rumour, started by a Reddit user and picked up by Alex Jones and others, made the rounds.  The rumour was that Hillary Clinton and her campaign chief, John Podesta were kidnapping, molesting and trafficking children in tunnels beneath the Comet Ping Pong pizzeria in Washington, D.C.  The restaurant’s staff and owner began receiving online threats against themselves and worse yet, their children.  And then one day,  Edgar Maddison Welch walked into the restaurant armed with two assault weapons and opened fire … a regular Bugsy Malone.

There is a very real danger in the fact that there are more guns in this nation than there are people, many of them assault weapons that can kill hundreds inside of a minute or two.  There is a very real danger in that this nation is a tinderbox waiting for someone to light a match.  Enter Alex Jones, claiming that the United States will soon have to resort to cannibalism and he is fully prepared to eat his neighbors.  Yes, friends, that’s what he said.

In a video clip from one of his recent broadcasts that is currently circulating across social media, Jones graphically expounds about how the food supply challenges of the current crisis could require extreme measures, including cannibalism.  I will not play the video here, but this is what he said …

“I’ll admit it. I will eat my neighbors. I’m not letting my kids die. I’m just going to be honest. I have extrapolated this out. I won’t have to for a few years, because I have food and stuff. But I’m literally looking at my neighbors now, going, ‘Am I ready to hang them up and gut them and skin them and chop them up?’ And you know what, I’m ready. My daughters aren’t starving to death. I’ll eat my neighbors. … I’ll eat your ass, I will. I’m combat model. Optimum self-efficiency. Probably the leader. My point is, have you thought about this yet? Because I’m somebody that thought I could fix this, and I’m starting to think about having to eat my neighbors. You think I like sizing up my neighbor, how I’m gonna haul him up by a chain? Chop his ass up? I’ll do it. My children aren’t going hungry.”

wtf

Now, ol’ Alex is likely just trying to get attention … that’s what he does.  But think of one of those gun-toting white supremacists who have been instrumental in some of the recent protests demanding that cities and states re-open for business, despite the continued threat of further spread of the disease and tens of thousands more deaths.  Picture one of them, already filled with anger and hate, listening to Mr. Jones’ podcast.  Is it a stretch of the imagination to picture him cleaning his precious guns, oiling them, and loading for bear … waiting for the first time he cannot find chicken or potatoes at his local supermarket?

Given that farmers are plowing under their crops, fruit is being left on the trees to rot, and meat-processing plants are denizens for the coronavirus, it isn’t a stretch that there may be periodic shortages of certain foods over the course of the next year.  But, this is not the Donner expedition and there is literally no danger that we will run out of food.  But, for the diehard fools who will believe the likes of Alex Jones over reason and common sense …

Personally, I see these words as incitement, and while I am a long-time defender of freedom of speech, I have always said there must be limits.  In my book, Mr. Jones has stepped over the line and has set this nation up for an extremely dangerous situation.  With any right, whether it be free speech or the right to bear arms, comes responsibility.  Alex Jones has taken his rights and shunned the accompanying responsibility.  There need to be consequences for stirring a pot that is already about to boil over.  Even if people don’t start threatening to eat their neighbors, I will not be surprised to see that Jones’ words lead to a new wave of hoarding, or people using guns to fight over that last pack of chicken legs.

It’s going to be a long, hot summer, folks.  According to the guys at the National Weather Service, the hottest on record … ever.  We will still be under threat from a devastating pandemic, we will continue to have high unemployment and periodic business shutdowns due to a resurgence of the virus.  We don’t know quite what to expect, and tensions are already running high.  The last thing this country needs is a loud-mouthed jackal telling us to be prepared to eat our friends and neighbors.  The FCC needs to shut Mr. Jones down, for he has ceded his 1st Amendment rights by putting lives in danger.

Here we go again

In 2016, the media inadvertently helped Donald Trump by being so fascinated over his unlikely candidacy that they gave him almost unlimited FREE coverage. And today, our beloved “mainstream” media are doing something similar. Please read Jeff’s post, for this is something that I had not considered, and I bet many of you haven’t either, but we need to be aware. Many thanks, dear Jeff, for this post!

On The Fence Voters

It’s happening folks. Once again, our media is dropping the ball. If you remember, about 11 years ago, not long after the inauguration of the first African-American president, a so-called ‘grassroots’ movement began that called itself the Tea Party. Supposedly, this group was immensely upset at what they saw as an out of control socialist government. We now know, of course, that the grassroots part of this equation was bogus. Much of the movement was financed and promoted by right-wing billionaires like the Koch Brothers and Fox News (Trump TV).

And now with most of the country shutdown trying to contain the Covid-19 pandemic, another so-called grassroots movement seems to be gathering steam. But is it really?

Media expert Eric Boehlert at PressRun has another take. When it comes to exposing media hypocrisy, nobody does it better than Eric. Here’s his take on what looks increasingly like what we saw…

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Grumbles …

Remember back a short 4 years ago?  Life seemed relatively stable, sane … normal.  Not so today …


Conspiracies abound …

Creating conspiracy theories seem to be the favourite hobby of those who haven’t the wits to do anything more constructive with their lives.  Trouble is, a lot of people will fall for them without either checking facts or thinking for themselves, and they sometimes become dangerous, such as the Pizzagate hoax back in 2016.

Ever since last year when tech companies began rolling out the latest generation of wireless communication, called 5G, conspiracy theories have run rampant.  Most of us roll our eyes and brush them off, for they are so far-fetched that even a child wouldn’t fall for them.  But, in this, the year of the coronavirus pandemic, we’ve all had our worlds turned upside down and perhaps aren’t thinking quite clearly.

This time, an internet conspiracy theory links the spread of the coronavirus to 5G technology.  Under the false idea, which has gained momentum in Facebook groups, WhatsApp messages and YouTube videos, radio waves sent by 5G technology are causing small changes to people’s bodies that make them succumb to the virus.  In other times, even as recently as four months ago, only a handful of people would likely have taken this seriously and even that handful would have been content to spout their nonsense on the ‘Net.  But, as I said, these are scary times with a pandemic inexplicably raging out of control and some are taking it all quite seriously.

5g-bags

Credit…Stefan Wermuth/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Across Britain, more than 30 acts of arson and vandalism have taken place against wireless towers and other telecom gear this month, according to police reports and a telecom trade group. In roughly 80 other incidents in the country, telecom technicians have been harassed on the job.  When people start harming property and people because they fall for a hoax like this, it’s time to shut it down.  I am all for freedom of speech, but this is inciting violence and that’s when it’s no longer free speech but hate speech.

It doesn’t help that two prominent actors, Woody Harrelson and John Cusack, are promoting the falsehood … some will believe it if only because somebody famous said it.  Unfortunately, with most people in the western world being under forced isolation they have plenty of extra time to surf the internet and far too many will believe this sort of garbage.  Each of us who use WiFi or cell phones will pay the price for those damaged cell towers, as the companies who owned them will pass the costs for repairs and replacement, not to mention additional security, on to we the consumer.  Worse yet, eventually somebody will be hurt or killed … and all because this was someone’s idea of fun.  Doesn’t say much for the human condition, does it?


Speaking of conspiracy theories …

There are so many villains in the current administration that it’s hard to decide who’s the crookedest of them all.  I could name at least 30 off the top of my head, but for the moment I think Attorney General William Barr is at or near the top of the list.

William-Barr

You’ll remember, of course, the investigation led by Special Counsel Robert Mueller into the Trump campaign’s illicit dealings with Russia during the 2016 election campaign.  Mueller’s investigation proved that certain people connected with Trump and/or his campaign did, in fact, engage in a conspiracy with Russia to give Trump assistance in winning the election.  The facts prove that, as does the fact that some of those people are now in prison.

But Bill Barr has decided the whole thing was a conspiracy theory designed to “sabotage the presidency”.  Now, first of all, he has no evidence whatsoever for his claim, but … hey, when did a lack of facts ever stop anybody in this administration from spouting off at the mouth?  Barr was being interviewed by the ignoble Laura Ingraham on Fox News when he claimed …

“I think the president has every right to be frustrated, because I think what happened to him was one of the greatest travesties in American history.  Even more concerning, actually, is what happened after the campaign, a whole pattern of events while he was president to sabotage the presidency, and I think that – or at least have the effect of sabotaging the presidency.”

Mr. Barr … just how stupid do you think the public are?  Perhaps you are judging us all by the company you keep, but that would be a mistake.  The justice department’s inspector general found in a December report that the FBI was fully justified in opening the investigation to protect against a potential national security threat. It did not find any evidence that the decision to start the investigation was motivated by political bias.

And … “one of the greatest travesties in American history”???  Seriously???  There are so many ‘travesties’ in the history of this country that it would take a thousand pages or more to tell about them all.  No, Bill, this is not even a minor travesty … this was due process of law in action.

This is not an administration, not a government, it is a three-ring circus populated by some of the world’s most ridiculous clowns!  I am insulted that these people expect us to believe the line of bullshit they constantly spout.


And then there’s this:

Remember that $2.3 trillion stimulus bill recently passed by Congress?  Well, part of it was for we the people, part to help small businesses, and part to bail out big corporations so that the CEOs won’t have to reach into their own deep pockets.  Among those corporations are the airline industry, and one corporation within the airline industry is, of course, Boeing.

On Friday, Trump was asked by a reporter if Boeing should be penalized for mass layoffs (approximately 10% of their staff) despite receiving federal aid. Trump claimed that Boeing, which he described as “probably the greatest company in the world”, was yet to ask for aid, though he anticipated that the company would.

First of all, Trump lied (what a surprise, eh?) On March 17th,  ten days before the stimulus bill was even passed, Boeing requested $60bn in government aid.  But the bigger shock was that he had the gall to call Boeing the “greatest company in the world”!  Greatest company in the world???  The company who cut corners and cheated on safety to save money, causing the deaths of 346 people?  Boeing planes have been involved in countless incidents and near misses, twenty-five just since 2006.  Their 737 MAX, the plane involved in the two latest crashes, is grounded because of the software glitch that caused the crashes … a problem that proper testing would have detected before the plane was approved for flight if the FAA and Boeing had not let that ball drop.  No, Donnie boy, Boeing is not even in the top 500 companies in the world!  And yet we the taxpayers are bailing them out of trouble. Max-8-crash


And last but not least …

Trump reportedly asks for prayers for healthcare workers … Say WHAT???  How about sending them the equipment they’re practically begging for?  How about giving them the resources they need to do their jobs?  How about shutting up and letting them do their jobs?  Excuse me, Donnie, but your prayers, especially yours, are about as worthless as your ‘word’ on anything.  Do something right, just for once in your life!angry emoji

Impeachment Inquiry-Day Five

There is so much to write about that I simply cannot keep up … I need more than 24 hours in a day! Thankfully, our friend Jeff over at On the Fence Voters has written about yesterday’s testimony in the impeachment hearings by Gordon Sondland. I would only add that somebody needs to take Devin Nunes and Jim Jordan back to pre-school and let the adults get on with the business at hand! Thank you, Jeff, for this great summary of yesterday’s events!

On The Fence Voters

Another tough day for the POTUS

We’re now on day five of the impeachment inquiry, and once again, the current President of the United States is having another tough day. His million-dollar donor, Ambassador Gordon Sondland, not only through him under the bus, but also just about anyone else who’s involved in this fiasco.

I guess when a few years in prison might await, the generous donation to the President for an Ambassadorship doesn’t seem all that important. In the end, instead of pleading the fifth as many in the media had speculated he might do, Sondland decided to come clean–kind of.

After his first deposition Sondland came to the realization that based on testimony from others such as Ambassador William Taylor, his recollection was a bit hazy, which led him to amend some of his original statements. Then today, the Ambassador decided that the President, Secretary of State Mike…

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First Amendment Run Amok

Rick Wiles is an American non-denominational senior pastor at Flowing Streams Church in Vero Beach, FL, radio host and pundit. He is the founder of TruNews, a website known for promoting racist and anti-Semitic conspiracy theories.

Mr. Wiles came onto my radar yesterday when I saw this …Wiles-tweetHe went on to say …

“If they take him [Trump] out, there’s gonna be violence in America. That’s all there is to it. However he leaves, there’s gonna be violence in America. I believe there are people in this country, veterans, there are cowboys, mountain men, I mean guys that know how to fight, and they’re going to make a decision that people who did this to Donald Trump are not gonna get away with it. And they’re gonna hunt them down. The Trump supporters are going to hunt them down. It’s going to happen, and this country is going to be plunged into darkness and they brought it upon themselves because they won’t back off.”

Yes, before you beat me to the punch, I know this is just ignorance and hatred talking, I know that Mr. Wiles is but a gnat on the posterior of humanity.  But … I propose that his speech is classified as hate speech and as incitement to violence and must be stopped.

I’ve said this at least a thousand times before on this blog … ‘Rights’ come with responsibilities.  Rights are not unconditional.  Those who cannot use their rights judiciously, who continually abuse them, who cause harm to others by invoking their own rights, must lose those rights.  I’ve spouted endlessly about the Second Amendment, how it does not give the right to unfettered and unconditional gun ownership, nor the right to own an unlimited number of guns with the capability of killing hundreds within minutes.  I don’t think the gun advocates or NRA supporters have heard me, but … know that someday, somehow, somebody will figure out how to shut the gun lobby down and inject common sense into the interpretation of the amendment.

The First Amendment is no different.  Contrary to popular belief, it does not give people the unlimited right to say whatever pops into their mind, in any venue, and at any time.  Mr. Wiles is a public figure, and as such, he has even more responsibility than the rest of us.  He has a history of racism and anti-Semitism.  He frequently referred to President Obama as a “demon from hell”.  He has asserted that the effects of Hurricane Harvey on the city of Houston, Texas resulted from Houston’s LGBT community; has described Judaism and Islam as “the Antichrist”; has called Central American immigrants a “‘brown invasion'” being used by God to punish American whites because of abortion; has claimed that the Las Vegas massacre was conducted by government death squads; has asserted that Antonin Scalia was murdered; and, in July 2018, predicted an imminent coup that would result in the nationally televised decapitation of the Trump family on the White House lawn.

There are those who would say all of the above fall under the protections of the First Amendment right to free speech.  I disagree.  Remember when Alex Jones claimed that the Sandy Hook school shooting was all a hoax and that the grieving parents were paid actors?  Some parents are still being threatened by the fools who bought into his theory. Remember when the same Alex Jones bought into the theory that Hillary Clinton and John Podesta were dealing in human trafficking and child sex slavery in the basement of a local pizzeria?  Yes, folks, words have consequences.

Do you seriously believe that the framers of the Constitution would endorse or support a man calling for the death of members of a political party solely because that party followed the mandates of the Constitution?

I think we have long passed the point where we need to codify the limitations on certain ‘rights’, starting with both the First and Second Amendments.  For far too long, it has been open season … people claiming that they have a right to say whatever they wish, whenever and wherever, and damn the consequences.  Mr. Wiles presents a clear and present danger to all of us who do not sing the praises of the Oaf in the Oval, and this is not … I repeat … THIS IS NOT the idea upon which this nation was founded.  The right to free speech was intended to provide people the ability to engage in political discourse, to state opposing viewpoints without fear of repercussions.  It was never ever intended to be a tool given to those who would incite violence for any reason.  This nation was once a hell of a lot better than it is today.  Think about it.

The Video …

By now, I’m sure you have all heard of “The Video”.  That would be the video that was played at a three-day conference, which was held by a pro-Trump group, American Priority, at Trump National Doral Miami.  A conference, I might add, that was attended by Trump’s son, Junior, as well as by former press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, among others.

I watched this video tonight, and halfway through I felt ill and had to turn it off.  Folks, this is the most disgusting thing I have seen in the world of politics in all of my 68 years.  It is vile, it is violent, it is horrific and far beneath the dignity of … well, anybody, except possibly Charles Manson.  But worse yet, it is dangerous.  It was designed for one purpose and one purpose only:  to rile the masses, Trump’s base.

The video was taken from the 2014 movie “Kingsman: The Secret Service,” and showed the actor Colin Firth in a gory church massacre scene. In the movie, the people killed are members of a fundamentalist  church.

The doctored video depicts a scene inside the “Church of Fake News,” where parishioners rise as Trump — dressed in a black pinstripe suit and tie — walks down the aisle. Many parishioners’ faces have been replaced with the logos of news media organizations, including PBS, NPR, Politico, The Washington Post and NBC.

Trump stops in the middle of the church, pulls a gun out of his suit jacket pocket and begins a graphic rampage. As the parishioners try to flee, Trump fires at them. He shoots Black Lives Matter in the head, and also shoots Vice News.

Some of those in the church try to apprehend Trump. He fends them off and makes his way toward the altar, knocking over several pews. He wrestles a parishioner with a Vice News logo as a face to the ground and then shoots the person at point blank range. In the background, the former F.B.I. director, James Comey, is seen trying to get away.

From there, Trump attacks a range of his critics. He strikes the late Arizona senator John McCain in the back of the neck. He hits the television personality Rosie O’Donnell in the face and then stabs her in the head. He strikes Representative Maxine Waters, Democrat of California. He lights the head of Senator Bernie Sanders, one of his democratic rivals, on fire.

He takes Senator Mitt Romney of Utah, hostage before throwing him to the ground. Then he strikes former President Barack Obama in the back and throws him against a wall.

Others shown in the video include Mika Brzezinski of MSNBC; former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton; former President Bill Clinton; the film producer Harvey Weinstein; and Representative Adam B. Schiff, the California Democrat who as chairman of the House Intelligence Committee is overseeing an impeachment inquiry of Trump.

The clip ends with Trump putting a stake into the head of a person with a CNN logo for a face. Trump then stands on the altar, admiring his rampage, and smiles.

I am not embedding the video here, for I don’t recommend watching it, however if you have a stomach of iron, or as I did, feel that you should watch it to see for yourself, here is a link.

Trump did not create this video, nor do I hold him accountable for its creation.  It is the work of an unidentified creator who operates under the name of “The GeekzTeam” and who has proclaimed on Twitter to be a “red blooded American with ZERO tolerance for the liberal agenda.”  However, Trump himself is not without blame.  Since early in his campaign, he has denigrated the press, calling them “fake news”, and worse yet, “the enemy of the people”.  He has made up nasty nicknames for any who disagree with him, for with Trump, there can be no middle ground … you’re either 100% for him, or you are “the enemy”.

Much of Trump’s most avid base is, obviously, comprised of the less-educated … people who could care less about those things they don’t understand:  Syria, alliances, immigration, tariffs, policy goals, Russians, taxes (unless it’s their own).  They care only about what affects them directly and noticeably.  Tariffs affect them, but they don’t notice if the price of apples jumps by 50 cents a pound, and if they do notice, they don’t connect it to tariffs.  The mistrust of our allies, based on Trump’s foreign policies, if they can even be called policies, is naught but a concept to them, and they don’t understand that it makes our own nation a lot less safe.

And … most of them own guns.

So, when a video such as this one is shown online, when those most avid among Trump supporters see it, at least a few are quite likely to get ideas.  They’ve heard Trump tell them that the press is the enemy, and there he is in the video, killing members of every legitimate news outlet.  They’ve heard him put down people like Bernie Sanders, Barack Obama, Adam Schiff, and the woman he will always resent, for she beat him in 2016, Hillary Clinton.  Now, I see you thinking that no sane person would watch that video and then try to act violently against any of those people.  And most wouldn’t, not even those die-hard Trumpeters.  But …

Remember Cesar Altieri Sayoc Jr., the man who sent pipe bombs to Obama, Biden, Clinton, Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, Maxine Waters, and others including CNN?  He believed certain conspiracy theories he had seen on Sean Hannity’s Fox Network show, and thought that Trump’s critics were dangerous, unpatriotic, and evil.

Remember the Pizzagate conspiracy theory that posited Hillary Clinton and John Podesta were running a pedophilia and human trafficking ring in the basement of Comet Ping Pong pizzeria?  Edgar Maddison Welch took it seriously, took an AR-15 assault rifle to the restaurant with the intent of killing whoever he found there.  Luckily, he was stopped before anybody died, but think what might have happened.

Remember Jarrod Warren Ramos who entered the Capital Gazette newspaper offices in June 2018, began shooting and killed five people?  Though he did not cite Trump, most believe that newspapers and news outlets are increasingly susceptible to violence as a result of Trump’s near-constant criticism.

Remember Brenton Harrison Tarrant?  You probably don’t for his name was intentionally not made noteworthy, but he was the man who killed 57 people in two separate mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, this past March.  In his “manifesto”, he cited Trump as part of his inspiration, calling him “a symbol of renewed white identity and common purpose”.

Now, is it really so far-fetched to think that someone, somewhere, might see this video and go after members of the media or some of those people who Trump has called names, said they should be “locked up”, or threatened to sue?  Or maybe even a simple little blogger who is anti-Trump and whose blog he just happened to see one day?

Think about it.

Too Much Noise …

There is entirely too much noise these days.  Merriam-Webster defines noise as “loud, confused, or senseless shouting or outcry”, and Wikipedia defines it as “unwanted sound judged to be unpleasant, loud or disruptive to hearing”.  Both are apt descriptions of what we are experiencing today.  The noise is coming from the White House, it is coming from the GOP, and it is coming from the evangelicals.  Mostly, it is coming from the Fool on the Hill, Donald Trump, and his hired sycophants.  The noise is obnoxious and annoying, but worse, it is dangerous.

Robert Jeffress, an evangelical pastor who, by the way, won Filosofa’s Idiot of the Week award in November 2016 for his bigoted and mindless bleating, is back in the news this week.  He appeared on Fox News’ program Fox and Friends Sunday where he said …

“I don’t pretend to speak for all evangelicals but this week I have been traveling the country and I’ve literally spoken to thousands and thousands of evangelical Christians, I have never seen them more angry over any issue than this attempt to illegitimately remove this president from office, overturn the 2016 election and negate the votes of millions of evangelicals in the process. And they know that the only impeachable offense President Trump has committed was beating Hillary Clinton in 2016. That’s the unpardonable sin for which the Democrats will never forgive him. And I do want to make this prediction this morning: If the Democrats are successful in removing the president from office, I’m afraid it will cause a Civil War-like fracture in this nation from which this country will never heal.”

A ’Civil War-like fracture’?  I would rebut that Donald Trump has intentionally and with purpose caused the divide that is driving people apart in this nation.  He has denigrated everyone in one way or another, except of course his loyal fan base who don’t seem to understand the effect of his words and actions.  But, Mr. Jeffress’ words are dangerous, for some may well see them as a call to action.

The United States is a secular nation … that is, no religion determines policy, but policy is driven by the good of the nation as a whole.  The U.S. Constitution calls for separation of church and state.  And yet, Mr. Jeffress objects to that, as well …

“There is no such thing as a separation of church and state in the Constitution.  We have allowed the secularists, the atheists, the humanists to hijack our Constitution and pervert it into something our forefathers never intended.

And I’m gonna say this. I’m gonna say this, and it may cost me some book sales, but I’m gonna say it anyway. Thank God we have a president like Donald J. Trump who understands that. I don’t like seeing my friend under attack like he is under right now, but I don’t like the prospect of what’s going to happen in America if we allow the left to seize control of this country again.”

‘Scuse me, Mr. Jeffress, but I am in the group that you say have hijacked our Constitution, and I am not taking your words sitting down.  This nation wasn’t founded only for you evangelicals, but for all who live here, regardless of their religious views.  I have worked and paid taxes in this country since I was 13 years old, some 55 years ago.  I am a citizen, though not proud to be at this moment.  I vote … I vote in every election.  I have a voice in the government of this country.  I have taken no less than three graduate-level courses in Constitutional Law.  I have actually read the entire U.S. Constitution … many times … have you?  So just how the Sam Hell do you think I have fewer rights than you and your bigoted followers?

I respect your right to believe as you wish, to follow the tenets of whichever religion you choose, but I’ll be damned if you’re going to take away my rights to have as much say in the governance of this nation as you do.  And frankly, I’m a hell of a lot nicer than you are, for I care about people, about animals, about nature and our planet, whereas the only thing you seem to care about is wealth and your cockeyed religion, even though your interpretation of your religion is about hate, not love.  If I could award you Idiot of the Week a second time, I surely would.

See, folks, this is what all that noise does … it makes us all angry, puts us in fight mode, even when we don’t want to be.  It gives us ulcers, nightmares, and sleepless nights, loss of appetite for food and too much appetite for other substances.  And, perhaps most importantly, it keeps us rattled and distracted so we may not be keeping our eye on the ball as we should.  Perhaps that is the intent?

In addition to Jeffress, we have people starting conspiracy theories that are too idiotic, too inane to even mention.  And it’s not just the crew over at Fox, though they are certainly doing their fair share of it. The republicans are coming out of the woodwork with theories about FBI agents, Adam Schiff, Obama, and others that have absolutely no basis in fact, but … I guess it’s simpler than having to admit that you threw your lot in with a president who is almost certainly guilty of violating the very laws he took an oath to uphold, and who is facing impeachment by, at the very least, the House of Representatives.

There is one part of me that truly wishes the media would stop publishing his every word, would stop covering the fools who are trying to cover his sorry patootie.  Yes, I know … First Amendment rights, need to know, and freedom of the press, which I support fully … 100%.  But, responsible reporting … yes, we need to know what is happening, but I’m not sure we need to know every ignominious, hate-filled bit of rhetoric that Trump tweets.  Most of it is meaningless, almost every word is a lie anyway.  There must surely be room for balance.  If it is relevant or apropos of anything, then yes, we need to know.  But his eternal and meaningless rants do nothing more than rile us all, and that is not healthy for us or for the nation.

Your thoughts?

Two Mini-Rants …

As best I can figure, the only thing Donald Trump did yesterday was stir the pot on Twitter.  He surely must have blisters on his thumbs by now.  Does he ever actually work?  He was on his very worst behaviour today.  Early on, I began comparing his presidency to a train headed at full-speed toward a big cliff.  Today, that cliff seems to be looming just over the horizon.  I don’t know how one ‘man’ can get so many things so wrong in the course of a 24-hour period! train-cliff


trump babyThe child got his tender little feelings hurt when he asked a dumb question and was put in his place by the adult in the room.  The baby is now pouting and hurling objects at the adult in the room.  Typical?  Sure, in a household with a two-year-old child, but not in the Oval Office.

When Trump floated the idea of buying Greenland, even his own staff was confused.  One doesn’t, after all, just get up one morning and decide to buy another, autonomous country.  But, he persisted, and eventually the word got out and was published by the Wall Street Journal.  And then, inevitably, Denmark’s Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen got wind of it, and replied to the press …

“Greenland is not for sale. Greenland is not Danish. Greenland is Greenlandic. I persistently hope that this is not something that is seriously meant. Thankfully, the time where you buy and sell other countries and populations is over. Let’s leave it there. Jokes aside, we will of course love to have an even closer strategic relationship with the United States.”

Trump got a bee up his {ahem} and decided, based on PM Frederiksen’s response, to cancel a trip that was planned for September 2nd – 3rd, the invitation to visit having been issued by Denmark’s Queen Margrethe II.

PM Frederiksen was wise when she said, “Let’s leave it there”, however Trump is not used to being told “No” and handled the incident so poorly that it is likely to create ill-will between the two nations.

Headlines in Denmark read …

  • “The U.S. and Denmark’s relationship has never been this ice-cold. It will have wide-ranging consequences.”
  • “Trump sends Denmark and the U.S.’s relationship to the freezing point.”

Way to go, Donnie … you just drove a wedge between us and yet another ally. How many is that now?  I’ve lost track.


Wayne Allen Root … the name rings a bell … let me check my archives … AHA!  There it is … I knew he sounded familiar, and no big surprise that he was awarded Idiot of the Week in May, 2017.  You notice how the idiots keep popping back up?  A bit of background …

root-bookRoot is a conspiracy theorist and was on the hate bandwagon when Barack Obama was our President.  He claimed that Obama lied about attending Columbia University, then turned around and said that Obama did, in fact, attend, but that he did so as a foreign exchange student.  He claimed that Obama “cut his afro” in order to infiltrate the political class and become a “Manchurian candidate” meant to take down America from within.  He claimed to have diagnosed Obama as an “arrogant, egomaniacal sociopath” who is either “mentally ill” or committing treason and must be removed from office “before he kills us all” with Ebola-ridden terrorists.

Well, you can read the rest of the idiocy that won him the award, for today there is more!  Mr. Root hosts some ‘call-in’ show on Newsmax TV, and yesterday, his idiocy kicked into full gear, and he said the following on his show …

root-5“I happen to be Jewish by birth and 75% of all Jews vote Democrat, and they don’t like Trump. This is the greatest president for Jews and for Israel in the history of the world. Not just in America, Trump is the best president for Israel in the history of the world. And the Jewish people love him like he is the King of Israel. They love him like he is the second coming of God.

In America, American Jews don’t like him. They don’t even know what they’re doing or saying anymore. It makes no sense. But that’s okay. He keeps doing what he’s doing. He’s good for all of us. Good for Jews, good for blacks, good for gays.

He is good for everyone in America who wants a job.”

What. A. Fool.  Trump, predictably, ate it up and tweeted Root’s words on Twitter.  But that wasn’t even enough for Trump.  Noooooo … he had to go on and make the most inflammatory comment that has everyone, Jew and non-Jew (except, of course, his blind followers) up in arms.

“If you vote for a Democrat, you’re being disloyal to Jewish people and you’re being very disloyal to Israel.”

Ladies and gentlemen … the United States of America has at the head of its government a madman.  He lacks every single qualification that is needed to lead the nation:  intelligence, common sense, compassion, humanitarianism, integrity, honesty, the ability to compromise when necessary, the ability to speak properly, the ability to remain calm under pressure, and the list goes on.

I hereby invite any republican to respectfully tell me what, exactly, they see of value in Donald Trump.  Please be specific … don’t say “he tells it like it is”, “he’s making America great again”, or “he’s one of us”.  Those don’t tell me a thing.  Give me specifics, positive things you believe he has done.  The door is open … feel free to walk through it …


And now, I shall go take a handful of aspirin 💊, pour a glass of sherry 🍷, and seek solace in a bit of music ♫ before going to bed.  Goodnight all.

Where Do We Draw A Line?

The First Amendment guarantees freedom of speech, and in recent times that has been challenged and the limits sorely tested.  It is a slippery slope, one fraught with the danger of going a step too far in censuring free speech, but it is the opinion of this writer that there must be a line … somewhere.  Last night I came across one of the right-wing pundits who I believe has crossed the line no matter where the line is.  His name is Josh Bernstein, and he is an online commentator.  His online show is called, predictably, the Josh Bernstein Show.  His bio says he is an anthropologist, writer, news anchor, political analyst, and more, but I rather doubt most of that, and don’t have time to spend trying to confirm or deny.

What brought him onto my radar was his call for Trump to “sharpen up them guillotines” to use on special counsel Robert Mueller in response to Mueller’s comment during his public statement on Wednesday that “If we had confidence that the president clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said so.”  Bernstein went into attack mode, accusing Mueller of taking bribes.josh-bernstein.png

“How much were you paid to do that press conference? All of you are just disgusting, despicable excuses for human beings and, honestly, I hope you all go down. Treason. President Trump said treason. Guess what? I agree with that. … You know what they do for treason? U.S. Code 18 § 2381. They put you to death, that’s what they do. Let’s sharpen up them guillotines, let’s bring out Old Sparky, let’s make sure that those lethal concoctions are ready to go, because you people deserve it!”

Now, we’ve all become used to the hate speech that emanates from both sides of the political spectrum, but most viciously from the far right, and most of us take it with a grain of salt these days.  But I sense a more ominous tone here.  The danger is not in him saying it, but in people hearing it, and some people hearing it as a call to action.

If this were an isolated episode in Mr. Bernstein’s hate speech, I might be more inclined to chalk it up to the ravings of a lunatic and move along, but it is one of many.  In January, he had this to say about democrats …

“Democrats don’t care about Americans, they don’t care about their security, they don’t even care about their paychecks.  The bottom line is, and I hate to say this, these are the types of people that Americans fought against in World War II. These are the ones who should be sterilized so we can start over.”

In October, after Alex Baldwin made a statement that through the electoral process, we need to effect a change in government, Bernstein called him treasonous and said he should be banned.  He went a bit further, though …

“These idiot liberals, these morons that want to bring us down to a third-world level, these people should be locked up for treason. Liberals like to say, ‘Well, it’s very patriotic to say something nasty about your own country.’ You know what? No it’s not. It’s treasonous.”

He has called for all Muslims to be ‘eradicated’ …

“These people need to be eradicated from Western Europe, they need to be eradicated from the United States, they need to be eradicated, I would say, pretty much from everywhere, because they have shown time and time again—whether you’re a peaceful Muslim, whether you’re a radical Muslim—you’ve shown time and time again that you just cannot deal and cope with being in a civilized society. So we’ve got to do something about it.”

I could go on and on, but you get the idea.  Why is this man allowed to say these things on the airwaves?  Because of the 1st Amendment right to free speech.  I think by now you all know that I fully support the right to free speech and freedom of the press.  But, I’ve said more than a few times, with every right comes an accompanying responsibility to use that right with conscience.  Josh Bernstein is taking his right, but not exercising his conscience.

Picture a white supremacist, or a hater of gay people, or an Islamophobe sitting at his computer one night, watching one of Bernstein’s videos calling for the execution of President Obama, Hillary Clinton, Robert Mueller, or just ‘liberals’ in general.  The man has a few guns, maybe a few beers under his belt, and decides to take up the gauntlet.  I don’t need to paint the picture, do I, for we’ve seen it far too many times already.

Remember last October when Cesar Sayoc sent pipe bombs through the U.S. mail to a number of prominent Democrats and Trump critics, as well as CNN?  Fortunately, he was stupid, the bombs were discovered, and nobody was hurt.  But, what about next time, or the time after?  Remember the mosque shootings in Philadelphia last year and New Zealand this year?  What inspired those killers?

I think that the time has come to draw a line somewhere.  Alex Jones’ conspiracy theories about the Sandy Hook school shooting has had terrible consequences for the families of children who died in that horrific event.  In December 2016, Edgar Maddison Welch entered Comet Ping Pong pizzeria in Washington, D.C., armed and planning to kill whomever he came across.  His inspiration was the conspiracy theory that would become known as Pizzagate.

Words have consequences.  While I would not wish to stifle the ability of the press or anyone else to speak freely and offer an opinion, I think we must draw the line at calling for the death of another.  Mr. Bernstein just happened to cross my radar, but how many more are out there calling for the death of an individual or a group that we don’t know about?  I think that when you allow a right or a privilege to be abused, it ultimately ceases to be a right.  Think about it.