The Carnival is Coming to A Close

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Since January 20 of this year – hell, since the start of the 2016 Presidential campaign in what seems like eons ago but was only about two years back – the people of the States of America have been subjected to a macabre three-ring circus that is the Confederacy of Dunces united under Orange Foolius. Like a drunken clown with Tourette’s, the SCROTUS (So-Called Ruler of the United States) has veered from one controversy to another, infuriating opponents, supporters, and the entirety of the world as a whole and sometimes at in one statement. With this Mr. Hyde approach, many say that the embarrassment in the White House is distracting the public from some of the more heinous aspects of his Confederacy’s actions.

There is some truth to this. As a friend has pointed out to me several times (and we’ve debated heartily), instead of taking action to relieve Puerto Rico from the devastating effects of Hurricane Maria, the Jackass-in-Chief decided to launch his crusade regarding an issue that had all but died, the protests of former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick regarding the treatment of young blacks at the hands of law enforcement and the general inequality that still exists in the country. Continuing a streak of disingenuous behavior that has been a hallmark of his existence, let alone his stint as the SCROTUS, Orange Foolius instead wrongly made the protest about dissing the military, the National Anthem, and the flag, which of course whipped up the knuckle-dragging Neanderthals of his slavering base. This served to distract the public for quite a few days as more than three million Puerto Ricans, without power, food, and potable water, suffered after the storms of Maria had passed.

Now, however, perhaps the carnival is coming to a close.

Yesterday the Vice Chucklehead, the Albino Howler Monkey to the twisted organ grinder that the SCROTUS is, decided he would insert himself into the mix. In a $250,000+ bill to the taxpayers – he came from Los Angeles to Indianapolis (reportedly to see the game, which was honoring future Hall of Famer Peyton Manning’s number retirement into the Colts Ring of Honor), then returned to Los Angeles once his panties got in a twist – Vice Chucklehead saw the 49ers continue the protest that EVERY TEAM in the National Football League is now doing. With his Victoria’s Secret finery firmly twisted in his rectal cavity, he walked out of Lucas Oil Stadium in a snit, purportedly as a part of a plan between him and Orange Foolius.

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In the past, there would have been plenty of dithering over the Albino Howler Monkey’s actions. Instead, there has been a blistering rebuttal of his actions and the fabricated plan by him and the SCROTUS to continue pushing the divisive issue. Indianapolis Star sportswriter Gregg Doyle penned a searing takedown of Chucklehead, blasting him for a political grandstanding that even Stevie Wonder could see. CNN pointed out the costs of the charade while NFL players and social media castigated the duo for the futility of their divisiveness.

There are signs that the patience of the people for the BS this administration is dishing out is coming to a head elsewhere. Although he is in the middle of a primary fight that could determine whether he’ll remain in the Senate, Arizona Senator Jeff Flake has issued a tome where he rips the takeover of the Republican Party. Entitled Conscience of a Conservative, Flake repeatedly attacked Orange Foolius, his abrasive, wafer-thin skin attacks on opponents and allies alike and his attempted takeover of the GOP. His fellow Arizonan, Senator John McCain, has also stood against the SCROTUS on several occasions, most notably the health care discussion.

The blasting from inside the party has recently come to head, however. Over the weekend, Tennessee Senator Bob Corker, who will resign his seat and not seek reelection in 2018, was the target of the Twitter screed of a 13-year old girl – oh, wait, that’s the ignoramus who squeaked his way into the most powerful position in the world. In several Tweets, the SCROTUS piled lie upon lie ON AN ALLY HE NEEDS TO PASS FOREIGN POLICY LEGISLATION. These were easily swatted aside by Corker and his aides, who repeatedly pointed out where the SCROTUS was a lying bastard while calling his administration an “adult day care” where someone had “missed a shift.”

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These actions are a noted change from what has preceded. In the past (this writer included), the press and the people have been peering too closely into the abyss, trying to divinate from the tea leaves, the cryptic tweets and the tossed off statements (like the “calm before the storm” comments from SCROTUS last week during a dinner with high-ranking military members) as to what the jackass is intending to do. This isn’t a criticism of the press or the public as this is what we’ve become used to…you know, when we have sane people that were in positions of power and took under consideration what might be in the best interest of the nation rather than just themselves. With the Carnival Barker in charge, however, people may be realizing it’s time that there was a change.

It has SLOWLY become obvious that people aren’t paying as much attention to what SCROTUS says as what’s going on with actions in the Congress and on the foreign policy stage. For example, while Orange Foolius and his Albino Howler Monkey continue the organ grinder ploy in Indy, there has been moves towards nonrenewal of the Iranian nuclear deal, something that the SCROTUS has been advised against by virtually every breathing human in the administration. There is also the Russian investigation ongoing, which is a Paul Manafort or Michael Flynn plea bargain away from finding serious criminal and electoral misconduct by the SCROTUS campaign leading to the 2016 election by special investigator Robert Mueller.

These things…and many others…aren’t escaping the attention of the people. At least those that are on watch.

The filtering of the white noise BS from this supposed head of state is only the start, however. It is time that people across the board – from the media, to those in either party, to worldwide leaders – finally stand up against the stain that is tarnishing what the country is about. Call the SCROTUS on his falsehoods, his lies and his “smoke and mirrors” attempts to divert attention from his complete and total inanity and inability to even act like a human being, let alone the leader of the free world. Call him out on his blatant racism and support for white nationalists, the Nazi Party and the KKK, which he continues with his dog-whistle actions regarding the NFL and his treatment of the Puerto Rican people (compared to Texas and Florida). CALL HIM OUT…the painfully vain, thin-skinned narcissistic bastard wouldn’t be able to handle it.

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It is time to start to watch this scumbag, his words, and his actions. The carnival sideshow is over and it is time to hold this person responsible rather than allow him to shift the blame elsewhere (another dubious trait he has). It is time to make sure the “adults in the room” – Chief of Staff John Kelly, Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, and National Security Advisor H. R. McMaster (Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is a “dead man walking”…he’ll be out in a month) – ride this petulant child and make damn sure he doesn’t make a misstep that would inflict further damage on this country or the world. And it is time to make this SCROTUS act like he either wants to be the leader of the country or pitch him aside, starting with the 2018 midterms.

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Why Recount a Foregone Conclusion?

Florida Approves Voting Reform Bill

As if the 2016 General Election couldn’t get any more bizarre, the past couple of weeks have provided more fodder. We are truly beginning to reach the point that, if someone were to write a movie with the plotline of what we’ve seen over the past 18 months, the producers and executives in Hollywood would dismiss the screenplay because it was so implausible. Yet it seems that the cast of characters in this Marx Brothers farce can’t seem to step away from the stage.

Speaking of the stage, that is where the never-ending story of the 2016 Election keeps itself alive. Apparently the GOP nominee for Vice President, when he isn’t advocating for the conversion of gays or forcing women to have funerals for their fetuses following an abortion, is a huge fan of Broadway musicals. In stepping out one night to see the Tony Award-winning  Hamilton:  An American Musical, the GOP VP nominee might have thought he was just enjoying some “theater of the elite.” Instead, the man received a message from the cast of the Grammy Award and Pulitzer Prize winning play.

After the evening’s performance was complete and during the curtain call, Hamilton lead actor Brandon Dixon stepped to the fore of the cast and spoke directly with the GOP VP nominee. “We, sir, we are the diverse America, who are alarmed and anxious that your new administration will not protect us, our planet, our children, our parents or defend us and uphold our inalienable rights, sir,” Dixon stated. “But we truly hope that this show has inspired you to uphold our American values and to work on behalf of all of us.

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In a normal world, this would have not even drawn a flutter on the Twitterverse, but we do not live in normal times. Within hours, the thin-skinned GOP Presidential nominee was demanding a cast retraction of the statement and an apology for the booing from the audience in attendance that evening. First off, it was particularly ironic that the little snowflake of a GOP nominee was demanding a “safe space” free of criticism, it was secondly idiotic due to the very nature of the First Amendment rights of people to speak openly in condemnation (and the Hamilton statement was FAR from condemnation) of the government. After suffering the ridicule of pretty much the entire human race, the GOP nominee shut the hell up…but it wouldn’t be for long. (Amid cries for a boycott of Hamilton from the Ignorati, you know what happened? They broke records…)

Last week, the candidate for President from the Green Party, Dr. Jill Stein, decided that she had been ignored long enough (you get barely one million votes when over 130 million are cast…you’re being ignored). Looking at the results in the state of Wisconsin, Stein announced a bid to challenge the results and call for a recount, provided she could get the crowdfunding necessary to pay for the challenge. In what was a more rapid pace than it should have been, Stein had upwards of $5 million in her coffers and filed for that recount, which prior to the recount the GOP nominee won by approximately 22,000 votes. After Stein brought up the issue, the sycophants that surrounded the Democratic nominee for President, Hillary Clinton, “reluctantly” decided to support Stein’s efforts in the recount.

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Now, at this point the GOP nominee could have just sat back, shut his mouth, and continued with the work of transitioning into government (or, in his case, actually learning about what the President actually fucking does). But no…that would have been…presidential of him. Instead, the thin-skinned GOP nominee chose to launch on Twitter a barrage of statements crowned by the lunacy that “he would have won the popular vote if illegals hadn’t been allowed to vote.”

The utter stupidity of that last sentence shouldn’t have been the focus (and it has been the subject of several factchecking sites which have utterly debunked it), however. What should have been the focus was the utter stupidity in even having a recount of the votes in the 2016 General Election.

The numbers are quite clear, even without the state of Michigan coming across on Monday with their results for the GOP nominee. In the Electoral College, he won the vote, 306-232 (not the landslide that his personal Ann Coulter, Kellyanne Conway, and other troglodytes on social media has promoted, but still a victory). He LOST the popular vote by at least 1.5 million votes, meaning that he has absolutely NO MANDATE for pushing his agenda (other than, you know, both houses of the U. S. Congress…this is why the GOP is shitting themselves because they know it is ALL ON THEM now).

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To continue to pick the scab from the 2016 General Election – which the move for the recount by Stein and supported by the Clinton campaign is continuing to do – does nothing to move things forward in the States of America. If the Electoral College were closer – say Wisconsin would change the result of the Presidential race – then the purpose of a recount might be a viable idea. Even with that thought, it would have to be much closer than 22,000 votes to make a recount meaningful. There has never been a recount that suddenly found a bloc of votes that should have been accepted, especially one as large as what would be necessary in this case, without some sort of fraudulent activity taking place on one side or the other.

As it is, the recount is a circle jerk of governmental proportions, one that shouldn’t have been mounted with just numerical reasoning and “computer calculations of voting trends.” Clinton said she would not question the election results (unlike her opponent) and she should have stuck to that mantra. What calling for a recount does is tarnish (if it were possible) the process that has had little to no issues for 240 years. And even if it does change the result, it isn’t enough to change the overall course – unless you want to start looking at other close states and further disembowel our democracy. Besides, even if Clinton could change the result, just how much would she get done with questions of the legitimacy of her election?

Therefore, those that believe the Electoral College riding in like Roy Rogers to save our system come December 19 is a fallacy. Although individual members of the Electoral College will gripe and moan about having to go through with putting their vote in for the GOP nominee (and even resign their positions), the people’s will have been declared. While they can completely break away from those results, in the entire HISTORY of our country, no Electoral College has reversed the results of a general election.

It is up to Congress – yes, that body whose party leader will be sitting in the White House come January 20 – to enforce the rules and the protocols that ALL OTHER PRESIDENTS have been held to. It is up to Congress to make sure the GOP nominee has divested any interests he has in his businesses, no matter how large or small. If his children take them over, then those children don’t get to sit in on meetings with world leaders (or even take those meetings themselves) on a governmental level (they don’t get to do that anyway, you moron). It is up to Congress to make sure that the GOP nominee conducts himself in a PRESIDENTIAL MANNER. And it is up to Congress that, if this prick thinks he’s going to do whatever he wants to do, then he should be investigated and, if necessary, removed from office. The Presidency is not bigger than one man and the reverse is true – one man is not bigger than the Presidency.

One thing that doesn’t need to be done, however, is continuing the Chinese Water Torture that the 2016 General Election has been. If the results are a foregone conclusion, then there is no purpose in recounting one particular state because it happened to be close (and despite what computer scientists are saying, changing over 22K votes is close to impossible). It’s time to move on, but never relent in opposition to the GOP nominee (and his continued ignorance, which he seems to revel in) nor surrender to the face of fascism that will be in the White House come January 20.

Vive la Resistance! Jamais de Remise!

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The past two weeks since Election Day have been a stunning demonstration about what is the current status of the States of America. Since the election of the GOP nominee to the office of President, there has been turmoil of an unprecedented level, mostly against the fascist that was voted in. An examination of these issues easily shows that, while you might not have been a racist that voted for the GOP nominee, you accepted his racism and others started acting on it.

In New York City, the rise in “hate crimes” (crimes perpetrated because of someone’s race, religion or sexual persuasion) has caused Governor Andrew Cuomo to create a special police unit in the NYPD to counteract such incidences. The Southern Poverty Law Center estimates that there have been more than 700 instances of attacks following the election of the race-baiting fascist that is the GOP nominee. That breaks down to more than 50 per day, ranging from simple graffiti to whack jobs ranting in a Starbucks to HIGH SCHOOL KIDS chanting “Build that wall!” at Hispanic sports opponents or promoting “white power” at THEIR OWN CLASSMATES. There are also reports of supporters of the GOP nominee being attacked, but far fewer than the racist stances taken by many of those same supporters.

And what has the GOP nominee said about these things? Next to nothing other than two words spit in a 60 Minutes interview to “stop it.”

So, where does this come from, pray tell? Could it be the racial stance taken by the GOP nominee, who opened with calling Mexicans rapists and drug dealers and upped the ante from there? To calling for a registry of Muslims in the States of America (I’m sure there are plenty of Jewish people who shudder at that suggestion)? To citing the “influence” of Jewish people in “banking and the media” and suggesting that they are a cabal that is stealing from the poor, poor “white man?” That for six years decried President Barack Obama as a “Muslim” who wasn’t a citizen of the States of America before, in a 15-second offhand remark, rebuking those accusations and thinking he ushered it away? Yes, you can firmly lay it at the door of the ignoramus that was voted in on Election Day by a MINORITY of the people under the auspices of eradicating “political correctness.”

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To this point, those that supported and voted for the GOP nominee (and to you, I have but one statement – you might not be racist, but you’ve demonstrated that racist statements, thoughts and ideas aren’t a deal-breaker for you) have come out with the “well, he’s our President and his success is our success” statement as a means of quieting the revolt growing in the MAJORITY of those who didn’t vote for him. Yes, you mean as in how well Obama was received upon his first election in 2008 to the Presidency? The insults yelled during the STATE OF THE UNION speech at him? The blatant racism that ran rampant for eight years, including questioning his birthright? And don’t even try to say, “Two wrongs don’t make it right,” because in this goddamn case, it does. If you offered no quarter over the past eight years, expect none to be given.

Another dubious argument by those who voted for the GOP nominee is “Let’s see what he does, he’s not even in office yet.” And you know what, you’re right…he isn’t. In adding anacondas, piranha and more alligators to that “swamp” he boasted he could drain, you don’t need to see much more.

To begin with, the man who will sit at his right hand, former Breitbart Chief Executive Officer Steve Bannon, is at best an alleged wife-beating opportunistic buffoon and at worst taking cues from the Joseph Goebbels/Adolph Hitler playbook (another thing…fuck Godwin’s Law when talking about the cretinous GOP nominee). Through Breitbart, Bannon promoted the Neo-Nazi (we’re not calling it “alt-right” here, we’re calling it what it is) movement with their version of the “news.” They’ve also gone into race-baiting, misogyny and gay-bashing under Bannon’s watch.

SiriusXM Broadcasts New Hampshire Primary Coverage Live From Iconic Red Arrow Diner - Day 1

Then there’s his choice of Kris Kobach, the Secretary of State in Kansas (a state which is barely able to function after the destruction by Governor Sam Brownback), for his transition team. Kobach was the author of a bill for the state of Arizona, SB 1070, that gave police the right to request “documentation papers” from anyone at any time. That law was found to be unconstitutional on several counts by the Supreme Court, but Kobach could barely hide his glee about unleashing his brand of fascism – supported by the GOP nominee – on the country as a whole. “There’s going to be a lot to do there in part because Mr. Trump and Mr. Obama are diametric opposites when it comes to immigration policy,” Kobach stated following being named to the GOP nominee’s team. “So there will be a lot of changes.”

There are the climate change deniers, the anti-Muslim brigade and the former racist who was deemed so “deplorable” that he was DENIED A FEDERAL JUDGESHIP. Perhaps the worst are those that I call the “opportunistic hypocrites.”

This would include those that, during the campaign, dropped to their knees in front of the GOP nominee, people like Ben Carson, Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz, who once stood against what the GOP nominee represented. Chris Christie all but sacrificed himself on an altar if it would change the GOP nominee’s opinion (and earn Christie a job) and what did that get him? It also includes people like Mitt Romney and Nikki Haley, who stood vehemently against him, his thoughts and his statements…until a juicy federal post was dangled in front of them, that is. When that occurred, they moistened up their lips with Chap-Stick, put on their kneepads and went to work pleasuring the GOP nominee for his favor and a job. I certainly hope there aren’t any mirrors in their houses because they would be too embarrassed to even look at themselves.

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It is for the last 18 months and the reasons stated previously that we should never surrender the opposition to the GOP nominee. We need to stand and fight, if not for ourselves and our philosophies but for those who cannot fight – minorities, the downtrodden, those judged “un-American” because of their religion, women who prefer a choice in what happens with their bodies and those who are facing a return to “second class” citizen status in the LGBTQ movement. We need to defend every piece of turf taken over the past 60 years (yes, we’ve got to fight those same goddamn fights AGAIN) to ensure that those progressive moves don’t disappear under the thumb of a fascist dictator and his cooperating henchmen (and if you think the Crypt Keeper, Mike Pence, is any better, he may actually be WORSE – or have you seen his belief in “conversion therapyfor gays or that women should be forced to perform funerals for aborted fetuses?).

The battle cry should be heard far and wide. We shall never acquiesce ANYTHING to the conman who suddenly finds himself at the helm of the States of America. There will be no “chance” given to someone who has consistently demonstrated through words, actions and his personnel decisions that, if he isn’t an out-and-out fascist, he’s at least following the playbook pretty fucking close. For these and a host of other reasons that will become apparent – and there will be more and they will be blatant – the people of this country must say vive la resistance! Jamais de remise! It is the only thing that will prevent the destruction that is coming.

So, What Are You Going to Say to…

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In what passes the monumentally stupid vote by the United Kingdom earlier this year to depart the European Union, the United States – riding a wave of Bubbas, white nationalists, racists, gay-bashers and just enough people that didn’t like seeing someone beneath them rise above their situation – elected a total buffoon to the leader of the free world. That’s right, if you’re just waking up…Donald Trump – he of “grab them by the pussy” fame, who said “why don’t we use nukes? We got ‘em?” who says he knows more about a foreign terrorist organization that those who have been tasked with fighting said organization (and I’m just getting warmed up) – will, come January 20, be inaugurated as the 45th President of the United States. To say the U. S. shot itself in the foot isn’t enough…it literally shot itself in the head and spattered the White House with cranial goo.

Let’s get this out of the way first. The Democratic Party was somehow blindsided in the 2016 elections, much like the GOP was in 2012 with their insistence that Mitt Romney was going to win in a landslide. Instead of being aware of the level of vitriol from a frothing, rabid pack of hyenas, the Dems instead thought they could get by with Hillary Clinton. Clinton’s list of issues too numerous to mention here became the albatross that eventually strangled her, and the party, for which there wasn’t a method of recovery. Like Al Gore in 2000, Clinton can sit back and say she took the popular vote, which she can use with a $1.50 to get a cup of coffee at McDonald’s.

And before we move on, the “Bernie Bros” can sit their ass down, too. Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders was spared the “oppo research” that a serious candidate would have faced in an election. Clinton went gently on him and, if Sanders had reached the General Election, the GOP machine would have ripped open the seal on every vote Sanders had cast in his 35 years in Washington, D. C. Then there would have been the opportunity for Trump to rip him with the “socialist” and “communist” labels, dog-whistle words that still have a bite in today’s world.

So now we enter the alt-right world, that where everyone is wrapped in the flag and carrying a Bible. So, what are you going to say to…

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Your LGBTQ friends – One of the major platforms of the Republican Party – and supported by Trump – was the rescinding of LGBTQ rights that have been earned over the past couple of years. Marriage equity, workplace rights, such things that made members of the LGBTQ community equal legally among the rest of us will be torn away as soon as Paul Ryan (well, maybe not him…he’s probably pulling a Boehner and saying “fuck this” as soon as possible), Mitch McConnell and the Bible thumpers can pen the bill. And then there’s the point that Mike Pence – now the Vice President-Elect – is a supporter for allowing for CONVERSION THERAPY for gays, something that has been proven to be inconclusive at best, harmful to the person at worst and ILLEGAL in five states.

What do you say to those – your friends, family, co-workers – that will become a second-class citizen again? Do you think your “Make ‘Merica Great Again” jingoistic slogan is going to work when your gay brother can’t see his significant other in the hospital (or make decisions on his care) because he isn’t “married” to him? Do you think that, when they’re being marched to the conversion camps, your lesbian co-worker is going to think “boy, my friends really had my interests at heart?”

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20 million newly non-insured people – Once the Affordable Care Act, or “Obamacare” is rescinded and the Republicans provide exactly nothing to replace it, what do you tell that five-year-old cancer patient who lost their health care because of Trump’s election? What do you tell that Muscular Dystrophy patient that, after finally getting the health insurance necessary to be able to afford their medications and be able to function in their daily life, they no longer will receive insurance? “Well, I’m not paying anymore for them…let them eat cake!”

Pregnant women – Hopefully for those of you who have daughters they don’t make a mistake – or have a pregnancy that is life-threatening – in the future. The reversal of Roe v. Wade has been the goal of the GOP and its Moral Supremacists since the 1970s, that the ability of a woman to make choices regarding her health care should be taken by the federal government because a group of men whose only experience with a vagina is having emerged from one that “they know best.” Get ready for the increase in back-alley abortions performed by charlatans who can’t even enter medical school, let alone be licensed as a physician!

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Libertarians – So you don’t like “big government?” Well, the entry of an entirely GOP dominated Executive, Legislative and potentially Judicial branch only ensures that there will be laws mandating what you can do in your bedrooms, what you can and can’t say regarding the leaders of the country (Trump himself supports weakening the First Amendment to allow for jailing of opposition and has “jokingly” supported the murder of journalists) and that you must prostrate yourself when you’re in your living room and “The Star-Spangled Banner” comes on.

There’s one truth to the GOP – they are only for small government when it is things that they object to…they’ll enact every law possible to take every right from the people if it is necessary to maintain power (Patriot Act?). So, you don’t like a couple of environmental laws to protect the sand newt? That will be the least of your concerns.

There is a litany of other things, but let’s not give the StormTrumpers any ideas about who to attack next.

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The date 11/9 will go down as the last stand of the American Racist. It will also go down as the birthdate of the American Taliban, one that will look to rule by religion rather than logic, that will castigate anything that’s darker than its alabaster melanin and will, when presented with 21st century change and challenges, will return us to an 19th century age when children were fodder for the meat grinders in the slaughterhouses in Chicago, women were a subjugated class that shouldn’t be heard from at best and insignificant at worst and minorities, foreigners and “Muslims”  knew to get their asses out of town – or to their “section” of town – before sundown.

It is also oddly ironic that today is the anniversary of Kristallnacht. Kristallnacht, or the “Night of Broken Glass,” was the destruction of Jewish properties by both agents of the Nazi Party in Germany and German citizens who believed that the Jewish population was to blame for the demise of their nation in 1938. Over two days of rioting, 1000 Jewish synagogues were burned to the ground and 7000 Jewish businesses were destroyed. The estimate of the number of Jewish people killed was 91, although some historians state the actual count may have been higher. There were also 30,000 Jewish people who were “taken into custody” and sent to the concentration camps. We may not have as much broken glass but, since we’ve elected a fascist, we’d better get used to what they can do once in office.

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Is it possible that this was all just a ploy by Trump to get elected and he’ll magically change once he is inaugurated (I’ve had a supposedly intelligent person say that to me)? No, 70-year old men – and the vapid followers who will be looking for their own piece of meat from the vulture feast – don’t change their spots when presented with great power. They become more entrenched and see what else they can steal before they are told they can’t have any more. We’ve allowed the American Taliban to take over and woe will the nation be in the future.

(And, as a final note, get ready for the upcoming pardon from President Barack Obama to Clinton in one last “kiss my ass” to the American Taliban, because it’s coming.)

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Let’s Bring It Down a Notch…Actions and Rhetoric Getting Out of Control

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One thing that has been a constant in the United States is that we have a healthy appetite for conflict, differences of opinion and combative discourse. It’s been ingrained in the nation since its inception, since we first landed on Plymouth Rock, that there have been two (or more) sides to every story and that story has to be defended. Since the midpoint of the 20th century – hell, perhaps a bit earlier? – those actions have been spinning out of control and its time to bring it down a notch.

(Writer’s note:  If you say that “well, your rhetoric is causing it, too” I will probably respond by saying yes. At the same time, I’ve always had a philosophy…if it walks like a duck, swims like a duck, quacks like a duck and shits like a duck…it’s probably a duck and I will call it as such. Hence, when I soon hereafter will refer to Trump as a Nazi officer, he has earned the title through his actions, his philosophies and his own rhetoric.)

The 2016 Presidential battle between former Secretary of State and Senator Hillary Clinton and wanton stain on the human condition Donald Trump is the latest example of how things have gotten a bit out of control. Back during the Republican National Convention, there were cries of “Kill her!” and “Lock her up!” implying that the rules of common decency, law and “innocent until proven guilty” didn’t apply to the Secretary. It’s only gotten worse since then, especially since it appears that Oberführer Trump will crash and burn spectacularly in about three weeks.

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First there have been the constant rantings from the candidate himself, basically saying that if he wins, all is good. If he loses, however, then there’s a massive conspiracy that is working against him that is trying to steal the election (and, quite honestly, trying to watch the simpletons who support Trump wrap their minds around this concept is utterly stunning). The very action of accusing the election of being unduly tilted is, at the minimum, an insult to the men and women acroEss the nation whose sole purpose is to ensure that the election is properly run. At the maximum, it is “banana republic” territory when you see something along the lines of what used to happen (and still does) in Cuba, with Fidel Castro winning a “vote” of the people by a 90% margin.

For well over 200 years, this country has been founded on the fact that, come a national election, the people make their choice and the Electoral College decides the outcome (that’s an argument for another time). NEVER in the history of the country has one candidate decried the system in saying that it is conspiring against them or that “unseen actors” are trying to sway the results. Even in the hotly contested 2000 election, then-Vice President Al Gore conceded the election to George Bush (for better or worse) rather than drag out the process and put a bigger strain on the democracy than the back-and-forth debate was doing at that point.

But no, now we have a narcissistic bastard who can’t believe that everyone doesn’t love him. And its having an effect on the general populace.

Having his own “John McCain moment” last week, Republican Vice Presidential nominee (and frequent Trump apologist) Mike Pence stood in front of a woman and ACTUALLY HAD TO SAY “Don’t say that,” when she went off on a rant about how the campaign was being stolen from Trump and that she, “personally, if Hillary Clinton gets in, I’m ready for a revolution.” Adding to this, longtime Trump surrogate and Milwaukee Sheriff David A. Clarke Tweeted a photo of a mob holding torches and actually had the audacity to say, “(It’s) Pitchforks and torches time.”

Thus, we can’t be surprised when it actually spills over into, you know, actual firebombing. A North Carolina office of the Orange County Republican Party was firebombed over the weekend, while a swastika was spray painted next door along with the quote “Nazi Republicans leave town or else.” At this moment, there are no suspects in custody but, in a remarkable piece of laying personal politics aside, the DEMOCRATS in the state led by two academics raised over $13,000 to help the Republican Party rebuild or find other office space to conduct their business (yes, there was some backlash against the idea, but if you think the GOP would have done the same thing if it were reversed, you have more faith in Republicans than I do).

Finally, the mere act of endorsing a candidate has brought up one of the ugliest occurrences in the history of journalism. The Arizona Republic, which in its history has never endorsed a Democratic candidate for President (and we’re talking 125 years here), did just that last week in endorsing Clinton (and this isn’t the first conservative newspaper to endorse Clinton by any stretch). Their readership responded in a controlled, reasoned matter…and if you believe that, I’ve got a bridge in Brooklyn to sell you.

Reporters received threats along the lines of “You’re dead, watch your back,” “You should be put in front of a firing squad,” or “We will burn you down” as a reply from their readers. The threats even reached as far as going to the delivery people whose only connection to the paper is DROPPING IT ON A FUCKING DOORSTEP. As a finale, there were many who discussed Don Bolles, a former journalist with the Republic who, 40 years ago, was murdered through the usage of a car bomb in a case he was investigating (Bolles would die 11 days after suffering many painful injuries). Such a fate for the editorial board was repeatedly wished.

When did this bullshit reach this point?

Difference of opinion in politics is supposed to be resolved through logic, evidence and discussion. Unfortunately, when one side started either making up evidence or denying the existence of logic, the discussion went out the window quickly. Instead, now all we have are different factions who lock into a viewpoint, immovable in their ideas lest it shatter their little world. In fact, it has gotten so bad that CONSPIRACY THEORIES are now a part of political campaigns, as frequently used by Trump over the course of the 2016 elections (and not just against Clinton – he literally carpet-bombed the GOP with a plethora of conspiracy lulus).

Over the remaining three weeks of the election (and it will be three weeks as Clinton will decimate Trump in the general election), it is pertinent on the people of the United States to try to clean up this mess that has been created. That squalor has been around since – well, if we had to place a blame, it is when the public square became the internet and ideas could be shared in seconds rather than in the time it took to make a phone call or send a telegram or a letter. While public discourse is a good thing (in most cases), there’s sometimes it does step too far.

With the internet, we’ve become more fractured, more frayed. We find things that support our own theories rather than actually taking the time to examine things from another side. This has only made us more unhesitatingly ugly towards each other, with that ugliness now beginning to slide over into the potential for real violence (remember how one candidate said the other could be taken care of “by the Second Amendment people” or that said candidate would “jail” a political opponent…but I digress).

It’s time we reverse this trend and I’ll make an effort along these lines. I will try not to be combative with people I discuss issues with – no matter how moronic they become – and will try to maintain a semblance of logic, evidentiary process and clear discussion. Now I will couch this in the fact that, if someone steps outside those boundaries, then all bets are off and hellfire is coming. By doing this, perhaps it is a step in the right direction.

We still have time to change the discourse in the United States. Perhaps we can even affect the discourse in Washington, D. C., and other legislatures around the country. The alternative isn’t a pretty one as, for the past eight years at least, we’ve seen a precursor that could explode into all measures of incivility.

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Has the 2020 Presidential Campaign Begun Already?

I settled in last night for the only Vice Presidential debate on the schedule for the 2016 campaign honestly with no expectations for either candidate. Democratic nominee Tim Kaine and Republican pick Mike Pence are the type of guys that don’t rock the boat, they speak in measured tones, they offer ideas and occasionally jab at their opponent with some repartee or pointed remark…you know, the way that politicians did debates before the Orange Scourge came to the fore. What I didn’t realize by watching last night is that the campaign for President in 2020 has already begun.

First, let’s talk the VP debate.

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The first half-hour or so of the discussion between Kaine and Pence was anything but. Rather than let each other have their two minutes to answer the question at hand, both – but Kaine was by far more annoying as he seemed to do it EVERY time – would interrupt their opponent (and a serious knock on moderator Elaine Quijano, who never had control of either candidate – perhaps it’s time we give the moderators some rules enforcement capabilities…a shock collar around a candidate’s junk is a pretty good step). It seemed that they wanted to take the tactics that Trump displayed during the first Presidential debate and espouse on them for the VP soiree. I’m sure that these candidates wanted to look like they were defending their partners while trying to score some points, but both came off poorly with the amount of interruption.

As the debate rolled along, both sides seemed to score points for their pet causes. Pence was quite good at demonstrating the Republican stance – that “America has to be seen as strong” and he presented very surface-level thoughts on that subject (my pet peeve, “strengthening a depleted military,” was a part of the discussion). Pence presented his not-very specific ideas in a thoughtful, temperate and professional manner.

Kaine, for his part, went a little further into details of what a Clinton/Kaine administration would do. The problem is, when the surrogate does these things, it does kind of lock the Presidential candidate into a box. There’s a thin line between Pence’s approach and Kaine more-detailed explanations and Kaine stepped over that line. For all the information he was putting out, however, Kaine ruined it all with constant interruptions of Pence while he was speaking. I know Kaine wanted to defend his running mate against the attacks of Pence, but he went WAY too far in doing so. I don’t know if the pre-debate planning for Kaine included a watching of Trump during the Presidential debate – and the aside of “Don’t do this” (didn’t he learn anything from watching his partner debate the Volcano of Hate?) – but, as a longtime politician and someone who has been through a debate before, he should have shown much more tact and couth. As it was, he came off as a rabid Chihuahua by the time the final bell rang.

Finally, Pence did have the “package” when you look at someone. Yes, it is highly superficial and ignorant, but that is the way politics IS in the 21st century. Pence LOOKED the part of a Vice President, of someone that could step in should something happen to the leader of the country and reassure a shaken nation that everything would be alright. Kaine looked like the frazzled operator of a mom-and-pop grocery store that was constantly running out of items to sell. Pence was calm; Kaine was peppy to the point of annoying. Pence was measured in his statements; Kaine seemed to spit his sentences like he was in a rap battle. Pence was tranquil in his appearance (for the most part); Kaine always looked like he was ready to leap out of his chair to say something. As far as the debate, Pence wins by a split decision.

But there was something else that I noticed during the debate on Tuesday night. Pence continually (and wrongly) denied that the Republican campaign was an “insult based” one – has he LOOKED at who he’s running with? In fact, as Pence was continually denying that the Trump/Pence ticked were running an “insult based” campaign, his partner was on Twitter INSULTING every moment of the debate. That wasn’t the most telling thing of Pence’s performance, however.

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While the 90-minutes plus debate wore on, Pence outright refused to take accountability for any of the litany of statements made by his “boss” during the course of the campaign (and there have been plenty of examples). When Kaine would hit Pence with Trump’s statements on Mexicans and Muslims or his multiple statements regarding treatment of women (among others), Pence skillfully slipped taking any responsibility for them, basically leaving Trump out to dry on his own petard. After realizing that Pence was in no way going to have the back of his party’s nominee, it became obvious why.

Pence isn’t playing for being the #2 on the winning ticket in 2016. Pence has already set his sights on the 2020 campaign and is using the time on the ticket with Trump to solidify his hold on the nomination four years from now. By taking this action, Pence gets a jump on any other candidate – Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, perhaps a center-right candidate such as Senator Ben Sasse of Nebraska or another moderate Republican who might actually bring the party into the 20th century (too much to ask for them to progress to the 21st…baby steps, folks) – by LOOKING Presidential and putting his version of “conservatism” in front of the people of the GOP.

The problem for Pence is he doesn’t know what type of Republican party is going to emerge from the wreckage of this year. Pence parties like it is 1899 and those types of policies just aren’t going to cut it in the 21st century. Ryan and Sasse, as well as other younger Republican conservatives, know the value of compromise, know that they have to work with the opposition to get things done and know that there are some former benchmarks of their party that need to change lest they shrivel and die. They also haven’t been corrupted by the alt-right conspiracies or other people’s hardline conservatism. If the StormTrumpers flame out as expected in November, then their ilk will be banished to the wastelands. The question is whether Pence has done enough to be able to remain on the Ark or will he be a part of the wanderers.

As to the debate, the bottom line is even after hearing Kaine and Pence speak, no one is basing their decision on their place on the ticket. When Sunday rolls around for the second Presidential debate, will Cheeto Jesus have learned his lesson and at least cracked the workbook to try to have some substance? Will Cheeto Jesus actually try to LOOK Presidential or will he try to bluster and bully Clinton during the Town Hall meeting (many believe that was one of the things that hurt Al Gore in 2000 against the second George Bush after he leapt from the stool and stormed into Bush’s personal space during a similar Town Hall debate), something that NEVER works when you’re among the people? And can he tolerate having been beaten not only by a woman but also by his subordinate in the two previous debates? (My bet:  No, bullies only know how to bully, and no.)

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The thing that is known is that Mike Pence is going nowhere with this ticket, but he’s OK with that. It makes him a lock to come back for a run in 2020 and he announced that last night.

The GOP Cannot Create Their Own Reality – Their Candidate Was Crushed on Monday

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It’s been almost 24 hours since the “Beatdown by the Bay” occurred. For those of you who might have been working and not among the estimated 80 million people who watched the first debate between 2016 Presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Drumpf in Hempstead, NY, you missed what is normally a sedate exercise in civics and U. S. politics turn into a thrashing that was as lengthy as it was thorough. I thought PETA was going to run in at one moment to halt the activities because a grandmother was whipping an Orangutan Mutant mercilessly and wouldn’t let up.

The debate was supposed to focus on three issues (and to figure out just what moderator and NBC news anchor Lester Holt was looking for in these is open to interpretation): “America’s Direction, (my guess? What direction to take the United States in – one that embraces globalization or one that basically segments the world away from the U. S.)” “Achieve Prosperity (what will the candidate do to improve the lot for ALL citizens)” and “Securing America (what will the candidates do to ensure U. S. security at home and abroad).” From the start, however, it was obvious that Holt was not going to hold the candidates to those broad titles. With that said, it was the start that was the Tangerine Nightmare’s best moment.

While supposedly discussing “America’s Direction,” Drumpf got off on a tangent of how the different trade deals that the U. S. is involved in is hurting business. He scored some excellent points in the demise of industrial jobs in the Rust Belt and how the Obama Administration (and, by extension, Clinton, who spent four years with the team) had failed to help the area. He also scored points on Clinton’s support and then disavowal of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the trade agreement between the United States and 12 Asian countries (but NOT China, as Mr. Oompah Loompah has previously stated). Clinton couldn’t muster an adequate defense for her reversal of belief and Drumpf was riding high.

Then came the next 80-plus minutes of the debate…

From that point on, the evening turned into a nightmare for Cheeto Jesus. For one thing, C. J. snorted throughout the evening as if he had ingested the latest shipment of blow from Colombia. It wasn’t just slight sniffles; it was full-throated snorts of air through the nose that were picked up by the microphone that he claimed didn’t work. For someone that has berated his opponent on her health (which he did again at the end of the debate), it sounded like he needed a nasal cannula to assist him to get through the night.

Second, for someone speaking of “stamina,” he went to the water more often than a traveling tent preacher heads to the river. You might be able to write it off on nerves, but that would have to prove true all the way through the night as the split screen showed him gulping water like an out of ocean flounder. He also demonstrated that he had more tics than a Tennessee bloodhound, fidgeting on his side of the stage and airing his disdain for much of the proceedings through his facial expressions.

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These are nitpicky points, however. The real problem laid in the complete and utter lack of any coherent thought on ANY question that came from Holt or from discussion between he and Clinton. The “word salads” tossed by Herr Drumpf (probably from a gift provided by the previous champion of lunacy behind a mic, Sarah Palin) left those watching on television and those in attendance literally saying “What the fuck?” as he spewed the verbiage.

In response to a question from Holt on why businesses would go through financial repatriation under his Presidency, this is VERBATIM what the Orangutan Mutant’s reply was:

“They are going to expand their companies and do a tremendous job. I’m getting rid of the great thing for the wealthy, it’s a great thing for the middle class and for companies to expand and when these people are going to put billions and billions of dollars into companies and when they are going to bring $2.5 trillion back from overseas where they can’t bring the money back because politicians like Secretary Clinton won’t allow them to bring the money back because the taxes are so onerous and the bureaucratic red tape, it’s so bad.

So what they are doing is leaving our country and, believe it or not, they are leaving because taxes are too high and because some of them have lots of money outside of our country and instead of bringing it back and putting the money to work because they can’t work out a deal and everybody agrees it should be brought back, instead of that, they are leaving our country to get their money because they can’t bring their money back into our country because of bureaucratic red tape, because they can’t get together. Because we have a president that can’t sit them around a table and get them to approve something, and here’s the thing, Republicans and Democrats agree that this should be done. $2.5 trillion.

I happen to think it’s double that. It’s probably $5 trillion that we can’t bring into our country, Lester, and with a little leadership, you’d get it in here very quickly and it could be put to use on the inner cities and lots of other things, and it would be beautiful. But we have no leadership. And honestly, that starts with Secretary Clinton.”

Huh?

There were other examples of this travesty, but its plainly obvious that Mr. “I Know Everything,” like a star quarterback for a high school football team, didn’t even bother to crack the textbook and study for the exam. Meanwhile the bookish head of the student government was prepared, understood what the purpose for the gathering was and proceeded to beat Drumpf around the head and face. In fact, Clinton had the kill shot of the night in saying, “I think Donald just criticized me for preparing for this debate…and yes I did. And you know what else I’m prepared for? To be President, and I think that’s a good thing.”

Clinton did everything just short of tossing a saddle on Drumpf’s back, grab a cowboy hat and ride him around the stage like Annie Oakley in Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show. This isn’t even bringing up the 50+ times that it was counted that Drumpf tried his best debate tactic – interrupting his opponent while they are speaking – nor the continuation of his lies about his position on Iraq or, when the discussion turned to why he hasn’t released his tax returns, how much he pays in taxes (about having paid none in past years, Drumpf stated “that makes me smart” – no, that makes you a scumbag for not paying your part to such things as the national defense and other things you’ve taken advantage of). The thrashing was so thorough that Drumpf advocate Rudy “Mr. 9/11” Giuliani tweeted after the debate that it wasn’t the “best night” for his comrade and enhanced those thoughts earlier this morning in stating that the Orange Ouroboros shouldn’t take part in any more debates.

If there’s one final note to make on the first (and perhaps final?) debate, it is that the GOP can’t make up their own reality about how badly it went for their savior. Drumpf was roundly chided for trumpeting the results of the Breitbart survey of “who won” the debate (when the executive director of the website is DIRECTING YOUR CAMPAIGN, which side do you think they’re going to say won?). The only survey of reputable sites that even showed Drumpf pulling a slight edge out of the debate was Forbes; everyone else who was reputable had Clinton crushing him like a bug.

In fact, if you want to follow the old axiom, “follow the money,” then Clinton paddled Drumpf like a sorority pledge. Bookies moved the chances for Clinton to be elected from -170 to -245 after the debate, almost as sure a shot as you can get. Stock markets and currency rates around the world improved, indicating that Clinton’s overwhelming thumping of Dump wouldn’t cause the arrival of the First American Reich. Hell, even ADVOCATES of the Tangerine Nightmare have said he was beaten ruthlessly.

But virtually every supporter (that lacks a functioning brain) of Drumpf believes differently. They believe that he “won” outright and, if they don’t believe that, the old chestnuts of “rigged” activities or “he was going against TWO opponents (Holt was tough, but fair on both sides)” are dragged out and used. By the time Clinton spanked him again over calling former Miss Universe Alicia Machado “Miss Piggy” and “Miss Housekeeping” (because of her Hispanic heritage), the night was a complete and utter disaster for the Queens Corporate Welfare Queen.

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The GOP cannot be allowed to craft their own narrative. Drumpf lost, plain, simple and painfully. Unless he plans on doing the actual work of being a Presidential candidate and studying for the debates – something that his “yes men and women (and that’s you, Kellyanne Conway – going from Cruz to Drumpf has to have left all sorts of slime on you, doesn’t it?)” are probably trying to pound through his narcissistic brain – then the second debate is going to be just like the first. Clinton will walk in thoroughly prepared – even for Drumpf’s threats of “saying something nasty” about her husband’s infidelities – and proceed to smack him around again.

We’ve got until October 4, when Vice Presidential nominees Tim Kaine and Mike Pence step up for what will be a scintillating (eye roll) debate, to discuss the opening salvos of the Clinton/Mutant clash. But a couple things are painfully obvious:  one, if he even wants to LOOK like he’s President material, Drumpf will have to do vastly better than what he did on Monday in the “Beatdown by the Bay,” and two, the lobotomizing of the GOP base is now complete.

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