Wednesday, November 30, 2016

I'm Tired

When people ask me why I was confident Trump would win the Presidency, I send them this YouTube video and tell them to call me after they watch it.

Why did Trump win?  Because America is tired.  Its people are exhausted.

They're tired of working all day and then coming home to newscasters and TV pundits who call them racist, sexist, islamophobic, stupid and deplorable,  And for what?  For working all day so they can pay bills and be good citizens?  Democrats still don't get it.  They just put Nancy Pelosi back in charge of the House minority -- a minority position she almost single-handedly helped them achieve, though Harry Reid deserves credit in the Senate.

They're tired of splinter groups who spew hatred and contempt beneath a divisive false flag of righteousness. BLM, anyone?  #NeverTrump?  #OccupyWallStreet?  La Rasa?  LBGTQ social justice warriors?  MSNBC and CNN?  And plenty of others, depending on whose sacred cow was gored. (Note:  I think the Occupy Wall Street idealists and the Tea Party pragmatists had much more in common than either realized, though their policy solutions might only be reconciled by someone who understands the art of the deal.)

They're tired of being scolded about political correctness.  The scolding has been so severe and unremitting that most people have lost their instinct for simple communication and good-natured fun. When I was a kid, I heard a lot of funny jokes, like the Pollack who hijacked a submarine and demanded $10 million and a parachute.  And of course any joke that began with a priest, a rabbi and a baptist preacher.  And dumb blonde jokes, too, such as the one who used white-out on her computer screen.  Trump voters are tired of being told they don't take life seriously enough, when in fact, working an eight to ten hour shift while raising a family and being a responsible community member and fixing stuff around the house isn't ... what ... serious enough?  And isn't it racist to claim that I'm talking only about white people?  I have black friends who work for a living and raise children. Hispanics and Asians, too?  And people whose heritage is ambiguous.  What does skin color have to do with it?  Who's the racist here?  Do you understand what I mean by tiresome?

They're also tired of identity politics and the notion that reality is only what we wish it was.  There was a time when gravity was real and walking off a cliff wasn't advisable. Not so much these days. Doctors are rarely confused about circling "male" or "female" on a birth certificate, and even if confused, the doctor can always perform a genetic test to see whether the X or Y chromosome is dominant.  Such gender determinations once were simple.  And accurate.  And almost always observable. But not anymore. Now we are told that science has little to do with reality.  What do geneticists know about gender identity?  Who put them in charge?  Or parents, for that matter? Doesn't that kind of decision-making authority belong more properly in the women's study department or queer study department at your local university?  Or, better yet, with politicians?  Who knows what's best for us better than academicians and elected officials?  And so we are told that each person should be free to self-identify and use whatever bathroom corresponds to their preferred identity, while the rest of us are admonished to memorize the new lexicon of personal pronouns that befit an inclusive and properly-educated society. Moreover, we're told that physicists should not use scientific terms such as black holes, college students should never have a theme party that appropriates someone else's cultural tradition, kids should never wear halloween costumes, and bakery owners should bake whatever wedding cake a customer demands, whether they want to or not, Yes, folks, people actually get tired of supercilious crap like that.  And they vote.

They're tired of factory shutdowns, out-of-wedlock babies, unemployment, poverty, crime, cronyism, wasted taxpayer dollars, ignorant college students, and the crucifixion of common sense. Those problems got worse under eight years of the Obama administration, not better.  Obama proved that he never knew how to fix anything.  And Hillary proved that she would only make things worse.  It's not good when your legacy is "anyone but you."

Want to know why the chant "lock her up" was so popular at Trump rallies during the campaign? Because people are tired.  They're tired of all the BS.  They're tired of liars that lie.  They're tired of hypocrisy.  Of gaming the system.  Of cheating.  And they're tired of watching their elected leaders double-down on stupid.  It went on for one election cycle too many.  Hence Donald Trump ... and the distant voice of the prophet Amos:

Thus says the Lord:  For three transgression of Judah, and for four, I will not revoke the punishment; because they have rejected the law of the Lord, and have not kept his statutes, but they have been led astray by the same lies after which their ancestors walked. So I will send fire on Judah, and it shall devour the strongholds of Jerusalem. (Amos 2:4-5, RSV)

Whether you're religious or not, you gotta' like the prescience of Amos.  No one confuses Trump for a biblical prophet.  But people do want justice.  Just not the modern-day snowflake social justice warrior variety.  They want the same kind of justice they expect for themselves.  And for others.  The common-sense kind that requires a blindfold over Lady Justice's eyes.

Trump inspired America to feel alive again.  Daring.  Hopeful.  Ambitious. Determined.  The country needed a strong dose of adrenaline.  He offered it.  And America took it.  So did I.  In the process, we took Trump to the White House, and we expect him to take Obama and Clinton to the woodshed, if only figuratively.  Enough is enough.  Most folks aren't eyeing the past.  They just want the present to make sense.

I believe Trump will pull it off.  After all, he's a major league 'bidness man who has sat across the table with a lot of smart people worldwide.  He knows what makes sense.  And he knows how to get stuff done.

Into the ash bin of history go Obama and Hillary.  Their deeds will follow them.  They simply didn't understand how reality works.  Or how tired we are of surrealism.

Monday, November 28, 2016


What is being called "Pizzagate" began with John Podesta emails that recently were released by Wikileaks. I don't know what to make of the allegations of organized pedophelia rings and their link to occult ritual worship among society's elite, other than to say that, if true, it would involve a depravity of heart and mind that deserves the harshest penalties allowed by law.  Since I'm not doing any original research, I simply try to follow the details from whichever sources provide links for independent research.

Anyway, if you want to explore it further, here's a good starting point:

For an international perspective on the topic, there's this article, which provides numerous links to original data.  More links are available in the comments section beneath the article.

Make of it what you will.  My antennae are up.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Good Grief. Class Dismissed

When grief suddenly befalls us, denial and anger are the initial and most formidable emotions we experience.  Unable to accept tragedy, we deny it.  But unable to deny tragedy, we get angry.  The ultimate goal of healing is to accept what has happened without resentment.  But to get there we must first deal with turbulent feelings of anger and denial and find our way beyond them.  It’s not an easy task.  We don't want to face painful facts.  Instead, we vacillate between dream states and waking states, anger and denial, caught in an anguishing battle of emotions.  Many strong people are unable to work beyond anger.  They remain resentful for years to come. It drips from their lips.  Others surrender to the neurosis of denial, a pitiful way to live. Most people eventually work through it, beyond the next stages of bargaining and depression that eventually lead to acceptance. Emotional equilibrium is restored only when we accept the facts for what they are and make peace with them. Most readers are familiar with Elizabeth Kubler-Ross’s five stages of grief.  I won’t belabor the details. 

Instead, come with me back to the 1980s, when I was a young professor of philosophy at a university in the south.  One of my undergraduate courses was introduction to logic.  I often brought a newspaper editorial to class, and I asked my students to help me analyze it.  The goal was to help them understand the difference between statements of fact and statements of opinion.  Statements of fact oftentimes are nothing more than cleverly disguised statements of opinion.  The writer may not even be aware that he is shifting from fact to fiction.  Verbs, adverbs and modifiers are the clue. Helping students recognize the shift is a satisfying experience.  I enjoyed watching the scales fall off their eyes...then watching them smile like a butcher's dog.

In those days, I didn't care to weigh in with my own opinion about a chosen editorial other than for analytical purposes, or else to parse the logical implications of a truth-claim.  Liberal and conservative editorials were on the table, whether about politics or social issues, and it made no difference which.

Sometimes, with a particular editorial in hand, I divided the class into a "pro" and "con" side and required each side to defend their assigned perspective.  The point of view they had to defend might conflict with their personal views, and perhaps wildly so.  That didn't matter.  The point of the exercise was for each side to research their assigned position and make the best case they could, based on "facts" and reasoning from those facts  I served as moderator.  It was always fun.  I could jump in at any time and stoke the fire, as I often did, but equally for both sides, as needed.

Times have changed.  So have I.  These days, I care little about weighing in unless my personal opinion is included.  I guess that happens with age.  But the pedagogical approach is as useful today as it was then.

Here's an example of how I might analyze a piece of journalism in a classroom today.  My editorial at hand is an article entitled The demagogic genius of Donald J. Trump, by Damon Linker, which I happened upon because of the title.  The title itself is snappy.  Sounds like the author might be a full-throated Trump supporter, except for the word demagogic, which catches my eye, especially when coupled with genius.  Still, the header works. I'm curious.  Words have both denotative and connotative meaning. Here's how the logical math works for most readers. Demagogue = Hitler = bad.  Genius = Einstein = good.  Einstein had little in common with Hitler. Therefore, the descriptor demagogic genius sounds like an oxymoron...the earmark of an editorial that is perfect for classroom use.

In an effort to simulate what I once did in the classroom, I have added editorial comments after each segment of Damon Linker's article.  My comments are in bold.

Anyway, let's begin.  Here's the opening paragraph of Mr. Linker’s article, along with my comments and questions to the class:
(In) the two weeks since Donald Trump's shocking victory, the press has devoted a substantial chunk of its coverage to enumerating the president-elect's many faults.  He's temperamentally unfit to serve as president. He's ignorant of policy. He's corrupt. His early choices to serve in his administration are racistanti-Semiticextremistunhinged. And of course the whole thing is frighteningterrifyinghorrifying.
This appears to be a straight-forward summary of how the press miss the boat by fabricating the visage of a horrible monster. They assign false, imaginary, and pejorative attributes to Trump that most Americans know to be untrue, otherwise they wouldn't have voted for him, but the fabricators (ie, the press) still don't get it, so they continue to fabricate. That's how the paragraph seems to read.  The press bought into their own made-up monster stories.  Too bad for them.  Live and learn seems to be the lesson.
But, wait!  When Mr. Linker refers to Trump's many faults, enumerated in the sentences that follow, is he describing the press's mistaken perspective of Trump or voicing his own belief about Trump?  The answer matters.  One can read the paragraph several ways.  More probing is needed.
So on we go, forging into the meat of Mr. Linker's article.  In the next paragraph, he writes:
The ominous fact is that Trump is undeniably one of the greatest intuitive political geniuses in history.
Hmm.  That's an interesting twist and quite an astounding claim.  In the first paragraph, we were talking about mistakes made by the press, or so it seemed.  In the second paragraph, the author seems to stating his personal opinion.  Let's investigate.
An ominous fact?  To whom, Mr. Linker?  The press?  You?  All of us?  I'm starting to enjoy your writing, but the sense of it is confusing.  Please clarify.  
An ominous fact? What makes it factual?  Facts are stubborn things. Give me some.
Then there's the word undeniable.  Undeniable to whom?  Are you still talking about the press and its fantasies?  It doesn't seem you are.  
And then there's your most creative phrase in the article.  After referring to the claim as undeniable, you insist that Trump is one of the greatest intuitive political geniuses in history.  That's a creative assembly of descriptors.  I'm jealous of your wordsmith skills.  But, seriously?  Who are you comparing him to, and why?  A genius?  Seriously?  Who believes this, other than you? And for what reasons? Birds seem like geniuses to lizards.  But does that make birds hyper-intelligent? Maybe the only difference between them is that birds can fly.  Might you feel insecure over having been caught with your pants down. Give us some facts. Trump claimed that he tapped into a movement. Does that mean most Americans are intuitive geniuses...among the greatest in political history...merely by virtue of recognizing Trump's siren call?  Such as moi?  That's doubtful. And you know as much.  Most of us are just plain folks who understand plain facts.
I'm getting confused by the author's lack of facts and substantial evidence.  This is beginning to sound a lot like journalistic hyperbole, a guy with a keyboard, some word skills, and an axe to grind.  But, hey, maybe I'm wrong.  Mr. Linker may be promoting me from vulgarian to genius.  I'll read on to find out.
He continues: 
This doesn't mean that Trump had it all planned out ahead of time, like some Machiavelli from Manhattan . On the contrary, I suspect he's as surprised as anyone that the quixotic campaign he launched in June of 2015 has delivered him to the front door of the White House. As I said, he's an intuitive genius. Radicalizing certain recent tendencies of the Republican Party and diverging from it in others, Trump tried something new and it worked. The most discontented voters in the party listened to his message and responded to it, probably without realizing that this is what they wanted. In that sense, Trump conjured into existence the very populist movement that has now catapulted him to the presidency. In the process, he managed to rejigger the GOP electoral coalition and wrest control of the party away from its leadership.

First, if Trump actually contemplated running for President before he announced it, does that make him a scheming Machiavellian?  Consider that it might also make him normal.  Most people know what they are about to do. Machiavallian scheming is not a prerequisite.  Is there something you're not telling us, Mr. Linker?
Second, suspect is a weasel word.  It means you are simply guessing but want to sound wise.
Third, you claim that Trump radicalized tendencies among Republicans.  But hasn't it been shown that it was Democrats who paid good money for activists to create havoc and violence at Trump rallies? Do you recall the hired activists who shut down a Trump rally in Chicago and blocked traffic and incited fights at other rallies around the country? You might want to mention those facts.  Bernie fans will nod in approval if you do.
Fourth, why might Trump have been surprised by his success?  Can you cite the moment when his surprise was evident to you or any other reasonable observer? And what about it was quixotic?  As in Don Quixote, tilting at windmills?  Facts, please.  At least a couple.  And explain what you mean. I'm getting impatient.  As I mentioned earlier, your writing style is lucid but your meaning is opaque.  It makes me antsy.  I'm getting frustrated.
Fifth, are you saying Trump's discontented voters didn't realize what they wanted? Or were not self-aware? Or were stupid?  Please clarify.  You claim they didn't realize what they wanted until they heard him speak?  Does that mean they can't think for themselves until someone tells them what to think?  Isn't that a silly conundrum?  All these questions are making me dizzy.  I need some answers. Anything.  Throw me a bone.
Sixth, you go on to say that Trump conjured into existence a populist movement. Really?  He claims that he tapped into a massive national sentiment.  You say that he hypnotized the masses. To quote Jeb Bush in the primary debates, C'mon, man. Pick one side or the other, Mr. Linker. Are they naturally stupid, or did Trump mesmerize them into stupidity?  Please choose one, or choose an alternative, and then explain.
Finally, isn't jiggering racist, and rejiggering even more racist?  Have you no decency, Mr. Linker?  Two can play this game. And, BTW, Trump's alleged rejiggering led to more votes from blacks, hispanics, independents and cross-over Democrats than occurred in either the 2008 or 2012 election, based on actual facts, so please explain the jiggering involved, other than suggesting that the jigs are white and non-white people who are stupid and subject to hypnosis.  Perhaps you simply are referring to Hamilton cast members?  Your referent is unclear.
I'd like to say that Mr. Linker is done, but he's not.  Having built a head of steam, he heads straight for the brick wall:

The revolution was about policy — immigration, trade, and the economic and cultural decline of the white working class — but it was at least as much about attitude. Trump was (and continues to be) George Wallace with a Twitter account — a demagogue spewing venomous anger and disgust about the multiple "disasters" confronting the country directly to like-minded voters with no intermediary at all, circumventing the heads of his party, mainstream media outlets, and even the retinue of advisers who ran his campaign.
Trump's unorthodox actions, regularly ridiculed by pundits, revealed just how institutionally conservative the gatekeepers are. They strive to uphold norms, propriety, habits — and Trump shredded them over and over again. 

Ah, finally, we're introduced to the taxpaying white working class, 'cause at this point you knew it was coming.  Those folks once were the darlings of Democrats, who demanded justice for the working man and woman.  Not so much these days. Social Marxism now requires working-class whites to be thrown under the bus, along with any minorities who share their work ethic.  Since Nov 8, we've been constantly reminded that nothing ruins a good election like those damn tax-paying working-class white people.  You know the ones. They finished high school and went to work. Or went to college and got a job.  The same folks that voted twice for Obama, or at least most of them did, though they now regret it.  I guess that fact didn't fit the narrative of Linker's mythical genius.
Donald Trump is George Wallace with a twitter account?  That's a clever phrase but too cute by half.  What happened to the Hitler analogy?  Too hackneyed?  Is the mask now off, Mr. Linker?
He is a demagogue?  Supporting evidence, please.  He was as popular among voters as Obama in 2012, under the circumstances, a fact that cannot be parsed merely by throwing out the word demagogue.  You can do better, and you know it.
He spews venomous anger?  Please cite compelling evidence of venomous anger and spewing,
Trump's anger has arisen due to multiple "disasters?"  Note to Mr. Linker.  Putting a word in quotes does not make its meaning trivial. 
Who are the intermediaries you reference?  Do you mean yourself?  Or the NY Times, WaPo, NBC, CNN or their corporate media cousins?  Are you claiming they are our paradigms of propriety and the true custodians of public information?  You say they uphold the norms, propriety, (and) habits that Trump shredded?  In what sense are they institutionally conservative?  Normative?  Proper?  I'm not familiar with those features of contemporary journalism.
BTW, who comprises the retinue of advisers that Trump ignored.  Weren't son-in-law Jared Kushner and campaign strategist Steve Bannon central players in that retinue? What did they recommend that he ignored?  Facts suggest just the opposite of what you claim. 
Nice try, Mr. Linker, but sorry, you can't put lipstick on that pig. 
I'll stop the fantasy analysis here.  It becomes tiresome after a while.  The rest of the article is but more of the same drivel.  You might read it f you need the practice.  I'll warn you in advance, though, you won't learn much in terms of fact.  But it may help sharpen your analytical skills. 

In the final analysis, Mr. Linker proves to be a butt-kisser with a conflicted conscience.  He attempts to discreetly signal his solidarity with his media colleagues.  He knows they have been as presumptuous and willfully blind as he is.  They have been myth-makers, in fact, though none will admit it.  Mr. Linker wants to be the one to say so.  Confession is good for the soul.  I regard Linker's confession as a left-handed mea culpa.  And I say this to his credit.  He's almost beyond the denial stage.  I'm rooting for him.

Grief is painful.  Denial and anger are difficult emotions to maneuver on the way to final acceptance. Mr. Linker has a ways to go.  But he seems to be on the journey.  He might consult Kubler-Ross on the various rites of passage.  It's a road less traveled by journalists these days.

Class dismissed.

R. Stephen Bowden blogs at the Steve Bowden Journal.

Standing Around the Poker Table

No special prosecutor to investigate the Clintons?

It must be true.  After all, the NY Times implies as much by offering this bold header yesterday: Donald Trump Drops Threat of New Hillary Clinton Investigation. We all know how such a header reads to the average NY Times subscriber.  And how just about anyone would read it.  And we all know the NY Times doesn't allow political opinion to influence its reporting, despite a recent mea culpa and pledge to do honest reporting in the future.

So what does the header mean?  Let's see what Trump said, according to the Times.  Here's the money line:
I don't want to hurt the Clintons, I really don't. (snip)  She went through a lot and suffered greatly in many different ways, and I am not looking to hurt them at all.  The campaign was vicious.
Okay, I see what Trump said, but where's the part about dropping any ongoing investigation or refusing to allow an investigation into the email issue or the Clinton Foundation in the future?  After all, that's what the header implies and the article itself basically claims.

Where does Trump say he will block any effort to pursue justice if new information is found by his DOJ or FBI? Trump's statement doesn't address that question.  According to the Times, Trump merely states, more or less, that he hates to see people hurting, even if their last name is Clinton, and that he doesn't plan a vindictive attack against them based on unsubstantiated claims.  The Times, in its carefully-worded header and article, does not deny that those questions or claims might be valid and worth investigating, but they would have the reader think the questions have been foreclosed upon by Trump himself.  Maybe they are.  Maybe they aren't.  I don't see where Trump's statement leans one way or the other.  What am I missing?

You can go to the link above to read the entire article for yourself.  It's mostly an attempt by the Times to put words into Trump's mouth that he did not utter, by means of their interpretation of what they think he might have meant, or even what they hope he meant.  By doing so, they perhaps aimed to draw him out further, tease him into telling more and perhaps box him in politically based on his own words.  They have not yet been able to do so.  But that doesn't mean they won't try again.

Jeff Sessions soon will be our Attorney General.  He will have some say into what comes next.  I don't think Jeff Sessions is any more vindictive than Donald Trump.  But Sessions has a job to do.  If his attorneys or the FBI thinks the Clintons require further scrutiny, it will be Sessions' job to judge the merits of that scrutiny.  Then again, Congress is not done with the email and Clinton Foundation issues, either.  If there's no there, there, it will come to nothing beyond a lot of accusations by Republicans and complaints among Democrats, all on the taxpayer's dime.  But if there is a there, there, I find nothing in Trump's remarks that indicates he will prevent or oppose further investigation, wherever the facts may lead.

Meanwhile, the Times can live with its fantasies.  And with squaring those fantasies with the pledge to do honest political reporting.  We're still in the presidential transition period. Lots of people have skin in the game.  Trump is playing poker with Obama, the Clintons, Congressional Democrats and certain Republicans.  It's game on for all of them.  Trump's not one to show his hand.  Even to the Times, and especially not to others at the table.  He likes winning too much. And he's been across the table with many shrewd businessmen around the world who also are good at high-stakes poker. He's about the art of the deal.  Those of us standing around the table are best advised to be patient and watch the hand play out.

My money's on Trump.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Sunday Reflections

Remember this guy?  To set the tone on a Sunday morning:


Jesus of Nazareth.  Does anyone remember him?  He wasn't an establishment kind of guy.  Or crazy. If only today's activists understood.  They break windows.  Burn cars.  And beat up anyone who disagrees with them.  They waste time trying to stop the wind with a machine gun.  And to make matters worse, they point their guns downwind.  You can't fix stupid.  Of course, their "righteous destruction" is big news to the MSM.  It fits their narrative.  Your feel-good fifteen minutes of fame is just a match stick away, I suppose.

Jesus was an activist, too.  But aiming in a different direction.  And he changed history.  Why? Because his convictions had substance.  His fingers were on the pulse of real life.  So pick a side. Then wake me up.  Some diatribes are too boring to endure. This applies to everyone.

Image result for jesus asleep in church


Speaking of F-bombs, how about "Faith," I hear it's actually healthy for you  Shocker.  Here's but one testimonial:

A new study has found that religious and spiritual beliefs can have significant impacts on the health outcomes of cancer patients, though the specifics vary depending on their beliefs. An analysis of three studies relating to how cancer patients’ physical and mental health was influenced by their beliefs was published Monday in the journal CANCER.
The first study analyzed patients’ physical health and found that patients who reported feeling greater levels of religiousness and spirituality also showed better health, greater ability to function in their daily lives, and fewer physical symptoms from the cancer and its treatment.
"These relationships were particularly strong in patients who experienced greater emotional aspects of religion and spirituality, including a sense of meaning and purpose in life as well as a connection to a source larger than oneself," lead author Heather Jim of the Moffitt Cancer Center in Florida, said in a press release.
You can find plenty more articles online, and from reputable sources, if you're interested.  Such as here, and here, and here.  If not, may I suggest you aim your machine gun upwind.  At least it will make you feel like you're accomplishing something.  Meh.

Friday, November 18, 2016

White Noise

I promise I'm not making this up.

As of this afternoon, both CSPAN and FOX News (Facebook) have live-stream video cameras in the lobby of Trump Tower.  I don't mean they have cameras focused on Trump or his transition team.  Or his friends.  Or his associates.  Or his maintenance personnel.  Or even anything newsworthy.  They simply have a streaming feed of the lobby, with white noise of people talking in the background, though you can't even make out what they are saying, some of which would be much more interesting than the live-feed itself.

If you didn't respect The Donald earlier, you should now.  I mean, how many live feeds are set up outside Obama's residence at the White House?  Lots of important people enter and leave that place. Trump Tower, not so much.  Watch the live feed for a minute.  You'll understand what I'm saying.  It's just another day at the bus station.  You won't recognize anyone.  And nobody's naked.  Or holding signs.  Or causing a ruckus. Just business as usual at your everyday Trump Tower.  But for CSPAN and FOX, it's a 24/7 news extravaganza.

Yes, friends, that's the size of the wave that Donald Trump rode in on.  CSPAN and FOX will film dead space because Donald Trump is in the building.  Or at least they think he is.  He might be out having supper with his children, but they know you don't know that for sure, and they don't either, so the cameras stay glued to the lobby in real time, because they believe the sight of those marble walls and shiny elevator doors and the sheer anticipation of....something.or other...will mesmerize you.  It's like waiting for smoke to rise above the Vatican before the next Pope is announced.  Except, in this case, the Pope is still alive.  Granted, alternatively you could choose to watch grass grow, but what could be more riveting than watching anonymous people entering and leaving Trump Tower because, you know, they have places to go.  It's fascinating stuff, much like watching guppies in an aquarium, if that's how you roll.

The reason for watching is obvious, you oblivious buffoon.  At any minute, Moses and Krishna and Jesus could waltz into the foyer, arm in arm, each one high-stepping in his iconic garb.  Or perhaps the friend of a friend of someone who heard a rumor about the person who might be nominated for some post in the Trump administration might stride right up to the elevator and then...hold your breath...get on the elevator as we watch the doors close.  Or not.  So stay tuned.

This is yet another reason why CSPAN and FOX should never wade into the reality TV genre. Where are the strategically-blurred naked people that keep us hoping the cameraman might go rogue? Where is the girl who squeals when she steps on a worm, or the guy who gets crotch fungus and cries Mama on day two?  Nowhere to be seen.  C'mon, you gotta give us something other than marble tiles and the hum of background voices.  Can I get a Kardashian?  Beyonce or Bear Gryls?   Or at least an episode of Bizarre Food?  Anything with some color.  Instead, I gotta watch two guys in suits loiter around the elevator making small talk while passersby amble through the scene.  Oy, veh.  Watch for yourself if you're that bored.  I did, because I was.  But only for a minute.

Oh, yeah, I forgot.  My point was that Trump has made such a splash that even his uneventful hotel lobby has become newsworthy.  Round-the-clock newsworthy.  Pause for a moment and think about that.

What is the meaning of this rupture in American politics?  And what is the significance of this man Donald Trump?  He is no god, for sure.  Not even close.  But an avatar?  Maybe.  But an avatar of what?  A turkey or an eagle?  It remains to be seen.  My money is on the eagle.

h/t:  Last Refuge

In the Jungle, the Mighty Jungle, The Lion Sleeps Tonight

Talk about passive-aggressive behavior.  It appears the Obama administration has taken a slash-and-burn approach to its last year in existence.  If you thought border patrol efforts were stymied over the first seven years of Obama's presidency, check out the administration's sabotage efforts along the southern border of Texas this year, courtesy of
"The U.S. Department of Homeland Security quietly shut down Operation Phalanx, an aerial surveillance program that intercepts drugs and illegal crossings along the Mexican border.
Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Laredo, vows to challenge DHS’s move, saying Congress provided “full funding” for 2017.
Cuellar, a member of the House Appropriations Committee and the Homeland Security Subcommittee, is drafting a letter to DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson protesting the shutdown.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and Cuellar challenged Johnson last February when DHS reduced Phalanx’s flight operations.
This time, Cuellar is seeking reinforcements from Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, and Reps. Mike McCaul, R-San Antonio, and John Carter, R-Round Rock."
Uh, you know, because unskilled idlers, MS 13 gang-bangers and associates of the Mexican cartels have no interest in coming to the U.S., right? and especially not any terrorists from other parts of the world, right? other than these, and these, and these.  And, NO, my occasional libtard readers, I'm not talking about most illegal border-crossers, just some...but a significant some...a dangerous some.  Perhaps you might like to meet them one day.  I don't.  Nor do their victims. Immigration once was a privilege.  Then Democrats happened.  Yes, I know, I'm using hyperbole.  But hyperbole is needed these days.  If only you understood the wave that Donald Trump rode in on.
Once Obamacare is dismantled and/or reconfigured beyond recognition, President Stompy Feet will have lost the only peg to hang his legacy on other than his endless glib rhetoric about what could have been with TPP, open immigration, global carbon credit trading and peace in the Middle East if only fellow Democratsthe alleged Islamic fanatics / those racist Republicans had not interfered.  The Divider-in-Chief is on his farewell tour.  He's out of the country this week, selling his legacy, or what's left of it. to Angela Merkel and others of their ilk.  Rest assured that most of his sentences begin with the word "I."  Trust me, this guy is not a team player.  Stumping for Hillary in the general election was nothing more than a CYA maneuver. Having failed there, he's now off to Europe and the Far East.  Surely someone will listen.
Meanwhile, back in the States, a lion roars:

h/t: Last Refuge

Thursday, November 17, 2016

This 'N That, Friday Edition

It's Friday, somewhere.  So let's get started.

Here’s a trick to test your skills.

If you can read this OUT LOUD you have a strong mind.  And better than that: Alzheimer's is a long, long way down the road before it ever gets anywhere near you!
7H15                    M3554G3
 53RV35          7O      PR0V3
 H0W         0UR      M1ND5      C4N
 D0         4M4Z1NG       7H1NG5!
 1MPR3551V3            7H1NG5!
1N        7H3       B3G1NN1NG
 17        WA5      H4RD      BU7
 N0W,       0N    7H15       LIN3
 Y0UR         M1ND      1S
 R34D1NG 17         4U70M471C4LLY
 W17H0U7            3V3N
 7H1NK1NG      4B0U7     17,
B3      PROUD!        0NLY
 C3R741N          P30PL3     C4N
 R3AD           7H15!
PL3453         F0RW4RD     1F
 U      C4N      R34D      7H15.

I cdnuolt blveiee that I cluod aulaclty uesdnatnrd what I was rdanieg.  The phaonmneal pweor of the hmuan mnid, aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it dseno't mtaetr in what oerdr the ltteres in a word are, the olny iproamtnt tihng is that the frsit and last ltteer be in the rghit pclae.  The rset can be a taotl mses and you can still raed it whotuit a pboerlm.  This is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the word as a wlohe.  Azanmig huh?  

Okay, don't lie.  It took you a couple of tries.  Amiright?

h/t:  Don Lewison



Talk about weird, how about this tweet from two years ago, re: The 2016 World Series.  You'll find the story here:

2016 World Series.

Cubs vs Indians

And then the world will end with the score tied in game seven in extra innings 

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Sail on, O Ship of State

Barbara Boxer, like Nancy Pelosi, is much like my appendix -- still there but we're not sure why.

Boxer has proposed legislation to eliminate the Electoral College.  Here are her words:

"The Electoral College is an outdated, undemocratic system that does not reflect our modern society, and it needs to change immediately.  Every American should be guaranteed that their vote counts."

The implication, however thinly veiled, is that Hillary won the election but the Electoral College stole it from her.  Hmm.  Sour grapes from someone who should know better?  Wasn't it just a month ago when Democrats harrumphed at Trump's reply when asked if he would accept the election results on Nov 8? Remember all the hullabaloo when he said let's wait and see?  The NY Times called it "a remarkable statement that seemed to cast doubt on American democracy."  Apparently Barbara Boxer is not a big fan of The Gray Lady.  Or of American democracy.  Trump always seems one step ahead of these buffoons.

Problem is, Boxer's legislation would require amending the Constitution, which in turn requires three-fourths of the states to agree.  That's the elephant in the room.  Listen to the City Journal in regard to the Nov 8 election:

"When the dust clears, Republicans will hold at least 33 governors’ mansions, up from 22 when Obama took office. That’s the most GOP governorships in 95 years. Republicans will also boast control of as many as 33 state legislatures, up from just 14 in 2008. In more than half of all states, Republicans now own a “trifecta,” that is, control of the governorship and both legislatures. Democrats have a mere six trifectas."

Boxer's proposed legislation has about as much chance as a snowball in hell.  She knows this, of course. She's calling for what is known as a "show" vote.  Show vote legislation is proffered merely to satisfy one's base.  It has no chance of passing.  But it makes Barbara look righteous to her most ardent supporters, even if the legislation is not something she actually believes in, which she doesn't. But hey, what's truth got to do with it?

Thanks for playing, Barbara.  Now take a seat and be quiet.

Speaking of buffoons, Nancy Pelosi comes to mind.  I read that Democrats in Congress have delayed the process of selecting their next House Minority Leader.  Pelosi wants to continue in that role.  But her colleagues aren't sure they want her. I don't blame them for delaying the process.  There must be two dozen explanations circulating among Democrats about why they lost the Presidential election and failed to earn a majority in the Senate.  The intra-party dissonance is enough to make one's head spin.  Should they gee or haw, go right or left?  Wall Street financiers want one thing of them, the activists want another. Wet fingers are in the air.  Which way is the wind blowing?  They still don't know.

Meanwhile, the Ship of State sails past them, its masts unfurled and open to the wind.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Orange is the New Black

Pollsters and pundits were not shocked by Tuesday's election results, despite their alleged shock over the results. Nor were the media outlets who hired them.  They may have hoped otherwise, even believed otherwise, but they knew better.  Anyone who wanted to get down into the weeds of the polling constructs could find the same election indicators that outliers like the LA Times and IBD found on their own.  The data was hiding in plain sight.  The pollsters and their corporate media voices didn't make an honest mistake on this one. They flat out lied.  Big time.  They lied to themselves.  They lied to their listeners and readers.  And they lied to America.  The effort was intentional, not accidental. Trillions of dollars were at stake. Suits on the top floor were involved.  TV careers and credibility also were on the line.  When you saw them tear up on TV as the results came in, you may rest assured they were weeping for themselves.  Poor Martha Radditz, so willfully committed to the narrative.  Same for Rachael Maddow and her peers.  They aren't to be pitied for their sorrow.  They grieve over their exposure and their willful naivete.

My only surprise is that they promoted the ruse right to the bitter end.  I thought they would start re-positioning themselves a week earlier.  And in a sense they did.  In the week leading up to the election, they dutifully reported that the polls, surprisingly, had tightened.  Eh?  What?  People change their minds that quickly?  They're that fickle?

"The stupid ones do," implied the pundits.  "There's lots of them, enough to move the needle from twelve to nearly zero in Salt Flats time."

"In a country this size?  That many stupid people who care enough to vote?  A ten to twelve percent swing in a matter of days?  We're talking, what, a million people?"

"Uh...yeah...big country.  Lots of fly-over territory.  Farmers and such."

"But to zero?" ask the uninitiated.  "That big a swing?  For what reason?"

The reason had to be an event that immediately changed the opinion not just of dolts but of educated partisans of all persuasions. Something definitive. Earth shattering.  Of such magnitude that no one could doubt the truth of it. And the media's answer was...wait for it...the "non-revelation" revelation by FBI Director James Comey just days before the election.  Yes, James Comey.  All by himself.  The same James Comey who in October said there was nothing to see in the Hillary email scandal, but who later notified Congress, as he promised, that new information had arrived that had not been anticipated. That's interesting information to partisans on either side of the divide.  It makes them dig their trenches deeper, but it doesn't make them change their minds.  But a game changer for undecideds? Really?  If so, they don't deserve to be called "undecideds."  That gives them too little credit.  Unless the term "undecideds" refers to Hillary's "deplorables," along with the Bernie holdouts, all of whom are deplorable if you don't get their vote, there's not much of a swing vote left. Apparently, due to the fickleness of deplorable and inadequately under-educated white Americans who work for a living and pay taxes, the poll numbers tightened dramatically.  Otherwise, who are the swingers?  Racism, anyone?

David Harsanyi, senior editor at The Federalist, takes a kinder and more apologetic tack with corporate media, despite his unsparing analysis.  He writes:

"In all their vast coverage of agitated right-wingers, it may have escaped the attention of many in the media that over the past eight years the Democratic Party has moved dramatically to the left on an array of issues. It’s now a party of cultural imperialists and economic technocrats who want to rule through fiat. It is a party more comfortable coercing Americans who see the world differently than in convincing them. It is a movement propelled by a liberal punditry that’s stopped debating and resorted to smearing millions they disagree with."

I agree with his analysis but not his valuation.  You think it "escaped their attention," David? Seriously?  They didn't notice?  

Puhleese.  You all but call them what they are.  And nicely done.  But why not go the extra step? I know.  Friends. 'Geesh.  Can't live with some of them, can't kill them.  You parsed their perfidy with skill and acumen. But those virtues have little cash value unless they serve a higher good.  And the higher good requires that one take an unapologetic stand, like Martin Luther before the Diet of Worms.  God help me, I can do no other.  That sort of resolve.  Most deplorables understand this. They are forced to live it daily. Socrates took a scalpel to the sophists of his day and quartered them without mercy or equivocation. It's a dangerous but honorable step to take, audacious as it is, if only to define one's character. Cocktail friends are not indispensable.  Be their gadfly.  And be ostracized if need be.

The Democrat Party's shift didn't go "unnoticed" by any of the media's mouthpieces.  To suggest otherwise is actually an insult to those very people you apologize for.  The shift went unnoticed?  By them?  The well-educated and ever-astute pundit class?  I see it through a different lens. On election night, as the results poured in, those pundits you reference were virtually disrobed in public. They no longer could hide their lies. The obvious bias that conservatives had complained about for years -- that Bernie loyalists had just come to learn in infuriating detail through the Wikileaks disclosures -- now was laid bare on TV.  They lied, plain and simple.  There are many ways to lie. Feigning shock and disgust is but one of them.

If I watch or read corporate media news stories in the future, it will only be to see what they have learned from the experience.  They have been exposed for who they are.  What comes next?  

In a sense, Trump's election might work as perfectly for them as Obama's election worked for Limbaugh, Hannity, Levin, et. al.  There'll be plenty to talk about among those who fear Trump.  But who will be listening?  The loyalists?  Maybe so, but not as many as before.  Credibility has been lost.  ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, and to an extent FOX News stooped to MSNBC levels in their Trump coverage and/or support of Hillary.  I'm not sure they can resurrect themselves in their current format.

I give a pass to Sean Hannity, Tucker Carlson and the FOX and Friends morning crew.  The stakes were high.  Reputations were on the line.  Viewers paid attention to nuances.  These TV personalities navigated quite well between the Scylla and Charybdis of Trump v. Clinton.  Their fingers were on the pulse.  They weren't dissuaded by lies.

Not so with the NY Times and WaPo or their acolytes in cable and network news.  Foreign journalists have become a more reliable source of political information in the U.S. than our own mainstream press.  Many in our fourth estate traded their birthright for a bowl of porridge.  Why?  Well, many reasons that date back over many years, and not all of those reasons are as lamentable as this one: they are LIARS. I don't say that out of spite.  Those days ended long ago for me.  And I'm not generalizing about all mainstream journalists and pundits.  But I have been immunized to the lies of those who lie to make a living.  And I submit that their intentional malfeasance is a fact, as subject to empirical verification or falsification as is sunrise in the east.  The aforementioned media outlets made a conscious effort to lie. They did it to influence the election, as surely as they accused Russia of doing the same, but without unfalsifiable verification. Russian interference was just part of the big lie.  They made it sound like a fact.  Liars gotta lie.

I wasn't nervous about the election.  Trump was going to win, as my sources indicated.  The process was entertaining, however, and not without intrigue.  I admit my eyebrows rose when, late Tuesday night, I saw that Florida's Broward County had not reported all precincts after the votes in all other Florida precincts were in.  That's the county where the Supervisor of Elections has been accused of massive voter fraud.  Were Broward officials waiting, I wondered, so see how things played out in Wisconsin and Michigan before determining how many votes they needed to write in for Hillary? Or were watchdogs slowing things down for safety's sake?  Same for Atlanta, GA, where massive fraud was found several years back among educators who doctored their students' test results.  When certain media refused to call Georgia early, my antennae went up.  My penchant for cynicism began to stir.  Cynicism is a passion on par with love and hate, only subtler.  I was intrigued by the vote reporting, the states that got called early versus those that didn't.  There were differences of opinions on the news networks.  And some states voted differently than I expected. Virginia had new voter registrations that I thought would break for Trump.  And their raw numbers were up, including first-time voters.  Nevada, too.  I'll be looking to see what happened in those states. I saw empircical evidence that Trump would win by a larger margin in the general.  Oh, well.  I was wrong.  It's not the first time.  Mea culpa.

So how will corporate media position themselves post-election?  Will they shield the Clintons as more investigation is done into Clinton Foundation operations and pay-to-play?  Will they fight for Obama's reputation?  Or Obamacare?  Or global warming, open borders and the TPP?

Personally, I don't care how they position themselves, except that I'll occasionally tune in out of curiosity.  Otherwise, I have moved on.  There's better information available on the internet. More honest, accurate and reliable information.  Yes, crazies can be found online.  And liars of different stripes. One learns how to wade through them.  The comment section is a helpful addendum. You are known by your readers.

I will not waste any more breath complaining about bias in the media.  I simply don't care anymore. Those folks are no more useful than my appendix -- which, by the way, I also parted with. 

Please regard this message as a shout-out from the deplorables.

Time to move on.