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Posted by: AGelbert
« on: January 15, 2018, 09:29:13 pm »

The Death Cult of Trumpism

Through racism and nationalism, Trump leverages tribal resentment against an emerging manifest common destiny.

By Greg Grandin

JANUARY 11, 2018

Why now? in trying to make sense of Trump’s effective use of racism to win the presidency, many have pointed to a long tradition of dog-whistling, reaching back decades. Trump is the nationalization of Nixon’s Southern strategy, the shadow cast forward by Reagan’s welfare queens and George H.W. Bush’s Willie Horton. Writing before the general election, Slate’s Jamelle Bouie linked Trump’s politicized racism to his predecessor’s upending of the racial hierarchy. After the vote, Ta-Nehisi Coates described Trump as the country’s first white president, in that whiteness is a negation of blackness, and Trump’s driving passion seems to be a desire to negate the legitimacy and legacy of Barack Obama, the country’s first African-American president.

Coates’s point is profound, especially when read against those moral philosophers who say the right to political sovereignty can be claimed only by those who possess emotional sovereignty. “Self-command, self-possession,” Woodrow Wilson wrote in 1889, are the pillars of America’s exceptionalism. Setting Trump aside for the moment, Wilson—the man who segregated the federal civil service, celebrated the Ku Klux Klan, and launched a racist counterinsurgency in Haiti—must be considered among the whitest of white presidents. He believed that individuals qualified for political self-rule through personal self-rule, demonstrating that they could use virtue and reason to regulate passion and impulse. “Government as ours is a form of conduct,” he said, “and its only stable foundation is character.” Along with his predecessors and contemporaries, Wilson associated the virtue of self-regulation with white skin, contrasting property-possessing, self-commanding sovereigns with their opposites: unself-governable people of color. They imagined—in fantasies that fishtailed wildly between nostalgia and wrath—that African Americans, Native Americans, Mexican Americans, and Mexicans were immature, childlike in their emotions and unable to distinguish between true liberty and licentiousness, between the pursuit of happiness and lust.

In a way, then, according to America’s color-coded guide to political virtue and vice, Barack Obama might be considered the country’s only white president, in the sense that he served almost as a Platonic ideal of ancient moral philosophy. In office, he was preternaturally self-governed and self-regulated—Vulcan-like, as some said, and in control of his emotions, especially his anger. This self-regulation is a burden of race, which must have weighed heavily on Obama, being not just the first African-American president in US history but also one who took the office during a moment of extraordinary economic and military crisis.

Trump, by contrast, is all id and pure appetite, unspooling raw, insatiable, childish hunger every night on Twitter. He’s the most unregulated, unself-governed president this country has ever had, an example of what happens to the psyche of rich white people after four decades of economic deregulation. But white folks—at least powerful ones—get to decide the exception to the rule. (“Some of the virtues of a freeman would be the vices of slaves,” as one 1837 defense of slavery explained.) And that’s what makes Trump the whitest of white presidents: He can openly tweet-mock moral conventions that hold that only those who demonstrate self-sovereignty are worthy of political sovereignty and still be the sovereign.

But to get back to Trump’s psychic deregulation and Obama’s overregulation: Both are responses to what came before. Why now? Because the frontier is closed, the safety valve shut. Whatever metaphor one wants to use, the ongoing effects of the ruinous 2003 war in Iraq and the 2007–08 financial meltdown are just two indicators that the promise of endless growth can no longer help organize people’s aspirations, satisfy their demands, dilute the passions, contain the factions, or repress the extremes at the margins. We are entering the second “lost decade” of what Larry Summers calls “secular stagnation,” and soon we’ll be in the third decade of a war that Senator Lindsey Graham, among others, says will never end. Beyond these compounded catastrophes, there is a realization that the world is fragile and that we are trapped in an economic system that is well past sustainable or justifiable. As vast stretches of the West burn, as millions of trees die from global-warming-induced blight, as Houston and Puerto Rico flood, the oceans acidify, and bats and flying insects disappear in uncountable numbers, any given sentence from Cormac McCarthy’s The Road could be plucked and used as a newspaper headline. (“A Vast Landscape Charred, and a Sky Full of Soot” ran the headline for a New York Times report on California’s wildfires.)

In a nation like the United States, founded on a mythical belief in a kind of species immunity—less an American exceptionalism than exemptionism, an insistence that the nation was exempt from nature, society, history, even death—the realization that it can’t go on forever is traumatic. “You forget what you want to remember,” McCarthy wrote in The Road, to capture the torment of living in the postapocalypse, “and you remember what you want to forget.” It’s a good description of how those steeped in a definition of freedom as freedom from restraint must have felt living in Obama’s America, when they rejected with a racist fury even conservative, corporate-friendly policy solutions to the multiple crises of health care, climate change, inequality, and immigration.

This ideal of freedom as infinity was only made possible through the domination of African Americans, Mexican Americans, Mexicans, Native Americans, and Chinese, as slave and cheap labor transformed stolen land into capital, cutting the tethers and launching the US economy into the stratosphere. And now, as we are all falling back to a wasted earth, the very existence of people of color functions as an unwanted memento mori, a reminder of limits, evidence that history imposes burdens and life contracts social obligations. That many Latino migrants come from countries where democracy means social democracy—and that, once here, they revitalize cities and join unions—only inflames the right-wing backlash. Social rights, within the libertarian framework of American freedom, symbolize much more than mere economic restraint. They invoke the ultimate restraint: death. An implied conflation of social rights, race, and mortality was what made, for some, the “death panel” line of attack on Obamacare effective.

Maybe, then, Obama’s personal overregulation served as an intolerable aide-mémoire for the social destruction wreaked by years of financial and trade deregulation presided over by his white predecessors. The collective response (by a minority of voters) was to transmute the fear of death into a drive unto death, electing a president whose psyche is decomposing before our eyes to finish the job of deregulation. The tax bill is Trump’s Enabling Act—or, better, Disabling Act—ensuring that whoever comes next can’t reverse course.

Trumpism is a death cult. It counts among its priests a sheriff who tortured the poorest among us. Its saints are the victims of colored crime, and its sinners are African Americans (living reminders that American freedom was made possible only by American slavery), Latino migrants (themselves the victims of decades of trade deregulation, who come bearing a political tradition that says health care, education, and human dignity are human rights), and refugees from regions devastated by US militarism. But the cult has proved so confounding—which partly explains why those who dismiss it as immoral buffoonery find it hard to come up with an effective alternative—because what came before was also a death cult.

Trump’s national chauvinism is often presented as the opposite of postwar internationalism, which it is. But US-led internationalism during its golden age was profoundly skewed. It held up an ideal of formal universal equality among nations even as, according to the Sierra Club’s calculations, the United States, “with less than 5 percent of world population,” consumed “one-third of the world’s paper, a quarter of the world’s oil, 23 percent of the coal, 27 percent of the aluminum, and 19 percent of the copper.” Our “per capita use of energy, metals, minerals, forest products, fish, grains, meat, and even fresh water,” which all increased by a factor of 17 between 1900 and 1989, “dwarfs that of people living in the developing world.” It took an enormous amount of violence—in Southeast Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and Latin America—to maintain those numbers, and the pretense of calling this arrangement “universalism” could only be maintained so long as the promise of endless economic growth remained credible.

Trump won by running against the entire legacy of the postwar order: endless war, austerity, “free trade,” unfettered corporate power, and inequality. A year into his tenure, the war has expanded, the Pentagon’s budget has increased, and deregulation has accelerated. Tax cuts will continue the class war against the poor, and judicial and executive-agency appointments will increase monopoly rule.

Unable to offer an alternative other than driving the existing agenda forward at breakneck speed, Trumpism’s only chance at political survival is to handicap Earth’s odds of survival. Trump leverages tribal resentment against an emerging manifest common destiny, a true universalism that recognizes that we all share the same vulnerable planet. He stokes an enraged refusal of limits, even as those limits are recognized. “We’re going to see the end of the world in our generation,” a coal-country voter said in a recent Politico profile, explaining what he knows is his dead-end support for Trump.



Posted by: AGelbert
« on: January 15, 2018, 07:14:04 pm »

Surly, when I was young I read too much science fiction. I think you will be interested to know that an all too common thread in science fiction author future scenarios for humanity was the elimination of nation states by for profit corporations. I thought it was ridiculous baloney at the time. //

I say all this because I really believe the issue here is not Russia; it's MONEY by corporations. This is not just about "Citizens United" empowering corporations to make fascism great again in the USA; it is a worldwide morally depraved profit over people and planet cancer by corporations.

And that is why I really think the word "treason" means exactly nothing to any of the Republicans (and most of the Democrats too!).

The bright line connecting Russian oligarchs, Putin and American politics is money. The Trump criminal conspiracy is aslosh in it, but they are not unique. Oleg Derapaska has far more in common with Charles and David than with any of us.

I used to be big into science fiction, too. What SF writers do well is imagine new future circumstances based on current trends. It would be interesting to analyze how many once improbably future scenarios are now commonplaces, as we've driven past mores and convention.

Yes, it would be interesting.

Unfortunately, it appears to me that instead of moving more towards Utopia, as many Science Fiction writers hoped, we are moving more towards Dystopia (see below).  :P


Posted by: AGelbert
« on: January 14, 2018, 03:18:45 pm »

GOP campaigns took $7.35 million from oligarch linked to Russia

Surly, when I was young I read too much science fiction. I think you will be interested to know that an all too common thread in science fiction author future scenarios for humanity was the elimination of nation states by for profit corporations. I thought it was ridiculous baloney at the time.

Now that even the most zenophobic right wing reactionary cretins can be bought by corporations (that's what oligarchs run, of course), from a former enemy country, no less, I am no longer convinced these writers erred in seeing planetary corporate cruel rule coming. Sure, the scenarios pictured corporations as 'more efficient' than governments, but they did not shy away from also showing that they were a law onto themselves .

I say all this because I really believe the issue here is not Russia; it's MONEY by corporations. This is not just about "Citizens United" empowering corporations to make fascism great again in the USA; it is a worldwide morally depraved profit over people and planet cancer by corporations.

And that is why I really think the word "treason" means exactly nothing to any of the Republicans (and most of the Democrats too!).

Of course the transition to corporate rule is not complete in the USA, but the Ryans of this country certainly believe the finish line is near.

I think those science fiction writers in the 1950's and 1960's were as clear eyed as Orwell in seeing the most probable future from what they observed back then. Sure, the wars and intrigue took place out in space between competing corporations, but the gaping absence of government power to control them was all too obvious.

Posted by: AGelbert
« on: January 13, 2018, 04:18:59 pm »

Paul Krugman: Republicans Simply Want to Hurt People

"Making lower-income Americans worse off has become a goal in itself for the modern GOP."
Then there's the Republican cry to impose aforementioned work requirements on Medicaid recipients, which has only grown more shrill since Trump assumed office. As Krugman explains, 10 of the states exploring such measures have accepted Medicaid expansions, so they gain nothing by booting people off their rolls. Ultimately, their motivations are as simple as they are vicious.

"It’s about stigmatizing those who receive government aid, forcing them to jump through hoops to prove their neediness," he notes. "Again, the pain is the point." 


Exactly so. Immiseration of the poor, non-white and blue state dwellers is exactly the point.

Increasingly I have less and less patience with those who fail to discern that Trump is simply the logical consequence of 40 years of regressive republican policies, race baiting and dog whistles. Look closely and it is clear to see that the only different between Trump and his predecessors is that he has no self-discipline (for talking in code) and no filter. But the underlying thought is the same, now brought to full tumescence with complete control of the federal government. Also no patience with Both Siderist political equivalency.

Both Siderism has always been to deflect blame for our country being systematically wrecked by explicitly Republican atrocities and depraved Republican policies away from the Republican Party and onto anyone or any handy target.  The 60s.  Hippies.  Both Sides.  Social Justice Warriors.  Poor little brownshirt man-babies like Ben Shapiro and Milo Yiannopoulos being shouted down on some campus somewhere.  Doesn't matter.  As long as the discussion is shunted the hell away from the Republican Party, Mission Fu cking Accomplished. This is the purpose of half of the NYT's editorial staff (think David fu cking Brooks here) and most of cable news' daily morality plays.

The Party of Lincoln is now the Party of Jefferson Davis.

Well said!
Posted by: AGelbert
« on: January 12, 2018, 09:11:20 pm »


JAN 11, 2018

Why Jeff Sessions   Loves Pot Prohibition

The announcement by US Attorney-General Jeff Sessions that he’ll pursue federal pot prosecutions has two age-old motivations: power and money.

Financially, of course, the Republican party is vested in America’s vast private prison system. Every new arrestee means money in the pockets of the investors who own and operate them. Keeping those cells and beds occupied is the essence of the industry” and of Pot Prohibition.

The Drug War is a giant cash cow, not only for the prison owners, but for the cops, guards, lawyers, judges, bailiffs and all the other operatives whose livelihood depends on destroying those of the nation’s tens of millions cannabis customers.

Medical legalization in about half the country, and full legalization in California, Colorado and other states, represents a serious threat to this multi-billion-dollar incarceration scam. Sessions has risen to its defense.

Then there’s the power.

As long as so many millions of people smoke the stuff, marijuana’s illegality give police the ability to bust whoever they want, whenever they want. It is the core enabler of a police state.

In fact, Pot Prohibition is a major foundation of the Republican Regime stretching from the White House and Congress to state government, the courts and beyond.

The key is disenfranchisement.

Since the Drug War’s initiation by Harry J. Anslinger in the 1930s, the principle focus has been on people of color. Anslinger promoted the term “marijuana” to deal with cannabis because it has an Hispanic twinge and aroused paranoid bigotry among the white population.

While promoting films like “Reefer Madness” to make pot appear like some sinister force, Anslinger’s minions made cannabis into a racist menace.

But it was Richard Nixon who took the assault to its ultimate depth. Nixon hated blacks and hippies. He also had a serious interest in slashing into their communities, and depriving them of the vote.

In 1972 his own Blue Ribbon Schaefer Commission recommended against Prohibition. Chaired by Pennsylvania’s liberal Governor Richard Schaefer, it said the health impacts did not warrant a national campaign.

Nixon ignored all that. Amidst a terrible war and racial upheavals, he proclaimed Drugs to be America’s most serious problem.

His own staff knew better. As aide John Ehrlichmann put it:

“The Nixon campaign in 1968, and the Nixon White House after that, had two enemies: the antiwar left and black people.

“You understand what I’m saying? We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin. And then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities,” Ehrlichman said. “We could arrest their leaders. raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did.”

The Drug War gave Nixon the key to his “Southern Strategy.” Through a wide range of racist rhetoric and policy, he successfully campaigned to move southern white racists from the Democrats to the Republicans. But many southern states had substantial black constituencies. He needed to make sure they could not vote.

Slapping them in jail for pot was a powerful way to do that. Because pot is essentially everywhere, it also lets police arrest pretty much any black person they want at any time. According to Michelle Alexander’s THE NEW JIM CROW, tens of millions of blacks and Hispanics have since been busted. And independent survey by Prof. Bob Fitrakis has estimated the number of Drug War arrests since 1970 in the range of 41,000,000. At a cost of more than a trillion dollars, the US could instead have sent virtually everyone it busted for pot to a four-year university instead.

Instead, the assault has injected deep into the black and Hispanic communities a cultural toxin based in the prison culture. While busting peace, environmental and social justice activists for cannabis, politicians like Trump and Sessions damage the black and Hispanic communities while turning elections and driving the country to the right.

Sessions occasionally make absurd moral and public health claims for keeping cannabis illegal. But the damage it has done to individual lives and the broader community is incalculable.

Pot Prohibition has worked wonders for a fascist establishment keeps power only by using it as a way to crush its opposition, steal elections and fatten its pockets.

Anyone that says otherwise is blowing toxic smoke.

Posted by: AGelbert
« on: January 12, 2018, 03:07:46 pm »

Cook, Zuckerberg, Bezos and over 100 other CEOs sign letter urging Congress to keep DACA program
Ending DACA could cost the economy billions

By Rob Thubron on Jan 11, 2018, 9:38 AM


Tech leaders have once again come together to fight a decision made by the Trump administration. This time, Tim Cook, Mark Zuckerberg, and Jeff Bezos have joined CEOs from more than 100 companies in signing an open letter urging Congress…

Full article:

Posted by: AGelbert
« on: January 11, 2018, 09:11:10 pm »

Robert Reich: The Resistance Report, January 8th, 2017

Inequality Media Civic Action

Published on Jan 8, 2018

Tonight we look at Trump's latest efforts to derail the Mueller investigation and take attention away from Michael Wolff's new book "Fire and Fury".
Posted by: AGelbert
« on: January 10, 2018, 07:53:47 pm »

How Homeland Security is Secretly Taking Away Your Right To Vote (w/Guest Greg Palast)

Investigative Journalist and director of the film, The Best Democracy money can buy, joins Thom Hartmann to discuss the secret move to make voter suppression invisible by having homeland security take over and classify it so we can't find out!

Thom HartmannJan. 9, 2018 2:30 pm
Posted by: AGelbert
« on: January 10, 2018, 07:09:55 pm »


And Compassion for All

By Eric Ortiz


Are you hopeful? It’s a simple question without a simple answer in these uncertain times.

But Sarah Silverman did something cool to end 2017 that should provide some hope. After encountering a troll on social media who called her the C-word, she showed compassion.

I believe in you. I read ur timeline & I see what ur doing & your rage is thinly veiled pain. But u know that. I know this feeling. Ps My back Fu cking sux too. see what happens when u choose love. I see it in you.
— Sarah Silverman (@SarahKSilverman) December 29, 2017


I can’t choose love. A man that resembles Kevin spacey took that away when I was 8. I can’t find peace if I could find that guy who ripped my body who stripped my innocence I’d kill him. He fu cked me up and I’m poor so its hard to get help.
— Jeremy jamrozy (@jeremy_jamrozy) December 29, 2017

No I just smoke weed. I’m prescribed medications which I take accordingly
— Jeremy jamrozy (@jeremy_jamrozy) December 29, 2017

I will go. But I trust no one I’ve been burned so many times. I’d give the shirt off my back and everytime I get burned. I’m super antisocial. I have no friends. I’m sorry I gave u  s h i t.
— Jeremy jamrozy (@jeremy_jamrozy) December 29, 2017

Im so psyched you’ll go. KEEP ME POSTED. Don’t give up on yourself. Be brave enough to risk getting burned. It’s what happens when u fight for yourself. But it’s worth it. I promise.
— Sarah Silverman (@SarahKSilverman) December 29, 2017

Silverman then used her platform as a celebrity to put out a request to help Jeremy, her new friend.
Yo SAN ANTONIO! Any kickass back/neck care specialists willing 2 help my friend @jeremy_jamrozy He has several slipped discs, no insurance, & can’t work bc of severe pain. Let’s get him back on his feet!! Who’s in?
— Sarah Silverman (@SarahKSilverman) December 29, 2017

I was their Director of Finance for 6 years and my sister is a CRS there @lmarti25 I’ll get her to reach out to him to get him in!
— Jen Carriedo (@jcarriedo) December 29, 2017

Jeremy started a GoFundMe page to raise $150 for back pain relief and was overwhelmed by the generosity of complete strangers.


America needs a life preserver. Liberty and justice for all are not the reality of today’s America . The system is still rigged against minorities, particularly blacks and Latinos, who are still moved to the bottom of lists. The government has failed and continues to fail the people, and the failure is by design. According to Nancy MacLean, author of “Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right’s Stealth Plan for America,” in an interview with Salon, radical far-right forces are working to destroy “the model of government that has prevailed in the United States and in many other countries for a century.” This new vision of America wants to undo all semblance of democracy—removing government responsibility for education, health care, food, housing, old-age support—to line the pockets of a wealthy few.

MacLean explained:

I think that what we need to convey to people is that this is a messianic cause, with a vision of the good society and government that I think most of us would find terrifying, for the practical implications and impact that it will have on our lives.

We are at a crucial moment in our history, and we will not get another chance, by this cause’s own telling. They say again and again that this is going to be permanent, and they’re very close to victory. So I think we need to be really clear-eyed about understanding this and reaching out to one another without panic.

… [T]he Koch network and all of these people are doing what they’re doing because they understand that their ideas make them a permanent minority. They cannot win if they are honest about what they’re doing. That’s why they’re doing things in the deceitful and frightening ways that they are.

And that, I think, is a sign of great power for the majority of people, who I think are fundamentally decent, and agree on much more than we’re led to believe.

The trouble is, the assault on democracy with Donald Trump in the White House is also coming from Democrats, who have moved to the right under the influence of financial elites to create what Paul Street calls the “nauseating nothingness of neoliberal capitalist and professional class politics.”

Thomas Frank said as much in the new afterword of his book “Listen Liberal: What Ever Happened to the Party of the People?”:

There was brilliance in the billionaire’s bluster. By denouncing free trade and the culture wars, [candidate Trump] was dynamiting the consensus orthodoxy that had dominated Washington for many years. This orthodoxy had, among other things, made possible endless sell-outs of working people by Democrats, who could savor their Tom Friedman columns and celebrate globalization’s winners and still count on the votes of the angry working class because such people had ‘nowhere else to go.’ Clintonism would only work, however, as long as Republicans did their part and adhered to free-market orthodoxy. Take that consensus away and leave the Democrats as the only party of globalization, and they would immediately be exposed to a working-class revolt within their ranks. … Trump was openly calling for such a revolt.”

That revolt has yet to happen. Trump has grown the swamp in Washington, D.C., instead of draining it. At the same time, he and his administrative tyrants have set out to destroy all sense of American humanity and the multicultural, “nation of nations” fabric and spirit upon which our country was founded.

The ruling class wants to keep American citizens divided.
That’s why we keep seeing policies opposed to what the majority of Americans want, with little substantive analysis of those policies. Instead, we get an abundance of “soap opera” news and “worldwide wrestling” narratives. Sensationalism sells. The rubes stay distracted and uninformed. The ruling class wins. All they care about is power and money. Anything or anyone that runs counter to making money or maintaining power is the enemy.

Our current government has no empathy because its political donors lack empathy. They don’t care about immigrants, economic equality, the poor, the middle class, the environment or peace—what a majority of Americans care about—because human rights, civil rights and decency are bad for business


Posted by: AGelbert
« on: January 10, 2018, 05:29:31 pm »

Posted by: AGelbert
« on: January 06, 2018, 02:55:47 pm »

Michael Wolff has done a crucial service, showing more intimately than any reporter yet the true nature of the man at the center of the American system. But without the complicity of other power-holders, Trump would drop from his central position like a tooth from a rotten gum. What we need to do now is widen the camera angle beyond Fredo Trump to the hard-faced men and women over his shoulders. Those are the people who put Trump where he is, and keep him there, corrupting the institutions of American democracy and troubling the peace and security of the world.

Donald Trump Goes Full Fredo
Posted by: AGelbert
« on: January 04, 2018, 02:18:42 pm »

This is getting REALLY good!   ;D


Trump lawyer sends cease-and-desist letter to Bannon: report
By Brandon Carter and Brett Samuels - 01/03/18 10:48 PM EST

Trump lawyer sends cease-and-desist letter to Bannon: report

© Getty Images

President Trump’s lawyers sent a cease-and-desist letter to former White House chief strategist Stephe Bannon Wednesday ordering him to refrain from making “disparaging statement” about Trump and his family, according to a new report.

ABC News reports the letter, from Trump attorney Charles Harder, accuses Bannon of breaching a non-disclosure agreement signed as part of working on Trump’s campaign.

“You have breached the Agreement by, among other things, communicating with author Michael Wolff about Mr. Trump, his family members, and the Company [the Trump campaign], disclosing Confidential Information to Mr. Wolff, and making disparaging statements and in some cases outright defamatory statements to Mr. Wolff about Mr. Trump, his family members,” Harder wrote, according to ABC News.

The letter to Bannon also states that “remedies for your breach of the agreement include but are not limited to monetary damages.”

Harder is a well-known entertainment lawyer who previously represented Hulk Hogan in his case against Gawker Media, which Hogan won and ultimately led to Gawker filing for bankruptcy.

He also represented First Lady Melania Trump in her defamation lawsuit against the Daily Mail, which was settled last year.

Harder later said in a statement to ABC that the law firm "represents President Donald J. Trump and Donald J. Trump for President Inc." and issued legal notice to Bannon over his statements in Michael Wolff’s new book, “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House.”

"On behalf of our clients, legal notice was issued today to Stephen K. Bannon, that his actions of communicating with author Michael Wolff regarding an upcoming book give rise to numerous legal claims including defamation by libel and slander, and breach of his written confidentiality and non-disparagement agreement with our clients. Legal action is imminent," Harder said.

Excerpts from Wolff’s book were published Wednesday in New York Magazine.

In the excerpts, Bannon described a July 2016 meeting at Trump Tower that included Donald Trump Jr. and a Russian lawyer as “treasonous” and “unpatriotic.”

He also said he believed there was “zero” chance that the president was not aware of the meeting, which contradicts previous White House statements.

“They’re going to crack Don Jr. like an egg on national TV,” Bannon reportedly said.

Bannon, who was fired from his White House post in August, is quoted often in the excerpts as a central figure in Trump’s inner circle.

Trump blasted Bannon on Wednesday afternoon, painting him as someone who inflated his role within the administration.
"Steve pretends to be at war with the media, which he calls the opposition party, yet he spent his time at the White House leaking false information to the media to make himself seem far more important than he was," the president said in a statement.
Posted by: AGelbert
« on: January 04, 2018, 02:03:42 pm »

Trump is certainly NOT his own man. THe money that saved his ass OWNS him. I am certain the evidence of a quid pro quo that Trump agreed to in exchange for the laundered money is NOT recorded anywhere. So, no hard evidence will ever be forthcoming.

BUT, Bannon knows, and can prove, WHEN the money started coming in. All Mueller has to do is is link Trump Campaign actions DIRECTLY (chronology of events within a few days of receiving "loans") with the money laundering SOURCE. That is prima facie evidence, even if circumstantial, that Trump colluded with a foreign power by running for POTUS for the purpose of getting out of debt.

So, unless Mueller gets something from Bannon with TEETH in it, I do not yet believe Bannon is suddenly on the side of the angels.

Something like the sale of a Florida mansion to the Russian "Fertilizer King" for a $55 million profit on the flip?  

Photographed in 2005 (at article link), Donald Trump stands in front of 515 N. County Rd., the estate he bought at auction for about $41 million, renovated and then sold in 2008 at a recorded $95 million.

Donald Trump and the mansion that no one wanted. Then came a Russian fertilizer king


FEBRUARY 27, 2017 06:31 AM

UPDATED JULY 21, 2017 10:13 AM

Since the allegations about Donald Trump’s business connections to Russia started to fly last year in the middle of his presidential campaign, the fog of political war has made it difficult to tell the real from the shadow. Except for one very visible landmark: a sprawling, rococo seaside mansion in Palm Beach that Trump himself liked to boast about as an example of his real-estate acumen.

This sale of the mansion has now become part of U.S. special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into potential Trump links to Russia, according to Bloomberg.

“What do I have to do with Russia?” he replied to reporters’ questions at a press conference in Doral last summer. “You know the closest I came to Russia, I bought a house a number of years ago in Palm Beach … for $40 million, and I sold it to a Russian for $100 million.”

That was a bland, if fairly accurate, summary of a wild and goofy tale of the Palm Beach real-estate market involving tax fraud, Russian billionaires, lurid divorce-court accusations and — at least in the opinion of some Palm Beach observers — the execrably vulgar taste of the super-rich.

It’s a tale that’s now coming to a sad end: That $100 million mansion, once the most expensive home in America, has become its most expensive tear-down. Not a single trace of the compound remains, and soon even its address will disappear: The 6.3-acre estate on which it stood has been broken into three parcels, and one of them has already sold.

“It’s an odd story, but Palm Beach real estate can be kind of strange,” said Gary Pohrer, one of the island’s real-estate agents. “People decide they want something, and they’ll pay a price that doesn’t necessarily correspond to reality.”

The story begins in March 2001, when healthcare tycoon Abraham Gosman, who had moved from Massachusetts to Palm Beach a few years earlier and reinvented himself as a philanthropist, declared bankruptcy. That financial catastrophe would eventually result in tax-fraud convictions for Gosman and his wife.

One of the casualties of the bankruptcy was the 62,000-square-foot mansion Gosman had built at 515 N. County Road and dubbed Maison de l’Amitie, the House of Friendship. A showcase for his charity events just a mile north of the vaunted Breakers hotel, it included a ballroom with a capacity of hundreds, an art gallery, underground parking for scores of cars and a 100-foot swimming pool. It was nested among a slew of outbuildings, including a barn, guest houses and a tennis cottage.

The Gosmans managed to hold on to it for a couple of years, but by 2004 it had been seized by the bankruptcy court and put on the auction block. There were several bidders, hoping to scoop up a plutocratic property at a dollar-store price, but Trump — a real-estate mogul still more than a decade distant from political ambitions — pounced, grabbing the house for $41.35 million.

“He bought it strictly as an investment to flip,” said Carol Digges, the Palm Beach real-estate agent who would eventually re-sell the house for Trump. “He never intended to live there.”

And he didn’t. After doing some renovation on the house, Trump put it back on the market in 2006 at price that made even jaded Palm Beach eyeballs pop: $125 million. Gossip Extrapublisher and columnist Jose Lambiet, one of a few reporters Trump invited to tour the house in an attempt to drum up buyers, was even more astonished by the price after he looked around.

“I’d been in the house before, at one of Gosman’s charity parties, and Trump had hardly changed anything, just put on a couple of coats of paint,” Lambiet said. “Even that — well, he told us the fixtures in one of the bathrooms were gold, but as he walked away, I scratched a faucet with my fingernails and it was just gold-covered paint.”

Lambiet has visited many homes of wealthy owners with more money than taste, but he considered the Maison de l’Amitie in a class by itself. “It was just terrible-looking, really gaudy,” he said. “Nothing fit together — it was sort of haphazard inside.

“There was a room with a floor made of cobblestones, and in the corner was a real wood oven for pizzas. It looked like an old Italian pizza place. Who does that in their house? ... I thought, he’s never gonna sell this. And he didn’t, the house stayed on the market for a couple of years.

“And then the Russian came along.”

“The Russian” was Dmitry Rybolovlev , a cardiologist-turned-potash-magnate (Russian newspapers called him “the Fertilizer King”) whose net worth was estimated in the financial press to be well north of $10 billion. By 2008, when he first inquired about the mansion, Trump had already cut the price to $100 million, and Rybolovlev offered even less, $75 million.

But Rybolovlev is well known for buying homes as if he’s spending Monopoly money. His 24-year-old daughter Ekaterina bought Skorpios, the 74-acre Greek island where Aristotle Onassis married Jackie Kennedy, for a price estimated at $150 million or more. Then there’s the family’s $88 million apartment overlooking Central Park West, the $20 million home in Hawaii acquired from actor Will Smith and the $135 million residence in the Swiss resort of Gstaad. (To be perfectly fair, that one consists of two houses.)

Trump, sensing his fish had taken the hook    , hung tough on his price. 

On July 15, 2008, Rybolovlev bought the house for $95 million (Trump says credits on the closing costs brought the total package to $100 million), believed to be the biggest home sale in American history.

Although some real-estate publications made much of the fact that the mansion was on the market for nearly two years before it sold, Digges, the real-estate agent who sold it, wasn’t surprised. “When you’re sitting in that price range, there’s not 50 people in line waiting,” she said. “People with that kind of money are not readily available.”

Confidentiality agreements, she said, prevent her from discussing exactly how Rybolovlev came into the picture other than to say that “the client came to me on a referral.” Trump himself has said he never met Rybolovlev , who conducted the entire transaction through intermediaries;)

In the rough-and-tumble Russian financial world, anybody with wealth like Rybolovlev is viewed with a certain degree of suspicion, and his business career — which includes a charge of murder, of which he was acquitted — has certainly had its share of adventures. Much of it is shrouded in mystery; he almost never talks to reporters.

But South Florida never got a chance to see him up close. Rybolovlev never lived in his new mansion and is believed to have visited only once. That may have been due in part to a terrible mold problem discovered after he bought it.

Perhaps more importantly, though, not long after the sale closed, Rybolovlev became ensnarled in a divorce from his wife Elena, a toxic spill that splashed on for seven years. In court papers, she accused him of hosting lascivious orgies involving young girls on his yacht; he had her arrested for jewel theft.

The divorce case ended in an undisclosed settlement in 2015. And last year, Rybolovlev gave up on the mansion, successfully seeking permission to tear it down and divide the land under it into three parcels.

By November, the first of them had already sold, drawing $34.34 million for 2.35 acres.

“I thought the Russian was crazy to buy the place at that price, but now it looks like he’ll at least break even,” mused gossip columnist Lambiet.

Probably not, countered real-estate agent Pohrer: Although Rybolovlev may make back his purchase price, he’s been paying about $1.4 million a year in taxes since 2008, as well as the considerable upkeep on the huge house. “Overall, he’s going to wind up losing a pretty penny on this, maybe around $20 million,” Pohrer said.

“I actually thought the price was a little low,” he added. “There’s really no other vacant coastal land in Palm Beach for sale — everything else is going to come with a house on it. And this was the biggest of the three parcels, so the others will go for less.”

Who exactly purchased the land remains a mystery. Legal documents associated with the sale list only the name of a holding company. “I would have thought I’d be able to find out the name of the buyer by now,” said Pohrer. “But I haven’t been able to. That surprises me.” So, maybe there’s still a surprise ending in store.

The former Abe Gosman house at 515 N. County Rd. in Palm Beach was purchased by Donald Trump, who in 2008 sold it to entity connected to Russian billionaire Dmitri Rybolovlev.
Some have said the décor of the mansion at 515 N. County Rd. was gaudy and mismatched.

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/news/business/article135187364.html

Conducting the "entire transaction through intermediaries" is a GIANT RED FLAG any detective looking for money laundering will immediately spot. I'm sure Mueller has already done so.   ;D
Posted by: AGelbert
« on: January 03, 2018, 10:12:58 pm »



Trump-Bannon: A political knife fight with consequences
Jon Sopel North America editor @bbcjonsopel on Twitter

    3 hours ago

Media captionFive things Trump thinks about Bannon now

It's not unusual for former political allies to fall out. It happens all the time. But normally it's done in private, and maybe hinted at in public. Not this time. Not with this President.

This is a vicious knife fight between Donald Trump and his former campaign chief and White House Chief strategist being played out across social media.

Other Trump family members and supporters are piling in too. Why? Because Steve Bannon has enraged Donald Trump with his description of a meeting that took place between the president's son, Don Jr, and son in law, Jared Kushner, with a Kremlin-linked, Russian lawyer as unpatriotic and treasonous.

    10 explosive claims from new Trump book

He's talked about how clear it is what the Special Counsel, Robert Mueller, is investigating - whether the Trump organisation was laundering dirty Russian money. Donald Trump has fired back in the way only he knows how. He has met fire with fire, accusing Bannon of having lost his mind, of not being that influential, of being a pretender. Lost his mind. Wow.

So much for the spat. Does it matter? Well yes it does.
Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Mr Mueller's team is investigating whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russia during the election

To anyone who will listen, Trump and his supporters have insisted vociferously, angrily, indignantly that there is no evidence there was collusion. In one recent interview with the New York Times conducted over the New Year at Mar-a-Lago, Trump raised the subject 23 times. Twenty-three times he denied collusion.

Bannon's comments won't alter the course of the Mueller investigation - his team is quietly getting on with its investigation and following where the evidence takes them - remember there have already been three people charged in connection with this. But it matters in the war of words on social media.

The narrative of Trump fidelis is that this is a 'nothingburger', or to change my food metaphor, sour grapes from the Democrats after their shock election defeat.

    Russia: The 'cloud' over the Trump White House
    Russia-Trump: Who's who in the drama to end all dramas?

Some ideological outriders have been saying that what the President should do is fire the special counsel, and bring his existentially threatening investigation to an end. But how much more difficult is that propaganda battle now to wage, when one of the principal actors from the Trump campaign, and the first six months of the Trump presidency talks openly and on the record about treasonous and unpatriotic behaviour.
Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption President Trump boards Air Force Once with his then top aide, Steve Bannon

The firing of Bannon last August the President did with a heavy heart. But it seems that hell hath no fury like a Bannon scorned. Or as President Johnson noted when dealing with the troublesome J Edgar Hoover in the 1960s - better to have him inside the tent pissing out than outside pissing in. Bannon is outside, and taking careful aim.

    How Trump cooled on Bannon

But if the Bannon accusations are damaging (and they are), there is one aspect of this which will be causing quiet delight in the White House. If you cast you mind back to the summer, the appointment of General John Kelly (and the firing of Bannon) was meant to mark the moment when discipline was imposed on an unruly, freewheeling, chaotic administration.

There would be a chain of command. Order. Discipline. Systems. Well Steve Bannon was gone, true; but he was still an important voice in the President's ear. Remember this iron law of governing. It doesn't matter what a person's job title is, it is what proximity they have to the centre of power. Bannon was on the outside, but he was still a source of counsel. Now he is not just on the outside, he is in outer darkness.
Media captionSteve Bannon's three goals for the Trump presidency

So what is Steve Bannon's next move? Well I make one confident prediction: it won't be to roll up his tent, pack his knapsack and skulk away with his head drooping. Bannon is campaigning to tear down the Republican establishment, and in Breitbart News he has a fairly formidable weapon with which to wage his war. Bannon wants candidates in this year's mid term election who will threaten the existing Republican leadership, who will follow the populist, nationalist policies that led Donald Trump to election victory in 2016. You have two men now violently fighting it out for the hearts and minds of the Americans who propelled Donald Trump to victory.

When I came to work this morning I thought nothing would or could eclipse Donald Trump's tweet about Kim Jong-un. But now it seems that Mr Bannon and President Trump are locked in a battle over who's got the bigger button and whose is most powerful.

Next move, Steve Bannon. And this is so much less life-threatening than real nuclear war.

IF this is not a Bannon/Trump deliberately engineered food fight to distract people while Trump gets down and dirty on Mueller, then this could be a good thing. The fact is, Bannon has been tight with Trump for a LONG time. Bannon knows where all the bodies are buried (both Trump's and, of course, Bannon's - they might overlap but they are not the same   ). So, all Mueller has to do, if Bannon REALLY wants to sink Trump (something I highly doubt right now), is to cut a deal exposing the crimes Trump has commited IN ADDITION to the Russian money that saved Trump's ass when he was going bankrupt (AGAIN!) and the money was laundered through the Deutch Bank as "loans" to Trump, in addition to the Trump real estate inflated priices paid by the 'From Russia with Love' money. 

Trump is certainly NOT his own man. THe money that saved his ass OWNS him. I am certain the evidence of a quid pro quo that Trump agreed to in exchange for the laundered money is NOT recorded anywhere. So, no hard evidence will ever be forthcoming.

BUT, Bannon knows, and can prove, WHEN the money started coming in. All Mueller has to do is is link Trump Campaign actions DIRECTLY (chronology of events within a few days of receiving "loans") with the money laundering SOURCE. That is prima facie evidence, even if circumstantial, that Trump colluded with a foreign power by running for POTUS for the purpose of getting out of debt.

As Surly said, real estate big shots rarely go into politics because they are so entangled in money laundering fun and games. Trump was probably approached by the Russians first, who knew exactly how hard up he was econmically (who knows, maybe they helped sink him economically, without his knowledge, to get a pliable stooge into the White House). Trump HAD to run for President. Otherwise, the money to keep the Trump pretend billionaire in extend and pretend mode would NOT be delivered. Trump ran a HUGE risk, due to all the criminal crap he has in his real estate background, by going for/into the POTUS job.

So, unless Mueller gets something from Bannon with TEETH in it, I do not yet believe Bannon is suddenly on the side of the angels.

Posted by: AGelbert
« on: January 03, 2018, 07:56:05 pm »

I know that I belabor this issue of the corruption funded by the Fossil fuel Industry a lot  ;) ;D, but I really think that Putin is on the same page as Exxon and the Koch brothers, WITH FINANCIAL MONEY LAUNDERING CONNECTIONS WORLDWIDE. This means the politicians are actually the "small fry" in this massive polluter stranglehold on politics here and abroad.

That Deutch (spelling?) bank in Germany is as dirty as they come. And the Federal Reserve bank(s) is/are every bit as dirty. That is what makes this MESS so hard for TBTB to admit to. It is a SYSTEMIC problem primarily funded by the Polluters!

Bankrupting the polluters would not stop immorality and corruption in politics, but it would be a good

And it's all perfectly legal. Logical even, given the dictates of end-stage capitalism and the perfect logic of the spreadsheet. And if it's not legal, we buy some new laws. The common denominator between Putin, the Kochs, the oilmen and the bankers is pure, untrammeled greed. The politicians are infinitely replaceable rental units at this level.

Real estate is a highly valued asset for laundering dirty money., one of the reasons so few real estate developers ever pursue higher levels of office-- they can't bear the public scrutiny.

Posted by: AGelbert
« on: January 03, 2018, 07:52:24 pm »

Suspicious Timeline Suggests GOP Blocking Merrick Garland May Be Tied to Trump/Russia Scandal

Of course they knew. They would never have put the cork on Garland unless they were SURE that Trump had the election in his pocket. What a pack treasonous scum these Reactionary bastards that call themselves "conservatives" are.

Of course. But the BIG news on Action News tonight is the fact is the Congressional Republicans, particularly the extreme right Treasonbunnies,  are in on it. In the fullness of time, they will be shown to have been the happy recipients of plenty of Russian oligarch CA$H... Which is why they are trying so hard to spike the Mueller investigation, lest he successfully follow it back to its source.

I know that I belabor this issue of the corruption funded by the Fossil fuel Industry a lot  ;) ;D, but I really think that Putin is on the same page as Exxon and the Koch brothers, WITH FINANCIAL MONEY LAUNDERING CONNECTIONS WORLDWIDE. This means the politicians are actually the "small fry" in this massive polluter stranglehold on politics here and abroad.

That Deutch (spelling?) bank in Germany is as dirty as they come. And the Federal Reserve bank(s) is/are every bit as dirty. That is what makes this MESS so hard for TBTB to admit to. It is a SYSTEMIC problem primarily funded by the Polluters!

Bankrupting the polluters would not stop immorality and corruption in politics, but it would be a good start!

Posted by: AGelbert
« on: December 30, 2017, 02:09:45 pm »

December 29, 2017 at 2:53 pm

Written by Carey Wedler
(ANTIMEDIA) — 2017 was a chaotic year filled with violent protest, threats of nuclear war, ongoing Cold War-style accusations of collusion with ‘the Russians,’ and widespread allegations of sexual harassment. Establishment media outlets like Washington Post and CNN took it upon themselves to protect American democracy from the Trump administration, but in typical fashion, many of the most vital stories of the year — the ones that reveal the true nature of corruption and power in the U.S. — received little to no attention.

Here are the top underreported stories of 2017:

1. The government continued its push to spy on you indiscriminately — When Edward Snowden revealed to the American public the extent of the federal government’s surveillance programs, the country was outraged for a few fleeting moments. But the issue of privacy violations has largely faded into obscurity since then, even as the government’s push for these policies continues. Before leaving office, Barack Obama granted more surveillance authority to federal agencies, and once Trump took office, his administration began pushing to reauthorize the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which has not only swept up the records of foreigners, but also American citizens. As the ACLU has summarized, Section 702 of FISA allows the government to engage in “mass, warrantless surveillance of Americans’ and foreigners’ phone calls, text messages, emails, and other electronic communications.” It was passed in 2007 and reauthorized in 2012 but is set to expire on December 31 of this year. Congress’ worked this year to push through a renewal with tepid reforms, though it now appears lawmakers may fail to reauthorize the bill before it expires on New Year’s Eve. Nevertheless, the ongoing push for data collection presses on. In September, Trump nominated Adam I. Klein, a surveillance and FISA advocate, to chair a governmental board in charge of holding the government accountable for its surveillance activities.

2. The media and government selectively informed the public about North Korea —
North Korea has dominated headlines for months, with the media consistently warning of imminent danger and repeatedly fear mongering about the perceived threat. What has been grossly underreported, however, is not only the U.S. military’s historical decimation of the North Korean people, but also the North Korean regime’s willingness to engage in talks. North Korean officials have repeatedly stated they are willing to compromise on their weapons programs if the U.S. backs off its military grandstanding. As the North Korean ambassador to the U.N. told Reuters in November:

“As long as there is continuous hostile policy against my country by the U.S. and as long as there are continued war games at our doorstep, then there will not be negotiations.”

The Reuters headline, however, read, “North Korea rules out negotiations on nuclear weapons” – as if the notion of the U.S. halting its military drills is simply not an option.

This detail scarcely highlighted in the mainstream conversation, with outlets like the Washington Post also running headlines and stories that drum up the regime’s unwillingness to halt the weapons development.

3. Just as in the Obama years, the civilian death toll from American military operations was swept under the rug —
Despite some mainstream reports on the mass casualties the Trump administration has incurred durings its ramped up operations in the Middle East, over all, concerns over the loss of innocent life remain lost on the American public. Though Obama dropped over 26,000 bombs during his last year in office — a massive number — the Trump administration dropped over 20,000 in its first six months. Roughly halfway through the year, over 2,000 civilians had died, and in the battle of Mosul, alone, over 3,200 died as a result of the U.S. coalition, contributing to a total of between 9,000 and 11,000 civilian deaths.

4. Police violence continues — Aside from several high-profile instances of police brutality, including the brutal shooting of Philando Castile, a legal gun owner (the officer was acquitted of all charges and received a settlement from the police department), and the recent instance of a cop forcing a pet owner to behead his own dog, mainstream attention on the system problem of police misconduct has been quiet this year (especially compared to 2014, for example, when protests in Ferguson, MO, drew ongoing national attention). At the same time, President Trump encouraged officers to be rough with suspects and continued to assert his unwavering support for law enforcement, claiming anti-police sentiment is “wrong” and “dangerous.” He also reinstated the federal government’s program of granting military gear to local police. Meanwhile, American police continue to kill civilians at staggering rates, with estimates ranging between 976 and almost 1,182 for 2017. The number of cops killed in 2017 was the second-lowest in 50 years, according to data from the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.

5. Establishment media neglects to inform audiences of the U.S. role in international chaos —Just a few weeks ago, CNN ran a disturbing story detailing the growing slave trade in Libya, where human beings are subject to gruesome conditions and auctioned off as property. Though the story itself received widespread attention (and the Guardian covered it earlier this year), CNN left out one key detail from the narrative: the problem exploded after the Obama and Clinton-backed NATO toppling of the country’s former leader, Muammar Gaddafi, in 2011, a detail the Guardian reported in April. Following the power vacuum left in the wake of that operation, Libya has become a haven for terror groups and horrifying activities like slave trading and r a p e. The media’s widespread omission of this fact prevents a thorough understanding of the ramifications of Western intervention in countries that are outside their jurisdiction (some outlets, like Newsweek, did highlight the Obama administration’s role in the growth of the slave trade, and to Fortune’s credit, the outlet acknowledged the problem was exacerbated following Gaddafi’s “fall,” though it failed to note how he ‘fell.’ Similarly, CNBC noted that “conditions have worsened since 2011, when former Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi was overthrown,” but failed to mention who instigated the overthrow.).

6. The world moves on from the American empire — As U.S. foreign policy continues to create unintended consequences, other global players are moving to lessen their dependence on America and the U.S. dollar. From Venezuela to Pakistan and Iran, countries are opting to conduct their oil transactions outside the long-dominant American currency. In addition, they are forming alliances. For example, Turkey, which has for years been somewhat of a U.S. ally, has strengthened ties with Russia. Iran and Qatar have mended ties, and even staunch U.S. ally Saudi Arabia is hedging its bets by building up business ties with Russia and China. The E.U. has also signaled its intention to become less dependent on the U.S., moving to create its own army.

7. Weed keeps winning! — Despite all the terrible news and seemingly unending flow of negativity, cannabis continues to make gains, and though the stories about individual developments have mounted in the mainstream, the breadth of the evolution is difficult to fully capture. Though the federal government has continued making huge numbers of arrests for the plant, the public’s support for legalization keeps mounting. Further, multiple surveys conducted this year show Americans strongly prefer cannabis as medicine over traditional pharmaceuticals. One analysis conducted by UC Berkeley and Kent State found “Ninety-seven percent of the sample ‘strongly agreed/agreed’ that they are able to decrease the amount of opiates they consume when they also use cannabis” and “81% ‘strongly agreed/agreed’ that taking cannabis by itself was more effective at treating their condition than taking cannabis with opioid.” Further, police are facing harsher scrutiny for their weed busts as the Internet schools them when they attempt to brag about cannabis-related arrests on social media. Despite the lobbying efforts by Big Pharma, police unions, and prison guard unions, the plant continues to enjoy increasing popularity and skyrocketing profits. This positive story demonstrates the ruling establishment’s continuing loss of control even as it struggles to keep its power over individual freedom.
Posted by: AGelbert
« on: December 29, 2017, 08:39:54 pm »

The Plan To Get 279 Progressive Democrats In Office!

When you strip the ideas and policy from their party affiliation it turns out that most Americans agree with progressive ideas. You would think a democracy would like laws popular with the majority of it's population?

Thom Hartmann Dec. 28, 2017 2:30 pm

Do Republicans Know The United States Isn't the Confederacy?

Capitalism is a Fundamentally Unstable System

Dr. Richard Wolff joins us, explaining that all the logic, all the math points to a when, not an if, the economy will crash.

Thom Hartmann Dec. 28, 2017 3:30 pm

Trumps Gift To Private Prison Investors

The Donald Trump presidency has illustrated so many of the problems in our systems, his latest surprise governance was to use the GOP tax plan to encourage the private prison lobby! Is this the behavior we want to encourage?


Thom Hartmann Dec. 29, 2017 2:00 pm

Posted by: AGelbert
« on: December 29, 2017, 07:24:55 pm »

The Right is Waging War on Academic Freedom


Published on Dec 29, 2017

The resignation of Drexel University Professor Ciccariello-Maher following right-wing threats and harassment is the result of a broader, ongoing right-wing campaign to intimidate progressive professors throughout the U.S., and it's having a chilling effect on academic freedom, says Trinity College Professor Johnny Williams.
Posted by: AGelbert
« on: December 21, 2017, 07:04:37 pm »

Quote from: AG
Maybe we needed this in-your-face massive fascism by Trump and his wrecking crew to finally realize we need to become a representative republic instead of a disguised Totalitarian Dictatorship.

Perhaps. Several factors obtain.

Look at Virginia, one of the few states having elections in 2017. Gerrymandering is such that the Ds swamped the Rs, and picked up a bunch of seats in the House, by the full impact of the wave was blunted as a result of incumbents picking voters in the way they draw districts. Also, voter suppression efforts in support of the white supremacist agenda are in full algal bloom in a number of states.

And never forget the impact of Hate Radio and Trump TV, aka Faux News. Most republicans have become fully-reprogrammable, interchangeable meat puppets, nourished on a steady diet of Sean Hannity colon nuggets and Rush Limbaugh slobberings. No matter how badly Trump fucks them, the problem will be held the responsibility of a Democrats or the nearest libtard. These people are irredeemable.

I hear ya, Surly, but there is only so far a person being told their ration of chocolate (see Orwell 1984) is being RAISED from 20 grams to 15 grams a week can be relied on to swallow the cognitive dissonant bullshit. Money talks and bullshit walks. All these people supporting Trump (and most everybody else) have been running short on social progams and medical care for over a decade now. They simply CANNOT keep blaming Obama for the death of their older relatives from lack of health care and the death of their kids from accidents due to decaying national infrastructure and the gigantic increases in health care premiums, etc.

The polls show that the Republican Happy Talk has lost credibility. All that Orwellian mindfuck does not work when credibility is gone. It's gone, Surly. Sure, the right wing bullshit artists will keep yammering about "how great things are without Obama". AND? They are paid to say that. Even the rubes know that. Those rubes are gettin' just a little tired of seeing empty wallets and ZERO future for jobs, education, their kids, etc.

Of course voter disenfranchisement is in full swing. I've been screaming about the uselessness of voting for years. You and I have argued back and forth on that. The millenials are going to go into VIOLENCE mode now, Surly. TPTB are full of right wing true believer lackeys that are, as we speak, getting gradually thrown off the bus economically. They will NOT go leftist. They will go into vandalism and crime. TPTB will see that and try to maneuver a pseudo egalitarian "leftist" government to calm the boiling masses. It will not work. And the millenials on the left will be every bit as violence prone. You cannot fill people up with hope for a better life and then trash them en masse without some heavy duty repercussions.

You will never convince a sane human being that they are not hungry when they are hungry. Fascists like Trump really believe that Orwelliam Mindfuck can overcome true perceptions through endless repetition. That's bullshit. Ideology and cognitive dissonant brainwashing never overcomes physical wants and needs UNLESS there is a basis for genuine hope, at which point people remain quiesent. There is now NO BASIS for genuine hope. That's OVER in 2018 and violence will proliferate simply because the young jobless people doing the violence KNOW THE VOTE DOES NOT COUNT! When people lose hope, all hell breaks loose. Mark my words.
Posted by: AGelbert
« on: December 21, 2017, 06:24:01 pm »

If you're not familiar with the work of Masha Gessen, you might wish to make note.

She began contributing to The New Yorker in 2014, and became a staff writer in 2017. Gessen is the author of nine books, including “The Future Is History: How Totalitarianism Reclaimed Russia,” which won the National Book Award in 2017; and “The Man Without a Face: The Unlikely Rise of Vladimir Putin.” Gessen has written about Russia, autocracy, L.G.B.T. rights, Vladimir Putin, and Donald Trump, among others. She has also been a science journalist. After more than twenty years as a journalist and editor in Moscow, Gessen has been living in New York since 2013. You'll see this on TV as a contributor. One smart cookie.

Here she takes on the festival of slurping blowjobs seen in DC yesterday for Our Dear and Glorious Leader.

By Masha Gessen

December 21, 2017

The lies told by powerful men—and the thanks heaped on the most powerful man of all—are the language of a dictatorship. Photograph by Evan Vucci / AP

Donald Trump has scored a legislative victory with staggering costs. The price of the tax bill has to be measured not only in the loss American society will face in the increase in inequality, in the impact on public health, and the growth of the deficit, but also in the damage to political culture inflicted by the spectacle of one powerful man after another telling lies of various sorts.

All along there has been Trump claiming that the bill was a “gift” to the middle class. That this assertion appears to have no basis in fact has not affected the President’s statements. The President’s Treasury Secretary, Steven Mnuchin, maintained that his department had run the numbers and had shown that the tax bill would pay for itself. It appears that he lied, not so much about the result of the Treasury’s study but about the existence of the study itself: the Timesreported last month that the analysis had not been done.

This was a Trumpian lie, which is distinct from other kinds of political lying. It might be called a power lie: its purpose is not to convince the audience of something that isn’t true but to demonstrate the power of the speaker. Trump tweets blatant lies, repeatedly, to show that he can—and that by virtue of his bully pulpit, his words, however absurd, always have consequences. Mnuchin showed that he can do the same thing, and that he has more power than the opposition.

The bill’s passage occasioned an O R G Y of false public ritual. It began when the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, Ben Carson, led the Cabinet in prayer, which included offering thanks “for a President and for Cabinet members who are courageous” and “for the unity in Congress that has presented an opportunity for our economy to expand.” (Not a single Democrat, in either chamber of Congress, voted in favor of the bill.) Following the prayer, Trump called on his Vice-President the way a teacher might cold-call on a pupil. For a full two minutes, Pence dutifully offered thanks for the President’s “middle-class miracle”; he said that he was “deeply humbled, as your Vice-President, to be able to be here.” Trump looked stern as he listened, nodding slightly, his arms crossed below his chest.

Later in the day, the Republican leaders of both houses of Congress, the Vice-President, and other Republican politicians gathered at the White House to offer praise to their leader. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, House Speaker Paul Ryan, and others hailed Trump for setting records in judicial appointments and, now, for passing the tax bill. Representative Diane Black, of Tennessee, thanked Trump “for allowing us to have you as our President.” Orrin Hatch, of Utah, who has been in the Senate for forty years, predicted that the Trump Presidency will be “the greatest Presidency we have seen not only in generations but maybe ever.” Pence performed, too, again, addressing Trump: “You will make America great again.”

Political speeches are rarely occasions for truth-telling. But the good ones combine a description of shared reality with the expression of a vision, or with words of celebration. The mediocre ones consist of platitudes—well-intentioned but lacking the force of inspiration or recognition. And then there is the genre of the thoroughly insincere pronouncement that is all empty ritual. This is not normally observed in countries with functioning democratic institutions, because hollow words are the very opposite of accountability. These kinds of speeches are usually given in dictatorships: their intended audience is not the public but the tyrant. This is what we observed in Washington on Wednesday, and it’s the scariest part of Trump’s big tax triumph.

Masha Gessen, a staff writer, has written several books, including, most recently, “The Future Is History: How Totalitarianism Reclaimed Russia,” which won the National Book Award in 2017.

Posted by: AGelbert
« on: December 21, 2017, 05:58:39 pm »

Tom Steyer -- Need to Impeach <yes@needtoimpeach.com>


For the past few weeks, Fox News and GOP members of Congress have been laying the groundwork to fire Special Counsel Robert Mueller. They are not even pretending anymore -- they are aiding and abetting an administration that thinks it's above the law.

There's only one solution: Impeachment -- and you and I, and 3.7 million other Americans agree. We are a huge movement, and we are making a difference. Look, back in October, just two members of Congress supported impeachment. Today, 171 members of Congress sent Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein a letter stating their support for Robert Mueller's Russia investigation. That's progress!

Now, we need the full force Congress to take action against Trump's lawless power-grab.

So we've created a new video that shows just one of the eight ways Trump has committed impeachable offenses. Please watch the video, and share it with your friends. Use it as talking points over the holidays.

Watch and share!

We have to keep up the pressure. The establishment has no plan for what happens when Trump fires Mueller, but we do.

Thank you for taking action this holiday season.

Tom Steyer

Posted by: AGelbert
« on: December 19, 2017, 07:52:15 pm »

Cutting Regulations Is Already Killing Us, The Tax Scam Will Make Inequality Worse

Even with the majority of Americans being against the Republican Tax Scam , massive inequality all around the world, the Republicans have fought to pass a bill that will redistribute our money to the morbidly Rich.

Thom Hartmann Dec. 19, 2017 2:00 pm
Posted by: AGelbert
« on: December 19, 2017, 07:25:07 pm »

Fascism took over Germany in the EXACT SAME WAY it is taking over in the USA  >:(

It's one thing if Milton Mayer warns us about fascism but what does it say about our nation when former presidents are becoming concerned?

Thom Hartmann Dec. 19, 2017 2:30 pm

Posted by: AGelbert
« on: December 19, 2017, 06:01:11 pm »

The best description of Trump is from a seven year old Croatian psychiatric journal.

By ian douglas rushlau 

Tuesday Dec 19, 2017 · 11:01 AM EST

It’s not often that psychological diagnoses become the stuff of everyday conversations, but these aren’t ordinary times.

(In the interest of full disclosure, I’m a clinical psychologist in private practice, with a background that includes work in inpatient hospitals and prisons.)


Before the age of Trump, there was an understanding that mental health professionals were not to publicly comment on perceived or presumed psychological problems of elected officials, known as the ‘Goldwater rule’, after the late Barry Goldwater. (For more on the history and recent discussion of the Goldwater rule, see here.) With Trump’s installation in the White House, the concerns over offering opinions of public figures that a professional has not personally evaluated have given way to the simple reality that Trump is so obviously severely mentally ill and mentally unfit to serve as President:

Q: Who are the National Coalition of Concerned Mental Health Experts?

A: We are a group of mental health professionals who have come together after a Yale ethics conference, which led to the instant bestseller, “The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump: 27 Psychiatrists and Mental Health Experts Assess a President.” We seek to alert lawmakers and the public to the dangerousness of the current president before an irreversible national or international crisis occurs. We represent more than the 27 in the book: we now number in the hundreds, and expect soon to number in the thousands or tens of thousands.

Q: What is our mission?

A. We are dedicated to sharing our knowledge for the purpose of warning and protecting national and international well-being and security.  We are currently consulting with government officials who seek our expertise. We bring our scientific information, clinical expertise, and practical experience to understanding and handling this situation, with the goal of offering solutions and hope.

Q: What is a mental health professional’s Duty to Warn?

A: Most states have laws that either require or permit mental health professionals to disclose information about patients who may become violent. Those laws are receiving increased attention following recent mass shootings, such as those in Aurora, Colo., and Newtown, Conn. A New York law enacted January 15, 2013, makes it mandatory for mental health professionals to report when they believe patients may pose a danger to themselves or others. New York’s law also allows law enforcement to remove firearms owned by patients reported to be likely to be dangerous.

Is Donald Trump's mental health becoming dangerous? https://t.co/uQfMY04Dkk

— Duty To Warn (@duty2warn) December 8, 2017
How best to describe Trump in psychological terms? Many professionals (and non-professionals) have offered diagnoses, but one has entered public discourse more than others, and it is in my view the most accurate: Malignant Narcissism.

What is Malignant Narcissism [MN]? The best overview I’ve come across is found in a seven year old article in a not especially well known journal from Croatia, Psychiatria Danubina :

Malignant Narcissism: From Fairy Tales to Harsh Reality

Mila Goldner-Vukov & Laurie Jo Moore

University of Auckland Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences, Manaaki House Community Mental Health Service

Psychiatria Danubina
(2010) Vol. 22, No. 3, pp 392–405

In MN destructive aspects of the self and the expression of aggression become idealized (Rosenfield,1971). People with MN give the appearance of being self-sufficient and successful. Covertly, however, theyare fragile, vulnerable to shame and sensitive to criticism. Failure to succeed in grandiose efforts results in prominent mood swings with irritability, rage and feelings of emptiness.

People with MN are driven by an intense need for recognition. Inwardly, they are deeply envious of people who have meaningful lives. They are adaptive, capable of consistent hard work and of achieving success. However, their work is done primarily to gain admiration and their intellect is strikingly shallow. They are often materialistic and ready to shift their values to gain favour. They are prone to pathological lying.

In the realm of love and sexuality they are charming, seductive and promiscuous, but unable to develop deep relationships.

When not involved in narcissistic pursuits, they are cold, unempathetic, exploitative and indifferent towards others. Disturbing feelings of inferiority, self-doubt,boredom, alienation, emptiness and aimlessness underlie their persona (Kernberg 1984). (pg. 393, emphasis added)

If one does not see these features in Trump, one is deliberately choosing not to see them.

And if one does not see his imminent dangerousness of such a person in command of the armed forces, and especially our nuclear arsenal— because of the utter unpredictability and irrationality of his lashing out— then one is simply a fool.

Full article:


Posted by: AGelbert
« on: December 15, 2017, 01:35:42 pm »

New York attorney general to sue   following net neutrality repeal

Other states will likely follow in the coming days 

By William Gayde on Dec 14, 2017, 7:01 PM

Full article:

Posted by: AGelbert
« on: December 12, 2017, 06:41:00 pm »

Five Ways Moore and the GOP Could Steal the Alabama Election

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

By Greg Palast, Truthout | Report

EXCELLENT must read article:


Short Video explaining one of the low down dirty ways the GOP steals elections (Caging):

And THIS from Thom Hartmann

Al Gore won the popular vote, so did Hillary Clinton, and still Republicans are winning left and right... well at least right....

Thom Hartmann Dec. 11, 2017 4:00 pm

Please Pass this on!
Posted by: AGelbert
« on: December 09, 2017, 10:06:52 pm »

Eddie, if a person comes to you with such severe problems in his teeth and gums that you, as an experienced dentist, KNOW he has a 93% chance of losing all his teeth, plus possible blood poisoning and God knows what else, you will, of course, tell him the bitter prognocis. But that does NOT mean that you would avoid learning WHAT HE DID to cause the diseased condition so he will not CONTINUE TO DO IT. That does not mean that, RIGHT NOW, you will not do your best to save some of his teeth.

Actually, what you do in this situation is avoid going to a Dentist who charges as much as Eddie does and fly down to Mexico to have the offending teeth yanked for 10 cents on the dollar by a Mexican Dentist.  Then you adjust to the new way of life by eating mostly soft foods.  My diet consists of stuff like Brie Cheese, Cottage Cheese, Bananas, Berries, Sashimi, Soups of various kinds, Raw Meat (either ground sirloin or thin sliced filet mignon if I feel like spending), rice & beans, etc.  When I do have enough of an appetite to actually eat, I have no problem fulfilling my nutritional requirements with the 6 teeth I have left at the top front of my mouth.

To extend the analogy, when your teeth are so far gone you can't fix them, don't waste your money getting expensive implants from an expensive Dentist.  Get rid of the fu ck ing teeth and adjust to the New Reality.

We need to adjust to the new reality here, not try to fix a terminally broken set of teeth.


I understand what you did with your dentition and I'm glad it worked for you. But can you honestly say that you solved all your health problems with that decision? Can you honestly say that your diet did not contribute to PAD and other health woes you are now experiencing? If you want to push the analogy, I must say to you that you cannot simply cherry pick a symptoms solving therapy that solved the teeth issue but did not address the root causes in your overall health problems.

Reality IS. I ALWAYS deal with it. Sometimes I do not deal with it all that successfully , but I will not pretend it ain't there.

I disagree strongly with you if you think that I am the one "not adjusting to reality". The costs here are not just measured in dollars and cents; they are measured in quality of life and longevity. You are experiencing the effects of everything you have eaten and all the toxins you have been exposed to throughout your life. A decade ago, when I was a year older than you are now, I had to have a pacemaker implanted. I did not just treat the symptoms; I changed my activites to prevent further problems. It has worked well. That's all I'm saying we should do. I know you long ago made some decisions that you KNEW would shorten your life (like refusing to stop smoking). You have accepted that the consequences of that decision are inescapable. Accepting that REALITY is worthy of respect. It shows that you, unlike Palloy, understand that there ARE CAUSES, ROOT CAUSES, to any health problems we have now.

As to the inescapable reality of the accelerating deterioration of our environment and our society, Palloy is the one who cannot handle it. This la la land view that global warming and catastrophic climate change is "all going to go away with collapse" is the ultimate in wishful thinking and straw grasping.

RE, what part of the following do you not agree with?
Even if carbon dioxide emissions came to a sudden halt, the carbon dioxide already in Earth’s atmosphere could continue to warm our planet for hundreds of years, according to Princeton University-led research published in the journal Nature Climate Change.

I refuse to engage in Palloy's magical thinking, PERIOD!

Eddie said:
I think you make good points. I think the "silver lining" of collapse (if there is one) though, is that there is some truth to Palloy's thesis, which is that collapse will be what limits climate change.

I don't know whether immediate collapse tomorrow or next week would limit climate change ENOUGH to save humans or the higher animals, but I think it's possible. I'm not optimistic that it would, for the reason you stated. And I agree with you that reducing carbon emissions immediately is still a good idea.

As of now, it seems to still be getting worse instead of better, and those who should be leading us into a lower energy future are instead in complete denial, and doing all the wrong things.

It's seems more likely to me that collapse will do more to limit climate change than all the governments and al the elites and al the current lip service to change. that's a pessimistic view, I know, and I wish I had more reason not to be such a pessimist.


NO, Palloy's point is without any logical or rational foundation whatsover. A collapse WILL NOT stop global warming for several centuries. Until you can somehow prove that humans can routinely live under horrendous climate conditions for over 200 years, you do not have any basis whatsoever to assume that a collapse will "improve" the climate during those 200 years (2018-2218 at least!). Sure, after 1,000 years or so, the average global atmospheric temperature will start going down from ABOUT 10º C ABOVE Pre-Industrial!

It's wishful thinking that Palloy is engaging in. It's irrational to think otherwise.
Posted by: AGelbert
« on: December 09, 2017, 08:06:33 pm »

"There is now a 93 percent chance that global warming will—once again, under the business-as-usual scenario—exceed 4°C by 2100."

Do you seriously think any BAU scenario can go on for another 83 years? -  It is struggling to make it through to New Year without CRASHING.  Then without money, electricity, internet, TV, radio, water, sewerage, supermarkets how are we going to keep the oil flowing?

We need to stop worrying about things that CANNOT happen, and start thinking about how to survive COLLAPSE, which will be harder.

Palloy is, of course, his usual irrelevant self. Rather than writing a mea culpa for all the times he fociferously argued that the RCP scenarios that are LESS dramatic than the RCP 8.5 were more "realistic", now that the PROOF is here that RCP 8.5 is, as I stated over and over, LESS deleterious than the REAL THING (i.e. TOO conservative!), he comes at me with this "concentrate on survival" distraction.

NEWS FLASH: Every human that lives on earth, and not in some la la land, is ALWAYS thinking about SURVIVAL now and in the future. Bringing that up is NOT a valid argument against admitting ERROR in the past, diner Einsteins.

We need to stop worrying about things that CANNOT happen, and start thinking about how to survive COLLAPSE, which will be harder.

I second this motion.


How can anyone expect the truth to be outed on 9/11 when we don't even know the truth of the Kennedy assassination (or I should say assassinations, since it appears that several people were killed, and their names weren't all Kennedy).

JFK, RFK, Marilyn Monroe, Mary Pinchot Meyer, Lee Harvey Oswald, maybe even Jack Ruby.

The conspiracy crowd has come up with a list of 103 people who died under mysterious circumstances after JFK was offed.  I'm sure they're wrong about some of them...but I for one believe that at least a few of them were killed by the USMIC/CIA or (insert your favorite DC alphabet agency here). Meyer is a classic example of how the CIA likes to wrap up a "loose end".

Count me in with Tom Lewis. Glad he stopped by the Diner to visit a few times. Glad he's still writing every once in a while

Eddie, it is true that the issue of JFK, RFK, Martin Luther King Jr., and others our government killed on behalf of the Military Industrial Complex Capitalist War Machine, is unresolved water under the bridge. But the trillions of dollars spent on Iraq and the transformation of the USA (see: the enabling Patriot Act) into a fascist dictatorship is firmly rooted in the destruction of those buildings on 9/11 by aircraft and the garage sized hole made in the Pentagon by a missile to kill off some nosey accountants.

Unlike the withholding of the truth about the serial assassinations our government is involved with in past, which have no immediate repercussions, as long as the truth about 9/11 is withheld, no progress can be made in transforming our government into a representative republic (for all citizens, not just white propertied men).

Sure, the climate is going to hell in a handbasket. Sure, we can all say it's too late to do anything about anything except digging a nice cool hole in the ground and stocking it with goodies until the "bad" people go away in a wishful thinking scenario only a truly egocentric human could consider a positive outcome (see below).

Well, that's pathetic. But many here, rather than facing all their errors in judgement in the past and recognizing the need to change their materialistic, self centered world view, just point fingers at all the other people ruining society, while studiously avoiding that face in the mirror.

Eddie, if a person comes to you with such severe problems in his teeth and gums that you, as an experienced dentist, KNOW he has a 93% chance of losing all his teeth, plus possible blood poisoning and God knows what else, you will, of course, tell him the bitter prognocis. But that does NOT mean that you would avoid learning WHAT HE DID to cause the diseased condition so he will not CONTINUE TO DO IT. That does not mean that, RIGHT NOW, you will not do your best to save some of his teeth.

You would, in addition to office work, also order your patient to alter his diet and would prescribe whatever to deal with infection. If your patient claimed it was "too late" or "why bother?" when he may end up with only two or three good teeth, you would certainly not tell him he was being "logical". You WOULD tell him that life is not just about teeth and that, regardless of his present condition, not tending to it NOW will shorten his life even more than it has already been shortened. You would scold your patient seriously and soberly. You would remind him that KNOWING the root cause of his health problems is sine qua non to his immediate AND future health and prolonged longevity (i.e. survival).

If he does not know the root cause of his illness, he will eventually become diseased again because he will not know what behavior he needs to alter to avoid the disease. This is not hard to understand.

Only someone who WANTED the patient to only partially and weakly address the symptoms, until the disease kills the patient, would recommend that the patient concentrate on some half assed therapy branded as "surviving the symptoms".

The above may be considered a metaphor for fascist corruption in government rooted in 9/11. The SYMPTOM is fascist government hell bent on destroying the environment on behalf of the polluters. For ANYBODY to IGNORE those symptoms is, of course, wrong. But to IGNORE the FACT that Fascist BAU social and environmental destruction rooted in 9/11 is eventually going to kill the society that suffers from the disease is grossly irresponsible as well as being SHEER IDIOCY! While Palloy is busy preparing to "survive", the Fascist Mens Rea Modus Operandi ACCELERATES the climate destruction that WILL NOT slow down for OVER 1000 YEARS AFTER COMPLETE COLLAPSE!. Palloy thinks that when collapse forces us to stop using fossil fuels and 90% die from whatever, the "survivors will be fine and dandy because the environment will begin to recover immediately"...

That is such a grossly unscientifc and ridiculously ignorant and irresponsibly dangerous assumption that I must, after much study and consideration, reach for my cup (see below):

Palloy, your "collapse will fix everything" claim is BULLSHIT!
Even if carbon dioxide emissions came to a sudden halt, the carbon dioxide already in Earth’s atmosphere could continue to warm our planet for hundreds of years, according to Princeton University-led research published in the journal Nature Climate Change.
Posted by: AGelbert
« on: December 09, 2017, 03:22:18 pm »

America, Please, Fog This Mirror

  By Tom Lewis | December 6, 2017 | Politics

Podcast: Play in new window | Download (at article link)

“Sir, I know you’re not feeling all that well, but we need you to get up and go back to work.” (US Defense Department photo)

Please, America, I know you are not well, but open your eyes just a little and listen to me. I know you were too weak to fend off Trumpicitis a year ago, and that it left you too weak in the aftermath to do much except marvel at your own ensuing insanity. I know your doctors have been trying some untested experimental treatments on you — the 25th Amendment, the Emoluments Clause, probiotics, that sort of thing — without any success. But dammit, sit up and listen to me, and stop mumbling “Do not resuscitate.”

You used to be “the last, best hope of earth,” for a lot of good reasons. I can remember when you still were, although you started to lose it in the 1960s. It was understandable; you lost three of history’s finest public figures to assassination in just a few years, and you became ensnared in Vietnam. But it was in the 1980s that you became really sick. That’s when the awful, metastasizing cancer of greed overwhelmed your defenses and began turning you into a pathetic shadow of your former self.

Read more:


Tom December 6, 2017
(cue Pink Floyd’s Comfortably Numb)

It’s so far from too late that there’s no sense of present time anymore. We’re in the early stages of being overwhelmed like that giant tsunami that swept Japan’s nuclear station away.

Economics gets more precarious by the day.

Nuclear war is clearly on the horizon – which seems closer every time I look.

Environmentally, all one need do is look around, let alone remember a few months ago to a world that doesn’t exist anymore (for Barbuda, Puerto Rico, etc).

Overnight a wildfire started in the dry tinder down in a small town in southern CA. Fanned by the Santa Ana winds, firefighters could only get out ahead of it to evacuate everyone in it’s path. The transmission line for a large area was affected by the fire, so some of the hydrants didn’t work (the hospital is out of commission too). There are millions of dead trees from the 5 year drought CA just emerged from – well, until this year – that provided ready fuel for this monster that roared though the valleys in the early hours – people having to leave their homes and all their possessions on a moment’s notice, some grabbed their pets.

With the EPA gutted and led by an anti-EPA zealot, there’s great legislation/policy changes coming like mining companies no longer having to put aside a significant amount of money in case of “accident” or “spill.” Nope, too burdensome on the poor corporation. Just hope for the best.

Politics is going to be our undoing as a nation. Well, that and all the social unrest coming from a brain-addled population, on prescription meds, with a concealed-carry license and packing, since ya can’t even go to a dang concert anymore, never mind the inner city, and somebody shoots up the place. Never any follow-through with the alphabet “protection” agencies (nor the msm) – makes me think they’re hidin’ something. I guess we’ll just hope for the best.

Everything is a mess now. Unaffordable health care on one end and agricultural companies out to poison us with Frankenfood on the other. We’re overworked, over-stressed, under paid, under appreciated with totally clueless kids that want no part of moving out or living in reality.

Education isn’t even glorified baby-sitting any longer. Now they’re out to break your spirit, drive you crazy and “graduate” you with no real skills into an environment of part-time gig work, unpaid “internships,” and other McJobs that will soon be replaced by robotics.

But it’s far worse than all this. What I’ve described is tinsel on the tree. Try living with pneumonic plague (yes, THAT plague) in the vicinity.

Try breathing air so toxic you may as well be sucking on a bus tail-pipe, or “farming” on newly volcanic-ash covered land, as far as the eye can see.

Thanks for the essay, Mr. Lewis. Always a good read that stirs a response.

Max4241 December 8, 2017

Feel free to strike this when you read it.

In January of 2002, I got into a conversation with an engineer. I was a bar tender, he was an out-of-towner in to have a few beers. At some point in evening he started talking. He said, 9/11 did not go down the way they said it did. He said, Jim, the laws of physics are immutable, and every law of physics was broken that day.

I argued with him for two hours. I gave him the now in-famous Noam Chomsky attack. Too many people would have been involved! Someone would squeal. Besides, the operation was too vast to plan and expect to pull off. And if things went south, which would have been the most likely scenario, who would be the fall guy? Everybody at the top would have gone down, dude! Everybody!

And my my own argument. The media, man! Don’t forget the media! They would smell the rat. And how did they wire those massive buildings? It would have taken months! It would have taken f*cking years!

Every human argument I made was met with cold empiricism. He said, Jim, I hear you, but planes are aluminum, buildings are steel. When the Boeings hit the towers, they were paper going into a paper shredder.

He said, the smoke was black. That means the fires were burning cool, not hot. Not that it mattered. The fires could have raged for weeks and not done a g*ddamn thing to the true integrity of the buildings. To the steel. To the core.

He picked up a stack of plastic shot cups, pulled one off the top, held it above the stack, and said, this is what you believe, Jimbo, that this cup is going to crush this stack when I drop it. And he dropped it. And he dropped it again. And again. We both started cracking up watching the shot cup bounce off the stack half a dozen times and more.

He said, Jim, the laws of physics are immutable. The thousands of tons of steel at the top could not crush the many, many, tens of thousands of tons of steel below it, and then turn it all into fine powder. It could not happen, not in any world that includes Isaac Newton.

When he was leaving, he said; Jim, next time you see a video of the towers burning, look at them differently. Don’t foresee the collapse. Think of them as standing tall, standing strong. They’re only superficially damaged, There’s some smoke coming out of em, sure. There’s fires burning on a few floors. But think of them as essentially fine. All they need is some water and quick patch job, and they’ll be good as new. You’ll see it all different.

He was wrong. I didn’t it see it differently. Over the next five years, when I encountered clips or vids of the fatally stricken towers, I saw only gaping holes and red hot fires and smoke, terrible, terrible, towering columns of thick, killer smoke!

And inevitable collapse. Anyway, I forgot about the guy. Well maybe not the guy. He was a very decent chap, and an honorable American, if I read him right. I also remembered it as a great night at work, the hysterical laughter watching his plastic shot cup experiment. The absurdity of it. That feather light plastic shot cup trying crush that immutable stack, and him calling me an idiot.

So, coward that I am, I let his argument go. I wanted to lead a normal life. It wasn’t until I saw Loose Change five years later that I became a believer. Had no choice. Tower 7 got me, like everyone else. Never heard of it. Tower 7. A giant steel building drops into its footprint, five hours after the towers, for no reason at all. Wasn’t even smoking! How dare you drop into your footprint without copious amounts of smoke!

Yup, five lost years. Perhaps my greatest regret. For half a decade, my pride and joy, my intellect, failed me. It did not do what I trained it to do, which is to look through smoke, always, no matter thick it is, to see the truth.



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