Archive for February 2017
Good (?) Monday Widdershins
Due to mb being very, very busy with real life and stuff I’m putting this post up to move things along and to provide us with some further topics of discussion.
His orangeness has decided to give D.o.D. a 10% increase in its budget because, you know, there’s never enough money to hand out to Lockheed Martin, Boeing Aerospace, Raytheon, General Dynamics and the like.
President Trump will propose a federal budget that dramatically increases defense-related spending by $54 billion while cutting other federal agencies by the same amount, according to an administration official.
The proposal represents a massive increase in federal spending related to national security, while other priorities, especially foreign aid, will see significant reductions.
Yeah because foreign aid is such a large part of the federal budget.
How much of the federal budget goes to foreign aid?
What’s your best guess? 10 percent? 20 percent? 1 percent?
If you’re like most Americans, you probably guessed wrong.
In December, the Kaiser Family Foundation polled 1,505 people. Only 1 in 20 knew the right answer: less than 1 percent of the $4 trillion federal budget goes to foreign aid. The average respondent estimated that 26 percent went toward assisting other countries.
What’s more, our ignorance colors the way we think about foreign spending. Fifty-six percent of the poll respondents thought the U.S. spends too much on foreign aid. Once they were told that the U.S. spends less than 1 percent of the federal budget on foreign aid, only 28 percent still thought the nation was overspending.
Going back to the WaPo piece:
“We are going to do more with less and make the government lean and accountable to the people,” Trump said. “We can do so much more with the money we spend.”
The White House did not specify how Trump’s budget would address mandatory spending or taxes, promising that those details would come later. The vast majority of federal spending comes from programs Trump can’t touch with his budget. Social Security costs were approximately $910 billion last year, and Medicare costs outpaced defense spending with a total cost of $588 billion in 2016. Medicaid, interest payments on existing debt, and miscellaneous costs made up an additional $1.2 trillion combined.
Ah the old familiar “do more with less” axiom. Generally it meant that shit just piled up and got backlogged as agencies tried to prioritize the elements of their mission.
More fallout from the alt-right/neo nazis?
Jewish facilities around the nation were rocked by yet another wave of bomb threats Monday, forcing evacuations in at least 12 states.
At least 20 Jewish community centers and day schools in Alabama, North Carolina, New York, Connecticut, New Jersey, Indiana, Pennsylvania, Florida, Maryland, Michigan, Virginia and Delaware received threatening phone calls, The Huffington Post has confirmed.
This is the fifth wave of threats JCCs have received since the start of the new year.
I just don’t understand it. What is the point in threatening children? You want to discuss terrorism Donnie, try the home-grown version.
Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League, said that sometimes Jewish community centers and day schools are either “co-located” or near each other. “It is deeply troubling to see that these anti-Semites are expanding their scope to target a broader section of the Jewish community,” Greenblatt said. “These JCCs often house preschools and elder care programs and they often house after-school activities for teenagers.”
There have now been more than 160 bomb threats made to over 60 Jewish community centers since January.
There’s much more at the HuffPo link including a graphic of the number of threats against JCCs.
Jefferson Beauregard Sessions (the turd) is already hard at work doing what he does best: turning back civil rights to the “golden era” say around 1850 or so.
The Department of Justice is reversing the federal government’s position in an important voting rights case, involving a Texas voter ID law. The switch was not unexpected following the election of Donald Trump and confirmation of Jeff Sessions as Attorney General. Both Trump and Sessions claim voter fraud is a major problem and have backed voter ID laws.
DOJ says it will file a motion later Monday asking a federal court to dismiss the department’s earlier claim that the ID law was enacted with the intention of discriminating against minority voters. That claim was made by the Obama administration as part of a broader legal challenge to the law, which is among the strictest in the nation.
I wish I had Adobe Photoshop or something similar so I could put Col. Cornpone’s face on a garden gnome since that’s about what he reminds me of.
In a written statement, Gerry Hebert of the Campaign Legal Center, which represents some of the plaintiffs, said, “I am appalled and disgusted that DOJ would abandon their claims, that they have advocated for the last six years, that TX’s photo ID law was enacted with a racially discriminatory purpose.”
A federal appeals court last year agreed that the law had a discriminatory impact, but asked the lower court to reconsider its findings that the law was passed with a discriminatory intent.
A few other news items in my RSS feed:
Yeah because 20 million people now having health care…SAD!
Alrighty folks. This was literally thrown together in about twenty to thirty minutes so ignore any typos, bad grammar or anything else that reflects a general sloppiness on the part of the writer.
Of course it’s an open thread.
Good Weekend Widdershins!
Another week has passed and how many tRump & co. eruptions did we have? No, don’t answer that. It was merely rhetorical. However the answer is too damned many! Basta!!
Accordingly, we need to take our minds off the orangey pretender for a day or two. My suggestion is we take a look at some feel good, happy, or similar songs. Any type of songs that will take our minds off you-know-who for just a little break. If it’s something that makes you feel good or peppy (er no, not the Dr. Pepper song) add it in the comments. My choices are just below.
(1) What a Wonderful World ~ Louis Armstrong
(2) Going up the country ~ Canned Heat
(3) Somewhere over the rainbow ~ Israel Kamakawiwoʻole (yay for cut & paste with the name!)
(4) Good Vibrations ~ The Beach Boys
(5) Doo Wah Diddy Diddy ~ Manfred Mann
(6) Cool Jazz ~ Miles Davis
(7) Flying Home ~ Lionel Hampton
So there you go Widdershins: a half dozen (plus one) musical selections of various genre.
Please add yours in the comments below.
Sometimes the greatest ideas crawl out from under the most bizarre rocks. Here’s how I got to yesterday’s greatest idea of all time. While surfing the intertubz, I happened upon a list for what makes a dog breed dumb.
Listed among the characteristics for an intellectually challenged dog are: Difficulty in training, bad memory, inability to distinguish what’s real, and a general confusion about who’s in charge. As I read the list I realized it pretty accurately described Dolt 45 and the pack of feral animals he’s brought in to sniff his rather ample butt.
His pack of dogs is a varied lot. There’s the huge BannonMastiff. Typically it has a completely disheveled, dirty appearance like it has been sleeping under an overpass. The BannonMastiff drools a lot! Strange things trigger the drooling like obscure references to European ethno-nationalistic philosophers. This breed has a strong dislike and mistrust for others. It will attack other dogs especially mongrels.
Then there’s the Siberian Flynnsky – a very lively breed. It acts out and is often bored since it lives in a general confusion as to who’s in charge. At times it is almost as if it hears distant Russian voices. It is a working breed, but you can never be quite sure for whom it is working.
When it comes to territorial breeds, there is the Chinese Shar-Pence. The Shar-Pence is very aggressive toward LBGT, hungry people, or pregnant women. The Shar-Pence will not share. This breed suffers from health problems, but when it comes to veterinary care, it is a dog eat dog world where only the fittest and most righteous will survive.
There’s also the Speagle – a breed with a little Spicey mixed in with the Beagle. The Speagle is a piss poor listener and loves to bark. They are very difficult to train and can be dangerous because they can be confused easily. Unfamiliar scents cause them to get angry and chase their tails. They often chase shadows. Dog clothes never seem to fit the Speagle.
Last, but certainly not least, there is the perceived pack leader, the Toy Teacup Trumpoodle. This breed can be very amusing, but can be very high-strung. They can be extremely temperamental. They snap if they are teased or surprised. Often they develop the “small dog syndrome” where they believe they are the pack leader. This syndrome leads to snapping, growling, demanding behavior, and incessant barking. The Teacup Trumpoodle often has mental stability problems if not trained early.
What got me thinking was how often this ragtag pack wanders off the reservation. For instance, just yesterday Secretaries Tillerson and Kelly were in Mexico trying to clean up some of the messes of the Teacup Trumpoodle. While on their way to clean things up, the Trumpoodle laid a whole new pile of dog turds at their feet.
This pack is trying a fear-based approach to issues like immigration and overall personal rights. For instance, children will be treated differently in different states. In short, where you live will determine your happiness and socialization. If your parents happen to live in an enlightened state (both mentally and physically), your constitutional protections will be greater than your poor cousin living in a red state where they are clawing their way back to 1950.
It truly seems if our future is being mapped out by a pack of dogs. When it comes to budgeting, these grifters aren’t starting with real economic assumptions; they are making claims and then back-filling with magical hyperbole – a similar exercise to baying at the moon on an overcast night.
Then there are all these dogs hanging at the edges of the pack. These dogs were originally hanging around the Siberian Flynnsky, but now it seems like more butts than his were sniffed during the campaign. In fact, many more butts. There are many questions.
So what’s my idea? The best dog shock collar is supposed to be Dogtra’s 1900 NCP Field Star. So my idea is to outfit Dolt 45 and the cabinet with modified shock collars. But shock collar would show and look unseemly. That’s when I thought about shock broziers – you know that little extra bit of support for man boobs.
When Dolt 45 and his pack of feral cabinet dogs are acting crazier than outhouse rats, we could shock them with 1600 DC-1 Trainer Broziers. We’ve already cut a promo ad.
Here’s the way I look at it. It makes no difference if this pack of wild dogs running the country is dumb or viciously evil. The end result is the same. Lots of fear, lots of peeing on things we once thought were sacred, and hoping against hope the political pack of wolves will turn on the Teacup Trumpoodle.
What’s on your mind today?
It seems that every week I say something about how difficult it is to keep up with the news. And gosh darn it, I’m gonna do it again. I wrote a post on Sunday that by Monday afternoon was no longer entirely relevant. So here I am re-writing it on Tuesday night. It may or may not be up to date on Wednesday morning.
The big news development of the last 48 hours has been the very very rapid downfall of Conservative hero Milo Yiannopoulos. Why does anyone care about this degenerate and why are we taking pleasure in his unraveling? Though he was an active asshole before, Milo became famous in 2014 as a result of GamerGate. For those who may not know this travesty, here’s a brief synopsis: Several prominent female video game developers became the target of harassment and death threats on the internet, especially Twitter, because they were accused of colluding (having sex with) journalists for flattering coverage. Yiannopoulos published articles about it for Breitbart and led many attacks on the women. And so his right-wing, misogynistic public persona was born. He became a hero of the right, he hated political correctness, and his attacks on women, Jews, African-Americans, immigrants, transgender people, etc., made him a Conservative super star. His college campus tours brought out protestors, which fed his fame among Conservatives/neo-Nazis/white supremacists. It was a curious thing because Yiannopoulos is gay (and British. He also fetishizes black men. He only has sex with black men, which he insists is what makes him not racist. He doesn’t realize it actually is one of the most racist things about him.)
Earlier this year his fame extended after he led on-line attacks on actress Leslie Jones, SNL cast member and one of the stars of the “Ghostbusters” reboot. Yiannopoulos led racist Twitter assaults on Jones. Around the same time these people published private photos stolen from Jones’ phone. (If you think you can stomach it, see some of the racist Twitter attacks here. The overwhelming assaults briefly led Jones to leave her social media accounts. Protests against Yiannopoulos finally led Twitter to ban him. (But he did get a $250,000 book deal with Simon and Schuster.) These things made him a hero of the Right/Conservatives who claimed he – and the Conservative point of view – were being censored by the corrupt Libtard media. Ultimately Milo’s behavior – and the keynote address speaking slot he was given at CPAC this year – have revealed that modern day Conservatism is morally and intellectually bankrupt. The young leaders of Conservatism, like Yiannopoulos and bobble-head Tomi Lahren, are proudly anti-intellectual. The days of someone like Bill Kristol – a man you may disagree with, but you can’t argue he’s probably read a book or two in his life – are long gone for Conservatives. They exist solely to offend. Even many Conservatives recognize it.
On Friday night Yiannopoulos (wearing a pearl necklace) appeared on Bill Maher’s Real Time. Maher has been consistent on his support of free speech – and he has hosted many deplorable guests over the years. But his interview with Milo was the equivalent of Jimmy Fallon tossling Trump’s hair on the Tonight Show. An embarrassingly soft fluff piece, in both its official on-air interview and on the internet only Overtime segment. And Maher’s attacks on liberals who protest Milo are preposterous. I actually think over time Maher might become radicalized to the far Right. There is a very thin line between Far Right and Far Left. Maher’s long-standing Islamophobia and support for people like Yiannopoulis, could turn him into a Right-wing crusader.
But, back to the degenerate Yiannopoulos. He was still riding high through the weekend after his triumphant appearance on Real Time, when on Sunday an anonymous Republican Twitter group, Reagan Battalion, published previously public but unknown interviews with Yiannopoulos, in which he waxed rhapsodic about sex with 13 year old boys. And all hell broke loose. Though the Breitbart crowd fiercely defended him (including Michael Flynn Jr.), slowly establishment Republicans turned on him. Pressure was put on CPAC to cancel his appearance. It took over 24 hours for CPAC to withdraw their invitation. Simon and Schuster cancelled his book. And word came out that Breitbart employees revolted, demanding that he be fired. Eventually Yiannopoulos resigned from Breitbart (where he was an editor) before they could fire him. In his sorry/not-sorry resignation, he said he was sorry for his choice of words but really, everybody knows sex with 13 year olds is good and everyone is overreacting and blah blah blah. Where this horrible human being goes from here is anyone’s guess. Pundit on Fox? I have no doubt he will be back.
Good Monday, all! As we begin the fifth week of the Worst Reality Show Evah (Make it stop, dear Goddess, make it stop…), it has become clear that Republicans in Congress are refusing to admit that the man James Comey, Vladimir Putin and the broadcast media forced into the Presidency is completely, 100% loony tunes. Why? Because they really, REALLY want to steal from the poor and give to the rich. Somehow these evil plans make their tiny Grinchy hearts swell with bile – I mean, happiness. So until they get their way and make tens of millions of people suffer so they can fill their empty souls with more meaningless expensive possessions, they’re going to pretend everything is just fine. Or at least, they’re not going to invoke the 25th Amendment, which it is long past time to do.
The 25th amendment says in part that the vice president and ‘a majority of either the principal officers of the executive departments or of such other body as Congress may by law provide’ can demand the president’s removal from office if they decide he is ‘unable to discharge the powers and duties.’
Blumenauer said in a Wednesday op-ed that appeared on OregonLive.com that the amendment isn’t strong enough.
‘It has inherent flaws that need to be addressed. The amendment’s default decision-makers– the vice president and the cabinet — have a natural bias toward the existing officeholder that would make them reluctant to acknowledge the president’s inability to serve,’ he said.
Good Weekend Widdershins!
Let’s face it folks: the man is batshit crazy. We’ve known it all along. We saw it demonstrated on tv for all to see during the primaries and the general election. We have seen any number of suggested reasons for his behavior: he has a short attention span, he has ADD or ADHD, he could be dealing with dementia or could have sundowners syndrome.
I had a couple of pieces bookmarked with give some different diagnoses. This article from The Independent suggests he has “malignant narcissism”.
In a bid to warn the public, psychologists are publishing their diagnoses of Trump. Most recently, John D. Gartner said Trump “is dangerously mentally ill and temperamentally incapable of being president.”
He believes Trump shows signs of “malignant narcissism,” which is defined as a mix of narcissism, antisocial personality disorder, aggression and sadism in Campbells’ Psychiatric Dictionary.
Meanwhile, this article from The Daily News suggests a few other symptoms and other issues.
The fuzzy outlines of President Trump’s likely mental illness came into sharper focus this week: in two interviews with major networks, he revealed paranoia and delusion; he quadruple-downed on his fabrication that millions of people voted illegally, which demonstrated he is disconnected from reality itself; his petulant trade war with Mexico reveals that he values self-image even over national interest; his fixation with inaugural crowd size reveals a childish need for attention.
“Narcissism impairs his ability to see reality,” said Dr. Julie Futrell, a clinical psychologist, who, of course, added a standard disclaimer because she has never actually treated Trump. “So you can’t use logic to persuade someone like that. Three million women marching? Doesn’t move him. Advisers point out that a policy choice didn’t work? He won’t care. The maintenance of self-identity is the organizing principle of life for those who fall toward the pathological end of the narcissistic spectrum.”
Call it what you will, we know what he is: Batshit crazy.
I have found a few songs to go along with the theme. There are tons and tons of them out there but I concentrated on the crazy songs concerning those who are truly disturbed. My selections are below and feel free to contribute your own in the comments.
(2) Fight ~ Little Crazy
(3) Metal Church ~ Psycho
(4) Criminally Insane ~ Slayer
(5) Institutionalized ~ Suicidal Tendencies
(6) Stone Cold Crazy ~ Queen
So there you go Widdershins: a half dozen songs about mental illness, craziness, what-have-you in celebration (?) of our 45th President and Commander-in-Chief of the military. As always, this is an open thread.
Country over Party
Six words, that’s it. If we’re lucky, by 2018 we won’t even need a noun or a verb to finish the thoughts.
Come for the chaos, stay for conflagration. This is the Dolt 45 fine-tuned machine.
Yesterday’s performance was a guided tour of Dolt 45’s brain. In 77 minutes, he demonstrated what I have so inadequately tried to explain. He is the San Andreas of emotional fragility. He’s not going to change. You saw what stress does. Behavior patterns become more pronounced.
Dolt 45 is not crazy. He’s a 70-year old man who has never worked an honest day’s work in his life who likes to watch television and tweet. He believes he’s infallible because he doesn’t know what the word means.
Setting up warring factions in the White House ensures he is the eye in a hurricane of chaos. It provides him the self-esteem he so desperately craves and the charade of power sustaining his veneer of legitimacy.
Let me try to explain. Think about the best, mind-blowing, earth-moving sex you ever had. That is what yesterday’s press conference was for the citrus pustule. As he said, “I’m having a good time doing it.”
Here’s what I know from studying leadership. Any organization centered on charismatic leadership (personality-centric) rests upon clay feet. It is like the Platte River – a mile wide and three inches deep. It evaporates in the least bit of heat.
Crises are not planned via e-invites. They are coming. Whether it is a natural disaster, a Horizon oil spill, an incident in the Strait of Hormuz, or a terrorist attack, the time is ticking down. It won’t just be a failure; it will be a Category 5, Frontline documentary fiasco. Failure is simply the non-presence of success, but a fiasco is where anarchy apportions anguish and adversity.
This weekend troubles me. It has been almost 84-years to the day since the Reichstag Fire. It was a planned provocative act of arson to set emotions ablaze. This weekend event in Florida has a certain suspicious air about it. Nothing would change the media’s attention faster than paid insurrectionists rioting at an event where Dolt 45 is whisked away by Secret Service. Just sayin’.
Currently among Republicans, SCROTUS (So Called Ruler of the U.S.) is at a more robust approval rating than either Bush or Reagan was at a comparable time. The symbiosis is complete. Congratulations Dr. Frankenstein, it’s a boy.
And this brings me to the Country over Party part of TRICOP. Never before has the reverse concept been so clear to me. I’m guilty of mindlessly accusing Republicans of prostituting themselves as Party over Country and Power over Country, but when a future drapery salesman from South Carolina is your party’s lone moral compass, the GOP ain’t exactly writing new chapters for Profiles in Courage.
Here’s the takeaway: The Republican Party will allow this orange stooge to do immeasurable harm to the country in order to eviscerate FDR’s New Deal and Johnson’s Great Society.
There is an ugly, angry, maniacal lust at work to deprive twenty million poor people of health insurance in order to allow the One-Percenters an obscene tax break. I lack the intellectual capacity to understand that. It isn’t just the repeal of the A.C.A. It is also a rollback of Medicaid that happens to be the primary financing mechanism for the country’s nursing home/end of life care.
The gobsmacking piece of all of this: To finance the lipstick for the piglet they are going to pass off as a “replacement,” they are proposing taxing some portion of employer furnished health insurance.
Here are a few highlights from the first 25 days:
For those poor, over-regulated, underappreciated oil companies, they will no longer have to report their payments to foreign governments. Anti-corruption is so déclassé.
If you are keeping score, this weekend we will be spending $1,240,000 a day to protect Trump Tower with no one home, another $3.0 Million for another Mar-a-Lago golf outing, and about $200,000 for Uday and Qusay Trump to open their Dubai golf course.
Finally, if you are a policy wonk like me, we can be alarmed that Dolt 45 swatted away 50-years of U.S. policy supporting a two-state Middle East solution as easily as he would a Citrus Whitefly. And if you were worried about that pesky dust-up over a “One China” policy, it seems to have ironed itself out quite coincidentally with the granting of Chinese Trump trademarks.
For those 70,000 under-educated white guys in the upper Midwest: Is America great enough yet?
What’s on your mind today? Spasibo. Never too early to learn some Russian.