Monday, September 17, 2018

War

With all the distractions going on, I wish to point out that, once again, the mainstream press is totally ignoring the war on Talk Like a Pirate Day.

The Best Hurricane Picture Ever

From Guitar Coach Magazine:
Someone in the comments says the woman was actually photoshopped into the picture, but I still got a good laugh out of it.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Happy Birthday, Wherever You Are

September 16th.
The king.

Here's my favorite early B. B. song, with lead playing so clean and straightforward that it has always been, for me, a pinnacle of classic blues guitar playing:

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Corruption? Who Cares?

The endless string of abominations by the Trump administration is so great that this one is essentially going unnoticed, but it is so grotesquely cynical that I cannot resist bringing it to your attention.  From the Los Angeles Times, which does as good a job as any mainstream news source I know of in reporting on Latin America:

"A robust anti-corruption agency, seen as a model for Latin America, was created 12 years ago in Guatemala with strong U.S. support, and notched up an enviable record.

The International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala has prosecuted and jailed a former president, vice president and hundreds of corrupt police officials, politicians and businessmen.

But Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales announced on Aug. 31 that he was shutting the acclaimed commission, citing vague national security concerns. The panel was investigating Morales for possible campaign fraud."

A President shutting down a corruption commission which just happened to be investigating him.  Anyone want to take any bets on what the response of the Trump White House has been?

"Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo initially reacted with a tweet praising Guatemala’s relationship with Washington and thanking it for its “efforts in counter-narcotics and security.”

The State Department later said that Pompeo had called Morales to reiterate U.S. support for “Guatemalan sovereignty” and for a “reformed” anti-corruption commission, comments that critics saw as tacit approval of the Morales move.

U.S. officials privately justified Pompeo’s comment by saying that the commission’s crusading zeal could threaten Guatemala’s stability by undermining the government. Those concerns outweighed the fight against corruption, a senior State Department official said."

"Undermining the government" by uncovering evidence that the President has engaged in criminal corruption. Think now, does that concern bring to your mind anything else that is going on in the world today, where the President of a country might like to set a precedent that his own evidenceless claims of national security require crushing an inquiry into his illegal behavior?  I know you can think of a comparable example if you just consider the problem hard enough.

As I said, just one more in the endless string of hateful acts perpetrated by our current administration, but one that I thought was worth mentioning, for the sheer nerve that it took to take this position.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Can There Really Be Any American Who Is Not Ashamed of This Man?

Donald Trump today, going to a 9-11 memorial.  What is he cheering with this gesture, and what kind of demented mind causes anyone to have this expression on his face on such an occasion? He looks like a rabid animal.
This is a truly sick individual, and I want to make something perfectly clear:  There has been plenty of talk lately among Republicans and the complicit press about the alleged mental decline of Trump over the last year or so.  This is utter rubbish; he has been exactly the same as long as we have known anything about him.  What is really going on here is an ex post facto rewriting of history, so they can claim, "well, he's crazy now, but that doesn't mean that I was wrong when I supported him in 2016.  It's just a sad story, like all the other right wing monsters who are mentally ill, unlike Muslims who act the exact same way but are hateful criminals.  No conclusions to draw here about our party and the abominable thing we did to the country, so we are free once again to start lying and cheating our way back into power any day now."

Monday, September 10, 2018

The Trump Juggernaut Moves On!

Once again, Green Eagle has a chance to report on the massive pro-Trump movement around our land.

"A big pro-Trump rally called “The Mother of All Rallies” (or MOAR for short) is taking place (Saturday) in Washington, D.C...The MOAR rally began its opening ceremonies at the north end of the Mall, near the Washington monument, at 11 a.m. Eastern, according to their website...The organizers originally wanted one million people at the event."

Here are a couple of representative photos of the massive crowd:



One million people?  Well, they fell about 999,800 short of their goal.  Close enough for winguts to declare victory, I guess.

I'll leave the final remark to commenter James McMullen:

Technically, does it still count as a HUGE rally if most of the scant crowd who showed up there are seriously overweight?"

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Treason

"TRUMP, questioning whether one of his senior officials acted illegally about an administration effort to thwart his agenda: “TREASON?” — tweet Wednesday."

There is no statute of limitations on treason, as far as I know.  Well, if spreading "fake news*" about the President is treason, is not Trump himself guilty of treason for having led a national media campaign to accuse President Obama of being a foreign born Muslim, something he knew perfectly well was a lie?   Maybe it's time for some fair minded Federal prosecutor to charge Trump with that.

Just asking.


*Of course, we know that the charges in the recent New York Times op ed are not fake news, but real news, except in the sense that it is not news at all since every sentient human being already knew it was true.

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Sixty Days Before an Election

The Republicans are engaged in a full throated demand that the Mueller investigation must not take any actions in the sixty days before the upcoming November 6th election.  They are obviously deadly afraid that anything Mueller might reveal will further tip public opinion against themselves, so they are citing this informal Justice Department rule as an inviolable law of political conduct.

Well, here is a question that I have not seen asked.  I would assume that if this rule has any standing at all, it would only apply to people who are actually running for office in the upcoming election.  Otherwise, why wouldn't every criminal defendant in the country demand that his prosecution stop for the two months leading up to any election?  Well, Donald Trump and his corrupt associates are not running for any office.  Regardless of the viability of this rule, there is no reason on earth to believe that it applies to him.  Let the investigation and the indictments and the convictions go on.  If it casts a bad light on Trump's whole party, well, too damned bad.

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

The Truth About Republican Justices

Now that it is all but inevitable that the country is going to be saddled with one more Republican Supreme Court Justice, rammed through by systematic hiding of his record and beliefs, I want to make perfectly clear a point that I have heard nobody make in a straightforward way.

Rehnquist, Thomas, Scalia, Alito, Gorsuch, Kavanaugh...these are not Conservative Justices, they are not right wing Justices.  They are corrupt justices.  Their only intent is to aid the half century long Republican plan to turn the country into an oligarchic dictatorship with a few hundred rich families, and with three hundred million citizens living in poverty, without the slightest chance to affect the government's behavior.

Bush v. Gore, Citizens United, District of Columbia v. Heller, and a thousand other decisions, made not on the basis of the Constitution, but on the basis of what serves the interests of those few hundred families; criminal decisions made by criminal Justices.  And even though these decisions run counter to the will of the great majority of the people, they are made anyway, by a court stripped of honest Justices and packed with criminals.

And with Kavanaugh, a man who has made it clear that he is fine with enabling dictatorial powers for a President and crushing out of existence any public knowledge of his criminality, we will be stuck with this abomination for decades. 

I repeat: these Justices have no ideology, no beliefs, and no respect for the history and well-being of this country.  They are corrupt criminals who are being elevated to hollow out the United States and leave it nothing but a third world dictatorship.  And as this is just fine with a party which is perfectly willing to seize and maintain power through any kind of force and subterfuge, it looks like that is what we are going to get.

Sunday, September 2, 2018

Epicycles

Epicycles

As most people are aware, until well into the Renaissance, it was the common belief, at least in Europe and the Middle East, that the sun, the planets and everything else revolved around the earth.  This widespread belief came to be attached to the name of one Ptolemy:


"Claudius Ptolemy was a Roman astronomer who lived in Alexandria, Egypt, in the 2nd century AD. His attempt to explain the motions of the celestial bodies became the accepted theory throughout Europe and the Middle East for almost 2000 years. Only during the Scientific Revolution of the 16th and 17th centuries did people such as Nicolaus Copernicus and Galileo Galilei call the Ptolemaic model into question.

According to Ptolemy, the earth sat in the center of the universe with all of the planets (including the sun and the moon, which were also described as planets during this time) sitting within nested crystalline spheres surrounding the earth. They were ordered according to the amount of time necessary for the planet to make a single observed orbit. Thus, the moon was the closest, then Mercury, Venus, the Sun, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn. (Uranus, Neptune and Pluto were unknown at the time as they can only be observed by telescopes, which were not invented until the Scientific Revolution.)"

As scientists and philosophers calculated with more acuracy the movement of the sun and the planets, it became harder and harder to account for their paths, based on the assumption of a universe centered around the earth; but of course a sun-centered solar system was anathema particularly to religious people who insisted, often violently, on seeing the whole universe as centered around themselves and their myths.  The result of this false belief can be seen in the illustration above, which shows the complexity that resulted from the belief that the Earth was the center of the solar system.  This was true even though the sun-centered view did so much to simplify understanding of the motions of the planets, as can be seen by this drawing from the time:

The solar system of Copernicus


Why am I harping on this old piece of information?  Because I believe we are seeing a modern version of the epicycles playing out in front of our eyes in the claims, currently almost unbelievably popular on the right, made by some unknown person or entity known as QAnon.  I am sure most of you have heard of this unified field theory of right wing conspiracies by now, but if not, it involves a high ranked government official, perhaps Donald Trump himself, posting hundreds of cryptic remarks at 4chan, perhaps the most unlikely site to report anything true anywhere on the internet.  These posts, laced with numerology and endless other virtually unintelligible content, are interpreted to "prove" that Robert Mueller is working for Donald Trump, and they have prepared secret indictments against tens of thousands of Democrats, Muslims, Communists, reporters, FBI agents, people who work in Hollywood, and anyone else who has stood up to Trump, led by (of course) the Clintons, George Soros, Obama, the Pope and the Rothschilds, claiming that they are guilty not only of a treasonous campaign to destroy the United States, but of being involved, every one of them, in a massive worldwide child pedophilia, rape and murder scheme, as part of their worshipping of Satan.  Within a couple of months, it is asserted, these people will all be hauled off to Guantanamo Bay and executed.

QAnon supporters at a recent Trump Nuremberg-style rally

I can't say with any confidence that this is the furthest into derangement that these people will sink, but it is certainly the most insane specimen of mass wingnut paranoid delusion I have seen in my half century of following the right.  Nevertheless, this is the sort of political Ptolemaism to which Republicans have to resort at this point, to make their leaders out to be the good guys.  I don't imagine they are likely in the near future to reconcile themselves with reality, the way the Church finally did about the heliocentric view of the solar system, but I am extremely concerned with how much farther this mass of delusions can be stretched to cover the ever increasing evidence that they have all been conned by criminals and traitors, and how many of them will be reduced to a state of mindless, violent rage by the inevitable collapse of their mass lunacy.

We've seen that no amount of agitation, racism and hatemongering has at this point driven the right to any more than very minor outbreaks of violence; they are mostly too lazy, old and stupid to really mount any serious disruptions.  I am afraid, however, that the collapse of their lunatic delusions could drive a lot more of them over the edge into the mixture of neo-Confederacy and out and out Nazism that really would pose a threat to this country and the world.  I do not see how these people can continue to hold their lunatic patchwork of crazed beliefs together more than a few more months; as it becomes obvious that Mueller is not in league with Trump, it may prove impossible for them to avoid falling prey to the incitement to violence which is now a standard part of Republican policy.


But Wait! There's More!  Via Digby, I bring you  this chart of absolute insanity claiming to represent all the QAnon conspiracies in on grand place:

I had to import this image into Photoshop and zoom in to read it in all its lunatic detail.  This thing makes the epicycles look like a rational explanation of reality, and yet it is not far off from the basic "understanding" that lies behind the thinking of the people that are running our country.  God save us if the Dems do not take over the House in November.

Friday, August 24, 2018

Flipping



Your President:  ""It's called flipping and it almost ought to be illegal...it's not a fair thing."

It ought to be illegal.  Let's be clear here: "flipping" is a mob term for telling the truth to the government.  If the truth is bad for Donald Trump, it should be illegal to say it out loud.

Nothing else to say here; the implication is pretty obvious.

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Truth Isn't Truth

It would be the official motto of the Republican party if they didn't already have one:  "Everything for me and to hell with you."


Update:  Donald Trump today:  "“Even if I am telling the truth, that makes me a liar”

You figure out what he is trying to claim there.  It's beyond me.