Senator Harry Reid on Donald Trump
November 12, 2016

Senator Reid’s comments on President-elect Trump:

"I have personally been on the ballot in Nevada for 26 elections and I have never seen anything like the reaction to the election completed last Tuesday. The election of Donald Trump has emboldened the forces of hate and bigotry in America.

"White nationalists, Vladimir Putin and ISIS are celebrating Donald Trump’s victory, while innocent, law-abiding Americans are wracked with fear—especially African Americans, Hispanic Americans, Muslim Americans, LGBT Americans and Asian Americans. Watching white nationalists celebrate while innocent Americans cry tears of fear does not feel like America.

"I have heard more stories in the past 48 hours of Americans living in fear of their own government and their fellow Americans than I can remember hearing in five decades in politics. Hispanic Americans who fear their families will be torn apart, African Americans being heckled on the street, Muslim Americans afraid to wear a headscarf, gay and lesbian couples having slurs hurled at them and feeling afraid to walk down the street holding hands. American children waking up in the middle of the night crying, terrified that Trump will take their parents away. Young girls unable to understand why a man who brags about sexually assaulting women has been elected president.

"I have a large family. I have one daughter and twelve granddaughters. The texts, emails and phone calls I have received from them have been filled with fear – fear for themselves, fear for their Hispanic and African American friends, for their Muslim and Jewish friends, for their LBGT friends, for their Asian friends. I’ve felt their tears and I’ve felt their fear.

"We as a nation must find a way to move forward without consigning those who Trump has threatened to the shadows. Their fear is entirely rational, because Donald Trump has talked openly about doing terrible things to them. Every news piece that breathlessly obsesses over inauguration preparations compounds their fear by normalizing a man who has threatened to tear families apart, who has bragged about sexually assaulting women and who has directed crowds of thousands to intimidate reporters and assault African Americans. Their fear is legitimate and we must refuse to let it fall through the cracks between the fluff pieces.

"If this is going to be a time of healing, we must first put the responsibility for healing where it belongs: at the feet of Donald Trump, a sexual predator who lost the popular vote and fueled his campaign with bigotry and hate. Winning the electoral college does not absolve Trump of the grave sins he committed against millions of Americans. Donald Trump may not possess the capacity to assuage those fears, but he owes it to this nation to try.

"If Trump wants to roll back the tide of hate he unleashed, he has a tremendous amount of work to do and he must begin immediately."

If Senator Reid actually believes that Trump, that vicious, vile, disgusting pile of pigshit, would sincerely try to heal the open wounds he has created, then Mr. Reid does need to retire.

Trump’s word on anything is worthless. He’s a liar, a con man, a thug, a sexual predator by his own admission and the testimony of a whole bunch of women. He is morally repugnant, mentally disturbed, and physically repulsive. He chose to empower himself by ripping this country apart. He’s gutter scum and the sooner he’s sent back there the better, better for the nation, better for the world.

As for his hatchet-woman Omarosa Manigault, who fervently believes we should bow down to this piece of scum, it’s plain to see that she never left the plantation.

Yeah, class act all around. That’s what the stupidity of the American electorate has brought us. In all the interviews with Trump voters I’ve heard, not one – not one – has demonstrated the slightest bit of intelligence regarding politics. They want a Savior – some even say that out loud. Yeah, he’s going to save them all right. The women are on their knees and the men are bending over, all of them ready to be saved. Lotsa luck with that. Too bad you’re taking the entire country down with your stupidity, your moral vapidness, and your utter inability to hear and to see and to understand anything other than Honey Boo Boo and the intellectual vacuum of  Kardashianism.

Sorry, Harry, but what you want to see is just not going to happen. Maybe, just maybe it will, but if and only if  Pigshit Trump can use it to put money in his pocket.

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This Must Not Stand!
October 6, 2013

This morning NPR/KQED did a program on the Vietnam Wall. I caught some of it. I get emotional over that time. People I knew died in that war. Their names stand on that massive black granite. That was my time, my youth. It sticks with me. It sticks in my throat. It brings tears to my eyes today. And I look at the country today and I think ‘What did they die for?’ Never mind that it was a misbegotten war. At bottom those men fought not against some vague Communist threat, but for a vision of America as a good, decent place where the ideal was equality and fairness for everyone, a place where everyone had a fair and just chance to make their life into whatever they wanted.

No more.

The country has become a cesspool of vile and ugly politics and greed and hatred. The politicians have sold their souls to the rich and the rich want everything else too. They want to live with their boot on the neck of the poor, of the workers, of the middle class. They degrade education so they won’t be challenged by people who can think, so they can provide a steady stream of mindless drones for their minimum wage jobs.

The men who died in Vietnam didn’t die so the Koch brothers and their kind could turn America into a fascist fantasyland. They didn’t die for Exxon to pollute the land and the air and the water for obscene profits. They didn’t die for a bunch of Tea Party ignoramuses and bigots to corrupt the political process with their ignorance and hatred.

But that’s where we are today. It is disgusting. This isn’t the America any soldier died for. This is an America of lies and greed and deceit. This is an America whose vision has been corrupted by small-minded men and women who trade in lies and greed and deceit to feather their own nests at the expense of every working man and woman, of every man and woman struggling to make a good and decent life for their family, of every man and woman battling for a decent education and a fair chance to build the life they want.

This is an America whose vision has been corrupted by hatred, by racism, by bigotry against the poor and the disadvantaged, by the hatred, the racism, and the bigotry of a small group of politicians and rich men who care nothing for the country and whose every thought they direct at taking everything they can get their manicured, soft hands on, taking everything they can from the poor, from the workers, from the people who made it possible for the rich to wallow in their excesses of wealth.

This cannot stand.

It must not stand.

If it stands there will be blood in the streets, there will be wailing in the nights, there will be a genuine war that will make the bloodbath of the American Civil War look like a picnic, the draft riots of that time like afternoon tea on the lawn, and from abroad people of other nations will see an America writhing in madness and insanity. And all so a few people, a handful of rich people and their kneeling servants in Congress, in every political system in America, can get for themselves more, and more, and more.

This cannot stand.

It must not stand.

It must not.

In the name of every man and woman who has died or been torn up fighting for a proud vision of a free and democratic America, this must not stand.

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The Loyalty Oath, Redux
May 18, 2013

"I pledge Allegiance to the flag
of the United States of America
and to the Republic for which it stands,
one nation under God, indivisible,
with Liberty and Justice for all."

"Ich gelobe Treue auf die Fahne der Vereinigten Staaten von Amerika, auf die Republik, die eine Nation unter Gott ist, vereinigt durch Freiheit und Gerechtigkeit fur alle."

So which is it, the flag or the Republic? Why pledge allegiance to a piece of cloth? If you’re going to swear a loyalty oath shouldn’t it be to the nation, or to its laws or its Constitution? Really, pick one: the gaudy piece of cloth, or the real system of government. Otherwise you’re just bloviating. Sort of like what those people do who drive around with flags flapping on their cars. Most of them couldn’t pass a high school civics test. Oh, wait, high schools don’t teach that useless stuff anymore, do they?

Why ‘and’ flag and Republic ‘for which it stands’? Cut to the chase. The Republic is law and nation and history and Constitution. Flag is cloth. Flag is copout. Love the flag and you don’t have to do anything – you’ll be admired for your ‘patriotism’. Ah, but love the Republic? Yeah, for that you have to fight. You have to get off your ass and wade into the fray; you have to know what you’re actually fighting for; you have to know some real history, not the phonied-up stuff from the Tea Potty and the screeching Republican fakers. You have to actually work at it.

It’s much easier just to mindlessly recite the loyalty oath and look down your nose at those who object to it (that would be me) and smugly diddle your mind with your profound patriotism. That’s what the ‘flag’ reference is all about in the Pledge. It’s a way out for the ignorant, for the lazy, for the fakers.

And of course my old argument still stands, that the Pledge compels silence, compels conformity, and compels Christian religious belief, all of which would have the Founders rolling over in their graves, if not digging their way out and heading to Washington to kick the fat asses of the faux Tea Potty Republican patriots running around befouling the whole thing.

Oh, the German thing up top? Yeah, switch out the States for the Reich and that would have fit well in Hitler’s Germany, don’t ya think? Dolfy was big on loyalty oaths.

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USA! USA! We’re Number One! We’re Number One!
September 6, 2012

Among industrialized nations, the United States has the

  • highest poverty rate, both generally and for children;
  • greatest inequality of incomes;
  • lowest government spending as a percentage of GDP on social programs for the disadvantaged;
  • lowest average number of days for paid holiday, annual leaves, and maternity leaves;
  • lowest score on the United Nations index of “material well-being of children”;
  • worst score on the United Nations gender inequality index;
  • lowest social mobility;
  • highest public and private expenditure on health care as a percentage of GDP

These trends are accompanied by the

  • highest infant mortality rate;
  • highest prevalence of mental health problems;
  • highest obesity rate;
  • highest proportion of population going without health care due to cost;
  • second-lowest birth-weight for children per capita, behind only Japan;
  • highest consumption of antidepressants per capita;
  • third-shortest life expectancy at birth, behind only Denmark and Portugal;
  • highest carbon dioxide emissions and water consumption per capita;
  • second-lowest score on the World Economic Forum’s environmental performance index, behind only Belgium;
  • third-largest ecological footprint per capita, behind only Belgium and Denmark;
  • highest rate of failure to ratify international agreements;
  • lowest spending on international development and humanitarian assistance as a percentage of GDP;
  • highest military spending as a portion of GDP;
  • largest international arms sales;
  • fourth-worst balance of payments, behind only New Zealand, Spain, and Portugal;
  • third-lowest scores for student performance in math, behind only Portugal and Italy, and far from the top in both science and reading;
  • second-highest high-school dropout rate, behind only Spain;
  • highest homicide rate;
  • largest prison population per capita.

From Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt by Chris Hedges and Joe Sacco: 2012, Nation Books.

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We’ll Take Our Country Back From Unspeakable Darkness, Says Mitt
August 31, 2012

Okay, the RTP piece of wood didn’t actually say that last night.

What he did say, among all the nonsense and empty flim-flam language and phony homespun babble, was that the United States is supposed to save the world from ‘unspeakable darkness’. The context was vaguely historical, but given the RTP’s affinity for Klannishness, it’s not far fetched to suggest that he was throwing some meat to the racial bigots, to the peanut throwers, the animal feeders, out there in the convention center that was built with taxpayer money from blacks and whites alike.

And today, babbling some other speech somewhere, he shouted, in his finish, ‘We’re going to take America back.’

We’re going to take America back.

Now that’s a bit ambiguous.

Does he mean he wants to take America back to the nineteenth century, or the eighteenth, or possibly the Dark Ages? That’s where RTP policies, such as they are, would take us. Of course Mitten would be satisfied to take us back to the status of a third-world country by bankrupting us with his lust for absolute military power at the cost of every other aspect of American life except for the part where he gives even more money to his rich friends and masters.

Or did he mean he wants to take America back from some force or power that took America away? Last time I looked the country was being run and staffed by Americans, duly elected. Perhaps he means the Americans in the White House. That American. Obama. The black guy who took America away from the real Americans, you know, the white ones who mumble in their sleep, mumble in their coffee, and blither in their get-togethers that they want to take ‘their White House back from the nigger.’

Mittens may not have offered a single bit of substance in his entire primary campaign and during the entire RTPNC convention in Tampa, but he sure does seem to be whistling Dixie to the white RTP people whose hearts belong to the Klan.

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Ronald Reagan Redux, America In His Darkness
August 23, 2012

It’s evening in America.

Today fewer men and women will go to work than ten years ago.

With banks paying virtually no interest on savings, with a financial sector filled with thieves, hucksters, and con men drawing astronomical salaries as they destroy American’s ability to take care of their families, Americans are more fearful and less secure than ever.

Hundreds of young men and women will marry today, and they can look forward to a nation that values weapons more than education; that values scientific ignorance more than facts and evidence; that values people with money more than people struggling with three jobs to support their families; that sends American jobs overseas to enrich wealthy owners who pay little or nothing in taxes; that gives pride of place to religious superstition and ignorance instead of knowledge and understanding; that seeks to degrade women to the status of farm animals.

It’s evening in America, and under the cover of darkness the forces of wealth, amorality, and ignorance, the forces of forty years of Republican and Conservative political deceit and lies, our country is weaker and worse off than ever.

Ronald Reagan told us it was morning in America and then he started turning out the lights.

Today in America, night is falling and the lights are still going out. Why would we ever want to put Republicans back in power?

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Go look at America’s new hero
August 7, 2012

Spinny’s got a thing up about America’s new political hero, the man who will save us from our follies, who has a brain like a steel trap… which pretty much closed a long time ago and can’t be pried open for anything. Take a look: Spinny’s place.

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Here’s An Interesting Blog by Jane Devin
July 29, 2012

Take a look at Jane Devin’s blog, especially this piece on the attitudes of the middle class toward the poor.

I don’t know who she is, but she writes good stuff.

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Reprise: Stopping The Noise
July 28, 2012

[I wrote this last Fall, in 2011. I just stumbled on it while looking for something else. I’ve added a few annotations.]

The television is gone. Literally. I threw out the television with a lot of other stuff when I had the junkman come and load his truck. But before that I cut the cable. Not literally, but I told the cable company, "No more! Cease! Basta! Stop!" That got rid of most of the telecrap, and a month later even the dregs were gone. I’ve been without the stuff since September 20.

I think my blood pressure dropped a few points.

It has, though I don’t know if I can attribute it to being TVless.

I was addicted to the stream of images, yes. My brain wanted them, wanted that flow of motion and noise. And some sick part of my psyche reinforced the addiction because my social life barely exists and television characters had become my social life. Between those two forces I was letting myself wreck on the reefs of triviavision.

I still have no social life, but it concerns me less. There’s no flow of fictional characters to remind me that my real social life mostly consists of Facebook, this blog, Starbucks baristas, and an occasional real person.

But a long time ago I quit smoking, almost thirty years ago, having my last two cigarettes on the day I went to divorce court. And I was a heavy smoker. If I could do that, I could certainly quit television.

Turns out television wasn’t so tough. After a couple of days I barely missed it, and now I have no interest in reviving it in my home or watching it elsewhere.

Which still rather amazes me. But it’s true. I don’t want it. And anyway it would take up room I need for books.

I do miss a couple of things. English soccer. The occasional professional rugby game from the far corners of the world. And that’s about it. There’s nothing else to miss on that misbegotten box. Maybe The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.

I do still miss soccer and the occasional rugby match, but hey, not so much. Nor do I really miss Jon Stewart.

The news programs have continued their descent into trivia and hysteria, delivered by people who barely qualify to appear in a still photograph, much less to deliver the news on television. All that can be said of a news program that tells you there is something incredibly important happening, something you absolutely must know, something that affects your health or your welfare, and then says they’ll tell you at the end of the show, or in an upcoming segment which doesn’t come up until ‘later’, all that can be said of such news programs is that selling you their advertisers’ products is way more important than giving you that piece of information.

I get all the news I want from either NPR or the Web or borrowed newspapers, with none of the aggravation. Well, okay, NPR can be aggravating at times. A big improvement over TV news.

I won’t even go into the fraud that televised American professional sports commit every week. But just one little example, one serious peeve… The NFL broadcasts run three hours. Official game time is one hour. But actual play consumes about twelve minutes. Twelve minutes of the ball in play, twelve minutes out of three hours. Sorry, fans, that’s fraud. They’re telling you your time will buy you three hours of football, but they’re only giving you twelve minutes. That’s television. I gave up on the NFL some years ago, except for an occasional game, but I could barely stand watching because of the constant insult. The game that really turned me off had Cincinnati playing someone, and the game opened with five straight penalty calls from the horde of officials on the field. Game over!

I’ve taken to listening to baseball on the radio, and also the Patriots games, but mostly for the soporific value at night. It doesn’t take long for a Red Sox game to put me to sleep.

Later…

I wrote all that exactly one month ago, on September 30 [2011]. The only television I’ve seen since then was in a restaurant where it was impossible to sit anywhere without seeing a television running sports programming (NFL replays, if I recall correctly).

But here’s the interesting thing. I feel calmer, more collected, more connected to myself. I suspect my blood pressure is down because I’m not constantly aggravated by television programming.

And here’s something a little more interesting. I don’t really care what happens in Libya or Somalia or Thailand. I don’t really care that Rick Perry is an arrogant, egotistical, ignorant Texas loudmouth. I’m neither excited nor worried about the Occupy Wall Street movement.

It’s not that I’m not aware of the human element in all these dramas on the world stage. It’s not that I no longer appreciate human suffering or human triumph. But I am no longer assaulted by breathless reporters and concerned anchorpeople telling me by word and action that I should be concerned, that everything that is happening everywhere should demand my attention, should capture my emotions, [that I] should stay tuned in order to hear the latest developments in the next hour, developments which are exactly the same as in this hour, and whose subtext is ‘Watch our commercials!’ And of course the sub-subtext: ‘Isn’t my hair pretty!’

I see television now as an assault on emotions, an affront to intellect, a waste of airwaves. Its trivialization of everything down to the level of a child’s mind demeans the viewers. And what isn’t trivialized is generally dumbed down.

Apologists for television will say that it does some good things, that it is not all a Minowian wasteland. And that is true. Television covers live events pretty well. Freeway chases where cops race after felons on California highways for two hours or more, for example. Some battle scenes in various wars, as long as American television blurs out or simply refuses to show the devastating results of a child hit by bullets or shrapnel. They don’t want to upset the viewers, who might turn to another channel and watch those other commercials. So they lie. Here’s the war correspondent and his cameraman hunkering down behind a wall while bullets whiz around them. Wow! It’s as exciting as an NFL game and even less truthful. You don’t get real war on television. You get pretend war, you get prettified war that lets you go on cheering for your side because, after all, nobody really gets hurt. Not on American television.

Television almost never tells the truth. The truth hurts sales. Children turned to red paste and shattered bone by American arms just don’t sell McDonalds’ burgers or Chevrolet cars or Nike shoes. And anyway you can see all the gore you want at the movies or on the premium movie channels.

But yes, once in a while something worth watching shows up, but because it is surrounded by the rest of television, by triviavision, by pretendvision, by lievision, can you really trust that one good thing to be the real thing? And with outfits like Fox News imitating Pravda, can you trust any news channel?

So, my television is gone, and I’m doing fine without it. The noise in the air is gone and the tumult of noise in my head is gone. I’ve got reality settling in all around me now, and it’s a little banal and it’s pleasant and I think I’ll stick with it. And there’s no commercials to screw it up.

And there’s a couple of more real benefits of having tossed the tubes out of the house:

I don’t have to watch the crappy, commercial-laden, manipulative programming the networks use at the Olympics.

And as the year winds down to the November elections, I won’t have to watch a single political commercial. None. Not one. Ever. My blood pressure drops about ten points just on that realization alone.

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The Fallacies of James Holmes
July 23, 2012

Just in case you don’t recognize the name, James Holmes is the guy who shot up the movie theater in Colorado Friday. His act goes a way toward revealing a couple of American fallacies.

One of the results of his murderous spree  is the howling from the juvenile fantasists comprising the gun culture in the United States, particularly those like Russell Pearce, the state Senator in Arizona, who claim that a) it was the victims’ fault for not stopping Holmes, and b) if everybody were armed in society this sort of thing wouldn’t happen.

As for a) Russell Pearce would probably have crapped his pants if he’d been in the theater. He’s a loudmouthed, ignorant bigot who authored Arizona’s Latino Bigotry Act.

As for b) if everyone in that theater had been armed, including of course the little six-year-old who was killed, then James Holmes would not have had to shoot anybody. All he would have had to do was pop a couple of smoke bombs, fire a few shots into the ceiling, and walk away. Then all the armed jackasses could have committed a greater slaughter than Holmes did by himself. The upside is that there would then be fewer armed jackasses walking around.

Of course the NRA nutcases claim that gun owners are properly trained, take safety courses, and understand when it’s appropriate to use a gun, and so on and so forth ad nauseam. Which is pure bullshit. The only people ‘properly trained’ for high stress panic situations are a few elements of the military, and a few elements of big city police forces. A few hours of NRA bullshit won’t get you through an Aurora situation. More likely you’ll shoot yourself in the foot or you’ll kill innocent people.

Another aspect of the Holmes shootings is that it was frankly a waste of a psychopathic or diseased mind. Holmes planned his attack for months, if the current information circulating in the media is true. He took months to purchase his weapons, his explosives, his armor, and to plan the attack. He put a lot of thought into it, and apparently a lot of skill and planning. But why waste all that intellectual power on a theater full of people who didn’t matter outside their sphere of family and friends? With some more work and planning he could have done the world some good: he could have taken out some dangerous politicians in the Senate or House, or even in some state legislatures, some sellout Supreme Court justices, the Pope, or at least some archbishops, or some of those fundogelical bigot preachers, or at the very least some known animal or child abusers. But no, he had to waste all that effort on powerless people who were only out to have a good time at the movies. Hell, if you’re going to commit some serious killings, at least make it matter. But what can you expect from a crazy person? (Crazy in this instance defined by the act, since we don’t know if Holmes is in fact insane.)

And speaking of fallacy and crazy, how about all the religious nonsense surrounding this event? All those people out there whose piety and love of some god or other that the media is showcasing. Right now the ‘public’ is wallowing in religion, many thanking god or whoever that so many were spared from the ‘evil’. God is good, god is great, blah blah blah. Well where the fuck was god during the several months that his creature James Holmes was assembling his arsenal, buying his ammunition and explosives, buying his body armor, and making his plans for the murders? The only answer the religious zombies can come up with is ‘It’s part of god’s plan’ or something similarly vapid and mindless. Religious people are delusional or stupid or both, often both. But that’s all we hear and read now about the incident. All the religious hokey pokey from a citizenry that worships celebrity, prefers mind-numbing television to active mental pursuits, bows down to money in the belief that it confers special powers, and ignores the facts of reality. Some twenty percent of Americans believe the sun revolves around the earth. Over half believe a god created the world and that evolution is false. These morons put plenty of energy into protesting gay marriage and virtually zero energy into understanding and doing something about the global warming that is killing them.

But now we’ll be inundated with religious crap, with preachers going on about ‘evil’ and all the usual religishit about god’s plans as they try to understand why Holmes did what he did. All of that is utter nonsense. Holmes cracked, whether from some emotional pressure or from a psychotic break or physical brain disease. There’s no ‘evil’. There’s just a kid living in a culture that glorifies violence, that worships fame and celebrity, that wallows in ignorance and superstition and is proud of it, that thinks money is the highest value, and that rich and powerful people are demigods and should be given deference. There’s no ‘evil’ here. There’s simply the inevitable effect of a purulent society on unstable minds.

And what are the two most common solutions being passed around society today to deal with the problems of society that lead to the Aurora or to Columbine or the other mass killings?

More guns.

More religion.

Holmes is the logical result of a sick society.

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