Sunday, July 26, 2015

Trump Is The Malignant Byproduct Of Republican Hate

Watching the orange-haired assassin, Donald Trump, is like eating pizza and ice cream. Great fun at the time, but I hate myself afterwards. It’s too indulgent, and it does me no good. But the temptation of seeing one Republican nutjob devour other Republican nutjobs, and then those nutjobs turn on the Donald, is sometimes irresistible. Right-wingers, who have for decades gotten away with taking reckless, unsubstantiated and mean-spirited potshots at everyone on the left, are now having to eat their own mudpies. And they have no one to blame but themselves.

Timothy Egan, contributing op-ed writer for the New York Times, succinctly explains why Trump’s toxic bombast is just an outgrowth of years of GOP hatred now turned inward:

“Trump is a byproduct of all the toxic elements Republicans have thrown into their brew over the last decade or so — from birtherism to race-based hatred of immigrants, from nihilists who shut down government to elected officials who shout ‘You lie!’ at their commander in chief.

“It was fine when all this crossing-of-the-line was directed at President Obama or other Democrats. But now that the ugliness is intramural, Trump has forced party leaders to decry something they have not only tolerated, but encouraged.

“Consider Trump’s swipe against McCain’s military service, and by extension all veterans who have been involved in the fog of combat. Republicans were apoplectic at Trump’s claim that McCain was no war hero.

“‘All of our veterans, particularly P.O.W.s, deserve our respect and admiration,’ said Jeb Bush. The Republican National Committee was quick to lay down a similar principle, saying, ‘There is no place in our country for comments that disparage those who have served honorably.’

“No place except a presidential campaign, that being the 2004 attempt to destroy the honorable Vietnam service of candidate John Kerry. Where was Bush’s ‘respect and admiration’ when his brother was benefiting from a multimillion-dollar smear of a Navy veteran with a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart?

“The wise men predicted Trump’s demise after he demeaned a former prisoner of war. But polls posted late this week showed Trump still in the lead. How can he get away with bashing combat veterans? Simple: The party he now wants to represent wrote the playbook on it.”

Someday, sooner rather than later, a real journalist will finally ask Trump a substantial question about foreign policy or corporate welfare or gun control or nuclear war with Iran, and he will be exposed for the bloviating charlatan that he is. The junk food binge will end, and I’ll have to return to a sensible diet of Hillary, Bernie and Elizabeth lambasting ruthless, greedy and corrupt extremists like Scott, Jeb and Marco. Until then, though, I can’t say I won’t snack on the empty calories of The Orange Orator taking down one of his fellow blowhards—maybe that fat guy from Jersey?

http://www.amazon.com/Presidents-Mortician-Tim-Fleming-ebook/dp/B00I6GNPD4

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Another Conversation With Those Cognitive-Dissonant Southern GOP Hillbillies, Bubba and Gomer

Last we checked, Gomer and Bubba were openly carrying AK-47s in a Wal-Mart just to intimidate innocent citizens. Since open carry is the law of the South, there is nothing law enforcement can do to stop them. Bubba followed a black couple around the store in case one of them picked up a water gun; he was ready to blast away and claim self-defense. Gomer discouraged shoppers from browsing the book aisle where copies of Hillary Clinton’s autobiography were prominently displayed.

I sat down to interview the pea-brained pair to gather their thoughts about the current state of the union.

BUBBA: ‘Merika’s goin’ to hell.

ME: Why’s that, Bubba?

BUBBA: Gotch your blacks all riled up over this Rebel flag bidness. Now they’s taking it down in South Carolina. The last great symbol of southern heritage. What a shame.

ME: It represents slavery, oppression and hatred to our African-American citizens.

BUBBA: Taint got nothing to do with ‘em.

GOMER: Yep. Why cain’t they just collect their food stamps and welfare checks and shut the hell up?

ME: According to a TIME magazine analysis of county-by-county food stamp enrollment data nationwide, GOP politicians represent more districts that participate in SNAP than Democrats. In fact, the county with the highest national rate of SNAP beneficiaries is Owsley County, Kentucky, which is 99.22% white and 95% Republican. Yet it’s Republicans who are always screaming about cutting welfare benefits of those who really need it.

GOMER: Time magazine is a comnist rag.

BUBBA: That reminds me, Gom, we get that SNAP check this week?

GOMER: Hey (changing the subject), what about that Obama trying to take our guns away. Damn uppity, nigra.

ME: Under Obama, gun ownership has increased, not decreased. And overall, background checks have become less restrictive. There are more guns and gun deaths than ever before in America.

BUBBA: Damn good thing…the more killin’ there is, the more freedom we have.

ME: How do you figure?

BUBBA: Y’all heard of ‘Stand Yer Ground’ ain’t ya? Well, that jes means that people ain’t puttin’ up with no shit from the coloreds. We’s got a right to fire back. Just read the Constitution.

ME: But doesn’t stand your ground conflict with open carry? If you intimidate innocent citizens with by openly carrying weapons in public places like parks, stores, restaurants and churches, don’t they have the right to stand their ground and shoot you because they feel threatened?

GOMER: (His small cerebellum twisted into knots.) That’s right…uh, er, I dunno. Iffin’ someone wants to fire at me…well, goddamn it, let ‘em. I got this here AK-47; let’s see if they’s gonna stand they ground then.

ME: So we should all carry guns to protect ourselves from people like you? Do you see how that might be a bit dangerous?

BUBBA: The hell you say. I’m beginning to think you’re one of them comnist agitators.

GOMER: (Pointing his gun at me.) Now whaddya have to say for yourself, pinko?

ME: Hooray for Mike Huckabee and the NRA? We’re officially living in the Old West again?

BUBBA: That’s more like it. Now let’s teach you sumpin about the Bible, commie.
[To be continued.]


Saturday, June 20, 2015

We're Trapped in a Neo-Fascist State and There's No Way Out

Good-bye, America. It's been nice knowing you.

That's right; according to an Ivy League study which I cited in a previous post, we no longer live in a democracy. To refresh your memory, two researchers at Princeton University, Martin Gilens and Benjamin Page, have found that "...over the past few decades America's political system has slowly transformed from a democracy into an oligarchy, where wealthy elites wield most power."

Compiling data from over 1,800 different policy initiatives from 1981 to 2008, Gilens and Page conclude that rich, well-connected individuals now control the direction of the country, regardless of the will of the majority of voters. "The central point that emerges from our research is that economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on U.S. government policy...while mass-based interest groups and average citizens have little or no independent influence."

Extrapolated to its logical conclusion, America is now controlled by a very small cabal of wealthy and powerful elites, mostly with extreme right-wing political views, who have literally purchased the judicial and legislative branches of the U.S. government and are spending billions to recapture the executive branch by 2016. In my previous post I described this type of system as an oligarchy, but it is even worse than that. It is fascism.

What is fascism? Benito Mussolini, an expert on the subject, defined fascism as the merger of the state and corporations to form a corrupt government which services only the needs of the elite few. In order for fascism to work, government officials need corporations to fund their political ambitions without restraint or judicial oversight. The recent Supreme Court ruling allowing unlimited political donations took care of that. But fascism needs much more to thrive. Shockingly, these elements are coming together in American society today.

1) A compliant, reticent, and wholly subservient media are necessary to look the other way. Investigative journalism in America is dead. Why? Because all major media outlets are controlled by large corporate conglomerates and are run for profit, not for truth-telling. We already know that FOX is not a real news network, but merely the manifestation of one sick man's (Rupert Murdoch's) pathological right-wing propaganda machine. But what is even sicker is that supposedly legitimate news organizations such as CBS (Westinghouse) and NBC (General Electric) are corporate subsidiaries unlikely to report on how America is becoming a neo-fascist state. [Note: GE contributes millions to right-wing candidates each election cycle.]

2) The greater good must be downplayed by a self-absorbed, distracted citizenry. Witness the rise of vacuous enterprises like Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. Take a good look at what passes for information on these sites and you will be appalled at the narcissistic trivia. Fascists want a society that is self-involved. Fascism cannot thrive under a system that is concerned with the greater good. Thus, those right wingers (neo-fascists) who attack Social Security, Medicare, and affordable health care are doing their masters' bidding.

3) War or the threat of war must be constant. Fascists control their citizens when the citizens are constantly cowering in fear of being overrun by hordes of foreigners. This fear more easily facilitates the next factor in the fascist formula--

4) The system must be rigged. Check. Sixty percent of our tax dollars go to defense contractors who, in turn, buy politicians who, in turn, continue to authorize military spending. It is a never-ending cycle; it is an out-of-control beast which cannot be killed. America runs on defense; it is a hugely profitable industry, and most American corporations feed at the pig trough. Naturally these corporations are going to buy politicians who will continue this system.

5) Truth must be trashed; pseudo-science must be elevated to fact. We see this in climate change denial and the elimination of evolution education in public classrooms. Under a fascist system the truth is malleable and for sale. Corrupt idiots like Republican Senator James Imhofe will regurgitate any sort of lie to keep their cushy jobs.

6) Minorities must be demonized and marginalized. The old fascist methods of mass murdering minorities (i.e., the Holocaust) are outdated; the new slaughter comes in the form of denigrating the worth and dignity of African-Americans and Latinos (largely liberal voters on the lower socioeconomic rungs). Right-wing pyschopaths who listen to the daily rants of Limbaugh and O'Reilly can easily justify in their deranged minds the voter suppression, welfare denial, even murder of minorities.

7) Dissent is forbidden. The media restrict real debate of issues, and left-wing advocacy is virtually non-existent on over-the-air TV, radio, and newspapers.

Had enough? I'll leave you with one more bit of warning. The following quote is from a member of Ronald Reagan's cabinet.

"Americans have given up the rule of law that protected their liberty. The silence of law schools and bar associations indicates that the age of liberty has passed. In short, the American people support tyranny. And that’s where they are headed."

--Paul Craig Roberts, inventor of trickle-down economics

http://www.amazon.com/Presidents-Mortician-Tim-Fleming-ebook/dp/B00I6GNPD4

Monday, June 1, 2015

The Deadline for Release of All JFK Assassination Files is Near; But Don’t Hold Your Breath

In 1992 the Assassinations Record Review Board, a government agency charged with gathering and assessing all documents related to the assassination of President Kennedy, issued a mandate that all classified documents still being hidden away by the CIA and FBI be released no later than October 2017. That day is about 30 months off, and already the struggle to pry the truth loose is underway.

According to an article in Politico magazine, the head of the National Archives Special Access branch, a woman named Martha Murphy, has sent letters to the CIA, the FBI, and other government agencies to alert them that the time is coming for the release of all remaining classified documents pertaining to JFK’s murder.

“Within our power,” said Murphy, “the National Archives is going to do everything we can to make these records open and available to the public. And that is my only goal. There are limits to my powers and the president of the United States has the right to say something needs to be held for longer.” What does that mean? It means the new President (meaning whomever gets elected in 2016) and the CIA could fight to suppress the last remaining 40,000 documents related to the assassination. Why would the new President do that? No reason to, unless, God forbid, the new President is Jeb Bush. (See previous posts for the Bush family involvement in the planning and cover-up of JFK’s murder.) Why would the CIA continue to suppress documents? For the same reason the agency has withheld the truth for the last 50 years—to cover up its own guilt in the murder of the century.

According to Politico, “The withheld CIA files include those on some of the most mysterious and controversial figures in the history of American espionage — particularly individuals who were known to be involved in CIA assassination plots around the world. There are at least 332 pages of material on E. Howard Hunt, an almost mythical spymaster who is most famous for running the ring that broke into Democratic Party headquarters in Washington’s Watergate Hotel in 1972, setting in motion the events that led to the resignation of President Richard Nixon."

In 1961 Hunt played a role in the CIA's botched Bay of Pigs invasion in Cuba. In the aftermath, anti-Castro Cubans and CIA operatives were deeply resentful of JFK's failure to provide air cover for the guerillas. Shortly before he died in 2007, Hunt claimed that Kennedy was killed in retaliation for the Bay of Pigs fiasco. Hunt named names and referred to the assassination as "the Big Event."

Also under review by the special team of archivists are at least 606 pages about David Atlee Phillips, another CIA officer who won a medal for his role in overthrowing the government of Guatemala in 1954, went on to run operations in Latin America, and along with Hunt played a leading role in anti-Castro activities in Cuba. Phillips was accused — though never charged — of committing perjury when asked about agency ties to Oswald by the House Select Committee on Assassinations. Phillips, too, late in life attributed the JFK assassination to "rogue" CIA officers. It is the type of information that many researchers believe the agency would still like to keep secret.

The Politico article names other CIA suspects. “‘I don’t see the CIA handing out 600 pages on David Atlee Phillips in two years,’ said Jefferson Morley, a leading Kennedy researcher and founder of JFKfacts.org, who has sued the CIA to reveal more information about several key figures known to be the focus of some of the withheld files.

“Another colleague of Phillips at the CIA was Anne Goodpasture. The career agency officer denied to congressional investigators in 1970 that she had any knowledge of recordings of Oswald’s phone calls in possession of the CIA’s Mexico City station, where she worked. But she later admitted in sworn testimony that she had, in fact, disseminated the tapes herself. A 286-page CIA file about her is among the documents that are supposed to be released in two years.”

There’s apparently a lot of dirt in those unreleased files that could, once and for all, definitively expose the CIA’s role in the execution of the 35th President. Don’t expect the agency to just turn over those documents without a fight.

http://www.amazon.com/Presidents-Mortician-Tim-Fleming-ebook/dp/B00I6GNPD4

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Ivy League Study Says U.S. Is No Longer A Democracy

We've known this was coming. The America that Republicans have always wanted is finally here. It took years of intentional erosion of economic safeguards and institutional oversight. But this should not have surprised anyone. The signs were everywhere. It began with Reagan and his trickle-down economics, the policy whereby the rich feasted and the middle class fought for the leftover bread crumbs. In the '90s Newt Gingrich delivered a right cross to equality with his "contract with America" manifesto that shredded liberal policies. Rush Limbaugh landed a vicious upper cut by demonizing the poor which made it okay to protect the very rich.

In the 2000s Bush and the Tea Party congress staggered democracy by rewarding the rich with unworthy tax breaks. The Supreme Court scored the knockout punch by dismantling campaign finance rules. Now the 1% can limitlessly buy elections, corrupt politicians and strip away corporate and financial regulations. And now it's official, we are at the mercy of the ruling class. Or so says a new study from Princeton University, which declares that democracy no longer exists. In an OpEd News article published today, researchers Martin Gilens and Benjamin Page state:

"...over the past few decades America's political system has slowly transformed from a democracy into an oligarchy, where wealthy elites wield most power." Compiling data from over 1,800 different policy initiatives from 1981 to 2008, Gilens and Page conclude that rich, well-connected individuals now control the direction of the country, regardless of the will of the majority of voters. "The central point that emerges from our research is that economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on U.S. government policy...while mass-based interest groups and average citizens have little or no independent influence."

Left unchecked, the new American plutocracy will soon end Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security; deregulate financial markets to pre-collapse state; make it more difficult than ever for middle-class students to get a college education; restrict access to health care; and continue to enact policies which will enrich themselves at the expense of all others. In other words, in the coming years it will be harder and harder for average Americans to not only dig themselves out of the subjugated class, but merely survive. By the middle of the 21st century there will be no recourse for the 99% but to shut up, obey, bend over, and cry, "Thank you, sir. May I have another?"

As former Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis once said, "We must make our choice. We may have democracy, or we may have all wealth concentrated in the hands of the few, but we can't have both."


http://www.amazon.com/Presidents-Mortician-Tim-Fleming-ebook/dp/B00I6GNPD4

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Republicans Would Be Shocked And Petrified If They Met Real Jesus

Republican politicians, especially those running for President, like to pander to their hard-core religious base by blathering about Jesus. But what do they really know about Jesus? Would they recognize him if he enrolled in ACA, snuck across the border with the Hispanic poor, or collected a meager welfare check like other poor people? Because that's how Jesus lived his first life over 2000 years ago--among the poor, the disenfranchised, and the victims of tyrannical right-wing authority. I can't see modern-day Jesus as a rich capitalist intent on ending aid to the poor, the old, the sick, and the helpless. I don't imagine Him as a fanatical, open-carry gun nut giving rousing sermons misinterpreting the Second Amendment and singing the praises of the NRA. I can't picture him as a FOX News contributor supporting white racist cops who gun down unarmed black people. I doubt that he would extol the benefits of corporate greed and the need to eliminate the estate tax so that the wealthy can be wealthier. I seem to remember real Jesus saying something about how difficult it would be for a rich man to enter His Father's Kingdom.

So how and why can so many people be fooled by the GOP's phony sanctimony and its religious hypocrisy? Don't they read their Bible? I have, and nowhere in there does Jesus passionately defend trickle-down economics and AK-47s. Perhaps we do need The Second Coming to wake up GOP voters. Political comedian John Fugelsang proposed this very idea. He mused aloud about the consequences should the real Jesus return to earth to run for President. Here's what he said:

"I've come to view Jesus the same way I view Elvis...I love the guy, [but] the fan clubs scare me...like GOP candidates. We hear them all talking about Jesus all the time. They invoke his name incessantly. Wouldn't it be great if we could get the actual Jesus of Nazareth to come back and run for President on the GOP ticket? They can't pick a frontrunner anyway, so wouldn't the GOP love to get behind a peaceful, radical, nonviolent revolutionary who hung around with lepers, criminals and hookers? Who never spoke English? Who was not an American citizen? A man who was anti-capitalism, anti-wealth, anti-public prayer (yes, He was...see Matthew 6:5), anti-death penalty, but never once remotely said anything anti-gay, didn't mention abortion, didn't mention premarital sex? A man who never justified torture? A man who never called the poor lazy? Who never asked a leper for a co-pay? A man who never fought for tax cuts for the wealthiest Nazarenes? And who was a long-haired, brown-skinned (that's in Revelations), homeless middle Eastern Jew? Of course, that's only if you believe what's actually in the Bible."

Can you imagine how the return of real Jesus would shake up conservatives? The point is, Republican candidates for the Presidency have no idea who Jesus really was. Or maybe they do, and like smarmy, snake-oil salesmen they are simply pandering to their Evangelical base. Either way, the real Jesus has already chastised them in unequivocal words:

"Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven."
--Matthew 6:1 ESV

"If anyone says, 'I love God,' and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen."
--1 John 4:20 ESV

http://www.amazon.com/Presidents-Mortician-Tim-Fleming-ebook/dp/B00I6GNPD4

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Obscenely Wealthy Republican Congressman Kicks The Poor While They’re Down

California’s Republican Congressman Darrell Issa, worth an estimated $500 million in personal wealth, says that poor people in America really have it good. In an interview with CNN, Issa actually said, “Our poor people are the envy of the world.” Issa is apparently more heartless, cruel and tone-deaf than the average Tea Party idiot. Or maybe he’s just stupid. Even if a public official believes that the poor are a privileged class in America, it is politically unwise to express it aloud. Much better to shut up, luxuriate in your millions, represent an all-white constituency, and quietly do everything you can to pass legislation which extends government handouts and tax breaks to the obscenely wealthy like yourself. But Issa is not content to be rich, smug and imperious; he has to rub the noses of the poor in it.

Issa is also the moron who has wasted taxpayers’ money for years trying to hang the blame for Benghazi on Hillary Clinton. Spurred on by the liars at FOX News, Issa’s committee tried desperately to find any evidence of Obama/Clinton incompetence or corruption in the deaths of U.S. embassy employees. The investigation has turned up absolutely nothing. But Issa did get the satisfaction of publicly grilling Hillary in his congressional hearings. In so doing, he proved himself to be a misogynist lout, treating our Secretary of State with disrespect, disdain, and derision. In the end, though, Issa’s work was eviscerated by a bi-partisan Senate Intelligence committee which found that the State Department was not to blame for the attacks on our foreign embassy and the deaths of American diplomatic employees. There was no stand-down order at the time of the attacks, and no cover-up of the facts ensued. To wit: "There was no singular 'Tactical Warning' in the intelligence reporting leading up to the events on September 11, 2012, predicting an attack on U.S embassies. The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence review found that no specific warnings predicted the attack in Benghazi…[and]there were no efforts by the White House or any other Executive Branch entities to 'cover-up' facts or make alterations for political purposes…[and] there were no U.S. military resources in position to intervene in short order in Benghazi to help defend The Temporary Mission Facility."

Issa should resign in disgrace for wasting millions of dollars, money which could have been used to assist the poor. Oops, I forgot. American poor people don’t need our help because they already have it so good.

http://www.amazon.com/Presidents-Mortician-Tim-Fleming-ebook/dp/B00I6GNPD4