Tuesday, February 9, 2021

Why Are There Terrorists Next Door?

Maine man arrested in connection with riot at US Capitol. 
From WGME News Portland, Maine

"Thirty-seven-year-old husband and father Kyle Fitzsimons is known in Lebanon for his passion when it comes to politics."

"We have a lot of respect for Kyle," neighbor Julie Lucier said.

"People who know him say they never expected federal agents would arrest him Thursday on four federal charges stemming from the violent attack on the Capitol."

"We're just shocked that Kyle was involved in this," Lucier said. "We didn't even know that he went there."

He seems nice

This phenomena doesn't happen in a vacuum. Right now, we are dealing with a crisis of right-wing radicalization by right-wing media of millions of Americans just like your neighbor next door. 
Fox News is their gateway drug. 

From Daily Kos quoting Chris Mooney’s book, The Republican Brain: The Science of Why They Deny Science and Reality.

"Looking at a variety of studies, the author comes to the conclusion that Fox is imparting misinformation even as politically conservative viewers are also seeking the station out—highly open to it and already convinced about many falsehoods that dovetail with their beliefs, certainty is driven by a kind of feedback loop." 

"Add to this a certain predisposition to close mindedness. Political conservatives tend to have a higher need for closure. Conservatives who are authoritarian/absolute in style maintain their beliefs against challenges by limiting their experiences, and surrounding themselves with sources of information that will tell them they are right.
"In other words Fox News is both deceiver and enabler simultaneously. First, its existence creates the opportunity for conservatives to exercise their biases, by selecting into the Fox information stream, and also by imbibing Fox-style arguments and claims that can then fuel biased reasoning about politics, science, and whatever else comes up."

"But at the same time, it’s also likely that conservatives, tending to be more closed-minded and more authoritarian, have a stronger emotional need for an outlet like Fox, where they can find affirmation and escape from the belief challenges constantly presented by the “liberal media.” Their psychological need for something affirmative is probably stronger than what’s encountered on the opposite side of the aisle—as is their revulsion towards allegedly liberal (but really centrist) media outlets."

"And thus we find, at the root of our political dysfunction, a classic nurture-nature mélange. The penchant for selective exposure is rooted in our psychology and our brains. Closed-mindedness and authoritarianism—running stronger in some of us than in others—likely are as well." [end].

The self-righteous anger and victimization generated by Fox News personalities' manufactured outrage, half-truths and outright lies are driving the radicalization process to people who are susceptible to bias. Some casual conservatives stay right there and have enough of an outrage fix from Fox to last them.

This is enough to radicalize mom and pop six-pack and we see it all the time. Some become de-sensitized to the outrage on Fox and need more. They move to OANN, Newsmax  etc. for more broadcast propaganda and when that is not enough they head online and maybe start with Fox Nation, the Blaze, etc. then go to Infowars, Brietbart, QAnon, and wind up at Stormfront. If that doesn't scratch the itch, they move to the dark web and by this time seem out of touch with reality, totally brainwashed, and indoctrinated into a world of inane easily disproved conspiracy theories. They are unreachable. They now live in an alternate universe where dangerous obviously false conspiracy theories are weaponized and rationalized by the charismatic leaders of their myriad movements, especially the ex-president who has been promoted to Messiah-like status. They are now totally brainwashed. Millions of them. 

It starts with Fox News. It really doesn't end at the Capitol Riots.

Thursday, May 9, 2019

"I Only Hire The Best People" - John Bolton Edition

Right.  Let's take a look at the "Best 27th United States National Security Advisor Hire Ever!"

John Bolton. 

John Bolton is the reason I shaved my mustache off in 2005 after Bush (W.) nominated him to be United States Ambassador to the United Nations. The mustache of  war. I couldn't believe that this angry warmonger was chosen for that post.

John Bolton is a man who sees all diplomatic problems as a nail and he holds the hammer.  He seems to have been obsessed with Iran since the hostage crisis after the 1979 coup.

In an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal, Bolton condemned the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran as a “massive strategic blunder”—then went further. American policy, he wrote, “should be ending Iran’s 1979 Islamic Revolution before its fortieth anniversary,” next February. “Recognizing a new Iranian regime in 2019 would reverse the shame of once seeing our diplomats held hostage for four hundred and forty-four days. The former hostages can cut the ribbon to open the new U.S. Embassy in Tehran.”

Bolton began his federal service in the administration of Pres. Ronald Reagan, holding positions in the U.S. Agency for International Development  -  they provide development assistance to partner countries. I can't imagine him at this post. The first of many positions he seemed so temperamentally unqualified to hold. While working for USAID, Lynne Finney, a legal adviser for the agency, alleged that Bolton threatened to fire her for refusing to lobby for the deregulation of baby formula in developing nations. What a guy.

His history is one of confrontation and he is known for his abrasive behavior.
During Bolton’s nomination hearing for the UN job, Carl Ford, an intelligence official and assistant secretary of state, as well as a self-described conservative Republican, testified that Bolton bullied an intelligence analyst over evidence about Cuba’s suspected weapons programs, prompting an intervention from Powell. Bolton is a “kiss-up, kick-down sort of guy” who “abuses his authority with little people,” Ford said at the time.

The list of diplomatic fails goes on and on like a rainy day. Over the years he has repeatedly urged military action in Iran and North Korea, which he has called “two sides of the same coin.”

Fired from his UN post. Unwanted in even in the Bush cabinet. He has found a home with the Trump administration where he is advocating for war with Venezuala and regime change in Iran. Although he may be wearing out his welcome there as well.

In Trump's Bizzaro World of cabinet appointments, he fits right in!

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Democratic National Convention Forces Republicans to Release Hostage

I am hearing all over the news how surprised Republicans are to hear that Democrats appear to love their country after all! Imagine that.

They  had come to believe their own propaganda that Dems are anti-American haters, drilled incessantly for many years into the consciousness of ordinary Americans by a daily narrative of  Right Wing Media led by Rush Limbaugh and Fox News, their content given credibility when bleeding over into mainstream media outlets.

 Karl Rove took this narrative to the next level and made it into an art form. Marketing the Republican brand as "Support our Troops" was brilliantly evil. As a result, opposing the Iraq war became not supporting our troops. The ubiquitous (made in China) magnetic yellow ribbon supporting an illegal and immoral war of choice became a symbol of Republican pride. Rove was a marketing genius.

How could Dems who opposed the war sport one of those on their car? It was a no win situation. American flags became the property of Republicans as well - "What are you doing with a flag flying off your porch, I thought you were a democrat?".

Wow... insidious and odious and very effective. A compliant corporate media went along for the ride.

Republicans have been wrongly asserting their ownership over America and its ideals for some time now but with the nomination of Donald Trump the ugly truths of conservatism are finally coming out of the shadows and being broadcast around the world, unfiltered for all to see. Good people are questioning their old belief systems and the conservative propaganda machine's hold is finally slipping away.

“This country isn’t yours,” Jon Stewart said. “You don’t own it, it never was. There is no real America . . . You don’t own patriotism, you don’t own Christianity. You sure as hell don’t own respect for the bravery and sacrifice of military, police, and firefighters.” Jon is so right and the media is finally catching up.

Now,  imagine the language of patriotism used to advance a different agenda. One of peace, prosperity for all, good government, and inclusion. Imagine that.  The speeches at the DNC were reported as overwhelmingly positive, "Reganesque" the media cooed with blank, stunned expressions on their faces.

Of course Democrats have never stopped loving their country and maybe have had to love their country a little bit more because the narrative has been so negatively slanted for so long:  "Dems don't love their country because they believe in civil rights, a living wage, gay marriage, banking regulation, inclusion, universal health care, solar power/clean energy, no unnecessary wars, separation of church and state..." and on and on. Republicans are always looking for an easy way to divide the American people into us and them. That is their way. The new "you don't support our troops" is not speaking the phrase "Militant Islam".

But this moment in time seems to have the potential to actually pull Americans together culturally and spiritually after years of intentional division and cultural wedges being driven between us for political gain. We can only hope that this opportunity is embraced and a "new" American paradigm of one nation, indivisible, for all can be re-established root and branch.

Friday, July 29, 2016

Sanders Supporters Try To Save Hillary From Herself

 Now that Hillary Clinton has wrapped up the nomination, smug Hillary supporters are all up in my grill with some variation of this: "What the Bernie-bots... - (or fill in your favorite Sanders supporter derogatory term here) - need to do now  is... - (fill in your favorite have-a-bake-sale-for-Hillary support message) - and stop making so much noise! 

This condescending attitude toward Sanders supporters is not surprising coming from establishment Democrats who have always looked down on the liberal DFH arm of the Democratic party but obliviously misplaced. They should understand that if Sanders had not persisted consistently to push Hillary to the left the DNC platform would not include a $15 min wage or any opposition to the TPP whatsoever along with many other anti-corporate, labor centered planks that Clintonian establishment politics appeared to not seem concerned with prior to the primaries but that Trump is making his bread and butter.

The economy is now a bi-partisan issue. It is not just educated liberals but the "rabid right" as well who are also fed up with establishment politics. The teabaggers have finally figured it out, not in small part to Trump pulling back the curtain on 35 years of conservative economic policy that has always favored the few at the cost of the rest. Now, working class republicans of all stripes have finally stopped waiting for "Trickle Down" economics to work and are willing to grasp at straws, including electing Trump, to get some economic relief because after all it is all about "The Economy Stupid" when you get right down to it.

The reality is that Middle America has not had a raise in 35 years as corporations have shown record profits and have kept all the money for themselves instead of raising wages to match gains in productivity assuming the immoral Randian philosophy endorsed by Ronald Reagan that "Greed is Good".

You can fool some of the people all of the time but not forever. Republicans can only "trickle down" on the
Watch out for that Union guy, he wants your cookie.
middle class for so long and call it rain before someone figures it out. And Trump for all his faults, and they are disqualifying for local dogcatcher much less leader of the free world, has grasped this working class angst and run with it to the nomination to the chagrin of the conservative 1% who like things just the way they are and want to keep all the cookies and have us fight over crumbs.

Sanders and his multitude of supporters, (Sanders got 46% of the real delegates not an insignificant number no matter how you crunch the numbers), have moved Clinton's Overton Window to the left and as much as the rabid right would hate it, toward representative economic relief for the middle class in liberal fashion.

Trump has dressed this liberal notion of fairness in the economy in racism, fascism and hate, traditional conservative values but there is also a facet of protectionism another liberal tenet. There seems to be enough bluster and bigotry to offset the fact that Trump embraces an economic platform that liberals have been talking about for years. It's strange.

Sanders and his supporters keep trying to move the DNC platform further and faster to the left than may be politically expedient for the establishment candidate's relationship with her corporate supporters but necessary to facilitate change and well within the realm of possibility given the current climate of anti-establishment fervor. Sanders supporters, and I mean the 90% that support Clinton , are trying to save her from herself because we want her to win.

That's why we push her to the left without hesitation. That's why we need to ignore the outliers, the Hold-outs and concentrate on how we can help Clinton out of her bubble and into the reality of today's political climate. Clinton supporters need to accept that help and stop being smug and dismissive. I can't stress this enough. She will lose if she does not embrace labor and turn her back on Wall Street. Tim Kaine is not going to help. This is another obstacle that Sander's supporters are going to have to overcome for her as we try yet again to help her. Her establishment friends told the media today that she will flip on the TPP. Trump will shove that right up her ..wherever.., as he would say. One disparages Sanders' supporters at their own peril because we speak for the majority of Americans right now. Even the ones on the "rabid right" when it comes to all things economic.

When people are making enough money to support their families and live comfortably, when their children can go to college and the ones that don't go can still get jobs that pay a living wage the social issues that are plaguing us now tend to lessen and diminish historically. Look at the record. This isn't about Benghazi, terrorism, racial/LGBT injustice, crime or whatever the corporate media blames the ills of our country on today although these are very important issues that need to be addressed this is about money and the average American who does not make enough to live comfortably because the gains in our economy have all gone to the top 1% thanks to deregulation, trickle down economics and the corporate influence of government. Nothing will change until that changes. Until government stops being "The Problem" and Americans can realize that good government is the only thing that stands between them and corporate greed, that government can be a force for good and historically has been the ONLY thing that has truly bettered the standard of living for all average Americans, things will not change. This is the message and lesson of Bernie Sanders. For what its worth. Keep up the good fight.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

But, I'm Not Dead Yet!

I guess I really need to post more often or blogger will consider this an abandoned site.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Sunday, February 15, 2015

We Don't Need No Education

Congressman Says We Don’t Need Education Funding Because ‘Socrates Trained Plato On A Rock’ 

During a House Education and Workforce Committee proceeding on Wednesday to reauthorize the nation’s elementary and secondary education law, Rep. Dave Brat (R-VA) said, “Socrates trained Plato in on a rock and then Plato trained in Aristotle roughly speaking on a rock. So, huge funding is not necessary to achieve the greatest minds and the greatest intellects in history.”

More pearls of wisdom from the ignorance party. "The dumber our consituents, the better we like it", he did not purportedly say. 

Reminds me of this:

Representative Brat, you are no Tony Stark.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Why We Need Universal Healthcare for All Americans.

This is a very complex issue with a simple answer. 

My friend "Joe" from Florida received a cancellation notice from Anthem Blue Cross/Blue Shield that his $46.00 per month crappy insurance was being cancelled due to not meeting the standards of the new Affordable Healthcare Act law. Joe is just south of 60, works a minimum wage job, and makes about $9500 a year. He actually did get some prescription benefits from his old plan and free well-care visits. But...no hospital coverage. None, nada, zip.

So, he should slide effortlessly into one of the new ACA categories for better healthcare for minimum cost, right?

WRONG. Anthem BC/BS wants to charge him over $350.00/mo. for about the same coverage with high deductibles. That's half his salary per month! When was his last raise? (see chart).

Now Florida, under Rick Scott, Healthcare Fraud Felon, has not expanded Medicaid or tried to help low income Floridians in any way, shape or fashion. I was on the phone with state ACA. I couldn't believe the level of callousness in how I was treated. After a lengthy interview with results of "denied", he told me that the free clinics were always open. Well, isn't that always the fallback position for these insurance company hacks? Let's see how that is going... Fewer Emergency Rooms Available as Need Rises

And here is the ACA's take:

More Answers: Plan changes and cancellations

  • What if my plan is cancelled and I can’t afford a new plan?
    If your non-Marketplace plan has been cancelled and you can’t afford a Marketplace plan to replace it, you can apply for a hardship exemption. This will allow you to buy a catastrophic plan.
    A catastrophic plan generally requires you to pay all your medical costs up to a certain amount, usually several thousand dollars. These policies usually have lower premiums than a comprehensive plan, but cover you only if you need a lot of care. They basically protect you from worst-case scenarios.
So how is this different from his previously "onerous" plan that didn't make the ACA cut? It's worse and still more expensive than his previous policy.

I don't get it. I was so psyched that we got at least something for healthcare in this country. Of course, the states that didn't pass medicaid expansion bear most of the blame, but even then guys like Joe just don't make the cut at $9500.00/yr. WTF.  AND healthcare insurers are seeing profits soar.

Thanks, Obamacare! Health insurer stocks soar

Healthcare is a basic human right in the rest of the civilized world, but not here. Why? Well, capitalism trumps humanism in this country and cash is king. The Golden Rule, he who has the gold makes the rules. And that's who wrote these ACA policies, Healthcare Insurers. It's the American way. Plain and simple. And wrong.

So, here is my answer as it was when the "Public Option" was first introduced and shot down by the Healthcare Industrial Complex. Statistics and Facts show that Public run is more efficient than private run every time no matter what. Post offices, prisons, schools, the list goes on and on. How many government agency heads make $7 million a year for managing healthcare? None. How many stockholders get dividend payments from the profits on Medicare? None, unless you count bond holders who share in the entire government bond increases. Cut out the middleman, let our government work for you. Screw Reagan as he screwed the middle class with his "Nine most terrifying words" speech that has done more damage to this country than any bomb, terrorist, or plague. Ignorant tool that he was. (Link to Reagan speech at the White House where CEO of Merrill Lynch told the president of the united states to "Speed it up")

The following video explains in easy to understand terms why we need Universal Healthcare in this country and why it shouldn't be a big deal to get it. But the 1% will fight it all the way. Profits over people, baby. Yeah!!

Until Universal Healthcare becomes law, my friend Joe and millions like him will continue to struggle. I will keep advocating for him, making the hard calls, taking the unreasonable excuses in stride and working within this broken system toward a plan that hopefully will work for him. And someday, hopefully, there will be one for all of us.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Why Does the US Always Side With Israel?

Money. Lobbyists. Conservative/Zionist Ideology. Ignorance.

Imagine a UN decree that gave a portion of New Jersey to the, oh lets say persecuted Sunnis in Iraq after the ISIS incursion this year. Call it "56%".
Note: Under the 1947 UN agreement Israel was given 56% of Palestine to establish an independent state. Israel has eroded the Palestinian homeland even more over the decades. (See Map).
How would that feel to a New Jersey resident? Especially one who had to leave their home under threats of violence and death with no compensation? How about the neighboring states? Think they'd be on board with a little resistance? Now think about this new state holding the original residents of NJ in a constant state of dominance, upheaval, and financial insecurity refusing to even acknowledge that New Jersey even exists. What would happen? Bet yur ass. Armed insurrection. So what's different there? And why do we as a country still support the aggressors?

AIPAC Is the Only Explanation for America's Morally Bankrupt Israel Policy
 via - HuffPo


The official name for Israel's latest assault on Gaza is "Operation Protective Edge." A better name would be "Operation Déjà Vu." As it has on several prior occasions, Israel is using weapons provided by U.S. taxpayers to bombard the captive and impoverished Palestinians in Gaza, where the death toll now exceeds 500. As usual, the U.S. government is siding with Israel, even though most American leaders understand Israel instigated the latest round of violence, is not acting with restraint, and that its actions make Washington look callous and hypocritical in the eyes of most of the world.


This Orwellian situation is eloquent testimony to the continued political clout of AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee) and the other hardline elements of the Israel lobby. There is no other plausible explanation for the supine behavior of the U.S. Congress--including some of its most "progressive" members--or the shallow hypocrisy of the Obama administration, especially those officials known for their purported commitment to human rights.


And why did Netanyahu decide to go on another rampage in Gaza? As Nathan Thrall of the International Crisis Group points out, the real motive is neither vengeance nor a desire to protect Israel from Hamas' rocket fire, which has been virtually non-existent over the past two years and is largely ineffectual anyway. Netanyahu's real purpose was to undermine the recent agreement between Hamas and Fatah for a unity government. Given Netanyahu's personal commitment to keeping the West Bank and creating a "greater Israel," the last thing he wants is a unified Palestinian leadership that might press him to get serious about a two-state solution. Ergo, he sought to isolate and severely damage Hamas and drive a new wedge between the two Palestinian factions.

Yup - No Two-State solution. I thought the Israeli state was established side-by-side with the Palestinian state in 1948  The UN General Assembly approved the partition of Palestine into separate Arab and Jewish states and accords international status to Jerusalem. So what happened? 

[After the UN agreement was signed], The Arab League and its member states (especially Egypt, Syria, and Iraq) adopt a hard-line stance on the Palestinian issue as a means of demonstrating their anti-imperialism and asserting their newfound independence in foreign policy. They reject all attempts at compromise, including the UN partition plan. Britain refuses to assist in the implementation of the UN partition plan.

Thanks Britain.

So Palestine is left hanging in the wind, without a government and without political institutions. Chaos Doctrine anyone?

So they elect to fight for their homeland. Egypt and surrounding Arab nation/states take on an Israel backed by the US AND the USSR. And lose. War/Chaos doctrine dictate that the winners write the history books and so Israel had an excuse to take more of Palestine. Sorry, you shouldn't have questioned authority. This entrenched an endless cycle of persecution and rock throwing in response that we are still seeing to this day.
I supported Israel's persecution of Palestinians and all I got was this lousy t-shirt.
Historians will one day look back and ask how U.S. Middle East policy could be so ineffectual and so at odds with its professed values -- not to mention its strategic interests. The answer lies in the basic nature of the American political system, which permits well-organized and well-funded special interest groups to wield significant power on Capitol Hill and in the White House. In this case, the result is a policy that is bad for all concerned: for the Palestinians most of all, but also for the U.S. and Israel as well. Until the lobby's clout is weakened or politicians grow stiffer spines, Americans looking for better outcomes in the Middle East had better get used to disappointment and prepared for more trouble.

Ayuh. Read the whole thing here.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Enough is Enough!

Rockland lobster processor loses big buyer over PETA video

From the Bangor Daily News

A food service company that oversees concessions at Boston’s TD Garden and Minneapolis’ Target Field, among other places, will no longer purchase lobster from Linda Bean’s Maine Lobster.

The decision by Delaware North Companies Sportservice of Buffalo, New York, was made after the animal rights group PETA released secret video footage last September of lobsters and other crustaceans being processed at the Rockland facility.

Personally, I've had enough of this PETA shit. The processing plants outlined in this article employ over 250 local people working at above average wages. The loss of these buyers impacts the local economy and of course the people who work there. Times are hard enough around here and we don't need this petty bullshit. 

Lobsters are killed just like chickens, pork, beef and any other living thing we eat including fucking kale.

This guy will tell you all about the horrors of killing vegetables.


Lobsters, like insects, belong to the invertebrate phylum Arthropoda. Besides lobsters and insects, spiders and snails belong to this group as well. Let loose a spider on a PETA volunteer and watch them squash it. Not to spoil your appetite, but lobsters are bugs, pure and simple, with rudimentary nervous systems and a chain ganglia network that is so simple it doesn't even require a brain. If you remove the head region of a lobster, the body of the lobster would still react the same way, because of the local reflexes ... involving those chain ganglia. No Brain, No Pain. Simple. Look it up.


NORFOLK, Va. — Even some supporters do not know what to make of it. PETA, considered by many to be the highest-profile animal rights group in the country, kills an average of about 2,000 dogs and cats each year at its animal shelter here.       
And the shelter does few adoptions — 19 cats and dogs in 2012 and 24 in 2011, according to state records.

So, even if they send them on their way with a fentanyl-laced heroin cocktail or whatever they got from the last botched Oklahoma lethal injection execution. They are just as dead.

By the way, where were they on that one? Not one naked chick in a cage strapped to a gurney wearing a string of syringes around her neck. What was it, 43 minutes for that guy to die while writhing in pain? Doesn't that qualify as inhumane? More than squishing bugs, maybe?

So stick to actual cruelty like cosmetic testing on animals. That shit is cruel and harsh. Then, read a biology book for chrissakes and stay away from overreach.  

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

"Well Boys, Break's Over."

Time to get back to slinging greendayman bombs.

People are starting to catch on to what the liberal blogosphere, Robert Reich, Paul Krugman et. al. have been talking about for years. The American working public has been getting so screwed since Reagan broke the Air Traffic Controllers union (PATCO). It's obvious to me and you but why did it take so long for income inequality and stagnant wages to become somewhat mainstream? It's been since 1981. WTF? Opinions abound and just like earlobes, everybody has at least one.

Here's mine. A tipping point has been reached where corporate vampires can no longer suck enough blood from the middle class to sustain their stratospheric salaries. We've all seen the charts. Real people are suffering, not just the low-information Republican base.

From The Atlantic:

"This is something that has been happening and building for years and is now really rooted in the economy, and it's vicious," said Lawrence Mishel, president of the Economic Policy Institute, a liberal think tank in Washington. "There's a remarkable disconnect. The problem isn't a lack of the economy producing sufficient income to make everybody's living standards improve--it's that the economy is structured so that the majority don't benefit." Or, to state the point more cautiously, the majority doesn't benefit from productivity gains very much--certainly, less than our parents and grandparents did.

OKAY.. We know this too... so what next? 

Step One: Three Paths to Full Employment

Step Two: Bring Back Unions

Step Three: Bring CEO Pay Back to Reality

Step Four: Bring Back Manufacturing, Stop Offshoring Jobs.

This is the biggie, AND easy to fix. Bring back tariffs and stop giving taxbreaks to companies that offshore jobs. Repeal Nafta, Cafta, and Fuck-no to TPP

Call me a protectionist... I don't care.