Sunday, February 26, 2017

Just a reminder that this is why Donald Trump is too afraid to attend the White House Correspondents' Dinner.

I swear I could watch that over and over again on a loop and never get tired of it.

But see THIS is why Trump does not want to sit up on that stage for the dinner.

He knows that he will be following the guy who was often called the "Comedian-in-Chief."

And he also knows that since he has started a war with the press that the jokes at his expense will be BRUTAL.

However what he does not seem to realize is that the show WILL go on, and that with him out of the room the jokes will only be MORE BRUTAL.

Personally I can hardly wait to see this year's dinner.

I actually had no intention of watching it with Trump attending, but now that he chickened out I wouldn't miss it for the world.

Donald Trump tries to undermine unity among Democrats by saying that the DNC chair election was rigged.

Courtesy of WaPo: 

Trump cited no evidence to back up his claim. 

Clinton didn’t offer a formal endorsement in the DNC race, though she and Perez have long been political allies and Perez was widely considered the candidate of the establishment wing of the party. Perez backed Clinton over Sanders for the Democratic nomination last year. 

Trump has claimed for months that the Democratic race for president was “rigged” in favor of Clinton and against Sanders. He also frequently used the same term to describe his race against Clinton.

First of all if you are a Democrat who actually gives this any credibility you need to, right now, go find a brick wall and start beating your head against it until you come to your senses.

This is right out of the Kremlin's playbook and it is how they sowed doubt and disunity among the Democrats during the primaries, which led up to disenfranchised voters in the general.

It is time for Democrats to stop allowing assholes like Trump and Putin to yank their chains and cause them to shoot themselves in the foot.

When we are together, we are unstoppable.

And that is what terrifies Trump and the Republicans so much.

UK officials want an investigation to determine if Russian interference helped bring about Brexit.

New British Prime Minister Theresa may with Vladimir Putin last year.
Courtesy of Business Insider: 

Labour MPs are ratcheting up pressure on the government to reveal whether Russia interfered in the EU referendum. 

Former culture secretary Ben Bradshaw told Business Insider that the "public has a right to know" if the Kremlin attempted to influence the outcome of the Brexit vote in June last year. 

He is concerned that Prime Minister Theresa May’s government is not being transparent enough about the issue — particularly now there is acceptance in the US and other European nations that Russia has attempted to meddle in democratic decisions, he said. 

Bradshaw pressed the government on the matter in two separate House of Commons debates in December last year, during the second of which he asked the prime minister what is being done to investigate Kremlin interference.

It is a more than reasonable request since we certainly know that Putin wants to break up the EU because he fears their combined power.

And it is not as if there is not any evidence to support this.

Courtesy of Newsweek: 

Reports suggested that Russia used its vast intelligence apparatus during the run up to the U.K.’s June referendum on EU membership in favor of the winning “leave” vote. Both RT and Sputnik, English-language news outlets which receive funding from the Kremlin, produced often misleading news coverage that tallied with the campaign urging voters to leave the EU. 

Russia is also believed to have leveraged its “troll army”—individuals paid by the Kremlin to produce and promote fake social media content—to focus on messaging around the referendum campaign.

The Russian disinformation campaign may have influenced the vote outcome. Polling in the lead up to the referendum had showed a majority of UK nationals wishing to remain. But as election day neared it became apparent that the race had grown close, and the final vote count resulted in a narrow victory for the leave camp, which won 51.9 percent of the votes compared to 48.1 percent for the remain side. 

The Brexit leave vote fits with Russia’s goal of weakening the EU, which it has eyed warily as former Eastern Bloc countries have flocked to join. The U.K.’s withdrawal will leave the EU without one of the three largest economic and military powers in Europe.

Please, if Russian interference could convince the voters in America to elect the worst president since the founding of the country, how hard would it have been for them to convince British voters to throw away their future?

Thanks to Donald Trump's new immigration policies we are now detaining elderly Australian children's book authors?

 Okay this is beyond disgusting.

And while we are on the topic they also detained Mohammad Ali's son.

Courtesy of USA Today: 

The son of legendary boxer Muhammad Ali was detained for hours by immigration officials earlier this month at a Florida airport, according to a family friend. 

Muhammad Ali Jr., 44, and his mother, Khalilah Camacho-Ali, the second wife of Muhammad Ali, were arriving at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport on Feb. 7 after returning from speaking at a Black History Month event in Montego Bay, Jamaica. They were pulled aside while going through customs because of their Arabic-sounding names, according to family friend and lawyer Chris Mancini. 

Immigration officials let Camacho-Ali go after she showed them a photo of herself with her ex-husband, but her son did not have such a photo and wasn't as lucky. Mancini said officials held and questioned Ali Jr. for nearly two hours, repeatedly asking him, "Where did you get your name from?" and "Are you Muslim?"

"Where did you get your name?"

That actually leaves me speechless.

This is our country now. 

Donald Trump is better than everybody. Just ask him.

It is not just that he is the world's biggest braggart.

It is that he is actually not the best at ANYTHING.

If you met this guy in a bar you would either, as a woman, throw a drink in his face, or as a man, take him outside so he could prove his superiority.

In the real world Donald Trump would spend his life wiping alcohol off his face, or collecting his teeth off of the ground.

The Republican's predisposition to accept fake news, may have it origins in Fundamentalist Christianity.

Courtesy of Religion Dispatches:  

What is it about Republicans that seems to make them more credulous to fake news than Democrats? 

The answer to this question might have to do with the religious roots of today’s Republican Party in the Christian Right. Beginning with the Moral Majority, founded in 1979 by Jerry Falwell and Tim LaHaye, and continuing through church organizations such as Pat Robertson’s Christian Coalition and James Dobson’s Focus on the Family, conservative Christians have helped reshape the Republican Party and its policies. Its “family values” positions on abortion, the sexual revolution, gender roles, pornography, and homosexuality have been heavily influenced by its conservative Christian theology. 

Voters have continued to “sort” themselves over the last few decades, as political liberals became less religious and political conservatives more religious. Sociologists call this the “God gap” in partisan religiosity. Conservative white evangelicals have formed a hugely important and highly motivated core group of the Republican electorate for several cycles. In 2016, Donald Trump garnered 81 percent of the white evangelical vote, higher than Mitt Romney, John McCain, and even the born-again George W. Bush.

.........

Christian fundamentalist Bible colleges and universities, publishers and bookstores, newspapers and magazines, radio and then television shows, museums and campus ministries, together formed a set of institutions that resisted elite, secular expert knowledge. Recognizing the power of expertise’s infrastructure, Christian fundamentalists created this counter-infrastructure to cultivate and curate its alternative forms of knowledge. 

This alternative knowledge—the forerunner of today’s alternative facts— took the form of creationism and an alternative Bible scholarship demonstrating the Bible’s inerrancy and traditional authorship. This alternative educational and media ecosystem of knowledge was galvanized and mobilized when the Christian Right emerged in the late 1970s to influence the Republican Party. There were two long-term consequences for our fake news world. First, theologically and politically conservative Christians learned to distrust the proclamations of the supposedly neutral media establishment, just as they had grown to suspect the methods and conclusions of elite experts like scientists or historians. And second, they learned to seek the truth from alternative sources—whether a church sermon, Christian media (newspapers, books, radio or television shows), or a classroom in a Christian college. 

The consequence is that theologically fundamentalist Christians have for years explained to themselves that what seems to be worldly wisdom and conclusions are really the results of conspiracies, biases, and misplaced human pride in academic, scientific, and journalist communities. This cognitive training to reject expert knowledge and to seek alternative, more amenable explanations has helped disarm the capacity for critical thinking and analysis.

Well this is essentially what I have been pointing out for the last twelve years. 

The acceptance of supernatural explanations for the world around us makes us more susceptible to every kind of bullshit that gets presented to us throughout our lives.

Astrology, phrenology, numerology, past lives regression, palm readings, fear of contrails, seances, "reality" TV shows about chasing freaking Bigfoot, all of it relies on the suppression of the critical thinking skills that we need to safely navigate through our lives,

And without the ability to sniff out bullshit we find ourselves living in a country led by a cross between PT Barnum and an Oompa Loompa.

So yes I do indeed have issues with religion.

And I cannot help but feel that if more of us rejected it we would be living in a much better world, with a much brighter tomorrow ahead of us.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Former Labor Secretary Tom Perez is the new DNC Chair.

Courtesy of NBC News:  

After a difficult 2016 campaign that saw them lose in the White House, both chambers of Congress and in state houses across the country, Democrats elected Tom Perez, the former labor secretary during the Obama administration, to lead the Democratic National Committee on Saturday.

Perez won in the second round of voting during the 2017 Winter DNC Meeting in Atlanta, earning 235 votes from the 447 DNC members — the voting bloc that decides the chairmanship. Perez was considered the heavy favorite of the Democratic establishment. 

Minnesota Congressman Keith Ellison, the preferred candidate of the Bernie Sanders wing of the party, came in second, earning 200 votes in the second round of votes. Half ballots are given to Democrats voting abroad.

I have to admit that though I followed this with interest I really did not have a dog in this fight.

In my opinion all that matters with a new DNC head is that they recognize what is happening all across the country right now in response to the election of Donald Trump and that they find some way to harness that activism and organize it into overwhelming voter turnout for the next election cycles.

With that goal in mind I think that having somebody from the Obama administration is not exactly a bad thing since it means that our former President will likely become more involved, and with his sky rocketing approval numbers that can only help moving forward.

Perez also had the good sense to appoint Keith Ellison as his deputy chair. So this is clearly not a dumb man.

Donald Trump just announced he will not be attending the White House Correspondents Dinner.

What a fucking coward.

Here he is abusing the press, essentially declaring war on them, and then he does not even have the balls to face them over a dinner steeped in tradition.

Well on the plus side I guess this means that the other attendees might actually be able to have a good time.

Trump administration enlisted top intelligence officials to counter reports about Russian/Trump investigation.

Courtesy of WaPo: 

The Trump administration has enlisted senior members of the intelligence community and Congress in efforts to counter news stories about Trump associates’ ties to Russia, a politically charged issue that has been under investigation by the FBI as well as lawmakers now defending the White House. 

Acting at the behest of the White House, the officials made calls to news organizations last week in attempts to challenge stories about alleged contacts between members of President Trump’s campaign team and Russian intelligence operatives, U.S. officials said. 

The calls were orchestrated by the White House after unsuccessful attempts by the administration to get senior FBI officials to speak with news organizations and dispute the accuracy of stories on the alleged contacts with Russia.

The White House on Friday acknowledged those interactions with the FBI but did not disclose that it then turned to other officials who agreed to do what the FBI would not — participate in White House-arranged calls with news organizations, including The Washington Post. 

The White House insisted the officials speak on the condition of anonymity — a practice President Trump has condemned.

Well, this is troubling.

You might also remember that Reince "twice and" Priebus recently stated that he was "authorized by the top levels of the intelligence community to denounce reports on Trump campaign contacts with Russia as false."

However there is no confirmation of this which has now placed quite a lot of pressure on a certain FBI Director to come clean:  

As the FBI declined to discuss the matter, pressure mounted on Comey to either counter or affirm the White House's account. Even the Trump administration urged him to come forward, which as of Friday was not happening. 

"Politicized assertions by White House chief of staff Priebus about what may or may not be the findings of an FBI investigation are exactly the wrong way for the public to hear about an issue that is of grave consequence to our democracy," Sen. Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat and member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said in a statement. "The American people deserve real transparency, which means Director Comey needs to come forward, in an open hearing, and answer questions." 

The push on Comey to publicly discuss the bureau's investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election is especially acute given his statements in the run-up to Nov. 8 that many Democrats believe cost Clinton the election. He detailed the results of the FBI's investigation at an unusual July news conference, testified on it for hours on Capitol Hill and alerted Congress less than two weeks before Election Day that the FBI would be reviewing new emails potentially connected to the case.

One would think after the Hillary Clinton debacle that Comey would feel compelled to gain a little credibility back by setting the record straight here.

But so far, nothing.

I swear the further this thing goes the more I wonder why this entire administration is not facing federal charges.

Oh that's right, all this only counts when Democrats do it.

Our last real President made an appearance in New York yesterday.

Courtesy of Yahoo: 

Former President Barack Obama caused quite a commotion Friday when he stopped inside a New York City office building. 

A large crowd gathered outside, trying to catch a view of Obama as he left 160 Fifth Ave. in Manhattan. 

It was not immediately clear what the former president was attending to during his stop. A representative for the president's foundation declined to comment. 

In the liberal enclave of Manhattan, Obama was met with loud cheers as he walked to his motorcade.

I swear it is almost a shock to the system to see the super cool former President after this last month of watching his petulant orange tinged replacement.

Seriously what would you sacrifice to have this man back in the White House leading this country?

Asked why he is not holding town halls Senator Marco Rubio replies Because "people get rude and stupid."

Courtesy of HuffPo:When a constituent confronted Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) Thursday about why he wasn’t holding a town hall event during this week’s congressional recess, Rubio gave what seemed an honest answer. 

“I don’t know man, because town halls, people get rude and stupid ― on both sides,” the senator told the man. 

A community organizer for the Florida chapter of the Service Employees International Union tweeted a video of the encounter, which happened in a lecture hall at Florida International University, where Rubio teaches a class. The questioner appears to be Rafael Velasquez, a member of the Florida Democratic party’s board of trustees.

Not to give Rubio too much credit, but at least that sounds more honest that Louie Gohmert stating that he is afraid of getting shot like Gabby Giffords. 

However I would be willing to bet that the will live to regret this statement.

Vox provides a timeline for all of the Trump-Russian scandals.

And remember, there are more coming every day it seems.

Perhaps the most fitting Carl Sagan quote for these times.

“One of the saddest lessons of history is this: If we’ve been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. We’re no longer interested in finding out the truth. The bamboozle has captured us. It’s simply too painful to acknowledge, even to ourselves, that we’ve been taken. Once you give a charlatan power over you, you almost never get it back.” 

 Yes. it's legit.