Girtherism: America’s Cry For Help

[UPDATE]:

DTw02QwX4Agz5FT.jpg

It’s already starting, you guys:

The report considers only those incidents motivated by international terrorist groups — so instances of domestic terrorism are not counted. Moreover, individuals captured overseas, extradited and brought to the United States to face trial are included in the same category as people who emigrated to the United States and were charged with terrorism offenses years later.

For example, Ahmed Abu Khattala, convicted in November in connection with the deadly 2012 attack on a U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, is counted in the same category as someone who successfully applied for a visa to enter the United States.

“Doing that intentionally confuses the threat of domestic terrorist attack with the number of foreigners, by increasing the number of foreigners,” Greenberg said. Extradited terrorism suspects are not immigrants, she said, and should be taken out of the sample.

What next, yellow stars on the jackets of immigrants? It’s happening again.

—————————————————————-

In a hilarious take on the Obama birthers, there is a new conspiracy in town: “Trump Girthers.”

These are the folks calling bullshit on White House physician Dr. Ronny Jackson’s obviously falsified report following Trump’s annual physical:

But he did say that Mr. Trump’s weight is 239 pounds and that he is too sedentary. His cholesterol is too high, despite medicine to lower it, and Dr. Jackson said Mr. Trump would be increasing the 10-milligram dosage of Crestor to better control it.

At 6 feet 3 inches tall, Mr. Trump has a body mass index of 29.9, which is just shy of officially being obese. A New York driver’s license issued in 2012 listed him as 6 feet 2 inches tall, which would put him just into the obese category.

More than just a piece of delicious karma or even, as some are claiming, “fat shaming,” what we have here is lie shaming. A 70-year-old man is not going to grow an inch in six years unless, of course, that inch is the difference between being medically obese and just “overweight.” The internet has had a lot of fun with this; “Guardians Of The Galaxy” Director James Gunn offered to donate $100,000 to Trump’s favorite charity if he would “get on an accurate scale” (a take on Trump’s own $5 million birther promise. By the way, whatever happened with that?). Gunn later quipped,

I would be afraid that it’s the Ku Klux Klan but there’s no way in hell he’s 239 pounds, so I don’t have to worry about it.

And the internet has been quick to post photos of Trump next to other 6’3″ people, or even the 6’1″ President Obama:

Tempting though it may be to laugh at this nonsense, it actually illustrates a far more nefarious tendency in this administration: a need to lie on behalf of a president who has so obviously made lying a job requirement. And make no mistake: history is filled with examples of how dangerous this can be in the hands of one with tremendous power.

From day one we’ve had Trump and those associated with him saying demonstrably, stupidly false things purely to fluff the Trump ego. It literally started on Day One with Sean Spicer lying, repeatedly, about the size of Trump’s inauguration crowd, then lying to cover up his lie. These are silly, unimportant things to lie about and also easily verified, yet someone who works for the president of the United States has been forced to trash his own credibility in a humiliating way so that Trump can continue to live in an alternate universe where he is respected and adored.

We have politicians in Trump’s own party trying to curry favor by sending jars of candy, his favorite flavors hand-selected by an aide who, I dunno, probably had more important stuff he or she could have been doing that day besides separating out the red and pink Starbursts (we pay these peoples’ salaries, don’t forget). It has now become cliche to say, “imagine the reaction if Obama had done this…” but seriously, imagine if a Democratic Senator had given Obama jars of M&Ms with the brown ones removed. Heck, they lost their shit when he spoke to crowds of thousands (raise your hand if you saw one of these bumper stickers after the 2008 election; I sure did).

And it continues today, with Trump falsely claiming that his support among African Americans has doubled. It hasn’t. The folks at Breitbart and Fox & Friends just can’t do statistics.

This is how dictators and authoritarian leaders of Banana Republics behave, not leaders of free democracies. Toadies and sycophants debasing themselves so Dear Leader’s fantasy of being adored is not something we Americans have experienced before and it undermines America’s institutions. We saw it yesterday with Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen’s amnesia on the “shithole” controversy.

If you’re going to publicly humiliate yourself and undermine your credibility on things like whether the president is obese or had the largest crowd size in the history of crowds, ever, period … I mean, where does it stop? He’s already lied about illegal votes, who’s to say he won’t do it again?

Be careful about writing this stuff off as silly internet fun and games. It’s not. It’s democracy’s cry for help.

7 Comments

Filed under Housekeeping

He Hires The Best People

Your Office Of National Drug Control Policy

Look who’s been appointed to help lead the Office of National Drug Control Policy: a 24-year-old recent college grad whose “relevant experience” appears to be organizing a benefit golf tournament.

Hey ‘Murrica, if you’re hoping the opioid crisis plaguing your rural areas is being taken seriously by Donald Trump, think again.

Trump has pledged to marshal federal government talent and resources to address the opioid crisis, but nearly a year after his inauguration, the drug policy office, known as ONDCP, lacks a permanent director. At least seven of his administration’s appointees have departed, office spokesman William Eason said. Among them was the general counsel and acting chief of staff, some of whose duties were assumed by Weyeneth, according to a memo obtained by The Washington Post.

[…]

The official, who agreed to speak only on the condition of anonymity, said that Weyeneth has been primarily performing administrative work, rather than making policy decisions, and that he had “assumed additional duties and an additional title following staff openings.”

One might almost think that the White House and Republican Party really aren’t interested in addressing the opioid crisis at all. (One might have been thinking that ever since it was revealed that Republicans like Tennessee’s Marsha Blackburn dismantled DEA oversight of drug companies at the height of the opioid epidemic. But I digress ….)

Young Weyeneth is an interesting character. Apparently his family owned a health food business that processed chia seeds and somehow got involved in an illegal Chinese steroid scam:

In the summer and fall of 2011, the firm was secretly processing illegal steroids from China as part of a conspiracy involving people from Virginia, California and elsewhere in the United States and one person in China, federal court records show. Weyeneth’s stepfather, Matthew Greacen, pleaded guilty to a felony conspiracy charge last year and received two years probation and a fine.

Why is there always something fishy with everyone associated with Trump? Something involving prison time or federal charges? Even more bizarrely, Matthew Greacen is apparently a cousin of actor Alec Baldwin, who wrote the judge in this case on Greacen’s behalf. Just can’t make this shit up.

All of this is a sidebar to our story’s main point, which is that Trump and the Republican Party really don’t care about the opioid epidemic at all. That this is an epidemic perpetrated on the American people by pharmaceutical companies which profit handsomely from an addicted populace is, I’m sure, purely coincidental.

7 Comments

Filed under Donald Trump

Experience Matters

People, I love Oprah Winfrey too, but can we please shut up about her running for President? Never mind she’s said she’s not interested. Even if she were to embrace the idea, please just say no to this nonsense.

Have we learned nothing from President Reality TV “Star”? This country doesn’t need some vaunted “outsider” who doesn’t understand how government works. That isn’t the person to “fix things”! We don’t need someone who doesn’t understand that the Attorney General is not the president’s personal attorney but rather the nation’s attorney. Someone who doesn’t know enough not to fire the FBI director investigating his campaign. No! We need someone who knows our institutions and our traditions. Who knows why we have the laws that we have and why we have the traditions that we do.

Here is what this country needs: a boring old politician. Yes, I said it! I know that’s anathema to the populists in the heartland. It’s not what the kewl kids are saying or the conventional wisdom among political pundits, but it’s the straight truth. We need someone who knows government and therefore knows how to govern.

Here is who I want for president in 2020: a boring old Senator who’s held office for a while.

I think President Obama would agree with me. He’s said his biggest disappointment was that he was unable to change the culture of Washington. That’s a tall order for anyone, but particularly someone with as little experience inside Washington as he had. As much as I adore Obama, and as much as I think we are a better country for his two terms in office, the reality is, he was unable to accomplish a lot of what he and the voters wanted because of unprecedented resistance from Republicans. And I can’t help but wonder if he might not have been better equipped to run interference around the roadblocks put up by old-timers like Mitch McConnell if he’d had more time in the Senate to forge relationships.

That will be left for the historians to decide. But the bottom line is, people like Oprah Winfrey, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and even Mark Cuban have no business running for the highest office in the land. Start small, if that’s your ambition. Run for the House of Representatives, or state office. Learn the ropes. Then come talk to me.

Right, left, center — I don’t care. It’s disrespectful to the office. Yes! It is! It disrespects the work of government to think anyone can waltz in and “fix things” just because we like their TV show or want to have a beer with them or find their personalities pleasing or can identify with their personal struggles or find ourselves nodding in agreement at their latest Entertainment Weekly interview. That isn’t governing. It’s a path that leads directly to President Dwayne Elizondo Mountain Dew Herbert Camacho and if we don’t want to end up an Idiocracy we better nip this shit in the bud now.

26 Comments

Filed under 2020 Election

DIAF, 2017

How glad are we to see 2017 come to a close? VERY GLAD. This year was bad on every level. There was Donald Trump. I got in a car accident in April. I had surgery in August. Donald Trump. My favorite cat started having seizures out of nowhere and died. Puerto Rico got obliterated.

Donald Trump.

The year’s only redeeming qualities were my beloved Nashville Predators making it all the way to the Stanley Cup finals in June and the solar eclipse in August. A Stanley Cup Final was sort of on my bucket list, so I was thrilled when the Preds pulled off a miracle and went to their first-ever finals. We lost to the Penguins but honestly, it was so exciting to see this city turn out for their hockey team that I almost didn’t care.

The eclipse happened a couple days after my surgery and, being late August, it was a bazillion degrees outside. I toddled outside and sat on my front porch waiting for totality. First the birds stopped singing and then, as we hit totality, the streetlights suddenly came on. The funniest thing was when the sun came back: they’re building new houses both behind and across the street from us, and when the sun came back, all the construction workers cheered and then, without skipping a beat, resumed their interminable hammering. Back to our regularly scheduled programming.

And that’s something else that sucked: Nashville’s growth has metastasized like a tumor. They’re building what we call “tall skinnies” everywhere, which are 3-story houses crammed onto tiny lots. We have two of these obnoxious towers behind us now, and what was once a privacy fence has now been rendered useless. This city is no longer livable. The “big city with a small town feel” was always Nashville’s unofficial motto but nowadays it’s just one long-assed traffic jam, overpriced housing, and woo girls on pedal taverns (how did Nashville become ground zero for bachelorette parties? I have no clue.)

And then of course there’s Donald Trump. Where to begin with this guy? I just can’t. Everything he touches turns to shit, it’s his own reverse Midas touch. I can’t even enjoy watching the Republican Party swirl the drain as he drags them into supporting pedophiles and neo-Nazis. This has been the least fun political death watch ever. One cherished institution after another has fallen under the wheels of the greed bus. Goodbye, free and open internet. Farewell, Children’s Health Insurance Program. Ta-ta, healthcare. Next on the chopping block? Medicare and Social Security, you can bank on it. It’s too depressing for words. I don’t even know if I can do a New Year’s Burn List this year, I don’t want to put the neighborhood at risk.

I can only hope that 2018 will be better. And 2017? All I can say to you is, fuck you.

18 Comments

Filed under Holidays, New Year's List

Fun With Horrible People

Those wacky kids are having a field day with the utterly tone deaf photo of Steve Mnuchin and his horrible wife Louise Linton, visiting their money. The “money shot” heard round the internet was just rife for mocking, and the internet did not disappoint.

Some Friday funnies:

These showed up after someone noticed that Linton was dressed like Kylo Ren from “Star Wars”:

The Mnuchins are truly horrible people and I shall make fun of them until they are run out of Washington, D.C. Someone said if your signature were on the U.S. money you’d take that photo too; maybe, but I sure as hell know better than to Tweet it out to the world.

5 Comments

Filed under Housekeeping

Why Now? Because Journalism Happened

UPDATE:

And now the locals come out to say yes, everyone knew:

“These stories have been going around this town for 30 years,” said Blake Usry, who grew up in the area and lives in Gadsden. “Nobody could believe they hadn’t come out yet.”

And …

“Him liking and dating young girls was never a secret in Gadsden when we were all in high school,” said Sheryl Porter. “In our neighborhoods up by Noccalula Falls we heard it all the time. Even people at the courthouse know it was a well-known secret.

Everyone ALWAYS knows…

—————————————————————————–

Oh, the delicious irony in learning that the Bible-banging wannabe Senator from Alabama with a 10 Commandments fetish is a gigantic creepazoid perv. I mean, who saw that coming? (Note: everyone saw that coming).

Now that we can add Roy Moore’s name to the ginormous dungheap of shit heel evangelical hypocrites (Ted Haggard, Jim Bakker, Jimmy Swaggart, Paul Crouch, George Rekers, Ralph Reed, Mark Sanford, Lou Beres, etc. etc. etc.), let’s address those excuses wingnuts are throwing out. Oh, they’re so desperate to convince themselves this story is no big deal or, worse, a “Democrat plot.” But, nope. Sorry folks.

The most compelling is the “why now?” defense, as in, Why are we only hearing about this now, a few weeks before a major election? That’s actually a damn good question, because timing is everything and I can see how it would look suspicious. And yes, we all know the myriad reasons why victims don’t come forward, the fear of retaliation, the shame, the not wanting to relive the incident, etc. I’m not talking about that.

The real answer to the “why now” question can be summed up in one word: journalism.

It took a journalist from a national newspaper following the Moore for Senate campaign to hear the rumors that had been swirling around Alabama politics for decades. And this journalist followed up on them, something no Alabama reporter had done. The current post-Harvey Weinstein climate I’m sure had something to do with it; outing creepazoid pervs and sexual predators seems to be all the rage these days. But make no mistake: the victims didn’t come forward to break this story. Two journalists sought them out:

Neither Corfman nor any of the other women sought out The Post. While reporting a story in Alabama about supporters of Moore’s Senate campaign, a Post reporter heard that Moore allegedly had sought relationships with teenage girls. Over the ensuing three weeks, two Post reporters contacted and interviewed the four women. All were initially reluctant to speak publicly but chose to do so after multiple interviews, saying they thought it was important for people to know about their interactions with Moore. The women say they don’t know one another.

[…]

This account is based on interviews with more than 30 people who said they knew Moore between 1977 and 1982, when he served as an assistant district attorney for Etowah County in northern Alabama, where he grew up.

Note the emphasis: more than 30 people were interviewed. Moore’s thing for young girls was nearly as much of an open secret as Harvey Weinstein’s predatory behavior.

Teresa Jones, who worked with Moore as Deputy District Attorney in Gadsden, AL, told CNN:

[…] Moore often went to high school events and to other local hangouts. “It was common knowledge that Roy dated high school girls, everyone we knew thought it was weird…We wondered why someone his age would hang out at high school football games and the mall…”

She also told the network that co-workers thought the situation was odd, but no one confronted him about it. “You really wouldn’t say anything to someone like that,” she said. 

When asked on Twitter why she did not bring charges against Moore, she posted: “At that time, in that atmosphere unless the girls came forward with specifics, then no, no charges could have been brought. The Weinstein, Hoffman, etc. revelations have made it far more palatable for women to come forward.” 

“Why now?” is a question Alabama voters should be asking their local political media, not Twitter, CNN, and The Washington Post. Roy Moore was a known perv and pedophile, and nobody did anything about it. Alabama voters should rightfully be angry that someone who was elected Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court in 2001, twice ran for governor, and again was elected Chief Justice in 2013 had this known history, and nobody said a thing about it. I’d be pissed. But sometimes it takes an outsider to do what those too close to the situation can’t. Sometimes it takes a change of circumstances, such as the one that we’re experiencing now, to make it “palatable” for the predators among us to be outted.

There’s a Bible verse that Roy Moore and the rest of the shit heel conservative evangelical caucus might want to remember, and it comes from Luke:

“For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open.”

You want to know why? Because journalism. Because the Bible said so. Take your pick.

13 Comments

Filed under Christian Right, Media, religious right

Coal Is Still Dead

I’ve read enough articles about cheap natural gas supplanting coal to conclude that these folks right here are morons:

WAYNESBURG, Pa. (Reuters) – When Mike Sylvester entered a career training center earlier this year in southwestern Pennsylvania, he found more than one hundred federally funded courses covering everything from computer programming to nursing.

He settled instead on something familiar: a coal mining course.

”I think there is a coal comeback,” said the 33-year-old son of a miner.

Despite broad consensus about coal’s bleak future, a years-long effort to diversify the economy of this hard-hit region away from mining is stumbling, with Obama-era jobs retraining classes undersubscribed and future programs at risk under President Donald Trump’s proposed 2018 budget.

Trump has promised to revive coal by rolling back environmental regulations and moved to repeal Obama-era curbs on carbon emissions from power plants.

“I have a lot of faith in President Trump,” Sylvester said.

You, sir, are an idiot and I am tired of being asked to feel sorry for you.

Coal is not coming back. Certainly not in any significant way. Definitely not in any long-term, community-building way. It’s that free-hand-of-the-market thing you guys are always yammering on about. Technology has made other energy sources cheaper. It’s not environmentalists and tree huggers doing this (last I checked, those folks were pretty staunchly against fracking), it’s just good ol’ fashioned economics.

So. Read the writing on the wall:

“production levels remain near lows hit in 1978”

… and take advantage of the help being sent your way. Or, don’t:

“…120 people have signed up for jobs retraining outside the mines, far short of the target of 700…”

and

“I can’t even get them to show up for free food I set up in the office,” said Dave Serock, an ex-miner who recruits in Fayette County for Southwest Training Services.

Seriously, what the hell is wrong with people? Is this nostalgia for days gone by? Republicans are going to cut funding for all of these job training programs. Now is the time to take advantage of the help being offered because it will be gone next year. The turd in the White House does not give a shit about “coal country” or workers beyond using their plight to stoke further divisions in the country. Wake the hell up.

10 Comments

Filed under clean coal, energy policy, energy production

And Then There Were Four

When a reader requested more furbaby pictures, I’m sure this wasn’t what he had in mind. But, sad news from the Beale household: yesterday we had to say goodbye to our little Oscar.

Oscar was literally found in the street by our house and named by blog commenters. He was FIV+, so we knew he wouldn’t have a long life, but the end came suddenly and unexpectedly. He started having seizures a couple of days ago and they got increasingly violent and frequent. One seizure at the vet’s office left him blind. So yesterday we helped him across the rainbow bridge. He died in his favorite place: my arms. He was six years old.

Farewell, little buddy. You were a bundle of love in your short life. You are missed.

Oscar’s First Christmas Tree

Oscar’s 2nd Favorite Place: The Porch

Hiding From The Vet

7 Comments

Filed under Housekeeping

There’s Something About Milo

Here’s a weird story for you: Donald Trump’s hedge fund moneybags the Mercers have embraced the odious Milo Yiannopoulos, apparently in an effort to “make conservatism cool.” From Vanity Fair:

In 2012, they invested $10 million in Breitbart and then watched it turn into a blazingly offensive news organ for pro-Trump opinions; with the founding of Milo Inc. this year, they hoped to break into the next generation. “The interesting thing about the Mercers is that they’re the only people on the right who fund anything that’s cultural, which has always been the big weakness of the right and conservatism,” said Internet conspiracy theorist Mike Cernovich, chalking it up to conservatives simply being bad at understanding culture, much less participating in it.

In this context, Milo Inc. can be viewed as the Mercer version of the conservative movement’s oft-failed attempt to Appeal to the Youths. (Watch any Republican attempt to prove their hipness and the struggle is immediately clear.) In keeping with their goal to construct a parallel cultural universe, the Mercers, according to one person with direct knowledge of their fund-raising activities, were curious to see whether Yiannopoulos could create a media empire that could bring in younger voters, make money, and drive a wedge in the culture war.

I emphasized the “conservatives simply being bad at understanding culture” bit because, isn’t an old white hedge fund billionaire using Milo Yiannopoulos to appeal to “the youth” the very embodiment of that? If you want to sell to the kids, shouldn’t you find a cool person to do that? And is there anything even remotely cool about Milo Yiannopoulos? At all?

I realize I’m a little past my prime, but I do know and work with a lot of young people. Maybe I’m out of touch but Milo strikes me as the exact opposite of cool. His “brand” is self-serving, douchey, attention-whore narcissism — a gay, British Donald Trump, if you will. And yes, his anti-politically correct persona may be in sync with today’s bootstraps conservatism, but will salt of the earth Midwestern kids really look to a fur coat wearing pedophilia apologist like Milo for their cultural cues? Not on your life.

This makes no sense to me, but I’ve been wrong before. And the Mercers are so rich, they can afford to drop $10 million on a bauble like Milo.

7 Comments

Filed under conservatives, Donald Trump

Where Am I?

Though I FEEL like hiding under the bed during the awful Trump era, I’m actually just busy teaching, dealing with some health issues, writing my Senators and Congress Critters, cooking, going to hockey games (go Preds!) … you know, having a life.

I’m sorry I’ve abandoned the blog. I just haven’t felt up to writing during this absurd Trump era. Everything that could be said is being said by people smarter, better educated, better paid (ha!), and better equipped to handle the craziness of this modern America. When even Senator Bob Corker and I agree that the current occupant of the White House is a toddler, well … you know American politics has jumped the shark.

But I know some of you miss talking to each other and I forgot that my blog stops accepting comments on a post after two weeks or so. So here is a “fresh sheet,” as we used to say in the Atrios days.

Feel free to vent about the toddler-in-chief, the completely crazy idea that Roy Moore might actually be going to the U.S. Senate, our pending nuclear showdown with North Korea, your favorite chili recipe, or what have you.

I’ll be back someday, I promise. Right now, the world is just too sad.

17 Comments

Filed under Housekeeping, politics