Thursday, July 28, 2016

Understanding conservatives.

MORE DISCLAIMERSBefore I drop tonight's cut and paste job, I have to mention a couple of stories that had me scratching my very bald head today.

They really make me question the sanity of some people.

The first one has to do with Donald Trump Jr. accusing Barack Obama of plagiarizing some of his speech. Think about that for a minute. The young Trump actually lifted the same lines from the president who used them long before his daddy decided to run for president, and yet he has the audacity to accuse the president of lifting his lines. Unbelievable!

"Melania Trump, the elder Trump’s wife, came under fire last week when it was revealed that she had plagiarized from a speech first lady Michelle Obama delivered at the 2008 Democratic National Convention. 

Inexplicably, Trump Jr. appears to be trying to spark similar outrage by claiming the president stole material from him. 

He has failed, largely because the line he’s claiming to have coined wasn’t even his ― elected officials, including Barack Obama and former President George W. Bush, have been using it for years." 

Then there is Bill O'Reilly, a popular conservative talk show host who actually had the nerve to declare on his popular talk show that slaves were well fed, and had proper  lodging while they built the White House.

It's nothing new, of course, conservatives have a long history of trying to delegitimize  the stain and pain of slavery. But to see one of them do it so openly and without hesitation was shocking.

Now, of course, after all the backlash, he is trying to clean up his statement.

 "As any honest historian knows, in order to keep slaves and free laborers strong, the Washington administration provided meat, bread and other staples, also decent lodging on the grounds of the new presidential building. That is a fact. Not a justification, not a defense of slavery. Just a fact. Anyone who implies a soft-on-slavery message is beneath contempt."'

Bill, that is a "soft on slavery message", and you are beneath contempt. But we all already knew that; your history, both professionally and personally, proves it.  

So on to the must read article of the day:

"It is not Barack Obama’s fault that Donald Trump is the Republican presidential nominee, any more than the proverbial hurricane is the fault of the proverbial butterfly. But just like the butterfly and the hurricane, the fact that Trump’s ascension comes at the end of the Obama era is hardly a coincidence — and it’s hard to imagine one without the other.

More specifically, Obama’s election helped pave the way for Trumpism: not the idiosyncratic and often incomprehensible campaign that Donald Trump himself is running, but the anti-immigration, anti-trade, "law and order" populist sentiment that he’s brought back into the American mainstream and that will probably outlast his (probable) loss in November.

One of the reasons Trumpism has surprised political and media elites with its passion and strength is that it draws from a deep well of anxiety about America losing its culture and values in the face of (among other things) multiculturalism.

The idea that America is being both overrun and taken over by people with different values is partly inspired by reminders of difference in everyday life: seeing people in the streets who "look like" unauthorized immigrants; having to press 1 for English. But it’s also reinforced by the media, and by who represents America on the world stage.

And for the past eight years, that’s been a man of Kenyan ancestry — with, as Obama himself said during his 2004 convention speech, "a funny name."

Obama’s election was the result of the underlying demographic changes that have provoked so much anxiety that something’s being lost in America. But it was also a symbol of it.
More importantly, it offered a way for people to express those anxieties under the banner of disagreement about politics — which is acceptable in polite company — instead of under the banner of "complaining about nonwhite people," which is generally considered racist and frowned upon discussing openly.

Accusing African Americans or immigrants of being un-American or disloyal is a longstanding theme, but it’s not a polite thing to say. But asking whether President Obama was really born in America anyway, or saying he has a "Kenyan anti-colonialist" outlook because of his father, or darkly hinting that he is more sympathetic to America’s Islamist enemies than its allies because he has something in common with them? All of those are pretty strong and ugly criticisms, but they’re criticisms of a politician — of the most powerful man in the world, in fact. That makes them more acceptable than if they were about someone else.

Birtherism, of course, is the issue that made Donald Trump a conservative hero in 2011. The swell of support he felt then was almost enough to tempt him into a run in 2012, and it was definitely enough to tempt him into a run in 2016.

Trump had been toying with a run for president for decades. And while some of his policy stances have definitely shifted (to say the least) since then, his history as a racial provocateur goes back decades.

But Trump is a good marketer. He understood, when he ran this time, that his ability to make controversial statements was a close relative of the conservative resentment of "political correctness," and the yearning to more openly express certain people’s fears without courting offense or censorship. He saw his time had come." [Source]





Open thread Wednesday.

I need ya'll to tell me what you think of Obama's speech, and other happenings in the political arena today.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Lost in Philly.

Image result for philadelphia images I didn't want to go out at lunchtime today, cause it was just too damn hot, and, frankly, I don't really like crowds that much. And in case you have been living under a rock for the past few days, thanks to the DNC, there are some large crowds in Philly these days.

So anyway, on my way back to the office from my quick lunch run, I was stopped by a group of older white women who were obviously lost, and who wondered if I could point them in the right direction to a popular destination for tourists in our city.

I grabbed their map, smiled kindly, and proceeded to go over everything that I thought they needed to know. I kept up my Philly tutorial until I was sure that they knew exactly how they were going to get to their destination.

They thanked me over and over again, and before they left, I asked them where they were from. They told me that they were all from Tennessee, and for all but one of them it was their first visit to Philadelphia. They said that they were having a wonderful time, and that everyone had been really friendly and  kind.

Philly sometimes gets a bad rap for rudeness, so it was nice to meet some folks whose experiences went against the perception.

I gave each one them a business card, and told them that if they found themselves in any trouble that they should not hesitate to give me a call. [Southern accent] "Well we plan to party for the rest of the week so we might just take you up on that". *Laughter all around.*

They were all such nice ladies. Now I am glad that I went out of my building for lunch and bonded with the ladies from Tennessee.

I know I know, some of you are waiting for that cynical hook that sometimes accompany my posts, but tonight there will be none.

That's it. That's my blog post tonight. Just a wonderful experience with some older ladies from the South. 

*Pic from visitphilly.com



Monday, July 25, 2016

Convention, heat, and hackers.

Image result for philly dnc heat images With apologies to Nelly, it's hot "herr" in Philly this week, folks. The heat came just in time for the dems big party.

I gotta give it to Bernie's peeps, they were out in full force in the midday heat trying to make their voices heard. Meanwhile, my Jamaican ass was running for the closest air conditioned building. (Hey, I was in a suit; they were in shorts and flip flops.) That type of dedication is what wins elections. Hillary better hope and pray that they put some of that energy into getting her elected.

Sparks are already flying at the convention. Bernie's people actually gave their leader a real Philly welcome for all the world to see.

They are pissed because hacked e-mails confirm what they already knew: That the DNC was favoring Hillary over Bernie.

Now I get it, Bernie was never really a democrat, but he ran as one, and the fair thing to do would have been to give him equal treatment in the race. Sadly, Debbie Wasserman Shultz did not do that, and now, thankfully, she is gone.   

Dems are saying that the Russians hacked their e-mails to embarrass them and give trump the edge in the upcoming election. Apparently the trump Putin bromance runs deep, and word is that Vlad would love to see his buddy Donald running things in the most powerful country on earth.

They sure seem to have a lot in common, and there sure seems to be a history between them.

"Over the last year there has been a recurrent refrain about the seeming bromance between Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin. More seriously, but relatedly, many believe Trump is an admirer and would-be emulator of Putin's increasingly autocratic and illiberal rule. But there's quite a bit more to the story. At a minimum, Trump appears to have a deep financial dependence on Russian money from persons close to Putin. And this is matched to a conspicuous solicitousness to Russian foreign policy interests where they come into conflict with US policies which go back decades through administrations of both parties. There is also something between a non-trivial and a substantial amount of evidence suggesting Putin-backed financial support for Trump or a non-tacit alliance between the two men.

Let me start by saying I'm no Russia hawk. I have long been skeptical of US efforts to extend security guarantees to countries within what the Russians consider their 'near abroad' or extend such guarantees and police Russian interactions with new states which for centuries were part of either the Russian Empire or the USSR. This isn't a matter of indifference to these countries. It is based on my belief in seriously thinking through the potential costs of such policies. In the case of the Baltics, those countries are now part of NATO. Security commitments have been made which absolutely must be kept. But there are many other areas where such commitments have not been made. My point in raising this is that I do not come to this question or these policies as someone looking for confrontation or cold relations with Russia.

Let's start with the basic facts. There is a lot of Russian money flowing into Trump's coffers and he is conspicuously solicitous of Russian foreign policy priorities.
I'll list off some facts.

1. All the other discussions of Trump's finances aside, his debt load has grown dramatically over the last year, from $350 million to $630 million. This is in just one year while his liquid assets have also decreased. Trump has been blackballed by all major US banks.
2. Post-bankruptcy Trump has been highly reliant on money from Russia, most of which has over the years become increasingly concentrated among oligarchs and sub-garchs close to Vladimir Putin. Here's a good overview from The Washington Post, with one morsel for illustration ...
Since the 1980s, Trump and his family members have made numerous trips to Moscow in search of business opportunities, and they have relied on Russian investors to buy their properties around the world.
“Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets,” Trump’s son, Donald Jr., told a real estate conference in 2008, according to an account posted on the website of eTurboNews, a trade publication. “We see a lot of money pouring in from Russia.”

3. One example of this is the Trump Soho development in Manhattan, one of Trump's largest recent endeavors. The project was the hit with a series of lawsuits in response to some typically Trumpian efforts to defraud investors by making fraudulent claims about the financial health of the project. Emerging out of that litigation however was news about secret financing for the project from Russia and Kazakhstan. Most attention about the project has focused on the presence of a twice imprisoned Russian immigrant with extensive ties to the Russian criminal underworld. But that's not the most salient part of the story. As the Times put it,
"Mr. Lauria brokered a $50 million investment in Trump SoHo and three other Bayrock projects by an Icelandic firm preferred by wealthy Russians “in favor with” President Vladimir V. Putin, according to a lawsuit against Bayrock by one of its former executives. The Icelandic company, FL Group, was identified in a Bayrock investor presentation as a “strategic partner,” along with Alexander Mashkevich, a billionaire once charged in a corruption case involving fees paid by a Belgian company seeking business in Kazakhstan; that case was settled with no admission of guilt."
Another suit alleged the project "occasionally received unexplained infusions of cash from accounts in Kazakhstan and Russia." [More]

Ok, so maybe the theory that the Russians hacked the DNC e-mails to get trump elected is not so far -fetched after all.






Sunday, July 24, 2016

"People of color" put up a "firewall".

MORE DISCLAIMERSThe Field Negro education series continues.

The following post was written by Denise O. Velez for Daily Kos:

"We, the people of color of these United States of America, are going to be the salvation of this nation. We are the firewall that is standing strong against the travesty that we’ve just seen displayed at the Klanvention convened by Republicans in Cleveland.

Black folks are not buying what Donald Trump and the rest of his raft of Republican racists are selling. Neither are Latinos, Asian-Americans and Native Americans. As the traditional media tries to sell us on a neck-and-neck horse race between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump—ignoring the electoral college—and as Trump and other Republicans ramp up the racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic volume, there is one thing Democrats need to keep in mind: A big part of our voting base is black and brown, and that base is growing.

The coalition that elected Barack Obama twice isn’t shrinking.
President Obama achieved victory by carrying 93 percent of African American voters, 71 percent of Latino voters, 73 percent of Asian American voters, and only 39 percent of white voters
Republicans know that, which is why they are fighting tooth and nail to initiate more voter suppression across the U.S., and have even incorporated those efforts into their platform.
The Republican Party's platform formally endorses laws requiring voters to show identification when they cast ballots. The new provision inserts the national party into a contentious debate over voter access at a time when several states are tightening identification requirements. The party platform, adopted unanimously by delegates in Cleveland on Monday, goes farther than language that had been included in earlier years. The party "support[s] legislation to require proof of citizenship when registering to vote and secure photo ID when voting," the document reads. Four years ago, the GOP platform "applaud[ed] legislation to require photo identification for voting and to prevent election fraud."
 The stronger language comes ahead of a presidential election in which 12 states -- including critical swing states like Wisconsin, New Hampshire, North Carolina and Virginia -- will enforce voter identification laws for the first time."This is part of a broader move to curtail voting rights, which began after the 2010 election, when state lawmakers nationwide started introducing hundreds of harsh measures making it harder to vote," wrote the Brennan Center for Justice, which opposes many of the new laws.

We need to mount every effort possible to not only fight voter suppression, but to increase our GOTV efforts in black, Latino, Asian, and Native American communities.
The good news is the Clinton campaign “gets it” in regards to expanding efforts with black voters.
NBCBLK has confirmed from a Hillary Clinton aid that Hillary for America is expanding its African-American outreach team for the general election.

The Clinton campaign has hired several staffers in an effort to build an already sizable advantage with African-American voters. During the primaries, African-American voters favored Clinton overwhelmingly and a recent poll in Pennsylvania showed Trump's African American vote support at zero.
We should expect to hear from her campaign about ramped up Latino and Asian outreach very soon. However, we can’t just focus on the critical presidential battle. We have to flip the Senate and make inroads into the House, while also beginning to undo the depredations caused by Republican legislatures across the nation. As we fight the battle for victory in November, our eyes have to be on the ultimate prize of dominating midterms, and building our local and state participation. Ignoring the central importance of people of color as the bulwark against white supremacist/fascist ideology and practice imperils us all, no matter your individual race, ethnicity, or gender.
Bear with me as I digress and rant here.

From my perspective as a black Democratic voter, married to a brown Democratic voter, who has been fighting for our voting rights since being inspired by Mrs. Fannie Lou Hamer (among others) in 1964, I’m more than a bit ticked off by all the hand-wringing from the white left about white voters and the fantasy that the loss of “the white vote” is going to doom us. Before white Democrats read this and get upset, let me be clear: If you are white and not buying the racism—right on. If you are white and fighting voter suppression—right on.

Democrats lost “the white vote” decades ago. That doesn’t mean “all whites,” but it sure as hell tells us something about the pervasive impact of racism in American politics. [More]

Thoughts?

Saturday, July 23, 2016

CAPTION SATURDAY.



I need a caption for this pic.

*Pic from nbc.com

Friday, July 22, 2016

TGIF, but not for all the news it brings.

Image result for german shooter mcdonalds imagesThis has been quite a news day.

There was another terrorist attack in Europe. This time it was in  Germany , where some nut-job decided to kill at least nine people (including children) before killing himself. (That might just eliminate the radical Muslim jihadist angle.)

Dude was yelling  "you fucking Turks", and his rampage comes on the anniversary of a white supremacist shooting and killing 77 people in Norway. (77!!)  

If it does turn out that this was some nationalist nut job acting alone,  and not the work of a Middle Eastern terrorist group, look for the coverage to change.

Whoever it is, it won't stop  Donald trump from using this as just another reason to ramp up the fear factor. (Is he still giving his address?) The world is going to hell in a hand- basket and only I alone can fix it.

And will someone please tell the folks in the republican party that optics matter? Retweeting something posted on a white supremacist website on your convention jumbotron in the middle of your nominee's speech, was not a good look. The white only elevator signs we can live with, because we understand that it might have been an oversight. (Might.) But at some point you have to start wondering about the motivations of these folks.   

Hilary also picked her running -mate today. I guess if you want safe and steady Tim Kaine is the way to go. Virginia would be a nice feather in Hillary's electoral college cap, although with the latest ruling from the supreme court in Virginia it won't be that easy.

Finally, the most troubling news of the day comes from Austin, Texas. Where some police officers in that department decided that it was cool to dehumanize and abuse a woman of color.

Her name is Breaion King; she is a school teacher, and what happened to her should sicken every person of conscience in this country.

Watch the video tape, and listen to what they say about black people.

"First and foremost, let me just say this to Breaion King, her family, her friends, her neighbors, her supporters: 'I’m sorry that on the day that you were stopped for going 15 mph [above the speed limit], you were approached in a manner and then treated in a manner that is not consistent with the expectations of this police chief," Acevedo said. "There’s a way to do this job, and that day, we did not approach it anywhere near the way we should’ve approached it."

Acevedo said that "the chain of command" who reviewed Richter's use of force in the incident determined that "the incident was not consistent with the expectations of the department." Richter was told to attend training and counseling. "
 
Chief, all the counseling in the world will not help that man and you know it.
 
Ms. King, I am just glad that you are still alive.  We all know that things could have turned out a lot
worse for you and your family.
 
*Pic from abcnews.go.com
 
 








Thursday, July 21, 2016

Gretchen takes down Roger.

Image result for roger ailes images     So Roger Ailes, the Jabba the Hutt look alike who created FOX NEWS into a money making right-wingnut echo-chamber, is stepping down.  The alleged serial sexual harasser was, in the end, brought down by one of the blondes that he liked to trot out (skirt raised) for his melanin challenged  AARP and octogenarian viewers to see.

I hate to give Gretchen Carlson a profile in courage award, because for years she went along to get along while she cashed the checks. That is, of course, until FOX ( and Roger) thought that it was time for her to move on.

But it takes all kinds. I guess it's better late than never. I suspect that the only people who will miss Ailes are the men and the blondes with no talent over at FOX.

The irony in all this, of course, is that Aisles is stepping down on the night that the FOX NEWS created candidate- who leads what was formerly the republican party (now known as the American Nationalist Party) is going to give his coronation speech and reintroduce himself to the American people.

The Donald has had quite a ride, and he has FOX (and the FOX light folks in the main stream media) to thank for it. Ailes figured it was best to blow up the republican party and give the FOX viewers what they really want: Someone who shares their fears and their prejudices and who is unapologetic about his bigotry. The republicans were better than the democrats, but the "establishment republicans" just didn't get it. These new republicans  wanted a revolution in Washington and they wanted the bums thrown out. It was a revolution, by the way, that took hold in their minds after the election of the first president of color.

Now they can see a little light at the end of the tunnel, the orange haired one just might win this thing. A trump presidency with a sympathetic FOX News working their propaganda magic on the American people. Wet dreams all around.

Sadly for Roger, he might not be around to enjoy it.  

*Pic from salon.com  



Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Open mic Wednesday.

MORE DISCLAIMERSIt's "hump day", so let me know what you feel about a few things.

For instance, the RNC convention going on in Cleveland.

The Montel Williams Bill O'Reilly feud.

Roger Ailes becoming Bill Cosby.

Is Melania's alleged speech writer even real?

Steve King letting his inner Klan show.

And twitter suspending a right-wingnut.





Tuesday, July 19, 2016

How not to handle a crisis.

 Image result for melania trump images Folks are still talking about Melania trump ripping off some of the First Lady's speech.

At first you wouldn't think it's such a big deal. I mean who among us hasn't taken some liberties with the inspirational words of others? If you write enough, or engage in enough public speaking , it's easy for the P bug to come and bite you in the ass. I mean sometimes you just forget to give proper credit where it's due without thinking about it.

The president did it with Duval Patrick's speech, and Joe Biden among others have also ripped off the writing of others without properly attributing it. (Although in the case of Obama and Biden they were borrowing lines from ideological soul-mates)

The thing that makes the Melania plagiarism scandal so bad is how the campaign has been reacting to it after the fact. Instead of just making a statement to the effect that she did take some words from the First lady's speech because regardless of their political differences she has had similar inspirations, sadly, they choose to deny the obvious and look like bigger fools because of it. They have in essence  kept a news story going that should have had a very short life span.

Now, as it turns out, the story is getting even weirder.   

"A new report is providing some insight into how Melania Trump ended up reading a speech featuring a paragraph that plagiarized Michelle Obama.

NBC News’ Hallie Jackson reported on MSNBC tonight that Matthew Scully was brought on to write her speech for her, and “the draft submitted by Scully shows none of the portions in question.”
So, basically, the passage in question was added after the draft was submitted."

I guess now they can't throw the speech writer under the bus. But they have to do something; this scrutiny on Mrs. trump is not a good thing. There might be all kinds of things about the  former beauty queen that I am sure the campaign would rather the rest of us don't find out about. If that's the case, the sooner they put this one to rest and come clean, the better.

*Pic from twitter.com





Monday, July 18, 2016

If you thought that the Oscars were white.....

Image result for gop convention cleveland white imagesI tweeted this earlier, and it is worth repeating for this post: The problem with not knowing any black people or having any "black friends" (I see you Paul Ryan), is that when you need to trot out a black face you are forced to go with lunatics like Sheriff David Clarke.

Dude is one of the speakers at the RNC convention tonight (Don 't worry David, that white only elevator sign was just an oversight), and to say that he is a bit unhinged is an understatement.

Let's just say that the sheriff from Milwaukee has some issues.

I certainly hope that speakers like David Clarke will be few and far between at the RNC convention this week.

And I hope, for the sake of the country, that we won't have anymore of this:

"Donald Trump has moved on from the birther movement to float another equally reckless conspiracy theory about President Barack Obama.

After three police officers were killed in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, the president said that “there is no justification for violence against law enforcement. None.” He made similar comments after five officers were killed in Dallas on July 7, calling the attack “vicious, calculated and despicable.” He also flew to Dallas on Tuesday to speak at a memorial for the fallen officers.

Still, Trump questioned the legitimacy of Obama’s grief and concern.

“I watched the president, and sometimes the words are okay. But you just look at the body language and there’s something going on. Look, there’s something going on,” Trump told “Fox & Friends” on Monday.

“There’s just bad feeling,” he said.

Trump was responding to the head of the Cleveland Police Patrolmen’s Association’s claim that Obama “has blood on his hands” because he also condemned the police shootings of two African-American men.

“The president of the United States validated a false narrative and the nonsense that Black Lives Matter and the media are pressing out there to the public,” Steve Loomis said. “He validated with his very divisive statements and now we see an escalation.” [Source]

I suppose that president Obama can't grieve and show genuine concern because...well....you know.... those Black Lives Matter folks have to stick together. *big eye-roll* 

*Pic from rawstory.com